EnduringSense

“The price of apathy towards public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.” Plato

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Congresswoman Maxine Waters Political Doubletalk

Posted by Steve Markowitz on May 11, 2017

Washington DC is a remarkable place with mystical powers to turn people who once seemed sane into blabbering fools.  These powers have no political boundaries, affecting politicians on the Left and the Right; Democrats and Republicans.

This week, Congresswoman Maxine Waters became the poster child for the Washington derangement-related illness.  During an interview with MSNBC’s Peter Alexander, Ms. Waters went bizarre, even by Washington standards.  The exchange started with a video clip from late last year showing Waters declaring that former FBI director James Comey had “no credibility”.  After showing this video, Alexander asked Waters if he could assume that she supported President Trump’s decision to fire Comey.  To that, Waters responded in the negative.  It is hard to understand why the Congresswoman would not support the firing of one of the most important federal law enforcement officials who she previously indicated had “no credibility”.

After further exchange included in the video below, Waters went full circle into the bizarre when Alexander asked: “So if Hillary Clinton had won the White House would you have recommended that she fire FBI Director James Comey?”  To that Waters incredibly responds: “Well let me tell you something.  If she had won the White House, I believe that given what he did to her, and what he tried to do, she should have fired him, yes!”

While Congresswoman Waters twisted logic has a humorous side, its underlying logic is dangerous, inflicting many politicians.  To these politicians the law is not blind, but instead a tool to be used to promote a political agenda against political opponents.

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Liars and Politicians

Posted by Steve Markowitz on April 19, 2017

Politicians are generally a slippery bunch. While initially they may enter the field to improve cities, states or the federal government, they are often corrupted by the lure of reelection and the power and money that flow from it.

Prior to modern digital media, changing and ridiculous politicians’ statements were often lost in time. Now, with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., a politician’s statements are memorialized forever. This brings about a daily litany of political doubletalk, lies and/or stupid statements in clear view.

This week we can thank Congresswoman Maxine Waters for the entertainment within a two minute interview on MSNBC, as included in the video below. First, Waters confirms that she called for impeachment of President Trump. Then, almost immediately said: “I have not called for impeachment.” Ms. Waters’ flip-flop would be comical if one could forget that she is involved in writing the Country’s laws.

Posted in Politics | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

Failing Progressive Policies

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 30, 2017

One of my Progressive friends and I recently discussed the pros and cons of Liberal socio-economic policies. During that discussion my friend questioned my empathy for the less fortunate stating: “”There are a lot of arguments as to why we are short and where the jobs are but the fact remains we have people who cannot survive. I simply don’t understand how making people’s lives miserable somehow makes my life better. Their plan (conservatives) is akin to just yelling ‘Get a Job.’”

It is disappointing that liberals believe, or at least profess to believe, that those with different policy opinions are somehow less empathetic than they are. Inherent in their view is the belief that government and governmental programs improve the lives of the less fortunate. This decades old view had the potential for being correct during the 1960s when the great experiments were initiated. But history has since made its judgment and it concludes the programs have been a failure.

Posted is a graph of the US poverty rate since 1960, but prior to Obama and Trump. Going back a few years helps remove the current partisan political rancor. These numbers and the trajectory of this graph indicate that the poor have fared worse under Progressive policies initiated in the 1960s through the Great Society programs. Many these programs continue to this today.

While this graph does not answer the question of cause and effect, it at least raises a red light. At best, these unacceptable results emanated from bad socio-economic policy. The alternative is that things have turned out just as the political-elites designed. Conclusion; those who promoted the feel-good economic policies of the past five decades, both Democrats and Republicans, own the results. Continuing these Progressive policies will offer the same trends, which will also give the political class the ability to grab more power through offering economic solutions for problems their policies created.

It is time for society use object results instead of feel good talking points to determine public policies. However, this logical approach would usurp power from the ruling political class, which they will not give up easily.

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Liberalism Fails Society and Those Most in Need

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 7, 2017

Since the early 1960s liberals have promoted the narrative that people on the Left are more compassionate than those on the Right. This proposition was based on a motion, not empirical evidence. It emotionally seems right that the government should give to those in need. Conversely, those who would withhold government’s largess from the less fortunate lack compassion.

