Quick Thoughts About Obamacare Thursday, Jun 28 2012 

Well the Supreme Court upheld Obamacare’s individual mandate. That means that starting in 2014, you must have a
“approved” health insurance plan or pay a fine. With this decision, the Supreme Court has pretty destroyed the idea of Constitutionally limited government in this country. I was so deeply saddened by this decision that I almost broke down crying a few times today. In fact, I’m writing this piece more than nine hours after the decision was reached. That’s how disgusted I was.

It goes without saying that Obamacare must be completely repealed and replaced. The program is unsustainable in the long term and it destroys individual liberties. The Obamacare mandate is first and foremost a giveaway to the insurance companies in order to buy their support for the rest of the package. It needs to be replaced with a free market based healthcare plan that will give individuals more choices and provide a safety net for those who truly need help. However, I won’t go in depth describing a plan tonight.

I cling to three pieces of hope after today’s horrible court decision:

1) Since the Obamacare individual mandate was ruled a “tax”; it only needs 51 votes, instead of overcoming a 60 vote filibuster, to be repealed through the Senate “reconciliation” process. That means that our priority focus in the liberty movement is to elect 51 Senators who will repeal the Obamacare individual mandate. The rest of the horrible law will remain in place, but the most loathsome aspect to individual liberty will be gone.

2) At least there are four Supreme Court justices who are at least open to the Originalist school of Constitutional thought. However, given that Chief Justice John Roberts, who was the swing vote to uphold it, was appointed by President George W. Bush; we can’t necessarily trust Republicans to appoint Constitutionalist judges. This makes one of the most often cited cases for tactically voting for Mitt Romney, pretty weak. Instead, we need to focus our efforts on the House and Senate.

3) We need to reevaluate the relationship between the States and DC. Its time to start deploying some of our Tenth Amendment weapons against the tyranny of Washington DC. State governments need to start turning down money and control from DC and start taking care of themselves. Since the Constitution is now virtually meaningless, its time to start using nullification as a tactic to rollback the size and scope of the Federal state. We need to once again, become a republic of sovereign States; each governing themselves to their peoples’ best interests and according to their values. Finally, lets repeal the 17th Amendment so the States can start having representation in Washington DC again. Kazakhstan should not have more representation in Washington than Kansas.

It is bleak for advocates of limited government, but I for one am not willing go do down without a fight.

Sandra Fluke: Totalitarian Tuesday, Jun 26 2012 

Apparently a reporter at the New York Times Magazine didn’t get the memo that left-wing feminist hack Sandra Fluke’s 15 minutes were long past up. The reporter, Andrew Goldman, tracked Sandra down to get her er…..thoughts on some issues related to her call for the American people to pay for her birth control.

First up: About Rush Limbaugh’s despicable comments calling her a “slut” and attempts to have him taken off the air.

Free speech is a complex area legally, but it’s important to recognize that there are distinctions between one’s ability to express an opinion versus one’s ability to use F.C.C.-regulated airwaves to do so, and also one’s ability to engage in speech versus one’s ability to engage in slander.

First of all, there is no moral defense for what Rush Limbaugh said about Sandra Fluke. If Rush Limbaugh called my mother, wife, daughter, girlfriend, sister, or any other woman I care about a slut, I honestly would beat the crap out of him. As a Southern boy, I was raised by my single mom to show women respect. However, I will defend to my death Rush Limbaugh’s right to free speech.

Sandra, when you testified to Congress and began your publicity tour, you became a public figure. That means I have a hell of a lot more legal leeway to say what I want about you than I would a genuinely private person. In fact Sandra, I think you’re a totalitarian because you want to silence speech you don’t agree with. I also think you’re a thief because you want to steal my money and that of my fellow taxpayers to give to sugar daddy government to buy your birth control and give you all sorts of benefits from the state, all for just being a woman. I dare you and your “progressive” buddies to come shut me up.

