The latest C-Poll is closed. You can read all about it here!

May 31, 2011

About this bus tour thing: Is Sarah running or not?

The Daily Beast’s Shushannah Walshe reports May 30 on how we can know whether or not an announcement is forthcoming:

Sarah Palin’s “One Nation” Bus Tour launched Sunday, but is it an unofficial exploratory phase for a potential 2012 run or is it a Palin family vacation stopping in historic sites in the Northeast? The answer may well be both.

According to a source with knowledge of Palin’s operation and thinking, keep a careful eye on how long the tour lasts, because it is intended as a way to test the presidential waters. If the road trip ends abruptly, it’s a sign she didn’t get the enthusiastic responses she believes she needs to launch a campaign. If the tour heads to regions outside of the Northeast like Iowa and South Carolina that, the source says, is a “big indicator” that Palin will pull the trigger.

Palin is breaking all of the rules regarding how to launch a campaign.  The fact is, though, that she’s introducing herself to America on her own terms, not on the media’s.  The political world hasn’t seen anyone like her in a long time, and nobody in the media/political elite knows what to do with her (besides inadvertently give her all of the free publicity she wants).

Many of us non-elite folks are enjoying the spectacle immensely.

May 30, 2011

Obama continues to find ways to show contempt for the Constitution

Seriously? Robo-signing a bill?

The Hill, May 27:

Rep. Tom Graves (R-Ga.) is questioning President Obama's use of an autopen in signing an extension of the Patriot Act.

In a letter Friday, Graves asks Obama to confirm that he saw the law prior to its autopen signing.

[…] Obama signed the bill into law late Thursday night. The autopen was used because the president was in France, meeting with G8 leaders, and the bill's provisions expired at midnight.

Graves cited Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution, which says that the president must sign a bill to approve it into law.

Who has legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of this? 


May 26, 2011

Is Sam Elliott a Democrat or a Republican? None of your business.

A lot of people are curious about the political views of actor Sam Elliott.  I know this because a post from December 2009 brings many of these people to this blog.  In fact, many of the top search engine queries bringing people to C-Pol are variations on this question.

That finally got me wondering as well: Is Sam Elliott a Democrat or a Republican?

Research shows that political affiliation in Hollywood leans absurdly Democrat.  But, Google searches on Sam Elliott himself turn up… nothing.

The fact of the matter is that Elliott seems to think that his political leanings are nobody’s business but his own.

How refreshing.  Would that more in Hollywood felt this way.

Despite my criticism of Mr. Elliott in that December 2009 post, I love his acting, and I think that just about any movie he’s in (not counting the one cited in the blog post)  is improved by his presence.

That’s actually the point: actors should be famous for their acting, not their political activity.

UPDATE, 23 October 2013
[Tim throws his hands up in surrender] You know, I consider myself to be a pretty good communicator, but judging from the comments on this post, and despite my repeated attempts to set the record straight, I don't think I've gotten my point across. This has frustrated me to the point that I've decided to revive the blog and try again in a new post.  You can read it here.

May 24, 2011

Rule of thumb: Don’t rely on media reports when deciding who to support for the GOP nomination

David Limbaugh, May 24 essay (emphasis added):

But in the end, it's not the liberal bias, double standards, selective demonization and unfairness that troubles me most. It is what I fear to be our side's passive acquiescence to the media's predictable narrative. Why do we keep allowing our political enemies to pick and disqualify our candidates?

Professional politicians have steered our ship of state into the Titanic iceberg. It's hardly facetious to suggest that there's an inverse relationship between the collective experience of those in the political class and their ability and willingness to extricate us from the mess they've created.

We need fresh blood and a fresh approach to the nation-threatening problems we face, so perhaps we should liberate ourselves from the template preventing us from stepping outside the box.

I haven't decided whom I will support for the GOP nomination this early in the field. I like Palin, Cain, Ryan, Rick Perry, Santorum, Pawlenty, John Bolton and Bachmann, among others. But I sure won't let the liberal media or establishment types color my thinking about it.

