December 27, 2011
Seemingly unbeknownst to those who insist on bickering and moralizing over some un-PC articles in 20-year-old newsletters, there’s a war going on. The war in Afghanistan–already the longest war in American history–is costing hundreds of billions of dollars. The U.S. military is running a brutal occupation, conducting dozens of night raids a week, indiscriminately detaining thousands, supporting criminal gangs, and killing innocents and insurgents alike from the air.
There’s only one candidate running for president who will stop the killing immediately. Thousands will needlessly die if he loses. But that doesn’t seem to matter to the enforcers of political correctness. The American and Afghan lives that are hanging in the balance apparently matter less to them that the insensitive use of the adjective “fleet-footed.”
December 26, 2011
From my favorite Reason columnist:
Many voices whose accomplishments I otherwise respect think that the fact Ron Paul had associates who, for a brief period over a decade in the past, wrote some mean-spirited, nasty, and dumb stuff rooted in race and sexual orientation under his name is the most important thing to discuss about Ron Paul, and that the public condemnation and humiliation of those supposedly responsible is the most important public policy issue surrounding Paul’s campaign now.
Part of this seems to be based on a so-far completely imagined belief that this particular repetition of the newsletter story cycle is somehow destroying Ron Paul’s campaign and that such name-naming or “grappling with the past” is necessary to save that campaign…
Read the rest.
December 21, 2011
On Fox Business:
Cavuto, while no Paul supporter, has always been fairer to the Texas congressman than most of his colleagues. Most journalists are so wrapped up in their own little worlds that they can’t conceive of any fundamental changes ever taking place in this country. For them, Washington is the center of the universe, America will always be the policeman of the world, and there will always be a neat conservative-versus-progressive divide in American politics.
As Justin Raimondo explains, the idea that Ron Paul can’t win because of his foreign policy views “suffuses a large proportion of the press coverage. It is a pillar of the ‘red state/blue state’ dichotomy that is supposed to define the American political landscape – and, just coincidentally, of course, happens to encompass the marketing strategy of cable giants Fox and MSNBC.”
The ‘red state/blue state’ dichotomy, I would add, also encompasses the marketing strategies of America’s two major political parties. And a lot of powerful people make their livings perpetuating it.
December 20, 2011
On his YouTube Channel:
Unfortunately, we’ll probably never see it. Krugman won’t debate Robert Murphy, even though a group of libertarians would donate $71,255 to the New York City Food Bank if he did.
Watch the whole video for Schiff’s take on how the Eurozone crisis is propping up the value of the dollar.
December 20, 2011
The indomitable Glenn Greenwald on the Democracy Now!:
As Greenwald explains, provisions similar to those in the Battlefield America bill existed at the height of the Cold War, from the 1950′s to the 1970′s. I actually see that as a silver lining–if these provisions were repealed before, they can be repealed again. Though, hopefully it takes less than 20 years this time.
December 19, 2011
Just as Michelle Bachmann, Rick Perry, and Hermann Cain did before him, Newt Gingrich is collapsing. And just like his predecessor “front-runners,” all during his meteoric rise he was showered with with mainstream media attention and at least a minimum degree of respect. Even for those who opposed him, not every discussion of his campaign was prefaced with the statement, “He has zero chance of being the nominee.” That proviso, of course, is reserved for Ron Paul. When they deign to notice him, at least.
In the past, such treatment from the establishment would kill any campaign. Witness Paul’s 1988 run.
But today, Paul is leading in the polls in Iowa. The difference is the blogosphere. LewRockwell.com, antiwar.com, and the Mises Institute have played a key role in educating and cultivating that hardcore Paulian base which has become so well-known. This core of supporters has proved disproportionately willing to donate time and money to the cause, and that effort is beginning to pay off. The mainstream media is being bypassed and subverted.
The traditional gatekeepers of political opinion are not sitting by idly, however. As Timothy Carney has warned, if Paul wins Iowa, “Some in the Republican establishment and the conservative media will panic. Others will calmly move to crush him, with the full cooperation of the liberal mainstream media.” These groups are threatened by Paul, and they’ll throw anything at him to protect their status.
