Category Archives: Obama Administration

The Supreme Court Sends Obamacare Back to the People, Where it Rightfully Belongs.

“Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war.”  William Shakespeare

Like many conservatives I had come to hope the United States Supreme Court would not only put an end to Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare, but would also breathe life into the 10th Amendment by placing much needed limitation on the “Commerce Clause”. That hope was awkward and indeed misplaces as one who has opposed judicial activism relying on the court to overturn a legislative act was uncomfortable. It ended just after 10 am yesterday as the court essentially upheld most of President Obama’s signature legislative achievement. In doing so the court put Obamacare exactly where it belonged, in the hands of the American People who will almost certainly decide its fate at the ballot box November 6, 2012.

John G. Roberts, 17th Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

To be clear, I disagree strongly with Chief Justice Roberts and his majority opinion, believing Justice Anthony Kennedy’s strong dissent was on firmer constitutional ground. Yet my faith in the constitution and the institutions it defines necessitates respect for the decision of the court. I suspect history will long debate the words we first read yesterday but the fate of Obamacare has now passed back to the legislative branch the people who elect their representatives.

We can play “who wins the polls” all day and do nothing but waste hot air. What is clear is Obamacare has failed to secure the majority support among the American people that any major piece of social legislation (think Civil Rights which had strong majority bi-partisan support) has in modern American history. The President and the Democratic leaders in congress were hard pressed to pass the legislation despite strong majorities in both houses of congress. Indeed in all votes more Democrats voted in opposition to their own parties proposal than Republicans voting for healthcare. Then Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi famously told Democrats they had to pass the bill so the public would come to understand and support healthcare reform. Without a doubt this was the central issue in the 2010 Congressional election which resulted in significant Democratic losses in the senate and a near record loss in the House which saw control pass to the Republicans. Throughout the 112th Congress Obamacare has continued to be the focus of debate with the House passing legislation repealing and Senate democrats killing those bills without a vote. Indeed the repeal votes have been little more than political theater since with Barack Obama in the White House, no repeal can ever become law. So Republicans have had to settle for preventing key elements of Obamacare from being funded (such as IRS agents being hired to enforce the taxation elements).

Obamacare

Obamacare is the Largest Tax Increase in American History

In the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, the solution to this situation seems crystal clear as Obamacare now stands to be one of if not the central issue of the 2012 Presidential & Congressional elections. Indeed, it would seem that in authoring that decision, Chief Justice John Roberts may have helped the conservative cause much more than was first apparent. Clearly, the Obama fabrication that Obamacare was not a tax increase was undermined by his own Solicitor Generals oral argument and was killed in Roberts ruling. Republicans how have a clear case to present that Barack Obama has put into place the largest tax increase in American history, for the middle class and every other class. While initially less apparent but potentially of greater long term significant, Chief Justice Roberts has for the first time in modern history placed significant limits on the Commerce Clause, indeed stating that if the act had relied upon that it would have been unconstitutional. This guidance will live on for generations and many liberals may come to have considerable indigestion over this.

Mitt Romney Pledges to Repeal and Replace Obamacare as First Act Upon becoming President in the Wake of June 28th Supreme Court Decision

Thus Obamacare will be put to its most significant vote exactly where the decision should be made, by the American People. Mitt Romney was quick to say that if he is elected president and sworn in on January 20, 2013 his first act will be to repeal Obamacare in its entirety. Given the GOP has a strong majority in the house and with 23 Democrats to just 10 Republicans up for election in the senate this year, a President Romney would almost certainly have majorities in both houses of congress. Obamacare would soon find a place of honor on the ash pile of history. However, if President Obama is reelected, it much less likely he would have both houses of congress, yet he would have a real mandate to move forward with Obamacare. He may well have to finally negotiate in a truly bi-partisan manner to realize the funding required to implement Obamacare, but he would have a moral mandate to move forward (even though we conservatives would like it no better). The only way Obamacare can be implemented as it now exists would be for the American People themselves to show their support by not only re-electing President Obama but giving the Pelosi-Reid Democrats a majority in both houses of Congress.

