For Obama, the Answer to the Iran Question is Clear. The Middle East Isn’t as Optimistic.

Iran nukes

As I write this, President Obama is speaking from the Rose Garden — very proudly — of the preliminary deal that has been reached with Iran in the nuclear talks that some predicted might be pushed back to this summer:

The talks have been on shaky ground in recent days, with U.S. lawmakers worried Iran was making unreasonable demands and some even urging the U.S. delegation to “walk away” from the negotiating table.

Even the White House warned that they were prepared to do so if Iran did not start negotiating in good faith.

Pressured by congressional critics in the U.S. who threaten to impose new sanctions on Iran over what they say is a bad emerging deal, the Obama administration is demanding significant public disclosure of agreements and understandings reached at the current round. But the officials say Iran wants a minimum made public.

The talks resumed several hours after a flurry of marathon overnight sessions between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, as well as other meetings among the six powers.

Details are still emerging but one thing seems certain: President Obama is selling this as a great win for diplomacy, and not the scary pathway to the bomb so many fear it is.

“Our work is not yet done,” says Obama.

Let’s hope that’s true because the people in the region that have a real, pressing interest in the relative power of the IRanian regime, are understandably concerned.

Because We’re Not Afraid of Debate: RFRA Madness —Marriage Support May Suffer, But That’s a Good Thing

RFRA desormeaux

 

This was originally posted at Cynicus Prime.

One of the most startling memes I’ve seen in the wake of the Indiana RFRA debate is the swift retreat by many conservatives from their previously stated support for same-sex marriage equality. Many analysts expect this kind of pushback when an issue becomes as heated as this one has. The pendulum swings back and forth, they say, and perhaps RFRA was the top of the equal rights swing and now the descent begins. Maybe, maybe not. But the pushback we’ve seen here is incredibly instructive, and ultimately worth the price for an honest public debate.

I couldn’t scroll my Twitter timeline at any point on Wednesday without someone saying they were now rethinking or abandoning their support for gay marriage after Indiana. They had reluctantly agreed that marriage would be ok, but to have their businesses hired to (not at all) participate in them? Fascism! Totalitarianism!

At first blush, this sounds like an unfortunate setback for the LGBT equal rights movement. Polls may soon show a softening of national support for marriage equality. Well, I say it’s about time. The emergent consensus was a fairy tale. It was too good to be true.

April Fool’s? Ron Paul Endorses Ted Cruz

ron paul

 

We’ll just have to wait and see…

Early Wednesday morning, former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) shocked the political world by endorsing Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) for President. The move is of marked significance, as Dr. Paul’s son Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is expected to announce his candidacy early next week.

The elder Paul quickly articulated the reasoning for his endorsement, stating that he had “read hundreds of Facebook and Reddit comments” which suggested that his son was a “neo-con establishment statist” and “not Ron Paul.” Ron Paul thereby used the articulate and well-reasoned opinions of these online libertarians to come to the realization that he could not endorse Rand Paul.

Just in Time for Hillary to Declare: Bill Clinton and the Retroactive Application of Mitchell’s Golden Rule

This was originally posted at International Liberty.

 

It’s amazingly simple to reduce the burden of government spending. Policy makers simply need to impose some modest spending restraint so that government doesn’t grow faster than the economy’s productive sector.

In a display of humility that can only be found in Washington, DC, I call this Mitchell’s Golden Rule.

And, amazingly, even the International Monetary Fund agrees that spending caps are the most effective strategy for good fiscal policy.

Since I’m not a fan of the IMF, this is definitely a case of strange bedfellows!

Let’s look at some case studies of what happens when there are limits on the growth of government.

A review of data for 16 nations reveals that multi-year periods of spending restraint lead to lower fiscal burdens and less red ink.

