Friday, October 30, 2009

Alcohol and cigarettes are more harmful than Ecstasy and LSD?

"Ecstasy, LSD and cannabis are less dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes, the Government’s chief drug adviser claims today.

Professor David Nutt is calling for a new 'index of harm' to warn the public about the relative dangers of various substances.

He says alcohol should rank fifth, behind only cocaine, heroin, barbiturates and methadone, while tobacco should rank ninth, ahead of cannabis, LSD and Ecstasy.

His comments are likely to prove explosive, given the seniority of his position. Professor Nutt has also courted controversy in the past - by suggesting taking ecstasy was no more dangerous than riding a horse."

Read the rest here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Latest poll results shed light on critical issues


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

Based on the latest polls, Americans want a public health care option, they don't want to send more troops to Afghanistan, and they don't like the GOP.

This is not surprising since the GOP, on the whole, advocates a second surge in Afghanistan and is resistant to any type of public option. Let's take a closer look at the numbers.

In a CNN Poll, 52% of Americans believe Afghanistan is turning into "another Vietnam", while 46% disagree. 59% oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan, while 39% support sending more. Of the 59% opposed to more troops, 49% support a partial or full-scale withdrawal.

Greater than 67% believe that Afghanistan will not have a stable government in the next few years, although a similar percentage feels an American presence is necessary to assist the Afghan government and to prevent the reemergence of Al-Qaeda.

In a Quinnipiac Poll, 61% of voters want a public option, although voters, by a margin of 47% to 40%, disapprove of President Obama's health care reform plan. By a margin of 57% to 37%, voters do not want Congress to approve health care reform without a single Republican vote. In addition, 71% of voters believe health care reform will add to the deficit, while 19% disagree.

Regarding the GOP, only 25% of voters have a favorable opinion of the party, and only 29% believe the GOP is acting in good faith on the Hill.

So, what can we ascertain from these numbers?

On Afghanistan, a majority opposes more troops, and a near majority supports either a partial or full-scale withdrawal. However, a strong majority accepts the premise that an American presence of some kind is necessary to stabilize the nation and prevent Al-Qaeda from utilizing it as a staging ground to attack our nation.

Though these numbers may be a bit contradictory, they would seem to support a third, viable option for Afghanistan: Withdraw most of our troops, but utilize special ops, drone attacks, air strikes, cruise missiles, and a vigilant, nearby naval presence to contain Al-Qaeda.

On health care, a strong majority supports a public option, but a near majority rejects Obama's reform plan, which is still keeping the government plan alive. Perhaps the near majority is more of a reflection of Democrats that demand a public option in any plan.

And although most support more government-based health care reform, a vast majority believes such a plan will add to the deficit, even though this contradicts Obama's and the CBO's projections. As a result, there seems to be a consensus that Americans desire strong health care reform, including a public option, even though they believe it will add more debt.

On the Republican Party, the vast majority disapprove at this time. This could be due to the fact that Republicans have posed vociferous opposition to the public option, formidable opposition to Obama's huge budget deficits, and strong support for more troops and a longer stay in Afghanistan.

Or, it could be due to the perception of hypocrisy, since the previous Administration ran huge deficits, added trillions of dollars of debt, and bailed out Wall Street with trillions in taxpayer dollars. Or, more simply, it could be due to the rancorous partisanship wars between major media outlets.

What do you think about these polls? What do they say about voters? What do they mean for America? What does it mean for the Republican Party? Let's hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Gov. Schwarzenegger Memo Contains "F*** You" Acrostic (Expletive Warning)

(Image of the actual memo)

From the Huffington Post:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger typically attaches a message to bills he signs or vetoes telling lawmakers why he took the action.

A Democratic assemblyman who heckled the governor during a recent event in San Francisco actually received two messages: the veto letter itself and a not-so-subtle rebuke creatively hidden within it.

Like a find-the-word puzzle, the second message was visible by stringing together the first letter of each line down the left-hand margin. It consisted of a common four-letter vulgarity followed by the letters "y-o-u."

Wow. So what's the verdict, people?

Hilarious coincidence or deliberate insult?

Aristotle, Obama, and Vanity

Photo by geckowithcanon


By: Ben Bryan
, THL Contributor

I stumbled upon this today while rereading Book Four of Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics:

Vain people, on the other hand, are fools and ignorant of themselves, and conspicuously so; for thinking themselves capable of honorable undertakings, they make the attempt, and they are exposed. And they adorn themselves in dress and pose for effect and do other such things... thinking that through these they will be honored.

Could there be a better description of the Obama administration?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ten Reasons to Love Capitalism

Despite what Michael Moore says, this video contains at least ten reasons to love capitalism. Can you spot all ten?



1. Capitalism brought us retail grocery stores with an abundance, diversity, and affordable price of food unprecedented in the history of the world.

2. American commercial theater, which strongly influenced this video, developed in the heart of capitalist New York over the past two centuries.

3. No capitalism, no Internet. No Internet, no hilarious, low-budget videos like this.

4. Capitalism brought us YouTube, a perfect distribution medium for such videos.

5. Capitalism brought us high-quality digital cameras, recording equipment, and video editing software.

6. You can thank capitalism for the energy that powered the abovementioned equipment to produce this video, and your computer so that you can watch it.

7. Before capitalism, people toiled remarkably long hours just to subsist. Art and leisure remained largely the purview of wealthy aristocrats. Post-capitalism, these young people had the leisure to produce this video, and you have the time to watch it because capital makes your labor more productive, allowing you to work fewer hours, while making more income, to buy more affordable products than in the entire history of the world!

8. Capitalism is about individualism. Individuals get to make their own decisions according to their personal tastes and preferences. Capitalism is about freedom, not only the freedom to produce and trade, but the freedom to be different, the freedom to be weird! Thank goodness for that freedom, because this video made me smile today.

9. Capitalism is about collective groups of people cooperating harmoniously. Don't believe me? Think about all the total strangers who cooperated to bring you this video. The people who made it, the people who made the equipment with which they made it, the employees at Google, which owns YouTube, the workers at your power plant who power your computer, and so on!

10. Compare infant mortality rates of former capitalist countries with non-capitalist countries, or those of the pre-capitalist and post-capitalist world, and a stark contrast emerges. It is remarkable, but true to say that without capitalism, a tenth or more (at least) of the people in the video would not have been there and a tenth of you would not be alive to read these words.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Interview with The Cato Institute's Malou Innocent on U.S. Foreign & Military Policy


Last week, Ryan Jaroncyk and I had the exciting privilege of interviewing Cato scholar and Foreign Policy Analyst, Malou Innocent.

We ended up covering America's overall foreign policy and what principles should direct it, the war in Afghanistan, the war against Al-Qaeda, Obama's undeserved Nobel Peace Prize, the widely-ignored PTSD epidemic in our military, nuclear policy, and ideas for revising U.S. foreign policy to keep America safe.

Below is a text transcript of the first half of this hour long interview. You are free to browse and read it at your leisure, but I highly recommend that you listen to the entire interview here.


