Pope Francis Open Thread

He does seem to be the subject of conversation, doesn’t he?

First off, Hillary is thrilled that the Pope is in town – it was the perfect time for her to announce her opposition to the Keystone pipeline. Document Dumps – they are a Clinton specialty.

Bernie Sanders is going to join a group of DC workers out on strike while the Pope is in town.

Democrats celebrate the arrival of the head of the Catholic Church in classic Democrat style – blocking a ban on late-term abortions.

Meanwhile, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will join in various events surrounding the Papal visit.

Arguably the smartest man in the United States, Thomas Sowell, has a critique of Pope Francis:

…As distinguished economic historian David S. Landes put it, “The world has never been a level playing field.” But which has a better track record of helping the less fortunate — fighting for a bigger slice of the economic pie, or producing a bigger pie?

In 1900, only 3 percent of American homes had electric lights but more than 99 percent had them before the end of the century. Infant mortality rates were 165 per thousand in 1900 and 7 per thousand by 1997. By 2001, most Americans living below the official poverty line had central air conditioning, a motor vehicle, cable television with multiple TV sets, and other amenities.

A scholar specializing in the study of Latin America said that the official poverty level in the United States is the upper middle class in Mexico. The much criticized market economy of the United States has done far more for the poor than the ideology of the left.

Pope Francis’ own native Argentina was once among the leading economies of the world, before it was ruined by the kind of ideological notions he is now promoting around the world.

If you’re going to criticize the Pope, at least do it with the grace, wisdom and deep, historical knowledge of Thomas Sowell. That said, I will point out that George Soros is a capitalist. But even laying aside people like Soros (who pile up the cash while claiming to be for social justice), we do need to look at the whole picture, as I’m sure Mr. Sowell would agree. It is good that America’s poor are relatively rich, compared to past measures and, indeed, in comparison with the poor in other nations. But tens of millions of them don’t work: they live on government hand-outs. It is financially “good” that we can use sweated Chinese labor to produce I-crap so cheap that we can afford to give it to our poor…but I don’t believe this is morally good for our poor, the Chinese workers or any of us. We can do better, folks – and that is all Pope Francis is really saying on matters economic.

It isn’t just me – there are other conservative voices in favor of the Pope:

…Pope Francis has also drawn our attention to issues such as income inequality, the plight of immigrants, or the degradation of the environment. At times, he has gotten quite specific. But here is the clincher that people just don’t seem to get. When it comes to how to tackle these complex and difficult topics, the church steps back and leaves it to policymakers to debate and discuss. Even more important, Pope Francis, true to his Jesuit roots, is inviting debate, disagreement and — what was the word? — differences. Difference of opinion on these issues, termed by the church as prudential policy matters, is welcomed by the church and considered healthy and important by Pope Francis. Even when it means disagreeing with the pope…

The Pope will be driven around in a little Fiat. I think every aspirant to the White House should be asked why he or she should be driven around in anything upscale from that.

Debate Open Thread

Carly Fiorina did very well in the early debate. She is a formidable candidate. Can you imagine a Trump/Fiorina ticket? Speaking of Trump, if he can dial down his ego, add more details to his ideas, and act presidential – he just might run away with this. This will be a fun night, well at least for us political junkies.

The John McCain Crazy Train

Allahpundit rounds up some reports on McCain digging himself ever deeper in to the Ruling Class hole over Paul’s filibuster – best comment:

“Senator McCain is obviously well aware of the politics of this – he just doesn’t care,” said one McCain aide. “He’s doing what he thinks is right. Unlike many of these guys, he’s actually been involved in a few national security debates over the years. He knows that jumping on the Rand Paul black helicopters crazytrain isn’t good for our Party or our country, no matter what Twitter says.”

Just to clarify, “black helicopters crazytrain” is those people who think that we’ve built concentration camps in Montana and that blue helmeted UN troops are already here, ready to declare martial law.  Paul isn’t within a country mile of such people.  But I’ll tell you who is crazy – John McCain and all those establishment types, left and right, who think that we’re going the right thing in our War on Terror policies.

