Friday, December 31, 2010

Maybe Tom Ross ISN'T the Anti-Christ afterall

I can't believe I'm typing this....but there is a selection coming up in 2011.  The RNC is picking a new chairman.  The race is mostly a bunch of party insiders, including a Pfizer lobbyist named Maria Cino who is currently pushing Obamacare (she's being backed by Delaware's own Priscilla Rakestraw), current Chairman Michael Steele and steele's right hand man Reince Priebus.  There are a host of others as well including a couple of conservative candidates and a newcomer who resigned from his RNC post and blasted Steele in a letter leaked to David Frum (he's the progressive from No Labels, info on him is here).

The conservatives are Ann Wagner, former Ambassador to Luxemborg and a relative unknown named Saul Anuzis.  Anuzis has the backing of TEA Party Nation, one of the many TEA Party groups out there.  Anuzis has real Conservative credentials and is considered to be the TEA Party's best chance at the RNC chairmanship.  That's why I was absolutely SHOCKED to see that Tom Ross, Delaware's own GOP Chairman, who attacked and berated and flat out disrespected the conservative candidates in the Delaware races this year, had openly put his support behind Saul.  I know, I had to look twice myself and lest ye think this is a joke, here is the visual evidence for you.
There he is, Tom Ross, Delaware Republican Party

2010 Year in review

I'm going to throw out my opinions of the top stories this year in different categories.  Let me know what you think. 

Top Political Story
Christine O'Donnell defeats Mike Castle - This is my top political story of 2010 not because I was a part of it but because there is no other political story in the entire region that comes close.  Christie in New Jersey was in 2009 and the PA Republican conversion didn't catch enough steam.  Christine was THE story for the better part of a month after her defeat of Mike Castle and CNN even hosted a DE Senate debate live and broadcast it nationally (well, most of it anyway).  It was moderated by Wolf Blitzer!  Christine's upset of Castle made the political leadership in DE shit bricks.  She beat a 41 yr career politician who had never lost an election before and who was a 17 yr incumbent Congressman.  She beat him despite him having the backing of the Republican elites and despite a HUGE financial disparity.  She also beat him despite the fact that he refused to debate her and instead spent the entire primary smearing her and trying to destroy her character but staying totally away from any issue.

Runner Ups

GOP wave retakes House and almost nets Senate - Huge national story on November 3rd but not entirely unexpected except by the status quo political establishment.  Plus it missed Delaware BADLY. 

PA goes Republican - Pennsylvania handed many elected offices to Republicans including U.S. Senator (formerly held by Democrat/Republican Arlen Specter) Pat Toomey, Governor Tom Corbitt and 12 of the state's 19 House seats.

Top Sports Story
Michael Vick's resurgence - Vick gave ME a reason to watch the Eagles this year.  I was going to spend the football season with Sundays free but Vick ruined that for my family.  When the Eagles announced that Kevin Kolb would be the starter and Vick the backup before the season I knew it wasn't worth carving out that time to watch the Birds go 6-10 at best.  But when Vick filled in for Kolb after an injury and was playing out of his mind, it made me change my mind about watching the games.  Vick's comeback from 18 months in Ft. Leavenworth prison for dog fighting has been nothing short of amazing.  Morally, Vick has shown real remorse and a change in his behavior that in itself warrants applause.  In football sense, Vick has come back from 2 years off an blossomed into arguably the leagues best QB.  He is a Pro-Bowl starter, has the 2nd highest QB rating in the NFC and leads NFL QB's in rushing in addition to leading the Eagles to a 10-5 record and making them one of the most feared offenses in the NFL.

Runner Ups

Phils sign Cliff Lee (again) - The creation of perhaps the most feared regular season pitching rotation in the history of baseball comes in a VERY close second to Vick.  The formation of R2C2 (Halladay, Oswald, Lee, Hamels) is almost incomprehensible.  I almost feel sorry for the Mets, Nats and Marlins (not the Braves, they had a similar rotation in the 90's so here is some payback) but then again, I'm excited because the Phillies are (barring injuries) virtually assured of another consecutive NL East title.  100 wins?  4 20 game winners?  What kind of records can these 4 set this year?  Time will tell.

Washington gets Philly leftovers - First they got McNabb in a trade many thought could send the Skins to the Super Bowl and the Birds to the basement and that became a bust and then some when McNabb was benched in week 14 in favor of Rex Grossman of all people.  Then the Nats scored Free Agent Jayson Werth from the Phils (which will net the Phils a high compensatory pick, thanks Washington!) and freed the Phils up in the salary market to sign Cliff Lee while replacing Werth's right handed bat with Ben Francisco.

Person of the Year
The American People - Since TIME won't recognize you for your efforts, I will.  You stood up and made your voices heard.  Yes, even the liberals and progressives among us, stood up in record numbers (in Delaware especially) to vote.  Most of us, voted our principles and more now than ever before, you voted with real knowledge of the candidates.  Locally there are more asleep than awake but the numbers are switching.  This is a state where Castle, Carper and Biden have gotten themselves elected year after year so it's really a surprise that common sense candidates like O'Donnell and Urquhart won their primaries.  Yes, the people of America resoundingly awoke in 2010 and all appearances are that it will continue.

Runner Ups
Glenn Beck - Beck organized the Restoring Honor 8/28 event that drew between 500,000 and 700,000 people from across the world to Washington, D.C.  He has inspired millions of Americans to stand up for what they believe in and has been an educational resource for even more.  With that said, Mr. Beck would agree that without YOU the people, he the entertainer, radio/TV host, educator and author is nothing.

Sarah Palin - Sarah Palin has written books, appeared on Fox News, spoken at events around the country, had her own reality show and picked winners and losers in political races around the country.  She's been a force for the limited government conservative movement.  She too would point out you all as the real people of the year.

Christine O'Donnell - Christine inspired many regular Delawareans (and Americans across the country) who otherwise would have stayed uninvolved and gave voice to the conservative base of Delaware's Republican Party.  She brought out a record number of Republican voters to vote for (and against) her in September and made a national name for herself by pointing out that the phrase "Separation of Church and State" does not appear in the Constitution.  In the end, it took YOU to make Christine a household name.

Angela Merkel - Angela set the European world on fire but her words were hardly covered in the American press.  She announced to the EU that indeed, multiculturalism is dead in Germany.  She took a stand against ceding anymore of Germany's national identity to radical Islam and the terrorists who seek to alter and abolish all that makes Germany...well Germany.  She also had the gall to point out that the Obama administration is spending FAR too much money and is devaluing out own currency.  Now if only Obama could sit down with her for a while.

Chris Christie - Gov. Christie was elected in 2009 and that is why he didn't get closer to the top.  In 2010 he challenged the powerful unions in New Jersey and won.  He went after the public employee unions and is especially feared/hated by the servants of Satan themselves (the NJ teachers union).  This alone makes me want to put him higher on the list and maybe he should be but the others are pretty damn good too.

Top Video Game Released
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm - I own it, which gives it higher marks and let's be honest, Blizzard has cornered the market on MMO's.  People can whine and bitch about Star Wars and other such games but since the days of Diablo and Warcraft, Blizzard has been making top flight games.  Cataclysm adds a new design to Azeroth and I don't even mind the fact that I basically had to throw away all of the old "Epic" gear that I had for Greens and Blues.

