Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tim Pawlenty for Cap and Tax Before it Became Politically Expedient to be Against it

by the Left Coast Rebel

Former Minnesota Governor has been caught with his hand in the "hey, look at me, conservative base I'm a global warming skeptic" cookie jar by Think Progress, of all sources. Think Progress has this audio taken from Laura Ingraham's show that highlights his hypocrisy:

I would love to get my hands on the actual commercial played above, has anyone seen it? Pawlenty's past indiscretions against the limited government movement don't just stop at support of junk science legislation.

I wrote this in 2009, alerting true conservatives and libertarians to the fact that I think Pawlenty is a liberal wolf in pseudo-conservative sheep's clothing:

I believe and know Pawlenty to be in the big-spending GOP camp. He would be a terrible choice. Albeit he would predictably start to strut around his conservative ideals only to govern like another quasi-RINO...

Cato lists plenty of Pawlentie's big-government spending track record. He was a big runner-up for VP under McCain.

Some of the things listed at the Cato Institute that Tim Pawlenty stood by in Minnesota -

  • Supports Massachusetts-style health care reform, including a “health care exchange” and an individual mandate;
  • Has called for banning all prescription drug advertizing, and seeks government imposed price controls for drugs offered through Medicare;
  • Proposed a $4000 per child preschool program for low-income children;
  • Pushed a statewide smoking ban smoking ban in workplaces, restaurants and bars;
  • Increased the state’s minimum wage;
  • Imposed some of the most aggressive and expensive renewable energy mandates in the country;
  • Was an ardent supporter of the farm bill;
  • Received only a “C” ranking on Cato’s 2006 Governor’s Report Card, finishing below such Democrats as Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack and tied with Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.
How in the world will the Republican party spearhead sensible economic reform if they nominate an opportunist with a clearly statist liberal past? Being that I saw Pawlenty last night on Sean Hannity's show touting his "perfect CATO score", I imagine that many of you don't even know that his conservative bona fides are anything but.

Spread the word, Pawlenty is not the man for 2012. Cross posted to LCR.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

All Hail The King Dude

Great piece in The American Conservative about Mike Church. Most talk show hosts just blather on but the King Dude is the only one that has anything important to say. His roster of guests is top notch and his show is chock full of limited government, original intent and Constitutional discussion.

Forget the rest of the tired political hacks on the airwaves, the King Dude is the man I want leading the charge back to the republic that the founders envisioned.

The American Conservative
Mike Church is the King Dude behind the microphone. A 20-year veteran of radio-gabbing, he describes himself as a recovering “neocon” and red-team true believer. His daily show on Sirius XM radio was once a fresher, more entertaining echo of the form pioneered by Rush Limbaugh and taken up by Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Mark Levin. But now if one had to describe the Mike Church Show, you might say it’s a bit like listening to George Mason, if the revolutionary Virginia patriot were a pop-culture savant given to stream-of-consciousness impersonations and jonesing hard for a second American revolution.

Church isn’t satisfied with repeating timid suggestions for a policy change here and a tax-rebate there. “We are all talking about the same things we’ve been talking about since Barry frickin’ Goldwater, or when Harry frickin’ Truman was sending boys to go die in Korea!” he shouts into the microphone. “This beast that is the federal government is unmanageable, it must be dismantled.” His dissatisfaction with conservatism-as-usual has made the King Dude the most radical man on radio.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Gary Johnson To Announce Run For President

Fox News
Fox News has learned the former Governor of New Mexico will announce his candidacy, for President of the United States in late April. Johnson insiders say he will bypass the exploratory stage, announce his candidacy and immediately travel to New Hampshire sometime after tax day, April 15. Johnson is a strong supporter of legalizing marijuana and gay marriage. Strategists say his libertarian approach to GOP politics may prove very popular in the Granite State, whose motto is "Live Free or Die."

When asked in a wide ranging interview with Fox News what he thinks is the most important issue facing America today, the answer is immediate, "I think it's the fact that we're bankrupt, that we're borrowing 43 cents out of every dollar that we're spending."

Johnson believes there is plenty of blame to go around for the nation's current financial situation. "Both parties share in this responsibility, the fact that the Republican Party controlled both houses of Congress and the Presidency eight years ago and passed the prescription and drug benefit. That's not why I signed up to be a Republican."

The lifelong Republican does believe the GOP is the only party that can fix America's financial problems. But, he believes the White House can only be won if the party becomes more inclusive. "If you take the 15 or so that may be out there as potentially running, I think for the most part most of them are saying the same thing about every single issue. I'm trying to grow the base; I'm trying to grow the Republican Party."

He does not see his stand on issues like marijuana legalization as detriments to a potential GOP nominee. "It's just one in a series of cost-benefits. What are we spending our money on and what are we getting for the money we're spending. Half of the money we're spending on the courts and law enforcement and prisons is drug related. And what are we getting for that? Well, we're arresting 1.8-million people a year in this country, which is just staggering when you considering the population of New Mexico is 1.8-million."

As for gay rights, "I support gay unions, and yeah, I think this country is first and foremost about liberty and freedom and the personal responsibility that goes along with that, and I can't imagine denying rights to gay couples that want to experience the American dream just like everybody else."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gary Johnson On Libya: "We Are Once Again Playing Cop To The World"

Add Gary Johnson to the list of prominent libertarians who are questioning our intervention into the civil war in Libya. The former NM Governor is asking the questions that are on the minds of most Americans, but sadly I don't think we'll ever get a straight answer.

The Daily Caller
When are we going to learn? Injecting American military right into the internal strife of other nations with no clear definition of a successful outcome doesn’t work. Our service men and women who are putting themselves at risk, the taxpayers who are paying $600,000 for every Tomahawk missile launched, and yes, the people in Libya we are supposedly trying to help, all deserve to know what the plan is. That really isn’t too much to ask.