So the battle lines are drawn and the fight has been joined. Within 24 hours of the court’s decision Mitt Romney raised more than $5 million in small donor online funds and a yet unknown non-online donations. While many things have been said and debated about Barack Obama, one thing is for certain, he is the great unifier of Republicans. Mitt Romney in one day has seen significant divisions in his own base evaporate and conservatives find enthusiasm for his candidacy. Mitt Romney has become the great, if unlikely, savior of free market health care in America. Barack Obama is now clearly the advocate of socialized medicine and the massive tax increases which will be needed to affect such a program. To be certain there will be other issues in the 2012 election such as America’s role in the world, keeping American’s Safe and restoring our nation’s economic base and getting millions of Americans back to work. Yet the fate of health care in America is almost certainly to be decided in this election and the debate over it pivotal to the election itself.

Let the fight begin, it sure will not be boring.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Congress, Constitution, Free Markets, Health Care, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Supreme Court of the United States, Taxes, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Mitt Romney: A Conservative’s Dilemma

If one were to be casting a President for a high budget Hollywood thriller, Mitt Romney is the person you would cast. His resume, his look, his family and his political presence are just about perfect. Having taken the time to read his economic policy, even though I take issue with a few points, it is perhaps the most well thought out I have ever seen from any presidential candidate. In interviews and debates it is clear he has a command of the issues and background few non-incumbent candidates have ever had before the first primary. At a time when America faces tremendous economic challenges, his business and economic background appear to be a perfect fit for the times. Sure his time as a private equity job cutter would be fodder for the Obama 2012 attack machine, but all Americans know the real world economy is a tough place. While other candidates have challenged him, and in some cases passed him for the GOP front runner, Mitt just cruses along in the low to mid 20 percent range, almost rock solid. Add to that a campaign financial war chest which is unmatched among the GOP contenders and Mitt Romney would seem to be almost inevitable. Almost.

GOP Frontrunner in Waiting, Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney

So why is it that the GOP, and particularly its conservative base, has not rallied around Romney? Even more puzzling is that in 2008 when John McCain appeared to be on the verge of taking the nomination, conservatives and conservative media personalities tried to rally around Romney in the Stop McCain movement. What a difference 4 years makes. The cliché answer is the similarities between Obamacare and Romneycare. The fundamental difference between 2008 and 2012 is the enactment of the single most unpopular act of social engendering in American Political history. The democrats and President Obama drank their own Kool-Aid and passed their central government focused healthcare reform on the belief that once passed the American people would like what they saw. Instead the people shocked them and the more they saw, the more they disliked the Democrat healthcare plan. The result was one of the biggest midterm butt slappings in the last century. Now even a casual observer would have known Mitt Romney had some explaining to do. Indeed there are some major differences not the least of which is that the Massachusetts plan was a state plan, not federal and as such no unconstitutional. We conservatives have always believed in the 10th Amendment and Romney care may well have been appropriate for Massachusetts which had a solidly democratic legislature.

Yet this spring when Mitt Romney gave his much anticipated speech on healthcare reform, it was like watching a bad PowerPoint presentation by a Chief Financial Officer trying to explain away a bad quarter with double talk. I must admit watching it with great anticipation and figuring that day I would fall in behind team Romney and support his candidacy. Instead I saw a technocrat trying to explain away the similarities of the two programs without distancing himself from his signature achievement as Governor of Massachusetts. As George Will recently said, the GOP had found itself a Massachusetts Technocrat Governor; in Mitt Romney we have our Michael Dukakis. Now I have been reading George Will since I was in High School (that would be before Reagan was President) and even I was taken aback by that characterization. Mitt Romney is far more charismatic and I believe honestly passionate about his candidacy than that other Governor. Yet in that article was the core issue with Mitt Romney; the more I see him the more I feel he is a designer candidate. Created by committee and focus group tested.

