Thursday, April 23, 2015

Making the Case for Marco Rubio--Part 1

Recently, I did a brief post on the Republicans who are likely to run for president in 2016.  I expressed how I really like Governor Scott Walker, but Marco Rubio is the guy that has me most excited. 

As I continue to follow the race, I let out a BIG groan when I saw that Huckabee is going to make his announcement about getting into the race on May 5th.  I thought he was smart enough not to run this time, so much for wishful thinking.  Yet, despite his high hopes, I think that Cruz, Paul and Huckabee will all be fighting for the fringe vote.

Meanwhile, I have discovered some articles that make the case for Rubio and thought I would do a rundown of them:
-Marco Rubio leads GOP field in new national poll

-The Talented Mr. Rubio
David Brooks makes the case for Rubio and has a lot of great points.  Below are just a few excerpts:
Along comes Senator Marco Rubio of Florida. Rubio, 43, doesn’t just speak in the ardent patriotic tones common to the children of immigrants like himself. His very life is the embodiment of the American dream: parents who tended bar and worked at Kmart with a son who rose to become a United States senator. His heritage demonstrates that the American dream is open to all who come here legally and work hard. He is what many Republicans want their country to be.

1-He is, for starters, the most talented politician in the race.  In most primary battles, the crown goes to the most talented plausible candidate.
2- Rubio gives a very good speech.
3- He has an upbeat and pleasant demeanor. 
4-He has a great personal story. 
5-His policy agenda is more detailed and creative than any of his rivals. 
6-He has an overarching argument — that it is time for a new generation to reform and replace archaic structures.

Can Rubio win a general election? Well, he believes more in expanding the party than in just mobilizing the base. In his past races, he’s done better than generic Republican candidates because of his success with Hispanics. Youth is America’s oldest tradition. Who’s to say that voters won’t side for the relative outsider over the know-what-you’re-getting Hillary Clinton?
-The GOP Racing Form: First Edition
Charles Krauthammer loves Rubio as much as I do, and puts him in the top tier of candidates.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Conscience of a Conservative (A Review)

Thus, for the American Conservative, there is no difficulty in identifying the day's overriding political challenge: it is to preserve and extend freedom.  As he surveys the various attitudes and institutions and laws that currently prevail in America, many questions will occur to him, but the Conservative's first concern will always be: Are we maximizing freedom?--Barry Goldwater
I've heard a lot about Barry Goldwater, but had never taken the time to read much about him.  During my study of the civil rights movement in the 50's and 60's, Goldwater's name came up.  Some accused him of voting against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and thus being against civil rights for African-Americans.

I did some research.  While researching, I came across his short book that I knew outlined the conservative movement.  I decided to read, Conscience of a Conservative and find out for myself his stance on civil rights.

While he did vote against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he wasn't a racist nor was he against African-Americans having civil rights.  Yet, I found his view on this lacking in compassion.

He argued in Chapter 4, that the Federal government shouldn't be involved in forcing states to abide by civil rights' laws.  But in the next chapter, he argues for federal legislation to "fix" the problem with farmers getting subsidies.

Why was it okay to push for new federal laws for farming, but not for the much more important issue of civil rights?  While studying the civil rights' movement, I was shocked at how racist some of the southern governors were.  There is no way African-Americans would've been treated equally in the south had they not be forced to by the federal government.

Yet, for the most part, I agreed with the rest of what he laid out in the book.  Below I will list the Chapters and a short description of them.  It is amazing how this book was written 55 years ago, and yet most of it still applies today.

Chapter 1--The Conscience of a Conservative
Chapter 2--The Perils of Power
Chapter 3--State's Rights
Chapter 4--And Civil Rights 
I've already addressed this issue.
Chapter 5--Freedom for the Farmer
Not much has changed on this issue in the past 55 years.  Most Republican Representatives are against subsidies for farmers (or anyone for that matter), but farmers make up a big percentage of conservative voters.  Thus, the representative continues to support farm subsidies to keep his constituents happy.
Chapter 6--Freedom for Labor
Goldwater was spot on in describing the problems with Unions, we are still having the same problems, although they have been weakened in some states like Wisconsin.
Chapter 7--Taxes and Spending
This too, of course, is the same today except the numbers have gotten drastically larger.
Chapter 8--The Welfare State
Again, the same today, except the number of people dependent has risen sharply.  We have implemented some reforms, but not even close to enough.
Chapter 9--Some Notes on Education
Chapter 10--The Soviet Menace
While the Soviet Union no longer exists, and the Cold War has been won, Goldwater's views on how to deal with them could be applied to today's War on Terror.