It’ll be ugly, but did anyone expect the establishment to surrender without a fight?
December 16, 2011
During the debate last night, Neil Cavuto suggested that Ron Paul was contributing to the debt problem by securing earmarks for his district. I wrote about this issue when it first started coming up in 2007. The whole anti-earmark crusade is a trick; it’s goal has always been to convince people that they won’t have to give up any of their favorite government programs if we cut spending, and that is just not true. Funding Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and defense take up the vast majority of the annual federal budget. Significantly reducing the size of government will require cuts to these programs. In the scheme of things, spending $1 million dollars on a Woodstock museum amounts to little more than a rounding error in a budget that totals $3.3 trillion (it’s .0000000003% of the budget, in case you were wondering). Spending on all earmarks amounts to slightly more than three-tenths of 1 percent of federal spending.
But here’s the most important point–banning earmarks will not eliminate even this tiny fraction of the budget. Earmarks are provisions attached to appropriations bills that direct funds to be spent on specific projects, but they don’t affect the total size of the bill they’re attached to. That’s decided separately, based on the requests from the departments and agencies in question. In other words, by adding earmarks, Congress is telling executive departments how to spend the money they’re already giving them.
So if Congress is debating an $80 billion appropriations bill for, say, the Department of Transportation, and they decide to eliminate an earmark that directed $200 million to build a bridge somewhere, the bill’s total cost remains $80 billion. That $200 million will still be spent, it just won’t have any strings on it when the DOT receives it. They’ll be able to do whatever they want with it. Some argue that this is a better way to run the government, since executive agencies have merit-based selection processes, while congressmen simply try to buy votes. But, as I’ve argued before, there is ultimately no way for the state to spend money efficiently because the absence of market prices and the profit-and-loss mechanism in all government undertakings makes it impossible to accurately compare the value of inputs with the value of outputs. The idea that bureaucrats can distribute money more efficiently than congressmen is a hold-over from the Progressive Era, when the notion that “independent” experts and “public servants” could efficiently run society became widespread. But state planning in all its forms–legislative, executive, or even judicial–is chaos.
Those who remain fixated on this issue are misguided at best. To paraphrase Tom Woods, eliminating earmarks would be tantamount to changing how a dime is spent on a trip to the moon.
December 16, 2011
From the debate last night:
On Michelle Bachmann’s hyperbolic warnings about the threat of Iran taking over the world, see Politifact’s recent article. Ahmadinejad has said some kooky things, but he has not threatened to use nuclear weapons against Israel or the United States.
And as Tom DiLorenzo trenchantly explains,
Israel has hundreds of nuclear weapons and Iran has none. They could vaporize Iran in an instant if they genuinely felt threatened and do not need any help from us. Yet, WE are supposed to start another war — with Iran for starters — to supposedly protect poor, pitiful, poverty-stricken, defenseless Israel. Bachmann assumes that if Iran ever did get a nuclear weapon, Israel would be completely defenseless against it even though Israel did very well in defending itself against Iraq several decades ago when they bombed Iraq’s infant nuclear facility. (Ron Paul, by the way, supported Israel’s independent defensive action at the time).
December 15, 2011
The following interview aired earlier today. At the end, not only does Paul defend his ads that have highlighted Gingrich’s “serial hypocrisy,” he notes the inconsistency between Gingrich’s hawkish foreign policy and the fact that he received several draft deferments.
Paul references an interview Gingrich gave to the Wall Street Journal in 1985, where he told Jane Mayer that
“Vietnam was the right battlefield at the right time.” Why didn’t he go? “Given everything I believe in, a large part of me thinks I should have gone over,” he allowed. But, recovering, he added, “Part of the question I had to ask myself was what difference I would have made.”
Unfortunately, the 17,725 draftees who were killed fighting on the “right battlefield at the right time” were forcibly sent to their deaths regardless of what difference they thought they would make.