Sunday, October 28, 2007

Libertarians and libertarians

Libertarians have always been divided into BIG L libertarians (i.e., members of the Libertarian Party) and small l libertarians (i.e., believers in libertarianism as a philosophy). Most libertarians are found outside of the Libertarian Party for several reasons. Most importantly, the Libertarian Party is extremely ineffective and is the province mostly of people who place ideological purity over getting things done.

Thanks in large part to the fusionist movement of Frank Meyer and the early National Review, libertarians are usually associated with the conservative movement, and hence the Republican Party. I for example, have only rarely voted for the Libertarian Party, and usually because the GOP candidate was extremely odorous.

Steven Green of Vodka Pundit (who I suppose will be dealing with the upcoming Clinton Administration the way I plan to) blogged on why he is no longer a Libertarian (though presumably still a libertarian). Glenn Reynolds noted the essay on Pajama Media and pretty much said he felt the same way. This leads to a bunch of other confessions, and Andrew Sullivan blame the lot of them for destroying liberal democracy in America by supporting Bush (OK, maybe a slight exaggeration). Green posts his reply, explaining the difference between Big and little "l" libertarians.

I have always been a Republican, even as my political philosophy has drifted. I have never been a member of the Libertarian Party. While I wish them well, I view them basically as an out for people like me to indicate my displeasure with the GOP. My main problem with the Libertarians goes back to college. It seemed that self-described libertarians were more interested in fighting arcane inter-fraternal philosophical battles rather than discussing real world policy choices. It is like when back during the Nixon Administration, Milton Friedman found himself in conflict with libertarian leaders such as Karl Hess III because Friedman was more interested in guiding policy than fighting losing battles.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

The GOP Debate -- Best Soundbite Ever!

For someone who considers himself a political junkie, I have missed just about every debate. Today I have a good reason, I am at my mother-in-law's house and unable to watch. Stephen Green, as usually, has the best liveblog.

The best soundbite though seems to be this one, from John McCain, regarding fiscal responsibility and the Woodstock Museum:

Why is this man NOT president of the United States?

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Now that people seem to be listening to Huckabee . . .

For some time, I have been arguing that people need to be taking Mike Huckabee seriously.

Now that he is winning straw polls and being looked at, the question arises -- is Mike Huckabee a Nanny Stater? Some see in his record a big government taxer. And despite Huckabee's support of the Fair Tax, the Club for Growth has worries about him.

For some time, I have thought of Huckabee as a serious candidate who deserves more attention. Let's give it to him and see if there is something there.

(HT to Instapundit)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Libertarians and Public Morals

Despite the old fusionism between conservatives and libertarians, one major point on contention between the two groups is partly how to deal with public morals. Jonah Goldberg raises the issue today on NRO -- namely, how should one deal with Madonna or Pamela Anderson? Goldberg, who is not usually considered a traditional or social conservative, is worried, rightly, about how society looks to people whose actions are not exactly up to norms.

I am a self described Catholic Libertarian. While that seems contradictory, I agree with 90% of what social conservatives worry about.

The difference is how to answer. I am all for ME complaining about Madonna's behavior. I am against the GOVERNMENT doing something about it. My belief is that the decline of civil society and standards is not because of government inaction but rather a result of government action (economic and moral) that takes away individual responsibility. If you ignore celebrities, they eventually will act decent or otherwise go away.

So let's address the decline of public morals and civil society by addressing ourselves first.

More on Mother Teresa's Dark Night

I am still reading Mother Teresa's letters. In the days she was forming her missionaries, she frankly was a pain. I feel for her bishop -- he was bombarded by constant letters begging him to grant permission for the Missionaries of Charity. He would tell her to be patient (he needed to get approval from others). Yet she refused to stop. She constantly felt our Lord's presence imploring her to do his will.

If was after she commenced her mission that her dark night began.

Global Warming Solved!!!!!!

I guess it must be -- the Cape Wind Project was killed. So if we do not need cheap, clean, renewable energy to power Teddy's pleasure dome, I guess the whole global warming thing is overrated!

