Friday, September 28, 2012

Time for Mitt Romney to Support the Constitution

A recent piece on Breitbart.com by Kurt Schlichter called "Time for Ron Paul Fans to Support the Constitution" begs and pleads supporters of Ron Paul to supposedly support the Constitution this November by voting for Mitt Romney. Ignoring the article's oxymoron title (as if Ron Paul fans were not already supporting the Constitution), the main crux of Schlichter's article is that libertarians may not like Mitt Romney but he is the better alternative and does not hate the Constitution quite as much as Obama.

President Obama clearly has not shown respect for the Constitution but is Romney's record any better? Has Mr. Schlichter even checked into the constitutionality of Mitt Romney's positions? Since this topic could fill up an entire book, I am going to momentarily ignore the fact that Romney supports the unconstitutional Federal Reserve fiat dollar system, bailouts, stimulus, welfare, corporatism and runaway executive war power that plagues the nation today and deal solely with Romney's positions when compared to the Bill of Rights. Spoiler alert: It is not pretty.


Amendment 1: Freedom of speech, religion and expression (VIOLATED)


Romney has a pretty good record respecting the freedom of religion but a poor one when it comes to speech and expression. While president of the Salt Lake City winter Olympics, he banished protestors off into far away "free-speech zones." Conservatives rightfully cry out when college campuses do this and yet they are silent when their Presidential candidate has done the same thing.


Perhaps the most egregious assault on the freedom of expression guaranteed by the 1st Amendment is Mitt Romney's support for obscenity laws cracking down on pornography. Many people (including yours truly) find pornography immoral and disgusting - but the Constitution does not grant the federal government any power whatsoever to regulate morality. Obscenity laws are indicative of a nanny state, not a free society.


Amendment 2: Right to Bear Arms (VIOLATED)

Romney's position on gun control has seesawed back and forth depending on which office he is running for or holds.


While governor of Massachusetts, Romney banned assault weapons and quadrupled the gun license fee in that state. However, Romney's position on guns changed once he realized that he needed the support of the NRA kingmakers if he ever wanted to win the Republican nomination for President saying, "I don't happen to believe that America needs new gun laws."

So which Romney will take office in 2013? The Romney that will expand gun control or the Romney that will protect current gun rights in America? How can anyone who supports the Constitution stand for anything less than a consistent position that protects the 2nd Amendment?


Amendment 4: Searches and Siezures (VIOLATED)

Amendment 5: Trial and Punishment, Compensation (VIOLATED)
Amendment 6: Right to Trial; Face Witnesses (VIOLATED)
Amendment 7: Civil Trial by Jury (VIOLATED)

Mitt Romney immediately defies half of the Bill of Rights when considering his support of just two laws. Romney has supported the Patriot Act from day one. The Patriot Act allows federal agents to write their own search warrants and search and survey persons or records of interest - clearly a violation of the 4th Amendment. Romney also voiced his support for the nightmarish National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which was signed last New Year's Eve by President Obama. Appallingly unconstitutional, the NDAA allows the government to arrest and detain American citizens indefinitely without a trial by defining them as "enemy combatants." The NDAA violates not just the 4th Amendment but the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th as well through the way it ignores the right to a fair trial.

Both the Patriot Act and the NDAA allow the government to search and seize anyone or anything they want without probable cause or a judge's warrant; they both, the NDAA most obviously, take away due process of the law. Both pieces of legislation are two of the most blatant assaults on the Constitution in the history of the nation and Mitt Romney supports them both.


Amendment 8: Bail; Cruel and Unusual Punishment (VIOLATED)


The NDAA has application here as well since, also considering the government's shameful track record on torture, no amount of bail will release a person detained by the government under provisions set by the NDAA. However, Romney's record on torture is a much more obvious violation of the 8th Amendment.


The 8th Amendment is clear in its prohibition of "cruel and unusual punishment." Yet Romney supports "enhanced interrogation techniques" which qualifies as, if not flat-out torture, certainly "cruel and unusual punishment."