I highly recommend this book for all conservatives.  Goldwater is said to be The Most Consequential Loser in American Politics.  I think that is true.  Goldwater influenced Reagan (who had a lot more charisma), and Reagan ended up being able to apply a lot of Goldwater's principles and make the Republican party more conservative.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

2016 Republican Presidential Hopefuls

As I said in my Rubio post, it is nice to finally have some good options this time around.  When I looked at the field of candidates in 2008 & 2012, it left me depressed.

This year we have some great picks, and as always some less appealing ones as well.  I will admit that my assessment of some of these is more of a gut check reaction.  Yet, I have found my gut to be pretty reliable.

1) My Favorites
Senator Marco Rubio--
I can't think of much that I don't like about him.  As I said in my post yesterday, he is a solid conservative, articulate about his views, a good sense of humor, optimistic, good looking, likeable and charming.

What sets him apart for me is that he is a solid conservative, he is strong when it comes to his foreign policy, and he has an attractive personality.  You don't win the presidency by being a moderate and by being boring, just ask Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

My only concern about Rubio is he doesn't have a ton of experience.

Governor Scott Walker--
Walker isn't as likeable as Rubio, but he does have an incredible track record and some great experience.  Who else has taken on the Unions and not only survived, but came out stronger?  He not only survived a recall election, but then won a second term.

He too is a solid conservative and a great governor.  A long time ago I thought Chris Christie was the same type of guy, but he turned out to be way too liberal.  Walker is a tough guy and a conservative, I like that A LOT!!

2) Acceptable Candidates
Governor John Kasich--
It isn't clear that Kasich is going to get in the race, and I'm not sure how much of a chance he has, but I have always really liked him.  He has great governor experience in the swing state of Ohio.  He is a fairly solid conservative.

Governor Mike Pence--
I love this guy, but don't think he will run.

Governor Jeb Bush--
I have always loved Jeb, even apart from him being W's brother.  But he is definitely too moderate for me.  That said, I wouldn't freak out if he ends up being the nominee.

3) People that I like, but don't think they have a chance
Dr. Ben Carson
Governor Bobby Jindal
Governor Rick Perry
Rick Santorum 
Carly Fiorina
Donald Trump--
He says he is seriously considering it this time.  He is a great businessman, and would do a much better job of running things than Hillary, but I don't see how he gets the conservative vote.

4) Not a Fan
Rand Paul--
He has several strikes against him.  He is Ron Paul's son, most of you know how I feel about Ron Paul.  I tried to give him a chance, but he is weak on foreign policy.  If you are going to be weak on foreign policy, we might as well have a Democrat in office.

Ted Cruz--
This is definitely a gut check problem for me, there is something about him that I just don't like.  Apparently, he is very popular among Evangelicals, well, not with this Evangelical he's not.  I watched his interview with Hannity after he announced he was getting in, and he didn't impress me at all.  I guess you could call it the Huckabee Syndrome--where a candidate makes your skin crawl.  I also don't think he has a prayer of getting the nomination.

Mike Huckabee--
I have been extremely open about my lack of support for both Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee on this blog.  I don't think Huckabee has a prayer of getting the nomination and would be shocked if he ran this time around.

Chris Christie--
When I first started learning about him, I was a big fan.  He stood up to the teacher's union and he reminded me of Rudy Giuliani.  But it wasn't long before he got cozy with Obama and did several other things that showed he was way too liberal.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Marco Rubio Enters the 2016 Presidential Race!

