In the course of the past week, there have been ruminations from Washington D.C. and the liberal media establishment, following the political circus circuit. Rumors are, there is a Romney-Paul split ticket in the works. This would mean, Ron Paul as Vice President to Mitt Romney. Sources are weak and at this point, still very much unsubstantiated.
Whether Ron Paul would accept a Vice Presidential spot, at this point is unclear. He is Mitt Romney’s senior, both in intellect and age. Others report, and speak of, a Rand Paul Vice Presidency; however, at this point into the GOP retake of the vacant White House, Rand Paul (R-KY) is nowhere near the fire of the action.
It is quite obvious, that if Mitt Romney is going to sock Obama in November, he will have to square the Tea Party vote. Segments of which he has neglected, again and again; with big government “corporations are people” rhetoric. Steadily he holds the strongest conservative wing, but a wing does not fly without a body. If Ron Paul considers an Independent presidential run after all, Mitt Romney will feel luke-warm to libertarians, independents, cross-overs, undecideds.
Given Ron Paul’s consistent stance on positions: his remorseless scrutiny and straight-edge in terms of vascillation, it is highly unlikely he will takle a split-ticket such as this. If these comments continue, there will be the possibility that Ron Paul’s integrity is pu to the test. Is he really the stalwart, people say he is? Or, is he another politician who might use his stature, to win the GOP the election in November 2012?
Deep within the bowels of CPAC, in a small conference room on the second floor of the Marriott Wardman hotel, dozens of people packed inside to listen to a blue ribbon panel—or perhaps I should say “gold standard” panel, for that was what John Mueller of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, Jeffrey Bell of the American Principles Project, and James Grant—yes, that James Grant, author of Grant’s Interest Rate Observer and Ron Paul’s pick to head the Federal Reserve—were on hand to talk about and explain: a return to the gold standard. And yes, Grant—and many in the crowd—were wearing bowties.
Although I do wonder if the real reason people showed up were because of the Bavarian pretzels they were offering.
I have to admit, I came into the panel with a major question. I am totally for the abolition of fiat currency, the abolition of the Federal Reserve, and the restoration of a sound money policy. 2011 dollars are worth about 19 cents in 1971 dollars, the year when Nixon closed the gold window and took the country off the gold standard. It is, I argue, the necessary step before we can even look at getting rid of minimum wage, unemployment compensation, things that libertarians would want to remove, but we can’t because the money people are using isn’t worth anything. But is the gold standard really, well, the “gold standard” of monetary reform? Would going back to the sixties necessarily bring back prosperity? Were there any other alternatives?
As libertarians, we frequently argue that the government should privatize this, privatize that, decrease spending in other areas, and so on. Some of us are anarchocapitalists; others are minarchists, who believe in a minimal state; and still more are just limited government types, who do not go to either of those extremes but simply want a smaller government in general that protects civil liberties.
One place where libertarians may say we’ve won is in the area of prisons. In the United States, many states have contracted with private companies to manage and run the prison system. These often take the form of “public-private partnerships,” known to many people as “the worst of both worlds” (or “privatize the profits and socialize the losses.”) Some may argue that privatizing prisons would be a good idea because it reduces government, but I would argue this is actually one of the few places where government is justified.
The issue arises thanks to a bill before the Florida Senate on prison privatization, which has led to some unusual legislative shenanigans in order to push it forward:
Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos on Wednesday removed a veteran GOP legislator from a budget panel after he fought a plan to privatize prisons, saying he had lost confidence in the lawmaker’s willingness to cut government costs.
Haridopolos said he was stripping Sen. Mike Fasano of his chairmanship of the Senate budget subcommittee that oversees spending on prisons and the courts. He was also removed from the main budget committee.
All of us saw Saturday night the blowout win that was delivered to Newt Gingrich in South Carolina. According to the final results, as reported by Google:
- Gingrich — 40.4% (243,153)
- Romney — 27.8% (167,279)
- Santorum — 17.0% (102,055)
- Paul — 13.0% (77,993)
This is definitely a smashing win for Gingrich, a huge setback for Romney, and a new period of turmoil for the GOP presidential nomination race. Never before have three different candidates won Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina. The race, once believed to be wrapped up by mid-February, might continue into March or April, or even later. And so all the blogs are saying.
