Category Archives: Politics: National

HB2

Big group of isolated small people in a line

It would seem that North Carolina is the talk of the ball.  Of course, it all centers on HB2.

So, last I left you I was writing that North Carolina passed a law that said restrooms were to be used by people based on their sex.  And by sex, NC means the sex listed on their birth certificate.  I was wrong – kinda.

North Carolina has said that in schools and state building restroom policy is based on sex, yes.  However, the bill now law, also says that individual business owners may craft their OWN restroom policy as they see fit.  Cities may not – North Carolina has stated that such powers are not granted to cities.

Also in the bill, now law, are the following:

  • Cities may not raise minimum wage
  • Employees may not use state law to sue employers for wrongful termination
  • There is no ‘protected class’ extensions for folks based on sexual orientation or identity

In order, my take on each.

The United States is built on the concept of state sovereignty – states have the power, not the federal government or the cities within it.  It is fully within the state of North Carolina’s authority to grant cities THEIR authority.  And having common wage levels across the state can make sense.

The decision not to allow folks to sue using state law is a bit of a head scratcher for me.  I fully admit to the possibility that this is bad policy.

The most controversial aspect of the law is the protected class portion.  I can absolutely understand the very strong and the very real desire to include such protections for the LGBT community – and, as a practical matter, such protections should be included.  However.

There is always a however.  As a libertarian, my natural inclination is to say that there should be no law restricting the right of association.  That is, people may freely choose to associate, or not, for any reason under the canopy of heaven.

Don’t like me because I have long hair?  Don’t hire me.

Don’t like me because I am fiscally conservative?  Fine – don’t associate with me.

Don’t like me because I’m a Viking fan?  Good – don’t invite me into your Cheese Head bar.

Now, before you bash me for hating, hear this.  Discrimination based on race, orientation, identify or religion indicates that you are ignorant.  And an ass.

I just don’t think that being a dumb ass should be illegal.

Now, for the record, here are the OTHER states that don’t extend protected class status to the LGBT community:

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indian, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and Alaska.

Where is the righteous rage in these jurisdictions?

Money and Politics

Donars.2014

The way we hear democrats scream about outside money in politics, you would be sure that all the money was going to republicans.  But that wouldn’t be true.

I went to Open Secrets and found the data from the 2014 cycle.  Interesting.

In the top 10, only 1 – the 10th place listing, goes to republicans.  In 9th, the break is nearly 50-50.

The top 8 are all democrat donors.

And the demonized Koch brothers?  14th.

 

 

Upside Down: Wherein The Liberal Agrees With Pino

Upside Down

After all this time, The Atlantic agrees with Pino.

First, the backstory.

For the better part of a decade, and really longer because I’m only counting the time I have been engaged in a structured format, I’ve been frustrated by the debate when discussing events of the day with my more liberal friends.

“We need to raise the minimum wage!”

“I disagree, I would rather that wage remain lower.  After all, we want to empower more and more people to work for compensation they’re willing to work for.”

“You are greedy and hate poor people!”

I walk away frustrated.  Frustrated not because my ideas were shown to be incorrect or flawed, but rather that I lost the opportunity to debate those ideas.  I didn’t know how to interact.

I’ve seen my flaw.  Above, my friend isn’t working to change *my* mind, he’s working to change the minds of the people *listening* to us.  If he can make me greedy and hateful, he can associate that with my policies.   He’s deftly switching policy for intention and has ZERO interest in having an open and earnest discourse.

The trick, of course, is to make explicit as soon as possible that we both have the same intention, whatever that might be.  We just differ on the path.

How delicious then, to see that the inmates are running the asylum:

Hundreds of Yale students are attacking them, some with hateful insults, shouted epithets, and a campaign of public shaming. In doing so, they have shown an illiberal streak that flows from flaws in their well-intentioned ideology.

The only aspect in which I disagree with ‘The Atlantic’ is the manner in which they make this tactic appear like an ‘oops’.  It’s not.  It’s deliberate and it’s horrible.

