RIP: Neil Armstrong Saturday, Aug 25 2012 

Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on an alien world, has died today. He is a man who will be remembered as one of the greatest explorers in human history. He is a man who has inspired many young men and women to go into the final frontier.

The best way to remember him is to leave near the Earth orbit we are confined to now by our governments and go back into the stars. We need to return to the moon and go to Mars and beyond. We need to not only just walk on the them and plant a flag and a plaque on them, we need to stay and make them home. Our destiny as a human race is in the stars.

I will close this very brief post with the footage of that day in 1969 when Neil Armstrong walked down the ladder of that lander and into history.

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Todd Akin And The War On Women Thursday, Aug 23 2012 

I’m sick and tired of this “War on Women” meme. It portrays women as nothing more than helpless vaginas that need subsidized abortion, free birth control, subsidized daycare, special loans in order to start a business, special laws to negotiate a decent wage, and all sorts of things only sugar daddy government can provide. It is dehumanizing and insulting to the millions of strong, independent women everywhere and the millions of men who love them. If you want to see what a real “War on Women” looks like, here it is. Finally, just because someone opposes abortion and wants to cut government spending does not make them a misogynist. In fact, many feminists believe that women can and should stand on their own without the help of the government.

Thankfully, it was starting to go away until a moronic Senate candidate from Missouri by the name of Todd Akin had to open his mouth about legitimate rape. Since then, Democrats have seized upon the comments to once again portray Republicans as anti-woman. In the daily “Two-Minute Hate” that progressive bloggers and Internet activists wage against the Emmanuel Goldstein of AMSOC, Paul Ryan, they attempt to tie him to Akin. As of today, Senator Claire McCaskill has a 10 point lead according to a Rasmussen poll. Republicans are also worried how much damage down ballot the Akin controversy will do to other Republicans in Missouri. The Senate race is probably lost for Republicans and with it, likely any chance of taking the Senate.

The Akin comments are disgusting and extremely offensive. It is biologically incorrect for starters. A woman’s body does not “shut down” to prevent her rapist’s sperm from fertilizing an egg during a rape. Secondly, it is insulting to those women who have conceived children as a result of rape. It is in a sense telling them that they deserved it and it was their fault by claiming their rapes were not really rapes at all. Todd Akin has deserved his denunciation that he has received across the political spectrum.

Whether or not Akin should get out of the race is a decision that the Akin campaign has to make for themselves. I’m not someone who wants to defy the will of a party’s primary voters and tell them who their candidate should be. However, if I lived in Missouri, there is absolutely no way I would ever cast my ballot for Akin just based on his comments alone. His comments trivialize probably the worst thing that can ever happen to a woman. To make things worse, he was trying to score political points with those remarks by justifying his opposition to abortion even in the case of rape. Finally, the social conservatives such as Mike Huckabee who are rallying around this man should be ashamed of themselves. This is not about abortion, this about showing some class and treating women, especially those who have been violated, with some dignity. This is not about promoting your political agenda. When Todd Akin insulted rape victims who got pregnant as a result, this ceased being about abortion and instead is now about basic human dignity. It is a shame that the guys who claim to speak for “values voters” are rallying to the defense of a man who is frankly a scumbag.

Finally, it seems some nutjobs are taking the opportunity to threaten Akin and his family. I condemn these threats as strongly as I condemn these comments. There is no room in our political discourse for death threats or threatening the rape of a politician’s wife. If this person did break the law, I hope they are punished to the fullest extent of the law.

There is no “War on Women” in American politics. Instead, we have just a man who said something very stupid and disgraceful. We need to get back to discussing the real issues facing this country, instead of creating phony culture wars that divide Americans solely for political gain.

Where Has The Anti-War Movement Gone? Wednesday, Aug 22 2012 

The anti-war movement has all but disappeared. You would think that with both major party conventions coming up, they would take the opportunity to demonstrate, especially with the media being concentrated at the conventions. However, there are no plans to demonstrate and in fact you don’t hear a whole lot about the war in Afghanistan anymore. Short of putting Cindy Sheehan’s face on a milk carton, we really need to find where the anti-war movement has gone because 2000 American soldiers have now died in Afghanistan. If war was bad when George W. Bush was president, why isn’t it bad now that Barack Obama is in the Oval Office?