Recently a quote of Winston Churchill struck me as relevant to considering Mitt Romney, “I shall not be deterred from doing what I am convinced is right by the fact that I have thought differently about it in some distant past”. That Mitt Romney has seen his positions evolve over time does not in and of itself bother me. I have struggled over the question of the rights of the unborn for a year until ultimately concluding life begins at conception as much on scientific grounds as moral (a discussion for another time). Yet when you look at Mitt Romney’s positions over the years you just come away with the feeling changing polls had as much to do with this evolution as did intellectual consideration. I wish Mitt would just sit down and truly speak from his heart, less polished, and explain why he has changed over time. For gosh sakes, Ronald Reagan voted for FDR, more than once!. Most conservative not only would understand his changing views as many of us have changed over times (OK, most to a lesser extent).

Mitt Romney’s candidacy is not without significant strengths from a conservative perspective. The Romney family seems genuinely loving and well grounded as does his marriage, a fact not lost on many conservatives in comparison to others in this campaign. Romney is by far the best campaigner in the race, with only Rick Santorum as comfortable in front of the camera during debates. One can almost smell the fear from Team Obama 2012 at the prospect of facing Romney in the fall of 2012. As one who believes the defeat of President Obama is crucial to the future of America, electability is no small consideration. My fear is some of my conservative friends have been drinking our own flavor of Kool Aid and believe anyone can will next year. While I think 2012 is now a Republican year to loose, it can be lost.

So what does Mitt Romney have to do to convince me, and I think many conservatives, that he has earned the privilege of being the nominee of the party of Lincoln and Reagan? Mitt Romney has to show me that what he says he believes in his heart. That he shares the same conservative vision of the Future of America that we do, and is not just regurgitating campaign slogans. I would tell Governor Romney to go face to face with your conservative critics and leave the private equity sales pitch behind. Show us the values that helped raise a great family. Governor Romney, it is as much the vision thing as anything. The real vision thing. Conservatives have been sold a bill of goods before by fast talking back slapping wanna-be conservatives more than once. The question is, are you the real deal.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Conservative, Mitt Romney, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, The Grand Old Party, The White House

The Republican No New Taxes Pledge and the Vilification of Grover Norquist

As the Congressional so called “Super Committee” is on the verge of its most predictable failure, Obama administration representatives and congressional democrats are abuzz with their claims that its failure to achieve results is because Republicans will not agree to new taxes. Additionally they have begun to personally vilify the creator of the modern Taxpayer Protection Pledge and leader of American’s for Tax Reform Grover Norquist. All of this has been adopted as a basis the narrative of the day by the Democrat’s tools in the media and blasted across the airwaves. Yet lost in the liberal diatribe is the base question, are the American people truly under taxed or has government expanded beyond the levels the American people desire. Additionally all Americans should be outraged when the state adopts a coordinated attempt to impugn the character and reputation of a single private citizen in the way the Obama administration and their supporters in congress have.

Leading Democrat on the Deficit Super Committee, Senator John Kerry

While many throw around the “No New Taxes Pledge” in interviews and writings, few seem to have read the actual Taxpayer Protection Pledge. In the 112th Congress, 238 Representatives (including 2 Democrats) and 41 Senators (including 1 Democrat) signed the pledge BEFORE the 2010 election. The pledge itself is relatively simple and straightforward stating:

“I, (candidate’s name) pledge to the taxpayers of the (insert district) district of the state of (insert state) and to the American People that I will:

ONE, oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and

TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

The pledge is signed before the election and far from being hidden or part of any back room deal; virtually all who take it proudly feature it as a key part of their election campaigns. This is not a pledge to some special interest group; it is a pledge to the American people and specifically those voters who send the member in question to Washington. What is really shocking is the way in which the Democrat establishment and their media friends seem shocked when elected representatives actually keep their promises to their electors. One can only assume that keeping ones word to voters is a concept which President Obama and the majority of congressional democrats are not in any way familiar.

