25 November 2010

Thanksgiving: Washington & Lincoln

President Washington:
City of New York, October 3, 1789
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and Whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th. day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the People, by constantly being a government of wise, just and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
President Lincoln:
It has seemed to me fit and proper that [our blessings] should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at mattlybbert at gmail.com.

04 November 2010

The Election of Ronald Reagan, 30 Years On

Birth of a Revolution

Thirty years ago today Ronald Reagan won the presidency. Few elections have had the monumental economic and foreign policy consequences of the one held on Nov. 4, 1980.

In the decade before Reagan's election, the economy had faltered worse than at anytime since the Great Depression. The stock market lost almost half of its value, mortgage interest rates hit nearly 20% and the inflation rate topped 14%. The word "stagflation" -- high inflation and high unemployment -- entered the lexicon. After the full implementation of Reaganomics -- lower tax rates, less regulation, control of government spending, the taming of inflation -- the economy boomed. Eight million jobs were created over the next decade, and the economy grew at 8% per year.

I asked Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, author of the new book "Rendezvous with Destiny," about the significance of the 1980 election. "Reagan understood what few other politicians of his era did," said Mr. Shirley, "and that is that intellectualism and wisdom are with the American people and not the elitist ruling classes. Reagan and the populist conservatives he led made the elites uncomfortable because they were a threat the existing order. Common sense is intellectualism." Arthur Laffer, Mr. Reagan's chief economist, told me: "Reagan had three priorities and he never deviated from them: cut taxes, slay inflation, and win the Cold War."

One of the Gipper's greatest legacies was the Reagan Revolution, which gave birth to a modern-day conservative movement that continues to thrive three decades later. Tuesday's victory for Republicans was a result of stitching together the Reagan coalition of free-market advocates, social conservatives, Reagan Democrats and independents. Reagan said during the 1980 campaign that "all of our problems . . . are in direct proportion to the overspending in Washington." That sounds a lot like what today's Tea Partier say about Mr. Obama and his $2 trillion spending spree.

"Ronald Reagan was a Tea Partier before the phrase was coined," said Mr. Shirley, "because he knew what the Founders intended, and that was for power to flow upward and not downward."

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

02 November 2010

Be The Tsunami: Today Is The Day

Remember, vote only if you intend to vote Republican.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

29 October 2010

28 October 2010

Send Home 'Senator Ma'am'

It's tough to say which Democrat Senator I dislike most. No, that's not true. It's definitely Harry Reid. So much for tribalism.

Senator "Ma'am" isn't far behind. Ditto Patty Murray. Or enemy of free speech himself, Russ Feingold.

Fortunately, it looks like at least two of those four will lose their job next week. With a little bit of work, maybe we can send home all of them.

Don't let this opportunity to Be the Wave pass you by--get involved.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

21 October 2010

Remember: Be The Wave

Join here.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

06 October 2010

Remember November 2nd

Be a part of the wave, not the trash that gets carried along by it--GOTV. You have two options, really: 1. do what you normally do and remain uninvolved, but complaining about the direction/state of the country OR 2. Do something. Like make some calls, do some canvassing, drive people to the polls.

The link I provided is to call people to encourage them to vote. Don't stop there. Contact your local GOP party chair (Google it) and volunteer to help. If you really believe, as I do, that we need to elect conservatives to Congress, do something more than just talk about it.

I'm in London and as a result, am somewhat limited in what I can do to become a part of the wave. So, for my part, I commit to calling 40 people, per day, until the election. Each day I'll write up a post about my experience.

What will you do?

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

11 September 2010

Remembering 9/11, Nine Years On

Check out this memory of 9/11, written by my sis-in-law, and watch the Youtube video below.

Never forget.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

06 September 2010

Taking Back Congress

Wanna get involved and help turn a few Democrat-held seats into Republican ones?

Check out 40 Seats, a website that has identified the most likely districts to flip this fall and helps to organize people in those areas to aid the cause.

Here's a little bit about the group:
40 Seats is a Political Action Committee (PAC) aimed at returning a conservative majority to Congress in the 2010 election. 40 Seats strategy is to target the most vulnerable liberal incumbents and focus resources on winning those races. 40 Seats fosters volunteerism and connects volunteers with the critical Congressional races closest to them.
Though OL&L readers hail from all over the globe, most of you are from NY, DC, and the Western United States. Know that all of you--including those in NYC--are close to a seat with a vulnerable Democrat incumbent.

If we are to return a conservative majority to Congress, we must translate our enthusiasm into votes and the only way to do that is to organize and get out of the vote. Don't leave it up to your neighbor or your grandma. Get involved. If you can't knock doors, make phone calls. If you can't help transport voters to the polls, blog. If you have trouble putting together coherent sentences, get on that Twitter and do it 140 characters at a time.

