Thursday, April 30, 2009

Supreme Court Justice David Souter To Retire


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- After more than 18 years on the nation's highest court, Supreme Court Justice David Souter is retiring, a source close to Souter told CNN Thursday.

Souter will leave after the current court term recesses in June, the source said.

Filling Souter's seat would be President Barack Obama's first Supreme Court appointment -- and the first since George W. Bush's picks of Samuel Alito in 2006 and Chief Justice John Roberts in 2005.

Souter, 69, was tapped for the court by President George H.W. Bush in 1990, but disappointed many conservatives when he turned out to be a typical old-fashioned Yankee Republican -- a moderate, with an independent, even quirky streak.

And abortion debate in 3... 2... 1... ! Get ready for more drama, invective, and empty partisan rhetoric. Things are about to get interesting (by which I mean, things are about to stay boring and predictable). And Mr. President, make sure your nominee paid his (or probably her) taxes! In the meantime, here's a little Supreme Court humor for you.

Family Guy Supreme Court Video Clip:
What Justice David Souter had to do to get on the Supreme Court.


Cherry! Cherry! Cherry!

What's the hazing policy in Article III of the Constitution?

Refutations of New York Post's List of 100 Obama Mistakes

Photo by Pete Souza

While I published a list of 100 blunders, lies, gaffes, and bad policies the day before President Obama's hundredth in office, I was kicking myself for not publishing mine a little earlier because the New York Post beat me to the punch.

I must say I am a little partial to mine because the New York Post's list has several items on it that I don't consider valid criticisms of Obama in his first hundred days as President.


Here they are with my responses:

9. Turkey tried to block the appointment of Anders Fogh Rasmussen as new NATO secretary general because he didn't properly punish the Danish cartoonist who caricatured Mohammed. France's Nicolas Sarkozy and Germany's Angela Merkel were outraged; Obama said he supported Turkey's induction into the European Union.
That's a little more of a criticism of Turkey than it is of Obama. Sarkozy and Merkel may have been outraged, but does that mean that they don't support Turkey's induction into the EU? And Obama may support Turkey's induction into the EU, but does that mean he wasn't outraged by Turkey's move to block Rasmussen's appointment? The link here is a little too tenuous. There's way too much other good stuff to waste a spot on the list with this.

19. Nixes a "buy American" provision in the stimulus bill.
That's actually a really good thing. My criticism of him would be that he put such a provision in the bill to begin with and that he only removed it in a bow to strong political pressure (along with reason and history, not to mention). Protectionist policies that restrict international trade have an unequivocally, empirically-proven, and theoretically-predictable NEGATIVE effect on a nation's economy. During the Great Depression, when the government passed a battery of legislation to stimulate the economy, one piece was the Smoot Hawley Tariff (essentially a "buy American" bill), and it measurably plunged the world into an even deeper and worse depression than we would have had.

23. Sanjay Gupta was in discussions to become Surgeon General, but the TV personality withdrew after he was criticized for his flimsy political record.
Weak. Does that really classify as a gaffe, mistake, or blunder? Essentially that says "Someone was being considered for a cabinet position, but didn't make it through the vetting process because they were under-qualified." Isn't that actually a success of Obama's vetting process (probably like, the only success of his vetting process... insert joke about tax evasion here)? If Gupta had gotten hired with a flimsy political record, wouldn't that be the blunder?

24. Rasmussen finds 58% of Americans believe the Obama administration's release of CIA memos endangers the national security of the United States.
That's not technically Obama's mistake- it's a bunch of Americans' opinions. But assuming that you are using their opinions to highlight his mistake, which you believe is his release of CIA memos, then say so directly. I would be inclined to consider the actions those memos describe as more dangerous to our national security than the memos themselves. We have got to end these reckless wars and the questionable tactics we use in pursuing them.

25. Only 28% think the Obama administration should do any further investigating of how the Bush administration treated terrorism suspects.
Once again, that's a poll result, not an example of an Obama Administration mistake, gaffe, or blunder.

26. "Obama thanked CIA employees for their work and said they're invaluable to national security. He explained his decision to release the memos, then told everyone not to feel bad because he was now acknowledging potential mistakes. Theirs, not his. 'That's how we learn,' Obama said, as though soothing a room full of fourth-graders." -- The Oklahoman, 4/23
Look... I think for a President who has clamored so much for transparency, Barack Obama is a lying hypocrite of the worst magnitude for going back on his promises of transparency so shamelessly. That said, I would be sorely amiss to criticize him for actually pursuing some degree of transparency in this area by creating a more open conversation about what's going on. And that said, I would be sorely amiss not to mention that he's even more a hypocrite because he's acting as if he's cleaning things up with the CIA by releasing these memos, yet he signed an executive order allowing them to continue the practice of "renditions."

35. "You're sitting here. And you're -- you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems. Are people going to look at this and say, 'I mean, he's sitting there just making jokes about money--' How do you deal with -- I mean: Explain. Are you punch-drunk?" -- Steve Kroft, "60 Minutes," 3/22
Heh?

40. Obama lifts travel and remittance restrictions on Cuba.
*Repeat of the whole spiel about international trade I wrote above.* If Obama doesn't end up lifting the entire embargo on trade with Cuba (or trying very hard to) by his thousandth day in office, I'll be criticizing him for that on my list of 1000 blunders. Trade with Cuba would be a phenomenal boon to the American economy. It'll do far more than the stimulus package did to stimulate growth (which admittedly isn't hard since the stimulus package did harm to growth... an eight year old with a lemonade stand does more to stimulate economic growth than the stimulus package did). This is one area where I am happy with the direction the present administration is headed.

41. Obama considers dropping the embargo on Cuba.
Seriously, how on Earth could you consider this a criticism? What is your argument here?

42. After warming signs from Raul Castro, Fidel Castro says Obama "misinterpreted" his brother's words, and that Cuba would not be willing to negotiate about human rights.
How does the New York Post feel about the human right to trade free from forcible interference by others?

43. Obama is considering dropping a key demand to Iran, allowing it to keep nuclear facilities open during negotiations.
Here's a bigger criticism- that Obama allows America to keep its military nuclear facilities. America wants to end nuclear proliferation? Good, me too. Guess where we can start... with the first country to ever build nuclear weapons and the only country that ever used them against another- the U.S.A. We need to be the change we want to see in the world.

44. In a letter to Dmitri Medvedev, Obama offered to drop plans for a missile shield in Europe in exchange for Russia's help in resolving the nuclear weapons issue in Iran.
Translation: "In a letter to Dmitri Medvedev, Obama offered to back away from a policy of nuclear one-ups-manship and meddling overseas that will cost millions of taxpayer dollars and worsen relations with another major country in exchange for help in pursuing the use of diplomacy to resolve nuclear proliferation in an unstable region of the world." That's a criticism?

