Within the annals of ‘you can’t make this stuff up’, Congressman Eric Cantor and his colleagues in the House GOP “Leadership” have decided to travel the country in an effort to educate Americans on what it means to be an American. Lawmakers who swear oaths to protect and defend our founding document only to violate its precepts time and again, lawmakers who have not served a day in uniform risking life and limb to defend the right of Congressmen to speak their minds and act like fools, lawmakers who routinely ignore the will of their constituents and spend a lifetime living off the public trough aim to tell us what it means to be an American.
I appreciate that this is a publicity tour to support the policy agenda of providing amnesty to thirty year-old “child” illegal aliens. Whether or not you agree with the underlying goal misses the point. In a land, perhaps the only land, that values individual liberty above all else, what right does any one of us have to tell another of our fellow citizens that we know better what it means to be an American? One might consider calling Congressman Cantor 202-224-3121 and asking him that very question.
by United States Senator Ted Cruz (R – Texas)
On Sunday, June 30, millions of Egyptians turned out to protest President Mohamed Morsy and his Muslim Brotherhood-dominated regime. Fed up with his disastrous economic mismanagement and systematic disregard for constitutional freedoms, the Egyptian people took to the streets to demand his resignation. “Leave! Leave!” they chanted in what may have been the largest demonstration in the history of the Middle East — if not the world.
It was a breathtaking scene — and potentially a watershed moment. Unlike the angry, disaffected youth who raged through the Arab Spring in 2011, these crowds, like those in the recent protests in Turkey, were made up of middle-class citizens protesting against a regime with an unpleasant tendency to trample on the rights of women, Christians, and Jews — and to stifle the independence of the press and judiciary, ruining the economy in the process. While there has been some unfortunate violence, the Tamarod (“Rebel”) movement is also organizing demonstrations, gathering signatures of no confidence in Morsy’s government (it has gathered 22 million already), and threatening additional civil disobedience in the form of strikes if Morsy does not step down.
One would expect to find the United States standing firmly with these people. Surely, after our long and lonely search for secular and democratic partners in the Arab world, we could find some common ground with them. Surely, we could see the value of an administration in Egypt that could act as both a southern bulwark for Israel and a much-needed partner in countering the terrorist outposts in the Sinai and Horn of Africa. And surely, we could help support a government that could stand as an example for struggling states like Libya and Iran — one that proves Muslim-majority countries in the Middle East are not predestined to live in oppressive theocracies.
Tragically, America has been relegated to the sidelines. The number of U.S. Embassy personnel has been reduced, and a travel warning has been issued for Americans in Egypt — and for good reason. The people protesting in the streets were not only carrying anti-Morsy signs. They were also carrying signs with slogans like “Obama Supports Terrorism” and “Obama Supports Morsy,” as well as pictures of the American ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, with a large red “X” through her face. Some of these were set on fire. On Friday, Andrew Driscoll Pochter, an American college student who was in Egypt to teach English to schoolchildren, was stabbed to death as he took pictures of the protesters.
In what has to be one of the most stunning diplomatic failures in recent memory, the United States is — in both perception and reality — entrenched as the partner of a repressive, Islamist regime and the enemy of the secular, pro-democracy opposition.
It did not have to be this way.
When Morsy was elected a little more than a year ago, President Barack Obama could have expressed strong reservations about a member of the Muslim Brotherhood taking control of the country. He should have also been more aggressive about using American aid to extract concessions from the Egyptian government on human rights, as well as economic and political reform. Instead, Obama made a personal call to congratulate Morsy, characterized his election as a “milestone” in Egypt’s progress toward democracy, and pledged $1 billion in U.S. taxpayer-funded aid. In the ensuing months, Morsy received a steady stream of assistance from the United States in the form of arms sales, unconditional financial aid, and visits from high-level officials such as Secretary of State John Kerry — all of which enhanced the strength and legitimacy of his regime.
