Author Archives: Taylor Millard

Never Stop Fighting ‘Til The Fighting’s Done

In Brian De Palma’s 1987 epic “The Untouchables,” a triumphant FBI Agent Eliot Ness tells Al Capone as the mobster is hauled off to prison to, “never stop fighting ’til the fighting’s done.”

This mantra is something frustrated conservatives and libertarians need to hear. These are frustrating times. President Barack Obama still leads in the polls and the Republican Party seems ready to toss grassroots activists out with the dirt they were grown in. It’s too easy to pack it in and say what a Hillary Clinton aide said to a reporter.

Now’s not the time.

Now is the time to keep fighting. It’s not over.

There are plenty of conservative and libertarians running for Congress who can help get the United States back to the limited, Constitution-following government it’s supposed to be. The latest Reason magazine should be read by all, because it includes a group of candidates out there who are libertarian(ish) and up for election. These include Ted Cruz in Texas, Justin Amash in Michigan, Jeff Flake in Arizona and Mia Love in Utah.

Another must read is a column by Mark Kreslin discussing “The Liberty Movement” and how more people appear to be interested in liberty. Kreslin believes more people are getting interested in liberty and could start participating in activism like they did with the Tea Party in 2010. He may be right. But it won’t happen if there aren’t others willing to fight along side with them.

Obama hasn’t won yet, and may not win at all. Even if he does, people still need to be engaged. They need to educate potential voters, talk to them about why freedom and liberty are so important to American life and how a broken system can be fixed. US News published an op-ed discussing the importance of economic freedom. It’s something people need to send to others. It’s education.

The Constitution is important and our leaders need to learn to pay more than just lip service to it. It means being active. It means participating in rallies, making phone calls, talking to fellow libertarians and conservatives and educating ourselves. There are plenty of books by Ayn Rand, Senator Rand Paul, Matt Kibbe and Yaron Brook which can help in education. Being properly prepared for debates and discussions are important. Planting a seed in someone’s mind goes a long way than just yelling and screaming buzzwords. It has to be done.

Keeping the U.S. from declining more may (may) even mean sucking things up and voting to elect Mitt Romney in November. But that’s a decision only individual voters can make.

It’s not time to give up. If we want freedom and liberty to stay alive, we can’t give up.

It’s time to fight.

Why The GOP Shouldn’t Ignore Libertarians

“If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism” – Ronald Reagan to Reason Magazine, July 1975

Both Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham made salient points this week by telling Republicans they needed to “shut down” if President Barack Obama is re-elected. The comments show a problem Republicans have had in convincing the Tea Party to support Mitt Romney.

It also shows the Republican Party has failed to listen to what has long been considered their conscience: libertarians.

What people have forgotten is the rise of the Tea Party wasn’t just a rebellion against the increased spending in late 2008, early 2009. The origins of the Tea Party can be traced all the way back to several of President George W. Bush’s decisions, including the Patriot Act, the Department of Homeland Security and the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina.

This series of responses started shaking people, waking them up from their long slumber. They realized the U.S. was running into major problems, the government was expanding too quickly and things needed to be cut. The Tea Party rallies, and the candidates which followed, were proof people were starting to pay attention and getting active. Libertarians were starting to be heard.

But what’s happened since then?

Certainly, the libertarian caucus in US Senate has grown from South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint. It now includes Rand Paul, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee and Ron Johnson. Hopefully, reinforcements are coming with the possible election of Ted Cruz, Connie Mack IV, Richard Mourdock and Jeff Flake. But that’s only nine out of 100 senators.

The House looks no better, with Michigan Congressman Justin Amash replacing Ron Paul as probably the most libertarian member. South Carolina Republican Trey Gowdy should also get praise for fighting for reigned in spending and cutting the government. Arizona Congressman Trent Franks has been considered libertarian at times, but that’s only three out of 435. Plenty of Republicans pay lip service to libertarian ideals (see: House Speaker John Boehner and, to a lesser extent, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan) but don’t follow through.

The fact is Republicans need to listen to libertarians, especially in terms of government growth and the budget. The party which claims to be for “limited government,” allowed massive expanses during the Bush Administration. The original stimulus package may have been avoided if Congress had waited.

