Saturday, September 06, 2008

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

(Broadview Heights, OH)- Bob Barr is an inch from being kicked off the Pennsylvania ballot. Why? He did the same thing Obama and McCain did in Texas- file post-deadline, because his party's convention nominated him post-deadline. Shane Cory of the Barr Campaign comments:
It's been clear that if you are running for office as a Republican or a Democrat, you are somehow above the law.

If you are a Libertarian or independent, you not only have to abide by the letter of the law but you have to be prepared when the law is twisted and turned to be used against you. (emphasis supplied, -ed)
Didn't McCain just encourage people to run for office? Isn't Obama's campaign about inclusion

How about both of them step up to the plate and show that their words have some meaning. McCain can be the maverick he purports to be. Obama can be the agent of change he purports to be. Playing the game of duopoly collusion is pure status quo.

But, ok ok. If the law is the law, very well. If the law is the law, then Obama and McCain are off the Texas ballot, because like Barr in PA, those two failed to file on time. Same law, same failure to comply. Same results? Here's some interesting stuff from a New York Times blog:
I am confident that the two parties will find a way around this problem, and that Texans will be able to vote for either major candidate. The polls show Senator McCain well ahead in Texas.
That's the typical commentary for this. McCain and Obama will 'find a way around this problem'. Barr will not.

Why should they get around it? Didn't Republicans and Democrats write election laws in this country? And, in Texas? Shouldn't they, as exemplars of fairness, abide by their own stinking laws?

I don't know how anybody supporting McCain or Obama, who has INTEGRITY, can know that their candidate's campaigns will do anything they can with regards to the law, to make sure it doesn't apply to them, but does apply to everyone else. How can you simply gloss over it, if you have any idealism, and consistency, any integrity, AT ALL, about you?

Or, is winning the only thing. The means be damned, the end is all that matters.

If that's what it's about, be scared if your side loses, because you can expect the victor to run roughshod over you when it becomes expedient to do so.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Oh, Smaller Government?

(Broadview Hts, OH)- As I listened to the Palin speech, and the Giuliani speech last night, the biggest thing that caught my attention were statements that this Republican ticket would result in smaller government, lower spending, and lower taxes.

Now, why should that be believed?

Sure, the Democratic ticket is going to increase spending, increase the size of government, and raise taxes. But, is that any reason to believe that Republicans won't do the same? It is what was done under the Bush Administration. While in the Senate, John McCain was writing legislation like McCain-Feingold, not legislation that would eliminate a bureaucracy or department, not legislation that would cap spending, not legislation that would significantly cut taxes.

It galls me endlessly that Republicans campaign like fiscal libertarians, and then govern like pale Democrats- except in the last eight years, where Republicans made Democrats look like a collection of Friedmans and von Miseses. Last night's speeches did nothing to reverse this. 

So, Sarah Palin's a bulldog. That's nice. Dennis Kucinich is a bulldog, and gives one hell of a speech. So what? It's about policy, and I just couldn't find it convincing.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Libertarians On Palin

(Fishers, IN)- Now, for the libertarian take on Sarah Palin. My own is that this was a cynical ploy by McCain, simply selecting due to identity politics. I don't care about identity. I care about policy. So, from that standpoint, it's unlikely to be a great pick, and that says something to me about McCain and his 'leadership' and executive methodology.

From Cato-At-Liberty:
Comparing her experience to Biden borders on ridiculous. Since when do libertarians find encouragement in government, much less someone who has spent 36 years in Washington funding programs like Amtrak and prosecuting the drug war? Link.

And, in another post:
Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has a mixed record on taxes and spending. She’s clearly erred on a few fiscal decisions during her tenure as mayor of Wasilla and as governor. Palin seems to operate from a small government mindset, which makes her few heresies on economic issues puzzling.

Palin has come under fire for supporting the “Bridge to Nowhere” in Ketchikan before she was against it. Aides said the cost of the bridge soared from $223 million to almost $400 million, prompting her to consider alternatives. Link.

From Radley Balko:
By far the best thing Palin’s done thus far is get the usual suspects to don the others’ clothes. That is, the left’s screaming “affirmative action!” while the right’s screaming “sexism!” And both are doing it with a straight face. Makes it fun to be a libertarian.

