So I wrote the following in 2013. Sadly, given that we’re having this intra-party fight again, I feel the need to repost it.
“What is the one thing that can unite the MassGOP? Hint: It starts with “R”.
We just had our monthly RTC meeting this past Wednesday, and our State Committeeman was there to give us an update from that level.
His perspective was disheartening to say the least, even taken with a large grain of salt. With two warring factions at the state party level (he being on one side in this “War To End All Wars” nonsense) fighting for control, what’s a lowly committee chair with little contact with the grandees of the Party to do? All I’ve got is an opinion. So here it is: Stop it. Just stop it.
The State Party should be doing 3 things with its limited resources, and having a pissing contest over the soul of the party isn’t one of them.
1. Marketing/branding (60%). 2. Setting up effective GOTV operations (30%). And 3. Financially supporting candidates (10%).
Lets look at #1. The krack kadre of kampaign konsultants should have absolutely nothing to do with branding the party or marketing its message. Here’s a novel idea, have advertising/marketing professionals do it. For the most part these are not political junkies. They would approach the problem as they would any other marketing challenge. What is the key message? What is the strategic goal? What tactics will best convey that message and help reach the goal? We should be looking at this through a marketing prism instead of a political one. Finding Conservative-minded people would be a plus.
I’ve talked about this before. We have the better policies. We’re terrible at connecting those policies emotionally to the voters. Remember, we’re fighting Liberalism, the politics of feeling good about yourself. People need to feel good about their vote. That’s an emotional connection to a rational decision. People need an emotional reason to connect to a brand.
Now #2. Our GOTV effort pales in comparison to our opponents. They are taking full advantage of the latest technologies, coupled with good old-fashioned shoe leather, to get their folks to the polls. We don’t. That needs to change. Ed Lyons could speak to this better than I, so I defer to him on explaining all the tech solutions available.
#3. Candidates need to raise money. Duh. The State Party would better serve candidates by setting up an infrastructure to require less investment in mailings, web & social media presence, and other basic for setting up a campaign. (Ties into the whole brand message too.) Setting up a customizable “toolkit” would allow candidates to spend their money more efficiently and on other things like events (hosting/participating in cultural/civic events in their communities) and voter outreach and contact.
Oh, about that “R” word. It’s “Reform”. Every single tactical message should hammer in the message of “Real. Meaningful. Reform.”
Reform means lower taxes, and you don’t have to talk about cutting taxes. Reform means a more efficient delivery of essential services, and you don’t have to talk about cutting programs. Reform means good fiscal stewardship, and you don’t have to talk about cutting positions. Even if the end goal is to do all three, you don’t have to explicitly say it, which means there’s nothing to argue against.
That’s the one thing that the whole party can unite behind. It’s also the one thing Independents can get behind with us. It’s the one message that will allow us to win.”
As he always does in tragic situations such as this, the president never lets a crisis go to waste. Less than 24 hours after lecturing us at our thanksgiving dinners that the “Syrian refugees” were no different than the Pilgrims, he does not give comfort and solace to the family and friends of the hero dead officer who selflessly ran toward danger to confront evil, but he again blames what he refers to as Swasey to the weapons of war. This domestic terrorist would have killed with whatever he could because that was his mission. It is not the gun that will face trial by jury; it is Robert Lewis Dear, the arrested perp, who, in our judicial system is innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The president, however, is on a mission to destroy the 2nd Amendment before January 20, 2017, again uses the tragedy to vilify the gun, an inanimate object that can do nothing without a real person loading, aiming and pulling the trigger to shoot the target chosen by the person, not the target chosen by the gun, which has neither brain or free will.
We pray for officer Swasey and all the victims dead and wounded. We also pray for the United States of America, that we may survive as a Constitutional Republic for the next, perilous fourteen months.
