Sunday, December 4, 2011

The Two-Party Pleasure Ship

Taki's Magazine
by Paul Gottfried
Verbatim Post
The Two-Party Pleasure Ship

In the December issue of The American Conservative, Gary L. Gregg defends the Electoral College as an integral part of the “Founders’ design.”

Gregg goes after the proponents of the National Popular Vote plan, a group accused of trying to nationalize presidential elections. He says they have carried out a “stealthy and disciplined state-by-state campaign” to undo a wise safeguard against hell breaking loose, and they have thus far won approval for their plan in eight states and the District with the aid of 2,100 presumably misguided state legislators. It’s not entirely clear what’s “stealthy” about a plan that lots of state legislatures are already earnestly debating.

Gregg has a thing for the now-threatened Twelfth Amendment, which was passed in 1804 to deal with the “problematic election” of Thomas Jefferson in 1800. This problem first erupted with the disputed election of John Adams in 1796. It was then that the original electoral plan in Article II, Section 1 of the Constitution came under fire. Under this plan, electors from every state cast two votes for president, and the candidate with the second-highest total was awarded the vice-presidency. Under deadlocks, the election was turned over to the House. Rivals for the presidency—some of whom such as Adams and Jefferson hated each other’s guts—could and did hold the #1 and #2 spots in the executive branch. The Twelfth Amendment, which Gregg praises to the skies, awarded state electors only one vote and required the candidates for president and vice president to run separately. It arranged for a more expeditious settlement of deadlocks which had to be handed over to the House of Representatives for a final judgment. In time vice-presidential candidates ceased to run separately because the two national parties started running vice-presidential and presidential nominees on the same ticket.

“It’s silly to pretend that the two-party monopoly has encased us in a permanent centrist cocoon between two evil extremes. We’ve obviously moved away from what used to be the center—mostly toward the left.”

Gregg maintains that the Electoral College provided for a balance between “competing values” at stake in creating the president’s office. The college is based on “recognition that the people and their communities are the ultimate source of power,” but it “encourages the president to be sufficiently independent so that he could act his part with vigor and resolve.”

Gregg’s defense doesn’t speak to me—or, as the Germans would put it, it “couldn’t lure a dog behind the oven heat.” The Amendment harkens back to another society, one which approached elections very differently than we do. In 1789 electors were selected by state legislatures in seven out of thirteen states. It was entirely up to the state assemblies to decide how the electors were picked. This remained the case until many decades after the founding. Until the federal government began taking control of the situation after the Civil War, voting usually excluded women, vagrants, and sometimes people of color.

Defending the Electoral College as it now functions is not the same as upholding the principle of ordered liberty as understood in 1789. Like Madison and Hamilton, one can certainly be for limited government, dual sovereignty, and balance of power without having to defend a system of organizing presidential elections that in no way addresses such modern problems as an overly centralized executive regime and two privileged national parties that monopolize presidential races.

Gregg imagines that the two-party monopoly leads to moderation, and he views the EC as a necessary means to avoid having “the most extreme elements of each party empowered.” Further: “Without the moderating system [furnished by the duopoly in American politics], the extremes of each party would be empowered to blackmail more prudent candidates.”

Indeed we should rejoice over these government-sponsored two parties. If we didn’t have a system that “exaggerates” each major party’s victory, we’d be in a real pickle: “Our politics would be moved out of the center,” a situation that, we are warned, would create chaos. Our elections would degenerate into a “Jamaican limbo dance,” with eccentric figures like Ross Perot popping up all over the presidential landscape. (I’ve no idea what a Jamaican limbo dance is, but I’m sure it’s something quite nasty.)

In Gregg’s nightmare scenario, absent the Electoral College our politics would be shifted from the center in ways that would radicalize “the Democratic Party, as the path to the presidency became one where smaller states and rural areas could be ignored with impunity.” Have I been looking at the wrong political landscape? Does President Obama represent the “center” that the Electoral College is keeping alive? The “center” has been moving leftward since I was a kid in the 1950s. It’s silly to pretend that the two-party monopoly has encased us in a permanent centrist cocoon between two evil extremes. We’ve obviously moved away from what used to be the center—mostly toward the left.