It is an understatement to say that we had no exciting candidates running on the Republican side in 2008 & 2012.  There was no candidate who was actually a conservative, likeable and who had a chance at winning.

I'm pretty stoked that we have some great options this year.  There are plenty of candidates on our side that make me groan, but we have 2 exceptional ones, IMHO.  I am excited about both Marco Rubio and Scott Walker.  If push came to shove, though, I'd have to say Marco Rubio is my guy.

So, color me delighted when he entered the presidential race tonight with a great speech at the Freedom Tower in Miami.  I find him to be a solid conservative, articulate about his views, a good sense of humor, optimistic, good looking, likeable and charming.

I watched tonight's speech and then watched his speech that he made at CPAC (see above).  I went to his website and signed up to be on his email list.  I also gave a small donation, my first ever in a primary.

Tomorrow, I will do a post on all the Republican candidates for 2016 and my quick take on each of them.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

A Review of The Finish: The Killing of Osama bin Laden

I have been a big fan of Mark Bowden's since I saw him on the documentary, The True Story of Black Hawk Down.  I have his book, Black Hawk Down, which is what the movie with the same name was based on, but haven't had a chance to read it yet.

After I saw the two-night special last year entitled, The Man Who Killed Usama bin Laden, I wanted to learn more and started looking for books about it.  When I saw that Mark Bowden had written one, I knew I had to read it.

Bowden did some brief biographies on some of the key players including President Obama.

He also pointed out some interesting factors that liberals have tried to deny:
--The fact that there was more evidence that Iraq had WMD's, than the evidence they had for where they thought Osama bin Laden was hiding.
--The torture of terrorists did play a part in being able to find Osama.
I thought Bowden, for the most part gave a well rounded picture of all the players involved and the piecing together of the story.

Yet, I did find myself taking issue with Bowden's assessments of President Bush and Obama.  I felt he gave way too much credit to Obama and not enough to Bush.
--He interviewed Obama extensively, and quoted him often.  Whereas, he didn't take the time to interview Bush.
--He was critical of Bush, and blatantly accused him of things that I thought were unfair and not true.
--He gave Obama a lot of credit for finding Osama bin Laden, yet, Bowden admitted that a lot of what enabled Osama to be found was advances made in technology that weren't there when Bush was president.
 All that said, I did think the book provided a good, overall picture of what lead up to and what happened when Osama bin Laden was killed. 

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Historic and Powerful Speech to Congress

I'm standing here in Washington, D.C. and the difference is so stark. America's founding document promises life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny, and the pursuit of jihad. And as states are collapsing across the Middle East, Iran is charging into the void to do just that.--Benjamin Netanyahu
I have always respected and admired Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, but after watching his speech to Congress today, I am in awe.  He did an incredible job of explaining the history of Iran and the threat they pose to Israel, the Middle East, the U.S. and the entire world.
Iran and ISIS are competing for the crown of militant Islam. One calls itself the Islamic Republic. The other calls itself the Islamic State. Both want to impose a militant Islamic empire first on the region and then on the entire world. They just disagree among themselves who will be the ruler of that empire. In this deadly game of thrones, there's no place for America or for Israel, no peace for Christians, Jews or Muslims who don't share the Islamist medieval creed, no rights for women, no freedom for anyone. So when it comes to Iran and ISIS, the enemy of your enemy is your enemy.
Netanyahu went on to explain exactly why the "potential deal" that Obama and Kerry are trying to negotiate with Iran would be so destructive.
So you see, my friends, this deal has two major concessions: one, leaving Iran with a vast nuclear program and two, lifting the restrictions on that program in about a decade. That's why this deal is so bad. It doesn't block Iran's path to the bomb; it paves Iran's path to the bomb. So why would anyone make this deal? Because they hope that Iran will change for the better in the coming years, or they believe that the alternative to this deal is worse?

