Posts Tagged freedom

This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: State Spending During Budget Impasse


Radio Program Schedule for the week of December 12, 2015 – December 18, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Lowman Henry has a Newsmaker interview with State Representative Chris Dush co-author of a Report on State Spending During the Budget Impasse
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on demise of the proposed severance tax on Marcellus shale drillers
  • Beth Anne Mumford has a guide to dealing with that progressive who comes home for the holidays

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Veronique de Rugy from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University about abolishing the U.S. Department of Agriculture
  • Doug Sachtleben of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on the federal budget stalemate
  • Eric Boehm and Matt Kittle have a Watchdog Radio Report on a Wisconsin prosecutor run afoul of campaign finance laws
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on President Obama’s ISIS speech

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Thomas J. Smith: An American Life


From the minutemen of the American Revolution to the settlers of the old West to the housewives who poured into the factories during World War II to the Tea party movement of recent years our nation began and thrives when ordinary Americans step up and do extraordinary things.

Since the beginning of our Republic the concept of a “citizen legislator” has been the ideal.  Our founding fathers realized that professional politicians are more concerned about their careers than “we the people” posed a threat to our liberty.  Four score and seven years later, President Abraham Lincoln eloquently called it a government “of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Now special interests and professional politicians dominate both Washington, D.C. and Harrisburg while the interests of working families, small businesses and senior citizens take a back seat.  But there are those who are willing to leave the comfort of their private lives and fight to preserve, protect and defend the God-given rights upon which our nation was established.

Thomas J. Smith was one who has answered his nation’s call.

Tom Smith, who passed away on Saturday at the age of 67, was an American success story.  At the age of nineteen, when his father became ill, Tom decided to postpone college and run the family’s Armstrong County farm.  He mortgaged his existing property to purchase a coal mine and – by risking capital and his financial security – successfully expanded his business operations over a 20 year period eventually mining more than a million tons of coal per year and employing over 100 people.

Along the way, Tom and his wife Saundra had three biological children. Then, the Smith’s adopted a family of four children from Texas allowing the siblings to be raised together.

After selling his mining interests in 2010 and becoming alarmed over rapidly expanding federal intrusion into our lives, Tom was in the vanguard of the Tea party movement and helped to found the Indiana/Armstrong County Patriots.

But that level of activism was not enough for Tom Smith.  In 2012 he decided to run for the Republican nomination for a U.S. Senate seat from Pennsylvania.  The sitting governor and state GOP endorsed another candidate, but Tom persevered dealing the party a rare defeat and besting five other candidates to win the nomination.  Despite his best efforts, the headwinds against the GOP in Pennsylvania that November resulted in the re-election of the incumbent.

This is the point where most people give up.  But not Tom Smith.  He was only getting started.  Tom became involved in a wide range of state and national policy battles serving on the boards and financially contributing to a wide range of organizations fighting for individual liberty and personal freedom.

In the summer of 2015 Tom was again planning to enter the political fray as a candidate for congress when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.  That cut short his political career, but Tom remained involved fighting for the issues about which he cared deeply until his final days.

Ronald Reagan once said that “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.”

Thomas J. Smith did his part to ensure that freedom endures for the next generation.  His life and career will continue to serve as both an example of what citizen activism should be and as an inspiration to the rest of us to step up and continue the cause which he has “thusfar so nobly advanced.”

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Wolf Loses Big


Radio Program Schedule for the week of October 10, 2015 – October 16, 2015

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Kevin Shivers from the National Federation of Independent Business-PA and Matthew Brouillette of the Commonwealth Foundation are joined by State Representative Jim Christiana (R-Beaver) for a Capitol Watch look at House rejection of Governor Wolf’s tax plan
  • Lowman Henry has a Town Hall Commentary on ending corporate welfare

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with former U.S. Navy Seal Chris Heben about Russian aggression in Syria
  • Andy Roth of the Club for Growth has the Real Story on chaos in the race for U.S. House Speaker
  • Eric Boehm talks with Arif Panju of the Institute for Justice about a food truck controversy in San Antonio on this week’s Watchdog Radio Report
  • Colin Hanna of Let Freedom Ring, USA has an American Radio Journal commentary on Carly Fiorina and those Planned Parenthood videos

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Why is the Party of Free Enterprise Afraid of Competition?


An early, but unofficial, entry into the 2016 Presidential race by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush jump started the fight for the Republican presidential nomination.  National party leaders are working hard to see that it also ends early. This in the mistaken belief that a battle lasting deep into the primary season harmed Mitt Romney in 2012 and would likewise handicap the party’s 2016 nominee.

The theory is hold the intra-party skirmishing to a minimum, identify the nominee early, give the new standard bearer more time to organize and prepare for the General Election campaign.   The problem with that reasoning is that it cuts voters in most states out of the candidate selection process depriving the ultimate nominee of a solid base of support.  It also puts an early bullseye on the nominee giving Democrats more time to attack – which is precisely what Barack Obama did in the spring and early summer of 2012.

