Recent Posts From Ron Davis
Last night while I was watching my daughter’s softball game, my almost 9 year-old son was downtown in Atlanta feeding the homeless. That’s him wearing the Superman shirt in the photo above. After I got home from his sister’s game, I was excited to find out about his experience.
He told me how he helped put out drinks for the people and how many cups that were lined up filled with tea. Then he told me about all the people that didn’t have anywhere to live. He talked about the hunger he saw in their eyes and of the gratitude expressed for food to eat.
“They wouldn’t have had supper tonight if we weren’t there.”
That’s some powerful stuff coming from an 8 year old boy.
You’ll frequently hear me (and other libertarians) talking about how charity isn’t the responsibility of government. The dependency people have on their government is saddening. Whether it’s for food, shelter, health care, or medicine, government’s role is not to provide anything.
Government exists to protect – to protect life, liberty, and property. Provision for the needy is the role of churches and charities.
In this case, it was a group from our church. Other groups of coworkers and neighbors come together in similar ways in an effort to help the less fortunate. Doctors donate time and services to care for the sick. Lawyers work pro bono for people who are unable to pay for legal counsel.
These are just a few examples. The willingness of people given an opportunity to help those around them is sobering.
This past weekend, I got an email from a reader who was frustrated over her options in the presidential race. She’s a pro-life voter, and as is the case with many pro-life voters, a candidate’s stance on the life issue determines whether or not he will get her vote.
Her dilemma is that none of this year’s presidential nominees are pro-life candidates. Of the top 3, Romney is the most likely to be sympathetic to the pro-life movement, but his history of conflicting statements on the issue makes her doubt his sincerity.
And it should.
Despite the election year rhetoric from Mitt Romney, there really is no truly pro-life candidate on the ballot this year. That leaves single-issue pro-life voters with two options:
1. Vote for Romney and hope for the best.
I don’t expect Romney to suddenly start championing pro-life issues, but of the top 3 nominees, he’s the most likely to do so. This doesn’t make him a pro-life candidate by any measure, but there is some comfort in the fact that if elected, he will have pressure from his party to lean toward the pro-life movement when it comes to Supreme Court nominees.
If there’s no candidate you feel you can support with a clear conscience, then don’t vote in that election. Much like owning a gun or speaking out against a tyrannical government, the right is yours, but the obligation is not.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t participate in the election process. Surely there are congressional, state, and local elections where you can cast a vote. But you should never vote for a candidate in violation of your conscience.
Rand Paul recently started running attack ads on some Democrats that opposed his efforts to end foreign aid to Egypt, Libya, and Pakistan. It’s a really clever move on Paul’s part, actually.
His efforts were widely opposed by both Republicans and Democrats. In fact, only 10 people voted in favor of ending foreign aid to those countries. They were all Republicans, but there were plenty of Republicans opposed to his efforts.
Since Paul is a Republican senator, he won’t be running attack ads against fellow Republicans. If he were running against them in a primary election, sure. But when he’s not running against them, he won’t be attacking members of his own party. Here’s one of the ads he’s running.
It’s not that Paul wouldn’t be willing to do something to upset members of his own party; after all, he’s still his father’s son. But for now, he’s targeting the Democrats that opposed him. It’s a brilliant move on Paul’s part for a few reasons.
1. It makes those Democrats look bad.
It’s a pretty vicious ad that connects those Democrats to the issue of sending money to people that actively hate us. That’ll play well in an election season, even though the idea of ending foreign aid – even if only to countries like these – is not yet a widely accepted concept.
2. It sets a trap for Republicans to make themselves look bad.
During the campaign season before the 2010 elections, my dad (the administrator of a small private school) called me to say that a man running for Congress stopped in the office to talk with him for a few minutes. That man was Mick Mulvaney, who, as Dad noted, would be a substantial upgrade over long-time incumbent John Spratt.
I’ve kept an eye on Mulvaney the last couple of years since he joined Congress as part of the wave of new Republicans in the House. While I haven’t always agreed with Mulvaney, I have seen him take some stands I admired. He usually flies under the radar without stirring up too much controversy within the party.
The days of Mulvaney flying under the radar may be over soon, as he has been working to do what few Republicans dare to do: curb increases in defense spending.
Mulvaney was recently interviewed by The American Conservative about defense spending, specifically about his efforts with Barney Frank to freeze defense spending. Their amendment to the 2013 defense appropriations bill to freeze defense spending at 2012 levels passed the House and awaits action by the Senate.
When Rand Paul spoke at the Republican convention in August, he referred to the “sacred cows” that each party was going to have to kill in order to gain any ground on balancing the federal budget. The GOP’s sacred cow, without a doubt, is defense spending.
Mulvaney’s attempt to freeze spending isn’t exactly what we need, but it’s a good start to convince the warmongers within the party that we can, in fact, defend our country without exponentially inflating defense spending every year.
Last week in the presidential debates, Mitt Romney indicated he’d cut funding to PBS. Here’s Romney’s quote from the debate:
I’m sorry, Jim, I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS. I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually like you, too. But I’m not going to—I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for. That’s number one.
Sure, Democrats are all bent out of shape on this. First, they don’t like cutting funding for anyone, anywhere, ever; but how could the Republicans be so cruel, so insane, that they’d want to drop funding for PBS?
