Thursday, February 28, 2008

Of late, Hill and Obama have each been attempting to one-up the other in bad-mouthing NAFTA. Seriously people. Quit with the pandering populist garbage aimed at the economically ignorant amongst you. Wouldn't it be nice to hear Obama explain that free trade empowers and lifts up those on lower end of the economic scale as opposed to praying on their fears. Dreaming, I know. Anyway, as for NAFTA's success, according to Dan Griswold (circa 2002):
By every reasonable measure, NAFTA has been a public policy success in the decade since it was signed. It has deepened and institutionalized Mexico's drive to modernize and liberalize its economy and political system. It has spurred trade, investment, and integration between the United States and Mexico. And in a more modest way it has enhanced American productivity and prosperity--refuting the critics who were wrong 10 years ago and are just as wrong today.

R.I.P. American Conservatism

David Boaz suggests that, along with WFB, American conservatism has died as well. No argument here.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Balko on Buckley

Very nice piece:

Buckley leaves an enormous legacy, but to the detriment everyone, the right left Buckley years ago. Where Buckley stood athwart the tide of history and beat it back with wit, sophistication, and argument, we today get best-selling Regnery screeds from lowest-common-denominator clowns like Ann Coulter, Dinesh D’Souza, and Glenn Beck. Where Buckley mistrusted government and aimed to slow the world down, he’s been usurped on the right by the likes of William Kristol and David Brooks, men who want to use government to remake the world in their own image. Where Buckley flourished in cosmopolitan Manhattan and took delight in life’s finer things, modern conservatism has grown disdainful of the marketplace of culture, commerce, and ideas abundant in urban areas...


"I Share 90% of the Views of Most Libertarians"

WFB interivew with Reason circa 1983.

William F. Buckley

Although viewed by some within libertarian-circles as a not-to-be-trusted, establishment-Republican, Bill Buckley should be credited for his attempts to fuse the agendas of the libertarian-old right with that of the traditional social conservatives. If anything, he was, to be sure, an intellectual heavyweight, whom placed ideas before party and integrity before all else. Per ex-National Review writer, Jacob Sullum:

Buckley often called himself a libertarian; the subtitle of Happy Days Were Here Again, his 1993 collection of columns and articles, was "Reflections of a Libertarian Journalist." Buckley represented the classical liberal strain of modern American conservatism often enough that his endorsement of statist schemes such as "national service" (or, more recently, tobacco prohibition) caused real dismay. He especially endeared himself to libertarians with his courageous and persistent criticism of the war on drugs, a stance that continues to distinguish National Review from other conservative organs. Although Buckley's support for repealing drug prohibition grew more out of pragmatic concerns than a principled commitment to individual freedom, his prolific writings usually reflected skepticism of government intervention. In recent years this skepticism drove him to question another war popular with conservatives, one that could prove to be as long-lived as the war on drugs, if John McCain has anything to say about it. Buckley, in short, admirably combined an ability to fuse the disparate elements of the conservative coalition with a willingness to break them apart when he thought the stakes were high enough.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bunnies For Blood

I'm not typically one to jump on the Sharia-phobia bandwagon, but geez, this is just too much.

The Invisible Hand on a Global Scale

The benefit of Tax Havens. The existence of such jurisdictions will prove to be our best defense against the marginal desires of Obama or HRC.

Alabama Does Cuba

This is infuriating.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Johnny Mac - The Anti-Libertarian

The New Yorker recently ran a profile piece on "the maverick":

Recently, McCain said, he had read “The Coldest Winter,” David Halberstam’s account of the Korean War and its era. “I strongly recommend it,” he told the reporters. “It’s beautifully done. It’s not just about the war, but it’s a very good description, whether you agree with it or not, of the political climate at that time—the split in the Republican Party between the Taft wing”—Senator Robert Taft, of Ohio—“and the Eisenhower wing, and Harry Truman’s incredible relationship with MacArthur.” He added, “At least half the book is about the political situation in the United States during that period—the isolationism, who lost China, the whole political dynamic. That’s what I think makes it well worth reading.”