Wes Messamore: Malou? You're on the air!


Malou Innocent: Thank you for having me.


Wes Messamore: Ryan, you there?


Ryan Jaroncyk: Yes I am! Hello, Wes. Hello, Malou.


Malou Innocent: Hey Ryan.


Wes Messamore: It was good corresponding with you to get this all set up. I want to start off with your fundamental underlying principles that inform your view of American foreign and military policy, and use that as a common thread throughout this discussion. So what should be the goal of U.S. foreign policy?


Malou Innocent: Well I think the goal of U.S. foreign policy should be to keep America safe, and I think as libertarians, we should want to limit military action to situations that threaten U.S. sovereignty and territorial integrity.

We believe that attempts to remake the world in our own image are abuses of American power, and such foreign interventions motivate terrorists to attack the United States, foreign powers to make alliances against the United States, they usually fail to achieve their intended results, and they put financial burdens on the American taxpayer.

So across the board, we would be for military restraint.


Wes Messamore: So the goal is to keep America safe, to protect its sovereignty, and territorial integrity, and the goal is not to remake the world in our own image or get involved in other people's affairs.


Malou Innocent: Absolutely. And this sort of dovetails with Afghanistan and the conflation we see with Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Al-Qaeda was responsible for 9-11. It is a transnational Jihadist network in countries across the world- Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan, the Philippines- and yet we've lumped them in with the Taliban, which is a guerrilla Jihadi group which is indigenous to the Pashtun people of Afghanistan.

And it appears that we've broadened the number of enemies and we're telling the U.S. public that we need to protect the villages of Afghanistan from the Taliban. That's a much different objective than what we had before.


Wes Messamore: It seems that the objective always keeps changing and is always a bit ambiguous, over there and in all our foreign adventures.


Malou Innocent: Right and I think what ends up happening with this "mission creep" that we've seen in Afghanistan is that in lumping different groups and them all becoming our enemies, and what I fear is that the longer we stay in Afghanistan and the more money we spend, the more we'll feel compelled to remain there to validate our investment.

That's sort of a self-imposed predicament- and it's plagued us all the time in war. I think no matter what we do- whether we stay or withdraw, Al-Qaeda will always twist it into a victory. If we stay in the region, our military will always appear bogged down, our mission will always seem aimless, and we will continue to incur civilian casualties, which will erode support for our occupation.

So either way, Al-Qaeda will twist it into a victory- so we should just do what's best for U.S. interests, so instead of pouring resources into a money pit, we should look at fiscal discipline, what's best for the United States, and what's best for our soldiers.


Wes Messamore: So you're rebutting the idea that we'd appear weak if we withdraw from Afghanistan. What about the objection that we'd actually be weakened by withdrawal- that we'd see a resurgence of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda if we draw down forces in the region and not continue nation-building?


Malou Innocent: I don't think we'll see that occur- maybe some elements would be emboldened by a withdrawal, but the Al-Qaeda network doesn't have much esteem in much of the Muslim world. In fact, we've seriously degraded Al-Qaeda's global capabilities- and that's been a success, and we haven't pushed that hard enough on the PR side.

Instead we've gotten bogged down in Afghanistan with the Taliban. Insurgencies themselves are very difficult to combat. It's a faceless enemy that can easily melt back into the population. With Al-Qaeda though, it's been different- it's been a success. And we're not weak by any stretch of the imagination.


Wes Messamore: Did I understand you correctly, when you said in the Muslim world that there is a negative perception of Al-Qaeda?


Malou Innocent: Yes.


Wes Messamore: I did not know that- what you always hear is that "Maybe there is just a radical militant fringe in Islam, but no mainstream non-militant Muslims condemn them."


Malou Innocent: Many Muslims perceive that the primary victims of Al-Qaeda have been Muslims, which has led to the marginalization of the group itself. Many of the victims of this network have disproportionately been Muslims.


Wes Messamore: That's just something you never hear. The perception is that there is this Muslim conspiracy or imperialism- you get this whole narrative that Islam is seeking to conquer the whole world, and if it's not an extreme terrorist, that even if it's just a normal Muslim family living in- pick a country: Iran, Egypt, Indonesia- that their sympathies lie with these terrorist groups. But instead- they think these terrorists are as much a threat to their way of life as we do in America?

...Ryan- feel free to jump in with any questions you have...


Ryan Jaroncyk: Yes- Malou, I have a question about Al-Qaeda. Where is Al-Qaeda in the world? Where are the "hot spots?"


Malou Innocent: Yes- in Somalia, we believe there are Al-Qaeda operatives working. We've attacked some there with drones. We believe there is some Al-Qaeda activity in the Philippines. But the leadership of Al-Qaeda is believed to be in Pakistan, in the lawless, tribal regions between Afghanistan and Pakistan. The number one in line and number two are believed to be in the Pakistani border lands.

The best way we have been able to snatch Al-Qaeda operatives is for the CIA to cooperate with foreign law enforcement- not necessarily blunt military force. The notion that to counter Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan- I disagree that we need sixty thousand or eighty thousand troops. Then do we need as many troops in the Philippines? In Pakistan? In Somalia?


Ryan Jaroncyk: Going back to a big picture question- with a restrained military policy, where would we place our troops and what would our budget look like?


Malou Innocent: My colleague at Cato, Justin Logan, is a real expert on a lot of these "nuts and bolts" aspects of our foreign policy. Here's what I think he would say:

Logistically- before we begin to scale down our troops, we need to scale down our missions. We still have commitments to protect Northern and Eastern Europe, the Korean peninsula, Taiwan- we need to scale back these commitments first. If we narrow troops first, while remaining committed to these countries, we'll put a greater burden on a smaller number of remaining troops.

So first, we need to revise our commitments to other countries and determine whether military threats to these other countries pose an existential threat to the United States. And we need to determine whether these commitments to other countries affect our deterrent policies.


Ryan Jaroncyk: Let's take missile defense as an example: do you think Europe, Korea, and Japan possess the capability to provide their own missile defense?


Malou Innocent: Well with Japan and South Korea for instance, many of these countries can defend themselves. They do have civilian nuclear power and could weaponize it, according to some estimates, in as little as a year. Protecting them is just a holdover from the Cold War.

The notion of NATO in itself, is just a bulwark against Soviet Expansion into Europe, again a holdover from the Cold War. France and Britain are two nuclear armed powers that don't need to be protected by us.


Wes Messamore: Okay- so let's connect the dots between our "over-stretchedness" around the world and the underlying principle of keeping America safe. Do our present policies make America more or less safe?


Malou Innocent: They do waste a lot of money, and they do make America less safe. They also give Americans the false sense of assurance that we remain safe. 9-11 happened at the height of our military presence around the world. So it's not clear that deploying our military around the world is a necessary or sufficient condition to making America more safe.

In fact, the Government Accountability Office did a test run just a few months ago, taking bomb making materials into ten Federal buildings. They ordered them for $150 off the Internet, they could assemble them in just ten minutes, they got into every single building- the Justice Dept, the State Dept- and it just goes to show that a fairly secure building in the United States could come under attack, even with our military presence abroad.