Levels of Federal Government Spending and Taxation since 1960 projected to 2021 (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The real question, the ones the Democrats seem unwilling to really address, is the unprecedented increase in federal government spending under the administration of President Obama. While they stand in front of the television cameras claiming to support expenditure cuts, President Obama runs around the country demanding support for his “Stimulus 2 Jobs Bill” which would be funded with additional tax hikes. America is in the midst of the longest and most severe economic downturn since the Great Depression and the Democrat solution is tax increases, which flies in the face of almost ever accepted economic theory. Additionally, if the is second stimulus works as well as the first, the American people may want dig a hole in the back yard and hide because the economic consequences may be catastrophic.

The Leftist Class Warfare Myth that "Taxing the Rich" solves Deficits (source: The Heritage Foundation)

The democrats hold to the myth that they can tax only the “rich” to solve the deficit problem. But the reality is there simply are not enough rich tax payers to tax away the problem and the middle class will have to be taxed to balance the books if Democrats are given their way. We will leave aside that increased taxation on the upper income levels has often produced lower revenues due to capital flight and reduced investment (a story for another day). What the Obama Democrats are doing is attempting to make permanent the record level of peace time spending they have established by putting in place new taxes to sustain it. The only way to get America out of the current economic mess is to fire up the private sector which has always been the true engine of economic growth in this country. One need only look to the current economic turmoil in Europe to see that higher taxation is not a solution to government overspending; it simply feeds the beast of government excess.

This brings us to the unprecedented attacks by the Obama White House and his congressional Democrats on Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. It seems whenever the left wants something they need to create a villain of the day, and to give them cover for the failure of the “Super Committee” they have found Norquist. To be clear, I do not know Grover Norquist, have only met him in person in passing at CPAC meetings and have never contributed to Americans for Tax Reform (something I may have to reconsider). It is outrageous that the full power of the federal government, as controlled by its chief executive, the President would target the destruction of the character and reputation of a private citizen. One is drawn back to the late 90’s when operatives of then President Clinton tried to discredit a certain former intern as “a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty” until a blue dress emerged with Clinton’s DNA making that a dead line of attack. Now Norquist is the target because the leftist Democrats know attacking the Republicans directly for keeping their word to their electors by honoring the Taxpayer Protection Pledge has never worked in the end.

It’s time the media who so often lament politicians who come to Washington and forget the promises they made to voters, point out that those rejecting new taxes today are simply keeping their word. Elections matter, a fact conservatives and Republicans had to accept after the 2006 and 2008 elections. Unfortunately the Democrats failed to show the American people their way worked and in 2010 the people revoked their mandate. Republicans were elected overwhelmingly with open support of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. For Republicans to accept higher levels of taxation for Americans now would not only be bad policy, it would be a breach of their commitments to their voters. If the Democrats want higher overall taxation in America to support their expansion of the Federal Government, they should run on that platform in 2012. Maybe Walter Mondale’s campaign manager is available to help them.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Budget, Congress, Conservative, Grover Norquist, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Democrats Engineering Economic Disaster as Foundation of 2012 Election Strategy

As much of the financial world waits with anticipation the outcome of the so called Budget Super Committee whose report is due in just seven days, the back room strategists for the Democratic Party and Team Obama 2012 are giddy with anticipation of the economic train wreck to follow. The plan is elegant in its simplicity; allow a budget disaster which will have dire economic consequences and then cast the “obstructionist” republicans in congress for the resultant economic consequences. They have not had to be overly covert in their strategy as their pet tools in the media have been gladly echoing the White House talking points. Indeed this is the only strategy left for the leftists in Washington as the American public has rejected every element of their tax, spend and government control agenda. What is unfortunate is this destroy America strategy may well work.

Senate Democrats Ploting Stratewgy With President Obama and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office (White House Photo)

The scheme is largely the work of New York Senator Chuck Schumer who is Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s political war monger in chief. Throughout more than a decade in the senate and 18 years before that in the house, Schumer has gained a reputation as a narcissistic publicity hound. With an anemic legislative record comprise almost entirely of attaching his name to bills constructed by others, Schumer has developed the finely honed skills of a political ambulance chaser. If the media is there, so if Chuck with political incendiary bombs to toss at his opponents. Credit needs to be given as he has built a successful political career by blaming opponents for everything while personally accomplishing very little.