Oh, and follow me. Like many of you, I have precious little time to blog like I used to. So I post my thoughts as succinctly as I can on Twitter. It's a great tool for political organizing and keeping up-to-date on all the latest news. Even if you don't intend to say anything yourself (though I'm betting you'll get sucked in), following is a heck of a lot of fun.

We have a chance to have a once-in-a-century change of fortune in the House this year. Don't sit on the sideline and miss out.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

02 September 2010

"I Love What I'm Getting Out Of You, Blue Cougar!"

(via Ace)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

19 August 2010

Who's Extreme?

(via Hot Air)

It's been too long.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

09 July 2010

James Crabtree's FT Article: The Rise Of A New Generation Of Mormons

you may have to register, or something, to be able to see it

(h/t Matt L.)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

03 July 2010

Blessed Independence Day

After Christmas and Thanksgiving, I miss family, friends, and country most on the 4th of July--given that this is, naturally, my 3rd favorite holiday.

Similar to those two holidays, Independence Day causes me to pause and reflect and give thanks for those who have gone before and given so much that I and those I love may be free.

I am grateful to the Founders, pictured above, who laid out the principles on which rest this, the greatest of all countries, ever. I am also grateful to those who have fought to defend her and our principles--in wars past and present.

In addition to the Declaration of Independence, may I suggest that you read Calvin Coolidge's Speech on the Occasion of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. It is brilliant.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

21 June 2010

Chris Christie For President

If I'm not going to blog regularly (and given research demands, I'm just not), the least I could do is post the occasional video of New Jersey Governor, Chris Christie.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

11 June 2010

What Do You Think Matters More To President Obama?

Freedom or his international popularity?

There is no guarantee that categorical American support would have altered the outcome of the struggle between autocracy and liberty in Iran. But it shall now be part of the narrative of liberty that when Persia rose in the summer of 2009 the steward of American power ducked for cover, and that a president who prided himself on his eloquence couldn't even find the words to tell the forces of liberty that he understood the wellsprings of their revolt.
One year on from the failed revolution in Iran, the mullahs are closer than ever to possessing nuclear weapons.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

09 June 2010

Evidence Conservatives Prefer Substance (A Lot Of It) Over Appearance

We're all excited about New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Yet another awesome video of him, this time taking on the NJ Supreme Court and New Jersey education.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

06 June 2010

6 June 1944: D-Day

Signatures on the ceiling of the Eagle Pub in Cambridge, UK. The Eagle was a favorite hang-out of American Airmen stationed in Cambridge. Many of these are theirs.

Another picture of the Eagle Pub ceiling. IIRC, they would "write" their signatures using a lighter--by burning them into the ceiling. The pub owner was not impressed.

My brother, Matt, in a German bunker I believe at Pont-du-Hoc, Normandy, France. August 2007.

Matt, again, at Pont-du-Hoc. Pont-du-hoc was a middle section of cliffs splitting the two American D-Day beaches, Utah & Omaha. Army Rangers, in an amazing feat of arms, took these cliffs and took out the large enemy guns firing on our soldiers on Omaha.


My brother, Matt, on Utah Beach, Normandy, France. August 2007.

American Cemetery at Omaha Beach.

American Cemetery at Omaha Beach.

IIRC, Extreme right of American position (between American & British beaches). Looking back towards Omaha Beach.

French people enjoying freedom on Omaha Beach.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

02 June 2010

We Were Promised Competence

I don't really care for Peggy Noonan, but she's spot on about the overarching campaign promise of Barack Obama.

And then there's this, from Hot Air's Ed Morrissey:
The President has been voting 'present' for most of the first five weeks of the [oil spill] disaster. It's not as if it's the first time Obama tried to avoid responsibility for an issue or refuse to show leadership. Many of us wrote extensively about Obama's pattern of avoidance during the election -- and suggested that Democrats try Obama in a lesser executive position first, such as Governor of Illinois, before nominating him for the top spot, in order to make sure he was up for the job. . . . Only those who willingly allowed themselves to be enchanted by charisma and public relations could possibly act surprised when inexperience leads to incompetence.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

31 May 2010

Memorial Day 2010

As a citizen of the freest, greatest country in history, I express my gratitude for those who throughout our history, have paid the last full measure so that we, collectively, could enjoy the fruits of liberty.

Thank you also to the many men and women--among them, some of my friends--who even now defend the freedoms I hold so dear. May we, collectively, never take our liberty, or those who defend it, for granted.

Congressman Sam Johnson, Air Force vet, on what you can do (broken link) to support the troops this Memorial Day.

Via Ace, a great video of our last WWI vet. Watch & learn.

Army vet & Yale alumnus Flagg K. Youngblood (my kind of name) has a great article up at the Young America's Foundation website (also broken link) about military service. From that piece, a few interesting stats:
At last count, the Department of Veterans Affairs found 41,891,368 Americans have served in uniform during times of war since 1775.

651,030 Americans have died in battle to protect liberty at home and abroad, and an additional 539,079 Americans have died in the line of military duty.

