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Florida’s 24th Congressional District Primary Election Heats Up

Florida’s 24th Congressional District primary election race is heating up, and since this is my district I’m following the developments with great interest. Yesterday was the last day to register to vote to be eligible to participate in the August 24th primary. But, if you are not yet registered, I strongly encourage you to do so soon to be ready for the November election, which will be historic.

The House incumbent, Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D), has voted almost in lock step with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid. Sarah Palin named her as a key liberal to beat in November 2010.

Currently, the Republican candidates are as follows:

State Rep. Sandra “Sandy” Adams (http://www.sandyadams.com) has served in the Florida House of Representatives since 2002. Prior to 2002, she had a career in law enforcement and served 17 years with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. She also previously served in the U.S. Air Force. Her record in the Florida legislature has been consistently conservative.

Karen Diebel (http://www.karendiebel.com) is Vice Mayor and City Commissioner of Winter Park and a Verizon executive. Ms. Diebel was the leader (32-14-6) in a recent straw poll held May 11, though more recent polls show Craig Miller taking the lead. Mike Huckabee and Tom Tancredo have also endorsed her, for what it’s worth. And, she is on a top-ten list of favorites for Social Conservatives.

Tom Garcia (http://www.garcia4congress.com/), a Navy Commander and Top Gun fighter pilot, showed up as the leader in a June straw poll conducted by the Republican Liberty Caucus of East Central Florida. He could gain momentum if the Tea Party rallies behind him. Mr. Garcia was also a commercial airline pilot for 18 years. His conservative views may be well-aligned with constituents of the Space Coast district he would represent.

Deon Long (http://www.deonlong.com/) is currently a practicing attorney in Winter Park. As his website states, he was also appointed by Jeb Bush to serve on the board of the St. Johns River Water Management District from 1999-2007. Mr. Long has a strong independent streak — think Rand Paul — and he supports a pro-growth free market agenda.

Businessman Craig S. Miller (http://www.craigmillerforcongress.com), a former CEO of Darden Restaurants and Ruth Chris Steakhouse and a war veteran who served in Vietnam in the Air Force, joined the race late but appears to be the Washington establishment’s favorite. Mr. Miller’s conservative credentials are largely based on the fact that he is a businessman and, therefore, must be pro-business and anti-tax. Mr. Miller appears to have the lead in recent polls. He also has the endorsement of the regional paper, The Orlando Sentinel — though this fact probably won’t sit well with die-hard Republicans who know the paper has a liberal slant. (I’ve seen bloggers refer to the paper as the “Slantinel.”) In this day and age when voters know politicians say one thing and do another, the Sentinel’s endorsement could backfire.

I think the polls are still a bit premature. (The Orlando Sentinel, has not published its voter guide online or in print yet, if that’s any indication.) Congressional primary elections typically have low voter turnout (about 12% of Democrats and 16% of Republicans turned out in the 2008 primary). It will be interesting to see if there will be more interest this year.

This is anyone’s race at this point.

The Topsy-Turvy World of Paul Krugman

In case you are not familiar with Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman’s take on our current fiscal crisis, he thinks the only way to avoid a longer recession (or possibly a Long Depression) is to have government spend our way back into prosperity. “Spend now, while the economy remains depressed; save later, once it has recovered,” he writes in his NYT article. “How hard is that to understand?”

It’s very hard, Mr. Krugman. In fact, it’s impossible to “understand” because the idea is irrational. For people who do not live in a topsy-turvy world where apparently money can be created out of thin air and has no basis in reality, it’s impossible to “understand” how spending more in the face of a massive, mind-blowing deficits is a good idea. When you are broke, you do not need to spend more. You need to stop spending and produce more. People being productive create money. Governments that arbitrarily “stimulate” the economy with future money that doesn’t exist create inflation, not prosperity.

I’m  heartened to see that there is a growing backlash in the media (and among voters) against Keynesians and statists, like Krugman, who believe the only way out of a recession is to increase consumption.

