Sunday, January 31, 2010
I wholeheartedly believe that neoconservatism is a grave disease that eats away the heart of liberty. It is the worse type of liberalism, one that infects the very thoughts and actions of those who claim to be conservatives. If freedom is to survive, neoconservatism must perish!
In "We've Benn Neo-Conned" Dr. Paul provides a good overview of neoconservatism, its modern origins and practioners, and why it must be combatted. I highly recommend that you take the time to read/or listen to this classic speech from July of 2003.
If you prefer watching the speech, here is the first video in the series:
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
If you haven't already heard, FED Chairman Ben Bernanke was re-confirmed by a vote of 70-30 yesterday afternoon. In this two clear signals were sent: 1. Failure will continue to be rewarded in DC. 2. Some are ready to stand up to the FED chairman.
The vote did not go along party lines with the failed chairman of the currency debasing giant finding support on both sides of the aisle. Sadly, both of my Republican senators (Alexander and Corker) gave their support, but that was to be expected. Each are statist in make-up, moderates at best, and completely ignorant in the field of fiscal policy. Major supporter of the FED Sen. Bob Corker even went as far as to say:
“We need to mature a little bit. ... If we continue constant witch hunts, which is what happens here on a daily basis, no one in leadership is ever going to make a bold decision. You’re going to reduce people to just not taking leadership.”
Thursday, January 28, 2010
If you missed the President's State of the Union Address last night, you did not miss much. It was "surprisingly unsurprising," if I may borrow an analysis from a Cato scholar's live blogging during the event. I couldn't agree more.
President Obama started doing what he does best--painting word pictures, presenting broad platitudes, and offering no real policy meat. But unlike his success in the past two years, these words seemed to fall flat. I don't think anyone across the political spectrum was truly please with the speech. There was no "game changing" statements, no signal to the left that he was going to be the liberal they want, and no signal to the right that he would become the moderate they can tolerate.
There were some new policy directions announced. For example, President Obama announced his intent to overturn "Don't ask. Don't tell." For this he should be commended. Whether or not you are pro gays in the military. "Don't ask. Don't tell." has been a ridiculous and failed policy that needs to be done away with. Morover, in his speech, Obama announced a few other new policies such as new bank taxes, his "spending freeze" which is nothing more than an attempt to save face and preserve current entitlement spending (Anyone against runaway government spending should be against this "spending freeze."), and a host of other "new" economic policies. The truth is that these "new" policies are not really that new. They are merely different ways to continue government interventionism into the economy. Do not be fooled.
Moreover, the President's speech had a number of highlights for policy wonks, if you knew where to look. When speaking on trade, Obama seemed to endorse the practice of mercantilism in his call for balanced import substitution. Mercantilism is dangerous and misguided as it has always been. We need to produce more. We need to export more. But we do not need artificial trade barriers which will end in ruin. Likewise, the President's emphasis on the economy in general was misguided as it placed the government at the center of all. The policies laid out by the President such as his "small business tax credit," his call for equal pay for equal work, and his continued call for government spending on unnecessary projects to create short-term and unnecessary work programs, are misguided and will only worsen the current economic climate. These policies at their heart are nothing more than the continuation of the interventionist policies that have gotten us into this mess.
Perhaps most striking from the speech was President Obama's attacks on Republicans and the Supreme Court. Though the partisan attack can be written off as mere tackiness, the attack on the Court flies in the face of proper behavior when considering our nations system of separation of powers. First, the President went out of his way to attack a non-legislative branch of government at a questionable time. Secondly, his statement was completely false, not grounded in one bit of truth. A disagreement with a ruling is one thing. An false attack for one's own populist gain is another.
As I have already said, not much earth shattering came out of the President's speech, but maybe that is because we have heard much of it before. Just look at how Obama's SOTU measures up with those of Bush.
Sadly, in a speech clearly playing to populist emotions, the populace was unable to find hope for the State of the Union.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Dear TN patriot,
This is it. It’s crunch time in our fight to Audit the Fed. And the clock is ticking.
