Monthly Archives: October 2007

Ron Paul And The Theocons

Along with most of the other Presidential candidates, Ron Paul appeared in Washington yesterday at the so-called Value Voters Summit sponsored by the Family Research Council.

Here are a few YouTube highlights

First, Congressman Paul responds to an audience members question about libertarian views on social issues. After Paul is done, there’s a bit from the always wacky Alan Keyes that you can skip:

Next, here is his closing statement:

And if you’re so inclined, the full video is available in three parts.

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

I wish I’d done it

I’m glad to see that someone destroyed this monument to a murderer:

A glass monument to revolutionary icon Ernesto “Che” Guevara was shot up and destroyed less than two weeks after it was unveiled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s government.

Images of the 8-foot-tall glass plate bearing Guevara’s image, now toppled and shattered, were shown Friday on state television, which said the entire country “repudiated” the vandalism.[…]
Police said they had yet to identify those responsible. The Venezuelan newspaper El Nacional published a copy of what it said was a flier found by the monument signed by the previously unknown “Paramo Patriotic Front.”

“We don’t want any monument to Che, he isn’t an example for our children,” the flier read. It called Guevara a “cold-blooded killer” and said the government should raise a monument in Chavez’s hometown of Sabaneta, in the nearby lowland plains, if it wants to commemorate the Argentine-born revolutionary.

Remember…Che was not a vicious murderer, he is a “revolutionary icon.”

I’ll stop before I say something that’ll get me in trouble.

H/T: Instapundit

Hillary Clinton And Executive Power

As things stand today, Hillary Clinton is the odds-on favorite to win the White House in 2008. While things could, and hopefully will, change between now and then, that brings up the interesting question of just how eager she would be to divest the Presidency of the powers that George W. Bush has assumed over the past seven years.

Over at Reason, Radley Balko suggests that she won’t be so eager to undo what Bush has done after all:

It’s difficult to see Hillary Clinton voluntarily handing back all of those extra-constitutional executive powers claimed by President Bush. Her husband’s administration, for example, copiously invoked dubious “executive privilege” claims to keep from complying with congressional subpoenas and open records requests—claims the left now (correctly, in my view) regularly criticizes the Bush administration for invoking.

Hillary Clinton herself went to court to keep meetings of her Health Care Task Force secret from the public, something conservatives were quick to point out when leftists criticize Vice President Cheney’s similar efforts to keep meetings of his Energy Task Force secret.

“I’m a strong believer in executive authority,” Clinton said in a 2003 speech, recently quoted in The New Republic. “I wish that, when my husband was president, people in Congress had been more willing to recognize presidential authority.”

That jibes with a February 2007 New York Times article on Clinton explaining her refusal to back down from her vote for the Iraq war: “Mrs. Clinton’s belief in executive power and authority is another factor weighing against an apology, advisers said… she believes that a president usually deserves the benefit of the doubt from Congress on matters of executive authority.”

(…)

As a libertarian, it will at least be entertaining to watch the left squirm while defending Hillary Clinton’s “right” to employ the same executive powers and engage in the same foreign policy blunders they now argue that President Bush has superceded his authority in claiming. And it’ll be equally fun to watch the right cry foul when President Hillary claims the same powers they have so vigorously fought to claim for President Bush. The problem, of course, is that entertaining as all that might be, an increasingly imperial presidency isn’t good for our republic.

Outside of Ron Paul, there doesn’t seem to be anyone running for President who realizes that.

How Not To Fix The Subprime Mortgage Crisis

In today’s New York York Times, Shelia Blair, Chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, makes this proposal on how to fix the subprime mortgage crisis:

[S]ubprime servicers should take a more standardized approach: restructure all 2/28 and 3/27 subprime hybrid loans for owner-occupied homes in cases where the borrower has been making timely payments but can’t afford the reset payments. Convert these to fixed-rate loans at the starter rate.

In other words, Blair is calling for a wholesale rewriting of the terms of every sub-prime mortgage in the country, without regard to the credit worthiness of the homeowners involved. And, incredibly, she claims it isn’t a bailout:

This would be no bailout. These borrowers would still be required to make their monthly payments — at rates higher than what prime is today. Billions in savings would be generated by avoiding the administrative, legal, marketing and other costs of foreclosure, which can run to half or more of the loan amount. And avoiding foreclosure would protect neighboring properties and hasten the recovery of markets burdened by an excess supply of houses.

