First and Last Word about Chris Hayes, War, and Heroism Tuesday, May 29 2012 

MSNBC weekend show host Chris Hayes made some comments about heroism and the military on Sunday. He said:

 

 

“I feel… uncomfortable, about the word [hero] because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers, and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”

 

Hayes has since apologized. Personally, I take Hayes at his word that he did not intend to insult American soldiers and veterans. I think he was trying to make a point about militarism and war in general, but said it poorly.  I think it’s certainly a legitimate discussion to have and Memorial Day

 

I would agree the word “hero” is over used. Not everyone who puts on the uniform of the US military can be called a “hero”. That’s why the military awards specific medals for various deeds in battle, everything from a Purple Heart for being wounded to the Medal of Honor. Those who make the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty are unquestionably heroes and are honored as such. To call all American soldiers “heroes” uses the same moronic logic that calls all American soldiers “murderers”. All deeds by individual American soldiers should be judged individually on their merits. However, everyone who wears the uniform of the US military and  performs their duties honorably deserves respect and admiration. Most importantly, this paragraph is just solely my personal opinion and I realize that everyone has their own opinions about heroism.

 

We should have a discussion about when the US should use force, how it should be done, and under what circumstances. More importantly, this discussion about our military and its role and deployments in the world should be an adult discussion. That means pro-war advocates should stop calling anti-war supporters “unpatriotic” and accusing them of hating our soldiers, while anti-war advocates need to stop throwing words around like “chickenhawk”. These merely seek to delegitimize debate, which is the last thing we need when we’re talking about he most important issue for any nation, war and peace.

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Why Is The State Department Partnering With Convicted Bomber Brett Kimberlin Friday, May 25 2012 

If you follow the blogosphere, you’ll know that bloggers who criticize left-wing activist and convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin have been harassed. While doing some research on Mr. Kimberlin, I discovered he runs a group called Justice Through Music, which has received money from Soros and other rich progressives. Looking on JTMP’s front page, I discovered this interesting little bit of information.

MAY 24, 2012 – JTMP has been a participant in the State Department’s International Visitor Leadership Programfor 3 years now, where citizens from around the world involved in the arts get to come to America and visit to learn about the role of arts in the US. This year we had visitors that came from Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and Tunisia to see how Justice Through Music Project uses art to raise awareness on issues, and to bring about social change. This year’s contingent had musicians, playwrights, and people involved in art production. We gave them a presentation and showed them many of our musical art videos that deal with politics and issues, while we spoke about how we operate and produce our art videos. We then showed them how we use this art on our website and YouTube channel to raise awareness on an issue to help bring about positive social change.

Here’s a bit  more info about the International Visitor Leadership Program:

The International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) is the U.S. Department of State’s premier professional exchange program.  Launched in 1940, the IVLP is a professional exchange program that seeks to build mutual understanding between the U.S. and other nations through carefully designed short-term visits to the U.S. for current and emerging foreign leaders.  These visits reflect the International Visitors’ professional interests and support the foreign policy goals of the United States. 

Who are International Visitors?
International Visitors are current or emerging leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other key fields. Over 5,000 International Visitors come to the United States from all over the world each year. Since its inception in 1940, thousands of distinguished individuals have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program, including 330 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, thousands of cabinet-level ministers, and many other distinguished leaders from the public and private sectors.

So why is the State Department partnering with a convicted bomber and having him meet important people from around the world we’re trying to influence to like America? Who vets these organizations in the State Department? Is Brett Kimberlin the man we want to try and “win the hearts and minds” of the rest of the world?

What Motivates The Progressive Thursday, May 24 2012 

One of the things that has always fascinated me is why progressives (I refuse to call them liberals because they’re frankly illiberal) think the way they do. Part of the fascination has been partly “know thy enemy” and part of the fascination has been frankly to try and convert some of them to the cause of individual liberty. A progressive website I think has helped answer the question for me and I did not like the results.