Yea! Al Gore has done it already! Thank you, you're awesome!

Blogging from the Airport

This is awesome!

Huckabee Rising?

Republicans have clearly been unimpressed with their choices for president. McCain's "turn" has sadly (in my opinion) fizzled, Giuliani has not quite reconciled the base, Romney turned out to be a little strange and Thompson was a great non-candidate, as a candidate he has not impressed.

So it is no surprise to me that Mike Huckabee is now being touted as a rising candidate by none other than David Brooks.

Huckabee was a governor, and governors do better in presidential campaigns then Senators. He can point to programs implemented and problems solved, not obscure policy arguments. His main negative is that he does not have a real foreign policy (and unlike 2000, foreign policy (Iraq, Iran, terrorism) will dominate the campaign). His socially conservative roots will put off some (that noise you just heard was Andrew Sullivan banging out another "anti-Christianist" essay), thought to me he comes off somewhat measured and more importantly, a federalist on such matters. And while he supports the Fair Tax, some fiscal conservatives worry about his spending habits as governor.

I have thought for a while that Huckabee should not be ignored. I cannot see him actually winning the nomination, but he is definitely someone the GOP should be listening too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

How I Plan to Survive Another Clinton Presidency

I have become resigned to President Hillary Clinton. Yes, it is more than a year until the election. Not one primary or caucus has been fought and only a handful of super delegates have declared. Not one electoral vote has been cast. And while Andrew Sullivan dreams of Obama, Hugh Hewitt boosts Romney, many of my friends pray for Giuliani, and I continue to have pipe dreams about McCain, I recognize that Hillary Clinton cannot be stopped. And frankly, that thought does not bother me. If she is elected, the sun will rise, and I think she is adult enough to defend the country, support relatively free trade and not give in to the left wing of the Democrats. For most of her husband's presidency I worked 2 blocks away from the White House (enough to get questioned by security when the Chinese President came to town) so I doubt it will have much of an effect on me.

In any event, I have developed a four step program to survive a Hillary presidency.


Assemble the ingredients

I prefer Belevdere myself. I also place the ice in the shaker for a minute or two beforehand to ensure the shaker itself is cold, then add the vodka


Coat your glass in some vermouth.

Just a little, barely enough to coat the glass in a thin layer. Toss out the rest.


Shake and pour.

I like to shake vigorously. This allows the vodka to get nice and cold. Some people claim that shaking "bruises" the liquor. With vodka martinis, that is a myth, and it probably is also a myth with gin.



Some people like lemon peel but I actually prefer olives. However, it seems that those dastardly liberals invaded my house while I was at work and stole all my olives. So I had to settle for pearl onions.


Result -- enough of these and Dennis Kucinich could get elected I won't care. I just hope those damn Democrats don't raise the liquor tax or place a quota on imports of vodka and vermouth. In that case, I wonder how corn liquor martinis would taste?


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ron Paul Wins a Straw Poll

Ron Paul has won the straw poll at the Conservative Leadership Conference. Of course, the MSNBC Headline is "Romney Loses NV Straw Poll"

Straw polls mean nothing and this was a small straw poll at a conservative gathering. Further, Nevada does not have the interest that Iowa and New Hampshire have. But considering how motivated Paul's supporters are, in an early caucus, he could win a few delegates.

I'd also point out that the stereotypical New Hampshire Republican is more of the libertarian "Live Free or Die" variety, so he might surprise folks up there and do better than expected.

And no, I have not been converted to Paul -- just pointing out that the GOP ignores him at its own peril

Al Gore and the Nobel Prize

I am a bit of a skeptic regarding anthropogenic global warming and no fan of Al Gore. I have joked that he got the Nobel for basically making a movie staring Al Gore giving a lecture, though I realize that he has been at this for a long time. I also question the doomsayers claiming planetary doom is imminent, given that personally they are not acting as though planetary doom is imminent.

That said, good for him.

Then again, last year I was very excited about the Peace Prize going to the Grameen Bank. I know that many saw that award as controversial and undeserved.