Sometimes it appears our political leaders doubt that we can handle the truth.

For the cynical among us, let’s even try the theory that we care about what happens in Libya because it is the source of 1.3 million barrels of oil per day — and we need imports like that for more than half of our oil needs. If we are worried about oil, we should be a lot more concerned about what is going on in Saudi Arabia and a bunch of other countries that are in fact much more important to our energy security.

Mr. President, or someone, PLEASE tell us what the plan is. Otherwise, just stop. At the end of the day, what is happening in Libya is a civil war against a clearly bad leader. The world is full of clearly bad and evil leaders, and millions of people being victimized by them. What makes Libya special? Simply enforcing a no-fly zone will cost American taxpayers as much as $300 million a week, and that doesn’t include all those Tomahawk missiles and B-2 round trips. More importantly, those are American crews risking their lives. If there is some compelling reason to be doing what we are doing, tell us what it is.

Rand Paul Wants Answers On Libya

Rand Paul has only been in the Senate for two months but that isn't stopping him from standing up for the Constitution or against the unconstitutional acts of the President by engaging the US in a war against Libya.

The junior Senator from Kentucky has a lot on his mind; from the administration waiting until Congress was out of session to enter into this conflict, to who may be associated with the opposition to Gaddafi and even Obama's own words regarding executive war powers back when he was a candidate. One thing is for sure, Rand is not holding back when he states equivocally, “I can tell you, absolutely, that I will demand a declaration of war on the Senate floor before any troops set foot in Libya.”

Paul is alarmed at how Obama and his allies have rolled out their war plan. “For a week, this administration indicated that they were not going to do a no-fly zone. Then, when Congress is out of session, all of sudden the war begins,” he says. “We got a note saying, ‘Oh, by the way, we are at war now.’ Nobody really asked Congress to have any participation in the decision-making. That is not what our Founding Fathers intended.”

Legislation, Paul says, may be in the works. “There may be something that comes forward when we come back,” he hints. “There are various ways of addressing this. At the very least, we are going to have a discussion about the president’s own words [from December 2007], that show how he is diametrically going against what he promised as a candidate. We will repeat and recite those words, then let the American people decide.”

Beyond his constitutional concerns, Paul argues that the Libyan conflict is being waged to support a mostly unknown rebel force. “The question is, who are these people?” he asks. “We know how bad the guy in power is, but do we know that these people are not in favor of radical sharia law? Do we know that they do not think that Israel should be wiped off the map? I am always concerned when we are in favor of people who we know nothing about.” George Will, Pat Buchanan, and Sen. Dick Lugar (R., Ind.), he says, have all raised this important point.
Via Memeorandum

Obama’s War On Libya: A Constitutional View

by Michael Boldin
The Tenth Amendment Center

With military action taking place in Libya right now, the essential question must be asked: Is it even Constitutional? For those of you who don’t want to read more than a sentence or two, here’s the short answer. Absolutely not.


The ninth and tenth amendments, while they didn’t add anything new, defined the Constitution. In short, they tell us that the federal government is only authorized to exercise those powers delegated to it in the Constitution…and nothing more. Everything else is either prohibited or retained by the states or people themselves.

What does this have to do with Libya? Well, whenever the federal government does anything, the first question should always be, “where in the Constitution is the authority to do this?” What follows here is an answer regarding American bombs being dropped on Libya.


Ever since the Korean War, Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution has been regularly cited as justification for the President to act with a seemingly free reign in the realm of foreign policy – including the initiation of foreign wars. But, it is Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution that lists the power to declare war, and this power is placed solely in the hands of Congress.

Article II, Section 2, on the other hand, refers to the President as the “commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States.” What the founders meant by this clause was that once war was declared, it would then be the responsibility of the President, as the commander-in-chief, to direct the war.

Alexander Hamilton clarified this when he said that the President, while lacking the power to declare war, would have “the direction of war when authorized.”

Thomas Jefferson reaffirmed this quite eloquently when, in 1801, he said that, as President, he was “unauthorized by the Constitution, without the sanction of Congress, to go beyond the line of defense.”

In Federalist #69, Alexander Hamilton explained that the President’s authority:
“would be nominally the same with that of the King of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first general and admiral of the confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the declaring of war, and to the raising and regulating of fleets and armies; all which by the constitution under consideration would appertain to the legislature.”
James Madison warned us that the power of declaring war must be kept away from the executive branch when he wrote to Thomas Jefferson:
“The constitution supposes, what the history of all governments demonstrates, that the executive is the branch of power most interested in war, and most prone to it. It has accordingly with studied care vested the question of war in the legislature.”

If, like any legal document, the words of the Constitution mean today just what they meant the moment it was signed, we must first look for the 18th Century meaning of the words used. Here’s a few common 18th-century definitions of the important words:

War: The exercise of violence against withstanders under a foreign command.
Declare: Expressing something before it is promised, decreed, or acted upon.
Invade: To attack a country; to make a hostile entrance

What does this all mean? Unless the country is being invaded, if congress does not declare war against another country, the president is constitutionally barred from waging it, no matter how much he desires to do so. Pre-emptive strikes and undeclared offensive military expeditions are not powers delegated to the federal government in the Constitution, and are, therefore, unlawful.


Here’s the quick overview of how this all plays out:

* In Constitutional terms, the United States is currently at war with Libya.
* Libya is not invading the United States, nor has it threatened to do so.
* Congress has not declared war. Barack Obama did.

Some would claim, and news articles are already reporting on it, that the 1973 war powers resolution authorizes the President to start a war as long as it’s reported to Congress within 48 hours. Then, Congress would have 60 days to authorize the action, or extend it.

The only question you should have to ask for this would be – “where in the Constitution is congress given the authority to change the constitution by resolution?”

It doesn’t. And that resolution, in and of itself, is a Constitutional violation. More on that in a future article, of course.