The Applied Research Center published a study called Millennials, Activism, and Race which was a series of focus groups of progressive activists and Occupy members between the ages of 18-30. Here’s the key bullet point that stood out to me:

All our participants named a dominant doctrine of individualism as a critical barrier to progressive change, but people involved with Occupy had a more explicit critique of capitalism as a system than those involved in other organizations.

In the mind of the progressive activist, individuality is the main enemy. When you read more of the summary, you find that conformity is the main goal. All the other issues and memes that progressives espouse suddenly become more clear once you see that through their lens. Progressives, and particularly Occupy, hate free market capitalism because it emphasizes individual success and failure, not the collective.

Now the only real question that remains is can there ever be a libertarian and progressive alliance on common issues such as civil liberties and foreign policy. I would argue the answer is an emphatic no. To be perfectly honest, I don’t trust them either rhetorically or in practice on either issue. The progressive viewpoint on civil liberties, especially when they’re in power, is to view everything from marriage to healthcare as “rights” that must be provided by the theft of property (ie. money) from taxpayers and an increase of government power to achieve them. The progressive viewpoint on foreign policy is to use the US military as some kind of glorified meals on wheels (with bombs) program and open the US treasury up to every half-baked foreign aid scheme imaginable. Finally, the reason why there never can be a libertarian/progressive alliance is because progressives reject individuality which means the reject individual liberty, which is basic tenet of libertarianism.

Individual progressives on the other hand should be engaged regularly and attempted to be persuaded of the error of their ways. Since progressives tend to value equality and fairness, it would probably be wise to emphasize libertarianism’s beliefs in the equal opportunity of all individuals to succeed, and to point how government usually stands in the way of that through occupational licensing, zoning restrictions, crony capitalism, and other means. We also need to be clear about our support for the Rule of Law and how we believe the same laws should apply to everyone regardless of their economic status. Then start transitioning to other topics and get them to start realizing that government is the problem and not the solution and that individuality is very important.

As Luke 15:7 (KJV) would say on this subject:

I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Sugar Daddy Government Monday, May 21 2012 

Women have come a long way in this country. Gone are the bad old days of when a woman’s place was solely in the home. Violence against women is rightfully condemned. Women participate in all aspects of American life from the workplace to the political arena. While we should remain vigilant to ensure we don’t take any steps back in protecting equal opportunity to women, you would think the feminist movement would declare victory. Unfortunately, that has not been the case.

I love women. I was raised by a single mother. I love strong, independent women; the type of woman you would think the feminist movement would embrace. However, the modern feminist movement; with few exceptions, are not about celebrating and promoting strong, independent women. The feminist movement has instead morphed into the womyn’s liberation left which has decided to destroy the sexist patriarchy and replace it with Sugar Daddy Government that will provide women with everything from free birth control, to subsidized child care, to student and small business loans, and taxpayer subsidized abortions.

The activists of the womyn’s liberation left of course are not entirely to blame. They have many willing accomplices in our political class like Barack Obama who even drew a little cartoon to pander to them. Like other groups who derive a part of their living from the plunder of taxpayers, the womyn’s liberation left and their fellow travelers are more passionate than most voters about keeping the benefits they have and, if possible, expanding their benefits than the average American who is just trying to make a living for their family. Instead of the males in the family providing for women or women providing for themselves, the womyn’s lib left now want women to rely on a sugar daddy, Big Government.

The problem is, those of us who oppose the plunder by the womyn’s lib left really do come off as sexists. The best case in point was Rush Limbaugh’s comments toward Sandra Fluke. We need to make the case based on individual rights and the simple fact that stealing property from one person to give it to another is morally wrong, period. We need to encourage other strong, independent women to speak up against the womyn’s lib left and tell the country that they do not speak for them. We should celebrate women who provide for themselves. If a woman wants to stay home and take care of her family, we should celebrate it and make it easier to make that choice by enacting real tax reform to lower rates. If a woman wants to be career-minded, we should celebrate that too. Finally, if a woman wants to try and balance both, that’s also a great choice. We should, as a society, encourage women to choose for themselves their own destiny and celebrate it.