May 20, 2011

About the 2012 GOP field: Likes, Dislikes, and Ambivalents

The primaries are just under a year away, and already we’re wading hip-deep in GOP candidacy announcements.  Add to that those who are delaying their announcements for one reason or another, and it’s obvious that just about everyone who’s anyone wants a piece of the action.

This post marks the first in an occasional series regarding which declared, exploring or prospective candidates  come across favorably to me (Likes), which come across unfavorably (Dislikes), and which can’t manage to come across at all (Ambivalents). 

Ambivalents are people I’m somewhat familiar with, but there’s nothing yet that makes them stand out for me one way or the other.  As I learn more about them and their views, I’ll bump them up to the Likes or Dislikes.

So now, without further ado, and without much explanation, here they are, presented alphabetically in each category, and culled from a list found here.  Even though Huckabee and Trump declined to launch campaigns, I included them just to go on record with the fact that I don’t like them.


Michele Bachmann*
Herman Cain
Sarah Palin*


Newt Gingrich
Lindsey Graham*
Mike Huckabee
Ron Paul
Mitt Romney**
Donald Trump


John Bolton*
Mitch Daniels*
Gary Johnson
Jon Huntsman*
Tim Pawlenty
Rick Santorum**

* Potential candidate
** Formed exploratory committee, but not yet declared

And now, a bonus category for those I know so little about, I can’t even summon the energy to be ambivalent about them.


Fred Karger
Tom Miller
Vern Wuensche

May 18, 2011

Is there a difference between earmarks at the federal level and at the state level?

In a May 15 article, The Daily Caller (TDC) seems to be trying to whip up some controversy regarding possible GOP presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s apparent inconsistency on the earmarks issue.

Given that Bachmann is a TEA party favorite, this is a serious charge.  TDC notes that she has secured nearly $4 million in earmarks for her district since she was first elected to Congress in 2007.  She also argued to exclude transportation projects from a GOP-championed earmarks moratorium.

These facts are enough to raise eyebrows among TEA partiers and constitutionalists.  I’d like to know how she defends these actions.  Do they undermine the credibility of her TEA Party Caucus on Capitol Hill?

While the answers to these questions are important, TDC raises another issue that got under my skin:

Bachmann’s penchant for earmarks dates back to her days in the Minnesota state Senate. Despite her reputation as a fiscal conservative, from 2001-2006, then-state Senator Bachmann proposed more than $60 million in earmarks, including a $710,000 “Bond For Centerville Local Improvements Around Highway 14? and a $40,000,000 “Bond for Lino Lakes And Columbus Township Highway Interchanges.”

Doug Sachtleben, Bachmann’s communications director, sought to explain the earmarks, arguing that voters resent “taking money from taxpayers in one state to pay for a host of wasteful projects in other states.” He added that voters “also expect that things like road projects should be done at the state level, where voters can have a say through the selling of bonds.” These are not absurd arguments — bridges have to get built somehow — but Tea Party activists may find the argument that earmarks are fine at the state level as appealing as Mitt Romney’s argument that individual health care mandates are fine so long as they are enacted at the state level.

When it comes to government, I believe in the principle of subsidiarity – namely, that any activity that ought to be taken on by government should be taken on by the lowest level of government that can get the job done. 

Road and bridge construction is most certainly not in the constitutional domain of the federal government.  So, what about the other levels? 

Some necessary infrastructure is within the financial means of municipal and county governments.  But the reality is that major projects – highway interchanges, bridges, etc. – can quickly wipe out the treasuries of smaller cities and towns (and the counties containing them).  The money has to come from a higher level.

But think about this: What is a county?  It is an administrative subdivision of… the state government!  Counties are entities created by the state enabling it to govern regions more efficiently.  Likewise, cities are state-created entities.  So, it could be argued that spending at the city, county or state level could all be considered state spending.