But when I look at the results of the South Carolina primary, all I can ask myself is, “Has the Republican Party jumped the shark?”
TVTropes Wiki, a website devoted to stories, defines “jumping the shark”* as:
the moment when an established show changes in a significant manner in an attempt to stay fresh. Ironically, that moment makes the viewers realize that the show has finally run out of ideas. It has reached its peak, it will never be the same again, and from now on it’s all downhill.
I have to wonder if this is the fate that is falling upon the Republican Party.
When I read Jimbo Wales’ Twitter account about Wikipedia going dark, he linked to this October 2011 article from the Guardian in the United Kingdom about the entertainment industry’s profits. Surprisingly, it shows that piracy might not be having that much of a dent after all:
A surge of more than 50% in spending on e-commerce services such asNetflix and Amazon – helped by booming sales of Blu-ray discs of films such as the Star Wars franchise – has fuelled the first rise in home entertainment spending in the US for more than three years.
Consumer spending on services that provide films and TV shows digitally – including streaming, video-on-demand and subscription services such as iTunes and Hulu – grew 55.79% year on year to $811m in the third quarter, according to a report by industry body the Digital Entertainment Group.
The booming growth of digital services and surge in Blu-ray disc sales fuelled an overall 4.87% year-on-year increase in total US home entertainment spending in the third quarter to $4bn.
“[It is] a major milestone as this is the first time spending has increased since the first quarter of 2008 when the economic downturn began,” said the report. “This growth reflects an encouraging shift in the marketplace … [and] the continued stabilisation of the industry.”
Of course, it was a change from previous years, but then, that’s to be expected since we’re in a global recession.
First off, I think the hashtag should have been #OhJesusChristItsAnotherDebate, but unfortunately that was too long for many tweets.
Second, my pessimism from last November and December has returned. During the summer of 2011, I was pretty sure that Obama had it. Even with the killing of bin Laden, after the support quickly evaporated, I figured his support was going to continue to fall. But then, after seeing the rise of Herman Cain and the ridiculous tomfoolery in the back half of the year, I figured Obama had it in the bag. Lately, I was thinking it’s a more 50/50 thing, but last night’s performance has me thinking again that Obama is going to steamroll this election in November.
Why? Because none of the candidates—aside from Paul, natch—had any real divergence or difference, nothing truly remarkable that sets them apart from either each other, Obama, or even George W. Bush. Cut taxes, increase defense spending, some paltry attempts at entitlement reform, and oh, civil liberties, who needs those? They may play well with the base, but they are utterly disastrous with the general electorate. I for one agree on the taxes thing, but you will have Obama and the left point out that taxes are the lowest they have been in years, and unless Republicans shoot back with the OECD taxation charts, I don’t think that will sell very well (though obviously, yes, if we’re going to remain competitive, cutting our business tax rates to ~20% and getting rid of capital gains and payroll taxes would be good—though we have to balance that by massively cutting spending.)
There is only one term, which is (and has proven over ages) “Too Big To Fail.”
Everything else, can- and should- be allowed to fail in a free market. Capitalism is based on profit. On risk. On investment. What tends to be overlooked, especially in this volatile era, is that capitalism is a sentiment, it can not be shackled by government laws, nor “propped up” as some claim. It is hard, to run a presidential campaign on this message.
Governments have duties to individuals. We seem to have forgotten, this.
Mitt Romney, for all his verbal denunciation of Mr. Obama, was in support of the bailout packages in Congress! Along with his healthcare mandate in Massachusetts and government ID cards, these three implementations alone, make me doubt Mr. Romney’s republicanism. He is pliant, and will bend this nation to his insane will. He is an excellent impresario, when talking about jobs, capitalism, big government. He himself supports the same hinges, that this top-heavy US government swings on. In fact he’ll grease them, so to placate the GOP string-pullers.
