Author Archives: Stephen Gordon

A few thoughts about last weekend’s Tea Parties

While I’ve not had enough time to take a comprehensive look at Tea Parties held around the nation on or around Independence Day, here are some quick observations from this full-time Tea Party enthusiast and part-time skeptic.

First of all, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) was booed when he spoke in Austin, Texas.  The key reason reason seems to be that he voted for the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac bailout in order to protect “free market capitalism, with our civil liberties, [which are] are the foundation of American exceptionalism.”  In the hyperlinked explanation for his vote, he quoted Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in order to help spread the blame.  “This bill does not represent a new and sudden departure from free market principles…” explained Cornyn, who was quoting Coburn.

Coburn has also infuriated fiscal conservatives because, in his role as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he sided with “establishment candidate, Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, in a Senate primary against young conservative leader, former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio” in the Florida Senate race.

Coburn probably wasn’t the only Republican Party leader booed in Texas.  I’ve seen some video of Texas Governor Rick Perry speaking in San Antonio, but I’ve not seen any video with jeers from the audience from anywhere in Texas (he wasn’t allowed to speak at the major Dallas event).  However, there are multiple reports that he was booed for “his advocacy of toll roads to relieve traffic congestion.” I tried to obtain additional information on Twitter and it seems my suspicions were correct: He received some sporadic booing, not specifically because of toll roads, but that the road in question is the “NAFTA Superhighway” or “Trans-Texas Corridor”.  Based upon observations during my campaign work in east Texas in 2006, there are probably quite a few Birchers who still vehemently oppose this effort.

The least biased view of the Austin event which I’ve read comes from Robbie Cooper: » Read more

Communist Party considers President Obama a success

Generally, the Communist Party spends a lot of time criticizing Democrats running for and holding public office for not being socialistic enough. This appears to have changed since President Obama was elected.

“In this legislative session, we can envision winning a Medicare-like public option and then going further in the years ahead,” writes Sam Webb, Chair of the Communist Party USA.

“The core of this struggle, whether we like it or not, turns on the inclusion of a public option in a health care bill,” continues Webb on government takeover of health care issue. “President Obama reaffirmed his support for such an option and the Congressional Progressive Caucus recently expressed its full support for a public option that is government run, covers everyone, and goes into effect right away.”

The conversation isn’t limited to health care issues, either.

“The new conditions of struggle are possible only – and I want to emphasize only – because we elected President Obama and a Congress with pronounced progressive and center currents,” adds Webb.

Here are some other points Webb made regarding fiscal policy:

  • We can visualize passing tough regulatory reforms on the financial industry, which brought the economy to ruin.
  • In the current political climate, the expansion of union rights becomes a real possibility.
  • Much the same can be said about winning a second stimulus bill, and we sure need one, given the still-rising rate, and likely long term persistence, of unemployment.
  • Isn’t it possible in the Obama era to create millions of green jobs in manufacturing and other sectors of the economy in tandem with an attack on global warming?

Considering that Obama’s actions have been pretty much in line with The Communist Manifesto, it makes sense that the Communist Party would be supporting his recent efforts.

On the other side of the aisle, Republicans like Karl Rove recently spent his time attacking Democratic socialized medicine by defending Republican socialized medicine. John McCain and Sarah Palin supported the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac bailout. Newt Gingrich supported the Wall Street bailout. The National Republican Senatorial Committee is supporting Florida Governor Charlie Crist. Republican votes in favor of Cap and Trade just caused the bill to be passed in the House.

Arlen Specter may well have just changed parties because there was no longer any room for him on the Republican left.

With Communists now calling Democrats “comrade” and Republicans acting more like Democrats than fiscal conservatives, there is but one category remaining for most normal Americans: Screwed!

Trying to understand the 4th of July from an African-American perspective

“It’s Independence Day, dammit, not the ‘Fourth of July,'” properly noted a close friend on Twitter.

This was countered by what I consider another valid point. “That depends on who you’re asking,” responded African-American Jefferson County (AL) Commission candidate Iva Williams. “Plymouth Rock landed on me!”

In my opinion, there is a lot of truth to both sides of this issue.  As the exchange started with the comment made by Georgia libertarian activist Jason Pye, I should first note that I’ve never observed a whiff of racism in Pye’s words or actions. Pye, who is white, has been targeted and threatened by some racist groups in Georgia for his belief that all people should be treated equally under the law.  Additionally, I’ve never observed race-baiting on the part of Williams and my observations indicate that he truly judges people by “the content of their character.”

Pye has good reason to want to celebrate “Independence Day.”  It’s a remembrance of the day that Americans formed a new political identity by throwing off the yokes of European tyranny and oppression.  If any one day could be identified as a turning point for freedom in western civilization, this is arguably the date which should be marked on our calendars.

“It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more,” wrote John Adams to his wife Abigail.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” reads a portion of the immortal document we observe on July 4th.  However, common practice at the time didn’t provide the same rights to one sector of America: African slaves.

It is estimated that half a million people, or one fifth of the total American population, in 1776 was enslaved.

While I certainly take a great deal of pride in the fact that a lot of people risked their lives, liberty and property to secure a nation free of Europe’s chains, I’ll never forget that we placed even crueler chains upon a significant segment of our own population. As those of us of western European ancestry don’t harbor positive feelings about the way we were treated by Great Britain, Willams has no reason to harbor positive feelings about the way African-Americans were treated at the time of our nation’s birth.

