The First Amendment also has that part about freedom of the press...no?
The Economist does not have a vote, but if it did, it would cast it for Mr Obama. We do so wholeheartedly: the Democratic candidate has clearly shown that he offers the better chance of restoring America’s self-confidence. But we acknowledge it is a gamble. Given Mr Obama’s inexperience, the lack of clarity about some of his beliefs and the prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress, voting for him is a risk. Yet it is one America should take, given the steep road ahead.
It's the "prospect of a stridently Democratic Congress" that I worry about most:
Our main doubts about Mr Obama have to do with the damage a muddle-headed Democratic Congress might try to do to the economy. Despite the protectionist rhetoric that still sometimes seeps into his speeches, Mr Obama would not sponsor a China-bashing bill. But what happens if one appears out of Congress? Worryingly, he has a poor record of defying his party’s baronies, especially the unions. His advisers insist that Mr Obama is too clever to usher in a new age of over-regulation, that he will stop such nonsense getting out of Congress, that he is a political chameleon who would move to the centre in Washington. But the risk remains that on economic matters the centre that Mr Obama moves to would be that of his party, not that of the country as a whole.
After that ominous opening, though, the Spivakless Bice proceeds to paint a picture of contradiction - one that isn't necessarily accurate.
Platinum - Getting beyond Obama the figure. A fact-based look at what an Obama administration means.
Gold - The libertarian vote. One man's struggle.
Silver - Everyone wants energy independence. Is that conventional wisdom sound? (ht/OOTM)
Copper - Everyone's a rogue. George Will slams the McCain-Palin ticket.
Bonus gems found lying in the slag heap:
Topaz - Ingenuity at sea. The prospect of "vortex" wave energy generation.
Ruby - Steel cage match. Picasso versus The Masters. (ht/CP3)
Emerald - Senator Elizabeth Dole's scary-voiced "Godless" ad.
12. The burden of proof shall be on the complainant, who must establish that the violation was committed by the charged student by clear and convincing evidence (not beyond a reasonable doubt). Formal rules of evidence shall not be applicable, nor shall harmless or technical procedural errors be grounds for appeal. All evidence reasonable people would accept in making decisions about their own affairs is admissible. Irrelevant or immaterial evidence will be excluded.
I noticed Byron York's list of historical hurdles to McCain included this nugget:
Of course, as is the case every election, you have the following cycle:
1. Third party groups run negative ads.
2. Newspapers call for elimination of third party ads.
3. Newspapers fail to educate public as to the accuracy of these supposedly “toxic” third party ads.
So he does the fact-checking himself:
There’s no question these groups have the right to run these ads. If the First Amendment means anything, it is to protect unpopular political speech like these campaign spots. But it is incumbent upon media and bloggers to dig deeper to explain what’s going on in these ads. When a local newspaper complains about ads but doesn’t rectify their effect, they are just as complicit in the “toxic” political climate which they decry.
With Palin, however, the contempt for science may be something a little more sinister than the bluff, empty-headed plain-man's philistinism of McCain. We never get a chance to ask her in detail about these things, but she is known to favor the teaching of creationism in schools (smuggling this crazy idea through customs in the innocent disguise of "teaching the argument," as if there was an argument), and so it is at least probable that she believes all creatures from humans to fruit flies were created just as they are now. This would make DNA or any other kind of research pointless, whether conducted in Paris or not. Projects such as sequencing the DNA of the flu virus, the better to inoculate against it, would not need to be funded. We could all expire happily in the name of God. Gov. Palin also says that she doesn't think humans are responsible for global warming; again, one would like to ask her whether, like some of her co-religionists, she is a "premillenial dispensationalist"—in other words, someone who believes that there is no point in protecting and preserving the natural world, since the end of days will soon be upon us.
The real problem is that we can't ask her about these things, of course. If the press were able to dig deeper into her philosophy regarding religion and politics, it would be one thing -- at least we'd be able to know how deeply she is committed to these things. But the secretiveness compounds all the other problems we see with Palin, especially her anti-intellectuality.