With its enforcement of political correctness and increasing government involvement in the workplace, our current “center” is a good deal less centrist than the one of my youth. I wouldn’t bring this up were it not for the fact that Gregg is a self-described conservative. He’s also revisiting positions that I’ve encountered in soi-disant conservative publications throughout my long adult life. The Straussian political theorist Martin Diamond, who spoke often before conservative groups, fell dead in the halls of the US Congress where he had gone in 1977 to urge retaining the EC.

None of this advocacy ever appealed to me as a critic of the duopoly. Gregg is correct that the EC helps sustain the two-party stranglehold, and this situation has rendered impossible a counter-movement from the old or libertarian right, which would have to operate outside the two-party system to succeed. Under the existing system an independent right could not push either of the two parties in its direction, even if both opportunistically adopted the usual campaign gibberish about keeping down taxes. Could one imagine the Dems or Reps getting rid of federal anti-discrimination agencies, minimum wages, the Department of Education, or a neo-Wilsonian foreign policy? I can’t conceive of any of these things happening in the present circumstances.

Only an “extremist” minority party running in a winner-take-all national election would be able to pressure the party hacks into the kind of deal-making that Gregg despises. Gregg asks whether Americans would “be satisfied if a president takes office after receiving only 40% of the national vote. How about 30% in a five-candidate race?” Personally, I’d be delighted. For once we’d have a president we may be able to control. Even better, he’d hesitate to blow up countries to bring them democracy and human rights or because Dick Cheney and FOX suggested he should.

I’ve no idea why Gregg sees the “nationalization” of elections as something we should try to prevent. He may be looking at the very recent past and no farther back. What stirs his juices has been going on since Reconstruction, starting with the Fifteenth Amendment granting federally protected voting rights to Negro Freemen. I also count at least three more amendments, namely Nineteen, Twenty-Four, and Twenty-Six, in which the federal government continued to have a hand in shaping or extending the franchise.

Is it still possible to speak of significant state control of elections after the Voting Rights Act passed in 1965? Already extended with bipartisan support four times, most recently under George W. Bush, it established “covered jurisdictions” in Southern states. These targeted areas are kept under what has become permanent federal supervision in order to avoid even a hint of racial discrimination. This act came three years after an amendment was passed that placed the franchise even more fully under federal supervisors. This was Amendment Twenty-Three, which prohibited states from disqualifying voters for non-payment of poll taxes. Even if this method of winnowing voters was applied unfairly against blacks in some places, it might be asked why states and localities everywhere should be denied the right to apply it. Shouldn’t we in the states have the right to restrict voting to those who are willing to pay a paltry fee for the privilege? Obviously not!

One may be for or against the federal supervision of voting. One may also think that if states wanted to lower the voting age to eighteen or extend the vote to women, they could have easily done so without involving the federal government through the amendment process. But it is foolish in light of the last hundred and forty years’ events to pretend that the states have retained sovereign control over voting. They abandoned most of it long before the NVP’s advocates came on the scene.

Gregg’s brief is really about defending the status quo that one can see and hear every night on FOX, with its predictable dialogues between GOP and Democratic regulars. These people certainly don’t want to rock the two-party Pleasure Ship, and with good reason. They’re in no mood to take caviar and truffles out of their diets or, perhaps even more importantly, miss payments on their yachts. They are immensely interested in maintaining things as they are. Accordingly, they like to be portrayed as ruling or criticizing from the “center.” As long as the pols can hand out patronage and get a chance to occupy government posts, they’re happy as clams with the system. Hey, isn’t this liberal democracy? We don’t want to ruin it with a messier way of electing presidents. Or do we?

Dixieland! (Jammin' - never heard it)

One-month-old baby boy was allegedly raped and battered so badly his heart stopped.

Gates of Vienna
Verbatim Post
I hadn’t seen this news story before I wrote about the Teddy Bear and Candle Syndrome last night, but it certainly makes my point.

