Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Why is the MSM ignoring the Republican Candidate for President?

Why is it that the man who has actually announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for president does not received any press attention while potential candidates like Donald Trump are mentioned every day?

Is this the MSM doing their job? And, if so, what is their job? Is it to sensationalize the issues? Is it to avoid topics and be snarky? Whatever their job is - it is not to hold a light up to the stories of the day and to give a rational, objective analysis of the facts at hand. The entire Obama Birther issue, for example, is due to the press not doing their job in 2008.

Again, why doesn't the MSM cover the man who has ACTUALLY announced his candidacy? Gary Johnson, is the ex two-term Governor of New Mexico who wants to introduce school vouchers, thinks that Gay Marriage ought to be legal and wants to legalize marihuana. Aren't education, gay marriage and the drug war topics worthy of discussion? Aren't Johnson's opinions different than what you would expect from a Republican candidate? Surely this ex-Governor should be able to break into the news cycle.

Why are this man ignored? Is it because he doesn't fit into the established narrative? Is it that we can't have people knowing that some Republicans want to legalize drugs or gay marriage?

EDIT: When I first wrote this post an hour ago I was under the impression that Herman Cain had announced his candidacy. I edited this post and removed my comments on Herman Cain.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Justin Amash, Freshman Congressman from Michigan

Thank you to the NYTs for introducing me to Justin Amash, a 30 year old attorney who is the grandson of Palestinian Christian immigrants and is now a freshman Congressman from Michigan. I hadn't heard of him before and am pleasantly surprised to find another legislator who seems to truly be in favor of limited government and is acting on his beliefs.

Representative Justin Amash does not believe the government should subsidize public broadcasting, vehemently opposes abortion rights and thinks Democrats are wrong about spending. Yet he has voted against every Republican measure that conforms to those views. ...

He has even voted against the routine matter of approving the journal of the previous day’s proceedings, because, he says, there is not enough time to read it. (This is a bit like not clicking “I Agree” on a hotel Wi-Fi agreement because you don’t have time to read the fine print.) ...

“I follow a set of principles, I follow the Constitution,” said Mr. Amash, who keeps a picture of the seating chart for his constitutional law class from the University of Michigan on his office wall. “And that’s what I base my votes on. Limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty.”
In Class of Colorful Freshmen, Meet the Most Contrarian

He explains his votes on his Facebook Page and I was delighted to see that he quoted Hayek as to why he did not vote for a particular bill.

"By 'law' we mean the general rules that apply equally to everybody . . . As a true law should not name any particulars, so it should especially not single out any specific persons or group of persons." —F.A. Hayek

Maybe the United States has a chance after all. When gadflys become commonplace we may yet have a chance of not falling down the socialist rathole.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Nickeled and Dimed to Death

When you are being nickeled and dimed to death there is no big solution. The solution is nickels and dimes. Any and all items on a budget will have fervent supporters. It is, after all, their job on the line. Most of the opposition will not feel as passionate about its removal which explains why, once a bureaucracy is created, it assumes a life of its own. And, as all life, will fight to protect itself.

There are many approaches to cutting government spending. Mine focuses first on what is the role of government – should it be participating in this particular activity in the first place. If the action is not specified in the constitution then we must place the activity on the TBD (To Be Determined) list. Second I would go for low-hanging fruit. There will be much anger and tribulation over cutting anything. Not only will those directly affected be passionate in its defense but so too will all those who think that government should distribute the wealth of society.

The first entity cut will be the most difficult as all who see their little fiefdom threatened will take the approach of UNITED WE STAND and DIVIDED WE FALL. They will fight fervently for keeping even the most inane agency; the most constitutionally irrelevant spending in place. They will argue that the cause is noble and ignore the constitutional limit on government; will argue that it provides jobs (see The Ditch-Digger’s Fallacy) and will argue that without government sponsorship society will suffer the loss of an important entity – and, after all – we’re only talking about a few dollars.

They’ll break down a hundred million dollar expenditure to “It's only 33 cents / year per person. Isn’t this activity worth 33 cents?” The proper response to the last remark is that if you think it’s worth 33 cents then stand up, act as a free man, act as a citizen of a great society and not as a serf and support this important entity.


Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has vowed to bring the Senate to a standstill unless congressional leaders agree to allocate $40,000 for a federal study on deepening the Port of Charleston.