Wes Messamore: What are the most imminent threats to our national security then? What makes America less safe?


Malou Innocent: Sadly- I think it's our very own foreign policies. Not only do they induce debt creation, but they fulfill the Al-Qaeda narrative. For example, the recent elections in Afghanistan showed how pervasively corrupt the Afghanistan regime is.

One of the motivating factors for these terrorists who attacked us on 9-11 is our support abroad for corrupt and illegitimate regimes. And that's what we're doing now. Cato's position is that intervention abroad is strongly correlated with more terrorist attacks.

Across the board, our own policies induce the threats that we are trying to defend ourselves against.


Wes Messamore: So foreign invasion, open war, none of those are real threats to our security- you'd say the biggest threat is international terrorism? And that the ultimate cause of that is our own foreign policy?


Malou Innocent: No- I'd say the primary threat is our belief that we should be intervening so much. Not necessarily the terrorists themselves.


Wes Messamore: I'd agree. I'd say that if we scientifically look into the causes of terrorism- that it is U.S. foreign policy. Cato itself did a report in 1998 based off of DOD data that showed that increased U.S. military intervention overseas is directly correlated with higher incidences of terrorism.

[You can read that foreign policy brief here]

So I'd say that scientifically, it's just true that our policies are breeding terrorism overseas. But that view is not very palatable to many Americans, especially those who identify themselves as "conservative" or "strong-on-defense" because they feel like you're blaming America. How can we make that idea more palatable?


Malou Innocent: You raise an interesting point. There is the perception that if you critique U.S. policy or U.S. foreign policy, that you hate the United States. But take me for example- I'm for military restraint, and for me at least- I love the U.S. military and its men and women in uniform. That's part of why I want to bring them home.

And you are right that the empirical data shows U.S. action abroad incites more terrorist attacks against the United States. In fact, the 2004 task force that was hand picked by Donald Rumsfeld's Pentagon to assess the Bush Administration's anti-terrorism efforts, found that the underlying threat to American interests is its intervention overseas and its occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.

That was Rumsfeld's Pentagon. So we're not talking about Cindy Sheehan or dirt-worshiping tree huggers. Those were the findings of a Republican administration and Pentagon. So I think bringing those facts to light will help show that critiquing U.S. foreign policy is what's best for U.S. foreign policy.

[You can read the entire report here]


Wes Messamore: I also think that government grows when we grow the welfare state, but it also grows when we grow the warfare state- and that the more we can make that connection- to the point of saying- because it's true but also because it has powerful rhetorical effect- that warfare is often welfare for other countries. Nation building is welfare for other countries. And if we as conservatives and libertarians oppose welfare here at home, shouldn't we oppose it even more for non-U.S. citizens with our tax money?


Malou Innocent: Exactly. Thank you! I'm so glad to hear you say that, and I wish more people would. I think it's bizarre when libertarians and conservatives believe in as little government as humanly possible, but don't see the full force of their support for intervention abroad.

Also, our notions of freedom and justice may differ throughout the world, so imposing them on other cultures may not be effective or right because they limit voluntary human action abroad. For example, you can't see me because we're on the phone, but I'm wearing a sleeveless top right now, and in some areas of the world, that is considered dishonorable.

So we cannot assume that imposing our form of governance will be readily accepted by people around the world.


Wes Messamore: And even if we believe that our notions of liberty transcend cultural differences, even if we want to say- and I would tend to say- that if a culture is okay with certain forms of oppression or limitations on human free agency, that that culture is wrong (about that anyway).

It doesn't follow that the imposition of freedom on that culture will be effective or even make any kind of sense. I'm reminded of an episode of that Matt Groening show Futurama, where a character says "We will show the world of our peaceful ways- through force!" That's exactly how it sounds to me.

---

For Malou Innocent's response and for the second half of this interview (which includes a lot of answers to some great, very specific policy questions from Ryan Jaroncyk as well as Malou's thoughts on Obama's recent Nobel Peace Prize)- please listen to the entire thing here.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mainstream Media


Editor's Note: Inspired by "Indexed"

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Joe and Dick's War of Words


"Who cares" what Dick Cheney says?

In his recent interview with a pool of reporters, Vice President Joe Biden responded to Cheney's blistering criticism that the Obama Administration is "'dithering' on ordering more troops to Afghanistan, as he plows through an exhaustive review of US strategy in Afghanistan and Pakistan."

"I think that is absolutely wrong," Biden added, checking himself before completely finishing the statement, noting his gaffe-prone speaking history: "Who cares what-- Yeah, yeah, I can see the headline now. I'm getting better, guys. I'm getting a little better, you know what I mean?"

Now I agree with Vice President Biden on Mr. Cheney's relevance: Who cares? I will in fact say what the current Vice President cannot say because it would make way too awesome of a headline coming from him: Dick Cheney needs to shut his mouth.

Former Presidents and Vice Presidents need to back off of engaging in partisan politics and direct critiques of sitting Presidents. It is an unwelcome development and precedent in the history of American politics as far as I'm concerned. I'm getting sick of Dick Cheney's embarrassing and improper displays of remarkable arrogance and no sense of boundaries.

I must also say that however distasteful it is coming from Mr. Cheney (especially given his abysmal record of foreign policy flops), that the critique itself is absolutely right, Joe Biden's denials notwithstanding. Obama is dithering on Afghanistan and our troops are suffering for it.

The Commander-in-Chief has time to involve himself in the Olympic Committee's selection process, hold a "beer summit," attend the First Lady's rigorous schedule of White House ceremonies and parties, and over-use a complicit media to sell an unpopular health reform plan, but doesn't have time to make a decision about Afghanistan while more troops are dying there than ever before?

Get with the program, Mr. President! It's not all fun, games, parties, adulation, and hero-worship. You ran for an office that has very serious responsibilities and it is more than infuriating to see you winning a Nobel Peace Prize while sitting on your hands and letting America's best, brightest, and bravest young men and women die.

Interview With Chris Simcox


Earlier this month I had the exciting privilege of conducting a live interview for thirty minutes with Chris Simcox, John McCain's truly-conservative Republican Primary challenger in Arizona. As I joked in our interview, he made way too much sense to be a candidate for U.S. Senate!

In addition to his Senate bid against a national figure like John McCain, Chris Simcox is a national figure himself with a lot of very interesting and surprising things to say in our interview about his founding and leadership of the Minute Men Civil Defense Corps.

You can listen to the interview in its entirety here, or you can read the abbreviated text transcript of the interview below to get a sense of what was said and where Mr. Simcox stands on the issues. If you agree with what he says, please learn more about him at this campaign website and consider pledging $50 to his campaign for his November 5th Money Bomb.

---

Wes Messamore: To dive right into the interview: the question I asked RJ Harris, when I interviewed him a couple weeks back, I asked him: What would you say to people who think that running against a Republican incumbent hurts party unity? How would you answer that question?