Not only has Obama expanded the war in Afghanistan and kept Bush’s Iraq withdrawal timeline; he even started a new war in Libya. Plus, the Obama administration appears to heading down the road to war with both Syria and Iran. Obviously, the wars have not stopped. American soldiers have not stopped dying overseas and drone strikes certainly haven’t stopped all over the world. Why has the press and so-called anti-war activists ignored the ongoing wars?

The only unfortunate conclusion to make is that the anti-war movement were either at best pawns of the Democratic Party or they really don’t have a problem with war in general, but only with wars launched by Republican presidents. This isn’t just a phenomenon confined to the left, because the right only generally believe in limited government when a Democrat is president. All this means is that when a Republican is elected president and decides to go to war, it will be easy to dismiss war opponents as partisan hacks. It will be just a way to silence debate and opposition by the War Party.

While every war is different in its justifications; a strong, consistent, principled opposition is needed to force the government to prove why it is necessary to send American soldiers to fight and die. By staying silent now because their preferred president and party are in power, they diminish the arguments for peace when they are needed the most in a future administration. Ironically, it could lead to more war and more needless deaths than if they maintained their principles.

Brandon Raub Is No Martyr Monday, Aug 20 2012 

The Internet has been up in arms over the detention of former Marine and libertarian activist Brandon Raub. His supporters have been claiming that he has been detained because of the fact he criticized the government and his support for 9/11 “Truth” and other conspiracy theories, which threatens the First Amendment. While the FBI and local police claim that he had posted some threatening posts on his Facebook page and they went and interviewed him as is standard operating procedure. A judge has ordered Mr. Raub held under psychiatric evaluation for the next 30 days in a mental hospital. The fact of the matter is, Mr. Raub is no martyr but instead he is a fool whose posts on Facebook certainly can be construed as calling for violence.

Mr. Raub, like many other wannabe political activists do, use their Facebook pages for political activism. His Facebook wall was full of criticisms of the United States government, the “New World Order”, and the promotion of various conspiracy theories. His profile picture is him standing shirtless in front of a US Marine Corps flag while brandishing a shotgun.

The posts themselves usually consisted of things like one that was posted on August 13:

Sharpen up my axe; I’m here to sever heads.

Here’s another one posted on August 12 about alleged chemtrails:

The people responsible for posioning the America people from the sky will be held accountable. And there is going to be justice.

Here’s one on August 10 calling upon the military to rise up against the government over the issue of 9/11 “Truth”:

Dear Friends in the Military,

The time for choosing has come. Will you continue to ignore the obvious lie of 911 or will you stand and fight for your people?

He also posted this comment on his profile picture on August 12.

This is my going to war profile pic.

There are many other comments along these lines all over his wall. Comments calling for a violent revolution, music videos with violent lyrics posted along with commentary on public figures, and conspiracy theory ramblings. Mr. Raub is not a free speech martyr, but an idiot who has called for violence publicly.

Call me a statist shill, a neo-con, a sheep, or whatever but I think the authorities have acted appropriately in this case, especially in light of the recent mass shootings in Wisconsin and Colorado. It is not a crime to believe in conspiracy theories, no matter how absurd they are, or to criticize your government. Nor should it ever be. The problem is that Mr. Raub has advocated violence and/or has demonstrated that he was willing to consider it. This is not a free speech issue nor is this an issue about the indefinite detention provisions in the NDAA. This is not the Soviet Union or any other totalitarian state declaring a political opponent mentally ill just to silence them. This is a guy who is being held for psychological examination by a local government for advocating violence. Given the content of his Facebook wall, it appears necessary to do so to protect the general public.

Finally, I ask everyone to do their own research on this issue. Please follow the link to Mr. Raub’s wall and read what he posted for yourself. Don’t just take the commentary of those you follow on Twitter and/or Facebook as gospel. Research this story for yourself, like I have.

 

 

The Ballad of Julian Assange Thursday, Aug 16 2012 

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has been holed in up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for about two months now. The British government is trying to have him arrested and have him extradited to Sweden to face rape allegations. Well, the Ecuadorian government has granted him political asylum, but the British government has made it very clear that they will not allow him safe passage to Ecuador and have surrounded the embassy with armed policemen. This is an issue where there is a lot of passion, especially among Assange’s defenders who see him as a crusader against the imperialism and the war crimes of the Western world and particularly the United States. In this passion, there have been been a lot of confusion about the facts involved in this case. I will do my best in this piece to shed some light on what this case is all about.