At any rate, at least finally the world is waking up to the threat of Manbearpig.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Operation Unthinkable -- The British Plan for War with the USSR

I came across this document this evening when looking at The Corner. It is Operation Unthinkable -- the British review for war with Stalin's USSR following World War Two.

The topic of Western Betrayal is still a hot topic in eastern Europe. Many Eastern Europeans feel that the Western powers sold them out to the Soviet Union following World War Two, replacing Nazism with Bolshevism. This feeling is especially strong in Poland, for whom the Western powers ostensibly went to war to defend in 1939. The Poles suffered heavily during World War II, initially suffering German invasion. Later, much of the Polish intelligentsia was wiped out when 23,000 Polish officers were executed by the Soviets at Katyn. Warsaw rose in revolt twice. First, the Jews revolted in 1943. Then, as the Soviet armies neared the city, the Polish Home Army turned on the Germans. The Soviet advance was halted, while the Poles died in large numbers fighting the Germans. The Soviets not only refused to militarily assist the Poles, but they forbid Western assistance.

In the end, Poland found itself at the feet of Stalin.

The problem with Western Betrayal is that in reality there was little the Western allies could do. The British Empire was bankrupt and exhausted. The United States still had to defeat Japan, and in any event, there was no will to turn on our Russian "allies" in the hour of victory. FDR and Churchill were able to get Stalin to agree to free elections -- of course that turned out to be a farce.

Short of the Western Allies going to war with Russia, Poland's fate, and the fate of all of Eastern Europe, was sealed.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

St. Teresa of Avila

Tomorrow (October 15) is the feast day of St. Teresa of Avila. She is one of the most beloved saints in Spain, and one of my favorites. She was from a well of and prominent merchant family (several of her siblings married nobility). She found her vocation after a long search. Her theology was one of prayer and spirit, but she was not a stern Catholic. Rather, she opened herself to the joy of Catholicism. She was also a scholar who found herself enmeshed in the controversies of the day, especially with regards to the controversies between the several Carmelite branches.

Two stories though stand out in my mind. In the first, several of her fellow nuns and some of the novices were disheartened. So in order to raise their spirits, she took out some cymbals and had them dance. In the second, Saint Teresa was visiting a convent on official business when she was fed some delicious partridge. She enjoyed it so much, she asked the novice serving her to get her some more. Which she enjoyed with obvious pleasure. When the novice look a little disapproving, Saint Teresa said (in what I have always imagined was a little bit of sarcasm) "My child, there is a time for penance and a time for partridge."

To me that is one of the keys to Catholicism -- believe, but with joy.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Why a Clinton Presidency is all but Inevitable

Robert George on his blog had something quite interesting to say about the GOP nominating process:

"The double-curse that Republicans bequeath the country is to elect a Bush, who they believe will govern as a Reagan. When that Bush fails, the country responds by electing a Clinton -- who inevitably manage to make the country learn to love government."

I believe there is truth here. As a young GOP true believer, I worked on Bush's campaign in 1988. I thought it would be "phase II" of the Reagan Revolution -- following through on reducing government and the growing deficit but taking off the hard edges. That of course was not to be.

We then ended up with Bill Clinton, who promised that the days of big government were over, then immediately introduced socialized medicine. Learning his lesson, for 8 years he played the Democratic desire for government solutions against the Republican distrust of big government.

So hoping for a Reagan Revival, the GOP looked to the Bush Family again. And we ended up there with big government conservatism.

Which makes a Hilliary Clinton presidency all but inevitable. I wonder if First Lady Bill will look good in a dress.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Court Ruling

Queens, NY October 5, 2007(AP) -

A seven-year old boy was at the center of a courtroom drama yesterday when he challenged a court ruling over who should have custody of him.

The boy has a history of being beaten by his parents and the judge initially awarded custody to his aunt, in keeping with NY State child custody law and regulation requiring that family unity be maintained to the highest degree possible. The boy surprised the court when he proclaimed that his aunt beat him more than his parents and he adamantly refused to live with her. When the judge then suggested that he live with his grandparents, the boy cried and said that they also beat him. After considering the remainder of the immediate family and learning that domestic violence was apparently a way of life among them, the judge took the unprecedented step of allowing the boy to propose who should have custody of him.

