Cato Daily Podcast

It’s about time: There is an alliance emerging between the Right and the Left to defeat cronyism and end corporate welfare

 The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State

There many, many things on which Occupiers and Tea Partiers or progressives and libertarians disagree, but Ralph Nader says that there is an alliance forming between the left and the right against corporate welfare and crony capitalism.

Nader, a four-time presidential candidate, recently spoke at the Cato Institute about his most recent book, Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State. He chatted with Caleb Brown about the premise of his book on the Cato Daily Podcast and, perhaps unintentionally, turned into a discussion about campaign finance law.

“Corporate power without government power would have to adhere to market disciplines,” said Nader. “With government power, they can overcome market disciplines. Wall Street damaging Main Street. Big Business damaging small business.”

“I’ve often said that half of what Washington does is an accounts receivable, shoveling out goodies on the backs of taxpayers to business interests,” he continued. “I think even good programs excrete waste. It’s the nature of bureaucracy. It’s, by the way, corporate bureaucracy as well as government bureaucracy.”

You’ve been warned, America: Hillary Clinton has never met a war she didn’t like

A war weary American public may not be aware of what they’re in for if Hillary Clinton wins the 2016 presidential race. But Gene Healy, vice president of the Cato Institute and a columnist at the Washington Examiner, is shining some light on the former Secretary of State’s terrible foreign policy record.

Healy joined the Cato Daily Podcast on Wednesday to discuss Clinton’s approach to foreign affairs as it relates to her new book, Hard Choices, telling host Caleb Brown that she’s never met a war she didn’t like.

“[Clinton] has been getting a lot of questions about Iraq recently,” said Healy, “and that is as it should be, because her role in helping perpetuate the worst foreign policy disaster since Vietnam is certainly something that ought to be looked at in terms of her fitness for higher office.”

Clinton, he explains, was one of the most vocal cheerleaders for the war in Iraq, pointing to her comments from the floor of the Senate, in which she said parrotted talking points used by supporters to make the case for military intervention.

“She apparently says something very strange in the memoir. She says that, ‘I thought I had acted in good faith and made the best decision I could with the information I had,’” Healy notes. “It’s pretty clear she didn’t. She gave a floor speech in 2002 explaining that ‘the facts are not in doubt.” And among those facts, Saddam Hussein’s robust nuclear program, the idea that he’d harbored al-Qaeda operatives.”

Proposed NSA reforms close one loophole while leaving others open

President Barack Obama rolled out a proposal earlier this week that would end the National Security Agency’s controversial bulk phone metadata collection program. The House Intelligence Committee has a proposal of its own purports to achieve the same end.

The proposal pushed by the White House has been received with cautious optimism from civil libertarians, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). They like what they’ve heard, but have explained that the devil is in the details.

Others, like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), have pointed out that there’s already a proposal in Congress, the USA FREEDOM Act, that would end bulk data collection. Privacy advocates, however, have panned the House Intelligence Committee’s proposal, which is backed by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).

In Wednesday’s Cato Daily Podcast, Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute, discussed and dissected both President Obama and the House Intelligence Committee’s proposal, finding them to be welcome news. But he also pointed out that both measures still leave open the possibility of access to Americans’ personal information.

The Senate’s Rushed Debate on NSA Spying Powers

Written by Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute. Posted with permission from Cato @ Liberty.

As I write, the Senate is gathering in an unusual special session to debate the reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act, which I discussed in a recent Cato podcast. Unfortunately, as Sen. Ron Wyden pointed out in opening the discussion, this sparsely-attended holiday session is likely to be the only full floor debate on sweeping surveillance legislation that has been in force for four years already (during which we know it has already been used unconstitutionally), and is all but certain to be renewed for another five. That’s especially disturbing given that, when the House debated the law back in September, its strongest supporters revealed themselves to be profoundly confused about what the law does, and just how much warrantless spying on the communications of American citizens it permits, despite being nominally restricted to “foreign targets.”

Braves-Cardinals: A wager with Caleb Brown

Turner Field

So, my Atlanta Braves are back in the postseason, one year removed from a complete September collapse. Despite my own pessimism before the beginning of the season, the Braves have put together a good run this year, putting together a 94-68 record.

Thanks to a revamping of MLB playoff rules, the Braves and the St. Louis Cardinals we’ll meet on Friday at Turner Field in Atlanta for a one-game playoff to determine the “wild card,” the winner of which will move forward to the division series. During a visit to the Cato Institute today, I dropped by to see Caleb Brown, an all-around good guy who hosts the Cato Daily Podcast and many of the videos produced with their scholars.

I noticed Caleb’s Cards hat sitting behind his desk, and asked him if he was interested in a wager — he’d buy me a case of Guinness tall boys if the Braves win and I’d buy him a case of Dale’s Pale Ale.

We have Kris Medlen on the mound. He’s had a really good run lately, with the Braves winning 23 straight games Medlen has started. Needless to say, I’m feeling pretty good about our chances.

It’s on, Caleb!

Grover Norquist: Put defense spending on the table

Grover Norquist

“Conservatives need to remember that just as spending money on something called ‘education’doesn’t mean people are educated, and spending money on ‘welfare’ doesn’t mean it adds to the General Welfare. Calling something ‘national defense’ doesn’t mean it is. It may not be. It may undermine national defense if it’s a waste of resources.” - Grover Norquist

As Mitt Romney and Republicans complain about cuts to defense spending as a part of the sequestion agreement that agreed to last year, Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, told Caleb Brown of Cato Institute in yesterday’s daily podcast that these spending cuts need to be on the table.

By the way, if you’re not already subscribing to the Cato Daily Podcast, you should, either via iTunes or by RSS.

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