Monthly Archives: January 2012

Leon Panetta defends dictatorship

Glenn Greenwald rips into the Democrats’ fake concern for Constitutional rights. With one of their own in the White House, Panetta (and many other Democrats) say it’s just fine that the Commander-in-Chief wields all the dictatorial powers, and then some, that W and Cheney claimed:

But this is one of the towering, unanswerable hypocrisies of Democratic Party politics. The very same faction that pretended for years to be so distraught by Bush’s mere eavesdropping on and detention of accused Terrorists without due process is now perfectly content to have their own President kill accused Terrorists without due process, even when those targeted are their fellow citizens…

Whoa! Panetta, a liberal Democrat from the Clinton administration, now clicks his heels and defends the president’s power to call legal hits at will?

Sure. As George Will recently observed, “progressives” have always longed to forge a nation where the citizens march “in lock step, shoulder to shoulder, obedient to orders from a commanding officer.” All in the name of “progress,” you see.

But that’s the role of liberalism in the DC Empire – it gussies up brute power with a facade of noble intentions. What I once wrote about the Bush regime is just as true about Obama:

With Communist egalitarianism and Nazi economics, Neo-Conism avoids the flaws (racism, planned economy) while appropriating the strengths (universalism, mercantilism, and really good citizen surveillance) of both totalitarian systems. Combining the world’s largest economy and the world’s noblest ideals, Bush’s USA is the most powerful force the planet has ever seen.

And … the greatest threat to our liberty and security, as Leon Panetta just admitted.

Newt is a Playa!

Man, I should have gone into politics! If a goofy looking joker like Newt Gingrich can use politics to pull chicks then a decent looking guy like me could rack up Wilt Chamberlainesque numbers.

According to R. Emmett Tyrrell, Newt is fond of the ladies and is sometimes able to con one into acceding to his advances. Apparently there are some skeletons in Newton’s closet.

This article goes for the throat. This was an intentional hit job. By that I don’t mean it’s not true, I suspect it is, I just mean it was deliberately intended to inflict damage. 

Notice that RET speaks favorably of the three other main candidates including Ron Paul, so I don’t think this was specifically a pro-Romney hit.

Anyway, once the campaign is over maybe Newtie can get together with Herman Cain and they can troll for chicks together.

Has The American Conservative Gone Liberal?

My newest essay is up at Intellectual Conservative and is reprinted below. Do me a favor. If you want to comment on it, comment on it at IC. Thanks.

Recently, The American Conservative (TAC) brought Noah Millman on board as a blogger. By Millman’s own admission, he is not a conservative. I thought this was an unfortunate move at the time and was already preparing to comment on it, and now I see I was not the only one distressed by his addition. Millman’s fellow blogger Rod Dreher has already felt the need to address the issue. In fact, I “borrowed” the title of Dreher’s post for this article because it helps make my case. The short answer to “Has TAC gone liberal?” is no. The better question that requires a longer answer is “Why does this perception persist?”

First some background for those who may not be familiar with The American Conservative. TAC was founded in 2002 by Pat Buchanan, Taki Theodoracopulos (usually referred to as Taki for short), and Scott McConnell. It was intended to be a platform for Buchanan style conservatism in contrast to the neoconservative paradigm that dominates other mainstream “conservative” magazines such as National Review, The Weekly Standard and arguably to a somewhat lesser extent The American Spectator. As a Buchananite publication it was reasonably expected that TAC would distinguish itself from the neocon oriented mainstream publications specifically in the three main areas where Buchanan style conservatism differs from mainstream “movement conservatism,” namely:

1.)     consistent and comprehensive opposition to mass immigration

2.)    opposition to so-called free trade, especially sovereignty infringing free trade agreements such as NAFTA, and support for fair trade practices and

3.)    opposition to foreign interventionism and support for an America First foreign policy.

