The Romney-Paul Ticket

In the course of the past week, there have been ruminations from Washington D.C. and the liberal media establishment, following the political circus circuit. Rumors are, there is a Romney-Paul split ticket in the works. This would mean, Ron Paul as Vice President to Mitt Romney. Sources are weak and at this point, still very much unsubstantiated.

Whether Ron Paul would accept a Vice Presidential spot, at this point is unclear. He is Mitt Romney’s senior, both in intellect and age. Others report, and speak of, a Rand Paul Vice Presidency; however, at this point into the GOP retake of the vacant White House, Rand Paul (R-KY) is nowhere near the fire of the action.

It is quite obvious, that if Mitt Romney is going to sock Obama in November, he will have to square the Tea Party vote. Segments of which he has neglected, again and again; with big government “corporations are people” rhetoric. Steadily he holds the strongest conservative wing, but a wing does not fly without a body. If Ron Paul considers an Independent presidential run after all, Mitt Romney will feel luke-warm to libertarians, independents, cross-overs, undecideds.

Given Ron Paul’s consistent stance on positions: his remorseless scrutiny and straight-edge in terms of vascillation, it is highly unlikely he will takle a split-ticket such as this. If these comments continue, there will be the possibility that Ron Paul’s integrity is pu to the test. Is he really the stalwart, people say he is? Or, is he another politician who might use his stature, to win the GOP the election in November 2012?

FDA: Orange juice from Brazil is safe but still illegal

The Food and Drug Administration is one of those departments that will be virtually impossible to ever remove.  After all, they’re supposedly responsible for keeping our food supply safe.  History tells us that prior to the FDA, food companies were putting all kinds of dangerous crap in foods and drinks…hence the FDA sprang into existence.

However, things are getting kind of silly when it comes to orange juice from Brazil.  You see, down there, they use a fungicide called carbendazim.  Carbendazim isn’t used here anymore, so no one has bothered to write a regulation on tolerances for the chemical.  As such, Brazilian frozen, concentrated orange juice is currently illegal since it has traces of a chemical that we just don’t use anymore.

Obviously, this is because carbendazim is unsafe in any dosage, right? Wrong.

If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you’re suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America’s food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.

The FDA’s explanation is that its hands are legally tied. Its tests show that practically all concentrated juice from Brazil currently contains traces of the fungicide carbendazim, first detected in December by Coca-Cola, maker of Minute Maid juices. The amounts are small — so small that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says no consumers should be concerned.

The problem with Rick Santorum is not his faith

wrote a couple weeks ago about the Obama administration’s mandate that contraception be covered by insurance plans provided by Catholic-associated organizations.  The outrage on the right about the mandate was almost universally centered around the idea that it was an attack on the freedom of religion.  As I argued in my previous post, these critics were missing the point entirely.  Mandates like this one had nothing to do with religion, and were wrong regardless of whether they violated religious or secular liberty.

Now many on the right have inexplicably chosen big-government “conservative” Rick Santorum as their standard-bearer.  Despite his awful fiscal record, being named something other than Mitt Romney has allowed Santorum his time in the spotlight.  And he has enjoyed every minute of it, offering soundbite-worthy quotes at nearly every event.  Many of these statements have brought to light his very extreme views on social issues.

Predictably, Santorum’s views on things like abortion, homosexuality, and contraception have caused an uproar amongst those who do not share his worldview.  Santorum has been savaged for things he has said both recently and in the past.  Whether or not you believe him to be a sexist or a homophobe, it’s clear that his opinions are not shared by millions of Americans, and in fact cause great offense to many.

Public Pension Crisis: Reality Has A Libertarian Bias

We all know that public sector pensions—of firefighters, police officers, teachers, and other civil “servants”—are dragging state budgets under and imperiling other budget areas. But the question is, how bad is it? There have been numerous conflicting reports to the unfunded liabilities state governments are facing.

Well, as usual, it seems to be worse than we previously thought. From the Economic Freedom Project:

These facts should stop dead any further pushes to defend and keep public pensions sacrosanct. The left and public unions may get up and toot their own horn, but they can bleat about it until they’re blue in the face: the simple fact is we have no money. Eventually, people are going to get sick of the reductions in service and the hiking of taxes in order to pay for these pensions, and they’re going to come at them with hatchets.

Yet, for some inane reason, public unions cannot recognize this fact. They cannot see ahead even just ten years.

The good times are over. We all need to make cutbacks in order to get through this, and that includes our government. No matter what the left likes to think, reality does not have a liberal bias. It has a libertarian one.

DemandProgress Makes A Gaffe

DemandProgress, some of the folks behind the anti-SOPA push, just sent me a very funny letter. At least, that’s how I’m taking it.

From the email I received:

It took 10 million-plus constituent contacts to beat back SOPA—and we barely won. That’s because a few wealthy interests had bought the allegiance of key members of Congress.

If we want to win the next fight, we need to reduce the role of special interest money in politics.

That’s why we’re teaming up with CREDO on a call to overturn Citizens United and end corporate personhood.

Oh, where to begin?

Of course, the DemandProgress guys are looking at the MPAA and the RIAA when it comes to corporations…but have they given any thought whatsoever to the big boys who helped bring it down? You know—Google? Facebook? Twitter? Wikipedia?

