Mini Revolutions

I’m temporarily living in a small Alabama town that’s still safe enough to allow my children to ride their bikes down the street unattended and to leave your door unlocked while you run to the store.  It’s quaint and seems untouched by the goings on in Washington, DC… and sometimes even Montgomery.  But of course, it’s not.  And conversations with the people you meet at the grocery store or the park reveal that.  People are angry.  Very angry.  Thankfully, they’re also becoming organized and that is starting to make a difference.

I’m not a whole-hearted Tea Partier.  I have my doubts about its long-term effectiveness, especially at a federal level if they continue to put all their efforts behind big-ticket races.  But I think their potential is almost unlimited when it comes to smaller, local offices.

Recently, our town had a street festival featuring music, crafts, vendors and of course, politicians running for office, busy greeting people and kissing babies.  I stopped to talk to one of the candidates who is running for a state house seat as he stood in the middle of the street handing out balloons.  Though my questions were asked with cynicism, the answers returned were thoughtful, sincere and refreshing.  Before too long, I realized I was talking to a real Tea Party candidate.  This guy was a true believer in the need to shrink government and his mannerisms were about as un-politician like as you can get.

But it got better.  As he told his story, it become clear that he had been the underdog in the primary, battling against a better-funded, establishment-picked candidate who hardly qualified to even be called a Republican.  But he’d won.  By a very large margin.

Jim DeMint, Tea Parties Fight the Entrenched Establishment

National Review Online has a great profile of Sen. Jim DeMint today.  Trent Lott is wrong, we need a whole Senate full of Jim DeMint disciples…

On the candidates he’s backing through the Senate Conservatives Fund and with the help of Tea Party groups:

These candidates are leaders in their own right. I’m supporting them, because they’re not running on some consultant’s talking points. They’re running on principle.” Jockeying for a leadership position, he says, is not his focus. “What I’m interested in is turning this country away from its fiscal cliff — and for the first time since Reagan, I think that we have a chance for real action, not just political posturing.”

On the GOP establishment:

Still, without naming names, DeMint remains critical of many establishment GOP senators. Earlier this summer, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (Miss.) told the Washington Post that the Senate does not “need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples.” Party leaders, he said, need to move quickly to “co-opt” any rabble-rousing conservatives who may find their way to the marble halls of Washington. DeMint, with a hint of disgust, says, “We need to realize that Trent Lott was speaking for many senior Republicans.”

Looking at what’s happened in Republican primaries across the country—most recently with Joe Miller in Alaska—the GOP establishment has a reason to be worried.

The Empire Tries to Strike Back

All y’all dumb motherf****** don’t even know my opinion on sh**.”

If there was ever a defining moment in the 2010 midterm elections, I would have to argue that it occurred when the statement above was made by a black construction worker who had just passed through a gauntlet of “protesters”. The crowd had assembled in lower Manhattan to express their absolute hatred for Muslims, fueled by years of neoconservative propaganda (though it only seems like a few weeks). The unidentified man, wearing a skin cap, immediately assumed to be a Muslim artifact, made the completely appropriate statement, under the circumstances, when the crowd started directing their vitriol toward him.

Clearly, none of the protesters were interested in knowing his opinion but rather projecting it upon him. Yet, he probably made the most sensible and astute comment they had heard since tuning off Fox News before traveling to New York.

Was Reagan A Dove?

From Foreign Policy b/w of The Daily Beast comes some really fascinating thought on Ronald Reagan’s approach to foreign affairs:

Was the Gipper as tough as his fans make him out to be? “Today’s conservatives have conjured a mythic Reagan who never compromised with America’s enemies and never shrank from a fight,” Peter Beinart writes in an excerpt of his new book, The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, in Foreign Policy magazine. “But the real Reagan did both those things, often. In fact, they were a big part of his success.” Beinart says Reagan was “terrified of war” and he fought suggestions, from both within and outside his own administration, that he bomb or send troops into Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba. Beinart also takes issue with the conservative boast that Reagan “frightened” the Soviet Union into submission. “The problem with this story is that Reagan began abandoning his hard-line anti-Soviet stance in late 1983, 18 months before Gorbachev took power,” Beinart writes.