Chris Simcox: I think that part of the problems that we're facing have been created by partisan politics. It's about promoting the values of a certain party even when you don't stand behind those principles- or the platform.

We're in this mess because of a process-oriented government that's based on a two party system that is not outcome based in terms of solving problems. That's why we're challenging the status quo- we're challenging incumbents.

If you wanna play "party," go ahead. I'm interested in representing the people of Arizona and the people of the United States and actually getting something done in Washington by not playing party politics.


Wes Messamore: Your campaign website has a Simcox vs. McCain page, but it's still under construction. McCain is a very national figure of course. He ran against President Obama in 2008. Give us a breakdown since the page is still under construction, how do you measure up to John McCain and what do you have to offer that he doesn't?


Chris Simcox: Well Wes, it's great to speak to you tonight, and everybody who's listening, and I'm glad that this is going to be recorded and replayed. Frankly, when I put up a website when I announced my candidacy, I announced that I think every candidate should start on a level playing field. I purposefully am thinking out of the box. I don't think I should put up a platform or say how I'm going to challenge John McCain without seeing what the people want first.

So that page is part of the old school template for running for office. And frankly, I decided not to even pay attention to it. I'm not actually running against John McCain... because you just can't run against him. I wouldn't do that. I have too much respect for him. What I'm doing is taking this seat and the idea of Government 101 that there's this open seat that's available to the citizens of Arizona.

So I just want to present an alternative to the voters so that their only choice isn't the party incumbent who's basically bought and paid for, and you're going to vote for him no matter what if the party tells you too. And I think people are breaking away from that. I think people are looking at a brash new approach to putting humble, and common citizens (and frankly not so common- I consider a lot of my fellow Americans who are paying attention to be extraordinary in their ability to figure out what's going on and to fix problems)...

So in that sense of going against John McCain. I'm not doing that. This is about representing the people, going to the U.S. Senate, being a 10th Amendment Senator, representing the Bill of Rights, and representing the rights of the people.


Wes Messamore: A lot of Americans don't like the direction this country is going- in terms of the economy, and people are also clamoring for reform of health care. What specific solutions do you have for the problems that are really mattering to Americans right now?


Chris Simcox: It's a shame we're wasting so much time on an irrelevant issue. We've spent eight or nine months now debating health care, something clearly not acceptable to most of the American people, businesses, the free market, or the Constitution. If I were a U.S. Senator right now, I'd be working to expose how it's unconstitutional in its premise and say that we instead we need to fix what we've already convinced the people to accept 30 years ago with Medicare.

We've wasted a lot of time we should have been using to figure out how to audit Medicare and fixing the problems we have with our national health care system that we pay for now. So it's a moot point frankly. Going back to John McCain vs. Chris Simcox: that would be one of my statements there- that John McCain is going around talking about health care instead of talking about how unconsitutional the premise is and leading a movement in the Senate to say let's stop this and reform Medicare.


Wes Messamore: Another thing Senator McCain voted for last fall was the TARP corporate bailout. That's a great litmus test to see if someone is a true constitutional conservative or toeing the party line and rewarding corporate lobbying. How would you have voted on that if you were in the Senate?


Chris Simcox: Absolutely no. I would have been absolutely leading the charge to expose how that would have been bad for America, unconstitutional, and poor legislation. You have everyone out there trying to reshape what the Founding Fathers made pretty cut and dry, pretty simple to understand. There's no way McCain should have voted for that. I would have voted against it. And right now, I would be sure to "dog" every bean-counter to account for where all those funds are going.


Wes Messamore: I see- well those are issues that I think a lot of Americans- especially with this resurgent, grassroots, center-right movement- I think a lot of them who will play a major role in elections in 2010 would agree with what you're saying.


Chris Simcox: If I may interject- there are a lot of people in the Republican party- true constitutional conservatives, who will question why I won't get involved in the process. And I want to show them that the process itself is the problem. Government has no business being involved in "process." Government should be able to identify a problem, assess the resources it has available, then decide on an approach that is practical.

In 1959-1960, the legislation that built our entire Interstate Highway System in America was only about 30 pages. Then look at today's legislation, which is boxes of pages. Central planning and control over our health care is just another brick in the wall that is socialism. Once government is involved in competition, then that is a giant step towards socialism and government control of the markets.


Wes Messamore: You're making too much sense to be running for the U.S. Senate, sir!


Chris Simcox: *laughter* That's what it's about right? Challenging the status quo. To go up there and say "You guys are wearing no clothes!" And the people are also saying "Get back to work!"


Wes Messamore: I think in 2010, we might be able to make some major strides towards a true "Citizen Congress," and it would be very emblematic of that if you could topple Senator McCain who was just a year ago, the Republican Nominee to run for President.

As the Founder of the Minute Man Civil Defense Corps- that's a huge issue: could you please briefly talk about that and how that would inform your view of foreign policy and border policy?


Chris Simcox: That is an important credential that would qualify me to serve in Congress. I never would have imagined eight years ago when I left my job as a teacher, started a small business... and then 9-11 happened. And it deeply affected me. Then on a chance trip to the border, I saw that we had a way to fight City Hall.

This wasn't about the people who are crossing the border, it's about a failure of our government. The people crossing is just a symptom of failed government here. And this was about protecting private property rights- for those hardcore libertarians listening. This is affecting private property owners in American in ways the people listening cannot imagine.

We wanted to freely associate, gather, seek redress of grievances from our government, and expose a major problem to national defense, public safety, and human rights on our borders- on both borders. That's what the minutemen were all about. That is my credential- that I've been battling government, battling the status quo, battling the Bush administration, and fighting for years.

And the Senior Senator from my state has done everything to try and put me out of business, but they haven't succeeded and I'm here to take it to the next level.


Wes Messamore: So you would ironically describe yourself as more of a maverick than Senator McCain?


Chris Simcox: I don't describe myself as anything other than a God-fearing, God-loving American citizen who loves my family, loves my country, loves my Constitution and is desperately fighting for the future of my children and everyone else's children- the posterity of this great country.


Wes Messamore: And to clarify about the Minutemen- it is my understanding of the Minutemen, that they do not actually confront people crossing the border. They simply gather information and report it to local law enforcement. Is that correct?


Chris Simcox: Yes that is correct. We simply gather information and report it to the proper authorities. We also provide humanitarian, life-saving aid to people who would have died in the desert. We've saved hundreds of lives and helped save women who would have been sold into the sex slave industry.

So when I talk about the human rights issue- that is something that many "too hardcore" libertarians don't think about when it comes to the free market. When people are being exploited or killed- there's nothing free about that...


Wes Messamore: Right- I would agree with that. That if people are being enslaved or killed, that it's not a free market because those people are being coerced, they're not free.


Chris Simcox: Thank you for saying that.


Wes Messamore: As libertarians who believe in human liberty- human trafficking and slavery should be one of our number one priorities to oppose, and I didn't know that about the Minutemen that they did that- that's very impressive.


