Just Say No To Federal Government Funded Sex-Ed Monday, Jul 30 2012 

Anna Marie Hoffman is one of the sharpest young social conservatives out there. She is also one of the nicest people you will ever meet and converse with. She wrote a recent blog about Federal funding for abstinence based sex education that was picked up by Lifenews.com

On July 6, 2012, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released a pro-abstinence staff report called “A Better Approach to Teenage Pregnancy Prevention: Sexual Risk Avoidance.” This report details how Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA), abstinence, truly lowers the rates of sexually transmitted infections (STI’s) and unintended teenage pregnancies as opposed to comprehensive sex education (CSE), which only focuses on reducing these risks.

Truthfully, SRA paves the way for healthy teen development, because it is based on adolescent behavioral theory, relies upon effectual techniques of public health prevention programs, emphasizes the importance of parental guidance and support, and teaches personal skills teens need to avoid dangerous sexual risks. In the end, the report successfully drives home a pro-abstinence message by concluding with 22 peer-reviewed studies that demonstrate that teens have benefitted from SRA programs.

To advance these efforts, the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act is seeking to promote abstinence by appropriating $15 million more for abstinence education programs and $80 million less for President Obama’s Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program.

I’m not going to get into a discussion over which approach is best because it is irrelevant to this post. Nor is this intended to be a discussion about the morality or immorality of premarital sex. The first and really the only question to ask about this is where in the Constitution is the Federal government allowed to fund any sex education programs? Education should be a state and local responsibility, not a Federal one.

This post is a symptom of one of the things the frustrate me the most about many social conservatives. Instead of realizing that the largest enabler of immorality is the Welfare State and working to eliminate it, they instead to use it to enact socially conservative policies. The problem with that approach to governing is that when progressives regain power (as they assuredly do in any democracy) is that you may create yet another means for them to weaken virtue and replace it with increased government control.

Thankfully, most social conservatives do realize the limits of government intervention as Anna Maria points out at the conclusion of her post.

Although both the report and the Abstinence Education Reallocation Act are a step in the right direction, we must always remember that more government appropriations cannot solve our societal problems. Instead, parents need to step up and educate their children about the risks of sexual promiscuity and the benefits of abstinence. A resurgence of stronger American families, rather than continuous government intervention, will truly counteract premarital sex as a societal norm.

Virtue will only prevail if it is freely chosen and not subsidized by the state. State subsidized virtue will only lead to a backlash that will only end in state subsidized sin. The best way to promote a more virtuous society is for families and the voluntary institutions of civil society such as the church to play an active role and for the government to get out of the way and that includes getting rid of the Welfare State which protects people from their bad decisions in life.

Mitt Romney’s Latest Foreign Policy Blunders Friday, Jul 27 2012 

Mitt Romney is the midst of a foreign trip to Great Britain, Israel, and Poland. The purpose of the trip to try and demonstrate to the American people that Romney is up to the foreign policy challenges that he may face. Suffice to say, the trip is already not going well for Romney.

If only Mitt Romney could turn the Olympic torch on the newspaper headlines in London.

He’s the “Party Pooper” in the Daily Mail, “Nowhere Man” in the Times of London and “Mitt the Twit” in The Sun.

This was not the storyline Romney and his team wanted when they journeyed overseas for a trip designed to burnish the GOP contender’s foreign policy credentials.

Romney has yet to publicly acknowledge the outrage he set off in London when he appeared to question the city’s “disconcerting” problems in gearing up for the Olympic Games.

It appears the latest Obama policy that Mitt Romney will be continuing if elected is the “leave no ally uninsulted” foreign policy. The British people are rightfully angry at what they see is a foreigner telling them how they should be running their Olympic games. It’s not tactful to say the least to go on foreign soil and tell them how to run their country.

For what its worth, I don’t think this will have much of an impact on the 2012 election, let alone British-American relations. Romney should be able to recover with his trip to Israel, right. Well, he would’ve been able to until Obama punked him earlier today.