Runner Ups
Call of Duty: Black Ops - I don't have it but DAMN i want it.  I'm not big into the whole zombie Nazi angle but I really want it more for the multi player.  Everyone that I know who has played it is loving it.

Medal of Honor: Limited Edition - Also known as the other FPS (1st person shooter) next to Call of Duty.  MoH was released first and it gave FPS fiends a few months of multi player madness.  The story mode was a cakewalk but the multi player mode takes some skill.Awesome game.

Madden 10 - Madden is ALWAYS on the list.  It's cornered the NFL market and come on, every year it gets more like you're moving ACTUAL people on the screen instead of bits and bytes.  Another solid offering from the industry masters.

Need for Speed - Need for Speed's latest edition was really a remake of the original with a twist.  Instead of just driving exotic cars like Lamborghini's and Macleran's (as if that where bottom barrel) now you can drive them as the police.  Yes, that's right, now you aren't just being chased by the cops, you can BE the cops.

Christine O'Donnell under fire again

Pick a "news source" (are there any real ones left?  I'm not sure there are any locally in Delaware anymore...maybe The Blaze nationally) this week and you'll see stories about Christine O'Donnell being investigated by the FBI, the FEC and perhaps even MI:6.  There are two things that I gather from this:
1.) The so-called media is OBSESSED with anything that can make conservative women look kooky, insane or fringe. 
2.) The last week of the year is a VERY slow news time.
The "investigation" is nothing more than following up on the FEC filing by CREW.  CREW is a Soros funded left wing "ethics group" who has levied charges against Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel (two obvious Democrat "crooks") to prove it's non-partisan roots.  However, roots are often found in funding sources and group leadership so let's look at those two pieces.

CREW was started in 2003 by Melanie Sloan (we'll cover her later).  In 2006, when George Soros' "Democracy Alliance" was coming under fire by the Washington Post, an article spotlighting the funding sources for left wing groups was published.
Likewise, a Democracy Alliance blessing effectively jump-started Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). It bills itself as a nonpartisan watchdog group committed to targeting "government officials who sacrifice the common good to special interests." Alliance officials see CREW as a possible counterweight to conservative-leaning Judicial Watch, which filed numerous lawsuits against Clinton administration officials in the 1990s. A CREW spokesman declined to comment.
Shocking!  While CREW has denied Soros links in the past, intrepid bloggers gathered information about CREW sourcing when the leftist group filed ethics charges against who else but....Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

Although CREW denies any ties to George Soros, they indeed receive funds from the Democracy Alliance, the Tides Foundation, as well as the Open Society Institute – all Soros front groups.

So, CREW has received money from almost every Soros front group on the map including the Democracy Alliance which takes money from rich Progressives and spreads it around to deserving progressive groups.

From their website:

We are a first-of-its-kind partnership of changemakers who are committed to a stronger democracy and a more progressive America.

Launched in 2005, the Democracy Alliance (DA) was created to build progressive infrastructure that could help counter the well-funded and sophisticated conservative apparatus in the areas of civic engagement, leadership, media, and ideas.

Today the DA provides an innovative opportunity for individuals to leverage their progressive philanthropy by connecting their own efforts with those of other investors/donors, high-impact organizations, and visionary political strategists and leaders.

We play a leadership role in building the movement infrastructure needed to execute and advance a progressive agenda. Our network helps form a more integrated and cohesive progressive community creating greater impact as a result of our collaborative giving strategy.

As we talked about above, the second indicator of the ideals of an organization (funding being the first) is the leadership of the group.  *While doing research for this post, I found the following website which tells you EVERYTHING you need to know about CREW and their crew.  I have added some pictures to the bottom of this post.*
So let's look at the CREW leadership starting at the top with Executive Director Melanie Sloan. Sloan is a former federal prosecutor who made news representing Valerie Plame and Joseph C. Wilson in a civil suit against the Bush Administration (which the Obama Administration threw out on it's face).  She was publicly admonished by a judge int he Scooter Libby trial for attempting to try the case in the media (playing on public opinion is a tactic many liberal lawyers like to use).
Melanie has another hiccup when it comes to bringing this complaint against O'Donnell.  Sloan also worked for Joe Biden whose former seat was being contested by O'Donnell and Coons.  In fact, the CREW suit came after Vice President Biden had called and spoken with Congressman Castle after the September primary.  Congressman Castle and the DEGOP had filed complaints with the FEC to look into slanderous allegations of the misuse of campaign funds in a last ditch effort to entangle O'Donnell in a scandal and steal the Republican Primary election.  Fortunately the Republican voters in Delaware are not the stupid sheep that Castle and the DEGOP leadership must have believed they were.  (In fairness to the Delaware GOP, Chairman Tom Ross has stated that the FEC complaint lodged by attorney Michael Toner was on behalf of the national Republican Party and that he was FORCED to sign the document by party insiders.)  The DEGOP tried to pull back their complaint when they found the claims unsubstantiated and when O'Donnell became the GOP nominee but were told that ALL FEC complaints are investigated. 
O'Donnell won the primary on September 15th, Biden spoke with Castle on September 16th and CREW filed their complaint on September 20th.  The complaint was practically identical to that of the DEGOP complaint and contained testimony from two questionable sources. 
The first source was a disgruntled former campaign volunteer (a family member of O'Donnell's former boyfriend) with a grudge and a chip on his shoulder (apparently his complaint was over a reimbursement of $150 for which no paperwork was ever filed).  The other source is another disgruntled former campaign staffer who was replaced after just a week and a half due to incompetence. 
Next, let's look at how the CREW leadership defines itself:
U.S. Senator Conrad Burns of Montana charged that CREW was "maliciously false" and "partisan hacks" in calling him corrupt in 2005. The Billings Gazette reported that CREW defended itself:[8]
"We are progressive," said Naomi Seligman, the group's deputy director... "We do work within a larger progressive infrastructure." Seligman suggested her group is the progressive counterweight to Judicial Watch, a group from the right that calls itself "a non-profit, public interest law firm dedicated to fighting government corruption"... "We've gone after a fair number of Democrats, even in this study," Seligman said, [and Burns] "should be answering the charges, not slinging charges."
In reality, CREW has "called out" some of the more obviously criminal Democrats (Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel) but they have not sunk their teeth into them the way they have Republicans.  Apparently “a fair number of Democrats” is subjective….in 2005 the numbers were 10 R’s and 3 D’s although the GOP WAS in control then and so were more likely to be corrupt.  In 2010, with a Democrat leadership in place, 16 R’s and 10 D’s were targeted.  The self described "Progressive" group has also targeted Sarah Palin and just about every candidate that Palin endorses. 

