Category Archives: Elections

A #British Libertarian’s #Voting Strategy

Britain, Elections, libertarianism

As a private individual, and not in his capacity as director of the UK Libertarian Alliance, Sean Gabb, to whose Libertarian Alliance Blog I contribute, summed up his voting strategy thus: He voted for the people he hates to keep out the people he fears.

The big differences are the survival of England and of political accountability. If the Conservatives remain in government after today, they will allow another reasonably free election in 2020. If Labour forms a government, it will fix the voting system to keep itself in power till street protests are needed to remove it. This fixing will be dressed up as “electoral reform.” Moreover, if Labour must rely on Scottish support, the price will involve some Balkanising of England. In or out of the United Kingdom, Scotland cannot be an important entity in the British Isles so long as there is an England. Therefore, any reasonable Scottish nationalist will need to press for the dissolution of England into a group of devolved and squabbling territories. Only the Conservatives stand in the way of this.

My vote is unlikely to determine who wins the election in my constituency. But it may add to a Conservative victory in England in terms of votes if not of seats. This will give Mr Cameron the right to insist that he is the real winner today, and that he should be allowed to stay in government.

Judged by libertarian standards, the Conservatives in government have been half useless and half malevolent. I despise them and I hate them. But I fear Labour. For this reason, I see it as my duty to vote for the lesser of evils. Voting is more of a public duty than a private right, and I see it as my duty to vote for the people I hate to keep out the people I fear.

In closing, I will repeat that this should in no sense be regarded as a recommendation from the Libertarian Alliance. I am speaking not ex cathedra as Director of the Libertarian Alliance, but as a private individual. I also accept that I may be wrong. …

… Read “The Evil Party or the Stupid Party? A Topic for Debate, not a Recommendation.”


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Ted Cruz And The Loretta Lynch Confirmation

Conservatism, Drug War, Elections, Law, Republicans, Uncategorized

Claiming that the cloture vote was “the only one that mattered,” the staff of Ted Cruz excused the senator’s conspicuous absence from the Senate’s final vote, today, to confirm Loretta Lynch for attorney general. Cruz was probably “en route to Texas” for a fundraiser.

Who am I to argue with Ted Cruz on Constitutional matters? He’s a superb scholar on that front. It is, however, fair to point out that Cruz’ failure to register a vote on this final and ghastly nomination was unseemly.

Eric Holder’s only redeeming feature as attorney general was that he put a crimp in the War on Drugs and in “mass incarceration.”

Lynch was actually a drug prosecutor. The other thing Lynch had no shame in doing was shaking down banks: she extracted a “US$7 billion settlement” from Citigroup.

“The Senate later voted 56-43 to confirm Lynch. Cruz was the only member of the chamber not to vote.” (Politico)


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Hillary’s Old Hat Already

Education, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Morality

Make community college “free.” “[T]here’s something deeply wrong’ about students and their families needing to go into debt to finance a college education.” Those were Hillary Clinton’s strokes of genius, proposed during her first meet-and-greet, mainly with members of the press, on the campaign trail, in MONTICELLO, Iowa.

Didn’t we have The Same Talk, back in April of 2012, about America’s next financial bubble in search of a pin: the $1 trillion student-loan debt? Campaigning in Iowa, where Mrs. Clinton was today, didn’t B. H. Obama promise America’s miseducated Millennials to keep the student-loan bubble from bursting?

Earlier that year, during his State of the Union address of January 2012, Barry Soetoro Frankenstein vowed to keep the student-loan bubble afloat by mandating more loans at fixed prices.

Watch media react with wonderment at Hillary’s “fresh” robbery plans.

On the other hand, a message about the immorality of undertaking more debt than one can afford is a message that has not been tried before.


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Libertarians, Brace For Heartbreak

Elections, Foreign Policy, libertarianism

David Gordon is hopeful. “Surely it is grounds for optimism when one finds a knowledgeable account of [Murray] Rothbard in The New Republic!” he remarks. David is referring to “Rand Paul Will Break Libertarian Hearts, Just Like Reagan Did” by Jeet Heer. An excerpt:

