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Audit the Fed bill passes House committee

In Federal Reserve, politics on November 20, 2009 at 8:08 pm

Yesterday was a victory for what Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) described as a “Waterloo for Fed secrecy.”

In a bipartisan vote of 43-26, the House Financial Services Committee voted in favor of an amendment to audit the Federal Reserve — something that hasn’t been done since the bank’s inception nearly 100 years ago.

Grayson cosponsored the bill with Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) who has been introducing similar legislation since 1983. The amendment is based off of Paul’s “audit the Fed” bill, H.R. 1207, which has 300 cosponsors.

According to a press release, the proposed amendment does the following:

  • Removes the blanket restrictions on GAO audits of the Fed
  • Allows audit of every item on the Fed’s balance sheet, all credit facilities, all securities purchase programs, etc.
  • Retains limited audit exemption on unreleased transcripts and minutes
  • Sets 180-day time lag before details of Fed’s market actions may be released
  • States that nothing in the amendment shall be construed as interference in or dictation of monetary policy by Congress or the GAO

For too long, the Federal Reserve has been acting in secret — dishing out billions as it sees fit to whom it sees fit. The Paul-Grayson amendment, if passed, will give a look into the books of the private banking institution.

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‘Freedom Watch’ gives independent candidate national spotlight

In politics on November 19, 2009 at 1:20 am

“We do not have a two-party system in this country. We have one party, the big government party It has a Republican wing that likes war and deficits and assaults our civil liberties and a Democratic wing that likes taxes and wealth transfer and assaults our commercial liberties.” — Judge Napolitano

The Democrats and Republicans have a monopoly on the political system. It would seem almost impossible for a person to get elected to office without first receiving one of the parties’ stamp of approval. But 30 year-old Jake Towne of Pennsylvania is attempting to do just that.

Towne is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in 2010 with no political party affiliation. He is truly an independent.

Last week, he received national exposure as a guest on Judge Napolitano’s “Freedom Watch” on FOX News. In the interview, Towne explained the myth that America has a two-party system.

“What I call this system is actually a one party, two-headed system and there’s very little competition between the Democrats on the left and the Republicans on the right. And a lot of people still believe we’re in a left-right spectrum.”

Towne goes on to describe what he believes is the actual spectrum with tyranny at one end and liberty at the other. He makes the argument that there is no real change from one administration to the next.

“Monetary policy doesn’t change, foreign policy doesn’t change, domestic policy doesn’t change,” he said.

Not only is Towne rejecting party affiliation, he’s also rejecting any political labels. The purpose of these labels, he believes, is to separate the electorate and create false conflict.

“The very terms ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ are just forms of verbal warfare meant to divide us,” he explains on his Web site, TowneForCongress.com.

It’s encouraging to see Towne featured on Napolitano’s show. The question is, will the rest of the mainstream media give him the national attention needed to get his message out?

Newsweek cover exposes Palin’s legs, media sexism

In media, politics, women's rights on November 17, 2009 at 10:59 pm

I’m not a big fan of Sarah Palin — in fact, I’m not a fan at all. Palin, like Bush before her, is a neo-con, hell bent on spreading democracy by military might while at the same time ridding the world of evildoers. The fact that Palin is a neo-con is no secret. She’s openly declared support for the Bush Doctrine and has suggested a national “Loyalty Day” to reaffirm loyalty to America. She is a big-government, neo-con nationalist, make no mistake.

However, there was one issue I did often agree with Sarah Palin on: Her unfair treatment as a female politician by the media. Let’s face it, during the 2008 presidential race the media was more concerned about Palin’s measurements than it was with her male counterparts’ voting records. Being an attractive female hindered Palin. I’m sure it was difficult for voting males to focus on her message while staring at her (insert body part).

Of course, the sexist treatment wasn’t limited to the GOP. On the flipside, Hillary Clinton was made fun of for what was considered her unattractive figure. Her hips were the butt of many jokes accompanied by her pantsuits. And who could forget the hilarious Hillary “Nut Cracker” doll. Funny perhaps, but insulting. Evidently, a strong woman is an oddity and something to be made a spectacle of.