James Madison had something to say about such a plan when he wrote:
“The executive has no right, in any case, to decide the question, whether there is or is not cause for declaring war.” [emphasis added]
War Powers resolution or no war powers resolution – without a Congressional declaration, the president is not authorized to start an offensive military campaign. Period.

The bottom line? By using US Military to begin hostilities with a foreign nation without a Congressional declaration of war, Barack Obama has committed a serious violation of the Constitution. While he certainly is not the first to do so in regards to war powers, it’s high time that he becomes the last.

Michael Boldin [send him email] is the founder of the Tenth Amendment Center. He was raised in Milwaukee, WI, and currently resides in Los Angeles, CA. Follow him on twitter - @michaelboldin - and visit his personal blog -

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Who's Cell Phone Are You Paying For?

Having a full time job, it's not very often that I have a chance to watch daytime television so I don't get to see the commercials that are targeted to the demographic that does. Well I was home today and among the commercials for personal injury lawyers and trade schools, there was one commercial that caught my eye by a company called SafeLink Wireless that advertised free cell phone and airtime each month for income-eligible customers as part of a government supported program. Needless to say, I was stunned that my tax dollars were paying for someone else cell phone.

The good news is that they are not, and SafeLink Wireless points that out on their website. But the devil is always in the details and while our tax dollars are not paying for it, we as consumers still are.

You may not realize that, I didn't until I did some digging, the FCC as part of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was mandated to create the Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) which through the Universal Service Fund (USF) provides for, among other things, "discounts that make basic, local telephone service affordable for more than 7 million low-income consumers." and guess what, cell phones now qualify.

So where does the money come from? Thankfully not the FCC (although almost $5M a year is budgeted for USF "Audit Support" *). Rather the funding comes from "contributions" based on projected quarterly earnings from all telecommunications companies that provide service between states. Now do you think that these companies just eat their "contributions" or do you think that we pay for it by way of higher prices? I'm betting the latter.

It gets better, now there is even discussion to include internet access into the program which means we will not only pay for someone on public assistance to text away but we will be paying for them to surf the web too.

What this amounts to is just another form of income redistribution, plain and simple. Thank you Leviathan.

Rand Paul For President?

"The only decision I've made is I won't run against my dad,"

Well this could make things interesting for the 2012 presidential campaign. Of course it will be pointed out that he doesn't have the experience, he's only been in public office for 2 months, but why should that matter? Our current POTUS doesn't have much more and besides, we have all seen that career politicians are the ones that have created the problems that we face today. What we need is someone outside the beltway bubble who will bring a fresh perspective and is willing to slay Leviathan.

The more advocates of limited government, fiscal responsibility and non-intervention that are running the better. The American people need to know that there are alternatives to the establishment selected, business as usual candidates that are crammed down our throats every 4 years.

The Post and Courier
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., visited Charleston Monday to talk about his possible presidential bid, how to rein in the national debt and the current military action in Libya.

Paul, a tea party favorite who won his Senate seat last fall, is visiting several early presidential voting states independently of his father, 2008 presidential contender and current U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.

He has upcoming trips planned to Iowa and New Hampshire, in part, he said, because "I want the tea party to have an influence over who the nominee is in 2012."
Via Memeorandum

Sunday, March 20, 2011

To What Degree Is The US Really Involved In Libya?

Before it all went down we were told that the US would be part of the coalition involved in enforcing the Libyan no-fly zone with France and Britain taking the lead.

Byron York from the Washington Examiner points out the inconsistencies between what we were told the US role would be and what it really is.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton points out what were were led to believe in her statement Saturday, "We did not lead this" but then Vice Admiral Bill Gortney lets us all in on the truth in his press conference when he said "In these early days, the operation will be under the operational command of General Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command. And the commander of Joint Task Force Odyssey Dawn, which is the name of this operation, is Admiral Sam Locklear, who is embarked on board USS Mount Whitney in the Mediterranean. We anticipate the eventual transition of leadership to a coalition commander in the coming days."

Washington Examiner
Later, a reporter asked Gortney, "To be clear, this is a U.S.-led operation, but in the hours leading up today there’s communications or talk to try to talk that down?"

"We are on the leading edge of coalition operations where the United States under General Ham in Africa Command is in charge," Gortney responded. "He’s in command of this at this point. And in the coming days we intend to transition it to a coalition command."

Gortney offered no details on how long the period of "coming days" might be. But he did offer details on just how much of the Libya operation is being borne by U.S. forces. Early in the briefing, Gortney said the attack involved "110 Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from both U.S. and British ships and submarines." Later, a reporter asked: "Can you specify how many British ships were involved compared to the U.S. ships?"

"We had one British submarine," Gortney said.

"And the rest were all U.S.?"

"Yes, ma'am."

Gortney's briefing made clear that the United States is not only leading the Libya operation but is virtually the only force involved in the operation.
So if we are being lied to this early in the hostilities, it will come as no shocker when we see American troops with "boots on the ground" in Libya. How ironic that the anti-war candidate is now the Commander-in-Chief leading us into a new conflict while continuing with 2 other left over from the Bush administration.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Via Memeorandum

What Is Our Motivation: Democracy, Oil Or The Almighty Dollar

Like most Americans I get my news and commentary through the lame stream media which limits our group-think to a tiny sliver of inside the box thinking, but because of the interweb we are also exposed to ideas that can also show us the big picture.

