May 29, 2009
Obama administration officials are easing the ban on lobbying. Check out the great Wall Street Journal story here.
Lobbyist play an important role in American politics by providing a voice to groups which generally have little representation, specifically those groups with specialized interests. It is great to see the Obama administration start to reverse its strict lobbying rules.
Unfortunately for the Administration this can only be seen as two things: First, a flip-flop reversal of one of Obama’s strongest campaigning issues. He pledged to lead America into an era where special-interests had a limited role–it seems this will not be the case after all. Second, with mid-term elections right around the corner I think it is obvious that the administration would like to help special interests secure pork-barrel projects in at-risk Congressional districts ahead of the vote.
Though the administration was certainly well intentioned, and probably partially effective at keeping lobbyists at bay during the stimulus deliberations, anyone who lives in Washington understands that this nation runs on lobbyists. It does not look good for the administration to reverse it’s course on the issue–particularly after meeting with the industry’s trade group.
File it under….Flip-Flop Obamamous!
May 29, 2009
Once upon a time there were two political parties. These political parties came from different “sides” of the political spectrum and professed different ideologies. One was “conservative” and one was “liberal”; yet each introduced and enacted policies that expanded the national government’s role in areas like health care and banking.
You would be slightly mistaken if you thought this was a reference to the United States. In fact, it refers to the period of consensus in British political culture that lasted from the end of WWII until the Thatcher era.
Like the British era of consensus, America is experiencing an era of consensus politics as well. For the past few decades both Democratic and Republican administrations have instrumentally moved the country towards a centralized government with sweeping powers in many formerly private sectors.
The George W. Bush administration was a champion of government expansion. The aftermath of 9/11 saw the creation of the Homeland Security Agency, a behemoth of a bureaucracy that sucks money like a vacuum. Bush 43 also quickly passed a 700 billion dollar rescue plan for banks, which was subsequently followed by the Obama administration’s plan to buy parts of banks and auto companies.
The Republicans, it is said, are in disarray. I prefer to take a more rosy outlook. There has been no time quite like the present to reaffirm our belief in individual liberty–from abortion to gay marriage–free markets, and an effective but small federal government. It seems obvious that this should be the path of the New Republican party. America was founded, after all, on strong individual character–think George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, etc.
In the face of an ever-expanding federal bureaucracy, it should be our priority as Americans first, and Republicans second, to reiterate those things which have made our country truly great: individual liberty and accountability, smart fiscal policy, strong defense, wise governance, and the rights of states.
May 28, 2009
President Obama addressed troops at Nellis AFB Nevada today after touring the base’s solar energy farm.
The Nellis solar complex comprises 72,000 solar panels, 140 acres, and generates 30 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. Obama touted the system as “the kind of foundation we’re trying to build all across America.”
This doesn’t seem like a very practical way to provide America with power. The base’s solar array only provides 25% of the facility’s power which houses 12, 000 people. Can you imagine trying to find 140 acres for every 12, 000 people in say…NYC, LA, or D.C.?
Read more about Nellis AFB photovoltaic array here.
May 28, 2009
Nancy Pelosi, yes that Nancy Pelosi, is headed to China to take some much needed rest.
It seems that after making a complete fool of herself state-side by claiming that the brave men and women of America’s intelligence community purposely lied to her, the safest place was thousands of miles away.
So what is Ms. Pelosi doing? She’s wasting time. Pelosi, along with a delegation of environmental do-gooders, are attempting to convince China that joining a cap and trade pact with industrialized countries is in their best interest. This is not a particularly new issue, and surprisingly not much has changed. China continues to demand that “rich” countries economically handicap themselves by reducing carbon emissions to pre-1990 levels. The only thing missing from the deal? A Chinese commitment to do the same.
Curiously enough, while American liberals vow to renew American industry and create 3 million new jobs, they continually pursue policies which would reduce manufacturing capacity.
Somebody! Please find Pelosi and bring her back to the US so she can actually begin working on substantial issues!
May 27, 2009
Taliban Seek to Return to Peace Deal in Pakistan
It would seem that Pakistani forces finally have the Taliban on the run!
It is crucial that the Pakistani military continues to fight, and hopefully eradicate the Pakistani Taliban. The Taliban is using familiar tactics. They have encouraged Pakistani citizens–those who fled the fighting–to return to their homes and villages. The Taliban has one of two goals, either melt away by blending in with the local population, or use the the locals as human shields. Either tactic spells trouble for Pakistan.
The current situation is reminiscent of the post 9/11 attack on Afghanistan; however, unlike American forces, who had to confront an entire country of Taliban the Pakistani Taliban is relatively concentrated. With death as the only option, the Pakistani Taliban are beginning to look desperate. It helps that the general population seems to have rejected the Taliban’s approach to Sharia law, and has given the military confidence to root out the militants.
I am quite pleased that the Pakistani forces are having such great success. I am interested, however, in knowing what caused their change of heart. The past few years have seen the Pakistan border region become a safe haven for Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters fleeing US forces in Afghanistan. US drones make many cross-border strikes to attack senior Al Qaeda and Taleban forces with limited success. Pakistan had been seemingly unwilling to assist US forces in cracking down on these border havens. Perhaps the Pakistani government finally realized how menacing and close the Taliban threat was, or maybe someone over at the Pentagon threw a few Benjamins in the machine. Whatever the cause, I hope the Pakistani military is successful in eradicating the threat in Swat. Who knows… maybe they will just continue to the border and give our boys and girls a hand.
May 27, 2009
I am slightly worried about President Obama’s choice of Sonia Sotomayor for the Supreme Court.
First, she is from New York. New Yorkers in my experience wear UGGS. Yeah, I’ve heard that they are ridiculoulsy warm and cozy, but they still make you look silly.
Second, just as a common citizen I am concerned with judicial expansion, much more so when the candidate in question admits she thinks policy is made in the judiciary.
Now, I have seen the footage, and it doesn’t seem that bad. After all I wasn’t there and don’t know the context. However, it is important to remind the masses that the Supreme Court reviews the constitutionality–whether they are in accord with the Constitution–of laws. It does not propose them.
Great. Now that that is out of the way, let the confirmation circus begin!
May 26, 2009
I find interesting that Obama is willling to demand the release of political prisoners here. But at the same time does not insist on Nancy Pelosi doing the same here.