While a governmental safety net has been a part of American society since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Administration, it advanced significantly under President Lyndon Johnson. Given we are now a half-century into Johnson’s Great Society, it is reasonable to determine efficacy of the programs.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Riley recently published some important statistics since the initiation of the Great Society:

  • In 1962 the percentage of the Americans receiving government assistance in the form of cash transfers was about 12%. Today this has nearly doubled to 21%.
  • In 2012 over 48% of Americans resided in households receiving some form of government benefits. This number was only 30% in 1983.
  • By 2011 the US published property rate remained flat compared to 1965. During the same period, US governmental expenditures on poverty rose by 900% per receiving person (after inflation adjustments).
  • The Heritage Foundation marks 2014 as the 50th anniversary of Johnson’s Great Society. They calculated that federal government spending increased by 16 times, adjusted for inflation, for means tested welfare during this period.

Cause and effect are often difficult to prove. However, in the case of the Great Society Programs and their offspring, the evidence seems convincing that at the very least, much of the spending was wasteful and have not benefited those most in need over the long-term. At the same time, these programs significantly benefited certain industries that serve the programs and distributed their benefits. Those industries offer significant resistance to fundamentally changing governmental spending habits.


 

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Global Warming Debate is Not Open for Debate

Posted by Steve Markowitz on March 1, 2017

We live in a time where open debate is not tolerated on important issues facing society. This is especially true of intellectual elitists who respond to questions relating to their core beliefs as if they were personal attacks. There is no better example of this unintellectual and unscientific approach than with the subject of global warming.

Proponents in the belief that contemporary climate change is the result of man’s use of carbon-based fuels often shut down any debate of the issue by saying it is “settled science”. While many in the scientific community conclude this, the science is not settled. The science that these people refer to is based on modeling that can only be as good as the assumptions used in them. The models needed to predict long-term Climatic events are highly complex and must be tortuously simplified to be usable and therefore subject to the discretion of those choosing the inputted variables.

Bill Nye is known as the “Science Guy” who has written books introducing science to children. While his degree is in mechanical engineering, he purports to be an expert on climate change. During a recent interview with Tucker Carlson of Fox News, Nye made a highly emotional argument that man is responsible for contemporary climate change. When Carlson attempted to have Nye back his conclusion up with precise figures relating to man’s responsibility, Nye equivocated, bringing into question his actual scientific knowledge.

Nye has stated in the past that jail might be appropriate for people who disagree with his view on the cause climate change. That sounds eerily similar to how scientific dissenters were handled by the church hundreds of years ago. Nye’s emotional outburst at the end of the video below, where he goes off the rails concerning the Trump Administration shows a zealotry that is not worthy of scientific discussion.

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Attack on Constitution’s First Amendment

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 21, 2017

The U.S. Constitution is a remarkable document, including the United States’ supreme law. The Constitution initially paved the way for 13 diverse colonies to come together and form a Federation by preserving rights of each colony (state). Its fair and stable legal platform played a huge role in the Country’s success.

Amending the Constitution was purposely made difficult to inhibit changes made on the political whims of populists. Amendments require the calling of a Constitutional Convention or two thirds supermajorities in both houses of Congress. Still, the Constitution has been amended 27 times by Congress, including the pivotal Bill of Rights with its 10 amendments made in 1791.

The First Amendment under the Bill of Rights states:bill-of-rights

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment, free speech has come under attack in recent years through the use of political correctness with its social pressures. More recently, some on the Left have been more transparent in efforts to inhibit speech with increased ferocity since Donald Trump’s election.

This Blogger recently discussed the First Amendment with a slightly left-of-center acquaintance who would curtail speech in the name of public safety. In justifying the control of speech, he used the example of crying fire in a crowded movie theater and its risk of creating injury. He equates this example to those who take an anti-illegal immigrant philosophy in America, believing that it leads to attacks on immigrants or aliens. This author believes the comparison is a canard used to curtail the discussion of disagreeable ideas.