The economics of running a small niche publication, however, are not favorable absent one or more generous patrons and/or a large donor base, so TAC has experienced some major disruptions over the course of its publication. I am not privy to all that has gone on or continues to go on with the internal politics of TAC and likely wouldn’t repeat them publicly if I was, but after 2007 Buchanan and Taki were no longer formally affiliated with TAC, although TAC still runs Buchanan’s syndicated columns.

What TAC now suffers from is a serious identity problem. Is it a Buchananite alternative to the neocons rags meant to appeal to main street right-wing populists or is it a “thoughtful” critique of mainstream conservatism meant to appeal to insiders and smart guys, left, right and center? Or is it, as I would argue, not doing a good job of being anything to anyone?

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Gingrich – Once a Hawk Always a Hawk

Daniel Larison points out that Newt Gingrich was a bloviating hawk even back in the Reagan era.

That is the problem that hawkish alarmists have. They always think “the danger is greater than ever,” and it doesn’t matter if the danger is growing or shrinking. What Abrams doesn’t mention in his criticism of Gingrich is that Gingrich was simply echoing complaints that many other hawkish Republicans were making during the ’80s. Because such hard-liners consistently overestimate the strength of adversaries and the size of foreign threats, they are frequently dissatisfied with the decisions of any administration, no matter how aggressive or confrontational they may be.

This illustrates a dynamic I have picked up on in the past. People who consider themselves “more” conservative than the currently regnant variety and likewise consider the regnant variety insufficiently conservative will often manifest this by simpy being more by degree what they think a conservative is supposed to be. If regular conservatives want to cut marginal tax rates by 5% they want to cut them by 10%. If regular conservatives want to cut spending by 250 billion, they want to cut it by 500 billion. Of course this isn’t all bad, but when it comes to defense and foreign policy issues they often end up just being more hawkish and bellicose by degree. The problem with the current regime is that they aren’t saber rattling enough. We are fighting using PC rules of engagement and what we really need to do is just turn the Marines lose to kick a** and take names. Blah … blah … blah. Of course what they are advocating is morally reprehensible, but it don’t think it really occurs to a lot of them what they are really endorsing. They’re just being more of what they see as a good thing.

So what demogogues like Gingrich and others were doing in the 80′s was simply playing to this element. It is cost free rhetoric because you get to throw it out to the red meat crowd without the danger of ever having to actually enact it. You saw this a lot in Bush’s 2nd term when things in Iraq were clearly not going according to plan. We simply needed to get nastier in our prosecution of the war.

This is why it is so difficult to introduce non-interventionism to this crowd. You are not just asking them to be more of something they already think is a good thing. You are asking them to change their paradigm altogether.

Editor’s Note: I added a Newt Gingrich category since we will unfortunately be talking about him for some time to come.

The deadly ideal

On the night of January 13, Mark Anthony Cox killed his manager, Danielle Watson, at the Flying Biscuit Cafe in Charlotte as she was closing up. He wrapped her body in plastic and dumped it in the garbage.

He drove off in her car with $2,500.

The victim was engaged and expecting a baby. Cox now faces double murder charges.

But as disturbing as this story is, it gets worse:

The Charlotte crime is eerily similar to other crimes for which Cox served prison time. He was released in November of 2011 after serving three years. He started working at the Flying Biscuit within a few weeks.

Back in 2008, Cox was 18 when he worked in the kitchen at a Sonic restaurant in eastern North Carolina.

Police in Roanoke Rapids told WBTV’s Sharon Smith that Cox and some co-conspirators planned to rob the restaurant. His co-workers were held at gunpoint, while the robber demanded $3100.

Cox was given a three-year-suspended prison, which was suspended for probation. It was only activated after his probation was revoked and another crime was committed.

This time, police in Wake County say Cox broke into the home of a man who was trying to help him. The victim had just recently told Cox to move out, and the break-in was how Cox responded, according to Knightdale police investigators.

How could Mark Anthony Cox have been hired with this kind of record? Why would management allow this predatory slime to work in close quarters with unsuspecting co-workers? The article manages to ask the question without asking it: “The owners have been silent on the background check issue and their security policy.”