Those who have been reading this blog over the years know that I was an ardent supporter of President Bush’s policies regarding terror.  100% support of the invasion of Iraq.  Still think it was the right thing to do.  I believe that Iran is a gigantic threat and that we will have to deal with it militarily.  But for goodness sakes, what happened between 2003 and today should cause some re-assessment of the best way to go about things.  Clearly, maintaining relationships with Muslim tyrannies in the name of “anti-terror” policies is asinine.  Clearly, giving Muslims the ability to freely vote for their own government doesn’t mean they’re going to vote for a government we like.  Clearly, the Islamist radicals are more determined that ever – and ever more brutish in their treatment of non-Muslims (seriously; just google “Muslims attack church” and see how many hits you get, and how many very recent events).

The height of insanity is our decision to continue military aid to Egypt – including providing powerful F-16 aircraft – a Muslim Brotherhood regime which is the enemy of everything we hold dear.  That is insane – and anyone want to bet where McCain stands on that?  Paul is crazy for wanting a simple declaration that the President may not kill Americans on American soil without due process?  Whatever you say, McCain.

For now, whatever it is we were trying to do in the Muslim world has come a cropper.  It is time to withdraw and re-assess.  Now, there is that one in a million chance that our withdrawal will actually cool down the Islamists.  I very much doubt that.  More than likely, it will be interpreted as a sign of weakness and they will resume their attack at the earliest opportunity.  When that happens, however, we would be able to approach the whole issue un-tied to any past commitments and free to do what we wish.  To just keep going on, grinding out with what we’ve been doing and adding to it increased drone attacks doesn’t seem wisdom in my view.  To defend the President on drones simply because you want to be “tough on terrorism” is idiotic.  It is time for a change, and Rand Paul sees it; McCain doesn’t.


Rand Paul Filibuster Open Thread

UPDATE:  Paul went 13 hours and laid down the marker:  everyone now knows that there are, for certain, GOPers who will bring things to a screeching halt on matters of principal.

As of this moment, he’s still at it, 8 hours going strong.  Joining in support are Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Mike Lee and even Democrat Ron Wyden.  The issue is Paul’s demand that President Obama answer – without equivocation, yes or no, please – whether or not he’d order a drone strike on an American citizen within US territory.  This is a genuine filibuster and no one can make him stop – only exhaustion, or Obama actually answering the question, brings this to an end.

This is one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time and goes a long way towards restoring faith in our legislative branch.  For too long all Administrations – but especially Obama’s – have managed to skate past oversight simply because no one took oversight duties all that seriously (and forget about it on getting almost all the MSM to find out – the are completely controlled by Obama).  Paul does take this duty seriously.  Now, will we get a straight answer from Obama?  Probably not – but the marker will be laid down that the people have a right to know what the Executive proposes to do, and Obama (and his Democrats) know that Republicans will stand tall at need.

Discuss this and all issues of constitutional government.

Continue reading

The GOP Establishment Fought Against Ted Cruz

You can watch Cruz’ dismantling of Hagel over at The Right Scoop.   Hagel is ill-informed, often has strayed in to anti-Semitism and is clearly unfit to be Secretary of Defense.  Obama will probably still get him through as Democrats do hold the Senate majority, but it will be clear for all time that Obama picked an unfit man and Democrats approved an unfit man simply because they wanted someone who could twist the GOP…and, of course, be Obama’s willing tool in hollowing out our military and coddling our enemies.

In Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Pat Toomey (all of whom were unwanted by the GOP establishment) we have just the sort of Senators we need – leaders who are well informed, aggressive, capable and able to communicate the truth clearly to the American people.  They are revitalizing the GOP brand as we speak – as we sit here, still in the slough of despond over our loss last year, here is the future…here is where we pick ourselves up and get back in to the fight.


