Sunday, November 28, 2010

EU rescue costs start to threaten Germany itself

It is like a cancer. First the panic at the reality of it all (2008.) Then the creeping menace spreads despite our treatment regimen. The organs start to shut down. Greece. Ireland. Next Spain or Portugal. Then where? Germany? Unthinkable...

The escalating debt crisis on the eurozone periphery is starting to contaminate the creditworthiness of Germany and the core states of monetary union.

Click here for the story.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The TSA, and the box people


Probably the reason why I am a libertarian, deep down, is that I hate bullies. I despise people who feel they must inflict their particular brand of crap on those who are minding their own business. I loathe arbitrary rules. I loathe those who revel in such arbitrary rules even more. If I am not messing with you, don’t mess with me. Why do so many people have a problem with this concept? Why must some people have other people bend to their will? What is this deep need by a large portion of the population?

I am convinced that the main reason for this is that there are some people who just can not stand being out of control. They know that if they are not in control, some unforeseen incident might throw them back on their heals and diminish their day, the balance in their bank account, or their place in society. Some people would rather live in a box, where at least everything is controlled, where no sun shines, than be subject to the winds of insecurity.

Because those who prefer the comfort of the box are often the people who make the rules, the rest of us are compelled to live their way. This, even though some of us consider a life in a box a fate on par with death, when we will have plenty of time to become acquainted with the peace and quiet of a box.

This is why many people have no problem with the TSA looking at them naked or even feeling them up. They are so damn scared that the plane will explode that many people just say, “Screw it, I have little dignity left anyway, I’m already prostrate to the bank, so what if the government wants to touch my genitals or those of my child. At least I can rest assured that my plane to Columbus won’t blow up midair.”

Of course the plane has as equal a chance of crashing as it ever did, which is a much greater chance than it ever had of being blown up by a terrorist. But people want to feel like they have control, or the government has control, or somebody has control, so they comply. We bend over for “peace of mind,” despite how absurdly irrational this perceived peace is.

I know I am in the minority on this but I am willing to take the chance that a terrorist is going to blow up a plane if it means I get to board the plane without some government worker looking at my admittedly Adonis like body, or feeling my “area,” or frankly without having to take my shoes off.

What is the damn point of living in “The Home of the Free” if we are being accosted by our own government every time we want to get on a plane?

It is true that there is no “right to fly” in the Constitution. But there is a provision against unreasonable searches and seizures. The problem is what is “reasonable” has been defined for too long by those who sneer when they hear the words, “Live Free or Die.” It has been defined by the box people.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Don't touch my junk

Krautahammer's piece on the absolute insanity of the TSA airport screenings and how one man's refusal to genuflect to the state became an anthem.

I agree. Don't touch my junk.

Click here for the piece.

Below the raw video of the encounter.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

McCain: I’m worried about isolationists like Rand Paul wanting to cut defense spending

And so it begins. The establishment begins the attack. But guess what? McCain doesn't represent the core of the GOP any longer.

Click here for the story.

In fact he seems stuck in another era.

Everything is on the table. There must be no sacred cows. Military is big government too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

From a friend on the left. Areas where we can work together.

Where Liberals Should Oppose “Big Government”

In one of Al Franken’s books, back before anyone imagined that he would ever slip into the US Senate, he wrote to conservative reps and asked them to name a government program that had been successful. Many replied, citing a large number of successful state programs. Franken pretended he was going to also ask liberal reps to cite programs that had failed. He didn’t actually do it. But it’s a good exercise. Mainstream Democratic politicians in this country waste a lot of time signaling their Centrism by distancing themselves from the New Deal tradition. That’s silly. There are some problems in this country that require dramatic intervention, and others that require less intervention. Dems should signal their reasonability by supporting a mix of the two.

Click here for the whole piece.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The TEA Party and the innovative left can work together. (Seriously)


By Nick Sorrentino

The elections have happened. The political landscape has changed not only in Washington but also across the country. The Republicans have made a bold move but largely on the back of the TEA Party. And the 2 are not one and the same. How this dynamic works out will be fascinating.

Rand Paul has indicated that he will seek to create a bicameral TEA Party caucus. If he is able to create a new, legitimate political node within what has been a bi-polar political game for as long as anyone can remember, new alliances might become a possibility.

The TEA Party is basically a 3rd party movement working within the 2 party system.

I once spoke with Ron Paul before he ran for president as a Republican and after listening to me make the case for a 3rd party insurgency he rightly pointed out that the 2 parties have insulated themselves from any competition. The GOP and Dems have a stranglehold on the process of getting on the ballot. The Libertarians for instance expend huge amounts of energy just to be on the ballot across the country, after which vital resources are depleted for the broader contest.

Ron Paul made the point to me that there was much more opportunity if people who were inclined toward changing the system worked within the establishment and then turned the tools of the parties against the parties.

