Recent Posts From Tom Knighton
There’s an old saying, “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” For the metaphorically impared among you, it means that if something is acceptable for one person to do, then it should be equally acceptable when another does the exact same thing. Failure to adhere to this is generally called hypocrisy.
So, now that President Obama has made three recess appointments - you know, without Congress actually being in recess or anything - there is a factor out there that’s not really being discussed. Sure, many people are arguing against the constitutionality of his actions, and rightly so. However, the question I have is whether Democrats who are applauding this move now will do so when a Republican president tries it a few years down the road?
For the record, I’m going to guess that they won’t be as understanding.
This isn’t a new phenomenon in politics in the least. Look at arguments against President Clinton getting us involved in Kosovo. They look remarkably like arguments made against President Bush getting us involved in Iraq (including the idea that we should get United Nations support). The only difference was the speakers. On the flip side, the arguments for going into Kosovo were mirrored by the other side leading up to our invasion of Iraq.
The thing is, these kinds of moves only create a precedent by which the other side can try the exact same thing next time around. However, many progressives are applauding the action. Many conservatives are denouncing it. I’m willing to bet that the next time around, the roles will be a complete 180 from where they are now and I would laugh if it wasn’t so tragic.
In March of last year, I wrote a post on “Libertarian purity”. It was one of the most read posts of 2011, and probably the most read post I’ve personally ever written. As we look onto the 2012 primary season and eventual general election, I figured it might be a good time to revisit that post and how it could apply to this election.
First, we have a unique year this year. An actual libertarian - by most people’s definition anyways - has a legitimate shot and making some headway. Ron Paul’s slow but steady rise in the polls has been something that fills me with a level of joy that is hard to describe. “But Tom,” you might say, “didn’t you come out in support of Gary Johnson?” I would answer yes. I like Johnson more than Paul, but frankly a President Ron Paul wouldn’t exactly be anything close to bad in my book.
Further, Gary Johnson is challenging for the Libertarian Party nomination, so there’s still a good chance that I’ll get to vote for him in the general election.
It’s entirely possible that we’ll have two libertarians on the ticket, but it’s also possible that we won’t have but one. So what do we do about that?
In that post from last year, I said that it was vital that we start winning elections, rather than just debating politics from the outside. So let’s take a look at some of the options and how it relates to that post.
No state is perfect, but Montana seems intent on trying anyways. Their most recent attempt is a move to recall Senators Max Baucus and Jon Tester for their support of the tyrannical National Defense Authorization Act which, for those who’ve been living under a rock, essentially turns the entire United States into a war zone for the purposes of pursuing “terrorists” and permits the indefinite detention of American citizens on U.S. soil.
(HELENA) - Moving quickly on Christmas Day after the US Senate voted 86 - 14 to pass the National Defense Authorization Act of 2011 (NDAA) which allows for the indefinite military detention of American citizens without charge or trial, Montanans have announced the launch of recall campaigns against Senators Max Baucus and Jonathan Tester, who voted for the bill.
Montana is one of nine states with provisions that say that the right of recall extends to recalling members of its federal congressional delegation, pursuant to Montana Code 2-16-603, on the grounds of physical or mental lack of fitness, incompetence, violation of oath of office, official misconduct, or conviction of certain felony offenses.
The Salem News goes on to state that the issue of a state’s ability to recall federal officials has never reached the federal courts. In reality, I suspect that the federal courts would strike down such a law as unconstitutional primarily because it would actually give states the ability to actually do something when the federal government oversteps its power, somthing that the courts seem intent on keeping as the status quo.
I thought the whole “birther” thing was over. Well, thanks to some of my fellow citizens of Georgia, it ain’t.
ATLANTA — Five Georgia men are challenging President Barack Obama’s inclusion on next year’s presidential ballot, with some arguing the Democrat is not eligible for office because the Constitution says that a president must be a “natural born citizen.”
I’m kind of a rare breed of libertarian. I actually believe in the concept of intellectual property. As such, some might be under the belief that folks like me would be in favor of something like the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA.
Of course, they would be horribly, horribly wrong.
Regardless of ones feelings on IP, the reality is that SOPA is nothing less than a NDAA or PATRIOT Act for the internet.
You see, the internet is the last bastion of freedom anywhere in the world. While it’s entirely possible to render something illegal in one country, it’s virtually impossible to stamp it out. Laws and regulations become meaningless as physical borders mean nothing on a cyberscape free from such lines.
The kick in the butt with this bill, as with many similar bills, is that it really won’t do a whole heck of a lot to combat piracy. Of course, there are some that will argue that what SOPA seeks to do is crush that freedom. That ideas breed in such freedom, and such ideas can not be allowed to incubate.
I don’t know if I would go that far, but what is clear is that SOPA is nothing more than a powergrab. Those that are supposed to support and defend the Constitution have instead decided to just ignore the document completely.
SOPA seeks to require your ISP to spy on you. It seeks to hurt companies like Mozilla that haven’t done what the powerful want it to do. It seeks to rewrite the current laws regarding the internet and remake it into a place where innovation no longer happens.
Now, SOPA may not be all bad. After all, plenty of companies will love to open up their nations to the off-shore dollars that are bound to flee the United States after a SOPA-like bill is passed. While I’m not an opponent of out sourcing per se, I’d prefer it not to be encouraged through idiotic legislation.
With Congress passing the NDAA, the question many ask is simple: How bad will/can it get? It’s a fair question. While the constitutional questions this bill raises are a topic of debate amongst the talking heads and various other politicos, the average person must ask that simple question.