Inhibiting free speech, either through social pressures or the legal system, is a slippery slope traveled in the past. McCarthyism was a hammer used by the Right to inhibit the speech of liberals in the 1950s. A similar tactic is now in vogue by the Left, but for a different political agenda. For those who dare to discuss immigration policy, religion security issues, sexual mores, or social benefits, for example, are microphone labeled bigots, homophobic, Islamaphobic, or as Hillary said, “deplorable”.

The key issue with any attack on free speech should be how do we choose who gets to determine what constitutes calling the fire in a theater? Should the curtailing be to the benefit of ones’ political views, they are more likely to agree with the First Amendment attack. However, sooner or later the opposing side gains power and that is why the slippery-slope should concern all, irrespective of political views.

In a relevant example, a few years ago Harry Reid used the nuclear option in the Senate to allow Democrats to use a simple majority to get Obama appointments approved quickly. Previously this required a 60-vote Senate majority. Reid justified this drastic action claiming the Republicans to be the “party of no”, inferring that the step was required to keep government moving. Obama and fellow Liberals were all too happy to go along, irrespective of future consequences. Now, Trump and the Republicans have the use the nuclear option and the Democrats are screaming.

The Senate’s 60 vote requirement was created to make political appointments bipartisan, not easy. Similar to the Second Amendment, this rule had the long-term good of the Country behind it, with the goal of further legitimizing presidential power. The nuclear option has increased polarization and the divide in the Country and government. Instead of looking to Reid’s or Obama’s role in increasing political divisiveness, Trump is demonized for appointments.

Americans on the Left and Right would do well to look at the Constitution is a set of laws created to protect the long-term interest of all. Those that would mold it to fit their short-term agendas do so at the peril of their own future rights.

Posted in Constitution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Bill Maher Challenges Liberals on Free Speech

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 10, 2017

Comedian Bill Maher is a star on cable TV. He is also an unapologetic liberal espousing Progressive causes through humor. That has not stopped Maher from criticizing the Left on significant issues affecting society.

Maher, an atheist, has been especially critical of Islam and its penchant for violence. He has also been critical of the Left’s unwillingness to honor what should be a backbone of the movement, free speech. In a recent show Maher said: “Look, I’m not against free speech. Believe me. I’ve been a longtime critic of colleges shutting people up. That is a problem on the left that we need to deal with very much so” and “Free speech should be something we (liberals) own.”

Maher’s dressing down the Left on free-speech came after recent riots at the University of California Berkeley campus. That supposed bastion of free speech rioted in an effort to stop right-leaning provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking on campus.

In an attempt to make excuses for inexcusable behavior, Leftists and their supporters in the mainstream media would define the burning and destruction of property at UC Berkeley as a “protest”. Such behavior has in the past been called fascism.

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/02/03/maher-on-berkeley-riot-shutting-people-up-on-campuses-is-a-problem-on-the-left/

 

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Congresswoman Waters Believes Russia’s Invaded North Korea

Posted by Steve Markowitz on February 8, 2017

Politicians have been known throughout to often make dumb statements. While our current president Donald Trump plays the role of the anti-politician, he too has come up with some doozies during the past year.

Not to be outdone, two of our esteemed congresswomen, Nancy Pelosi and Maxine Waters, both of California, came up with a couple recently that could put them on top for year. It seems Ms. Pelosi still thinks Bush is president. As for Ms. Waters, she seems to believe that Russia invaded North Korea. This video below might humorous if these folks weren’t charged with enacting legislation for the Country.

While the mainstream media was all too happy to take on Sarah Palin for claiming she could see Russia from her property, don’t expect coverage on the mistakes made by Leftist politicians.

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Barack Obama’s Legacy

Posted by Steve Markowitz on January 12, 2017

According to one classical definition, “legacy” is “anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor”. American presidents often consider their potential legacies as they are leaving the White House. During the waning weeks of the Obama administration this has been a focus of the President.

