Thursday, April 24, 2014
Poll: Majority Believes Neither Party Represents the American People
on Thu, 24 Apr 2014
A new Rasmussen poll of likely voters shows that 53 percent believe that neither political party represents the American people.
Participants of the poll were asked: “Is it fair to say that neither party in Congress is the party of the American people?”
53 percent of respondents agreed with the statement, twenty-eight percent of said they disagreed and 19 percent were not sure.
Rasmussen reports that the results are up six points from a poll conducted in October 2013.
The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on April 19-20, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percent.
ASIMO, an acronym for Advanced Step in Innovative Mobility, exchanged bows with the president before demonstrating that it could kick a soccer ball.
"How about that, that was pretty impressive," Obama marveled after the demonstration.
Later, during a meeting with students Obama mentioned his meeting with ASIMO.
“We saw some truly amazing robots -- although I have to say the robots were a little scary,” he said. “They were too lifelike. They were amazing.”
TOKYO (AP) — The voice was slightly halting, childlike. "Welcome to Miraikan, Mr. President, it is a pleasure to meet you."
President Barack Obama bowed, looking delighted.
His greeter, after all, was a 55-inch-tall, give or take, humanoid robot with the look of a diminutive Star Wars storm trooper.
"It's nice to meet you, too," Obama said, pausing to watch the robot, named ASIMO, perform during a tour of the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.
Despite Obama's background in constitutional law, there's a presidential geek side that always seems charmed, if not bemused, by technological advances.
Asimo, made by Honda, announced "I can really run fast" before loping toward a soccer ball and informing Obama, "I can kick a soccer ball, too."
The robot delivered a well-aimed ball at Obama who trapped it neatly with his foot. For its final demonstration, the robot declared, "Recently I have learned how to jump." It then proceeded to hop, first on one foot, then on two.
Curious, Obama asked Mamoru Mohri, chief executive director of Miraikan, whether the robot was remote controlled. Yes, Mohri replied, but the robot can act autonomously, too.
Obama also witnessed demonstrations by other robots, including one designed by Japanese technicians and partially financed by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency that was developed to help with disaster response.
"I have to say the robots were a little scary," he said afterward. "They were too life-like."
After holding a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Obama met with the three relatives of two Japanese citizens who were abducted by North Korea.
At the news conference, Obama said the United States stood with Japan in seeking to resolve such North Korean kidnappings and in a statement issued after the session with relatives, the White House said Obama was "moved by their tragic experiences."
Later, the relatives said Obama, as father of two daughters, showed empathy over the kidnapping of their loved ones. He said he would do his utmost to resolve the problem, possibly by adopting a U.N. Security Council resolution to pressure the North.
As father of two teenage daughters, Obama seemed particularly empathetic to Sakie Yokota, 78, whose daughter Megumi was kidnapped by North Korean agents 37 years ago when she was only 13. Yokota said Obama carefully looked at the pictures she brought and seemed to understand the pain of waiting such a long time.
"President Obama said it's not just another political or human rights issue. He said he cannot tolerate this problem as a human being and a father," Yokota told reporters after the meeting. "He reassured us that he would give us a firm support to resolve the problem."
Of prayer cards and archers.
Obama visited the Meiji Shrine that commemorates Emperor Meiji, who died in 1912, and his wife Empress Shoken. The shrine has been something of a regular stop for visiting U.S. dignitaries.
Then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went to the shrine in 2009 and Vice President Joe Biden stopped there in 2011. President George W. Bush visited in 2002.
Like Bush, Obama was treated to a demonstration of yabusame, or horseback archery, where archers in traditional dress ride past a reviewing stand at a gallop while shooting arrows at a target. Obama watched
Moments earlier, Obama had toured the shrine with priests and then written on a prayer card. After hanging it with numerous other cards, a priest removed it, apparently out of fear that someone would take it.
"My only question is," Obama said to the priest, "will my wish still work if you take it?"