President Barack Obama signed a measure on Friday to strengthen U.S.-Israeli military ties, a move that could score points with American Jewish voters on the eve of Republican rival Mitt Romney’s highly publicized visit to Israel.

Obama also used the White House bill-signing ceremony to announce he was releasing $70 million in approved funding for Israel’s short-range rocket shield known as “Iron Dome,” a project backed strongly by the powerful U.S. pro-Israel lobby.

His reaffirmation of an “unshakeable commitment” to Israel’s security appeared timed to upstage Romney, who has accused the president of undermining Washington’s relationship with its No. 1 partner in the Middle East.

Oh well. There’s still that stop in Poland.

On a more serious note, this shows that the Romney campaign needs to get serious about foreign policy. Almost every time they have waded into it, they have appeared amateurish, at best. If Obama is successful in turning the 2012 election into a choice instead of a referendum on his failed administration, he will have ammunition to say Romney is not ready for prime time.

I write this not because I want Obama reelected, I don’t. I just want to make sure when and if Obama gets sent back to Chicago, we’re not merely trading one incompetent boob for another. There is time for the Romney campaign to get serious about foreign policy and I hope they take advantage of it.

The Libertarian Bubble Monday, Jul 23 2012 

On Sunday, Jack Hunter posted on his website this:

Liberal: “We need more gun control.”

Conservative: “We need less gun control.”

Independent: “I can see both sides.”

Libertarian:

“An anarcho-capitalist society’s non-aggression principle in practice would enable individuals ability to prevent violence, should this principle be violated by any of the individuals within a true stateless society.”

Effective public debate necessarily requires a recognizable context for all parties involved. Examining the shooting tragedy in Aurora Colorado, the average American wants to know what will make them and their family safer in the future from similar incidents–more gun control or less? A reasonable concern.

Libertarians have answers to this concern. In fact, libertarians probably have some of the best answers. But those answers must be concrete and reality-based. Something virtually any American could understand on an everyday level.

There is a time and place for theoretical debate. But every time is not a place for theoretical debate. In fact, most times are not.

Jack makes an excellent point and one that is missed by many libertarian activists, especially both online and inside the Beltway. Libertarians tend to spend way too much on theory and idealistic solutions instead of articulating real world arguments for liberty. A lot of this is due to the fact that libertarians, especially based at the universities and think tanks in Washington DC, tend to be better educated than the general population. It’s a simple disconnect from how most Americans think.

Most Americans are not ideological. They’re just trying to work, raise families, provide for their children the best they can, and want the best possible future for them. They do not have the time to follow politics in depth, let alone study libertarian thought in depth. Most Americans instead need a political issue explained to them as simple as possible. That’s why most politicians and pundits speak in soundbites. If an issue grabs the attention of someone, then they will go out and research that issue more in depth. But the first thing you have to do is actually get their attention. It’s the first rule of marketing and all political activism is the marketing and selling of ideas and candidates.

Instead, many libertarians get frustrated with the voters and the American people for not seeing things their way. They think that because they’re well versed in political theory and that they’re politically principled that the American people should obviously go along with with them. They also believe that every American should share their values and get frustrated when they don’t. This is probably why many libertarians are so adamantly opposed to political compromise, advocate issues that have no appeal among the American electorate, and/or generally self-segregate politically. The major problem with this line of thinking is that in a democratic republic, the voters are always right on Election Day. If your side did not prevail, it’s because you did not persuade enough of them that your candidate should be elected and your platform should be enacted.

What libertarians need to work on is developing real world policy prescriptions for real world problems instead of working on the latest theoretical exercise.

