Statism

Americans Should Not Take Sides in Palestine

Israel

A curious thing happened to my Twitter feed late last week: the official Twitter account of the Israeli Defense Forces started appearing with greater and greater frequency. This baffled me, as I don’t subscribe to the IDF (indeed, I had no clue they even had Twitter) until I realized that it was all being retweeted by many, many conservative (and even some libertarian) friends.

By now we are well aware of the conflict going on between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and the Israeli government in Jerusalem. I say this, and not between the Palestinian and Israeli people, because I think this is a conflict mostly driven by political ideologies and politicians’ stupidity, and that the vast bulk of the people living in either territory would just want it to stop. They want the rockets to stop falling, the bombs to stop falling, the bulldozing to stop wrecking, the dead to stop dying.

Yet amazingly, Americans all across the right-wing spectrum are chanting for more death, more violence, more destruction, more chaos, in an area that really has nothing to do with anything American and which a victory for either side will mean absolutely nothing for our national interests (aside from, perhaps, whether or not we’ll bring on the Eschaton this year.) Meanwhile, the United States gives over $3 billion a year to Israel in military aid, a cost that—in these dire straits, facing a fiscal cliff—we can and must cut.

Nevermind the budgetary impact—I feel what we’re doing here is deeply immoral.

Politics Ruins Everything

Gene Healy, vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute in DC, is pretty much over politics:

I have a confession to make: Even though it’s my job to write about politics, I didn’t watch a single second of the Republican or Democratic conventions — not even a YouTube clip of Clint Eastwood talking to the chair.

I’ve long found electoral politics seedy and dispiriting, but that sensibility has lately become a debilitating affliction: like being a sportswriter struck by the unhelpful epiphany that it’s silly for a grown man to write about other grown men playing a game for kids.

These days, when I tune in to ABC’s “This Week” looking for a column topic, I can’t even make it past the first commercial break. Like Peter says to the management consultant in “Office Space,” “The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy; it’s that I just don’t care.”
[…]
Politics makes us worse because “politics is the mindkiller,” as intelligence theorist Eliezer Yudkowsky puts it. “Evolutionary psychology produces strange echoes in time,” he writes, “as adaptations continue to execute long after they cease to maximize fitness.” We gorge ourselves sick on sugar and fat, and we indulge our tribal hard-wiring by picking a political “team” and denouncing the “enemy.”

What Healy is talking about is mostly elections and the actual governing process. He cites fellow Catoites Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus, who write in their Libertarianism.org essay “Politics Make Us Worse”:

Let Me Show You Why Capitalism Is AWESOME

Diced Meat

Look at that. That is meat. Juicy, delectable, delicious, wonderful meat. It is the cornerstone of our existence, the very foundation of our diets (no matter what that silly treehugger food pyramid says. I mean, it’s a pyramid. Clearly it wasn’t intended for Americans.) You get it from animals. It is animals. That tends to make folks like PETA mad (the other PETA, I mean, not the People for the Eating of Tasty Animals.) This is something we just can’t see eye to eye on.

Until now.

See, a great guy named Peter Thiel—he got the very first Alumnus of the Year award from Students for Liberty this year—has decided to invest a ton of money in a new project that will create meat from a 3-D printer:

Billionaire Peter Thiel would like to introduce you to the other, other white meat. The investor’s philanthropic Thiel Foundation’s Breakout Labs is offering up a six-figure grant (between $250,00 and $350,000, though representatives wouldn’t say exactly) to a Missouri-based startup called Modern Meadow that is flipping 3-D bio-printing technology originally aimed at the regenerative medicine market into a means to produce 3-D printed meat.

Boehner Labels TARP Opponents “Knuckledraggers”

boehner

Over at RealClearPolitics, Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner has just called opponents to the 2007-2008 bailouts as “knuckledraggers,” by saying that Paul Ryan—who did vote for TARP—is not one.

Uh-huh.

Did Boehner just have a Joe Biden moment?

We can take this a few ways. We can first take it that it was genuine, honest-to-goodness mistake, and never meant to say that. But we can also take it as a real “Kinsley Gaffe,” defined as: “when a politician tells the truth - some obvious truth he isn’t supposed to say.”

What is this obvious truth, then? It’s not all that obvious, but it is the truth: the Republicans are not at all committed to a free market system, and instead want to wallow and embrace crony capitalism. They love taking money from taxpayers and giving it to their friends and cronies who run major banks and industries, giving them preferential treatment in the laws they craft and unfair advantages in the marketplace.

Oh, and “we had to do it to save our economy”? Yeah right. Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the nation four years ago, collapsed in September 2008. The end result? It’s leftovers got bought out by Barclays and Nomura, and nothing else happened. There was no disaster. So all of this is just cover for the truth: he likes to rewards cronies and punish enemies.

How free market is that?

Comment Check: Ron Paul, States’ “Rights,” and Liberty

Recently, I’ve been having a running discussion on this blog about the US Constitution, the concept of “states’ rights,” and individual rights. It’s been very illuminating, as I’ve discovered that many so-called “libertarians” are in fact quite confused about what the US Constitution means, and have gotten mixed up in other ideas

Users such as “Jim” and “The Torch” (real name Johnny Storm, I’m assuming) have made the claim that the federal government should not, and is prohibited by the Constitution, from protecting people’s rights when they are being violated and trampled on by the state governments. Their reasoning is that the Tenth Amendment prohibits this, because the Founding Fathers were setting up a federalist system. This argument would actually hold water…if it was being presented on July 8th, 1868.

