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It's go time: Jeb’s shock announcement will spur 2016 field

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 11:24
Amid all the furor about Hillary Clinton, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush rings the 2016 bell: He's 'actively exploring' running for president.

Libertarian Internationalism

Cato Recent Op Eds - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 11:22

Simon Lester

One of the most dismissive terms thrown around in foreign policy circles is “isolationist.” If you are an isolationist, you clearly have not considered the issues carefully and rationally, and need not be taken seriously. Libertarian leaning politicians such as Ron and Rand Paul are frequent targets of this epithet.

There may or may not be a handful of actual libertarians who are isolationist, but the reality is that libertarianism is among the most internationally minded philosophies. Examining several key areas of international relations makes this clear: International trade, diplomacy and the military, and institutions.

The most obvious place where libertarians are internationalists is economic relations. True libertarians advocate the free flow of trade and investment, without government restrictions. This is about as international as you can get. For libertarians, the origin of a product or service is irrelevant. People around the world should be able to buy and sell from each other without government interference.

“In the international arena, libertarians can and will have a strong voice and play an important role. That role should not be diminished by simplistic and inaccurate cries of isolationism.”

Unfortunately, in most countries today, there is a strong sentiment for favoring domestic economic actors over foreign ones. This feeling manifests itself in various forms, such as tariffs and Buy National procurement policies. Libertarians stand almost completely united against this nationalist feeling, believing that trade and other economic interaction with foreign actors benefits us all.

Diplomacy and the military is a more complicated policy area, involving a number of instances of potential relations between domestic and foreign. Here, though, there is a strong case that libertarians are more internationalist than most others. Of course, in part this depends on what one means by internationalism.

Libertarians are most frequently accused of isolationism when they object to military intervention in foreign territories. That libertarians usually object to these interventions is not in doubt. However, use of the military cannot always credibly be called internationalist. Colonialism and conquest, although they do require contact with foreigners, are not generally a positive form of international relations.

More controversially, libertarians may sometimes object to peaceful aid to foreigners as well. But this is not done out of anti-foreigner sentiment. Rather it is based on skepticism over the effectiveness of aid and its misuse as a foreign policy tool, and a general preference for markets over government support. Libertarians certainly believe in private outreach among civil society groups in one nation to the people of other nations. The objection is only to the mismanagement of governments when they get involved.

Thus, for libertarians, war and government aid do not reflect true internationalism. To some extent, they are really about government bullying and condescension towards foreigners, the idea that we are superior to them and can use our power to re-make them in our image. In contrast, libertarians believe in treating citizens of other countries with respect and acting with humility.

Finally, there is the issue of international institutions. This is the area where libertarians are most likely to reject what is conventionally thought of as the internationalist position, as they worry about the power of these institutions. In reality, libertarians are not rejecting the idea of international institutions, but rather the specific policies pursued by some of these institutions. For example, if the IMF advocates Keynesian fiscal policy, and libertarians object, it is the policy they object to, not the institution itself. If there were international institutions that supported balanced budgets (or protected property rights), for example, libertarians would likely be supportive. There is no fundamental libertarian objection to international cooperation through institutions; the only concern is on specific issues of substance.

At a more conceptual level, the idea of limited government inherently pushes us away from nationalism and towards internationalism. As things stand now, most power is in the hands of national governments, who often use this power in ways that conflict with the interests of other governments. In other words, putting power in the hands of nation-states leads naturally to national conflict. By contrast, devolving power to local governments more closely connected with the people reduces the role of national governments and nationalism. It makes power more disbursed, and allows communities to connect with each other, regardless of the nation in which they are located.

Many commentators believe that libertarians are isolationist, anti-foreigner, and skeptical of anything in the international arena. However, the truth is that the internationalism of the establishment is often international in name only. We need to look carefully beneath the surface of what people actually advocate in the name of internationalism. Foreign-policy bullying — as compared to simply letting others determine their own course — might increase our contact with people of other nations, but it may do so in ways that lead to greater international conflict and reduced prosperity.

In the international arena, libertarians can and will have a strong voice and play an important role. That role should not be diminished by simplistic and inaccurate cries of isolationism.

Simon Lester is a trade policy analyst at the Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies at Cato Institute

Arizona county to vote on proposed hiring ban on smokers

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 11:07
An Arizona county will decide as early as Tuesday whether to stop hiring smokers -- a controversial move that would freeze thousands of residents out of a county job but potentially save the local government money.

