Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Florida senator Marco Rubio will compete in the GOP presidential primary

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Florida Senator Marco Rubio

Here’s a profile of Marco Rubio posted by Rachel Alexander at The Stream.

She writes:

On Monday night, Florida Senator Marco Rubio became the third major Republican candidate to announce he was officially running for president, after Senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. He made the announcement from the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami, considered the Ellis Island of Florida, where Cuban refugees seeking political asylum from Castro’s communist regime were processed by the federal government in the ’60s and early ’70s. It made a powerful statement, that the son of refugees is now running for president.

Rubio’s parents came to America before the Castro regime, and took menial jobs. He told the cheering crowd, “My father stood behind a small portable bar in the back of a room so that tonight I could stand behind this podium in front of this room.”

Rubio has been an outspoken critic of Obama’s efforts to relax relations with Cuba, and takes a hawkish approach to foreign policy. Earlier this year, he published the book American Dreams, which lays out how to rise to success economically in the U.S.

The youngest candidate in the race, Rubio reached out to younger voters in his speech, saying, “This election is not just about what laws we will pass, it is a generational choice about what kind of country we will be.”

He has lots of experience and a track record we can analyze:

A lawyer, Rubio worked his way up through the political system, serving in the Florida House from 2000 to 2008 and eventually becoming Speaker. While there he developed a reputation for pursuing innovative policy ideas and while Speaker of the Florida House, he wrote a book, 100 Innovative Ideas for Florida’s Future, which contained many ideas he implemented while Speaker.

He went on to defeat liberal Republican turned Democrat Charlie Crist in a surprising underdog campaign to become U.S. Senator in 2010, making him an instant Tea Party favorite. The New York Times magazine declared him the “first Senator from the Tea Party.”

His most exciting policy is his tax policy:

On the fiscal side of the conservative equation, Rubio’s new tax reform proposal is raising some eyebrows. Introduced with conservative stalwart Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the plan would consolidate income tax rates into just two, 15 percent and 35 percent, eliminate capital gains taxes on investment income for individuals, combine all corporate tax rates to 25 percent, and resuscitate the child tax credit, which had shrunk under the Obama administration. However, individuals making as little as $75,000 would be subject to the 35 percent rate. Many conservatives prefer the more radical flat tax option advocated by Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

Mike Lee is my favorite conservative in the Senate.

Rubio is a solid conservative in terms of voting:

He has a 98.67 percent lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union, higher than most other Republican Senators.The Pulse 2016, a new site tracking the presidential election, gave Rubio an A grade on handling the Indiana religious freedom law controversy. The site noted that during an appearance on The Five, Rubio spoke “intelligently, knowledgeably, and at length about the need to protect the rights of Christians to follow their religious convictions.”

But he doesn’t have the executive accomplishments of a Scott Walker or a Bobby Jindal, since he isn’t a governor.

This is his biggest flaw:

Since taking office, Rubio has disappointed the Tea Party once, in 2013, when he joined a bipartisan group of Democrats and moderate Republicans to propose a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, which went further than even Jeb Bush’s plan. Bush supports a path for legal status only. Rubio’s legislation failed, and at CPAC earlier this year, he said he now would only support a path to citizenship after securing the border.

Rubio is a strong candidate, but I can’t forgive him for endorsing a path to citizenship for those who break the law coming into the United States without a work permit. I don’t even favor work permits for people who break the law, much less permanent residencies, much less citizenship. Rubio is far to the left of me on immigration. But if you take away that negative, he is a formidable candidate in the general election. He would make an extremely difficult opponent for Hillary Clinton, or whoever the Democrats choose.

I am OK with him being our candidate in the general, and I think he would be as electable as Scott Walker, my top choice. If we were just choosing positions, I agree most with Cruz, but Cruz lacks accomplishments and I don’t see intelligent policies coming out of his mouth – the kinds of policies that can move us in a conservative direction, while still appealing to independents.

But I rank Rubio fifth in my list:

  1. Gov. Scott Walker
  2. Gov. Bobby Jindal
  3. Gov. Rick Perry
  4. Sen. Ted Cruz
  5. Sen. Marco Rubio

I like Rick Santorum more than Marco Rubio, but I’m not sure if he’s running. Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson are not on my list because of lack of experience, but I would love to see them run and be present to speak at the debates – I like listening to them both. They are both stars, but maybe not ready for the Presidency.

Rand Paul is a good candidate on fiscal policy. His statements on social policy are good, but he lacks accomplishments.His foreign policy is too much like Obama’s for me. He has said some good things, but he lacks accomplishments. I don’t want any more weakness and appeasement. Paul is to the left of Cruz and Rubio on foreign policy – I don’t want him on my list. But I’d put him in charge of the Federal Reserve in an instant.