45. Medvedev said he would not "haggle" on Iran and the missile shield.
That's not Obama's blunder. It's Medvedev's.

56. For an April 14 speech at Georgetown, the administration asked the university to cover up all signs and symbols -- including the letters "IHS" in gold, a symbol for Jesus.
That's not an anti-Christian thing. The administration just didn't want any signs or symbols on the stage that would distract from Obama's purpose and message in speaking there. He's the President, and his job is not to endorse Jesus or any other religious figure, but to maintain a civil society, which he's frankly sucking at doing, so he should probably give that some more work before he takes on any new responsibilities like evangelizing for Christianity. (Full disclosure: I am a Christian, and this did not offend me.)

67. Obama quietly announced that he would not press for new labor and environmental regulations in the North American Free Trade Agreement, going back on a campaign promise.
Good on you for pointing out more broken promises and inconsistencies, but I did want to mention that this is one that I'm glad he's breaking.

70. "By any measure, my administration has inherited a fiscal disaster." -- Obama
That's not a mistake. It's totally, 100% true. Obama's blunder is to think that inheriting a fiscal disaster is a license to make that fiscal disaster even worse.

89. "It has become apparent during this process that this will not work for me as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the Census, there are irresolvable conflicts for me." -- Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), who became the second failed Commerce Secretary nominee
Not really a blunder, gaffe, or mistake. If it was anybody's mistake, it was Sen. Judd Gregg's. It was kind of funny though.

91. The $49 million inauguration -- triple what taxpayers spent at Bush's first inauguration.
This is a valid criticism, but your figure's off... his inauguration cost more than three times that figure.

And for the sake of everything that's good and holy... put your freaking list on ONE PAGE!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The First 100 Days: 100 of Obama's Lies, Blunders, Gaffes, and Abuses of Liberty

Photo by Pete Souza

For the first hundred days of President Barack Obama's administration, here is a complete list of 100 blunders, mistakes, gaffes, and public policies that threaten our freedom:

100 Blunders in 100 Days:

1. Promising to "publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days... before the President signs it," then breaking that promise over and over again.

2. Despite promising to keep lobbyists out of his administration, Obama has broken his word again and again (making 17 exceptions to this promise in his first two weeks).

3. Obama promised to eliminate income taxation for seniors making less than $50,000 a year. He has broken this promise despite numerous opportunities to keep it, including the economic stimulus package and his administration's first budget proposal.

4. The President also boasted during his campaign that "During 2009 and 2010, existing businesses will receive a $3,000 refundable tax credit for each additional full-time employee hired," and has failed to keep his word.

5. Obama made it part of his agenda to "allow withdrawals of 15% up to $10,000 from retirement accounts without penalty (although subject to the normal taxes). This would apply to withdrawals in 2008 (including retroactively) and 2009," but didn't include this measure in the stimulus package or his budget proposal.

6. Obama broke his promise to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

7. Obama did a shameless 180 degree turn on earmarks by sharply criticizing them (and bragging that he would pass legislation without a single one) and then signing a spending bill with literally thousands of them.

8. Obama promised a $4000 tax credit for college tuition, but backpedaled when he signed a much smaller $2,500 college tax credit into law.

9. Obama called presidential "signing statements" (letters of interpretation and recommendations attached to Congressional legislation) unconstitutional... then attached a signing statement of his own to a $410 billion spending bill.

10. Obama promised a different tone in Washington D.C. and a move past bitter, partisan rhetoric. It took him less than a week as president to berate Republicans and sully the dignity of his office by picking a very public rhetorical fight with a private citizen, Rush Limbaugh.

FunnyAntiObamaTshirts.com


11. In his first private meeting with Congressional Republicans, instead of "reaching across the aisle" and seeking earnest dialogue, he smugly told them that he should have his way because "I won."

12. The White House violated the custom of keeping private meetings private by leaking this comment to the press.

13. Taking a page out of the Bush Administration's playbook, Obama applied shrill, frantic, fear-mongering rhetoric to assure passage of his stimulus package.

14. Obama revealed the duplicity of his rhetoric and the arrogance of his character when he took off on a ritzy Valentine's Day vacation in Chicago for the weekend instead of signing the stimulus bill that he said needed to be passed as soon as possible to avert an irreversible economic meltdown.

15. Obama did not criticize Congress for its secrecy and closed-door committee meetings in crafting the stimulus package despite his calls for greater transparency in Washington.

16. Obama's appointment of Hillary Clinton to the office of Secretary of State was unconstitutional.

17. His movement of the United States Census out of the Department of Commerce and under the direct control of the White House was unconstitutional, politically motivated, and a dangerous, undemocratic expansion of executive power.

18. Obama's decision to continue Federal funding for religious organizations that discriminate on the basis of religion is unconstitutional and just plain unseemly for a "liberal" Democrat.

19. One promise Obama has kept is in his distribution of TARP II funds to non-financial institutions, which is contrary to the stated intention of those funds in the legislation passed by Congress, making his action illegal, unconstitutional, and an expansion of unlimited executive power.

20. Despite the buzz surrounding Obama's closing of Gitmo, indefinite detainment and torture are alive and well under Obama's administration with his chilling executive order to continue the practice of "CIA renditions" -secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to other countries where they are detained indefinitely and their interrogations are outsourced to other governments.

21. Backing "the continued imprisonment of enemy combatants in Afghanistan without trial."

22. Asking "the Supreme Court to overrule long-standing law that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, another stark example of the White House seeking to limit rather than expand rights."

23. Limiting "the rights of prisoners to test genetic evidence used to convict them."

24. Despite claiming our environment is in a state of crisis, Obama's extravagant inauguration alone emitted over 500 million pounds of CO2.

25. His lavish inauguration also cost $170 million.

26. After saying "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times... and then just expect that every country is going to say okay," journalists discovered that Obama cranks the thermostat in the Oval Office.

27. Obama's Earth Day flights burned more than 9,000 gallons of fuel.

28. The Obama Administration ended funding for Washington D.C.'s school voucher program, while suppressing a study that showed it delivered better results at a lower cost.

29. Obama's daughters however, attend a private school in Washington D.C., enjoying the freedom of educational choice that the Obama administration has denied to poor children who live in Washington.

30. Out-of-control deficit spending.

31. Blaming Bush for America's deficits, but then increasing spending.

32. This is after saying on the campaign trail: "There is no doubt that we’ve been living beyond our means and we’re going to have to make some adjustments."

33. Made a big show of challenging his cabinet to cut a measly $100 million from the Federal budget (a .0027% cut in Federal spending).

34. Admitting that this doesn't even represent a spending cut by saying that it will free up more money for Federal spending on other things like health and education.

35. Moving to convert U.S. Federal loans to banking institutions into common stock, effectively nationalizing major portions of the U.S. banking industry.