Amendment 10: Delegation of Powers (VIOLATED) 


Mitt Romney likes to defend Romneycare in Massachusetts while also condemning Obamacare (Romneycare being the blueprint for Obamacare), claiming that individually mandated health insurance was right for Massachusetts but is wrong for America as a whole.

The argument is not without ground in this case, as the 10th Amendment states that "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." However, Romney has said that he, in fact, likes parts of Obamacare. Which parts you might ask? The core parts: mandating that insurance companies accept people with preexisting conditions and imposing a nation-wide program upon the states when it has no authority to do so. Romney's own argument, that Romneycare is acceptable but Obamacare is not thanks to the 10th Amendment, gets turned on its head when he supports the very principles that define Obamacare.

Romney embraces the 10th Amendment when it comes to justifying the constitutionality of Romneycare vs Obamacare but he does not take the 10th Amendment into consideration when applied to other issues. For example, Romney believes that the federal government has power over the states in regards to drugs, marriage, military conscription (AKA: the draft), and, again, even healthcare, despite the fact that the Constitution grants no powers to the federal government over those issues. Clearly, Romney does not respect the 10th Amendment.



Libertarians would not have to be convinced to vote for Mitt Romney if he actually had constitutionally-sound positions. However, Mitt Romney has a painful and plainly poor record of supporting just the Bill of Rights of the Constitution - let alone the rest of it. Schlichter thinks "nothing less than the Constitution is at stake here." But clearly, despite what Mr. Schlichter believes, the Constitution is no better off under a Mitt Romney administration than under the Barack Obama administration.

So what is a libertarian to do this November when it comes to voting for US President? Contrary to what Mr. Schlichter thinks, libertarians are not a voting block waiting for marching orders. Some libertarians will vote for Mitt Romney because they simply do not want the Obama alternative. Some libertarians will vote for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson because he best represents their views. Others still will abstain from voting to sever themselves from the system. Apparently, Kurt Schlichter and his Breitbart.com brethren feel as if they have no other choice this November but the unconstitutional positions of Mitt Romney. Too bad.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Libyan Leader: Anti-Islam Film Had "nothing to do" with Embassy Attacks

Libyan President Mohamed Magarief gave invaluable insight to the American government through an interview with NBC last night. I hope people were listening.

Both President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton have blamed a shoddy anti-Islam film trailer for the recent violence against the US Embassies throughout the Middle East; President Magarief disagrees.

In an exclusive interview with NBC News' Ann Curry, President Mohamed Magarief discounted claims that the attack was in response to a movie produced in California and available on YouTube. He noted that the assault happened on Sept. 11 and that the video had been available for months before that. 

"Reaction should have been, if it was genuine, should have been six months earlier. So it was postponed until the 11th of September," he said. "They chose this date, 11th of September to carry a certain message. 

... 

"It's a pre-planned act of terrorism," he said, adding that the anti-Islam film had "nothing to do with this attack."

Magarief has an excellent point. How has the political establishment and the main stream media even managed to get away with blaming a B-movie trailer for the Middle East violence?

The cause of the violence in the Middle East is blowback against the interventionist foreign policy of the United States. The film trailer may offend Muslims in Egypt, Libya and Yemen but what causes people to take up arms against the US is not a reaction to a movie but to an overbearing and unwanted role in the region. The US has been deeply involved in the recent conflicts in both Egypt and Libya and the residents of those nations are fed up. The Yemeni people are likewise sick of US drone activity throughout their country. One particularly horrible incident occurred earlier this month where innocent civilians were killed after a US drone strike completely missed its original target.

