Super Tuesday Live Blog

Welcome to United Liberty’s Super Tuesday Live Blog. We’ll be getting started around 6:30pm or so. But before you join in on the conversation, here are some links to read on things to look for this evening.

Over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver lays out the various scenarios that could unfold tonight, including delegate projections for all four candidates. Politico has a list of 10 things to watch for tonight, including Ohio, where a win could help Romney put the race to bed much quicker. CNN only gives three things for us to watch, but one of them (voter turnout) could obviously be a game-changer.

Watch returns come in:

The Commerce Clause and Antonin Scalia

We’re just a few weeks away from ObamaCare’s day in the Supreme Court, and the speculation is beginning to ramp up as to which way members will go when it comes time to vote.

This may seem like a surprise, but some of the more conservative members of the Supreme Court haven’t always been the “strict constructionists” that are so frequently labled. Take, for instance, Antonin Scalia, as Damon Root explains:

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments later this month on whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy or secure health insurance, oversteps Congress’ lawful authority to regulate interstate commerce, the Obama administration will be drawing heavily from the legal arguments of a surprising ally: conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

That’s because in 2005, when the Supreme Court last heard a major Commerce Clause challenge to a federal regulation, Scalia sided with the liberal majority and wrote a sweeping opinion in favor of federal power. In that case, Gonzales v. Raich, the Court held that the cultivation and consumption of medical marijuana entirely within the confines of the state of California still qualified as “commerce…among the several states” because this intrastate use of medical pot “substantially affects” the interstate black market in the drug.

Justice Clarence Thomas found the majority’s reasoning specious, and famously stormed in dissent, “If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”

The Lorax And The Tragedy of the Commons

Dr. Seuss’ classic tale, The Lorax, has just recently hit the silver screen as an animated feature, with Ed Helms providing the voice of the Once-ler and Danny DeVito doing the same for the Lorax itself—which might just be the worth the admission price, though the price of concessions would be a tad questionable. I’m not going to give you a review of the movie itself, both because I haven’t seen it, that’s not really the point, and from what I’ve heard, it diverges considerably from the original—and it’s horrible. But that was the Washington Post, so take it with a grain (or thirty) of salt.

We should all probably know the basic story of The Lorax. Basically, a guy shows up in a forest, cuts down all the trees to make his invention, while being chastised by a little orange furry creature, though he doesn’t listen, and at the end of it there’s no more trees and everyone is happy and gosh darn it, we should be taking better care of our planet. The message at the core of this story is environmentalism, pure and simple.

Now, let me pull a Kinsella, and as he did to Avatar, I shall do to The Lorax.

The Lorax illustrates a very important economic concept that eludes most people: the tragedy of the commons. It is when no one owns the things there, said things are usually destroyed because no one has an incentive to take care of them. On the flip side, if one does own the land and the resources there, one usually puts forward more effort to actually take care of it, and allowing it to grow and prosper. As the Econ Library which I just linked to says:

Fake “Rights” versus Personal Responsibility

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” ~ Groucho Marx

It truly is almost unbelievable. Our national debt is at $16 trillion and rising, with annual deficits of more than $1.5 trillion. Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and at a level greater than what Greece was at when its economy collapsed. Our lauded entitlement programs are bankrupt, yet our politicians seek to expand them. Unemployment is still well above 8%, the longest such period of sustained unemployment at that level since the Great Depression. We’re barely past Valentine’s Day and gas is more than $3.50 per gallon, and expected to rise above $4, and possibly as high as $5/gallon, by summer. Iran appears the be rapidly closing in on getting a functional nuclear weapon, and has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. We have a president hell bent on destroying the fossil fuel industry, much like his signature achievement, ObamaCare, is crippling the health care industry.

Our own government has been selling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and is now directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Mexicans and Americans, yet they act as if it were of no more import than having incorrectly filled out some government form (actually, they’d probably find that a much more grievous sin). The dollar is weak and the economy anemic, despite the trillions spent on the stimulus, auto union and Wall Street bailouts, and slush funds for the politically connected.

Koch brothers v. Cato Institute news roundup

Save CatoDoug Mataconis has already written a very good post weighing in on the legal battle between Charles and David Koch and the Cato Institute, so I’m not going to get into the meat of the issue again. But this recent bomb on the libertarian movement does have me concerned about its future, and with that, it’s something that you can expect us to cover as the case develops.

When it comes to the Koch brothers, I’m typically defensive. I think they’ve become a boogeyman for the Left. With that said, however, the Cato Institute is well-respected for their work promoting free markets, school choice, civil liberties, and an non-interventionist foreign policy. The folks at Cato are willing to call out all sides, including conservatives and Republicans, for trying to increase the size and scope of government. Making the Cato Institute a partisan would be a disaster, ruining the credibility of this respected think tank.

Below is a roundup of the various news and blog coverage of the fight for, what I consider to be, the very heart and soul of the libertarian movement (in no particular order). Not all of it is unbiased, meaning that it does include links to people with close ties to Cato, but it all makes for good reading if you want to follow the story:

Has the world gone mad?

