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Showing posts from July, 2009

President Obama passes a critical test: recognition of judicial authority

If I am going to bash his administration for what I think it does wrong, then I have to acknowledge when it rises to the challenge. Recently, when a Federal judge ordered a Gitmo detainee freed, I said that now was the time to find out if we were a nation of laws , and if the Obama administration would react like Andrew Jackson or follow the law. LATimes : Reporting from Washington — Avoiding a showdown with a federal judge, the Obama administration agreed Wednesday to release from Guantanamo Bay an Afghan prisoner who was captured as a teenager and held nearly seven years for allegedly throwing a grenade at U.S. soldiers. The government said it would "promptly release" Mohammed Jawad, now 23, and send him to Afghanistan -- but only after it sent a required notification to Congress explaining whether his release would pose a risk to national security. That will take 22 days, the administration said. They followed the law. This is a good sign, but only a start.

Comment rescue: Delaware's only progressive think-tank

In the rather bizarre brew-haha over the nature of the Caesar Rodney Institute, this comment got made by one of the many anonymous commenters at Delawareliberal demanding that Charlie Copeland out all the pseudonymous bloggers at Resolute Determination : There is only one progressive think tank in Delaware that I am aware of and it is truly non partisan, based on good government practices, that is: The link is actually to the organization that calls itself Delaware Unified Civic/Political Association . It is important to note that this site does not appear to have undergone any changes in many months; I could be wrong about this, but there are no listed updates, no new topics, no new research, and everything looks exactly as it did when I consulted the site more than a year ago when writing a post on the proposed DE Single-payer health plan. The site says that the organization intends to file for IRS designation, 501 (4) (C), and intends to be a non-partisan

Waiting for the unauthorized biography of El Somnabulo

The Earth is not flat and there are no non-partisan think tanks. From the Center for Defense Information to the Center for American Progress, from Heritage to the Urban Institute, think-tanks exist to influence public policy, and--by defintion--you should always take into account the ideological bias and potential funding sources of any organization that purports to be publishing research reports or policy studies intended to shape public opinion or legislative priorities. A lot of our liberal/progressive friends have severe underwear bunching problems over the fact that the Caesar Rodney Institute doesn't use the word conservative on its home page [even though terms like free-market, rule of law, individual liberty and other key code words appear right up front. The CRI even discloses its association with the State Policy Network openly ; anybody who knows anything about the funding and political leanings of American think tanks should know that this means we are dealing

Comment rescue: Government by blackmail

Tyler recently posted on the Federal government's intent to withhold highway funds from States unless they pass legislation making driving while texting illegal. This is, of course, the same mechanism that the Feds used to force States to lower speed limits in the 1970s and to make failure to wear a seat belt a primary offense over the past decade. Progressives, with Dana Garrett standing in as our exemplar today, think this is exactly what government should be doing : I read that texting while driving is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. If the Feds said to states who had no laws against drunk driving "No bucks until you pass such laws," then I'd say Amen because those states are acting against the public interest. Therefore, if texting is just as dangerous as drving drunk, then I think the Feds making this condition is a great idea. This is my response: Let's unpack the consequences of your position, Dana. Federal highway funds pay for multi

A time to find out if we are a government of laws: Federal judge orders Gitmo prisoner freed

From the ACLU : WASHINGTON – A federal judge today ordered the government to release Guantánamo detainee and American Civil Liberties Union client Mohammed Jawad, who has been illegally detained by the U.S. for almost seven years. The Afghan government has indicated that it is prepared to receive Jawad immediately and unconditionally. U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle gave the Justice Department until August 21 to release Jawad from Guantánamo and transfer him to the custody of the Afghan government. Judge Huvelle also ordered the Justice Department to inform Congress of its plans for returning Jawad to Afghanistan by August 6, and to produce a report on the status of his repatriation by August 24. The following can be attributed to Jonathan Hafetz, staff attorney with the ACLU National Security Project and one of Jawad's lawyers in his habeas corpus case: "Judge Huvelle made clear that Mr. Jawad has been illegally detained and the government has no credible evidence to co

Redwaterlilly, Mike Protack, and the Ganges River...