In his book John Adams, David McCullough notes an advertisement in the Phildelphia Journal:

TO BE SOLD: A large quantity of pine boards that are well seasoned. Likewise, a Negro wench; she is to be disposed of for no fault, but that she is present with child, she is about 20 years old … and is fit for either town or country business.

On the flip side of the coin, McCullough writes in 1776 this commentary by General John Thomas about “Negro” soldiers: “…for fatique and in action; many of them have proved themselves brave.”

One example of such bravery was recounted by John Greenwood:

…a Negro man, wounded in the back of his neck, passed me and, his collar being open and he not having anything on except his shirt and trousers, I saw the wound quite plainly and the blood running down his back. I asked him if it hurt him much, as he did not seem to mind it.  He said no, that he was only to get a plaster put on it and meant to return. You cannot conceive what encouragement this immediately gave me. I began to feel brave and like a soldier from that moment, and fear never troubled me afterward during the whole war.

One of the most dramatic moments of my life was being stationed in Germany when the wall fell.  The only traffic jam in which I’ve enjoyed being caught was the sudden exodus of people fleeing from Soviet Bloc countries. My three closest friends were all in the same unit and of the same rank: one white, one black and one hispanic. We delighted in watching the faces of those escaping the tyranny of the east. We shared a common pride for our contributions, and there was no reason for any of us to harbor any feeling of shame.

Even Thomas Jefferson, who I admire for a variety of reasons, certainly must have shared a feeling of shame with many of his countrymen at the time of our nation’s birth. In a draft version of the Declaration of Independence, he wrote that the British crown “has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in another hemisphere.”

This section was dropped at the insistence of delegates from South Carolina and Georgia.

While the Constitution was being drafted, debate over the rights of African-Americans continued.  At the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, a compromise was reached and this wording (emphasis added) was finally settled upon: “Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.”

If my country was to allow those of my race to be enslaved, I’d not be likely to celebrate this sort of “independence.”

If my country was to only count me as three-fifths of a person, I’d not be celebrating this, either.

As a white person of mostly European ancestry, I understand the pride that most Americans feel on Independence Day. As I’m not black, I’ll probably never be able to truly understand the feelings of African-Americans on the topic. Were I black, I’d likely feel a sense of pride that many of my ancestors laid down their lives to promote a system of government which eventually led to the freest of societies in the history of the world.  I’d probably also wish to ensure that people never forget the absolute horrors of slavery. As many of my white friends want us to learn from the positives of the founding of our country, my black friends want to ensure that we truly understand our history so we never repeat the same mistakes.

This country has come a long way regarding racial issues since 1776. For the most part, the law requires that people of all races are to be treated equally, although in practice this isn’t always the case. At times, the legislative pendulum seems to swing too far in the other direction. To be quite clear, I’ll fight any legislation which limits the rights of members of any race.

Additionally, we’ve still got some cultural ground to cross.  If my skin tone was darker, there are still plenty of counties in the deep south where I’d not “let the sun set on my black ass.” As a white person, I don’t spend much time in those places, either. It’s not necessarily better up north, where racism is often more covert: “She’s not like us” is still whispered at many blue-blood cocktail parties.

“America experiences a new birth of freedom in her sons and daughters; she incarnates the spirit of her martyred chief,” noted Martin Luther King, Jr. in “The Negro and the Constitution.”

This Saturday, I’ll certainly understand why my Republican and Democratic friends will be flying the red, white and blue. I’ve an even deeper appreciation for my libertarian friends, who will mostly be displaying the Gadsden Flag. If I was black, I might be tempted to display three-fifths (respectfully folded and secured with pins, not cut with scissors) of an American flag.

“And I with my brother of blackest hue possessing at last my rightful heritage and holding my head erect, may stand beside the Saxon, a Negro, and yet a man!” concluded King while Jefferson wrote that “Every generation needs a new revolution.”

My Army experience in Germany taught me that people of all colors can form very close bonds when we don’t have racial barriers between us. Perhaps people of all races can spend a few minutes trying to wear shoes of a different color this July 4th. Perhaps we can start a revolution Jefferson might have welcomed so King’s Saxons and Negros are no longer divided, but are merely men.

The blood all races have shed for this country is of the same color: red. It’s time that we all learn to sit at the same table to discuss our common heritage of fighting for freedom. I can’t think of any better day to open the dialogue than on July 4th.

UPDATE: Via Dakarai I. Aarons, I’d recommend that everyone read ” What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” by Frederick Douglass.

Originally posted at Birmingham Libertarian Examiner.

ObamaCare: 21st century gerrymandering?

It’s a rare day that I don’t read some story about President Obama punishing some financial institutionauto manufacturer or responsible party for not playing along with his political agenda.  It’s fairly common knowledge that the elderly are more likely to vote Republican than Democrat. While the main stream media seems ignorant of the fact, common sense dictates any insurance or public health care program will try to control costs by limiting the services and products available to patients. We now know how Obama feels about rationing health care for the elderly. As Matthew Vadum puts it:

So, old people: screw you. In the future Uncle Sam will put you on an ice floe and let you float away to your heavenly reward. It gives new meaning to the Latin phrase “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.” (In English, How sweet and glorious it is to die for one’s country.)

“If it’s my family member, it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care, ” President Obama said Wednesday night in response to being asked if he would allow his family members to have their health care options limited by government.