Sandra also finds common ground with her fellow nanny-state totalitarian, Rick Santorum.

Congratulations on finding a position that Rick Santorum and I agree upon. I do think there’s a serious problem with the violence we see in some pornography, and it has severe consequences for sexual-assault rates. That said, I don’t think that all erotic material is necessarily problematic. As a friend put it, she would be just fine with feminist porn.

First of all Sandra, we’re not sure if pornography leads to increased sexual assault rates. Even so, it may be “problematic” to you but there’s that pesky free speech thing again. Finally, guess what Sandra, I know women who love porn. So speak for yourself about “feminist porn”. By the way, feminist porn sounds like a real libido killer.

I was also struck by this comment about her choice to go to Georgetown University to study law:

It’s unfortunate that women have to choose between comprehensive affordable health care and the best quality education they can have.

Really, Sandra. Birth control, in most cases, is a choice not a genuine medical need. It is not that expensive and certainly not expensive enough to use the government as your hired thug to coerce insurance companies and employers to cover it with no charge. Also, condoms are cheaper than birth control and finally, not having sex at all is the cheapest. Also Sandra, I really hoped you would’ve gotten the lesson from this whole controversy that if we have government mandated healthcare, all private lifestyle choices become public policy discussions. But then again that was probably too much to ask since you’re still struggling with basics like free speech…..

Finally, we touch on homophobic speech. I think you can guess where this going….

I suppose I lost my temper a bit, but I think it’s really important that we address homophobic statements regardless of whether it’s couched in humor or in serious political conversations. They’re damaging and hurtful, and they make problematic speech acceptable.

The First Amendment makes “problematic speech” acceptable, Sandra. In fact, it was written specifically to protect “problematic speech”. Speech that is popular does not need protection. I think homophobia is disgusting, but homophobes do have a right to free speech and again I will defend their free speech rights with my life, if necessary.

I’m definitely not one of these progressive beta males the Sandra Flukes of the world love. I drive a pickup truck, love cold beer and shooting whiskey, love sports (as a matter of fact, I’m writing this while watching an Atlanta Braves game), I love beautiful women, and I love shooting guns. I also think there’s nothing sexier on this planet than a strong, independent woman; especially when she’s shooting a gun. I definitely want women to be treated with respect and treated equally under the law. That’s why I support these ladies.

h/t:Outside The Beltway

End The Cuban Embargo Sunday, Jun 24 2012 

On Thursday, Jaime Daremblum, who is a former Costa Rican ambassador to the US and now a fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote a piece called The Cuba Fallacy. In it he tries to argue against lifting the nearly 50 year old US embargo against Cuba.

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: “The U.S. embargo against Cuba is the single biggest reason that Washington and Havana do not enjoy better relations. If we want the island nation to become a democracy, we should drop sanctions and pursue a policy of aggressive engagement.”

It is a simple and seductive argument, which explains why so many people have embraced it. Unfortunately, it is based on a fallacious reading of history and a naïve understanding of the Cuban dictatorship.

Over the past four decades, every American president who has pursued a serious rapprochement with Havana — Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — has been left shaking his head in frustration. Whenever the United States has extended an olive branch, the Castro regime has responded with an act of foreign aggression (such as lending military support to Communist forces in Africa or killing four Cuban-American pilots) or domestic repression (such as jailing a U.S. citizen on bogus espionage charges) so provocative that it effectively ruined any chance of détente.

Daremblum also goes on to detail some of the human rights abuses committed by the Castro regime.

I don’t believe dropping the Cuban embargo will necessarily lead to the democratization of Cuba. Indeed, we have had economic and normalized relations with China since the 1970s and China is no closer to being a liberal democracy today than it was under Chairman Mao. We have had nearly 20 years of normalized and economic relations with Vietnam and again Vietnam is no closer to becoming a liberal, multi-party democracy. Greater economic freedom does not always necessarily translate to greater political freedom.

