The Best Case Scenario

Cheer up, Republicans. It not all bad tonight. 

In fact, there is a silver lining to tonight’s elections. 

1) Republican’s kept the House. They have the power of the purse and can stymie the worst of the Obama agenda. Sure, Obama will blame them and in all likelihood he will circumvent Congress every chance he gets. Given this, the direction of the country is entirely in Obama’s hands and when he fails, the Democrats will have reaped what they have sown, so to speak. 

2) Count on midterm gains. The President’s party historically loses seats in midterm elections. Play the game right, and you will increase your seats in 2014. 

3) Romney sucked. Let’s face it, he was not Reagan reincarnate. Romney’s plans didn’t differ substantively from Obama’s. You didn’t want the next green energy companies to fail to be the recipients of Romney loans. You didn’t want continued high unemployment to be the fault of capitalism, etc. Whatever happens in the next four years needs to be Obama’s fault. 

So cheer up, Red team. Do a little soul searching, embrace your libertarian wing, and try again in 2016 with someone better. 

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The Cynic’s Case for Obama

I want to state first and foremost that I am a libertarian, and the case I am about to lay out for Obama should not be construed as approval for anything he has done or will do. 

With that said, we, Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, should all vote for him. 

Why, you ask?

First, throughout my life, and for most of the 20th Century into the 21st, each new President has been worse than his predecessor. In my life, George H.W. Bush was worse than Reagan. Clinton was worse than Bush. George W. Bush was worse than Clinton. Now, Obama is worse than Bush. Considering, when I was born in 1983, the bar was already set pretty low, this trend means every new President almost automatically becomes the worst President ever. It stands to reason then, that if elected, Mitt Romney would be worse than Obama and the new “Worst President Ever.” Let’s stick with the devil we know. 

Next, we all know our house of cards is already beginning to tumble down. A Romney Presidency isn’t going to stop it from collapsing completely. However, since Romney likes to pay lip service to the free market, any stagnation, recession, or depression occurring during his term would immediately be blamed on capitalism. Obama blamed it, and FDR did the same thing. The next left wing ideologue to run for President should not be able to peg Romney’s inevitable interventions and corporatism on capitalism. Obama is far from a capitalist. Whatever happens in the next four years needs to be squarely placed on the shoulders of his failed ideologies. 

Third, the President’s party historically loses seats during mid-term elections. The liberty movement is gaining a foothold in the Republican Party and risking those member’s seats because of the failures of the Romney Administration makes no sense. Conversely, a second Obama term would likely see even more liberty Republicans retain their seats or get elected. Principled conservatives and libertarians controlling both the House and Senate is the best way to thwart Obama’s left wing agenda. 

Lastly, I want to see Rand Paul run for President. If Mitt Romney wins, he will obviously run for re-election. Whether he would win again in 2016 is unknown, but it is a political faux pas to challenge the incumbent from your own party. Assuming he did win, it’s unlikely the Republican nominee in 2020 would stand much of a chance. In sum, a Romney victory could delay a Rand Paul or other consistent principled leader from running/winning until as late as 2028.America cannot wait that long. 

Gary Johnson asked us to be libertarian for one election. I’m asking that you by cynical for one election so we can be libertarian for several elections in the future. 

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Review of Ron Paul’s Revolution by Brian Doherty

Any Ron Paul fan, libertarian, or interested party would be well served by picking up Brian Doherty’s Ron Paul’s Revolution. One of Doherty’s previous works, Radicals for Capitalism, was released just as I began to consider myself a libertarian. It served as an intellectual index, that not only quickly educated me on the history of the libertarian movement, but also lead to the purchase of many other books to deepen my libertarian understanding.

In many ways, Ron Paul’s Revolution feels like a sequel to Radicals for for Capitalism. At the time I finished reading Radicals, I was left to wonder what’s next for the libertarian movement. Obviously, a large part of libertarian history from then to now has been dominated by Ron Paul’s two latest Presidential runs and their  effects on the American political landscape.

Doherty has clearly done his homework, as the book is extensively researched. It reads almost as an oral history of all things Ron Paul.

Perhaps, my favorite part of the book was Doherty’s treatment of the 2008 campaign. As someone who sign waved in the cold the day of the Iowa Caucuses in 2008, that part of the book had a major nostalgia factors. Reading about all the great individuals efforts of the 2008 campaign reminded me of a more pure naive idealism the Paul crowd shared back then.

