They say all politics is local, but this is easy to forget amidst the incessant frenzy of a 24-hour news cycle that tends to focus exclusively on national politics. For many people, particularly those residing in sprawling suburban bedroom communities or bustling urban centers, it is easy to overlook the local in favor of the national.
It’s not only average citizens who suffer from this myopia. Our elected representatives travel to Washington under the guise of representing the folks back home but all too often betray the interests of those who elected them in favor of self-promotion and the attainment of national stature. Turns out, however, that in some American communities politics is still very much a local affair. Voters expect their man or woman in Washington to actually pay attention to them and represent their interests. In these districts, politicians ignore the local at their peril.
Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor recently learned this lesson the hard way. In the primary race for Virginia’s 7th District seat, Cantor was expected to trounce his opponent, a little known professor from Randolph Macon College named David Brat. Cantor was, after all, the House Majority Leader and heir apparent to succeed House Speaker John Boehner. He raised $5 million to Brat’s $200,000 and outspent his challenger twenty to one. He is a darling of Wall Street, an agent of K Street, and a consummate Beltway insider. For anyone who follows basic national politics, Eric Cantor is a household name. So confident was Cantor of victory that he spent election day with lobbyists rather than with constituents in his home district.
Someone should have reminded Majority Leader Cantor that in Virginia’s 7th District, politics is still local. Brat trounced Cantor by a whopping 11% of the vote. The economics professor who based his campaign around a commitment to Main Street whipped the Establishment’s boy. It was a shocking victory for grassroots conservatism, one that left Cantor’s high-rolling financiers wondering whether to whistle or wind their watches.
“Dollars don’t vote,” he said. “People do.”
Much theorizing has been done by pundits attempting to identify the reason for Brat’s win: The base is rising up against the Blue Bloods of the Republican party. Cantor was too accommodating to the Democrats on the issue of immigration reform. The GOP Establishment is paying the price for underestimating the antipathy it has created within the rank and file. Cantor offended some local party bosses, etc…
Undoubtedly there’s some truth in all of these explanations, but at the end of the day it is David Brat who articulated the reason for Cantor’s defeat better than anyone else: “Dollars don’t vote,” he said. “People do.” Therein lies the rub. Cantor arrogantly believed that money and power and position and reputation could insulate him from electoral defeat, and the people proved him wrong.
David Brat’s victory in the face of daunting odds should inspire hope in the heart of every American who is tired of being taken for granted and who wants to take their country back from the special interests. To heck with the conventional wisdom. To heck with the lobbyists and special interests. Dollars don’t vote. People do. And hopefully, inspired by Dave Brat’s unexpected win, a lot more will do so in the future.
Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty.” He is also the Distinguished Fellow of Law and Human Dignity at the John Jay Institute’s Center for a Just Society.
“The Forgotten Prisoners” is an article by Peter Benenson published in The Observer on 28 May 1961. Citing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights articles 18 and 19, it announced a campaign on “Appeal for Amnesty, 1961″ and called for “common action”. The article also launched the book Persecution 1961 and its stories of doctor Agostinho Neto, philosopher Constantin Noica, lawyer Antonio Amat and Ashton Jones and Patrick Duncan.
OPEN your newspaper any day of the week and you will find a report from somewhere in the world of someone being imprisoned, tortured or executed because his opinions or religion are unacceptable to his government. There are several million such people in prison—by no means all of them behind the Iron and Bamboo Curtains—and their numbers are growing. The news paper reader feels a sickening sense of impotence. Yet if these feelings of disgust all oer the world could be united into common action, something effective could be done.
In 1945 the founder members of the United Nations approved the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion: this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom either alone or in company with others in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
There is at present no sure way of finding out how many countries permit their citizens to enjoy these two fundamental freedoms. What matters is not the rights that exist on paper in the Constitution, but whether they can be exercised and enforced in practice. No government, for instance, is at greater pains to emphasize its constitutional guarantees than the Spanish, but it fails to apply them.
There is a growing tendency all over the world to disguise the real grounds upon which “non-conformists” are imprisoned. In Spain, students who circulate leaflets calling for the right to hold discussions on current affairs are charged with “military rebellion.” In Hungary, Catholic priests who have tried to keep their choir schools open have been charged with “homosexuality.” These cover-up charges indicate that governments are by no means insensitive to the pressure of outside opinion. And when world opinion is concentrated on one weak spot, it can sometimes succeed in making a government relent. For instance, the Hungarian poet Tibor Dery was recently released after the formation of “Tibor Dery committees” in many countries; and Professor Tierno Galvan and his literary friends were acquitted in Spain this March, after the arrival of some distinguished foreign observers…
Continue reading here.