Four years later, a much different God Gap has emerged: between religious conservatives and the secular establishment of the Republican Party. It was the marriage of those two constituencies - so-called country club Republicans and more down-market churchgoers - that fueled a remarkable 25-year Republican ascent, from Ronald Reagan to 1994's Republican Revolution to George W. Bush.
Nothing has pointed up the rift as dramatically as Sarah Palin. It wasn't until John McCain unveiled his vice presidential pick that religious conservatives - excited by Palin's staunch anti-abortion views, her personal decision to forego an abortion and give birth to a son with Down syndrome, and her background in conservative Christian churches - finally rallied to his side.
Then there's this on the fight over Palin:
For years, many of the elite conservatives were happy to harvest the votes of devout Christians and gun owners by waging a phony class war against "liberal elitists" and "leftist intellectuals." Suddenly, the conservative writers are discovering that the very anti-intellectualism their side courted and encouraged has begun to consume their movement.
The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity--and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestoes by direct-mail hit pieces.
That last should send shivers down the spines of many LiB readers, and is why I worry about Palin becoming a rallying point for the GOP post-election day, win or lose (although I strongly suspect the latter). There are those who doubt her ascendancy, but she hardly needs to be the next presidential nominee to have a major influence on the direction of the currently directionless Republican Party. Those who say the GOP didn't fight hard enough, and didn't go conservative enough, will follow her standard for some time to come.
Direction will host a debate between former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee and former Representative Harold Ford Jr. at 7 p.m. Oct. 27 in McAlister Auditorium. They hope to provide an optimistic message on the future of America and why it is important to unite in an attempt to try and find answers to the nations' current problems.
After this election, congressional Republicans and Bush White House loyalists will continue pointing fingers at one another, and they will both be right. Conservatives will say we need to be more conservative, moderates will say we need to be more moderate, Southerners will say we need to be more Southern, Northerners will say we need to be more Northern. Some will say we need to be more like Ronald Reagan, others will say we need to be like Teddy Roosevelt, and still others will say we need to be like Abraham Lincoln. East Coast intellectuals will say the party needs to get smarter, while prairie populists will say we need to get closer to the people.
One thing I think he's missing is the re-balancing of the forces within the "big tent." The free-marketeers, neo-cons, and cultural conservatives have really not been getting along lately; with real fractures between the three major groupings that make up the GOP, it's hard to get a candidate who will inspire a majority.
Frankly, I think a civil war resulting from a McCain loss would be a good thing for the GOP right now; it's in the minority anyway, so taking some time to really burn away the detritus that has built up over years of success is a really necessary task. And that will allow a new power center to emerge within the party, aligning it in a way that will be able to take the thing forward.
Am I right? Leave a comment!
Mr. Lynch went on to say that “we have a lot of complex derivatives that are gumming up the system.”
Mr. Greenspan replied: “Many of those complex derivatives are gone, never to return again.”
Mr. Lynch expressed his concern: “I wish I could believe you that you are right and these things won’t come back, but I want to be sure…”
Mr. Greenspan: “I certainly have no objection to regulating those instruments — structured investment vehicles — for example … I just … my puzzlement is, who would buy these things?”
He added: “If you are going to tell me that there are a lot of instruments out there which make no sense, I agree with you.”
Mr. Lynch shot back: “Interestingly enough, 72 percent of them were held by hedge funds — the smartest people in the room.”
Mr. Greenspan responded: “That is what I find most disturbing. We are not dealing with people who are dumb. We are dealing with by far the most sophisticated about the way markets work that created the major problem.”
As is clear from these figures, bank credit has not declined during the financial crisis. Indeed, bank credit appears to have risen relative to trend in the month of September. Figures 2A and 2B display analogous data for loans and leases made by U.S. commercial banks. Again, we see no evidence of any decline during the financial crisis. Figures 3A and 3B display data for commercial and industrial loans. Again, we see no evidence that the financial crisis has a§ected lending to non-financial businesses. Figures 4A and 4B display data for consumer loans and show no evidence that the financial crisis has affected consumer lending.