We have SO MANY good candidates, and the Democrats have picked themselves a stinker. It’s so good! I feel bad that young people are so lousy on the marriage issue, but maybe with a good leader, we can change some of their minds during the debates? Do young people even watch debates?

Filed under: News, , , , ,

Scott Walker discusses foreign policy and national security with Hugh Hewitt

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker

Hugh Hewitt is a horrible RINO Republican establishment guy (backed Romney), but I sometimes listen to his show.

I got this audio and transcript from Hugh Hewitt’s blog.

The MP3 file is here. (19 minutes)

And here are the relevant parts of the transcript:

HH: You mentioned today, you called it “the safety issue,” not the “national security issue,” that sort of brings, explain to people why you use that terminology.

SW: I do, because I think it’s come to the forefront not so much because “national security,” that, to me, as I said [at lunch], is on page 6A of the newspaper where only a handful of us read into that. But when people see the videos, when they see the Jordanian burned alive in a cage, when they see the Egyptian Christians who were beheaded, when they see some of these other folks from around the world, including James Foley, who went to Marquette University where my son’s a junior, and suddenly, that becomes very real to everyday Americans.

HH: One of the beheaded Islamic State videos.

SW: Absolutely, whose parents are actually from New Hampshire, not far from where I was at a weekend ago, and you just realize, you can see it on your phone, you can see it on your iPad. You don’t need the filter of the network news or the daily newspaper to tell you how bad this is. It suddenly becomes an issue of safety, because that’s not something, national security, foreign policy is something over there. Safety is something you feel inside your chest, you feel in your heart. And I think increasingly, Americans feel a sense of concern that particularly if they have family members or loved ones that ever want to travel again, they see France, they see Canada, they see other places around the world, not just the Middle East, and it’s a safety issue. And they, and then I would just add to this, as they look at this more closely, they see a president whose drawn a line in the sand and crossed it, who called ISIS just a year ago the “jayvee squad,” who called Yemen last fall a success story, who calls Iran now a place where we can do business. Think about how screwed up that is. I remember the movie in the 80s, Trading Places…

HH: Right.

SW: …you know, with Dan Akroyd and Eddie Murphy, it’s like Iran and Israel are trading places in the sequel. In the eyes of this president, our ally is supposed to be Israel. Our adversary has been historically Iran. And yet this administration completely does it the other way around. We need to call radical Islamic terrorism for what it is, and a commander-in-chief who’s willing to act.

HH: Now I asked maybe one of your potential competitors yesterday, Senator Marco Rubio, who I know is a friend of yours.

SW: Good guy, yeah.

HH: I asked him yesterday would you disown and agreement that this president signs with Iran that leaves Iran uranium enrichment. What’s Scott Walker think about the deal, because that’s the outline, it appears?

SW: Absolutely.

HH: Would you reject that deal if you took the Oval Office?

SW: Absolutely, on Day One. I mean, to me, it is, the concept of a nuclear Iran is not only problematic for Iran, and certainly for Israel, but it opens the doors. I mean, the Saudis are next. You’re going to have plenty of others in the region. People forget that even amongst the Islamic world, there is no love lost between the Saudis and the Iranians. And so they’re going to want to have a nuclear weapon if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon. This is something that just escalates right before our eyes. And the fact that this administration began these discussions essentially conceding that they’re going to allow enrichment to go forward with the Iranians just shows you that they don’t have the same level of concern that I think I and Senator Rubio and many others out there have, that a nuclear Iran is a problem for the entire world, not just for Israel.

HH: Does the rising of these headlines, Saudi Arabia may be going to war with Yemen before this broadcast is over, if some of these Reuters reports are true.

SW: Right.

HH: And the Quds Force general is in Tikrit, right? So the world’s on fire. Does this hurt a governor’s claim to the presidency and elevate perhaps senators who have been there or other people who have been abroad and done that sort of thing? Or does it help you?

