Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chadwick Ciocci speaks at CPAC

Be sure to check out this video of Chadwick Ciocci speaking at CPAC 2010: http://bit.ly/CPACspeech

Friday, November 13, 2009

Election Recap

By Patrick Coughlin

On November 3rd, voters in New Jersey, southern New York and Virginia sent a message to the Democratic Party by defeating Gov. Jon Corzine, Westchester County Executive Andy Spano and Creigh Deeds in favor of Chris Christie, Rob Astorino and Bob McDonnell, respectively. Their decision clearly states that excessive taxation and rampant corruption will no longer be tolerated.

Whether or not this is a referendum on President Obama or the Democratic-controlled Congress is irrelevant. In tough times, people often vote out incumbents with the hopes that a simple change of the party in power will lead to prosperity. New Jersey and Virginia are cases in point: both states went to Mr. Obama in 2008, and both states voted in Republican governors on November 3rd. With that in mind, I personally believe that overall anti-incumbent sentiment won the day, regardless of whether policy has actually caused the recent hardships.

What is relevant is the reaction from Democrats following the election returns. On election night, Lawrence Otis Graham, an attorney and best-selling author, was providing election analysis for News12, a local media outlet for the Hudson Valley, a lower region of New York State. In his commentary, he argued that Republican candidates dominated in the aforementioned elections not because of strong Republican support, but rather low voter turnout among typical Democratic constituencies.

In 2008, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain trailed Mr. Obama in the polls for the majority of the race. After his defeat, I did not hear anything among conservatives that echoed the sentiment of Mr. Graham—virtually no one made the argument that Mr. Obama won because Republicans thought getting out to vote for Mr. McCain was a lost cause.

What I get from Mr. Graham’s argument is that when Democrats win, it is because the people support them wholeheartedly while Republicans only win because of Democratic apathy. This argument is outrageous and disgraceful. Westchester has the highest county taxes in the country and New Jersey has the 8th highest state tax rates in the country. Regardless of political ideology, voters respond when the government excessively raises unnecessary taxes.

Whether this will catapult the Republican Party to victories in the midterm elections is still unknown. But if members of the Democratic Party continue to make asinine comments like Mr. Graham did, it will not be long before voters become disgusted by Democratic arrogance. Perhaps it was arrogance that caused Democrats to not even put much effort into the races. Even if low voter turnout was the cause of the Democratic losses, it was due to the failure of Democrats to mobilize and energize their party around their values, not simple voter apathy.

This should be a wakeup call to Democrats that ignorance towards the citizens they serve will not be accepted. Moreover, Republicans must not squander this opportunity and must return to the party values of fiscal responsibility, limited government and individual accountability.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Liberal Fascism and Obama

By Chadwick Ciocci

(This article was originally published on The Americano.)

Jonah Goldberg’s book Liberal Fascism is already a must read, but it will undoubtedly become known as visionary if the Obama administration continues its– pardon me– fascistic ways. When the President was (still is?) a candidate, opponents on the right vehemently held that he was a socialist- a real leftist potentially inspired by Marxist ideology and certainly by the radicalness of his associates such as Reverend Wright. And while this assessment isn’t completely off, the fact is that the Obama Administration has proven itself to be far more fascist than socialist.

Take for example this administration’s economic policies. One of the hall-mark signs of European fascism as exemplified by Italy’s Mussolini was government support of big businesses such as banks, manufacturers, etc. Sure, Mussolini removed a few heads of these companies (maybe literally) but supporting these companies became a matter of national prosperity, not just the economic success and failure of the companies themselves.

And while one might assume that businesses did not like this (because those on the left and right both almost always assume that businesses- especially large ones- prefer a capitalist environment,) the fact is that so long as they were doing well, businesses and government alike were hunky-dory. Then came the bad times, when business wasn’t so good. But what was around the corner? Government bailouts.

Fast-forward to today, where government inspired bubbles and regulation not only created the environment where businesses could make good money but alsocreated the conditions under which these businesses (used in the absolute broadest sense) would fail and then require government help to survive. It is a classic Fed/government inspired bubble that hurts everyone in the long run.

Now we have the White House removing and appointing CEO’s and regulating executive pay, and while this might upset the capitalist, who other than the CEO’s and executives being directly affected really minds this fact: we now live in a country where the government will not allow large businesses to fail and collapse. This is classic economic fascism, and yet it gets worse.