Maybe this story from last week will shed a little light on the mystery:

Pepsi Beverages Co. will pay $3.1 million to settle federal charges of race discrimination for using criminal background checks to screen out job applicants — even if they weren’t convicted of a crime.

The settlement announced Wednesday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is part of a national government crackdown on hiring policies that can hurt blacks and Hispanics.

Get that? Checking for a prospective employee’s past criminal activity has an adverse effect on certain minorities.

Problem is, NOT checking past criminal activity has an adverse effect on innocent co-workers. What’s a business to do – turn their employees into unwitting targets, or risk a crackdown from the national government?

The answer is obvious. So once again, in its never-ending effort to impose equality of outcome in the workplace, the government commits the unspeakable in pursuit of the impossible.

What Should Have Been Nominated for Best Picture

The Oscar nominations are out. Yawn. Largely another year of Academy naval gazing with complete disregard to what audiences actually like and go see.

The two best movies of the year were, without a doubt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Warrior. Drive was also very good. Rise was a very pleasant surprise because I wasn’t expecting much except a routine summer action movie and what I got was a very human story that only became the man vs. ape drama that you see in the commercials at the end. On the other hand, Warrior is the only MMA themed film that actually lived up to its pre-hype among fans of mixed martial arts. Even knowing the very unkept secret of the basic plot (two brothers) and acknowledging the highly implausible scenario (a high stakes tournament that lets in scrubs) the movie grabs you and doesn’t let you go. The fight scenarios at the climax are Rockyesque in their effectiveness. At least Nick Nolte got a best supporting actor nod.

I wouldn’t argue that there is a one to one correlation between movies that are commercially successful and movies that are good. Rise made more money than anticipated based on extraordinary word of mouth. Warrior underperformed despite being an excellent film because I have determined that mixed martial arts enthusiasts are just not very avid movie goers. Notice that Haywire underperformed this past weekend also. But sometimes I get the feeling that the Academy is snobby for snobby’s sake. It is snobby just based on general principles. Why no love for Rise which garnered critical and viewer praise and happened to make a lot of money?

More on Ron Paul from Paul Craig Roberts

PCR has a follow-up here to his Ron Paul endorsement below where he defends Social Security and Medicare. Clearly he heard it from both his bases about his last column. It is hard at this point to believe that PCR is still the same ol’ right-winger who is playing a role for his new audience. Defending Social Security and Medicare removes that option. (Others have pointed out that he previously endorsed single payer health care, but I got the sense that that was more of him throwing up his hands. He figured the insurance and big pharma lobbies would so corrupt whatever half-way option was reached that endorsing single payer was his way of sticking it to the corporate lobbies.) It is one thing to understand that Social Security and Medicare are political dynamite that a candidate should try to avoid. It is another thing to concede their legitimacy. PCR talks about the Constitution, but he clearly means in a civil liberties sense. He is obviously not an “enumerated powers” guy because if he was he would recognize that SS and Medicare are illegitimate on those grounds regardless of whether or not one believe they are necessary or a good investment. So I stick with my assessment. PCR is a populist defender of the little guy against the powers that be, ideology be damned.

Update: Some might wonder why I am so determined to figure out PCR’s current location on the political spectrum. It’s partly because I am a categorizer by nature, and I can figure out where people are coming from better when I can put them in a recognizable category. It’s also because PCR was in the past clearly a man of the right, and I hate to lose him. If I can make a case that PCR is still a man of the right then I can use him as a credible source against people I’m debating who are on the right. If he is now clearly a man of the left then conservatives will dismiss him. “PCR endorsed single payer. No need to listen to him.” It’s sad that it works this way and people’s arguments can’t just be measured on their merits, but it does as anyone who has tried to argue with mainstream conservatives knows. And I know its the same for mainstream liberals as well.