It was a telling reference and points to McCain’s transformation between 2000 and 2008—from a Teddy Roosevelt Republican to an Eisenhower Republican. In 2000, McCain railed against corporate power and the influence of lobbyists and money in politics. Today, the only mention of corporations in his stump speech is a demand that the corporate-tax rate be lowered. After 2000, McCain seemed briefly to be considering leaving the Republican Party, just as Roosevelt had. But, once terrorism and the war in Iraq became the preëminent issues, he decided instead to take over the Party, just as Eisenhower and the Republican moderates did when, in 1952, they vanquished the Old Guard isolationists who supported Taft. Instead of battling the corporate wing of his party, McCain has decided that it’s the isolationists—a group that he defines broadly, and which includes the left and the right—who are the real threat.

One afternoon, McCain talked about his surprise at the resurrection of this element in his party, which has been particularly visible in the candidacy of the libertarian Texas congressman Ron Paul. “We had a debate in Iowa. I mean, it was, like, last summer, one of the first debates we had. It was raining, and I’m standing there in the afternoon, it was a couple of hours before the debate,” McCain said. “And I happen to look out the window. Here’s a group of fifty people in the rain, shouting ‘Ron Paul! Ron Paul!’ ” McCain banged on the table with both fists and chanted as he imitated the Paul enthusiasts. “I thought, Holy shit, what’s going on here? I mean, go to one of these debates. Drive up. Whose signs do you see? I’m very grateful—they’ve been very polite. I recognize them and say thanks for being here. They haven’t disrupted the events. But he has tapped a vein...

McCain is careful not to mock the broader libertarian right, which makes up a far larger share of his party than Paul’s followers do. Nonetheless, his victory is a repudiation of small-government conservatism, a development not seen in the years of Barry Goldwater, Reagan, and the two Bushes. “For the first time since Eisenhower,” Newt Gingrich told me, “you have someone who has clearly not accommodated the conservative wing winning the nomination. That is a remarkable achievement.”

He is, far and away, the anti-thesis of a Goldwater-libertarian. Perhaps the old man knew that all along. Anyway, at this point, it is obvious that it's all about the war for the right.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hillary's Pays Your Mortgage...

Steve Chapman on: How can the government reward irresponsibility, discourage mortgage lending and raise the cost of financing a home?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Stuff White People Like

Impending Lurch the Left

I think this is exactly what we need:

In November, the United States may take its strongest lurch to the left since 1933. The Republicans easily could lose 10 seats in the Senate. The relative turnout numbers in the Democratic and Republican primaries are consistent with a landslide victory for either Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama.

Call me a masochist if you will; but it is hard, if not impossible, to know true failure in the abstract. We need a good slap in the face. And who knows, like Nick Gillespie says, it couldn't be much worse than the last 8 years:

I'm almost ready to believe some variation of the Nixon Going to China argument that the Dems would feel more constrained in being Big Gummint idiots than, say, George W. Bush and Tom DeLay ever did precisely because that's what everyone expects of them. Would, say, Bill Clinton have gotten away with creating a massive new entitlement? He tried and failed, right, with a Dem Congress, too. And god knows Clinton intervened militarily in a very promiscuous manner, but when it comes to foreign quagmires, there's the former Yugoslavia and then there's the former (future?) Iraq...

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

European "Enlightenment"

Stefan Theil exposes "Philosophy of Failure:"

In France and Germany, students are being forced to undergo a dangerous indoctrination. Taught that economic principles such as capitalism, free markets, and entrepreneurship are savage, unhealthy, and immoral, these children are raised on a diet of prejudice and bias. Rooting it out may determine whether Europe’s economies prosper or continue to be left behind.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

RP Vids of the Day

The Obama Tax

It's ugly:

This would be the largest tax increase in U.S. history, more than $1.3 trillion in new taxes over the first ten years alone, with significant consequences for taxpayers and the American economy. As bad as that would be in the aggregate, it would be even worse for individual workers. Some 9.2 million Americans would see their taxes increased.