Following two recesses to check legal references and confer with the child welfare officials, the judge granted temporary custody to the New York Mets, whom the boy firmly believes are not capable of beating anyone.

(From a friend via e-mail)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Story of a Man named Fred

From Ragged Thots -- the GOP field meets the Beverly Hillbillies.


Belgium, still does not have a government. This has lead to a little schadenfreude from a usual suspect. But mostly in the United States it passes without notice.

So why do I care. I one Belgian and have no attachment to the country. I spend a weekend there about 5 years ago (it rained the entire time) though I had some good beer in Brugge. But I find the current "crisis" fascinating.

Belgium exists solely because in 19th century power politics, the English could not allow the French to control Antwerp, the Prussians wanted a little distance between them and France, the French wanted no power to have troops on their broader, the French speaking elite of Brussels wanted the Dutch out and the Catholic Flemish wanted to Catholicism to be respected. So the great powers found a minor German prince and made him a king.

Today, Belgium has outlived the reason for its birth. The French no longer are any threat to invade Britain, the Germans and French are close buddies and the Walloons and Flemings are no longer on speaking terms in a post nation and post-Christian Europe. The central state of Belgium is disappearing. In 20 years, it will have control of the army, the post office and the foreign service and that is about it. That is, if Belgium still exists in 20 years.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Al Gore and the Iraqi Threat

This has been making the rounds on the Internet the last few days.

So in 1992, Al Gore thought that Iraq posed a terrorist threat and that Saddam Hussein was trying to build weapons of mass destruction. How relevant is that for today? Not sure.

A lot happened between 1992 and 2003 and more has happened in the last 4 yours. But what is not talked about much is that what George Bush said about Iraq in the run up to the invasion was not very different from what Bill Clinton was saying for 8 years.

For a good roundup,m check out the Anchoress.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Saints and Madmen -- St. Francis of Assisi

"Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins."

October 4 is the feast of St. Francis of Assisi. Italians like their saints a little mad and Saint Francis fit the bill. Tearing off his clothes to protest his father's materiality, running off to the woods, preaching to the animals when the people of Assisi refused to listen. He was quite mad, which is why Poor Francis is one of the most beloved saints in Italy.

His mission marked a renewal in the church. Given the ongoing pederasty scandals, we need a new Francis.

Ron Paul Raises $5 Million

Meanwhile, Ron Paul has raised $5 million and has about $5.3 million on hand. That is more than John McCain. While Paul's support is not wide (he is polling nationally in the 2-4% range) , it is deep (his supporters are highly motivated and turn up everywhere). So in an early caucus with that much money he could win a few delegates. That would make for some interesting convention t.v. (I was a volunteer at the 1988 GOP convention -- a convention is simply an excuse to drink).

Reason's take on the continuing Paul boomlet.

One issue is how the Paul factor effects the general election. Ron Paul will not be the GOP nominee. The conventional wisdom is that the Paul supporters are mostly Republicans and most will sit out the general election. I am not so sure about that. Something tells me that Ron Paul supporter Andrew Meyer, aka "Taser Boy", is not a Republican. Still, with Paul at say 4% of the GOP field, that could throw a few close states to the Democrats.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Belgium is Paradise

People really do not think much about Belgium. It is flat, it has beer and fries and that is about it. I was there for 3 days back in 2002 and it rained the entire time.

But thanks to the disputes between the French and Dutch speakers in the country, it has been about 110 days since the last election, and still there is no government.

So Belgium -- Catholic, great beer and no government -- it sounds like paradise to me!

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Click on the above to find out your own geek score.

President Clinton?

On the other hand, The Anchoress (or at least her brother) thinks we should be minting the President Clinton commemorative coins.

Obama says "No Nukes"

Barack Obama is now making his move by calling for a nuclear free world. Obama proposes that the United States enter into discussions to ban all nuclear weapons and prevent others from acquiring them.

