Archives for December 2011

Rick Perry declines invite to Trump debate

Rick Perry became the latest Republican hopeful to decline an invitation to the debate that will be moderated by Donald Trump on December 27th in Iowa:

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the latest GOP presidential candidate to decline an invitation to the controversial debate that will be hosted by Donald Trump, saying that “retail campaigning” in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses is his “top priority.”

“Gov. Perry has talked to Donald Trump in recent days and respects him and the folks at Newsmax very much,” said campaign manager Ray Sullivan in a statement. “In the coming weeks, Gov. Perry will be in Iowa almost continually, meeting with real voters, doing town-hall meetings and events and talking American jobs, faith and overhauling Washington, D.C., to Iowa voters.”

The campaign also pointed out that there are two debates in the next seven days.

Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, and Mitt Romney have already declined invitations. Michele Bachmann backed out yesterday. RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has urged candidates not to attend, largely because Trump is still kicking around the idea of running in an independent or third party bid.

Is there any hope for the GOP?

 

As libertarians we are often faced with the question of how best to promote our views.  There is a strong temptation to work within the GOP as it seems, at times, to offer an avenue for libertarian ideas.  There are also many libertarians who see the GOP as fundamentally corrupt and unfriendly.  I have generally considered myself as part of the first group, believing that the party can be changed from within and steered in a better direction.  But this election cycle could potentially change that for me.

The most troubling thing for me is the reemergence of Newt Gingrich.  For reasons beyond my understanding, Newt has become the choice of many conservatives within the GOP base.  Leaving aside his numerous personal failings, Newt is the quintessential insider with a long record of supporting big-government programs and selling his influence to the highest bidder.  He is a true believer in the idea that government is a force for good that can be used to solve problems (as opposed to a necessary evil), an idea more acceptable on the left and supposedly anathema to the Tea Party.  On civil liberties he is an absolute nightmare - a strong proponent of the PATRIOT Act and other attempts to curtail rights in the name of fighting terrorism.

And the other candidates are not much better, aside from the libertarian-leaning Ron Paul and Gary Johnson who have largely been written off and ignored, and Jon Huntsman who has made some good suggestions.  Santorum, Cain, and Bachmann have thankfully been relegated to fringe status, though both Cain and Bachmann had periods where they enjoyed substantial support.  And Rick Perry, despite having a relatively good fiscal record, has largely destroyed himself with gaffes, and this week made the unforgivable decision to resort to divisive gay-bashing in an apparent attempt to woo socially conservative voters.

Would the #NDAA Lock up the #MSM?

Journalists are terrorists.

That line of thought was brought up in my college class on international reporting back in 2009, when we were discussing the Swine Flu and SARS and how the media was covering those things. One student asked that, if journalists were hyping these stories, getting people alarmed over things that probably not going to harm them, and especially if said journalists were not doing proper fact-checking and were spreading around myths, then aren’t journalists terrorists?

That was in my mind as I read about the National Defense Authorization Act and its idiotic langauge that would require the US military to lock up anyone who is merely “suspected” of being a terrorist without any trial or due process. The same line of thought, apparently, hit Jason Kuznicki:

If I were president, I would start with a round of mass imprisonments.

As Machiavelli advises, I’d do it quickly, perhaps all in one night. A few tens of thousands should be enough.

No, no, you’ve got me all wrong — these aren’t political prisoners. Yes, they just happen to include the members of the Democratic and Republican National Committees. There are a lot of big-time political donors. (Which ones? Don’t ask!) Industrialists, financiers, labor leaders, community organizers. Academics. Journalists. Judges. A few members of Congress. (I wouldn’t need too many of those. It only needs a few pour encourager les autres.)

Rick Perry’s Disgusting Ad and #GOP schizophrenia

As you’re probably already aware, Rick Perry came out with a YouTube ad blasting gays serving in the military while, apparently, Christian children can’t celebrate Christmas—which makes me wonder if he’s an antiwar candidate and if I should invite him to Festivus this year.

