Many of you are familiar with my Ron Paul baby conspiracy theory, which goes a little something like this:
–Ron Paul doesn’t care about the Republican Party. (He actually held a press conference including the Green Party candidate in 2008 to encourage people to avoid voting for the D or the R.)
–Ron Paul doesn’t think there’s much of a difference between Republicans and Democrats, therefore he doesn’t see a Mitt Romney victory over Barack Obama as all that important.
–Ron Paul is old and isn’t running for congress anymore. This is essentially his last political act.
–Ron Paul obviously is not winning the Republican nomination, but will still raise a lot of money.
–Ron Paul never completely rules out a third party run.
–Ron Paul will drop out of the Republican race at the last minute, walk into the Libertarian convention, and run as their presidential candidate.
I call it my baby conspiracy theory, because I have absolutely no evidence whatsoever that it was going to happen, and I have to stretch on certain aspects of the theory, while ignoring some other evidence to make it work. In other words, I don’t take it that seriously.
But, I do think it could happen, and would essentially hand the presidency to Barack Obama for four more years. Some people have suggested that Paul might wind up running as an independent, but the ballot access rules make an independent run such a pain, that I don’t think he’d go that route. On the other hand, the Libertarian Party offers ballot access in close to 50 states automatically. It also offers a convention format that would basically allow him to stroll in whenever he wants and become the nominee, assuming he could win a vote among hardcore libertarian activists.(Is there even a question he’d win that?)
As his last major political act, I think Paul could quite likely believe that introducing his ideas on a stage bigger than ever before could be worth the political hits he’d take. Could he win? No, but he could get in the debates, and perform as well as any third party candidate since Perot. That might be enough for him. (The only thing really stopping this would be fear for his son Rand’s career. Republicans will surely punish him, fair or not, if daddy goes down this road.)
Well, luckily—the faint highlight of a conspiracy theory is beginning to fade. This weekend is the Libertarian convention. So, if Monday’s news is not littered with reports of a Ron Paul third party candidacy—we’ve dodged that mythical bullet.
According to some correspondence with Libertarian Party insiders, Ron Paul would have to make his move in the next couple of days, collect his tokens (that’s how they vote), and then win the nomination Saturday. If not, they pick somebody else like Gary Johnson, and Ron is left to try to influence the GOP platform at the convention and leave the long term message tied to his son Rand.
I watched the Libertarian convention last year, and I assume it will be on CSPAN again this weekend. It is an interesting event to say the least. Check it out, and see if Mitt Romney clears his most immediate hurdle on the way to the White House. Conspiracy theorists unite!
Yes, it’s the move we’ve all been waiting for. It’s become an American tradition: you gather with your friends for a barbecue and the conversation inevitably strays to the unfairness of the sentencing of those convicted of child porn.
“Those penalties for watching child porn are just too harsh! Who’s with me? Pass the macaroni salad.”
It’s amazing, but true. This is the opinion of the legal community at the moment. They apparently believe that the problem with Congress is that they keep on increasing the penalty for being caught with child porn. How horrific.
…federal judges and public defenders say repeated moves by Congress to toughen the penalties over the past 25 years have badly skewed the guidelines, to the point where offenders who possess and distribute child pornography can go to prison for longer than those who actually rape or sexually abuse a child.
What is their argument? It actually seems legitimate on the surface—people who get caught watching child porn are sometimes receiving sentences that are longer than those who are actually molesting children. Obviously, both crimes are hideous—but I don’t know if there’s anyone out there who thinks people watching the child porn should be in jail longer than the people creating it.
…the average sentence for a federal child pornography offense in 2010 was higher than all other offenses except murder and kidnapping. Indeed, the average was about six months higher than for sexual abuse offenders.
This, however, is where common sense leaves the conversation. There are two ways to right this situation:
A) Make the sentences of child molesters longer.
B) Make the sentences of child pornography connoisseurs shorter.