An unspeakable crime was committed on December 1 against a tiny baby in Gravesend, Kent. The community responded in the usual fashion, covering the pavement with candles and teddy bears, and gathering for a candlelight vigil last night. There’s no point in reposting the photos; they’re like all the others — go over to The Daily Mail to see them.

But the situation changed partway through the vigil, and the mood turned ugly. More atavistic instincts — evidence of a return to sanity — took over, brushing aside the teddy bears. According to The Mail:

One woman who took part in the vigil said: “We lit candles and were saying prayers but then someone shouted ‘let’s go and find the b******s who did this.”
The vigil turned into a mob. The crowd took off to find the suspected perpetrators, and did some damage to the house where they were thought to live.

This story makes an interesting case study, because as of this writing there is no word on whether cultural enrichment was involved. According to the demographic information on Gravesend, Sikhs are the second-largest ethnic group, and make up roughly 7% of the population. There’s no data on Muslims, however.

So all we can say is that the Teddy Bear and Candle Syndrome broke down, however briefly, in Gravesend last night.

The news article is so horrific that I’ve placed further excerpts from it below the jump. Readers who are sensitive to descriptions of extreme violence against small children may want to avoid reading this:
Police were last night forced to subdue a 100-strong angry mob who had gathered on a street where a one-month-old baby boy was allegedly raped and battered so badly his heart stopped.

The infant remained in a serious condition today after allegedly suffering multiple horrific injuries in Gravesend, Kent, in one of Britain’s worst cases of child abuse.

The boy’s horrendous injuries are said to include a broken arm, broken collarbone, punctured lungs and severe bruising, as well as having all his ribs fractured.

He also reportedly suffered sexual injury and internal wounds, suggesting rape.

A group which initially gathered outside the house where the attack allegedly took place started a candlelit vigil, which soon led to damage as emotions ran high.

A man aged 35 and a woman aged 33 were arrested and released on police bail.

One of those involved in the vigil said they had gone to a house where they believed a man arrested in connection with the incident was staying with his family after he was released on police bail.

Those taking part said the group marched round to the house where it is thought the man arrested lived, before objects were thrown at the property and a car on the driveway damaged.

The little boy is currently on life support in hospital after suffering a heart attack.

He was last night said to be ‘showing signs of improvement’ after being transferred to a London hospital, but is not being named.

One woman who took part in the vigil said: ‘We lit candles and were saying prayers but then someone shouted ‘let’s go and find the b******s who did this.

‘They then stormed round to this other house in a nearby street and started throwing things at the house and damaging a car parked in the driveway.

‘The police have been there trying to bring it under control but people are very angry and feelings are running high.’

Kent Police today appealed for calm after the group of over 100 gathered for the vigil.

Superintendent Stuart Kehily said it had been a ‘highly-charged situation’ and community tension was running high.

He appealed for people not to seek retribution while police enquiries continued.

He said: ‘Kent Police takes all reports involving injuries to children extremely seriously, and specially trained officers are currently carrying out a number of enquires to establish the circumstances in this case.

‘I can understand the anger incidents like this can cause in the community, but I strongly warn people against jumping to early conclusions and seeking some form of retribution.

‘Once again I would urge people to remain calm and to let my officers carry out their investigation.’

This Old Porch, Lyle Lovett

Looking in the Mirror
Verbatim Post
"This old porch is like a big old red and white Hereford (Daddy always called then Whiteface. BT) bull, standin under the mesqiute tree, I don't know how he does it, he just keeps on playin' hide and seek with that hot August sun, just a sweatin' and a pantin' cause his work is never done."

"And remembering the falling down, and the laughter, of the curse of luck, from all those sons of bitchs who said we'd never get back up."

What a great story of a rural America.

New England Contemplates Secession in 1786

The Constitution which replaced the Articles of Confederation was a New England-inspired initiative intended to have a central government better protect its commercial and maritime interests. Had the South not compromised on that Constitution, it is likely New England would have seceded from the Confederation to form their own commercial union.

