Limited Government – Thunder From Under Wed, 15 Sep 2021 17:07:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Limited Government – Thunder From Under 32 32 State Senator Chris Elliott named 2021 Alabama Forestry Association Legislator of the Year Wed, 15 Sep 2021 16:41:17 +0000

The Alabama Forestry Association (AFA) has named State Senator Chris Elliott (R-Daphne) as Lawmaker of the Year 2021.

Elliott represents Senate District 32, which covers Baldwin County and sits on the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee as well as the Deputy Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee.

The AFA said Elliott was instrumental in the authorship and passage of Senate Bill 107, which limits the authority of cities outside of their traditional jurisdiction. The association worked actively to help Elliott make this bill a success.

Elliott touted AFA’s work to support the rights of landowners.

“Writing and successfully delivering hard-hitting legislation that reflects strong Conservative principles and limited government is a priority,” Elliott said. “The Alabama Forestry Association is widely regarded as the state organization that champions private property rights and it has been a pleasure working with them. It is an honor to be recognized as their legislator of the year.

Tom Bradley, chairman of the AFA’s government affairs committee and a member of the ForestPAC board of directors, praised Elliott’s legislative efforts to tackle what he calls “government overbreadth.”

“Chris Elliott passed one of the most beneficial recent pieces of legislation in Senate Bill 107,” Bradley said. “This legislation protects the private landowner from the excesses of municipal government and allows the landowner to manage their timber stands using good silvicultural practices. Without Chris’ hard work, this bill would never have passed. I can’t think of a more deserving Legislator of the Year recipient.

The AFA last month endorsed Elliott in his bid for re-election to the Alabama state Senate.

Dylan Smith is a writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL

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Afghanistan LIVE News: United States Suspends All Afghanistan Evacuation Flights After Limited Measles Outbreak Sat, 11 Sep 2021 12:07:13 +0000 Afghanistan Crisis Live News Updates: United States halted all evacuation flights from Afghanistan after discovering a limited measles outbreak among refugees arriving in the country. The decision was made on the recommendation of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which cited “health safety concerns.”

Meanwhile, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said all countries should engage with the Taliban to deliver the message that the Afghan people should live in peace under an inclusive government that respects basic human rights. Guterres stressed that the country should no longer become a sanctuary for terrorism. The UN rights office said on Friday the Taliban’s response to peaceful marches in Afghanistan was increasingly violent, with authorities using live ammunition, batons and whips and killing at least four protesters. .

On the other hand, India called for an “inclusive waiver” on Friday in Afghanistan, representing all strata of society. Stressing that she was her “immediate neighbor and friend of her people”, New Delhi said “the current situation concerns us directly”. It was India’s first response to the Taliban government’s announcement, days after the Pakistani ISI chief reached Kabul and picked the nominations.

Meanwhile, Pakistan said on Friday it hoped the Taliban’s new interim government would bring “peace, security and stability” to the war-torn country and work to meet humanitarian and development needs. of the Afghan people.

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Pro-Chinese disinformation operation tries to exploit U.S. divisions of Covid, report says Wed, 08 Sep 2021 14:52:00 +0000 The operation, which initially attempted to discredit pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong in 2019, has grown into a “global campaign that works in seven languages, across at least 30 social media platforms and over 40 websites and forums, ”experts from Mandiant and Google say, noting parallels with the Russian disinformation campaign around the 2016 presidential election.

US officials believe the operation is linked to the Chinese government and are monitoring its progress, according to a source familiar with the situation. In the 2020 election, U.S. officials were monitoring whether the operation could be used to spread disinformation, but ultimately felt that the Chinese government was avoiding doing so because it did not want to elicit a response, the source added.

Months later, experts observed an “explosion of activity” around the world and the decision to provoke physical protests in the United States “shows that they pose a very serious threat,” the vice told CNN. -President of Mandiant Threat Intelligence, John Hulquist.

“This direct call for physical mobilization is an important development compared to the previous activity, potentially indicative of an emerging intention to motivate real activity outside Chinese territories,” the report said. “While this attempt did not appear to be successful, we believe it is essential that observers continue to monitor such attempts in case greater degrees of organic engagement are later achieved by the network.”

In April, for example, experts saw thousands of fake accounts calling on Asian Americans to protest racial injustice in the United States and “misinformation about the origins of the virus.” Although experts have found no evidence that these messages have been successful in mobilizing protesters, the report says “it provides an early warning that the actors behind the activity may begin to explore, even in ways limited, more direct means of influencing the internal affairs of the US. ”

While there has been limited engagement with these pro-China accounts, the massive reach of the operation shows that the players responsible have “significantly expanded their online footprint and appear to be attempting to establish a presence on as many platforms as possible to reach a variety of global audiences. “, According to the experts at Mandiant.

“Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen this threat actor evolve, from the types of content he publishes to the tactics he uses to amplify it. However, the most important characteristics of this network remain its breadth and persistence, despite a low commitment. That’s why we’ve taken an aggressive approach to identifying and removing disinformation from this network, ”said Shane Huntley, director of Google’s Threat Analysis Group.

“We anticipate that they will continue to experiment to generate higher engagement and encourage other community members to continue to follow this actor, shed light on their operations and take action against them,” he said. he adds.

Cyber ​​espionage from China against the United States has increased since the start of the Covid-19 epidemic, and Beijing has always sought to shape the global narrative through overt and covert means.

For months, Chinese authorities have openly disseminated false and misleading information about the virus and its origins.

But the United States and several of its European allies have also been more careful in attributing disinformation and other malicious cyber activity to China than to other state actors, namely Russia and Iran these days. last years.

Pressed on issue In May 2020, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen denied claims that the EU watered down a report on coronavirus misinformation after coming under pressure from China.

While experts at Mandiant and Google say they haven’t seen these specific pro-China accounts delve into election-specific content so far, they have warned that the actors responsible may be bracing for a campaign of election. broader disinformation that could very well be carried out in a manner similar to Moscow’s campaign to meddle in the 2016 US election. with similar intent to what US intelligence agencies said was deployed by Moscow in the race from 2016.

Beijing is not the only American adversary linked to the sweeping online efforts to undermine trust in democratic institutions. German officials on Monday accused the Russian military intelligence agency GRU of being responsible for a hacking campaign targeting politicians ahead of Germany’s general elections in September. The same hacking group has also attacked U.S. allies such as Poland with fake NATO narratives, the researchers said.

CNN’s Sean Lyngaas contributed reporting.

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The threat of the illiberal left Sat, 04 Sep 2021 11:45:10 +0000

SSOMETHING TO very badly gone with Western liberalism. Basically, classical liberalism believes that human progress is brought about by debate and reform. The best way to navigate disruptive change in a divided world is through a universal commitment to individual dignity, open markets, and limited government. Yet a resurgent China scoffs at liberalism for being selfish, decadent, and unstable. In our country, right-wing and left-wing populists attack liberalism for its elitism and its supposed privileges.

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Over the past 250 years, classical liberalism has contributed to unprecedented progress. It will not disappear in a cloud of smoke. But it is undergoing a severe test, just as it was a century ago when the cancers of Bolshevism and fascism began to eat away at liberal Europe from within. It is time for the Liberals to understand what they are up against and to fight back.

Nowhere is the fight more fierce than in America, where this week the Supreme Court chose not to repeal a draconian and bizarre anti-abortion law. The most dangerous threat to the spiritual home of liberalism comes from the Trumpian right. Populists denigrate liberal edifices such as science and the rule of law as fronts for a deep state plot against the people. They subordinate facts and reason to tribal emotion. The persistent lie that the 2020 presidential election was stolen indicates where such impulses are leading. If people cannot resolve their differences using debate and trusted institutions, they will resort to force.

The attack on the left is harder to grasp, in part because in America the term “liberal” has come to include an illiberal left. We describe this week how a new style of politics has recently spread to elite university departments. As recent graduates took on jobs in high-end media and in politics, business, and education, they brought with them the horror of feeling “in danger” and a program obsessed with narrow vision. to obtain justice for oppressed identity groups. They also brought tactics to enforce ideological purity, offering no platform to their enemies and nullifying their transgressed allies, with echoes of the denominational state that dominated Europe before classical liberalism. did not take root at the end of the 18th century.

Superficially, the illiberal left and classical liberals like The Economist want a lot of the same things. Both believe that people should be able to thrive regardless of their sexuality or race. They share a hint of authority and strong interests. They believe in the opportunity for change.

However, classical liberals and illiberal progressives could hardly disagree more on how to bring about these things. For classical liberals, the precise direction of progress is unknowable. It must be spontaneous and from the bottom up – and it depends on the separation of powers, so that no one or any group can exercise lasting control. In contrast, the illiberal left has placed its own power at the center of things, believing that real progress is only possible after first ensuring that racial, gender and other hierarchies are dismantled.

