Archives for July 2012

FreedomWorks, Club for Growth, Jim DeMint score Texas upset with Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz wins the Texas Senate Primary over David Dewhurst.

 

Salon: Is this the Biggest Tea Party Upset Yet?

In a away, it’s the typical Tea Party story: An outsider who has never run for office before is about to beat the guy with tons of money and the backing of the state’s party establishment. If Ted Cruz wins today’s Texas Senate GOP primary runoff against Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst — and polling suggests he will —  it’ll be one of the biggest Tea Party upsets yet, considering that Dewhurst isn’t even a moderate. But it’s not as simple as the grass roots versus the establishment. If Cruz wins, he’ll have national conservative groups to thank, who made his race their No. 1 priority.

 

From HuffPo:

Tea party-backed Ted Cruz has defeated Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

The former state solicitor general won the runoff Tuesday. He'd lost the May 29 primary by a large margin but forced the runoff because Dewhurst fell short of a majority. Cruz advances to the November election to succeed retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison.

Cruz painted Dewhurst as a timid career politician too willing to compromise with Democrats.

The race was seen as a national test of the tea party's influence.

Twitter reacts:

Lautenberg seeks to ban online ammo sales

bullets

Most who follow gun laws know that Frank Lautenberg isn’t exactly a friend of the Second Amendment.  For those who don’t know this, let this little tidbit educate you on Lautenberg and his latest efforts:

Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg on Monday continued his lead role in advancing gun control legislation in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. mass shooting by introducing a bill to ban the online sale of ammunition.

“If someone wants to purchase deadly ammunition, they should have to come face-to-face with the seller,” Lautenberg stated in his announcement. ”It’s one thing to buy a pair of shoes online, but it should take more than a click of the mouse to amass thousands of rounds of ammunition.”

“The Stop Online Ammunition Sales Act” asserts the following: ammunition will only be sold by licensed dealers; buyers who are not licensed dealers will be required to present photo identification; and licensed dealers must maintain records of ammunition sales and report to officials the sale of more than 1,000 rounds to an unlicensed person. Democratic Rep. Carolyn McCarthy of New York, whose husband was killed and son severely injured in the 1993 Long Island Rail Road mass shooting, has signed on to publicly support the bill.

Lautenberg’s office noted Monday that the shooter who killed 12 and injured 58 in the July 20 attack at the Colorado movie theater purchased upwards of 6,000 rounds of ammunition “anonymously on the internet.”

Dear gay marriage opponents - I have a deal for you

Gay Marriage

America as a whole is moving towards support of extended marriage rights to gay couples, but there is still a sizable majority that opposes this.  While I find most of their arguments to be quite lacking, there is one that I have seen a lot that I can believe can be easily addressed by marriage rights proponents.  This is the fear that if government were to recognize that gays have a right to marry, it would mean that churches and private groups would be forced to accept these unions and perform gay marriage ceremonies.

Leaving aside my strong disagreements with such discriminatory stances, I do believe in religious liberty and, in a broader sense, the ability of private organizations to determine their own rules.  For instance, I fully support the right of Augusta National Golf Club to deny membership to women, even if I personally find that to be a sexist policy.  With rare exception, a company or group should be able to do what it wants.  If some find those rules objectionable, they have the right to not patronize that establishment.

Thus, if a government were to decide that, because gay marriage is legal, they should be able to force churches to marry gay couples, I would heartily defend that church.  This is because, above any personal distaste I may have for such a stance, my higher belief is in liberty.  As a libertarian I accept the idea that private actors will hold positions I find objectionable.  As I see it, this is the cost of being free and able to live in a society where my personal views are respected.  Especially as someone who is in a religious minority that is held in contempt by many, I understand that freedom of conscience is of paramount importance.

Reason visits the set of “Atlas Shrugged Part 2”

Atlas Shrugged Part 2

Shortly before voters head to the polls in the fall, the second installment of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged will hit the Silver Screen. There is little coincidence in the time of the film’s release given the themes of class warfare and persecution of society’s producers that we will hear during the presidential campaign.

However, many of us who caught Part 1 are no doubt hoping to see an improvement with this film. As I noted in my review, the chemistry between Taylor Schilling (Dagny Taggart) and Grant Bowler (Henry Reardon) was great, but the rest of the film left a lot to be desired. But Part 2 will, among other changes, see a new cast and a new director. These changes will hopefully be for the better in order to do the book justice, which is indeed hard to go given the low-budget for the film.

Reason.tv recently visited the set to meet with some of the actors and minds behind the film. You can also check out Brian Doherty’s account of his visit to the set from back in April:

The Games of the First Obamalympiad

This weekend heralded the Opening Ceremonies of the thirtieth Olympiad of the modern era, kicking off the world’s greatest sporting spectacle as the best athletes in the world converge to see who will lay claim to the titles conveyed in the spirit of the Olympic motto, “Citius, Altius, Fortius” (“Higher, Faster, Stronger”). For the next two weeks, literally billions of people from all over the world will be cheering on their country’s athletes, urging them towards their ultimate goal of being draped with a gold medal. These athletes represent the finest in the world, those that have combined natural athletic talent with single-minded focus, grueling workouts, and year after year of tremendous energy expended in perfecting their craft. In the end that talent and hard work, sprinkled with a touch of luck and fate, will reveal who shall be crowned the athletic gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus.

As I watched the parade of athletes entering the Olympic stadium, my thoughts began to wander, as they often do, to the current polarization of the political climate, with one side (limited government conservatives and libertarians) who believe in minimal government interference and robust competition in a true free market), and the other side (liberal Democrats, socialists, and the Occupy Wall Street crowd) who believe in a heavy-handed government which uses force and coercion to right the perceived wrongs of the world.