3,447 of the United States’ bravest have been awarded the Medal of Honor, our nation’s highest tribute to military valor, since Congress authorized the decoration in 1861, per the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.
At The Corner, Pete Hegseth quotes John Stuart Mill:
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things; the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse.
Remember Jason Dunham, American, Marine, Medal of Honor recipient.

There is something worse than war; there are things more important than life.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

27 May 2010

Beautiful Shot Of Qwest Field, Seattle, & The Sound

From an article about Seattle's chances of hosting a Super Bowl now that New Jersey/York get one.

(via The Tacoma News-Tribune)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

More NJ Gov. Chris Christie Goodness

Which is it, Ms. Wilson? Are you in it for the money or for the love of teaching?

Mind you, my usual caveat, I'm not anti-teacher, I'm anti-teachers' unions and, indeed, unions in general.

(via Hot Air)

I don't agree that teachers are paid too little.

I do agree that good teachers are paid too little. It's because we waste so much money paying all the deadbeats whose jobs are guaranteed by the sweetheart deals their unions worked out with the government.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

And Now I'm Jealous Of New Jersey

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25 May 2010

Michael Lewis - Inside The Collapse - 60 Minutes - The Big Short

Michael Lewis is one of my favorite authors. He has written two of my favorite books--Liar's Poker and Moneyball. I'm waiting on Matt to finish The Big Short so I can have my turn reading it.

These two videos--taken from the same ep of 60 Minutes--are interesting and entertaining.

[Caveat: I don't agree with all or even most of what Lewis says here. Hindsight and all that.]

See also this column, in the NYT, by Michael Burry, one of the subjects of The Big Short on why more people--including The Fed--should have seen the crisis coming.

(h/t Scott L.)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

24 May 2010

Just The Links, Please

Wherein I write a sentence or three about each.
  • I think the Tories missed an opportunity to win control of Parliament outright and Republicans risk doing the same. What must they do? Follow Barone's advice and propose a bold plan that cuts Fed spending to ~20% of GDP.
  • Think moderation of radical Islam is inevitable? Think again.
  • Hypocritical Democrats aren't the only ones selling American education down the river--some Republicans do it too. It will come as no surprise to most of you that these Republicans reside in Illinois.
  • That awesome European model for what America could do and be? Not so awesome. Hey Krugman, are you paying attention?

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

21 May 2010

Weekend Happiness: Video Compilation Of Troops Coming Home

It's nice to be missed, but nothing is better than coming home.

God bless our troops.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

18 May 2010

'War Upon Us, Or A Cycle Of Mideast Nuclear Proliferation'

Bret Stephens argues, rightly, that the failure to stop Iran's nuke dream will lead to either an Israeli strike or a nuke arms race in the Middle East.

Ronen Bergman has suggested, on multiple occasions, that Israel's historical precedent is one of preemptive action in the face of an existential threat. Barring some new twist and given that precedent and the pace of current events, my money is on an Israeli strike against Iranian nuke facilities before the end of 2010.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

17 May 2010

Inflationary Quote Of The Day

The lesson here is that without political will, fiat money in any form—be it in a monetary union, anchored to a reserve currency or run by the sovereign—is unreliable. As Messrs. Steil and Hinds note, "money untethered to a commodity gives rise to inflation when managed by corrupt, irresponsible or incompetent rulers," thereby covering Greece, Argentina and Venezuela in one breath.

Harkening back to the wisdom of a 15th century Spanish canon lawyer, the authors capture today's fiat currency problem: "The ruler's power to create value from the valueless by designating it 'money' was bound to lead to inflation."

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

Vote For This Guy

I've never been jealous of Alabama before.

(via Hot Air)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

12 May 2010

Good Riddance, Bob Bennett

Another edition of bullet pointed links to articles I haven't had time to write up but which are good.
  • Meanwhile, Daniel Krauthammer reviews the Senate investigations into Goldman Sachs. I think this is a politically opportunistic show trial with little to no merit. Hopefully it also means Goldmanites will donate less to Obama in 2012. Maybe. Unless you think they'll also take advantage of any new regulatory regime to gain some advantage over competitors. That's probably what will happen. (h/t Scott L.)
  • Bob Bennett is gone and I think it's a good thing. The MFM takes the liberal line that this is an example of hysterical conservative extremists over a good, reasonable, and conservative senator. Meanwhile, when Sestak defeats Specter in PA, that--that--will be a triumph over incumbency and a renewal of core American democratic principles. Huzzah for the little guy, or something.
  • No weekly links post would be complete without at least one to my fav columnist, Bret Stephens. His column on Turkey carries extra weight for me as we recently traveled to Istanbul. I hope it doesn't turn into Iran; I'd like to go back someday.
  • Finally, modern-day hero, General David Petraeus, was recently spoke at an AEI dinner wherein he received the Irving Kristol Award. His speech is (transcript here) is great review of the power of ideas helping to propel the success of The Surge. If you read nothing else from this week's list-o-links, read this.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

28 April 2010

Immigration Ain't That Easy

I've got a window full of tabbed articles I will never have the time to write about. So you're going to get them in linked bullet points.