This difference in method has profound implications. Classical liberals believe in establishing a level playing field and letting events unfold through competition, such as eliminating corporate monopolies, opening guilds, radically reforming taxation, and making law. education accessible with vouchers. Progressives see laissez-faire as a pretext that powerful interest groups use to preserve the status quo. Instead, they believe in imposing “fairness” – the results they deem fair. For example, Ibram X. Kendi, a scholar-activist, argues that any color-blind policy, including standardized testing for children, is racist if it ends up increasing average racial differences, regardless of the clarification of the intentions behind it. underlying.

Mr. Kendi is right to want an anti-racist policy that works. But its blundered approach risks depriving some underprivileged children of the help they need and others of the chance to realize their talents. Individuals, not just groups, must be treated fairly for society to flourish. In addition, the company has many goals. People worry about economic growth, well-being, crime, the environment and national security, and policies cannot be judged simply on whether they are advancing a particular group. . Classical liberals use debate to determine priorities and tradeoffs in a pluralistic society, then use elections to set a course. The illiberal left believes that the market for ideas is rigged like any other. What masquerades as evidence and argument, they say, is actually another elite assertion of raw power.

Old-school progressives remain the champions of free speech. But illiberal progressives believe that fairness requires that the field be tilted against those who are privileged and reactionary. It means restricting their freedom of expression, using a caste system of victimization in which those at the top must defer to those with the greatest right to restorative justice. It’s also about setting an example of so-called reactionaries, punishing them when they say something that is taken to make someone less privileged feel in danger. The results are call, cancellation, and no platform.

Milton Friedman once said that “a society that puts equality ahead of freedom will have neither.” He was right. Illiberal progressives believe they have a plan to liberate oppressed groups. In reality, it is a formula for the oppression of individuals – and in this it is not that different from the plans of the populist right. In their own way, the two extremes put power before the process, the end before the means and the interests of the group before the freedom of the individual.

Strongman-led countries that populists admire, such as Hungary under Viktor Orban and Russia under Vladimir Putin, show that unchecked power is a poor basis for good government. Utopias like Cuba and Venezuela show that the end does not justify the means. And nowhere do individuals voluntarily conform to state-imposed racial and economic stereotypes.

When populists put partisanship above truth, they sabotage good government. When progressives divide people into competing castes, they turn the nation against itself. Both diminish the institutions that resolve social conflicts. This is why they often resort to coercion, even if they like to talk about justice.

If classical liberalism is so much better than the alternatives, why in the world is it fighting? One of the reasons is that populists and progressives feed off each other pathologically. The hatred that each side feels for the other inflames its own supporters, to the benefit of both. Criticizing the excesses of your own tribe sounds like betrayal. In these conditions, the liberal debate lacks oxygen. One need only look at Britain, where the politics of recent years have been consumed by feuds between hardline Tory Brexiteers and Jeremy Corbyn’s Labor Party.

Some aspects of liberalism go against human nature. It forces you to stand up for your opponents’ right to speak, even when you know they are wrong. You must be prepared to challenge your deepest beliefs. Businesses must not be immune to storms of creative destruction. Your loved ones should come forward on merit alone, even if your instinct is to bend the rules for them. You have to accept the victory of your enemies at the ballot box, even if you think they will ruin the country.

In short, it is hard work to be a true liberal. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, when their last ideological challenger seemed to crumble, the arrogant elites lost touch with the humility and doubt of liberalism. They got into the habit of believing that they were always right. They designed American meritocracy to favor people like them. After the financial crisis, they oversaw an economy that grew too slowly for people to feel prosperous. Far from treating critics of the white working class with dignity, they laughed at their alleged lack of sophistication.

This complacency allowed opponents to attribute lasting imperfections to liberalism and, because of the treatment of race in America, to insist that the whole country was rotten from the start. In the face of persistent inequality and racism, classic liberals can remind people that change takes time. But Washington is shattered, China is rushing forward, and people are restless.

A lack of liberal conviction

The ultimate complacency would be for classical liberals to underestimate the threat. Too many right-wing liberals are inclined to choose a shameless marriage of convenience with the populists. Too many left-wing liberals focus on how they too want social justice. They take comfort in the idea that the most intolerant illiberalism belongs to a fringe. Don’t worry, they say, intolerance is part of the mechanism of change: by focusing on injustice, they displace the central ground.

Yet it is precisely by counteracting the forces that push people to extremes that classical liberals prevent extremes from strengthening. By applying liberal principles, they help solve many problems in society without anybody having recourse to coercion. Only the Liberals appreciate diversity in all its forms and know how to make it a strength. They alone can deal fairly with everything from education to planning and foreign policy in order to unleash the creative energies of people. The classic liberals must regain their fighting spirit. They should face bullies and nullifiers. Liberalism remains the best engine for equitable progress. The Liberals must have the courage to say it.