Let us move from the economic to the political, where the White House has declared war against Fox News and apparently has an enemies list deeply reminiscent of not just the Wilson administration’s war against the press but Nixon’s misguided attempts at silencing his opposition. Not only was Wilson deeply inspired by the fascistic tendencies that pervaded the Progressive movement he was a leader of, but he implemented those policies with zeal.

Now we have the Obama administration which has essentially nationalized certain companies, directly or indirectly controls the leadership of others and is openly trying to undermine the press which opposes him, and yet we’re surprised by all of this when he and others in his administration openly call themselves progressives!

Don’t be fooled: progressives aren’t the friendly but misguided liberals who live next door. They’re part and parcel of a serious movement in this country with deep intellectual and political roots which seeks to make both individuals and institutions dependent on government well beyond what any socialist in capable of.

Chadwick Ciocci is an editor for Parcbench.com, a student of philosophy and theology at Fordham University and running for his fourth-term in public office in Connecticut.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lindsey Graham and the Neocon’s Last Grasp at Power

By Phil Fraietta

With the Obama-crazed media of today, one is very likely not to have heard Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s latest comments on the state of his Party. Senator Graham, like the typical neocon he is, launched a verbal attack on libertarianism and non-interventionism. He even went so far as to say Congressman Ron Paul is attempting to “hijack” the Republican Party and turn it into a party of “angry white men.”

Many members of the audience Senator Graham was speaking to took exception to these comments and began to question him. Senator Graham, in a nutshell, responded that he held no personal disliking towards libertarians and even would encourage them to vote for him, but that he is not a libertarian and will not adhere to any libertarian principles because he will continue to support ideas that “can win.”

Regarding the first half of his response, I would like to question Senator Graham on how he can consider himself a conservative if he will not adhere to any libertarian principles.

Conservative, in the “Reaganite” meaning of the word, refers to one who adheres to the principles of limited government, free-market capitalism and non-interventionist foreign policy. This sounds strangely familiar to libertarianism, because it is libertarianism. As President Reagan said “If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals…”

So if Senator Graham has declared not to adhere to the principles of libertarianism then what principles is he adhering to?

The answer: big government, centrally planned economics and interventionist foreign policy.

These are the very same principles that the Republican Party decided to adhere to during the Bush years. With our ever-expanding budget deficit, Wall Street bailouts and empire-building mission we refer to as “The War on Terror”, the Bush Administration successfully implemented all of these principles.

This brings me to the second half of Senator Graham’s response, specifically the statement “can win.” What exactly did the neocons win Senator Graham?

The Republican Party is currently is the minority party in both houses of Congress, after being the majority just six short years ago. The Republican Party’s neoconservative Presidential Candidate, Senator John McCain, was heavily defeated by President Barack Obama, and the party’s neoconservative Vice-Presidential Candidate, Governor Sarah Palin, became the laughing stock of the country and has disappeared from the national political stage.

All the meanwhile, liberty-minded Republicans, like Congressmen Ron Paul and Jeff Flake have held their Congressional seats for what seems like forever, liberty-minded Republican candidates, like Rand Paul (candidate for the Kentucky Senate), continue to set fundraising records, and the Audit the Fed movement has gained the support of nearly 75% of the American people.

So, Senator Graham, it appears that it is the neoconservatives of the Party that can not win.

It will be interesting to see how leaders of the Republican Party address these comments. Will they continue to support Senator Graham and the neoconservative hold on the party, or will they finally return to the roots President Reagan instilled in the party and subsequently return to their winning ways?

I sincerely hope it is the latter, or the limited government, free-market, non-interventionist values we so dearly love may be lost forever.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Will something good come of Iraq?

By Douglas Kohn

This will be the question that all American policy makers, especially Neoconservatives will have to ponder for the years to come. Was Iraq worthwhile with the sacrifice of blood and treasure that came with it? Will it be an example of Arab Muslim democracy and if so, will it help American strategic goals?

In my opinion the answers are no, probably and no.

Just because Iraq is a democracy does not mean that it is going help America’s strategic goals in the Middle East. Iraq is a majority Shiite nation with close historical ties to Iran. The fact that it was ruled for sometime by Saddam Hussein, was basically just a fluke of history.

