It has long been clear that the alliances between the establishment and grassroots, as well as the social and economic conservative wings of the Republican party has been, and always will be, fragile and tenuous. But there has been a tendency, for me at least, to overlook the divide between “paleo-conservatives” and “neo-conservatives” that developed over the last decade or so.
The paleos have long held to the traditional conservative notion of a small government and a foreign policy infused with realism, but not so much idealism or adventurism. Then the Bush years crystalized (some might say Kristol-ized) a palpable division in the GOP akin to the Democrats’ battle for the soul of their party between their moderate and leftist wings. (By the way, news flash - that battle is over and the leftists won).
Led by George W. Bush, the neos ascended and challenged the paleo norm - deciding that, despite the declaration by Bill Clinton, of all people, that the era of big government was over, big government had in fact become inevitable, so instead of trying to shrink it, they might as well use it for their own ends and swell the federal budget with programs such as the No Child Left Behind education initiative and Medicare prescription drug entitlement. And they attempted to steal the hearts and minds of the GOP’s conservative base with an idealistic, even utopian vision of spreading democracy to the least democratic region of the world...regardless of whether the ground was fertile for such a radical experiment.
If you believe reliable new polling that reveals a stunning reversal in the attitudes of Republicans on immigration, the debate on whether to grant de facto amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants has clearly shifted.
The immigration reform bill sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, the only Republican with “street cred” on the issue, will soon be front and center, but we can not afford to pass it without a willingness to consider what should be the single most important element of immigration: productivity.
The truth is that most immigrants, legal and illegal, are here for opportunities they could not get in their native lands. Most are here to try and make a better life for themselves and their families. Most are here to work. And not just to work as hard as those who were born here. But harder, because they come to bat in the first inning down a few runs. And they know it, but choose to make a life here anyway.
seems to have the best chance of becoming law in the wake of the Newtown Connecticut massacre is the “universal background check” or closing the “gun show loophole”. Why is there a gun show loophole and why would a sane person oppose these checks are questions I hope to answer here.
Firstly, there is no gun show loophole. No federal law (or state law for that matter) concerning guns has any kind of exemption or exclusion for gun shows or people at or around gun shows. The term “gun show loophole” was popularized by people who were either ignorant of the law or were being intentionally misleading.
In Virginia for instance, purchasing a revolver at a gun show from a dealer would entail filling out multiple forms (federal & state) combined with a computer background check and providing proof of identity and state residency. The computer check could take a few minutes, or a few days to complete (current law allows up to 3 days to complete the check). If the records check comes back clean, you can then pay for and take home your firearm.
The desire for profit is the essence of why the free market works and provides us with so many wonderful things. There is however another way to beat the competition. You buy some politicians and have them pass laws to make it more difficult for the other guy. Sure, you’ll have some cover story about productsafety or the like, but the real reason - and everybody knows it - is that you prefer not to compete for your lunch, and it’s cheaper to buy* the lawmakers than it is to build a better mousetrap or widget.
Aaron Swartz committed suicide last week. Many accounts, including that of his family, place a substantial part of the blame for the 26 year old’s death at the hands of federal prosecutors.
Swartz who co-founded the hit website Reddit, was one of the geniuses responsible for making the internet work. He believed in free access to information, and dedicated much of his short life to that end. In 2006, for example, he was able to (legally) copy the Library of Congress’ complete bibliographic dataset and make it available for free online. The Library has and does charge a fee for such access.
He did the same thing in 2008 with the federal courts’ PACER system. The system which holds federal court records charged 8 cents per page for access to the public documents. A few libraries had a special free trial for PACER and Swartz was able to download about 20% of the data and donate it to a free website. It was this commitment to open information - especially information taxpayers had already paid for - that got him into trouble with a different database.
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