A critical case in point here would be the bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983. It killed 241 American servicemen, the most killed in an assault on American troops since World War II. Reading about the attack’s response is illuminating:

Porkulus III Passes Senate With Republican Help

The Senate passed Porkulus III by a vote of 70-28 with 13 Republicans demonstrating their party’s new found fiscal conservatism by crossing over to vote with every Democrat present for the bill. Like the first Porkulus signed by George W. Bush in 2008 and the Porkulus II passed last year, Porkulus III forks over billions of borrowed dollars to fund various special interest projects and tax gimmicks in the name of “creating jobs”.

The gimmicks funded in this lastest round of Porkulus include a tax holiday for the remainder of the year on Social Security payroll taxes, but only if the company hires someone out of work for more than 60 days. In addition, Porkulus commits to billions in in more mass transit spending and more highway projects (ie. more pork barrel spending).

The Senate’s version of Porkulus must be sent over to the House where it must be reconciled with the House’s much more expansive $154 billion Porkulus bill. However, the Senate plans to pass more items in the House’s bill one at a time so that Senate Majority Harry Reid and other Democrat leaders can find out how much the prices of the votes of “fiscally conservative” Republicans are.

Included are proposed Senate bills giving away corporate welfare to ethanol producers, which is expected to be supported by farm state Republicans. In addition, there is another planned Senate bill to keep Americans out of work longer by extending unemployment benefits and COBRA.

The RINOs who supported Porkulus III today are:

Sarah Palin And The Obsession With Minutia, Or Something

I must admit that this is a subject I wanted to stay away from but the continuing “uproar” saddens me. I want to like Sarah Palin but she makes it hard sometimes . At some point she is going to have to stop playing the victim card and act like a big girl.

I heard the Rahm Emanuel “retard” comment before Palin responded to it (I actually agreed with him). But something told me somebody would say something. Somebody would be offended. Somebody would act like a speech Nazi. Somebody would express an opinion that would attack the natural right of free speech.

As a former member of the GOP I can remember getting into debate after debate with “lefty” Statists on the subject of language. I guess because of who I am and how I was brought up I feel like I have a right to speak my mind and if you’re the “political correct” type you can get over it (Being raised in NYC probably contributed a ‘lil as well). I am not offended by anything that comes out of somebody’s pie- hole. Many people say things that alarm me, but being offended is somehow being “hurt” by what is said. Ms. Palin kept referring to her “thick skin” on the campaign trail. Did it somehow disappear?

I’ve already heard other people make the point that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck use the word “retard” on their shows and Sarah hasn’t criticized them. Blah, blah, that isn’t nearly the issue here. The fact that the “Right” is now acting like the language police leads me to believe I left the GOP at the right time.

Let me create a scenario for dear Sarah and see how she would handle it.

MORE Thoughts on Scott Brown (And The Implications Of His Election)

I just read Matt Wittlief’s thoughts on Scott Brown, and since I have only tweeted about the Massachusetts special election and talked about it on the radio, I must be falling behind as a “political blogger” myself.  I started this as a comment, but my opinions turned this into a post itself.

As I see it, the GOP needed solidarity in the Senate (41 votes) to derail ObamaCare, and Scott Brown is that 41st vote for ObamaCare in 2010. I have said it before, and I will continue to say it, Scott Brown is nothing more than a “short term compromise.” His positions are not that different from Coakley, when you compare them across the board for all three candidates that ran. He also supported RomneyCare in Massachusetts a few short years ago. His support of government intervention into the marketplace is unquestionable, and he confirmed it with his comments on Wednesday, that every libertarian that tweets or is on Facebook cited.

Garafalo, Beck and the Art of Mind Reading

Editor’s note: Please welcome Eric Von Haessler to United Liberty. Eric is a radio broadcaster (part of the of The Regular Guys), based out of Atlanta. He’ll be posting here as he can find time.

When I was a kid I always looked forward to the next television appearance of a guy known as The Amazing Kreskin. Kreskin called himself a mentalist and would demonstrate his ability to read minds by surprising members of the studio audience with his knowledge about what they were thinking right then and there. He ended every demonstration with a great gimmick. The host of the show would hide Kreskin’s paycheck somewhere on the set and the mentalist didn’t get paid for the appearance unless he found it before the end of the segment.

