Understanding the underlying meaning of a politician’s words is an art. It is a skill that must be cultivated, because all too often the words they speak are nothing more than deceptive marketing. You have the high-energy sales pitch…and thirty seconds of fine print read at high speed. Most of the time, the loud claims are completely negated by the fine print.
Nowhere is this deceptive nuance more prevalent than when politicians talk about money. To those of us in the real world, we go out and work hard to earn money to provide for the needs of ourselves and our families. We have gross earnings, and then we have “take-home pay”, which is the gross earnings minus the litany of state and federal taxes, insurance premiums, etc. If we take a pay cut, it means that our gross earnings are reduced from the previous level. This is how normal people speak.
The political world has its own Orwellian lexicon, where nothing means what it sounds like it means. Before we can even address the lexicon though, we have to address the larger underlying problem; namely, the philosophical differences between government and the average citizen. Since I believe the words of the Declaration and the Constitution, which says that I am a son of my Creator, endowed with unalienable rights, and that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, I naturally believe that the fruits of my labor belong to me and me alone. As a citizen, I have agreed to take a portion of my earnings and contribute it to the funding of the cost of government, which is there, in theory, to protect my rights.
So often today, those that protest statist or liberal policies are derided as being ignorant or as having nefarious motivations. The working class is often portrayed as being too stupid to know what is best for them; therefore, an elite, benevolent intelligentsia is needed to pat us on the head before brushing aside our concerns and running the country for us. Years ago, Bill Clinton dismissed a reporter’s question as to whether the budget surplus realized from having a balanced budget (thanks to the Republican takeover of the House) would be returned to the taxpayers by explaining that the taxpayers could not be trusted to spend the money “the right way”. The recent passage of the health care bill was done against the will of the majority of voters, but our concerns were dismissed as we were told that once it was passed, only then would we be able to learn what was in it, and just how good it would be. Well, it has passed, and we are finally learning what is in it, and it’s not good at all.
It is trendy in circles of intellectuals today to dismiss the wisdom of the Founding Fathers, to say that what they designed is not relevant two centuries later, or that we need a “living” Constitution, which sways with the political winds and means what we want it to mean at that specific point in time. This shows an extreme lack of historical perspective at just how unique and brilliant our founding documents are.
The U.S. Constitution was passed in 1787. It contains a mere 4,400 words and yet has successfully governed a nation which began with a few million citizens to today, when we number over 300 million. So brilliant was its construction that it has only been amended 27 times, one of which (prohibition) was repealed.
Socialism is a scare word. Conservatives, and even libertarians, use it as a buzz word to scare the pants off of folks. However, many people look at it and wonder what’s so wrong? After all, socialist ideas provide food, housing and health care to the poor as well as keep people from being exploited by ruthless corporations. So what’s the big deal?
Honestly, I’ll admit it’s a fair question. To really delve into the problems of socialism would take more than a single post. Truth be told, I could spend the rest of my life just writing about that but on the surface socialism sounds pretty fine. However, the truth also is that socialism never quite works.
To understand why, we have to look at why people do things. The truth of the matter is that some people are just lazy. I know, I’m one of them. I would much rather sit around all day and do nothing than to have to work. All things being equal, a lot of us are the same way. However, we’re also greedy. We want things. Flat screen televisions, DVD players, cars, homes, we want stuff. So, we work hard to accumulate the things we want. Maybe we want stuff for ourselves like the stuff I just listed, or perhaps we want stuff for others. Maybe we want our child to have a better education than we had, or we want our spouse to have whatever they want. Who cares what we want or why, we just do. That is our motivation for working.
Those who affiliate themselves, either casually or intensely, with the right wing of the political spectrum need to seriously look themselves in the mirror as regards our policies toward our southern neighbors.
On immigration and the War on Drugs, nativism and paternalism seem to be the dominant fundamentalisms of those who most frequently espouse a fondness for freedom and liberty. On immigration especially, nativism goes directly against not only what America is, a nation of immigrants, but against the beacon of liberty that conservative icon Ronald Reagan characterized America as:
Robinson correctly observes that Reagan would have had nothing to do with the anger and inflamed rhetoric that so often marks the immigration debate today. “Ronald Reagan was no kind of nativist,” he concludes, noting that Reagan was always reaching out to voters beyond the traditional Republican base, including the fast-growing Hispanic population.
It’s worth remembering that Reagan signed the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), which opened the door to citizenship for nearly 3 million people who had been living in the country illegally. Robinson is confident Reagan would have supported the kind of comprehensive immigration reform championed by President George W. Bush and approved by the Senate in 2006.
This will seem quite harsh, but I will say it frankly and succinctly: If you think that a child born in this country but the parents of illegal immigrants should be deported, you don’t believe in freedom. You believe in something else; something antithetical to the beautiful message which adorns the Statue of Liberty:
Sometimes, the free market does not adequately provide for a need. Today, while reading popular mechanics, I worried that I had stumbled upon such a situation.
The cure for North American coral snake bite is about to disappear. Why an unprofitable anti-venom may end up costing lives.