You see, Ben Bernanke’s confirmation vote will come TOMORROW.
Patriots like you have been calling your Senators non-stop INSISTING that Bernanke not be re-confirmed until S. 604, the Audit the Fed Bill, is given an up or down vote on the Senate floor.
But Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker’s votes are still up in the air, and they could be the clinchers. That’s why I need you to keep hammering.
Please call Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker at the numbers below RIGHT AWAY. Insist clearly: “No Audit? No Bernanke!”
Senator Lamar Alexander: 202-224-4944
Senator Bob Corker: 202-224-3344
But we need to send a second message, too. You see, some Senators -- including Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker -- are trying cover themselves by voting for cloture (the 60 vote Senate procedure to bring Bernanke up for a vote) but then voting AGAINST his final confirmation.
They want to be for him before they’re against him. They want to play both sides, and in the process allow Ben Bernanke to be reconfirmed and continue to wreck our economy.
And Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker actually think you’ll be happy with that arrangement!
That’s why it’s so important you tell Senator Lamar Alexander and Senator Bob Corker’s offices that “a vote for cloture IS a vote for Bernanke.”
Senator Lamar Alexander: 202-224-4944
Senator Bob Corker: 202-224-3344
This really is the final showdown, and I need you on our side. Ron Paul needs you on his side.
You see, Ron Paul has been fighting for this bill nearly three decades. Your calls can push it over the top and finally realize this Audit for him.
Please call Senator Lamar Alexander at 202-224-4944, and Senator Bob Corker at 202-224-3344 right away.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
President Obama you have crossed the line.
When you trampled upon our civil liberties and continued the Bush Administration's Fifth Amendment violations, I was upset--but maybe you were just misguided by a false sense of fear.
When you pushed the massive, unconstitutional spending of the federal government into overdrive, I was outraged--but I knew you were blinded by Keynesian economists who are foreign to the truth.
When you escalated the wars in the Middle East, I was worried--but you and I both know we should get back to policy of true national defense rather than massive interventionism.
When you I saw one irresponsible and unconstitutional act after another from you and your administration, I was perturbed--but I hoped you would pull your wits about you eventually.
But now I am afraid you have crossed the line.
How can you openly support the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl? That is ridiculous.
I am a huge Colts fan, and I will not stand for this. In two weeks the Colts will triumph and crumble your Saints like we in the liberty movement will crumble your statist policies.
(One more thing: God forbid, even if the Colts somehow lose, we in the liberty movement will still defeat the statist policies of you and others. That's a guarantee.)
Monday, January 25, 2010
A recent article on the forming of a "whites only" professional basketball league brings up a topic that needs to be addressed. Many would demand the government get involved in said situation. I have heard the cries myself that government intervention is needed when it comes to combating racial prejudice. But this could not be farther from the truth. In fact, government mandating who must or mustn't be included in groups, leagues, businesses, clientele, etc., is a blatant violation of the right to freedom of assembly and an expansion beyond its constitutional role.
The league's founder is obviously motivated by some type of racial prejudice, but that should not matter. Racism is detestable, but it is not illegal in the private sector. In fact, it shouldn't be.
Racial prejudice can effectively be combatted by the free market. For example, if a store owner does not allow black patrons, I can refuse to provide them business and encourage others to follow suit. If enough people stand their ground, the business owner will feel the market effects which will influence the way he conducts business (or his ability to conduct business at all).
However, even if the market allowed the above store owner to prosper in society, that is still no reason for the government involved. Government involvement would mean the violation of freedom of association, and two wrongs never make a right. The price of the erosion of liberty is too much to pay.
Government cannot change hearts and convictions, and it definitely cannot through the erosion of our liberties.