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
There’s a reason they call it “progressivism” — for years, the main legal question contested in affirmative-action cases, from Bakke to Grutter, was whether the state should be allowed to engage in racial discrimination. In the Michigan affirmative-action case decided today,Schuette v. Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, the question was whether the state should be required to engage in racial discrimination. The progress, then, has followed the Left’s familiar ratchet-effect model, inching its way from “not forbidden” to “compulsory.” Indeed, as the Wall Street Journal put it, the question here was not whether the use of racial discrimination for putatively benevolent purposes is constitutional but whether states “may end racial preferences without violating the U.S. Constitution.”
The Court came to the correct conclusion, but both Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion and Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s dissent suggest very strongly that there is trouble afoot on our highest bench.
Justice Sotomayor is here arguing in effect that if a constitutional referendum doesn’t go the NAACP’s way, then its effects are invalid. This is not an exaggeration: Justice Soyomayor argues explicitly that Michigan’s voters would have been within their rights to, for example, lobby university authorities to adopt race-neutral admissions standards but that by adopting a constitutional amendment insisting on race neutrality, thereby transferring the decision from the education bureaucrats to the people themselves and their constitution, they “changed the rules in the middle of the game.” Her opinion is legally illiterate and logically indefensible, and the still-young career of this self-described “wise Latina” on the Supreme Court already offers a case study in the moral and legal corrosion that inevitably results from elevating ethnic-identity politics over the law. Justice Sotomayor has revealed herself as a naked and bare-knuckled political activist with barely even a pretense of attending to the law, and the years she has left to subvert the law will be a generation-long reminder of the violence the Obama administration has done to our constitutional order.
Justice Kennedy’s issue-evading opinion for the Court’s plurality, barely more confidence-inspiring, argued that the case was “not about the constitutionality, or the merits, of race-conscious admissions policies in higher education” but instead simply “whether, and in what manner, voters in the States may choose to prohibit the consideration of racial preferences in governmental decisions, in particular with respect to school admission.” An exasperated Justice Scalia pointed out in his concurrence that implicit assumptions about “disparate impact” — the notion that equal protection under the law violates equal protection under the law if minorities do worse relative to whites under a single, race-neutral standard — run counter both to the text of the Constitution and to the Court’s longstanding jurisprudence.
As a practical matter, the fact that non-white students do relatively poorly under race-neutral admissions standards at our public universities is an indictment mainly of our K–12 education system and of the cultural anarchy that has imposed especially high costs on the children of black and Latino families. It is not an indictment of race-neutral standards. Unable or unwilling to do a better job of preparing black and Latino students for college in the public institutions controlled by its most reliable footsoldiers, the Left insists on anathematizing the very standards under which the incompetence and negligence of our government-run schools, the very model of progressivism, are revealed. If that takes a bit of doublespeak — non-discrimination is discrimination — it wouldn’t be the first time the Left has relied on it.
The Court came to the right decision, but its fractured conclusions and the rigorous political activism of its left wing are alarming.
The knives are out for conservatives who dare question unlimited involvement in foreign wars.
Foreign policy, the interventionist critics claim, has no place for nuance or realism. You are either for us or against us. No middle ground is acceptable. The Wilsonian ideologues must have democracy worldwide now and damn all obstacles to that utopia. I say sharpen your knives, because the battle once begun will not end easily.
Conservatives who want to read libertarian conservatives out of the movement should reread some old copies of National Reviewfirst.
From Frank Meyer to William F. Buckley Jr. to George Will — indeed, to Ronald Reagan — there is a strain of libertarianism endemic to conservatism.
Meyer, in fact, averred that conservatism needed a dose of libertarianism. He argued that traditional conservatism actually comes out a bit stale without a twist of freedom. Virtue needs a dash of liberty to refresh and excite the populace.
On foreign policy, even National Review’s founder, William F. Buckley Jr., occasionally expressed views that today’s NRO writers might find heretical.
With regard to the Iraq War, Buckley came to believe not only that it was a mistake but that it was not a “conservative” approach to foreign policy. In fact, in discussing foreign policy Buckley sounded quite the realist.
In an interview with George Will on This Week in October 2005, Buckley was asked the following question: “Today we have a different kind of foreign policy. It’s called Wilsonian. And the premise of the Bush doctrine is that America must spread democracy because our national security depends on it. And America can spread democracy. It knows how. It can engage in nation building. This is conservative or not?”