It gives the U.S. legal jurisdiction over American troops and civilian government personnel accused of crimes while on-base or on-duty. Iraqi authorities would have jurisdiction over U.S. personnel accused of serious crimes while off-base or off-duty.
And so it's my turn.
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A University of Wisconsin student group has registered 5,463 students — 19 percent of the undergraduate student body — to vote in November’s general election.
The drive, called the New Voters Project, was run by Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group and set a new record nationally for students registered to vote in a semester.
It's always hard to count on student turnout, but those numbers are pretty huge. And after talking with the Obama campaign, they're expecting big numbers from student turnout. Wisconsin is getting bluer.
Way back when, in primary season, I thought, "Gee, it would be just swell if John McCain got himself the nomination. Just think: a socially moderate Republican who is fairly free-trade and whom I generally like on foreign policy. How much better could it get?"
Then John McCain proceeded to go completely batshit crazy. He sang songs about bombing Iran. His "suspension of campaigning" was a bad joke, and he's in thick on an ill-considered bailout. He chose Sarah Palin as his running mate (a woman I was prepared to like until I started actually reading about her and listening to her). So I don't trust John McCain. Being a hero in a Vietnamese prison camp is a fine thing, but a president it does not make. He's lost his "maverick" status in this campaign. Indeed, the Republicans, having completely given up their mantle of being small government, deserve to lose. The way Republicans govern no longer comes anywhere close to the Republican ideals that brought me to their side at first.
Would voting for McCain send a message to the Republican Party that a socially moderate candidate is feasible today? Could it help push the party in a socially liberal, government-out-of-my-bedroom direction? Would having a Republican president create enough deadlock to at least give a pause in spending? Given Russia's resurgence, isn't McCain the one man who has the force to stand up to Putin? The party is completely in disarray at the moment, and pushing a socially moderate candidate may be the thing the party needs at the moment. But at the end of the day, it is doubtful that McCain would really stand up against government spending, and that is dangerous.
I'm mulling going for Obama this year. Yes, his tax policy is wrong -- most of his economic positions are wrong. I'm mostly drawn to his obvious intellect and steadiness. I also like a large part of his foreign policy -- especially his desire to engage, rather than shun, countries like Iran (I think here he falls in line nicely with George F Kennan's thinking about presidential summits during the Cold War). In the wake of a disastrous 8 years of Bush's spurning of diplomacy, having a man in the Presidency who believes in reaching out to rebuild relations with our allies and possibly calm situations with our enemies. These are important pluses in his column.
But in the face of the looming economic crisis and a Democratic Congress that may be filibuster-proof after the election, it is clear that Obama will do more to increase the size of the government than anyone since the New Deal. That possibility comes very close to canceling out everything I like about the man.
So what about Bob Barr?
Let's be straight: voting third party is throwing your vote away. I'd like to think that if enough Republican-leaning independents (ie - myself) broke for Barr, the GOP would be forced to sit up and take notice of a voting bloc it can't afford not to pander to. But the GOP doesn't work that way, and won't until the Rove smash-mouth, win-by-playing-to-the-base strategy is completely washed out of the system. And that's certainly not this election.
The part of me that wants to vote for Barr to "teach the Republicans a thing or two" is the same part of me that wants to shout "hey you kids, get off my lawn" from a rocking chair on my porch while waving a cane above my head. Is that a good enough reason to go third party?
I had a great time at Barrister's, but I don't recall seeing the shoes in question. I did put a puppet of X the Owl back in a life-size mock-up of his treehouse early in the evening, though, when I found him on the floor.
Looking at the big picture, there seems to be little difference between McCain, Obama, and their parties. Take your pick: warfare or welfare, both increase government. In fact with such looming financial disasters as the insolvency of social security due around 2040 and the increasing amount of federal debt, any candidate who isn't addressing these role of government issues is just arguing about the arrangement of chairs on the deck of the Titanic.