Chris Simcox: That's just something that comes with the territory. Part of the demonization and vilification of what we're trying to do- and which has been turned into a race issue. But it has nothing to do with that. While we've been playing politics, people have been dying by the thousands, by the tens of thousands.


Wes Messamore: I could have you on again, and we could discuss just this one issue the whole time. There is a lot of nuance to it a lot of ground to cover.


Chris Simcox: And Wes- I challenge every listener and anyone who thinks this has been a publicity stunt or that it's political motivated: I challenge you to go out there and experience what I've experienced- to recover bodies in the desert.

To see people walking hundreds of miles to escape an oppressive government to end up in a country with a government that wants to exploit them, and that died along their path- and I mean men, women, and children, and the fact that we've saved so many.

You want to talk about liberty and freedom? Yeah- it is a very nuanced issue. I am trying to expose the great big picture for everyone. I threw the first tea party down there in 2002, and tried to awaken the sleeping giant, and am frankly glad that it has been awakened.


Wes Messamore: You have a money bomb site at KOMcCain.com. I think most people listening know what a money bomb is, but would you briefly explain that? What a money bomb is all about?


Chris Simcox: I wish I knew. *laughter* You could call it the new age direct mail campaign to educate people, reach people, get them to open their minds, pay attention, and open their wallets to help sponsor the revolution that is taking place.

Last night I did two campaign events in Tuscon, Arizona, and it was great to say to people all I need from you is your vote, and fifty dollars. Have you ever heard a politician say "All I need is fifty dollars?" Because that is what it comes down to, is money.

I'm a blue collar American, I've raised five children on a teacher's salary and an activist's salary, and I've never made more than $100,000, so I know what it's like to have to budget. I won't ask people to write a check for $2,400 for a federal race.

But if I get a million or half a million people out there to say "I hear what you're saying and I believe you'll represent me, so I'm willing to put up fifty dollars" because that's all we're asking for by November 5th.

Go to KOMcCain and make that pledge to support my campaign to battle the status quo and to put you and I back into office.


Wes Messamore: I read recently that Senator McCain having run for President, has the largest donor list in the country, and I'm sure he has very deep pockets because of his corporate lobbying friends and Washington Establishment buddies, who want to keep him in power.

So I guess that underscores the needs for grassroots people to back up your campaign. Do you have any corporate lobbyists funding you?


Chris Simcox: None! And I wouldn't accept them if they did. I cannot do this alone. So please check me out and consider supporting me, and look at the other candidates.

Because if we can send five freshman Senators to Washington with this kind of attitude, that's quite a coalition to be the spark that ignites and is the catalyst for this revolution that we need to bring government back to its roots and its common sense.


Wes Messamore: Well you heard it patriots, the Simcox for Senate Campaign is not taking any corporate lobbying money so they need your help.

Visit KOMcCain.com to see what the money bomb is all about and SimcoxForSenate to see if that's the kind of candidate you want representing you.

You don't even have to be from Arizona to contribute to the campaign and remember that Senators make policy for everybody and vote on how to spend your money whether you're from their state or not.

It would be great to have a Constitutional Conservative in the Senate from the great state of Arizona, the state of Barry Goldwater. It was great talking to you, sir!


Chris Simcox: It was good talking to you. We have a lot of issues to discuss and work on. Have a good evening.

###

Friday, October 23, 2009

Saving Face in Afghanistan?.


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

Over at the Cato Institute, Justin Logan offered some unique insights into Defense Secretary Robert Gates' latest rationale for escalation in Afghanistan. Gates, representative of those who favor a second troop surge, nation building, and long-term deployment, made the case for further escalation by appealing to one of the most common emotional arguments. If we withdraw, Al-Qaeda declares victory and initiates a massive propaganda campaign.

Hawkish supporters of open-ended commitment often use a similar line of reasoning. We can't withdraw or alter strategy because America will appear as the "loser" just like in Vietnam, or we will have "fought in vain", or will have "cut and run" like cowards, etc, etc. Al-Qaeda will reap an enormous propaganda boost, draw a barrage of fresh recruits, and redevelop into a worldwide terrorist powerhouse.

In other words, to save face at any cost, America must commit itself to a protracted strategy without any consideration of current debt levels, a crippled Dollar, or the PTSD epidemic and record suicide rates in the military. Supporters counter that the price paid will prove a worthwhile investment to prevent the future cost of another 9/11 or worse. But, this is mere speculation that no one is ever able to quantify.

Logan draws from historical precedent in the Israel/Hamas conflict to dispel this line of reasoning as well. After almost 40 years of occupation, Israeli war hero and Prime Minister, the late Ariel Sharon, unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip. Many of Israel's hawks viewed the withdrawal as a blatant sign of weakness. Hamas filled the void, declared victory, ramped up the propaganda, and promised the end of Israel's regime.

Four years later, Israel is still the unequivocal powerhouse in the Middle East. It is still highly successful in deterring major terrorist attacks, protecting its citizens, and flexing its muscle when necessary. After four years, Israel still dictates the pace of Middle East geopolitics despite its withdrawal from Gaza.

Logan concludes by stating that no matter when we decide to withdraw from Afghanistan, Al-Qaeda and the Islamic extremists will declare victory. Of course, this is speculation too, but it is certainly plausible. Therefore, we should focus on defining our interests, establishing specific goals, and achieving our precisely delineated objectives regardless of what PR tack Al-Qaeda may or may not pursue.

Let me be clear. As I've written in previous blogs, I do not personally endorse a full-scale withdrawal. I am in favor of a much more limited and focused mission like that advocated by conservative columnist, George Will, and conservative Ret. Lieutenant Colonel, Ralph Peters. Though they may be imperfect, I believe their proposals possess the highest probability of success for the cheapest price, lowest casualty counts, and minimal exacerbation of the psychological problems facing our men and women in the military.

That being said, I concur with Justin Logan's assessment. Fighting a long-term, extremely costly, and open-ended war in a third world country is not some public relations game. Our men and women are not pawns on a chess board. These are real men and women, with hearts, souls, and families. To continue pursuing a strategy that places them in the worst possible situation in order to "save face" does these brave men, women, and families a terrible disservice.

And for those who advocate a ramping up of operations, please consider America's current financial predicament as well. Just like original estimates in Iraq and Afghanistan, yet another surge in Afghanistan will cost a lot more money than expected for years to come. This added burden will place further strain on a $1.6 trillion budget deficit, $11.5 trillion debt, and a Dollar that has lost more than 33% of its value since 2002. Wars add more debt. Wars devalue a nation's currency. Can we really afford such an outcome at this point in time?

Some may protest, "But Obama and Congress should just cut spending in other areas of the budget to make up for the shortfall." But, as we all know, the current Administration and Congress are committed to more spending in an attempt to stimulate a battered economy. In addition, think back to the previous Republican administration and its Republican-led Congress. The party of "fiscal conservatism" didn't cut back on other areas of the budget while boosting spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. No, it kept on spending, adding trillions to the national debt and devaluing the Dollar.