36. Forcing U.S. banks to accept TARP money, then attaching strings ex post facto.

37. Acting to oust corporate executives like the CEOs of GM and Citigroup.

38. Promising that the U.S. government (i.e. American taxpayers) will guarantee GM's warranty.

39. Every time Obama talks about the economy or signs economic legislation, the stock market tanks.

40. "We can't go back to a bubble and bust economy." President Obama on April 14, while touting the kind of inflationary monetary policies that cause bubble and bust cycles.

41. "The Obama administration is signaling to Congress that the president could support taxing some employee health benefits, as several influential lawmakers and many economists favor, to help pay for overhauling the health care system. The proposal is politically problematic for President Obama, however, since it is similar to one he denounced in the presidential campaign as ‘the largest middle-class tax increase in history."

42. Increasing the timetable for withdrawal from Iraq beyond his campaign promises and leaving 50,000 troops in Iraq after the "withdrawal."

43. Deploying 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, then several thousand more on top of that.

44. Obama calling on European leaders at G20 to provide more troops for the war in Afghanistan: "Europe should not simply expect the United States to shoulder that burden alone. This is a joint problem it requires a joint effort."

45. Using Bush-era war rhetoric and tactics.

46. Officially changing the name of America's vast, expensive, and endless overseas wars to "Overseas Contingency Operation."

47. "President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president. This would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion since Sept. 11, 2001."

48.
"President Obama’s plan to require private insurance carriers to reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of troops injured in service has infuriated veterans groups who say the government is morally obligated to pay for service-related medical care."

49. Appointing Tim Geithner to the office of Secretary of the Treasury, even though he was a part of the problem with the economic status quo and evaded his taxes for years.

50. Selected Annette Nazareth for the position of Deputy Treasury Secretary, who withdrew after a month long probe into her taxes.

51. Appointed Tom Daschle to the Department of Health and Human Services, who had to resign his nomination for the position because of tax evasion.

52. "Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London. The selection of Mr. Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president’s hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama’s commitment to the special relationship with Britain."

53. Appointed Nancy Killefer for Chief Performance Officer, but she had to step down because she didn't pay her taxes either!

54. Samantha Power resigned from the Obama campaign f0r calling Hillary Clinton a "monster," but was later hired by the Obama Administration for a position on the National Security Council.

55. Appointed Rahm Emmanuel as Chief of Staff, who failed to report five years of free rent at a US Congressman's property in accordance with IRS policy and congressional ethics rules.

56. Adolfo Carrion, Director of White House Office of Urban Affairs, "pocketed thousands of dollars in campaign cash from city developers whose projects he approved or funded with taxpayers' money."

57. Appointed Janet Napolitano to the office of Secretary of Homeland Security, who was clueless enough to falsely claim that the 9-11 terrorists came into America through Canada.

58. “The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned or suffering from the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.” — Department of Homeland Security intelligence report

59. Transparency: "Administration Permits Only One Question, No Follow-Ups About Extremism Report"

60. Appointing Attorney General Eric Holder, who said "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."

61. AIG's second biggest campaign donation beneficiary: Barack Obama, who acted angry about the results of a bailout he helped to craft as U.S. Senator.

62. "For months, the Obama administration and members of Congress have known that insurance giant AIG was getting ready to pay huge bonuses while living off government bailouts. It wasn’t until the money was flowing and news was trickling out to the public that official Washington rose up in anger and vowed to yank the money back."

63. Giving Henrietta Hughes a house instead of downsizing the government to free up productive capital that could be used by businesses to employ her so that she can afford her own living arrangements while providing value to other Americans.

64. Warmly greeting, smiling at, and shaking hands with Venezuela's brutal, autocratic dictator- Hugo Chávez.

65. Bowing to Saudi King Abdullah. U.S. Presidents do not bow before foreign monarchs.

66. Then a White House aide poorly and awkwardly lied about it: "It wasn’t a bow. He grasped his hand with two hands, and he’s taller than King Abdullah."

67. At their first meeting, U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown's gift to Obama: "an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet," and "a framed commission for HMS Resolute and a first edition of the seven-volume biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert." Obama's gift to Brown: a box set of 25 classic American DVDs... that don't work on European DVD players.

68. Used "England" to denote the U.K. -a gaffe that people from Scotland, Ireland, and Wales don't appreciate and chalk up to American ignorance and parochialism.

69. Repeatedly reminding House Republicans that none of them voted for the stimulus package. He's really going to regret that during the 2010 midterm elections when they'll be the ones reminding America.

70. "The White House says the president is unaware of the tea parties-" either they're lying or the President is clueless. Pick one.

71. "Mr Obama is an accomplished orator but is becoming known in America as the "teleprompt president" over his reliance on the machine when he gives a speech."

72. This has lead to numerous gaffes such as Obama thanking himself for being invited to speak with the Irish Prime Minister, as well as...

73. The bizarre spectacle of the President "arguing with" a teleprompter during a recent speech.

74. "I’ve been practicing bowling. I bowled a 129. It was like the Special Olympics or something." -Obama on The Tonight Show

75. Choosing purebred dog, "Bo" for the White House family's "first dog" instead of adopting a dog from a shelter like Obama promised.

76. Gaffe: "I didn’t want to get into a Nancy Reagan thing about, you know, doing any seances." -President Obama

77. False: "More than 90% of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States." -President Obama

78. What? "If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, if we stand up there and we really make the tough decisions, there’s still a 30% chance we’re going to get it wrong." -Vice President Biden

79. Clueless: "You know, I’m embarrassed. Do you know the Web site number? I should have it in front of me and I don’t. I’m actually embarrassed." -Vice President Biden, who should be.

80. Scary: Obama to Rep. Peter DeFazio, one of the Democratic congressman who voted against the stimulus package, "Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother."

81. Airforce 1 panics New York City residents with extremely low flight plan for photo op and no public announcement.

82. Obama's perpetual campaign. The only thing our President has ever really led in his life was his campaign... instead of actually governing, he's been sticking to what he knows for the past 100 days- campaigning.

83. Obama's perpetual campaign failing.

84. Brushing off, laughing at, and dismissing a serious and valid question about the legalization of Marijuana and its impact on our economy.

85. SCHIP.

86. The regressive cigarette tax that falls mostly on lower income households to fund SCHIP.

87. Buying into and perpetuating the swine flu hysteria.

88. Allowing the Department of Homeland Security to take the lead in managing the swine flu. It should be the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services. Flu epidemics are not national security issues- they're health issues. Conflating the two is a dangerous precedent that puts too much power into the hands of the DHS.

89. Making a big flashy deal out of releasing the President's and Vice President's income tax returns (Oooohh- transparency!), which every President has done for years now.