Finally, voices of reason are pointing out that it was government intervention into the economy — (artificially low fed rates, a policy-driven housing bubble and government sponsored entities, Fannie and Freddie) — that got us into this mess in the first place and thus it cannot be government that gets us out of it. The following is an excerpt from today’s Investor’s Business Daily editorial:

The world is going to hell in a handbasket, Krugman suggested this week, thanks in large part to its refusal to follow his advice to the letter.

Actually, he has it exactly backward. Krugman was among those who encouraged the new Obama administration and the Democratic Congress to spend massive amounts of money early on in a kind of Keynesian frenzy to shock the moribund economy back to life.

It didn’t work. With a stimulus — a deficit, that is — of nearly 11% of GDP, our economy is barely growing, while unemployment remains shockingly close to 10% of the adult working population.

Even the European leaders are realizing that we have finally “run out of other people’s money” — Margaret Thatcher’s famous observation on the inherent problem with socialism. Obama’s insistence on implementing socialist and Keynesian policies is yet another power-grabbing tactic and a threat to liberty.

The Penumbra of Obama’s Foreign Policy

This somewhat dated but still relevant article, “U.S. foreign policy:  Waiting on a Sun King,” by Edward Luce and Daniel Dombey published at FT.com in March 2010 sheds some disturbing light onto Obama’s approach to foreign policy, which is described as a highly centralized process in which “all roads lead to and from him.”

This White House-centric approach often leads to waiting (sometimes months) for final decisions on some of our most urgent matters. Further confounding the situation is the Obama administration’s lack of a strong national security adviser. Instead, major foreign policy issues are dealt with in countless lower-level meetings where no decisions are made, followed by high-level discussions involving members of Obama’s “inner circle” and National Security Council principals, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. After all the facts are presented to Obama, he makes the final decision.

The authors write:

When Nixon wanted foreign policy advice, everyone knew where he got it from: Henry Kissinger, variously his national security adviser and secretary of state.

In contrast, Mr Obama has no big foreign policy strategist. Even insiders give different answers when asked to whom he turns for advice on the big international questions. But almost all agree with the following observation. ‘The truth is that President Obama is his own Henry Kissinger – no one else plays that role,’ says a senior official. ‘Every administration reflects the personality of the president. This president wants all the trains routed through the Oval Office.’

This lone wolf approach to foreign policy isn’t necessarily bad until you consider Obama had virtually no experience in foreign policy matters prior to his election. Given that context, the approach seems so naive that it borders on downright dangerous.

The article  also alludes to an unusual alliance between Obama’s Secretary of Defense and State (Robert Gates and Hilary Clinton) who often find themselves at odds with Obama’s “inner circle.” The inner circle itself forms an odd penumbra around the “Sun King,” and it seems to have its hand on all matters foreign and domestic. Conspicuously, the inner circle does not include Secretary Clinton.

Who exactly is Obama’s inner circle? The same author, Edward Luce, previously wrote on the core four surrounding the president:  Robert Gibbs, his communications chief; Rahm Emanuel, chief of staff; and senior advisers, David Axelrod and Valerie Jarrett. All, observes Luce, had some hand in the Obama campaign and, with the exception of Gibbs, all are Chicagoans.

With so many disturbing events on the international scene — the increasingly volatile state of Arab-Israeli relations heightened by the recent Gaza flotilla incident, the narrowly thwarted terrorist attacks in Times Square, the imminent nuclear armament of Iran and its alliance with Russia, the bankruptcy of Greece and demise of the European Union, just to name a few — I find Obama’s heavy reliance on Chicago friends and campaign managers to lead the free world frightening.

Perhaps sensing a novice in the White House, the forces of tyranny seem to be lurking closer these days, salivating at the prospect of a weaker, more vulnerable United States.

Fortunately for us, we have elections and term limits. And this Sun King isn’t running a monarchy.

Sunset in the Bahamas

I recently returned from a trip to Nassau, Bahamas. It was my first cruise, and it was a blast. The highlights were definitely two snorkeling trips and the exquisite views from the both the ship and the beaches at Coco Cay.

I have a slight phobia of sharks, being of the “Jaws” generation, so I was a little nervous about snorkeling. It didn’t help that I’d heard about the shark-feeding excursions in and around the islands. But the only thing close to a shark I saw was a sting ray. I was so overwhelmed by the underwater beauty that I think my shark phobia is cured. Now I can’t wait to go snorkeling again, and I am even contemplating SCUBA certification. I’ve heard the Keys have amazing diving and snorkeling.