Since the election of Donald Trump and the defeat of the President’s Party, Obama has taken steps that are legacy focused. Perhaps the most surprising was his anti-Israeli vote (abstention) in the United Nations where he broke decades of American precedent only after there would not be political consequences. In addition, the President and some advisers have been making speeches in attempt to write history in advance. While legacies are ultimately viewed as positive or negative, they are created by history and historical facts, not political narratives.

Prior to the New Year, Obama was asked by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria about his biggest policy disappointment. Obama’s response:

pew-study-gun-control“If you ask me where has been the one area where I feel that I’ve been most frustrated and most stymied, it is the fact that the United States of America is the one advanced nation on Earth in which we do not have sufficient common sense gun safety laws.”

While gun control is an issue with thoughtful people on both sides of the debate, the President placing it as his biggest disappointment shows a disconnect with the American People. According to a 2016 Pew Research poll, those in favor of gun rights is at its strongest since the study began. During the same period, support for gun control is at its lowest.

Most Americans agree, irrespective of Obama’s recent pronouncements, that race relations in the United States has deteriorated during the past eight years. On the economic front, wealth disparity in the United States has grown. Internationally, the US’s relations with China and Russia deteriorated and the Middle East has become an even greater firestorm. Given these realities it is rather incredible for President Obama to claim his greatest disappointment with his administration relates to the failure to increase gun control. If this illogical conclusion is not the result of the President being out of touch with the electorate, it then must be chalked up to an attempt to deflect from the more serious problems that have grown under his watch.

Eight years ago Barack Obama became President with great opportunity. Five days before taking the oath he said: “We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” Obama’s legacy will ultimately be created by the results of the policies implemented under his watch, not by preemptive speeches.

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Liberal Law Professor Alan Dershowitz Slams Obama

Posted by Steve Markowitz on December 29, 2016

Since the election of Donald Trump, liberal pundits have come up with all sorts of excuses for the outcome. At best they look to voter apathy on the Left. More troubling excuses include racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., the “deplorables” according to Hillary Clinton. These head-in-the-sand excuses ignore the weakness of candidate Hillary Clinton and the difficult economic state many Americans find themselves in, which as not improved under Obama’s Presidency.

The excuse-making machine on the Left has ignored the fact that many liberals are displeased with the Obama Presidency. Many expressed this dissatisfaction by supporting Socialist Bernie Sanders during the Democratic primary. Others have come out more recently with President Obama throwing Israel under the bus.

Last week the United Nations held a vote that basically blames Israel for the stalled Middle East peace process. While hidden behind the narrative that the vote was about Israeli settlements in the West Bank, the vote was a much more general combination of Israel. Such anti-Israeli votes in the Security Council have become commonplace in recent decades. However, votes the United States has historically used its veto power to block them. Incredibly, this lame-duck president in his last three weeks of office went against American policy back by both Republicans and Democrats and abstained, allowing the condemning of Israel to pass.

The outcry against Obama’s decision has been crosses political parties with many prominent Democrats coming out quite vocally in opposition. One example is Alan Dershowitz, a retired Harvard Law school professor who has been a lifetime Democrat and supporter of Barack Obama. His comments, included in the videos below, include:

He defined the president’s handling of the resolution as a “bait and switch”:

He pulled a bait and switch. He said to the American public ‘Oh this is all about the settlements deep in the West Bank’ and yet he allowed his representative to the U.N. to abstain, which is really for, a resolution that says Jews can’t pray at the Western Wall. Jews can’t live in the Jewish quarter where they’ve lived for thousands of years. And he’s gonna say ‘Whoops. I didn’t mean that.’ Well, read the resolution. You’re a lawyer. You went to Harvard Law School.”

Dershowitz went on to call Obama one of the worst presidents ever on foreign policy. Strong words from a liberal Democrat!

While this Blogger agrees with Dershowitz’s comments, the good Professor and others from intellectual Left bear responsibility for Obama’s policies and duplicity. It was known before Obama’s first election that he held questionable/radical political views and had contacts with some shady characters including Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Bill Ayres of Weather Underground fame and others. Many on the Left made excuses for these associations, giving Obama a pass. Now, as Rev. Wright once so infamously said: “the chickens have come home to roost”.

 

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