ObamaCare’s massive increase of government involvement in health care is already causing its share of problems.  You simply cannot give government a bigger role in something so personal without creating all sorts of conflicts about what should be covered, and what should not.  There are simply too many competing groups with values and needs that do not overlap. The current health care system is already a mess because of this, and further nationalization will only make it far worse.

It’s also not terribly surprising that the first major battle of this war has to do with reproductive health.  During the passage of the law this was already a fierce debate.  Now, the storm that is consuming much of the public discourse is regarding the coverage of contraceptives.  Some argue that they should be covered under the mantle of “preventive services”, while others object to this for religious or fiscal reasons. Whether we like it or not, this is a matter of public interest now.  While most libertarians and some conservatives want to eventually remove government from the issue, it is there for the foreseeable future.  So it’s a debate we must have.

Over the last week, this debate has all revolved around the testimony of Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old law student at an expensive university who nonetheless found it outrageous that she and her fellow students should have to pay for their own birth control.  Her statements brought up a number of issues, and, in my mind, provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the mess that government involvement in health care creates, and the entitlement mentality that has pervaded our culture.  This mentality is all around us; just last week I witnessed a woman throwing a near fit at my local Rite Aid because her $9 over-the-counter allergy meds were not paid for by her insurance.

Romney relatives for Ron Paul

You may recall that back in January, Rick Santorum’s nephew came out in support for Ron Paul because of his uncle’s very statist record. Well, Ron Paul can now boast the support of some of Mitt Romney’s cousins, who came out for him ahead of Super Tuesday:

Ron Paul announced Monday that the Texas congressman had earned the endorsement from a group of who seem like they should be solidly in the corner of rival Mitt Romney: the former Massachusetts governor’s own family members.

Five distant cousins of Romney will all appear in Idaho on Monday in support of Paul’s presidential bid.

It’s Super Tuesday: Is the end of the race around the corner?

It’s Super Tuesday, and hopefully the beginning of the end of the long and disasterous primary for the Republican Party. No one can deny that this cycle has been interesting process; well, most party primaries are. But this one has been especially painful to watch — especially recently, when the economy is the most pressing issue for voters, but some of the GOP candidates are focused on wedge social issues.

It’s hard to predict what will happen tonight, but observers say that Mitt Romney will have a good night and Newt Gingrich may re-establish himself if he manages to win more delegates that Rick Santorum, which looks like a very real possibility. On the other hand, we’ve seen so many twist and turns in this primary, would anyone be surprised to see a last minute surge for Santorum in Ohio or Gingrich not win Georgia by as substantial of a margin that polls indicate?

These three candidates — Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum — are a collective mess. While Gingrich generally respected amongst GOP voters and manages to gain enough support to remain relevant, national polls show him as toxic against Barack Obama.

Santorum isn’t much different. Polls show him doing decent in head-to-head matchups against Obama, but that’s largely because voters aren’t familiar with him. His socially conservative message isn’t one that will push independents to Republicans, and his numbers would fall even lower.

“Act of Valor”: A Libertarian’s Review

Jorge Gonzalez is a motion designer and political activist living and working in Midtown Atlanta. In his free time, he enjoys filming, photography, and reading. **Please note, this post contains spoilers. If you haven’t seen the film and don’t want to hear all about it, then stop here and read it after you’ve seen it. If you don’t care about spoilers, then by all means, read on.**

I’ve seen Act of Valor twice now. It’s a visually stunning movie, it is —unlike what the critics seem to suggest— a moving story, and has raised some important questions for me about valor, honor, war and how I should understand it given my worldview.

First, I was amazed at the realness of the movie. From the actor’s cadence to the weapons, the tactics to the sound engineering, the movie is frighteningly real. The action scenes were relentless. The sound of the M4’s (the assault rifle used by the SEALS) was spot on. I’ve never watched a movie where the M4 sounded as it actually does when fired. Not to mention, the Soviet weapons used in the movie were also very real sounding. That may seem like a minor detail but to me, I’ll never forget the sound of an AK or the sound an RPG makes when it’s passing by. Nor will I ever forget the sound an M4 makes, especially when fired repeatedly. That sound does stick with you and this movie brought back some memories.

Everything Wrong With The Libertarian Movement, Part 1

Rick Santorum’s defeats in Michigan and Arizona—and possible defeats in tomorrow’s Super Tuesdays contests—come as the Republican Party appears to be regaining some amount of common sense. Although at one time appealing, numerous individuals have pointed out the candidate’s flaws—including many libertarians, who have pointed out that the guy really isn’t a friend to individual liberty and is just another big government statist.

And then, of course, there are those who simply think he is downright crazy.

I was reminded of the old adage, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.” Many libertarians have lobbed granite boulders at Santorum (and Gingrich, and Romney…and even Paul), but as I was thinking about it, we really aren’t all that good and pure ourselves. We have our own problems to clean up, our own areas that we need to fix.

Mainly:

 


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