Put simply, the ad is disgusting. Insulting people defending* Perry’s right to run for office in another country, insulting people putting their lives on the line so that he can say what he wants, and insinuating that Christians—who make up an absolute majority of all Americans [PDF]—can’t celebrate Christmas is absolutely insane and retarded (and yes, I chose those words specifically.)

Heck, even members of his staff thought the ad was nuts!

But not everyone was comfortable with the script. When the ad was being crafted several weeks ago, Perry’s top pollster, Tony Fabrizio, called it “nuts,” according to an email sent from Fabrizio to the ad’s main creator, longtime GOP operative Nelson Warfield. In a separate email to The Huffington Post, Warfield confirmed that the ad was made over Fabrizio’s objections.

Nelson should have listened to Tony. That was a bad, bad move.

REINS Not Unconstitutional; “Administrative Laws” are

Yesterday, a guest blogger from Americans for Prosperity, Joel Aaron, posted about the Regulation from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny (REINS) Act, an admirable bill to restore constitutional principles to Congress and take the power to make law away from unelected bureaucrats. Today, while looking for something completely different, I stumbled onto a post from FireDogLake about the same, which said:

Other than possibly being unconstitutional, one does wonder where Congress would get the time to consider such regulations between fund-raisers and, well, fund-raisers. Unless, of course, they were determined to make sure there are no regulations ever, creating a government that cannot possibly ever function.

…Oh, right.

FireDogLake, for those unaware, is a sort of liberal version of RedState, akin to DailyKos, so I think it’s pretty clear where this author (who goes by the pseudonym “Attaturk”) is looking for. Specifically, I just want to look at the sentence “Other than possibly being unconstitutional,” because, quite clearly, REINS is very constitutional.

I would like to look at Article I, Section I, of the United States Constitution:

All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Now, we should get into the nitty gritty of it and eliminate all ambiguity, so what does “legislative” mean?

Democrats Losing Voters

Looks like Obama is going to have a tougher time getting back in the White House next year, according to WMAL:

A report released Wednesday by the centrist think-tank Third Way showed that more than 825,000 voters in eight key battleground states have fled the Democratic Party since Obama won election in 2008.

“The numbers show that Democrats’ path to victory just got harder,” said Lanae Erickson, the report’s co-author.  “We are seeing both an increase in independents and a decrease in Democrats and that means the coalition they have to assemble is going to rely even more on independents in 2012 than it did in 2008.”

Amid frustrating partisan gridlock and unprecedentedly low party-approval ratings, the number of voters registering under a major party is falling fast, but it is also falling disproportionately.

In eight states that will be must-wins in 2012 — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina and Pennsylvania — Democrats lost 5.4 percent of their registered voters while Republicans lost 3.1 percent.  The number of independent voters in those states jumped 3.4 percent.

This is not really news; voters have been fleeing both major parties over the past decade due to overactive hyperpartisanship, a greatly expanded bounty of information from blogs and social media that have destroyed “big media“‘s credibility, and that neither party is actually focusing on delivering a consistent message and consistent policy, but has been playing too much politics. What is interesting is that more are fleeing Democrats than Republicans—at least in these states, and I think that has to do with a couple of things:

Capitalism, Jobs and the Wizard of Menlo Park

One of the most disturbing trends I’ve witnessed over these last few years is a coordinated attack from the left on the institutions and principles that make America great. Maybe nowhere has this been more evident than in the vitriol spewed by our eternal Campaigner-in-Chief and his dutiful Minions of Social Justice, all bemoaning the evils of capitalism, and the inequity of wealth distribution (although oddly, their desire for more equal distribution does not extend to income taxes, where the top one percent earn 19% of the income and pay 40% of all income taxes, while the bottom fifty percent that pay exactly zero).