1) Julian Assange has not been charged in the United States for anything. Despite the calls from various lawmakers and political commentators in the United States, Assange has not been charged with any crimes related the various publications of classified documents by Wikileaks. Assange and his supporters have alleged that a grand jury has been convened and already has a sealed indictment against him, but the US Department of Justice will only say that there is an active investigation ongoing against him. Whether or not Assange should be charged with any crimes in the United States, I honestly don’t know. I have not the chance to research the espionage laws nor do I or anyone else for that matter have all the facts in this case. The only way I see us learning more about the case is once the Bradley Manning case is resolved.

2) Assange needs to frankly man up and go answer the rape allegations in Sweden. Right now, Assange has not been charged with anything in Sweden, but he is wanted for questioning for allegedly raping two women. Assange and his supporters claim that if he is extradited to Sweden, he will then be extradited to the United States. However, Assange has not been charged with a crime in the United States. Also, Sweden will not extradite anyone who could face the death penalty to the United States. Finally, the country that has a fairly lenient extradition treaty with the US is Great Britain. If Assange was to be whisked away to the United States, it would be done by the British government themselves.

3) This is not a free speech or anti-war issue…..yet. The big issue in this case is the rule of law at least right now. I like the idea of Wikileaks (if not necessarily the actual practices of Wikileaks or even Julian Assange himself) which reports the secrets, especially if those secrets cover up atrocities and other illegal deeds our leaders would not like us to know. Wikileaks, along with the media in general, are there to remind governments that they are not above the law and to hold them accountable to their citizens. However, not only are governments not above the law, neither is Julian Assange himself.

This case is not necessarily the great noble crusader Julian Assange taking on the evil imperialist US. This is simply a man with a big ego who is making a mockery of the justice system in both the UK and Sweden. The UK government has no choice but to hand Assange over to the Swedes under the European Arrest Warrant. The Swedes have an excellent criminal justice system by all accounts and if there is not enough evidence to sustain the rape allegations, Assange will and should be freed. But, Assange needs to do what every other person has to do if they are accused of a crime, which is answer to the allegations.

Attack On The Family Research Center Wednesday, Aug 15 2012 

Today there was a shooting at the Family Research Center, a faith-based social conservative political organization. A security guard was the only person wounded in the attack, thankfully. The FRC is well-known for its opposition to gay marriage and support for other socially conservative causes. Unfortunately, the it does appear that the shooting does in fact have a political motivation.

District of Columbia police are investigating a shooting at the headquarters of the Family Research Councilthat injured a security guard Wednesday morning.

The alleged shooter, whose name was not released to media by mid-afternoon, entered the conservative group’s downtown Washington building and opened fire. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier called the guard a hero for subduing the shooter who allegedly expressed disagreement with FRC’s views. Investigators have not determined a motive.

“We don’t know enough about him or his circumstances to determine what his connection is to this group [the research council] or his mental state, or what he was doing or thinking of doing,” said James McJunkin, the head of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “So we’re going to try to sort this all out, pull the evidence together, do all the interviews we can.”

A law enforcement official said the gunman carried a bag containing a Chick-Fil-A bag; the fast-food company’s leader recently expressed views against same-sex marriage similar to those embraced by FRC.

Instead of seeking to exploit this act of terrorism for political gain, a coalition of LGBT organizations has put out a statement condemning this attack.

We were saddened to hear news of the shooting this morning at the offices of the Family Research Council. Our hearts go out to the shooting victim, his family, and his co-workers.

The motivation and circumstances behind today’s tragedy are still unknown, but regardless of what emerges as the reason for this shooting, we utterly reject and condemn such violence.  We wish for a swift and complete recovery for the victim of this terrible incident.

Unfortunately, not all Americans were as gracious as the LGBT groups.

Regardless of political opinions and where we stand on the issues, can we all agree as Americans that violence is not an acceptable political tool? This is the difference between America and a country like Lebanon where political differences sometimes result in gunfights. We as Americans have always agreed to agree to disagree and peacefully acknowledge our differences. Yes, let’s vigorously debate the issues but we need to remind ourselves at the end of the day, it’s just politics. It’s not really anything to go kill each other or destroy each others property. That is called terrorism.