Friday, January 22, 2010
It was a violation of states' rights, a violation of the 5th and 14th Amendments, and a violation of human liberty. For, without life there can be no liberty. Below is a decision I delivered as if a member of the Court when I was a Constitutional Law student. In it I seek to prove the constitutionality of a state abortion ban and the unconstitutionality of abortion itself.
08-002 South Dakota v. Planned Parenthood of South Dakota
Justice LUNA delivers the opinion of the Court
The Court today is faced once again with “the sensitive and emotional nature of the abortion controversy”[Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113, 93 S.CT. 703 (1973)]; therefore because of these emotions, we must consider the issue of abortion in light of the Constitution’s text. If we as a Court do not limit ourselves to the interpretation of the text, we open the Constitution to swaying trends of society. However tempting it may be to account for evolving social norms, our task is to uphold the Constitution, not our own public opinion. It is not the Court’s job to decide whether banning abortion is morally or socially acceptable; it is the Court’s job to decide whether or not the statute in question violates the Constitution. More specifically, the Court must consider whether or not the Constitution prohibits a state’s banning abortion save in the case of protecting the life of the mother. In Roe, this Court ruled that a pregnant woman’s “right of privacy” through the 14th Amendment Due Process Clause’s guarantee of liberty allowed for the termination of pregnancy through abortion. However, it is this Court’s opinion that Roe was wrongly decided. Though we members of the Court always seek to rule rightly in constitutional matters, we are not infallible, and errors in interpretation are at times made. It is this Court’s duty, then, at the risk of eroding stare decisis, to hold fast to the Constitution even above precedent. The Court will first reconsider Roe, then turn to the constitutionality of the South Dakota statute before us.
The ruling in Roe is based upon what the Court holds as a 14th Amendment “right of privacy,” and this Court agrees that such a “right of privacy” does exist. This Court in Griswold v. Connecticut, 381 U.S. 479, 85 S. CT. 1678 (1965), held that a right of privacy emanates from a “penumbra” surrounding the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Ninth Amendments. However, the Court realizes that these guarantees arising from the Amendments are specific in nature and serve not to diminish other rights guaranteed within the same document. We now consider the nature of the “right of privacy” as held in Roe.
The Court in Roe struck down states’ ability to prohibit abortions, holding that up to a certain point in term a woman’s “right of privacy” encapsulates the right to terminate her pregnancy while outweighing a state’s interest in preventing abortion. However, the Court drew this ruling from an overly broad interpretation of the “liberty” guarantee of the Due Process Clause. The “right of privacy” is not and cannot be guaranteed at all cost. No reasonable person would hold that something such as murder would be protected if done within the privacy of one’s own home. There are limits on what can be done by one even within the realm of privacy. Roe had no basis in the actual text of the Constitution itself. The ruling overlooked the textual guarantee of “life” which precedes “liberty” in the 14th Amendment. Moreover, it did so in preference for a “constitutional right” found nowhere within the text of the Constitution. If a ruling of the Court will have the effect of infringing upon a right guaranteed by the Constitution, the ruling cannot stand. In the case of Roe, the Court made such a ruling. This non-textual exercise of judicial activism cannot be perpetuated by this Court.
First, we must establish whether or not the fetus to be aborted is in fact in a “state of life” to be protected by the Constitution. Justice Breyer acknowledges in Stenberg v. Carhart, 530 U.S. 914, 120 S. CT. 2597 (2000), “Millions of Americans believe that life begins at conception and consequently that an abortion is akin to causing death to an innocent child.” Furthermore, Justice Kennedy has acknowledged that a fetus has life by noting “the legitimacy of the State’s interest in fetal life” in Ferguson v. Charleston, 532 U.S. 67, 121 S.CT. 1291 (2001). However, fetal life can neither be proven nor disproven by mere words. That is why the Court in Roe spoke of the point of viability. As the fetus reached viability, the mother’s “right to privacy” would decrease and the fetus’s right to life would increase. Though the Court does not embrace such a weak framework in which constitutional rights fluctuate over time, it is important to note that turning one’s eye to viability strengthens the argument for fetal life. With medical advancements, the time of viability has moved closer and closer to the time of conception. Furthermore, science has now conceived children outside of the womb through the practice of in vitro fertilization. With the possibility of survival for premature babies increasing and that human life begins at conception for “test tube babies,” the Court must realize viability at conception may in the future be a possibility. The Court then recognizes that human life has come into being at the point of conception whether or not the point of viability is met. Neglecting to protect this life is tantamount to not protecting the most basic of rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Therefore, we opine that life does begin and is protected by the Constitution at conception.
