Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Cross-country elections hail defeat for Bloombergism

Although he wasn’t on the ballot anywhere last night, Michael Bloomberg, outgoing mayor of New York, anti-gun nut, “No Labels” doublespeaker, and everyone’s favorite Nanny-in-Chief, was handed several stinging defeats from his backyard in New York to the mountain west.

In the most direct challenge, Bill de Blasio, Democrat candidate for mayor in New York City, won a clear plurality and avoided a runoff with the #2 Democrat candidate, Bill Thompson. De Blasio ran as an outspoken “progressive alternative to the Bloomberg era.”

In the Republican primary, Bloomberg’s preferred candidate, Joe Lhota, did manage to win a majority and so also avoid a runoff. However, Lhota’s vote total (29,746 at this writing) was lower than that of the #5 Democrat candidate, Anthony Weiner (31,136 votes). In fact, the total vote in the Democrat primary (634,476) was eleven times larger than that of the Republican primary (56,584). If the general election runs anywhere close to these numbers, de Blasio will win in a landslide. A progressive Democrat becoming mayor of New York is certainly no victory for liberty, but it’s no victory for Bloombergism either.

WaPo invents Obama’s Syria coalition for him

Uncontent to stand by and watch President Obama’s Syria plan fall apart at home and abroad, the Washington Post has now created an international coalition for him.

From the G20 summit this morning, 11 of the nations present signed and released a statement condemning Syria’s use of chemical weapons on its citizens and urging international (mostly UN) action in response.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the horrific chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus on August 21st that claimed the lives of so many men, women, and children. …

We call for a strong international response to this grave violation of the world’s rules and conscience that will send a clear message that this kind of atrocity can never be repeated. …

Signatories have consistently supported a strong UN Security Council Resolution, given the Security Council’s responsibilities to lead the international response, but recognize that the Council remains paralyzed as it has been for two and a half years. …

We commit to supporting longer term international efforts, including through the United Nations, to address the enduring security challenge posed by Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles. …”

Syria might be turning neocons into skeptics

John Bolton

If you watch Ed Schultz’s show or read his tweets (and let’s be honest, only schadenfreude-fueled right-wingers do), you’d think that conservatives were leading the march to war in Syria:

Neoconservatives specifically are often assumed to be most forcefully pushing for foreign intervention. In most cases, that has been true. But on Syria, even some of the most boisterous neocons in the past have been cautious or outright skeptical.

John Bolton, George W Bush’s former late-term UN Ambassador, said yesterday that if he were in Congress, he wouldn’t vote to approve a strike on the Assad regime:

“I don’t think it’s in America’s interest. I don’t think we should, in effect, take sides in the Syrian conflict. There’s very little to recommend either side to me. And I think the notion that a limited strike, which is what the president seems to be pursuing, will not create a deterrent effect with respect either to Syria’s use of chemical weapons or, more seriously, Iran’s nuclear weapons program. So, all in all, since I don’t see any utility to the use of military force in Syria in this context, I would vote no.”

Secretary Kerry’s Senate testimony basically undermined the entire Syria narrative

John Kerry testifies on Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to justify the Obama administration’s proposed strike on Syria. Hagel was typically unclear and confused, Dempsey provided a few strategic details, but to nearly everyone watching, Kerry contradicted himself, tripped over his own feet, and significantly undermined most of the arguments for a strike.

One of the primary motivations Kerry gave was that a strike on Syria’s chemical weapons would help keep them out the hands of terrorists. Then when asked whether Hezbollah already had chemical weapons, he said he would answer in a classified briefing scheduled the next day. As with an invocation of the Fifth Amendment, this doesn’t necessarily confirm that Hezbollah already has chemical weapons, but if they don’t it begs the question why he couldn’t have just said so. He mentioned several other sensitive details about the situation on the ground in Syria, including composition of the rebellion and our tactical assistance to them, so I don’t see how the fact that terrorists don’t have chemical weapons would be classified. That is…unless they do. And if they do, then the primary situation the strike is supposed to prevent is already the status quo.

No, the War Powers Act does not authorize unilateral executive preemptive military action

After the recent chemical attack by the Syrian government on its rebelling citizens, the war drums in Washington DC are rumbling. Ships are positioned, missiles are pointed, sabres are rattled, allies are consulted, the UN is in motion (sluggish, corrupt, meaningless motion). But can the President alone make the decision to attack another nation’s government or military forces? According to the Constitution and the War Powers Act of 1973, the answer is absolutely NO.

After decades of war in Korea and Vietnam without congressional authorization, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution (commonly known now as the War Powers Act) specifically to make explicit limits on the President’s authority to engage in military action. It states that the President can engage in hostilities under only three conditions: a Congressional declaration, other Congressional authorization, or in retaliation for an attack on America.

Section 1541(c)

Scott Rasmussen leaves Rasmussen Reports

Scott Rasmussen

Rasmussen Reports, the Republican-leaning polling powerhouse, just announced that Scott Rasmussen, the company’s founder and CEO, left last month over disagreements on “company business strategies.” The polling company’s methodology looks to remain in tact through the transition, though.

The Company emphasized that Mr. Rasmussen’s legacy remains intact.  His polling methodologies and protocols, widely acknowledged as among the most accurate and reliable in the industry, continue to guide and inform the company’s public opinion survey techniques.  In addition, the editorial culture of excellence that he built is still very much in place.

This isn’t necessarily a good thing. Though it had some success up through 2010, Rasmussen’s findings in 2012 election cycle were some of the worst in the country.

Along with Gallup, Rasmussen’s polls were the only thing keeping Republican hopes for the White House alive for much of the campaign. State level results are more mixed, of course, but with this big a shakeup, there’s always hope that a more promising direction will emerge.

Obama lied, your privacy died

In his post-NSA revelations press conference recently, President Obama spoke often of “abuse.” Unfortunately,it was always a hypothetical (emphasis added):

“make sure they have strong oversight by all three branches of government and clear safeguards to prevent abuse and protect the rights of the American people”

“I understand the concerns of those who would worry that it could be subject to abuse.”

“how we can make sure that there absolutely is no abuse in terms of how these surveillance technologies are used”

“And we’ve tried to set up a system that is as failsafe as so far at least we’ve been able to think of to make sure that these programs are not abused.”

And even one time he was explicit that there wasn’t abuse.

“What you’re hearing about is the prospect that these could be abused. Now, part of the reason they’re not abused is because these checks are in place, and those abuses would be against the law and would be against the orders of the FISC.”

Health insurance is a right? Nice try.

In President Obama’s weekly address delivered on Saturday, he regurgitated the many tired talking points about how smoothly the implementation of Obamacare is going, despite all evidence to the contrary. But the kicker came at the end when he made the claim, free of any previous argument or support, that “health insurance isn’t a privilege – it is your right.”

What?

Liberals have long argued that health care is a right, but as they continue to nudge language and policy in the progressive long war, this may be the first time they’ve claimed that health insurance itself as a right. But how can it be? Health insurance is a commercial product.

In a free market we certainly have the right to acquire commercial products, but do we have a right to them on a fundamental level? Did we have the right to health insurance before it was created in the mid-20th Century? What if once we eventually are subject to a single-payer universal healthcare program, health insurance no longer exists? Will we still have the right to it?

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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