Bernhard Thuersam, Chairman
North Carolina War Between the States Sesquicentennial Commission
"The Official Website of the North Carolina WBTS Sesquicentennial"

“In view of the sectional troubles which arose during the War of Independence and continued into the period of the [Articles of] Confederation, it is not surprising that the proposed admission of new States also caused sectional dissention. Southern opposition helped prevent the admission of Vermont; and Northerners became concerned as it became ever more likely that Kentucky would seek to be recognized as a State.

If, in the years 1785-1786, when economic depression afflicted the entire Confederation, Southerners were unhappy because Northerners were lukewarm or hostile to Southern expansion, Northerners were discontented because Southerners were neutral toward or opposed to measures which would have benefited the maritime trade of the North.

Merchants of New England and the Middle States wanted protection for their shipping against British competition, especially after Parliament decided to treat the Americans as foreigners and applied the British navigation laws to them. Accordingly, New England sought to amend the Articles of Confederation so as to give Congress powers to regulate interstate and foreign commerce and to levy import and export duties toward that end.

Even though the proceeds of these taxes were to go to the States in which they were collected and power to cut off commerce was expressly reserved to them, Southerners in Congress, especially Virginians, objected strenuously. Members of the Virginia legislature also evidently protested.

They feared that Congress would use these powers to prevent British ships from coming to Southern shores and so to confer upon Northern shipowners a monopoly of the Southern overseas traffic. Certainly the Yankees wished to get as much of that business as they could; and American shipping was concentrated in the Northern ports, being relatively scarce in the Southern ones.

Indeed, by 1786, it had become seemingly impossible to make changes in the Articles of Confederation, these requiring both action by Congress and the sanction of all thirteen State legislatures. In August of that year when James Monroe reported that New Englanders were considering the formation of a separate union, he was not entirely in error. Wrote Yankee Theodore Sedgwick on the 6th of that month:

“It well becomes the [north]eastern and middle States, who are in interest one, seriously to consider what advantages result to them from their connection with the Southern States. They can give us nothing, as an equivalent for the protection which they desire from us but a participation in their commerce. Even the appearance of a union cannot in the way we now are long to be preserved. It becomes us seriously to contemplate a substitute.”

(The First South, John Richard Alden, LSU Press, 1961, pp. 69-72)
New England Contemplates Secession in 1786

CBM: "Color Him Father"

"Open Letter to Occupy"

Excellent words.

III Percent Patriots
Verbatim Post
If you are younger than 35 or so and participating in an Occupy event, it's not your fault.

It is not your fault that you expect such an easy life, and I can understand that as you left high school or college and hit the real world you were surprised and angered to find that the real world has little in common with your expectations and your experiences thus far. You see, your expectations were skewed by idiots for your entire childhood and through your college years. Too often, your family is listed among the idiots who are responsible for your unrealistic expectations.

You were not prepared for reality, for a world where the productive not only survive, but prevail, and a world in which performance is rewarded and a lack of performance is penalized. Many of you were forced to endure schools that would not keep score at school sport events, lest there be losing teams and your little feelings would be hurt. You were forced to struggle through classes that were originally intended to teach you how to think for yourself, how to read, write and compute...yet teachers often would not even use a red marker to grade your papers, lest your little feelings be hurt for having made an error.

Indeed, you were rarely wrong. You merely failed to reach the same conclusion as everyone else when you said 2+2=5. No worries. Your feelings and self esteem were always more important than the silly arithmetic exercises, anyway.

Until, of course, you graduated and found yourself in the real world where 2+2 is always 4, and any other answer is always wrong.

It really isn't your fault. You are victims, but not of the evil corporations that will not hire you. You are the victims of Communists who have deliberately gutted the education system in America for generations, with the intent of weakening the intellect of young American adults and instilling moral relativism at a fundamental level. There is much more to this story than is necessary for this post. Simply understand that you are, indeed, a victim.

But that corporate CEO was not one of your teachers who failed to teach you. That corporate CEO is not your parent who let stupid people have control of the knowledge that was put into your brain for your entire educational experience. Now, that corporate CEO may well be a greedy, amoral, or even immoral bastard, but it is not his fault that you were victimized.