  • Public intellectual, Rush Limbaugh, wrote a piece for the WSJ wherein he defended the Tea Party movement against their media antagonists. Given liberal hysteria and hyperbole in response to AZ immigration law, this one is timely. (Mind you, I'm not saying I agree with AZ policy, just pointing out liberal hypocrisy.)
  • Daniel Henninger documents the massive shift in public opinion away from Obama's vision of America and towards a more limited vision of the role of government. This shift has occurred in a very short period of time. Like, a year.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

26 April 2010

Guy Fawkes Comes To The United States

"We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it."

We Will Remember from Republican Governors Association on Vimeo.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

15 April 2010

10 April 2010

Mussolini On Freedom

In F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom:
We were the first to assert that the more complicated the forms assumed by civilization, the more restricted the freedom of the individual must become.
Benito Mussolini, Grand Fascist Council Report, 1929, quoted in E. B. Ashton, The Fascist: His State and His Mind (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1937), p. 63, note 5.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

04 April 2010

Easter Means We Shall Live Again

I post this annually on Easter Sunday.

From the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28, verses 1-6:
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, cam Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the spulchre.
2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
5 And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
6 He is not here: for he is risen
And in Mark, chapter 16, verse 6:
6 And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here
Again, in Luke, chapter 24, verses 5-6:
5 And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but is risen
Finally, from John, chapter 20, verses 1-17:
The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulchre.
2 Then she runneth, and cometh to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and saith unto them, They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulchre, and we know not where they have laid him.
3 Peter therefore went forth, and that other disciple, and came to the sepulchre.
4 So they ran both together: and the other disciple did outrun Peter, and came first to the sepulchre.
5 And he stooping down, and looking in, saw the linen clothes lying; yet went he not in.
6 Then cometh Simon Peter following him, and went into the sepulchre, and seeth the linen clothes lie,
7 And the napkin, that was about his head, not lying with the linen clothes, but wrapped together in a place by itself.
8 Then went in also that other disciple, which came first to the sepulchre, and he saw, and believed.
9 For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.
10 Then the disciples went away again unto their own home.
11 But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre,
12 And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.
13 And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him.
14 And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away.
16 Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master.
17 Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.
Taken collectively, these are four witnesses to the good news of the Gospel of Jesus Christ: that though we may die, because He died and rose again, so too shall we all live again.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

30 March 2010

Quote Of The Day: Adam Smith

The statesman who should attempt to direct private people in what manner they ought to employ their capitals, would not only load himself with a most unnecessary attention, but assume an authority which could safely be trusted to no council and senate whatever, and which would nowhere be so dangerous as in the hands of a man who had folly and presumption enough to fancy himself fit to exercise it.
Citation: Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, ed. R. H. Campbell and A. S. Skinner, vol. 1 of The Glasgow Edition of the Works and Correspondence of Adam Smith, op. cit., book 4, chapter 2, p. 456.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

27 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Weekend Edition

Taken in a vacuum, the liberal media's response to the right's response to Obamacare's passage might leave you thinking that no one before in American history has ever been so angry about so little.

They just do not get that something that will give government control over 1/6th of the American economy, expand the Nanny State, cost hundreds of billions of dollars, raise taxes, result in fewer doctors, the eventual rationing of care, reduced R&D (resulting in future lives lost), give access to medical records to a huge and whole new cadre of government bureaucrats, generally reduce liberty is something that would actually make people angry. And they say it as though they've never been angry over anything.

On the scale of anger-to-actual-impact-of-legislation, progressives have got us angry conservatives (but I repeat myself, apparently) beat by a wide margin in their out and out hysteria over the passage of the Patriot Act. Yeah, remember that bill? It's the same one the One and the Democrats in Congress renewed this year, again.

Also, lybberty-approved (unless they are caught in some wrongdoing!) Congressmen Mike Pence and Paul Ryan had fantastic Op-Eds in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times respectively, yesterday. Give them both a read.

Stay angry, my conservative friends.

(image of 'angry conservatives' protesting the bill taken from Thinking The Wright Way)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

26 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Friday

Unrelated: I'm not saying it's because of Obamacare's passage that I'm listening to the blues, but let me tell you, Eric Bibb is fantastic. I highly recommend his album "Painting Signs." Brilliant.

First off this morning, a column from earlier in the week by Richard Rahn, a senior fellow at Cato. He writes on the importance of failure--especially as it relates to regulation of financial markets--in a capitalist society. I know that the self-esteem society has infected much of our debate about practically everything, but it's important to remember that people have to be allowed to fail. Does this make me a heartless conservative? Probably. I can live with that. Better that than the alternative.