If little girls across America learned one thing from the 2008 race, it was that they can either be the attractive bimbo or the not-so-attractive other b-word.

But unlike these women’s campaigns, the sexism hasn’t ended with the election of President Barack Obama. His wife, Michelle Obama, shocked the world by donning a sleeveless dress and exposing her arms in her first official photo as first lady — proving that sexism exceeds both ideological and racial boundaries.

The most recent example of media sexism is this week’s cover of Newsweek which shows Palin in a pair of short-ish black shorts and fitted red jacket standing next to an American flag. At first glance, it’s not clear exactly what Palin is wearing or why she is wearing it. Perhaps if Newsweek wouldn’t have cut off her running shoes, it would have been more clear Palin was dressed as a runner.

The photos were originally shot for the magazine Runner’s World. In context, the photos were tasteful and made sense. The majority of pictures showed Palin in less-attractive attire, posing with her son and stroller.

But of course, Newsweek chose the one photo where Palin donned shorter shorts, hair down, legs exposed. And when accompanied with the headline, “How do you solve a problem like Sarah? She’s bad news for the GOP – and for everybody else too” the cover’s intent becomes clear: disrespect. Newsweek’s merger of patronization and female sexuality is nothing new.

In defense of the Newsweek cover, editor Jon Meacham explained the magazine’s choice:

“We chose the most interesting image available to us to illustrate the theme of the cover, which is what we always try to do,” he told CNN Tuesday. “We apply the same test to photographs of any public figure, male or female: does the image convey what we are saying? That is a gender-neutral standard.”

My question for Meacham is this:

“What exactly were you trying to convey and how did short shorts and legs help you convey that message?”

Paul supporters get early start on 2012 election

In politics on November 10, 2009 at 10:48 pm

The 2012 presidential election may be three years away, but that has not stopped enthusiastic Ron Paul supporters from starting his campaign. Nothing is official as of yet, but Paul’s supporters have already created a Web site, DraftRonPaul.com, urging people to pledge their support for Paul in the 2012. The newly created site has 1,149 pledges, 1,483 Facebook fans, 105 Twitter followers and 128 subscribers to its YouTube channel. The Web site appears to have been launched only four days ago on Nov. 6.

Ron Paul has yet to make his bid for the presidency official but his Web site is already sporting “Ron Paul for President 2012” bumper stickers and T-shirts. And after asking whether or not Ron Paul  should run for president in 2012, RonPaul.com is now polling supporters to find out who they think should be Paul’s running mate in 2012.

Whether or not Ron Paul will attempt the 2012 presidency remains to be seen. And whether or not he actually has a shot also remains to be seen. But even if Paul doesn’t become the next president of the United States, his message will remain.

The real “change” brought about by the 2008 presidential race was not the election of Barack Obama. It was Ron Paul and the movement he started. A movement that refuses to  go away.

Conservatives’ rosy-colored retrospect of the Bush years

In politics on November 8, 2009 at 1:24 am

Americans suffer from long-term memory loss. Their short term works just fine. It’s every four to eight years, when the changing of the guard occurs in Washington D.C., that they seem to forget what they learned from their own party. When the other “side” returns to power they are once again happy to cling to their partisan beliefs and take comfort in their partisan news sources.

Point in case: the conservatives.

During the eight years of the Bush administration, many conservatives learned a lesson. The scales fell of their eyes, so to speak.

After 9/11, many conservatives, caught up in the fervor of patriotism and the fear of terrorism, supported George W. Bush. When he stood at ground zero and spoke through his megaphone, they listened. But as the war on terror escalated, along with the war on domestic terror, many on the right began to have their doubts.