… The late Murray Rothbard, a towering intellectual and political activist in libertarian circles, was a striking example. During the 1940s, he belonged to New York’s Young Republican Club, but during the Cold War he concluded that the GOP’s militarism was a betrayal of the traditional anti-war and isolationist principles of the Old Right. During the 1950s, Rothbard preferred Democrat Adlai Stevenson to Eisenhower, and while some other libertarians like Milton Friedman jumped on the Goldwater bandwagon in the early 1960s, Rothbard still distrusted the Republicans. “Goldwater and the Conservative Movement are not only not libertarian, but the preeminent enemies of liberty in our time,” Rothbard wrote in 1964 in a letter to a small libertarian magazine called the Innovator. “For the Goldwaterites are, first, aggressive and ardent champions of American imperialism and intervention in political affairs all over the globe; and, second and most important, are eager advocates of nuclear war against the Soviet Union.” During the heady days of the late 1960s, when he dreamed of a new politics cutting across the traditional left-right spectrum, Rothbard even forged an alliance with the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, preferring them to Nixon’s Republicans.

Although Rothbard had a propensity for extremist gestures, he shouldn’t be dismissed as a fringe figure, at least not among libertarians. His application of Austrian economic theory to America, formulating a critique of the Federal Reserve as a central source of bad policy, was widely influential, not least on Rand Paul’s father, Ron Paul. Moreover, Rothbard’s allergic reaction to the Republican Party was widely shared within the libertarian movement, culminating in 1971 with the formation of the Libertarian Party (LP).

The party—founded by David Nolan, an anti-statist advertising man who was disgusted by Nixon’s embrace of wage and price control—quickly gained the support of a wide swath of the libertarian movement, including generous subsidies from David and Charles Koch. David Koch was even the LP’s vice presidential candidate in 1980. In the 1970s, the Koch Brothers seemed to have shared Rothbard’s hope that libertarians forge a partnership with the radical left. In the mid-1970s, Charles Koch made a bid to buy The Nation magazine, hoping to use it as a wedge for an opening to left-of-center opinion. When that attempt failed, Koch financed Inquiry, a libertarian journal that published many left-wing radicals like Noam Chomsky.

For Rothbard, the mission of the LP was to be a “party of principle,” as against the GOP, a party of expediency. This disgruntlement with the GOP remained core to the LP’s identity. Andre Marrou, who was the LP’s presidential candidate in 1992, despite his checkered history of not making child care support payments, voiced the common consensus when he said in 1991 that Nixon “really disappointed me. He didn’t cut government like he said he would—just like Bush and Reagan.” After a lifetime of spurning the GOP, Rothbard returned to the Republican fold in 1992, just three years before his death, giving his blessing to George H.W. Bush. Rothbard became a born-again Republican because he saw Pat Buchanan’s success in the primaries as proof that there was a still a vital anti-establishment wing to the party. Ron Paul, who was deeply swayed by the ideas of Rothbard and his ideological mate Lew Rockwell, made a similar return to the GOP. The Koch Brothers, perhaps out of pragmatism, have also turned their energies toward the Republican Party.

Yet if there has been a Republican turn among libertarians, it is worth remembering that this movement has come from people who don’t see the GOP as their ideal vehicle but rather as a necessary evil. Moreover, Rand Paul is not necessarily one of those people. Unlike his father, he didn’t leave the Republican Party and return as a blistering libertarian voice. He has always been a Republican, albeit one that spoke with a libertarian lilt …

MORE.


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Carly Fiorina Kills It

Business, Economy, Elections, Hillary Clinton, Politics

Former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina, soon to be a presidential candidate, comes across as a genius compared to the low IQ Hillary Clinton (as Ann Coulter diagnosed The Hildebeest).

As libertarian economist Murray Rothbard reminded, there “are two mutually exclusive ways of acquiring wealth”—the economic means is honest and productive, the political means is dishonest and predatory. … but oh so very effective. Democrats, who respect only the predatory political way of making a living—will hammer Fiorina for her business career.

Fiorina is eloquent in this candid interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace.

WALLACE: Amid a crowded 2016 Republican field, the challenge now becomes finding a way to stand out. If she runs, former Hewlett-Packard chief Carly Fiorina would have no trouble doing that as the only woman in the GOP field. In recent weeks, she has also become a leading critic of Democratic front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Ms. Fiorina, welcome back to “Fox News Sunday.”

CARLY FIORNIA, FORMER HEWLETT PACKARD CHIEF: Great to be with you. Happy Palm Sunday.

WALLACE: Well, thank you.

What are the chances that you’re going to run for president?

FIORINA: Very high.

WALLACE: You’re a former businesswoman. Give me a number.