The current conventional wisdom wants us to believe that these revolutions in the Middle East, along with the US support or lack of are based on our want for democracy and the freedom of the people in these nations. Others will point to our need to protect the supply of oil, which is the lifeblood of industrial nations, as our interest in the outcomes. Both reasons are legitimate on the face but if we pull the curtain back a little further, the endgame is exposed. As Anthony Wile in the Daily Bell puts it,
If it were just about the oil supply, why wouldn't the US open up their vast oil resources in the mid-west? The answer is because it isn't really about oil at all. It is about maintaining the global oil trade in the fraudulent US dollar so that the 20th century game of wealth redistribution and mind manipulation can continue. After all, it was working so well, wasn't it?
Think about this for a moment; the dollar is the world's reserve currency and right now almost all the major oil producing nations only accept the dollar as payment. Any threat to the dollar's reserve status is a threat to the US economy and countries that will not play by the rules could suffer our wrath. Don't believe me, Iraq switched to accepting euros instead of dollars shortly before we invaded that country, Iran now accepts the euro for oil and has suffered sanction by the US and UN and there is the ever present threat of an invasion to destroy whatever nuclear capability they may or may not have (the WMD boogieman always works). Also in the mix is Venezuelan dictator, Hugo Chavez who is also accepting the euro for oil and not to be forgotten are China and Russia, who are looking for ways out of the dollar peg. More from Anthony Wile,
Oil is the one commodity that all countries need and it is imperative for the elite focused on the greater agenda of implementing one-world government that the fiat-money financing tool be utilized in international trade. The Ponzi scheme requires it. Without the ability to continually create endless amounts on money-out-of-nothing, which central banks do, there would be no ability to fund the globe spanning US industrial complex that enables the Anglosphere elite to utilize the US as its bad-boy enforcer.
The biggest threat to our economy (and the power elite) is for the dollar to lose it's status as the world's reserve currency. For it to no longer be the trading medium for oil would be such a severe blow to it's status that it would only be a matter of time before the rest of the dominoes fall and the Ponzi scheme it supports collapses upon itself.

Video: Libya And The Interventionists

By Wes Messamore
The Humble Libertarian

In the video op ed below (text version here), I tackle the interventionist's false claim that non-interventionists like Ron Paul are "isolationists" and "blame America first" people. Please feel free to share this video on your blogs or websites / social media accounts.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Why Libya?

Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya (somehow I thought that Iran would be next), but why? Libya has not attacked us and Congress has not declared war, so other than the sole purpose of regime change there is no explanation for us to get involved in a civil war of a sovereign nation.

Granted, Gadhafi is a despot and has committed great atrocities against his people but this is not our fight. Nor is it the problem of France, England or Canada. If the Saudis or the rest of the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council want to do something about the turmoil in their backyard, let them deal with it, they have the money and weapons.

Of course the war hawks are all too happy to get involved in enforcing the no-fly zone, but that is just them dipping their to in the water. Next they will say we need to supply ground troops to help in the humanitarian clean-up effort should (when) Gadhafi is deposed, followed by a protracted occupation of a peacekeeping force to maintain order.

Nothing is to be gained by our intervention into the affairs of another nation, especially in Libya where we have nothing to gain and everything to lose. Think of it from the perspective of the enemies we already have in the region; once again the US is invading another Muslim nation in order to overthrow the country's legitimate government.

When are we going to learn that our interventionist foreign policy of supporting dictators that kowtow to us and invading the ones that do not, only gives further impetus to the Islamists who's defeat should be our only agenda.

Via Memeorandum

Friday, March 18, 2011

It's On!: Mark Levin V. George W. Bush's (un)Conservative Record

by the Left Coast Rebel

I'm going to ruffle some feathers here (including, perhaps even my own lovely mother's) and praise Mark Levin for "coming out of the closet" in calling out former president George W. Bush as anything but a conservative in a limited government sense. Levin did so in a Facebook posting about Sarah Palin.

Before I move along, I must say that it still shocks and disheartens me when I see my conservative brothers and sisters in the proverbial dark about W's big-government largess and Progressive Co-opted Good Intentions that laid the bricks for the road to Obama's socialist utopia hell.

From Mark Levin's Facebook page:
That said, Bush's record, at best, is marginally conservative, and depending on the issue, worse. In fact, the Tea Party movement is, in part, a negative reaction to Bush's profligate spending (including his expansion of a bankrupt Medicare program to include prescription drugs). And while Bush's spending comes nowhere near Barack Obama's, that is not the standard. Moreover, Bush was not exactly among our most articulate presidents, let alone conservative voices. I raise this not to compare Bush to Palin, but to point out only a few of the situational aspects of the criticism from the Bush community corner. (If necessary, and if challenged, I will take the time to lay out the case in all its particulars, as well as other non-conservative Bush policies and statements. No Republican president is perfect, of course, but certainly some are more perfect that others, if you will.)
Levin is right and as far as I'm concerned, he's being gracious here. A HUGE component of the Tea Party movement heralds from disaffection with George W. Bush's (and the GOP Congress during his two terms) abandonment of any semblance of fiscal conservatism.

Peter Wehner at Commentary Magazine responds to Mark Levin, I grabbed an excerpt that really caught my eye:
The complaint about Bush is that he was the architect of a prescription-drug entitlement. Fair enough, though it should be said that because of free-market reforms, the cost of the plan was 40 percent below the estimates, an unheard of achievement.
I'm going a little off topic here but I can't help myself, this is such establishment tripe.

The logic goes like this: Democrat-statists float an unconstitutional, fiscal train-wreck entitlement program or any other sundry of horrible legislation. Out-of-power Republicans balk and block said program and claim victory for the taxpayer. Several years down the road, Republicans gain power and co-opt the unconstitutional, fiscal train-wreck entitlement program or "progressive" government scheme, but they nibble around the edges and *save* 40% for the taxpayer by adding "free market" aspects to the legislation!

The question then is this:

What do we as liberty-loving Americans that don't believe the Federal government should command every aspect of our lives get in the end by Republican "compromise" of Democrat progressive government?

Answer: More of our hard-earned dollars confiscated by an intrusive, out-of-control government, kicking the United States fiscal insolvency can down the road and doing so from the opposition party of limited government.