I didn’t take any underwater photos of the colorful fish, but the pictures below are of the sunset we saw on the first night of the cruise. I can’t wait to paint these!

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The yellow-tinted photo was taken only a few seconds after the first.

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Amazing.

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It’s Time to Question the Motives of the Dems

While you sipped your coffee or played with the kids, the U.S. House of Representatives voted today (around 11 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 21st to be exact; 219 to 211) on passage of the Senate health care bill (yes, the one the Senate passed on Christmas Eve), and they also voted (at 11:36 p.m. EDT; 220 to 211) on their own slurry of amendments and fixes to the Senate bill using the controversial budget reconciliation process, which allowed the health care bill to be passed with only a simple majority vote and curbed debate.

The Dems were forced into using the reconciliation process (intended for revenue raising or tax bills) because of Scott Brown — the 41st senator elected by Massachusetts who ruined the Dems supermajority of 60 in the Senate. Thus, Dems can’t block GOP filibusters and would not have been able to pass the bill through normal processes.

The House Dems did back away from using “deem and pass” — a sketchy and obscure procedure that would have allowed them deem the Senate bill passed while not actually voting on it. Too many threats of challenges on the constitutionality of using such an ugly method are most likely the reason the Dems opt for reconciliation.

The bottom line is that the Dems stopped at nothing to pass this bill, which by their own words is historic in scope and on par with other far-reaching social legislation as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. And, they are fully aware that most Americans (54%) oppose the bill. The slimy way in which the Dems passed this bill is telling enough of their dubious motives.

This bill will impact the lives of every American and give the IRS unprecedented control and access over citizens. Everyone will be forced to have health care or pay fines. (If you can get through the 2700-page monstrosity, there are other provisions equally offensive.)

The Republicans did what they could do to try to stop passage of the bill. They argued that the $940-billion-plus will bankrupt us (further), create undue burden on taxpayers, lower the quality of health care, reduce individual freedom, and dangerously increase the power of the federal government. Objectivists and other free market advocates reminded us that health care is neither a right nor a proper function of government.

The Dems refused to listen to reason. They are power-hungry and salivating over the imminent power grab like wolves surrounding a wounded deer.

And, this is a power grab like no other — one that will change the landscape of America. The Dems say they forced it through to help Americans. They say they know what’s best for us. Liberal economist, Robert Reich, an adviser to Obama, argued that socialized medicine (or state-controlled medicine) is the only way to force the private sector to control health care costs. This is absurd, and I’m no Berkeley professor.

The fact is, costs in health care are high because we already have socialized medicine — (Medicaid, Medicare and other federal laws that dictate emergency room treatment). More government control of medicine is not going to control costs. It is not a coincidence that the most heavily regulated industries inevitably see spiraling, out-of-control costs. It’s the nature of the beast. So while the price of smart phones and flat-screen TVs go down, the price of a pill or a hospital room skyrockets to cover administrative costs, subsidized health care and forced handouts.

The abuse of power and level of corruption surrounding this legislation should frighten Americans. They should vote out every Democrat who voted for this bill tonight.

It is time to question the motives of the Democrats (and liberals like Mr. Reich). The Dems and their advisers are no longer a party that respects or governs for the people. They are power mongers, out of control, hell-bent on a course that takes America away from a nation that respects individual freedom to one that sets government against the individual by use of force.

Socialism does not work. It bankrupts nations. In every country where it has been tried it has destroyed innovation and led to untold human misery — economic stagflation, inflation, civil unrest, war and even holocausts. It pits the productive against the unproductive. It creates resentment and causes the most able to flee to freer ground.

Proponents of socialism today — the liberals and the Democrats — do not have the best interests of individuals, the American people or America at heart. They are out to destroy innovation, destroy capitalism (what’s left of it) and ultimately destroy freedom.

Get ready for higher taxes and inflation.