To be fair, libertarians have to take blame as well. The rise of social conservatism may have been held back a bit if libertarians did a better job at pointing out why some social policies are best left to states. There’s a reason why the Libertarian Party is known more for wanting to end the War on Drugs, instead of reduced spending, smaller government and more freedom. Organization and activism have also been major problems the Libertarian Party has failed to solve. This could be the reason why there are libertarians considering a vote for Mitt Romney, instead of Gary Johnson.

Ultimately, it may not be in the best interests of libertarians to leave the GOP. It’s possible libertarians will have to suck it up and keep trying to convince party leaders, elected officials and local activists why they’re right. Certainly the Koch brothers believe this and Rand Paul as well. For this to work, conservatives will have to be willing to listen and both sides will have to reach a consensus. It does nothing for Republicans to simply brush off libertarian concerns as a fringe element, or “hobbits,” but to ultimately sit down, look at what’s being said and move forward. There really are libertarians out there who want Republicans to succeed.

The solutions may be slightly different, but it should be a lot easier for conservatives and libertarians to come to an agreement. Certainly a lot easier than conservatives and liberals.

But if Republicans lose in November, what then? Will the party start listening to libertarians or blame them for their own failure? If it’s the former, things may turn out okay. If it’s the latter…the Republican Party may be doomed.

 

No Democrats, We Don’t Belong To The Government

 

Democrats have shown just how far off the sanity cliff they’ve gone in their video to open the Democratic National Convention.

Just to repeat, the narrator says, “Government is the only thing that we all belong to…we’re together as a part of our city, or our county or our state. Or our nation.”

There’s no spinning this. It’s worse than, “you didn’t build that.”

By saying, “government is the only thing that we all belong to,” Democrats are going beyond liberalism. They are taking their platform to corporatism.

Phrases like “we’re all in this together” may seem like they were meant to look good on paper and to voters. But combining it with the phrase, “government is the only thing that we all belong to,” goes into statements someone like Mussolini or Hitler or Lenin might make.

In fact, based on their praise of The New Deal, it’s possible they might even rise from their graves and cheer the DNC’s video.

According to Wolfgang Schivelbusch’s book “Three New Deals,” both German and Italian newspapers loved the tone President Franklin Delano Roosevelt used in the 1930s. One German newspaper said Roosevelt’s speech demanded “collective good be put before self-interest.” Schivelbusch also discusses how Hitler saw Roosevelt’s ability to discuss self-sacrifice and duty as something which were “quintessential” to how Nazi Germany did things.

Isn’t what the Democrats of today are discussing something similar? Hasn’t the tone taken by the President echoed this line of thinking? When Obama tweets how donors “own a piece of this campaign,” or tells an union group, “think about everybody who depends on you,” it’s simply corporatism.

It’s making people think they’re no longer individuals but part of a group that operates as a whole.

Obama is banking people will want to be in the middle class. Be part of that amazing group of people who just have enough to live and save, but not enough to be in the upper class. By shuffling everyone into that group it makes him look like a benevolent leader who’s looking out for their interests.

The greatness of America and the states we live in, is that we’re individuals. We can take whatever job we want, live whatever life we want and if someone wants to make $20-thousand, $200-thousand or $2-million it doesn’t matter. Or as Clint Eastwood put it last week, “politicians are employees of ours!”

Saying “government is the only thing that we all belong to,” is dangerous and wrong. It shows how far Democrats, not Republicans, have gone in their ideology.

It’s not what America was created to be. And certainly not what it should become.

Paul Ryan’s Defense Of 2008-2009 Votes

One of the big questions since Mitt Romney selected Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan as is running mate is whether it would bring in small government conservatives and libertarians on the Romney bandwagon. Ryan is well-liked by people due to his “Roadmap For America’s Future” and his 2009 verbal destruction of Obamacare to the President’s face.

There are still a few questions regarding Ryan’s voting record in the House. He supported TARP, the auto bailout and the taxes on AIG bonuses. He also supported the NDAA and the PATRIOT Act. These are things conservatives and libertarians don’t support because they expand government power and ended up supporting crony capitalism.

Ryan’s defense of the some of these votes are very interesting. In a 2010 interview with The Daily Caller, Ryan points out voted against the original auto bailout because he didn’t want them to get the money. His reasoning for eventually voting for the bailout was because it was limited money at $17.4 billion.  As Ryan put it, he was concerned it would become a “slush fund” with no limit if it were connected to TARP. It’s a strange reason, considering that Ryan eventually voted for TARP, however he deserves a bit a credit for his original no vote.