Those unwilling to admit the party nominated a deeply flawed candidate in 2012 point to the supposed “lengthy” primary battle as a reason for his defeat.  The fact is Mitt Romney essentially wrapped up the nomination by mid-April before primary voters in some of the more populous states, including Pennsylvania and California, went to the polls.  Four years earlier, John McCain closed the door on Romney and a large field of candidates by mid-February.  Despite the early end to that primary season McCain also went down to defeat.

There is an argument to be made that contests lasting deep into the primary season better prepares the candidate for the fall campaign.  In 2008 it was June before Hillary Clinton conceded defeat to Barack Obama.  Obama, of course, beat McCain who had the luxury of having wrapped up his nomination months earlier.  In 1980, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush battled until late May before Bush ended his quest for the nomination.  In fact, Reagan lost many early primaries that year before finding his footing, emerging victorious and eventually defeating incumbent President Jimmy Carter in November.

The real reason the establishment wants to truncate the nomination race is so that it can exert more control over the ultimate nominee.  A shorter primary and caucus season makes it more difficult for a grassroots candidate to emerge and plays to the advantage of those with the party machinery behind them.  This, of course, makes it far less likely a candidate from the conservative wing of the party claims the nomination.

To push for such a scenario ignores the central lesson of the 2012 nomination process.  Voters four years ago made it abundantly clear they did not want Mitt Romney as their nominee.  Romney was not a front-runner until very late in the process.  As alternatives to Romney emerged his campaign destroyed them one by one in an electoral version of whack-a-mole.  Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Bachman, Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, each surged to the top of the polls only to be destroyed by Romney.  Even after all of that, the movement of just a few thousand voters in the Michigan and Ohio primaries would have given the nomination to Santorum.

Voters wanted anybody but Romney, but the establishment prevailed, ended the contest halfway through the primary calendar and anointed a candidate who went on lose an eminently winnable general election.  The GOP lost the presidency in 2012 not because the primary season went on too long; it lost because it ignored the message being sent by voters.

Headed into 2016 the national GOP hopes to arrive at a nominee early in the year.  With a large field of highly qualified candidates that would be yet another big mistake.  It is important that voters all across America get the opportunity to participate in the process.  The goal should be to nominate a candidate who can win, not to nominate a candidate quickly.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org).

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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Tampering with Transparency


Transparency has become a buzzword, one of those principles that politicians of all stripes pledge fealty to, but often in practice fall short.  For those who value the ability of We the People to know what is happening in our government, the past couple of weeks in Penn’s Woods have been bad ones.

For starters, the grand jury investigating whether Attorney General Kathleen Kane leaked confidential court information recommended the state’s Shield Law, upholding the right of journalists to keep confidential sources confidential, be changed to remove that protection when it relates to grand juries.

In a misguided effort to preserve the secrecy of such proceedings, the jurors placed blame for the leaks on the reporters writing the stories rather than on the individuals – including possibly the Attorney General – who actually leaked the information. Weakening a critical protection of journalistic freedoms is akin to blaming the escaped horse for the farmer having left the barn door open.

Shield laws are important because officials – elected, appointed and hired – who see to hide information from the public generally are willing to use the power of their position to harass, punish or otherwise frustrate the news media to prevent transparency from occurring.  Simply put, the ability to protect the confidentiality of sources makes it possible for journalists to do their job precisely at the time it is most important for them to do so.

The other hit to transparency came just days after Governor Tom Wolf took office when he attempted to fire the director of the state’s open records office.  Since its inception over six years ago, the Office of Open Records has become a vital tool for the media, watchdog groups, citizen activists and concerned voters to obtain information from governments at all levels that seek to deny access.

Although the state’s Open Records Law can and should be strengthened, it has brought about a higher level of transparency to government.  It is critically important for the independence of that office to be maintained, free from interference by both the executive and legislative branches of state government. That independence was honored by governors, Democrat and Republican, until now.

Former Governor Ed Rendell appointed Terry Mutchler as the first director of the Office of Open Records. The law states that executive directors shall be appointed for a six year term.  So, when Republican Governor Tom Corbett took office she continued in her job – actually past the six year mark as Corbett did not act immediately to name a replacement when her term expired.  That move came in early January during the waning days of his administration when Mutchler resigned and Corbett named Erik Arneson as the new executive director.  Arneson, a former state senate aide, played a key role in crafting the Open Records law making him eminently qualified for the job.

Within days of his inauguration, Governor Wolf, objecting to the timing of his predecessor’s action, fired Arneson.  Arneson’s dismissal triggered a firestorm of protest from senate Republican leaders who have correctly asserted that the job is not an “at will” position, but rather an appointment to a fixed term.  Arneson, claiming he could not be fired, showed up for work the next day as did the acting director appointed by Wolf.  A court battle now looms.

Setting aside the political stupidity of starting a turf war his first week in office, a lot more than a battle between a Democrat Governor and Republican Senate hangs in the balance.  If Governor Wolf succeeds in turning the Office of Open Records into a political fiefdom it will become impossible for it to fulfill its mission.  Above all, the Office of Open Records must remain free from political pressure.  How willing would an executive director who serves at the will of the governor be to grant open records requests which the administration wants to keep information hidden?