Graham says one out of five jobs in South Carolina stem from trade through Charleston’s busy port, and he warns the entire state economy will suffer unless the port is overhauled.
Graham vows to bring Senate to standstill over $40K for project

Good. Then if it's so important let the people of SC pay for it. The population of South Carolina is over 4.5 million. That's less than one penny per person. If it's that important South Carolina will raise the money.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Atlas Shrugged, The Movie

I just saw the Atlas Shrugged movie trailer and must say I was a little disappointed: the dialogue seemed stilted and I wasn't "sold" on the characters. I did like the fact that the story takes place in the NOW; I did like the fact that it shows politicians as anti-business and anti-individual. I have hope that the movie will focus upon the downward, corrupting, death spiral that is socialism and spotlight the need for a revival of, and the respect for, the role of individual freedom in society.

The second time I saw the trailer I liked it better. Here is an interview with the producer.

Some lamebrains on the left will call this a "conservative" movie. There is nothing "conservative" about Ayn Rand. If you have any questions about how conservatives have felt about Ayn Rand then read what Whittaker Chambers and other conservatives have written about her. Ayn Rand is an atheist who ridicules the concept of God and revealed knowledge of any sort. How then can she possible be considered a conservative?

If you see that "conservatives" are now promoting Ayn Rand - then you, the intelligent liberal that you are, need to acknowledge that the concept conservatism has changed - and, in fact, should start realizing that the word "conservative", along with "liberal", are ones not properly defined. After all, Ayn Rand could legitimately be called a liberal as she promotes individual liberty as opposed to government control; rational, non-religious discourse as opposed to revealed truth; and capitalism (the free exchange of goods and services) as opposed to socialism (distribution of goods and services by government fiat).

Do you think that I'm crazy for thinking that? If so then I'm in good company. Here's Milton Friedman on the subject

"I never characterize myself as a conservative economist. As I understand the English language, conservative means conserving, keeping things as they are. I don't want to keep things as they are. The true conservatives today are the people who are in favor of ever bigger government. The people who call themselves liberals today -- the New Dealers -- they are the true conservatives, because they want to keep going on the same path we're going on. I would like to dismantle that. I call myself a liberal in the true sense of liberal, in the sense in which it means of and pertaining to freedom."

If you're interested here is an interesting review of the movie written by Frank Beckmann writing for The Detroit News:
'Atlas Shrugged' makes it to screen

After viewing a preview copy of "Atlas Shrugged-Part 1," I can attest to its success in following the Rand story line with several exceptions, including its setting in 2016.

But the changes don't alter the book's message that an over-reaching government will destroy American capitalism and innovation much as critics of Obama administration policies believe is happening today.

Years ago I put out "Who is John Galt" stickers on NYC streets and the subways. Perhaps it's time to do it again.

The Republican Freshman

As with everyone else hoping that "change" would come to Washington I was worried about how the new freshman would behave once they came to Washington. If the New York Times in the article: Close-Knit, New to the House, and Resistant to Blending In, is correct then perhaps there is hope afterall.

Even by the standards of Capitol Hill, where the bonds of friendship form quickly and endure, the four Republican freshmen from South Carolina stand out.

If the four South Carolina freshmen are any indication, though, the new members are doing just the opposite — turning to one another for mutual reinforcement and support, creating a ballast wall against the business-as-usual climate that tends to homogenize elected officials. And there are signs that their fellow freshmen from states like Arkansas, Florida and Illinois are standing together as well.

Here's hoping they keep fighting the good fight.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Obama Administration and the Fourth Amendment

And you thought Bush was Evil? There have been many evil ideas put forth by the US Government but view as detrimental to the health of the US than the Obama Administrations argument that data which is NOT on your computer is not protected by the 4th Amendment.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

I am less opposed to the Patriot Act then what is now coming out of the Obama Whitehouse. The Patriot Act, for all the vitriol hurled its way, appears to be nothing more than consolidating hundreds of different law enforcement techniques and then placing them in the hands of counter-terrorist officials. From what I understand -- and please correct me if I'm wrong -- the only new provisions of the Patriot Act have to do with tracing money transfers.

In particular the US Government has, in at least one prosecution, invoked the 1986 Stored Communications Act which held that any email stored on a server for 6 months were to be considered abandoned and could be viewed by the government without a subpeana. This bill was enacted at a time when e-mail wasn’t stored on servers for a long time. They were held on the servers for a short time until downloaded to the recipient’s inbox.

See Wired Magazine:

Thankfully a group of ISPs, computer corporations and organizations have combined to fight this, Digital Due Process

The only reasonable course of action is to consider that any information held in an account is to be under the protection of the 4th Amendment.