Paul Craig Roberts Endorses Ron Paul

America has one last chance, and it is a very slim one. Americans can elect Ron Paul President, or they can descend into tyranny.

Why is Ron Paul America’s last chance?

Because he is the only candidate who is not owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military-security complex, Wall Street, and the Israel Lobby.

All of the others, including President Obama, are owned by exactly the same interest groups.  There are no differences between them.  Every candidate except Ron Paul stands for war and a police state, and all have demonstrated their complete and total subservience to Israel. The fact that there is no difference between them is made perfectly clear by the absence of substantive issues in the campaigns of the Republican candidates…

More importantly, only Ron Paul respects the US Constitution and its protection of civil liberty. Only Ron Paul understands that if the Constitution cannot be resurrected from its public murder by Congress and the executive branch, then Americans are lost to tyranny…

The reason we should vote for Ron Paul is to signal to the powers-that-be that we understand what they are doing to us. If Paul were to receive a large vote, it could have two good effects. One could be to introduce some caution into the establishment that would slow the march into more war and tyranny. The other is it would signal to Washington’s European and Japanese puppets that not all Americans are stupid sheep. Such an indication could make Washington’s puppet states more cautious and less cooperative with Washington’s drive for world hegemony…

Read more here…

That’s cut and paste material, PCR at his telling it like it is finest. The entirety of the article is not without problems from our perspective, however. 

Paul Craig Roberts was formerly and may still be a man of the right. But in recent years he has seemed to be speaking more to progressives. I have been puzzled by whether this represented a true transformation to left-winger or if he had just given up on conservatives and was pitching to an audience he felt was more receptive.

This endorsement contains elements of both aspects of the man. He defends constitutionalism in a way, but also goes after libertarians. As a conservative I don’t think libertarians should be immune from criticism, but PCRs criticism of their ideological inflexability (which is true) comes off as left-wingish. However, he defends Ron Unz’s minimum wage proposal on the grounds that it would benefit citizens at the expense of illegals. Many of his progressive readers probably don’t concede the validity of the concept of “illegal” immigrant.

What PCR is is a populist defender of the average man against the elites irespective of ideology. He sticks up for what he sees as in the best interests of the working man and supports things that reign in the powers that be. As I mentioned in another thread, PCRs name has been suggested as a possible Presidential candidate for the Citizens Party. I think he would make an excellent Citizens Party candidate.

As I also said in another thread, you wonder what happened to PCR and/or what he saw when he was in the corridors of power that made him so mad and such an intractable enemy of the class he used to hang with. PCR surely has a story to tell. I hope he tells it one day.

Two-thirds Would Vote Third Party According to Poll

From Politico. The Washington Post has the original story.

More than two-thirds of Americans would consider voting for a third-party presidential candidate, while nearly half of all voters think a third-party is needed, a new poll shows…

The most likely to support the creation a third party? A majority of independents (61 percent), liberals (60 percent) and moderates (51 percent) said that a third party was necessary…

Read more here…

First of all, I don’t buy this. People always support the idea of a third party in general but not when they actually go into the voting booth. Just like they say they will support a third party candidate early in the polling season but that support evaporates by election time.

The good news here is that this probably means there is a solid base for easing ballot access barriers. And while the internals of the polls need to be examined, on the surface this doesn’t bode well for ideological third parties. The greatest percentage of support comes from independents who likely think the major parties are too “extreme.” This might bode well for Americans Elect.

Cross posted at IPR minus my editorial comments.

The Eschaton vs. Ron Paul

In a discussion of Ron Paul’s politics, Peter Laarman, writing in Religion Dispatches, frowns at the Establishment’s universal condemnation of Ron Paul for his politically incorrect statements about race and the South. Laarman wonders why we must conclude that Paul has nothing to add to the political discourse because of certain taboo notions he’s expressed in the past. Are we that rigid in our thinking?