 

Enough With The Political Dynasties Tuesday, Aug 14 2012 

Our country declared its independence from a monarch and an aristocracy. We were founded on the promise that any American, of any background could theoretically be elected President or any other political office. Instead we’re slowing starting the see the rise of the House of Clinton political dynasty with Chelsea Clinton now thinking about getting into politics.

Despite her famed political lineage, Chelsea Clinton has adamantly refused stepping into the political arena. Now, however, Clinton’s answer on her political ambitions is less definitive.

Asked if she would consider jumping into politics, Clinton – daughter of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Bill Clinton – is now saying, “I don’t know.”

“Before my mom’s campaign I would have said no. Not because it was something I had thought a lot about but because people have been asking me that my whole life,” Clinton, speaking of her mother’s unsuccessful 2008 presidential bid, said in an interview for the September issue of Vogue.

“And now I don’t know. . . . I mean, I have voted in every election that I have been qualified to vote in since I turned eighteen,” Clinton continued.

Can somebody please tell me what exactly are Chelsea Clinton’s qualifications for anything, other than the fact she is the daughter of a former US President and a Secretary of State? The ones feeding this political interest is the media who always seems to create an unofficial royal family in this country by promoting familial political dynasties. We need to get rid of these political dynasties, the Bushes, the Clintons, the Kennedys and all the rest of them. We need new blood in general in American politics because the current status quo is just not working.

There is also another political dynasty in the making with the Paul family in the liberty movement. The father, Ron Paul, is retiring from Congress at the end of the year. His son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, is now seen as the movement’s leader since his father is exiting the political stage. Those of us in the movement need to hold Rand Paul accountable for his votes in the Senate and we need to make him earn any leadership role he would try and claim. A person’s last name should not entitle them to any political power. Finally, we need to continue and nurture other political leaders in the liberty movement, those without the last name of Paul.

 

Thoughts On Paul Ryan Monday, Aug 13 2012 

On Saturday, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney picked Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate. Anecdotal evidence seems to show that the enthusiasm has definitely increased among conservative voters for the Romney campaign. The crowds have gotten larger at Romney-Ryan events. However, similar anecdotal evidence seems to show that the left is just as fired up and more motivated to defend Obama. Meanwhile, reading the Tweets and Facebook posts from my libertarian friends show that the Ryan pick has not made them more willing to consider the Romney ticket. Personally, I have mixed feelings about the Ryan selection.

The Positive

The biggest positive about the Ryan selection is that this campaign may actually wind up being a debate on the future of our country. The Obama campaign is already seizing on the Ryan budget plan and is attacking it as destroying Medicare, Social Security, and just about every other government program under the sun. Now is an opportunity for the Romney-Ryan campaign to articulate an argument for limiting the size and scope of government as a means of reviving the economy. The American people would be well served by a debate over the size and scope of government. Also, ultimately, given the other choices that Romney was considering, Ryan was probably the best pick. Romney needed to pick someone who would fire up the ticket.

The Negatives

I have some real problems with the Ryan pick and Paul Ryan himself. I don’t think Paul Ryan’s big government record gels with his small government rhetoric. I also have a major problem with taking someone like Paul Ryan, who is the chairman of the House Budget Committee, from his post in the House and moving him to a meaningless post such as Vice-President. If Mitt Romney is serious about reforming government and getting our outrageous government spending under control, you’re going to need someone like Ryan leading the charge in the House. Finally, Ryan, like Romney, is more of a technocrat than a principled conservative. The problem with the technocratic approach to government is that it strives for “reforming” the state instead of dramatically shrinking its size and scope.

All in all, this is a bold pick by Mitt Romney that will fire up the Republican base. While at the same time, this will serve to fire up the Democrat base as well. Whether or not this is a wise pick, only time will tell.

How Republicans Can Attract The Youth Vote Friday, Aug 10 2012 

I am a young voter. The Republican Party is my political home. I am also a conservative libertarian. However, I am not the norm in my generation. According to recent polling, Barack Obama is defeating Mitt Romney among young voters by more than 20 percentage points. Republicans need to find a way to reverse this trend because once young voters become accustomed to voting Democratic, it becomes much harder to persuade them to vote GOP. I will try to outline some ideas on how the Republican Party can attract this constituency not just for 2012 but in the future.

