Archives for March 2012

Kicking the Chevy Volt while its down…

With Government General Motors halting production of the Chevy Volt, a heavily taxpayer subsidized vehicle with a disappointing sales record, conservative blogger Ben Howe has put together this hilarious parody ad mocking the vehicle, all of the problems it has had, and the Obama Administration:

H/T: Dan Mitchell

FreedomWorks fires a shot at Orrin Hatch

FreedomWorks, a grassroots organization that was essential to Tea Party wins in 2010, has made it clear that Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has to go. They been constantly hammering Hatch big government record for months, hoping to send him the way of his former colleague, Bob Bennett; though they haven’t yet endorsed his primary opponent, State Sen. Dan Liljenquist.

Hatch has been trying to come back to the right on fiscal issues, but Tea Party and fiscal conservatives have been unconvinced that the change is real. And yesterday, FreedomWorks made that clear yesterday by releasing a new web ad slamming Hatch for the $7.5 trillion in debt that he has racked up while serving in the Senate:

Recapping Super Tuesday

If you’re like me, you went to bed before the Alaska, Idaho, and North Dakota results started to tricke in. It wasn’t hard to see at that point that last night was a good night for Mitt Romney, though he didn’t deliver the “knock out” punch to end the race quickly. We’re probably going to see this thing drag out between he and Rick Santorum for at least the rest of this month.

Had Romney won in Tennessee, it would be a different story. However, exit polls showed that socially conservative voters came out pretty strong in that state. Additionally, Romney’s win in Ohio was very close. So while he may get to claim the state and it certainly helps with momentum, it shows that he is still just getting by.

Santorum is going to keep trucking. As he said last night, he won a few states and got “silver medals” in others. His biggest issue is money. While his team says they’re willing to take the race all the way to Republican National Convention in Tampa in August, he may not have the resources to get that far.

Of course, Santorum’s biggest obstacle isn’t Romney, it’s Gingrich. Conventional wisdom says that if Gingrich drops out that Santorum will be the beneficiary. That’s probably true, but only to a certain extent. Gingrich was defiant last night, but the writing is on the wall. He’s not going to win, especially after five last place finishes. Yes, he won Georgia, but he didn’t get the 50% needed to take all of his home state’s delegates.

Ron Paul’s strategy of focusing on caucus states hasn’t panned out the way his campaign had hoped. Granted, Paul was strong in several states last night, but he still doesn’t have a win in either a caucus or a primary. But as we’ve said before, Paul’s support has grown substantially since his run four years ago and he can no longer be ignored by Republicans.

Super Tuesday Live Blog

Welcome to United Liberty’s Super Tuesday Live Blog. We’ll be getting started around 6:30pm or so. But before you join in on the conversation, here are some links to read on things to look for this evening.

Over at FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver lays out the various scenarios that could unfold tonight, including delegate projections for all four candidates. Politico has a list of 10 things to watch for tonight, including Ohio, where a win could help Romney put the race to bed much quicker. CNN only gives three things for us to watch, but one of them (voter turnout) could obviously be a game-changer.

Watch returns come in:

The Commerce Clause and Antonin Scalia

We’re just a few weeks away from ObamaCare’s day in the Supreme Court, and the speculation is beginning to ramp up as to which way members will go when it comes time to vote.

This may seem like a surprise, but some of the more conservative members of the Supreme Court haven’t always been the “strict constructionists” that are so frequently labled. Take, for instance, Antonin Scalia, as Damon Root explains:

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears oral arguments later this month on whether the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, which requires all Americans to buy or secure health insurance, oversteps Congress’ lawful authority to regulate interstate commerce, the Obama administration will be drawing heavily from the legal arguments of a surprising ally: conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.

That’s because in 2005, when the Supreme Court last heard a major Commerce Clause challenge to a federal regulation, Scalia sided with the liberal majority and wrote a sweeping opinion in favor of federal power. In that case, Gonzales v. Raich, the Court held that the cultivation and consumption of medical marijuana entirely within the confines of the state of California still qualified as “commerce…among the several states” because this intrastate use of medical pot “substantially affects” the interstate black market in the drug.

Justice Clarence Thomas found the majority’s reasoning specious, and famously stormed in dissent, “If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything—and the Federal Government is no longer one of limited and enumerated powers.”

The Lorax And The Tragedy of the Commons

Dr. Seuss’ classic tale, The Lorax, has just recently hit the silver screen as an animated feature, with Ed Helms providing the voice of the Once-ler and Danny DeVito doing the same for the Lorax itself—which might just be the worth the admission price, though the price of concessions would be a tad questionable. I’m not going to give you a review of the movie itself, both because I haven’t seen it, that’s not really the point, and from what I’ve heard, it diverges considerably from the original—and it’s horrible. But that was the Washington Post, so take it with a grain (or thirty) of salt.