Yes, Palin’s political resume is thin. That’s a plus in my book. “Experience” tends to mean “knows the ways of Washington,” which generally means more of the same old crap. If David Broder has praised you in one of his columns, you’re probably part of the problem. Frankly, I wish Obama had picked someone less “experienced” than Joe Biden, a guy that embodies everything loathesome about Washington. I also like that Palin’s not a career politician, and doesn’t genuflect before powerful interests. On the other hand, it doesn’t bode well that she has a history of also applying that same kick-ass-and-take-names style of governance to, for example, trying to ban books from the public library that she finds offensive.

From Reason's Matt Welch:
Sarah Palin is many interesting things, but she is decidedly not anyone who has done a single thing in her life indicating preparation to lead any kind of "transcendent" foreign policy challenge. In an election that will be fought over the issue of war, where McCain has noisily accused Barack Obama of putting politics before country on the issue of most import, it is McCain who is guilty of just that charge with the selection of perhaps the least-qualified candidate for vice-commander in chief in modern U.S. history. Choosing Palin makes for potentially great politics, but it makes a mockery of McCain's claim to be the national security adult in this race, especially considering that if he's elected, he'll be the oldest first-term president in American history.

Would John McCain, a genuine American hero, place his own political ambitions ahead of the good of the country? Indeed he has, at least according to an authority as knowledgeable on the subject as John McCain. In all five of his books he repeatedly warns us of precisely that tendency. "The worst decisions I have made, not just in politics but over the course of my entire life," he writes in Hard Call, "have been those I made to seek an advantage primarily or solely for myself."

There was initial excitement for some libertarians (not me), as Palin is a lifetime member of the NRA, but the more we learn, the more we find that she's a Republican, and not a Libertarian, for meaningful reasons. The commitment to smaller government only goes so far.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Extend the Evacuation

(Broadview Heights, OH)- Since the disaster of Hurricane Katrina some three years ago, the failures have been pinned squarely on government, generally upon two targets: FEMA, and the President. The has always struck me as odd, since New Orleans has a municipal government, and Louisiana a state government, and somehow they went relatively blameless. The argument usually goes that a disaster on that scale requires federal response. OK, so, should the National Guard have been sent to contain New Orleans' looters? Or, should the fleeing New Orleans police have borne some responsibility?

But, I digress into particulars.

In very few quarters were calls for personal responsibility tolerated. The poor people of New Orleans were just innocents facing the wrath of Mother Nature.

I once always thought that people should be permitted to live anywhere they want. If they choose to live below sea level, they can accept the responsibility of their choice.

No more. Americans have spoken. They do not believe in self-responsibility. They do not believe that they should accept the consequences of their choices.

Very well. If I, as a resident of Indiana, have to constantly see my tax dollars going towards the rebuilding of infrastructure for people who make incredibly dumb choices, such as living in an area that's going to be pounded by hurricanes every three years or so, as Gustave now illustrates, it's time to become practical and to adjust.

It's time for the federal government to ban all occupancy below sea level.

It just doesn't make any sense to be an idealist on the issue any longer. I'm all for liberty in tandem with self-responsibility. But liberty in tandem with collectivism is dangerous. We all have to pay for bad choices? What kind of stupidity is that? No, let's reduce the stupidity. Let's extend the evacuation of New Orleans through forever. No more living below sea level, or in flood plains- unless and until those who live in such places bear 100% full responsibility for such a choice.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Quick Thoughts on the Palin Pick

(Broadview Heights, OH)- The first thing I thought was, "Oh, come on. Michael Palin is British". But, I could get behind a Python for elected office. At the very least, he would be funny, and the satire of what a governing Python finds would be every bit as enlightening as it would be made hilarious.

This pick isn't funny. It's cynical. I know- all is fair in love, war, and politics, and this is a strategic pick just as sure as picking Biden was strategic in shoring up Obama's foreign policy shortcomings. But picking a candidate just because she's female and attractive? That's an abandoning of policy and worse- for some, it makes the election to come to this: Shall I vote based on the color of one candidate's skin, or, upon the gender of another?

Is that progress? No more than a sharp stick in the eye promotes long-range vision.

I observed quick hits on Palin's lack of experience. Well, nothing really prepares one for being President. CEO of a multinational corporation comes closest, for my money. But McCain, Obama, and Biden all have 100% less experience as an executive- because they have none. Palin does at least have executive branch experience, even if it can be counted the way an infant's life span is counted- in months.

I'll have a Libertarian round-up on Palin, just as I had for Biden.