SW: Well, I think leadership is the fundamental ingredient that’s important in anything, particularly when it comes to foreign policy. And I won’t belittle any of the other would-be candidates. I would say, though, that my lifetime, the most significant president when it comes to foreign policy was a former governor, Ronald Reagan. The most faulty president, I would argue, when it comes to foreign policy and national security is a first term senator by the name of Barack Obama, who was on the Foreign Affairs Committee. And so, just those qualifications alone aren’t enough. Now again, I think Senator Rubio and I are very much aligned on these issues. I agree with a number of my other colleagues who might be prospective candidates should I and others get into the race in the future. What people need to look at is what do you bring to the table, who do you surround yourself with, what kind of leadership style do you have, and people, I think in this case in particularly, not just in the travels and the studies, need to know how you think. In this case, I think Americans more than anything want a commander-in-chief of the future who does a couple of things – 1) calls out radical Islamic terrorism for what it is, and says we will do whatever it takes to take the fight to them before they bring the fight to us, because unlike the Cold War, when containment was enough, when the Soviet Union and the United States could have leaders like Gorbachev and Reagan talking about containment, that’s not enough. When you have, not only with ISIS and al Qaeda, but you have an Iran, you have other places around the world groups that that want to not only annihilate Israel, but annihilate us in America, it’s like a virus. You’ve got to eradicate it. You can’t take out part of it, or it will come back.

HH: You also have people like Putin, Governor Walker…

SW: Absolutely.

HH: …who are pushing everywhere, and we’ve got Baltic allies. And people are wondering whether or not we’d actually come to their defense if Putin pushes into Estonia or Latvia or Lithuania. What do you think?

SW: We absolutely have to. I mean, NATO is the strongest military alliance we’ve had in history. It was part of, through Reagan’s leadership, but certainly part of the ingredient that allowed us to win the Cold War without firing a shot. If we don’t defend NATO members in a scenario like that, now I think we preempt that by showing strength in even dealing with Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, but is very much geographically aligned with what we’re talking about. Remember, Putin isn’t just aggressive for the sake of being aggressive. He’s a nationalist. He believes in the history of Russia and the old Soviet Union. Part of what you see here is the old Lenin adage that you probe with bayonets. If you find mush, you proceed. If you find steel, you withdraw. Well, in Ukraine, he’s found mush, and he’s found mush not only from the United States, but from others like, others and NATO partners out there. If it were to extend, and my belief is we need a president who’s going to act aggressively by giving lethal force to the Ukrainians and others to try to preempt that from happening. But a couple of weeks ago, I met with the president of Estonia. Certainly, we saw a week ago the Lithuanian leadership is literally giving out literature telling their own citizens what to do if Russians invade. Latvia, I just talked to someone the other day whose mother immigrated here from Latvia, and in each of those Baltic states, there are real serious concerns about what happens if we don’t deal with this in Ukraine. We need American leadership not just for America’s sake, but for the world.

If you find that interesting, listen to the whole thing or read the transcript. He also talks about education reform, if you’re into that. I am.

We don’t talk much about foreign policy as Christians, but it is important for us to understand it in order to promote the good, and achieve good results. We can’t just be led by our feelings, we have to do what works, and that requires understanding how the world works.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , ,

Should blacks vote for Democrats? Do liberal policies help young black men?

I want to quote from two black economists – my two favorite economists – to answer some questions.

First, Thomas Sowell.

Economist Thomas Sowell

Economist Thomas Sowell

Is minimum wage good for young blacks?

He writes:

Low-income minorities are often hardest-hit by the unemployment that follows in the wake of minimum wage laws. The last year when the black unemployment rate was lower than the white unemployment rate was 1930, the year before there was a federal minimum wage law.

The following year, the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 was passed, requiring minimum wages in the construction industry. This was in response to complaints that construction companies with non-union black construction workers were able to underbid construction companies with unionized white workers (whose unions would not admit blacks).

Looking back over my own life, I realize now how lucky I was when I left home in 1948, at the age of 17, to become self-supporting. The unemployment rate for 16- and 17-year-old blacks at that time was under 10%. Inflation had made the minimum wage law, passed 10 years earlier, irrelevant.

But it was only a matter of time before liberal compassion led to repeated increases in the minimum wage to keep up with inflation. The annual unemployment rate for black teenagers has never been less than 20% in the past 50 years, and has ranged as high as over 50%.

You can check these numbers in a table of official government statistics on page 42 of professor Walter Williams’ book “Race and Economics.”

Incidentally, the black-white gap in unemployment rates for 16-year-olds and 17-year-olds was virtually nonexistent back in 1948. But the black teenage unemployment rate has been more than double that for white teenagers for every year since 1971.

Second, Walter Williams.

Economist Walter Williams

Economist Walter Williams

Is voting for black leaders good for blacks?

He writes:

Black leaders stress the importance of political power and getting out the vote, but we might ask how important political power is to the ordinary black person. As a start toward answering that question, we might examine black life in cities where blacks hold considerable political power.