*added content*

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gov. Dupont is a TEA Partier

Former Delaware Governor Pete Dupont is one of the most respected living politicians in the state and when he speaks, Delaware listens.  Gov. Dupont is a frequent contributor to the Wall Street Journal and other national publications.  During his tenure as Governor, Delaware experienced a rapid and expansive growth and for that reason, Delaware looks to him as a leader to this day.  He is a fiscal conservative in the mold of Ronald Reagan and Calvin Coolidge, cut the taxes, reduce the spending and adhere to the Constitution.  Pete Dupont is in fact, a TEA Partier.  Gov. Dupont even honored the Delaware TEA Party groups by being the headline speaker at the 2010 Wilmington Tax Day TEA Party held annually at Dravo Plaza.  He addressed a crowd of hundreds who turned out on April 15th and he called for government to reduce spending, cut taxes and shrink the size of government across the board. 

In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week, Gov. Dupont explains the Nov. 2nd elections and calls Obama to the carpet.  He calls for Obama and the new Republican majority in the House to shrink government and remove burdensome regulations so businesses can expand again, cut taxes to stimulate the economy as the Reagan, Kennedy and Coolidge administrations did before them, reduce government spending by cutting discretionary spending and finally to repeal and replace Obamacare with common sense alternatives.  He cited a 136 page rule inserted by DHSS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that places the federal government into a role traditionally held by the states.  He left out however, a regulatory reform from the radical Dr. Donald Berwick and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services that will create the much maligned "Death Panels" that Democrats (including President Obama) promised would be removed from the health care law.  Berwick's rule will allow doctors to be paid for providing "end of life counseling" which will be used along with "Comparative Effectiveness Research" to determine the most cost effective future treatments.  By creating an incentive for doctors to "counsel" seniors as to how long they may or may not want to live, the government is effectively removing choice from the equation.  Medicare doctors, who already enjoy a unique control over their patients, will have a financial reason to ensure that every patient receives counseling on how long they should live. 

In the end, Dupont calls on the new Republican House to "Get to it" and begin the work to reform government.  Understanding that the road will be hard and paved with bumps, the new Congress and the improved Senate must fight to reduce the size of government, limit spending, reduce the tax burden and replace Obamacare with common sense reforms while returning choice and competition back to the people and the states.  Gov. Dupont is a TEA Partier at heart and he espouses the values and the principles which we hold dear.  In Delaware, we could not have a better man to look to for guidance as a grassroots movement.  I join Governor Dupont in his support of the new look Congress.  "Let's get to it".

Mayor Bloomberg admits that government cannot be everywhere all the time

In a stunning admission of government ineptitude, NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who bought himself changes to NYC election law in order to gain a 3rd term and who cofounded No Labels with the likes of Mike Castle and Charlie Crist (I call them the Three Musketeers) admitted in a press conference being held to address the failure of the NYC snow removal crews to adequately clear the city streets of snow, that government cannot get to everyone all the time.  This is a stunning revelation because this is exactly the same argument that the left has used for why government SHOULD be trusted with EVERYTHING, because they CAN get to everyone and the private sector can't.  So, if the private sector can't get to everyone AND the government can't....who do you trust?  Or is it just a fact that there will be those who slip through the cracks no matter what?  Perhaps the founders were right to trust individuals with taking care of themselves and those around them instead of government. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Turns out Christine O'Donnell actually HELPED down ticket Republicans

At least, that is how it would appear when one looks at the exit polling from the Delaware U.S. Senate race.  O'Donnell struggled with women(36% for 61% against) and with black voters(93% against) in the state.  It's been long understood that those groups are the most important blocs to win in Delaware.  Details of the exit poll breakdown show that O'Donnell tied Coons among white women (48% each) but lost black women 95% - 4% which accounts for nearly the entire 25 point swing in female voters.  What appears to have done O'Donnell in is the 18% of Republicans who abandoned the more conservative O'Donnell as opposed to the 9% of Democrats who crossed over to vote against Coons. 

So what does all this mean?  Republicans down ticket SHOULD have benefited from the increases in Republicans and Independent voters over the registration totals.  Remember, the registration gap at election time was:
Democrats:  47 %.  

Republicans:  29.4%.  
"Other" & Independents:  23.5%

Yet the exit polling shows that Democrats made up only 44% of actual voters in November:
Democrats:  44 %.

Republicans:  30%.   
"Other" & Independents:  27%

So in theory, this should have HELPED candidates down ticket, not hurt them as has been suggested by the GOP elite.  There is one explanation for why those candidates may have lost their races....the 18% of Republicans who voted against O'Donnell.  It's interesting that 18% of Delaware Republicans cost Christine the election and likewise, 18% of Delaware Republicans consider themselves more liberal than moderate.
Democrats:  44%. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

DE Conservative: Vince Meconi is back (again)

DE Conservative: Vince Meconi is back (again): "This guy just won't go away! Vince Meconi, longtime Delaware government bureaucrat and Democrat insider is back on government payroll...."

Vince Meconi is back (again)

This guy just won't go away!  Vince Meconi, longtime Delaware government bureaucrat and Democrat insider is back on government payroll.  Meconi has been at top levels of Delaware government since 1993 and one of those posts, as the head of DHSS led him to the land of infamy.  He was the head of the agency that was responsible for the Delaware Psychiatric Center abuses.  Meconi presided over rapes, assaults and retaliations against whistle blowers at DPC and yet was given a generous pension for his inaction.  While he led DHSS, Meconi hauled in a whopping $143,000 and his pension for all his failures is $7,633.56 per month ($91,602.72 per year).  Heck of a pay cut for someone who is used to a 6 figure salary but not to worry.  While Meconi was out of work when Minner left office, the new Democrat leadership under Markell was just as corrupt and as such, a lifetime bureaucrat holdover from Minner is useful.  That's why Markell hired Meconi and invited him to double dip.  While still receiving his pension pay, Meconi was given a job with the new administration, short term of course (the job lasted nearly a year) pulling down just $73,125 in taxpayer funds.  All together, Meconi's annual take of taxpayer funds came to nearly $165,000. 

Even the establishment politicians in the Republican Party see Meconi as a problem.  Greg Lavelle, one of the more establishment of the establishment Republicans, filed a FOIA request to look into the Meconi hiring.  Now Vince is back, this time at the County level.  Incoming New Castle County Executive Paul Clark has hired good old Vince to be the deputy chief administrative officer of New Castle County.  This is a post he first held with the State government under Tom Carper.  Is it any wonder that Delaware elected Chris Coons and John Carney to Washington?  The people of this state are gluttons for punishment and they love being taken for fools and having lifelong politicians steal millions from the taxpayers.  This just goes to show that in Delaware, just when you think you're out, they pull you BACK IN!

DPC stories
DPC Unions expect inquiries
Timeline of abuses

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Media gets it wrong again on No Labels

As usual, the media flubs it. Linda Killian has a piece running on in the AOL political section today on No Labels, a new progressive front group founded by some of the top progressive establishment types in America (and Canada). Sadly, her piece misses the mark on so many levels. For one thing, she claims that there are “nearly 40 percent of American voters who consider themselves Independents”. Now, in reality, about 18% of Americans are registered Republicans, 23% are registered Democrats and about 14% are registered independents. Those who consider themselves “Independent” who are not registered, registered as another third party or even registered under one of the major parties bumps the number up to about 33%. However, a closer inspection of the American ideological spectrum through actual data shows a stark contrast between her context and the political realities. Even giving her the benefit of the doubt in claiming that 40% of the nation is “Independent”, the ideological breakdown done by Gallup way back in June of this year (2010 for you progressives out there) shows that the number of people calling themselves “Conservative” or “Very Conservative” has actually risen 2% from this time last year and the number stands at 42%. Another 20% consider themselves liberal or very liberal and political moderates are down to 35%. Additionally, of those registered Independents, 36% consider themselves politically conservative and disenfranchised with the parties while 41% consider themselves politically moderate.