I don't think many people know about our country's future financial situation, especially people my age who will be paying their entire working lives to receive little if anything when they reach retirement in the 2050's. Out of the candidates and parties only the Libertarians offer a real solution by phasing out the failing programs before more damage is done and trying to get the government back on course to sound policies.
The Libertarians are the only party against the war that will actually do something about ending it. Back in high school I was for the war but the turning point came a few years ago when I was finally able to admit to myself that I definitely wouldn't want to be there fighting, from which it follows that I certainly can't support sending my peers to that. The democrats got themselves elected in 2006 saying they'd end it, but then they realized that if they drag it out as long as possible, they can be against it every election!
Also let's face, the war on terror is a result of the blowback from our previous interferences in the Middle East. They're fighting us because we're over there in their area and we're over in their area because they fight us. The republicans have gotten nonsensical about it these last few years especially, in my opinion, by using the word "homeland."
What has all this security gotten us other than a more obtrusive spying government, militarized police, mystery lists, and databases? I am most definitely not afraid of being attacked. In fact are the terrorists even trying? I've worked at a county fair the last three years and those types of local events are sitting ducks for something as simple as a bomb in a trash can--there's virtually no security and there are tons of weird looking people carrying all sorts of weird things. I would only start to worry if things on this local level started to become threatened but even then, there are thousands of these kind of events every year.
A libertarian foreign policy would see a great reduction in foreign interference. If we're not messing with other countries all the time, and we simply wanted to trade and do business then maybe the world would start to like us again. It just doesn't make sense how invading countries and forcing people to vote encourages democracies to form. Perhaps if we focused on ourselves we could become a shining example of liberty, rights, and prosperity to the rest of the world. Of course with all of this, Libertarians know they can't just drop things, they have to phase them out for a smooth transition.
On the economy, Libertarians are against these crap bailouts and other government interference. The best way to get through this economy (which was caused by government interference in the first place) is to let it purge the bad companies. There will be a sharp downturn, but if left alone, it should recover in a year or two and we can start to grow again. With the government committed to bailouts, both big parties are for it as did both candidates vote for it, the companies that make products and services that people aren't buying are supported with the people's money anyway and the economy will fester along for several years of stagnation. A bigger concern is with the magnitude of the current crises which could put the very value of the dollar at risk. Libertarians are for protecting the value of money.
A lot of people, it seems to me, support McCain because he's not Obama and support Obama because he's not McCain and settle to vote for the more tolerable one. This is bad because then every election, each of the major candidates only has to be slightly less crappy than the other one reinforcing a general downward trend. If the big parties still get elected, then why should they do anything different?
The other option I was considering was to not even bother to legitimize the whole thing and simply not vote, except that would have sent the wrong signal. It could have been chalked up to being apathetic or bad weather when in fact I really do care very much. Voting third party lets the big parties know that I, a potential supporter, am out here.
Regardless of how you vote, be sure to consider all your options.
A source of mild entertainment amid the financial carnage has been watching libertarians scurrying to explain how the global financial crisis is the result of too much government intervention rather than too little. One line of argument casts as villain the Community Reinvestment Act, which prevents banks from "redlining" minority neighborhoods as not creditworthy. Another theory blames Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac for causing the trouble by subsidizing and securitizing mortgages with an implicit government guarantee. An alternative thesis is that past bailouts encouraged investors to behave recklessly in anticipation of a taxpayer rescue.
There are rebuttals to these claims and rejoinders to the rebuttals. But to summarize, the libertarian apologetics fall wildly short of providing any convincing explanation for what went wrong. The argument as a whole is reminiscent of wearying dorm-room debates that took place circa 1989 about whether the fall of the Soviet bloc demonstrated the failure of communism. Academic Marxists were never going to be convinced that anything that happened in the real world could invalidate their belief system. Utopians of the right, libertarians are just as convinced that their ideas have yet to be tried, and that they would work beautifully if we could only just have a do-over of human history. Like all true ideologues, they find a way to interpret mounting evidence of error as proof that they were right all along.