The PATRIOT Act, Military Commissions Act and renewal of FISA were just some of the actions by the Republicans and Bush that began to raise red flags for many conservatives. Even FOX News lost much of its likeability with its war trumpeting, support for the PATRIOT Act and belittling of 9-11 “truthers” and Ron Paul supporters. Many on the right began to realize that the two-party system was, in reality, a one-party system. Their long held beliefs that the Republican Party was the party of small government and liberty were shattered.

And when Bush bailed out the banking industry, simultaneously increasing the national debt and federal government power, conservatives appeared to have had enough.

But nine months into the leftist Obama administration and conservatives are once again tuning into FOX News — confident this time, Beck and Hannity are on their side.

It’s as if conservatives are betrayed “lovers” who swore never to go back to the party they loved after being cheated on. But after professing its undying love and promising to be faithful, the Republican Party/FOX News machine has once again wooed many conservatives.

Conservatives now are more concerned with ACORN and socialism than they are the permanent threats to their civil liberties George W. Bush created. They have forgotten their brief, anti-war sympathies and traded them in for a watchful, ready eye on Iran. 

Perhaps conservatives and liberals will never permanently reject the parties supposedly representing them. Maybe it’s human nature to want to believe in ideological differences and take sides. If four to eight years is all it takes for partisans to forget the atrocities committed by their own party, perhaps a one-party system is what they deserve.

Future of America vs. the establishment

In politics on November 3, 2009 at 9:12 pm

The Republican Party is a sinking ship. Or at least it will be it the not-so-distant future.

There is a major shift happening in the mind of the average Republican/conservative and it does not involve the agenda of the long-established party elite. Unless GOP leaders like Lindsey Graham and John McCain can devise a way to quickly makeover the image of the party of bailouts an war, its future doesn’t look so bright.

What these powerful men fail to realize, or refuse to realize, is that their out-of-date marketing model is dying with the generations that bought into it. The youth of today are less concerned about being a Republican and more concerned about the U.S. Constitution and the liberties it’s intended to protect.

Seventy-four-year-old Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), is more in-tune with America’s future than most young politicians. In a recent interview with CNN, Paul challenged the GOP establishment, suggesting that he and his followers are the future of conservatism:

“And one thing that nobody seems to pay attention to is that, why should they run us off? We’re the ones who reach the college kids, the young people, how many Republicans really reach the teenagers and the college kids? Those are the people that are gathering at our rallies and they have to ask why?

What are they going to do with the party pandering to the old, country club Republicans and acting like Democrats and bailout funds and tarp funds, and those kinds of things just won’t hold up for the Republican party. That’s why the Republican Party has been losing and we’re suggesting that they live up to what they profess to believe in.”

Hopefully, our friends leaning left and will similarly ditch their half of the archaic two-party model. It’s encouraging to watch the growing progressive movement, which seems to have convictions that transcend the Democratic Party.

If only the potheads and the gun rights people would get together, for liberty …

Lindsey Graham and party patriotism

In politics on October 27, 2009 at 11:38 pm

Sanctity of life, Second Amendment, family and business are what matter to the Republican Party, at least according to Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).

Graham is one of my very favorite Republicans. Why? Because he so embodies the spirit of the Republican Party — and the Democratic Party for that matter.

In April, Graham, speaking at a Republican Party convention in Greenville, South Carolina, reminded voters why he and the Republican Party are so super.

“Here’s what I care about. I care about this party, and I care about this country,” Graham said.

Hmmm, party and country …

Graham said he became involved in politics because, “I believe that’s what God had planned for me to do.”

In tow with two-party politics, Graham proceeded to tear into the Democrats and Obama, using all-too common fear tactics:

“The Obama agenda, if you look at it closely, should scare you,” Graham said. “The only thing standing between the Obama agenda and absolutely everything passing is the United States’ Senate. Our house members are wonderful people, but the Democrats have a huge majority and Nancy Pelosi is not open minded about how to run the house.”

Graham’s solution to the scourge of liberalism is simple: Vote more Republicans into power. 

