Archives for January 2012
Our own Chris Frashure blogged yesterday that Delegate Bob Marshall (R-Va.), a U.S. Senate candidate, has introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would direct the state government to refuse to comply with the National Defense Authorization Act’s indefinite detention provisions. Chris writes:
Virginia Delegate and now U. S. Senate candidate Bob Marshall, author of the famous Virginia Healthcare Freedom Act, has introduced a bill into the General Assembly to address the indefinite detention prevision (sic) of the National Defense Authorization Act that President Obama has signed and codified into law. Specifically, the bill “[p]revents any agency, political subdivision, employee, or member of the military of Virginia from assisting an agency or the armed forces of the United States in the investigation, prosecution, or detainment of a United States citizen in violation of the Constitution of Virginia.”
Marshall’s bill is just the latest way that opposition to Section 1021 of the NDAA is being expressed at the state level. As we reported earlier this month, Montanans have launched an effort spearheaded by Oath Keepers founder and president Stewart Rhodes to recall their entire congressional delegation for casting votes in favor of the NDAA. But Montanans don’t have to wait to be rid of Tester and Rehberg. They can reject them both in this year’s U.S. Senate election by drafting a viable GOP primary opponent to Rehberg before the June 5 primaries who can then take the fight to Tester over the NDAA.
It seems like the biggest winner in the GOP presidential primaries this year, other than the loser who will eventually be nominated, is libertarianism. Even Charles Krauthammer, one of the smartest and best writers in America, agrees.
Right now the man who is carrying libertarianism banner is none other than Congressman Ron Paul. To say that Ron Paul that has baggage however is an understatement of the decade. There is, of course, the infamous Ron Paul racist newsletters that he of course knows nothing about. There is the continued association with the likely writer of the aforementioned newsletters, Lew Rockwell. There is the troubling lack of understanding, to put it mildly, about the origins of the Civil War and the Confederacy.
Finally, there is just that damn inability to communicate which has allowed the enemies of libertarianism to define its ideas. In order to build on the momentum we have, we need to purge this cancer that is the Paul-Rockwell strain of “paleolibertarianism”.
Looking for a way to beat up on him, Newt Gingrich recently made an issue out of Mitt Romney’s tax returns. The line of attack was more than curious coming from someone who professes a belief in free enterprise, but as it turns out, Romney tax returns aren’t that big of a deal via Doug Mataconis:
The details of the returns, confirmed by a senior campaign official, provide the most detailed view yet of his wealthy family’s finances. The disclosure comes after a barrage of pressure to release his returns — which Mr. Romney has never done, even when he was elected governor of Massachusetts.
The disclosure — reported early Tuesday by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg News — showed a vast array of investments, from a recently closed Swiss bank account to holdings in Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, all underscoring the breadth and depth of his wealth, which has become a central issue in his bid for the Republican presidential nomination.
Mr. Romney said last week that his effective tax rate was “about 15 percent,” a figure lower than that of many affluent Americans. But his returns suggested that he paid an effective tax rate of nearly 14 percent.
In addition to his 2010 taxes, Mr. Romney is set to release estimates for his 2011 taxes, which he will file in April. The campaign will report that he will pay $3.2 million in taxes for 2011, for an effective tax rate of 15.4 percent. That is a slightly higher effective rate than he paid the year before, when he paid about $3 million to the Internal Revenue Service.
We’ve got another round of polling out of Florida showing that Mitt Romney is poised for a big win. Just a week ago it seemed that momentum was in Newt Gingrich’s corner, but two bad debate performances and a couple of gaffes, including one that brought Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) out of his isolation to stick up for Romney, badly hurt him.
Here’s a look at the latest polling going back to those that were released at the beginning of last week. these show the dramatic swing from Gingrich to Romney in just a few days time.
Libertarians are often accused of being isolationists who are unconcerned about the people of other nations. While it may be true that some libertarians are isolationists, most are non-interventionists — and the two words are not synonymous. Isolationism advocates complete disengagement from foreign affairs. Non-interventionism, on the other hand, embraces engagement with the rest of the world but rejects costly and counterproductive economic, diplomatic, and military coercion.
Thomas Jefferson summed up non-interventionism when he argued for “[p]eace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations — entangling alliances with none.” These key components of non-interventionism are vital to the health of a free nation. Non-interventionism avoids the fiscal burdens of war and global policing as well as the collectivism that militarization so often inspires. But the components of non-interventionism enunciated by Jefferson also comprise a recipe for promoting liberty, democracy, peace, and stability abroad.
It’s no secret that the entangling alliances we’ve made with other nations have at times muted and even silenced America’s opposition to totalitarianism and authoritarianism. Our support for autocracies in Middle Eastern nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt is infamous and has put us on the wrong side of history. Moreover, alliances we have made in the past are now presenting threats to our own national security. Decades before we declared war on the Taliban in Afghanistan we were supporting them in their rebellion against Soviet occupation. Twenty years prior to presiding over the invasion of Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld served as Reagan’s special envoy to express support for Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. A non-interventionist would argue that we should avoid entangling alliances both for the sake of our national security and in order to be a consistent advocate for liberty and democracy on the world stage.
