Thursday, September 22, 2005

GOP House Leader Says There's No Room to Cut Federal Budget

This came in my recent Liberator Online newsletter from the Advocates for Self-Government. If you haven't been there, go already - they're one of the best libertarian grass-roots organizations out there.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) wins, hands-down, the award for the single most mind-bogglingly absurd political comment of recent weeks (if not years).

Fiscal conservatives have expressed alarm over the Bush administration's proposal to spend
anywhere from $60 billion to $200 billion or more in New Orleans disaster relief. Many argue that this money should at least be raised by cutting unnecessary federal spending, rather than by still more deficit spending.

But that's just not possible, countered Rep. DeLay in a press conference after the president's proposal. Get this: DeLay said that Republicans have done such a stellar job of slashing federal spending during the past decade that there simply is no place left in the federal budget where further cuts are possible. (No, he wasn't joking.) According to DeLay, the GOP has won an "ongoing victory" against wasteful federal spending.

"My answer to those that want to offset the spending is sure, bring me the offsets, I'll be glad to do it. But nobody has been able to come up with any yet," the Texas Republican told reporters. "Yes, after 11 years of Republican majority we've pared [the federal budget] down pretty good."
The GOP House Leader's comments stunned and outraged fiscal conservatives and libertarians, who have watched President Bush and the GOP Congress lead one of the biggest social spending sprees of all time.

The arch-conservative New Hampshire Union-Leader newspaper responded bluntly: "That has to be the lie of the year. The only thing Congressional Republicans have pared down is the party's reputation." DeLay, the paper charged, is guilty of "lying to the American people about how their government is being run."

The San Diego Union-Leader similarly noted:
"Since the GOP took over Congress in 1994, the supposed party of small government has presided over the largest expansion of federal spending since the New Deal -- and, no, that doesn't count the post-9/11 spikes in military and homeland security spending. This binge has only accelerated with a Republican president. No wonder the president blithely touts a $100 billion-plus rebuilding of New Orleans without outlining how to pay for it; his indifference to running up $1 trillion in total debt since 2001 shows it might as well be Monopoly money to him."

"If Mr. DeLay actually believes what he said then he has clearly lost touch with reality wrote John Berthoud, president of the National Taxpayers Union, in the Wall Street Journal.
"After all, total federal spending, aside from interest, has increased 79 percent since 1995 -- much greater than the inflationary increase in prices of 28 percent. Republicans have dramatically increased the size of government to an extent not seen since Richard Nixon was in the White House."

Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) -- a nonpartisan organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government -- was quick to respond with a long list of specific proposals for cutting.

CAGW released "Prime Cuts 2005," which catalogues 600 recommendations throughout the government that could save taxpayers $232 billion in fiscal year 2006 and $2 trillion over the next five years.

Just a few examples from "Prime Cuts" of programs that could be abolished: Community Development Block Grants (saving $24.7 billion over five years); the White House's National Youth Anti-drug Media Campaign (saving $1 billion over five years); the Advanced Technology Program (saving $750 million over five years) and on and on it goes, page after page of waste, duplication, and federal destructiveness.

Our own suggestion is that Rep. DeLay spend some time talking with his fellow Texas Republican House colleague, libertarian Congressman Ron Paul. We have no doubt at all that Congressman Paul could come up with a few suggestions for trimming the budget.
In fact, Congressman Paul has proposed a bill, The Liberty Amendment, to restrict the federal government to performing only those functions permitted it under the Constitution. (Talk about a radical proposal!) Doing so would cut the federal government so dramatically that the entire federal income tax could easily be abolished.

Unfortunately, only two GOP Congressmen have thus far signed on to support it. Perhaps Congressman Paul could persuade DeLay to be the third?

I didn't put add any links to the story, but did correct some formatting - this is as it appears. Check the sources yourself, and for the love of all that is free, if you live in DeLay's district, vote him out ASAP.

Friday, September 16, 2005

America Has Fallen to a Jacobin Coup by Paul Craig Roberts

Very bleak, very black, very depressing - don't read the linked storyif you scare or worry easily, or if you voted for Bush.

The only problem I have with it is that is merely spells out, rather clearly, what's wrong, but offers no prescriptive advice on how to correct it. Waiting until the next election is clearly not the answer - the only party who might have an inkling of cleaning things up is the Libertarian, and in today's divisive political climate, there's hardly any room for a third party to get a word in edgewise. Impeach Bush? Big deal, didn't do anything to Clinton other than give us another reality TV show. I'm telling you, we held a revolution and a war between the states over less crap than this...

You know, one thing has hit me - Republicans were all over Clinton over Whitewater, a money making scheme that seemed to fail. Aren't the Republicans supposed to the party of Rich White Guys? Seems that money-making ventures (Halliburton, SnL scandal) would be something they could get behind. Now, the Democrats aren't getting over Bush's War (not sure why) - aren't they supposed to be the war-mongers? WWI, WWII, Viet Nam - all Democratic President's. Seems like the tables are turning - the Conservatives are the war-mongerers, and the Democrats are the money-grubbers. Like they both saw the grass on the other side, and decided to see if it was greener or not. Just cements my belief that there's no difference between the two major parties. At all.