The vote Ryan probably regrets the most, is the one to put a tax on the AIG bonuses. It’s a key example of politicians reacting to a situation, instead of responding to it.  Ryan himself admits he was angry and made a “snap judgement” on the bill. He makes a good point at saying TARP was becoming a new avenue of crony capitalism. This has been pointed out several times in Peter Schweizer’s book, “Throw Them All Out,” which everyone should read. It’s nice Ryan says he made a mistake, even if hindsight is 20/20.

The decision to vote for TARP is one of the most interesting, and logical, defenses out there.  Ryan says it was to keep an even bigger government agenda from sweeping the nation, as well as, preventing a Depression. His key worry was to keep from happening, “a complete evisceration of the free market system we have…” This argument is actually something not many politicians have used.

In fact, it sounds a bit like the justification behind the Louisiana Purchase.

According to Harlow Unger’s book on President James Monroe called “The Last Founding Father,” President Thomas Jefferson wanted Monroe to tell the Spanish and French what American traders believe about New Orleans and Louisiana. As Jefferson said, “They have a natural…right to trade freely through the Mississippi,” and authorized $9 million to buy New Orleans. Congress authorized only $2 million. Monroe ended up paying $15 million.

Jefferson wasn’t sure whether to approve the purchase because he believed it violated the Constitution. As Unger writes, he apparently had problems the Constitution, “did not grant the government authority to acquire foreign territory…” Jefferson decided to approve the measure because Napoleon was going to back out of the sale.

Ryan’s defense of the TARP bill sounds a bit Jefferson’s defense of the Louisiana Purchase. Both sacrificed their constitutional beliefs to make sure something worse didn’t happen. In Jefferson’s case it was losing out on Louisiana and New Orleans and possibly never getting a shot at it again. In Ryan’s case, it sounds he was worried about another New Deal coming which would have increased the government even more.

It’s not an argument most of the Tea Party would agree with, but Ryan does a better job at saying why TARP should have been passed than John Boehner does.

Someone should ask Ryan about his votes for the PATRIOT Act and the NDAA. This type of information is important and we need to hear why Ryan did what he did.

To steal a line from Dan McLaughlin, Paul Ryan is a good pick for Mitt Romney because, while he’s not a complete Tea Party pick, he does hold more Tea Party values than Chris Christie. He’s also got a defined budget which isn’t perfect, but better than what the Democrats have. Which is nothing.

Why We Should “Give A Crap” About the Audit The Fed Bill

Texas Congressman Ron Paul has won probably the biggest political victory of his three tenures in the House of Representatives with the passage of HR 459. The bill would allow the GAO to do a full audit of the Federal Reserve System, otherwise known as the Central Bank of the United States.

Paul believes the Fed should be audited because of how much cash it churns out and the fact interest rates have stayed low.

He’s long been pushing for this, but the calls grew louder after a 2010 New York Times article revealed the Fed had given out over a trillion dollars to a variety of sources during the 2008 crisis. Banks like Barclays and Citigroup, along with businesses like General Motors and Harley Davidson all received money. Even some foreign central banks, including Britain and Japan, received cash in hopes of keeping the market stable. Several businessmen, including an aide to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, all received loans as well.

Without the taxpayers, or Congress, knowing it had been done.

The banks and businesses who received cash were either able to “’take the money and run’ or realize they were being funded by the federal government, instead of their own cash. To quote, of all people, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in1995, “it is taxpayers’ money that is being used.” And the taxpayers had no idea this was being done.

This is extremely troubling and something everyone, not just conservatives and libertarians, should be concerned about.

This isn’t a private company, which can, within reason, do what it wants to with its own money. This is the federal government.

The big question is why people should care about this. For one, it’s your money being used. At a time where the U.S. deficit is 15-trillion dollars and showing no sign of stopping, an audit could show how the books are being kept.

Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, may complain this is “politicizing monetary policy,” but I don’t think so. This is the federal government, which should be held accountable by the people.

Peter Schweizert has already detailed how some Congressmen and Senators have used their power to make personal gains from legislation. An audit of the Fed would reveal whether the same thing is being done by either the reserve chair or members of the Federal Open Market Committee.

The solution now is to lobby the U.S. Senate to take action. Which means calling, emailing and writing them. Several times a day if necessary until it comes up for a vote. The legislature is supposed to represent its constituents. Lobbying Senators can show people actually care about an audit being done.

After all, it is your money. And we need to know what it’s being spent on.