This fact – and the principle of subsidiarity – are what make the final sentence in the above excerpt so nonsensical.  Are there TEA partiers who think that the state should not fund highway projects (whether at the request of a local representative or not)?  If there are any, I’d like to hear the logic behind such a position.  I suspect, though, that the author’s “Tea Party activists” are made of straw.

One final thought on the excerpt’s final sentence: There is no equivalence between state funding of transportation infrastructure (a legitimate government concern) and state funding of health care (not a legitimate government concern).

May 17, 2011

Appeals court hands Obama administration a major victory in the war on the unborn

Fox News, April 29:

A U.S. appeals court ruled Friday that the Obama administration can use federal funding for embryonic stem cell research, a decision that overturns a judge's order last year and hands the White House a major victory.

In a 2-1 decision, the court said that opponents of taxpayer-funded stem cell research are not likely to succeed in a lawsuit to stop it.

The ruling reversed an opinion last August by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, who said the research likely violates the law against federal funding of embryo destruction.

The 1996 law prohibits the use of taxpayer dollars in work that harms an embryo, so private money has been used to cull batches of the cells. Those batches can reproduce in lab dishes indefinitely, and the Obama administration issued rules permitting taxpayer dollars to be used in work on them.

Does anybody think tests like this would NOT be used eventually for granting/denying services in ObamaCare?

UPI, May 13:

A blood test that measures the length of a person's telomeres -- a predictor of longevity -- may be available soon, U.S. and Spanish researchers say.

"Knowing whether our telomeres are a normal length or not for a given chronological age will give us an indication of our health status and of our physiological 'age' even before diseases appear," Maria A. Blasco, who heads the Telomeres and Telomerase Group at the Spanish National Cancer Research Center and who co-founded the company Life Length, told Scientific American.

May 11, 2011

Stay classy, Mr. President

All presidents use their influential position as a bully pulpit for advocacy of issues important to them.  But, has any other president in living memory used their office as a platform for mocking and caricaturing his political opponents?

Arizona Daily Star, May 11:
Touting gains on border security and mocking Republicans' insatiable appetite for border enforcement, President Obama said Tuesday it's time for immigration reform.

The administration has gone "above and beyond" what Republicans asked for on border security when the last round of serious immigration reform debate stalled in 2007, Obama said in El Paso on his first trip to the U.S.-Mexico border since becoming president.

"All the stuff they've asked for, we've done," Obama said. "But, I suspect there's going to be those who try to move the goal posts on us one more time."

They'll now call for even more Border Patrol agents and a higher fence, he said.

"Maybe they'll say we need a moat? Maybe they'll want alligators in the moat?" Obama said. "They'll never be satisfied. And I understand that; that's politics. But the truth is that the measures we've put in place are getting results."
Way to promote reasoned debate, Mr. President.

Mock all you want, but can you prove that the border is less porous now than it was when you entered office?  I’d love to have some south Texas ranchers in the room with you when you answer.

P.S. A moat with alligators might actually work.

Newt Gingrich, about 15 years too late

So… Newt Gingrich, conservative architect of the 1994 Republican Revolution, has tossed his hat into the GOP primary ring.  It’s amazing that there was any space left in the ring for his hat to land on.

Back then, I admired Gingrich for his ability to make “gutsy calls” on issues that resonated well with the conservative base.  His star faded, however, as the GOP-led Congress failed to deliver much of anything in the way of reform.

If he had run in 1996, he might have had a decent chance at the nomination, even with the brutal treatment he was receiving at the hands of Democrat allies in the media.  Certainly, he would have energized GOP voters much more than Bob Dole did.

