Archives for December 2011
President Obama signed on Saturday the defense authorization bill, formally ending weeks of heated debate in Congress and intense lobbying by the administration to strip controversial provisions requiring the transfer of some terror suspects to military custody.
“I have signed this bill despite having serious reservations with certain provisions that regulate the detention, interrogation, and prosecution of suspected terrorists,” Obama said in a statement accompanying his signature.
The White House had originally threatened to veto the $662 billion bill, considered must-pass legislation, over the language that requires mandatory military custody for suspects linked to al-Qaida or its affiliates, even if they are captured in the U.S. Just before the House and Senate passed the bill comfortably, the White House said it would support the bill’s compromise language that, as tweaked by conference committee, would not impede the administration’s ability to collect intelligence or incapacitate dangerous terrorists.
Still, administration officials have admitted publicly the final provisions were not the preferred approach of this administration.
You know, if you have “serious reservations” about a bill, the sensible thing to do would be to veto it. That’s why the veto power was given to the president in the first place! For a constitutional scholar, Mr. Obama doesn’t seem to know very much about the constitution is quite knowledgeable and sincere about the power of the presidency and the required performance of the United States federal government through the authority vested in the Constitution. Have a good day.
[Article sweeped of unpatriotic sentiment at 6:48PM 12/31/2011. Move along, citizen.]
Yesterday, we went over the top 10 news stories from 2011, which were mainly about news and issues that made headlines this past year. This morning, we’re recapping our most read stories from 2011.
Being a libertarian-leaning blog, we touch on a variety of issues. From those of you that aren’t familiar with libertarianism, it is a philosophy grounded in individual liberty. We believe the individual is sovereign and has a right to pursue whatever lifestyle he chooses, provided that he doesn’t harm or disparage the rights of other sovereigns in the process. The belief in individual sovereign also extends to economic liberty and a belief in free markets.
With that said, our top posts from 2011 range from civil liberties issues, including the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and the Fourth Amendment, to defending free markets and fighting cronyism and corporatism in Washington and on Wall Street to covering Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and having an open discussing the libertarian philosophy.
We offer no additional commentary on these posts. If you would like to read them, just click on the title. Again, have a safe and happy new year.
We’re winding down on another year. Much like recent years, 2011 represented challenges for liberty and the Constitution. These hurdles came from all sides, including the Obama Administration and Republicans in Congress, and we are ending the year a little less free than in 2010.
Below is a recap of some of bigger stories of the year that were covered here at United Liberty (though a couple are thrown in for fun). Thanks for reading in what was a record breaking year for this blog. We appreciate the readership and hope you’ll keep coming back in 2012
Happy New Year!
— The Death of Osama bin Laden (Jason Pye): On Sunday, May 1st, word broke that the White House had called notified the press of a major announcement. You could tell that it was a significant event since the president was making such a statement late on a Sunday evening.As you probably remember, wild speculation started almost immediately as many people said that it could have only meant a couple of things, either we were going to war or Osama bin Laden had finally been captured.
Around 11pm, President Barack Obama told Americans that, after nearly 10 years after murdering nearly 3,000 innocent people, Osama bin Laden was dead. Bin Laden, leader of the terrorist group, al-Qaeda, was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan by a group of Navy SEALS at a compound that he had lived in for five years.
In a new video from Economic Freedom, Susan Dudley explains that while regulations are needed, many of the rules put in place by Congress and bureaucrats in Washington have made it increasingly difficult for businesses to prosper. Dudley argues that rules put in place should be clear, consistant, and easy to understand:
We have yet another new poll out of Iowa today showing that the Rick Santorum surge is for real; at least right now. The poll, released by NBC, echoes others polls released this week by CNN and Rasmussen that show Santorum moving into third place overall. However, the NBC poll also shows Gingrich dropping to fifth.
- Mitt Romney: 23%
- Ron Paul: 21%
- Rick Santorum: 15%
- Rick Perry: 14%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Michele Bachmann: 6%
Gingrich’s drop was aided by a substantial number of attack ads being run against by by super PACs and other campaigns. Perry has also seen a window of opportunity in recent days and attacking Santorum’s abysmal fiscal record, including his use of earmarks. Santorum’s defense is terrible.
The strangest development out of the state today is that Ron Paul will take this weekend off from the campaign trail to spend with his wife. With the caucus just a few days away, many observers are questioning the wisdom of such a move when public appearances to rally supporters are important. With that said, Paul does have a dedicated base of supporters that will no doubt continue working hard, but it helps to have the candidate there actively campaigning.