In his recent speech to the UN, President Obama exposed the real US role in Libya, saying:
[Ambassador] Chris [Stevens] went to Benghazi in the early days of the Libyan revolution, arriving on a cargo ship.  As America's representative, he helped the Libyan people as they coped with violent conflict, cared for the wounded, and crafted a vision for the future in which the rights of all Libyans would be respected. 
Wonder why the Libyans are upset? Perhaps it is because, as President Obama said, the United States is the one "crafting a vision for the future" for Libya and not the Libyan people. The United States must accept that this foreign policy of intervention and nation building is the root of the violence against her throughout the Middle East; not a violence of reactionary anger to a film but, as President Magarief correctly notes, violence that carries "a certain message."

That message? Leave us alone.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Paul II Stands Up Against Foreign Aid

Texas Congressman Ron Paul correctly characterizes US foreign aid as "taking money from poor people in this country and giving it to rich people in poor countries." Paul's son, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, fought long and hard to restrict and, in some cases, end foreign aid through to a late-night vote last Friday night. 

Senator Paul addressed the Senate floor for about an hour with an impassioned argument against US foreign aid policy.



A valiant effort, Paul's Bill was eventually defeated by a vote of 81-9 (with 10 abstentions). 

Paul actually predicted the defeat of his own Bill in his speech saying, "the vast majority of the Senate is going to vote for unlimited, unrestricted foreign aid. I will probably lose this vote." Although Rand Paul personally objects to foreign aid, his Bill would only restrict foreign aid under the stipulation that nations earn US aid based on their need and behavior; only Egypt, Libya and Pakistan were singled out for their aid to be ended. How could such a compromising Bill meet with such strong opposition? The truth is that foreign aid will be defended tooth-and-nail in Washington because the establishment benefits by bribing dictators to fall in line with US aspirations of world-wide power.

The basic argument from the bipartisan opposition to Paul - lead by Senators John Kerry and John McCain; both former Presidential candidates of the two major parties - is: you can't end foreign aid, we're trying to nation build here (and anyone who hasn't set foot in an airport in Cairo or Tripoli cannot disagree)!

The claim that foreign aid prompts good behavior from otherwise unfriendly nations is most obviously untrue, as seen in recently years by the Pakistani sanctioning of Osama Bin Laden and the past attacks on US Embassies in Egypt and Libya. The Egyptian and Libyan governments did not protect the US Embassy in their countries, despite the large amount of aid that the United States provides, and the Pakistani government arrested, tortured and continues to detain the Doctor who helped the US kill Bin Laden. The increased presence of Al-Qaeda in Libya and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt definitely throws into question the idea that both countries will be thriving in liberty with US dollars anytime soon.

Foreign aid has not prompted these countries to act as an ally would - it is as plain as the nose on Senator Kerry's very long face. Are those 91 Senators really convinced that foreign aid should have no restrictions despite the fact that it fails to create allies, is stolen by dictators and is on the whole unconstitutional? Perhaps other untold reasons exist as to why they opposed the generally light restrictions on foreign aid seen in Rand Paul's Bill.

Raise Taxes Everywhere?

Although they attempt to have the average American voter believe they desire a "balanced" approach to governing, one might hear the true positions of the Democrat Party now and then if one listens long enough. Continuing to look more and more like Timothy Spall each passing year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been "preaching" from behind her pulpit of coercion and empire around the world in support of her twisted ideology.

On Monday, Clinton said, "One of the issues that I have been preaching about around the world is collecting taxes in an equitable manner — especially from the elites in every country. .... There are rich people everywhere, and yet they do not contribute to the growth of their own countries."

There are rich people everywhere!? Sound the alarm! Get to high ground!

Clinton's idea that a bunch of rich people stand in the way of her dream country (perhaps The People's Democratic Republic of High Taxia?) has two major flaws. First of all, "rich people" (naturally defined by Clinton and her fellow political elites) do "contribute to the growth of their own countries." Would anyone seriously insinuate that successful US business does not grow the US economy? Did Steve Jobs then not contribute to the growth of the US economy through the success of Apple? Of course! Clinton's real problem is that, in her mind, rich people are not contributing enough to her cherished warfare/welfare State. Forget that the United States has the highest corporate tax in the world. Who pays those taxes anyway? Ah yes - the rich.