George W. Bush did some good things, for instance the *attempt* of reforming Social Insecurity. The man didn't loathe the United States as his successor does.

But does the following list look like the accomplishment list of a limited government conservative? The truth is, George W. Bush would have been a statist liberal if not for the fact that the Democrat Party has gone so far to the left as to make the socialists of old blush. Partying with future generation's earnings like it's 2000-2008, the Bush hit list:
In fairness, Dan Mitchell of the Cato Institute throws in Obama and Bush's record on annual domestic spending increases adjusted for inflation and compares the combination to the presidency of Ronald Reagan (by percentage increases):

Even more foreboding, the inflation-adjusted dollar comparison:

Reagan wasn't perfect as even his best efforts to rein in the Federal government only resulted in slowing the rate of growth. He is still the best measuring stick for true conservatism that we have had in my lifetime and possibly far beyond.

Why do I bring all of this up? Simple. Before we know it, Republicans will be choosing a nominee to go up against Obama in 2012. Establishment charlatans will co-opt the Tea Party movement, promise fiscal restraint and sound libertarian-esque. Only those few with proven fiscal-conservative track records will deliver and this nation cannot afford another big-spending Republican administration.

And, oh, yah, just to reiterate -- Bush was no conservative. Please pass this along.

Cross posted to The Libertarian Patriot, LCR and RightKlik.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lieberman - US Needs To "Put The Brakes" On Nuclear Plant Construction

H/T HotAirPundit

Last week I touched on the need to build more nuclear power plants in the US in order to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels, particularly oil, to meet our energy needs. New plant designs are much safer than those built in the past and include passive safety features that do not rely on active components such as diesel generators and pumps, making them virtually meltdown free.

Sen Joe Lieberman evidently is unaware of the advances in nuclear safety, saying on CBS' Face The Nation that he believes we need "to put the brakes on [building new plants] right now until we understand the ramifications of what's happened in Japan."

Well then, by this logic, we should stop building cars because the 35 year old models on the road are not as safe as the ones built today.

Here's the reality Senator; the reactors that are in this crisis situation, reactors 1 and 3, were built in 1970 and 1976 respectively* and feature active safety systems that require electricity, either from the grid or emergency generators, to power the pumps that supply water to cool reactors. The new plant designs use passive systems such as convection, pebble beds and Doppler scattering; no external measures are needed because the fuel elements shut off over a certain temperature.

Just for once, can't a politician actually know the facts before they speak.
"I've been a big supporter of nuclear power because it's domestic, it's ours and it's clean," Lieberman said. "We've had a good safety with nuclear power plants here in the United States... I don't want to stop the building of nuclear power plants, but I think we've got to kind of quietly, quickly put the brakes on until we can absorb what has happened in Japan as a result of the earthquake and the tsunami and then see what more, if anything, we can demand of the new power plants that are coming online."

Via Memeorandum

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Tragedy In Japan and The Broken Window Fallacy

H/T The Other McCain

Never mind that thousands are dead or injured and hundreds of thousands are homeless, the Wall Street Journal seems to suggest that Japan's floundering economy could see benefit in the destruction.
Some economists have argued that a quake could actually lift the economy in the long run, by requiring a surge in rebuilding spending.
Certainly it is in poor taste to even broach this subject but this is how Keynesians think; steal from the masses and use the proceeds to fund government projects. Never mind that the money could be put to better use and I am damned sure that no matter how great things are rebuilt, the affected people in Japan would not have wanted this tragedy to occur in the first place.

Frédéric Bastiat warned us of this line of reasoning some 160 years ago but progressives always look for some silver lining in a tragedy as a way to expand their big government, socialistic beliefs. For if things really worked this way, wouldn't we just blow up cities in order to reap the economic benefit from rebuilding them?

General Misunderstandings

Via The Tenth Amendment Center

by Michael Maharrey

Paul Abrams trotted out one of the favorite progressive arguments for virtually unlimited federal power in a March 9 Huffington Post article.

The good ole’ “general welfare” clause.

Abrams brings quite an academic pedigree to the party. Yale educated, summa cum laude, multiple advanced degrees…which goes to show an Ivy League education doesn’t necessarily guarantee a student will actually graduate knowing anything.

OK, perhaps that’s a bit harsh. He may be a fine lawyer and an excellent medical doctor, but a constitutional scholar – not so much.

Abrams’ argument goes like this.
Article 1, Section 8, Clause 1 grants the United States government the unqualified and unlimited power to raise and spend money, for example, to: provide healthcare for the elderly (or for everyone); provide old-age pension; build roads, bridges, train tracks, airports, electric grids, libraries, swimming pools, housing; educate our children, re-train the unemployed, provide pre-school and day care; fund public health projects; invest in and conduct basic research; provide subsidies for agriculture; save the auto industry; create internets; and, yes, Tea Party Senator Mike Lee (R-UT), even provide emergency aid from natural disasters, and so forth. All subsumed under the authority to spend for the general welfare.
This raises a couple of interesting questions.

First off, if the very first clause of Article 1 Sec. 8 grants unlimited and unqualified authority for the federal government to do any damn thing it wants, why did the framers bother to waste ink enumerating all of those other powers? I mean, they were handwriting the thing for goodness sake. Seems to me an economy of words would have definitely been in order.

Secondly, how in the world can you square Abrams’ view of “general welfare” with James Madison’s assertion in Federalist 45 that the powers granted to the federal government are “few and defined”?

Oh yeah, you can’t.

And Madison didn’t.

In fact, the “Father of the Constitution” actually addressed this very argument.
“With respect to the two words ‘general welfare,’ I have always regarded them as qualified by the detail of powers connected with them. To take them in a literal and unlimited sense would be a metamorphosis of the Constitution into a character which there is a host of proofs was not contemplated by its creators.”
You can look to the ratifying conventions for those proofs. In fact, the “anti-federalists” feared that people like Abrams would come along and make the very arguments he advances. The pro-constitutionalists assured them this wouldn’t happen – that the government powers were in fact limited and defined. The states ratified the Constitution based on these assurances.

