Archive for the ‘Debate’ Category

The Problem With Jon Stewart

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

I enjoyed the Daily Show with Jon Stewart before the run up to the 2004 election, when he suddenly seemed to become more partisan and less funny. In the light of Stewart’s latest feud with Jim Cramer Tucker Carlson, Stewart’s old nemesis, explains what happened in a post titled “How Jon Stewart Went Bad“:

The relationship between Stewart and the media is a marriage of the self-loathing and the self-loving: He insists their real news is fake, they insist his fake news is real. He doesn’t take them seriously at all. They take him way too seriously. But nobody takes anybody as seriously as Jon Stewart takes himself.

A serious man needs a serious mission, however, and this is suddenly a problem. With Bush gone and the Republican Party in chaos, most of Stewart’s targets have disappeared. Yet rather than pivot with the times and challenge those now in power, Stewart continues to attack the same old enemies, at this point mostly straw men and pipsqueaks. A couple of weeks ago, he spent an entire seven minutes mocking the crowd at a CPAC conference.

His studio audience loved it, though that isn’t saying much. Stewart’s audience would erupt if he read the phone book, or did his monologue in German, a response that over time is a threat to any man’s soul. During many segments, Stewart’s audience doesn’t laugh so much as cheer, a distinction that would bother most comedians. Stewart keeps them around anyway. Uncritical praise corrupts absolutely.

As Stewart becomes more self-righteous, he inevitably becomes less funny. Sanctimony is the death of humor, and also of innovation. Where a show like South Park challenges its audience’s every conceivable assumption, The Daily Show has become safer than Jay Leno, pandering night after night to the converted. Can you remember the last time Stewart said anything his viewers might disagree with?

Like most sermons, Stewart’s showdown with Jim Cramer ended with a neat moral lesson. Once journalists who cover business regain their sense of responsibility and “start getting back to fundamentals on the reporting,” Stewart said gravely, “I can get back to making fart noises and funny faces.”

But it’s too late. The great comedian is gone, maybe forever. Jon Stewart is stuck in lecture mode.

Read the whole thing here.

Ron Paul Debates For Marijuana Legalization

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

Apparently the best advocate the drug warriors could find was Stephen Baldwin?

Down the Ballot

Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

Compared to the Presidential race, where I’m reluctant to vote at all, voting down the ballot is a breeze.

Here are the “choices” I’m faced with. And here are my picks:

Senate: Warner will run away with this, so a vote for Libertarian candidate Redpath is easy even though I know nothing about him except for the L next to his name. ( I do want to see the Republicans be able to hold a filibuster in the Senate, so if Gilmore had a chance I might consider him.)

House: I’m not a fan of the Republican Mark Ellmore who knocked Ron Paul-endorsed candidate Amit Singh out of the primary with some dirty tricks. Incumbent Democrat Jim Moran will win easily but is lousy too, so I’ll probably just write-in Singh.

County Board: From what I’ve been told, a while ago my antagonistic neighbor tried unsuccessfully to solicit support for a zoning ordinance making it difficult to host gatherings at my house (and others). I have no doubt his goal was to shut down my well-attended annual St. Patrick’s Day party. His house has a sign on its lawn for the Green candidate, so I’ll vote for his only opponent, even though its the incumbent Democrat.

School Board: Ugh, two uncontested Democrat incumbents. One year I’ll run for school board on a “no kids, slash the budget” platform.

Ballot Questions: For my voting today, I’m most enthusiastic about voting against the local ballot questions here in Arlington, Virginia. I’ll be happily voting against borrowing over $170 million for the four bond questions on the Metro, “Community Infrastructure,” utilities and schools. I’ll also reject the creation of a Housing Authority. If I was in Massachusetts, I would take particular pleasure in voting to eliminate the state income tax.