He notes that the Western tradition does not concur:

We are compounded, the Bible seems to say. We are all compounded of bits of good and bits of evil in a complicated amalgam. And so trickster Jacob is not ultimately damned on account of his trickery in displacing his older brother’s inheritance, nor is King David ultimately damned for arranging to murder the warrior husband of his desired inamorata.

The great European-American epic poets and novelists who inherit both the Hellenic and Hebraic traditions tend to favor the Hebraic mode of shadow and inference. They are not especially interested in presenting us with any “pure” types: in giving us unalterably evil or incorruptibly good characters who never vary, never change it up.

The Establishment Thought Police, on the other hand, maintain that the world IS black and white. The unrighteous among us must be shunned. Any deviation from Approved Thought disqualifies one from discussion. Paul has no legitimacy as a result.

Look at what Approved Thought says about the Civil War: Because the South practiced slavery, it had no valid claim to self-government. Plus, we are not to shed a single tear for the suffering and death Southerners endured. They had it coming. And as for the military rule imposed on Southerners during Reconstruction? Tough.

But as Mr. Laarman points out, the Biblical and Western literary tradition is enriched with a more nuanced view of people and cultures. The most interesting fictional characters, from Emma Woodhouse to David Copperfield to Scarlett O’Hara, were complex, with both noble and selfish traits. As a kid, I preferred the flawed, more interesting Marvel comic book characters to the goody-goody Superman. When Marvel’s signature superhero, Spiderman, used his powers to make money and impress girls rather than devoting himself to saving the world, I thought, “That’s what I would do!”

I think Laarman’s insight helps us understand why the South is home to so many literary giants, and why we’re so religious. Richard Weaver once observed, “The Southerner accepts the irremediability of a certain amount of evil and tries to fence it around instead of trying to stamp it out and thereby spreading it. His is a classical acknowledgment of tragedy and of the limits of power.”

That’s also why Southerners are not going to jump on board a campaign to immanentize the eschaton. We know better.

Ron Paul vs. Rick Santorum

I know, it’s not a fair fight – but He-Man Santorum started it, and deserved Paul’s verbal backhand. Watch Santorum squirm as Paul schools him in States’ Rights.

Of course, Paul is absolutely correct. The States have the power to deal with violent crimes, such as murder and robbery, and that includes abortion. When Paul voted against federal measures restricting abortion, he wasn’t supporting abortion, but opposing DC’s power grabs at State authority. He was opposing abortion by standing on principle, by protecting State’s Rights – the legal, and most effective way to do so.

That’s why I oppose DC’s meddling in the same-sex “marriage” debate. The Defense of Marriage Act, like No Child Left Behind, is an illegal assumption of power that rightfully belongs to the people of the States.

Howard Phillips Retires From the Conservative Caucus

Press Release:

Phillips Retires After 37 Years of Leading The Conservative Caucus

Howard Phillips, founder of The Conservative Caucus (TCC) and its Chairman since 1974, has resigned, saying that recent health problems required that he “direct my energies on my health, my family life, my spiritual priorities, and my writings.” He affirmed his gratitude “for the opportunities God has given me to work with such fine people and I remain wholeheartedly supportive of the important work and mission of this organization.”

Phillips, now 70, led TCC through successful battles to block ratification of the SALT II Treaty, begin the SDI missile defense program, repeal the Catastrophic Coverage Act, prevent passage of Hillary Clinton’s socialized medicine scheme, and persuade the House of Representatives to impeach President Bill Clinton.

He visited all 50 states in campaigns against the Panama Canal treaties, SALT II, and the nuclear freeze. He also held organizational meetings in all 435 congressional districts during the early years of TCC.

His leadership in TCC’s Victory Over Communism project included support for anti-Communist freedom fighters in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, repeal of the Clark Amendment, Congressional approval of the MX missile, a 600-ship navy, and even a visit to Eastern Europe and the Baltic states as the Soviet empire began to show signs of collapse.

Phillips is a graduate of the Boston Latin School and Harvard, having served as President of the Harvard Student Council. He was one of the founders of Young Americans for Freedom.