Since September 11, 2001, most Americans have regarded Islam with a mixture of fear, confusion and reservation. Yet, they have been willing to accept the explanations of their political leaders and some Muslim spokesman, that Islam promotes tolerance and peace. Those committing brutal acts of terror in its name represent a small fringe. This narrative has been shaken somewhat with the rise of ISIS and the brutal carnage in Paris.
Questions have arisen as to whether Islam can coexist with American society. These questions have a historical parallel. For most of this nation’s history, there was deep distrust of Roman Catholics. Non Catholics feared that allegiance to the Pope in Rome would supersede allegiance to the nation, and its constitution. It took the sacrifices of millions of Catholic Americans, through two world wars, and the unequivocal affirmation of national loyalty by presidential candidate John F. Kennedy in 1960, to put concerns over Catholicism to rest.
A culture of liberty necessarily demands adherence to five basic values, to ensure the universal exercise of freedom. The first is individuality. Beliefs must allow for the recognition, that those not part of one’s particular ethnic, social or religious group, are human beings deserving of dignity and respect. The second is cooperation. Beliefs must allow for positive interaction with those outside of one’s group, particularly in the economic aspects of American life. The third value is freedom. Beliefs must embrace the notion that all people are free agents, capable of learning, changing and growing, not bound by their environment, traditions or genetics with the right to choose their own destiny. The fourth value is restraint. This value holds that there are limits to the punitive things one human being can do to another, no matter the provocation, and that the heart of justice lies in due process. Finally, there is the value of integrity, which requires that people represent themselves truthfully and not deceive; that they remain open to questions about how they act and what they believe. While it is true individual Americans have not always lived up to these values, all five are indispensable to our continued existence as a free nation.
Islam represents a new cultural in the United States. It is undergoing its test against these five values. However, as the events in the Middle East and Europe intensify, we will all find ourselves tested against them. We must all pass because failure means a calamity of apocalyptic proportions.
BY REP. JIM LYONS | SEPTEMBER 23, 2015, 5:58 EDT
None of our rights is absolute. Even our most precious rights have limitations. The First Amendment protections of the free exercise of religion, freedom of speech, and the right to assemble are expansive but hardly unconditional. The proverbial rule against “yelling ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theater” is a common example of why our individual rights must sometimes be circumscribed for the public good. Some restrictions are needed to secure the rights of all, against the abuses of the few.
We are, however, more frequently faced with “rights in conflict,” rather than clear-cut abuses. In balancing competing rights, legislatures sometimes get it wrong. For example, in 2007, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a so-called “buffer zone” law to limit the free speech rights of pro-life activists in order to ease entrance to abortion facilities. In McCullen vs. Coakley, the United States Supreme Court unanimously held that the Massachusetts law was overly restrictive and violated the free speech rights of peaceful protestors.
Today, the Massachusetts legislature once again has before it a bill involving competing rights. In a nutshell, the question before the legislature is this: Should Massachusetts eliminate protections for persons who expect restrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms to remain lawfully sex-segregated?
Those longstanding rights come smack up against the Transgender Public Accommodations bill (House Bill 1577), “an act relative to gender identity and nondiscrimination.” Often referred to as “the bathroom bill,” HB 1577 removes biology and physiology from primary consideration when a person chooses to enter an intimate public place such as a rest room — whether in a school, library, restaurant, government office, department store, or sports arena.
In 2011, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Transgender Equal Rights Act. While expanding protections against discrimination for transgender persons, that bill specifically maintained traditional expectations about who is permitted in the most sensitive public settings — bathrooms and other lawfully segregated facilities. If this new bill is allowed to become law, those expectations will be wiped away.
Now, we vividly see the rights in conflict. The goal of HB 1577 is to expand protections for transgender persons. But at what point do those broadened protections conflict with the rights and protections guaranteed to others?
If passed, this law would guarantee the ability of transgender persons to choose whichever public restroom they prefer: men’s or women’s. Access to a restroom of one’s personal choice would override the right to privacy and security that the general public has long enjoyed. Up until recently, there has never been a question about whether a public women’s room is exclusively reserved to women. This bill says that men who claim to identify as women will share access to such heretofore restricted public facilities. What matters is the personal claim of “gender identity,” not the person’s objective anatomy.