Ronald Paul (R-Texas) voted against the US banking and housing bailouts.
He understood, that Fannie and Freddie were selling bonds directly to the People’s Bank of China (not reported on) in the aftermath! Without accountability of all the tax-based bailout money given Wall Street banks and Detroit, he knew; the same problems would persist. Happen again, and again, again. Ronald Paul favors corporations, capitalism, citizenry too. What he is against, is this: tax-increased government money-laundering, for purposes of spending, for entitlements (not in US constitution).
Government should spend little to nothing.
As Europe loses countries’ credit rating, we are left to wonder what the future will hold.
Money is no longer backed.
With Romney’s win Tuesday in New Hampshire, the first Republican non-incumbent to win both Iowa and the Granite State since 1976, some are saying that the primary battle is essentially over, while President Obama has “locked-in” on Romney as his opponent. I don’t need to be the one to tell you how bad this is for liberty, and how bad it is for just elections overall.
In effect, we’re going to have a choice between a Wall St. financied big business candidate who has no good record on civil liberties and created a massive government health insurance boondoggle against…the exact same thing.
Glenn Greenwald wrote an absolutely fantastic piece on New Year’s Eve about Ron Paul and how the Texas Representative is challenging progressives and liberals to take a harder look at Obama, which may not be what they want to do. In particular, Greenwald had this gem:
The thing I loathe most about election season is reflected in the central fallacy that drives progressive discussion the minute “Ron Paul” is mentioned. As soon as his candidacy is discussed, progressives will reflexively point to a slew of positions he holds that are anathema to liberalism and odious in their own right and then say: how can you support someone who holds this awful, destructive position? The premise here — the game that’s being played — is that if you can identify some heinous views that a certain candidate holds, then it means they are beyond the pale, that no Decent Person should even consider praising any part of their candidacy.
With the Iowa Caucuses recently completed (and Paul in a close third), the New Hampshire primaries upon us, 2011 receding into the past and 2012 coming upon us full-bore, the heavy boot of government dropping from the sky, the usual insanity and corruption coming out of Washington, and me trying to figure out how to write an intro for a belated post, I was thinking about what the libertarian movement should try to focus on in 2012. It took me awhile to figure out what to say, but I think I finally have it. Maybe. In a quick summary, the three things I believe the libertarian movement should try and do are:
- Set itself apart from conservatism and create its own “brand”
- Refuse to let the perfect be the enemy of the good
- Continue to educate the public on “crony capitalism” and “corporatism” and not engage in “vulgar libertarianism”
Rest assured I will do my utmost to explain what all of this means.
For me, one of my biggest problems with the way we’re spreading the libertarian message was crystallized with the resurgence of the Ron Paul newsletters last month. Jason cited professor Steve Horwitz’s Bleeding Heart Libertarians post on the subject, which plainly explained what was going on and the problems that libertarianism has to contend with. Namely, we must examine our past, see where we went wrong, and reject that, and boy, is there a lot of rejectin` to do.
Hello! From the commission itself:
Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2011 — The Securities and Exchange Commission today charged six former top executives of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) with securities fraud, alleging they knew and approved of misleading statements claiming the companies had minimal holdings of higher-risk mortgage loans, including subprime loans.
- SEC complaint vs. Freddie Mac executives
- SEC complaint vs. Fannie Mae executives
- Non-Prosecution Agreement - Freddie Mac
- Non-Prosecution Agreement - Fannie Mae
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac each entered into a Non-Prosecution Agreement with the Commission in which each company agreed to accept responsibility for its conduct and not dispute, contest, or contradict the contents of an agreed-upon Statement of Facts without admitting nor denying liability. Each also agreed to cooperate with the Commission’s litigation against the former executives. In entering into these Agreements, the Commission considered the unique circumstances presented by the companies’ current status, including the financial support provided to the companies by the U.S. Treasury, the role of the Federal Housing Finance Agency as conservator of each company, and the costs that may be imposed on U.S. taxpayers.