Specifically stated constitutional rights must always be held in the highest regard. If a right is stated within the text, it obviously holds great importance to those who drafted and adopted it. Moreover, those rights specifically listed must hold a “preferred position” in our jurisprudence [US v. Carolene Products Co., 304 US 144 (1938)] . These guarantees must be protected by all means with the highest level of scrutiny applied to measures alleged to infringe upon them. This approach was absent in Roe and in the name of constitutional preservation must now be applied.
In Roe the Court was correct in stating that a woman has a right to privacy; that issue was settled in Griswold. However, the Court erred in its over inclusiveness with regard to reproductive decisions within that right of privacy. By permitting the taking of a fetus’s life through a “right of privacy” found nowhere in the text of the Constitution, the Court completely disregarded and negated the “right of life” specifically guaranteed in the text of the 14th Amendment. Life is the supreme fundamental right, which must never be taken without due process of law. Without “life” there can be no “liberty,” no “freedom of speech,” or no other rights for the people of the United States. A nation that does not protect life cannot protect liberty. As this Court realizes that the “right of life” is fundamental and must be preserved above all else, we thus overturn Roe v. Wade.
The issue before the Court in considering the South Dakota statute to take life must be subject to strict scrutiny, in which the burden is on the state to prove that the statute is based on a compelling interest and is narrowly tailored. As in all matters of the Court, we must turn to the foundation of our jurisprudence–the Constitution. The 14th Amendment addresses the issue clearly stating, “...nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” It is the opinion of this Court that the explicit guarantee of “life” in the 14th Amendment is reason enough to uphold any practice that seeks to protect it. However, the Court will seek to exhaust the concerns of critics of the South Dakota statutes in order to test the constitutionality of their concerns and the Court’s ruling.
There are those who doubt that the unborn children were to be protected according to the wishes of the Framers. The answer to their concerns is found within the Constitution’s Preamble. There, the Framers state that it was their desire to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to [themselves] and [their] Posterity.” The Constitution was not meant to merely protect the living but all future generations.
The most important response to critics of the South Dakotan statute is that they lack firm constitutional evidence to support a right to abortion. In no place within the text of the document is there any explicit or implicit protection of such a right; rather, the opposite is found–a protection of life. The only support for abortion that critics can provide is based on the guarantee of liberty extending a “right to privacy” to a woman to terminate the life within her womb. However, this approach is problematic in many ways. It infringes on a specifically guaranteed right of life found directly before liberty in the Due Process Clause, and the Constitution does not explicitly mention any right to an abortion. Therefore, we believe that the claims of Planned Parenthood of South Dakota have no firm constitutional support.
Instead, we as members of this Court can find nothing within the South Dakota statute that would violate the Constitution of our United States. On the contrary, this legislation seeks to galvanize and provide support for the constitutional guarantee of life. Rather than undermining rights given by our honored document, this statute provides additional support to life, assuring its protection and the Constitution’s guarantee. We not only find this law to be within the protection of the Constitution, but we also find it to offer protection to the Constitution itself. The state met the strict scrutiny and has showed compelling interest in enacting this narrowly tailored statute. For these and the aforementioned reasons, we uphold the South Dakotan statute banning abortion save to protect the mother’s life and reverse the ruling of the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The free-market non-profit Tennessee Center for Policy Research has launch a new website that is a great tool in the pursuit of government transparency. I encourage you to use it in your own pursuits and keep an eye on where our money goes. Having already tested it out, I can firmly give my approval. Below is the press release.
