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Saturday, January 28, 2012

Calling Ron Paul "isolationist" is either ignorant or dishonest.

Words have meanings, people.

There are many legitimate criticisms of Ron Paul, but calling him "isolationist" is simply a misuse of the word. It is either done purposefully to misrepresent and impugn him or out of ignorance. From Merriam-Webster:

 Isolationism - a policy of national isolation by abstention from alliances and other international political and economic relations.
(emphasis added).

Any statement that Paul wants the U.S. to refuse to trade with or engage in economic relations with other countries is nonsense. He is the furthest possible thing from a mercantilist. He is more of a free-trader than any of the other three remaining Republican presidential candidates.

Paul's position is clear: "Free trade with all and entangling alliances with none has always been the best policy in dealing with other countries on the world stage." This belief is a rarity in modern politics. Criticize it as dangerous if you wish. Call it foolish. Call it naive. Call it something accurate, but don't call it "isolationist."

You may think him an unelectable dogmatic kook. That is an opinion and you can have it. But when you describe actual policy, try not to make yourself look foolish. Use the actual meanings of words.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The U.S. Constitution applies to citizens and non-citizens alike. Check the text.

The notion that the U.S. Constitution only protects U.S. citizens is palpably false. It is an indictment of our education system that any American could think such an outrageous thing.

The drafters of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were educated men. They chose their words carefully. They debated over precise word choice. One can assume every word they chose was done with a purpose.

The Constitution and the first ten amendments distinguish between the concept of "people/persons" and the concept of "citizen." For example, Article I, Section 3, says "No Person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty Years, and been nine Years a Citizen of the United States...".

A "person" is therefore different from a "citizen." Everyone is a person, but only some are citizens.

This distinction is seen again in Article II, Section 1: "No Person except a natural born Citizen ... shall be eligible to the Office of President." Again, you may be a person, but you can't be President unless you are also a citizen. The drafters of the Constitution knew when they wanted it to apply to people and when they wanted it to apply only to citizens.

The first two paragraphs of Article IV, Section 2, clearly distinguish between "citizen" and "person." It reads:

The Citizens of each State shall be entitled to all Privileges and Immunities of Citizens in the several States.
A Person charged in any State with Treason, Felony, or other Crime, who shall flee from Justice, and be found in another State, shall on Demand of the executive Authority of the State from which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime.

Therefore, only citizens are entitled to "privileges and immunities" but all persons charged with a crime who then cross state lines shall "be delivered up." It does not matter if you are a citizen or not if you are a fugitive. Of course that makes sense.

The point, however, is that the Constitution and its Amendments clearly distinguish between "citizen" and "persons." "Citizen" means those either born in the United States (and subject to the jurisdiction thereof) or naturalized. "Persons" and "people" mean everyone.

For instance, the First Amendment states that "Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble...". The First Amendment therefore grants to all people the same protection against certain congressional action, regardless of citizenship status.

The Fourth Amendment, likewise, applies to the "people," and not just citizens. It reads: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated ...".

Likewish, the Fifth Amendment:

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, ... nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

And the Sixth Amendment:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused [not just citizens] shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

The notion that the U.S. Constitution does not apply to non-citizens is incorrect. It even applies to those in the country illegally. For instance, the government cannot keep an illegal alien locked up indefinitely. An undocumented worker will still get an attorney appointed to him if charged with a crime.  I hope this little blog post helps alleviate that misconception.

In light of the War on Terror, the Patriot Act and the recently passed NDAA, among other legislation, it appears the Constitution doesn't even apply to citizens any longer.

And that is sad.

Are they "grants" or "subsidies?" Newspeak is so hard to understand sometimes.

I am confused. (Not an unusual state for me, I realize). In today's Denver Post, Allison Sherry has an article on the potential for Colorado farmers to lose direct payments from the federal government. (See "Farms warm to subsidy cuts"). She writes:

Colorado farmers stand to lose millions of dollars a year in direct subsidy payments for corn, wheat and soybean crops as part of agriculture reform heading to the U.S. Senate in a couple of months.
Colorado received more than $4 billion in subsidies, including direct payments, from 1995 to 2010.

Why are payments to farmers "subsidies" and payments to solar energy companies "grants?" It's so hard to keep up with the changes in Newspeak.

They are both direct payments from the federal government to private entities. Of course, the federal government does not actually have this money. They borrow it. Sooner or later, the debt will be paid - one way or another.

No matter what you call it, this government borrowing to give money to preferred groups will come from the pockets of future generations. It is intergenerational theft.