Candidate Tom Wolf ran for office promising a “fresh start.”  But by seeking to politicize the Office of Open Records, Governor Tom Wolf has fully embraced the worst aspects old fashioned politics.  There are many ways for a governor to confront a legislature, but tampering with transparency is a foolish way to begin.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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This Week on Lincoln Radio Journal: Aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt


Radio Program Schedule for the week of November 15, 2014 – November 21, 2014

This week on Lincoln Radio Journal:

  • Eric Boehm has news headlines from PAIndependent.com
  • Lowman Henry talks with veteran Al Bienstock about his recent visit to a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier
  • Eric Montarti and Frank Gamrat have an Allegheny Institute Report on finances of the state system of higher education
  • Anna McCauslin of Americans for Prosperity has a Lincoln Radio Journal commentary on policy priorities for state government

This week on American Radio Journal:

  • Lowman Henry talks with Francis Rooney, former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See about dealing with radical Islam
  • Barney Keller of the Club for Growth has the Real Story behind the GOP U.S. Senate win in Alaska
  • Eric Boehm and Jason Hart have a Watchdog Radio Report on labor union election spending
  • Dr. Paul Kengor from the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College has an American Radio Journal commentary on the anniversary of the fight for freedom in Poland

Visit the program web sites for more information about air times. There, you can also stream live or listen to past programs!

http://www.lincolnradiojournal.com

http://www.americanradiojournal.com

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Moving the Goal Posts


A football field is 100 yard long.  That makes the 50-yard line the center of the field.  Suppose we were to change the rules and make the football field 120 yards long.  That would make the center of the field the 60-yard line.  Despite changing the center, the 50-yard line is still 50 yards from the goal line even though it is now ten yards away from the middle of the field.

Simply put, we moved the goal posts.

That is what has happened to American politics.  Policies and positions that at one time were considered moderate, are now denounced as extreme.  This is because the field was not lengthened ten yards on each side; rather all 20 yards were added to the Left side of the field making formerly centrist positions seem further to the Right.

Conservatives who espouse low taxes, personal freedom and a strong national defense are now portrayed as the “radical Right,” despite the fact such positions occupied the nation’s mainstream for generations.  The Democratic Party, establishment Republicans and a liberal dominated news media all view it in their best interests to claim the center is now the extreme.

But voters are not buying the argument.

The upset of this year’s primary season was the defeat of U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s 7th congressional district.  It was the first time in history a sitting Republican majority leader lost his own party’s primary.  Many factors contributed to Cantor’s defeat, but the fact is a TEA party conservative put together a message that resonated with voters and despite being massively outspent won the election.

Another incumbent is on the verge of being ousted in Mississippi where long-time U.S. Senator Thad Cochran has been forced into a run-off election by TEA party conservative Chris McDaniel who actually received more votes than Cochran in the first round of balloting. McDaniel has been ahead in polls leading up to the run-off election.

For his part, Cochran has laid waste to establishment claims that TEA party candidates must be defeated in primaries because they suffer from foot-in-mouth disease causing them to lose winnable general elections.  At a recent campaign appearance Cochran claimed he grew up “doing all kinds of indecent things with animals.”  His claims of barnyard exploits proved candidates from all parts of the political spectrum can say stupid things.

Here in Penn’s Woods even Democrats are not buying the progressive spin. In what one Left wing blog termed “the worst Primary night for PA progressives in recent memory,” Democrats nominated a wealthy “one percenter” over more Leftist candidates for governor.  Self-described liberal lion state Senator Daylin Leach finished third in a congressional primary in which the most centrist candidate on the ballot prevailed.  Progressive rising, now fallen star State Representative Erin Molchany lost to an old-line Democrat and State Representative Margo Davidson, a pro-life Democrat defeated her progressive challenger.

The bottom line is this: although the progressive/mainstream Republican/news media echo chamber would have you believe conservative positions are now extreme voters in both parties are, at the ballot box, proving otherwise.  Essentially, both political parties have become disconnected from their grassroots.  Thus the political division in America today is more between those who govern and those who are governed than it is between Republicans and Democrats.

For Republicans this is an opportunity to appeal to Democrats turned-off by their party’s ultra-progressive wing much as Ronald Reagan did in assembling a winning coalition back in the 1980s.  The war establishment Republicans are waging against the GOP’s TEA party base provides a division that can be exploited by Democrats.

With internal strife abundant in both parties, the one which does the best job of minimizing their internal divisions will prevail at the ballot box both in this November’s race for Governor of Pennsylvania and in the 2016 Presidential campaign now getting underway.

(Lowman S. Henry is Chairman & CEO of the Lincoln Institute and host of the weekly Lincoln Radio Journal.  His e-mail address is lhenry@lincolninstitute.org.)

Permission to reprint is granted provided author and affiliation are cited.

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