Even assuming that those who seek unfettered access to the bathroom of their choice will not abuse that right, real and potential challenges, conflicts, and tensions will remain. But what if someone does seek to abuse that right, posing an outright danger to the public?
All of these conflicts are magnified tenfold whenever children are involved. Should underage boys and girls be assured that their right to privacy is protected in public restrooms? Or should the claims of adults trump those children’s rights?
As a member of the House of Representatives, I believe that the protection of children is paramount. That’s reason enough for me to oppose House Bill 1577. Voting against the bill is the surest way to allay the apprehensions of parents who fear that their children will be subject to awkward or even traumatic situations. Always lurking in the background is the possibility of abuse of access, an abuse which we can all unite in forcefully and unequivocally condemning.
Not every parent shares these concerns. And not every family agrees as to the best resolution of the conflict. That’s the unending dilemma of rights in conflict. There’s always a need to balance one against another. As a legislator, I am constantly reminded of the ongoing need to get that balance as correct as possible. In this case, I believe the right to privacy and security for all persons, especially for children, outweighs the demand for universal access. I shall be voting to maintain current rights, policies, and protections when I vote “No” on “the bathroom bill.”
Jim Lyons (R-Andover) represents the 18th Essex District in the Massachusetts House of Representatives.
posted at: http://newbostonpost.com/2015/09/23/transgender-bathroom-bill-a-battle-of-conflicting-rights/
Fourteen years have passed since the worst terror attack on our soil. Three thousand people, including hundreds of firefighters and police officers died on September 11, 2001. What have we, as a nation, learned from the sorrow and suffering of that day ?
We certainly haven’t learned anything about security! A fundamental principle is to secure your perimeter (e.g. protect your borders). After fourteen years nothing has been done to secure our southern border. Drugs, criminals and potential terrorist, hidden among a mass of poor and desperate migrants, pass undetected into our homeland every day. Another principle is access control. Instituting and adhering to measures that will ensure that only “suitable” persons enter our borders has also not materialized. Instead, our immigration regulations go unenforced, and despite the recommendations of the 9/11 commission, an adequately vetted “real identification” system for the nation has never been implemented.
Threat elimination is another fundamental concept. It means taking the fight to our enemies. We began to achieve this in Iraq and Afghanistan until 2009. President Obama pulled the pin on any initiatives by US troops to root out terrorist elements in those nations. Consequently, the Taliban has returned to Afghanistan, and a gang of cutthroats, known as ISIS, have emerged in the heart of the Middle East. Their stated goal is to destroy Israel first and then the United States. Their policy of terror is now destabilizing Europe as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee their brutality in Syria, and are now overwhelming Europe.
These failures can be attributed to a political school of thought, epitomized by President Obama, which views America as the problem not the solution for the world. Consequently, the Obama administration’s approach to the global threats we face is tentative and at times derelict. His approach has been inappropriate, ineffective and prone toward disaster. Obama caters to the “hard left’ , whose world view has been historically marked by its disregard of the realities of the military balance of power and its influence on both our national security and foreign policy.. The chaos playing out in the Middle east and around the Mediterranean is the end product of this. If this doesn’t change, we will find ourselves facing another September 11th and soon .
Robert Rector / September 15, 2015
This week, the U.S. Census Bureau will release its annual report on income and income inequality. Historically, the official Census figures on inequality are misleading because they fail to account for most government fiscal redistribution. The high taxes paid by affluent households are ignored, and most of the government benefits and services received by lower-income households are not counted.
But government fiscal redistribution in the U.S. is extensive: the transfer of resources from higher- to lower-income groups is a major governmental activity.
>>> Read the full report here.
The left constantly complains about inequality, calling for higher taxes and increased government spending. But before calling for even more government redistribution, it is important, at least, to understand how much redistribution currently occurs.