Since then, he has popped up in the news from time to time, and  mostly for the wrong reasons.  For example:

  • His controversial divorces and remarriages (now on wife #3).  Call me old fashioned, but I wonder about the character of a man who supposedly has a strong faith in God, but twice deliberately broke vows made to Him.  In both of his divorces, he already had a replacement lined up before the soon-to-be-ex-wife knew anything was up.  I wonder what Callista was thinking when Newt did his “vows” the third time.  When Gingrich starts courting conservative voters, what shall we make of his promises?
  • He conceded nearly every Democrat talking point on global warming (parting with the Dems only in proposing free-market remedies).  Four years later, Gingrich (who is no more qualified to pontificate on climate issues than Al Gore is) remains proud of the stands he’s taken.
  • He endorsed Dede Scozzafava in a special election for a NY congressional seat, publicly scolding Republicans who thought the nomination should go to someone whose views should align more closely with the GOP than with the Dems.

So what does he bring to the table now that makes him think this is his time?

May 10, 2011

Europe’s cultural suicide

I have written many times about the ongoing demographic collapse of Europe – namely, the fact that the native populations of the various European countries seem to be uninterested in reproducing themselves.

As the native populations are slowly replaced by immigrant populations, the native culture of the various countries is also slowly being diluted – more so by the natives than by the immigrants.  The process is slow and sporadic enough that most people don’t see it.   It’s there, however, for anyone able and willing to step back and look at the broader currents of events.

Two seemingly minor, disparate recent occurrences serve to illustrate the culture shift.

First, from The Telegraph (UK), May 2:

The European Commission has apologised for printing more than three million school diaries containing no reference to Easter or Christmas.

The diaries - 330,000 of which were delivered to UK schools - note Sikh, Hindu, Muslim and Chinese festivals, as well as highlighting ''Europe Day'' which falls on May 9.

But the lack of any acknowledgement of Easter, Christmas or any other Christian holiday angered church leaders and politicians.

Earlier this year a Commission official admitted the omission was a ''blunder''.

A “blunder”, yes – but one that would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

Next, from The Daily Mail (UK), May 9 (emphasis added):

Rules to prevent religious discrimination can now also be used to protect a belief in the BBC’s ethos of public service broadcasting, a tribunal has ruled.

Its extraordinary decision elevates the BBC’s core principle to a place in the law equivalent to Christianity.

And the move leaves the way clear for long-serving employee Devan Maistry to sue the Corporation for wrongful dismissal.

South African-born Mr Maistry, who worked for the BBC Asian Network, says he suffered discrimination for six years until he was dismissed last year.

He has filed a claim for ‘religious or belief discrimination’, which allegedly took place against his philosophical view that ‘public service broadcasting has the higher purpose of promoting cultural interchange and social cohesion’.

Birmingham employment tribunal chairman Pam Hughes decided Mr Maistry has a worthy case, and gave him the right to a full hearing later this year.

In doing so, the tribunal chairman established the principle that Mr Maistry’s love of public service broadcasting amounted to a belief which should have the same protection from discrimination that the law gives to followers of religious faiths.

It seems clear to me that the religious shift in Europe is toward secular fundamentalism – the aggressive undermining of traditional religious belief of any kind.  We can see this in both of the above stories.

In the first story, Christianity loses its privileged place in Europe’s cultural history through a “blunder” communicating that Christianity is so irrelevant to the ruling elites, nobody noticed it was missing.

In the second story (read the entire article for more examples), all religions are consigned to irrelevance through the principle espoused by the villain in the movie The Incredibles: “Everyone can be super! And when everyone's super, no-one will be.”

In the end, the joke will be on the secular fundamentalists.  Once the destruction of Europe’s native culture has reached a certain point, do they really think their secularist utopia will be realized? 

Hardly.  The immigrant populations that are filling the void left by the demographic decline of the native populations will eventually also fill the cultural void, whether the secularists like it or not.

May 9, 2011

Are we or are we not still in a housing recession? (Haiku News)

MSNBC reports May 9 on the ongoing collapse in home prices:

"Home value declines are currently equal to those we experienced during the darkest days of the housing recession. With accelerating declines during the first quarter, it is unreasonable to expect home values to return to stability by the end of 2011," [real estate data firm] Zillow chief economist Stan Humphries said in a statement.