“We’re not going to solve every single one of these very difficult decisions at end of life,” Obama said while evading another answer on end-of-life care. “Ultimately that’s going to be between physicians and patients.”

He failed to mention that he would be the one controlling the purse strings available to the physicians and patients he mentioned.

Tying this all together, we know that end-of-life medical care costs are disproportionately high, the government already rations health care to the elderly and will be forced to do more of it should they take over a greater portion of the industry, Obama rewards his friends and punishes his enemies — and that the elderly are more likely to vote Republican than younger people.

Not that I’m suggesting that Obama would try to control the outcome of future elections by rationing health care options, but think about it. Reward some favored constituency here and punish some disfavored one there, especially if Paul is a Democrat and Peter is a Republican.  And the easiest target of all for health care rationing would be senior citizens who tend to vote Republican.

It’s time for ABC News to put a libertarian in the White House

On June 24th, to be specific. And the obvious libertarian’s name is John Stossel.

For those not following the story, ABC News has announced the following:

Next Wednesday June 24 at 10pmET Charles Gibson and Diane Sawyer will moderate what ABC News calls “a primetime conversation” with President Obama about the future of U.S. health care.

During the discussion from the East Room, President Obama will answer questions from an audience made up of Americans selected by ABC News. ABC’s medical editor Dr. Timothy Johnson will also take part.

“Good Morning America” and “World News” will originate from the White House next Wednesday and the conversation will continue later on Nightline.

This has prompted criticism from the Republican National Committee.

“Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party’s views to those of the President’s to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented,” responded Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay. “Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party’s opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

A couple of days ago, I made the case that ABC should consider adding John Stossel to the lineup. Today, Michelle Malkin and Allahpundit jumped on board the same bandwagon. Malkin:

ABC News says it welcomes “thoughtful” and “diverse” voices on its White House health care special.

Why not include ABC 20/20 anchor John Stossel? I have confirmed that he has not been asked to be a part of the programming.

Why not?

When it comes to thoughtful and diverse perspectives on freedom, government, and the marketplace, no one matches Stossel.

Allahpundit asked: “Michelle: Will libertarian John Stossel be part of ABC’s Obama infomercial?”  His answer: “Good question, especially given his history of covering the issue. The answer, I’m guessing, is no, since ABC seems intent on excluding representatives of alternative viewpoints even if lip service ends up being paid to those viewpoints in the questions that are asked of The One.”

In addition to McKay, RNC Chairman Michael Steele is having a conniption fit.

“The liberal special interests have clearly learned from their missteps the last time they tried to force Americans into a socialized health care system — the abysmal failure of the Clinton Administration’s ‘HillaryCare,’” Steele wrote. “That’s why their friends at ABC News will be promoting Obamacare at virtually every opportunity, from ‘Good Morning America’ to ‘Nightline,’ and reach from ABC News’ websites all the way to the White House’s East Room.”

In my article, one of the reasons I suggested that a libertarian should be engaged in the debate is that Republican leaders have lost any credibility on the issue.

For starters, I agree with ABC’s position that Republican Party leadership should not be engaged in the debate, albeit for a different reason. The Republican leadership recently lobbied for and supported the largest government intervention into the health care marketplace with Medicare Part D.  They aren’t qualified to act as the spokepersons for the opposition.  Like a pack of hyenas battling over a dead carcass, one could easily argue that GOP leaders — along with the AMA, pharmaceutical companies and the insurance industry  — wish to engage in the debate to ensure they get their proper share of the spoils.

In another example, Karl Rove just “used an example of socialized medicine he helped to promote to illustrate why Democratic socialized medicine is bad, but Republican socialized medicine is good.”  Additionally, senior Republicans are more concerned about quibbling over the details and making adjustments to their speaking points than for making arguments based on principles. Senior Republicans seem happy with ObamaCare Lite, so long their preferred benefactors are the ones who get the benefit of the taxpayers’ dollar.

When libertarians take to the stage, they are typically critical of both major parties. Just from recent television appearances of writers on this site, Jason Pye told Neil Cavuto that he rejects the notion that there may be no groundswell of popular support at recent Tea Parties. “I think, honestly, that conservatives and Republicans were thrown out of office because they forgot their values,” said Pye. “They forgot what they believed in.”

“Newt Gingrich could be one of these two tea bags, because he likes his tea bags sweetened, let’s say, with TARP funding,” I recently stated on the Rachel Maddow Show.  “And this other one could be Mike Huckabee.  We call him Tax Hike Mike in my circles because he likes his tea bag with tax increases.

Additionally, Stossel is on top of his game when it comes to health care reform. After I asked Stossel an ObamaCare question on this program, Judge Andrew Napolitano responded: “Your argument is so logical. It’s pure Economics 101.”

The way I see it, ABC News can make one of three choices right now:

  1. They can continue on their current path and receive a considerable amount of just criticism for some time to come.
  2. They can provide a balance of ObamaCare and ObamaCare Lite by including senior GOP leaders.  As their lack of new and alternative ideas has already caused voters to reject them in 2006 and 2008, this seems a fairly moronic idea.
  3. They could throw in the only real and the only principled opposition to ObamaCare by including libertarians in the debate.

On June 25th, we’ll all know just how serious ABC News is about “looking for the most thoughtful and diverse voices on this issue.”

Obama’s disdain for free speech

According to Drudge, President Obama plans to take a bigger step closer to totalitarianism regarding the separation of the media and the state.