Next, a column by another one of those conservative ideologues from whom I mindlessly take my marching orders, Mark Steyn. But seriously, folks, in this column about civilizational decline, he draws important lessons from the decline of the British empire and why it wasn't bad, because America took its place, but also how if/when America declines, it will be bad because, well, who's going to take America's place? Who's going to be the benevolent hegemon, allowing the rest of the world to free ride on its guarantee of peace and prosperity? The hard lesson is that there isn't anyone else.

Lastly, a bit of optimism in the form of a look at Paul Ryan. In case you hadn't picked up on it yet, I'm a big fan of the guy. He singlehandedly took on the economically ignorant progressives on the House Budget Committee. Some have called him "Jack Kemp on steroids." Before all you deficit hawks get your panties in a bunch over that comment and the hypocrisy of conservative economics, let me say that unlike Kemp, Ryan is concerned about deficits and has proposed your kind of policy solution to what ails America. The GOP isn't just the party of no. (though if you're a small-government type, isn't that a good thing?)

FWIW, we liked Kemp because he, like Paul Ryan, was an unabashed defender and advocate of free market capitalism. There are too few of those.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

25 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Thursday

7:00pm: Jonah Goldberg, one of my favorite conservative columnists and a good guy with whom to share a serving of nachos at Appleby's, writes of leftist consternation at the conservative response to the passing of Obamacare:
A lot of people on the left cannot come to grips with the conservative "overreaction" to Obamacare. I don't think it's an overreaction, and I can help liberals understand what's happening. Just consider the Patriot Act. Here was a law that affected a teeny-weeny number of people. Almost all of the horrible things it did never happened. Remember all that teeth-gnashing about searched libraries? Totally bogus.

And yet, people all over the country got their dresses over their heads about the Patriot Act. Why? Well, I would argue partly out of addlepated paranoia, ignorance, and Bush hatred. They would argue it was out of deep-seated principle. Let's compromise and say that for many, it was both, and for a few, it was all about principle.

Well, opposition to PPACA seems vastly more rational to me. By its very design it affects everyone. It costs them money. It will cost them freedom. It will cost our country money, medical innovation, and mounds of debt. It involves far, far more government intrusion into our lives than the Patriot Act. And yet, many of the same people who considered the Patriot Act an American Nuremburg Law think this is one of the greatest moments in American history.
Do you get it now, progressives, why we are so up-in-arms about this little piece of legislation? It really will cost us money, time, freedom, and innovation--which means lives. This is a bad bad bill. By the time its costs are fully calculated and comprehended(the next generation of economic historians), it may well surpass Smoot Hawley.

Like I've said, the Brits declined because the cost to support their welfare state forced withdrawal around the world. This is our future if this thing stands and expands into Euro-social welfare. American decline.

BTW, you really should subscribe to Jonah's "Goldberg File." It's a real treat.

2:28pm: Over at Hot Air, Ed Morrissey has a post up with some great quotes and video of Charles Krauthammer, doctor-genius, and Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute, warning about the coming debate about a VAT. If you don't know what a VAT is, I recommend you click the link and read the wiki entry. A VAT might be okay if it were to take the place of existing taxes like payroll taxes, but it won't be. It will be just another revenue stream for the feds to shove big government down your throat.

Meanwhile at Reason.com (free minds and free markets!) Jacob Sullum explains why this healthcare mandate is not exactly, you know, constitutional and why a legal challenge just may be successful.

There's hope yet.

Finally (for the time being), if you are pro-life and thought there was a home for you in the Democrat party, well, sorry, you're wrong. William McGurn explains how Obamacare exposes the Democrat Party as the Party of Death (also, you'll note, the title of a book by Ramesh Ponnuru).

1:37pm BST: The Dark Lord, Karl Rove, provided a good roadmap to electoral victory in his column today. I love the fact that we conservatives love this guy while leftists think he is the devil incarnate. Don't they know? This just makes us love him all the more.
Democrats claim they've rallied their left-wing base. But that base isn't big enough to carry the fall elections, particularly after the party alienated independents and seniors. The only way Democrats win a base election this year will be if opponents of this law stay home.

To keep that from happening, Republican candidates must focus on ObamaCare's weaknesses. It will cost $2.6 trillion in its first decade of operation and is built on Madoff-style financing. For example, it double counts Social Security payroll taxes, long-term care premiums, and Medicare savings in order to make it appear more fiscally responsible. In reality, ObamaCare isn't $143 billion in the black, as Democrats have claimed, but $618 billion in the red. And giving the IRS $10 billion to hire about 16,000 agents to enforce the new taxes and fees in ObamaCare will drive small business owners crazy.

Republicans have a powerful rallying cry in "repeal, replace and reform." Few voters will want to keep onerous mandates that hit individuals and taxes that hobble economic growth. Rather than spending a trillion dollars on subsidies for insurance companies and Medicaid expansion, as ObamaCare does, Republicans should push for giving individuals the same health-insurance tax break businesses get, which would cost less.