90. Being totally shown up by the Bushes- according to their respective tax returns, the Obamas gave 6.5% of their 2008 income to charity while the Bushes gave 23% of theirs to charity in 2007. Embarrassing.

91. Supporting and signing The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Package)

92. The health provisions in the stimulus bill.

93. Actually believing and preaching to others that consumption, not production, drives economic growth.

94. Obama's war on small business.

95. Bragging about his tax cut for 95% of Americans and not realizing (or conveniently not addressing) the fact that if it's funded with deficits and debt, it isn't really a tax cut because taxpayers will have to pay off the debt eventually (with interest) and the tax cut is offset by the rising prices of inflation.

96. Echoing Bernanke and Geithner's line that the economy needs more credit, while running trillion dollar deficits that hog up the credit market.

97. Timothy Geithner getting owned by Congressman Michelle Bachmann during his testimony in Congress.

98. Blatantly and unambiguously supporting policies that take from poor and middle class Americans to give to wealthy businesses and corporate executives.

99. Justifying these policies by saying that these businesses support poor Americans by giving them jobs and that they are simply "too big to fail."

100. Not realizing how suspiciously similar his argument sounds to "trickle-down," supply-side, Reaganomics.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Conversation and Education

This weekend I had the pleasure and honor of being part of a small, invitation-only academic conference, Advanced Topics in Liberty, hosted by the Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) and Liberty Fund. Something rather remarkable happened at this conference: 15 intelligent, educated people with diverse viewpoints and interests gathered to talk about a controversial political issue and did so in a kind, unargumentative, and productive fashion. Frankly, given my past experience with an IHS seminar (which from talking to others about their own experiences, was a rather anomalous experience), I expected to have a room full of people with rather similar views, inclined to agree with one another too easily and not to challenge one another. What I found instead was an intensely diverse group of people who were both willing to challenge one another and disagree, but whose doing so always seemed to have the goal of coming together to the truth.

The topic for the weekend was “Education, Compulsion, and State.” We resolved a rather limited number of the rather complex questions we raised. We ended the conference with a variety of views (though I think it is fair to say that most of us are convinced that a greater degree of school choice is necessary than is now available, we have a great diversity of views about what such choice should look like and why). We kept joking around about the fact that it seemed like all we ever did is figure out how to better ask questions, only to find out that the better framed question that really gets to the heart of a problem is rather difficult to answer.

The great beauty of this, of course, is that the process we experienced is perhaps the most important aspect of education: conversation. I am fond of Plato’s distinction between conversation and debate. In a conversation, he recognizes, people work together to bring the participants to the truth, while in a debate people work against one another to convince observers of their claims. The former is aimed at truth, the latter at mere persuasion. Too often, gatherings of academics for political discussion become little more than debates, or perhaps trading of pontifications so unrelated to one another that they aren’t even quite debates. Such discussions lack what to me is the most fundamental virtue of conversation: in a conversation it is entirely acceptable to simply say, “I don’t know.” In a debate this simply will not fly. This weekend we took full advantage of this feature of conversation. I cannot count the number of times this weekend that someone, myself included, was forced to admit we had reached a question he or she simply did not know how to answer. This was education in action. Liberty Fund, who partnered with the IHS to provide this conference, states in its founder's bio “Liberty Fund continues in the conviction that the best way to promote the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals is through full and open discussion among people of varying ages, backgrounds, and occupations.” My weekend could not possibly be better described.

Hopefully, sometime in the next couple of weeks I will be able to write out some of the conclusions I came to after reading and discussing the material for this conference. But for, now I simply wanted to praise the IHS and Liberty Fund and to encourage those who are tired of mainstream political debate or meaningless academic bickering: I have tasted the alternative and it is good.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

"Iron Lady" Margaret Thatcher on the Gap Between The Rich and The Poor

This is a phenomenal short video of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Parliament responding to the accusation that the gap between the rich and the poor has widened.

It showcases "Maggie Thatcher's" superb wit and social democrats' / welfare statists' true colors when it comes to actually helping the poor.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tea Bagging - The Joke Is On The Left

Photo by W. E. Messamore © 2009 All Rights Reserved

As Americans protest to End the Fed today, here's another note on last week's Tea Party protests... to all of the hypocrites among the social democrats and mainstream media who laughed about the conservative "tea bagging" party and thought that its supporters were clueless- the joke is on you.

I've been getting some traffic from this comment on Slate.com, which says:

You do know that the people organizing the teabagger parties were the first ones to use it? Olberman and Maddow (nice respect, BTW. Do you also call Juan Williams a [edit]) were just making fun of their ignorance.

http://teabagcongress.com/

[Matthew Yglesias]

A Reminder to Tea Bag The Fools in Washington on April 1st. I mean, if you're that stupid to use a vulgar term as your rallying cry, you deserve to be mocked.


As I said, the joke is on you. The Tea Partyers (or Baggers, whatever), knew exactly what we were saying when we used slogans and blog titles like "Tea Bag The Fools in Washington." That was why we did it. It was a joke. It was funny. Do you really think we're all that ignorant? Get a clue.

In fact the middle link that this commentator provided as evidence of the Tea Party protesters' ignorance is such strong evidence against his argument that it only serves to highlight his own remarkable ignorance about us. Does this person honestly think that someone doesn't know what "tea bagging" means when they made a sign that says "Tea Bag the LIBERAL DEMS before they Tea Bag you?" We deserve to be mocked?

There was also a certain subtlety to the way Tea Party protesters used the term. We simply said it without drawing attention to it. It was funny enough to call attention to itself (which it apparently did all too well). By contrast, when social democrats in the media and blogosphere talked or wrote about the tea parties, their humor insisted upon itself a little too strongly. The effect was the embarrassment you feel when you see a comedian laughing too hard at his own joke, a little too pleased with himself. They were also just nasty, ugly, and mean about it.

If they want to start making fun of us (by stealing our own joke and then being less funny about it), then I call that a good sign. It means they're wearing down, it means they're getting scared, and it means they know our cause is gaining momentum. As the Mahatma Gandhi said "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." They certainly ignored the first nationwide tea party on February 27th. and now they're laughing at the second one. It all seems to be following the progression Gandhi observed, which should give us hope.

And now your moment of Zen:

Friday, April 24, 2009

End The Fed Protests on Sat April 25


In the aftermath of the wildly successful tea parties (follow the link for lots of great pictures over at Not PC), there is another much-less-touted protest happening tomorrow- The End the Fed Protests, Saturday April 25, 2009. I highly encourage you, if you are able, to find and attend a protest in your area.

There are far fewer of these and I'm sure they'll be much smaller, but they strike to the root of what is enabling all of the runaway spending happening in Washington- the abuses and unrestrained power of the Federal Reserve, a secretive, private, central bank with no checks and balances. It is time for We The People to be the check and the balance.