Prior to founding The Conservative Caucus, he was Republican Chairman of Boston and campaign manager for Richard Schweiker’s successful 1968 Senate campaign in Pennsylvania.

During the Nixon administration, Phillips headed the President’s Council on Youth Opportunity and the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), and won nationwide conservative acclaim when he attempted to eliminate the OEO programs.

The Constitution Party (originally named the U.S. Taxpayers Party) nominated Phillips as its candidate for President in 1992, 1996, and 2000.

TCC’s Board of Directors expects to choose a new Chairman early in 2012, with Darrell Castle serving as interim Chairman. Castle was the 2008 Vice-presidential nominee of the Constitution Party.


Santorum seeks votes from the Alan Keyes wing of the GOP

Rick Santorum is trying to highlight differences between himself and Ron Paul because he knows another fourth place finish will cripple his campaign (especially if Newt Gingrich finishes ahead of him in South Carolina). In so doing he’s gone the Declarationist route according to Dan Larison over at Eunomia:

“(According to Santorum) Ron Paul has a libertarian view of the Constitution. I do not. The Constitution has to be read in the context of another founding document, and that’s the Declaration of Independence. Our country never was a libertarian idea of radical individualism. We have certain values and principles that are embodied in our country. We have God-given rights.

The Constitution is not the “why” of America; it’s the “how” of America. It’s the operator’s manual. It’s the rules we have to play by to ensure something. And what do we ensure? God-given rights. And so to read the Constitution as the end-all, be-all is, in a sense, what happened in France. You see, during the time of our revolution, we had a Declaration of Independence that said, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, [that they are] endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

So we were founded as a country that had God-given rights that the government had to respect. And with those rights come responsibilities, right? God did not just give us rights. He gave us a moral code by which to exercise them.

Santorum’s position is a fairly common one among certain groups of Christian conservatives. It also confuses several things at once. It isn’t particularly “libertarian” to read the Constitution without referring to the Declaration. The Constitution is the federal republic’s fundamental law, and the Declaration was mainly a list of complaints, so there’s no reason why we should read the one in connection with the other. Constitutionalism as such doesn’t endorse “radical individualism.” Among contemporary constitutionalists, one is more likely to find people sympathetic to communitarian ideas and critical of social atomization.

The Constitution was originally a centralizing power-grab at the expense of the states, and until the Bill of Rights was added to it there was nothing very “libertarian” about it, except that it defined and limited the powers of a government. Incorporating explicit protections for the rights of individual citizens was a concession to critics of the Constitution. These protections were originally included solely to restrain the powers of the new federal government. The legal rights in the amendments to the Constitution are something different from the rights and responsibilities Santorum is describing, but he is muddling them together to tie his concerns about moral conduct to constitutional law.”

Indeed it seems Santorum is trying to claim the mantle for the Alan Keyes-wing of the GOP, which views the Declaration as the moral basis of U.S. government which therefore trumps the Constitution. This is nonsense of course and explains largely why Keyes has become a nobody in U.S. politics and why Santorum is heading this way (although I’m sure Keyes AIP would be more than happy to bestow its presidential ballot line is two or three states to Santorum this fall). To them , the Declaration is the pure example of Americanism (without all that messy, nasty stuff about slavery, which was added by the Northern states by the way) while the Constitution is just the instruction manual. No, it is law. It has the force of law and the authority of law while the Declaration, albeit a very nice document (written in humanistic language unfortunately), is basically rhetoric .

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Sadly Todd Palin Has Endorsed Newt Gingrich

This story is a few days old, but I think it deserves comment for this reason: it has been speculated that Sarah Palin’s early flirtation with outside the mainstream politics (her willingness to address the Alaska Independence Party and the Alaska Libertarian Party for example) that some of us initially hoped indicated that she might be paleo friendly was actually more a reflection of Todd’s politics than her’s. Todd was actually at one time a member of the AIP.