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care — a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm!

Highlights on the agenda:

ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House.

The network plans a primetime special — ‘Prescription for America’ — originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

Of course, ABC promises to keep the coverage fair and balanced.

I sort of welcome this move, as it provides some the transparency Obama promised. If the mainstream media is to be Obama’s propaganda team, why not move their offices over to the White House?

However, Obama doesn’t treat the free speech rights of those he doesn’t like in the same manner.  Obama seems poised to sign a bill which will further erode the rights of tobacco companies to advertise:

The marketing and advertising restrictions in the tobacco law that Congress passed last week are likely to be challenged in court on free-speech grounds, but supporters of the legislation say they carefully drafted the law to comply with the First Amendment.

The law’s ban on outdoor advertising within 1,000 feet of schools and playgrounds would effectively outlaw legal advertising in many cities, critics of the prohibition said. And restricting stores and many forms of print advertising to black-and-white text, as the law specifies, would interfere with legitimate communication to adults, tobacco companies and advertising groups said in letters to Congress. [snip]

Opponents of the new strictures, including the Association of National Advertisers and the American Civil Liberties Union, predict that federal courts will throw out the new marketing restrictions. They point to a 2001 Supreme Court decision that struck down a Massachusetts rule imposing a similar ban on advertising within 1,000 feet of schools.

“Anybody looking at this in a fair way would say the effort here is not just to protect kids, which is a substantial interest of the country, but to make it virtually impossible to communicate with anybody,” said Daniel Jaffe, executive vice president of the Association of National Advertisers. “We think this creates very serious problems for the First Amendment.” [snip]

“The bill has been carefully drafted, and I am confident that the provisions will be upheld,” Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., a sponsor of the legislation, said in a statement Monday.

Matthew Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, an advocacy group that pushed for the law, said: “Frankly, the tobacco industry and the advertising industry have never heard of an advertising restriction that they thought was constitutional. In this case, great care was taken to permit black-and-white text advertising that permits them to communicate whatever truthful information they have.”

While Obama continues to destroy our economy, wreck the automobile industry and put our health care system on life support, he’s now taking swipes at the First Amendment.

Obamacare roundup

As I’m in the middle of writing an article regarding President Obama’s health care scheme, I thought I’d check around and see what other folks are saying about it.  I started with my wife, as she’s not only smarter than me, but also a practicing physician.  Obama told members of the AMA the following:

That is why I will listen to you and work with you to pursue reform that works for you. And together, if we take all these steps, we can bring spending down, bring quality up, and save hundreds of billions of dollars on health care costs while making our health care system work better for patients and doctors alike.

My wife’s response: “If Obama is truly serious about listening to doctors, this one says that he needs to leave my patients and me alone.”

Megan McArdle: “And what about the government’s infamous ability to wrestle new savings out of ‘providers’?  They are large, but they are not unlimited.  Medicaid patients find it very difficult to get doctors to take them, since the doctors tend to lose money on their care.  (I’ve heard persuasive arguments that ‘Medicaid mills’ adept at fraud are integral to providing care to the poor–without the fraud, Medicaid doesn’t reimbursements won’t cover the bill.)  Medicare patients are starting to have the same problem.”

Jason Pye:  “President Obama says that the country will go broke unless he can borrow and spend up to $2 trillion to ‘reform’ our health care system, comparing the future of the country to Government General Motors. You’re reading that right, our president claims that unless we spend more money and effectively run private insurers out of business over the course of time, the country will go bankrupt. Doesn’t make much sense, does it?”

Ronald Bailey: After parsing the numbers, it looks as though most the ‘savings’ that President Obama wants to use to finance his health care reforms are achieved by imposing price controls.

David McKalip: “In these circumstances, patients will be subject to a ‘mill’ mentality and treated like numbers that must be entered in a computer to satisfy a functionary sitting in a cubicle somewhere in Washington D.C. A better solution is to empower patients financially to pay doctors for their time. I find that when I look my patient in the eyes and spend 45 minutes with them, they are getting my best care.”

Stephen Green: “The President is promising to save money by eliminating a lot of those seemingly pointless end-of-life treatments. But that’s also going to mean an end to end-of-life profits. And, well, you can bet our life expectancy will get frozen in place as a result.”

Skip Oliva: “You can see why government-controlled health care is so appealing to the Obama regime. It’s hard to resist giving yourself even more power to decide who lives and who dies. There’s nothing more fun than playing God, right?”

NTU blog: “The only effects of nationalizing health care, it seems, would be to raise the age of a woman’s first mammogram, reduce the number of routine screenings she receives throughout her life, and delay the detection of breast cancer beyond the point of easy treatment. How do you justify jeopardizing the health of over 50 percent of the population to expand coverage to the 9 million or so that, according to The Spectator, are those truly uninsured for the long haul? Apparently women’s health doesn’t fall under the category of ‘universal coverage’.”

Ron Paul: “I started medicine when there was no Medicare and no Medicaid. And let me tell you, I don’t remember one time where I saw people out in the streets begging for medical care. Now we do. With managed care and now with socialized medicine coming, believe me, quality will go down. Costs will go up.  There will be shortages, there will be lines — and nobody is going to be happy.”

Grant Babcock: “Underlying the Obama plan is the same hubris that underlies all schemes to take decisions out of the hands of everyday people and instead entrust them to central planners: the belief that the government knows what you need better than you do.”