Detroit is the nation’s most dangerous city. Rounding out Forbes magazine’s 2013 list of the 10 most dangerous cities are Oakland, Calif.; St. Louis; Memphis, Tenn.; Stockton, Calif.; Birmingham, Ala.; Baltimore; Cleveland; Atlanta; and Milwaukee.

According to a recent American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau, the 10 poorest cities with populations of more than 250,000 are Detroit, with 33% of its residents below the poverty line; Buffalo, N.Y., 30%; Cincinnati, 28%; Cleveland, 27%; Miami, 27%; St. Louis, 27%; El Paso, Texas, 26%; Milwaukee, 26%; Philadelphia, 25%; and Newark, N.J., 24%.

In addition to poverty, there is grossly inferior education and high welfare dependency in these cities.

The most common feature of these cities is that for decades, all of them have had Democratic administrations. Some cities — such as Detroit, Buffalo, Newark and Philadelphia — haven’t elected a Republican mayor for more than a half-century.

What’s more is that in most of these cities, blacks have been mayors, chiefs of police, school superintendents and principals, and have dominated city councils.

[…]Let’s be clear about what I am saying and not saying. I am not suggesting that there’s a causal relationship between crime, poverty and squalor on the one hand and Democratic and black political power on the other. Nor am I suggesting that blacks ought to vote Republican.

What I am saying is that if one is strategizing on how to improve the lives of ordinary — and particularly the poorest — black people, he wants to leave off his high-priority to-do list the election of Democrats and black politicians. Also to be left off the to-do list is a civil rights agenda.

Perhaps the biggest roadblock to finding solutions is the widely held vision that the major problem confronting blacks is discrimination. I am not arguing that every vestige of discrimination has been eliminated. I am arguing that the devastating problems facing a large proportion of the black community are not civil rights problems. The solutions will not be found in the political or civil rights arena.

And third, more Walter Williams.

Is focusing on the few cases where a white police officer shoots a black man good for blacks?

He writes:

Excerpt:

Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Using the 94-percent figure means that 262,621 were murdered by other blacks.

Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites.

Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are most of the victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault and robbery.

The magnitude of this tragic mayhem can be viewed in another light. According to a Tuskegee Institute study, between 1882 and 1968, 3,446 blacks were lynched at the hands of whites. Black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (8,197) come to 18,515, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home.

It’s a tragic commentary to be able to say that young black males have a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

Not everyone who runs around crying “racism, racism” is interested in helping blacks to do as well as other racial groups.

Blacks will do well, just as they used to do, when the political parties in power embrace free-market capitalist policies, such as lowering the minimum wage, or scrapping it entirely. Blacks will do well, just as they used to do, when we strengthen and subsidize natural marriage – by repealing no-fault divorce and reforming welfare for single mothers. Blacks will do well, just as they used to do, when we make public schools more responsive to parents, and less responsive to teacher unions. And so on.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Hillary Clinton never signed separation form that required her to turn over all e-mails

National Review reports:

After days of fending off the question, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki admitted on Tuesday that the department has no record of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signing a separation form that could open her up to perjury charges.

Form OF-109 is a document required to be signed by all State Department employees as they exit the department. In it, the employee claims, under penalty of perjury, that he or she has turned over all relevant communications to the government at the time of his or her departure.

By turning over her private e-mails at the end of 2014, two years after leaving office, Clinton violated that agreement — if, in fact, she signed it.

On Tuesday, the State Department finally indicated that she did not — or at least, they have no records of her doing so. “We have reviewed Secretary Clinton’s official personnel file and administrative files, and do not have any record of her signing the OF-109,” Psaki said on Tuesday. “It is not clear that this form is used as part of a standard part of check-out across the federal government, or even at the State Department. So we’re certainly looking into that.”

AP reporter Matt Lee pressed Psaki, asking why the department had previously intimated that the form was “required” and if Clinton’s non-signature violated any rules.

“It’s not a violation of any rule, no,” she said, saying that signing the form may not be a common departure practice and that “there are differences between regulations and, certainly, recommendations.”

“The form exists, certainly,” Psaki said. “Beyond that, I don’t have more statistics on what percentage of State Department employees sign on departure from the building.”

“Yes, the form exists, and it exists for a reason,” Lee replied. “It doesn’t exist simply because someone thought, ‘Hey, let’s have a form that someone has to sign!’ It exists for a reason, and probably a pretty good reason, right?”

“Well, there are probably hundreds of forms in the federal government that exist — thousands, tens of thousands of forms that exist,” Psaki said. “So I don’t know that I would over-emphasize the existence of a form.”