Visit the EndTheFed website for more information and see if there's a protest happening in your area. If not, you can (and should!) still participate by calling your Congressmen and asking them to support H.R. 1207: The Federal Reserve Transparency Act- a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, or as stated in the bill itself:

To amend title 31, United States Code, to reform the manner in which the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System is audited by the Comptroller General of the United States and the manner in which such audits are reported, and for other purposes.

It's only a page long, uses simple and understandable language, and is therefore clearly not designed to pull one over on the American people like the stimulus package that none of our congressmen read or were even given the chance to read.

For more information on the importance of H.R. 1207, here's a Politico.com article by the bill's sponsor, Rep. Ron Paul. Passage of this bill is one of the single most important, practical steps towards reigning in an out-of-control Washington, which is why these End the Fed protests are such a vital follow-up to the Tea Party protests.

This... is music to my ears.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Problem(s) With Compulsory Education

Source - (CC)

Contributor Ben Bryan has been leading the charge for school choice (I think we should start calling it "Freedom of Education" just like we call the freedom to pick your own religion "Freedom of Religion" ...it has a nice ring to it.) in his last couple posts here and here, so I thought I'd weigh in on the discussion with another fantastic article for you to read.

Before linking to it, let me say that the debate over freedom of education frustrates me so much- because there isn't one. People aren't willing to debate it. Typically when I bring it up in conversation, the assertion that government should not provide compulsory education is immediately rejected before I even have a chance to make an argument. Most people's automatic reaction is to dismiss it as silly or too radical.

We've got a lot of fighting to do in order to change people's minds. Here's some more ammo:

From: The Political Economy of Force-Feeding

----> By: Anthony de Jasay


In Mauritania, many parents caring for their girls' future wellbeing send them at a tender age to board with women specialising in fattening them up by amiable but relentless force-feeding. Like most African men, Mauritanians prefer them well-rounded, and a girl who frankly bulges has a good chance of finding a rich husband, while a slim girl may have to content herself with being found by a poor one. Money may not make the girl happy, but the parents are nevertheless following a kind of economic rationale in having her force-fed. One does not know whether the rich husband will be nicer or on the contrary nastier than a poor one would be. With even chances of either outcome, rational choice must opt for the rich husband, for happy or unhappy, the girl will at least be more comfortable in the rich household.

There is a remote analogy between parents force-feeding their daughters with food and states force-feeding the children of their subjects with compulsory education. In both cases, compulsion is motivated by benevolent paternalism, though one might think that there is more excuse for parents acting paternalistically than the state doing so in loco parentis. However, the analogy stops here anyway. In particular, the results are not analogous at all.

Read the rest of the article here.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Human Achievement and Joy on Earth Day


Most of the environmentalist groups celebrating Earth Day today advocate the draconian curtailment of basic productive activities that support and improve the lives of human beings. They are not proud to live on Earth, but ashamed of it. They do not celebrate Earth as our home, but condemn us as its intruders. The basic activities which are requirements and essential functions of man's life are destroying the Earth, they say. They argue that it is a fight and an irresolvable conflict between the Earth's well being and ours- and they side with the Earth. They believe if we want to continue living here that we need to renounce and give up the activities that are required by our human nature to live more like the animals. What else is the meaning and final result of their pet initiatives like steep emissions caps, heavy carbon taxes, and suffocating environmental regulations?

The truth is that energy is a necessary foundation of human economic activity. It has brought unprecedented improvements to the human condition. And most of it is presently produced by means of burning the hydrocarbons in fossil fuels. The kind of laws and regulations clamored for by typical environmental advocacy groups on the basis of shoddy pseudo-science will strangle production, rocket prices, demolish standards of living (especially for the poor), prevent the third world from developing, and leave humanity in the darkness (think "Earth Hour") of the pre-industrial era. The truth is that most of today's proceedings, which are billed as Pro-Earth are in fact, Anti-Man. I am encouraged to know that not all environmentalists are like this. Not all are apocalyptic doomsday prophets that consider your central heating and your car a sin.

It is along with these true environmentalists that I celebrate Earth Day in my own way. It is to their growing chorus of voices that I add mine in singing the joy we have at living on this Earth- at being human on this Earth and using its vast storehouse of resources to sustain and improve our lives. It is with them that I marvel at the power of human achievement and at the one most truly inexhaustible, most truly renewable resource at our disposal- the infinite potential of the human mind. I salute the Earth today and express my utmost gratitude to the minds that have reshaped the Earth and the materials in it to meet the requirements of humanity's survival and happiness. I am overjoyed when I consider that:

  • Fossil fuels power and heat the homes of millions, giving them light to see and warmth to live by.
  • DDT and other pesticides are saving millions of lives by killing malaria-causing mosquitoes and increasing crop yields to feed hungry people.
  • Science and genetic engineering are giving us more food with less land by improving per-acre crop yields.
  • Logging companies plant hundreds of millions of trees every year to create the wood for our homes, the books we read, and the notebook paper students use to learn.
  • Improved transportation and communication has brought the world closer together than ever before.
  • Fresh drinking water comes in sealed plastic bottles to relieve thirsty disaster victims.
  • Poverty is disappearing from the world in the glow of a second Industrial Revolution taking place in the developing world as we speak.
  • I already live in the glowing prosperity of post-industrial civilization and enjoy all its comforts and conveniences.

My song today is Joy!


Joy, beautiful spark of gods
Daughter of Elysium,
We enter drunk with fire,
Heavenly one, your sanctuary!
Your magic binds again
What custom strictly divided.
All men become brothers,
Where your gentle wing rests.
Joy all creatures drink
At the breasts of nature;
All good, all bad
Follow her trail of roses.
Kisses she gave us, and wine,
Glad, as His suns fly
Through the Heaven's glorious design,
Run, brothers, your race,
Joyful, as a hero to victory.
Be embraced, you millions!
This kiss for the whole world!
Brothers, beyond the star-canopy
Must a loving Father dwell.
Be embraced,
This kiss for the whole world!
Joy, beautiful spark of gods,
Daughter of Elysium,
Joy, beautiful spark of gods

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What Miss California, Carrie Prejean Should Have Said About Gay Marriage

Miss California, Carrie Prejean Source (CC)

When front running Miss USA contestant Carrie Prejean was asked whether all fifty U.S. states should legalize gay marriage, her answer lit a firestorm of controversy.

The Question: "Vermont recently became the fourth state to legalize same-sex marriage. Do you think every state should follow suit, why or why not."

Miss California's answer: "I think it's great Americans are able to choose one or the other. We live in a land that you can choose same-sex marriage or opposite marriage. And you know what in my country, in my family I think that I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman. No offense to anybody there, but that's how I was raised and that's how I think it should be, between a man and a woman."