Secondly, prosperity does not trickle down as well as some believe - but on the flip-side, poverty does indeed trickle down quite fast. When those who succeed get more taken out of their bank accounts, they do not expand their business and they do not hire people who need jobs. Apparently, the Democrats wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Man Who Gaffed

Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has been boiling in controversy over a recently released video that has Democrats rebuking and the news world buzzing. Mitt Romney was caught on tape at a fundraiser last May saying, among other things:
All right, there are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people—I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Romney is correct that 47% of people do not pay income tax. Romney is also correct that a mentality of entitlement, resentment and victimization exists precisely because of the welfare state (not that he would actually do anything to shrink it - nope, not a thing). This has put the pundits up in arms largely because the truth can hurt: those who are dependent on welfare will vote for the Party that runs on giving people more welfare. However, Romney fails to understand who this 47% is - since much of it may very well vote for him. This includes retirees and those households whose income tax breaks simply equal out (and sometimes overcompensate) their income tax payments; hardly a great definition of "dependents."

This episode has been used by the Left to help support their idea that Mitt Romney is some kind of dark lord of the free market and by the Right to help support their idea that Romney is some kind of armor-clad champion of the free market. However, I think Romney's recent "gaffe" helps to prove both camps wrong. Much has been made over the specifics of Romney's words but none of it actually gets to the real heart of the matter as I see it.

Romney's remarks actually coincide with a larger GOP attempt to eliminate income tax "loopholes" altogether so every American has "skin in the game." This, of course, exposes a deep indifference to an actual free market since, if anything, loopholes should be expanded so that no one ends up paying any income tax at all. The income tax is immoral on its face. Income is property that, for most people, is legitimately earned through work. The income tax therefore operates under the false assumption that the government is the actual owner of your income. On pay day, the government first takes their share (as they define it) of your rightfully-earned paycheck and then apportions to you, the lowly worker, the remains. Is this property rights? Is this freedom? It certainly sounds like theft.  

So are those who pay no income tax really "victims"? I say those who are forced to pay the immoral income tax are the victims.

I Pledge Allegiance - to Barack?




Creepy? Ignorant? Ridiculous? Some say "yes" but politicians say "no"!

We are all individuals and everyone has their own reasons for supporting or not supporting various politicians. However, placing one's hand over their heart conveys more than just a simple recognition of support - it resembles something more along the lines of obedience, which is certainly not indicative of a free society. It really is amazing how support for a political figure can grow out of hand and cause otherwise sane individuals to willingly walk into subjugation.


Reason.com has more.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Fourth Branch of Government

In light of the recent QE3 package, the great Judge Andrew Napolitano appeared on Fox News to enlighten the less-than-great crew at Fox & Friends about the Federal Reserve.

From Mediaite.com:


Judge Andrew Napolitano stopped by Fox & Friends‘ curvy couch on Tuesday, where he shared his criticism for the Federal Reserve.
 
Arguing that it is neither federal nor a reserve, the Judge noted that the job of the Fed is to make the president — no matter who the president may be — look good. 

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, he continued, said he would essentially create 40 billion in cash “out of thin air” and put it in the accounts for the federal government. “That is more cash chasing, available for, the same amount of goods and services,” he said. “Answer: inflation.”

Later, the Judge shared a brief history of the government’s relationship to money in the U.S., including a description of the Coinage Act.

What the Fed is now attempting, he concluded, is ultimately a short-term solution designed to “make someone look good” between now and the election — “and you know who that is.”
Take a look, via Fox News


The Judge is spot-on as always - but one quote from the interview caught my attention more than anything Mediaite mentioned. The Judge, echoing a similar comment from George Will, stated that "The Fed is like the fourth branch of our government."