None of this means that moderates aren’t important mind you. The TEA Party groups that sprang up across the nation tapped into the spirit of bipartisanship and reaching a MAJORITY of American voters by focusing on jobs, the economy and placing limits on the federal government. There is absolutely room for us to have discussions WELL across the political spectrum but that is not what progressive groups like No Labels see to do. These groups seek to stifle public debate and keeps the decision making process amongst an elite few. This group has been created by an army of progressive supporters of President Obama because these folks have decided that somehow America wants progressivism despite overwhelming data to the contrary. 51% now say they are worse off under Obama and 66% say the country is heading in the wrong direction under progressive leadership. Jobless claims are hovering just around the 10% mark and there is little urgency by the political class to do anything about it. The American people are not that stupid. That is why Americans rejected the founders of No Labels resoundingly in 2010. Mike Castle and Charlie Crist are founding politicians of the group and both were ousted in their own party primaries (Crist switched to the Independent line just before the primary he was clearly going to lose to Marco Rubio) and Indiana Senator Evan Bayh is stepping down from the Senate because his own reelection chances were slim. Kirsten Gillibrand from New York held on to her job in Washington and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg spent $85 million of his own vast fortune on changing the rules to run for a 3rd term.

All of this begs the question, If such an overwhelming majority of Americans want bi-partisanship and efficient government, why did they oust candidates like Castle and Crist who have a lengthy record of crossing the aisle to work with increasingly liberal Democrats? The answer may lie in a recent survey that was pointed out in The Hill back in April of this year (2010). The study found that 4 in 10 TEA Party members was either a Democrat or an Independent. 57% of the TEA Party members were Republicans while 41% were Democrat or Independent. With the media having spent a great deal of time painting the TEA Party as a vast right wing conspiracy and a group of far right wingnuts, you would expect the numbers to be a little more weighted than that right? Further evidence that political moderates by and large actually find the TEA Party more than palatable is found in the same study which saw 2/3rds of the TEA Party considering themselves conservatives, 26% moderate and 8% liberal. So, No Labels considers itself a counter to the TEA Party and a moderate progressive voice for a majority of Americans yet, 26% of moderates agree with the TEA Party and consider themselves a part of the movement? That makes no sense.

So who is No Labels really out to support? The political class (these are big government, progressive, establishment types). This group is out to support a full 14% of the American population. They see power slipping from their grasp and they won’t let it go gently into that good night. They see their backroom deals in smoke filled rooms dissipating before their eyes and it scares them because if they lose this, what else do they have? It’s sad to see people who began their careers with the best of intentions, slip into such dark and lonely places. Thank God the majority of the American people are too smart to fall for these kinds of tricks.

Peeling back the labels on "No Labels"
Castle joins other progressives in creating "No Labels"

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Peeling back the labels on No Labels

Fans of this blog will recall that yesterdays post examined a new progressive group launched by Mike Castle and a host of other establishment political types.  For those of you who might be reading this blog for the first time and who may not be familiar with the term “Progressive” in politics, please begin your study here.  The term sounds benign, even wonderful, moving the country forward and progressing sounds appealing.  The problem is that along the way, as you evolve the government, individuals lose their personality and individuality.  You will need to understand Progressivism to understand the rest of this post.
Today we will focus on some of the founders of No Labels and their affiliations.  No Labels lists 11 founding members on their website and while each of these founding leaders is indeed linked to Progressive or liberal causes, we’ll examine 6 of them in total and 2 in this post. 
David Frum
American progressives (as you know from the history lesson above) have learned that in America’s political structure, it is imperative that you work within BOTH major parties if you are going to accomplish any REAL lasting changes.  In a Republic built to allow laws to be written, removed and reinstated depending on how the  people feel, it is increasingly difficult (and rightfully so) to fundamentally transform America.  That is why progressives cannot be pigeon-holed into only the Democrat Party.  Look at Teddy Roosevelt, perhaps the biggest Progressive to every become President, who was a Republican!  In fact, today, the Republican Party is nearly as progressive as the Democrat Party.  John McCain, Mike Castle, Olympia Snowe and Lisa Murkowski are just a few examples of Republican progressives serving in Washington, D.C. right now. 
Progressives also understand the need to make their views appear mainstream and accepted across the political spectrum in order to build support on both sides of the issues.  That is why modern progressive Republicans have attempted to call themselves conservatives in order to provide a “conservative voice” who can champion their causes.  Frum is a so called “conservative voice” who is frequently called upon by liberal sources like the New York Times, MSNBC and the Washington Post to provide opinions from “the other side”.   
Frum grew up in Ontario, Canada and his first real political move at age 14 was to volunteer for a member of the Canadian “New Democrat Party”.   After attending Yale and working for the Wall Street Journal and Forbes he did work at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (a conservative think tank in NYC).  Once President Bush was elected in 2000, the Canadian citizen (he received his U.S. citizenship on 9-11-07) was appointed as a speechwriter for economics in the White House where he worked from 2001 to 2002. Beginning in 2003 he worked at the American Enterprise Institute but was let go in March of this year amid his criticism of Fox News and the conservative opposition to Obamacare. 
This is not the first time Frum had been discharged amid controversy.  In 2008, Frum broke with National Review Online when he started The New Majority which has become a centrist funding arm.  Frum has also categorized younger readers as “a generation often repelled by today's mainstream conservatism” and he has consistently attacked conservative positions that conflict with President Obama’s agenda.  Frum has supported Obama and progressives in feuds with other more conservative columnists like Stanley Kurtz.  In fact, Frum has increasingly bucked the ideas of conservatism in favor of more populist and progressive positions even to the point of being widely considered to be a progressive plant in the media who practices “pragmatic conservatism” which is little more than slower progressivism.  He has also consistently attacked the TEA Party as being “too conservative” or “lacking pragmatism”.  He has joined a slew of progressive Republicans who have rejected the ideas of reducing the deficit by using the principles of Reagan who lowered taxes to drive up revenue and cut spending to balance the budget. 
Frums conservative credentials are weak when viewed in the overall context of his writing and political viewpoints.  It certainly doesn’t help his cause that his wife, author Danielle Crittenden, is a long time Huffington Post contributor.  In the end it’s pretty clear that Frum is little more than a shill for the progressive movement in general and specifically for the Republican Establishment progressives who value remaining in power far more than retaining freedom and liberty for the people.
Holly Page
Holly Page’s credentials from the No Labels website describe her as having spent 13 years at the Democratic Leadership Council (with the last 5 spent as Executive VP).  The site glosses over her real job which is as a lobbyist with Fontheim International.  Let’s go back just a moment and introduce you to the DLC.  It was started in 1985 by Will Marshall and Al From in response to the dramatic losses by Democrats in the 1984 General election when Reagan conservatism paved the way for Republicans.  Reagan’s natural conservatism reached out to the American middle class, a group that had long been courted by and been loyal to the Democrat Party.  Democrats had lost the popular vote badly and From and Marshall founded the DLC and it’s think tank the “Progressive Policy Institute” in order to discover ways to win back the American middle class.  DLC, PPI and their latest initiative “The Third Way” are aimed at using the moderates and the concept of bi-partisanship to push through the progressive agenda and encourage an ever growing, ever more powerful government.
Mrs. Page has played a key role with the DLC and is responsible for “The National Conversation” which is the largest gathering of Democratic elected officials outside of the DNC.  She brokered a deal with Harvard and the Aspen Institute to provide leadership development training to progressive elected officials.  Holly is also responsible for setting up the first ever online town hall with President Clinton in 1998 and a World Leaders Summit for the Third Way.  She is a dedicated progressive who has worked for progressive political candidates for almost two decades. 

