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October 2015
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November 2015

GOP candidates finally make case against socialism, just in time if not too late

A few weeks ago on this blog I lamented that ever since taking Congressional power in 1994, Republicans have been too smug AND too scared to talk to ordinary Americans about economic freedom and why we believe in it. Including how a free economy works, why it's so essential to our other freedoms, to our prosperity, and to a more moral, virtuous, peaceful society with more opportunities and fairness for even the poorest and most disadvantaged Americans.

Not surprisingly, the public, especially younger generations, have forgotten or have never heard what's wrong with government control of people's economic activities. ["Recent history shows Sanders Socialism is freedom's greatest challenge, greatest opportunity. Engage!"]

That is finally starting to change. In their fourth debate on Nov. 10, the eight leading (so to speak) candidates made daring, original, appealing and popularly understandable arguments against government's role in the economy.  Several expanded in various ways on The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s complaint, quoted by Sen. Sanders in his Nov. 19  Democratic Socialism speech: "This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor." 

This article in the Examiner quotes just about all of the good stuff, except for Fiorina's brilliant observation:

“Socialism starts when government creates a problem, and then government steps in to solve the problem. Government created the problem of a real estate boom. How did we create it? Under Republicans and Democrats alike, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, everybody gathered together, Republicans and Democrats and said home ownership is part of the American dream, let’s create a bubble, and then government stepped in, Republicans and Democrats, and, by the way, under President George W. Bush, banks were told, encouraged, told really, to buy other banks, to take money. And now what do we have with Dodd-Frank? The classic with crony capitalism…. The big have gotten bigger… . This is how socialism starts, ladies and gentlemen." 

[She didn't quite connect the dots well enough, for those who didn't already remember, on what the then-Democratic Congress pressured government-backed lenders to do which caused the "bubble" -- it was to make bad mortgage loans to people who didn't have enough collateral, nor enough income to responsibly take on the monthly payments, and who were borrowing all of the property's equity, as measured using inflated home values that later disappeared.]


Should the government write the history textbooks? One country's Left says No.

Is the government’s next move designating official “state minds”? -- Government announces plan for state-issued textbooks, for the sake of the “precious children”
By Jeon Jung-yoon and Kim Mi-hyang, The Hankyoreh, Nov.4,2015

Opposition party calls state-issued textbooks an affront to liberal democracy

Despite objections, Pres. Park pushing ahead with state-issued history books

Teachers warn of refusal to comply with state-issued textbooks

With deadline approaching, more efforts against state-issued history textbooks

Almost 400 professors sign statement opposing state history textbooks

Opposition holds major outdoor protest against state-issued textbooks

Protesters stay out all night decrying “a coup d’etat in the history classroom”

State-issued history textbooks trigger memories for Sewol families

Latest poll shows a sharper turn against state-issued history textbooks

Ministry is standoff with teachers’ union over state-issued textbooks

[Interview] Diverse views on history a national strength, not weakness

“A good president makes history, a bad president changes history books.” (Photo by Lee Jeong-woo,  The Hankyoreh, Oct.29,2015)

[Interview] Diverse views on history a national strength, not weakness

For Vietnam, S. Korea had been a ‘textbook’ model…not anymore: Vietnam is among the countries that have moved away from state-issued textbooks, the system Seoul is returning to

[Photo] The shame of state-issued textbooks


Hillary should be on the hot seat for Iraq war vote and post-Arab Spring mess

"Paris vaut bien une messe" -- Paris is well worth a mass -- the Protestant warrior and future French King Henri IV said when he converted to Catholicism to become King. And so Sen. Hillary Clinton must have said to herself when she voted for the second Iraq War, and against all her professed beliefs and those of American liberalism at that time. She may have even added that augmenting what looked like her "viability" for a later Presidential race was well worth the mess that Iraq was likely to become and that a Republican president would, rightly, be blamed for mismanaging.

Practically all politicians cast some votes they don't believe in, for political expediency, but this one was pivotal both for Hillary's career and for America and the Middle East, and it raises a serious question about her character.

It occupies the same place in Hillary's career as Bill Clinton's switch on supporting the death penalty to regain the governorship. What Bill did may have made sense in the long run: his presidency helped produce a more liberal America, where people on left and right are finally questioning the death penalty and some of the excesses of the bipartisan "tough on crime" craze that started in the early 80s.

Hillary's Viability Mass didn't turn out so well, for reasons that were obvious to the first President Bush when he ended the first Gulf War. Her vote was on a momentous one-time decision for the country, and while Bill's decision was an act of followership and only gathered votes for him, not for the death penalty, Hillary's decision probably prevented many other center-left Democrats from opposing the war before it was too late. 

So Secretary Clinton needs to be grilled, in a debate, about giving not only her vote but also her leadership to the pro-war side. And Sen. Sanders shouldn't help her brush it aside as he did with some tough questions in the first debate.

Maureen Dowd recently recited what everyone knew at the time about Hillary's Iraq vote, and ties it into a bigger picture of why Hillary is culpable for Benghazi and a hundred places like it, regardless of the details of what who knew when, etc. at the time of the attack on the consulate:

It is not the terrain of Gowdy’s lame committee, but it is legitimate to examine Clinton’s record in the Middle East.

As a senator, she made a political vote to let W. invade Iraq. As much homework as she did to get ready for the Libya committee, she chose not to do her homework on Iraq in 2002 — neglecting to read the sketchy National Intelligence Estimate. She didn’t want to seem like a hippie flower girl flashing a peace sign after 9/11.

Then she urged President Obama to help topple Muammar el-Qaddafi without heeding the painful lesson of Iraq — that if America went into another nebulously defined mission, there would have to be a good plan to prevent the vacuum of power being filled by militant Islamic terrorists.

Since she was, as her aide Jake Sullivan put it, “the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya,” one of the Furies, along with Samantha Power and Susan Rice, who had pushed for a military intervention on humanitarian grounds, Hillary needed to stay on top of it.

She had to be tenacious in figuring out when Libya had deteriorated into such a caldron of jihadis that our ambassador should either be pulled out or backed up. In June 2012, the British closed their consulate in Benghazi after their ambassador’s convoy was hit by a grenade. A memo she received that August described the security situation in Libya as “a mess.”

When you are the Valkyrie who engineers the intervention, you can’t then say it is beneath you to pay attention to the ludicrously negligent security for your handpicked choice for ambassador in a lawless country full of assassinations and jihadist training camps.

. . . But Libya was the country where she was the midwife to chaos. And she should have watched that baby like the Lady Hawk she is.

-- "The Empire Strikes Back" By nytimes.com, OCT. 24, 2015