In spite of its internal divisions and the violence of the last few years, the three Iraqi ethnoreligious subdivisions, Arab Shiite Muslims, Arab Sunni Muslims, and Kurdish Sunni Muslims do not seem to want permanent separation. Iraq is not a completely poverty stricken country and falls in the middle between say, industrialized Western countries and poor African countries. The three groups seem to accept that to move forward they have to participate in the system. But Iraq remains largely anti American even if they see some benefits of having America participate in their security operations.

The two largest beneficiaries of the removal of Saddam Hussein were Iran and the Kurds. Northern Iraq, dominated by the Kurdish ethnic group is the only pro American faction in Iraq and they have started to build a real economy and functioning institutions.

Chances are however, even if it does not openly cooperate with Iran on strategic issues, the new Iraq will not stand in its way.

Further reasons that the Iraq venture can be considered a failure is because we have now essentially seen the end of its Christian community, one of the oldest in the world. For a large part of history, Iraq had a largely cosmopolitan outlook on the world. Not only was it home to a large Christian community, but before the creation of Israel it was home to the oldest (and one of the largest, post Holocaust) Jewish community in the world. The Iraqi Jewish community dated from 586 BC with the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem. Now the Christians, and especially Catholic, communities in Iraq have been devastated.

Further horrid acts are still going on in Iraq. The gay community in Iraq, largely ignored by Saddam, has been subject to inhuman barbarism that it is safe to say no Fundamentalist Christian in the United States, or most other countries, would ever dream of.

So Iraq, even if it is an example of democracy, will remain a very flawed one along the lines seen in South Africa, if I am forced to make a comparison.

Friday, October 9, 2009

2009 New York Students for Liberty Conference

On Saturday, October 10, 2009, the Columbia University Libertarians will present the 2009 New York Students for Liberty Conference.

From 8:30 am - 8:30 pm, the conference will feature a full day of speakers such as Fred Smith President of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Damon Root of Reason magazine, NYU Economics Professor Mario Rizzo, and many more!

The conference will serve as a forum for learning from experts in fields ranging from economics to history, meeting libertarian leaders and activists, discussing current issues, and sharing advice on best practices for advancing the cause of liberty on campus.

More information about this premier event for liberty can be found here: www.politicalconferences.org/2008/10/ivy-league-alliance-conference.

Begun in 2008, Students For Liberty is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide a unified, student-driven forum of support for students and student organizations dedicated to liberty. To learn more and support this rapidly growing organization, please visit www.studentsforliberty.org.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Regulation versus Wealth

By Douglas Kohn

For all the talk of implementing new regulations to tame finance, there are still elements of necessary deregulation that are being overlooked by the Federal Government.

The rules used to say that no one could get a mortgage unless they were able to pay 20% down on their home. This made sense, as the social consequences of having to later kick someone out of their home are more damaging than having large numbers of people not own their own home in the first place. This would still be considered “light touch” regulation.

America simply should restore the old regulation regime but consider deregulating in other areas. One of the most overlooked problems in America today is what the CPA Journal called “The Chilling Effect of Sarbanes-Oxley.” Sarbanes Oxley was passed (as usual, in a panic, with nobody reading all of the bill) in 2002 in response to the unusually large series of corporate scandals that came to light in the previous downturn. Included in these were Enron, Worldcom, Tyco and Arthur Andersen.

Arthur Andersen’s main role in that crisis was to be Enron’s auditor. This means they were an independent body hired by Enron to make sure the company’s books were clear of errors and to discover any possible fraud. As they did not do this correctly through both negligence and corruption, there was a crisis of confidence in the system. In response Sarbanes Oxley was passed to tighten auditing rules. An example of a new regulation was that CEOs had to sign off on the company’s financial statements and on the findings of their independent auditors.

The aforementioned regulation is not one of the more damaging ones, but the climate created by Sarbanes Oxley has made it grossly expensive for medium sized firms to go public on the stock market. The average cost of an Initial Public Offering (IPO) has reached $750,000. The result of this is that many American companies now find it easier (and cheaper) to bring their public offerings overseas, notably on the London Stock Exchange but to others as well.

Reform of Sarbanes Oxley is urgently needed to keep America’s medium sized firms competitive and able to raise money on the stock exchange for growth.