Yes, it would be a bailout. The people benefited by it would end up with lower mortgage payments than they would otherwise have had, and, in many cases, mortgage payments lower than what they otherwise would have had under the terms of their existing loans and, in most cases, lower than would be justified given their credit ratings. Moreover, Blair is suggesting that the mortgage industry should take a gamble on these loans even though the entire subprime meltdown is testimony to the fact that the people who qualified for them were, for the most part, not good credit risks. Yes, it would save money in the short term, but in the long term, it would simply delay the inevitable for most people.

Rather than delaying the inevitable, the government needs to let this “crisis” play itself out. Yes, it will be painful. People will lose their homes and the housing market will remain depressed for another year, if not longer. But, quite honestly, this is the price to be paid for nearly a decade of an irrationally-rising real estate market and people who bought houses that, notwithstanding the great no-interest loan they could qualify for, they really could not afford.

Libertarians vs. Communitarians

Michael Kinsley has a short article in Time Magazine about the rise in public awareness of libertarian ideas manifested in Ron Paul’s Presidential campaign, and comes closer than most have to identifying the true nature of the political divide in America today:

Many people feel that neither party offers a coherent set of principles that they can agree with. For them, the choice is whether you believe in Big Government or you don’t. And if you don’t, you call yourself a libertarian. Libertarians are against government in all its manifestations. Domestically, they are against social-welfare programs. They favor self-reliance (as they see it) over Big Government spending. Internationally, they are isolationists. Like George Washington, they loathe “foreign entanglements,” and they think the rest of the world can go to hell without America’s help. They don’t care–or at least they don’t think the government should care–about what people are reading, thinking, drinking, smoking or doing in bed. And what is the opposite of libertarianism? Libertarians would say fascism. But in the American political context, it is something infinitely milder that calls itself communitarianism. The term is not as familiar, and communitarians are far less organized as a movement than libertarians, ironically enough. But in general communitarians emphasize society rather than the individual and believe that group responsibilities (to family, community, nation, the globe) should trump individual rights.

I think Kinsley has it mostly right here. Look at most political arguments today and you will find two opposing viewpoints. On one side are those of us who believe that government exists, if at all, for the limited purpose of protecting individuals from each other and providing a framework within which individual choices such as contract rights can be enforced. On the other side are those who believe that government exists for what they would call a higher purpose and that group rights, or tradition, or religion should trump individual liberty for the “good” of society.

As Kinsley goes on to note, neither political party fits neatly into either the libertarian or communitarian mold right now. There are libertarian elements to the basics of Republican ideas and rhetoric — smaller government, lower taxes, etc. — but the GOP has been woefully lacking in actually executing anything resembling a libertarian policy since George W. Bush took office. Similarly, there are libertarian elements within the Democratic Party, especially when it comes to issues like gay marriage and separation of church and state; but, on the whole, the Democrats’ economic and social policy is far closer to a communitarian ideal than anything that Thomas Jefferson would recognize as good government.

And, as Kinsley points out, recent events would seem to indicate that the future belongs to the libertarians:

The chance of the two political parties realigning so conveniently is slim. But the party that does well in the future will be the one that makes the better guess about where to place its bets. My money’s on the libertarians. People were shocked a couple of weeks ago when Ron Paul–one of those mysterious Republicans who seem to be running for President because everyone needs a hobby–raised $5 million from July through September, mostly on the Internet. Paul is a libertarian. In fact, he was the Libertarian Party presidential candidate in 1988. The computer revolution has bred a generation of smart loners, many of them rich and some of them complacently Darwinian, convinced that they don’t need society–nor should anyone else. They are going to be an increasingly powerful force in politics.

It’s about time.

Federal Appeals Court Rejects Absurd Intellectual Property Argument

It’s not often that America’s pastime and individual liberty cross paths, but it happened earlier this week when a Federal Appeals Court in Missouri rejected an argument by Major League Baseball and it’s players union that player names and statistics constitute intellectual property rights:

Oct. 16 (Bloomberg) — Companies that operate fantasy sports leagues have a First Amendment right to use players’ names and statistics for free, a court ruled in a case filed against Major League Baseball.

The federal appeals court in St. Louis ruled today in favor of C.B.C. Distribution and Marketing Inc., a closely held operator of fantasy sports leagues.