The North American Coral Snake is deadly, but bites requiring antivenom were so few and far between that the companies who produce it are shutting down because they aren’t making enough money.
As venomous snakes go, the coral snake is a clumsy biter. Unlike pit vipers such as rattlesnakes and cottonmouths, which have gruesomely efficient fangs …the brightly colored coral snake has small, rear-facing fangs that guide venom into a wound. This process doesn’t always work well—experts estimate that 25 percent of coral snake envenomations are dry bites—which is perhaps why the coral is so unaggressive. The snake is found throughout Florida, as well as in parts of Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona, but there are generally only about 100 or so bites each year.
There is now a worry that antivenom will not be produced in high enough quantities to be available when it is needed. Shockingly, according to this article, antivenom shortages aren’t uncommon!
Yesterday, Ron Paul purist and anti-war Republican Adam Kokesh lost 29% to 71% to an “establishment” Republican despite outspending his opponent at least 2 to 1.
There is a big lesson here for all Tea Party and “Ron Paul” Republicans: No Republican campaign can win by trying to woo Democrats!
Banking on Democrats voting for you is suicide.
White writing, I’ve received an email from Adams campaign:
The relative numbers do not fully reflect the energy and commitment of those who cast a vote for us. We were an unconventional campaign running against a conventional candidate. The automatic reaction of old-fashioned party-line voters was to vote for our opponent. Every single vote for us was an informed decision and an act of courage by the voter.
I’d like to congratulate the Kokesh campaign on getting out the courageous and well-informed. (He’s to be respected and commended for donating a year of his life to further his ideas - this is something not many people have the gumption for. )
Quite simply, you can’t win by trying to educate voters, you have to find common ground and connect with a base.
Years of tradition and repetition will not be undone by your crusade or principle. In a PRIMARY, working Democrats will have no effect on your campaign (duh?). Voters simply will not cross party lines to vote for your message; the best you can hope to do is drive down voter turnout by appealing to Democrats on issues.
If you are running for the Republican nomination, do not run from Republicans - embrace them, embrace the party, and find common ground. This may not be a popular sentiment on UnitedLiberty.org, but it is the truth - and it is effective.
Chris Dodd, everybody’s favorite hairdo, has introduced a “tough” financial “reform” bill that he claims will “limit the risk [financial institutions] can assume.” Of course, most people with a pulse realize that a 1565 page bill introduced by one of the top recipients of financial industry lobbyist money in Congress probably will do little to ‘reform’ the financial industry in the best interests of the American people. That, however, doesn’t fully capture the perniciousness of this bill.
When we look at it closely, we can see it is one of the most dangerous bills introduced in Congress in years.
Recently, the TEA Party movement celebrated its first anniversary. At first the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists were dismissed as a few grumpy right-wingers upset that America elected a black president. They were given little credence beyond being an amusing political side show. That soon changed. On April 15th hundreds of thousands of average Americans showed up at protest rallies across the nation, outraged at the “stimulus” package of goodies doled out to special interests, liberal activism organizations and Democrat pet projects. CNN reported that a few thousand people showed up at the rally in Atlanta, but I was there and can assure you that it was close to ten-fold that amount. It was shoulder-to-shoulder for about four blocks in one direction, not counting the people on the side streets.
Once they could no longer be dismissed as a fringe element, TEA Party activists were labeled as “Astro-turf” (fake grass roots), accused of being flunkies of Big Corporate America, mindlessly doing the bidding of their masters. They were accused of being a fabrication of FOX News and the Republican Party. They were accused of being everything except what they are…average Americans, generally with traditional conservative values, who were fed up over 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush politics, two political parties who paid only lip service to the people they claimed to serve while engaging in a bacchanalian orgy of political perks, who had finally been pushed over the edge by a pork-laden spending bill of almost $800 billion. They were saying “Enough is enough!”, and they were going to make their voices be heard.
In a special podcast, Jason discusses the latest details of healthcare reform with Michael Cannon, the director of health policy studies at The Cato Institute and the co-author of Healthy Competition: What’s Holding Back Health Care and How To Free It.
Their discussion includes the use of reconciliation to pass the latest healthcare reform bill amd the hurdles that procedure faces, the bill’s cost and new taxes, and health savings accounts (HSAs).
You’ve probably heard about the “Miss Me Yet?” billboard in Minnesota, featuring a picture of George W. Bush. According to Fox News, a “group of small business owners and individuals,” obviously not fans of Barack Obama, paid for it.
That’s all well and good, and while I’m no fan of Barack Obama, I don’t long for the presidency of George W. Bush.
From a fiscal perspective, the Bush Administration was a disaster. Before you repeat the Dick Cheney talking point that most of the spending was for defense and two wars. Let me go ahead and tell you, that’s not true. Bush was the biggest spender since Lyndon B. Johnson, dramatically increasing non-defense discretionary spending. Remember, he is a “compassionate conservative,” which is apparently a nice term for “statist.”
Bush signed a new entitlement into law, his administration enacted the most regulations since Nixon (“we’re all Keynesians now”) and he backed the Wall Street bailout while telling us that he “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system.” This is only the tip of the iceberg on his fiscal policies.