Paul Asks Kerry the Important Question

From Allahpundit at Hot Air:

Excellent, and not just the Libya stuff. Stick with it for Paul’s questions about how smart it is to be arming the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt when Morsi is already wheezing about Jews controlling the media in official diplomatic sessions with the U.S. If you’re wondering why it fell to Paul to ask this question instead of any of the more senior senators who preceded him, it’s because the Senate was perfectly happy to have Obama act unilaterally on Libya. The Iraq war authorization came back to haunt many of them; no one knew at the time how messy Libya might get. O did them a favor, left and right, by freeing them from a tough vote. But Kerry can’t say that so instead he squirms through a few minutes of how the two bombing campaigns are different because they just are. Frankly, Paul let him off easy. You could, if you chose, defend U.S. actions in Cambodia as a cross-border extension of the war already being fought in Vietnam. No such defense for Libya; if anything, the Libya war cut against the AUMF against Al Qaeda that was passed after 9/11 because, as we’ve recently learned, eliminating Qadaffi was actually a boon to jihadist groups like AQ…

Do go to the link and check out the video of the questions.  Allahpundit is exactly right that Congress was perfectly happy to let Obama go off on his own in Libya – because it prevented any of them from having to take a vote which, at election time, may have been a burden to carry.  The atrophy of the legislative power of the United States was starkly displayed in the Libya mess, as it is now being put on display in Mali.  This is not actually Obama’s fault – at least in the sense that he didn’t make it all happen by himself.  All Presidents since World War Two have routinely encroached on legislative powers, with the only time Congress acting in a Congressional manner during the Nixon years, and even that wasn’t on principal but merely because Democrats wanted to get Nixon (why?  Because Nixon – establishment Republican that he was – was also a stout anti-communist in the 50’s and was actually more effective, in certain ways, in exposing liberal fellow-traveling with communists than McCarthy ever was; they hated Nixon because he exposed the truth about liberals).   Rand Paul, being a strict constitutionalist, is actually behaving like a Senator who has oversight powers over the Executive branch…and Paul should watch out:  the more he exposes the truth, the more the left is going to hate him.


Rubio and Paul Question Clinton

So, Hillary had continual conversations with the Libyan government about the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi…and, then…

Paul notes that Hillary didn’t read the cables from Benghazi which called attention to the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi…

Essentially, Hillary’s contention is that she was on it, but then didn’t bother to read the most important information provided:  that of her ambassador on the ground, whom she has said elsewhere she selected for the job and thus must be presumed to be someone Hillary had trust in.  Paul points out that its not a matter of expecting the Secretary of State to read all cables – that would be both impossible and pointless.  But Libya was clearly a hot spot – we had engaged in military actions to help remove the previous Libyan government and we were making strenuous efforts to forge a viable, pro-western government in Libya…certainly something which should command the interest of our chief foreign policy officer.  Basic competence would require that Hillary read every bit of data coming out of Libya at that time – it strains credulity well past the breaking point to believe that she didn’t read all the cables.  But, she says she didn’t – which might, in a legalistic mind like Hillary’s, get her off the hook but which, in reality, just makes it worse:  it was her job to know.  It is what we paid her to do – and she didn’t do it.

As I expected, Hillary’s testimony as nothing but a patchwork of lies and blame shifting.  Of course, Hillary’s main purpose here was to protect the Clinton brand.  She is thinking of running for President in 2016 and right now she’s very popular in the polls…but Benghazi is the symbol of the utter failure of Obama’s foreign policy as executed by Secretary of State Clinton.  When she does run in 2016, not only will Republicans keep asking about this, but her competitors in the Democrat primary will, too (though Joe Biden will be reticent about it).  Hillary wants this to go away – but between Rubio and Paul (both of whom will probably run in 2016), her utter failure is exposed.

Hillary probably expects her answers to be the final word – more than likely, she won’t ever take any future questions on the matter except in the most friendly venues.  Is pressed, she’ll refer all to her Senate testimony and claim that its old news and there’s nothing more to be said.  But the people of the United States know – with certainty – that by her own words, Hillary failed as an executive officer of our government.

Sen. Paul Threatens Debt Ceiling Filibuster

From the Daily Caller:

Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul is planning a filibuster sometime next week to bring the debt ceiling negotiations to the Senate, the Huffington Post is reporting.