Robert Stacy McCain: “The MSM is asleep at the switch as Barack Obama fields ‘spontaneous’ health-care questions from . . . a former Democratic Party candidate for Congress…”

Donny Ferguson: “In a move that would have made Ken Lay proud, Democrat congressional leaders are expected to deal with the huge price tag of Barack Obama’s government takeover of health care in a unique way — ditching the estimates prepared by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office and replacing them with the nunbers prepared by the politically-appointed White House Office of Management and Budget.”

Preston Mui: “Reality is setting in with President Obama and the Democrats: No matter how well-intended a policy is, it cannot evade the economic facts of reality.”

Michael Tanner: “But the problems with Obamacare go well beyond the Public Option, which the AMA opposes. The mandates on businesses and individuals, taxpayer subsidies, insurance regulation, and government interference in private medical decisions pose serious threats to American businesses, taxpayers, and most importantly patients. That’s bad medicine, no matter what you call it.”

Chris Moody: “Okay doctors, architects, and farmers. Your work is now my right. Feed me, house me and care for me. I don’t have to pay for it. I was born with the right to your labor.”

Steve Chapman: “There are only three ways to pay for this expansion of health insurance coverage: increased taxes, reduced benefits, or shiny gold ingots falling out of the sky. Voters emphatically prefer the latter option, so that is the one most likely to be embraced by Congress and the administration.”

Bruce McQuain: “This is not your grandfather’s America. Pay czars who arbitrarily set arbitrary pay limits based on what they ‘think’ (according to presidential spokesperson Robert Gibbs) is ‘fair’, a government appointed CEO for an auto company who admits he knows nothing about cars and the government hijacking of health care. If you’re not concerned, you’re not paying attention.”

Glenn Reynolds: “ANOTHER NATIONAL HEALTH PROGRAM THAT DOESN’T WORK: PROMISES, PROMISES: Indian health care needs unmet.

CROW AGENCY, Mont. – Ta’Shon Rain Little Light, a happy little girl who loved to dance and dress up in traditional American Indian clothes, had stopped eating and walking. She complained constantly to her mother that her stomach hurt.

When Stephanie Little Light took her daughter to the Indian Health Service clinic in this wind-swept and remote corner of Montana, they told her the 5-year-old was depressed.

Ta’Shon’s pain rapidly worsened and she visited the clinic about 10 more times over several months before her lung collapsed and she was airlifted to a children’s hospital in Denver. There she was diagnosed with terminal cancer, confirming the suspicions of family members. . . . On some reservations, the oft-quoted refrain is “don’t get sick after June,” when the federal dollars run out.

“This is what Obama wants for your family — or, at least, it’s what he’ll deliver in the end. Fix this — and Medicare — first!”

My prediction: Obama and the AMA will make make some cooing noises as they banter a bit about capping malpractice awards.  Then the AMA will give Obama a standing ovation as he creates his national insurance company.  AMA members won’t understand that they’ve been taken to the cleaners until they realize that their nurses are making more than they are.

Lame Idea of the Day: Masters in Social Media

From TechRadar:

Students will now be able to take a Masters degree in ‘Social Media’, with the University of Salford insisting that the course can give real-world skills and experience.

Although it should come as little surprise that people will now have the option to have an MA in Facebook and Twitter, the course is apparently aimed to produce the next generation of PRs and marketers.

They add:

TechRadar will probably not be attending the course as we are too fully focused on our Doctorate in YouTube for such frivolities. But we do like the idea of doing a 140-character dissertation.

What’s next — a grad school program for the next aspiring Babe Ruth or Hank Aaron? A Doctorate in becoming a Playboy model can’t be far behind.  I’d also suggest a degree program in being stupid, but they already do that.

The upside of this is that government and corporate bureaucrats will start hiring folks with the correct box on their job application checked, as opposed to some sort of merit-based system.  All those social media experts at Whitehouse.gov may soon have to look for a new job.

Leadership on the right still has no freaking clue

Writing at the Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove offered some advice about how to defeat the anticipated onslaught of socialized medicine.  In the column, he used an example of socialized medicine he helped to promote to illustrate why Democratic socialized medicine is bad, but Republican socialized medicine is good:

Advocates say a government-run insurance program is needed to provide competition for private health insurance. But 1,300 companies sell health insurance plans. That’s competition enough. The results of robust private competition to provide the Medicare drug benefit underscore this. When it was approved, the Congressional Budget Office estimated it would cost $74 billion a year by 2008. Nearly 100 providers deliver the drug benefit, competing on better benefits, more choices, and lower prices. So the actual cost was $44 billion in 2008 — nearly 41% less than predicted. No government plan was needed to guarantee competition’s benefits.

The last time I checked, Medicare Part D is all about redistributionism.  One can’t even make the flimsy argument that current beneficiaries have paid into the system.  I work and they take money from me to offset the price of medicine for seniors.  What’s worse, they don’t have enough money to pay the bills.  As a result, my children will end up picking up most of the tab, along with the interest charges.

I was beginning to have some hope that the GOP would at least take on the Obama administration regarding socialized medicine, but it appears they don’t even understand the rhetoric of free-market economics anymore.  What’s next in the GOP playbook? Directly quoting Karl Marx?

Senator Feingold wants your input on health care

Senator Feingold is half of the team which brought us McCain-Feingold. His “Citizen Brief on Health Care” wants your input. It asks:

  1. How does the state of our current system affect you and your family?
  2. What reforms do you think are necessary to fix our health care crisis?
  3. Do you support the creation of a public plan option?

and then for some contact information.