Guess which one they want to do? If you guessed B, then you know America!
In a 2010 survey of federal judges by the Sentencing Commission, about 70 percent said the proposed ranges of sentences for possession and receipt of child pornography were too high. Demonstrating their displeasure, federal judges issued child porn sentences below the guidelines 45 percent of the time in 2010, more than double the rate for all other crimes.
Troy Stabenow, an assistant federal public defender in Missouri, said the judges’ resistance to the sentencing guidelines was “pretty courageous,”
“They’re doing it knowing they’re likely be lambasted in the media,” he said. “They wouldn’t be doing it unless they really believe a lot of typical offenders they see are not the menace that people assume they are.”
Allow me to lambaste. I agree, you should go to jail longer for sexually abusing a minor, than downloading a picture of it. But, the issue here is not that child porn users are punished too harshly. It’s that child molesters are punished far too leniently. From An Inconvenient Book , page 181
“Three years, that’s how long the average convicted child molester spends in prison. They receive an average of a seven year sentence, but only three of those years are actually spent in jail.”
Three years? Seriously? Make that thirty years (or forever) instead, and magically those child porn sentences start looking a lot more reasonable. Instead we’re looking to rebrand pedophiles as “minor-attracted” individuals ” and whining about the trials and tribulations of your neighborhood child porn viewer.
Congress sucks, utterly and completely. But increasing the penalties on child molesters is not the area they deserve criticism in.
Yes, the Obama campaign just happened to buy an ad on the NY Times website. And yes, they just happened to use Michelle Obama’s face in the commercial. And yes, the placement is random. And yes, the odds of Michelle Obama’s smiling face in an advertisement at the top of a story disproving her main work as first lady, is just plain unlucky.
Last night, the US Senate voted on a piece of legislation that was based on a tax return none of us have seen. The tax return of a direct employee of one of the President’s biggest supporters. The White House refers to the Buffett Rule over 17,000 times.
Buffet’s secretary was used as a prop at the State of the Union address.
Yet, no one in the media demands to see the only tax return in America that we are currently trying to base federal policy on. #ReleaseTheReturn.
Regardless, as you’ve told the media breathlessly going back years and years—“Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent.”
#ReleaseTheReturn showing your secretary paid 30% on $60K. I dare you. You know you are lying.
So, as you might be aware, Obamacare is in a bit of trouble because it’s …you know…blatantly unconstitutional. Apparently it’s not just crazy conspiracy theorist tea partiers who believe that, judging by the Supreme Court. Here is an extensive highlight reel of what happened in the biggest day of arguments, about the constitutionality of the individual mandate, packaged in easy to chew, bite sized chunks.
CLIP 1: Verilli, The guy arguing for Obamacare starts off on a miserable note, stuttering, pausing, coughing and reaching for a drink of water. An awkward way to start to say the least. It’s hard to defend the indefensible, you know.
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CLIP 2: Alito asks why the government wouldn’t also be able to mandate burial insurance if the Obamacare mandate stands. Everyone needs a casket or to get cremated, so why not?
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CLIP 3: Kagan argues that since we know most people will need health insurance, the government can mandate that people buy it. The anti-Obamacare side responds, saying this gives Congress power to regulate anyone with any statistical connection with a problem.
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CLIP 4: Kennedy says that since Obamacare is a further reach than anything else in history, the government has a high burden to try and justify it.
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CLIP 5: This is probably the most encouraging clip if you want Obamacare overturned. Justice Kennedy is likely the swing vote. He accuses the government of trying to fundamentally change the entire relationship of government and the individual.
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CLIP 6: If clip 5 is the most encouraging clip, this is the second most. Kennedy asks if there are any limits under the commerce clause. In other words, can the government make you buy anything if this thing goes through?
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Clip 7: If clip 5 and 6 are the most encouraging—this is the most worrisome. Here is Kennedy seemingly entertaining the idea that the health care market actually IS unique. Therefore, maybe it’s worth making an exception for it. My biggest worry is that Kennedy is looking for a way to say “I’ll let you have the individual mandate this time, but I won’t let you get away with this stuff again.”