The hatred has been spewed. People are saying that Romney wants to roast Big Bird and that the Republicans’ solution to spending is to cut educational programs. That’s a little bit of an extreme reaction.
Should we cut funding to PBS? Oh yes. Most definitely. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of funding television stations. That’s well beyond the legitimate roles of government.
But what about Big Bird and his friends? Do we just let Big Bird die?
It’s important to remember that not all funding of PBS is federal money. According to Forbes, federal funding for public broadcasting was just 12% of its budget in 2010. The other 88% come from private grants and donations.
While a 12% cut in revenue would be tough, PBS would survive. It wouldn’t be easy, but that’s not exactly killing Big Bird.
If you got caught up in the presidential debate Wednesday night, you may have missed Rand Paul’s appearance on The Daily Show. It was primarily to promote Paul’s new book, Government Bullies: How Everyday Americans Are Being Harassed, Abused, and Imprisoned by the Feds, but he and Jon Stewart had a pretty interesting discussion about government regulation.
The interview is in two parts, embedded below:
It’s a busy time for us political junkies. Really, this whole year has been pretty crazy; but it’s been especially so these last few weeks.
Lately I’ve been working a lot – a lot – for my friend Micah Gravley. Micah is the Republican candidate for a Georgia House district that includes part of my home county. He’s a great friend, and he is a man of principle who will serve that district (and the whole state) very well.
There are some high profile races going on all across the nation. I could be using my time to support a host of other candidates, but I’ve chosen this small, local election to be the focus of my efforts this election season.
I’m not putting in the time and effort on Micah’s campaign because he’s a friend or because of the letter “R” after his name. I’m supporting him because I know, beyond any doubt, how he will represent his district in the General Assembly.
Working in local elections, even for people who aren’t close friends, is one of the most effective ways of making an impact in government.
Of course, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t consider working in larger races. Different people have passions for different things. My preference, by far, is a more local race; but I have good friends working very diligently in the presidential race. Some are working on specific statewide issues in their home states. Still, I prefer the dynamic of a local election for a few specific reasons.
1. Knowing the candidate.
It’s not often that writing about politics intersects with my day job of managing servers for a large company. It does happen from time to time, but for the most part, they’re two very different worlds. This month being National Cyber Security Awareness Month brings me to one of those intersections.
(I’ve got a site disclaimer that covers this, but it’s worth mentioning again that the opinions expressed by me are my own and that I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of anyone other than myself.)
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is an effort by the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security to promote awareness of security vulnerabilities and encourage people to follow best practices with their security online.
If you’ve read any of my posts for more than about 12 seconds, you’ll know that I’m no fan of government bureaucracies. DHS is no exception to that rule, but rather than discussing the inadequacies of DHS and its agencies, I’d like to use this opportunity to encourage you to do some things to enhance your security online.
Security is important. You should guard your data. You should guard your personal information. You should be careful about posting information that will compromise your physical safety. This stuff is all very important.
A while back, I was using FourSquare and checking in everywhere I went. A girl from my gym (who I didn’t know) added me as a friend. From that one interaction, I was able to find her elsewhere online. That led to a complete stranger having access to her work schedule, address, phone number, email address, and an active feed of where she was checking in around town.
Doug Mataconis wrote this great post Tuesday. It’s a long post, but it is certainly worth your time reading. Doug really hit the nail on the head with some things I’ve been thinking about lately. That is, politics stinks.
Sure, It can be fun. You’ve got highly opinionated, often very extroverted people convinced that they are right and that the rest of the world is wrong. What’s not fun about that?
The line in that post that really pulled me in was:
[I]t just seems as though we’re either arguing over the same dumb things when the reality is that the two sides of the political debate in this country don’t really disagree with each other as much as they like to pretend.
There’s more making politics stink than just the fact that both major political parties aren’t really all that different, but that’s been my struggle lately.
When I look at the presidential race, I’m, quite honestly, discouraged. I know there are differences between Romney and Obama, and I don’t doubt that Romney would be a little less awful than Obama, but after 4 years of Obama madness, the best the GOP has to offer is a moderate (at best) Massachusetts Republican whose claim to fame is the biggest reason we’re supposed to hate Obama?
How is anyone supposed to get excited about that? Our nation won’t survive four more years of Obama, but everything’s going to be just fine with the Romneys in Washington? Come on.
This election has more to do with getting rid of Obama than it does about electing Romney, and any halfway-honest Republican will admit it.
Just last week I wrote about the threat of free speech coming under attack. Specifically I was talking about the offensive video recently found on YouTube and Google’s decision to remove the video in countries where it would be most offensive. Here’s what I said:
My concern in all of this is that people will use this instance as a reason to support some measures by which the U.S. government could censor content on Google’s web sites. We should be watching carefully for that type of movement. Censorship, like so many other issues, is best handled by the people, not by government.
Well, it’s happening already. We shouldn’t be shocked. Anyone watching for this would have seen it coming. Pakistani Foreign Minister, Hina Rabbani Khar, said in a recent CNN interview that the U.S. should “rethink how much freedom is okay.”
It’s easy to understand the sentiment without agreeing with it. The argument is that people shouldn’t be allowed to say or do things that cause other people to go on massive killing sprees. Sure, that’s understandable. Nobody wants to hear reports of violence that erupted because of somebody’s opinion.
But this notion that because people get upset over somebody else’s opinion we should be restricting speech is preposterous!