Heck, even Alexander Hamilton, who was most hostile to the concept of limiting federal power, conceded as much.
“This specification of particulars [the 18 enumerated powers of Article I, Section 8] evidently excludes all pretension to a general legislative authority, because an affirmative grant of special powers would be absurd as well as useless if a general authority was intended.”
Thanks for answering that first question for me, Alex.

Abrams’ runs into trouble because he doesn’t understand what the framers meant by “general welfare” and “common defense”. The first words of those two phrases hold the key. General and common. The phrase simply means that any tax collected must be collected to the benefit of the United States as a whole, not for partial or sectional (ie. special) interests. You know, swimming pools, health care for the elderly, and internets. (I don’t know what internets are. Ask Abrams.)

The power to pursue the things Abrams advocates lies with the states. As Madison put it:
The powers reserved to the several States will extend to all objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement and prosperity of the State.
After Abrams wields the “general welfare” clause like a sword, slashing through the ignorant misconception that the framers actually intended a federal government with limited powers, he pulls out the “necessary and proper” clause for good measure.
Otherwise known as the “necessary and proper clause”, the 18th power makes it as clear as the Supreme Court Justice’s financial disclosure rules that the Congress has the authority to enact any law to spend money in pursuit of the general welfare.
Perhaps it’s due to my lack of an Ivy League education, but I have absolutely no idea what exactly Abrams means by this sentence, or how he arrived at his conclusion. But I do know that Thomas Jefferson made it clear enumerated powers also constrain the meaning and scope of the necessary and proper clause.
“The Constitution allows only the means which are ‘necessary,’ not those which are merely ‘convenient,’ for effecting the enumerated powers. If such a latitude of construction be allowed to this phrase as to give any non-enumerated power, it will go to every one, for there is not one which ingenuity may not torture into a convenience in some instance or other, to some one of so long a list of enumerated powers. It would swallow up all the delegated powers, and reduce the whole to one power, as before observed”
If nothing else, Abrams vividly illustrates Jefferson’s point. For what he may lack in understanding of the original Constitution he certainly makes up for in using his ingenuity to torture into a convenience many instances.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Rand Paul Grills Obama Enegy Official on the Left's Hypocrisy over Consumer Choice

by the Left Coast Rebel

Could any United States senator sum up the overbearing Federal Leviathan death-grip on every one of our lives any better than Rand Paul? Watch this and let me know what you think.

"Frankly my toilets just don't work in my house..."

"You busybodies always want to do something to tell us how to live our lives better -- keep it to yourselves..."

Simply awesome -- Rand Paul is right. The Federal government has overstepped its boundaries in every corner of the nation that it touches with it's insidious tentacles. King George III's oppression of the British coloniesin America is nothing compared to what our own government does on a daily basis. More and more Americans realize this and we need to keep shouting it from the rooftops to get our nation back on track.

Elections have consequences and we need just about 50 more just like Rand Paul in the U.S. Senate. This man alone personifies why our hard work for the 2010 election was worth it.

This video should be a rallying cry for the Tea Party movement, if there ever was one.

Cross posted to LCR.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gary Johnson - Create Jobs; Eliminate Corporate Income Tax

No argument here.

Companies do not need corporate welfare as tax breaks, subsidies and bailouts are just the government's way of picking winners and losers. Instead, we need to allow all corporations to be on a level playing field and be able to invest their earnings back into their companies and employees while allowing them to better compete on the international stage.

Gary Johnson's solution for creating much needed jobs and getting our economy back on track is simple and it allows business to do what it does best in the free market; make money and create jobs. And the former NM Governor would know; he turned a one-man handyman business into a multi-million dollar corporation that employed over 1000 people.

The Daily Caller
As a matter of basic common sense, taxing corporate income has always been a fundamentally flawed concept. Corporations are things — not people. They don’t pay anything. The people who do the paying are shareholders, employees, vendors and others whose incomes are reduced because government is taking a cut right off the top of a corporation’s profits.

Eliminate the government’s cut, and those dollars will flow to shareholders in the form of increased income, to employees in the form of higher wages, and to investments that will actually put more people to work. All of those incomes will be taxed, but in a more logical and broader way — and the government will come out just fine in terms of revenues.

Some estimates place the number of jobs that could be created by eliminating the corporate income tax as high as 2 million. Even if the number is less than that, virtually no one disputes the fact that it would create a substantial number of real, private-sector jobs. In his State of the Union speech, even the president acknowledged that reducing the corporate tax would create jobs.

Eliminating this double tax has always been a good idea. Today, it has taken on greater urgency. First, we clearly need to let the economy breathe and create jobs. Second, our current corporate tax has become a major competitive disadvantage in the global marketplace. Nations from Canada to several of our European competitors have seen the wisdom of reducing corporate taxes, leaving us to steadily move down the list of investment-friendly places for job-creating businesses. We simply cannot afford to let that competitive slide continue.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Ron Paul To Ben Bernanke "What Is Your Definition Of The Dollar?"

Ron Paul got his first opportunity to question Helicopter Ben as Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy on Tuesday and he didn't hold back, asking the Fed Chairman point blank what his definition of the dollar is. The answer Rep Paul received is telling.
My definition of the dollar is what it can buy. Consumers don't want to buy gold; they want to buy food, and gasoline, and clothes and all the other things that are in the consumer basket. It is the buying power of the dollar in terms of those goods and services that is what is important, and that's what I call price stability.
In other words, what Bernanke is saying is that the dollar is nothing more than a piece of paper with no intrinsic value and is only worth what it can be exchanged for. The problem is, the more fiat dollars that the Treasury creates means that it's rate of exchange decreases and more dollars are required to purchase a good or service. Whether the Fed Chairman wants to admit it or not, this is real inflation and if (when) things get out of control, can lead to hyperinflation.