Emboldened by U.S. support, Morsy consolidated his power — removing the traditionally pro-American military leadership, imposing an Islamist constitution, marginalizing the judiciary, and turning a blind eye to brutal attacks against religious minorities, including Coptic Christians and Shiite Muslims. Morsy also began to agitate for the release of the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, who orchestrated the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Offensive remarks describing Jews as “bloodsuckers” and “the descendants of apes and pigs” soon came to light. Still, the United States continued to place its resources at his disposal — apparently on the grounds that a budding Islamist dictator with a healthy hatred of Israel and America was the appropriate recipient of Abrams tanks and B-16 bombers.
More recently, as opposition to Morsy coalesced around the Tamarod movement, the Obama administration missed the opportunity to support its efforts and further the vital interests of the United States without firing a shot. Instead, the sole priority seems to be to defuse the situation and preserve the status quo. Ambassador Patterson has assumed the leading role in implementing this policy, meeting with members of the opposition not to encourage them to pursue a true secular democracy in Egypt but to try to persuade them to tone things down. Patterson has said she is “deeply skeptical” of their movement.
Obama, traveling in Africa on the eve of the protests, offered no words of support. Instead, he admonished the demonstrators to remain peaceful and made the tepid recommendation that Morsy engage in a “constructive conversation” about reform, since the president of the United States could not take a side in this debate.
The president’s comments fall into an all-too-familiar pattern. We are witnessing a moment of real opportunity for reform in Egypt right now, just as we witnessed hopeful moments in Iran in 2009 and Syria in early 2011. In both cases, meaningful change might have been encouraged through robust economic and moral support for the protesters and diplomatic pressure on the regime. But in both cases, the United States opted for a policy of strategic silence.
The result? In Iran, we saw the window for change snap shut as the mullahs brutally crushed the protests and accelerated their nuclear weapons program. In Syria, hopes that President Bashar al-Assad would turn out to be a reformer proved groundless and the situation descended into chaos. Today, some 100,000 Syrians have been killed, and both Hezbollah and al Qaeda are engaged in a vicious civil war — one the president is now dragging the United States into, albeit with no clear purpose or strategy.
Hopefully, we can avoid repeating the same mistake yet again in Egypt. As we prepare to celebrate the 237th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence this week, halfway around the globe Egyptians may witness the birth of their own freedoms. It is a great pity that Obama’s policies have provoked so much hostility toward the United States from the very people we should most want to support — and it would be an even greater pity if his accommodation of the Morsy regime helped the Egyptian leader remain in power. Since the president has refused to act, Congress should move quickly to freeze all aid to Egypt that is supporting the Muslim Brotherhood. We should treat with great caution any proposal to deploy U.S. forces to Egypt in response to these events. And we should find the courage to speak out forcefully on behalf of those advocating secular democratic reforms in Egypt.
Originally published at http://www.freedomworks.org/blog/eyeonfreedom/Obama-stalker-in-chief
Last week, it was revealed that the United States government is creating electronic dossiers on its citizens. This presents a stark contrast with our traditions where law enforcement and national security personnel peer solely into the lives of individuals intent on doing us harm, not the population writ large. Rather than doing the investigative legwork necessary to convince a neutral third party that such snooping is warranted and reasonable, the government argues that it is perfectly legitimate to create such dossiers and obtain warrants to read them only after it has discovered information that it considers interesting. Of course, given that the government holds the keys to the proverbial file cabinet, it doesn’t really matter whether some third party agrees that the government ought to be able to read the contents of the files contained therein. Further, how would anyone outside the government really know whether their file has been read? Therein lies the crux of the problem.
On Friday, President Obama proclaimed that if we do not trust the executive branch (aka President Obama) and we do not trust Congress (after he finished telling us how awful they are) and we do not trust the courts (that informed me I am responsible for paying for Sandra Fluke’s birth control though in her case I will pay happily) “we are going to have a serious problem.” Well heck yes Mr President, we do have a serious problem!