The Federal Reserve, and all of the power and influence it wields, is indeed already a De-facto fourth branch of the United States Federal Government. Of course, anyone who has read the Constitution knows that the government is supposed to have only three branches! Unlike the official three branches of government, each with its own specific set of powers that check and balance those of the other branches, this fourth branch of government is unique in that nothing is out of its reach and none of the other branches seem to be an effective check against it.

Existing under the guise of being a private entity, the Federal Reserve is without a doubt the branch of government that poses the greatest danger to liberty. The way that the Fed inflates the money supply by printing money out of thin air destroys the buying power of the US dollar. Anyone familiar with the Weimar Republic understands how inflation can destroy a society. Washington's wasteful, unconstitutional and deadly spending is likewise partly funded by the Fed's ability to print at will. Ron Paul correctly states in his excellent book End the Fed that "It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking."

Is it finally time to end the Fed, now after 100 years of disastrous Fed intervention? That would be nice but it does not necessarily need to end at that conclusion. Competing currencies would be a good compromise in the pursuit of sound money - hell, even an audit of the Fed's books is at least a common sense first step towards a stronger dollar. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve still has its tentacles firmly gripped around the financial and political systems and there is no end in sight.

 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Californian Amazon Users Now Pay More

Online shopping is fast, easy and, well.... it used to be cheaper. Amazon.com is now forced to charge sales tax on items shipped to the state of California.

Many are actually celebrating these turn of events; most of them are legislatures, who now get to siphon off even more cash from the public, and those shop owners who do not wish to legitimately compete for their patron's business. How horrible a thing to celebrate the use of force on the buying public and fellow businesspeople at that.

The logic of those happy with the news is hopelessly skewed. Owners of physical stores complain that Amazon.com takes away potential customers by offering the same goods at a cheaper price by not collecting sales tax (since Amazon exists as a virtual business and not as a physical location). This may or may not be an explanation for Amazon's ability to charge the lower price in every instance. However, why should smaller businesses call for their competitor to get slapped with a tax when they could call for the tax(es) to be lowered or removed so they can charge a lower price and compete? Would a physical store not benefit far more by being allowed to charge a lower (or no) tax rather than forcing Amazon.com to charge the same high tax?

Although petty business owners and greedy legislatures are loving this unjust coercion of one popular business, few Californian customers must be celebrating since they now must pay more for online products. So here is a toast to Amazon.com Tax Day - let them eat cake!

Of course, California is just the next in a wave of states descending on Amazon.com looking for more tax revenue to collect and people to bully. Clearly, one company cannot put up enough of a fight against the coercive power of the state. The people must also stand up and demand the lowering or elimination of sales taxes on Amazon.com if the internet marketplace is to be free. As Amazon goes, so goes the rest of the internet.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Constitution Party Ain't so Goode

The John Stossel show recently aired an episode dedicated to 2012 third party presidential candidates spotlighting Socialist candidate Stewart Alexander, Libertarian candidate and former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson and Constitution Party candidate and former Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode.

Goode's segment made for some particularly interesting and entertaining television. The supposedly constituionally-minded Virgil Goode called for a moritorium on immigration and does not support drug legalization.

That is correct: the candidate that wants us all to believe that he stands for a strict interpretation of the Constitution supports, among other things, drug prohibition! Responding to Goode's pro-Drug War position, Libertarian Gary Johnson refered to Thomas Jefferson supposedly "smoking hemp on the veranda." Goode's answer to Johnson is priceless: "you're not going to find in here (the Constitution) dealing with marijuana or any other types of drugs because the Fouding Fathers probably... didn't know about it."

The Constitution indeed does not address the use of drugs. Therefore, the Federal Government is not given any powers over drugs and cannot wage their drug war with any constitutional conscience. The US Constitution grants powers to the Federal Government; anything that is not expressly delegated to the Federal Government is relegated to the States. Goode trumps his own pro-Drug War stance with his final comment.