I also agree the Castro brothers are anti-American to their core. Part of the way they stay in power is that they portray themselves as the Latin Davids going up against the Gringo Goliath.  The embargo plays to the Castro brothers strategy of staying in power. If the embargo was lifted, the Cuban people would no longer have a reason to blame the United States for their economic difficulties, they would have to look internally. This would weaken the Castro brothers’ hold on power.

The Cuban embargo should end because American businesses, not just select agricultural and medical businesses should be allowed to find new markets in Cuba. This would be good for American businesses and entrepreneurs and good for the Cuban people. This would also place more domestic pressure on the Cuban government to improve living standards for the Cuban people.

Finally, the embargo should be lifted because after nearly 50 years, Cuba is no closer to becoming a liberal democracy than it was in 1959. By any objective analysis, the embargo has failed and for that reason alone, the embargo should end.

Where’s the American Nigel Farage? Thursday, Jun 21 2012 

If you follow the European Parliament or British politics, you probably know who Nigel Farage is. If not, here’s a recent video of an interview he did earlier this week for Fox Business Channel.

To say Nigel is blunt is an understatement. He also has a reputation for a guy who loves a good drink or two, a good cigarette, and a good time in general. He’s not the typical stiff and dull politician. Nigel is one of the reason’s why his party, the UK Independence Party, consistently overtakes the Liberal Democrats in the polls as Britain’s third party and the rise of his party has Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative Party extremely worried heading into the 2015 elections.

Why can’t we have a Nigel Farage here in the US? He’s not only a colorful character, but he also, as they say, speaks truth to power. The closest thing we have in the US to Nigel is probably Ron Paul, but he’s a terrible communicator to be honest.

If we had someone like Nigel here in the US, they would be crucified when they started telling the truth about how broke we are as nation. That our entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare are not sustainable in the long term. We also cannot afford to be the world’s policeman while building and enlarging a massive welfare state. Our homeland security state that we have been since 9/11 violates the basic civil liberties this country was founded on and is not keeping Americans safe. Any politician who says these things would be crucified by the mainstream media, the Ruling Class and their lobbyist allies on K Street, and various special interest groups.

Finally, how about this for the creed of a major American party:

“We believe in the minimum necessary government which defends individual freedom, supports those in real need, takes as little of our money as possible and doesn’t interfere in our lives.”

That happens to be the creed of UKIP. If a British major party can be unapologetically for individual liberty, why can’t an American one?

Who will step up and be America’s Nigel Farage, a political rogue fighting for liberty?

The Libertarian Civil War Has Begun Friday, Jun 15 2012 

The war for the heart and soul and the liberty movement has begun. The first shots were fired when Rand Paul endorsed Mitt Romney for president and Ron Paul admitted his campaign was not likely to be successful. Many libertarians proceeded to denounce Rand Paul as a statist and a sellout (despite his outstanding record in the Senate). While other libertarians understood the politics of Rand’s decision. They understood that Rand Paul, as a GOP Senator, had to endorse the party’s nominee if he wanted to advance his political career, and in help give the liberty movement more respect in the GOP.  Frankly, this civil war is long overdue because it has been time to get rid of the movement’s dead weight.

 

Most of the opposition to the Rand Paul endorsement has come from the lunatic wing of the libertarian movement. It is a very good thing that Adam Kokesh, Alex Jones, and their fellow travelers now hate Rand Paul. These two are the biggest promoters and enablers of the biggest cancers infesting the libertarian movement. They include the conspiracy kooks, the 9/11 truthers, the “no compromise” crowd, anarcho-capitalists, and other misfits who unfortunately give the public the impression that libertarians are insane. Hopefully, they will get out of the political process entirely or migrate over the Libertarian Party and destroy it or make it even more irrelevant than it already is.