Why Republicans Are Exercised About Voter ID

Immigration

Contrary to popular Democratic shoe banging, Republicans are not passing voter ID laws to restrict poor and minority voters from voting.  Republicans are passing voter ID laws because Democrats want illegal aliens to vote – and those people vote for Democrats:

Are voters ready to let illegal immigrants vote? A sizable number, including most Democrats, are.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that one-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (35%) now believes that illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote if they can prove they live in this country and pay taxes. Sixty percent (60%) disagree, while five percent (5%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Fifty-three percent (53%) of Democrats think tax-paying illegal immigrants should have the right to vote. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Republicans and 30% of voters not affiliated with either major political party agree.

Note – this is not LEGAL immigrants, still not citizens mind you, but ILLEGAL immigrants.

Democrats want to extend this right only because illegal immigrants vote Democratic.

 

President Obama – His Legacy

Obama Rushmore

Lots of talk about Obama and his place in history.  We recently passed the day marking less than 18 months to go before he moves back to Chicago.  So it’s natural to look back and try to identify where he is going to rate.

Not surprisingly, such placements are pretty heavy on the ‘partisan’ influence – for example, Democrats are gonna remember Carter more fondly.  And the same holds for Republicans and Bush the Elder.

Given this, I was very surprised to see the liberal leaning news channel CNN report on the legacy of President Reagan and the as of yet incomplete legacy of President Obama:

(CNN)This may be President Obama’s time, but it’s still Ronald Reagan’s era.

Obama has helped negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran, normalized relations with Cuba, and watched his approval ratings recently hit a two-year high after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Obamacare. But has he become a “transformational” president like Ronald Reagan?

“He’s simply plowing the ground Reagan cleared 30 years ago,” says Tom Nichols, a political blogger and author of a column “Fantasyland: Obama Is No Ronald Reagan,” referring to Obama’s policies on nuclear weapons and his agreement with Iran.

Shocking.  But there’s more:

But we took the comparison a step further. We asked a group of historians and political scientists from the left and right to describe the qualities that make a president transformational. We also asked whether Obama lines up more favorably against Reagan now that he’s reached a deal with Iran.

The consensus was quick. Even those historians who personally disliked Reagan say Obama still hasn’t matched the Gipper — at least not yet.

Here are four reasons why:

  • Transformational Presidents change the conversation

  • Transformational Presidents deliver great lines

  • Transformational Presidents poach followers from the enemy’s camp

  • Transformational Presidents become beloved figures

President Obama will be remembered as historic; he will be the first black man elected President.  But he won’t be remembered for his accomplishments.

Further, Obama’s accomplishments aren’t that heady.

Obamacare remains a massively controversial program passed in the dead of the night with a congress consisting of 60 democrats.  To date, not one single republican has voted for the program.  Further, it was only finally passed through budget reconciliation.

And we don’t know if the program will do what it says it will.  But we DO know that government is incapable of managing large projects.

Cuba, while great policy, is largely insignificant.

And Iran will be remembered not so much a victory of negotiation and statesmanship as a situation in which we were led to water.  The coalition behind the sanctions was crumbling and nothing we had control of would or will prevent Iran from obtaining a bomb.

America is more divided now than before Obama and the ‘gaps’ the left hates have grown, not shrunk.

We don’t know that Obama is better than Jimmy much less ranking as one of the greatest.

Battle For the Senate -2014 Election Tracker

Republican vs Democrat

Tuesday is a big day – the control of the Senate will be decided as 36 Senate seats are up for election.  For fun I’ve been watching the polling and have been keeping track of the races.  My spreadsheet is below and shows the races not up for election and the ones I’ve called:

 

Contest Republican Democrat
Not 2014 Election 30 34
Kansas
Georgia
Iowa
North Carolina
Alaska
Colorado 1
Louisiana 1
New Hampshire 1
Arkansas 1
Minnesota 1
Kentucky 1
West Virginia 1
Michigan 1
Virginia 1
New Mexico 1
South Dakota 1
Mississippi 1
Illinois 1
Oregon 1
South Carolina 1
Maine 1
Tennessee 1
Deleware 1
Montana 1
South Carolina 1
New Jersey 1
Nebraska 1
Idaho 1
Massachhusetts 1
Hawaii 1
Rhode Island 1
Texas 1
Oklahoma 1
Oklahoma 1
Wyoming 1
Alabama 1
Total Seats 49 46

Going into the election I have Republicans needing 2 to win and Democrats needing 4.  The races in play are listed above.

