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Obama Floats Mandatory Voting, Says It Would Be ‘Transformative’ It comes as no surprise to me that a Chicago Democrat would call for mandatory voting. Even the dead vote in Chicago. If the dead care enough to fulfill their civic obligation to vote there is no excuse for the living to shirk their civic obligation to vote. Preview Open

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GOP Primary Madness?


bracketsSean Davis argues states should compete to hold the first-in-the-nation primary.

If coffee is for closers, then first-in-the-nation caucuses should be preserved for winners. Thankfully, I have a solution to this problem: instead of operating under a primary handout system, the GOP should require state parties to compete for the top primary calendar spots. That solves the massive incentive problem that currently plagues the party primary system.

He continues:

Cash For Clunker Systems


shutterstock_82828816What can be said about the Federal New Starts Fund? Other than explicitly favoring a legacy technology over any and all potential alternatives, contributing to rank partisanship, wasting federal dollars on unneeded projects, and risking lives, it’s a total winner.

The fund doles-out approximately $2B a year in grants to municipalities looking to expand their light rail systems. However, it makes no funding available either for maintenance of existing systems, or for alternative transportation systems, such as buses, which are often cheaper, more efficient, and often safer (I’m ignoring the matter of whether or not local systems should even be federally funded to begin with). As such, city officials — already over-eager for photo-ops of new construction– are further tempted by a huge pile of cash for slick new projects, regardless of whether or not that’s what best serves their constituents. It’s also highly politicized in that having a Democrat representing you on the relevant committee is almost a guarantor of disproportionate funding; the opposite is the case if you’re represented by a Republican.

The Cato Daily Podcast has the full story:

Single Mothers and Conservatism


shutterstock_209614678I would like to pose two questions to my follow Ricochet members: What should be the conservative answer be to unwed single mothers? How should the GOP/Conservatives support existing single mothers (to include widows, separated, divorced, unwed)?

I think we have a tendency to focus on the origins of the issue of single mothers — such as the rise of the welfare state and the sexual revolution — without addressing how we would support those single mothers that need help today. Social Conservatives are pro-life, pro-motherhood, and pro-marriage. However, the Left perpetuates the stereotype that Conservatives are not supportive of single mothers, and it works for them politically. In the 2012 presidential election 75% of single mothers voted for the Democratic ticket.

So what say you, Ricochet? Should we cede that portion of the electorate to the Democrats and to likely dependence on the state? I believe we can do better than that.

The 2015 Obama Scandal Bracket


With so many White House scandals—and new ones popping up every day—how are average citizens supposed to keep track? Wouldn’t it be nice if Obama went on ESPN and mapped them all on a bracket?

Don’t waste your time on college basketball when you can make March Madness matter. Introducing the 2015 Obama Scandal Bracket! Click here for a full-size version and vote for the scandal you think will bring down the president.

The Ides Have It


tumblr_mji45nGw2l1r7sitbo1_1280Yesterday was the Ides of March, which leads us in one of two directions: 1) Watching the so-so 2011 political thriller of the same name, featuring George Clooney and Ryan Gosling (why does fictional politics — Ides of MarchHouse of CardsBob Roberts — involve Pennsylvania lawmakers of dubious morals?). 2) Or, given the events on this date in ancient Rome, pondering the intersection of statesmen, their supposed friends, and the wielding of knives.

Which leads us to the current goings-on between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush.

Technically, it’s not a political backstabbing. Or even a shiv in the ribs.

An Appeal to Older People From a Millennial


shutterstock_177669056I recently had a discussion with an older cousin of mine in his 50s. He was telling me he would like to see the welfare state gone, deregulation, smaller government, and all the other standard stuff Conservatives want for the future. Then he was telling me how my generation is footing the bill and tough luck for you guys. Live with it while I benefit because you guys didn’t vote the other way in very large numbers. I have heard this same line of argument or reasoning multiple times before. And I explained to him that this position towards millennials as on the hook for paying for the Boomers’ and Gen-Xers’ tab is immoral.