Perhaps DemandProgress should go and read Doug Mataconis’ excellent post on the subject over at Outside The Beltway. Let’s face it: SOPA would have gone under the public’s radar if Wikipedia and Reddit didn’t go dark and if Google hadn’t spoke out against it. DemandProgress has a staff of two people and while it has many supporters, there’s not enough of them to seriously change the debate within the 311.5 million population of the United States.

If DemandProgress got their way and got Citizens United overturned, when SOPA (inevitably) comes back for a second run, Google and other major companies and organizations might not say anything, and we’ll get shafted by our government again. Then where would DemandProgress be?

Maybe they should take a minute to consider what they’re saying before they just push it out to the public. They’re making themselves jokes now.

SOPA author not done with the internet

After the unprecedented protests throughout the internet, one might think that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) would figure out that perhaps folks take the internet pretty seriously.  One might think that…but they would apparently be wrong.

Another day, another threat to internet freedom. According to International Business Times, beloved Texas Representative Lamar Smith is the author of a new bill that includes extreme surveillance provisions, and a name that will make opponents sound like criminals: H.R. 1981 (bump that last digit up three times for a more fitting title), or the ‘Protecting Children From Internet Pornographers Act of 2011.’

The new name has outraged many opponents of SOPA and other bills that could bring more government control to the internet, like PIPA and ACTA. It’s hard to imagine the whole world turning out against a bill with the words ‘protect’ and ‘children’ in the title, regardless of the actual contents of the bill.

In the words of Business Insider’s David Seaman, it’s “just a B.S. name so that politicians in the House and Senate are strong-armed into voting for it, even though it contains utterly insane 1984-style Big Brother surveillance provisions.” Ouch.

Obama, Republicans and the Media Spin Cycle

Following politics as closely as I do, I’ve built up a thick skin of cynicism regarding the presentation of truth by politicians and the media. There is a good reason for that; according to a Gallup poll a few months ago, from 1998-2010, the number of Americans expressing distrust of the mass media outlets has risen from 46% to 57%. Congressional approval ratings remain lower than the average age of a fan at a Justin Beiber concert. And while Americans generally want to think well of their president, (especially a president seen as proof that America is no longer a racist nation), Obama struggles to convince half of Americans he’s doing a good job.

I was thinking about this as I watched and read coverage of the Republican presidential candidates by the mainstream media. If we are to believe them, this assemblage of Republicans is among the most backward, bigoted, heartless and arrogant people ever to walk the earth. Mitt Romney is decried as being rich and out of touch with average Americans. Newt Gingrich is the arrogant, professorial philanderer too volatile to be trusted with the presidency. Rick Santorum is portrayed as the far right theocrat who will be sneaking into the homes of unsuspecting women and arresting them for using birth control. Ron Paul is, well, Ron Paul. They don’t know quite what to make of him.

Class warfare produces less tax revenue in the UK

With President Barack Obama telegraphing his fall strategy of raising taxes on the wealthy in the name of “fairness,” we need only look across the Pond to our friends in the United Kingdom where a surtax on the evil and hated rich has actually caused revenues to decline:

The Treasury received £10.35 billion in income tax payments from those paying by self-assessment last month, a drop of £509 million compared with January 2011. Most other taxes produced higher revenues over the same period.

The self-assessment returns from January, when most income tax is paid by the better-off, have been eagerly awaited by the Treasury and government ministers as they provide the first evidence of the success, or failure, of the 50p rate. It is the first year following the introduction of the 50p rate which had been expected to boost tax revenues from self-assessment by more than £1billion.

Senior sources said that the first official figures indicated that there had been “manoeuvring” by well-off Britons to avoid the new higher rate. The figures will add to pressure on the Coalition to drop the levy amid fears it is forcing entrepreneurs to relocate abroad.

Over at Hot Air, Ed Morissey explains why President Obama plans are likely to do the same in the United States:

Santorum: No Better Than Barack Obama

If you missed the debate on CNN last night in Arizona, count yourself lucky. It was miserable. I only watched it because I discovered—much to my chagrin—that a recently purchased WiMAX adapter allowed me to stream video directly off the web at a framerate that wouldn’t make my brain explode. (It instead left that job up to the candidates.)

If you were a conservative turning in to your first presidential debate, you may have been surprised. Up on stage was one Rick Santorum, former senator from Pennsylvania, who in a number of statements said that he voted against spending and was dead set against the big government philosophy of Barack Obama…only to then say that he wanted to use the power of the government to force his own view of family life on people, and that he was for the big government philosophy of Barack Obama.

Just, you know, for his things. Riiight.

If you were still unswayed by the arguments by myself or Kevin or anyone else that Santorum was not a friend to libertarians or even fiscal conservatives, well, Santorum should have swayed you tonight. Let us focus on his whopper of a quote during one of his numerous tirades against Mitt Romney:

[C]ongress has a role of allocating resources when they think the administration has it wrong.

Newsflash, Santorum: Neither Congress nor the administration has the role of allocating resources. We have this thing called the “free market” that does that. Now, one could say that I was misconstruing Santorum’s argument, because he was only talking about resources that were justly appropriated for government use (though that is a whole Pandora’s box right there.) But as Alex Roarty over at the National Journal points out, the whole thing came in over a discussion on earmarks, something that Santorum has defended.

Smoking is healthier than fascism

In a new video from Learn Liberty, Professor Aeon Skoble explains why smoking bans violate the private property rights of business owners. He notes that if someone that doesn’t want to eat at an establishment that allows smoking, the market allows them to find another restaurant that is more suitable to them:


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