FIORINA: Higher than 90 percent.

WALLACE: Really?

FIORINA: Yes, sir.

WALLACE: So what would prevent you? Why aren’t you willing to announce right here today, I’m a candidate for president?

FIORINA: Well, because, you know, we need — as other potential candidates are doing, we need to make sure we have the right team in place, that we have the right support, that we have the right financial resources lined up, just as all the other potential candidates are doing.

WALLACE: And when would you announce?

FIORINA: Probably late April, early May.

WALLACE: If you run, and it would be in a field of current and former governors, several current senators, why should Republican voters pick you?

FIORINA: Because I have a deep understanding of how the economy actually works, having started as a secretary and become the chief executive of the largest technology company in the world because I understand how the world works and know many of the world leaders on the stage today because I understand technology, a transformational tool, because I understand bureaucracies — how they work and how you need to change them and our government is a huge bureaucracy, and because I understand executive decision-making, which is making tough calls in tough times with high stakes for which you’re prepared to be held accountable.

WALLACE: OK. Let’s talk specifically about your experience as a business executive. Beyond the typical Republican talking points, not to say that they’re wrong, but what are your ideas that are different about the economy and about dealing with our national debt?

FIORINA: Well, I think we have two fundamental structural problems in our economy. One is that we have tangled people up in a web of dependence from which they can’t escape. We’re leaving lots of talent on the field. Secondly, we’re crushing small businesses now.

Elizabeth Warren is right, crony capitalism is alive and well. Big business and big government go hand in hand. But for the first time in U.S. history now, we are destroying more businesses than we are creating. And so, while we have 10 banks, too big to fail, now have become five big banks too big to fail, 3,000 community banks have gone out of business, and that’s where family-owned and small businesses get their chance. That’s important because small businesses create two thirds of the new jobs and employ half the people.

So, if we want mainstream and the middle class going and growing again, we’ve got to get small and family-owned businesses going and growing again. Washington, D.C. has become a vast unaccountable bureaucracy. It’s been growing for 40 years. We have no idea how our money is spent.

I think there are two things that would help tremendously. One, zero base budgeting, so we know where the money is spent. We’re talking about the whole budget and not just the rate of increase.

And two, pay for performance in our civil service. We have — how many inspector general reports do we need to read that say, you know, you can watch porn all day and get paid exactly the same way as somebody who is trying to do their job?

WALLACE: But, Ms. Fiorina, and you know this is coming, your record at head of Hewlett Packard, and you were the CEO for five and a half years, and you were the first woman to lead a Fortune 100 company, is going to be controversial. Let’s put up some of the things on the screen.

During your five and a half years, you laid off — the company laid off more than 30,000 American workers, many of those jobs went to India and China, and Hewlett-Packard stock fell 49 percent and the board of directors fired you.

Isn’t that a record that you’re going to get hammered with?

FIORINA: Well, I’m very proud of our record. We took Hewlett-Packard from about $44 billion to $88 billion in six years. We took the growth rate from 2 percent to 9 percent. We tripled the rate of innovation to 11 patents a day. We quadrupled cash flow.

We went from a market laggard to a market leader in every product category and every market segment. And we grew jobs.

It is true that I managed through the worst technology recession in 25 years. You will remember the NASDAQ has only now recovered to its dotcom boom highs after 15 years. So, virtually, every technology stock was down over that same period.

And while it’s true that in a technology recession, we had to lay people off, many of those people were in Europe and elsewhere, and the truth is we outsourced more California jobs to Texas than we did to India or China, demonstrating we have to compete for every job.

WALLACE: But you know what’s going to happen. If you were the nominee, exactly what happened to Mitt Romney. There were 30,000 American jobs that were lost and they can get two or three or 200 people to go on and say, well, Carly Fiorina got a $20 million severance package, I lost my job. I mean, they’ll make you look like an unfeeling multimillionaire.

FIORINA: Well, first, I think you’re reading the Democratic talking points because it was not all American jobs. But of course, laying people off is the last resort. It’s a terrible thing to have to do.

But when you are managing through the worst technology recession in 25 years, sometimes there are tough calls that need to be made for the overall health of the enterprise. And in the end, we took a company that was really struggling and turned it into an exceedingly successful company where overall jobs grew.