Republicans must also continue to press for curbing junk lawsuits, enabling people to buy insurance across state lines, increasing the amount of money they can sock away tax free for medical expenses, and permitting small businesses to pool risk.

Opponents of ObamaCare have decisively won the battle for public opinion. As voters start to feel the pain of this new program, Republicans will be in a stronger position if they stay in the fight, make a principled case, and lay out a competing vision.
This is as good a place as any to point out something that frequently gets forgotten.
I'm really really tired of people talking and acting as though the left wing of the Democrat party is on par with the right wing of the Republican party.

When the country breaks down 40% conservative, 40% moderate, and 20% liberal, the left wing of the Democrat party is not only a hell of a lot smaller than the right wing of the Republican party, it is a hell of a lot further from the natural ideological center of this country.

So all you self-styled post-partisan centrist moderates, who keep trying to say, "well, they're both extremes and bad" and like to pound on conservative wingers as being as "damaging" and as far out of the mainstream as liberal wingers, you're wrong.

Did anyone (besides me) happen to watch the Obamacare debate (limited, though it was) Sunday night on CSPAN? I think Dan Henninger's characterization of the Republicans and Democrats that night is spot on:
Spring renewal and baseball's new season are upon us, so let's quote the optimism of Yogi: It isn't over until it's over. I thought 10 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday night in Washington was the Republican Party's finest hour in a long time. When the voting stopped, the screen said the number of Republicans voting for Mr. Obama's bill was zero. Not one. Nobody.

Pristine opposition is being spun as a Republican liability. It looks to me like a Republican resurrection. The party hasn't yet discovered what it should be, but this clearly was a party discovering what it cannot be.

Put it this way: If you produce a bill that Olympia Snowe of Maine cannot vote for, you have not produced legislation "for the generations." You have not even produced legislation that is liberal. You have produced legislation from the left. You have produced once-in-a-lifetime legislation that no Republican from any constituency across America could vote for.
Watching Paul Ryan, John Boehner, and Mike Pence I was as happy with Republican leadership as I have been in a long time. Finally some backbone. Finally some principle. Finally they stood up to the Democrats and exposed them as the out-of-touch, tax and spend statists that they are. As Henninger points out, this whole debate puts liberals who aren't employed by the government in a tough spot.
Liberals in the private sector have to come to grips with the fact that what they do for a living is an abstraction to the people they are sending to Washington. Nobody at the top of the party is much interested in them anymore. House and Senate Democrats hammered insurance, pharma and medical-device makers with taxes and intimidation. It wasn't just politics. It was belief. With this bill, the party made the transition from market unionism to Alinskyism, from a politics tempered by the marketplace to one that milks the marketplace.
Count Henninger and myself among those who think "Repeal!" is a good rallying cry in the run-up to the 2010 election. First repeal the Democrats in Congress, then in 2012 the Democrat in the White House then, once he's gone, Obamacare will quickly follow him out the door.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

24 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward Wednesday

(My other post was getting too unwieldy)

5:22pm: WSJ Op-Ed on the GOP way forward:
A new President nearly always gets what he wants on his top legislative priority, especially when he has such big majorities in Congress to work with. Republicans nonetheless managed to keep their Members together, turn public opinion against the bill despite nearly unanimous media support for it, and in the end came a few votes short. They would have won if Mr. Obama and Nancy Pelosi hadn't been so willing to put so many of their Members at risk by pushing a partisan program and flouting normal Congressional rules.

The GOP's goal now should first be to remove some of the uglier parts of the bill in Senate reconciliation. Then they need to focus on taking back as many seats as possible this fall. Rather than publicly crowing that ObamaCare will deliver them the House—a hard task and a risky expectations game—they'd do better to concentrate on continuing to educate the public about what ObamaCare is going to do to insurance premiums, federal deficits, taxes and the quality of medical care.

Many Republicans are already calling for "repeal" of ObamaCare, and that's fine with us, though they should also be honest with voters about the prospects. The GOP can't repeal anything as long as Mr. Obama is President, even if they take back Congress in November. That will take two large electoral victories in a row. What they can do now is take credit for fighting on principle, hold Democrats accountable for their votes and the consequences, and pledge if elected in November to stop cold Mr. Obama's march to ever-larger government.
This strikes me as a reasonable approach. The public debate about this bill was won before its passage, but we cannot quit fighting now. Conservatives need to continue to hammer on on Obamacare's worst features and challenge every Democrat who voted in favor.

5:06pm: One of my heroes, Thomas Sowell, on what the passage of Obamacare could mean:
The ruthless and corrupt way this bill was forced through Congress on a party-line vote, and in defiance of public opinion, provides a road map for how other "historic" changes can be imposed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.

What will it matter if Obama's current approval rating is below 50 percent among the current voting public, if he can ram through new legislation to create millions of new voters by granting citizenship to illegal immigrants? That can be enough to make him a two-term President, who can appoint enough Supreme Court justices to rubber-stamp further extensions of his power.