This concludes today’s look at the leaders of “No Labels” and gives you an idea of what you will find in the weeks to come as we begin to peel back the label on the people behind the organization.  You will see the progressive roots in each leader and the connections to other progressive organizations.  The media has called this group “MSNBC’s TEA Party” and to prove its effectiveness the leaders spent the last 12 months preparing a launch event that drew 1,100 people to Columbia University in NYC.  By contrast, the 1st ever April 15th TEA Party in Wilmington, Delaware drew nearly 1,500 in the cold and driving rain.  Outdoor events across the state drew nearly 2,500 participants.  New York City is 9 times the size of Delaware in terms of population.  I’m just sayin’.

Next up: Jonathan Cowan and Mark McKinnon

American Progressivism

I.  Who were the Progressives, and why are they important?
R.J. Pestritto
Shipley Professor of the American Constitution at Hillsdale College 

American Progressivism
by Ronald J. Pestritto

In today’s piece, I’ll explain who the Progressives were and why they were important. 
Many on the left today call themselves “progressive,” and they do so not just because it’s a nicer way of saying “liberal,” but also because they very much intend to revive the political principles of America’s original Progressives, from the Progressive Era of the 1880s through World War I.  Why would leftist politicians, like Mrs. Clinton, purposely identify themselves with this Progressive movement?
The reason is that America’s original Progressives were also its original, big-government liberals.  Most people point to the New Deal era as the source of big government and the welfare state that we have today.  While this is perfectly accurate, it is important to understand that the principles of the New Deal did not originate in the New Deal; rather, they came from the Progressives, who had dominated American politics and intellectual cultural a generation prior to the New Deal.
We have no less an authority on this connection than Franklin Roosevelt himself.  When FDR campaigned in 1932, he pointed to the Progressives – and in particular to Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson – as the source of his ideas about government. 
In terms of the personalities who made up the Progressive movement, some are familiar to us and others are less so.  The movement was comprised of well known politicians like Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt; but it was also comprised of intellectuals and writers who are less well known but who have been very influential in America.  There were folks like John Dewey, who was America’s public philosopher for much of the early 20th century.  Even less well known was Herbert Croly, but Croly was highly influential, since he founded and was the first editor of The New Republic – which became the main organ of Progressive opinion in the United States, and is still one of the most important journals on the Left today.  I should add here that Woodrow Wilson actually fell into both of these categories – he was both a well known politician and president, but also was, for decades prior to his entry into politics, a prominent intellectual (a college professor and president of Princeton) who wrote many books and influential articles.
As I’ll explain in my next piece, these Progressives wanted a thorough transformation in America’s principles of government, from a government permanently dedicated to securing individual liberty to one whose ends and scope would change to take on any and all social and economic ills.  Here’s the order of the points we’ll consider in the pieces to follow:
    1) What did Progressives think about the American founding, and why did they want to eradicate its principles? 
    2) How did we get today’s excessively powerful presidency from the Progressives? 
    3) What was the connection between Progressivism and Socialism?  Were the Progressives actually Socialists? 
    4) What are some of the critical connections between Progressivism and what’s going on in our country today? 
For more on the Progressives, two of my books may be of interest:
    1) American Progressivism, which I co-edited with American historian William Atto, contains a basic introduction to progressive ideas written by Professor Atto and me, and then several selections from the actual writings of Progressives like Wilson, TR, Dewey, Croly, and others.
2) Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, which is a much more in-depth look at Woodrow Wilson and how he was central to originating the liberalism that dominates America today.  This is for those who are really interested in history and political theory.

.  The Progressives and their Attack on America’s Founding

As I mentioned in my last piece, America’s Progressives aimed for a thorough transformation in America’s principles of government.  While our founders understood that our national government must have the capacity to be strong and vigorous (this is why the Articles of Confederation were failing), they also were very clear that this strength must always be confined to very limited ends or areas of responsibility; government, in other words, while not weak or tiny, was to be strictly limited
The Progressive conception of government, on the other hand, was quite the opposite; Progressives had an “evolving” or a “living” notion of government (yes, we get the term “living constitution” from the Progressives), and thus wanted government to take on whatever role and scope the times demanded.  The Progressives reasoned that people of the founding era may have wanted a limited government, given their particular experience with George III, but they argued that people of their own time wanted a much more activist government, and that we should adjust accordingly.
Quite simply, the Progressives detested the bedrock principles of American government.  They detested the Declaration of Independence, which enshrines the protection of individual natural rights (like property) as the unchangeable purpose of government; and they detested the Constitution, which places permanent limits on the scope of government and is structured in a way that makes the extension of national power beyond its original purpose very difficult.  “Progressivism” was, for them, all about progressing, or moving beyond, the principles of our founders. 
This is why the Progressives were the first generation of Americans to denounce openly our founding documents.  Woodrow Wilson, for example, once warned that “if you want to understand the real Declaration of Independence, do not repeat the preface” – i.e. that part of the Declaration which talks about securing individual natural rights as the only legitimate purpose of government.  And Theodore Roosevelt, when using the federal government to take over private businesses during the 1902 coal strike, is reported to have remarked, “To hell with the Constitution when people want coal!”  This remark may be apocryphal, but it is a fair representation of how TR viewed these matters. 
In the next piece, we’ll consider how the presidency was transformed under men like Wilson and TR.

III.  How the Progressives Originated the Modern Presidency
As I explained in my last piece, the Progressives wanted to disregard the Constitution in order to enlarge vastly the scope of government.  As a practical matter, how was this to be done?  It happened in a variety of ways, but principal among them was a fundamental change in the American presidency.
Under the system of our founders, government was to have sufficient strength and energy to accomplish its ends, but those ends were strictly limited by the Constitution.  The principal way in which the Constitution keeps the government within its boundaries is through the separation of powers.  As readers of The Federalist and of Thomas Jefferson know, the point of separation of powers is to keep any one set of hands from wielding all of the power in national government.
The Progressives, especially Woodrow Wilson, hated the separation of powers for precisely this reason: it made government inefficient, and made it difficult, if not impossible, to expand the power of government so that it could take on all of the new tasks that Progressives had in mind.  So they looked to the presidency as a way of getting around this obstacle.
Under the original system, the president was merely leader of a single branch, or part, of the government, and thus could not provide leadership of the government as a whole.  In his book Constitutional Government, Wilson urged that “leadership and control must be lodged somewhere.” The president, Wilson pointed out, was the only politician who could claim to speak for the people as a whole, and thus he called upon the president to rise above the separation of powers – to consider himself not merely as chief of a single branch of government, but as the popular leader of the whole of national politics. Wilson even contrasted the “constitutional aspect” of the presidency – its constitutionally defined role as chief of one of the three co-equal branches of government – to the “political” function of the president, where he could use his connection to public opinion as a tool for moving all of the branches of government in the direction called for by the people.
It was in this way that Wilson believed the original intention of the separation of powers system could be circumvented, and the enhanced presidency could be a means energizing the kind of active national government that the progressive agenda required.
In the next piece, we’ll consider whether the principles of the Progressives made them socialists.