This article appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “The Threat of the Illiberal Left”

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New Jersey has major stake in California governor’s recall election Wed, 01 Sep 2021 16:53:23 +0000

The California election for Governor Gavin Newsom’s recall is scheduled for Tuesday, September 14. The following column explains the mechanisms of the recall.

The following is a current summary of polls showing this recall election is too close to be called:

The following column explains why Gavin Newsom is in danger of being recalled:

The following is my column yesterday regarding the decision of the two-person committee of the California Board of Parole Hearings to approve the parole application of Sirhan Sirhan, the assassin of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy:

In this column, I argued that Sirhan’s parole would be a serious miscarriage of justice, especially from a historical perspective. There would also be a major negative political consequence: Governor Newsom will almost certainly lose the recall election if he acquiesces in Sirhan’s parole.

Governor Gavin Newsome’s recall could lead to some Republican takeover of the United States Senate in the VERY near future, as follows:

If Newsom loses the recall election, Republican media personality Larry Elder would likely become governor. He is a right-wing madman, grossly unfit for any public office.

It’s pretty gruesome, but worse yet, Elder’s rise to governor of California may well lead the Republican Party, now under Donald Trump’s suzerainty, to take control of the US Senate.

There are growing rumors that California Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein will be leaving the Senate soon due to her health and age. And a Governor Larry Elder would certainly replace her with a Republican, giving Republicans a 51-49 advantage and thus control of the US Senate. This would actually give Donald Trump personal dominance over the US Senate:

I have devoted most of my adult life to the Republican Party and its ancient ideals of mainstream conservatism, limited government, and conservative internationalist foreign policy, unlike the neoconservative Wilsonian Pax Americana or isolationist politics. I used to refer to myself with humor, but with precision, as the last surviving Republican of New Jersey Eisenhower.

The current dominant influence in the GOP, Donald Trump and Trumpist fascism, is a repudiation of all of this. As a result, without pledging allegiance to the Democratic Party, I will now continue to support the election of the Democratic Congress as long as Donald Trump and Trumpism control the Republican Party.

A Republican takeover of the US Senate would have catastrophic consequences for New Jersey. And I deliberately use the word “catastrophic”. Three major consequences emerge:

  1. Republican Senate takeover condemns federal funding for the Gateway program (originally the Gateway Project), planned phased expansion and renovation of the Northeast Corridor (NEC) rail line between Newark, New Jersey and New York City , New York. The impacts on the economy, transport, environment and other infrastructure resulting from the failure to implement this project would be of unprecedented catastrophic magnitude.
  1. A takeover of the Republican Senate would thwart efforts to fully reinstate SALT deductions from federal income tax (state and local taxes). The full reinstatement of these deductions is a vital priority for middle-class New Jersey residents.
  2. Biden’s infrastructure proposals contain significant funding for New Jersey’s essential environmental needs: Superfund increases, climate resilience, water and sewer improvements, to name a few. A Republican Senate will reject all of Biden’s environmental proposals, and the big loser will be the New Jersey environment.

Very rarely has New Jersey had as much of an interest in an election in another state as it has in the event of being called back to the governorship of California. In essence, the recall of California Governor Gavin Newsom will mean a likely GOP takeover of the US Senate in the near future – and a parade of economic and environmental horrors for New Jersey.

Alan J. Steinberg served as a regional administrator for Region 2 EPA during the administration of former President George W. Bush and executive director of the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission

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Limited government can make a comeback in pandemic times Sat, 28 Aug 2021 10:37:09 +0000

This year’s federal deficit is expected to match the entire 1996 federal budget, adjusted for inflation. Despite such overwhelming spending, Democrats in Congress proposed an unprecedented $ 3.5 trillion budget, on top of the $ 1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that failed in its first Senate vote this month. latest.

For supporters of limited government, it is easy to sense that the fight is over and the country is on the road to fiscal ruin. But such pessimism is unwarranted.

The debauchery political culture that has infected Washington and many state governments is not a historic endpoint. While voters tend to appreciate handouts, at least temporarily, they dislike the long-term economic consequences of overspending. Additionally, the compelling actions of governors in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis weakened voter support for unlimited executive powers and the government’s monopoly on education.

In response, policymakers, including in Pennsylvania, oppose big government in the era of the pandemic.

Consider the current economic climate. As prices – including for housing, food and fuel – skyrocket, business owners and consumers worry about inflation. President Biden responded by embarking on a futile attempt to distract from the obvious source of the problem: government spending and easy money.