 

The rest of us will actually begin to undertake the hard work necessary to promote liberty in this country. We will use the political process to start undoing decades of statism. We will recruit credible candidates for offices, from the local level all the way up to highest levels in the Federal government. We will study the techniques of winning elections and implement them to get elect liberty candidates elected. We will be respectful of our opponents, open minded towards our allies, and professional and respectful towards the public at large. We will compromise when we need to advance the cause of liberty. Ultimately, we will be victorious and roll back the size and scope of the state in the lives of individuals.

 

This infighting and division in the movement is badly needed because frankly, the wackos were dragging the whole movement down. They need to go so the rest of us can have more credibility and actually advance the liberty movement. We’ll leave the kooks to promote their kookery, do their sign waves, and shout every few years.

Why I’m Not A Conservative Sunday, Jun 10 2012 

I believe in free markets, lower taxes, a strong national defense, generally oppose abortion, free trade, strongly support the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, Federalism, and a much smaller government than what we have. According to the left-right political spectrum, I am probably what you call a conservative. However, that would not be an accurate description of my political beliefs, and here’s why.

 

I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for my conservative friends. My political background is almost exclusively in the Republican Party and I still, generally, vote for Republican candidates in most races. I grew up listening to Rush Limbaugh and discussing politics with my staunchly conservative Republican family. My political roots are solidly in the conservative movement, but I’m not a conservative anymore. The reason why is that even though I did learn the language of liberty as a conservative, advancing it has become my main political goal.

 

American conservatism is something of a contradiction. To simplify, it seeks to preserve the liberties handed down by our Founding Fathers and to preserve traditional Judeo-Christian values and norms. It does not take a rocket scientist to see how this is contradictory. With two seemingly opposite goals, one of the two has to be sacrificed. For example, in order to promote traditional families, many social conservatives support special tax incentives for children. However, this creates a distortion in the tax code that unfairly penalizes childless couples and it can be a perverse incentive to reward illegitimacy. The concept of equality under the law is sacrificed in an attempt of social engineering that will likely backfire, like all social engineering does.

 

Libertarianism is a morality based political ideology, like conservatism. The libertarian believes that the only role of government is to protect the life, liberty, and property of individuals. Most conservatives would agree up to this point. However, where conservatism and libertarianism differ is that conservatives usually want to include a role for government to preserve the culture. The problem with that is that conservatives usually want to adopt means that the left uses with the economy, such as social engineering through taxation and legislation, to deal with the cultural issues. The same “solutions” usually have the same results for conservatives as they do for the left on the economy. Whereas libertarians believe that the way to address cultural and moral issues is with the individual and the family and their personal conscience. This does not necessarily mean that everything will turn out well in the end, but that it is the best approach to maximize individual liberty.

 

Finally, change is the one constant in the universe and in life. The libertarian seeks to adapt to that change to preserve individual liberty. We believe that maintaining a dynamic, free society will result in a more responsible, virtuous people. Whereas the conservative it seems to want to try to stop the change and try to revert society back to a virtuous quasi utopia that really never existed. I’m sure things like premarital sex, homosexuality, and various immoral things existed back in the “good ol’ days”. The only difference is that we know more about them thanks to mass media and the Internet. Ultimately, because man is a fallen creature, there can be no perfect or even Great Society that is built by man.

How Ron Paul Lost Louisiana Saturday, Jun 2 2012 

To say Saturday’s Louisiana Republican Party convention in Shreveport was an embarrassment is probably an understatement. Basically, the Ron Paul delegates went into the conventi0n with a majority of the convention delegates and basically controlled the convention. After it was all said and done and the police were called, for all intents and purposes, Ron Paul was stripped of all his delegates he won at the Louisiana Caucus and he failed to win additional delegates as well. I will try to answer what really happened based on information I’ve gleaned from various sources, since I was not there myself.

