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[VIDEO] Nick Gillespie: Economic Growth, Coherent Foreign Policy, Trust in Government: What WON’T Be Settled Today 

America is moving rapidly from a high-trust society to a low-trust one and that’s really bad news, especially for those of us who want a government that spends less and does less. 

If you think that much of anything related to politics will be settled by Tuesday’s election, here’s some bad news for you: Nothing that matters is really over.

There are at least three major issues facing the country when either President Clinton or President Trump gets sworn in next January.

What about economic growth?

You may not realize it, but the U.S. has been out of recession for seven years, one of the longest economic expansions in American history. But the average rate of growth since 2009 has been around 2 percent, making this the weakest economic recovery since 1949. Economic growth is essential to improving wealth and standards of living—and it helps to defuse all sorts of explosive political issues, from trade to immigration to welfare. But for all of the 21st century—under George Bush and Barack Obama–economic growth has been much lower than average.

donald-trump-hillary-clinton-debate

Neither Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump has articulated a plan that will actually grow the economy. Clinton will jack up taxes and spending on everything, a sure-fire way to keep the economy puttering along. Trump will punch add five-trillion dollars to the national debt, which will also dampen growth.

And if the American economy doesn’t improve, don’t expect anything else too.

Who will we bomb next?

Hillary Clinton is a hawk’s hawk who has voted for, lobbied for, or taken credit for all of our military interventions in the 21st century. Despite such actions—of more accurately, BECAUSE of such actions—the world is a bigger mess than ever. At times Donald Trump sounds like he would be a relative dove and at others, he sounds like a crazy man; at the very least, like Hillary Clinton, he said that he would increase military spending.

Neither of them has articulated a foreign policy that will help stabilize the U.S. economy, reduce international terrorism, or bring order to hot spots in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, or Asia any time soon.

What do you believe in?

Trust in most major American institutions are at or near historic lows—the media, religious organizations, labor, business—you name it. That’s especially when it comes to the two major political parties and government in general. Even worse, millennials—Americans between about 18 and 35 years old—aren’t just the biggest generation, they are the most skeptical. Read the rest of this entry »

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Transparency: The Top-Secret Letter Carefully Hidden Inside Pages of Wall Street Journal

Secret-Letter

U.S. President Barack Obama secretly wrote Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, according to people briefed on the correspondence.

The letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.

“There’s a sizable portion of the political elite that cut their teeth on anti-Americanism. Whether they can manage to say ‘Yes’…is an open question.”

— Mr. Obama said at a White House press conference on Wednesday, though he was not referring to his generation of American college students, and faculty, but in this case, about Iran’s leadership

Mr. Khamenei has publicly dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S. Associated Press

Mr. Khamenei has publicly dismissed the value of direct talks with the U.S. Associated Press

Mr. Obama stressed to Mr. Khamenei that any cooperation on Islamic State was largely contingent on Iran reaching a comprehensive agreement with global powers on the future of Tehran’s nuclear program by a Nov. 24 diplomatic deadline, the same people say.

The October letter marked at least the fourth time Mr. Obama has written Iran’s most powerful political and religious leader since taking office in 2009 and pledging to engage with Tehran’s Islamist government.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July. JIM BOURG

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, foreground left, met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, background right, in Vienna in July.  JIM BOURG

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important—whether in a potentially constructive or negative role—to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months. Read the rest of this entry »


Iran’s Delays and Deceptions

iran-delays

At least 26 members of the Senate want to warn the regime against negotiating in bad faith.

Clifford D. May  writes:  Just before Congress recessed for the holidays, 26 senators — 13 Democrats and 13 Republicans, led by Senators Robert Menendez (D., N.J.) and Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) — introduced the Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013. Its purpose: to ready new sanctions that would be triggered only if Iran’s rulers either fail to meet the obligations they have undertaken under a “Joint Plan of Action” or foot-drag on talks meant to lead to a “comprehensive agreement.” That agreement is to offer thetheocrats a simple deal: relief from increasing economic isolation and pressure in exchange for the verifiable dismantling of their nuclear-weapons program — an illegal program condemned by six U.N. Security Council resolutions.

The bill has displeased Iran’s rulers and infuriated many on the American left. “Saboteur Sen. Launching War Push,” ran the histrionic headline aboveMenendez’s photo in the Huffington Post last week.

President Obama also opposes the legislation. At his final press conference of the year, he said “there’s no reason to do it now” and he accused the bill’s congressional sponsors of “trying to look tough on Iran” for political reasons. He has threatened a veto should the measure reach his desk. His veto could be overridden by a two-thirds majority in each house — a high but not insurmountable hurdle.

Members of Congress sitting on the fence might want to ponder a few questions over the holidays: Are you confident that Iran’s rulers are negotiating in good faith? Do you think American diplomats will be helped or harmed if you give them additional leverage? Does it trouble you that Iran’s rulers have yet even to acknowledge that they have a nuclear-weapons program — insisting that, despite the vast petroleum reserves they control, they are building nuclear facilities under mountains strictly for “peaceful purposes”? Are you convinced that Iranian president Hassan Rouhani and foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are moderates? Or do you suspect that they might be trying to play American diplomats like a Guadagnini?

Read the rest of this entry »


The All-Seeing State

The inevitable corruption of the permanent bureaucracy

By Mark Steyn

A few years ago, after one corruption scandal too many, the then Liberal government in Canada announced that, to prevent further outbreaks of malfeasance, it would be hiring 300 new federal auditors plus a bunch of ethics czars, and mandating “integrity provisions” in government contracts, including “prohibitions against paying, offering, demanding or accepting bribes.” There were already plenty of laws against bribery, but one small additional sign on the desk should do the trick: “Please do not attempt to bribe the Minister of the Crown as a refusal may offend. Also: He’s not allowed to bribe you, whatever he says.” A government that requires “integrity provisions” is by definition past the stage where they will do any good.

I thought of those Canadian Liberal “integrity provisions” passing a TV screen the other day and catching hack bureaucrats from the IRS Small Business/Self-Employed Division reassuring Congress that systems had now been put in place to prevent them succumbing to the urge to put on Spock ears and moob-hugging blue polyester for the purposes of starring in a Star Trek government training video. The Small Business/Self-Employed Division had boldly gone where no IRS man had gone before — to a conference in Anaheim, where they were put up in $3,500-a-night hotel rooms and entertained by a man who was paid $27,500 to fly in and paint on stage a portrait of Bono. Bono is the veteran Irish rocker knighted by the Queen for his tireless campaign on behalf of debt forgiveness, which doesn’t sound the IRS’s bag at all. But don’t worry, debt forgiveness-wise Bono has Africa in mind, not New Jersey. And, as Matthew Cowart tweeted me the other day, he did have a big hit with “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For,” which I believe is now the official anthem of the IRS Cincinnati office.

It took Congressman Trey Gowdy of South Carolina to get to the heart of the matter: “With all due respect, this is not a training issue,” he said. “This cannot be solved with another webinar. . . . We can adopt all the recommendations you can possibly conceive of. I just say it strikes me — and maybe it’s just me — but it strikes me as a cultural, systemic, character, moral issue.”

He’s right. If you don’t instinctively know it’s wrong to stay in $3,500-a-night hotel rooms at public expense, a revised conference-accommodations-guidelines manual isn’t going to fix the real problem.

Read the rest of this entry »