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are Staking Out the Same Ground, Just Not Exactly in the Same Way

paul and cruz

While there are varying opinions about just how much support Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul may — or may not — have in regard to running for president in 2016, those opinions begin to coalesce when it comes to what kind of policy position both men may be staking out in the run-up to that contest. Mostly because the men themselves are already taking a stand:

In the brouhaha last week over Sen. Rand Paul’s defense-spending amendment (with offsetting cuts), an interesting dynamic got a bit overlooked. And that is: Outside of the blatant trolling exercise of the budget-amendment process, when it came time to pass a budget resolution for 2016 and the next decade, the only GOP senators voting “no” were Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

Apparently Cruz would like to see a long-term reigning in of entitlement spending, Paul is more interested in making sure that whatever defense spending we alot funds toward, we are responsible in actually paying for it, rather than just kicking those costs down the road.

Radical stuff, folks. Making sure we can afford what we’re buying and actually paying for it. What madness is this?

Time to Sell Economic Growth

lower taxes for dummies

While many people like to pay attention to polls so that they can end up offering tidbits of information to their friends with relatively easy to understand numbers, when it comes to activists, polls often guide policy decisions. Right now, activists that are concerned with the concept of promoting small business growth should be leaping to sway the public and politicians toward initiatives involving tax reform. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, public opinion is trending toward cutting government spending, and decreasing taxes.

This is a concept that Libertarians and free market activists have been pointing out forever, and it seems the public is getting the message, since 52% of voters now believe that cutting government spending helps the economy. However, there is a minor dissonance in these results, since about 47% of voters would support a candidate that would tax the rich more, while dropping taxes for others - that number is up from 44% in December. So, while people are getting that taxes hurt the economy, they aren’t quite comprehending that the governmental definition of “rich” as far as taxation is concerned could include the family-owned coffee shop down the street that only employs a handful of people.

FCC Net Neutrality Ideology Out of Step with Internet Reality

monopoly

“Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology—where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory truths. Our Unification of Thoughts is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death, and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!” Apple advertisement, 1984.

There are now two Internets. The Internet envisioned by the ideology embodied in the FCC’s new net neutrality rules, and the Internet as it exists in reality. The “net neutral” Internet is “a garden of pure ideology” where content companies “are one people … with one cause” and network congestion is merely a figment of the imagination. The real Internet is different — congestion is commonplace and the interests of content owners are divergent.

Mandatory Voting a Disastrous Proposal

If you ever hear Obama talk about transforming America, you can bet your last red cent that he is proposing something that will undermine American liberty and the rule of law.

This time is no different. Last Wednesday, speaking to a civic group in Cleveland, Obama responded to a question about the negative impact on money in politics by going on a tangent about voting rights and about making it easier for people to vote. He declared “If everybody voted, it would completely change the political map in this country.”

Ummm, yes, that is correct, but is that “change” for better or for worse? Obama promised to “fundamentally transform” America if elected, and so he has…millions more Americans unemployed, median income down thousands, millions more on food stamps and welfare, and a complete disregard by Obama of limitations to his power. Not all change is good.

Obama Solving Voter Apathy by Antagonizing Voters

vote or die

If you’re looking for a solution to voter apathy, the last place you should look is anywhere that involves legislation. Barack Obama predictably suggested that it might not be a bad idea to make voting madatory in the U.S. Anyone that didn’t see this coming must have missed the new Oregon law that will automatically register eligible citizens to vote when they apply for or renew driver’s licenses and I.D.’s.

While it might be tempting to suggest that Obama simply wanted to outdo Oregon with his proposal, it probably has more to do with the fact that just making sure that more people are registered to vote won’t necessarily increase the number of people that actually cast ballots. The real issue is apathy, and the president’s solution is to simply force people to the polls. More cynical observers will also point out that the step after that would be to inform people who they must vote for in a given election.

Five Things That Are Right with the Congressional Budget Process

Yesterday the Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire blog published a listicle by public affairs consultant John Feehery (once a spokesman for former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert, the moderate, more timid successor to revolutionary Newt Gingrich), opining on the messy federal budget process. My attempts to reach Reid Epstein, the blog’s editor, to offer a counterpoint were fruitless, so here are five reasons we should be thankful for the current federal budgeting process.

 


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