When all these newly minted citizens are rounded up on election night by ethnic organization activists and labor union supporters of the administration, that may be enough to salvage the Democrats' control of Congress as well.

The last opportunity that current American citizens may have to determine who will control Congress may well be the election in November of this year. Off-year elections don't usually bring out as many voters as Presidential election years. But the 2010 election may be the last chance to halt the dismantling of America. It can be the point of no return.
Whatever else you may say about the guy, Bush's "tax cuts for the rich," Patriot Act, Iraq War Resolution, and No Child Left Behind all enjoyed bipartisan support. Obama's (the post-partisan) signature piece of legislation was passed without a single Republican vote and against the will of the American people.

Democrats have revealed themselves as the hyper-partisans they always accused the Republicans of being. This is concrete evidence of that fact.

There is nothing moderate about the Democrat Party.

2:43pm BST: In the NYT's "Room for Debate" blog, James Capretta, Michael Tanner, Gail Wilensky, Joseph Antos, Megan McArdle, and Keith Hennessey all opine on the GOP's next move.

At Pajamasmedia.com, Hoover Institution Senior Fellow, Victor Davis Hanson, had this to say about Obamacare:
President Obama has crossed the Rubicon with the health care vote. The bill was not really about medicine; after all, a moderately priced, relatively small federal program could offer the poorer not now insured, presently not on Medicare or state programs like Medicaid or Medical, a basic medical plan. . . .

No, instead, the bill was about assuming a massive portion of the private sector, hiring tens of thousands of loyal, compliant new employees, staffing new departments with new technocrats, and feeling wonderful that we "are leveling the playing field" and have achieved another Civil Rights landmark law. . . .

[W]e are in revolutionary times in which the government will grow to assume everything from energy use to student loans, while abroad we are a revolutionary sort of power, eager to mend fences with Syria and Iran, more eager still to distance ourselves from old Western allies like Israel and Britain.

There won't be any more soaring rhetoric from Obama about purple-state America, "reaching across the aisle," or healing our wounds. That was so 2008. Instead, we are in the most partisan age since Vietnam, ushered into it by the self-acclaimed "non-partisan."

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

22 March 2010

Post-ObamacareApocalypse: The Way Forward (UPDATED & Edited Wednesday)

Lot's of angry emails from people from whom I haven't heard in awhile. And with good reason. Never, in the history of this country, has legislation so transforming been passed with out a bi-partisan majority and against the will of the people.

Could the American people--through numerous opinion polls, the election of Scott Brown, the Tea Party movement, hundreds of thousands of emails, calls, and letters to member of Congress--have been any more clear about their opposition to, and in some instances, intense hate of, ObamaCare?

Though I plan on responding to everyone individually, I figured I'd give my opinion, in the form of what I'm reading/thinking/etc., to the question on everybody's minds: What next?

Before I even get to the practical stuff, let me remind us all (myself included) of what we are--we are Happy Warriors. Whatever else happens, it is always Morning in America. We must be positive, optimistic and upbeat as we respond to the haters on the extreme left. If there were no battles left to fight, life would be pretty boring.

First of all, here's the BookFace page of Dan Benishek, the guy who's challenging the pro-life Benedict Arnold, Bart Stupak. Join his group, donate to his campaign and do whatever else you can to help get him elected.

Also, you absolutely must get on that Twitter. Every last bit of news is broken first on Twitter. I'm not saying you have to follow me, but looking through the list of people I follow, would be a good place to start.

Yesterday, for instance, I was doing a running commentary while watching CSPAN on the interwebs. And so were lots and lots of other people.

Second, here's a few articles to educate you about our Nanny State future:

Tuesday 23 March

12:22pm BST: Jonah Goldberg on the ongoing culture war the left has wrought and will continue to bring as a result of the passage of Obamacare:
this legislation is a superconducting super collider of culture-war conflagrations. It will throw off new and unforeseen cultural spectacles for years to come (if it is not repealed). The grinding debate over the Stupak amendment was just a foretaste. The government has surged over the breakwater and is now going to flood the nooks and crannies of American life. Americans will now fight over what tax dollars should cover and not cover. Debates over "subsidizing" this "lifestyle" or that "personal choice" will erupt. And when conservatives complain, liberals will blame them for perpetuating the culture war.
Silver lining? Ross Douthat writes that now we get to see if all those crazy liberal predictions about Obamacare saving the planet, etc., will actually come true.

Amity Shlaes (one of the old man's fav columnists, BTW) writes that Democrats' math is more than just fuzzy, it's a straight up lie--or, as Douglas Holtz-Eakin put it, "fantasy in, fantasy out." (regarding those ridiculous CBO numbers)

Monday 22 March

Milton Friedman on "A Way Out of Soviet-Style Healthcare." I wish he were still around.