Here's the video (followed by my commentary):



Now before writing what she should have said, I would like to make a couple observations about what she did say. Notice that she did not say that gay marriage should remain illegal in the other states. She said in fact, that she thinks it's great that Americans can choose one or the other. That does happen to be factually inaccurate- if she means that all homosexuals can marry in America- because as the question clearly stated, gay marriage is only legal in four states. She did express however, the sentiment that it's great for people to be able to choose, free of any interference by the law, which she then qualified with her personal belief that heterosexually is the better of the two choices.

I would like for homosexuals and gay rights activists to extend to Carrie Prejean the same right that she affirmed they have, the right to choose. Is it intolerant for her to say she believes homosexuality is wrong? Should she keep her morality to herself? If you answered "yes" to both those questions, then you have accused her behavior of being wrong and you haven't kept your morality to yourself. You've been intolerant by your own standards. You see, the essence of tolerance is disagreement. You disagree with someone, but you do not forcibly coerce them into acting according to your conclusions. You allow them to act according to theirs even if you disagree with them.

I think Miss California's answer was a perfectly good summation of the proper attitude for someone like her (who has conservative sexual mores) to have. She said she thinks it's great that people can choose, but she personally disagrees with some of their choices. Miss California summed up the essence of tolerance. It was an extremely tolerant answer to give. Unfortunately, it didn't really answer the question.

The question was whether the other 46 states (53 if you're Barack Obama) should legalize gay marriage. A much better answer would have been: "Yes. Absolutely. The other states should legalize gay marriage. Not everyone agrees with it morally or would make that same choice, and they are certainly entitled to their beliefs, but homosexuals are also entitled to theirs and it is not the proper role of government to regulate the personal morality and sexual mores of its citizens."

But the best answer would have been: "You know, this is a tricky question that has bitterly polarized our nation, but it seems to me there is a clear solution that should satisfy both sides. Instead of all fifty states legalizing gay marriage, they should de-legalize straight marriage. Social conservatives would be happy to see government regulating one less thing- marriage is after all, a private, religious institution and it seems odd that government should regulate it and license people to marry. Then the issue would become a private one, and believers in gay rights would be free to decide for themselves what marriage means."

Monday, April 20, 2009

School Choice and Virtue

Photo of Wilson Library at Montgomery Bell Academy (CC)

In my last post I argued, with Auberon Herbert, that school choice is the best way to challenge the status quo and produce new ideas in education. This is a point much emphasized by contemporary advocates of school choice. This argument, however, was one among several arguments Herbert makes in his essay "Education: Help or Hindrance". Of the several paths Herbert's argument takes, I found one of particular interest: private education, he argues, supports virtue in parents:

The effort to provide for the education of children is a great moral and mental stimulus. It is the great natural opportunity of forethought and self-denial; it is the one daily lesson of unselfishness which men will learn when they will pay heed to none other. There is no factor that has played so large a part in the civilization of men as the slow formation in parents of those qualities which lead them to provide for their children. In this early care and forethought are probably to be found the roots of those things which we value so highly–affection, sympathy, and restraint of the graspings of self for the good of others. We may be uncertain about many of the agents that have helped to civilize men, but here we can hardly doubt.

When parents have to make decisions it forces them to ask questions about their values, to consider what is important to them. They are forced to be responsible for not only the material well-being of their children, but for their intellectual well-being. The children are not the only benefactors of school choice. For parents school choice is a school in virtue.

What, then, is likely to be the effect when, heedless of the slow and painful influences under which character is formed, you intrude a huge all-powerful something, you call the state, between parents and children, and allow it to say to the former, “You need trouble yourself no more about the education of your children. There is no longer any occasion for that patience and unselfishness which you were beginning to acquire, and under the influence of which you were learning to forego the advantage of their labor, that they might get the advantage of education. We will give you henceforth free dispensation from all such painful efforts. You shall at once be made virtuous and unselfish by a special clause in our act. You shall be placed under legal obligations, under penalty and fine, to have all the proper feelings of a parent. Why toil by the slow irksome process of voluntary efforts and your own growing sense of right to do your duty, when we can do it so easily for you in five minutes? We will provide all for you–masters, standards, examinations, subjects, and hours. You need have no strong convictions, and need make no efforts of your own, as you did when you organized your chapels, your benefit societies, your trade societies, or your cooperative institutions. We are the brain that thinks; you are but the bone and muscles that are moved."...This cynical assumption of the weakness and selfishness of parents, this disbelief in the power of better motives, this faith in the inspector and the policeman, can have but one result. Treat the people as unworthy of trust, and they will justify your expectation. Tell them that you do not expect them to possess a sense of responsibility, to think or act for themselves, withhold from them the most natural and the most important opportunities for such things, and in due time they will passively accept the mental and moral condition you have made for them. I repeat that the great natural duties are the great natural opportunities of improvement for all of us. We can see every day how the wealthy man, who strips himself entirely of the care of his children, and leaves them wholly in the hands of tutors, governesses, and schoolmasters, how little his life is influenced by them, how little he ends by learning from them. Whereas to the man whose are much occupied with what is best for them, who is busied with the delicate problems which they are ever suggesting to him, they are a constant means of both moral and mental change.

This is to me a particularly fascinating argument given much of the debate revolving around schools today. The lack of parental involvement is an oft-bemoaned fact of public education. Local politicians in particular love to speculate about ways increase parental involvement. Government, Herbert argues, is the cause: it crowds out parental virtue. Education being provided without the parents ever needing to think about the content of that education is precisely the cause of at least some part of parental neglect. "The history of our race," Herbert argues, "shows us that men will not do things for themselves or for others if they once believe that such things can come without exertion on their own part... government half a century ago had provided us all with dinners and breakfasts, it would be the practice of our orators today to assume the impossibility of our providing for ourselves."

Understanding this effect of public schooling on parental virtue leads us to think about the proper path in a particular way as well. We realize that voucher programs and the like are necessary first steps in the direction of complete privatization. We cannot immediately privatize schools altogether. We must first allow parents to learn the virtues taught by school choice, virtues which our public schools have caused them to forget.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Subscription Contest Winners

A Don't Tread On Me T-shirt, one of the prizes courtesy of ReTeaParty.com

Okay! The Subscription Contest prize winners have finally been determined and have all responded back to me in the affirmative that they want to claim their prizes and be announced on the blog. Everyone who subscribed via e-mail to The Humble Libertarian during the contest period was entered into a drawing for three prizes. Thank you, everyone that subscribed and promoted the contest!

Here are the winners:

1st Prize: Patrick - Tennessee
2nd Prize: Greg - Michigan
3rd Prize: George - Tennessee

Congratulations to Patrick, Greg, and George!