A new report from The Heritage Foundation analyzes total government fiscal redistribution. It follows the Census Bureau framework by ranking all households according to income and then dividing the households into five “quintiles,” each containing one fifth of households. The total federal, state, and local taxes paid and the total government benefits and services received by each quintile are then calculated.
The average household in the top quintile received 31 cents in benefits and services for every $1 in taxes paid.
The lower-income three quintiles (containing 60 percent of households) were found to be in fiscal deficit: they received more in government benefits and services than they pay in taxes.
By contrast, the top two quintiles were in fiscal surplus: they paid more in taxes than they received in government benefits.
The average household in the bottom-income quintile received $6.87 in government benefits and services for every $1 in taxes paid. On average, these households received $24,700 more per year in government benefits and services than they paid in taxes.
By contrast, the average household in the top quintile received 31 cents in benefits and services for every $1 in taxes paid. On average, these households paid $48,000 per year more in taxes than they received in benefits and services. The surplus taxes paid by these households represented around one-sixth of their overall pre-tax income.
In 2004, the top two quintiles paid about $1.3 trillion more in taxes than they received in government benefits. One trillion dollars of these surplus taxes were used to pay for the benefits and services for the individuals in the lower-income half of the population. This transfer of economic resources represented around 8 percent of the gross domestic product.
If a similar ratio of transfers occurred in 2014 (which is likely), then around $1.4 trillion in economic resources was transferred from high- to lower-income households in that year. That would be about $9,000 for every person in the lower-income half of the population.
The government benefits and services accounted for in this analysis included Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, means-tested welfare benefits and services, unemployment insurance and other cash transfers, and public education. The cost of routine government services such as police and fire protection, roads, and sewers was also included. Public goods such as scientific research, national defense, and interest on government debt were not included. All federal, state, and local taxes were counted, including federal and state income taxes, Social Security contributions, corporate profit taxes, sales and excise taxes, and property taxes.
The main problem with the social welfare system in the U.S. is not a lack of government spending. Instead, the main flaw is that most welfare programs discourage work and actively penalize marriage. This increases dependence and the apparent need for even greater spending, a self-perpetuating cycle with no end in sight.
African American communities are experiencing escalating levels of violence, resulting in a racially disproportionate murder rate in Massachusetts. Some allege these deaths are part of a program of police “genocide”, but the fact is, that overwhelmingly, the killers of young African American men are other young African American men. Some of the violence is “gang related”. Some appears to be related to personal vendettas. One valid criticism, that has been raised, is whether society’s response to the carnage has been commensurate across racial lines.
Between 1961 and 1967 Boston experienced a brutal gang war. Those involved were all white and predominantly Irish. Gangs in Charlestown and Somerville shot it out over an insult to someone’s girlfriend. When the feud ended sixty five young men lay dead.
Society’s response to today’s urban violence, when compared to the reaction that occurred 50 years ago to the “Irish Gang War” supports the claim that the responses is disparate. The hue and cry against the gang violence of the sixties led to the formation of a “state crime commission”, a legislative body that essentially wielded grand jury power. The commission subpoenaed witness, and took testimony under pains of perjury. Those connected to the shootings were hauled before the commission and gave valuable testimony. The true extent of organized crime in Massachusetts was revealed. The commission brought about the establishment of the Special Services Unit within the State Police, which effectively used electronic eavesdropping authority and asset forfeiture to combat organized criminal violence. Ultimately, it was the US Attorney General Robert Kennedy’s who targeted organized crime and curtailed the wanton violence.
As the bodies fall in Roxbury and Mattapan, the lack of government action by both federal and state authorities, is conspicuous. No special grand jury has been convened to investigate this violence. State authorities do not appear to be actively assisting Boston with electronic eavesdropping, raids, and forfeitures to remove the financial incentives. It would appear that there is a difference between black lives and white lives, when it comes to murder and what society does about it. Until our society takes steps to ensure commensurate levels of protection and justice across racial lines, the national dream of an integrated society remains elusive.