Here’s the link.

And Republicans still can’t figure out why they keep losing battles in the War of the Tubes

Shortly after I graduated high school in 1980 (yep, I’m an old man, just ask my kids), I responded to two computer programming job ads.  One company wanted a detailed resume of my education and work experience.  The other company was trying to get people to come in and take a test. The test was tough, but the thought process behind it was both simple and germane: We had to write a complex program in RPG to handle a hypothetical business need for this local company.  The programs submitted were the primary basis for the company’s hiring decision. The last time I checked (I ended up taking a job with a third company, EDS), the former business went under while the latter business is still around today.

Not too long ago, the Republican National Committee sent out a widely criticized Request-for-Proposal to move their Internets into the 21st century.

“Friends, either the RNC has no freakin’ clue what the hell it is doing or else all the rumors about certain consultants having an inside track at RNC contracts is true,” wrote Red State’s Erick Erickson. “Why? Because there is no way any competent person would put together an RFP like this. It’s crap. It is not legitimate. It is unprofessional. It is illusory.”

Let’s contrast the RNC to Howard Dean’s Internet guru.  Here’s Joe Trippi’s latest tweet:

I’m looking to hire the next social media whiz kid. Sound like you? Apply here: http://tr.im/nyLU Pls RT

When one follows Trippi’s link, he or she will read the following:

We’re looking for the next Associate to join our team. We posted the job description below on a number of job boards and sent it around to everyone we could think of. But, as we started the interview process, we realized the normal method of just reviewing resumes wasn’t going to work for us.

We need to know the person we hire. We want to see your skills in action and know you have the drive to succeed here…in short, we need to know you “get it”. And resumes and interviews aren’t enough.

So, we’re not going to judge you on your years of experience or your GPA. We are going to judge you on how well you can help us build online movements. We’re looking for the next social media whiz…someone who understands social media, online advocacy, and grassroots organizing and is passionate about using that knowledge to help non-profits and campaigns. That’s it.

If that sounds like you, we encourage you to apply by completing our online assessment. The link is below, but don’t click on it until you’re ready because, once you start, you only have 2 hours to complete it. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to log in again or start over. (You may finish before the 2 hours are up, but don’t take more time than that. The survey tool includes a timer, so we’ll be able to tell if you miss the deadline.)

The survey was fairly simple, but germane.  They asked for basic contact information, to describe three influential blogs, then got to the nitty-gritty.  Among other things, they described a hypothetical setting and asked the applicant to create an e-mail for a list of 100,000 people, as well as a blog entry, to promote their hypothetical agenda.

As one local example of how pathetic Republicans are on the Internet, ‘Lil Ol’ Me has almost twice as many Twitter followers as the Alabama Republican governor and each of the GOP gubernatorial candidates combined.

Not that I like the left’s agenda any more than I like the right’s agenda, but it’s obvious that one side “gets it” while the other doesn’t. One might think that the Republican Party would wake up and smell the Tubes.  Instead, they’ve still got their heads buried in the sand.  Or somewhere, at least.

Republican Senators busted trying to water down the “Audit the Fed” bill

The Senate version of The Federal Reserve Transparency Act (HR1207) is being watered down.  Not by Democrats, but by two ranking Republicans. The Huffington Post reports:

Thanks to an overlooked document posted on the website of Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the top ranking Republican on the Finance Committee, voters can virtually watch the water being dumped into the brew that Grassley had hoped to force the Fed to drink. (See the document at the bottom of this story.)

On page five of Grassley’s amendment, he intends to give the Comptroller General of the Government Accountability Office power to audit “any action taken by the Board under…the third undesignated paragraph of section 13 of the Federal Reserve Act” — which would be almost everything that it has done on an emergency basis to address the financial crisis, encompassing its massive expansion of opaque buying and lending.

Handwritten into the margins, however, is the amendment that watered it down: “with respect to a single and specific partnership or corporation.” With that qualification, the Senate severely limited the scope of the oversight.

On the Senate floor, Grassley named the top Republican on the banking committee, Richard Shelby of Alabama, as the man pouring the water.

“Although I would have preferred to include all of the Fed’s emergency actions under 13(3), in consultation with Senator Shelby I agreed to limit my amendment to actions aimed at specific companies,” said Grassley.

The Federal Reserve has a considerable amount of influence over our fiscal status, but there is no tranparency of their actions.  It’s so vital that a full audit be conducted that 186 House members have co-sponsored the bill already. The way I see it, “partial audit” makes about as much sense as a “partial virgin”.

Please contact Senator Shelby and Senator Grassley and let them know we demand a full audit of the Federal Reserve.

Senator Grassley
(202) 224-3744
E-mail

Senator Shelby
(202) 224-5744
E-mail

The Liberty Papers hits list of top 100 poliblogs

ABC News has noted Wikio.com’s ranking of political blogs.  The Liberty Papers made the top 100 poliblogs, coming in at number 87.

The rankings are compiled based on links from other blogs — with extra weight given to blogs that rank higher via Wikio’s formulas, and based on how recently an item is published. Blog rolls aren’t taken into account, so only fresh postings impact the rankings.

One of the intriguing aspects of this list is that it puts everyone in the same pot. The list has mainstream media blogs — from ABC News, CNN, The New York Times, and others — alongside well-known partisan bloggers — Michelle Malkin, FireDogLake — and even government-run bloggers, like WhiteHouse.gov’s.