In conclusion, fighting to prevent a propaganda victory for Al-Qaeda should not be a valid justification for adopting a potentially unwise strategy. It is one based on pure emotion , which is the perfect recipe for a war that will never end.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Paul Krugman Is Wrong About Medicare and Medicaid- They Cost More For Less Quality


In the New York Times today, economist Paul Krugman waxes triumphant for socialized medicine:

Steve Benen gets exercised over a new appearance of a zombie lie in the health care debate — the totally false claim that Canadian health care won’t pay for hip replacements for the elderly.

But the hip replacement scam is even worse than Steve realizes. Because who, you might ask, pays for hip replacements in America? The answer: Medicare pays 63.8% of the cost, Medicaid 6.8%. That’s right, the U.S. government pays for 70% of hip replacements in this country.

Aren’t you glad we don’t have evil, Canadian-style government-run health insurance?

As pleased with this observation as Dr. Krugman is, it doesn't tell us anything at all about the superiority or inferiority of a government-run health insurance industry.

Tomorrow, government could decide to take over the shoe industry and buy 70% of Americans their shoes. That wouldn't mean that "socialized footwear" is more effective than a free market for shoes. All it means is that the government forcibly took over 70% of the market by law.

Likewise, the mere fact that the U.S. government pays for 70% of hip replacements isn't a reason why it should. That seems to me like a pretty amateur mistake for such a well-venerated intellectual (and Nobel Prize Laureate) as Paul Krugman.

The U.S. government doesn't have more market share because it provides a better product or does so at a lower cost, but simply because it's the U.S. government and all it has to do to garner market share is pass a law. The Cato Institute's Michael F. Cannon makes this clear:

A full accounting shows that government programs cost more and deliver lower-quality care than private insurance. The central problem with proposals to create a new government program, however, is not that government is less efficient than private insurers, but that government can hide its inefficiencies and draw consumers away from private insurance, despite offering an inferior product.

Mr. Cannon also points us to the question we should really be asking about Medicare and Medicaid: "Why Don’t We Fix the Two Public Options We Have Now Instead of Creating a Third One?"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Obama's Stimulus Is Not Working!


Conservative Anti-Stimulus T-shirts: Get yours here.

Mr. Drudge had two important and related headlines today:

7 Months After Stimulus 49 of 50 States Have Lost Jobs
That's right! This press release by the Ranking House Ways and Means Committee Republican, Dave Camp shows that America is "Now Over 6 Million Jobs Shy of [the Obama] Administration's Projections" and says the following:

The table below compares the White House's February 2009 projection of the number of jobs that would be created by the 2009 stimulus law (through the end of 2010) with the actual change in state payroll employment through September 2009 (the latest figures available). According to the data, 49 States and the District of Columbia have lost jobs since stimulus was enacted. Only North Dakota has seen net job creation following the February 2009 stimulus. While President Obama claimed the result of his stimulus bill would be the creation of 3.5 million jobs, the Nation has already lost a total of 2.7 million – a difference of 6.2 million jobs. To see how stimulus has failed your state, see the table below.




So it's no wonder that Mr. Drudge also links us to new Rasmussen poll data, showing Obama's ratings are sinking again with an approval index near all-time lows. Bottom line: Your stimulus package isn't creating jobs, Mr. President, and America knows it, and we're holding you responsible!

The entire argument for the trillion dollar stimulus package that passed into law back in February, was that even though it would dry up productive capital and result in a net loss to the economy over the long run, in the short run it would create much-needed jobs to alleviate the distress of working class Americans.

It hasn't even done that! It was a completely worthless, piece-of-trash legislation that rewarded corporate lobbying interests at the expense of American productivity, true economic recovery, and as we now see, even jobs! I WARNED YOU ABOUT THIS!


I really did....

Back in February, I outlined seven detailed, well-reasoned arguments that the stimulus package would do just this to America's economy. I offered a sane, effective, and libertarian alternative stimulus package. I lost my freaking mind with anger when the House passed the stimulus bill.

Then in March, I reiterated the fundamental flaw in the economic thinking behind the stimulus package. And when the geniuses in Congress started talking about a possible second stimulus package, I offered some more creative, libertarian alternatives that would create real stimulus for the economy.

And I'm just a random kid with a blog! Can a random nobody like me really know more than the U.S. President about economics? How come I knew this would happen, and Congress didn't? Are our Congressmen that monumentally stupid, or did they know this would happen and not care because they did it to reward the lobbyists who will fund their reelection campaigns?


Angry Rant:

Democrats reading this- please, please get this through your mind: I am not a partisan hack, reactionary obstructionist, redneck racist, or whatever else you want to call me. I really want America to be wealthy and prosperous. I really care deeply about working class and impoverished Americans and I want what's best for them. This is not what's best for them.

Obama is not a populist savior. If he really was, I wouldn't have as big a problem with him. I rail against him for the same reasons you Democrats railed against Bush (and hey, while you were railing against Bush, I was right there with you): because Mr. Obama is a guardian of moneyed, corporate interests and is waging a war on America's poor to reward his buddies. Period.

The job numbers should set the record straight once and for all on "economic stimulus" packages. If they involve spending billions of dollars of taxpayer money, printed reserve notes, and hogged up credit to reward corporate interests with fat government contracts to do rushed work of questionable value to anyone: THEY WON'T WORK!

1,000 More Troops Headed to Iraq


By: Ryan Jaroncyk, THL Contributor

In response to theater commanders on the ground, Defense Secretary Robert Gates approved 1,000 more "combat enablers" to be sent to Iraq last month.

Combat enablers are classified as noncombat troops who specialize in intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance, explosives disposal, medical and mental health, and personnel administration. 3,000 of these specialized troops will already be sent to Afghanistan as well, independent of General McChrystal's upcoming request for more.

The additional troops in Iraq appear to contradict President Obama's promise to institute a swift, orderly, and substantial withdrawal. Before Obama entered office, approximately 135,000 U.S. troops were stationed in Iraq. Since taking office eight months ago, 131,000 still remain.

The 1,000 troop increase, in addition to the 131,000 troops currently on the ground, also appear to contradict one of the central pillars of the so-called "Democratic mandate". In 2006, Democrats dominated the Congressional elections, and in 2008, Obama swept to power. In each election, Democrats campaigned on exiting the Iraq War in short order.

Three years later, nothing much has changed. The troop increase also appears to contradict President Obama's views on the central importance of Afghanistan. If, as Obama and his administration claim, the Afghanistan War is the focal point of the Global War on Terror, then why not send the extra 1,000 troops to this more crucial theater?

It will be interesting to see if left-leaning voters and media outlets hold President Obama's feet to the fire on these troop increases. For a President and Congress hailed as the antidote to the "warmongering" Republicans, they sure seem to be following in the same footsteps.

So much for that Nobel Peace Prize.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Obama's New Medical Marijuana Policy Is Not A Step Forward For Liberty


Yesterday's big headline was the Obama Administration's new policy (which was already announced months ago, if you'll remember) on medical marijuana:

"Federal drug agents won't pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration."

I want to advise my fellow libertarians not to get too excited about this development. I'm certainly not.