We should all probably know the basic story of The Lorax. Basically, a guy shows up in a forest, cuts down all the trees to make his invention, while being chastised by a little orange furry creature, though he doesn’t listen, and at the end of it there’s no more trees and everyone is happy and gosh darn it, we should be taking better care of our planet. The message at the core of this story is environmentalism, pure and simple.

Now, let me pull a Kinsella, and as he did to Avatar, I shall do to The Lorax.

The Lorax illustrates a very important economic concept that eludes most people: the tragedy of the commons. It is when no one owns the things there, said things are usually destroyed because no one has an incentive to take care of them. On the flip side, if one does own the land and the resources there, one usually puts forward more effort to actually take care of it, and allowing it to grow and prosper. As the Econ Library which I just linked to says:

Fake “Rights” versus Personal Responsibility

“Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it, misdiagnosing it, and then misapplying the wrong remedies.” ~ Groucho Marx

It truly is almost unbelievable. Our national debt is at $16 trillion and rising, with annual deficits of more than $1.5 trillion. Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and at a level greater than what Greece was at when its economy collapsed. Our lauded entitlement programs are bankrupt, yet our politicians seek to expand them. Unemployment is still well above 8%, the longest such period of sustained unemployment at that level since the Great Depression. We’re barely past Valentine’s Day and gas is more than $3.50 per gallon, and expected to rise above $4, and possibly as high as $5/gallon, by summer. Iran appears the be rapidly closing in on getting a functional nuclear weapon, and has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. We have a president hell bent on destroying the fossil fuel industry, much like his signature achievement, ObamaCare, is crippling the health care industry.

Our own government has been selling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and is now directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Mexicans and Americans, yet they act as if it were of no more import than having incorrectly filled out some government form (actually, they’d probably find that a much more grievous sin). The dollar is weak and the economy anemic, despite the trillions spent on the stimulus, auto union and Wall Street bailouts, and slush funds for the politically connected.

Koch brothers v. Cato Institute news roundup

Save CatoDoug Mataconis has already written a very good post weighing in on the legal battle between Charles and David Koch and the Cato Institute, so I’m not going to get into the meat of the issue again. But this recent bomb on the libertarian movement does have me concerned about its future, and with that, it’s something that you can expect us to cover as the case develops.

When it comes to the Koch brothers, I’m typically defensive. I think they’ve become a boogeyman for the Left. With that said, however, the Cato Institute is well-respected for their work promoting free markets, school choice, civil liberties, and an non-interventionist foreign policy. The folks at Cato are willing to call out all sides, including conservatives and Republicans, for trying to increase the size and scope of government. Making the Cato Institute a partisan would be a disaster, ruining the credibility of this respected think tank.

Below is a roundup of the various news and blog coverage of the fight for, what I consider to be, the very heart and soul of the libertarian movement (in no particular order). Not all of it is unbiased, meaning that it does include links to people with close ties to Cato, but it all makes for good reading if you want to follow the story:

Has the world gone mad?

ObamaCare’s massive increase of government involvement in health care is already causing its share of problems.  You simply cannot give government a bigger role in something so personal without creating all sorts of conflicts about what should be covered, and what should not.  There are simply too many competing groups with values and needs that do not overlap. The current health care system is already a mess because of this, and further nationalization will only make it far worse.

It’s also not terribly surprising that the first major battle of this war has to do with reproductive health.  During the passage of the law this was already a fierce debate.  Now, the storm that is consuming much of the public discourse is regarding the coverage of contraceptives.  Some argue that they should be covered under the mantle of “preventive services”, while others object to this for religious or fiscal reasons. Whether we like it or not, this is a matter of public interest now.  While most libertarians and some conservatives want to eventually remove government from the issue, it is there for the foreseeable future.  So it’s a debate we must have.

Over the last week, this debate has all revolved around the testimony of Sandra Fluke, a 30-year-old law student at an expensive university who nonetheless found it outrageous that she and her fellow students should have to pay for their own birth control.  Her statements brought up a number of issues, and, in my mind, provided an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the mess that government involvement in health care creates, and the entitlement mentality that has pervaded our culture.  This mentality is all around us; just last week I witnessed a woman throwing a near fit at my local Rite Aid because her $9 over-the-counter allergy meds were not paid for by her insurance.

Romney relatives for Ron Paul

You may recall that back in January, Rick Santorum’s nephew came out in support for Ron Paul because of his uncle’s very statist record. Well, Ron Paul can now boast the support of some of Mitt Romney’s cousins, who came out for him ahead of Super Tuesday:

Ron Paul announced Monday that the Texas congressman had earned the endorsement from a group of who seem like they should be solidly in the corner of rival Mitt Romney: the former Massachusetts governor’s own family members.

Five distant cousins of Romney will all appear in Idaho on Monday in support of Paul’s presidential bid.

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