Author Archives: Jason Pye

On Tea Parties and Republican hypocrisy

As you may already know, there will be nationwide protests on April 15th, Tax Day, to protest spending and tax hikes by the Obama Administration. These protests, referred to as Tea Parties, have taken place nearly every week since Friday, February 27th (yours truly attended the Atlanta Tea Party and was interviewed by Neil Cavuto on Fox News about the events) and have been gaining notoriety and slowly more people are attending. The protest here in Atlanta had around 300 people, not bad for a cold, rainy day. Other cities have seen as many as a few thousand people show up.

These protests serve do a purpose, despite what pseudo-libertarian talk show host, Neal Boortz, says or believes. They show that everyday Americans want less spending, less government and personal responsibility. However, they are at risk of being co-opted by Republicans who either stood silently or only gave passive criticism to the spending spree of George W. Bush.

Republicans do not realize the serious credibility problems they have when it comes to criticizing the economic policies of Barck Obama. According to a recent study from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, George W. Bush was the biggest spender in the last 30 years. The table to the right shows the massive increases in non-defense discretionary spending.

Sean Hannity, who will be attending the Atlanta Tea Party on April 15th, says he has criticized Republicans on spending. He has been more vocal of late about Republicans getting back to the supposed small government roots, but even he was only passive while the gross expansion of government was taking place.

Newt Gingrich and his group, American Solutions, recently announced that they were endorsing and supporting the protests. Gingrich has supported and lobbied for a $9 trillion expansion of Medicare and more recently, the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP or Wall Street bailout), which has resulted in trillions of taxpayers dollar being put at risk by a completely incompetent government. This is exactly the sort of spending that these protests are against. An argument can also be made, after reading Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, that Republicans began to lose whatever principles they claimed to have while Gingrich was Speaker of the House, something can be verified by the table above by looking at the growth in spending in the second term of Bill Clinton.

The involvement of politically polarizing figures will ruin and destroy the credibility of a good movement. Accusations of astroturfing surfaced immediately after the events on February 27th. This makes those accusations have substance.

Despite all this, concerned taxpayers should show up to these events to voice their disapproval at these economic policies that have lead us down an unsustainable path. There are several of these protests lined up on April 15th across Georgia. You can find a list here.

C/P: Atlanta Examiner

20/20 and Reason: “Bailouts & Bull”

Last night’s episode of 20/20 was one of the best I’ve ever seen. John Stossel took on several topics, such as taxpayer-funded bailouts, transportation, medicinal marijuana, universal pre-kindergarten and immigration. Many of the segments are based on and include footage from The Drew Carey Project from Reason TV. Stossel also interviews Drew Carey in some of the segments.

The they are six videos (five below the cut). The first one deals with bailouts. Stossel talks to 18 economists about why the “stimulus” was a bad idea. He asks House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer if debt got us into this recession, then why is creating more debt going to get us out? One economist says that one dollar taken out of the economy is one less dollar to be spent in the private sector.

The second video deals with transportation, and actually starts off in Atlanta (my hometown), and is based on this video from Reason TV. It highlights private toll roads built in Orange County, California, Paris, Chicago and Indiana.

This segment is on medicinal marijuana and Charlie Lynch and is based on this Reason TV video. Lynch owned a medicinal marijuana dispensary in California, which is legal under state law. He was arrested by DEA agents for helping sick people and is now awaiting sentencing, up to a hundred years in jail.

This is the segment on universal pre-kindergarten, a promise made by Barack Obama during his campaign. It’s based in part on this Reason TV video.

Here’s the segment on immigration, which is based on a Reason TV video. Stossel shows how the gate is useless because illegal immigrants still manage to get around it, either by climbing over it or cutting holes in it. Stossel talks to both Duncan Hunter and his son, Duncan Hunter, Jr., about why it is necessary. The younger Hunter asks Stossel, “What is it worth to the American people to not have another 9/11?” Stossel says the fence wouldn’t have stopped 9/11 (the 9/11 hijackers came in the country legally). Hunter says, “It may stop the next 9/11.” Gotta love the fear mongering.

Here’s the final segment of the episode. It talks about how easy it is to make it in American if you live within your means and is based on this Reason TV video.

Bush Administration considered free speech restrictions?

The Bush Administration weighed restrictions on the First Amendment, according to a recently released memo:

In perhaps the most surprising assertion, the Oct. 23, 2001, memo suggested the president could even suspend press freedoms if he concluded it was necessary to wage the war on terror. “First Amendment speech and press rights may also be subordinated to the overriding need to wage war successfully,” Yoo wrote in the memo entitled “Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activity Within the United States.”

This claim was viewed as so extreme that it was essentially (and secretly) revoked—but not until October of last year, seven years after the memo was written and with barely three and a half months left in the Bush administration.

At that time, Steven Bradbury, who headed the Office of Legal Counsel throughout Bush’s second term, concluded that Yoo’s statements about overriding First Amendment freedoms were “unnecessary” and “overbroad and general and not sufficiently grounded in the particular circumstance of a concrete scenario,” according to a memo from Bradbury also made public Monday.

Kate Martin, the director for the Center for National Security Studies, a Washington think tank, said the newly disclosed memo by Yoo and Robert Delahunty, another OLC lawyer, was part of a broader legal reasoning that gave President Bush essentially unfettered powers in the war on terrorism. “In October 2001, they were trying to construct a legal regime that would basically have allowed for the imposition of martial law,” said Martin.

John Yoo is also responsible for other abuses of executive power.

Yoo cited a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes, the Supreme Court Justice that most epitomizes collectivism, “[w]hen it comes to a decision by the head of the state upon a matter involving its life, the ordinary rights of individuals must yield to what he deems the necessities of the moment.” According to John Yoo, the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not apply in time of war.

You can view the section of the memo dealing with the First Amendment here.

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