He’ll be baaaccck ….

Go get ’em Arnold!  He’s promising to sue the feds over their recent refusal of the EPA to grant California a waiver, allowing them to set stricter standards for emissions than the federal government requires.  President Bush, again angering small government types like me, shows a lack of understanding of states rights stunning for a former governor …

“Is it more effective to let each state make a decision as to how to proceed in curbing greenhouse gases? Or is it more effective to have a national strategy?”

Of course, his answer ignores the fact that California wants STRICTER standards, that presumably would be more effective in cutting emissions, the supposed point of the feds recent bill.  It ignores the 10th Amendment too, but I think we can say we’re all used to that by now.  And in truth, it quite likely WOULD be MUCH more effective for each state to set their own standard.  A federal standard has to encompass not only smog-choked cities like Los Angeles, but also the largely rural areas like the Dakotas where emissions are not nearly as concerning.  With that idea in mind, you’d think the federal bill would end up being not nearly strict enough for LA, and overly strict for the Dakotas and how many other states.

Dang, this government has become the biggest of big governments, intruding on states rights on all kinds of issues.  From medical marijuana to assisted suicide to now emissions standards, the era of big brother is here.

Reality bites …

Fred Thompson voices why he disagrees with social conservatives on the Terry Schiavo case …

“Obviously, I knew about the Schiavo case,” he said. “I had to face a situation like that in my own personal life with my own daughter.”

Mr. Thompson was visibly flustered by the question.

“I am a little bit uncomfortable about that because it is an intensely personal thing with me,” he said. “These things need to be decided by the family. And I was at that bedside. And I had to make those decisions with the rest of my family.”

Reading the full article, I find myself really empathizing with Thompson.  Not because I’ve also had to make a ‘pull the plug’ decision, thankfully I haven’t. And not even on the Schiavo issue so much; when it happened I supported the Republicans.  But rather, when a political issue showed up on his doorstep in the form of an intensely personal tragedy, he found the social conservative’s position over-bearing, unwelcome, and just a plain bad idea.

About two years ago, I considered myself a hard right wing conservative.  (In truth I never was, I’ve been a libertarian conservative since about 5th grade, but that’s what everyone told me I was, so I believed it) I realized that ALL of my major conflicts with conservative ideas, whether the issue was drugs, immigration,  consumer protections, or civil liberties, stemmed from either my own personal experiences, or the experiences of close friends.  That in itself was extremely enlightening, and made me realize that I’d have to take another look at all my views, including those with which I did not have the same personal experience.  If the right was wrong on every issue I had personal experience with, were they just as wrong on the ones I didn’t?

Eventually, I’ve come to believe that part of the problem is that many of these issues are treated as ‘theoreticals’ by politically minded people on both sides.  The problem, of course, is that life isn’t theoretical, and the effects of these policies are not theoretical either.  Every one of these policies affects a number of people, sometimes intensely so.

If there’s one thing I learned from this revelation, it was that policy-making can not, and should not, be ever separated from human compassion and emotion.   Because, in reality, every situation, Terri Schiavo being a perfect example, is intensely personal to at least a few people.  This argument alone is the single greatest refutation to ‘mandatory minimums’, another conservative idea that in reality is plainly horrible.  A ‘logic-only’ policy, whether it’s disguised as ‘common sense’ or ‘sticking to principles’ by the gasbags on tv, precludes any appeal to human emotion or weakness.  This in itself is illogical, as our policies are targeted to only one kind of creature, the human creature, who is inevitably bound by human emotions and frailties.  The left gave this idea a terrible name in the 80’s, as they basically used appeals to emotion as an excuse to ignore the Constitution.  Now, ironically, remembering these appeals could help the right REMEMBER that the Constitution still exists.   Perhaps we could start moving away from such idiotic and anti-American ideas as extraordinary rendition, warrantless wiretapping, the unitary executive, and mass deportations.

Nonetheless, the government has no way to act using compassion and emotion.  Even the courts, the one area of government where judges DO typically consider each personal situation in handing down punishments, have been crippled in how they can consider the human condition by the aforementioned mandatory minimums.  The government is bound by law to treat all equally and without bias.  But life demands bias.  No two situations are ever the same. Ever.  And that, perhaps, is as clear a calling there is for the case of limited government.  In other words,  as Thompson realized with Terri Schiavo, there are plenty of times when the government just needs to butt out.

Ron Paul raises 5 million in 3rd Quarter!

Two million more than the preliminary numbers his campaign released earlier this week.  His supporters have gone from spamming internet votes to spamming his campaign coffers, obviously.  🙂 And doing it while the top GOPer’s are all declining. Before you know it, they’ll be spamming the ballot box!

Howard Dean was able to translate internet excitement to a lead in the polls in 2004, and to be honest, I see no reason to think Paul can’t do the same thing.  There are no ‘anointed ones’ on the GOP side this year, and every top candidate has major question marks.  Plus, Paul has a unique message that breeds loyal followers and perhaps the most enthusiastic base of support of any candidate, except maybe Barack Obama (who himself DOES have to deal with an ‘anointed one’).  At the very least, Paul has forced the rest of the GOP field to acknowledge that there are a whole lot of people out there who might be willing to vote for them if they’d start doing more than paying lip service to ideals of freedom and small government.

It’s hard to dislike Paul and his message, and there’s a good reason for that. It’s a sound message, a freedom based message, and a very Reaganesque one as well.