That’s because the next day, the nation formally adopted the 14th Amendment, which gives the federal government the power to enforce the Bill of Rights against the states, which now how to abide by it as well. (Little known fact: prior to the 14th Amendment, the Bill of Rights were not binding on the state governments; they only applied to Washington.)

These folks are both fans of Ron Paul, and have cited this column he wrote on Lew Rockwell’s site about state vs. federal:

With ObamaCare, Liberals Love Their MegaCorps

I do not understand why so many liberals are cheering and whooping and hollering over last week’s SCOTUS decision on Obamacare. Perhaps it’s because Chief Justice John Roberts more or less rewrote the law to change the penalty into a tax. As we all know, liberals love to “tax and spend” (as long as its other people’s money.) We also know that they absolutely loathe big corporations, as we saw during Occupy Wall Street, as well as all the tax arguments that have been bandied about in order to deal with the deficit (not with Obamacare; that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.)

Yet, last week, Ed Morrissey noted something that should have all liberals crying about this law, rather than hooraying it:

 

After months and months of focusing on Anthony Kennedy as the weak link in the conservative chain at the Supreme Court, it turns out that Chief Justice John Roberts was the one the Right needed to fear.  With the more centrist Kennedy dissenting, Roberts signed off on the individual mandate in ObamaCare, not as part of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause, or even the ludicrous reference to the “Good and Welfare Clause” from some Democrats, but from the more mundane and substantial power to tax.  The opinion actually ruled that the mandate violatesthe Commerce Clause, but as a tax that no longer matters.

Obamacare: Sinks Obama, Teaches Us NOT To Trust Conservatives

First, as you’re probably already aware, the Supreme Court has ruled that Obamacare is constitutional, and that the individual mandate is also constitutional, but not as how it was argued in Congress, but rather as a tax. So instead of the extremely dangerous Commerce Clause (which is really, really badly written) we have it surviving under Congress’ taxing power.

This is really just as bad. Although now technically, they can’t “force” us to buy things with Commerce power, the federal government now has absolutely no limits on taxing us. This is going to be 1775 all over again, except we can’t say “No Taxation Without Representation!” (unless we live in DC.)

The one silver lining that some are bringing up is that, because Obama campaigned hard on Obamacare and the mandate not being a tax, and now with SCOTUS saying “it’s a tax,” he’s going to be royally screwed come November. I have to agree with the results; I’ll defer to one of my friends who has this down:

That is pretty much going to ruin Obama’s chances of reelection, especially with so many already up in arms over this (something like 55-60% wanted this law overturned?)

However, as another friend of mine points out, this is no silver lining at all:

Respect for the Office, But Not the Man

For nearly four years now I’ve heard, ad nauseum, some variation of the phrase “You should respect the office, if not the man,” when referring to criticism of President Barack Obama. While I agree with that sentiment in principle, I am weary of being told that any and all criticisms of the High Exalted Obamessiah can have no other motivation than the fact that he is a Melanin-Enriched American. Oppose the stimulus bill? Racist. Oppose government forcing you to buy health insurance? Racist. Oppose $5 trillion in new debt? Racist. Critical of an inept foreign policy? Racist. Oppose billions in tax dollars going to “green” energy companies who just happen to be big donors to Democrats? Racist. The list is endless. For those willing to look past the rhetoric to the truth, we now have ample proof that our president is nothing more than a typical Chicago political thug whose own agenda supersedes any allegiance to the rule of law. The man we are told we must respect because of the office he holds has shown nothing but contempt for the responsibilities of that office, the law he is charged with enforcing and the people he was elected to serve.

This charlatan’s enormous ego and his get-my-way-at-all-costs philosophy should be no surprise for those paying attention. We saw glimpses of it when Obama was campaigning, telling us he’d bankrupt coal companies through harsh regulations that would make it too expensive to operate. At his Democrat-nomination acceptance speech to a packed stadium in Denver, this Prince of Pompousness vainly declared that his nomination would mark “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the Earth began to heal.” Good heavens, that fool actually believed his own hype! So did his minions, as we discovered when Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s current chief adviser, said in an interview prior to the inauguration that Obama would be “ready to take power and RULE day one.” Rule, not govern! Such arrogance!

Illinois Rant Shows Problem With Modern American Democracy

Rants are nothing new, and they’re always popular. Who doesn’t love to watch a video of somebody totally losing it? Particularly if the person in question is a legislator.

The last time, it was Anthony Weiner, well before he decided to show his, erm, weiner, on Twitter. That was actually pretty funny, I admit, but I think what Mike Bost, Illinois State Representative, had to say was far, far better:

May Jobs Report Shows Path to Obama’s Defeat

AKA “The Only Scandal Conservatives Need”

Executive Summary:

  • 69,000 jobs added (That’s far too weak for even a piddling recovery)
  • +.1% unemployment, up to 8.2%
  • 12.7 million Americans unemployed
  • +.2% to civilian labor force participation, up to 63.8
  • 8.1 million Americans employed just part-time for economic reasons
  • 2.4 million Americans marginally attached to the labor force
  • 830,000 discouraged workers
  • March and April job increases revised downwards
  • Sure path to Obama’s defeat in November

The May jobs report has just been released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics…and it’s awful. It’s one of the weakest reports all year, and has shown quite clearly that the “Hope N’ Change” policies of President Obama are not working. According to the BLS press release:

Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.

Household Survey Data

Both the number of unemployed persons (12.7 million) and the unemployment rate (8.2 percent) changed little in May. (See table A-1.)


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