NASHVILLE – With Tennessee facing a potentially devastating budget shortfall, Tennessee citizens and elected officials need to thoroughly analyze how every tax dollar is spent.
Tennesseans will now get a new, clear look into how the state spends their money down to the agency, person, and penny, thanks to a new transparency website launched today by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.
The website – OpenTennessee.org – offers searchable databases of the following information:
• The entire payroll of more than 40,000 executive branch officials
• The entire payroll of nearly 1,000 legislative branch employees
• The entire payroll of thousands of judicial branch employees
• The entire listing of all retirees receiving a pension from a state or local government
• Nearly $50 billion in payments made to individuals and businesses since 2007
The payroll information is searchable in a variety of ways, including first name, last name, title, branch of government, department, wages, overtime, and total compensation. The expenditures are searchable by year, branch of government, department, vendor, category, city, and state. All data found on the website can also be downloaded for future use.
While Governor Phil Bredesen took significant steps forward by creating a transparency website in early 2009, the state-run website is incomplete and lacks user-friendly features such as various search options. OpenTennessee.org is the first transparency website to be independently sponsored and maintained by a private, nonpartisan organization.
“OpenTennessee.org is the only comprehensive, searchable, and truly user-friendly transparency site in Tennessee,” said Clint Brewer, executive director of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research. “We hope this website will become the go-to source for Tennessee taxpayers, citizen journalists and the mainstream media, providing a clear look into how state tax dollars are spent…down to the agency, person, and penny.”
Here are some examples of information never before provided in a searchable, accessible format in Tennessee:
In 2008, 1,100 state employees received more than $19 million in overtime pay (search: Payroll, 2008, Overtime more than $10,000).
In 2008, 794 government employees earned more than $100,000 a year (search: Payroll, 2008, Wages more than $100,000).
In 2008, 402 state and local retirees received more than $5,000 a month in pension payments (search: Pensions, 2008, Rate more than $5,000).
In 2007, the state spent more than $3.5 billion on “confidential payments” that it refuses to disclose to the public (search: Expenditures, 2007, Vendor “confidential payments”).
Between 2007 and 2009, the state shelled out $18.2 million in interest on its debt (search: Expenditures, All Years, Category “interest on debt”).
In 2008, state agencies spent nearly $49 million on travel reimbursements (search: Expenditures, 2008, Category “travel”).
In 2007, state government racked up more than $30 million in communications and shipping costs, more than half of which went to cell phone bills through AT&T (search: Expenditures, 2007, Category “communications and shipping costs”).
“These examples represent the tip of the iceberg,” noted Brewer. “As more Tennesseans, lawmakers, and media utilize OpenTennessee.org to scrutinize government spending, there’s no telling what might be revealed.”
Monday, January 18, 2010
So what do we make of the situation in Haiti from a constitutionalist/libertarian/conservative point-of-view?--a question we must face in light of the suffering caused by the recent earthquake in the region.
The simple answer is this: much should be done, however, not by way of the federal government.
Tragedies like the Haitian earthquake demand a reaction from us all. Hopefully, that reaction is one of concern for our fellow man. But the question arises: Should the response be based on charity or aggression? By this I merely mean: Will true altruism in the form of voluntary giving be the response or will taxes--taken at the barrel of a gun--be forced from some who do not desire to help.
The simple fact is that the Constitution does not allow for foreign aid, even in times of emergency. This does not mean that states under the power of the Tenth Amendment cannot offer foreign aid or that individuals cannot come to side of those suffering. In fact, if you have not already contributed and you are able, I would strongly encourage you to help the Haitian people in any way you can--monetarily or physically.
It is true that foreign aid in itself is flawed and hurts developing nations. But what is to be made of emergency aid?
I contend that allowing the expansion state influence into the affairs of other nations is a potential hazardous concern for ourselves and those we intend to help. Aid should come via a concerned people not an expansive state.