Obama's tax increase would saddle the United States with the highest marginal tax rate in the world — higher even than countries like Sweden. Studies based on the WEFA macroeconomic model, a metric developed by economists at the Wharton School of Business and employed widely by Fortune 500 companies, suggest that they would cost the United States as much as $136 billion in lost economic growth over the next 10 years, and as many as 1.1 million lost jobs.

If only we had another choice...

Thursday, February 07, 2008

We Will Carry On

McCain v. Obama/Clinton.

It's a non-choice. A throw away. A gap in time.

Winning by Losing

My old professor, Mike Rappaport, articulates my thoughts quite well here.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Military Donors Prefer Anti-War Candidates...

Well imagine that:

Individuals in the Army, Navy and Air Force made those branches of the armed services among the top contributors in the 4th Quarter, ranking No. 13, No. 18 and No. 21, respectively. In 2007, Republican Ron Paul, who opposes U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, was the top recipient of money from donors in the military, collecting at least $212,000 from them. Barack Obama, another war opponent, was second with about $94,000.

Breakdown of donors so far here.

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Middle Class Lie

To Protect and Serve

The FBI is gearing up to create a massive computer database of people's physical characteristics, all part of an effort the bureau says to better identify criminals and terrorists.

Criminals and terrorists, eh?

Our Cousins the Brits...

Britons are losing their grip on reality, according to a poll out Monday which showed that nearly a quarter think Winston Churchill was a myth while the majority reckon Sherlock Holmes was real.
I'm taking this opportunity to assert by Scotch-Irish roots (i.e., I'm no wanker).

Friday, February 01, 2008

The McCain Conundrum

Matt Welch articulates:
[T]here's a bizarre disconnect in the warm embrace between McCain and the electorate's mavericks. They hate the Iraq war, while he's willing to fight it for another century. The most pro-war presidential candidate in a decade is winning the 2008 GOP nomination thanks to the antiwar vote.

So the voters most hostile to the war are backing a potential commander in chief who makes Bush look gun-shy. More than three years before the Bush administration elucidated the radical doctrine of preemptive war, McCain unveiled a plan during his first run at the presidency called "rogue-state rollback," in which "we politically and materially support indigenous forces within and outside of rogue states" -- including Iraq, North Korea and Serbia -- "to overthrow regimes that threaten our interests and values." And if the "odious regimes" crack down on freedom fighters, the U.S. should respond with force. In that campaign, McCain was the neocons' choice against the more internationally "humble" George Bush.

McCain has advocated threatening North Korea with "extinction," and memorably sung about how we should "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran." He agitated for military intervention in Darfur, regrets that we didn't send troops to Rwanda and is fond of rattling sabers in the general direction of Moscow and Beijing. During the U.S. bombing of Kosovo in 1999 -- when McCain showily suspended his presidential campaign because he'd rather lose a campaign than lose a war -- the senator drew media raves for managing to support the intervention while simultaneously slamming the president for not threatening more overwhelming force.

This easily discoverable uber-hawkishness runs in the family. His four-star Navy admiral father helped prosecute the war in Vietnam and delivered famous lectures about the role of U.S. sea power in making the world safe for democracy. His four-star Navy admiral grandfather worshiped at the altar of interventionist extraordinaire Teddy Roosevelt. If the U.S. has an imperialist class, as historian (and informal McCain advisor) Niall Ferguson has advocated, then John McCain sits at its head.

I'm of opinion that we allow this party to simply go the way of the Whigs. And I think Mac is just the man to instigate the purge. Good riddance.

Mississippi or China?

Proposed House Bill 282:
Wow. For all you eager anti-smoking zealots out there, this is the slope you have sewn. Have a nice slide. This was proposed by some good, freedom loving Republicans, no less...

The Free Market is a Beautiful Thing

Get Off the Couch Fat Ass

Another breakthrough in state nanny'ing:

The coalition wants state lawmakers to create a No Child Left Inside Fund with a 1 percent tax on TVs, video games and video game equipment. The fund would help pay for outdoor education throughout the state.

Supporters of the tax - which would be the first of its kind in the nation - say outdoor programs have been shown to improve students' abilities in the classroom, boost their self-confidence and teach them stewardship and discipline.

And from the Governor that may just be on the bottom of the Dem ticket in November.