Buckley responded: “It’s not at all conservative. It’s anything but conservative. It’s not conservative at all, inasmuch as conservatism doesn’t invite unnecessary challenges. It insists on coming to terms with the world as it is, and the notion that merely by affirming these high ideals we can affect highly entrenched systems.”
In a 2005 interview with Joseph Rago for the Wall Street Journal, Buckley said of conservatives who want to spread democracy, “The reality of the situation is that missions abroad to effect regime change in countries without a bill of rights or democratic tradition are terribly arduous.”
In fact, according to Jeffrey Hart’s assessment , Buckley was quite strident in his belief that the Iraq War was inconsistent with conservatism. Hart wrotein a 2008 column that Buckley “saw it as a disaster and thought that the conservative movement he had created had in effect committed intellectual suicide” by uncritically supporting the war.
As for neoconservatives, Buckley was, as always, succinct and insightful when hetold the New York Times in 2004: “I think those I know, which is most of them, are bright, informed, and idealistic, but that they simply overrate the reach of U.S. power and influence.”
Buckley discussed neoconservatives inanother interview two years later and said the following: “The neoconservative hubris, which sort of assigns to America some kind of geo-strategic responsibility for maximizing democracy, overstretches the resources of a free country.”
In his 2005 interview of Buckley, George Will put in his two cents about some conservatives’ belief that the Middle East could be remade in America’s image. “Conservatism seems to be saying government can’t run Amtrak, but it can run the Middle East,” he argued.
Reagan himself was sometimes castigated for not intervening around the world enough. According to Peter Beinart, Norman Podhoretz, one of the founding neoconservatives, wrote that “in the use of military power, Mr. Reagan was much more restrained” than his more hawkish fans had hoped.
So as today’s young aspiring Buckleyites sharpen their knives to carve up conservatives who propose a more realist and nuanced approach to foreign policy, they should realize they’re also pointing daggers at some of their own.
— Rand Paul represents Kentucky in the U.S. Senate.
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
(CNSNews.com) - In the budget proposal he presented to Congress last month, President Barack Obama called for what would be the highest level of sustained taxation ever imposed on the American people, according to the analysis published last week by the Congressional Budget Office.
Under Obama’s proposal, taxes would rise from 17.6 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2014 to 19.2 percent in 2024. During the ten years from 2015 to 2024, federal taxation would average 18.7 percent GDP.
America has never been subjected to a ten-year stretch of taxation at that level.
In the twelve fiscal years preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (1930 through 1941), federal taxation averaged 5.3 percent of GDP.
In the five fiscal years encompassing U.S. involvement in World War II (1942 through 1946), federal taxation averaged 16.1 percent of GDP.
In the fiscal years since World War II (1947 through 2013), federal taxation has averaged 17.1 percent of GDP.
In the period from fiscal 1992 through 2001, federal taxes averaged 18.3 percent of GDP. But in the last four years of that period (1998 through 2001), the federal budget was in balance.
In the twelve fiscal years from 2002 through 2013, federal taxes averaged 16.1 percent of GDP—the same that they averaged during World War II. However, the federal government ran deficits in each of those twelve years.
In all ten years from 2015 through 2024, under Obama's proposal, federal taxes would be higher than 18.3 percent of GDP. During the period of 1992 through 2011, there were only five straight years (1997-2001) when federal taxes were higher than 18.3 percent of GDP.
Under Obama’s budget proposal, according to the CBO, the budget will never balance. But over the next ten years, the federal government would add $7.183 trillion to its debt held by the public.
While adding that $7.183 trillion to the debt held by the public, Obama would increase taxes by $1.4 trillion, said the CBO report.
“The President’s budget would make a number of changes to the tax law,” said the report. “If enacted, those changes would boost revenues by $32 billion in 2015, and by $1.4 trillion, or about 3 percent, during the 2015-2024 period.”
The business and economic reporting of CNSNews.com is funded in part with a gift made in memory of Dr. Keith C. Wold.