Tag Archives: Politics

An explanation for… Almost everything really…

“Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don’t mean to do harm-but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.”

— T.S. Eliot

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

The Tea Party Movement: A Geopolitical Perspective

Stratfor is an incredible policy source that looks deeply into matters of geopolitics. Policy wonks are often able to look at what is going on dispassionately and with eye for understanding what is actually happening and that indispensable ability is in evidence in Robert W. Merry’s analysis of the Tea Party movement:

Nearly every American with a political memory recalls that Texas billionaire Ross Perot captured 19 percent of the vote when he ran for president as an independent candidate in 1992. Less well known is what happened to that vote afterward. Therein lies an intriguing political lesson that bears on today’s Tea Party movement, which emerged on the political scene nearly 17 months ago and has maintained a sustained assault on the Republican establishment ever since.

Just this week, the Tea Party scored another upset triumph, this time in Delaware, where protest candidate Christine O’Donnell outpolled establishment scion Michael N. Castle in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate. It was merely the latest in a string of political rebellions that have shaped this campaign year much as the Perot phenomenon influenced American politics in the 1990s.

Two years after the Texan’s remarkable 19 percent showing, the Perot vote — a protest movement spawned primarily by political anxiety over what was considered fiscal recklessness at the federal level (sound familiar?) — washed away the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. In a stern rebuke to President Bill Clinton, the Perot constituency gave full congressional control to the Republican Party for the first time in four decades. And then, just two years later, it turned around and helped elect Clinton to a second term.

The political lesson, worth pondering in these times of Tea Party rumbling, is that serious protest movements such as the Perot phenomenon or today’s Tea Party revolt never just fade away. They linger in American politics, sometimes largely unseen but sometimes quite overt, and exert a continuing tug on the course of electoral decision-making. Eventually they get absorbed into one major party or the other. In the process, they often tilt the balance of political power in the country, occasionally for substantial periods of time.

The Perot comparison is strong, as is the possibility that this movement could crater due to its orientation toward ideological purity.

While not a fan, the Tea Party movement is genuinely one of the most grassroots political efforts I’ve seen in my lifetime. The like of Christine O’Donnell or Rand Paul are not conventional Republicans, and any corporate “astro turf” movement, since it is not in the interest of corporations to try to push political instability, would have handpicked Mike Castle or Mitch McConnell instead.

Even Sarah Palin was not a choice that John McCain wanted, instead hoping to bring in Joe Lieberman.

The Tea Party and Insurgency Politics is republished with permission of STRATFOR.

Political Progress Through Laughter in Afghanistan

This piece from Al Jazeera illustrates how comedy can positively affect politics. Like in the United States with comedians like Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, satirists, comedians and cartoonists in Afghanistan are able to go where conventional journalists are afraid to go. With the dreary headlines coming out of the region, it’s good to see civil society breathing.

Congratulations Mr. Chairman

I just wanted to take a minute to congratulate Mark Hinkle, for winning his election as the new chairman of the Libertarian Party of the United States.

Mark is the former chair of the California Libertarian Party, with over 30 years experience in local and state politics and activism. Outside of politics, Mark has extensive experience as an engineer and technical manager in large enterprises, and is also a long time entrepreneur and small business owner.

As it happens, Mark is also my friend of over 10 years; ever since we worked together as early employees at an ill fated bay area startup during the dot bomb.

Mark and I have had a number of great discussions about principle vs. pragmatism, finance and economics; and the practical, moral, and philosophical issues around labor, military service, the use of military power, interventionism vs. non interventionism; and of course the non-agression principle.

I know Mark to be a good manager and organizer, a good debater, a good joker (and a bad one), a good father, and a good man.

Oh and on a personal note, I’m glad Mark beat Wayne Allyn Root… but I’m no longer a party member (for many reasons) so I can’t really complain about Root being in the leadership (he was elected as committee member at large).

I realize I’m a week late in this missive, but I lost track of the election, and for some reason my normal LP email alerts didnt notify me…

Probably because my spam filter has decided that anything sent that often to that big a list of people using that language has GOT to be Spam…

…hint hint…

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

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