Ron Paul: Repeal The PATRIOT Act!

Sounds good to me:

Paul Ryan, David Brooks debate the role of government

Last week, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and David Brooks met at the American Enterprise Institute to debate the topic, “How Much Government is Good Government?” Ryan took up the limited government aspect of the debate, while Brooks - not surprisingly - took up the case for an active government.

Over at Reason, Peter Suderman offered his thoughts on the debate:

Ryan, the wonky administrator, emphasized the need for immediate legislative solutions in order to avoid a fiscal meltdown. “The numbers are vicious,” he said, underlining his contention that responsible governance should focus on responding to the grim math of the federal debt. Brooks, the cerebral cultural critic, responded that the key disagreement was not about particular policies, but about the narrative framework behind them, and he singled out Ryan’s “prose” outlining America’s stark fiscal choices as a problem.

It’s hardly in dispute that narrative matters in politics. The question is what story to spin. And the problem with the tale Brooks wants to tell—and sell—is that it’s the same one that’s led to the unsustainable fiscal situation he claims to want to fix.

For Brooks, the narrative that matters is that government, properly directed, can be a force for good, one that strengthens community bonds, counteracts social ills, and encourage the institutions of family and hard work. On several occasions, Brooks repeated his belief that the government’s job is to help citizens build “character.”

Why are conservatives and Republicans enamored with George W. Bush?

With the release of his new book, Decision Points, many conservatives and Republicans are making a big deal over George W. Bush’s return from political exile. While I understand that they may be looking at Barack Obama’s presidency, where we’ve seen out of control spending and the Constitution often ignored. It doesn’t make much sense to look back longingly at Bush, who spent like a drunken sailor and treated the Constitution and Bill of Rights like an afterthought.

While I’m not a fan of Michelle Malkin, she is cautioning Republicans not to get too nostalgistic over the return of the Big Spender from Crawford:

The problem, of course, is that Bush nostalgia is indelibly marred by his disastrous domestic policy legacy of big government, big spending, and betrayal of core fiscal principles — the very impetus for the Tea Party movement upon which he now heaps glowing praise.

Take yourselves back to 2007. The headline on my blog on December 3, 2007:

Hillary and Bush agree: Government should bail out homeowners.

Foreign policy and the Tea Party

Over at the Cato Institute, Christopher Preble and John Samples are appealing to the tea party movement to embrace defense spending cuts and a scaled back foreign policy:

With a number of tea party-backed candidates victorious and on their way to Washington, there is much speculation about how they might affect foreign policy. “It’s hard to divine because they haven’t articulated clear views,” explains James Lindsay of the Council on Foreign Relations. “We are left wondering: What exactly would they do?”

The tea party movement has no clear foreign policy agenda. It seems unlikely, however, that the same tea partyers who want the U.S. government to do less at home are anxious to do more everywhere else.

For example, the movement and its new representatives in Washington might prefer to avoid sending U.S. forces into unnecessary and futile wars. Accordingly, they might also realize that substantial reductions in military spending are strategically wise, fiscally prudent, and politically necessary.

It’s absurd to argue that there’s no room for cuts. The Pentagon’s budget has grown nearly 86 percent in real terms since 1998.

Ever-rising military spending is partly explained by the fact that its advocates — the individuals, companies, and politicians who depend on military projects — are highly motivated and adept at maintaining the status quo. These special interests have a right to fight in the American political system, but Beltway hawks should not enjoy a presumption that military spending necessarily advances national security. Much of it does not.

The United States’ Days As A Superpower Are Declining

There was a mild joy among friends who paid attention to politics as the last of American troops left Iraq. There were a few people saying “It’s not really over. The US will be there until 2050,” like my friend Doug Mataconis, but you’d be hardpressed to find anyone who shares William Kristol’s hope for future wars.

Then there is the poll numbers. The war in Afghanistan, once the “good war,” the just war that everyone supported, has an overwhelming negative decline in support:


LAWRENCE, Mass. — A majority of Americans see no end in sight in Afghanistan, and nearly six in 10 oppose the nine-year-old war as President Barack Obama sends tens of thousands more troops to the fight, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll.

With just over 10 weeks before nationwide elections that could define the remainder of Obama’s first term, only 38 percent say they support his expanded war effort in Afghanistan — a drop from 46 percent in March. Just 19 percent expect the situation to improve during the next year, while 29 percent think it will get worse. Some 49 percent think it will remain the same.

This doesn’t mean America has become pacifist, but when you’re not experiencing large scale terrorist attacks, don’t have connections to the military or family or friends of Middle East or Islamic origin, there really is no reason to pay attention or care either way beyond seeing it as a massive misuse of taxpayer dollars in the middle of a Great Recession. Even Time magazine covers with shots of Afghan women whose noses have been sliced off by the Taliban isn’t quite enough to get the unemployed gung-ho about a war that doesn’t benefit them.