Moreover, even though our military may look good on a humanitarian mission in Haiti, I am not sure that we should support such a measure as it undermines the mission of the military to provide for the common defense of the United States. And I am not the only one who sees it this way. A better image--and one that does not violate our Constitution--is the image of citizens voluntarily coming to the aid of the Haitian people.
Some have said that sure we could help out as a government, even Ron Paul. And while I agree this is not the worst thing that could be done, I believe that it would be far better for the private sector to act alone in the humanitarian efforts. It is quite doable and I am sure that the private sector will be most responsible at the days end. Lastly, I am not even against governmental action--as long as it is not federal in nature.
My point is simply this: no matter what the situation that arises let's not look to the federal government as our savior. Moreover, let us in the private sector step up, be consistent in our views, and provide help if we are able and willing.
My thoughts and prayers truly are with the Haitian people. May Christ be magnified in this tragedy, and may all suffering be alleviated.
PS: I would also recommend you read the following post by the Humble Libertarian on How to Help Haiti for the Long Term. It provides what we can look to long term after we take care of the needs of the moment.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. day in the United States--a day in which we can reflect on a man who forever changed the political and social landscape of our country.
I am in no way a full-fledged supporter of Dr. King. Some of his convictions I do not share, and some of his alignments I can not endorse. (I can understand these positions and alignments, however, and do not blame him for them.)
That being said, MLK leaves much to be admired (and I do admire him much). He was an elegant and powerful speaker. He was man of conviction and principle. And he worked dilegantly for the cause of freedom. He will forever be an American hero and one or our greatest leaders.
Dr. King showed what could be accomplished through peaceful resistance and respect for one's fellow man. He understood that the state is not always right, laws are often unjust, and a battle for rights is a fight worth having.
While I do not ask you to blanket endorse all that is Dr. Martin Luther King, I do ask you to consider what good can be drawn from his example and apply it to our current struggles.
"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."-MLK Jr.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
What alarms me about this video is not really the overwhelming support of Obama by those who attended the BET (Black Entertainment Television) Awards. Rather, the total lack of substance to the support is quite telling. Why has he done so well? Can you point to a single policy issue that distinguishes him as a good leader?
Moreover, many of those interviewed allude to the failure of Bush. I don't blame them. I am no fan of Bush. In fact, my dislike for Obama stems from the fact that his actions are a continuation of Bush era policies. The Obama administration merely took the faults of the Bush administration and put them into overdrive.
For these celebrities to claim the success of Obama while holding to the failure of Bush, they are being grossly unfair and inconsistent. This could be a result of racial prejudice, but I hope that is not true as such a claim would assume that Obama is given a free pass for the same policies for which Bush is held rightly accountable merely because of each man's skin color.
This is not only true of BET celebs, however, as even many white Americans hold this same inconsistent view. That does not mean that whites could not be giving Obama a free pass based on racial considerations as well, but let's assume neither party is responsible for such a dastardly position.
What's clear is this: Both men have been failures, and we need to be consistent in our criticism of both. If we do not, we let racial prejudices guide us rather that reason. Let's call a spade a spade, and let's make sure that our opinions are based on substance rather than criteria that goes no more than skin deep.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
Hat Tip: Matt Hurtt
As a bonus, here is my favorite passage from Goldwater's classic The Conscience of a Conservative:
I have little interest in streamlining government or in making it more efficient, for I mean to reduce its size. I do not undertake to promote welfare, for I propose to extend freedom. My aim is not to pass laws, but to repeal them. It is not to inaugurate new programs, but to cancel old ones that do violence to the Constitution, or that have failed in their purpose, or that impose on the people an unwarranted financial burden. I will not attempt to discover whether legislation is 'needed' before I have first determined whether it is constitutionally permissible. And if I should later be attacked for neglecting my constituents' interests, I shall reply that I was informed their main interest is liberty and that in that cause I am doing the very best I can.