Look around your little Occupy camp at the "Leaders", especially the older ones - say anyone over 40. Toward whom are they directing your anger? Think it through for a few minutes: Are the people toward whom your "Leaders" are directing your anger really responsible for your position in life? If you answer yes, then reason it through and explain it to yourself, articulate it, so that you can prove it. Not to me, not to your professor, but to yourself.

Being honest with oneself is often the hardest thing to do in life.

For instance: If you are complaining about the fact that you owe student loans, look first to the mirror. Did you agree to take the money so you could go to college, get a better education than those who chose not to attend college, and in return pay that money back, with interest, over a period of years after graduating because you expected to get a better job than if you had not attended college? Did you choose which courses you would take in college? Were those courses filled with knowledge that is marketable, in sufficient demand, thus permitting you to be hired, earn a paycheck and repay the loans?

Are there any Union folks in your camp, steering your anger in one direction or another? Ask yourself why. What do they gain by your anger?

Most of you are simply young and have been the victims of a plot that has spanned many generations, a plot intended to dominate the world through the Communist political system. Those who have been working toward this goal have purposefully deprived you of the skills you need to think critically, so that they can manipulate you through your emotions for their own ends.

Many people have been where you are now, trying to figure out why things arew working, or not working, as promised. Many people never figure out the truth. A lucky few Awaken, and are gifted with the ability to see the world as it truly exists.

I tell you these things because you deserve to know what is happening to you, what has happened, how you arrived at this place, and by whose efforts. You also deserve to know why, one day soon if you continue this course and speed, you will likely be confronted by angry Americans who accuse you of violating their natural Rights and are willing to use any means necessary to make you stop.

It may not be your fault, but that does excuse your behavior.

You are violating the natural Rights and innate Liberties of your fellow Countrymen by demanding that Government take from them the fruits of their labors and redistribute to others.

You are not alone. This has been happening, by design, for many generations. And while it is not your fault that you have been manipulated, it is your fault and you will suffer the consequences of your actions if you persist in the acts of injuring your Countrymen.

The clashes between your groups and the police are also by design. Those who are manipulating you are doing the same to the law enforcement community. Watch, study your own movement, and you will see that in the spring and summer of next year as the election cycle gets hot, your Occupy "Leaders" will work very hard to inflame your emotional outrage and turn that anger into violence against property, the police, and their political enemies.

Yes, there are many bad people in the banking world, the corporate world, and certainly in the political class. Yes, they must pay for the injuries they have inflicted. But there is a bigger picture, and you need to recognize it.

I encourage you to take a few hours and read the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (especially the preamble to the Bill of Rights) and try to read the text through the lens of men who wrote those documents in the pursuit of personal Liberty. Forget the definitions and interpretations your school teachers and college professors offered you about the documents: Read the words and apply your own intellect.

You have no Right to the labor of another human being against his will. You have no Right to demand that Government do that very crime against your Countrymen on your behalf, or on behalf of any other person.

If you read the DoI, the Constitution and the BoR, and you consider a Government and a nation managed as outlined in those documents, I am confident that you will understand that the America we have today is not what our Founders intended. It has been perverted, and many generations of Americans, including yours and mine, have been manipulated by evil people for self-enrichment at the expense of your Liberty.

In an America operating as intended, your complaints would probably fade away.

You and I can find common ground if we agree to work for a genuine Restoration of the Constitution, as ratified and implemented within the spirit of the Declaration and Bill of Rights. If you and I work together to achieve that goal, we can be rid of the evil people who have injured you - the real people responsible for your plight, not the scapegoats - and then we can live together as Countrymen, in Liberty.

If we can not agree to work toward Restoration as described in the last paragraph, then we are dangerously at odds.


The (lack of) Ethics of Eric Holder

Via Sipsey Street Irregulars

A couple of gems.

Holder: Well, I think that generally we do a good job in getting victim input, notifying victims when pardons and clemency decisions are being made. I think we could have done a better job here. I think we could do a better job generally.

Hatch: You didn't do anything here. You didn't do anything here, according to the records I have.