The lure of ISIS: Feds catching more Americans trying to aid terror groups in Iraq, Syria

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:41
On the heels of the deadly hostage situation in Sydney where the suspect claimed Islamic State ties, a review by Fox News shows an increasing number of Americans are trying to aid terror groups in Iraq and Syria.

Don't Look for Culture War Arguments in Campaign 2016

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:35
In an earlier column, I looked at the role the abortion issue would play in the 2016 election -- not very much, I concluded -- and promised another column on other cultural issues. Here goes. 2014-12-16T00:01:00-05:00 2014-12-16T15:35:03Z Michael Barone

Jeb Bush announces he will 'actively explore' run for president

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 10:05
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush announced Tuesday that he plans to "actively explore" a run for president, taking his most definitive step yet toward mounting a 2016 campaign.

Obama condemns deadly attack on Pakistani school

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 09:49
President Barack Obama on Tuesday condemned a "horrific attack" on a Pakistani school that killed more than 100 children, as U.S. officials offered assistance in responding to the terrorist shooting.

Pentagon sent Afghan jewelers on lavish ‘months-long gem training programs’

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:55
A Pentagon task force in Afghanistan is under investigation for wasting taxpayer dollars to send Afghan jewelers on lavish “gem training” trips to India, Paris, and Milan, according to findings by a government watchdog.

America in Urgent Need of Welfare Reform

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:50
President Bill Clinton famously said in 1996 that we are ending welfare as we know it. Yet through the decades weve only tinkered with the welfare state as we know it. 2014-12-16T00:01:00-05:00 2014-12-16T13:50:18Z Vann Ellison

Tortured Reasoning

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:50
Critics and defenders of the harsh interrogation methods applied to captured terrorists can argue forever over whether those methods were "torture." But any serious discussion of a serious issue -- and surely terrorism qualifies as serious -- has to move beyond semantics and confront the ultimate question: "Compared to what alternative?" 2014-12-16T00:01:00-05:00 2014-12-16T13:50:18Z Thomas Sowell

US-built pipeline in Afghanistan heading towards ‘catastrophic failure’

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:45
U.S. officials are warning that wide-ranging deficiencies in an aging 55-mile gas pipeline in Afghanistan could suffer from a “catastrophic failure” if the United States does not take immediate steps to repair vulnerable areas.

Kasich will sign red light, speed camera restrictions bill

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:39
Ohio Gov. John Kasich will sign a bill to limit how municipalities can use red light and speed cameras, said his spokesman, Rob Nichols.

Obama administration urges dismissal of lawsuit over immigration actions

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:34
The Obama administration is urging dismissal of a lawsuit that would dismantle the president's immigration program, an initiative designed to spare nearly 5 million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation.

Political powerhouse David Garth dies in New York

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:29
Powerful political adviser David Garth, who spearheaded the creation of the modern political TV commercial and helped elect governors, senators and mayors, has died at age 84.

Free speech protection doesn't extend to condomless porn, court rules

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 08:16
Freedom of speech doesn't convey the right to shout "Fire!" in a movie theater, and, apparently, it doesn't give porn actors the right to skip condoms, either.

Leaking his 2016 plans: How Jeb Bush is working the media refs

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 05:00
After more than a year of playing Hamlet, Jeb Bush had left most media and political players wondering if he was just too ambivalent to mount a presidential campaign. And he needed to send a clear, unambiguous signal that he wants to be a contender in 2016.

Senate could confirm up to 88 judges

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 04:03
Impeded no more by Republican blocking tactics, Democrats are on track to win confirmation of up to 88 of President Obama's top judicial nominations this year, a total that would be the highest for any president in two decades.

Health care customers will have more time to pay premiums

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 02:35
Trying to head off a new round of consumer headaches with President Obama's health care law, the insurance industry says it will give customers more time to pay their premiums for January.

Scranton Pennsylvania on the Road to Bankruptcy

TownHall Latest columns - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 00:35
The city of Scranton hiked property taxes 57% and garbage collection fees 69% to shore up a police and fire pension funds that will run out of money anyway, in 5 years and 2.5 years respectively. 2014-12-16T00:01:00-05:00 2014-12-16T05:35:03Z Mike Shedlock

Supreme Court: Traffic stop, search OK despite misunderstanding of law

Fox News (Politics) - Tue, 12/16/2014 - 00:00
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Monday that police officers may use evidence seized during a traffic stop even if the reason the officers pulled the car over in the first place was based on a misunderstanding of the state's law.

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