Thoughts on Today’s Events

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

I didn’t attend the press conference(s) today, but I’ve read reports from a variety of sources (with varying points of view). Here are some random observations:

  • Did the McCain campaign really think that having Phil Gramm ask Ron Paul to endorse McCain was a good idea? (From what I can gather it was the dirty tactics by Republicans in favor of Graham over Dr. Paul, when they both ran for the same Senate seat from Texas in 1984, that was a significant factor in Ron Paul running for President as a Libertarian in 1988.)
  • Bob Barr’s campaign did itself a great disservice today.
  • Because of the Barr campaign’s last minute pullout, the point of the “We Agree” statement will be missed. That point, in my view, is that there are four fundamental principles that most Americans agree on, but the the two major candidates we have to choose from largely or completely reject.
  • The big winner today was the Baldwin campaign.
  • I was surprised that Nader and McKinney signed on to the statement, but I’m pleased that they did.
  • I am always skeptical of “strange-bedfellows”projects for the reason that Richard Spencer aptly points out: “in all these Left-Right, “strange-bedfellows” coalitions, the Left always ends up on top.”
  • If Bob Barr was willing to offer Ron Paul his VP slot, why not offer him the top of the ticket? (Barr could then take the VP slot.)

Sudan: To Intervene or not To Intervene

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

I first published this piece two years ago, but in light of the new talks between the North and the South and the never ending frustration over Darfur, it seems like a good time to re-examine the issue.

“The United States is committed to ending the violence and providing assistance to the suffering people of Darfur, as well as ensuring the peaceful democratic transformation throughout Sudan.” – US Department of State

A Mixed History of Interventions

Traditionally, the United States has only chosen intervention when the perceived gain exceeded the perceived cost. During the period of the Cold War, the calculus that was used in making such a cost to benefit analysis was heavily colored by the fear of communism and the belief that the failure to intervene would hand victories, literal and moral, to the forces that were massed against the free world. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent headlong rush by many former Soviet states towards the West, market economies, and democratic governance has shifted the calculus such that the costs of failing to intervene are less obvious and the benefits of any such intervention more obtuse. Interventions that have taken place outside the parameters of the Cold War have tended to go poorly, with little obvious benefit to the United States.
Continue Reading…

Ron Paul and Racists

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

On the very day that Ron Paul’s new book, The Revolution: A Manifesto, debuts at #1 on Amazon, two new stories popped up that hearken back to a very old topic, race. 

First, my buddy Dave Wiegal over at Reason uses Ron’s endorsement of Lew Rockwell and the Mises Institute as proof that Ron Paul is still keeping company with bigots (Here). Never mind that he starts with the assumption that Lew Rockwell wrote some of the less enlightened diatribes that appeared in Dr. Paul’s newsletters back in the early nineties, offering no proof of that claim, and then uses it to smear Dr. Paul by association.  While very specious and weak, it is indicative of a deeper problem.

As is the story out of California that Holly Clearman, Ron Paul’s State Coordinator, has signed on to run the campaign of one William Johnson, an attorney and advocate for the Pace Amendment which would ban everyone darker than, well, William Johnson, from living or owning property in the United States. To quote:

”No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.”

But don’t worry Firsts Nations. You’ll be allowed to stay and enjoy life the way black South Africans did in the Eighties.

“American Indians, Aleuts, and Hawaiians, although not real citizens, will not face relocation, but will be maintained in “tribal reservations” analogous to the arrangement in South Africa.”

So what it is about the message of liberty as articulated by Ron Paul that finds common cause among so many of the ignorant and hateful?

I am not asking rhetorically as a set-up so that I can then dispense my sagely wisdom.  I’m really baffled by it.  I can understand the strain of southern political sentiment that identifies states rights and race. But my 20 plus years of study of the philosophy of liberty puts me firmly in the natural rights camp that empowers individuals and de-emphasis race.

I fear that if we don’t have a revolution of ideas within our movement, we face allowing this cancer to grow and undermine our efforts.

I welcome your comments.

Flashback: Schiff vs. Laffer

Monday, April 14th, 2008

Watch this video of Ron Paul advisor Peter Schiff debating Art “Laffer Curve” Laffer back from 2006:

Looks like Laffer owes Schiff an apology (and $.01).

(via Tim Swanson)

Ron Paul and Rudy McRomney

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Only four GOP candidates were invited to an August 20th forum in Nevada hosted by the University of Nevada and Brookings:

Rudy, McCain, Romney and Ron Paul.