It’s pop quiz time. Which of the following sounds least like the description of a Washington, D.C. establishment candidate?
a) A former one-term state governor never elected to federal office who spent decades prior to running for public office as a businessman in the private sector;
b) A former Speaker of the House who spent just eight years working as a college professor before serving for twenty years in the House of Representatives, who as Speaker was reprimanded and fined for an ethics violation, and who after resigning from Congress spent nine years as a paid consultant for Freddie Mac;
c) A former congressman and senator who spent just four years practicing law before serving for three years in the House of Representatives and another twelve in the Senate, who in 2004 offered a pivotal endorsement to an establishment squish (and later a party switcher) over a more conservative primary opponent, and whose work since leaving office has primarily included media commentary and political consultancy.
If you chose option a, you’re either a Mitt Romney supporter or perhaps simply an honest person. If you chose option b or option c, you’re probably a supporter of either Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum who refuses to face reality. Because RomneyCare and stuff. You may also be one of the unfortunate folks who in 2008 voted for either former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Ark.), a big government social conservative, or Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), who had at the time spent 25 years in Congress following distinguished military service but no time working in the private sector. Because abortion. And maybe Mormonism, just a little.
Irony. It’s what’s for dinner.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) has been under fire since last week’s South Carolina GOP primary debate for calling President Obama a “food stamp president.” Progressive critics have accused Gingrich of pushing hatred and racism to turn voters against Obama. But as a CNNMoney article makes clear, more Americans have been added to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) under Obama than under his recent predecessors and Obama’s stimulus package made it easier to qualify for SNAP. Approximately 14% of Americans — 1 in 7 — were on food stamps last year. We spent $75 billion on food stamps in 2011, an increase of about $40 billion in just three years, and according to Heritage Foundation senior research fellow Robert Rector overall spending on our 70 welfare programs has increased by one-third under Obama. These are facts and they would still be equally true if President Obama were white.
In just a couple of days, Newt Gingrich went from the likely winner of Tuesday’s primary in Florida to the underdog. So what has caused support to swing away from him and back to Mitt Romney? Well, a few things. Many Republicans are coming out to criticize Gingrich for various things, such as his time as Speaker of the House and his criticism of Ronald Reagan. Then there was the bad press he received as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) took up for Romney when Gingrich compared him to Charlie Crist.
As you can see in the poll numbers that came out yesterday, a couple of days makes a world of difference in politics.
Tim Thomas sure stirred up a hornet’s nest, didn’t he? The Boston Bruin’s goalie made a personal decision to not meet President Obama. He said his piece on Facebook about why he decided to forego the meeting. Fair enough. Of course, Governor Deval Patrick seems to feel that Thomas was lacking “courtesy and grace”:
Governor Deval Patrick struck a disappointed tone today as he commented on Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas’s decision not to attend a White House event earlier this week honoring the Stanley Cup champions.
“He’s a phenomenal hockey player and he’s entitled to his views, but it just feels to me like we’re losing in this country basic courtesy and grace,” Patrick said.
“I didn’t think much of President Bush’s policies – two wars on a credit card, prescription drug benefit that we couldn’t afford, deficit out of control – but I always referred to him as ‘Mr. President.’ I stood when he came in the room,” Patrick said in his monthly appearance on the “Ask the Governor” segment on WTKK-FM.
“There are rules to live by so I don’t want to make more of this than is deserving. I guess I’d prefer to pay more attention and offer more commentary when there are acts of grace as opposed to the reverse,” he said, moving onto the next topic.
Interesting. Please note the part in bold. Obviously, Thomas simply must have said something horrible. Luckily, we can go to the tape, so to speak…or at least Thomas’ Facebook page. There, Thomas says this:
I’ve been busy settling into a new day job this week (hence my dearth of United Liberty posts) and haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention to the news. But one thing that did appear that caused a firestorm on my Twitter were Newt Gingrich’s comments about the moon, specifically, his plan to build a moon base:
To cheers and applause in an area that has suffered major job loss since the cancellation of the space shuttle, Gingrich said, “By the end of my second term, we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American.
“We will have commercial near-Earth activities that include science, tourism and manufacturing, and are designed to create a robust industry precisely on the model of the development of the airlines of the 1930s, because it is in our interest to acquire so much experience in space that we clearly have a capacity that the Chinese and the Russians will never come anywhere close to matching.”
He also said that by the end of 2020, the country would have “the first continuous propulsion system in space” capable of allowing people travel to Mars.
“I am sick of being told we have to be timid and I am sick of being told we have to be limited in technologies that are 50 years old,” the former House speaker told the crowd at a “space round table” he hosted at a Holiday Inn.
As the resident scifi geek/nerd/whatever here on United Liberty, I feel I must write some sort of response to this. It’s precisely the kind of thing that gets me excited and makes me want to jump up and down and say “Hey, let’s make Star Wars a reality, guys!” (Note, I’m referring to the work of science fiction, not the work of political fiction, the 70s, not the 80s.)