Stay tuned for election night results.

The One Percenters

 

1 percentTalking to a friend today and the concept of the 1% came up.

Who are the 1%:

  • Roughly 80 percent of millionaires in America are the first generation of their family to be rich.
  • Roughly a third were entrepreneurs or managers of nonfinancial businesses.
  • Nearly 16 percent were doctors or other medical professionals.
  • NYU sociologist Dalton Conley says that “higher-income folks work more hours than lower-wage earners do.”
  • The top 1 percent pay 36.7 percent of all federal income taxes
  • They earn just 16 percent of all income

Who Earns Minimum Wage

Fast Food Minimum Wage

One of my favorite arguments against the minimum wage is that so very few people earn it.  And those that do make the minimum wage are learning much more than the value of any money they might be making.

In short, working for free is darn near worth it at some level – think my young child who would prefer the experience over the money.

Anyway, it turns out that I am not ALWAYS right:

“I personally think we need to get more workers involved and shut these businesses down until they listen to us,” perhaps even by occupying the restaurants, said Cherri Delisline, a 27-year-old single mother from Charleston, South Carolina, who has worked at McDonald’s for 10 years and makes $7.35 an hour.

Now, to be strictly honest making $7.35 is earning more than the Federal minimum (South Carolina has no State minimum wage) but I will stipulate that after 10 years a dime doesn’t make a difference.

But here’s the rub – why is Ms. Delisline still working at McDonald’s ten years on?  In the last ten years what has she done to increase her marketability?  This, especially in light of the fact that she has, in essence, never been given a raise?

Another example:

“I don’t think $15 will make me rich. … I just want an apartment for my family and be able to have my kids in their own room, to not have to wait for the washing machine or the bathtub, and I don’t want to be behind on bills if I take time off or get sick,” said Salgado, who earns minimum wage after 12 years with the company.

Twelve years making minimum wage – how is that possible?

** Though notice that mandatory 35% wage cut die to Obamacare **

What set of circumstances has taken place that prevents even modest skill improvement that would warrant a raise or a change in jobs/careers?  How much more valuable would these young ladies time be spent learning than protesting?

Finally, whatever the case that may be preventing an ever increasing career progression, there are other life decisions that are being made that is not helping but only compounding the problem:

Delisline said she and her four girls live with her mother…

Nancy Salgado of Chicago said she and her two children…

Given that an individual is making the minimum wage, the idea that they would make the decision to start a family is incredulous.

 

Income Inequality and Wealth

Money

Much ado has been made of the rising income gap and the perceived shift in power.

A note:

Eighty-six percent of today’s millionaires did not consider themselves wealthy growing up (“self-made”), while only 14 percent said they grew up wealthy (“born-wealthy”). Key findings include:

Of those who are self-made, their top sources of assets included investments/capital appreciation, compensation and employee stock options/profit sharing. Those who were born wealthy were more likely than the self-made group to cite inheritance, entrepreneurship and real estate investment appreciation as an asset source.

Better than 5 in 6 of America’s wealthy created their own wealth.  And the method they used was work.

538 Reason The Left Is Going To Explode

538As I mature in my political dialogs, I’m really trying to control the partisan in me and rely more and more on data.

It’s hard to dispute the success of Nate Silver inn 2012.

But THIS is going to make democrats and the left in general go crazy:

Our new forecast goes a half-step further: We think the Republicans are now slight favorites to win at least six seats and capture the chamber. The Democrats’ position has deteriorated somewhat since last summer, with President Obama’s approval ratings down to 42 or 43 percent from an average of about 45 percent before. Furthermore, as compared with 2010 or 2012, the GOP has done a better job of recruiting credible candidates, with some exceptions.

More:

Silver gave Republicans a 60 percent chance of wresting the Senate out of Harry Reid’s hands—a big blow to the final two years of the Obama presidency.