Why Libertarians Should Work Within the Republican Party Sunday, Jul 22 2012 

Originally posted at Yahoo! Voices:

It has been pretty clear for months that Ron Paul would not be the Republican nominee. Instead, Mitt Romney will be the man to face Barack Obama in November. Ron Paul supporters and other Libertarians are trying to decide which direction the liberty movement should take. Some will want to work within the GOP; others will want to move back to the Libertarian Party; and others will want to quit politics altogether. I believe the best way to advance the liberty movement is to work within the Republican Party, while maintaining an independent movement to put pressure on politicians to pass pro-liberty legislation.

Read The Rest of the Article

Mitt Romney’s Lame, Uninspiring Campaign Thursday, Jul 19 2012 

Mitt Romney must be trying to bore the American people into electing him this November. There is no real bold, inspiring vision behind his campaign other than “Obama sucks”. Nor should we really expect anything bold from a man who has been on both sides of most political issues. Romney’s campaign also shows an unwillingness to buck the conventional Beltway wisdom and propose any bold solutions to our nation’s problems. Mitt Romney is running a “safe” campaign, but I fear he maybe running too safe of a campaign to defeat Barack Obama in November.

More evidence of how safe (ie. dull) of a campaign that Mitt Romney is running is who has already been excluded from speaking at the GOP convention in Tampa next month:

Texas congressman Ron Paul isn’t the only prominent Republican to be denied a speaking role at the upcoming Republican National Convention in Tampa. Here’s another high-profile snub from the Mitt Romney camp…

Nope, the woman who was the HIT of the 2008 Republican National Convention — not to mention the party’s VP nominee — Sarah Palin, has not yet received an invitation to speak at the 2012 shindig. Must be stuck in, ahem, e-mail.

But, as Palin told The Daily Beast, she wasn’t surprised. And not because she hasn’t endorsed her party’s nominee, Mitt Romney, other than to tout him someone who isn’t President Obama and has a pulse.

I understand that Ron Paul is not the most disciplined or the most articulate speaker possible and I understand that Sarah Palin is a very controversial figure. However, both people speak to a constituency of independent conservatives and libertarian-leaners that Romney must not only win, but have rally around him and he must motivate to do the campaign volunteer grunt work such as canvassing and phone banking that will be needed to try and match Obama’s excellent grassroots efforts. To snub both speakers is Romney’s way of taking grassroots conservatives and libertarians for granted and telling them that he’s not really interested in their votes and their sweat and shoe leather. I really hope the Romney campaign reconsiders this decision or invites other speakers like Rand Paul or Mike Lee that can also speak to this constituency.

Mitt Romney has also apparently narrowed down his choices for vice president. Suffice to say, the three most probable are all safe (again, dull).

Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, 56

PRO: Former legislative affairs director for President George H.W. Bush, U.S. trade representative and budget director for President George W. Bush, congressman, senator. Rarely invites controversy, soft-spoken, won big in his 2010 Senate bid in a state crucial to the election.

CON: Too closely aligned to Bush and the struggling economy. Portman presided over the fiscal 2008 federal budget, which more than doubled the deficit. Style may be too bland.

Tim Pawlenty, former Minnesota governor, 51

PRO: Compelling bio: His mother died when he was a teenager and his father was laid off from his trucking company job. He’s the first in his family to graduate from college. An evangelical, he was seriously considered for the 2008 VP slot. Strong conservative Republican credentials in a Democratic-dominated state.

CON: Unexciting. The state probably isn’t in play. His presidential campaign fizzled in 2011, and he was a sharp critic of Romney’s Massachusetts health care plan – which would be duly noted by the Obama campaign.

………..

Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, 41

PRO: An Indian-American two-term governor and Rhodes Scholar who could add ethnic and regional diversity. A rising star regarded as a problem solver in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in 2008 and the Gulf oil spill in 2010.

CON: Bombed on the national stage when he delivered the Republican response to Obama’s 2009 State of the Union speech. Initially supported Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential run. Wrote in 1994 about attending the dorm-room exorcism of a friend.