Well there goes any hope that Todd Palin might be an ally. I think endorsements are important because they have a litmus test aspect to them. A willingness to endorse Newt indicates to me either a lack of principle or a lack of understanding and judgement. Some have speculated that he is testing the waters for his wife to endorse Newt, but that doesn’t help his case either because it would indicate a willingness to sell-out as well as demonstrate what we already knew, that his wife is a fraud.

Sadly Richard Viguerie Has Endorsed Rick Santorum

Richard Viguerie has endorsed Rick Santorum. This is unfortunate and a lost opportunity. (Here is Viguerie’s official statement.) This endorsement follows a social conservative confab that was intended to determine a consensus candidate. The endorsement of Santorum reflects the post-confab consensus and Viguerie admits Santorum was he pre-confab pick anyway.

First of all regarding the socon confab, it is way too late for this sort of thing. This is something they should have done fairly early in the primary process if they wanted to have any impact. At this point it just looks desperate.

Second, Vig’s endorsement is unfortunate for another reason. Viguerie flirted with non-interventionism in the recent past. He was skeptical of the Iraq invasion. He even served on the advisory board of the American Conservative Defense Alliance, a group that was trying to counter the reflexive interventionism of organized “conservatism.” (Their website is now defunct.) Now he turns around and endorses the comically alarmist and bellicose Santorum. This is very much a mixed message. I respect Viguerie, but if he was endorsing on principle he would endorse Ron Paul, and I’m pretty sure he knows that. I think he is scared a Paul endorsement would hurt him with Conservative Inc. I also think he understands the potential ability of foreign policy to fracture the “three-legs-of-the-stool” “conservative” movement. Unlike the movement fighting over the Flat Tax or the Fair Tax for example, where the underlying principles are similar and there is a difference over methods, the foreign policy division can not be nuanced away. The sides are polar opposites and have widely different underlying assumptions. I don’t think Vig wants his “three-legs-of-the-stool” baby to go away.

The campaign behind the campaign

There’s the  campaign for GOP nomination and one behind it. There’s the official one which may well nominate Mitt Romney and the campaign to see who can best influence him as Phillip Weiss describes on his website Mondoweiss after Newt Gingirich’s campaign received an emergency lifeline of $5 million from Las Vengas casino baron Sheldon Adelson to keep his campaign going:

“...On what basis can anyone say that Adelson’s game here is Israel when he might as well give his money to Mitt Romney? It would have the same effect. What’s he gain by throwing $5 million away at Gingrich, which can only damage Romney?

The answer in a word is leverage on Romney. The Republican process is now a war over Romney’s policy positions; and the neoconservative fear is that he will be tugged left by Ron Paul’s movement inside the party. So Adelson is applying a counter-weight by giving money to someone who is to Romney’s right on Israel questions. Anything that brings down Ron Paul’s vote will advance neocon policymaking inside the Republican party.

Notice that Paul is working that leverage. He made nice to Romney lately, defending him yesterday on the Bain Capital criticism, and pretty much promising not to run as a third party candidate. Last night Al Sharpton expressed fear that Ron Paul would get to determine a President Romney Supreme Court pick.

In other words, the game now is how much influence Ron Paul will have.

A second aspect of the leverage game is Adelson being coy with his millions. Romney wants those millions for his campaign against Obama. But by giving a smallish-for-Adelson contribution to Gingrich (he had promised $20 million back in December, Politico tells us), Adelson is holding out. He knows that he who holds out longest has the most leverage. He may play this game with Romney for a while….

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Articles for your consideration

I’ve been critical of the state of political journalism and I believe for good reason. But the New Yorker’s John Cassidy puts forth a reasonable defense of political journalism in this day and age. But if you want to see good political reporting, one in which elections are determined by forces bigger than mere politics, read this article in the Atlantic about the manufacturing in the state of South Carolina, site of an upcoming primary election.