The ruling is a victory for the fantasy sports business, which started with statistics-rich baseball in 1980 and spread to other sports. Today it is a $1.5 billion industry, according to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

“It’s vindication,” said Greg Ambrosius, a former president of the association who is now editor of Fantasy Sports Magazine. “We were a bunch of Mom-and-Pop shops who grew the industry from nothing to where it is today, and then when we got big, people started saying, `Hey, we own this.”’

At issue in the litigation was the right to names and statistics of pro athletes when the information is used by a business rather than a news organization.

“It would be strange law that a person would not have a First Amendment right to use information that is available to everyone,” a three-judge panel said, ruling the Constitution trumps the players’ ability to control their publicity.

Strange indeed. It would sort of be like Microsoft saying that it has an intellectual property right in the price of it’s stock.

226 Years Ago Today: American Liberty Is Secured

It was 226 years ago today that Lord Cornwallis formally surrendered to George Washington, ending the Seige of Yorktown and, effectively, the Revolutionary War itself:

The morning following the battle a formal surrender ceremony took place. Cornwallis refused to attend out of pure embarrassment, claiming illness. Although absent at the surrender ceremony, he observed to George Washington, “This is a great victory for you, but your brightest laurels will be writ upon the banks of the Delaware.” According to legend, the British forces marched to the fife tune of “The World Turned Upside Down“, though no real evidence of this exists. Cornwallis’ deputy at first attempted to surrender to the French General Rochambeau, but Rochambeau’s aide-de-camp, Mathieu Dumas, is reputed to have said, “Vous vous trompez, le général en chef de notre armée est à la droite.” [4] (“You are mistaken, the commander-in-chief of our army is to the right.”) and then took him to Washington. The lieutenant then attempted to surrender to Washington, who refused because it was not Cornwallis himself, and indicated that the subordinate should surrender to General Benjamin Lincoln, field commander of the American forces. Cornwallis’ lieutenant ceremonially offered his sword to Lincoln, which was accepted. All other British troops were required to surrender and trample their firearms in the custom of the time.

It took almost two more years for the war to formally end with the ratification of the Treaty of Paris but, with the victory at Yorktown, American independence was, for all purposes, secured.

Vice-President Ron Paul ?

Rojas speculates over at The Crossed Pond:

What else is the VP slot for? Setting aside the pro-liberty voters who might otherwise be lost to the Democrats–again, many of them in critical swing states–there’s a huge element of Ron Paul’s supporters who wouldn’t otherwise vote AT ALL. In an election that otherwise promises to be very close, what candidate wouldn’t want a couple hundred thousand new supporters? Especially when many of those supporters are also potential donors.

It’s easy for me to imagine people who wouldn’t otherwise vote for a Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee suddenly deciding to do so because Ron Paul is on the ticket. It is, conversely, very difficult for me to imagine people who would otherwise support a Thompson or Huckabee choosing NOT to support the candidate because Ron Paul’s around. Yes, many Republicans dislike Ron Paul intensely, but I don’t know that any of them dislike him more intensely than they dislike Hillary Clinton. Independents might conceivably be scared by the prospect of a drug legalizing gold-standard advocate a heartbeat away from the Presidency, but it’s hard to see them voting on that with a relatively healthy and vigorous Presidential contender at the top of the ticket.

While I can’t imagine how any voter who is really pro-liberty could fathom voting for Madame Hillary, I think there’s a point to be made about voters like that just staying home on Election Day. Frankly, there’s I strong likelihood I might do that myself just because I’m sick of wasting my voting on the Libertarian Party.

If Ron Paul were the Vice-Presidential nominee, though, and someone other than Rudy Giuliani were at the top of the ticket (there’s no way a Giuliani-Paul ticket would ever come about), then enough of the voters who supported Paul in the primaries might just decide to vote Republican in November `08. But there are several caveats to this argument.

First of all, it’s been quite awhile since a Vice-Presidential nominee has had a significant impact on the Presidential race. The last time arguably being 1960 when Kennedy added LBJ as his Vice-Presidential nominee, thus ensuring that dead people in Boston, Chicago, and Texas would vote Democratic that year. Since then, the VP slot has been graced by such august leaders as Spirow Agnew, Geraldine Ferraro, and Dan Quayle.