First off, Social Security and Medicare are the biggest welfare programs in the country. People get mad when I say it, but it is true. It was sold to the country as a government-run savings account, but that isn’t the case. People generally take out more than they put in and these programs are bankrupting the nation. Medicare alone will rise from about $615 billion at present, to a little over $1 trillion in just the next seven years. The rise in costs is far beyond anything that was put into it. This is welfare, pure and simple. It is robbing the young and their future to pay for the old. It is robbing the future of this country. That is what is happening. To complain about Uncle Sam stealing or taxing all the time while cashing these checks and enjoying medicare is hypocrisy to the 10th power.

Yes, you got fleeced. The government forcibly took money out of your paychecks for decades to fund unsustainable programs that are robbing the future of this country you hold dear, and the futures of your kids and grandkids, whom I also hope you hold just as dear. You lost that money and what was done to you is unjust. But to then turn around and fleece your progeny because you got robbed does not make it right. It makes things even more unjust and puts in jeopardy the economic well being of your progeny and this nation. I am 26 years old. These programs will not exist at all when I am old enough to be done working or can work no longer. But if I had the choice right now or in the foreseeable future, I would tell the government to keep the money they robbed from me, as I will not jeopardize or steal my descendants’ future. Many conservatives have bought into the idea that we should just accept the New Deal and Great Society as already here. I reject that, totally. The New Deal and Great Society have given us decades of nothing but highway robbery and phony promises. As I reminded my cousin, Millennials didn’t invent Social Security or Medicare, and we have nothing to do with — or to gain from — these programs that will soon break our country.

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I keep hearing that we conservatives need to tell more stories to make people understand our point of view. Senator Rand Paul spoke Friday at Bowie State, which describes itself as an “Historically Black College” in the Maryland university system. He relates story after story of real people whose lives have been affected by bad […]

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Have Our Founding Fathers Failed Us?


imageIf the Founding Fathers failed in any regard, they failed to make governance sufficiently horrible, thankless, difficult, rancorous, disagreeable, and ineffective. No doubt once they found themselves in it, they discovered just how awful it really was, but they failed to keep it that way.

Little by little, steps have been taken, salaries increased, perks added, trappings acknowledged, and holding office has morphed into the insular, protected, self-congratulatory, celebrity, investment club that it now is. To paraphrase Mel Brooks: it’s good to be the government.

Our government used to be the place where only prominent, wealthy, self-less men took on the thankless tasks of self-governance. Now it’s the place where the politically ambitious rise to gain wealth and prominence. It’s full of carpet baggers and grifters on all sides of the aisle. They aspire to Washington as that’s the place where the real money and power is. Forget that the real work of government should be a tedious grind of difficult choices. “Go along, get along” is the motto; that and “You’ll get yours.”

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For me, watching the Chicago mayoral race is sort of like watching Michigan take on Ohio State, or Auburn take on Alabama.  I don’t have a dog in any of those fights, so I can watch the pure rivalry. If I were able to work up enough energy to care enough to root for someone—writing […]

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Hillary’s E-mail Blast


Hillary Clinton bowed to the inevitable yesterday and fielded reporters’ questions regarding her use of private e-mail for both public and private business while serving as U.S. Secretary of State.

About the press conference (which wasn’t a full-fledged “I’m gonna stand here and take every question until you’ve worn yourselves out” — like this one, held by New Jersey Governor Chris Christie during his Bridgegate controversy): the last time Mrs. Clinton was in a bind like this was well over two decades ago, when she gave the famous “pretty in pink” press conference at the White House in hopes of putting a lid on the Whitewater scandal.

Back then, Mrs. Clinton held court for 72 minutes. Yesterday’s presser: a little over 20 minutes, with an abrupt ending.

The Dog Ate My Homework


ABC_clinton3_ml_150310_16x9_992Hillary acknowledging that it would have been better to use two e-mail accounts is about as close to an apology from the Clintons you’ll ever get. But the matter of “convenience” is just nonsense, as everyone knows. Even a tech dinosaur like myself has two e-mail accounts, which I now access on my spiffy new iPhone 6 Plus. (By the way, instead of that old Blackberry, Hillary should have had an iPhone.)