This is neither a step forward for advocates of marijuana legalization, nor "states' rights" proponents who want to see the Federal government staying on its side of the line drawn by the 10th amendment.

Michelle Malkin calls this out for exactly what it is:

The “clarifying” memo that will be sent out today, seven months after Holder first announced the “shift,” makes clear that the Obama administration will actually retain the same discretion the Bush administration exercises to prosecute someone whose activities are deemed legal in states that allow medical marijuana use.

In other words, they will continue Bush-era policies when they find it expedient to do so in the future — but they want praise and obeisance from the Left for paying lip service to Transformative Change now. It’s the Obama way!

Exactly! I could not have summarized it better myself. The American Spectator also does a roundup of all the gleeful opinions that see this move as an advance for federalism- and solidly refutes them.

It's interesting to see some hardened libertarians and pot-activists excited about this while two pretty conventionally conservative publications aren't being fooled at all. Another thing that both Michelle Malkin and Joseph Lawler at The American Spectator point out, is that even if this is a teeny-tiny step forward in one direction, the Obama Administration is taking gigantic leaps backward in other areas of policy.

Okay, so what if you're allowed to use marijuana with a doctor's prescription, in strict accordance with your state's laws? Will that matter if the government will get to decide if your insurance will pay for that? Or if the government foots the bill itself with funds extorted from taxpayers? On a more related note, what does it say when the government makes a symbolic gesture toward drug legalization and federalism on pot, but literally bans the sale of clove cigarettes while hiking taxes on all other cigarettes?

Let me make this very, very clear. If you are a 10th amendment proponent, civil libertarian, advocate for drug legalization, or supporter of medical marijuana laws: Barack Obama IS NOT your friend.

We need to call this new policy out for what it is...

Monday, October 19, 2009

How Government Works


THL Contributor, Heidi Moseley recently forwarded me a hilarious and pointed e-mail entitled "How Guvmint Works."

Here it is:


Once upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.

Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So They created the following positions, a time keeper, and a payroll officer, Then hired two people.

Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one Year and we are $18,000 over budget, we must cutback overall cost."

So they laid off the night watchman.

NOW s l o w l y, let it sink in.

Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.

Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY ... during the Carter Administration?

Bottom line. We've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency ... the reason for which not one person who reads this can remember!

Ready??

It was very simple ... and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate. The Department of Energy was instituted on 8-04-1977. TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

Hey, pretty efficient, huh???

AND NOW, IT'S 2009 -- 32 YEARS LATER -- AND THE BUDGET FOR THIS "NECESSARY" DEPARTMENT IS AT $24.2 BILLION A YEAR. THEY HAVE 16,000 FEDERAL EMPLOYEES AND APPROXIMATELY 100,000 CONTRACT EMPLOYEES; AND LOOK AT THE JOB THEY HAVE DONE!

THIS IS WHERE YOU SLAP YOUR FOREHEAD AND SAY, "WHAT WAS I THINKING?"

Ah, yes -- good ole bureaucracy.

AND, NOW, WE ARE GOING TO TURN THE BANKING SYSTEM, HEALTH CARE AND THE AUTO INDUSTRY OVER TO THE SAME GOVERNMENT?

HELLOOO ! Anybody Home?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right, by Jennifer Burns


Why Ayn Rand Is Hot Again
The unconservative Ayn Rand and
her relationship to the American right
Brian Doherty | October 10, 2009

Why is Rand, dead since 1982, so hot again today? Ironically, big government, one of Rand's betes noires, is stimulating her sales. Her more than 1,000-page 1957 novel, Atlas Shrugged, sold 25 percent more copies in the first half of this year than it sold in all of last year, shipping a total of 300,000 copies so far this year—tremendous success for a 52-year-old novel.

Readers and pundits alike look at America and see a world scarily reminiscent of Rand's government-choked dystopia in Atlas. It's a world with a struggling economy where political pull matters more than success in the free market, where the government blithely takes over huge transportation industries.

Read the full article here.

Should Census Data Include Illegal Immigrants?

Discussion Point - 10/18/09: Should the U.S. Census Bureau allow illegal immigrants to participate in its census?

A recent Tennessean article by Phil Valentine addresses the controversy:

There's a move to keep illegal immigrants from participating in the census. I know, most of you didn't even know they were allowed to participate, but currently there's no law prohibiting an illegal immigrants [sic] from filling out a census form and sending it in.

Mr. Valentine outlines some of the important issues at stake. Some people for instance, charge that not allowing illegal immigrants to participate is racist. Valentine contends that allowing them to participate warps our political process because census data is used to apportion congressional districts and illegals are not citizens.

When the U.S. Constitution was written, major slave-holding states insisted that slaves be included in district apportionment though they weren't citizens, while states with fewer or no slaves objected, leading eventually to the "3/5s" compromise, counting each slave as 3/5s of a person for the purposes of congressional apportionment.

Should states with more illegal immigrants have more of a voice in Congress? Would the effect be liberalization of immigration law, or interestingly- stricter immigration laws?

Another question is simply how much data we want to have. Should the U.S. deliberately try to collect less demographic data on people who are living here just because they are not citizens? Wouldn't we want to have as much information as possible to understand as accurately as possible, the demographic makeup of our country?

Discuss!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Republicans, Choose Now: Are You The Party of Ron Paul, or Lindsey Graham?


"Sen. Lindsey Graham Light In His Loafers"
Press release by: "The Southern Avenger" Jack Hunter
-H/T: Webmaster at Liberty Pulse

It’s hard to imagine a Republican more useless than South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. Whether spearheading legislation that would grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, stumping for the $787 billion taxpayer theft known as “TARP,” being the lone GOP committee vote to confirm liberal Supreme Court justice Sonia Sotomayor, or his recent joining with John Kerry to promote cap-and-trade—without shame and without fail—conservatives have never had a friend in Graham.

And yet in 2008, Graham was reelected in the deep Red State of South Carolina over a Democratic candidate, Bob Conley, who staunchly opposed amnesty, TARP and was well to the right of Lindsey in almost every respect. Many dubbed Conley a “Ron Paul Democrat,” given his support for the Texas Congressman during the Republican presidential primary and in that senatorial election the conservative “D” lost to the liberal “R” thanks purely to party affiliation. Rest assured, Lindsey Graham would like to keep things this way.

And Ron Paul would not. Comparing the 2008 Paul campaign with every other Republican who ran for president that year is a study in contrasts. Paul remained a Republican out of political necessity, sometimes seemingly regrettably, despite his continuing disappointment with his party’s lack of serious commitment to limited government principles. Every other GOP candidate, from talk radio favorite Mitt Romney to eventual nominee John McCain, would mouth occasional limited government rhetoric despite their lack of a voting record to match, seeming most interested in their ascendancy in the Republican Party and the power it affords.

When confronted by a crowd of tea partiers, town hall protesters and other angry grassroots conservatives at a meeting in Greenville this week, Graham reacted to criticism leveled against him by attacking one man: “We’re not going to be the Ron Paul party ... I love this party ... I’m not going to let it be hijacked by Ron Paul ... Ron Paul’s run for president like 39 times. He keeps losing.”