Well, I disagree. I don't believe that Iran's radical regime will change for the better after this deal. This regime has been in power for 36 years, and its voracious appetite for aggression grows with each passing year. This deal would wet appetite -- would only wet Iran's appetite for more. Would Iran be less aggressive when sanctions are removed and its economy is stronger? If Iran is gobbling up four countries right now while it's under sanctions, how many more countries will Iran devour when sanctions are lifted? Would Iran fund less terrorism when it has mountains of cash with which to fund more terrorism? Why should Iran's radical regime change for the better when it can enjoy the best of both world's: aggression abroad, prosperity at home?
 Netanyahu is a gifted speaker who did a better job of educating the world on the threat of Iran, than anyone else has.  He also gave alternatives on what the world should demand of Iran before lifting any restrictions.
Before lifting those restrictions, the world should demand that Iran do three things. First, stop its aggression against its neighbors in the Middle East. Second... Second, stop supporting terrorism around the world. And third, stop threatening to annihilate my country, Israel, the one and only Jewish state. Thank you.
He then eloquently gave a Robert Frost analogy.
My friends, for over a year, we've been told that no deal is better than a bad deal. Well, this is a bad deal. It's a very bad deal. We're better off without it.

Now we're being told that the only alternative to this bad deal is war. That's just not true. The alternative to this bad deal is a much better deal. A better deal that doesn't leave Iran with a vast nuclear infrastructure and such a short break-out time. A better deal that keeps the restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in place until Iran's aggression ends.

A better deal that won't give Iran an easy path to the bomb. A better deal that Israel and its neighbors may not like, but with which we could live, literally. And no country... ... no country has a greater stake -- no country has a greater stake than Israel in a good deal that peacefully removes this threat.

Ladies and gentlemen, history has placed us at a fateful crossroads. We must now choose between two paths. One path leads to a bad deal that will at best curtail Iran's nuclear ambitions for a while, but it will inexorably lead to a nuclear-armed Iran whose unbridled aggression will inevitably lead to war.

The second path, however difficult, could lead to a much better deal, that would prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, a nuclearized Middle East and the horrific consequences of both to all of humanity.
You don't have to read Robert Frost to know. You have to live life to know that the difficult path is usually the one less traveled, but it will make all the difference for the future of my country, the security of the Middle East and the peace of the world, the peace, we all desire.
He then pointed out Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel.  An important reminder that the world can never forget the horrors of the Holocaust.

I loved how he concluded his speech.
Facing me right up there in the gallery, overlooking all of us in this chamber is the image of Moses. Moses led our people from slavery to the gates of the Promised Land. And before the people of Israel entered the land of Israel, Moses gave us a message that has steeled our resolve for thousands of years. I leave you with his message today, "Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.'' My friends, may Israel and America always stand together, strong and resolute. May we neither fear nor dread the challenges ahead. May we face the future with confidence, strength and hope. May God bless the state of Israel and may God bless the United States of America.
Unfortunately, President Obama and House Democrats seem unlikely to listen to this brave man.  It may turn out that the safety of the world will be left up to Israel until we can elect a better man to the White House.

I can only pray and hope that the U.S. may some day elect a man as eloquent, and as strong and courageous as Benjamin Netanyahu.

Monday, March 02, 2015

John Kerry is Out of Touch with Reality

I continue to shake my head and wonder how John Kerry ever became Secretary of State.  The list of examples is endless, but let us look at the latest comments he made that left most of us incredulous:
Our citizens, our world today is actually, despite ISIL, despite the visible killings that you see and how horrific they are, we are actually living in a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally, less deaths, less violent deaths today than through the last century.
My first response was, "What kind of drugs is he smoking?"  Yet, Retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, had a better response than me:
Secretary Kerry is out of touch with reality, he clearly is not listening to the entire US intelligence community, he is not reading any of the intelligence or other things that have been written over the last few weeks / months / years. Talk about being out of touch… For him to make those statements is totally irresponsible, and he should be challenged by anyone who cares about the future of this country.
Kerry was also contradicted by another person in the Obama administration, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who had this to say:
When the final accounting is done, 2014 will have been the most lethal year for global terrorism in the 45 years such data has been compiled,’ Clapper told the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Review of Unbroken

I saw Unbroken, the movie at the theaters twice and reviewed it here on my blog. After seeing it, I knew I had to read the book that it was based on.  The movie was good, but the book was so much better.