It would be wonderful if the nations that cannot, will not or have been found not to abide by the Human Rights Constitution of the U.N. be removed or their voices silenced. Instead, the U.N. allows for the worst offenders to head the Human Rights Commission.
Western culture as a whole, and the United States in particular, has had a tremendous amount of light from God, and experienced many blessings from His hand. Yet, this culture seems intent upon continuing on its path to self-destruction. A few thoughts from the Christian worldview (while we are still allowed, we would hope, to express them).
What was the number one concern for the USA and Russia back in late 50’s to early 60’s? Ridding the world of nuclear bombs, of which was being done slowly, but surely, until the last ten or so years when Iran wanted to build up their arsenal. Back then, the world leaders were extremely concerned with unstable despots getting their hands on them. Today, the world leaders know what Iran’s intent with nuclear weapons is. Or the possibility of their use by Iran. Iran has not hidden its desire to annhilate Israel. The world is not as delusional as Netanyahu has declared. I think he was being “diplomatic” when he said that. He knows, just as everyone knows, that the political islamists will not be satisfied until Israel is wiped off the map of the world. Some can’t wait for it to happen and I believe our nation is one of those who wish to speed it along. The world is not a safer place now that Iran has the go-ahead to enrich uranium whose only purpose is to build the bombs which destroys more than its intended target.
These critical days in November will be remembered for years to come. The Free World stands before a fork in the road with a clear choice: Either stand strong and insist Iran dismantles its nuclear-weapons program, or surrender, cave in and allow Iran to retain its 18,500 centrifuges. Years from now, when an Islamic terrorist blows up a suitcase in New York, or when Iran launches a nuclear missile at Rome or Tel Aviv, it will have happened only because a Bad Deal was made during these defining moments. ~Economy and Commerce Minister Naftali Bennett
Part One: Myles talks with Avi Lipkin about the UN and the Balfour Declaration..
Part Two: Myles talks with Avi Lipkin about The Arab Spring
Part Three: Myles talks with Avi Lipkin about the new Al Jazeera Cable News network.
Part Four: Myles talks with Avi Lipkin about current and future events, and Jewish outreach to Christians
50 Years Later: Does There Need to be Another March Like This for Jobs for the Black Citizens of America?
I didn’t vote for Obama in either election-the first one because he was shown to be a communist loving man and, more than that, one who cared not a whit for the unborn, which told me that he would care less about anyone else for that matter. Seems that little one issue “rule” of mine has, once again, been proven true, which is why he got nothing but my scorn in blog posts during his run for re-election.
We have the equality that the Civil Rights Movement championed. There’s no racism in America as a national or regional norm. Racism is within individuals now and even private business owners cannot discriminate based on skin color. So, as an aside here, don’t give me the bull that racism is alive and well in this nation of America. It just isn’t.
But, our “black”, aka, “African-American” President has done so very little for us to be proud of in helping to maintain the employment opportunities among the minorities whom civil rights leaders of the ’60’s labored for. In fact, he hasn’t done any American citizen a favor economically or jobs-wise.
Here are some good videos from History.com about the March on Washington 1963. We can celebrate America’s repentance of racism but can we be proud of the taking away of opportunities for prosperity for all Americans after 50 years? It shows that progressives are not about progress, imho.
I once heard that a nation could be brought down through government control of its citizen’s money and health. This should be reason enough that all citizens of all political stripes seek the dissolution of the IRS. As Mark Levin said, and I paraphrase: we have become subjects of our government-we’re not citizens anymore.
By Ken Connor
Thanks to a renewed interest in the works of Ayn Rand and high-profile figures like John Stossel, Glenn Beck, and Rand Paul, libertarianism is enjoying a moment in the political sun. And just like America’s two major parties, libertarians can often be blind to faulty logic and flaws within their own ideology. Timothy P. Carney recently wrote a piece for The Atlantic discussing this very problem:
“Voters despise government officials who get in bed with corporations. But what about corporations who cozy up to government? Are companies who use cronyism to grow their profit acting unethically?
The question makes some free-marketeers uneasy. After all, we not only tolerate the fierce pursuit of profit, but also we defend it against taxes and heavy-handed regulation. Milton Friedman famously said, ‘The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits.’
But in the age of crony capitalism, libertarians must declare that some means of pursuing profit are immoral and call on executives to reject them. This would create a positive case for capitalism – arguing that the pursuit of profit, in the context of fair and open competition, helps the whole society. The new corporate social responsibility, redefined for libertarians, must stand athwart crony corporatism yelling ‘stop.'”
Lest his readers underestimate the influence and scope of crony capitalism, Carney provides a thumbnail sketch of the practice in action over the last decade. Seeing our government’s extensive network of corporate welfare laid out in black and white is sobering, to say the least:
“The 2005 and 2007 energy bills required drivers to buy ethanol, created a government loan-guarantee program for private sector green-energy projects, and effectively outlawed the traditional incandescent light bulb. . . . Then, 2008 saw an avalanche of corporate bailouts: Bear Stearns, AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Then the TARP bailed out all of Wall Street, and later General Motors and Chrysler.