Graham is right. The limited government philosophy that Paul believes once was, and could be again, the guiding principle of the Republican Party, keeps losing. Despite the Founding Fathers best intentions, the Constitution that has remained the only guideline for every vote Paul has cast during his decades-long career in Congress, has been badly damaged by politicians from both parties. To “hijack” the Republican Party, Paul would have to inspire a genuine revolution, not only in the way our government conducts its business but in what Americans think about how much business their government should be conducting. For Paul, the battle has never been about “Republican” vs. “Democrat” but limited government vs. unlimited government and there’s never been any question about which side Paul stands on.

On the other side, you’ll find Graham. As the quintessential GOP establishment man, the big government Republicanism that defined the Bush era had no greater champion than Graham. Conservatives who now trash Lindsey for siding with the Democrats have short memories, as it was Bush who first promoted amnesty, who “abandoned free-market principles to save the free-market system” with TARP, and grew our government and debt to record heights. At every turn, Graham was Bush’s boy. Now says Graham, “I’m going to grow this party,” which is comical considering his last attempt at Republican resurrection resulted in the sound defeat of his political life-partner, John McCain, who voters rightly saw as a continuation of the unpopular Bush. Today, Graham’s GOP remains wedded to recycling Bush-era, big government policy, always stamped with an elephant insignia and always designed to fool rank-and-file conservatives into voting against their better interests.

But now, too many are tired of being played for fools. The angry crowd that confronted Graham at a town hall meeting in Greenville this week were but the most vocal representatives of an ever-growing group of Americans who are fed up with both the excesses of Bush and the even worse excesses of Obama. For the first time in a long time, many Americans are looking back to the Founding Fathers, holding up their Constitution and seriously reexamining the role of government in their lives. This is fertile ground for an admitted “revolutionary” like Ron Paul. This is dangerous ground for protectors of the status quo like Lindsey Graham. “We’re not going to be the Ron Paul party” Graham will continue to say defiantly, but can no longer say definitely.

And neither can Paul. While any future Republican Party worth having must indeed, finally be “hijacked” by the principles of limited, constitutional government, big government Republicans like Graham would like nothing more than a safe return to the good old Bush days when constituents would just keep their mouths shut, wallets open and their votes-a-comin.’

If this happens—and there’s a good chance it might—conservatives, constitutionalists and patriots of all stripes interested in genuine political revolution must finally to go to whichever party, old or new, that best suits their interests. And Lindsey Graham and his retread Republican Party—can go to hell.

----------

About the Southern Avenger:

"The Southern Avenger" Jack Hunter has been in radio for over a decade, is currently a personality for 1250 AM WTMA talk radio in Charleston, South Carolina, writes a weekly column for the Charleston City Paper, is a contributing editor for Taki's Magazine and Young American Revolution and works as a freelance writer who has been featured in numerous publications including The American Conservative, The American Spectator and Lewrockwell.com.


Lindsey Graham Photo:

Friday, October 16, 2009

Think Tank Lineup Oct 16 (Afghanistan)


This is the second installment of the Think Tank Lineup, a new feature here at THL: a regular round-up consisting of short excerpts from- with links to- articles from the various liberty-oriented think tanks.

In last week's lineup, we put our finger to the pulse of America's libertarian think tanks to see what they thought about health care reform. (To summarize, it should involve LESS, not more government.)

This week, the libertarian think tanks are also in agreement: a more successful national defense strategy should involve less troops in Afghanistan and a more focused mission, but that if America does choose to escalate in Afghanistan, it had better send A LOT more troops than 40 or 80 thousand, and win a swift, decisive victory.


The Cato Institute
Afghanistan, The "Graveyard of Empires"




The Ludwig von Mises Institute

The Afghan Disaster

In the private sector, there is always a test of success. The business must make a profit. It can sustain some losses, but the clock is always running on those. At some point, after all cuts have been made and costs are trimmed to a minimum, the business has to close shop. The summer of losses must become the autumn of profits, or else it's all over.

Not so in government. Failing projects can go on forever. There is no profit and loss test. There is no test at all, in fact. Agencies like the Government Accountability Office (GAO) can blast away at a particularly egregious case of government waste, but hardly anyone pays attention. Congress has no reason to scrap it. No one does. Taxpayers have no means to pull the plug, because the whole thing is run outside their purview.


The Independent Institute
Five Facts About Afghanistan

The motto for counterinsurgency war should be either commit enough forces to win early or get out. After eight long years of a lackadaisical effort, another 40,000 committed this late won’t even lift the Obama administration out of the halfhearted category. The U.S. should cut its losses, withdraw from Afghanistan, and concentrate on pressuring al-Qaeda in Pakistan with a smaller military footprint—so as not to stir up more anti-U.S. Islamists than we are neutralizing.


The Reason Foundation
The Tragedies of Afghanistan

For the United States, Afghanistan has been one tragedy after another, with more looming ahead.

In that part of the world, the only thing more dangerous than failure is success. It was America's success in helping the mujahedeen rebels defeat the Soviet Union that spawned later troubles.

In the vacuum left by the departure of the Red Army, civil war broke out among competing factions, with the fanatical Taliban coming out on top.

A Note: Check Your E-mail

To everyone who participated in my blog's giveaway contest last month, I have finally finished compiling a list of all the entries, cutting them out, putting them in a hat (cliché, I know), and drawing for the prize winners.

Please check your in-boxes and give your spam boxes a quick glance, because I imagine my e-mail could trigger spam protection with all these words like "you won," "prize," "giveaway," (etc.).

I'll give all three winners a couple days to get back to me, but if you take too long, I'll have to draw again (something I've had to do once or twice in past giveaways).

I am looking forward to announcing the winners here soon! Thanks so much for participating, everybody. You made my blog's first birthday a blast!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

U.S. Troop Funds Diverted to Pet Projects


This is unacceptable.

First we learn earlier this week that a detailed study by a military historian found that weapons failed our troops in Afghanistan during a critical moment in a firefight, leaving nine dead and 27 wounded:

In the chaos of an early morning assault on a remote U.S. outpost in eastern Afghanistan, Staff Sgt. Erich Phillips' M4 carbine quit firing as militant forces surrounded the base. The machine gun he grabbed after tossing the rifle aside didn't work either.

When the battle in the small village of Wanat ended, nine U.S. soldiers lay dead and 27 more were wounded. A detailed study of the attack by a military historian found that weapons failed repeatedly at a "critical moment" during the firefight on July 13, 2008, putting the outnumbered American troops at risk of being overrun by nearly 200 insurgents.

Then today, Mr. Drudge links us to a disgraceful story about our Congress' priorities (or utter lack thereof):

Senators diverted $2.6 billion in funds in a defense spending bill to pet projects largely at the expense of accounts that pay for fuel, ammunition and training for U.S. troops, including those fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to an analysis.

It's just so wrong, I don't even know what else to say...