Holder: Well, we...

Hatch: You didn't talk to the victims.


Holder: The letter should not have been produced. It seems to me that the information contained in the letter is clearly within the bounds of executive privilege.

Hatch: Seriously?

Holder: Excuse me?

Hatch: Seriously, you can't really believe that.

Holder: Oh, absolutely.

Hatch: Well, we have a copy of the letter. And you are aware that she recommended against clemency.

Holder: I really would not comment on what recommendations were made by the pardon attorney. As I said, I think that falls well within the bounds of executive privilege.


Hatch: Did the second report contain a recommendation of whether the president should or should not grant clemency?

Holder: Mr. Chairman, with respect to those questions, it seems to me the answers to those questions are prohibited by the assertation of privilege of the...

Hatch: How? Tell me. I mean, where in the law do you find that?


Hatch: You're a former prosecutor. I mean, don't you want to get to the bottom of these things?

Holder: Sure.

Hatch: Well, then, why weren't those questions asked?

Holder: Because it seems to me you're talking about a group of people who did not recognize the right of the government to even--

Hatch: What's that got to do with it?


Holder: I did not know.

Kanjorski: And you didn't assign somebody to find out? This was unusual. You've never been approached by Mr. Quinn in regard to a pardon before, have you?

Holder: That's correct.


Holder: I'm sorry, did I know what?

Kanjorski: Did you know whether he was a fugitive or not?

Holder: Yes.

Kanjorski: OK. That's a rare classification for someone seeking a pardon.


Barr: Did the Southern District of New York oppose the pardon?

Holder: You mean before the--well, they never weighed in on the pardon. They were never contacted.

Barr: So they didn't even know that a pardon request had been submitted?

Holder: That's correct.

Barr: How about the FBI?

Holder: Did not weigh in.

Barr: NSA?

Holder: No.

Barr: CIA?

Holder: No.

Barr: State?

Holder: No. Again, there were no contacts between the Justice Department


Cornyn: Did you recommend clemency for the FALN terrorists to President Clinton?

Holder: Yes.

Cornyn: Was it a mistake?

Holder: No, I don't think it was a mistake.


Some Asians' college strategy: Don't check 'Asian'

Via Tom Stedham

Lanya Olmstead was born in Florida to a mother who immigrated from Taiwan and an American father of Norwegian ancestry. Ethnically, she considers herself half Taiwanese and half Norwegian. But when applying to Harvard, Olmstead checked only one box for her race: white.

"I didn't want to put 'Asian' down," Olmstead says, "because my mom told me there's discrimination against Asians in the application process."

For years, many Asian-Americans have been convinced that it's harder for them to gain admission to the nation's top colleges.

Studies show that Asian-Americans meet these colleges' admissions standards far out of proportion to their 6 percent representation in the U.S. population, and that they often need test scores hundreds of points higher than applicants from other ethnic groups to have an equal chance of admission. Critics say these numbers, along with the fact that some top colleges with race-blind admissions have double the Asian percentage of Ivy League schools, prove the existence of discrimination.

The way it works, the critics believe, is that Asian-Americans are evaluated not as individuals, but against the thousands of other ultra-achieving Asians who are stereotyped as boring academic robots.

Now, an unknown number of students are responding to this concern by declining to identify themselves as Asian on their applications.

A French minister of Arab origin says ‘there is no such thing as moderate Islam’

A French minister said there was no such thing as moderate Islam, calling recent election successes by Islamic parties in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia “worrying” in an interview published Saturday.

Jeannette Bougrab, a junior minister with responsibility for youth, told Le Parisien newspaper that legislation based on Islamic sharia law “inevitably” imposed restrictions on rights and freedoms.

Bougrab is of Algerian origin, whose father fought on the French colonial side during Algeria’s war of independence, and said she was speaking as “a French woman of Arab origin.”

“It’s very worrying,” she was quoted as saying. “I don’t know of any moderate Islam.”

“There are no half measures with sharia,” she added. “I am a lawyer and you can make all the theological, literal or fundamental interpretations of it that you like but law based on sharia is inevitably a restriction on freedom, especially freedom of conscience.”