Goode is also completely wrong that the Founding Fathers "didn't know about" the drugs that are illegal today. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington both grew hemp. In all fairness, Johnson is not quite correct either. Although Jefferson did grow hemp, the quote that Johnson refers to ("some of my finest hours have been on my back veranda, smoking hemp...") appears to be false. Jefferson may very well have been a huge pothead - but the exact quote in question does not exist in any of Jefferson's writings.

One has to admire the glorious irony of an unconstituional position from a Constitution Party candidate.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Clear Case of Blowback

A major wave of violence against the United States has occurred within recent days. On the anniversary of September 11th, a mob descended upon the US Embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Later that day, a militant group attacked the US Embassy in Libya, killing the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and a number of others. The violence continues to spread; the US Embassy in Yemen is the latest to get attacked.

While some pundits are quick to blame President Obama for the attack against the US Embassy in Libya for such trivial points as a failure of leadership or missed meetings, a more accurate cause goes beyond the President's role in Libya. The CIA has defined a term called "blowback": the unintended consequences for US actions in foreign nations. One textbook example of blowback is the Iran Hostage Crisis during the Iranian Revolution against the Shah in 1979, a reaction of the 1953 CIA/MI6-backed coup that first installed the Shah. Another is the terrorist attacks on 9-11-2001, which was a response to the various deadly US interventions in the Middle East throughout the 1990s.

It is important to realize that the recent events of the Middle East likewise exist out of a historical context of US intervention.


  • The Egyptian people are still angry for the role of the United States in propping up and funding ex-tyrant Hosni Mubarak. More recently, the US had its nose firmly snug inside Egypt throughout the supposed "Arab Spring"; first the United States signaled support for Mubarak and then switched sympathies towards the rebels. The presence of the United States in Egyptian affairs was unwelcome - unless you were a dictator in need of financial aid.
  • The events in Libya stem directly from the significant role that the United States played during the War in Libya. Whether the attack on the US Embassy was committed by ex-Qaddafi forces or Al-Qaeda sympathizers both have their grievances that grew out of the interventionist policies of the United States. Clearly, the way that the US opened the door to the increased presence of Al-Qaeda in Libya did not prevent the death of Ambassador Stevens.
  • US drone strikes have been occurring throughout Yemen for some time; a United States citizen was even killed by a drone strike in Yemen without due process. Naturally, the people of Yemen do not want the United States bombing their country and a recent US drone strike that missed its target completely, killing 13 innocent people, has further angered the Yemeni people.

These events, especially the horrific violence in Libya, have prompted Americans to ask the question "Why?" Although the question "why do they hate us?" is often asked, rarely do those posing the question ever listen to the answers from the perpetrators. Terrorist violence is never, ever justifiable - but the motives for the evil acts are explainable. Root causes exist explaining why certain acts of terrorism have occurred and such things are necessary to understand if such acts are to be prevented in the future.

Where and when events like these take place is nearly impossible to predict in specific terms; however, the idea of a deadly attack committed against the United States is quite predictable due to the nation's interventionist foreign policies. Reacting to the Embassy attack by sending more warships and drones to Libya while continuing foreign aid to dictators (as Obama has) only exasperates the problem and exposes the government's lack of understanding of the situation. These interventionist policies anger the populations of the countries the US intervenes in; making it easier for the fringe lunatic groups to win converts to their evil cause and placing the population of the United States in greater danger. 

George Washington stated in his Farewell Address (regarding the role of the United States in European affairs at that time): 

"The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop. Europe has a set of primary interests which to us have none; or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies, the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves by artificial ties in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities."


Thomas Jefferson echoed a similar statement in his First Inaugural Address:

"....peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations, entangling alliances with none...."

The United States should emulate the foreign policy positions of its Founding Fathers if this era of blowback is to end. The American people and world as a whole will be much safer if the interventionist policies of the United States government are reversed and a policy of a friendship with all nations and border defense only is adopted. Remove the military bases on foreign lands (especially in those whose populations do not want them there), end all foreign aid and open trade with all nations. As it is right now, how can the United States defend itself from the policies of its own government?