In that context, I began to imagine what the Olympics would look like if our current president, whose actions could lead one to legitimately question whether he has mistaken himself for our emperor, were given complete omnipotence over the Olympic Games. So with that in mind, may I welcome you to the games of the first Obamalympiad:

Freedom isn’t just economics, it’s a story too

Usually, when we argue for the cause of freedom and liberty, we do so by engaging in arguments using economics. The broken window fallacy, third-party payer problems, supply and demand, etc. They do work, to an extent, and they are good tools. But they aren’t the only tools in the basket.

My good friend Sean Malone, the Director of Video Production* over at the Charles Koch Institute, has put together a new series of videos for the Economic Freedom Project, which tell the stories of small business entrepreneurs who are forced to survive in an environment marred by over regulation, cronyism, corruption, and a far too large business. The first had yours truly as a video assistant, which really meant that I went into the break room to steal the “guest only” Coke Zeros for Sean. But don’t tell anyone.

We have to remember that we’re not fighting for liberty just because it’s more economically efficient, or that it fits some philosophical message. (Well, it does, but…) We’re doing it because there are people out there, people who are legitimately suffering from too much government and not enough freedom. If more Americans see this—hell, if more homo sapiens see this—then maybe they will wisen up and realize that the “1%” or whomever is the target of today’s Two-Minute Hate is not some intangible, inanimate object, but is in fact a real human being, and deserves to be treated as such.

That’s what really matters. And that’s what we need to be telling people.

Ted Cruz up by 10 points over David Dewhurst

Ted Cruz

Republicans in Texas will head to the polls today to cast their ballots in the runoff in the United States Senate race between Ted Cruz and David Dewhurst. While Dewhurst’s team is touting an internal poll showing him with the lead in the race, a Polling Policy Polling survey released just yesterday shows Cruz up by 10 points:

PPP’s final poll of the Republican Senate runoff in Texas finds Ted Cruz opening up a 52-42 lead, an increase from our survey two weeks ago that found him ahead 49-44.

Cruz’s victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.

Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party  voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don’t consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it’s well justified.

Cruz has a 63-33 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very excited’ about voting in Tuesday’s runoff election. He also has a 49-45 advantage with those describing themselves as ‘somewhat excited.’ The only reason this race is even remotely competitive is Dewhurst’s 59-31 lead with voter who say they’re ‘not that excited’ about voting. It’s an open question whether those folks will really show up and if they don’t it’s possible Cruz could end up winning by closer t0 20 points.

Happy 100th Birthday, Uncle Miltie!

Nobel Prize-Winning Economist Milton Friedman, the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, was born on this day in 1912 and is probably the most influential economist of the 20th century. His work provided an intellectual foundation for the policies supported by the Reagan administration and British Prime Minister Thatcher’s government. He was a fierce advocate for school choice, which the Friedman Foundation for Education Choice continues to promote.

There are millions of people throughout the world who, even though they have never read Free to Choose, are benefitting from an improvement of living standards from the implementation of Friedman’s theories.

In the era of bailouts, QE2, and stimilus packages, Friedman’s work is more important today than ever. As a pragmatic libertarian, Friedman used impirical evidence to attack the war on drugs, the “spending multiplier,” “consumption functions,” and the Phillips curve- which falsely claimed there was an enduring functional and enuring relationship between the rate of price inflation and the level of unemployment. He famously proved that in the long run, unemployment returns to its normal rate regardless of the rate of inflation, which is a truth President Obama outright rejects still today.

With a brilliant use of a pencil, Friedman showed how, without central planning, entrepreneurs and workers from around the world come together to produce just the right amount of materials for production:

Happy Birthday, Milton Friedman!

Obama’s tax hikes pose a threat to our economic health

cash

There is no denying at all that Mitt Romney reverses positions as frequently as the wind changes. We can go through and cite numorous examples. But that doesn’t absolve or excuse President Barack Obama from his own reversals in matters of public policy, including his flip-flop on raising taxes during tough economic times.

During his weekly address on December 11, 2010, President Obama, who was pushing a two-year extension of existing tax rates, explained, “By putting more money in people’s pockets, and helping companies grow, we’re going to see people being able to spend a little more, we’re going to spur hiring - we’re going to strengthen our entire economy.” Obama also Truer words could not have been spoken.

Indeed, the strength of our economy rides on the back of small businesses. But they are currently being threatened by President Obama’s proposed tax hike, which has already cleared the Senate. But this is counter to what President Obama said in 2009, when he noted that “[y]ou don’t raise taxes in a recession.”

The facts of life on high capacity magazines

Second Amendment

James Holmes is an evil man.  Sick?  Quite possibly, but evil none the less.  The same can be said of Jared Loughner who is responsible for the Tuscon shooting.  The two men, and the events they started, also have something else in common.  Both sparked the debate regarding high capacity magazines.

First, let’s clarify something for the non-gun folks who may be reading.  Most semi-automatic weapons are designed around specific magazines.  For an AR-15 or an AK-47, that is a 30 round magazine.  For a 9 mm pistol, it’s usually in the neighborhood of 15 rounds.  Those are properly considered standard capacity magazines, not high capacity.

Now that the bit of nomenclature is out of the way, I know that opponents of guns don’t see any reason why someone needs so many rounds in their magazine.  Well, let me touch on that one.  I probably don’t.  On that note though, neither do the vast majority of police officers in this country who could legally secure these so-called “hi capacity” magazines during the Assault Weapon Ban.  Law enforcement was exempt from the ban, yet how many officers legally discharge their firearms during the course of their career, not counting range time?  Very, very few.

Despite what the movies tell us, police officers find themselves needing to discharge their weapons remarkably few times.  Most police officers go their entire careers and never fire their weapons. The same is true for most private gun owners as well.

 


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