Monday, January 11, 2010
And we hear it from the Progressives that the government must take our freedoms in order to keep us safe. That’s hogwash. Freedom is our birthright. It doesn’t come from the government; it is part of our humanity. America is the only country in the history of the world dedicated to the truism that we are endowed by our Creator, as Jefferson wrote, with certain inalienable rights, and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The government has forgotten basic civics: "Endowed by our Creator" means that our rights come from God and not from the feds. "Inalienable" means that we and our freedoms cannot be separated, unless and until we are convicted by a jury of violating someone else’s rights. What is the value of being safe if we are not free? Did our forefathers flee the kings and despots of Europe and come here to be safe? Did Patrick Henry say "Give me safety or give me death?" Here is the mistake that the Big Government crowd wants to thrust upon us: They want to balance liberty and safety. There is no such thing as balance when it comes to freedom.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Thursday, January 7, 2010
Moreover,in this clip notice how the segment producers only display the most extreme of the tea party activists' signs to caricature the movement set against the words of Dr. Paul.
Despite Maddow, Dr. Paul is honest, informed, and at the top of his game.
A must watch.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Today there have been multiple reports that congressional Democrats intend to craft the next round of healthcare legislation in secret (here and here). In order to go before the president the current House and Senate versions of the bill must be reconciled. And, according to reports, the Democratic leadership wants to exclude Republicans as well as the public eye from this reconciliation process.
Sadly, this type of behavior is nothing new from a Democratic leadership which once claimed its desire to for transparency and bipartisanship. Of course, we have received much of the same actions from the Democrats that they spoke against--done, however, at an accelerated and, therefore, even more dangerous pace. There has been no transparency, no working together (not that I am saying this particularly must exist), and no honesty. Rather, unconstitutional measures have been continually rammed down our throat at an increasingly alarming rate.
I fear this latest development merely because I have witnessed what has occurred in our recent legislative history. We have seen bloated bill after bloated bill hastily passed without anyone reading its contents. Stuffed with pork, unconstitutional mandates, and the vilest of measures, we have seen bills continually ram-rodded through Congress.
Surely, if a bill is scripted in secret, behind closed doors, we can bank on the bill being presented for passage without proper time for reading and research. Moreover, why the need for secrecy? Even if you desire for the Republicans to be left out of the discussion, why can't they sit in the hearings and see what the legislation will contain? Even more puzzling is this: Democrats won't even let the public know what will be going on in their closed doors meetings.
This is truly troubling. We must demand transparency and keep an eye on this as it develops. It smacks of ill intent and is too important to go unchecked. This legislation will alter the lives of people for generations to come. Hopefully, the right thing will be done.
To these Congressional Democrats I echo the words of former-President John F. Kennedy:
The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and to secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers, which are cited to justify it.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Washington and the state legislatures have bleached out the reality of the well-regulated state militia from the American fabric. Meanwhile, Americans have been hoodwinked into fighting about whether or not they can carry a gun with or without a permit, or packing heat in a bar or restaurant. While those turf wars raged, Washington absorbed the sovereignty of the states, and made the states into serfdoms.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
It was Mises's fundamental point about the cultural critique of capitalism that capitalism makes more of everything available to the consumer. That means more trashy novels and rotten music, but it also means more great literature and high-level music, all of which is accessible as never before.
But today, cultural entrepreneurs are seriously inhibited in their innovations by high taxes, regulations, and mandated benefits. This produces fewer attempts to improve our world than there would otherwise be. Some markets are hobbled to the point of near inaction, such as the education market, and others are less vibrant than they would otherwise be.
So what we need is not the overthrow of private property but more freedom for cultural entrepreneurship, and more individual initiative to do more than complain that the world is not conforming to your own values. The next time someone complains about what the market is doing to the culture, ask that person what he or she has done to enter the market and make a difference. And ask what that person has done to make the world freer for those who seek to make the world a more beautiful place.