What Should Be in a New Contract With America?

 

shutterstock_143103844From Politico: “A faction of Republicans including Sen. Lindsey Graham is agitating for party leaders to unveil a policy manifesto in the midterm elections, detailing for voters what the GOP would attempt with a Senate majority its members are increasingly confident they’ll achieve.”

Advocates of the strategy, which has triggered a closed-door debate in recent weeks among the party’s current 45 senators, say it would serve as a firm rejoinder to Democrats casting the GOP as the “party of no.” They say voters should know what they’d be getting by pulling the lever for Republicans in November.

Let’s say this happens (and if you don’t think it should, explain why in the comments): what would you like to see the document contain? And no fan fiction (you may feel passionately about a free market in organ donations, but it’s not going to make the final cut). Let’s try to consider this on the actual terms on which such a document would be crafted:

Your Government Is Phone Tapping An Entire Nation. Are You Okay With This?

 

shutterstock_90519055As of 2013, the United States government “has been recording and storing nearly all the domestic (and international) phone calls from two or more target countries as of 2013.” If anybody had any doubts, the good people of WikiLeaks, who are doing God’s work, revealed that one of those countries is Afghanistan.

Your government is phone tapping an entire country’s worth of phones. This program, they claim, is vital, to keeping our drone wars going.

So, in order to keep a war going that we shouldn’t be in anymore, in a place we shouldn’t be involved anymore, we — you and I — are doing this. Privacy is a fundamental human right. We are violating the fundamental human rights of an entire nation of people, in order to keep a war going in a place we shouldn’t be in, to accomplish… what exactly?

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A year ago last March my wife and I had a baby boy. Within three months he was in the First Grade and by August he was competing with his robotics team at the state competition. In December he entered his last semester as a Senior and graduated tonight. Ok, that time line may or […]

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Politico Magazine’s latest bit of left-wing agitprop is an incoherent rant from Randall Balmer, a professor at Dartmouth College: Given Carter’s political troubles, the defection of evangelicals may or may not have been decisive. But it is certainly true that evangelicals, having helped propel Carter to the White House four years earlier, turned dramatically against […]

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The story ends, “The snake didn’t survive its injuries.”  Where I grew up, they usually don’t. This is what it’s like to live in a place where the federal government doesn’t have a say in every aspect of your life.  And also where it rains very little, thus the local news has something to talk […]

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Something I have noticed lately with Ricochet 2.0 is that it seems to be a fairly significant resource hog on my computer.  I’ll start up Ricochet 2.0 in my browser (the hated Firefox) and a couple of minutes later my laptop fan will spin up as the processor begins to heat up as it gets […]

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How many veterans are there in the United States?  How many soldiers, sailors, aviators, aviatrixes, ground crew members, marines, and coast guard crew members (if I have left anyone out, I apologize … the numbers and titles seem myriad to me) are there on active or reserve duty. Would there be enough for them to […]

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I enjoyed (maybe a little too much) listening to our married podcasters defending monogamy.  I thought they’d hurt themselves climbing the moral high ground too fast.  But, our fearless leaders did highlight an important point–the typical MSM have been awash in ‘alternative lifestyles’ and ‘monogamy outdated’ articles.  I wondered why?  I realize it’s coming up […]

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A Violent Weekend

 

Let us begin our tour with a quarrel in a faraway country. As Yahoo Japan reports, “A Vietnamese fishing vessel has sunk after being rammed by a Chinese vessel and the 10 fishermen have been rescued. While Vietnam has not responded yet, the Coast Guard warned “the situation at the site it very tense.”‘

This is not an isolated incident, but rather an escalation of recent tensions. It is most likely a response to last week’s announcement of cooperation between Vietnam and Japan, which followed the Chinese “deploying an oil rig off the Paracel Islands, which Vietnam also claims, leading to physical clashes between Chinese and Vietnamese vessels.”

Understanding Paul Krugman on Thomas Piketty

 

Gentle readers, whenever Paul Krugman issues a defense of Thomas Piketty regarding the charges against the latter, by all means, be sure to read that defense. Be sure to consider its merits seriously. Be sure to closely and carefully examine the data Krugman might present in defense of his point and if Krugman actually makes a good point — or several — in defending Piketty, be gracious enough to acknowledge as much.

But of course, let us all remember that thus far, Krugman has failed to issue a serious and persuasive defense of Piketty’s findings and position in light of the Giles/Giugliano findings. And no matter how overwhelming the case against Piketty may become, Krugman may never be willing to admit that he is simply on the wrong side of this debate.

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The Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, Eric Shinseki, has been in the news lately, having to answer (rightly) some tough questions about the going’s on within the department. Before he was the Secretary of Veteran’s Affairs, he served as a commissioned office in the United States Army, rising to the level of Army Chief of Staff. […]

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I recently had a cozy little gathering with a guest speaker who works for the Florida branch of the Institute for Justice, Justin Person.  The event was awesome – the food was excellent (ahem); the discussion was so good that even though we had started at 7:30, we blinked and it was already 11:30.   […]

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Progressives Fear Open Borders Too

 

world-war-z-2013-stills1Not to step on Frank’s beat, but in a case of I-read-it-so-you-don’t-have-to, Salon has a piece by the intellectually one-dimensional Michael Lind. If you ever want a handle on unthinking progressive reactionism, Lind is your guy.

Strangely, Lind sounds much like a conservative in that he laments the support for open borders by progressive elites.

The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

Are Reparations the Answer?

 

CoatesIn the newest issue of The Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates makes an impassioned case for the need for reparations in response to the horrific treatment suffered by African-Americans throughout much of American history. His piece is valuable in making the scope of that suffering vivid, but it finds itself on far weaker grounds when it comes to the question of reparations as a viable remedy. 

In the first place, he misunderstands the historical economics at work. As I note in my new piece for Defining Ideas at the Hoover Institution:

He is right that slave owners before the Civil War and the champions of Jim Crow afterwards exploited the black persons who lived under these regimes. Coates observes: “In 1860, slaves as an asset were worth more than all of America’s manufacturing, all of the railroads, all the productive capacity of the United States put together.” The tempting conclusion is that African Americans today should recoup the wealth that has, Coates argues, worked its way down to the current generation of Americans.

The Left Doesn’t Really Believe in Climate Change

 

shutterstock_103227926The sky is always falling. If the new ice age doesn’t do us in, the ozone hole will. The instant DDT is banned, aerosols must follow. Global warming is replaced by climate change is replaced by “global weirding.”

And what is the solution to these often-contradictory scenarios? We anachronists who retain a bias toward the hard sciences would employ very different measures to prevent a freezing ocean and a boiling one. To an engineer, soldier or plumber, this is obvious.

But how do leaders of the environmental left address these opposing doomsdays? By raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty. Coincidentally, the same policies they would promote if their supposed environmental catastrophe was utter fiction. It is little wonder that voters are suspicious.