Some background first. In the Louisiana primaries in March. Ron Paul only received 6% of the vote. Rick Santorum won with 47% and Mitt Romney came in second. But, only half of Louisiana’s delegates are awarded at the primaries. Fast forward to the Louisiana Caucuses one month later, where Ron Paul won 4 out of 6 Congressional districts or 13 delegates. The Louisiana Caucuses also pick the delegates to the Louisiana GOP convention in Shreveport and Ron Paul supporters dominated that portion as well. By now under Louisiana GOP rules, Ron Paul has 14 delegates (caucus wins plus one at large), Rick Santorum has 10 delegates, and Romney has 5 delegates. Then things started to unravel.

Ron Paul campaign started trying to take over the Romney and Santorum delegate slates

Basically, the Ron Paul campaign tried to hijack the Romney and Santorum delegate slates and replace them with Ron Paul supporters as a part of their convention strategy. The disgraceful practice is known as “delegate stealing”. The Louisiana GOP, along with the Romney and Santorum campaigns, responded by changing the rules to require that those delegate slates be picked by candidates approved by the campaigns. That’s a rule change that is entirely reasonable, given the fact that Louisiana’s Republican voters overwhelmingly voted for candidates other than Ron Paul. Now, if the Louisiana GOP was ran by quasi competent leadership and if the Ron Paul campaign in Louisiana was somewhat professional, they could’ve made a deal to resolve this impasse before the convention along these lines: Santorum, Romney, and Paul get their preferred delegates. Half of the “uncommitted” delegates will vote for Paul on the first ballot, unless released by the Paul campaign, and afterwards will vote according to the instructions of the Louisiana GOP executive committee. The other half will vote according to the instructions of the Louisiana GOP executive committee (which means, a vote for Romney on the first ballot). The platform will be a heavily Paul-influenced document as per the will of the activists at the GOP caucuses, but non Paul supporters will have a role in drafting it. Finally, while there would be a fight over the platform and other things, the convention would go relatively smoothly and have a result everyone could live with, with no hard feelings in any camp. Basically, majority rule with minority rights.

However, that wound up not being the case.

A Tale of Two Conventions

At the convention itself, by accounts of attendees I’ve read on Twitter and Facebook, the preliminary committee meetings were a debacle. Apparently, the Paul delegates continuously to various procedures, some legitimate and many not. The problem here was a combination of ignorance of Roberts Rules of Order and the fact that frankly some Paul delegates came to disrupt the convention unless an entirely pro-Paul slate was voted out. The stage was now set for an acrimonious convention floor the following day.

On the convention day itself, the Paul delegates attempted to oust Louisiana GOP chairman Roger Villere as the chairman of the convention. There is conflicting information on whether or not this was a legal motion. After the motion was “approved”, the Paul delegates apparently physically turned their backs on the rest of the convention and proceeded to have their own “unofficial” convention. Then, Villere then attempted to have removed a Paul delegate for disrupting the convention. Long story short, the police came in to remove the delegate and in the end, one delegate was injured and another was arrested. Again, the circumstances involved are unclear.

At the end of the day, the “official” convention awarded Romney and Santorum their preferred delegates, awarded all of the “uncommitted” delegates to Mitt Romney, and declined to fill Ron Paul’s delegate slots, pending talks with the Ron Paul campaign with the option of being filled by the LAGOP Executive Committee. Basically, Ron Paul was stripped of all his delegates. However, the LAGOP by not filling the Ron Paul slots with Romney supporters demonstrated goodwill towards the Paul campaign. The “official” convention still had a qu0rum because the Paul delegates remained on the convention floor, but they declined to vote or participate. If the Paul delegates had walked out on the convention, the convention would have been likely cancelled and rescheduled. The Paul campaign would have had a much stronger hand to make a deal than they do now that the grassroots snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

What Needs To Happen Now

First and foremost, there needs to be apologies all around. The LAGOP leadership needs to apologize for how the convention went down and the Ron Paul campaign needs to apologize for disrupting the convention with their unprofessional conduct. There should be regret and sympathies expressed towards those injured at the convention.

Secondly, the LAGOP should make good on its olive branch shown to the Paul campaign and fill the remaining slots with Paul campaign approved delegates. That’s all the Paul campaign can hope for at this point.