.  Progressivism and Socialism
Since the Progressives had such a limitless view of state power, and since they wanted to downplay the founders’ emphasis on individual rights, it is only natural to ask if they subscribed to socialism.  There are several things to consider in answering this question.  First, when considering the relationship of progressivism to socialism, we must be clear that we are talking about the similarity in the philosophy of government; we are not suggesting that America’s progressives were the kind of moral monsters that we see in the history of some socialist or fascist regimes (although it is the case that their racial views – particularly those of Woodrow Wilson – were indeed morally reprehensible).
Second, we must also bear in mind that there was an actual socialist movement during the Progressive Era, and prominent progressives such as Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt were critics of it.  In fact, Wilson and Roosevelt both ran against a socialist candidate in the 1912 election (Eugene Debs).  The progressives were ambivalent about the socialist movement of their day not so much because they disagreed with it in principle, but because the American socialist movement was a movement of the lower classes.  The progressives were elitists; they looked down their noses at the socialists, considering them a kind of rabble.
Keeping these points in mind, it is, nonetheless, the case that the progressive conception of government closely coincided with the socialist conception.  Both progressivism and socialism champion the prerogatives of the state over the prerogatives of the individual.  Wilson himself made this connection very plain in a revealing essay he wrote in 1887 called “Socialism and Democracy.”  Wilson’s begins this essay by defining socialism, explaining that it stands for unfettered state power, which trumps any notion of individual rights. It “proposes that all idea of a limitation of public authority by individual rights be put out of view,” Wilson wrote, and “that no line can be drawn between private and public affairs which the State may not cross at will.” After laying out this definition of socialism, Wilson explains that he finds nothing wrong with it in principle, since it was merely the logical extension of genuine democratic theory. It gives all power to the people, in their collective capacity, to carry out their will through the exercise of governmental power, unlimited by any undemocratic idea like individual rights. He elaborated:
    “In fundamental theory socialism and democracy are almost if not quite one and the same. They both rest at bottom upon the absolute right of the community to determine its own destiny and that of its members. Limits of wisdom and convenience to the public control there may be: limits of principle there are, upon strict analysis, none.”
Roosevelt, too, argued for a new conception of government, where individual natural rights would no longer serve as a principled boundary that the state was prohibited from crossing.  He called in his New Nationalism program for the state to take an active role in effecting economic equality by way of superintending the use of private property. Private property rights, which had been serving as a brake on the more aggressive progressive policy proposals, were to be respected, Roosevelt argued, only insofar as the government approved of the property’s social usefulness.  He wrote:
    “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. This, I know, implies a policy of a far more active governmental interference with social and economic conditions in this country than we have yet had, but I think we have got to face the fact that such an increase in governmental control is now necessary.”
In the next and final piece, we will consider the some of the most important connections between the original progressives and the resurgence of progressivism today.

.  Progressivism and the Current Crisis
There are important connections between America’s original Progressive Era and the crisis we are facing today, and it is useful to consider these connections on two levels.
The first connection is at a general level, and concerns our abandonment of the Constitution.  The present crisis did not appear out of nowhere, and didn’t simply begin with the election of Barack Obama.  Politicians of both parties spent the better part of the 20th century disregarding the Constitution, as they looked to have government step up to solve every conceivable human problem.  Thus it ought to be no surprise that the Constitution’s limits on government aren’t even part of the conversation today as our politicians debate the new interventions in our economy and society that seem to come daily. 
Such a state of things would have greatly pleased America’s original progressives.  As I’ve endeavored to explain in these pieces for the newsletter, progressives believed that the role of government should be determined not by our Constitution, but by whatever the needs of the day happened to be.  This is why they sought to eradicate talk of the Constitution from our political discourse; today, that goal seems to have been realized.
The second connection between the original Progressive Era and our situation today has to do with policy.  The progressives knew that our original system of government was not capable of handling all of the new tasks that they had in mind for it.  So they envisioned creating a vast set of bureaucratic agencies.  They argued that Congress should enact very broad and vague laws for supervising more and more facets of the American economy and society, and then delegate to the bureaucratic agencies the power and discretion to enact specific policies.  Both Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt conceived of government in this way.
The New Deal certainly went a long way toward implementing this progressive vision, and what we have seen in our own situation with TARP and the various other interventions is simply greater steps toward the progressive plan.  Our Congress has simply said to the Treasury agencies: here’s a trillion dollars, here’s all the legal authority you need, now go out, determine what is in the public interest, and spend and regulate accordingly.  That is the progressive vision of government, in a nutshell.
For more on the Progressives, two of my books may be of interest:
    1) American Progressivism, which I co-edited with American historian William Atto, contains a basic introduction to progressive ideas written by Professor Atto and me, and then several selections from the actual writings of Progressives like Wilson, TR, Dewey, Croly, and others.
    2) Woodrow Wilson and the Roots of Modern Liberalism, which is a much more in-depth look at Woodrow Wilson and how he was central to originating the liberalism that dominates America today.  This is for those who are really interested in history and political theory.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Castle joins other Progressives in creating “No Labels”

Congressman Mike Castle has once again displayed the reason he was soundly rejected by the Delaware GOP electorate in his primary bid for U.S. Senate this past September. He has joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Evan Bayh from Indiana, former Florida Governor (and Republican turned Independent) Senate candidate Charlie Crist and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand in helping to form the new activist group “No Labels”. The group is said to be “a counter to the T.E.A. Party movement” and the motto is “Not left. Not right. Forward”. The idea of the motto is to portray the group as a mixture of many different ideological perspectives all seeking the common goal of “doing what’s right for the people”. The group seeks to fill a perceived void between on the left and the T.E.A. Party groups on the right. Sadly, the fact is that the group is built on the idea that THEY know what is best for “the people” and that THEY in turn need to make the decisions. It’s entire concept of a perceived void speaks to its roots in Progressivism and not a real need for Centrist movement.

The group is a concept hatched by political strategists Nancy Jacobson (Hillary Clinton campaign veteran) and Mark MicKinnon (John McCain/George Bush) and touted by MSNBC hosts. In fact, the launch event was moderated by Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Dylan Ratigan, and Michael Smerconish. Politicians like Crist and Castle jumped on the chance to get behind this new reincarnation of the Soros “Mainstreet Republicans”. Looking through the leadership of the group, it’s easy to spot the real purpose behind the facade. It’s a group intended to promote Progressive policies by using whatever direction the wind blows. Their idea of bipartisanship is little more than moving the country further to the left incrementally instead of all at one time.