Florida Republican Calls For Internment Camps For Illegal Immigrants

No matter how hard you try, you can’t make this stuff up:

PALM HARBOR, Fla. — A candidate for the Florida House of Representatives says “camps” should be built to house illegal immigrants in Florida until they can be deported.

Marg Baker, who is seeking the Republican nomination for House District 48, says officials could “collect enough illegal aliens until you have enough to ship them back.”

Baker added the housing would be “regular homes like a lot of poor people live in.”

She made the comments earlier this month at a 9-12 Project meeting, an organization founded by conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck.

Baker told The Associated Press, “We need to have camps because there are a lot of these people roaming among us.”


Gerson doesn’t understand libertarianism

Michael Gerson, who served as a speechwriter for George W. Bush, is worried about the rise of libertarianism in the Republican Party:

The Republican wave carries along a group that strikes a faux revolutionary pose. “Our Founding Fathers,” says Nevada Republican Senate candidate Sharron Angle, “they put that Second Amendment in there for a good reason, and that was for the people to protect themselves against a tyrannical government. And in fact, Thomas Jefferson said it’s good for a country to have a revolution every 20 years. I hope that’s not where we’re going, but you know, if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.”

Angle has managed to embrace the one Founding Father with a disturbing tolerance for the political violence of the French Revolution. “Rather than it should have failed,” enthused Jefferson, “I would have seen half the earth desolated.” Hardly a conservative model.

But mainstream conservatives have been strangely disoriented by Tea Party excess, unable to distinguish the injudicious from the outrageous. Some rose to Angle’s defense or attacked her critics. Just to be clear: A Republican Senate candidate has identified the United States Congress with tyranny and contemplated the recourse to political violence. This is disqualifying for public office. It lacks, of course, the seriousness of genuine sedition. It is the conservative equivalent of the Che Guevara T-shirt — a fashion, a gesture, a toying with ideas the wearer only dimly comprehends. The rhetoric of “Second Amendment remedies” is a light-weight Lexington, a cut-rate Concord. It is so far from the moral weightiness of the Founders that it mocks their memory.

Watch “I.O.U.S.A.” online

I.O.U.S.A., a great documentary on the problems with our nation’s debt, has been put online for streaming. I don’t agree with some of the suggestions offered, but it’s well worth watching to get a sense of how much trouble we’re in.

While you’re watching, keep in mind that the national debt has soared since this documentary was released in 2008 to $13.1 trillion.

You can watch it below in its entirety.

Tea Party embraces neo-conservatism

Will the tea party movement get behind defense spending cuts? It won’t if Sarah Palin has her way:

Sarah Palin is waging a battle inside the Tea Party movement to exempt defense spending from the group’s small-government, anti-deficit fervor.

There’s growing concern among Republicans — and especially among the pro-defense neoconservative wing of the party — that national-security spending, which is under a level of scrutiny and pressure not seen since the end of the Cold War, could fall victim to the anti-establishment, anti-spending agenda of the Tea Party movement. Palin, as the unofficial leader of that movement and its most prominent celebrity, is moving to carve out such funding from any drives to cut overall government expenditures.

There’s a sense among GOP insiders that she is not only the perfect figure to make the case, but she’s also the only one who can pull it off.
Palin’s drive to lead the charge against defense cuts on the right was on display in a June 27 speech at “Freedom Fest,” a conservative gathering in Norfolk, VA, where she sent a clear message to Republicans that deficit reduction can’t come at the expense of the military.

“Something has to be done urgently to stop the out of control Obama-Reid-Pelosi spending machine, and no government agency should be immune from budget scrutiny,” she said. “We must make sure, however, that we do nothing to undermine the effectiveness of our military. If we lose wars, if we lose the ability to deter adversaries, if we lose the ability to provide security for ourselves and for our allies, we risk losing all that makes America great! That is a price we cannot afford to pay.”

Jon Stewart slams Obama on civil liberties, executive power

“[Y]ou have your own secret military programs that go beyond even what Bush was doing. You didn’t think we’d find out?! You stumble in late at night. We’re not blind. You stumble in late at night, reeking of power - little traces of classified on your collar.” - Jon Stewart

On Tuesday night, Jon Stewart, host of The Daily Show, lit into President Barack Obama for not living up to campaign promises of turning back abuses of civil liberties under the Bush Administration and reigning in executive power.

Stewart specifically slammed Obama on refusing to let foreign detainees have their day in court (suspending habeas rights), expanding secret wars, maintaining the “state secrets” policy of the last administration, questioning whether or not to read Americans their Miranda rights and prosecuting whistleblowers.

Here is the clip. It’s over 8 minutes, but it’s worth watching:

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