By pegging the value of the dollar to something tangible, like gold or silver instead of pixie dust, we will be able to stabilize our economy and get our spending problem under control. There is coming the time in the not so distant future when the rest of the world drops the dollar as the reserve currency and if we continue down the path that we are on, it will be financial Armageddon.

Tea Partiers to Clean up Leftist Mess at Wisconsin Capitol

by the Left Coast Rebel

This week we covered the story that the cost of damage, filth and wreckage left behind by leftists camped-out in the Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin far exceeded the seven figure range.

Good news today though, Tea Partiers are donating their time and dollars to clean up the mess:

Recommendations for Tea Party patriots embarking upon the cleanup effort:
  • Please wear Hazmat suits. One can only wonder what kinds of bacteria, viruses, drug paraphernalia (needles?), and other unmentionables that may be need to be disposed of.
  • Consider vaccinating yourselves before you begin the work.
  • Log your hours. Unions would demand union-scale wage compensation for the effort. You should too. Also, brace yourselves: Wisconsin Union Sanitation Workers may claim that you took jobs and work away from them and may sue you.
  • Consolidate the trash into one pile, preferably away from the capitol building. Is there as much (or more) trash than leftists leave behind at Earth Day 'celebrations' or Obama's 2008 inauguration (a tough act to follow, considering they left 100 + tons)?
  • Film the effort. Make a documentary that highlights the filth and lack-of-respect for property.

Updated: Clifton at Another Black Conservative notes that the Facebook page set up by the Tea Partiers involved with the cleanup went viral and cleanup began ahead of schedule this morning! Check out Another Black Conservative for more.

Cross-posted to Right Klik, Proof Positive and the Libertarian Patriot.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Shuffling The Deck Chairs Pleases The Masses

As a follow-up to my Game Over post, a new Pew Research Center poll shows that anger at the government, especially by Tea Partiers, has abated since the GOP shellacking of the Democrats in the 2010 midterm election.

While people age still generally angry at the government it appears that the tough talk, with little actual action, has placated the masses. This, to me, proves once again that people are not truly concerned about making things better but rather it is about keeping their charlatans of choice in power.

With this in mind, we will continue to go down the road of greater debt, debasement of the dollar and and a further infringement of our freedoms unless we demand real change and elect people who really care about the well being of our republic.

Pew Research Center
When asked how they feel about the federal government, a majority of the public has consistently expressed frustration. Currently, 59% say they are frustrated with the federal government while 22% are content and 14% are angry. The percent saying they are angry with government has declined nine points since last September.

Fewer Republicans say they feel angry with the federal government than did so last fall. In the current survey, 16% of Republicans say they are angry with the government, down from 33% in September. There also has been a decline in anger among independents from 27% last fall to 15% now. Among independents who lean to the GOP, the percent saying they are angry declined from 38% to 20%. Views among Democrats have been fairly stable with 10% now saying they are angry with the federal government. Thus, the gap between Republicans and Democrats is much smaller than it was last year.

Nearly half (47%) of Tea Party supporters said they were angry with the federal government in September of last year. That has dropped to 28% in the current survey. Even among Republicans who support the Tea Party, there has been a decline in the percent saying they are angry with the government.

Rethinking Nuclear Power

It's not your grandfather's nuclear power plant anymore. Today it's safer, cleaner and with an unlimited supply, the only "green" alternative able to ween us from our addiction to oil, gas and coal. Of course politics, crony-capitalism and fear-mongering currently prevent it from happening in the US.

As of March 2011, China is building 27 new nuclear power plants (and plans 50). Russia is building 10, India and South Korea five each, Japan and Canada two. In the US, there is exactly one new reactor complex being built.

France gets 80% of its power from fission. Most major nations have used nuclear power to make their environment cleaner and their economies less vulnerable to $100/barrel oil. Yet the US remains in superstitious dread of fission… even while dependent on the 20% of our electricity that comes from our 40-year-old Homer Simpson specials.

The first hard fact about switching to nuclear power: it reduces your radiation exposure. Nuclear power plants, even old ones, release very little radiation. In fact, they release from 100 to 400 times less than coal plants, per kilowatt-hour. (There is a significant amount of radium and polonium in coal). You get more radiation by escaping to NH from Vermont than you would by living next to a reactor for your whole life (manly NH granite is full of uranium and thorium, unlike the soft, limp sediments of Vermont).

New nuclear plants are also meltdown free. There are several ways to make nuclear fuel rods or pellets that stop fissioning when they reach a certain temperature. The US built the first intrinsically safe reactor in 1986, the Argonne EBR-II. The Argonne system used fuel rods made of an alloy that expanded with heat to beyond critical density. Newer designs have used pebble beds and Doppler scattering, but the result is the same: fuel elements that shut off over a certain temperature, even if Homer Simpson turns off every cooling system.

Yet another breed of new nuclear plants uses cooling systems which use convection instead of pumps; again, even if everything is switched off, they can’t overheat. The Westinghouse AP1000 uses this principle. (The Westinghouse nuclear division is now owned by Toshiba, a company that thinks more than one fiscal quarter ahead.)

Other concepts include small mass-produced reactors like the Hyperion. These town-sized (only 25 megawatt) units would be more decentralized than most current fossil or nuclear generators. They would also have passive safety features… in fact the reactor itself is a sealed unit, with no way for Homer to get inside.

The US has none of the newer, safer plants yet (the one reactor under construction in Georgia is an AP1000). Yet just like the ex-Soviet satellite nations, we remain economically dependent on our 1970s reactors. Again, our anti-nuclear policy has put us at more risk than other nations.