“In 2010 we have a chance to get back in the ballgame,” he said. 

Graham attempted to sound like a conservative when he began speaking about government spending and the ever growing deficit. However, he tried to downplay the right’s role in the matter, saying that Obama and the Democrats have “spent more money in 90 days than George W. Bush and the Republicans did on Katrina, Iraq and Afghanistan combined.”

“What do liberals do? They raise taxes on the rich, they grow the government, and they cut defense,” he said. “We’re spending our country into oblivion. I want to do something about it. I want to grow this party.”

Graham is right that we are spending this country into oblivion. But if he thinks the way to fix the problem is by expanding the power of the party of bailouts and war, he’s a fool.

Ironically, Graham calls for a reduction in deficit spending while at the same time demanding the expansion of America’s military and war spending. Recently, he told Fox News’ Brett Baier that America needs to attack Iran before Ahmadinejad obtains weapons (his reason being to protect Israel of course).

But perhaps the most revealing aspect of Graham’s speech was his conclusion in which he tried to distance himself from libertarians and Ron Paul.

“In conclusion, I am a Republican right of center. I am not a libertarian. I am not a member of the Constitutional Party. I respect those that are. I like Ron Paul but he is not the leader of our party. I am a Ronald Reagan, Strom Thurmond, Carroll Campbell, Lindsey Graham Republican. When it comes to the sanctity of life, the Second Amendment, your family, your business, I will be there for the conservative caucus. But I am going to try to make my country stronger than I found it, I’m going to make this party bigger.”

So, if you are a card carrying member of the Republican Party or simply a conservative who wants to stem the tide of ungodly liberalism, here’s is your chance. Join Lindsey Graham in 2010 and 2012 in growing the Republican Party. Vote Republican, save your country.

Understanding libertarianism part I

In liberty and rights, politics on October 19, 2009 at 4:45 am

Before we can debate, we must first know what we are talking about. In an age of disinformation where anyone can become a news source via the Internet, its more important than ever to research before we regurgitate.

Point in case, the word libertarian.

In my recent post, I attempted to point out the contradiction and deceitfulness of conservative, pro-war radio personalities such as Glenn Beck, Mark Levin and Sean Hannity declaring themselves libertarians.

However, some of the post’s commenters argued that libertarianism and an aggressive, interventionist foreign policy can coexist — claiming there is a distinct difference between uppercase Libertarians and lowercase libertarians.

The difference between uppercase and lowercase libertarians is this: one is a proper noun and the other is not.

Libertarians with an uppercase L refers to members of the Libertarian Party. Lower case libertarians adhere to basic libertarian philosophy. Although I am not a member of the Libertarian Party and do not describe myself as a libertarian, my political philosophy would undoubtedly be categorized as libertarian by others.

So then, we must understand what basic libertarian philosophy is. To do this, it is important to understand the history of libertarianism.

Unlike the Libertarian Partys Web site which starts its history in 1971 when the party was founded, libertarianism goes back much further. Today’s libertarianism has its roots in classical liberalism and the enlightenment ideals of early America. Namely, individual liberty and limited government.

However, modern libertarianism began in the 20th century with the formation of the Old Right. The Old Right arose from Republicans and even progressives who were in opposition to FDRs and the Democrats New Deal. 

Former dean of the Austrian School of economics and founder of libertarianism, Murray in Rothbard, describes the Old Right in his article The Life and Death of the Old Right:

The Old Right was firmly opposed to conscription as well as war or foreign aid, favored free markets and the gold standard, and upheld the rights of private property as opposed to any sort of invasion, including coerced integration. The Old Right was socially conservative, middle class, welcoming people who worked for a living or met a payroll, and was the salt of the earth. [They were] opposing statism at home and war and intervention abroad.

However, the 1950s and its red fever saw the demise of the Old Right and its noninterventionist ideals. The New Right, as described by Rothbard, was determined to crush isolationism, and to remold the right-wing into a crusade to crush Communism all over the world, and particularly in the Soviet Union.