US Senator Rand Paul on His Famous Father, His Life as a New Senator and the Ongoing Perilous State of the Union

Sen. Rand Paul

The Daily Bell is pleased to present an interview with Senator Rand Paul (left).

Introduction: US Senator Rand Paul is the son of libertarian Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul. Rand Paul grew up in Lake Jackson, Texas and eventually became an ophthalmologist. Upon completion of his training in 1993, Rand and Kelley moved to Bowling Green to start their family and begin his practice. In 1995, Rand founded the Southern Kentucky Lions Eye Clinic, an organization that provides eye exams and surgery to needy families and individuals. Rand Paul makes the point that he is first and foremost a dedicated physician, not a career politician ... and that his entrance into politics is indicative of his life's work: a desire to diagnose problems and provide practical solutions. He has pledged to work hard every day in the US Senate to reform government and to ending business as usual in Washington DC.

Daily Bell: Thanks for sitting down with us; your time is most appreciated. Give us some background on yourself, where you grew up, etc.

Senator Rand Paul: I grew up mostly in Lake Jackson, Texas. I was actually born in Pittsburg, but shortly after my family moved to Texas, because my dad was in the military. We spent a couple of years in San Antonio, back to Pittsburg for a couple of years, but grew up most of my life in Lake Jackson, which is a suburb of Houston, about an hour south. I went to college at Baylor University, and then went to Duke University and completed my eye surgery residency at Duke University. Along the way I got married to a girl from Kentucky, and moved to Kentucky.

Daily Bell: Did your father have a big influence on you?

Senator Rand Paul: I grew up going to hear my father speak. I was at his very first political speech, back in 1974, so I have gotten to hear his thoughts and see his ideas develop over several decades. I spent summers in Washington, working in his office as a volunteer intern. So I would say yes; I have been part of what he has been doing for most of my life.

Daily Bell: Did you ever dream you would be a senator?

Senator Rand Paul: No. You just never know what's going to happen in life. I have been active in taxpayer groups, kind of like what the Tea Party is now. We actually had taxpayer groups back in the '90s. Actually, even 10 years before the Tea Party started we would rate the state legislature; we worked with Grover Norquist's group to have a taxpayer pledge at the state level. I did this in North Carolina as a resident, and then again in Kentucky, but never knew whether I would run for office. I think a lot of running and actually winning is taking advantage of current events as they unfold, and I was fortunate enough to be in the mix of things when Jim Bunning decided to retire.

Daily Bell: Can you give us a brief summary about what it's like being in Washington and in Congress?


Romney Calls for Resignation: Holder ‘Brought Shame’ to Justice Department

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is calling on President Barack Obama’s attorney general to resign because of the flawed law enforcement initiative aimed at dismantling major arms trafficking networks on the Southwest border.

Romney tells reporters after a rally in New Hampshire that Eric Holder has misled Congress and has “brought shame” on the Justice Department through his handling of Operation Fast and Furious.

Democrat Jumps Ship votes for Ron Paul & Ron Paul second in Iowa

Lynn Chong, a former Democrat and Chair of the Belknap County Democrat Party discusses why she’s disappointed with Obama and switching her voter registration to vote for Ron Paul in the GOP Primary.

With Iowa kicking off voting in the presidential nominating process just a month away on January 3, Gingrich has support from 25 percent of likely Republican caucusgoers in the Hawkeye state. Paul has risen to second with 18 percent and Romeny slipped to third with 16 percent. Undecided came in fourth place with 11 percent.

Heritage Commemorative CSA Revolvers

Via Cousin Bill

Limited Edition Civil War 150th Anniversary Edition Confederate States
6.5” Rough Rider Blue Combo Revolver Presentation Set.

Heritage CSA Commemorative

These revolvers have scrimshaw ivory grips. The Confederate state's battle flag appears on the left panel and the initials "CSA" for Confederate States of America on the right. Each one comes in a cedar presentation box that depicts a Civil War battle scene and also has the corresponding state's battle flag.

The HoneyBama

Via Matthew