I’d like to thank each of you who stops by from time to time to see what’s going on in LibertyLand.  Double thanks go to those who link our posts.  Triple thanks go to the entire crew here for coming up with fresh postings which are interesting and insightful.

Socially conservative sickos

It’s no secret that I harbor no love for the sorts of extreme social conservatives who’d like to shove their religious views up some orifice of mine, but social conservatives rejoicing about the murder of Dr. George Tiller take things to a new low. For those not aware, Tiller performed abortions and was shot at church in front of his wife.

Like cockroaches, “compassionate conservatives” are scurrying out from the cracks and crevices to celebrate this death. Balloon Juice is keeping track of the pro-murder statements over at Free Republic.

At The Next Right, diarist DebraJMSmith entitles her gloating rant: “Abortionist, George Tiller, Shot Dead!” (Update: This post has now been removed from the site)

“And I do not feel sorry for a family who loved a murderer,” she writes. “And I sure do NOT feel sorry for a church that had no problem allowing a murderer to attend.”

It’s to be noted that she also posts Alabama Judge Roy Moore’s poetry on her personal site. Moore recently had to distance himself from a supporter who wrote:

“We must clean up our education system which is indoctrinating our children through a multicultural mix of communism, Islam, New Age and anything that goes, except Christianity, which is now being portrayed as the enemy. Our forefathers founded America on God and his word. The enemy is now taking it away, but he can do it only if we remain apathetic and refuse to listen and act on the truth.”

Of course, Moore attracts supporters such as these when he writes legal opinions like this (emphasis added):

To disfavor practicing homosexuals in custody matters is not invidious discrimination, nor is it legislating personal morality. On the contrary, disfavoring practicing homosexuals in custody matters promotes the general welfare of the people of our State in accordance with our law, which is the duty of its public servants… The State carries the power of the sword, that is, the power to prohibit conduct with physical penalties, such as confinement and even execution. It must use that power to prevent the subversion of children toward this lifestyle, to not encourage a criminal lifestyle… Homosexual behavior is a ground for divorce, an act of sexual misconduct punishable as a crime in Alabama, a crime against nature, an inherent evil, and an act so heinous that it defies one’s ability to describe it. That is enough under the law to allow a court to consider such activity harmful to a child. To declare that homosexuality is harmful is not to make new law but to reaffirm the old; to say that it is not harmful is to experiment with people’s lives, particularly the lives of children.

One wonders how many more Roy Moore supporters will be celebrating the Tiller’s murder in public.  Certainly, a lot more of them will be celebrating in the closet. And Republicans can’t figure out why they are losing elections.

UPDATE: Here is some related sickness on Twitter.

Let’s get some freedom watched on Fox News

A bunch of us are trying to get Judge Andrew Napolitano’s online program Freedom Watch into a televised slot at Fox News. According to an e-mail I received from Judge Napolitano’s colleague Shelly Roche, the Fox producers are telling her the two most important things we can do are “flooding Fox with emails and showing high view counts on the videos.”

If you don’t blog, but would like to see more libertarians on national television, please quickly e-mail Fox and let them know you’d like to see the Judge get his own TV slot.

If you’ve got a blog, you can help out even more. Details are here.

Weird stuff happening today in Republicanville

This one isn’t too much of a shocker.  SC Governor Mark Sanford, who is often pretty good on most things (except for that little evolution thing, McCain endorsement, etc.), is taking Republicans in his own state to court.  Here’s the scoop:

South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford is suing his own attorney general and accusing state legislators of breaking the law as he continues to block his state from receiving federal bailout cash aimed at struggling schools.

The Republican’s federal lawsuit, posted online Thursday, says requiring him to take the money would violate the state and federal constitutions.

It “would require his agreement to these onerous federal educational mandates and unsustainable spending commitments, would further burden South Carolina’s economy and substantially increase the state’s debt in the future and therefore is contrary to the welfare of the people of South Carolina,” the governor said in his court filing, which also asks the court to block the money from heading to the state until it rules.

The lawsuit says the governor is the highest executive authority in the state and asks the federal court to declare the Legislature violated the South Carolina Constitution by requiring him to request the money.

“This is about balance of power,” Sanford, also chairman of the Republican Governors Association, said during a morning news conference.

Now Cato reports that former Representative and prez wannabe Tom “The Mexican Slayer” Tancredo wants to legalize drugs.  You may think you’ve just dropped a few hits of acid after reading this one:

Admitting that it may be “political suicide” former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said its time to consider legalizing drugs.

He spoke Wednesday to the Lincoln Club of Colorado, a Republican group that’s been active in the state for 90 years. It’s the first time Tancredo has spoken on the drug issue. He ran for president in 2008 on an anti-illegal immigration platform that has brought him passionate support and criticism.

Tancredo noted that he has never used drugs, but said the war has failed.

“I am convinced that what we are doing is not working,” he said.

Tancredo told the group that the country has spent billions of dollars capturing, prosecuting and jailing drug dealers and users, but has little to show for it.

“It is now easier for a kid to get drugs at most schools in America that it is booze,” he said.

What’s next?  Are Dick Cheney and John Yoo going to hit the public speaking circuit to rail against torture?

UPDATE: Here’s some Tancredo video on the topic, courtesy of Stoner Jesus.