So Hillary says she didn’t break any White House or State Department rules. I don’t think that defense will fly. And the homemade server, created for messages between Bill and Hillary, is an absolute non-starter. Apparently Bill has only sent two e-mails in his life — and neither of them to Hillary.

There’s also a dog-ate-my-homework quality to this Clinton episode, with Hillary saying: Sorry, I deleted the remaining 30,000 or so e-mails, so I just can’t show them to you.

Asking the Right Questions in EmailGate


4403152760_c6c556d039_zI’m curious how dangerous the tech-savvy Ricochetti believe that was. Perhaps a better way to put it: What is the scale and scope of that danger?

My biggest concern is how compromised our *.gov email systems were by Hillary’s rogue operation. Once I thought of the recent exploit — in conjunction with the revelation of Hillary’s private server — other worries came to mind over the last few days:

  • Hillary’s own emails pose a smaller security risk than those of her staff. In my experience, it’s often low-level staff who open the door to email-driven breaches. They’re easier to tempt into opening “WHSalary.xls” files or juicy-looking links.
  • I wonder if the Clintonistas have any idea if was breached. If they did, however, it would be a great reason to delete mail, destroy the server, etc. She can survive non-disclosure; she can’t survive having allowed Russians, Chinese, or both, to use to attack the government.
  • Were any *.gov defenses lowered to accommodate this separate operation. For example, did treat as a trusted domain?
  • Even if wasn’t in *.gov domains via a trust, payloads in attachments or links are notoriously hard to vet. So long as attachments or links were allowed, spoofing *.gov account holders via what looked like Hillary and staff mails (e.g., Name appears as Hillary Clinton, but it’s really an account controlled by another).

Any other ideas about what went down and what to ask?

C. S. Lewis Weighs in on Hillary


queen hillaryYes, the great C. S. Lewis died in 1963.  And that makes it all the more amazing that he provides a crystal clear portrayal of Hillary in The Magician’s Nephew.  You may recall the scene where Hillary… excuse me, Jadis of Charn — the evil sorceress who eventually kills Aslan — explains to Digory why she must possess complete power, and why she must be above the law.

I had forgotten that you are only a common boy. How could you understand reasons of State? You must learn, child, that what would be wrong for you or for any of the common people is not wrong in a great Queen such as I. The weight of the world is on our shoulders. We must be freed from all rules. Ours is a high and lonely destiny.

Is this not accurate? Hillary makes laws, but she has no need to obey them. Why? Because it is her “high and lonely destiny” to hold power.  Laws only stand in her way. Like good little children, we must be taught to take our medicine. It’s good for us.

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It’s not just that Hillary Clinton is making it hard not to wonder what she might be covering up.  That doesn’t surprise anyone.  It’s Clintonian.  We almost expected it.  We didn’t expect it to stop her nomination, or even her election. There’s the security angle.  That she wasn’t more careful about the possibility of hacking.  That’s […]

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“…We have too long abrogated our duty to enforce the separation of powers required by our Constitution. We have overseen and sanctioned the growth of an administrative system that concentrates the power to make laws and the power to enforce them in the hands of a vast and unaccountable administrative apparatus that finds no comfortable […]

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It’s my turn, right? I did the whole governor thing so it must be my turn. Look – I’m a principled conservative – just look at the data! Did I tell you I’m bilingual? In Spanish, no less! Did you hear that, Mexican-’Mericans? My wife, too – in English, though. Once you get to know […]

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Democrats Drink Their Own Bathwater


I believe it was Robert Heinlein who said that the greatest mistake any political organization can make is to be taken in by its own propaganda. (I am paraphrasing from memory). As such, Heinlein would surely have been amused to read the report, recently released by Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that concludes that the Party’s dismal failure in the 2014 midterm elections (in the words of Russell Berman, writing in The Atlantic) was a “problem [of] packaging, not what’s inside the box.” The report evokes the same feeling that you get watching cute little puppies chasing their own tails. Aren’t they just adorable?

The report does not hide the cognitive dissonance that underlies the contradiction (from the DNC/liberal viewpoint) between liberal message and voting reality – in fact, it practically revels in it!