Obama has set so many straw men on fire that he’s now the leading cause of global warming. He accused doctors of slicing out tonsils and amputating limbs just to bill a few more dollars to insurance companies. He’s accused business owners of not caring about their employees and only about their company’s bottom line. He accused the Chamber of Commerce, without proof, of using foreign money to buy elections. His NLRB threatened Boeing for opening a new, billion dollar plant in right-to-work South Carolina, and his wife urged young students not to go into the corporate world, but rather “work for the community” like her community organizer husband, as if bringing valued goods and services and the accompanying jobs and wealth into the community was not a worthwhile endeavor.

When did we reach the point where we extol the timid and the parasitic? Where wealth creation was bad, and the American Dream had been supplanted by a desire for European-style social welfare? We don’t even have to look back in history to see what a nightmare this is; we just have to turn on the news. The Greeks are rioting in the streets at the thought of giving up an ounce of their lavish social welfare benefits, and the European Union is at the brink of collapse as it struggles under the weight of its debt driven by these welfare state policies.

Jim DeMint backs Ted Cruz in Texas

Among the candidates that are getting support from conservatives and grassroots groups, Ted Cruz, who is running for U.S. Senate in Texas, has received a lot of support. Unfortunately, Cruz has a mountain to climb as polls currently David Dewhurst with a sizable lead.

But Cruz is hoping to rally support from conservatives in Texas, and is hitting Dewhurst on taxes and his inability to stand up to the TSA. And with help from prominent conservatives, Cruz may be able to do just that. During an interview on the The Michael Berry Show, Jim DeMint, the tea party-minded Senator from South Carolina who runs the Senate Conservatives PAC, noted his support for Cruz.

McClintock: Squaring Social Security and the Payroll Tax Cut

As Congress debates the extension of the payroll tax cut, a measure that the White House said would stimulate the economy and create jobs, I offered my own thoughts on alternatives that would encourage economic growth and protect Social Security.

Topping the list of unfinished business this year is the impending collision of two closely related crises: the expiration of the payroll tax cut and the acceleration of Social Security’s bankruptcy.

Last year, Congress voted for a payroll tax cut that averages roughly $1,000 for every working family in America.

As warned, it failed to stimulate economic growth and it accelerated the collapse of the Social Security system. But as promised, it threw every working family a vital lifeline in tough economic times.

We need to meet three conflicting objectives: we need to continue the payroll tax cut; we need to stimulate real economic growth and we need to avoid doing further damage to the Social Security system.

But first, we need to understand that not all tax cuts stimulate lasting economic growth. Cutting marginal tax rates does so because this changes the incentives that individuals respond to. Cutting infra-marginal tax rates - such as the payroll tax - does not.

Congress must shoot down the defense authorization bill

A few days ago, I wrote that the compromise is the Senate over the detainee language in the defense authorization bill was a good thing. Well, after reading more about it, it’s clear that Americans are still in danger of being detained indefinitely by their own government without formal charge, as Sheldon Richman of the Foundation for Economic Education explains at Reason:

Permit me to state the obvious: The government shouldn’t be allowed to imprison people indefinitely without charge or trial. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this nearly 800 years after Magna Carta was signed and over 200 years after the Fifth Amendment was ratified.

Yet this uncomplicated principle, which is within the understanding of a child, is apparently lost on a majority in the U.S. Senate. Last week the Senate voted 61-37 in effect to authorize the executive branch to use the military to capture and hold American citizens indefinitely without trial—perhaps at Guantanamo—if they are merely suspected of involvement with a terrorist or related organization—and even if their suspected activity took place on U.S. soil.

The provision, which is included in the National Defense Authorization Act, was drafted without a public hearing by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.). Sen. Mark Udall (D- Colo.) sponsored an amendment to remove the power, but the amendment was defeated. A related provision requires that terrorism suspects who are not citizens be held by the military rather than being tried in a civilian criminal court. (The executive branch can waive this requirement after certifying to Congress that the waiver is a matter of national security.)


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