To which I reply, using haiku*:

Why use the past tense
for the housing recession
if nothing has changed??


* Why haiku? Why not? Among other things, I am drawn to the (occasional) challenge of condensing my thoughts into just a few words when the topic allows.  Yes, others came up with the idea first, but I may still give it a try.  I’ll even insist on conforming to the 5-7-5 format that real haiku poets sneer at.  Okay, I confess – really all I’m doing is forcing my commentary into exactly 17 syllables!  Deal with it.

May 7, 2011

PC police raid Pooh's Corner

A Florida State University sociologist frets that children's literature is insufficiently diverse, as Fox News reports May 6:
A comprehensive study of traditional children’s book characters has determined that Pooh Corner may be rife with gender inequality.

Dr. Janice McCabe, a sociologist at Florida State University, examined nearly 6,000 children’s books between 1900 and 2000 and determined the stories have a definitive gender bias and a disproportionate representation of genders.

“We found that males are represented more frequently than females in the titles and the central characters in the book,” McCabe told Fox News Radio.

[...] “I had kind of expected that books would start off in 1900 being unequal and become more equal over time,” she said. 

“We were surprised by the historical patterns and by the animals. The fact that the animals were the most unequal and even in the 1990s there were still two male animals to every one female animal.” 
I'm wondering... are there any barriers to women in general, or feminists in particular, getting their children's stories published?  I'm not aware of any. What's stopping them?

So, what's the real problem here?  Obviously the parents are the problem:
“A lot of times this is invisible to people,” she said, encouraging parents to pay attention to gender when selecting books and reading material for their children. “I’m not saying they shouldn’t read books about men and boys,” she said. “Instead, just think about the gender of particular books and be aware of it.” 
Apparently, Mom (who typically makes the purchase decisions regarding children's books) and Dad are still trapped in the roles defined for them by our oppressive patriarchal culture, and are thus blind to the injustice of the status quo.

Hey, let's try a wacky little experiment: If children's book writers publish a bunch of "gender-balanced" books that are enjoyable and don't have an obvious agenda, maybe the public will reward them by buying the books.

I wonder why Dr. McCabe didn't think of this?

Quick Quote: James Madison on the evil of public debt

I regret, as much as any member, the unavoidable weight and duration of the burdens to be imposed; having never been a proselyte to the doctrine, that public debts are public benefits. I consider them, on the contrary, as evils which ought to be removed as fast as honor and justice will permit, and shall heartily join in the means necessary for that purpose.

– James Madison, Debates in the House of Representatives on the First Report on Public Credit, February 11, 1790; “Liberty and Order: The First American Party Struggle," edited and with a Preface by Lance Banning (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2004), Part II: The Leadership Divides

(via The Federalist Papers (Facebook))

May 5, 2011

C-Pol: One of the best blogs you’ve never read

I was surprised and pleased to see C-Pol listed by NewsReal Blog’s Walter Hudson as one of “The Top 10 Tea Party Bloggers You Need to Read”.  Due to my sporadic posting frequency, the daily visit count for C-Pol isn’t all that high, so you can be sure I noticed the spike that came from Hudson’s post.

Hudson gave the following explanation for the inclusion of the ten blogs in his list:

Among the grassroots movement, many voices have emerged to articulate a philosophy of fiscal responsibility, constitutionally limited government, and free markets. We’ve scoured the net to bring you some of the best bloggers championing that message. We sought to bring to light writers whose work deserves more attention than they currently receive. We wanted to introduce you to voices you may not have heard of before and will be glad to know. These aren’t folks who necessarily identify as Tea Partiers, but who boldly articulate the philosophy which drives the movement. Here are the top 10 Tea Party bloggers you need to read.

I’m glad that he used this standard, because there are a lot of folks out there who, like me, champion the constitutionalist philosophy but haven’t hitched their wagon to the TEA party movement.