Second, there are really only a few scenarios where Ron Paul as the Vice-Presidential nominee makes sense. One would be a Republican Convention where no candidate had enough delegates to win, but that hasn’t happened since the 1940’s and it’s unlikely to happen in 2008. The other would be where Paul was able to bring in enough support during the primaries to show that he was an electoral force. If that doesn’t happen, then he’s unlikely to be on anyone’s short list.

Finally, I’ve got to wonder what value there would be in having Ron Paul as Vice-President. John Adams spent eight years in the office and described it thusly:

“My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.”

Or, as one 20th Century occupant of the office famously put it:

“not worth a bucket of warm piss.”

In the end, if he doesn’t win the nomination, Paul would do more good returning to Congress than taking a meaningless job.

Another Argument In Favor Of Separating Education And The State

This time from Portland, Maine:

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.

King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King’s health center since 2000.

Students need parental permission to access the school’s health center. But treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive.

This isn’t about birth control or contraceptives, it’s about the fact that the school system has decided to take upon itself a job that, rightfully, belongs in the hands of parents. And, unless, parents can afford to send their children to private school, they have no choice but to accept policies like this even if they disagree with them.

The solution, it seems, is obvious. Get government out of the eduction business, let parents choose where they send their children to school. And stop this insane practice of turning teachers and school nurses into replacements for a Mom and a Dad.

Ron Paul: Still Running For Congress

An interesting article came through the aggregator today. It seems Ron Paul is having even more fundraising success that we realized, in his campaign for re-election to Congress:

FRIENDSWOOD — U.S. Rep. Ron Paul raised more than six times the money for his re-election campaign this quarter than his primary challenger, Friendswood city councilman Chris Peden.

The four-term congressman for District 14 also ended the quarter with nearly $80,000 in the bank, compared with Peden’s diminutive balance, reported at less than $400.

Peden said he’s gone against the advice of consultants who told him to put his own savings in the account to make his campaign seem more serious.

“If my message isn’t credible, I don’t think it matters what my finances say,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of work getting that message out.”

Peden reported receiving $8,654 in contributions between June 30 and Sept. 30, $3,617 of which were personal loans. Paul’s campaign reported raising $53,030.40 in that time.

(…)

Paul’s congressional re-election spokesman, Mark Elam, said fundraising efforts were focused on the presidential races right now.

This really shouldn’t be a surprise, of course. Paul is obviously playing it safe here; if he doesn’t get the GOP nomination, he still has a Congressional seat to think about and, based on this report, it would seem that he is interested in returning to Congress if the Presidential campaign doesn’t work out.

And, if that happens, he’d be returning with a lot more national name recognition than he had before.

In other news from Texas, it seems an old “friend” of The Liberty Papers isn’t running for Paul’s seat after all:

Former Paul aide Eric Dondero, who previously said he would challenge Paul in the primary, endorsed Peden. League City resident Andy Mann also announced plans to run in the primary, but did not file a report.

Too bad, that might’ve actually been a fun primary to watch.

Paul Campaign Speaks On Fundraising Success

The Campaign Director and Finance Director of Ron Paul’s Presidential Campaign spoke yesterday at the National Press Club about what has clearly been a very successful fundraising campaign:

Ron Paul has been stockpiling his campaign cash, and his campaign says he’s now in such a good financial situation that he should be considered one of the top contenders for the Republican presidential nomination.

Looking at the new campaign finance numbers filed this week, and dating to Sept. 30, Mr. Paul has $5.4 million available to spend on the primaries.

That puts him behind only Rudy Giuliani, who has $11.4 million after debts are included, Fred Thompson, who has $6.4 million, and Mitt Romney, who has $9.2 million, after having loaned his campaign more than $17 million of his own money.

“Beyond those four candidates, there really appears to be no one else in the field who has the financial resources to make a reasonable run at the Republican nomination,” said Jonathan Bydlak, Mr. Paul’s fundraising director.

An audacious claim, no doubt, and putting a campaign that has $ 5 million in the bank in the same league with candidates who have twice that much at their disposal and the demonstrated ability to raise even $ 10 million per quarter is no small degree of hubris, but the campaign does have a point.