The gotcha era

There is plenty of blame to go around, but for my money, the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings were a seminal moment in our current political environment.  With his book coming out, and him giving his first interviews in years in support of it,  we’re hearing from both him and his accuser, who could not let talk of this go by without crawling out into the sun herself.   Thomas describes Hill as a mediocre employee who did not take slights well and only complained about not being promoted.  Hill described a man who made an offhand remark about pubic hair 10 years earlier, well before Thomas was even nominated.

Hill may or may not have told the truth, but it sure appeared she wasn’t.   Thomas described the accusations as a ‘high-tech lynching’, and, it had all the earmarks of being just that.  Even if she was telling the truth, which 15 years later I just can’t believe in the slightest, the real truth was that these hearings were clearly about abortion primarily and race secondarily.   He was replacing Thurgood Marshall and liberals were aghast that Thomas was both black and ‘conservative’, legally speaking.  They were even more upset that he was pro-life, and possibly a swing vote on issues of abortion.  The left was apoplectic that a black man could rise to the United States Supreme Court holding views of which these liberals did not approve.  My god, if he became a justice, who knows how many other African-Americans might start considering non-liberal points of view?  Not to mention there was a Republican president nominating an African-American, which made it harder for the left to paint all conservatives with the ‘racist’ label.  The sense of panic from the left during the summer of 1991 was palpable.   But they couldn’t attack him on these merits, so they drummed up ridiculous-sounding charges of sexual harassment in order to try and derail the nomination.   An activist for the National Organization for Women encapsulated this mania quite nicely, saying “We’re going to bork him. We’re going to kill him politically. . . . This little creep, where did he come from?”.   Liberals were clearly quite angry that a member of a minority group dared to oppose them, and much of their tone throughout the hearings were tinged with barely disguised racism.

Her own quote conjures memories of a successful liberal attack, this one four years earlier on Robert Bork.  But I believe the Thomas nomination  was a more important moment.  Despite it’s failure, it seemed to encourage politicians of both stripes about the effectiveness of personal attacks, even ones as full of crap as the one launched against Thomas.    Since then,we’ve seen conservatives turn the tables, going after Bill Clinton with just as much fury, and liberals later doing the same against George W. Bush.

Thomas has become a fairly stalwart conservative justice, with occasional libertarian leanings, as in Raich v. Gonzales, for instance.   His confirmation hearing may well have had a larger effect on the modern political era.  The left, with reprehensible behavior and the most tenous of allegations, nearly succeeded in preventing Thomas’ rise to the court.

MSNBC – Clinton in command for nomination, Obama becoming irrelevant — UGH!

What in the !?@# is this? From MSNBC’s First Read blog

Some bullet points from LCG’s report:
— Hillary Clinton has taken command of the Democratic nomination for President.
–The Obama campaign is becoming less and less relevant with each passing day.

Bullshit. Sorry for the crassness, but it’s the only word in the english language I can think of that describes this passage accurately.

It doesn’t even matter if LCG is eventually proven correct or incorrect. And it doesn’t even matter that there have been many instances (Howard Dean in 2004) where an early lead has completely dissipated when the actual votes were cast. And it doesn’t even matter that the early primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire will rearrange much of the national polling once they have taken place. What I think matters is that not even ONE VOTE has been cast yet! This is an especially egregious case, considering Obama has an edge over Clinton in the all-important fundraising race, and is at the very least competitive in polling.

Stop it, MSNBC. Stop trying to call the primary race 3+ months before the American citizens get their chance. Stop dampening the enthusiam candidates such as Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich generate by telling America they have ‘no chance’. Stop killing the interest many Americans gain in these candidates and the budding interest they gain in the political process for the sake of ratings, or hits, or whatever. For gosh sakes, why not let the VOTERS tell you who is and is not relevant, instead of the other way around?

I wish they’d start telling us what we ARE thinking, not what we SHOULD be thinking.

not a police state?

If you liked the idea that governments can seize property from drug dealers, you’re going to love the inevitable expansion of this idea

This month the city of Rockford, Illinois will begin allowing residents to call the police and have any vehicle seized on the mere accusation that the car used a loud stereo system.

Merely having a loud stereo is enough! You don’t even have to proved guilty, the arresting officer’s judgement will be enough. And they’ll keep your vehicle until you pay your fines, no matter if you’re guilty or not. The city can wait up to 45 days to hear your appeal of your impounding, while fees accumulate up to $1100!

They say crime doesn’t pay. But it sure appears that fighting crime pays very well, and like any business, the more customers you can create (in this case, criminals), the more it pays.

Another take on Bill O’Reillys foot to mouth insertion

“It was like going into an Italian restaurant in an all-white suburb in the sense of people were sitting there, and they were ordering and having fun,” he said. “And there wasn’t any kind of craziness at all.”

I think the interesting thing about his quote about eating at an African-American restaurant with Al Sharpton is the nature of the quote itself. He noticed something I wish today’s anti-immigration ilk (O’Reilly being a primary player there himself) would recognize and understand more clearly. People ASSIMILATE. Society demands it of those who want to prosper, as does the free market. This hysteria that somehow, in 50 years America will be North Mexico are, well, way out of whack. A 20 year old Mexican who comes here and works for 50 years will, for all intents and purposes, be a 70 year old American whose children may have never even visited Mexico and has just finished a half century contributing to American productivity through his work and American economic health through his consumption. O’Reilly just realized that, although he doesn’t seem to know it.

He’s getting very close to realizing, it, though:

His radio commentary, he said, “was an attempt to tell the radio audience, black or white, that we’re all Americans [and] the stereotypes you see on TV are not true.”