Friday, September 23, 2011

Government interference is bad, unless it's helping me

Check out this article on CNN regarding GOP candidate Rick Santorum's outburst against Google.

...if you Google Santorum's name, the first result you'll probably get is not his personal website but a fake definition of "santorum," a sexual byproduct that's a bit too graphic to talk about in detail here. (Of course, you can Google him and easily find out.)

We'll get into how that all happened in a second, but here's what's new: On Tuesday, the socially conservative politician lashed out at Google, saying the company could get rid of the sexual references to his name on the search results if it wanted to -- and perhaps would do so if he were a Democrat.

"I suspect if something was up there like that about Joe Biden, they'd get rid of it," he told Politico. "If you're a responsible business, you don't let things like that happen in your business that have an impact on the country."

He continued: "To have a business allow that type of filth to be purveyed through their website or through their system is something that they say they can't handle, but I suspect that's not true."

This is a Tea Party guy who advocates that the government has no business interfering with businesses, so if Google tells him tough shit, what is his recourse?

Any bets on who the Senator thinks should arbitrate this dispute between a citizen (like him) and a publically-traded business?

I'm sure throwing a tantrum in the media and "shaming" a giant corporation is going to be a winning combination. That seems to work all the time...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jerry Brown veto message

Man, I like Jerry Brown. I just read this in SF Gate:

[Governor Jerry] Brown [vetoed] a measure by state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach (Orange County), that would have required the Department of Parks and Recreation to post on its website information about parks scheduled for closure and how nonprofits or other groups could contact the department to potentially take over the management of the park.

Brown wrote in his veto message that the bill was "a good idea but not one that needs a law. What the parks do need is sufficient funding to stay open - something I feel compelled to note the author and his colleagues refused to let the people vote on."

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Even Ron Paul's campaign manager had the liberty and freedom to die penniless and uninsured

Ron Paul really believes that the state shouldn't pay the bills of the uninsured, no matter what. When asked about uninsured young man who suddenly found himself in dire need of intensive health care during the last debate, Paul said, "That's what freedom is all about: taking your own risks."

Turns out that he is quite sincere about that. Kent Snyder, Paul's former campaign chairman (who was the one who coinvinced Ron Paul that he had a shot running for President) died of pneumonia, dirt broke and uninsured.

The Kansas City Star quoted his sister at the time as saying that "he was uninsured because a pre-existing condition made the premiums too expensive."

When he heard the news of Snyder's death, Ron Paul posted the following on the Campaign for Liberty website:

"Like so many in our movement, Kent sacrificed much for the cause of liberty. Kent poured every ounce of his being into our fight for freedom. He will always hold a place in my heart and in the hearts of my family."

Talk about being sacrificed for the cause of Liberty...


Article by ex-GOP staffer

The following link goes to an article by recently retired 28 year Congressional staffer, 16 of which with the GOP House and Senate Budget Committees.

Here are a few quotes:

A couple of years ago, a Republican committee staff director told me candidly (and proudly) what the method was to all this obstruction and disruption. Should Republicans succeed in obstructing the Senate from doing its job, it would further lower Congress's generic favorability rating among the American people. By sabotaging the reputation of an institution of government, the party that is programmatically against government would come out the relative winner.


This constant drizzle of "there the two parties go again!" stories out of the news bureaus, combined with the hazy confusion of low-information voters, means that the long-term Republican strategy of undermining confidence in our democratic institutions has reaped electoral dividends. The United States has nearly the lowest voter participation among Western democracies; this, again, is a consequence of the decline of trust in government institutions - if government is a racket and both parties are the same, why vote? And if the uninvolved middle declines to vote, it increases the electoral clout of a minority that is constantly being whipped into a lather by three hours daily of Rush Limbaugh or Fox News. There were only 44 million Republican voters in the 2010 mid-term elections, but they effectively canceled the political results of the election of President Obama by 69 million voters.


This tactic of inducing public distrust of government is not only cynical, it is schizophrenic. For people who profess to revere the Constitution, it is strange that they so caustically denigrate the very federal government that is the material expression of the principles embodied in that document. This is not to say that there is not some theoretical limit to the size or intrusiveness of government; I would be the first to say there are such limits, both fiscal and Constitutional. But most Republican officeholders seem strangely uninterested in the effective repeal of Fourth Amendment protections by the Patriot Act, the weakening of habeas corpus and self-incrimination protections in the public hysteria following 9/11 or the unpalatable fact that the United States has the largest incarcerated population of any country on earth. If anything, they would probably opt for more incarcerated persons, as imprisonment is a profit center for the prison privatization industry, which is itself a growth center for political contributions to these same politicians. Instead, they prefer to rail against those government programs that actually help people. And when a program is too popular to attack directly, like Medicare or Social Security, they prefer to undermine it by feigning an agonized concern about the deficit. That concern, as we shall see, is largely fictitious.

Pity it was posted on, but on the whole, it's an interesting read from someone who has left the party.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ahhh.... politics season again!

Presidential politics are shifting into a higher gear, and now I'm actually interested in venting about it online again. ;)

I just noticed that my favorite Massachusetts flipflopper just came out with a plan for jobs and economic growth before the GOP debate and Obama's speech. Now, I'm always happy when a candidate spells out specifics, rather than vapid promises to "create prosperity", so I always check this stuff out.

Create Reagan Economic Zone
But we can hardly rest there, for there is an opportunity to pursue a gamechanging multilateral agreement among like-minded nations genuinely committed to the principles of open markets. As president, Mitt Romney will pursue the formation of a “Reagan Economic Zone.” This zone would codify the principles of free trade at the international level and place the issues now hindering trade in services and intellectual property, crucial to American prosperity and that of other developed nations, at the center of the discussion.

Such a partnership would be extraordinarily attractive to most developed nations, and to those developing nations that have embraced free enterprise and open markets. With membership open to any nation willing to abide by the rules, two primary U.S. objectives would be fulfilled. First, as the most open and innovative economies came together, the dynamism of the resulting economic zone would serve as a powerful magnet, drawing in an expanding circle of countries willing to abide by the rules in exchange for greater access to one another’s markets. At the same time, it would also serve as a mechanism for confronting nations that violated trade rules while free-riding on the international system. Creating a large open market, and excluding countries that failed to respect the rule of law, would prevent cheaters from prospering and provide a major incentive for them to reform.

Seriously? This snippet is pretty much how the entire plan reads. A hundred and sixty pages of a jobs plan... minus the plan. No real specifics, beyond party platitudes and wishful thinking. It's like the Underpants Gnomes of Politics: "1. Cut taxes! 2. ... 3. Lowered Deficit!" He might as well have made a commercial that said, "I promise that things will be better because I'll make it better!"

Wake me when he actually plans on talking seriously about the issues he cares about. If you care about the deficit, then let me know how much you plan on trimming the major expenses of our government: Defense, Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid take up 70% of our budget. Talking about cutting "waste, fraud and abuse", or getting rid of "Obamacare" (which is laregely based on the GOP's health care proposals during Clinton's first term and Romney's plan actually implemented in Massachusetts), or reducing capital gains taxes for the poor (who on the whole have no money in the stock market) tells me that he isn't interested in taking the problems seriously.

Ultimately, what I get from this "Plan" is that Romney is trying to throw red meat to the crowd and praying that it helps him catch up to Perry in the polls.

Good luck with that, Mitt.