Thirdly, Roger Villere needs to resign as Louisiana GOP chairman. He lost control of the caucus/convention process which culminated in the separate conventions and the police being called. The issues over delegate allocation should have been negotiated and resolved way before the convention got under way.  The Louisiana right blogosphere and Twitterverse is full of conservatives and libertarians attacking each other instead of the common enemy, Obama. Finally, this has poisoned the well, both here in Louisiana and nationally. Libertarians who already have a grudge against the GOP have had it reinforced. Libertarian-leaners who are interested in working with the GOP will not be trusted as much as they were before today.

Finally, liberty activists need to take a few things from this debacle. We need to be respectful towards our opponents, especially if we’re going to work in the same political party. If our opponents won, we need to make sure they get what’s due to them while at the same time, fight for our share. We should conduct ourselves honorably and professionally, which was not the case in Louisiana. We should always remember that good people can disagree on the issues and candidates and that we attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Most conservative Republicans speak the same language as us on liberty and freedom, they just disagree with us on specific issues. We should try and educate them on why they are wrong, without being confrontational and disagreeable. Finally, if libertarian activists choose to work within the GOP, they have to be loyal to the party. That means supporting its nominees while at the same time trying to change the party from within.

California State Assembly Promotes Vote Fraud Friday, Jun 1 2012 

I thank God everyday I do not live in the State of California. Sure the climate is nice, but the quality of life is pure crap. From the smog of Los Angeles to the high cost of living to the nanny statism that seems to infect every aspect of government in that state, California is no place for most sane people. The politics on the state level are even worse than the dysfunctional, authoritarian politics that are common place locally. The question is not whether or not the state will eventually need a bailout from the Federal government, but when. It is the highest taxed state in the Union and probably the most incompetently governed. Instead of tackling the deep fiscal problems of the state, the California State Assembly has instead made it easier to commit vote fraud on Election Day.

Californians who forgot to register for next week’s election may have better luck next time if a bill passed by the Assembly becomes law.

AB1436 would allow people to register to vote at any time, including on Election Day.

Assemblyman Mike Feuer, a Democrat from Los Angeles, said he wrote the bill to address the state’s chronically low voter participation rate.

So if you are too lazy to register to vote two weeks before an election in California (which is the case now), you can register on Election Day. If someone does not show the civic initiative and the decency to care about the political process to be a registered voter before an election, why should they be allowed to register and vote on Election Day? This will lead to demagogues going around and scaring uninformed voters to the polls to cast uninformed ballots thereby canceling out the votes of voters who bothered to research the candidates and issues. I fail to see how this helps the democratic process.

Not only will there be issues with uniformed voters tampering with the election process, this creates an invitation to fraud. If I was a political activist in a state with same day voter registration, I would be collecting every name possible from the cemeteries, every illegal alien I can find, and every old looking teenager I can find and arranging for them to go to the polling place. I would register them because there is absolutely no way their identities or residences can be verified before they cast a ballot. Suffice to say, this will be a logistical nightmare for already overworked election officials and volunteers.

Progressives love it of course. This is not about “increasing voter participation” as they like to claim. If they were serious voters, they would actually take the time to register to vote before Election Day. In most states, you can do it at the DMV or by mail. Instead, progressives love it because it is another way to ensure that every election will result in an increase in state power. All they have to is demagogue and threaten the loss of state benefits if the opposition wins. Then they can use their superior “Get Out The Vote” operations to shuttle everyone from the homeless to every weirdo imaginable to flood the polling places, vote as they’re told, and paid afterwards in everything from cigarettes to actual cash. The result in those cases will almost always lead to victories for candidates who will expand the power and role of the state in the citizens’ lives.

What we need to do instead of schemes to encourage vote fraud is to take measures to prevent it. A couple of these are strict, well publicized photo ID requirements to vote and replacing and/or supplementing absentee ballots with in person early voting.

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