The most exciting pick of these three most likely VP candidates is Bobby Jindal and he’s about as exciting as driving a Toyota Prius. Rob Portman and Tim Pawlenty can give speeches that can cure insomnia. I can’t really see Romney’s VP pick doing for him what John McCain’s selection of Palin did for him in 2008, which is fire up the conservative base.

The best political campaigns inspire passion in their supporters while moving towards the middle of the electorate. The Obama-Biden voters are committed and fired up. In these swing states that both candidates have to win to get to the magic 270 electoral votes needed to win, passionate and committed supporters, along with a smart campaign can be the difference between victory and defeat. Unfortunately for Republicans, it appears that their nomination of a moderate from Massachusetts will have the same results for them in 2012 as it did for Democrats in 2004 against a divisive president. What Romney needs to do is be bold and offer a clear choice against the big government agenda of Barack Obama and the Democrats with real solutions to reduce the size and scope of government and get the economy going again. If he doesn’t do this, he will lose and deservedly so.

The Syrian Endgame Wednesday, Jul 18 2012 

Today, apparently a bombing has taken out much of the Assad regime’s security leadership. Rumors are that Bashar Assad himself was present and injured in the attack. The attack is a classic decapitation strike that was made by either the Free Syrian Army or by Islamist insurgents. Among the dead are the Syrian Defense Minister. This bombing comes in the fourth day of fighting  in Damascus between anti-Assad forces and the Syrian security forces. While the Assad regime will likely not fall soon, I do believe we are seeing the endgame in the Syrian Civil War.

The Assad regime is probably finished. Its only a matter of when, not if. The regime has failed to defeat the Free Syrian Army in 16 months of fighting in the provinces. Now, it appears they have taken the war to the Syrian capital. While the rebel attack appears to be too disorganized to actually take Damascus, they will likely tie down large numbers of Syrian security forces and possibly may consider some officials in the regime to start thinking about their futures. As the regime is forced to use more forces and resources to defend the capital, the rebels in the provinces may seize the opportunity to make gains. In any event, the Assad regime’s control of Syria will continue to chip away, slowly but surely. The Iranian government will likely continue to send troops and money to continue propping up the Assad regime but it will still likely be for naught as the Free Syrian Army continues to grow stronger and will likely gain more support and arms from the Arab states and NATO.

The Assad regime has entered its endgame. I do not see Bashar Assad and his allies going quietly into exile as their regime crumbles, instead I believe they will fight to the last man. The most likely scenario is an attempted final crackdown by the Syrian security forces and their Iranian allies against the FSA and the Islamists. The fight will be bloody but likely futile.

Here’s probably the worst case scenario: Assad decides to use to his chemical weapons. But Assad doesn’t just use his weapons against his own people like Saddam did, he also targets Israel in conjunction with Hezbollah; thereby trying to expand the conflict. There will be a choice that has to be made by NATO and more specifically the United States. If NATO and the US do not intervene once Assad deploys his chemical weapons, Israel certainly will. I do not see Benjamin Netanyahu confining Israel’s military response to just Syria and Lebanon, but it will likely include military action against Iran, especially in response to today’s under reported terrorist attacks in Bulgaria, which may spark an even wider and more disastrous war.

But wars don’t end when the last shot is fired, or in this case, when Bashar Assad is swinging from a lamp post in Damascus. There will be conflicts between secularists and Islamists and the remnants of the Assad regime will likely wage an insurgency against the new government. Syria will likely be as unstable in the short term as Libya was when Gaddafi fell. Arms proliferation will probably be a problem as many of the weapons used wind up on the black market.

The next few months will probably be interesting to say the least in Syria.