Currently known reserves of uranium are enough for a couple hundred years or so… enough that no one puts much effort into finding more. Breeder reactors can make more uranium out of thorium; estimates of thorium reserves get us up to 20,000 years. By the year 22,211, fission reactors will be in museums next to the flint-knapping tools. The lights will stay on from fusion… or more likely, something we haven’t even imagined.

Even on a shorter time scale, nuclear fuel cycles are very stable. Once fueled, a reactor will run for years, independent of possible wars, blockades or interruptions of trade.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wisconsin Capital: Leftist Protestors' 7.5 Million-Dollar Carbon Footprint

Image: Trash left behind after Obama's inauguration, Washington DC

by the Left Coast Rebel

(Editor's note: Chris W. has been gracious enough to invite me to post from time to time at the Libertarian Patriot. This piece is the first of hopefully many more to come).

Well, it's not really a carbon footprint on display at the Wisconsin capital, rather it's a trash and lack-of-respect for property rights liberal (carbon) footprint. Let's not it forget folks: leftists, collectivists, statists, socialists, far-left union nuts are all motivated by an overarching central theme: entitlement.

There's a Worldview That Separates us

In the case of the "I am entitled to a lavish lifestyle and retirement by way of your paycheck" aka the Wisconsin union protest; the price tab to clean up their anti-social behavior is a staggering $7.5 million dollars.

I can't think of a better example of the moral difference between conservatives, libertarians, constitutionalists and tea-partiers and the miscreants on the left. When you see conservatives and libertarians converge onto an area, they typically don't leave a carbon footprint (or mountains of trash) behind. They clean up after themselves, because they -- for the most part -- respect the property rights of their fellow citizens and even the government that they loathe so much. Leftists don't.

Warning: Traffic Ahead

It reminds me of a point that my fellow San Diego blogger/liberty activist friend Shane Atwell made in the comments at LCR about bad drivers. Bad drivers (those that lack respect and common courtesy) are often liberal statists, fascists or socialists (I know, that's redundant). They own the road (in their eyes), are entitled to their lane, speed, and otherwise and have have the right to drive like a flaming jerk simply because they were born and woke up that day (albeit at 10 a.m.). A refresher course from ages ago at LCR: leftists are not open-minded, either.

How dare you get in my way!

How dare you insist that I follow the same laws that you have to! I am entitled. It's my right.

The same hideous, anti-social ethos (or anti-ethos) extends from the roadways to a 'protest' destination, trashing (literally) property and ultimately picking the meat off the bones of your paycheck and the nation's balance sheet. They are entitled to everything simply because they have a pulse and we are bankrupt both morally and financially as a result.

How do we change this dynamic? Cut 'em off the government teat. Force accountability and respect for your neighbor and your neighbor's property. An empty stomach is a great motivator, even for a silver-spoon-in-the-mouth liberal.

Related discussion: Scared Monkeys, Lonely Conservative, Another Black Conservative.

Cross-posted to Right Klik and Proof Positive and the Libertarian Patriot.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Real ID - Real Nullification

You may not realize it but the May 11 deadline for states to be in compliance with the 2005 Real ID Act is fast approaching. Fortunately, many states have taken efforts to nullify this attack on liberty by refusing to comply, with 16 states having laws against enactment and another 10 that have passed resolutions in opposition to the Act*. A representative for the National Conference of State Legislatures believes that there is not a single state currently meeting the standard.

Undeterred, House Republicans have sent a letter to Big Sis (who as Governor of AZ signed a law in 2008 forbidding the state from cooperating with the federal requirements) urging her not to extend the deadline. Bad enough that they already pushed through the extension of the Patriot Act, but now they want to continue the assault on our freedom, all in the name of security, by forcing the states to require documentation from citizens. It's only a matter of time before babies are Lojacked at birth.

The irony in all of this, at least to me, is that while the national mediots are falling all over themselves to champion the revolutions in the Middle East and applauding the people for standing up to the tyrannical despots that rule them, nary a peep is being heard about the ongoing efforts of Leviathan to take our freedoms away.

So what will happen come May 11 if the deadline isn't extended and everyone without the required documentation is forced to undergo enhanced screening in the nation's airports? Chaos will ensue, delays will be rampant and things could get ugly. My guess is that the deadline gets extended again and the GOP takes another run at this infringement of freedom some time later.

But this is the beauty of nullification; if enough states stand strong and say no there is not much that DC can do.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Game Over

Put a fork in us, we're done. It was a nice run America but it's about to end.

If the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll is to be believed and less than 25% of those polled do not significant cuts to Social Security and Medicare in order to get our current $14 TRILLION debt under control we may as well throw in the towel and resign ourselves to the fact that the standard of living that we have taken for granted for so long is about to go by the wayside. And those so-called Tea Partiers that reject the cuts by a 2 to 1 margin can just trade in their Gadsden Flags for an Obama/Biden 2012 bumper stickers right now. In the words of Mike Church you are nothing but fake, phony, fraud DeceptiCONs. It looks like all the talk of limiting government and cutting spending that surrounded the 2010 midterm election was just that, talk.

Unless the big 4; Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense are on the table, we're doing nothing more than spitting into the wind when it comes to getting our debt under control. All you have to do is look at the chart here to see what the problem is. The choice is really simple, either cut spending or raise taxes but no one seems to have the stomach for either.

We have seen the enemy and the enemy is us.

Americans across all age groups and ideologies said by large margins that it was "unacceptable'' to make significant cuts in entitlement programs in order to reduce the federal deficit. Even tea party supporters, by a nearly 2-to-1 margin, declared significant cuts to Social Security "unacceptable."

Asked directly if they thought cuts to Medicare were necessary to "significantly reduce" the deficit, 18% of respondents said yes, while 54% said no; the rest were not sure or had no opinion. On Social Security, 22% said cuts would be needed, while 49% said they weren't.
Via Memeorandum
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