Finally, we as men need to step up and be better men as well. We need to be better husbands and better fathers. We need to treat our women with respect and if we make a baby, we damn sure need to take care of it. By not doing our jobs as men, we’re forcing women into the cycle of dependency that Sugar Daddy Government wants.

Growth And Austerity Can Go Hand In Hand Sunday, May 20 2012 

At the G8 summit at Camp David this weekend, the leaders issued a statement calling for more growth (ie. more government spending) instead of austerity.

CAMP DAVID, Md. — Leaders of the world’s richest countries banded together on Saturday to press Germany to back more pro-growth policies to halt the deepening debt crisis in Europe, as President Obama for the first time gained widespread support for his argument that Europe, and the United States by extension, cannot afford Chancellor Angela Merkel’s one-size-fits-all approach emphasizing austerity.

Pointedly recognizing “that the right measures are not the same for each of us,” the leaders of the Group of 8 nations, at a meeting hosted by Mr. Obama at Camp David, committed to “take all necessary steps” to strengthen their economies. They said they wanted to keep Greece in the euro zone and vowed to work to promote growth in Europe, though behind the scenes distinct differences remained over what kinds of stimulus policies to pursue.

“Our imperative,” the leaders said in their statement, “is to promote growth and jobs.”

Except there really is no conflict between growth and austerity. Most of what is being called “austerity” in Europe is the result of a combination of some spending cuts and mostly tax increases. As a result, European economies are contracting as government continues to engorge itself on the shrinking economy. What Europe needs is first and foremost for countries like Greece, Spain, and Italy to be set free from the economic prison of the Euro. Then European countries need to cut taxes and shrink their unsustainable cradle to grave welfare states, to take more money away from the unproductive government and return it to the private sector. Finally, Europe needs to find a way to get its abysmally low birthrates up or open up to more immigration for more sustainable growth in the long term.

There are similar lessons for the United States. At the end of year, the Bush-Obama tax cuts are set to expire. President Obama is not inclined to renew them and instead he is out on the campaign trail calling for more stimulus (ie. government) spending on everything from more housing bailouts to more “green energy” scams. We are already seeing the results of higher taxation on growth in Europe, it’s not working. To add to this, we have the Federal Reserve operating its printing presses at full speed flooding the markets with more cheap money invented out of thin air. Clearly, this is not creating robust growth.

What we need to do in this country is to cut government spending first and foremost. Federal government is spending 24% of GDP and this needs to be reduced. Then we need steep tax cuts and tax reform with the base being broadened. We need a flat income tax of around 17% with few (or preferably no deductions) and corporate rates cut down to at least 20%. This will put more money into the private sector and used to grow the economy and increase jobs. Finally, we need to end the Federal Reserve’s policy of the cheap dollar. We need to start incrementally increasing interest rates to encourage savings and encourage more sustainable growth through investment. This will signal to people whose net worth and savings have been wiped out in the recession that it is worthwhile to begin saving again to rebuild their wealth. To prevent more Federal Reserve attempts to debase the dollar, we should encourage competition in currency and more local currencies.

The way to get people back to work around the world is through less government and more freedom, which is what the solution always has been.

Andy Gipson Is An Embarrassment To Mississippi Saturday, May 19 2012 

Meet Mississippi State Representative Andy Gipson (R-Braxton), he’s an attorney and a Southern Baptist minister. He also apparently wants to execute gays.

Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson (R) weighed in on President Barack Obama’s gay marriage decision last week, invoking a bible passage that calls for gay men to be “put to death.”

In a May 10 Facebook post, Gipson called homosexuality a “sin,” citing Leviticus 20:13 and Romans 1:26-28:

Leviticus 20:13 reads: “If a man has sexual relations with a man as one does with a woman, both of them have done what is detestable. They are to be put to death; their blood will be on their own heads.”