Take Giuiliani, Romney, Thompson and Paul out of the picture and there really isn’t much left to the Republican field. Duncan Hunter, Tom Tancredo, and Sam Brownback are also-rans who are unlikely to make it past January. And, notwithstanding his apparent popularity in Iowa, Huckabee simply doesn’t have the cash on hand to run an effective campaign right now. With $ 5 million in the bank and the ability to raise at least that much in the 4th Quarter, Ron Paul is clearly in the race to stay — and the advantage of that is that, come February, when the reporters who cover politics get bored doing the same old stories on Rudy, Fred, and Mitt, they’ll have plenty of time to spend following Ron Paul around the country.

Even if he has no chance of winning at that point, he’ll still be getting a lot of coverage saying things that Republicans haven’t said in at least twenty five years. And that’s a good thing.

Full video of the NPC press conference below:

Latest Rasmussen Poll: More Of The Same Nationally, And A Huckabee Surprise In Iowa

The latest Rasmussen Poll is out and, at least on the national side, shows results consistent with other national polls released in the past month:

For the seven days ending October 14, 2007 show that Rudy Giuliani earns 29% of the vote while Fred Thompson attracts 19%. Mitt Romney has slipped a point and is supported by 14%. John McCain is now the favorite for just 10% and Mike Huckabee is at 7%. Sam Brownback is at 2%, Ron Paul at 1%, and two other candidates each round up to 1%. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided

In Iowa, though, things are a little different:

The first Rasmussen Reports poll of the Iowa Republican Caucus for 2008 finds former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney enjoying a six-point lead while former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are virtually tied for second.

Romney attracts 25% of the vote from Likely Caucus Participants, Thompson earns 19%, and Huckabee is at 18% in the poll. National frontrunner and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the only other Republican in double digits at 13%. Arizona Senator John McCain, once considered by some to be the GOP frontrunner, gets just 6% of the vote. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (3%), rounds out the field with Congressmen Tom Tancredo (2%), Ron Paul (2%), and Duncan Hunter (1%). Eleven percent (11%) are undecided

The surprise here isn’t so much Romney, who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August and has a strong organization in the state, but Huckabee. While he did come in second in the straw poll, he has virtually no cash on hand and doesn’t seem to have spent a lot of time in the state. Whether he’s able to maintain this type of showing through the caucuses in early January remains to be seen, and, even if he does, it doesn’t seem likely he’d be able to capitalize on it given the relative lack of money.

Or, as Rojas puts it, he needs about $ 10 million.

George W. Bush: A Libertarian’s Dream

Never before has one President done so much to destroy the idea that Americans should have faith in the state:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Deepening unhappiness with President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress soured the mood of Americans and sent Bush’s approval rating to another record low this month, according to a Reuters/Zogby poll released on Wednesday.

The Reuters/Zogby Index, which measures the mood of the country, also fell from 98.8 to 96 — the second consecutive month it has dropped. The number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track jumped four points to 66 percent.

Bush’s job approval rating fell to 24 percent from last month’s record low for a Zogby poll of 29 percent. A paltry 11 percent gave Congress a positive grade, tying last month’s record low.

“There is a real question among Americans now about how relevant this government is to them,” pollster John Zogby said. “They tell us they want action on health care, education, the war and immigration, but they don’t believe they are going to get it.”

(…)

The bleak mood could present problems for both parties heading into the November 2008 election campaign, Zogby said.

“Voter turnout could still be high next year, but the mood has turned against incumbents and into a ‘throw the bums out’ mindset,” Zogby said

Now, we just need to convince the public that they don’t need to look to the state as to solve their problems, and the prospect for real progress just might be there.

H/T: Instapundit

Latest Rasmussen Poll: More Of The Same Nationally, And A Huckabee Surprise In Iowa

The latest Rasmussen Poll is out and, at least on the national side, shows results consistent with other national polls released in the past month:

For the seven days ending October 14, 2007 show that Rudy Giuliani earns 29% of the vote while Fred Thompson attracts 19%. Mitt Romney has slipped a point and is supported by 14%. John McCain is now the favorite for just 10% and Mike Huckabee is at 7%. Sam Brownback is at 2%, Ron Paul at 1%, and two other candidates each round up to 1%. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided

In Iowa, though, things are a little different:

The first Rasmussen Reports poll of the Iowa Republican Caucus for 2008 finds former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney enjoying a six-point lead while former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee are virtually tied for second.