Laura Hillenbrand did an amazing amount of research and then told the story in a captivating way.  Louie Zamperini's real life story is compelling, and Hillenbrand did a great job of bringing it to life.

What is even more amazing, is that Hillenbrand suffers from CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome).  She isn't able to leave her house for days at a time, yet, she has written two books that have won numerous awards.

I was not only inspired as I read about Louie's life, but I learned A LOT of history as well.  I've realized that most of us know much more about World War II history that took place in Europe, than we do about what took place in the Pacific.

When I saw The Great Raid back in 2005, I learned about the Bataan Death March.  My friend and I couldn't believe that we were just now learning about it.

So, that said, if you want to be inspired and learn history at the same time, take the time to read, Unbroken.

Friday, February 20, 2015

A Review of Selma

The film “Selma,” portraying the historic march for voting rights from Selma to Montgomery, AL in 1965, is a gut-wrenching experience that brings the viewer into the vehemence of the prejudice and the stunning courage of its resistors in this intense critical moment in the history of racism in America – and of nonviolence in the world.  The acting ranges from very good to superb (more on that in a moment).--
I've been dying to see Selma ever since I saw the previews.  I finally had the chance to see it tonight, and it surpassed my expectations, which were high.  I am torn now on whether I want American Sniper, or Selma to win the Academy Award on Sunday for best picture.

While watching the film, I took 10 pages of notes.  I have been studying the Civil Rights Movement lately, so I was familiar with a lot of the events that took place in the movie.

The movie showed many important events leading up to the Selma march, although not necessarily in order of when they occurred:
--King accepting the Nobel Peace Prize on October 14th, 1964
--The 16th Street Baptist church bombing where 4 girls were killed on September 15th, 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama
--Annie Lee Cooper attempting to register to vote in Alabama in 1963
--The murder of Jimmie Lee Jackson on February 18th, 1965 during a peaceful protest by a state trooper
--The murder of a white minister, Reverend Reeb on March 11, 1965 who had answered King's call for clergy to join the non-violent movement.
I thought the actors that were picked for this movie all did an amazing job of portraying the men and women who were involved in the civil rights movement one way or another.

While there is some criticism of how President Johnson was portrayed, I thought he came across the way I would've imagined, from what I know of Johnson.  That said, I will be doing more research on how accurate the portrayal was.
I submit to you that if a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.--Martin Luther King, Jr.
Selma is not a documentary, but as a whole, you can learn a lot about history from watching it.  It was so well done, and gives you a snapshot into the civil rights movement as a whole.

I teared up at the end when they showed footage of the actual Selma march.  It is a dark part of our history that it took so many deaths in order to bring about equality for all men and women.  Race relations are far from perfect today, but for the most part, as Martin Luther King, Jr. foresaw, we have overcome. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Bill O'Reilly Nails it When it Comes to ISIS

The utter brutality that faces this country and the world today has to be confronted, and somebody has to lead that effort.

On the President's watch, the following countries have become terrorist safe havens:
-Northern Pakistan
-Eastern Nigeria
-Parts of Algeria
-Parts of Afghanistan
It is imperative that President Obama stop living in a theoretical, even fictional, world.--Bill O'Reilly

I usually wholeheartedly agree with Bill O'Reilly or vehemently disagree with him, depending on the issue.  When it comes to ISIS, I couldn't agree with O'Reilly more.  In the above video of his talking points from today, he rocks it and I found myself standing up cheering.

The President needs to get his head out of the sand and deal with this threat, or not only is the U.S. in trouble, but so is the rest of the free world.  Yet, he can't even identify the enemy as Extremist Islam, for fear of offending the terrorists.

Meanwhile, ISIS beheads 21 Coptic Christians in Libya, and the White House calls them Egyptian Citizens.  Are you kidding me??

ISIS then burns 45 people alive in Al-Baghdadi, Iraq and the President continues to do nothing but spew empty rhetoric.

In conclusion, my beloved Rumsfeld also addresses the problem, too bad Obama doesn't listen to these men.