 

Build the Liberty Farm Team Monday, Jul 16 2012 

After the GOP convention in Tampa in August, Ron Paul’s presidential campaign and political career will officially come to an end. Despite the protestations of some hardcore supporters, Ron Paul will not be the Republican nominee and in fact, he will likely not even be nominated at the convention in Tampa. Many supporters are gravitating towards campaign of Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson, however to be perfectly blunt, my three month old puppy has a better shot at being elected President than he does. In addition, there will be same number of Libertarian Party members of the House and Senate, none. This is not what I hope will happen, this is simply stating reality. If the liberty movement is to continue after the end of Ron Paul’s career, we need to lay a solid foundation for political success. I believe the best way to lay a foundation for the liberty movement is take a page from professional baseball and build a “farm team” of  future leaders to run for political office and activists to work the races.

In professional baseball all Major League Baseball teams have a developmental system of minor league teams. The minor league teams are rated from AAA all the way down to A. In addition, there are special developmental leagues for rookie players drafted right out of college. Other sports leagues are trying to replicate the system to develop the next generation of professional athletes. We in the liberty movement, regardless of what we call ourselves, need to take the same approach to politics and political office.

First things first though, in order for this to truly work, liberty movement activists need to be willing to participate in a political party of government. The only two parties that meet that requirement are the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. I know this will disappoint the majority of my fellow contributors and many of our readers, but the Libertarian Party is a political dead end. The fact of the matter is the Libertarian Party has averaged less than 1% of the vote in most elections and there is no sign that the trend will reverse itself anytime soon. If you are a left-leaning libertarian, you’ll probably be more effective working within the Democratic Party and if you’re a right-leaning libertarian, you’ll probably be more effective working within the Republican Party. This does not mean compromising your principles, this just means you’re willing to make alliances with those you agree with much of the time to gain political power.

What we need to start doing is start identifying those people among us who are political office material. Preferably, they need to be strong leaders who are good with people, even those they disagree with, and those who can articulate their ideas well. Instead of making their first run for office at a statewide level or even a national level, they should first start running for local office such as the city council or mayor or even for state legislature. It’s much less expensive moneywise than running for a big office like governor or Congressman and you can best leverage a volunteer base in a local race than a national or statewide race. Working in local government will give liberty candidates valuable experience in tailoring their message to the concerns of average, everyday Americans instead of preaching to the choir of liberty activists. This does not mean abandoning the principles of liberty; it just means appealing to non-liberty voters who are more concerned about everyday issues than about the Federal Reserve for example. Then, once you have demonstrated a record of success and expanded your own personal base of support past just the liberty activists, run for the big offices. It’s not a sexy plan and it’s not exactly one that can be implemented overnight, but the size and scope of government did not enlarge overnight as well.

Finally, we need to refine and develop liberty activists as well as liberty candidates. If you’re a liberty activist, please volunteer for the campaign of a liberty candidate or even a non-liberty candidate who you can stomach. Gain the valuable campaigning experience and bring it to future campaigns. There are also many resources both on the web and offline to help campaigners win elections. After the election, get involved with activist organizations both nationally and on the local level. Also, network with fellow liberty supporters both online and offline and don’t let the ideas of liberty end with Ron Paul’s political career.

The Ron Paul Revolution Is Over. What’s Next? Saturday, Jul 14 2012 

Ron Paul’s presidential campaign is now for all intents and purposes over. The Paul campaign failed to capture a majority of Nebraska’s delegates to the GOP convention. The Paul campaign will not have the five states they were trying to get to force a nomination on the floor. Now, liberty activists need to move on prepare for future battles ahead, especially since Ron Paul is retiring this year from Congress. Here’s my advice for liberty activists going forward:

1) Be Respectful and Accept Defeat Graciously

Don’t cause a scene at the GOP convention in Tampa next month. Mitt Romney will leave Tampa as the official GOP nominee. He won the majority of Republican party primary voters and is the clear choice of most rank and file Republicans. I’m not saying Ron Paul supporters should support Mitt Romney, that is the choice of every supporter individually. I’m just saying accept the reality that Mitt Romney won the GOP nomination (mostly) fair and square.