The NDAA essentially turns the entire United States into a warzone for the purposes of combating terrorism. It also gives the government extra-constitutional powers for this very same purpose. Officially, this is about Al Qaeda and “associated forces”, whatever that means.
The thing is, when you look at how Obama’s White House has defined “domestic terrorists”, one is left to wonder when will they decide to define “associated forces” to include domestic terrorists. Honestly, I don’t think it would take very long, and as there is no due process, it’s unlikely that the courts will get a say on this for a very long time.
So the first thing we have to understand is, “what is a domestic terrorist”?
((5) the term `domestic terrorism’ means activities that—
The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending an outright ban on all cell phone usage, except in the case of emergencies, according to an AP story. This recommendations also includes hands-free devices like Bluetooth headsets and speaker phone technology.
This action stems from a Missouri accident caused by a young driver who reportedly sent or recieved 11 in the 11 minutes prior to the accident.
From the AP report:
The accident is a “big red flag for all drivers,” NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said at a meeting to determine the cause of the accident and make safety recommendations.
It’s not possible to know from cell phone records if the driver was typing, reaching for the phone or reading a text at the time of the crash, but it’s clear he was manually, cognitively and visually distracted, she said.
“Driving was not his only priority,” Hersman said. “No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”
The board is expected to recommend new restrictions on driver use of electronic devices behind the wheel. While the NTSB doesn’t have the power to impose restrictions, it’s recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers.
Missouri had a law banning drivers under 21 years old from texting while driving at the time of the crash, but wasn’t aggressively enforcing the ban, board member Robert Sumwalt said.
“Without the enforcement, the laws don’t mean a whole lot,” he said.
Please note that last sentence.
While I haven’t gone out to interview the Occupy crowd or anything, I think it’s safe to say that many who are “occupying” various locations throughout the nation are not likely to be Ayn Rand fans. However, what many of them are espousing when it comes to capitalism would only find disagreement from Rand on one factor. She would tell them that what they’re lamenting isn’t capitalism.
I was watching Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 and watching the antics of characters like James Taggart and Orren Boyle, once again holding in my disgust, and thinking about how many in the Occupy Movement argue against just that sort of thing. I, and most of my United Liberty colleagues (and probably all of them), find little to disagree with on that front. Orren Boyle and James Taggart aren’t capitalists. Sorry folks, but they’re not. They are the epitome of what is called “crony capitalism”.
A capitalist has no problem destroying competition, but through competition. They want to beat them by being better, cheaper, faster, or whatever it takes. Generally though, capitalists know that there’s usually room for more than one or two providers anyways, so there’s no need to kill competition. They even tolerate the young upstarts, because they know they’re better, cheaper, and faster than the new kids…or else they will need to be to fend off that competition. No barriers for entry are needed. Keeping your customers incredibly happy is barrier enough.
All over the nation, people are “occupying” various cities and destinations. They’re angry over a lot of things, but one thing that I agree with them on is bailouts of banks. Many in the occupy movement argue correctly that taxpayer dollars shouldn’t be used to make the wealthy even wealthier.
Of course, I would love to get their take on this tidbit:
Wealthy celebrities including Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi, Quincy Jones and Ted Turner have received federal subsidies, according to “Subsidies of the Rich and Famous,” a new report from the office of Oklahoma Republican Senator Tom Coburn.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified several individuals receiving farm payments “whose professions had nothing to do with farming or agricultur[e],” says the report. These individuals include real-estate developer Maurice Wilder, a “part-owner of a professional sports franchise [who] received total of more than $200,000 in farm program payments in 2003, 2004, 2005, and 2006.”
The report also says millionaires Jon Bon Jovi, Bruce Springsteen and Ted Turner have collected farm subsidies.
“These individuals include Scottie Pippen and Ted Turner, respectively. Millionaires also receive state tax breaks on farm land. For example, Jon Bon Jovi paid property taxes of only $100 last year on his extensive real estate holdings in New Jersey that he uses to raise bees. At the same time, Bruce Springsteen received farm subsidies because he leases his property to an organic farmer,” the report explains.
TSA gets a tough rap. Let’s face it folks, these people do a tough, tough job, and all they get from us is nothing but derision, despite their hard work They keep us safe from terrorists and all we can do…
…OK, sorry, I just can’t keep typing that crap without laughing my butt off.
Seriously, TSA is about as idiotic an organization as could possibly exist. Even if they were a good idea, the Department of Homeland Security can’t seem to get all that much right. The TSA, and their idea of keeping the nation safe is a prime example:
A recent TSA blog post cites several cases in which the agency’s screeners stopped travelers from carrying guns or knives onto airplanes: “the passenger in Boston who had a steak knife in his carry-on bag; the El Paso passenger with a 6 ½-inch hunting knife in his carry-on bag; the LaGuardia Airport passenger who had eight rounds of 9 mm ammunition in his bag; the JFK Airport passenger who had a 6-inch butterfly knife in his bag; and the New Orleans passenger who had a loaded .380 caliber firearm—with a bullet in the chamber—in his carry-on bag.” I’m not sure those eight 9mm rounds posed much of a threat, unless the passenger planned to hurl them at people. And as a commenter notes on the TSA blog, there is no indication that any of these passengers intended to harm anyone. But at least guns and knives are weapons (or potential weapons) that theoretically could be used to hijack a plane.