In many ways this is what the TEA Party has done. They battled in the primaries to get the right people on the ballot. In some cases it worked. In other cases it did not. The establishment GOP is quick to point out that Reid would likely have lost had he been opposed by a more “mainstream” candidate than Sharon Angle. Perhaps, but perhaps not.

Regardless the emergence of the TEA Party may change (its too early to tell) the game in Washington.

Many of my friends on the left cringe at the emergence of the TEA Party. They should not.

Though the TEA Party is fundamentally opposed to many things the modern left is for, basically the entire New Deal regime instituted under FDR, there is real potential for progress on important issues that are important to at least some on the left. New alliances can be created with the new blood (TEA Party blood) coming in.

Simply put, when things are quiet the powers that be rule the day. Opportunity for new thinking is rare. Anyone who challenges the established order will be crushed. The power of the bureaucracy (on the right and left) will see to that.

It is however during times of upheaval when real change happens, new alliances are created, new coalitions forged, and new issues brought to the fore.

For instance there are many on the left who deeply oppose the government/corporate alliance in agriculture. Huge subsidies are channeled to these companies which many people believe are hell bent on crushing the family farm (which they basically have) and producing food that is genetically altered for maximum profit.

Surely there is nothing wrong with persuing profit. I am all for it. I am also for innovation in agriculture and the use of economies of scale. However, when the largess of the state is used to create near monopolies in the food business, this is anti-market and so wrong. Many within the TEA Party would agree.

Rural Democrats often supported the subsidy of large agribusiness in their effort to remain in power. It was their trump card. They might be a Dem, but at least they brought home the bacon.

Interestingly in the last election many of these Democrats, including Members in senior committee leadership got killed on election night, whereas Republicans in districts with lots of agri-pork who opposed such pork survived, indeed did even better than in the past.

What does this mean?

Simply, a window has opened for a coalition between people who are interested in agriculture from a traditionally “left” perspective, read whole foods, back to the land stuff, and the TEA Party members and GOP conservatives. All three groups want to end the subsidy of massive agribusiness. But this opportunity will not last forever, and will slip away if no one stands up and reaches out to the other side.

And this is just one example of where new opportunities lay.

Another area that in my opinion is even more vital for the future of our Republic, where there is real opportunity is in of all areas, energy.

For quite a while the debate surrounding energy has been couched in terms of lefty, wishy-washy “green” energy , and right wing “drill baby drill” silliness.

Conservatives often act as if oil is the “free market” energy alternative, whereas “green” energy, wind, solar, tidal, etc is just a boondoggle. The truth is oil is an even bigger boondoggle than “green” energy. It is highly subsidized, to the tune of ½ TRILLION dollars worldwide.

In an effort to keep our oil based economy humming we must now venture into increasingly nasty areas of the world . This means war. This means dead service people. This means increased terrorism. This means increased insecurity at home.

I don’t know one conservative worth his salt who would make the case that unending war is a “conservative” idea. When I was coming up I was always told that the “conservative” approach to war was, get in with a clear objective, hammer the enemy, then get out. The truth is I believe most conservatives still (and increasingly) believe this, even the after the attacks on September 11th. But admittedly you would never know this by watching Fox or reading the Weekly Standard.

The point is, though many on the left may not see it, there is opportunity to work with the antiestablishment TEA Party on energy if the case can be made that oil and coal are in fact not free market sources of energy and that these industries should not be subsidized.

But the Nancy Pelosi establishment left, wedded to the welfare state will get nowhere with the new leaders emerging in the “new” right. The TEA Party hates the establishment GOP truth be told. But they despise the establishment left. There is almost no room for discussion with people who have run the show on the left over the past decades. If however new, honest voices were to emerge from the environmental community, I believe many within the TEA Party would listen (and ultimately act) so long as the same old “big state” solutions were tossed aside in favor of innovative new thinking that increased efficiency and reduced the burden to taxpayers.

This is key. If the burden of taxes could be reduced in any new environmental policy, people on the new right will at least listen. Seeds could be planted. Coalitions might even emerge among groups that never would have thought they could work together.

As I see it many ideas that the environmental left champions could be moved forward if the left could get out of the mindset of constantly expanding the state. I think if this can be done, many of the issues that the establishment GOP has traditionally tossed aside because they long ago sold their soul to subsidized big energy, would find an audience with the TEA Party.

Many on the left may balk at the idea of working with the “new” right. This would be a colossal mistake and a fundamental misreading of the biggest opportunity for new ideas (right, left, and otherwise) in American politics in over a century.

Let’s act. Let’s get the people who are more interested in ideas than scoring partisan points talking, despite what we have perceived as our political differences. The time is now.

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Nick Sorrentino is the Editor of The Liberty and Economics Review and CEO of Exelorix.com a social media management company.