We have learned that the NSA is collecting Americans’ phone records, emails, audio and video chats, transferred files and credit card records. If news reports are accurate, the data is so refined that the NSA is even capturing keystrokes as they are typed. This is in addition to an administration that is capturing Americans’ health records and will begin to capture information concerning Americans’ driving habits beginning next year. If liberals had their way, the administration would begin capturing information about gun ownership as well. This data is in addition to the copious financial records collected by the IRS. We are told the NSA data snooping program has helped stop terrorist attacks. Yet, with all this information, it took an astute street vendor to prevent a bomb from exploding in Times Square. Two terrorists who managed to kill and injure scores in Boston, hid out for one week within one mile of the explosions only to be discovered by a guy who left his house for a smoke!
Consequently, many are concerned about the amount of information the federal government is accumulating about the behavior of law abiding American citizens and the potential for abuse. We are witnessing this abuse unfold with the IRS targeting of President Obama’s political adversaries. There are reports that the administration may have targeted CIA Director General David Petraeus, a critic of the administration’s policy in Libya. NSA employees may have eavesdropped on individuals with whom they had personal grudges. During Congressional testimony, Attorney General Eric Holder refused to answer in an open hearing whether the NSA targeted members of Congress as part of their surveillance program. It makes one wonder whether there is a reason Speaker Boehner has been rather muted in his criticism of the Obama administration of late.
President Obama suggested recently that “you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy.” Perhaps that is true. On the other hand, in his dissent of a recent Supreme Court case that upheld Maryland’s collection and storage of prisoner DNA unrelated to solving the particular crime for which the prisoner was charged, Justice Antonin Scalia noted
“Make no mistake about it: because of today’s decision, your DNA can be taken and entered into a national database if you are ever arrested, rightly or wrongly, and for whatever reason. This will solve some extra crimes, to be sure. But so would taking your DNA whenever you fly on an airplane … (or) taking your children’s DNA when they start public school.”
Justice Scalia may have been summoning his inner Benjamin Franklin
”Those Who Sacrifice Liberty For Security Deserve Neither.”
Several months ago, I published a column on this blog about the Orwellian nature of the Obama administration. The Obama Presidency – George Orwell’s 1984 Redux. Allowing the federal government to maintain a database of our DNA, blow a gush of air beneath our skirts when we board an airplane and know all manner of our personal private information may help the government predict future crime. Then again as the Times Square attempted bombing and the Boston Marathon bombings demonstrated, it may not. What it will do is allow the government to increase its control over our lives.
At Ohio State University, President Obama suggested that some will “warn that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner.” I agree. Justice Scalia concluded
“It may be wise, as the court obviously believes, to make the Leviathan all-seeing, so that he may protect us all the better. But the proud men who wrote the charter of our liberties would not have been so eager to open their mouths for royal inspection.”
Count me among those men!
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) June 10, 2013
Earlier today, 16 Republicans voted to bring a bill to floor of the United States Senate that they had not read. That is not because they are lazy. It is because the bill was not available for ANY United States Senator to read because it had not been written completely. For all these Senators know, the bill to curtail our second amendment rights might contain riders funding or expanding the powers of Obamacare. It will likely contain earmarks for other special interest spending, something that is not unheard of in Washington, DC. If the TARP bill contained a $2 million earmark for the makers of wooden arrows which everyone agreed was the cause of our economic recession, anything is possible. Yet, here we are in 2013 passing bills so we can find out what is in them.
While I commend Senator McConnell for voting with the minority, today’s vote demonstrates both his weakness and his lack of conviction for preserving the Constitution. I could never imagine 16 Democrats abandoning Harry Reid to vote their ‘conscience’, in part because it would imply they have one. The very first thing Harry Reid did after the vote was take to the floor of the United States Senate and thank his good friend, John McCain. Perhaps McCain and his good friend Lindsey Graham, up for re-election in 2014, are the new leaders of the Republican Party.
The GOP needs to do a lot of soul searching if it wants to regain majority status. Considerable effort has been expended blaming the Tea Party movement for recent electoral losses. I beg to differ. Our legislators read bills before voting on them!