As polling shows Mitt Romney rising in Iowa, Ron Paul continues to fight off allegations of racism and bigotry due to newsletters published under his name some 20 years ago.
We’ve touched on this issue several times in recent days, including my post on Wednesday where I explained that I didn’t believe Paul wrote the newsletters, though I believe he bears responsibility for them.
Paul’s campaign is obviously nervous about the issue, and rightly so. And political action committee promoting his campaign, Revolution PAC, is running a touching new ad defending him against the bad publicity that has come with focus on the newsletters:
Just the same though, this part of Paul’s past should concern libertarians since Paul has become the standard-bearer for our philosophy. David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute, touch on this yesterday:
Things seem to be changing fast in Iowa. As was noted yesterday with CNN’s latest poll, Rick Santorum is starting to climb in the polls and Mitt Romney is beginning to emerge as a frontrunner in the state. Although there are questions about CNN’s sample and methodology, that seems to be backed up with the latest numbers out of the state from Rasmussen:
- Mitt Romney: 23%
- Ron Paul: 22%
- Rick Santorum: 16%
- Newt Gingrich: 13%
- Rick Perry: 13%
- Michele Bachmann: 5%
- Jon Huntsman: 3%
The Washington Post explains that the two main factors behind Santorum’s surge is that social conservatives abandoned Newt Gingrich and he now had some money to run ads in the Iowa. Previously, Santorum was the most underfunded candidates in the race. But this is probably to “too little, too late” for Santorum, though a third place finish would certainly justify him staying in the race.
Romney’s steady rise in Iowa is just as interesting since he was thought to have written off the state a few months ago. It’s not necessarily what his campaign is doing in the state. What really is playing to his advantage is a fractured conservative movement.
Looking at recent national polls, the same narrative seems to be playing out. Gallup reported yesterday in its national poll that Romney has now surpassed Gingrich for the first time since daily tracking began earlier this month.
One of the most frequent, and perhaps best, arguments for Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination is that he the most electable candidate. Of course, that relative given that the voters in a general election haven’t been exposed to his flaws the way Republicans have in what is his second bid for the nomination.
With that said, most polls do show Romney doing the best against President Barack Obama, including this most recent survey from Rasmussen, a polling firm that tends to favor Republicans:
- Obama: 39%
- Romney: 45%
Rasmussen has conducted recent surveys testing the strength of some of the candidates in the GOP field against Obama, and none of them poll quite as well. Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum trail by 10 points. Rick Perry trails by 12 and Michele Bachmann by 13. Trailing by 8 points, Ron Paul has the smallest margin with Obama among the rest of the field.
Interestingly, Romney does better in a head-to-head matchup with Obama than the “generic Republican.” In past polls, the so-called “generic Republican” often did better against Obama than the actual candidates in the field.
While I’m not much of a fan of Romney and would probably vote third party if he were the nominee, many friends and colleagues ask me which of the candidates can beat Obama. At this point, here’s your answer.
Via the National Review comes a look at new ads on the air in Iowa from Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, both of whom are hoping to raise their numbers in advance of Tuesday’s caucus.
Newt Gingrich’s latest ad touts his jobs plan, which he says would lower taxes on small business and promote energy independence:
And Ron Paul’s latest ad strike familiar themes of targeting Washington and criticizing Gingrich and Mitt Romney as “serial hypocrites” and “flip floppers.” The ad also promote Paul’s plan to cut spending by $1 trillion and balance the budget:
Among my frequent criticisms of Newt Gingrich was his support of Medicare Part D, which was passed in 2003 with the support of President George W. Bush. Medicare Part D, which covers prescription drugs, is expansion of an already troubled government-run insurance program that has been estimated to add anywhere between $7 trillion to $9.4 trillion in unfunded liabilties.
Keep in mind that Medicare and Social Security together represent some $61 trillion in unfunded liabilties. So the last thing we should be doing is adding to that. Yet, that’s exactly what Newt Gingrich did when the bill was before the House, according to former Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO):
Former Colorado Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, now a director at the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List, said Gingrich called her at the height of the 2003 debate urging her to vote for the bill.
“Newt called me to vote yes,” Musgrave told CNN by phone on Wednesday.
“He asked for a yes vote on a Medicare prescription drug benefit,” she said. “Dick Armey” – former House Majority Leader – “called me and wanted a no. But I had already made up my mind to vote not to expand an entitlement that we were going to have to pay for down the road.”
Musgrave was one of 19 House Republicans who voted against the plan, which passed 220-215.
Two more Republicans who served in Congress at the time, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake and Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, told the Des Moines Register this week that Gingrich lobbied them to vote in favor of the Medicare provision.