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Archive for 'National Politics'

Harriet Miers just tipped the balance

Posted on December 9, 2009, under National Politics.

I’ll admit that my initial reaction to Miers’ nomination was a dismayed “who?” followed by growing anger. I would still prefer her nomination to be defeated, primarily because the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’ role was intended to be a check against blatant cronyism. I’m certainly not the first to read some dusty old papers and see that:

It would be an excellent check upon a spirit of favoritism in the President, and would tend greatly to prevent the appointment of unfit characters from State prejudice, from family connection, from personal attachment, or from a view to popularity.

He would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.

On the other hand, I disagree with those who claim that Miers is unqualified. She is simply not as qualified as they would like, in the manner they would like.

I think I’m really seeing (and feeling) that this is the last intolerable betrayal of MY principles by a President I voted for. Strike that. I honestly voted against the other guy, not for this bozo.

I’ve said more than once that voting for the lesser evil is still voting for evil. Guess I had to be slapped with it one more time.

I don’t see where Bush has any credibility left with fiscal conservatives, small government believers or any liberty loving citizen. The 0 for 2 on appointing judges comes on top of drug welfare for seniors, a blank check to the corruption that drowned NOLA, expansion of police powers, dangerously half-hearted military action, and others. No wonder his base is fragmenting.

Miers’ nomination isn’t offensive enough for the heat that’s been generated, not by itself. But on top of everything else, it seems to be the last straw.

*19/706/13*

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Bloggers (and unpopular press) not eligible under ‘Shield Law’

Posted on December 9, 2009, under National Politics.

Alright. so by posting on this, it sounds like a blatent case of self-interest. But it actually feeds my fair-play ideals than anything much else..

According to senator Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), the Shield Law provision of the ‘Free Flow of Information Act of 2005′ would not protect bloggers, yet is written widely enough to cover anything from the New York Times to the hometown newsletter, to Internet-only publications.

So why do the “real publications” (sic) need something like this Shield Law provision? Supposedly it is so they don’t have to reveal thier sources when under oath; Allows whistle-blowers stay anonymous and rumor-starters to need no accountability. This has been related to a doctor-patient or a priest-confessional relationship. I can see how the concept might have been linked, but it should never have been accepted as such.

A doctor needs certain information from thier patients so the doctor can save thier life. Such as things the patient has done that might not be all that legal. Without this information the doctor cannot properly save lives.

The relationship within a religion should be considered private, because without an assumption of trust, priests cannot properly tend to thier flock. Invasion of this relationship interfers with the practice of that religion, causing bad kharma all around.

There are very few other cases where an assumption of secrecy is required. Usually it is because it interferes with certain vital social functions; the doctor’s ability to save certain unmentioned body parts, the preacher’s ability to save souls, and a defense attorney’s ability to save thier clients certain other unmentioned body parts.

So how is it so important that the press recieves this special benifit? The most obvious answer is so they can protect the identity of whistle-blowers – people who are afraid of backlash for speaking about corruption in thier company. But there are other answers. It allows reporters to cover up felonies they commit; such as the knowing and willfull reception of classified materials. This legislation creates an assumption of privacy for the press’ sources where there should not be one. And, thanks to senator Lugar’s interpretation, it sets up a division line between state-sponsored media outlets and the media outlets created by regular folk.

*18/706/13*

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After Harriet Miers

Posted on December 9, 2009, under National Politics.

Earlier today President Bush reluctantly accepted Harriet Miers’ withdrawal from the confirmation process. It shows he really can back away from a mistake. Over at the Volokh Conspiricy there’s already discussion of the next nominee. But what about Bush’s state of mind? I see three ways he can go from here, Stubborn, Petulant and Thoughtful.

Stubborn Bush will now follow up by picking a tougher crony to hand it to. Expect an Alberto Gonzales to get the nod.

Petulant Bush responds to his critics by giving them just what they want, then fails to back it up. Expect a Janice Rogers Brown to be hung out to dry with no support.

Thoughtful Bush goes for a strong conservative candidate that can win, then starts hammering on opponents like he was hammering on allies last week. Look for a Douglas Ginsburg or a Michael McConnell to get the nod.