They don’t have a record of her signing a required form. Everyone is supposed to sign that form before leaving the State Department. If the signed form were recovered, then she would be guilty of perjury for keeping a private e-mail server and deleting the e-mails. Add the missing e-mails to the millions of dollars of donations to the Clinton Foundation, and you have the makings of a serious, serious scandal.

Your puny laws don't apply to Queen Hillary!

Your puny laws don’t apply to Queen Hillary!

My absolute favorite liberal journalist is Ron Fournier, who writes for the very left-wing National Journal.

He says this is a big deal:

National Journal Senior Political Columnist and Editorial Director Ron Fournier said that Democrats are “scared to death” over the scandals regarding donations to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton’s emails on Monday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel.

“Don’t buy the spin, they [Democrats] are scared to death. And there’s a lot of them who are already starting to think ‘is she really the best candidate for us?’…Their bench, compared to the Republican bench is awfully, awfully thin. And there’s a lot of Democrats, by the way, who are saying ‘follow the money.’ A lot of Democrats are really worried about the Foundation, that’s what they’re really worried about” he stated.

Earlier, Fournier said that the Clinton Foundation’s acceptance of Chinese donations is “a big issue. There’s a lot of other ways the Chinese government, and the Saudis, and the [Qataris] — there are other ways that they can help the world if that’s what they want to do. They’re giving their money to the Clinton Foundation for a reason. They want something out of it. So I know, what I really want to see in these e-mails is any e-mail that mentions the Foundation and mentions one of the donors.”

Watch:

This should sink Hillary Clinton as a candidate, and it will, so long as the heat stays on.

White House turns its back on transparency

You might recall that previously, Barack Obama told us that his administration would be the most transparent ever:

But the White House is now refusing to comply with Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests:

The White House is exempting an office from compliance with the Freedom of Information Act, angering open-government advocates, who accuse President Barack Obama of not living up to his pledge to run the “most transparent administration in history.”

The White House said Tuesday that the move to exclude the White House Office of Administration from the federal open-access law reflected a court ruling that predated the Obama administration and wouldn’t have any effect on its commitment to open records and its compliance with requests for records.

“This is a matter of just cleaning up the records that are on the books,” White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said. “It has no impact at all on the policy that we had maintained from the beginning to comply with the Freedom of Information Act, when it’s appropriate.”

The move, announced Tuesday in the Federal Register, came as news organizations marked Sunshine Week to showcase the public’s right to know, and it drew sharp criticism from advocates who already give the administration poor marks for news-media access.

“This is another example of the White House position avoiding transparency,” said John Wonderlich, policy director of the nonprofit Sunlight Foundation. “Instead of creating more and better access to information, it’s trying to control it.”

“The president has routinely failed to deliver on his promise,” said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who’s proposed a law that would reduce the use of exemptions to withhold information from the public.

The most transparent administration in history? Not a smidgeon of corruption? Not so much.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Should young people vote for Democrats?

Jennifer Kabbany describes what young people got from their vote for Democrats over at the College Fix.

She writes:

Young America’s Foundation released its annual “Youth Misery Index” findings today, and the news is not good for young people – the index has hit an all-time record high.

The foundation calculates the index by adding youth unemployment, student loan debt, and national debt (per capita) figures, and it found “young people are experiencing hardships like never before under the Obama administration, and this generation is especially suffering the consequences of this administration’s leftist policies.”

For 2014, youth unemployment sat at 18.1 percent, student loan debt came in at $30,000, and national debt per capita was the highest ever at $58,437. The foundation tallied that all up for a Youth Misery Index of 106.5. That’s far above the 2013 figure of 98.6, when the foundation added 16.3, which represented youth unemployment, with 29.4 – the average 4-year college loan debt – and 52.9, each person’s national debt burden.

“The government is largely responsible for all three problems, and we’ve found a statistically significant relationship between government expenditures and the Youth Misery Index,” the foundation states. “Each indicator can be tied to government actions.”

While the index has steadily grown over the decades, under Obama the figure has shot up dramatically.

In 2012 it was 95.1, and the year before that 90.6. When Obama first took office in 2009, it was 83.5. When President George Bush left office in 2008 – the index was 69.3. When the figure debuted in 1993, it came in at 53.1.

“Young people will be stuck paying for government debt they had no part in creating, and they’ll have to do it with less discretionary income than ever before because of record high levels of student loan debt,” the foundation stated.

If interest rates go up, it will get even worse. Interest on loans will make it harder for them to buy houses and cars. Their students loans will cost more. And the government will have to dedicate a lot more money to making payments on the national debt – leaving less money for other expenditures. Taxes might have to go up to pay for the payments on the debt. Whether they raised income, sales or property taxes, it’s bad news for young people trying to get on with their lives.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

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