The first stage of the “Blame the Republicans” was to create the ruse of Republican control of Congress. Forgotten is that the democrats remain in full control of the senate where Senator Harry Reid has been the Majority Leader since January 2007. Not only have the Democrats controlled the senate for the past 5 years, for almost 2 years that had the lofty position of 60 seats constituting a filibuster proof majority allowing them to proceed without Republican cooperation. Reid’s period as Majority leader is most notable for the senate never producing a single years worth of budget authorizing bills but rather relying on an uninterrupted stream of continuing resolutions. Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer have succeeded in one of the most audacious Orwellian “Big Lie” strategies, and the media has embraced their message and are now full partners in the narrative.

Team Obama has been quick to join in on this destroy the American economy and blame republicans game. President Obama won the White House by promising a new political climate in Washington. Credit must be given to him he has kept his promise, as while it was almost inconceivable that the political acrimony of the final Bush term could be exceeded, Obama has done just that. I must admit as with the Democrats in the senate, Team Obama 2012 has had no choice in this strategy, everything else they have proposed has been soundly rejected by the American people. His signature achievement, Health Care Reform is opposed by more than 60 percent of Americans and is largely responsible for Democrats suffering the second biggest loss in the 2010 elections for the House of Representatives. If he were to again propose Health Care, he would be lucky to get 35 votes in the senate his own party controls. One component of that package, the SMART long term care insurance was withdrawn by his own administration when they admitted it was irreparably insolvent. In his first year in office he said in an interview 8 percent unemployment was intolerable and if he did not improve the situation his administration would be “a one term affair”. With unemployment stuck in the 9 percent range, his administration’s economic record is the most dismal since the Carter administration.

Unfortunately the GOP in congress handed the Democrats a political life jacket this past August by agreeing to $1.5 trillion in mandated cuts, divided equally between defense and entitlements, in exchange for raising the national debt ceiling. I’m not even going to get into the constitutionality of a 12 member joint senate house committee with automatic sending authority, which is questionable at best. But politically it set up an artificial Thanksgiving deadline which stood almost no chance of being achieved. Team Obama and Senators Reid and Schumer saw the opening almost immediately. President Obama initiated immediate class warfare and demanded tax increases on the “rich”. Schumer and Reid pronounced the republicans obstructionist while not allowing votes on more than 2 dozen bills passed by the house. In the single biggest act of political hypocrisy in memory, Reid prevented the Presidents own “Jobs Bill” to come to a vote in the senate less Obama be embarrassed by the repudiation it would have received by his inability to get even senate democrats to support it. As the same time President Obama was flying around the country on Air Force One blaming the do nothing republicans, while raising millions in campaign contributions from his “1 percent” supporters.

Team Obama 2012 Capital Hill Leads: Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senator Dick Durbin

So here we stand with a week until a train wreck which will further damage the American economy, potentially even resulting in further downgrades in the credit rating of US government securities. Give the democrats credit, they may have out foxed republicans and have kept President Obama in the race for a second term. But what cost are the Democrats prepared to make the American people pay for their political games? They could not win the battle of ideas in the 2010 election where their tax and spend policies were rejected. Today they are prepared to drive the economy over the cliff in order to manufacture an issue that could preserve their own jobs in 2012. Senator Chuck Schumer, Senator Harry Reid and President Barack Obama; three who are prepared to further devastate the American economy to preserve their own political viability. They may well win, but will not be able to escape the shame that will forever tarnish their reputations.

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Filed under 2010 Election, 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Congress, Constitution, Health Care, Leadership, Liberals, Media, National Debt, Obama Administration, Politics, Republican Party, Spending, Taxes, The Grand Old Party, The White House, United States House of Representatives, US Senate

Chinese Communism at 90

This week, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) celebrates its 90th anniversary, a milestone their Soviet counterpart never achieved. There will be parades with smiling children and banners exalting the virtues of Chinese Communism. Their success at building the world’s second largest economy will be trumpeted and their pride in one of the largest economic growth rates will be proudly hailed. Indeed the Chinese Communists will be celebrating what appears to be not only a successful past, but a bright future. This will be the narrative of the main stream media, yet as is often the case it will be disingenuously selective in its perspective.