I also liked the details of Ron Paul, the man, the reader gets to see. Having met Dr. Paul several times, I had a sense of what the man was like, but again, Doherty’s extensive research and first person accounts give the reader a clear picture of Dr. Paul’s sense of humor and how his personal convictions influence his politics.

Lastly, I liked the extra tidbits of  information included in the book. From reading it, I got an idea on the shifts that occurred in the Republican Party and a few morsels of Austrian economics are also nestled with the book’s pages. I think anyone interested in Ron Paul or the libertarian movement would be hard pressed to read this book and not be influenced to read some other libertarian work mentioned in it’s pages. I will confess to googling agorism and adding The New Libertarian Manifesto to my Amazon Wish List.

With any review, sadly not everything is positive. Despite, the research and the clear writing, there was at least one glaring typo. Doherty twice refers to the Pella Opera House as the Pilla Opera House. Mistakes happen, and I only caught this one because  I once lived only 15 miles from Pella, Iowa. Also, while the book makes mention of both the coalitions formed around the 2012 campaign, and Paul’s popularity with the college crowd, the Youth for Paul movement is never explicitly mentioned. Since Ron Paul began his Youth for Paul speaking tour at LSU, and was introduced by me and fellow Paulista, Greg Huete, I would have loved to seen that fact in print for obviously biased reasons.

The last complaint I have with the book, if you can call it that, is that the book seems to end prematurely. Obviously, not every fact can be complied in one volume, but the book ends seemingly before the New Hampshire primary. Even though the campaign stumbled from then on, the delegate strategy has netted several hundred Paul delegates. Those delegates will be in Tampa in August vying to influence the Republican platform. Not only that, but prior to the convention, events like Paul Fest and Freedom Festival 2012 will be going on in Tampa. Paul, himself, will be having a rally the Sunday before the convention. That rally will be the last we see of Ron Paul as a Presidential candidate and it will happen only a few months before Paul leaves Congress.  Even though Doherty couldn’t have known those facts at the time, whatever happens in Tampa in August already feels like the end of a chapter in the liberty movement and may have made a better ending for Ron Paul’s Revolution.

Overall, Ron Paul’s Revolution is sure to delight Paulistas everywhere. It’s clearly written, well researched, and provides valuable insight into Ron Paul and his movement. While future works may attempt to explain the Ron Paul Revolution, few other writers would have done the painstaking research or been so embedded in the movement already as Brian Doherty. Buy this book.

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We Fucked Up…Again.

“Do over, we want a do over!”

Kids on every playground anywhere shout that everyday.

How often is it, when we get a do over, that we fuck up our second chance too.

In 2008, Ron Paul was booed and jeered by the national media, voters, and even his own party, the GOP.

Starting in 2009, every network had Ron plastered all over the airwaves. He was our new “it boy.” He was suddenly the cool kid. Why? Because everything he said about our economy came true. He predicted our housing crisis in 2003 for crying out loud.

Fast forward to late 2010 and early 2011. That when the question’s started.

“Are you going to run for President again?”

Ron would always cryptically answer.

There was so much excitement in the liberty movement mixed with some anxiety. Is he too old? Has his base grown enough, etc?

No sooner had Ron announced his candidacy for President for the third time, the same media that welcomed his opinions when there was no election, suddenly forgot he existed. Mitt Romney was the new anointed one. He was our packaged Ken doll waiting to kick that evil socialist out of the White House.

Ron has all but quit his quest for the White House and the sun is setting all together on his political career. Ron will certainly have his compliment of delegates in Tampa bay this August. Maybe he gets a speaking role. Maybe he gets to influence the GOP platform. Who knows? His base needs to be appeased. Then again, his base, me among them, isn’t known for a willingness to compromise our values.

Regardless of the outcome, we fucked up…again. After 2008, after everything Ron said would happen came true, we shouted “Do over!”

We got our do over, and when Ron Paul, at 76, once again submitted himself for our collective approval more of us cheered this time, but the rest of the GOP once again turned their noses up at him.

They claimed  to want a strong economy, and someone who would follow the Constitutional, while, in the same breath, attacking Paul’s positions on foreign policy or his calling his spending cuts too extreme.

We all deserve to have Mitt Romney as our President. I didn’t think America needed another President like the last two we’ve had, but apparently we always just want something other than what we have.

