Archives for November 2011

What is the Tea Party Debt Commission?

As you may have heard, the Tea Party Debt Commission has been looking for ways to trim back the federal budget. Dean Clancy, a policy adviser and Vice President at FreedomWorks, explains the idea behind the commission and what is being put forward to reduce federal spending:

Through our website,, we are employing state-of-the-art crowd-sourcing technology to learn about people’s priorities. And we’re getting incredible information that the Beltway simply doesn’t have, or hasn’t taken the initiative to gather.

More than 50,000 people have visited the site to date, and more than 8 in 10 of them have clicked through all the way to the end of the survey, an absolutely amazing “retention” rate for a web poll.

Here’s how it works. When you visit the site, you’re asked to choose between two randomly matched pairs of proposed spending cuts. You must choose one of the two items. After you’ve done this eight or ten times, the computer shows you how much money you saved over one and ten years. The 40,000 completed surveys so far have included 725,000 randomly generated budget cut matchups.

And the results? Here are the top 10 currently trending ideas (with the percentage of people who chose the idea over an alternative):

What’s more important, civil liberties or economic freedom?

While liberals traditionally are more concerned with civil liberties and Republicans with economic liberty, Aeon Skoble, Professor of Philosophy at Bridgewater State University, explains in this video from Learn Liberty (it’s a couple months old) that civil and economic liberties are equally important and inseparable:

Hey OWS: Where is the outrage over this?

While Michael Moore has been outspoken in his support of Occupy Wall Street — though he recently tried to play down the fact that he is part of the evil “1%,” the filmmaker took $1 million in film tax credits to make Capitalism: A Love Story:

Flint’s Michael Moore was welcomed at Occupy Oakland last week as a hero.

This is the same One Percenter - his conspicuous wealth includes a sprawling mansion on Torch Lake and a swanky pad at 200 Park Avenue in New York - who received a $1 million Michigan government handout to make his anti-One Percenter movie, “Capitalism: A Love Story.”
maybe Moore’s hypocrisy is a perfect symbol for the confused Occupy movement. The film-maker rallied the crowd in front of Oakland City Hall by urging them to expand their protests to leafy suburbs like Oakland’s middle-class Walnut Creek.

“That’s where all the money is, right?” he said.

Actually, Torch Lake is where the money is. Moore’s pad there is worth an estimated $5 million. In addition to taxpayer subsidies, Moore’s wealth comes from multinational corporations like Columbia TriStar Home Entertainment - a subsidiary of Sony that distributes his film, Fahrenheit 9/11 (box office gross: $222 million), on DVD.

I Think, Therefore I Read Libertarianism.Org

LorgFrontPageThis may come off as a shameless plug, but my friend Aaron Powell over at the Cato Institute has just launched a new project, This takes a different tack than Cato and most other places, even including United Liberty. What this new website is doing is talking about the philosophy of libertarianism, the intellectual foundation for this new idea that is gradually sweeping the globe. That’s something that isn’t touched on so much in the media and elsewhere, but is the real answer when hippies get in your face and scream “Think of the Children!”

The website has videos dating back to the 80s, biographies of famous libertarians, lists and samples of books and important texts, and of course, more essays than you can shake a Kindle at. It also has a list of those who are critical of libertarianism, which is something one must consider; it is not enough to merely know the libertarian canon, because if you’re going to get into a debate, you have to know your opponent’s silliness in order to get them with it.

On top of all this, it has a really slick design.

I encourage everyone who reads United Liberty to go over there and read the essays, maybe even buy some of the books. They are not only a good start to learning about liberty, but for those of us who have been libertarians for some time already, they deepen and enrich our points, and give us a better background and context to work from.

Support for Occupy Wall Street falls

While Occupy Wall Street enjoyed a brief moment of decent polling, their increasingly violent and hostile protests has started to turn public opinion against them, according to a new survey from Quinnipiac:

A sign that the Occupy Wall Street movement isn’t the best long-term vehicle for Democrats to connect themselves with: A new Quinnipiac poll, showing a plurality of voters viewing the group unfavorably.

The poll, released today, show 30 percent of voters surveyed view the movement favorably, 39 percent unfavorably, with an additional 30 percent not hearing enough to have an opinion. It’s one of the first national polls to suggest voters are growing skeptical of Occupy Wall Street- and it comes as police have clashed with protesters in several cities. Previous national polls have shown a plurality of adults supporting the movement.
Among independents, the Occupy Wall Street movement and Tea Party movement are now viewed equally unfavorably. Occupy Wall Street has a net -13 favorable rating with independents (29% favorable/42% unfavorable), while the Tea Party holds a net -11 favorable rating (34% favorable/45% unfavorable).