Here are some more articles:

“Fighting the Last (Cold) War “ by Paul Pillar at TAC

Murray Rothbard loved “Red Dawn”

“Tea-Party State of Confusion” by Jamelle Bouie at The American Prospect

“Bain of our Existence? Hardly”  by J.J. Jackson at Liberty Reborn

“Edgar Steele and the National Defense Authorization Act”   by Sartre at BATR

“The Bill of Rights is no More”  By Rev. Chuck Baldwin

This guest columnist in the Montgomery Advertiser supports Roy Moore’s campaign for the Alabama State Supreme Court

The Axis of Cluelessness

If you think you can keep your head from exploding, check out Americaneocon today. He’s blaming Obama for Iraq’s spiral into sectarian chaos. In response to yet another suicide bombing of Shia pilgrims, he snarks: “Hey, great job Barack Hussein. That precipitous withdrawal is working exactly as planned.”

Whoa. He’s got some heavy, jaw-dropping obliviousness going on here. We’re supposed to believe the instability in Iraq isn’t George W. Bush’s fault. It’s not the Neocons’ fault. And Americaneocon and the countless other laptop bombardiers who cheered on the Iraq invasion are equally blameless.

No. Because Obama is sticking to Bush’s timeline for withdrawing from Iraq, it’s Obama’s fault that Iraq is fracturing along sectarian faultlines – something the omniscient Neocons dismissed prior to the invasion.

My head hurts.

Pat Buchanan’s New Column Has Kind Things to Say About Ron Paul

Pat Buchanan has a new column out that is very Paul friendly. In it he addresses, among other things,  why he doesn’t think Paul will/should run third party.

I have a few thoughts on the article.

First, the column as a whole is clearly Paul friendly. While it shouldn’t surprise anyone that Buchanan is friendly to Paul, it has been observed in paleo circles that Buchanan has been less enthusiastic about Paul than one might expect, especially since Paul is known to have stepped aside for Buchanan in ’92. Speculation is that this has been out of deference to his sister Bay, who is a convert to Mormonism and supports Romney.

Second, I wonder if Buchanan regrets his Reform Party run. All the reasons he uses to suggest that a third party run for Paul would be unwise could have applied to Buchanan’s run in 2000.

Third, I don’t think Paul can get away with endorsing the eventual GOP nominee as Buchanan suggests even if it is in exchange for a prime-time speaking slot at the Convention. His supporters would go bonkers, and I don’t think Paul could bring himself to do it. I think the best Romney can expect is for Paul to remain silent and not endorse anyone else.

Paul Craig Roberts Says Vote for Ron Paul or a Third Party

Paul Craig Roberts has a new column out on the potential war with Iran. In it he suggests voting for Ron Paul or “for a more extreme third party candidate.”

Where do we go from here? If not to nuclear destruction, Americans must wake up. Football games, porn, and shopping malls are one thing. Survival of human life is another. Washington, that is, “representative government,” consists only of a few powerful vested interests. These private interests, not the American people, control the US government.

That is why nothing that the US government does benefits the American people.

The current crop of presidential contenders, except for Ron Paul, represent the controlling interests. War and financial fraud are the only remaining American Values.

Will Americans again give the sheen of “democracy” to rule by a few by participating in the coming rigged elections?

If you have to vote, vote for Ron Paul or for a more extreme third party candidate. Show that you do not support the lie that is the system.

Stop watching television. Stop reading newspapers. Stop spending money. When you do any of these things, you are supporting evil.

Read the whole thing here…

I know PCR has been suggested as a possible candidate of the Citizens Party, although I don’t think he had anything to do with that. But it is an intriguing idea. PCR might be one of the few people who could somewhat unite dissidents on the left and right. He is traditionally associated with the right but has recently been published more often at places like Counter Punch.

Since PCR used to be a mover and shaker in the Establishment as Assistant Treasury Secretary and associate editor of the WSJ, I have often wondered what he observed there that made him so mad. There has got to be some back story to his conversion to anti-Establishment zealot, and I would love to hear him tell it.

Cross posted at IPR minus my editorializing.