My enjoyment of this act was tempered by maturity. As I got older it became obvious to me that it was impossible for one person to read another person’s mind. My favorite TV mentalist was certainly entertaining but it was a parlor trick. I didn’t have to know exactly how he created the illusion- it was enough to know that no one can read minds. Therefore Kreskin cannot read minds. That epiphany from my young adult years strangely applies and helps to navigate me through the chronic Red state/Blue state bickering that now passes for debate in America.

If every passionate member on the Left and Right would take the time to remind themselves of their inability to read minds we’d be spared this endless cycle of faux-argument followed by faux-outrage. You know the drill. First a famous or semi-famous person makes a specious claim about the country, the administration, or whatever- then members of the opposite ideology begin the public handwringing and name calling that leads to an eventual boycott of something somewhere.

If it isn’t Sean Penn and Michael Moore raising hackles on the Right, it’s Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck poking at the Left. The brain dead Kabuki rolls ever onward and both sides turn out to be fueled by the same mistaken assumption. The idea that it’s possible for one person to read another person’s mind lurks at the bottom of the entire national discussion.

While perusing the morning headlines today I was greeted with the latest example of false debate from actress Janeane Garafalo. Ms. Garafalo, a well-known hater of all things right wing and Republican is now calling the Tea Party protestors ‘functionally retarded.’ She then adds that anyone of these functional retards that shows up at a rally or Town Hall meeting and shouts, “I want my country back” is just speaking in code. What they really mean is, “I want my white guy back”- presumably because they can’t handle the reality of dealing with a black president.

So how is she able to pick up on and decipher this right wing code? Well it’s obvious. She can read minds. No matter how much you natter on about the Constitution and free-market capitalism Janeane will not be fooled. She’s in your head. She knows what you are really thinking. It would be comforting to think she is alone in her mind reading quackery but it turns out to be a crowded field.

Garafalo’s latest gamma-burst of stupidity is only a parry to comments made by TV/radio host Glenn Beck about the President a few weeks ago. While opining on the whole Obama/Harvard Professor/Police Officer fiasco Mr. Beck couldn’t contain him self to commentary on the President’s actions alone. In order to round out his argument he made the claim that the President was in fact, a racist. He then went on to speculate about what might cause this deep-seated hatred of white people that lay at the core of Obama’s identity. Has the President ever expressed this hatred in a speech or interview? No. But he doesn’t need to do that. Glenn Beck can read minds and he knows what the President is really thinking.

Examples abound:

-Members of the Left just ‘know’ the war in Iraq was all about profits for the two oil men who occupied the White House at the time. Neither Bush nor Cheney claimed such a goal but the Left knows what they were really thinking.

-Many of my friends on the Right insist that Barack Obama hates the country and is engaged on a mission of sabotage in an act of personal revenge. President Obama has never articulated this as an item on his agenda but the Right knows what he’s really thinking.

Enough already. Speculation about the mindset of another may be a fun game to play but it has no place in the assessment of truth. The only proper way to judge a politician or anyone is to compare words and action. If a promise is made and broken, or a claim is found to be wanting, it is proper to draw conclusions about the veracity or competency of that person based on the evidence.  But this judgment gives you zero insight into the mind of the person you’ve just passed judgment upon. It can’t provide that insight because you don’t have the ability to read minds.

Give credit to The Amazing Kreskin. At least he understood how to entertain with claims of clairvoyance.  The white noise of constant outrage emanating from both the Left and Right is driving many of us to simply tune out.

If Glenn Beck and Janeane Garafalo continue to insist upon revealing the inner dialogue of their political enemies, we should demand a better show. Can you imagine the spectacle of Garafalo and Beck tearing apart the Fox News and MSNBC studios in search of their next paycheck? Now- That’s Entertainment!

Arlen Specter is Not the Enemy

First, watch a little of this YouTube Video:

Now, watch this short one:

The Good That Will Come From Tuesday

Barack Obama’s election as President didn’t come as a surprise to any of us.  There was only one path to victory for the Republican ticket and it hinged on Pennsylvania turning red, a task not done since 1988.  Despite the smiling faces and forced optimism conveyed by the McCain campaign, we all knew what was going to happen Tuesday night.  However, Tuesday’s results are not as bad as they might seem, the era of Obama will not have the long term effect that many have predict it will, and the liberty movement will not suffer a dramatic setback as a result of this new wave of Democratic leadership.

The views and opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily those of other authors, advertisers, developers or editors at United Liberty.