WALLACE: You seem to take special delight in going after Hillary Clinton. And here is one of your greatest hits.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

FIORINA: Unlike Mrs. Clinton, I know that flying is an activity, not an accomplishment. I have met — I have met Vladimir Putin, and I know that his ambition will not be deterred by a gimmicky red reset button.

Mrs. Clinton, please name an accomplishment.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

WALLACE: That’s pretty good stuff. What is your basic case against Hillary Clinton?

FIORINA: Hillary Clinton lacks a track record of accomplishment. She is not candid, which suggests her character is flawed. And I think now in e-mail gate, we not only have a situation where she is clearly not being candid. I mean, her saying all those e-mails she erased were just her and Bill chatting is a little bit like Richard Nixon saying those erased moments on the tape were he and Pat talking. That’s ridiculous. There’s more than that.

But I also think there’s a confidence issue now. Anyone in 2015 to say you can’t have two e-mail accounts on a single device obviously doesn’t understand technology. When she talks about we had Secret Service agents guarding our server, for heaven’s sakes we’re not concerned about the server being stolen. We’re concerned about the server being hacked.

WALLACE: All right. Let me pick up on that, because Clinton’s lawyers, the latest development is late Friday, they told the House Benghazi committee, there’s no point going after the server because we have wiped clean all of the e-mails and so all of those 30,000 private e-mails, so-called private e-mails are gone. One, what do you make of it? Two, what do Republican investigators do now?

FIORINA: Well, I think it was part of the plan all along that the Clintons had. Look, I think it was very deliberate that they had a private server. I think it was very deliberate that she used a personal e-mail account. I think this clearly was a deliberate effort to shield her communications.

I don’t quite know what the investigators can do at this point, but I know this, we need a nominee who will bring this up in the general election. The reason Benghazi was not enough of an issue in the 2012 election is because, unfortunately, our nominee pulled his punches when he had an opportunity to remind the American people of the Benghazi tragedy and scandal.

WALLACE: So, what are you saying, you won’t pull your punches on Hillary?

FIORINA: Oh, I will not pull my punches — not now and not in a general election.

WALLACE: Some people have suggested, even as I ask it, it sounds sexist, you’re really running to be the running mate, that you would the person to lead the attack against Hillary Clinton. It would be easier for you as a woman attacking another woman and that you would in a sense neutralize the vulnerabilities the Republican Party has with women?

FIORINA: You know, I come from a world outside of politics where track record and accomplishments count, words don’t. If I run for president, it’s because I can win the job and it’s because I can do the job.

WALLACE: Would you even consider being the running mate?

FIORINA: Well, when you start asking all the other candidates that question, then maybe we’ll have that conversation.

WALLACE: Fair enough. Carly Fiorina, thank you for coming in. Always good to talk with you. And we will be following your big decision.

FIORINA: Thank you so much, Chris, for having me.

WALLACE: Please come back here, and let us know.

FIORINA: All right.


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Ted Cruz Too Clever For America

Elections, Intelligence, Media, Republicans

Just the other day, I mentioned the dearth of intelligence in American public life, in the context of Lee Kuan Yew’s passing. Singapore’s recently deceased leader had IT in abundance. So does Sen. Ted Cruz—who announced today, at a convocation speech “at Liberty University, the world’s largest Christian school” that he’ll stand for president, in 2016—although he tries to dumb down for his audience. He has to. As the choice of Barack Obama and George W. Bush before him shows, stupid makes thumping majorities in the US feel comfortable.

A CNN segment used the words “unapologetic” and “unabashed” over and over again about Cruz, implicit in which is that the senator has something for which to apologize.

And why doesn’t the CNN vagina brigade mention that Cruz’s mom “graduated from Rice University with a degree in math and became a pioneering computer programmer in the 1950s and 1960s” ? Now that’s impressive. Cruz comes from an accomplished, high IQ clan.

Rachel Mad Cow delivered her usual snide, smarmy soliloquy about Cruz, but did alight almost enviously on the fact that Cruz’s delivery was flawless, without notes or a teleprompter.

In 2013, Cruz’ old Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz (a liberal) told CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live” that the Texas Republican was one of the sharpest students he has ever had “in terms of analytic skills. I’ve had 10,000 students over my 50 years at Harvard,” said Dershowitz. “He has to qualify among the brightest of the students.”

The more obtuse libertarians will wonder, as they invariably do, how does one both respect Ted Cruz’ intellect while disagreeing with very many of his positions, not least his militarism.

Over these pages we manage to walk and chew gum at once.


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