1) Take Them Seriously

Some former College Republican leaders have complained to me how Republican Party officials don’t take their clubs and young people in general seriously. The attitude among many Republican strategists and politicos is that they see the College Republican clubs and the Young Republican organizations as nothing more than a source of free campaign labor. Contrast this attitude with the one that Democrats and the left have. They see young people as an important part of the progressive coalition. They go out of their way to give them leadership positions and pander to them as they would gays and racial minorities. Finally, they actually go out and ask for the votes of young people.

How Republicans can change this is simple. First of all, focus more on social media such as Twitter and Facebook. Utilize those platforms not just to get the message out, but to actually engage young voters and make them feel like their voices are being heard. Secondly, invest more in the College Republicans and the Young Republicans to build not just an activist base, but a base for future Republican leaders. Republican candidates should also start visiting college campuses and actually go out and talk to young people. This actually worked well for Ron Paul in the Republican primaries. Finally, don’t be afraid to use pop culture as a messaging mechanism to reach young people.

2) Quit Focusing On Social Issues and Be Bold On Jobs and The Economy

First of all, I do not want to throw Rick Santorum and his supporters out of the Republican Party. They deserve to have a voice at the table and politics and political parties are all about building coalitions. However, what has to change if the Republican Party is to have a chance with young people is the absurd focus on gays and abortion. There is very little that can be done at the Federal level on either issue. Instead, focus on jobs and the economy. Besides, the fact of the matter is, nobody really cares about social issues except the activists.

In fact, be bold on those issues. Don’t advocate Obama-lite policies of borrowing and spending, bailouts, and crony capitalism. Advocate bold free market stances on everything from energy to entitlements.

3) Don’t Pander To Young People

The thing about the above strategies is that Republicans can do these to appeal to all Americans. One of the most poisonous things about the progressive movement is how they engage in divisive identity politics. If we’re going to build a political party that is based upon the rights of the individual, we need to engage all Americans as individuals, not as groups. A bold, free market message on rebuilding our economy can and should appeal to all Americans, regardless of their background. The only thing that may have to change is how that message is delivered.

Freedom Must Apply To All Wednesday, Aug 8 2012 

With the recent tragic mass shooting in Wisconsin at a Sikh temple, there has been a lot of focus on the neo-Nazi movement. It does appear that the mass murderer was a neo-Nazi activist and a “hate music” performer. As a result, neo-Nazis and especially the so-called “hate music” circuit find themselves under scrutiny from law enforcement and the media. While we must condemn the disgusting beliefs of the neo-Nazi movement, which should have been relegated to the trash can of history after 1945, and punish any violent actions its members commit, we must also never sacrifice our basic values of liberty and freedom for all that our country is founded on.

While in fairness no one has seriously advocated cracking down on “hate music” or on neo-Nazis in general, given the political climate and the hostility to basic civil liberties than many politicians and media members have; it will eventually come in my opinion. After all, neo-Nazis are easy to demonize. They are the ultimate simpletons because they hate other human beings for the simple fact that they are of a different skin color and/or believe a different religion than they do. No sane or rational person should make common cause with them. However, the ultimate test of liberty and freedom is how the most despised among us are treated by the government. We cannot punish people because of the stupid political and racial views they hold just because a majority of a populace is repelled by them. That will eventually lead to tyranny. In fact, it will backfire. The best way to defeat extremism is for it to operate out in the open. Most people are decent and fair minded and will reject mindless bigotry. However, if you try to force it underground, it will radicalize and grow more violent and it will attract disaffected people looking for an outlet to release their frustrations against society.

When neo-Nazis or anyone else, affiliated or not to any group, gets violent for whatever reason, the state must punish them. However, they must be punished based upon the act alone, not the motivation. Now is not the time for new so-called “hate crime” statues which provide for enhanced penalties based upon the motive if the victims belonged to a protected class. All violent crimes are deplorable and the state should not make distinctions based upon politically correct thinking and feel good ideologies.

Finally, we as Americans need to live up to our nation’s promise that all men created equal in our own personal lives. We need to oppose race based preferences, regardless of which races are the beneficiary. We need to learn to stop stereotyping people of other races and cultures. We need to start building a color blind society and reject the divisiveness of multiculturalism.

This massacre needs to be a teaching moment about not just race relations, but about freedom itself.

 

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