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CLIP 8: Scalia asks a question that should never have to be asked: can you create commerce just to regulate it? Any sensible person would say no. The Obama administration says not buying insurance, still includes you in the insurance market. This is nothing but legalistic insanity via justification.
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CLIP 9: Great stuff from Scalia. “Could you define the market that everyone has to buy food, therefore everyone has to buy broccoli?” The response to all of these questions seems to be – “Of course that very similar situation is ridiculous, but Obamacare slightly differs, so it’s okay.”
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CLIP 10: Scalia fundamentally destroys the entire concept of the argument. Bottom line—whether it’s a good idea or not, it violates the Constitution. The government is supposed to have limited powers. If the government can do this, what can’t it do?
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CLIP 11: The government tries to argue that this isn’t really unprecedented, because the court has upheld the commerce clause before. Scalia points out that all of his examples actually involved commerce. You’ll notice a pattern here. The crux of this entire case is that conservatives believe if you don’t buy health insurance, you’re not participating in the health insurance market. Liberals believe if you don’t buy health insurance, you are participating in the health insurance market. I’ll leave it up to you to rule on which one of those sounds right.
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CLIP 12: Sotomayor argues that this is just like tax credits on solar panels.
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CLIP 13: The government argues that people without insurance are screwing those people who have it. The truth is, most of those people are young and healthy. Alito points that out with stats—the average person in this group will pay $5800 for insurance, and will only use $850 of actual health services. That’s just handing money to insurance companies.
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CLIP 14: The government is faced with a tough argument: you’re forcing people to buy insurance for things they can’t possibly use. For example, some people will never have use for pediatric or maternity care. Yet, the government tells them they must be covered for it.
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CLIP 15: In a moment of apparent dementia, the government claims that the similar plan in Massachusetts has actually worked. In reality, since it’s passage there have been almost $9 billion in extra costs, with the state of Massachusetts only paying about $400 million of it. Wait times are the highest in the nation, costs have been increasing at about 6% per year, and all of this cost in quality and dollars has led to less than 5% of the state gaining coverage. Oh yeah, and 5 times as many people wait until they get sick, buy coverage, get treated, and then cancel the coverage afterwards.
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CLIP 16: This is one of my favorite points. Over and over again the liberal argument revolved around “cost shifting.” If I don’t buy health insurance, then I’ll go to the hospital and everyone else will have to pick up the tab. But, why will everyone else have to pick up the tab? Because of other government rulesrequiring them to do so. So the government is the CAUSE of the cost shifting in the first place. The liberal justices go to great lengths to say that they can’t force people to buy cars for example. But, if the congress separately passed a bill that said everyone must have access to a car when they really need it—they could. At least under the argument you’re about to hear destroyed.
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CLIP 17: This one is a little longer, but it’s interesting. If you don’t buy a car, that has ramifications on others. Dealership owners, workers, etc. But, no one would argue that not buying a car puts you in the car buyer market.
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CLIP 18: Even if Obamacare was the best thing ever, it is still unconstitutional. Even if there was a wonder drug that cured every disease—you couldn’t force people to take it. The point about foreign nations is brilliant. And…stick around for the Kagan cut off, right as he is about to put her away.
Democrats love attacking republicans as “flat Earthers” so they can attempt to spend trillions of dollars to control the temperature without having to actually make a coherent argument to do so. President Obama recently went down that road, in an attempt to paint the GOP as a bunch of anti-science morons:
“We’ve heard this kind of thinking before. Let me tell you something, if some of these folks were around when Columbus set sail, they must have been founding members of the flat earth society. They would not have believed that the world was round.”