Romney attracts 25% of the vote from Likely Caucus Participants, Thompson earns 19%, and Huckabee is at 18% in the poll. National frontrunner and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is the only other Republican in double digits at 13%. Arizona Senator John McCain, once considered by some to be the GOP frontrunner, gets just 6% of the vote. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (3%), rounds out the field with Congressmen Tom Tancredo (2%), Ron Paul (2%), and Duncan Hunter (1%). Eleven percent (11%) are undecided

The surprise here isn’t so much Romney, who won the Iowa Straw Poll in August and has a strong organization in the state, but Huckabee. While he did come in second in the straw poll, he has virtually no cash on hand and doesn’t seem to have spent a lot of time in the state. Whether he’s able to maintain this type of showing through the caucuses in early January remains to be seen, and, even if he does, it doesn’t seem likely he’d be able to capitalize on it given the relative lack of money.

Or, as Rojas puts it, he needs about $ 10 million.

The Endangered Species People Act

(WSB Radio) — Despite the threat of legal action by Gov. Sonny Perdue, the Army Corps of Engineers says it has no plans to reduce the release of water from Lake Lanier and Lake Allatoona.

Army Major Darren Payne tells WSB’s Pete Combs the Corps is required by law to send water down the Chattahoochee River to protect endangered wildlife, power plants and water needs along the river.

“At the moment there’s not a whole lot we can do,” said Payne. Gov. Perdue has given the Corps a deadline of today to respond to the state’s demand to reduce the amount of water, under the threat of legal action.

Payne says the Corps will continue to release 2 billion gallons of water a day.

“We cannot deviate without some action being taken on the endangered species act or special legislation,” said Payne.

Ah, the Endangered Species Act strikes again! A law which has arguably done more to undermine property rights in our country than any other could potentially endanger the lives of Georgians. The Army Corps of Engineers apparently has no choice but to follow the law as it is currently written meaning the federally protected mussels and sturgeons have priority over the people of Georgia.

As Gov. Sonny Perdue threatened legal action, the Georgia delegation to the U.S. House as well as both of the state’s senators introduced legislation to amend the ESA to allow states to be exempt from the law if either the Secretary of the Army or the state’s governor declare emergency drought conditions (Personally, I would prefer a complete repeal of the ESA but this proposal seems like a reasonable enough compromise for now).

I fail to understand where the controversy is. Does anyone really want to argue that these animals should have priority over American citizens who are being forced to cut back their water usage so they can have water to drink, bathe, and clean with? Outrageous!

Neal Boortz proposed a rather interesting idea: the governor should order the Georgia National Guard to seize the dam from the Corps of Engineers. I have no idea of what the legalities of doing such a thing are and other legal options should be exhausted first, but I believe one could make a good case for doing just that. During the War of 1812, at least one governor who opposed the war refused to allow U.S. troops to come into his state. If one were to look at a more contemporary example, certain “sanctuary cities” refuse to enforce federal immigration laws.

While I normally advocate the rule of law, it seems to me that if cities and states can pick and choose the federal laws they wish to follow, then ignoring the ESA in this emergency seems to be quite appropriate. Endangered species should never have the ability to endanger people.

The Hillary Clinton Nanny State Begins To Take Shape

Her idea to give every child born in the United States a $ 5,000 bond may have fallen by the wayside, but that isn’t stopping Hillary Clinton from proposing yet more nanny state nonsense:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton yesterday proposed giving $1 billion in grants to states that enact paid family leave laws and said that she would support requiring employers to provide workers seven days’ annual paid sick leave.

Mrs. Clinton, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, also called for expanding the Federal Family and Medical Leave Act, which protects the jobs of workers who take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave. The law covers businesses with more than 50 workers. Mrs. Clinton would lower that to 25, covering an additional 13 million people, her campaign said.

(…)

Together, the new proposals that Mrs. Clinton announced yesterday in New Hampshire would cost $1.75 billion a year. The campaign said the government would cover the costs by establishing a single definition for a tax shelter that would ultimately yield more than $2 billion a year, according to a Congressional estimate that it cited.

But that’s only part of the story, of course, because the true cost of a proposal like this will be borne by employers, most especially by small-business owners who have limited profit margins to begin with. Hillary’s proposal would force them to continue paying an employees salary for up to ten weeks, while also having to cover the salary of whoever they might hire to replace the employee receiving paid “family leave,” making the already difficult task of running a small business even more difficult.