WSJ Op-Ed on the real question underlying the bill: 'who commands the country's medical resources--the people or the government?'

Megan McArdle on the Democrat Party's parliamentary hijinks, deception of the people, and contempt for the majority will.

Christopher DeMuth of AEI on the 'historical inevitability' of progressivism. What he doesn't point out is just how much theory today's progressives borrow from Karl Marx. Yes, that Karl Marx.

UPDATE 1:12pm BST: The NRO Symposium on What Now?


UPDATE 2:16pm: There are a lot of things I really dislike and disagree with in this piece by David Frum, but he does make one very important point: Major legislative victory trumps legislative majority. I hope future Republican majorities take this to heart and pass conservative-transformative legislation.

In the future, we must have gamechangers. Getting the White House or a majority in Congress is worth very little if all we do is slow the increase of government and spending. Then Republicans are just Democrats-lite. Republican representatives must pass market-based reforms of all areas of government. They must do away entirely with departments like Education and above all, they must repeal Obamacare.

In yesterdays Washington Post, Randy Barnett, a constitutional lawyer at Georgetown, asked, "Is health care reform Constitutional?" Requiring people to purchase heath care? I don't think so.

UPDATE 2:37p: Watch Paul Ryan and Mike Pence (two potential contenders for the 2012 GOP Presidential nomination) speechify about health care and rights and freedom.

Romney's condemnation of Obamacare--"unconscionable abuse of power"

Also, there's this: Blame Bush.

UPDATE 3:22p: Greg Mankiw: "How long can the President wait before he comes clean with the American people and explains how high taxes need to rise to pay for his vision of government?"

UPDATE 4:36p: Today's WSJ Op-Ed on the passage of Obamacare:
We fought this bill so vigorously because we have studied government health care in other countries, and the results include much higher taxes, slower economic growth and worse medical care.
Some of my friends argued in favor of this bill because "finally their (fill in the blank) member of the family would be able to get care." Well, sure, if by "care" you mean that according to the bill, they can "technically" see a doctor. The reality will be much different. Just hope that your cancer ridden (fill in the blank) isn't getting on in age, because their care will be rationed.

The WSJ's Kimberley Strassel on all the threats, bribes, and kickbacks required to pass Obamacare. Are you okay with this sort of behavior?

(I'll update this post periodically throughout the day and week as I come across more stuff of note)

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.

The Beginning Of America's Decline?

Depressing that this post comes after the one about America's comeback. But as Mark Steyn put it, it's tough to be optimistic:
Well, it seems to be in the bag now. I try to be a sunny the-glass-is-one-sixteenth-full kinda guy, but it's hard to overestimate the magnitude of what the Democrats have accomplished. Whatever is in the bill is an intermediate stage: As the graph posted earlier shows, the governmentalization of health care will accelerate, private insurers will no longer be free to be "insurers" in any meaningful sense of that term (ie, evaluators of risk), and once that's clear we'll be on the fast track to Obama's desired destination of single payer as a fait accomplis.

If Barack Obama does nothing else in his term in office, this will make him one of the most consequential presidents in history. It's a huge transformative event in Americans' view of themselves and of the role of government. You can say, oh, well, the polls show most people opposed to it, but, if that mattered, the Dems wouldn't be doing what they're doing. Their bet is that it can't be undone, and that over time, as I've been saying for years now, governmentalized health care not only changes the relationship of the citizen to the state but the very character of the people. As I wrote in NR recently, there's plenty of evidence to support that from Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.

More prosaically, it's also unaffordable. That's why one of the first things that middle-rank powers abandon once they go down this road is a global military capability. If you take the view that the U.S. is an imperialist aggressor, congratulations: You can cease worrying. But, if you think that America has been the ultimate guarantor of the post-war global order, it's less cheery. Five years from now, just as in Canada and Europe two generations ago, we'll be getting used to announcements of defense cuts to prop up the unsustainable costs of big government at home. And, as the superpower retrenches, America's enemies will be quick to scent opportunity.

Longer wait times, fewer doctors, more bureaucracy, massive IRS expansion, explosive debt, the end of the Pax Americana, and global Armageddon. Must try to look on the bright side . . .
Congratulations, progressives. You've just made the citizens of the country started with a Declaration of Independence permanent wards of the state. This is what you wanted--to begin to manage and organize and run people's lives--and you got it.

The post-WWII decline of Great Britain wasn't inevitable. It was hurried along its way by their "governmentalized" health care. And all of the things that everyone now predicts for the US are already reality in the UK: long wait times, fewer doctors, ever-expanding debt & cost, drop in quality, bureaucracy between the patient and the doctor, and on and on.

As my econ-minded friends like to point out, there are always trade-offs. Don't assume that this, the most massive entitlement in American history, will come without cost. By the time the full reality of this thing hits, it's going to hurt everybody.

If you have tips, questions, comments or suggestions, email me at lybberty@gmail.com.