I’d love to be wrong and see Bush nominate and fight for Brown, but Bush has shown very little spine in 5 years so I don’t expect him to.

Time will tell which Bush will win out.

*14/706/13*

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A New Direction, an Old Message

Posted on December 9, 2009, under National Politics.

The Democrats have A New Direction which has some people comparing it with the Contract With America. I don’t think the two can be properly compared.

The Contract included (mostly) concrete and verifiable promises. You knew up front what you were going to get. The New Direction includes (mostly) fuzzy platitudes and indefinite statements. The two are nowhere near the same thing, except perhaps that the Democrats are hoping for the same energy as the Contract generated for House Republicans.

I don’t think it will. It’s just a restatement of the same old Fascist/Socialist nonsense that Democrats have always presented, and betrays total ignorance of the most basic concepts of economics.

Make Health Care More Affordable: Fix the prescription drug program by putting people ahead of drug companies and HMO’s, eliminating wasteful subsidies, negotiating lower drug prices and ensuring the program works for all seniors; invest in stem cell and other medical research.

The only things really solid here are reducing the incentives for private drug development, no means testing of benefits, and more government money for basic research that nobody will turn into drugs because it won’t pay. The rest is fuzzy.

Lower Gas Prices and Achieve Energy Independence: Crack down on price gouging; eliminate billions in subsidies for oil and gas companies and use the savings to provide consumer relief and develop American alternatives, including biofuels; promote energy efficient technology.

Ignoring the facts that reducing gas prices makes energy independence harder and less valuable, that significant price gouging doesn’t exist, that consumer ‘energy rebates’ have already died once, that biofuels are just more billions in subsidies, and that energy efficiency is already promoted by it’s cost savings, this still has no direct statement of how they intend to do these things. More touchy-feely, no real plan.

Help Working Families: Raise the minimum wage; repeal tax giveaways that encourage companies to move jobs overseas.

Increase the cost of most low-end and union labor, and companies won’t need tax incentives to seek out lower cost foreign labor. Do Democrats even know what percentage of working families have the primary wage-earner in a minimum wage job? This is just more pandering to unions.

Cut College Costs: Make college tuition deductible from taxes; expand Pell grants and slash student loan costs.

Let’s see, the supply of college diplomas is fixed, primarily by government regulation preventing new competition. So they’re going to lower costs by subsidizing demand, and for some reason they don’t expect prices to rise to a new equalibrium point. I call that dreaming in a teenager, and irresponsibly stupid in a lawmaker. College tuition costs will go down only when either fewer people want to go to college, or when more colleges are available. Nothing else will do it.

Ensure Dignified Retirement: Prevent the privatization of Social Security; expand savings incentives; and ensure pension fairness.

Because having more money if you invest smarter is undignified, because people really should want to put after-tax money into things like CD’s where they can earn less than inflation AND pay taxes on what they earn, and because nationalizing all corporate pensions so they can be managed just like the Social Security Administration is an obviously good idea. Yeah, making 100% of retirees dependant on the government is the way to give them dignity.

Require Fiscal Responsibility: Restore the budget discipline of the 1990s that helped eliminate deficits and spur record economic growth.

The discipline that the Democratic party fought so hard against? That they demonized? That they claimed would starve seniors and turn the poor out onto the streets? I should trust them after that kind of rhetoric against discipline, when they now claim to embrace it? Why? Did they ever say they were wrong?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m in favor of eliminating subsidies and reducing protectionism. But everything here that says ‘eliminate subsidy’ is directly followed with ‘and spend the money on’ something else. So all they give me is that the Democrats will subsidize something else. That’s not progress in my direction.

This entire wish list relies on people either being completely ignorant of the economic consequences of these actions, or being willing to read into the statements what they want to hear, rather than what the Democrats have said.

This list points up that the Democrats really have swallowed the ‘Positive Rights’ kool-aid. Since there is no such thing as positive rights that do not rest on a violation of natural ‘Negative Rights’, I still have to believe that a Libertarian Democrat is a contradiction in terms. This list reinforces that opinion.

via The QandO Blog

*2/706/13*

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