“We’ve not had one minute of debate about the debt ceiling in any committee,” the Kentucky Republican told C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers” in a Sunday interview. He said after not having a budget or an appropriations bill in two years, he’s “part of the freshmen group in the Senate that’s saying, ‘No more.’”…

What Paul and other TEA Party Senators would really like is to link an increase of the debt ceiling to a balanced budget amendment.  So far, McConnell, the GOP Leader, says that is a non-starter – not enough votes for it.  To which I answer, “yeah, so?”.  Put the pressure on the Democrats for once – it is quite reasonable, and in keeping with American opinion, to demand some really hard and fast fiscal discipline.  In fact, the people are more and more demanding it.  Put it right in Reid’s lap – tell him that you don’t have enough votes to pass an increase unless Reid can round up enough votes for an amendment.

The good news here is that I feel more confident that our side will prevail, in the long run, than ever before.  Usually when we get to these points it is time for the GOP to cave and liberals to get what they want…now, not quite like that.  Unless there is some serious debt reduction, no deal can pass the House.  Naturally, Obama, Reid and the rest of the Democrats are hoping that the old tried and true tactics of allowing the MSM – and its manufactured polling – to stampede the GOP in to going along…but I don’t think it will work this time.  I think that when push comes to shove both TEA Party principal as well as political survival will rule the day:  the GOP will stand firm.

Rand Paul: Health Care is Not a Right

Getting it exactly right:

I’ve been on about this for ages – you can’t have a right to health care. Why? Because rights are something that individual human beings have – if you can’t, at least in theory, do it entirely on your own, then it isn’t a right, it is a privilege – and all privileges are determined by the larger society. We may decide to grant you the privilege of free health care, but you cannot demand it as a right…because just as Paul points out, if it were a right then you conscript – enslave – health care providers at will (this is also why there is no right to marry – it takes at least two people to have a marriage, and as you need the consent of another for the act, it is a privilege, not a right…and just as in all other privileges, society will determine the rules; and if those rules don’t fit your particular ideas, you still haven’t had your rights violated).

Our liberals want everything to be pitched in terms of human rights because that is the shortest rout to enslaving all of us – they want us to have so many “rights” that we have no freedoms. If we all have a right to food, housing, medical care, clothing, transportation, education, etc, etc, etc then it will take a lot of government power to make all that happen…and the more powerful government is, the less free the people are. The perfect, liberal world is where I have a right to everything but must get government permission before I do anything.

Paul’s statement is exceptionally timely – and I hope it sparks a nation-wide debate on the meaning of “human rights”…because that is another fight we of the right will win.

Rand Paul Deftly Exposes Liberal Insanity

From NRO’s The Corner:

Today Rand Paul let loose at the deputy assistant energy secretary for efficiency. He advised Kathleen Hogan:

I think there should be some self-examination from the administration on the idea that you favor a woman’s right to an abortion, but you don’t favor a woman or a man’s right to choose what kind of light bulb, what kind of dishwasher, what kind of washing machine.

Toilets are a big source of his anger at bureaucratic “busybodies.” The freshman senator goes on to admit: “I have been waiting for 20 years to talk about how bad these toilets are.”…

Which is, of course, what I have been yammering on about for years now – we have set up a tax and regulatory system which makes it progressively harder for people to make, mine and grow things in the United States. In fact, our whole economic system is now one of perverse incentives – in order to make lots of money you must either take it out of the United States completely, or play Wall Street Roulette with it – and with the US taxpayer back stopping you as a “too big to fail” institution. There is nothing in our economy which provides the sort of work which allows a family to live a decent life unless both parents work and the kids are neglected. There is nothing in our economy which encourages hard works, savings and careful investment – the completely cock-eyed and bankrupt system is the natural and completely predictable outcome of our current policies.

Think about it – we’re fretting over incandescent light bulbs in a quixotic quest to stop “climate change” while 15 million or more Americans are out of work…that is what we do these days. The idiocy of the left’s position is so clear – Senator Paul nailed them on it: pro-choice if you want to kill your children, anti-choice if you want to do anything else. That is the left – that is what we contend with. We are not battling people with a different view, but people with a lunatic view…people who not only should not be in power, but probably shouldn’t be allowed out without adult supervision.