Their cause sounds noble. Seeking to make government more efficient and more fluid sounds great but we have to stop and look at what our founders gave us. Is our government meant to be efficient and solve all of our problems? Well, let’s look at the quotes our founders gave us to find that answer:

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” – George Washington

“The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government - lest it come to dominate our lives and interests.” – Patrick Henry

“Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” – Declaration of Independence
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." - Thomas Jefferson

"If Congress can employ money indefinitely to the general welfare, and are the sole and supreme judges of the general welfare, they may take the care of religion into their Own hands; they may a point teachers in every state, county, and parish, and pay them out of their public treasury; they may take into their own hands the education of children, establishing in like manner schools throughout the Union; they may assume the provision for the poor; they may undertake the regulation of all roads other than post-roads; in short, every thing, from the highest object of state legislation down to the most minute object of police, would be thrown under the power of Congress; for every object I have mentioned would admit of the application of money, and might be called, if Congress pleased, provisions for the general welfare." - James Madison

It’s quite clear from these quotes that the founders intended a limited government based on rights possessed by the people and lent to government. It is a government rooted in individual liberty and natural law. What does that mean? Natural law is a law of nature that every person is entitled to from birth such as the right to self defence, the right to pursue happiness and the right to live. Ask yourself this question next time you read about a law the government wants to pass: “Do I have the natural right to do that?” If you don’t have the natural right to do it, government cannot do it either. Yes, that means that a great many of the laws government has created extend beyond the intended reach of government at many levels. Let’s look at an example:
If your friend Tom does not buy health insurance, do you have the power to force him to buy it? Of course not! Neither does the government.

So the Founders intended government to be restrained by the Constitution. There is little doubt of that. But what about the political class we have today? The founders intended the people to be involved in the process and in fact to control government. The founders themselves were not aristocrats; they were farmers, merchants, lawyers (not nearly the lucrative profession it is today), doctors and writers. George Washington is an example of the idea of the founders for government, he was elected President unanimously and could easily have been King for life but he chose to leave office after only 2 terms. The founders even built wording into America’s first laws “Government derives its power from the just consent of the governed.” (Declaration of Independence) and Thomas Jefferson was quite clear when he said, “Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories." The American government is meant to be small, limited to a few powers defined in our founding document and controlled by the people.

Lastly, let’s talk about the founders intentions for efficiency of government. Washington called government “force” and said “Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.” This is a common feeling throughout the origins of our nation. The founders distrusted a powerful government that was able to give the citizens everything they wanted. Ben Franklin said as much, when he intimated that a government large enough to give us all that we desire is large enough to take everything we have. A cursory look over the Constitution itself shows you that the document is meant to be a series of checks and balances. No branch of the federal government has complete control or can even accomplish anything without the others. The President may set the agenda but Congress must pass it and the Supreme Court can overturn it. Congress may control the writing of the budget but the President must sign it and the Supreme Court may strike portions that are unconstitutional. The Supreme Court may determine the constitutionality of a law but they are restricted from writing it or setting policy. Finally we have the issue of the people and the states. They are the final arbiters of federal law. The states were intended to retain more powers than the federal government and the people were left with the bulk of the power. The states, in conjunction with Congress, even have the ability to alter the Constitution which is a power that even Congress cannot do alone. The President has no role in this process at all. The two ways the Constitution can be amended are:
1.) Constitutional Convention (this method has never been used) called by 2/3rds of the state legislatures

2.) A proposal by Congress which is done so by obtaining 2/3rds majorities in both the House and Senate and then ratification by 3/4ths of the state legislatures.

As you can see, the process to change the Constitution and even to write and pass a law is intended to be an arduous process that is not undertaken lightly. We haven’t even touched the partisan divide and lest ye think the founders weren’t a partisan group, remember that from the very beginning there were debates and opinions. The party process has actually streamlined the legal process by uniting individual lawmakers around common party causes and even undercut the states by dividing the Senate along party lines. During the time of the founders, the factions included Federalists, Anti-Federalists and Loyalists. Imagine the gridlock that met the first Congress as the individual states, which had just fought a war against the most powerful army and government in the world, vied for their own piece of the federal pie! Gridlock in government is built into the Constitution and built into the federal government design from the founders.

Now back to our friends over at “No Labels” who claim that the TEA Party is an extremist movement that they stand to be a counter to. We’ve already discovered that their opinion that government should be efficient and solve all of our problems is not in keeping with the ideals of the founders. So let’s examine what the “No Labels” crowd has said in their own words, that they stand to counter. The Tea Party stands for:

So it begs the question, does “No Labels” stand against these things? The media and the political establishment have consistently fought to portray the TEA Party movement as a radical right wing group but I ask each of you who read this, do you see anything extreme in the points above? Do you disagree with the idea that taxes should be kept as low as possible? Do you disagree that individuals should be able to pursue the career of their choice in a market that is not controlled by the government(meaning we aren’t told what to do for a living, what to buy, how to make it and what to sell)? Do you disagree that the government should abide by the Constitution? Finally, does anyone disagree that our government should be ultimately accountable to the people? If you can’t disagree with these things, seek out a TEA Party group near you.
1.) Constitutionally Limited Government
2.) Low Taxes
3.) Free Markets
4.) Government Accountable to the people

The “No Labels” folks are little more than the Progressive political establishment who see the TEA Party movement as a threat to their current monopoly on power OVER the people. They see that it is educating more and more people and that the movement reaches across party lines while the common sense it preaches is refocusing the debate on the issues on their merits and taking nothing for granted. They’re frightened because people like Mike Castle, who long ago stopped listening to his constituents were badly beaten in primaries and general elections across the country. Charlie Crist is another example of a Progressive who was rejected by the people and who has joined “No Labels” in an effort to stick it to the citizens who had simply had enough of the failed Progressive policies. In the coming weeks and months we will look into each of the leaders of “No Labels” in an effort to find the true purpose behind the group. All appearances at this time point to a group of Progressives, largely political pundits, strategists and politicians who are turning on the people of America after being rejected by their constituents and the American public at large.

Phillies sign Cliff Lee

Cliff Lee was an essential element to the Phillies 2009 World Series run and brought stability to a pitching rotation that needed a hero.  Fans had called for the Phillies to sign Roy Halladay but the Fightin's were unwilling to part with the likes of Domonic Brown in order to obtain the perenial All-Star at the time.  Instead they picked up Cliff Lee from the Cleveland Indians for little more than chump change.  It was a steal that paid immediate dividends and earned the Phils a 2nd straight World Series run.  2009 ended badly for the Phils as the Yankees beat them in the Series but the Phillies only fought harder in 2010 and signed both Roy Halladay AND Roy Oswalt which gave them 3 viable number 1 starters (Cole Hamels is the missing top flight starter as Lee was traded to Seattle) and one of the best starting rotations in baseball. 