In the end, the paid leave proposal that Clinton put forward would increase the cost of hiring new employees, making it harder for the very people she claims to be helping to find work in the first place.

But what does Hillary care, as long as it gets her elected.

The Latest Gallup Poll: The Song Remains The Same

Gallup has another poll of the Republican candidates out and, there’s not alot of change from the last several polls.

Here are the basic numbers:

  • Rudy Giuliani 32%
  • Fred Thompson 18%
  • John McCain 14%
  • Mitt Romney 10%
  • Mike Huckabee 6%
  • Ron Paul 5% (4)

The major change over the last poll is a slight up-tick for Giuliani and McCain, and a drop of about 4% for Thompson. Huckabee and Ron Paul both went up, but they are both still within the margin of error, so it’s unclear whether the change from previous polls is really measuring anything.

As things stand now, though, Giuliani still looks unbeatable compared to the other candidates, as unfortunate as that might be. Unless and until something happens to change that, this could be an even shorter primary season than the calendar makes it look.

Previous Posts on Gallup Poll results can be found here (10/9), here (9/18), here (9/10), and here (8/20)

Getting Free Speech Wrong

Proving the old adage that politics makes strange bedfellows, and that misunderstanding the Constitution is something that both the right and the left are guilty of, the President of NARAL and the President of the Christian Coalition have a joint column in today’s Washington Post about the refusal by Verizon Wireless to allow broadcast text messages on “controversial” topics:

Last month, Verizon Wireless refused to approve NARAL Pro-Choice America’s application for a text-messaging “short code,” a program that enables people to voluntarily sign up to receive updates by texting a five-digit code. When NARAL Pro-Choice America protested, the nation’s second-largest wireless carrier initially claimed the right to block any content “that, in its discretion, may be seen as controversial or unsavory.”

After news of Verizon’s censorship hit the front page of the New York Times, and sparked a public outcry, the company quickly backpedaled. Verizon issued an apology and blamed the blocking on a “dusty internal policy,” while still reserving the right to block text messages in the future at its discretion.

When it comes to censoring free speech, sorry just isn’t good enough. Whatever your political views — conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat, pro-choice or pro-life — it shouldn’t be up to Verizon to determine whether you receive the information you requested. Why should any company decide what you choose to say or do over your phone, your computer or your BlackBerry? Technologies are converging in our communications system, but the principles of free expression and the rights of all Americans to speak without intervention should remain paramount.

The authors are guilty of making a mistake that many Americans make; they take the provisions of the First Amendment and attempt to apply them in contexts in which they are simply inapplicable.

Here, for those who seem to either forget or refuse to remember is what the First Amendment actually says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The emphasis is mine, of course, but it’s meant to emphasize the simple fact that the First Amendment is only directed to government action. When we talk about Freedom of Speech, we’re talking about your right to speak without fear of state reprisal or prior restraint. We are not talking about your right to use someone’s private property to promote your agenda.

And that is exactly what the authors are talking about in this case. Verizon decided that it didn’t want to become a conduit for their political agenda. In a free society, they should have the right to do this if they want to. And if you don’t like it, then go find another cell phone provider.

But that isn’t what the authors want to hear. They want Congress to force Verizon and other telecom providers to provide them with a space on their network to promote their agenda.

We’re asking Congress to convene hearings on whether existing law is sufficient to guarantee the free flow of information and to protect against corporate censorship. The public deserves an open and fair conversation about this important issue.

No, the public needs to realize that we’ll never come close to having a free society if we don’t respect property rights, including Verizon’s.

Quote Of The Day — Liberal Bias Edition

Seen on a bumper sticker:

REALITY Has A Liberal Bias

Really?

Now, humanity has a liberal bias. Most of humanity is caring, generous, kind, forgiving, and willing to accept and look past the failure of others.

Reality? Not so much. Reality is cruel, reality is harsh, reality punishes mistakes without remorse. Reality doesn’t give many second chances. Reality is the exact opposite of what could be called “liberal”.

Now, I’ll admit that it makes for a catchy little slogan. But it’s a profound misunderstanding of the world we live in. In fact, it was the “illiberal” system of capitalism that is precisely what has allowed us to blunt the harsh “conservative” nature of reality.

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