- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The ever feisty Ron Paul is the driving force behind LPAC, the three-day Liberty Political Action Conference, which begins Thursday in a lofty Virginia hotel outside Washington, and hosts 800 eager guests. Indeed, Mr. Paul will man the podium, along with Republican Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, plus Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan, Paul Broun of Georgia, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Raul Labrador of Idaho, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Mark Sanford of South Carolina. The event sponsors range from the Charles Koch Institute, to the Atlas Society, Reason magazine, the Poker Players Alliance and Accuracy in Media, among many. The Campaign for Liberty is behind it all; the senior Mr. Paul’s activist group claims “respect for the Constitution, the rule of law, individual liberty, sound money, and a noninterventionist foreign policy as their foundation,” their charter notes.

“The weekend will bring together liberty activists from all across the country and will feature valuable training that will empower our members to successfully push for liberty at the federal, state, and local levels,” the organization’s president John Tate assures Inside the Beltway.

The unfriendly press, meanwhile, is scrutinizing both Mssrs. Paul — hoping the son shies away from his father’s traditional Libertarian teachings as the 2016 campaign trail beckons, and the shadow of the Islamic State looms. But hybrid politics are far too fluid these days for a quick hit job. It’s complicated. Undecided and independent voters are many in number, as are disenchanted Republicans and Democrats. Most polls continue to suggest American remain more concerned with the U.S. economy than international terrorism, though that could change. Paul the younger — along with every other presidential aspirant — must all reckon with the same evolving political landscape.


Naturally. But of course people are betting on the outcome of the Scottish vote for independence, which takes place Thursday and has drawn keen international interest, along with fears that the price of Scotch will go up. Fox Business Network anchor Neil Cavuto, in fact, will offer four hours of special Scottish coverage in the early morning. The public, meanwhile, has already wagered $81.5 million on the vote, and at least one attuned organization predicts a secession. The latest odds from Paddy Power, a very active Ireland-based betting house:

“We’re now looking at 3/1 for a Yes vote, 1/4 for a No,” notes Paddy prognosticator Aidan Elder.

SEE ALSO: Air Force dumps ‘so help me God’ from enlistment oath


The liberal leanings of the news media have been a cultural force ever since the phenomenon was identified by long time scholar Robert Lichter, who authored “Media Elite: America’s New Power Brokers” all the way back in 1986. And so the trend continues, almost three decades later. A new Gallup poll finds that 44 percent of Americans say there’s a left-ward bias in the press, compared to 19 percent who perceive a conservative bent. Only a third of the public say press coverage is “about right.”

There are big partisan divisions: 71 percent of Republicans cite a liberal bias, compared to 20 percent of Democrats. And while over half of the Dems say press coverage is right down the middle, only 18 percent of the GOP would agree. Bias aside, only 40 percent of the nation now trusts the news media — the lowest percentage on record, Gallup says. Again, there’s a partisan divide: 27 percent of Republicans and 57 percent of Democrats agree.

“Americans’ opinions about the media appear affected in election years,” says Gallup analyst Justin McCarthy. “Americans’ trust in the media will likely recover slightly in 2015 with the absence of political campaigns. But the overarching pattern of the past decade has shown few signs of slowing the decline of faith in mass media as a whole.”


Alas, almost half of the U.S. Senate has earned an F grade in “fiscal performance” according to the National Taxpayers Union’s 35th annual rating of Congress. Indeed, 45 senators received the rock bottom grade on the scorecard, which analyzes their responses to every single roll call vote affecting federal taxes, spending, debt and significant regulations. The median grade among all the senators was a tepid 19 percent, on a 100-point scale. The top scores came from Republican Sens. Jeff Flake of Arizona and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma; both earned a 96 percent. The poorest scores went to Democratic Sens. Barbara Boxer of Colorado and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii. Each managed to receive 3 percent.

Things were not quite so lousy in the U.S. House, where the median grade was 64 percent and 46 members were actually named “Taxpayers’ Friends”, scoring 90 percent or higher. Republican Reps. Tom McClintock of California was in first place with a 95, with Justin Amash of Michigan just behind him. Still, 159 House members earned an F, with Rep. Juan Vargas, California Democrat, earning the worst House score, at 9 percent.

“Going forward, the Senate in particular will have to take a more positive attitude toward getting results for taxpayers in order for our country to overcome the massive debt and tax burdens still holding the economy back,” says Pete Sepp, president of the nonprofit citizen’s group.


They have a political forecast: The National Weather Service Employees Organization — which represents forecasters, researchers and hurricane hunters — have endorsed James Lee Witt for Congress in the 4th Congressional District of Arkansas. Mr. Witt served as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Clinton administration.

“If there is anyone in public life today who understands the importance of protecting the American people from natural disasters, it is James Lee,” says the group’s president Dan Sobien, an emergency response meteorologist in Florida.

There are some clouds on the horizon, though. The Arkansas Republican Party now claims Mr. Witt has violated financial disclosure laws by not disclosing a country club home in Little Rock, a claim the candidate says was an oversight, and would be corrected. The state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb counters, “This sort of underhanded tactic is yet another example of out-of-touch Witt thinking the rules just don’t apply to him,”


Seeking members: Netropolitan.club, an “exclusive online country club for affluent, but busy individuals, hungry for a place to communicate with like-minded people.” The initiation fee is $9,000 to join, and $3,000 a year afterwards.

“As an orchestra conductor, my life is different. Many people cannot relate to my lifestyle or interests. I realized there should be an outlet for that,” explains founder James Touchi-Peters.

“Members are wealthy, but busy people seeking a place to talk about fine wine, fancy cars and lucrative business decisions without judgment. Some busy millionaires feel isolated,” he continues. “Netropolitan.club is a place for them to interact with people within their social status, but outside their social circle.”


95 percent of active duty service members say they joined the military to “serve my country.”

91 percent believe in the importance of military or other national service.

89 percent voted in the 2012 presidential election.

88 percent report serving on foreign deployments since the 9/11 attacks.

76 percent are happy with their relationship with their spouse.

71 percent say they have little confidence in “news and media.”

68 percent have volunteered in the community in the past year.

Source: The 2014 Blue Star Families “Military Life Style survey “of 6,720 active duty military, spouses and veterans conducted throughout February and released Tuesday.

Choruses and solos to [email protected]

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