I attended one TEA party rally in my hometown at the movement’s genesis in 2009, but since then my activism has been expressed at the ballot box and through online advocacy of constitutional government.

On C-Pol, I usually like to go beyond the daily rough-and-tumble of politics to look at the big ideas that are driving said politics.  Because of that, my posts are less frequent than you would see with a blog that  focuses on the news of the day.

The subtitle of my blog is: “Documenting the twilight years of the American republic”.  That sounds awfully pessimistic, doesn’t it? 

Given my goal of focusing on the broader currents of contemporary events and cultural trends, and given my understanding of human nature, I believe our civilization has crossed some bridges that have since crumbled behind us. 

Our opportunities to turn back the tide of statism and tyranny are rapidly dwindling, and it seems that overall, the American people are not even aware of what is slipping away.  I believe very strongly that Barack Obama has provided us with one of our last chances to elect leaders who have the political will to  roll back a century of progressive/socialist rot.

I also believe, perhaps less strongly, that the advocates of constitutional government probably won’t be able to agree on a standardbearer in the 2012 presidential primaries (seriously -- is there anybody who isn’t planning to run?), and that the establishment will likely get its favorite by default.

Thus, I am pessimistic about our country’s future, but not fatalistically so.  As long as I am able to resist the forces that are destroying our country and its culture, I will continue to do so.  My favorite communication medium is the written word, so this blog serves as my ideal outlet.

If you think that C-Pol is a worthwhile contribution to the war of ideas, please let me know in some way.  You can rate this post, you can leave a comment, you can become a Follower.  Thanks for your support!

May 4, 2011

Just one reason why Ron Paul should not be the GOP nominee in 2012

Rep. Ron Paul, libertarian Texas congressman, perennial GOP presidential candidate and opponent of 99.7% of U.S. foreign policy, has finally given his reaction to the death of Osama bin Laden.  As reported May 3 in The Hill:
Paul, a long-time skeptic of American interventionism, said that "like all other Americans, I'm glad he's gone," but raised multiple questions about the costs associated with the 10-year manhunt for the al Qaeda leader behind the 9/11 attacks.

"If we got him, I guess it's time to come home as far as I'm concerned," he said during an interview with Fox Business network.
Engaging straw men is easier than engaging the truth, I suppose.  Does he think the War on Terror was merely a global manhunt for OBL?  No, of course not, but Paul will latch on to any reason he can find, rational or not, to bring the troops home.

Al Qaeda will continue to function without its symbolic leader.  So will terror organizations not related to Al Qaeda.  Most if not all of them remain committed to our destruction.

Paul is ideologically antiwar, so no logic will persuade him that it makes sense to continue our campaign to destroy our enemies’ ability (or will) to make war against us.

The world is a very dangerous place.  It would be immeasurably more dangerous with Ron Paul in the White House.

May 3, 2011

Fake MLK quote is born in the wake of Osama bin Laden's demise

In the day and a half since terror boss Osama bin Laden was dispatched with extreme prejudice by American assets, I have seen the following quote appear countless times in my Facebook newsfeed:
I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
The quote is attributed to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

As it turns out, it's not all MLK.  Everything but the first sentence comes from King's 1963 book, Strength to Love.

The first sentence actually started out as a comment presented with the remaining quote in someone's Facebook status update.  For some reason, people who copied and pasted this person's status moved the opening quotation mark to include the comment.  Here's the original (click image to view larger version):

The extra sentence is a great sentiment, and one with which I am sure MLK would agree.  ("Fake but accurate", as newsman Dan Rather said in another context.)

Due to the tireless efforts of well-meaning people, future generations will swear up and down that MLK actually said it.

(Via: St Eutychus)

Further evidence that Obama is becoming a dictator!

I missed it on CNN, but this ad I saw on a website makes it clear: President Obama is personally setting mortgage rates now!

It's on the internet, so it must be true.

Seriously, though: This advertiser seems to think that the cult of Obama is a powerful draw.