After being bounced from the playoffs by the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, the Phillies lost Jayson Werth to the Washington Nationals and decided that the next best thing was to snatch up another top flight pitcher.  They offered Cliff Lee $30 million less than the New York Yankees and Lee jumped on the chance to return to Philly.  The Phillies now have the most dominant rotation in baseball today and possess 4 of the 10 best starters in baseball.  Having 4 starters who in all likihood will keep the opponents under 3 runs allows the Phillies to lose the potential offensive weapon in Jayson Werth and negates the need to seek another power hitting outfielder.  It also sets up a playoff rotation (I'm calling it now, the Phillies will win the division going away) that looks like this:

Roy Halladay
Roy Oswalt
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels

The Phillies have basically built an All-Star teams rotation that solidifies a playoff berth and likely puts them in the Series.  The folks here in the Philly area have dubbed them: The Fearsome Foursome, The 4 Aces and of course they have modified H20 and created H2C2.  The only question now is, who gets to 20 games first? 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

December 7th is unique in Delaware

People all over the country know December 7th as "A day that will live in infamy" but for Delaware, today is a day that is both bitter and sweet. 154 years before Japan launched a surprise attack against the Hawaiian Naval base at Pearl Harbor which brought America fully into WWII, Delaware became the first state to ratify a revolutionary new concept of Federalism and create the first true representative republic in more than a thousand years. Delaware got it's nickname on this day and "The First State" was born on December 7th, 1787.

Delaware was quite prominent in colonial times despite it's small size and the youth of the colony. Delaware had been part of Pennsylvania up until only a few years before Americans declared their independence from Britain.  Delaware had been known as "The Lower Counties" since 1682 when the Duke of York passed his ownership to William Penn in an effort to ensure that Maryland did not gain the territory. By 1704 the colony of Pennsylvania had grown so large that "The Lower Counties" were impeding political decisions.  At that time the "Lower Counties" and Pennsylvania decided to meet separately and while Penn retained control of the Governor of the territory (which was also the Pennsylvania Governor, FYI: John Dickinson was a native of Kent County Delaware) the legislature was free to make its own decisions.  A dispute over colonial boundaries and the desire of the "Lower Counties" to govern themselves was settled by the people of Delaware on June 15th, 1776 when the General Assembly was convinced by Thomas McKean and Caesar Rodney to vote for independence from Britain and Pennsylvania at the same time!  The rest of the colonies would follow Delaware's lead 2 weeks later when they voted in Philadelphia on July 2nd to adopt the "Declaration of Independence".

Delaware would later contribute one of the premier regiments in the Continental Army.  They were called the "Delaware Blues" and nicknamed the "Blue Hen Chickens" because their tenacity matched that of the gamecocks that the soldiers used in off duty cock fights.  The regiment survived nearly the entire Revolution and fought in almost every battle.  Also, the Battle of Cooch's Bridge (the only Revolutionary War battle fought in Delaware) is believed to be the first time that the Stars and Stripes was flown in battle.

After the Revolutionary War, John Dickinson served as Delaware's first President and signed the Articles of Confederation as a representative from Delaware.  Later, Dickinson was pressed into service by Delaware once again to join  Gunning Bedford, Jr., Richard Bassett, George Read, and Jacob Broom in Annapolis at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.  Dickinson fought to ensure that every state, regardless of size, had a equal vote in the new government.  The Great Compromise (also known as the Connecticuit Compromise) assured Dickinson's desire and the ratification of the Constitution by the Delaware legislature.  Dickinson then supported a strong central government and he even wrote a series of 9 essays under the pen name Fabius supporting the new government.

Thus Delaware was born.  154 years later, the Japanese would strike a deep blow at Pearl Harbor and Dec. 7th would become Pearl Harbor Day in remembrance of the thousands of sailors, airmen and Marines who lost their lives on that day.  Still, in Delaware the date is remembered as "Delaware Day" or "Ratification Day" which makes Delaware able to celebrate the formation of of the United States of America on the same day that they commemorate the deaths of those who defended the nation.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Not Werth the hassle...

Early in 2010 the Philadelphia Eagles made what was considered at the time to have been a mind boggling trade when they sent 5-time Pro Bowl Quarterback Donovan McNabb to the Washington Redskins for a pair of draft picks.  The football world went crazy and called the Birds the basement team and while they didn't anoint the Skins 2010 NFC East champs, they certainly put them in the running.  After week 12 McNabb has been benched twice and the Redskins are sporting a 5-7 record and Donovan McNabb has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns (11 TD's/13 Int's).  Meanwhile the Eagles sit atop the NFC East and Michael Vick has the best touchdown to interception ratio int he NFL (15 TD's/2 Int's).

Tonight, the Washington Nationals announced that they have signed Phillies Free Agent outfielder Jayson Werth to a massive contract.  Werth will replace Adam Dunn but will cost the Nationals $126 million over 7 years.  Werth is a career .272 hitter who has spent the last 4 seasons as a Philly where he came into his own as a starting right fielder.  Werth came to the Phillies from the Dodgers in 2007 and has been an everyday starter in the lineup since 2008 when Shane Victorino went down with an injury.  Werth captured a lot of attention in the 2009 and 2010 seasons after performing quite well in the 2008 World Series against Tampa Bay.  Werth's worth appeared drastically over played to most Philly fans who considered him a nice player but not worth $165 million.  Werth turns 32 years old this year and his numbers from last year were hardly career highs (with the exception of his doubles figure which led the league). 

One can't help but wonder, is Washington getting Philadelphia's sloppy seconds when they are past their prime?  The McNabb trade produced results right away as the first of the two draft picks picked up in the trade, Nate Allen, has replaced Safety Brian Dawkins in the starting lineup and has proven quite valuable.  While McNabb flounders, Philly is rising and the same is likely to happen with the Phils.  Werth's departure opens up the way for a trio of youngsters who otherwise would have been competing for backup positions on the 2011 roster.  Domonic Brown is the Phil's top prospect and both John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco have proven capable replacements for Werth.  Francisco and Mayberry are both right handed bats that could replace the one lost by Werth's departure and it cannot be denied that the Phillies have a very lefty heavy lineup so that right handed bat could prove crucial in this era of pitching matchups.  Could Brown, Mayberry or Francisco be the Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Phillies?  Only time will tell but given the D.C. sports track record, I'd say that Nats fans should be more nervous than excited.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Trouble a brewing

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck is often ridiculed by the left for his "conspiracy theories".  Beck has routinely warned about events that people have considered crazy which have in the long run proven true.  The unemployment number rising above 9%, the rising price of gold and the Fed's quantitative easing scheme come to mind.  Recently Glenn has been warning about a "big event" that will threaten the stability of America and possibly the world. 

Isn't it strange that North Korea has been ratcheting up attacks against South Korea in recent days, sending all of Asia into a tail spin?  Meanwhile, China has recently began buying tons of gold.  This is after buying more U.S. debt than any other nation (the Fed is actually the largest holder) and buying up a rather large chunk of the world's natural resources.  China has been quite vocal about the government's accounting tricks and has openly questioned the out of control spending of the Obama administration.  With their region in turmoil and their current position as a financial superpower, China just may be in a position where it can call in the U.S. debt load.  Beck may just have hit yet another nail on the head but only time will tell.  If Washington doesn't right the ship and do it fast, you can bet that China doesn't need to sit around and wait for us anymore.