Now Representative Gipson is certainly entitled to his beliefs, no matter how despicable they are. Representative Gipson is also entitled to preach whatever he wants from his pulpit on Sunday mornings, we have the First Amendment to protect his and his congregation’s right to worship as they please. I also do not want to engage in a theological discussion about homosexuality because it is really beside the point. The biggest problem I have with Andy Gipson, other than the fact that he is a disgusting bigot, tries to blatantly legislate his religious preferences upon the state of Mississippi. What about the rights of Mississippians who are not religious at all or whose religions do not view homosexuality as a sin? Even though I’m a Christian, I do not want the Bible or any other “holy” book as the basis of law in this state. Perhaps Representative Gipson should try reading up on the Golden Rule.

Representative Gipson wasn’t done “enlightening” Mississippians about teh gheys:

On the same thread, he responded to a follower, calling same-sex relationships “unnatural” and suggesting that they will inherently “result in disease”:

Just wow, so much stupidity even for a politician. Given that scientific evidence demonstrates that human sexuality is determined at birth, is homosexuality really “unnatural”? If you believe that sexuality is a choice, I would like to know when you choose to be straight or gay. This is just unrestrained bigotry when the veneer of Biblical authority. I think Jesus would frankly be ashamed that guys like Andy Gipson spew such bile in His name.

I realize only 38% of my fellow Mississippians support any sort of legal recognition for gay couples. I also realize that this state is generally very conservative being the last to end Prohibition, one of the last to end segregation, and to this day more than one-quarter of the state opposes interracial marriage. Indeed, the conservative values that this state generally believe in; the strong belief in family, God, and community; are some of the things I love about this state. However, I think the good people of this state need to condemn the disgusting remarks of Andy Gipson. These remarks are a black eye for this state in the eyes of the rest of the country. I look forward to the day when gay bashing becomes as well-received as using the “n-word” in public.

Finally, the ones who should be the most outraged are responsible social conservatives. The ones who are who truly “love the sinner, but hate the sin”. The ones who are truly involved in the same-sex marriage issue because they (wrongly) see a threat to the traditional family. I like to hope and pray that this does not represent their viewpoints and that won’t stoop to bigotry to win a political argument.

Good people can disagree over gay marriage, but bigotry has to be condemned. The fact that Mississippi has once again made the news because of the bigotry of one of our politicians is truly something to be ashamed of and I hope all good people in this state condemn Representative Gipson.

Vote Your Conscience Tuesday, May 15 2012 

On Twitter, many conservatives and Republicans have been badgering people who are threatening to not vote for Mitt Romney. They have been saying that if you don’t vote for Mitt Romney, you’re voting for Barack Obama. This is silly reasoning at its best. The only way you vote for Barack Obama is by actually voting for Barack Obama. Libertarians and others who love liberty should vote their conscience in November and vote for the candidate who best represents their views.

The Republican Party has not offered very much for libertarians to vote for. The GOP controlled House has failed to lead on reducing the size and scope of government. Mitt Romney has not offered up any serious or substantial cuts. Plus, Mitt Romney supports anti-liberty legislation such as the Federal Marriage Amendment and the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA. Plus, Romney during the primaries supported a hard-line on immigration reform and on foreign policy, generally offers more of the same as Barack Obama. Finally, there is the simple fact that all throughout Mitt Romney’s political career; he has been on just about every side of every issue possible, sometimes simultaneously. Romney, politically, is not a man to be trusted even in a millennium of Sundays.

On the other hand, I don’t need to tell anybody who reads this site how horrendous of a president Barack Obama is. He has been an absolute failure from a libertarian perspective, so I can understand the inclination to replace him, even with someone like Mitt Romney. However consider this, what kind of message would it send to the Republican Party to nominate someone like Romney and have him win?

A presidential election is not really a national election; it is a series of 50 state elections to win electoral votes. Of those states, only about 10 or so are actually in play. In solid red or blue states, you shouldn’t feel guilty about voting for Gary Johnson, if you’re thinking about voting for him. In a swing state, it’s a little bit more difficult. There’s the urge to tactical vote, which would be a vote for Mitt Romney just to get rid of Barack Obama. Libertarians should respect fellow libertarians those that choose to do that. However, it may send a stronger message to the Republican Party to cost Romney the election by giving votes to Gary Johnson and force the GOP into a more libertarian direction to win back those lost votes.

Either way, think before you vote and vote your conscience.

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