Republicans are killing me

As we role merrily right along into November, I, along with the rest of the libertarian crowd, am watching the Republican Party blissfully make the same tired mistakes yet again. Watching what appears to be unsynchronized cat herding under penalty of broken knee caps can be entertaining, but at this point, I’m really close to pulling out a speech worthy of a spot in Pulp Fiction on Samuel Jackson’s cue cards.

On saying “we have to remove Obama” out of fear and we can only support whoever the eventual GOP Nominee is: I’ve already written about this subject in The Strategy of Hating One. In the current cycle, it’s President Obama, but the previous installment was Bill Clinton and little blue dress. You can point to a general belief that the President is a Marxist or Socialist without too much opposition. You can make the point that the closest description of our country is Fascism. But I have to challenge you to point out the differences between the last Republican President or the alternative of McCain, and this Democrat President. We have stayed in Iraq until they are kicking us out, we have escalated Afghanistan, Libya, kept Gitmo open. Leaving the main differences that the increase in spending has been larger than say a McCain might have done, and Obamacare has been pushed through. And frankly, Obamacare could very well be named McCain-Care given the same congressional make-up.

ICYMI: “South Park” pokes fun at Occupy Wall Street

It was a great episode, though Occupy Wall Street wasn’t the main focus of the storyline. To sum it up, Cartman was held South Park Elementary back from receiving good marks on a nationwide fitness test and every kid in the school was forced to do more exercise as a result of it. The kids ganged up on Cartman, who said he was the 1% being ganged up on by the 99%. The kids then take their message to the street and hilarity ensues:

Look, Guys, It’s 2011, Not 1775

I think someone needs to explain that to this bunch of alleged geriatric “terrorists”:

Four Georgia men who were part of a fringe militia group were arrested on Tuesday in what the Justice Department described as a plot to use guns, bombs and the toxin ricin to kill federal and state officials and spread terror.

The men, all aged 65 and over, were recorded telling an F.B.I. informant that they wanted to kill federal judges,Internal Revenue Service employees and agents of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, according to court documents.

“There is no way for us, as militiamen, to save this country, to save Georgia, without doing something that’s highly, highly illegal: murder,” one of those charged, Frederick Thomas, 73, of Cleveland, Ga., was recorded telling the informant.

“When it comes time to saving the Constitution, that means some people have got to die,” he said.

Actually, no, Fred, it doesn’t. In fact, you go on a terror spree in order to “save” the Constitution, I guarantee you will bury it under a block of lead.

Another foreign policy gaffe by Cain

As if the past accusations of sexual harrassment and subsequent handling of the issues weren’t bad enough, Herman Cain lack of knowledge on foreign policy issues remains a serious concern about this candidacy.

We’re not hearing about it much, but during an interview on Monday, Cain said that China was “trying to develop nuclear capability.” No one let Cain know that China has had this ability for nearly 50 years:

Asked how he would react to China’s growing military influence, Cain said that he was worried that the country is “trying to develop nuclear capability and they want to develop more aircraft carriers like we have.”

China tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964, and has been a nuclear power since then.

Comments like these are why much of the Republican establishment don’t take Cain seriously as a presidential candidate, despite his strong showing in primary polls. It’s not the first inaccurate comment he’s made on foreign policy. In the early stages of his campaign, Cain declined to specifically respond to many foreign policy questions, instead saying he’d defer to his military advisers, if he was elected president.  His dismissal of foreign policy towards “Uzbeki-beki-beki-stan-stan” as a gotcha question highlights his mentality on the subject.

Fed downgrades economic forecasts, questions arise in Europe

The Federal Reserve delivered some bad economic news yesterday, as if we haven’t had enough of that this year, as the central bank revised forecasts downward:

The Federal Reserve has lowered its growth forecasts and raised its unemployment projections, suggesting the economy has a longer path to recovery.

The central bank’s latest forecast released Wednesday predicts that the economy will grow just 1.6 percent to 1.7 percent for all of 2011. For 2012, growth will range between 2.5 percent and 2.9 percent. Both forecasts are roughly a full percentage point lower than the Fed’s projections from June.

The unemployment rate has been stuck near 9 percent for more than two years. The Fed doesn’t see that changing this year. It predicts it will fall between 8.5 percent and 8.7 percent next year. In June, the Fed had predicted unemployment would drop next year to as low as 7.8 percent.

The new forecast takes into account the substantial slowdown in growth that occurred earlier this year.

We did get some good economic news this morning as new jobless claims dropped below 400,000. We’ll find out Friday if the economy added a significant amount of jobs (meaning over 125,000 or above population growth) last month

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