Not too long ago, The American Spectator contributor Jeffrey Lord authored a couple of articles within which he took to task third-place Republican presidential contender Ron Paul. Because some of Paul’s most earnest defenders have already dealt with the first article in good measure (see here and here), it is on the second of these critiques of the Texas Congressman that I will set my sights. Lord’s objective, to put it bluntly, is to expose Ron Paul as a faux conservative, a less than fully honest libertarian who aspires to “remake” the conservative movement in the image of his own “metaphysically” and morally corrupt ideology. In Lord’s reimagining of the history of American conservatism, Ronald Reagan is the hero while Ron Paul is his nemesis, the “anti-Reagan.” With all due respect to Lord, I find his argument more than a bit peculiar. In order to convict Paul of the charge of being ideologically fraudulent and “metaphysically mad” — Russell Kirk’s description of choice for libertarianism — he leads his readers through a series of mazes of names and quotations.
Former TARP chairman and Senate hopeful from Massachusetts Elizabeth Warren gave a shot in the arm to “progressives” everywhere this past Wednesday, with a rousing (or is it rabble-rousing?) extemporaneous speech on the virtues of taxing the rich. Her commentary quickly made the rounds on the Web and radio talk shows — and for good reason. Whatever this law professor said, she said it pretty darn well. Hey, If President Downgrade could articulate himself like that, he wouldn’t be in a bigamous relationship with a Teleprompter. Unfortunately, though, style doesn’t connote substance. And Warren’s words, while rousing, were also reality-bending. Here is what she said: I hear all this, you know, ‘Well, this is class warfare, this is whatever.’ No. There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you, uh, were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory and hire someone to protect against this, because of the work the rest of us did.
Is the Community Living Assistance Services and Support (CLASS) Act on the ropes? The long-term care provision of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare), sneaked into the bill at the last minute, has long been criticized on Capitol Hill as a future budget buster; and recent moves by the Obama administration suggest that the White House, too, is not particularly enthusiastic about implementing the program. First the administration asked the Senate Appropriations Committee to zero out funding for CLASS for fiscal year 2012 despite having previously requested $120 million for the program. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) applauded the move, calling it a “good first step,” but said Congress should finish the job by repealing the CLASS Act. Then on Thursday the chief actuary of CLASS, Robert Yee, announced he would be leaving his post because “the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was closing down the office charged with implementing the program and reassigning its staff,” The Hill reports.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in an AP interview on September 21 that the Obama administration will continue to support solar power. He made the statement despite the growing scandal over $528 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt California solar power company Solyndra and the practical failure of myriad “alternative energy sources” such as wind and solar power. "I think the future for solar energy is bright. It's not going to be a perfect path where every project proposed is going to be built toward completion." He added that the case of Solyndra demonstrated the challenges facing solar energy industries. Other politicians, such as Governor Brown, stand firmly behind the concept of such government-sponsored enterprises. Alternative energy, as it is commonly called, is energy that private investors have not pursued in the absence of government help. The search for such energy has been ongoing for the last 38 years, at least, when the OPEC nations embargoed oil around the time of the Yom Kippur War. Government support for alternative energy sources has existed since at least Jimmy Carter’s speech on a future of austerity while he was wearing a cardigan sweater in the White House.
Despite all the controversy surrounding what is usually referred to as the Ground Zero mosque, and the efforts put in place to halt the project in its tracks, the Islamic Cultural Center being constructed near the site of 9/11 attacks hosted a photograph exhibit on Wednesday. While the entire Islamic Center is not complete yet, the Cultural Center opened its doors for its first exhibit, which featured pictures of New York children from a variety of backgrounds lining the walls of the building. The photographer for the exhibit is Danny Goldfield, a Jewish man who said he was inspired to create the exhibit by the story of Rana Sodhi, a Sikh from India whose brother was killed in a retaliatory hate crime just four days after 9/11. The exhibit depicts children from 169 countries, and Goldfield said he hopes to find subjects representing 24 other countries to complete the project. Some of the photographs he has taken are currently being exhibited elsewhere.
The Obama administration is proposing new automobile regulations, including a doubling of fuel economy requirements, that will make cars more expensive and less safe while costing thousands of jobs, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA). Meeting in Washington, D.C., to lobby against the proposed regulations, NADA circulated a handout called “A Flawed Fuel Economy Structure Produces a Flawed Result” that describes the expected outcomes of those rules. A copy was provided to CNSNews.com, which also interviewed NADA’s director of legislative affairs and communications, Bailey Wood. The most significant new mandate is a Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard of 54.5 miles per gallon, to be met in 2025. “The increase piggybacks Obama’s 2009 mandate for a CAFE average of 35.5 by 2016,” says Popular Mechanics, “and is the largest mandatory fuel economy increase in history.” The administration claims this requirement will reduce America’s dependence on foreign oil — an objective all previous CAFE standards failed to achieve — and cut down on carbon emissions, thereby reducing the threat of “global warming.”
In the Republican presidential debate last evening, some of the candidates passionately stated that the Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated. It’s a position that sounds strange to some ears. As a respondent in a Fox News focus group said after the debate, and this is a paraphrase, “This all sounds good when you fixate on the minutia, but we can’t just end the EPA.” This attitude is no surprise. The one exception to the law that it’s easier to destroy than create is big government programs and bureaucracies. Once they’re the status quo and people become accustomed to their existence, folks just cannot imagine how they could live without them. But is it really true that we’d get a visit from the Smog Monster if the EPA went extinct? And does it really advance the good on balance? Let’s examine the matter.
Since France passed legislation earlier this year banning the Islamic burqas, or face-veils, from its streets, the law has engendered a wave of protest. Now, in a show of opposition against the ban, an Islamic Frenchwoman, Kenza Drider, has decided to launch a bid for the French presidency. “When a woman wants to maintain her freedom, she must be bold,” she asserted. Drider declared her candidacy on Thursday in Meaux, a city outside of Paris which is run by conservative lawmaker Jean-Francois Cope, a leading advocate of the veil ban. Her announcement is not entirely surprising, as she has been an outspoken critic of the ban virtually since its inception. In May, she declared on a local media outlet, “I would rather go to prison than take off the face veil.”
Once again California has demonstrated why it is called the “Land Where Nothing Is Permitted.” A couple in San Juan Capistrano, a community in southern Orange County celebrated in song as the place to which the swallows return each March, has been fined $300 by the city for holding Bible studies and Christian get-togethers in their home. Ironically, the community was founded as a Christian mission in the 1700s, and is home to the oldest building still in use in California — a Catholic chapel where the mission’s founder, Father Junipero Serra, celebrated Mass. According to the conservative news site The Blaze, city officials determined that Chuck and Stephanie Fromm were “in violation of municipal code 9-3.301, which prohibits ‘religious, fraternal or non-profit’ organizations in residential neighborhoods without a permit. Stephanie hosts a Wednesday Bible study that draws about 20 attendees, and Chuck holds a Sunday service that gets about 50.”