Karl Rove published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in which he claimed that Republicans lost the 2012 Presidential election, in part, because Democrats maintain a significant data advantage over Republicans. While this may be true, Rove’s contention is that with its own “army of computer engineers, mathematicians and social scientists” Republicans will be able to win elections they would have lost otherwise. As a practicing mathematician, I can tell you that Rove has no idea what he is talking about.
Rove’s contention is the following: By hiring an “army” of mathematicians and data analysts as Obama did in 2012, the RNC or the 2016 Republican Presidential nominee can sift through voter files in order to rank and track likely voters. This is what marketers attempt to do when they sell soap. Unfortunately, politicians are not soap and no ad in Field and Stream of Mitt Romney and his lovely wife wrapped in white bath towels hopping out of the shower holding bars of Dove will make voters more likely to vote. The reason is simple. Voters HATE politicians. We hate them. We do not trust them. When people knock on our door or call us on the phone asking for our vote, we lie just to get rid of you. It is not accidental that 5 out of 6 Americans think Congress is doing a lousy job. So what would a mathematician tell Karl Rove if he asked for my advice about how to improve upon his 1.3% success rate in the 2012 elections? I would tell Karl to do some principal component analysis.
What is that? In short, it is a statistical tool to identify the most significant drivers of a physical process, in this case an election result. In other words, all other things being equal what is most important to voters to ensure that enough of them get out the door to vote for a candidate. I will save Karl the time and expense of hiring an “army” of mathematicians and answer the question for him. When voters are dissatisfied, if the opposition presents a stark contrast with the status quo and is believable, they win. That is how Obama won in 2008 and why Romney lost in 2012. When there is more than one election on the ballot, results are often driven by the result at the top of the ticket. It is just that simple. You do not have to be a mathematician to appreciate this fact. Rove does and is using his op-ed to deflect criticism.
A few facts. Obama lost 5% of his 2008 vote in 2012 yet still managed to win. This was, in part, because many voters were uncertain that the philosophical father of Obamacare, someone who spent the latter part of his campaign praising government run health insurance, would provide a significant enough contrast to Obama.
By campaigning as the 41st vote against the Obama agenda, Scott Brown increased turnout in Republican leaning counties by 77% to become the first Republican to represent Massachusetts in the United States Senate since Harry Truman was President. Two years later after embracing parts of the Obama agenda, Brown lost handedly to a more authentic liberal.
Karl Rove contends that “personal messaging” will help Republicans sway potential voters. Rove believes that was a source of Obama’s success. How many “independents” did “Republican” Linda McMahon’s door hangers sway when they asked voters to elect her to overturn the President’s health care law while simultaneously asking voters to re-elect the President? Apparently not many as McMahan lost in 2012 by the same 12 point margin that she lost by in 2010. Voters recognized a pander and we’re not swayed.
For all his years in politics, it is apparent that Karl Rove has never spent election day in an urban inner city neighborhood. Obama won re-election because he out-hustled Romney in urban neighborhoods where the vote favors Democrats. This was old-fashioned Democrat machine politics pure and simple. Republicans would do well to copy the Democrat model for election day grassroots organizing and focus efforts there. They should have local poll watchers maintain their own voter lists and deploy an “army” of volunteer election lawyers and poll watchers as the Democrats do.
Rove concludes “erasing the GOP’s data deficit is no substitute for effective messages and strong candidates.” I agree. While Rove wants to focus his efforts on helping Republicans “deliver those messages better,” I believe that our efforts would be better spent on delivering a more effective believable message that contrasts with the Democrats. In a country where conservatives outnumber liberals in 47 out of 50 states, you would think politicians would pander to conservatives to try and win elections. Clearly, there is a disconnect. You do not need to be a mathematician to appreciate that a believable message is the meat that gets your supporters to the polls. Everything else is gravy.
— FreedomWorks (@FreedomWorks) March 21, 2013