Friday, September 7, 2012

Lost in the DolFrums



I ran into a CNN article entitled "Obama's Three Big Mistakes" by David Frum about a week after it was published - but I feel compelled to comment on it anyway. A former Bush speechwriter who helped coin the phrase "Axis of Evil," Frum responds to the claim that Obama might be flawed in some ways but not on issues regarding policy by specifically listing three perceived policy mistakes during President Obama's first year in office:
1. Deferring to Democrats in Congress on the writing of the fiscal stimulus.
2. Failing to get the Federal Reserve to support said fiscal stimulus.
3. Betting the presidency on a best-case scenario.
Naturally, CNN publishes works from David Frum: an approved dissenting voice against the current administration because he does not advocate a free market. David Frum's attacks on Obama are weak - and not for the reasons one might assume. Although identifying himself as a Republican, Frum's attacks come curiously (or not so curiously?) from the Left. Note that Frum does not disapprove of Obama's actual policies (which were, only more so, the same policies of Frum's old boss George W. Bush), he only disapproves of the fact that, in his mind, Obama did not go far enough with those policies.

Frum's first complaint is that Obama deferred his stimulus, under the cheeky title of "the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," to the Democrats in Congress. Why should that matter, one might ask? Frum states, "Congress larded up the stimulus with ancient Democratic wish lists utterly irrelevant to the crisis at hand." No doubt this is true, as central planners lack the knowledge necessary to successfully plan an economy. However, not much disconnect exists between Obama and his Democrat Party; evidenced by the fact that Obama voted with his fellow Democrats 96% of the time during his term as Senator. Serious doubts can be cast over the idea that the 2009 stimulus would have looked significantly different had Obama written every word himself.

Frum's second complaint is that the Federal Reserve did not support Obama's stimulus enough; an apparent failure of Obama's leadership. Seeing as how the Federal Reserve more than tripled the monetary supply since the meltdown occurred in 2008, the idea that the Federal Reserve did not do enough is a bit hard to swallow. However, one could also point out that the meltdown occurred precisely because of the inflationary and distorted policies of the Federal Reserve that had been active within the market all along. The last thing the economy would need is the Fed to do more of what caused the problem in the first place.

Frum then releases his inner pundit as he airs his third complaint, stating that Obama over-sold his abilities to fix the recession. Obama's big mistake here, according to Frum, is that "Recovery from a crash like 2008 can take years. Yet even armed with this information, Obama did nothing to prepare the public or his administration for the worst. Instead, he allowed his vice president to tout 2010 as 'recovery summer.'" Wait a second: is this even a question of policy? It seems more like a question of PR - and Obama has a team of people that contribute to that aspect of his Presidency. But more importantly, if recessions actually do take years to correct, then why did the Depression of 1920 correct itself in about one year? The initial economic downturn of the Depression of 1920 was in some ways worse than that which sparked the much more well-known Great Depression - and yet, the response of the federal government at that time was essentially nothing and the economy bounced back very quickly. And yet Frum will have us believe that Obama's mistake was that he did not prepare the public for "the worst" of what comes out of his own policies? I would say that Obama's big mistake was not emulating the government's response to the 1920 Depression.

Despite what David Frum will admit, Obama has been a bad president not because his policies do not go far enough but because his policies are inherently flawed and dangerous. The idea that the government should reallocate wealth towards any kind of "stimulus" is fundamentally flawed since it was these interventionist policies of the federal government that created the problems in the first place. Likewise, the idea that the Federal Reserve did not go far enough in creating unwarranted credit and money out of thin air is absolutely flawed and was the direct cause of the '08 meltdown and currently is the cause of the devaluing US dollar. But I suppose Neocon Tweedle Frum, no friend of the free market in any way, will continue to roll endlessly in these doldrums, fooling conservatives into accepting big government solutions to big government-caused problems.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Mitt Romney's Message to America

Mitt Romney's acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention on Thursday was praised as a GOP success. With a rare blip of honesty, Fred Barnes correctly notes that Romney "followed the script for the convention flawlessly." Well, we all know now what that script was - and perish the thought that Romney might even have an original idea that goes against the scripted status quo!