America Has Fallen to a Jacobin Coup by Paul Craig Roberts

Thursday, September 15, 2005

World Peace Herald

Apparently, all the other religion and government issues have been resolved, so now we can tackle the crap issues. Not that this isn't important, but in light of evolution v. creationism in government schools, and the U.S. Military freeing the people of Iraq to come up with a Constitution based firmly and solely on Sharia law, this is really small potatoes.

I like the fact that Tom DeLay calls the Pledge a "vital, ennobling part of our national identity", despite the fact that the Pledge was written in 1882 by Francis Bellamy, a Baptists minister, Freemason, and Socialist in order to foster a his socialist vision of a centralized government run economy; that he put in "one nation" to support the Lincolnian vision of a federal republic superior to the individual States and the people; and the "under God" clause was not added until 1954 after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic lay organization. Vital and ennobling my aching ass - it's a way to indoctrinate youths into the social order our Government has in store for them. It fits very well into the structure of public schools, derived from Prussian military schools where the commoners went to learn basic skills, learn to follow orders, obey the command structure, and jump when a horn was sounded.

From a strictly procedural position, it could be worse - we could have the pledge devised by George T. Balch in 1892, which included a flag salute that included, with the right arm, touching your forehead, then your heart, then outstretching it, palm down, in the direction of the flag - in other words, a very scary mix of the Catholic ritual of crossing oneself (minus the shoulder to shoulder motion) with a Nazi salute (to be fair, the Nazi party wasn't in existance yet). His pledge also included pledging your hearts and heads to God and Country, and endorsed the notion of an official language.

Some interesting links on the Pledge:

World Peace Herald

Sunday, September 11, 2005

The Flight That Fought Back

I just got through watching "The Flight That Fought Back", a special on UA Flight 93, the fourth hijacked airplane from 9/11/01 that crashed in Pennsylvania. It was affirming - the passengers of Flight 93 were acting as the citizen's militia when they attacked the hijackers, causing the plane to crash into an empty field rather than into a random building in Washington. I have nothing but the greatest respect to those people, and honor their memory and their families.

But I have a problem with some of the messaging surrounding the program. The CEO of Ask Jeeves said it, Elizabeth Wanio's sister said it, and the new website dedicated to erecting a memorial to the flight - that the people on that flight sacrificed themselves to protect the lives of others. While in hindsight, that is true, I doubt it was the first thing these people were thinking when they attacked the terrorists. They wanted to take the plane back - they had a pilot on the ground (the husband of a flight attendant), a pilot on the plane, and a plan to retake the plane. They wanted to live.

Part of me is angry at this spin on the passengers of Flight 93. Their actions and memories are being used, rather cheaply, to advance the the false morality of self-sacrifice (yes, I subscribe to Ayn Rand's philosophy). This idea, that self-sacrifice is the highest moral behavior one can aspire to, is cancerous to the ideals of liberty, where self-reliance, self-responsibility, and individual integrity are the ultimate aspirations. Self-sacrifice is a form of cowardice, the triumph of feeling over accomplishment, the antithesis of personal accomlishment and integrity.

For the record, in my opinion, the lesson of Flight 93 is that individual's acting of their own free will are more powerful that anything government can put together.

The fallout from 9/11/01 has actually made it harder for a group of citizens on a hijacked airline to do what these heroes did. They at least has forks and knives from the airline galley - now they'll have to fight attackers with plastic utensils. Since terrorists don't follow the rules to begin with, why do we assume they won't have knives? There have been potential terrorists who have caught on planes with blades and shoe bombs - how will we fight back now? And how effective has the TSA been in stopping people from getting on airplanes without weapons? I know they've managed to keep babies off planes and disarm grandmothers of knitting needles.

Anyway, I did enjoy the movie, and think the passengers of Flight 93 embodied the truest ideals of what it means to be American. Too bad our elected officials can't say the same thing.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Appeals Court Rules No Right to Trial for U.S. Citizen Jose Padilla

Well, there it is - and you thought the Constitution meant something to this administration. Think again.

We held a revolution and a War Between the States for less than this.

Media Alert | September 9, 2005 | Appeals Court Rules No Right to Trial for U.S. Citizen Jose Padilla

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Gouge On

A follow-on to my September 1 posting on price gouging - here's some Economics 101 on Price Controls that should make you think twice about calling your Congressman to complain about high prices...

Friday, September 02, 2005

Why Aren't Public Schools More Like Universities?

Interesting article comparing American universities (which foreigners flock to) to American K-12 schools (which even Americans want to avoid). The entire argument is pro-privatization, which I support for just about everything government currently handles as "entitlements".

Why Aren't Public Schools More Like Universities?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

In Defense of Price Gouging

A good essay by John R. Lott, Jr. and Sonya D. Jones on why "price gouging" is another politcal dirty word...

In Defense of Price Gouging by John R. Lott, Jr. and Sonya D. Jones