It is time we call it what it really is: immoral.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The flawed, short old man isn't the answer. But his message is.

Ron Paul's success in the Republican nomination process has very little to do with Ron Paul the candidate. It has everything to do with ideas. It has everything to do with a mission. After wandering in the big government political wilderness for over a century, Paul is leading us to the land of freedom promised in the Constitution. He probably won't make it there himself, but like Moses, he'll show it to us across the river. (OK, the Moses comparison is a bit much. I got carried away. Sue me.)

Paul would never be picked by central casting for the role of political leader. He's old. He's short. He's far from  charismatic. He's far from perfect.

But those imperfections are of the man, not of the ideas. People are starting to realize that government, indeed, is not the answer. Free markets and voluntary action is the answer. Less government is a start. Unfortunately, neither half of the two-party duopoly has ever - ever! - made the federal government smaller.

Voting for the same-ol' same-ol' results in ..... more of the same. At the very least, Ron Paul is not more of the  same. A libertarian philosophy may never win over a majority of voters. That makes it no less correct. But without someone spreading the message - even a flawed, short old man - we know for certain the philosophy will never win over a majority of voters.

And what if those that understand and believe in a constitutionally limited government actually vote for it? They might actually get it.

You want to throw away a vote? Keep voting like you have, America.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Santorum v. Reagan

"I fight very strongly against libertarian influence within the Republican Party and the conservative movement. I don't think the libertarians have it right when it comes to what the Constitution's all about. I don't think they have it right as to what our history is." 
Rick Santorum

“I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer, just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals . . . The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom, and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.”
Ronald Reagan

Sunday, January 01, 2012

The most important election ever? Nope. Not even the most important in the last four years.

The 2012 presidential election is being called "The Most Important Election Ever!"


Even the election of 2008 was more important. Unfortunately the GOP gave us John McCain as the only viable option against the disaster that is Obama. And yet, four years later, it is the same group that is going to give us the only viable option against that same disaster.

Mitt Romney? Really? Mitt is McCain without the war resume.He's Bob Dole without the charisma.

If you ran a business and your hiring manager kept choosing poorly, would you let him keep making those decisions? If you did, whose fault would the next bad choice belong to?

If you keep hiring the same contractor to work on your house and each addition has a leaky roof, you get exactly what you deserve.

Mitt is pretty leaky.

NFL players don't get promises they'll start. Not even Tebow.

I am curious. There has been a clamor from some, including radio talk show host Dan Caplis, for the Bronco organization to make a public statement endorsing Tim Tebow as starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

Can someone point out to me where this has ever been done anywhere? Has Bill Belichick every said Tom Brady is the Patriots' quarterback for the foreseeable future? Did Tony Dungy ever make such a commitment to Peyton Manning? How about Sean Payton in New Orleans committing to Drew Brees beyond the next game?

I don't think it has happened. In the NFL, every job is open every week. If someone beat out Brady, Belichick would bench Brady in a second. There ain't much sentimentality in the NFL.

The 49ers traded Joe Montana when they thought Steve Young gave them a better chance to win games.

If Montana didn't have a guaranteed gig, Tebow ain't getting one either.

Another economic misconception

The Denver Post's Andy Vuong demonstrates a common misconception in his article "Tebow is money out of the pocket."

The misconception is that increased sales in one particular segment of the economy is a boost to the entire economy. For example, Vuong cites the case of

... 20-year-old part-time college student Hector Armendariz, [for whom] Tebow has meant an extra $25 a day for the past three weeks through sales of T-shirts and hoodies featuring his likeness.
That is certainly good news for Hector, but it is completely irrelevant to the overall status of the Denver economy. That extra $25 is money that would have been used elsewhere if not on Hector's merchandise. For (an admittedly over-simplistic, but still valid) example, Joe Customer has decided to buy a $25 t-shirt. Joe can spend the $25 at Spencer Gifts on a Chuck Norris t-shirt or buy a Tebow t-shirt from Hector. Either way, $25 is spent on a t-shirt. Why should we be happier for one t-shirt vendor over another?

The same principle applies to larger figures, as well:

Tom Clark, executive vice president of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp...  said a home playoff game could add $5 million in spending in Denver, with some of it coming from visitors from outside the metro area because of the team's regional appeal.

At least Clark distinguishes money spent by locals from money spent by visitors. The local contribution toward that $5 million would be in the Denver economy whether or not the Broncos have a home playoff game. The balance would still be in the region, to be spent on movie tickets, symphony tickets or maybe even a book or two.