My Trip to Shanghai

I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a business trip to Shanghai this past week (December 5-13). The company where I work was putting on a conference to help investors meet up-and-coming small-cap companies — companies like American Lorain, the number-one producer of chestnut products in China; China Natural Gas, the first China-based U.S. listed natural gas company; and China GengShen Minerals, Chinese-based manufacturers of industrial materials for the steel, oil and solar industry. After business was done, me and John were able to fit a little sightseeing in Shanghai in. So, here are my impressions…

Shanghai is a fusion of New York and Paris, only bigger. The city is bustling; it never sleeps. And, almost everything (as of the winter of 2009) is under renovation due to the upcoming World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. I imagine the city by then will be absolutely stunning. The fashionistas in Shanghai are more fashionable than NYC or Paris, and the skyline is more grand and more vast. Incredible. If you never saw anywhere outside of Shanghai, you’d think China was beyond superpower status. But I’m told by natives that there are much more rurals areas. And, lest we not forget that average family’s disposable income in 2007 was about $3,375. Living space in Shanghai is about 140 sq. ft. per person. (Think about that the next time you complain you need a bigger house.) And, official minimum wage is set at about US$1 per day. I’d say China is probably the equivalent of America in the 1920s. They are certainly beyond starving in the streets, but I’m not sure the entire nation has TVs, cell phones, or indoor plumbing yet. But, there is definitely a wonderful sense in the air that they are on the rise — and capitalism is not to be quelled.

At the same time you feel the individualism, you also feel the government’s heavy hand. The paper daily told of executions — drug smuggler, porn seller, Madoffian embezzlers –all executed. There is vitually no crime, no doubt from fear of execution. And, when I overheard an American businessman asking a Chinese businessman how he could buy his land or mineral rights in China, the Chinaman said, “Oh, I can’t sell my land to you. I must sell my land to the government.” So, property rights are nil.

Interestingly, I found Internet access fairly good. I could get my Yahoo! email, and I had no trouble logging in to work on my company’s website. I was even able to read RealClearPolitics.com and DrudgeReport.com, though I am not sure if this is because I was accessing the Internet via a 5-Star hotel or not. I was not able to access Facebook or Twitter. These sites are blocked; and, I think MySpace is blocked too, though I did not check this site.

BBC, CNN and other news sites were shown on our hotel TV; but, for what it’s worth, no Fox News.

We managed one side trip to the city of Hang Zhou, which used to be the capital of China. It reached its peak around 1179 A.D.

Pictures say a 1,000 words…I’ll post more when I have time.

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An Inconvenient Truth: ‘Climate-Gate’ Is Real, Global Warming Science Is Bogus

Robert Tracinski writes at RealClearPolitics.com on the “scandal of the century” — that the science behind global warming is bogus. In case you haven’t heard, thousands of emails have been obtained by a hackers that expose how scientists working at Hadley Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at Britain’s University of East Anglia manipulated data and lied to support their theory of man-made global warming.

In fact, the data actually shows the Earth is cooling. VerumSerum.com has a good post on the emails, which leads to another blog, wattsupwiththat.com, showing the emails from Willis Eschenbach — who believes he is the person who filed the original Freedom of Information Act request that resulted in the coverup.

Tracinski writes:

For more than a decade, we’ve been told that there is a scientific ‘consensus’ that humans are causing global warming, that ‘the debate is over’ and all ‘legitimate’ scientists acknowledge the truth of global warming. Now we know what this ‘consensus’ really means. What it means is: the fix is in.

This is an enormous case of organized scientific fraud, but it is not just scientific fraud. It is also a criminal act. Suborned by billions of taxpayer dollars devoted to climate research, dozens of prominent scientists have established a criminal racket in which they seek government money-Phil Jones has raked in a total of £13.7 million in grants from the British government-which they then use to falsify data and defraud the taxpayers. It’s the most insidious kind of fraud: a fraud in which the culprits are lauded as public heroes. Judging from this cache of e-mails, they even manage to tell themselves that their manipulation of the data is intended to protect a bigger truth and prevent it from being ‘confused’ by inconvenient facts and uncontrolled criticism.