So cheers to you GOP, you’ve fucked up…again.

And cheers to all those in the liberty movement…we know how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go.

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Paleo Update

I feel like I am having a second awakening in life. The first awakening was 6-7 years ago when I woke up to libertarianism and began to reject the conventional wisdom of American politics. But over the past few months, being a libertarian and being politically active suddenly were not a enough. If there is a way I feel I should be living my life, don’t I owe it to myself to live my life that way? The problem, as is often the case, was that I didn’t know where to go to break the cycle.

A few of my Facebook friends had posted updates about being on the Paleo diet. I had no idea what it was. A few weeks ago, I was bored at work and just searching random things on the internet and I looked up this Paleo stuff. I got my first book, Primal Blueprint by Mark Sisson, and read it very carefully. The book makes me consciously aware of the alternative choices in nutrition, even if they are largely out my reach. That’s enough for now.

The budget of a college student doesn’t allow for many shopping sprees at Whole Foods. But I did learn LSU has a shuttle service to the Red Stick Farmers Market. Winning! And as soon as I can start working full time in the summer, then we’ll have those trips to Whole Foods for some better meat options. For now, I’m stuck shopping at Wal-Mart, washing my produce, and reading food labels very carefully.

I mentioned this as an awakening, because it’s comforting to know you can free yourself from the status quo in nutrition. The more I read, the more I believe many of my problems can be solved by better eating habits. I’ve already started to know some small changes in myself. Right now I’m reading Primal Body, Primal Mind and trying to understand some of the science behind this lifestyle. For me, finals are coming up so the reading will likely slow down through the next week, but when summer starts I’ve got some things to accomplish.

1) Visit Red Stick Farmers Market

2) Check out Truly Free Bakery (BR’s gluten free deli)

3) Shop at Whole Foods

4) Use the 6 month gym membership I won at the Public Speaking Competition.

5) Upgrade my kitchen arsenal. I need a blender and slow cooker.

6) This is perhaps the most daring, I want to procure some raw milk. I have to leave the state to get it, but it’s nutritious and an act of civil disobedience. Can you say win win?

Baton Rouge has some community gardens, but I think I’ve missed the boat for that this year and the Honda is not suited for farming, even of the small scale variety. However, with a farmers market, a Whole Foods, gluten free eatery, and the right attitude, there’s no reason the good results will not continue.

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Going Primal

Sometimes one needs to make a change in life. Recently, I’ve found myself at the kind of crossroads where I need to reexamine some of my priorities. Many of my day to day beliefs fall outside what is considered the “mainstream” but too many other areas are decidedly tame and very much in line with the conventional thinking. So long story short, I bought a copy of “The Primal Blueprint” and began to read. For the past few days, I’ve been easing in to the primal lifestyle. It isn’t easy for someone on a budget to just jump right in. Amazingly, almost none of the food I had in the house fit the primal blueprint. I didn’t throw out my chips and Easter candy but instead ate them in moderation. Now they are all gone and I’ve been to the grocery store to get more primal friendly foods. It will be sometime before I can fully immerse in the dietary part of the blueprint. I’m all for locally sourced foods and farmers markets, but I can’t afford them. For now, I’m buying my produce from Wal-Mart and washing it off. I plan on going to Whole Foods soon and picking up a few items there like almond or coconut flour. The blueprint has provided some interesting culinary opportunities and I can’t wait to get a recipe book and really try my hand at some new dishes. 

However, cooking meat and sautéing some onions and mushrooms is right up my culinary alley, so cooking hasn’t been an issue. I did, however, hit my first snag tonight. I decided to make paleo-burgers using lettuce in place of the bread. Lettuce is a poor substitute for bread. I don’t mean that in a nutritional sense, but that lettuce doesn’t hold everything together very well and thus the eating gets pretty messy. Still, its nice to know that I avoid bread and that I haven’t had any bread in about 5 days. 

This is the beginning of a journey, and I’m very excited about the possibilities. 

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When/If Iowa matters?

Romeny gets 1st or 2nd…it matters.

Santorum gets 3rd…it matters.

Ron Paul gets 1st, 2nd, or 3rd…doesn’t matter.

Bachmann…doesn’t matter at all.

Perry gets 3rd over Santorum…matters.

Huntsman…doesn’t matter at all.

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