... all revolve around a particular issue in my somewhat fevered mind. I have a colleague who has done considerable world traveling. He is a teacher, who considers himself a naturalist (in the Darwinian sense) and an anthropologist, and who fervently believes that religious and ethnic strife will destoy the human race. About a decade back he spent six weeks in India. He happened one day to come upon a 90+ year old Hindu "holy man" who begins each day by wading naked into the Ganges River and swimming and drinking without worrying about the feces and other detritus floating along on the current. My friend passionately explained germ theory and all the health hazards to the mystic who had been performing this ritual for the past seven decades. He expalined that continuous exposure to pathogens and microbes and parasites would inevitably lead to disease, infection, and death. My friend was genuinely unable to figure out why the Indian holy man did not immediately change h

A Delaware Libertarian exclusive: Interview with Libertarian State Senate candidate Wendy Jones

Although I have explained my disagreement with Libertarian 19th District State Senate candidate Wendy Jones regarding childhood immunizations, I also believe strongly [ contra Barbie ] that people should know exactly what a candidate stands for--particularly Libertarian candidates. So I sent Wendy five questions and requested responses. Here they are: 1. At least one blogger has suggested that in the 19th District Senate race there are really four conservatives running. She says this from the perspective of being an LGBT citizen who does not see anyone in the field addressing the issues that concern her. What do Libertarians (in general) and you (in particular) offer such an individual that is distinct from the Democrat-Republican status quo? Firstly, while I am a hard-line Libertarian, I am also a member of the alternative community & have an alternative relationship. Before I can address the concerns of anyone in that community, I first have to hear from them. Anybody q

Wendy Jones and school-age immunizations: a post I wish I did not have to write

Caught in the tender clutches of United Airlines returning from Colorado I did not see the following comment at Delawareliberal by Libertarian 19th District State Senate candidate Wendy Jones until late last night--too late to make any reasoned response before falling asleep. Here is the part that Wendy wrote which is most problematic for me: “polio” – can you be sure it’s just polio if it’s the State that mandates it? Should it perhaps be a better idea that educating on the pros & cons rather than sticking a needle willy-nilly into your child filled with whatever they decide to tell you is in it? What if, through viral gene replacement technology, for instance, thought patterns & personalities could (& even might be) changed to eliminate “undesirables”, for instance, & ensure a dull, compliant populace? Mandated by the State? These statements are troubling for a variety of reasons. For the sake of intellectual consistency I need to parse them out, despite the fac

Nanny Goes Federal to Ban Text Messaging While Driving

The Democrat nannies are on the loose, run amok, busting out the time-worn federal funds withholding extortion to hammer the states into compliance with their latest federal fetish to control our daily habits and activities. Is there no end to the mass control freak mentality of this ilk? What's next? Mandating cars have ignition shutoff sensors triggered by use of a mobile device inside the vehicle? Hell, why all makes sense in service to sating nanny's whims, so nanny can make use all feel safe and happy (and nanny's helpers nicely bloated with traffic fine revenues, btw). Lawmakers want ban on texting while driving The Associated Press - Wed., July 29, 2009 WASHINGTON - Democratic lawmakers called for states to ban texting while driving or face cuts in highway funds , citing the need to reduce driver distraction and potential highway deaths and injuries. "When drivers have their eyes on their cell phones instead of the road, the results can be danger

Dana Garett on Libertarians and Paternalism: A Disappointing Start

I had much higher hopes for the quality of analysis that Dana Garrett would bring to his series on Libertarians than the current installment merits. In it, Dana indulges himself in creating (without sources or direct attribution) straw-man libertarians who think parents have the right to deny their children life-saving medical treatment. My detailed comments and Tyler's have already been registered at the site. Here's a suggestion that Dana probably won't take (I already offered it once): why not start with a genuine attempt to understand the libertarian philosophy from the perspective of the zero-aggression/no force or fraud principle that is one of the few principles held by virtually all libertarians? If you can't take the time to prove you understand that well enough to critique it rationally, then you can't really make a case that you have any understanding of modern libertarian philosophy. But then, understanding Libertarianism isn't actually the po

Brilliance in a Nutshell : Tyler Cowen Edition

' Reason magazine Editor in Chief Matt Welch interviews Tyler Cowen , the prolific George Mason University economics professor, popular blogger , New York Times columnist , and author of the brand new Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World .' Seriously, Cowen has wonderful perspective and great insight. Really interesting thoughts on autism and "ADD", among other things.

My A** This Country Is Left-Liberal...

And neither the 2008 nor Obama's election changed a damn thing in this regard. From some hardcore 'wingnut' polling data (Source : CBS/NY Times)... Question : How would you describe your views on most political matters? Generally do you think of yourself as liberal, moderate, or conservative? (Click on image for clearer view)

It's Like Watching A Graph of the World Slowly Waking Up to Horrible Reality...

With a whole bunch of dupes now battling messiah hangover....