Poster Celebrating the 90th Anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party

Buried deep in the coverage will be mention of how the Chinese Communist Party has held on to power when its older siblings in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe are now on the ash pile of history. The true nature of the Chinese Communists was demonstrated in June 1989, the same time when European Communism was falling. The Soviets under Mikhail Gorbachev when faced with massive popular unrest reacted by implementing democratic reform and learned a truism of history, when people are given freedom they will seek more. In two years the Soviet Union was a failed chapter in the history books. The CCP did not emulate their European comrade’s mistake and reacted to the prodemocracy protests with the traditional tools of totalitarian dictatorships, they sent in the tanks.

Pro-Democracy Protesters in Tiananmen Square Surround the Goddess of Democracy in May 1989

Few of us who are old enough to have lived through that day will forget the images of the tanks arriving in Tiananmen Square where hundreds of thousands of protestors had gathered since April of that year to peacefully demand democratic reforms for the Chinese People. Today’s celebrations in that very Square are certain not to contain the 10 meter tall Goddess of Democracy created from wire, foam and paper mache by student which came to symbolize their desire for freedom. It is unlikely we will ever know how many people died that day, official government numbers were 241 and said to be mostly soldiers supposedly killed by those dangerous unarmed student protesters. The Red Cross initially reported 2,600 dead and countless wounded. Graphic video surfaced showing the effects tank tracks can have on unarmed protesters. While the Chinese Communist Party will flood the streets with protesters chanting of the greatness of modern China; the real symbol of the strength of the Chinese people is a single solitary man, who had been walking home with a bag in one hand and a packsack in the other who stepped out onto the streets alone and simply stood before the advancing tanks, moving when they move, and stopped them. He was later identified as 19 year old Wang Weilin whose fate has never been determined with certainty, however it has been reported he was executed 14 days later.

Lone Chinese Man Faces Down Advancing Communist Tank Column in Tiananmen Square June 1989

Lone Chinese Man Faces Down Advancing Communist Tank Column in Tiananmen Square June 1989

Twenty years later we are bombarded by the media’s message of a Chinese economic miracle and the inevitability of China emerging as the largest economy in the world. Indeed the west has been a willing participant in china’s development with massive technology transfers by companies like General Electric who just this January contributed its global avionics business into a joint venture with a Chinese state controlled firm (GE’s Chairman Jeffrey Immelt is also Chairman of President Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board). In doing so GE is working to build the Chinese aerospace industry in the naive hope of securing short term sales in china, a goal western firms are finding increasingly difficult. One can only imagine how much of the avionics technical knowhow being given to the Chinese Communists will ultimately find its way to the new Chengdu J-20 Fifth Generation Tactical Fighter which according to reports from the CIA rivals the performance of our own F22 Raptor. Yet much of the credit for China’s economic miracle has to go to the everyday westerner who enjoys the $600 iPad without consideration to the Chinese workers who live in near prison conditions in factory towns to produce cheap export goods fueling China’s economy. Maybe it is time for individual western citizens and corporations to take a look at how their own actions are impacting others in the world.

It is far from clear what the future holds for Chinese Communism and the impact it will ultimately have not only on the Chinese people but on the world. Those maps of China on the parade floats today show the island of Taiwan as part of China, something the people of that free island reject out of hand and should China attempt to impose communist rule on Taiwan by force the free world would be obliged to stop any communist aggression. At that point western technology transfers will seem even less well considered than they do today. Yet perhaps the biggest challenge to the rule of the Chinese Communist Party comes from the aspirations of the Chinese people themselves. Once a nation tastes the fruits of economic freedom, the aspirations for political freedom are hard to contain. What the Communists do not understand is that free markets go hand in hand with individual and political freedoms and are over time inseparable. History has shown us that once a people taste freedom, no totalitarian regime can deny them for long.

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Filed under China, Communism, Democracy, Foreign Policy, National Security, Obama Administration, Politics