It sounds nice, but the nuclear genie is long since out of the bottle. Hence, total disarmament is impossible and considering the nasties out there, I think undesirable. But what might be achievable is to a post-Cold War system of all the nuclear powers (the US, UK, France, Russia, China, India, Pakistan and Israel) to limit total yields, with a verification mechanism (trust but verify are great words to live by).

If Obama wants to do propose something to make people take notice, an idea would be to propose decommissioning the remaining 300 US warheads in Europe. But as I am a Republican, I doubt he will take my advice.

Could we be seeing President Obama?

While Clinton is ahead comfortably in the national polls, the polls in Iowa show a close race between Obama, Clinton and John Edwards. The Iowa caucus is very early this year. Furthermore, as a caucus, depth of support is just as important as breath -- it does not matter if 90% of the people want Clinton if the 10% that wants Obama are the only people willing to show up and stand around a gym on a cold January night. Obama has shown that he excites people, so that may be the advantage for him.

Ryan's Hopeless

The US Women's National Team came in third place in the Women's World Cup in China. But the real story is how coach Greg Ryan's decision to bench keeper Hope Solo for the semi final turned the team into a soap opera. "Ryan's Hopeless" perhaps.

Ryan was already somewhat unpopular among US soccer fans. He seemed to be creating a team to relied on physical strength over soccer skills. Tactics became kicking the ball into the box and hoping Abby Wambach got her head on the ball. He rarely made substitutions, but when he did, they seemed strange.

Then came his decision to replace starting keeper Hope Solo with former starter Briana Scurry for the semi-final against Brazil. His reasoning was that Scurry always played well against Brazil and he claimed that he had planned this for a while. The only problems were that (i) he never told Solo and (ii) Scurry had not played much over the past 2 years.

While Brazil clearly outplayed the US, the situation did not help matters. The defense looked unorganized and the US had a run of bad luck ending in Brazil winning 4-0. Still, Brazil dominated the game and still would have won with Solo in the nets.

Then Solo, who the entire game was on the bench looking annoyed, mouthed off to the press. She was then benched for the third place game. She was not allowed to train or eat with the team. She apologized, but after a team meeting, voted off the island.

Judging from the reaction on, the US soccer fan base mostly supports Solo. The feeling seems to be that she should have started against Brazil, and that while she should not have said what she said after the game, the team should have accepted her apology.

Who says sports are dull!

A Second Look at Mike Huckabee

Or maybe it would be your first. But if you have the chance, listen to Glenn and Helen Reynolds' podcast interview of former Governor Huckabee. I do not agree with him entirely, but what politicians do you ever agree with entirely? While I doubt he will be the nominee, he is someone people should be listening to seriously.

As I have said before, he is definitely NOT your father's evangelical conservative Republican.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Being a Mets Fan

I am glad I no longer live in New York. If I was home, I would be devastated. Now I just feel a bit of annoyance. Half of my family is on suicide watch. Most of the rest are sitting in the corner, incoherently balling to themselves. The few Yankee fans I know are keeping quiet, lest they touch off a time bomb.

One thing to remember though is that most Mets fans either were Brooklyn Dodger fans, or are the children or grandchildren of Dodger fans. So we are used to pain. As my cousin Raymond has said, the worst thing is that the Mets do sometimes win. It is easy to follow a constant winner. It is also easy to embrace losing (as Cubs fans are accused of doing). But Mets fans, you always expect the worst but sometimes things work out.

Well, as they used to say in Brooklyn, "WAIT UNTIL NEXT YEAR!"

The Money Primary

Yesterday the thrid fundraising quarter ended. According to Marc Ambinder of The Atlantic, both Romney and Giuliani have raised enough money to keep gong through February 5. Thompson has also raised quite a bit of money. John McCain has only raised about $5 million (so maybe my earlier post was premature). has an in depth review of fundraising, so once the reports are released on the 15th, it will be interesting to see how it turns out.

The real concern for the GOP should be that the Democratic front runners have raised more money than the GOP leaders.