To which the rest of us can only respond, Haven't you people done enough harm already? We have narrowly avoided a global depression and are mercifully pointed toward merely the worst recession in a long while. This is thanks to a global economic meltdown made possible by libertarian ideas. I don't have much patience with the notion that trying to figure out how we got into this mess is somehow unacceptably vicious and pointless—Sarah Palin's view of global warming. As with any failure, inquest is central to improvement. And any competent forensic work has to put the libertarian theory of self-regulating financial markets at the scene of the crime.
To be more specific: In 1997 and 1998, the global economy was rocked by a series of cascading financial crises in Asia, Latin America, and Russia. Perhaps the most alarming moment was the failure of a giant, superleveraged hedge fund called Long-Term Capital Management, which threatened the solvency of financial institutions that served as counter-parties to its derivative contracts, much in the manner of Bear Stearns and Lehman Bros. this year. After LTCM's collapse, it became abundantly clear to anyone paying attention to this unfortunately esoteric issue that unregulated credit market derivatives posed risks to the global financial system, and that supervision and limits of some kind were advisable. This was a very scary problem and a very boring one, a hazardous combination.
As with the government failures that made 9/11 possible, neglecting to prevent the crash of '08 was a sin of omission—less the result of deregulation per se than of disbelief in financial regulation as a legitimate mechanism. At any point from 1998 on, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, various members of their administrations, or a number of congressional leaders with oversight authority might have stood up and said, "Hey, I think we're in danger and need some additional rules here." The Washington Post ran an excellent piece this week on how one such attempt to regulate credit derivatives got derailed. Had the advocates of prudent regulation been more effective, there's an excellent chance that the subprime debacle would not have turned into a runaway financial inferno.
There's enough blame to go around, but this wasn't just a collective failure. Three officials, more than any others, have been responsible for preventing effective regulatory action over a period of years: Alan Greenspan, the oracular former Fed chairman; Phil Gramm, the heartless former chairman of the Senate banking committee; and Christopher Cox, the unapologetic chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Blame Greenspan for making the case that the exploding trade in derivatives was a benign way of hedging against risk. Blame Gramm for making sure derivatives weren't covered by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, a bill he shepherded through Congress in 2000. Blame Cox for championing Bush's policy of "voluntary" regulation of investment banks at the SEC.
Cox and Gramm, in particular, are often accused of being in the pocket of the securities industry. That's not entirely fair; these men took the hands-off positions they did because of their political philosophy, which holds that markets are always right and governments always wrong to interfere. They share with Greenspan, the only member of the trio who openly calls himself a libertarian, a deep aversion to any infringement of the right to buy and sell. That belief, which George Soros calls market fundamentalism, is the best explanation of how the natural tendency of lending standards to turn permissive during a boom became a global calamity that spread so far and so quickly.
The best thing you can say about libertarians is that because their views derive from abstract theory, they tend to be highly principled and rigorous in their logic. Those outside of government at places like the Cato Institute and Reason magazine are just as consistent in their opposition to government bailouts as to the kind of regulation that might have prevented one from being necessary. "Let failed banks fail" is the purist line. This approach would deliver a wonderful lesson in personal responsibility, creating thousands of new jobs in the soup-kitchen and food-pantry industries.
The worst thing you can say about libertarians is that they are intellectually immature, frozen in the worldview many of them absorbed from reading Ayn Rand novels in high school. Like other ideologues, libertarians react to the world's failing to conform to their model by asking where the world went wrong. Their heroic view of capitalism makes it difficult for them to accept that markets can be irrational, misunderstand risk, and misallocate resources or that financial systems without vigorous government oversight and the capacity for pragmatic intervention constitute a recipe for disaster. They are bankrupt, and this time, there will be no bailout.