03 January 2012

The world of 2012

January first week edition.

I don't have much to say on the rise of Santorum in Iowa. As in, like the rise of the others before him, it will amount to nothing. And indeed, in Santorum's case, appears to be much more limited to the cocoon-like isolated commune of Iowan Republican caucus goers, a more socially conservative bunch than most, and no where else. I still say good luck with Mitt Romney to any conservatives I encounter. I'd be impressed if they pick Paul, because it would finally cause some people on both sides of the political aisles to have head exploding thoughts about their team affiliations and could create some interesting Presidential debates for a change, but it won't happen. The sooner Iowa and New Hampshire are over, and the sooner one or more of the zeitgeist bots (Perry-Gingrich-Bachmann) is eliminated by doing poorly in South Carolina, the sooner I can ignore them all. The only things I will say on Santorum in particular is that he's a big government type, and that he has a paranoid and absurd vision of how foreign policy (and history in general) operates. Sadly, that foreign policy vision isn't too much distinct from other conservatives (or for that matter, Obama).

If there is anything cogent to say about his rise in Iowa, it would suggest, as I've long maintained, that Tea Party types on the ground are not libertarians. They are social conservatives in costumes who have no real interest in limited government and zero interest in individualism or protected rights of individual autonomy. No serious libertarian-based movement could have taken a look at Gingrich or Santorum or Bachmann and said, "hey, that's alright". Much less given Gingrich a second look. So they need to back the fuck off with that because that's bullshit that I'm tired of hearing about.

Basic tenet for this election cycle. I don't see any reason to start a war with Iran, but all the rhetoric and bluster is not surprising. From both sides. It's a little scarier coming from our side than when they conduct a naval exercise and blow things up in a public way. Nobody comments when we do this. I suppose also their "don't bring that carrier in here" quip is annoying. But it's not like they could actually prevent it without starting a war. Which they do not want. What they want is the trade restrictions to be eased or removed. Considering there is now some back channel pressure from China and other trade partners, I'd say that we will see some sort of quid pro quo here without a war but with plenty of polluted rhetoric from both sides to say "see, those people are crazy!" I'm not sure that anything else in the political debate circles will actually matter or change substantially based on who wins other than rhetoric on Iran and possible courses of action pursued once in office toward Iran and their (at present) mythical nuclear programme.

This was a fascinating topic.  Essentially what we are concerned with therein is whether the "freedom of press" applies to the particular industry of media versus the printed word. I view this as unlikely, newspapers were common in parts of colonial America, but distribution of pamphlet literature was a much more common effort. It would seem that the printed word enjoyed its own legal protections separated from the spoken word (where speeches used to be a form of social gathering sometimes lasting several hours). The particular industry of press media was a novel innovation, which certainly enjoyed much proliferation in colonial America, but I don't see why the Constitution would see fit to provide it alone with a significant protection over and above the writings and publications of other citizens. Control by states over printing presses (and now the Internet as a new "printed word" medium) has a long and ugly history. It was a tool employed by Catholic dominated regions of Germany to try to suppress Luther's Reformation texts (unsuccessfully because Luther's pamphlets sold so well that printers often went to great lengths to acquire the rights to print them). Totalitarian regimes throughout the world have destroyed or suppressed books written by "subversives". It is not enough to provide a justification that the state shall give this freedom to a particular industry (the "press"), but not equate the means of distribution of ideas to others. I would imagine this means that "the press" should enjoy somewhat less privileged status than it does, or conversely, that the public has a greater role in asking and demanding questions of their leaders or public figures. A role that it typically ignores.

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