Help put Freedom Watch on Fox News Channel

While I rarely simply cut-and-paste an entire campaign or party e-mail to a blog post, this one deserves to be an exception to the rule:

Help put a libertarian news program on the Fox News Channel!

Dear Libertarian activists,

Thank you so much! Because of your support, the show “Freedom Watch” is finally being considered for an open time slot on Fox news.

You know what that means? A Libertarian television show would be on mainstream media!

Finally a show that reflects the attitudes and opinions of people like you and I who care about personal and economic liberties.

Right now there is an open time slot and Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show, “Freedom Watch” has been put forth as a possible filler for it.

But, there’s one stipulation. I just got off the phone with the producer and I heard they will make the decision so we need to bump up the number of views on the show as much as we can, AND we need as many people as possible to write an email to Fox to request it get on air.

Can you please help?

Here’s the link to the show:

http://tinyurl.com/qcumjb

It’s time for the Libertarians to go MAINSTREAM!

Send them an email here and we can get this show on air!

yourcomments@foxnews.com

Here’s a sample email you can cut and paste:

To Whom it May concern:

I am writing today to request that Judge Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” be given a chance to be aired on Fox News Channel.

There are so many people out there I believe that would watch it because there just aren’t any shows that really cater to independent minded people like me who care about things like personal and economic freedom.

Having a show like this on television would really be exciting and I would definitely watch it and get my friends and family to watch it too. Fox would be opening up a whole new market and bring in lots of new viewers! Please put it on air!

Thank you!

Again thank you all so much for all you do for liberty,

Sincerely,

Austin Petersen
Director of Outreach
Libertarian National Committee


Which is the best libertarian insult: libbieloon, libtard, or losertarian?

Over at The Next Right, I made the point that the GOP needs libertarians more than libertarians need the GOP.  While I went into greater detail, this sums up the key theme of the posting:

Libertarians are used to wandering in the wilderness like political nomads.  We know we’ll be called upon from time to time to act as tour guides in order to lead the Republican leadership towards some safe small-government oasis or waterhole of individual liberty.  We don’t even need maps or compasses, as the routes are permanently etched within our minds.  Being tough and hearty political travelers, another forty years in the wilderness doesn’t scare us all that much. […]

Without enough allies to fight the Democrats or even the skills to find the path to small government and individual freedom, the current Republican leadership may not be destined to forty years in the wilderness.  Without libertarian assistance, they may not even make it to the next oasis.
With or without the GOP, libertarians will somehow survive.  Can the GOP survive without libertarians?

While I included criticism of libertarians from folks like Mike Huckabee and Lindsey Graham in the posting, I didn’t expect to see Michael Medved style insults thrown into the comment section.  Here are a few gems:

  • Despite having bad things to say about him, I agree with the Huckster about the “heartless, callous, soulless” bit. Please accept the fact that we aren’t going to ever become a libertarian paradise like Somalia, and move on.
  • Libertarian bashing is deserved, long overdue. They need it!
  • Here’s the real GOP deal for LibbieLoons… if you agree with the Party’s core principles on smaller govt, lower taxes, strong natl defense and JackKemp’s Opportunity Society, come on board!  If you don’t and –like RonPaul– want to abdicate the Free World to the IslamoFascists, then take a hike or return to that land of electoral wonders and political groundswells (not), the LibbieLoon party.
  • GOP needs to put a boot to the disloyal, back-stabbing LibbieLoons and send em packing –not make the GOP over into LibbieLoonLand Part Deux.
  • I’m surprised you didn’t get the memo… it was sent to the LibbieLoon headquarters
  • Does this mean that the bloggers on thenextright.com will stop calling libertarians “libtards”?
  • lib-tards  … is an insult to LIBERALS. If you want to insult Libertarians, you call em Loser-tarians or something like that.
  • call them what they really are: LibbieLoon-atics.
  • Oh… and they have to hog-tie BobBarr and DOCTORCrazyUncleRon together and parade them through the town square as our newest VillageIdiots.
  • It’s why no one deserves the LibbieLoons and the GOP sure as heck doesn’t need ‘em.

“Losertarian” is getting pretty stale and I’m getting a bit burned out on “libtard.”  LibbieLoon seems a welcome addition to the invectives being tossed about by folks obviously incapable of reason.

Does Rick Perry think that NCLB preceded the 10th Amendment?

I’m getting pretty sick and tired of hearing about Texas Governor Rick Perry being described as some sort of libertarian Messiah or hero of the 1oth Amendment. If Perry has a libertarian bone in his body, it’s one he obtained through the use of eminent domainThis paragraph clearly outlines his dedication to small government:

Early in his term as governor Perry worked to reform Texas health care and make it more accessible and instituted the SCHIP program designed to insure 500,000 children. He increased health funding by $6 billion. Some of these programs have faced funding problems in recent years. He also increased school funding prior to the 2002 election, creating new scholarship programs to help needy children in Texas, including $300 million for the Texas GRANT Scholarship Program. Some $9 billion was allocated to Texas public schools, colleges, and universities and combined with a new emphasis on accountability for both teachers and students.

With respect to the 10th Amendment, he must have just dusted off a copy.  Simply compare this official release to this one promoting his buddy George W. Bush and No Child Left Behind.

In my  opinion, the only difference between Perry and his buddy John Cornyn is that Perry is bright enough to realize he has to pander for support.  Cornyn doesn’t even seem that smart.

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