What they won:

3rd place - The choice of a Campaign Bumper Sticker from Schiff2010 or Rand2010

2nd place - A "Don't Tread On Me" T-shirt from ReTeaParty.com

1st place - A "Don't Tread On Me" T-Shirt and Campaign Bumper Sticker (also courtesy of ReTeaParty.com), as well as a copy of "The Revolution: A Manifesto" by Congressman Ron Paul (Amazon.com's "Most Loved" Book of 2008):




The Sponsor - PEAC PAC

The Political Exploration and Awareness Committee, PAC (PEAC PAC) is a grassroots effort to provide support and organization for independent individuals and organizations to organize events more efficiently. They operate a few websites that I help contribute articles to such as:

ReTeaParty.com
Schiff2010.com
Rand2010.com
JudgeNapolitano.com

I personally support their efforts, love the political activism they are bringing to the table, and am honored to have had their sponsorship to make great prizes available for this contest.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Education, Choice, and Change


I've recently been enjoying the barrage of articles over at Cato on the recent death (or murder) of the D.C. voucher program (see here for Cato articles on education, most of the recent of which deal with the voucher scandal). If you're unfamiliar with this situation in particular or education vouchers in general, allow me to explain: In Washington, D.C. they've had a voucher program. This basically allows students to take tax money that would have been spent educating them in public schools and spend it in private schools. Thus poor students who can't afford to choose private schools otherwise can afford it by using the tax money that would have been spent on their public education. Research has shown that the voucher program in DC has produced better results for less money spent per pupil. Yet, the DC voucher program has been killed, and before it was killed, the research demonstrating its effectiveness was conveniently kept quiet. This is outrageous. What is most outrageous is the excuse given. As Neal McCluskey at Cato points out, killing the voucher program is done in the same name every Obama administration policy is: change. The reality, as McCluskey points out, is that the voucher program in fact challenges everything about the status quo. Vouchers seek the good of the consumer, not of entrenched interests like teachers unions. It is killing the voucher program that is a blind acceptance of the status quo!

This fact, it seems to me, is rather obvious. As far as I am concerned it does not matter whether or not Arne Duncan, the Secretary of Education around whom all the controversy has swirled, intentionally hid the study showing the effectiveness of the voucher program. This study only confirms a rather simple intuitive notion: stifling free thinking by uniformity is bad for education. This is a simple fact people have recognized for ages. I was struck today by the simplicity of this fact when reading "Education, Help or Hindrance" by Auberon Herbert. Herbert, an Englishman writing nearly 130 years ago, recognized a simple fact that Obama, Duncan, and the like cannot seem to grasp:
Therefore, if you desire progress, you must not make it difficult for men to think and act differently; you must not dull their senses with routine or stamp their imagination with the official pattern of some great department. If you desire progress, you must remove all obstacles that impede for each man the exercise of his reasoning and imaginative faculties in his own way; and you must do nothing to lessen the rewards which he expects in return for his exertions. And in what does this reward consist? Often in the simple triumph of the truth of some opinion. It is marvelous how much toil men will undergo for the sake of their ideas; how cheerfully they will devote life, strength, and enjoyment to the work of convincing others of the existence of some fact or the truth of some view. But if such forces are to be placed at the service of society, it must be on the condition that society should not throw artificial and almost insuperable obstacles in the way of those reformers who search for better methods. If, for example, a man holding new views about education can at once address himself to those in sympathy with him, can at once collect funds and proceed to try his experiment, he sees his goal in front of him, and labors in the expectation of obtaining some practical result to his labor. But if some great official system blocks the way, if he has to overcome the stolid resistance of a department, to persuade a political party, which has no sympathy with views holding out no promise of political advantage, to satisfy inspectors, whose eyes are trained to see perfection of only one kind, and who may summarily condemn his school as “inefficient,” and therefore disallowed by law, if in the meantime he is obliged by rates and taxes to support a system to which he is opposed, it becomes unlikely that his energy and confidence in his own views will be sufficient to inspire a successful resistance to such obstacles.

The simple fact of the matter is that a lack of school choice encourages stagnation. How can a system without competition, without conflict ever produce new fresh ideas? Herbert recognized this in his own time, and the English system he describes sounds eerily like our own:
Add one more consideration. A great department must be by the law of its own condition unfavorable to new ideas. To make a change it must make a revolution. Our Education Department, for example, cannot issue an edict which applies to certain school boards and not to others. It knows and can know of no exceptions. Our bastard system of half-central half-local government is contrived with great ingenuity to render all such experiments impossible. If the center were completely autocratic (which Heaven forbid) it could try experiments as it chose; if the localities were independent, each could act for itself. At present our arrangements permit of only intolerable uniformity.

Could there be a better description of contemporary American schools? It's uncanny. A "bastard system of half-central half-local government"! If that doesn't describe our system I do not know what does! In 19th century England and 21st century America the truth is the same: the best way to improve education is to allow alternative models to compete. And the reality is, as Herbert recognized long ago, different approaches cannot compete effectively when they are competing before bureaucrats. The best arbiter of competing ideas about education is not a bunch of Washington bureaucrats who fail or refuse to read their own department's studies on the effectiveness of school choice; it is the consumer of education: the parents.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Defending The Tax Day Tea Parties From The Social Democrats

Lord North - Painting by: Nathaniel Dance

There are a lot of naysayers and critics opposed to the nation-wide Tax Day Tea Party protests that took place in hundreds of cities across the United States. When annoyed at their remarks, it helps me to look at the picture above, a painting of Lord North- a fat, stupid, incompetent London bureaucrat who opposed and criticized the original Boston Tea Party. He is truly the spiritual and intellectual ancestor of the modern naysayers.

They write smug little columns and make smug remarks on television news networks, saying that the analogy is false and overblown, arguing that we do not face the abuses our tea partying forefathers did. Let's put this claim to the test. I've already argued ad nauseam here that we are suffering taxation without representation because bills are being crafted and amended in secret, closed-door committee meetings and put to a vote just hours later before any of our representatives have a chance to read them. I've already argued that spending bills in D.C. have now become so large (surpassing the entire cost of World War II, in fact) that they necessarily indebt our children, who we cannot fairly argue have representation in Congress. But the similarities run deeper than taxation without representation... much deeper.

The situation in 1773 was eerily similar to ours today. The British Empire had run up heavy debts from a long war with France. The global economy was shaky. High taxes and heavy regulations were taking their toll on British companies, and one of them in particular- the East India Trading Company- seemed in danger of going under due to a "near term liquidity crisis." After determining that it was "too big to fail," the British Parliament passed the Tea Act, a bailout of the East India Trading Company. Incensed about the taxes levied under this plan in violation of the principle of taxation without representation, the colonists erupted in protest. Predictably, the British public was unhappy with the colonists' reaction.

So Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman can keep the insults flying (in the New York Times he wrote of the Tea Parties that "Republicans have become embarrassing to watch. And it doesn't feel right to make fun of crazy people."). He, and Keith Olbermann, and all the rest of them can keep scoffing. They can keep drinking the Kool Aid while we're sipping down our tea, because they're in good company with the original mediocre bailout apologists like Lord North. It is only fitting that such opponents of liberty should fall into line with our Founding Fathers' contemporary antagonists. And yet even Lord North did not support actions as wildly tyrannical as those we suffer today.

I submit that Washington D.C.'s treatment of Americans in 2009 is inarguably far worse than that of London's in 1773. The taxes we fought a revolutionary war over back then are a pittance compared to the kind of taxes we pay today. In truth, the Tea Act had the practical effect of making English tea cheaper for Americans, who were actually paying more for illegal, smuggled Dutch tea. They protested on principle because of the taxes levied in that act. Today they would have principle and tax slavery as motivators. Think I'm exaggerating? The average American family pays 40% of its earnings in taxes. So if you're average, you work for the government from January 1 to May 26. Only on May 27 do you start working for yourself. And as government spending explodes from already unprecedented levels, it will only get worse.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The April 15 Tax Day Tea Party Protest

Feb 27th Tea Party Protest - Nashville, TN © 2009 W. E. Messamore

Nationwide 'tea party' protests blast bailout:

(CNN) -- Conservatives are showing they know their way around the Internet just as well as liberals, as more than 300 organized "tea party" protests raged across the nation Wednesday. The protests are a backlash against President Obama's bailout policies.

...

Conservatives have borrowed a page from Obama's Web-savvy style which he leaned on heavily during the '08 campaign and still uses to push initiatives.

...

Protesters on Wednesday said like their colonial forebears, they felt that their voices were not being heard by their government.

Today is a proud day for Americans to stand together in defiance of their government's long list of abuses. The history of the present reigning establishment in Washington D.C. is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these United States of America. To prove this, let the facts be submitted to a candid world:

Washington politicians have repeatedly ignored and defied the Constitution, the Supreme Law of the United States of America.

They have usurped the sovereign powers and rights that belong to each of the fifty states and to their citizens, respectively.

So many of them are notorious for living scandal-tainted lives lacking utterly in basic human virtue and characterized by corruption, lies, hypocrisy, broken laws, and broken campaign promises.

They eschew reasoned dialectic in favor of spiteful invective and dizzying sophistry, replacing discussion with evasion, debate with obfuscation, and reasoned arguments with the brute force of their laws.

They assume to themselves ever more illegal and unchecked powers and wield them to the detriment of our liberty.

They clamor for endless, expensive, unjustified, and ineffective wars.

They spend our hard-earned money on endless, expensive, unjustified, and ineffective social and economic programs.

Today people are going to ask why you didn't protest while Bush ran his deficits. Ask them why they aren't protesting now. People are going to argue that your historical analogy is false because the original Boston Tea Party was a protest against taxation without representation and that you have representation. Ask them if our children and future generations that will pay for these deficits have a voice or a representative in Congress. Ask them if you are being fairly represented when your representative didn't even have a chance to read the stimulus legislation before it was put to a vote. Ask them whether all the secrecy and closed-door committee meetings in Congress are republican or oligarchical.

Enjoy this day. Be proud of yourself and be proud of your country. I'm very proud to see people taking such an active interest in their future. Just remember that we can't stop with a few demonstrations on the street. We need to roll this into a sustained political and ideological campaign against tyranny. You can read more on that in my March 4th article entitled "The American Tea Party 2009: Goals, Objectives, and Principles."

You can follow any news alerts related to the Tea Party today on Twitter.

Happy protesting!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Follow Me: The Humble Libertarian On Twitter


Hey everybody!

I'm excited to announce The Humble Libertarian is now on Twitter at (http://twitter.com/thehuli).

There are a few reasons why:

1. Breaking News Alerts- Earlier this month I delivered two different stories to you as they were breaking: The Binghamton, New York Shooting Massacre and the Somalian Pirate Hijacking. I don't know how many of you got these stories as they were breaking, but I imagine that far more of you check your Twitter account regularly throughout the day than you do this blog or your feedreader. My hope is to do with Twitter what I cannot effectively do with this website alone, and that is provide you with critical news alerts along with my commentary as the stories are breaking. Using Twitter as a resource, I hope to turn the Humble Libertarian brand into your source for quick, important news updates as well as the libertarian analysis of current events and policy you get here at the blog every day.

2. Live Tweeting- I am also excited about the possibility of "live tweeting" certain important events as they happen. For example, if President Obama gives an important speech and I'd like to cover it live, I can do so from Twitter and you can follow along and join in on the conversation with your live comments. The next time I cover an Obama speech, you can expect a steady, live stream of sarcasm, rebuttals, laughs, and probably utter dismay.

3. Subscription- Some of you may prefer to keep up with my blog updates through Twitter. That's just fine. I'm new to Twitter myself, but I know a lot of people use it more than e-mail these days and if you're one of those people, I want to provide this blog's content to you as conveniently as possible.

4. Featured Links- At the top of this page, I have a short section of featured articles that I have used to highlight previous articles on this blog and to direct your attention to great content on other websites that I considered noteworthy and entirely self-sufficient without any further commentary from me. Instead of cramming up your feedreader with constant post updates, this seemed the best way to share all the good content that I'm reading. Now, I can start using Twitter for the same purpose. I may or may not remove the featured articles from the top of this page. There seem to be a couple good reasons for and against. We'll see.

5. Networking and Promotion- I've heard that you can bring a lot of new traffic to your blog or website through the use of Twitter and I've been very conspicuously enthusiastic about my goal of vastly growing this community of liberty lovers and taking the world by storm! I'm excited to see how many new people- through my use of Twitter- will be exposed to the ideas on this blog and our particular style of presenting them, and who will keep coming back for more. I am also looking forward to networking with libertarians and learning from them. By following their tweets, I hope to get you news alerts even faster, I hope to direct you to even more and better content, and I hope to be able to gather good information to improve the quality of the research that drives The Humble Libertarian's content. If I had Twitter at my disposal while gathering websites for my Top 100 Libertarian Websites List, I likely would have been able to sample libertarians' opinions more quickly and thoroughly and gotten a better list up the first time, instead of relying now on a series of regular revisions as I take comments and e-mails about the list.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter!

So please get in on this great service and follow The Humble Libertarian on Twitter. If you don't have a Twitter account, you totally need to get one. I was late getting on board with it, but it's value (no matter what your goals) is colossal, and I expect that the more I use it the more apparent that will become. I'm also working on how to integrate it into this website. For now, I have a flash widget at the bottom of the page under the posts. I'm considering putting it in the sidebar or replacing the Featured Articles section with it. I'm also considering not integrating it at all and just providing a link to my twitter page in the sidebar. If you have any suggestions or preferences, please let me know in the comments. Also, if you have any helpful tips for using Twitter as I'm new to it, those will be appreciated.