Libertarians and the Delaware blogosphere: You know you're making headway when they develop talking points to use against you

I was going to do this as a top ten list , but could not decide on which one was absolutely either (a) the dumbest or (b) the most hypocritical. Recently both Dana Garrett of Delaware Watch and jason of Delawareliberal have decided to turn their attention to Libertarians. This is a good thing, despite the biased nature of the coverage, because it indicates that they are now having to deal with Libertarian ideas as the primary opposition philosophy rather than the strange rantings of the Lawn Jockey Caucus of the Old Confederacy and Buffalo Commons Party (the political entity formerly known as the GOP). This has brought a whole host of other local commenters out to try their hand at stupid put-down lines for Libertarians. It's worth a trip through the tripe to take a look at just what passes for political discourse in Delaware these days. We'll start with the one-liners and work up to jason and Dana. Pandora: The problem with the Libertarian Party is they can’t agree on

Wendy Jones: Attracting even more attention....

... probably because she's got the courage to point out the obvious. The WNJ runs a story on the failure of Democratic candidate Barbie [Polly Adams Mervine, as channeled by her husband and other stand-ins] failing to show up for debates, and it's not Republican Joe Booth but Wendy Jones, Libertarian State Senate candidate in Delaware's 19th District, who steps to the plate: "At the risk of being a little critical, I'd say it was bordering on arrogant and irresponsible for her not to appear," said Libertarian candidate Wendy Jones, who attended last week's forum despite having undergone back surgery a few days prior. "I can only guess that maybe she's hoping to ride in on her daddy's coattails to office." Meanwhile, Independent Political Report runs its third story on the Wendy Jones candidacy, and--locally-- Delawareliberal blogger jason is apparently so embarrassed by his Go Wendy Jones! endorsement that he has to pen a ridicul

Foot in Mouth Disease regarding Libertarians at Delawareliberal

Another indication that libertarian thought-- real libertarian though as opposed to the faux libertarianism of birther Republicans--is starting to worry our liberal and progressive friends: they are paying attention to us. I've already highlighted the series on Libertarians that Dana Garrett has promised at Delaware Watch, but this next one is too funny to miss. jason at Delawareliberal now has a post up: Everybody is a Libertarian All of a Sudden: What a bunch of Johnny Come Latelys losers. Where the eff were you Libertarians when George Bush was blowing up shit will nilly, establishing the department of homeland security, saying illegal wire taps were great, getting rid of habeas corpus, adding billions to the national debt, and trying to legislate morality? You have your panties in a knot over every little thing Obama does because, “holy shit the slippery slope is gonna git-cha!” (paraphrase) But Bush, bought the country a ticket to Libertarian Hell and set up a tea p

Those Crazy Conspiracist libertarians.....errr, excuse me, Democrat & Republican House Members...Expose Goldman Sachs and Demand Answers....

[I hope they don't hold their breaths waiting for a rational (or any) explanation for Goldman Sachs' special little singular arrangement.] Dear Chairman Bernanke: In the fall, Goldman Sachs secured access to government funding by converting from an investment bank into an ordinary bank. Despite this shift, the CFO of the company, David Viniar, said last week that the company is continuing to operate as if it were still a high-risk investment bank: "Our model really never changed," he noted in a quote to Bloomberg. "We've said very consistently that our business model remained the same." This statement seems accurate. Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve granted a temporary exemption to Goldman Sachs from standard bank holding company Market Risk Rules, allowing the company to continue operating as if it were an investment bank. The company and its employees have taken full advantage of its new government subsidies, and the retained ability to bet

Is Health Care America's New Political Third Rail?

It used to be that any attempt to so much as breath a whiff about reforming, changing, or even discussing reform or change of "Social Security", the massive Ponzi-scheme social welfare entitlement system set up by the Democrat Party a half century ago, meant something near political suicide, at least amongst the American government, political, and media establishments. Social Security has never been reformed, because it can never really be fixed. It is a fundamental failure that is openly-acknowledged as utterly unsustainable no matter how much money the welfare statists print and throw down the tube to sustain it. It's demise is inevitable, but hopefully not as just another casualty of the total collapse of our economic system under the weight of Leviathan's bottomless bloat. The hysterical, fear-mongering decades-running sandbag defense of this scam of a ruse of 'security' in elder years, brought to you by our efficient, benevolent federal overseers, was

Dana Garrett of Delaware Watch plans a series of posts on Libertarians...

... and I welcome it [read my comment at the end of his inaugural post ]. I don't expect Dana to like a lot of what he finds about Libertarians, but I do expect he will subject the philosophy and its political incarnation to some serious scrutiny. That's good. I intend to link to each of the posts as he publishes them, because I suspect very few Libertarians will make his progressive-liberal blog regular reading (which is a shame, because as much as we disagree we are good friends and learn a lot from each other). A point of personal privilege, however: I suspect Dana will ruffle a lot of your feathers with his opinions. If you want to take issue with him on the issues, or the accuracy of his interpretations, feel free... he's a big guy and can stand up for himself. If, however, you feel the need merely to rant about being mischaracterized by someone you consider a Statist progressive, please do it here rather than there. I'm posting his links on this issue so t