Part of the script of the GOP (both of the major political parties, in fact) is, of course, a dangerous interventionist foreign policy that inevitably leads to blowback. Although other speakers did not talk specifically about foreign affairs, choosing to speak mostly on economic issues or share personal stories, Romney certainly stayed on script. Romney spoke about many things (most of which were platitudinous) but his words regarding foreign policy rang the loudest in my ears. From what I could discern, it sounded like Romney was preparing an already war-weary nation for four more years of new war, should he win in November.

The first war Romney promised was a trade war with China:
...we will make trade work for America by forging new trade agreements. And when nations cheat in trade, there will be unmistakable consequences.

Romney says that China has already initiated this trade war by being a "currency manipulator." Now, there is no question that China is a currency manipulator - but no worse than the United States. The Federal Reserve has executed a number of quantitative easing packages throughout the decades (and the question is not if QE3 will happen but when - UPDATE (9/13/2012): here it is) which does nothing but manipulate the currency by flooding the money supply, creating inflation and weakening the purchasing power of the US dollar. By all means curtail the Federal Reserve (of course Romney is not interested in doing that)! However, if being a currency manipulator makes one a trade "cheat," the United States has been guilty for about 100 years.

Of course, the war promises do not stop there, Romney promises a more conventional war with Iran:

Every American was relieved the day President Obama gave the order, and Seal Team Six took out Osama bin Laden. But on another front, every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran’s nuclear threat.
In his first TV interview as president, he said we should talk to Iran. We’re still talking, and Iran’s centrifuges are still spinning.

Yes. That is exactly what we need - another war in the Middle East built upon an unsubstantiated claim that an unfriendly nation has a nuclear weapons program. How will Iran harm the United States with its inferior and aged air force exactly?

But that's not all! The last Romney-promised war is another Cold War with Russia:
[Obama] abandoned our friends in Poland by walking away from our missile defense commitments, but is eager to give Russia’s President Putin the flexibility he desires, after the election. Under my administration, our friends will see more loyalty, and Mr. Putin will see a little less flexibility and more backbone.

While Obama's open-mic slip-up regarding Putin was certainly creepy and indicative of his elitist nature, Romney's intention to poke the bear is not any better. What would happen if Russia tried to put a missile system in our backyard? In say.... Cuba? Wait! That already happened 50 years ago! For those who may have forgotten, it was called the Cuban Missile Crisis. Few Republicans seem to be able to put themselves in other peoples' shoes and follow the Golden Rule when it applies to what the United States does to other nations. Romney really highlighted this unfortunate fact. If Poland wants a missile shield against Russia, they are going to have to build one themselves; America needs to quit the nation-building business. Provoking Russia with a missile system that threatens them is simply neither a good idea nor an example of a free people interacting peacefully with others.

Romney finally summed up his foreign policy as "the bipartisan foreign policy legacy of Truman and Reagan." A more apt description of this foreign policy would actually be Wilsonian but at least the GOP establishment is seemingly finally refraining from falsely claiming that they seek the foreign policy of the Founding Fathers (which they fundamentally reject). Wilson coined the idea that the world must be made safe for democracy - through war, of course - a notion that the United States has cradled close to heart ever since. Naturally, few (if any) nations ever became democracies in the Jeffersonian tradition after a bout of good-old-fashioned American war (and certainly not recently, as seen here, here and here - just for starters).


Throughout the RNC week, the Republicans by and large made a great case against the Obama administration by highlighting its obvious failures. However, the Republicans failed to give a convincing argument in favor of voting for team Romney/Ryan. Romney's short but not-so-subtle calls for policies that lead to wars of various kinds certainly cannot help the GOP's presidential bid.