Understanding libertarianism part II

In liberty and rights, politics on October 19, 2009 at 4:26 am

Fast forward to the 1960s where the beginnings of what is now the modern conservative movement were taking hold. Conservative founding fathers such as William F. Buckley Jr. and Barry Goldwater were preaching a more aggressive foreign policy.

The ideological split today between conservatives and libertarians can be illustrated by the split between conservative and libertarian youth at the 1969 Young Americans for Freedom convention in St. Louis.

Nick Gillespie, senior editor of the popular libertarian magazine REASON, describes the events and underlying ideological differences leading to the split in his article The Other Side of the Sixties: Young Americans for Freedom and the Rise of Conservative Politics:

By the late ’60s, the ideological divisions in YAF between conservatives — who, heavily influenced by people such as Buckley in-law and Goldwater speechwriter, L. Brent Bozell, saw the state as a means to achieve a return to a “traditional” society — and libertarians — who championed individual liberty above all else — could no longer be masked over by an overriding commitment to anti-communism. The Vietnam War — or, more precisely, the draft — effectively split the organization. Conservatives felt the Cold War legitimized conscription; libertarians saw the draft as slavery.

Gillespies last line, libertarians saw the draft as slavery, is key to understanding the libertarian view on war and force.

Libertarians subscribe to a non-interventionist foreign policy. Why? Because libertarians do not believe in force and coercion unless they are in defense of an individuals liberty. The only time libertarians believe government, a surrogate power, has the right to use force is when infringement on an individuals liberty has occurred. Thus the government is only doing what the individual already has a right to do herself, and nothing more. 

If one expands the libertarians view on individual sovereignty to the world abroad, it becomes clear that a noninterventionist foreign policy is the only logical conclusion for the libertarian. For how can one nations government, the surrogate power of that nations peoples, force itself on the government and peoples of a foreign land?

Not only does a libertarian consider foreign intervention unconstitutional, he considers it outside the rightful jurisdiction of the American government. For the American government represents the American people and the American people alone. Only the America people are subject to its force.

However, the libertarian does allow for self defense, as it is the inherent right of the individual. Once an infringement on an individuals liberty has occurred, the individual then has the right to defend himself. In the same manner, the American government, acting in place of individual Americans, has the right to defend the nation.

Harry Brown, former Libertarian Party presidential candidate and libertarian philosopher, discussed libertarian foreign policy in his May 2003 article, Libertarians and War. Brown was surprised to see some self-described libertarians supporting the Iraq War, either arguing that A) Saddam Hussein was an imminent threat that demanded preemptive action, or B) the Iraqi people deserved to be liberated from such a dictator.

Brown concludes:

Government is force, and libertarians distrust force. On every count of libertarian principles, we should demand that the use of force against foreign countries be reserved for response to direct attacks — not to be used for “regime change,” not for “democracy-building,” not for pre-emptive attacks, not for demonstrations of strength.

It is possible to be a libertarian and believe in preemptive war and interventionism. But it is not libertarian to believe so. 

For further reading and understanding of libertarianism, check out REASON TV, Lew Rockwell and The Cato Institute.

Time Magazine asks Ron Paul about the Fed, marijuana, media bias

In Federal Reserve, politics on September 23, 2009 at 4:01 am

Recently, on Time Magazine’s “10 Questions,” Rep. Ron Paul was asked ten questions submitted by readers. A total of 220 questions were submitted.

In the interview, Paul talks about his new book, End the Fed. Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill, HR 1207, has received the support of two-thirds of the House of Representatives.

Addressing the current financial crisis, Paul tells the Time reporter:

“The Federal Reserve is the culprit and if we can get an audit we could reveal exactly what they do. Because they deal in trillions of dollars of extending loans to special interests, special banks, special corporations, they make deals with other central banks and other governments of the world. So they’re a government to themselves and they print their own money.”

Watch out (again) for Ron Paul in 2012.