This argument is ridiculous, and we’ve picked it apart a million times, so I won’t bother going into the specifics here. But, my favorite new piece of information is this: the Flat Earth Society is actually still a real thing. Like, they actually still believe that the Earth is a flat disc of land, surrounded by mountains holding the water in. And they believe we are currently going up, which is why we’re sticking to the ground. You see, gravity doesn’t exist.
Anyway, this is important because, believe it or not—the real Flat Earth Society has an opinion on man-made warming of the planet.
Daniel Shenton …the new president of the Flat Earth Society…turns out to have resolutely mainstream views on most issues. The 33-year-old American, originally from Virginia but now living and working in London, is happy with the work of Charles Darwin. He thinks the evidence for man-made global warming is strong, and he dismisses suggestions that his own government was involved with the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
That’s right. Obama can call conservatives flat Earthers all he wants, but the truth is that the real flat Earthers agree with him on such important matters of science. Aren’t you happy, Mr. President? You might not want to hang out with flat Earthers, but they want to hang out with you!
(By the way, if you’re arguing against evolution, feel free to use this too. But…for those 9-11 truthers out there…I mean, what are you? Flat Earthers?)
MSNBC and Democrats (I apologize for my redundancy) are touting a poll that shows a lot of Republicans in Alabama and Mississippi think Barack Obama is a Muslim. Never mind that the head political correspondent in their own newsroom said ”I think this question was designed to get a higher percentage in the answer than maybe what’s actually true.” Read more.
And, of course, political opponents routinely answer poll questions the way they think will most bother a person they don’t like. Remember “More than half of Democrats, according to a neutral survey, said they believed Bush was complicit in the 9/11 terror attacks.”
All of that being said, here is what the media isn’t telling you: the majority of people who believe Barack Obama is a Muslim are not Republicans. Let’s look at a national poll on the subject, conducted by Pew in 2010. (I go back a couple of years to find a national poll with crosstabs. I’ll try to update the post if I find something a little more recent, but you’ll get the point here.)
Pew asked 2,811 people about Barack Obama’s religion. Approximately 536 of them incorrectly said he was a Muslim. Of those 536 people, 261 of them were Republicans, 275 were not. In other words, about 51% of those who believe Obama is Muslim are outside the Republican party.
This echoes much of the national polling on Birthers, MSNBC’s other favorite obsession. Some polls showed that only 38% of Birthers were Republicans. Why doesn’t every republican politician on earth bring this up when they’re asked about it?
So, while MSNBC holds the truth of republican MuslimTruthists and Birthers to be self-evident—Pew apparently does not. In this poll the majority are Democrats or Independents, and while there are probably polls that show the numbers slightly leaning the other way as well—the point is that huge chunks of the MuslimTruthists crowd are as Republican as they are Kenyan. The unfortunate issue here is that a lot of people, regardless of what side of the aisle they are on, are just wrong. That doesn’t make for a good segment of MSNBC ranting though, so it goes unnoticed.
I was one of the nine people watching a Tennis Channel rerun of Indian Wells this weekend and happened to notice this. I understand that it has no relevance to anything, but it had to be shared anyway. Sure, you’ve seen people in the crowd of a sporting event yawn before…but have you ever seen one like this?
Now, watch it again and picture that she just saw her entire family murdered, or that she is in excruciating pain. I think the face she makes actually fits either of those scenarios as well. This level of boredom is probably not a good sign for the sport of tennis.
Usually, when pollsters ask the American people if the rich should pay more in taxes–the answer is yes. However, the Hill asked a far more important question–what rate should the rich be paying?
Of those who answered:
80% think taxes on the rich should be lower than they are today.
94% think taxes on the rich should be lower than what Obama says he wants to raise them to.
If that’s true, why do people always say they want the rich to pay more? Essentially–Americans have no idea what tax rate the rich are paying. So, they’re just guessing on what they feel. When they know the facts, they think those rates are obscene. Republicans, independents, and democrats agree. It’s a consensus!
The media has been so successful vilifying the rich, that the American people find themselves strongly disagreeing with…themselves. Nice work media!