2) Don’t Quit Politics

Now is not the time to quit politics. It is time to become liberty activists and not just Ron Paul supporters. The fight for liberty takes place every day from the town council to Congress. We need to organize, network, and start advancing the cause of liberty. We also need to learn the basics of political campaigning such as canvassing and phone banking. The best way to learn about political campaigning is to actually do it.

3) Concentrate on Congress

Congress is what makes the laws. We need to pour our energies in replacing big spending, anti-freedom members of Congress and defend the friends of liberty that are already there. We also need to raise money and put boots on the ground to help our candidates win. Ultimately, the contest for President is a beauty contest. The powers of a president are actually very limited without a friendly Congress.

Ron Paul maybe leaving the political arena, but the liberty movement should not die with his political career. We just need to regroup and focus on the battles ahead.

Should Libertarians Support The Libertarian Party? Wednesday, Jul 11 2012 

Julie Borowski aka TokenLibertarianGirl made an excellent video illustrating why Gary Johnson’s and every other Libertarian Party activists’ political strategy is flawed. Statists rejoice every time a libertarian activist quits the Republican Party or even the Democratic Party and take their energies and campaign dollars to the Libertarian Party, which will never be a party of government no matter how much wishing their activists and dues paying members wish it.

The overall goal should be to get more liberty minded people elected to office instead of the Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney clones the GOP would rather offer instead.

More Unintended Consequences of Obama’s Auto Bailouts Thursday, Jul 5 2012 

The United States government has taken China to the World Trade Organization. They’re complaining about auto import tariffs China has imposed for a couple of years.

The United States launched a trade complaint Thursday against China at the World Trade Organization, accusing Beijing of unfairly imposing duties on more than $3 billion in exports of American-produced automobiles.

The announcement came as President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail in the battleground state of Ohio, where automakers have been affected by the tariffs imposed in December. It underscored how America’s trade relations with rising economic power China could color the political debate ahead of the November presidential election.

Under WTO rules, countries are allowed to impose punitive tariffs to offset damage from both subsidies and dumping — selling products at below market value — but the U.S. contends that in this and other cases, China has used those remedy measures in an unfair and retaliatory way to hurt American exporters.

Obviously this complaint being made public, while Obama is in a campaign trip throughout the Rust Belt, is pure coincidence I’m sure.

Which auto manufacturers are the most harmed by these tariffs:

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Thursday that the Chinese duties cover more than 80 percent of U.S. auto exports to China and fall disproportionately on General Motors, or GM, and Chrysler because of the actions Obama took to support the auto industry during the financial crisis.

Some critics have contended that the administration’s bailout of the auto sector — which has seen it return to profitability even as the wider economic recovery has stuttered — could leave U.S. products vulnerable to countervailing duties by international competitors claiming it amounted to an unfair subsidy.

China’s anti-dumping and countervailing duties, imposed on autos for two years and ranging from 2 percent to 21.5 percent, affect cars and SUVs with engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger.

A senior U.S. trade official, briefing reporters on condition of anonymity, said that in 2011, an estimated 92,000 of such autos were exported to China.

So the most impacted manufacturers are, of course, the bailed out Government, I mean General, Motors and Chrysler. This is the Obama administration once again paying back and paying forward its allies in the labor unions. However, it has become clear the bailing out of the auto industry has had some unintended consequences. The latest consequence appears to be the unnecessary souring of economic relations with the world’s largest consumer market, China. Any economics and/or international relations 101 student could’ve told you that the Chinese, among others, were not going to sit back and allow the US government to subsidize auto manufacturers that compete against their domestic manufacturers without retaliatory tariffs.

What President Obama, along with his clone Mitt Romney, need to do is stop their Donald Trump impersonations and learn to deal with China in a rational manner. To be truly competitive against the rest of the world, the US needs to get its national debt and budget deficit under control, enact real tax reform with lower rates, and deregulate. Finally, it needs to stop subsidizing preferred industries such as the automakers.

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