Obama came to power in 2009 and signed an $800 billion stimulus bill supported by the Chamber of Commerce and loaded with goodies for the likes of Google and Solyndra. Obama pushed cap-and-trade with the support of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, a corporate coalition led by GE, which had set up a business to create and trade greenhouse-gas credits.
In June 2009, Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, a regulatory measure that Philip Morris supported and reportedly helped write. . . . The drug lobby wrote significant parts of Obamacare, and the hospital lobby liked the bill enough to file an amicus curiae brief with the Court defending the law from its challenge by states and the small business lobby.
Boeing and the Chamber of Commerce launched a full-court lobbying push in 2011 to save and expand the Export-Import Bank, the government agency Obama loves using to subsidize U.S. Exports – including lots of Boeing jets. In a lesser-known case of regulatory profiteering, Obama hired H&R Block’s CEO to a top position at the IRS, where he crafted new regulations on tax preparers – rules which H&R Block supported and small tax preparers sued to overturn.”
Regardless of where your political sympathies lie, it’s undeniable that there is an unhealthy and unholy alliance between well-heeled special interests and politicians and policymakers. It’s all well and good to embrace Ms. Rand’s philosophy of self-seeking individualism in theory, but when this mentality insinuates itself into the markets unchecked by moral and ethical principles, the results are antithetical to freedom and fairness.
Basically, the special interests invest in political campaigns as a cost of doing business, and they expect a handsome return on their investments. As Mr. Carney explains, that usually comes in the form of pet legislation, subsidies, tax breaks, limitations on liability, preferential treatment . . . the list goes on and on. Of course, politicians are only too happy to accommodate these special interests in exchange for political contributions that help cement and perpetuate their power. As a result, the free market is stymied; it can’t do what it’s designed by nature to do, which is to sift good companies from bad ones, reward efficiency and innovation, and empower consumers with authentic choice in the marketplace. In effect, crony capitalism is a form of central planning, something that libertarians and conservatives historically eschew. The lack of accountability of the cronies is particularly damaging. Defenders of free-market capitalism generally maintain that accountability and responsibility must run hand in hand in order for markets to operate effectively. If wrongdoers are not held accountable, their wrongdoing will multiply and the whole system will be corrupted. Unfortunately, many free-market apologists in the political arena are only too ready to offer a double standard to their corporate benefactors. Consequently, we wind up with the excesses that characterized firms like AIG, Fannie Mae, and Enron; we end up with lives lost due to malfeasance at the hands of mining companies and peanut companies, from drugs that cause injury and death and products that explode or fail and cause harm. We have an epidemic of malpractice and abuse and neglect in nursing homes because wrongdoers aren’t held fully accountable. All of this is a direct result of corporations taking shortcuts and playing Russian roulette with consumer safety because they know they will be shielded from accountability if something goes wrong. As Madison said, “If men were angels, government wouldn’t be necessary.” Well, they aren’t, and we do. The world “regulation” is an anathema to free-market apologists, but it shouldn’t be. Proper government regulation and consumer protections are essential to ensure an ethical marketplace. The fewer regulations we have, the more consumer protection mechanisms we need, and vice versa. This is precisely the purpose of America’s civil justice system. It is wrong for corporations to lobby for fewer regulations while simultaneously perverting policy so that they are insulated from accountability in the civil justice arena when they err. When this is allowed to happen, corporate America runs amok and consumers are harmed. Mr. Carney is correct when he says that the case for capitalism must rest on the willingness of free-marketeers to demand ethical conduct from corporations and politicians alike. Our current economic and political problems aren’t just the fault of President Obama, or Nancy Pelosi or any other big government bogey. The sooner libertarians and conservatives alike recognize this, the sooner we can get our economy and our government back on the right track, and given the enormity of the challenges facing us over the next several decades, this can’t happen soon enough.
CJS Forum: Jack Beavers explains the EPA’s ethanol-octane bait-and-switch: The Off-Track EPA.
CJS Blog: Zachary Gappa writes about Live Action’s abortion sting in New York, the renewed push for Safe Haven laws for newborn babies, America’s alarming suicide trend and more: Check out the CJS Blog.
The Center for a Just Society is on Twitter. Go to http://twitter.com/AJustSociety to follow our daily updates.Ken Connor is an attorney and co-author of “Sinful Silence: When Christians Neglect Their Civic Duty” He is also Chairman of the Center for a Just Society. For more articles and resources from Mr. Connor and the Center for a Just Society, go to www.centerforajustsociety.org