This is huge, folks. When you consider how long the lies have been perpetrated, the millions of dollars spent on fraudulent scientific research (taxpayer money to boot), not to mention an entire generation of indoctrinated youth who think the sky will fall if we don’t all drive electric cars — this is a crime of unfathomable proportions.

There is also a good editorial at the Washington Times, posted today on the scandal.  In it, the WT observes:

“The story has gotten worse since the global-cooling cover-up was exposed through a treasure trove of leaked e-mails a week ago. The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia has been incredibly influential in the global-warming debate. The CRU claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its research and mathematical models form the basis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 report. The CRU claims the world’s largest temperature data set, and its research and mathematical models form the basis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2007 report.”

It will be interesting to watch how the scandal will impact the upcoming U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, where Obama is expected to personally commit the U.S. to slashing greenhouse gas emissions by 17% in the next ten years to help reduce global warming. This could be a costly mistake on a number of levels, economically and politically.

Liz Cheney: ‘We have grave concerns’

This speech by Liz Cheney at a recent Redstate Gathering is worth reading. The title says it all: “We have grave concerns about the path they’ve put us on.” Posted by Liz Cheney at Redstate.com. I would post the Youtube video of it, but it appears to be down.

The U.S.’ Great Leap Backward

I found this old, half-written post in my drafts, dated January 24, 2009:

It gets more fascinating by the minute, with the “unchartered” economic waters and the New Left controlling the White House (and the House and Senate). Watching the inauguration, I was momentarily hopeful that Obama will prove to be a centrist leader, a sort of middle-of-the-roader like Clinton, rather than a radical leftist who will implement socialism every chance he gets. His recent appointments, which include so many from Clinton’s administration (including the former First Lady as Secretary of State(!),  seemed to support this hope.

I now realize the audacity of my hope. The idea that Obama will be more Clinton than Carter is somewhat baseless even with his seemingly pragmatic appointments. Much about Obama remains a mystery, but his true ideological leanings are already beginning to show through.

Prior to the election and up until Inauguration Day, he was careful to keep his rhetoric an evocative mix of statements that promoted both self-responsibility and government welfare. But clearly his newly signed “stimulus package” is about as anti-capitalist as it gets. If you haven’t read the full text (a mind-numbing 647 pages, in pdf), this summary at Powerline blog is easier to digest. Included in the $825 billion spending spree that includes upwards of $136 billion in social programs.)

We know he is closely affiliated or has worked for some of the most radical leftists in America (Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Louis Farrakhan, et al). But somehow he has managed to rise to power unscathed by these connections.

Obama’s popularity is a tipping point in this country and illustrates a frightening fact:  that there are now more people in America who want government to solve their ever-increasing problems — which are mostly a direct result of government intervention into the economy in the first place, such as rising healthcare costs, inefficient energy infrastructure, poor quality education, and on an on — than there are people who believe they can be successful on their own.

The left believes that there are things that governments do better — healthcare, welfare, infrastructure, banking, education and energy — and with the elections of 2008, the Democrats now have all the power to expand government control in these areas.

Since I wrote this nine months ago, a lot has happened. Foreign policy debacles aside, on the domestic front, at least one White House Czar (Van Jones) was exposed as a communist and resigned; the White House Communications Director, Anita Dunn, was exposed as self-declared Maoist; Obama received a Nobel Peace Prize for no good reason; and the Senate is debating a health care bill that isn’t even written yet (so, of course, they can’t read it). Something is beyond rotten in Denmark (not to mention Norway).

But despite the rampant corruption in our federal government, I am heartened to see that I was wrong when I wrote that there are more people in this country who want socialism. I now believe there are actually more people who reject socialism. And I am heartened to see so many people stepping forward to not only expose the socialist proponents of the Left but to protest the insanity in Washington. Check out the sign at the end:  Capitalism is freedom.

There is hope yet.

Health Care Is Not a Right

John David Lewis (via RealClearPolitics.com) on the rising cost of health care:  “Those who want to see an end to spiraling medical costs should challenge the premises behind the government interventions.”

Efforts to rush and pass health-care reform legislation are predicated on the idea that medical care is a “right.” It is not.

Lewis observes:

Health care is a service, which we all need, and none of us are better served by placing our lives and our doctors under coercive bureaucratic control.