"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

Buy "The Case for Democracy"

View NASA picture

The Sticker

jk [at] threesources [dot] com
AlexC [at] threesources [dot] com
JohnGalt [at] threesources [dot] com

AlexC Bio
jk Bio
Johngalt Bio
LatteSipper Bio
Cyrano Bio
Ellis Wyatt Bio
Comment HTML

Maybe the world is ThreeSources -- add a #3srcs hashtag to post your tweets

July 24, 2017

All Hail Freeman

"Too many Americans are struggling with a rigged economy," Ms. Pelosi wrote on Twitter this morning. But she probably hasn't met too many of them at today's event. If an economist had to pick the one place in America that has benefitted most from a rigged economy, it would probably be Virginia's 10th congressional district. It includes both a significant number of government employees and a heavy concentration of the lobbyists who are paid to influence them. -- James Freeman, "Down Home Democrats
But johngalt thinks:

"Too many Americans are struggling with a rigged economy." Wasn't that an early Trump Tweet?

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2017 6:46 PM

July 21, 2017

What We're Up Against

We do not have a world according to Denver Post category without reason. I am going to try and keep this out of the Rant category (which also exists for a reason).

A Senate Obamacare repeal could throw Colorado's individual insurance market "into a death spiral"

The headline is best enjoyed with the accompanying photo:


And the photo best enjoyed with the caption.

Dr. Reyna Ulibarri, a doctorate in sociology, talks about how the Affordable Care Act helped her enroll in Medicaid to get her health back on track during a health care rally at the west steps of the State Capitol on Feb. 7, 2017 in Denver.

A Doctor -- of Sociology -- on the dole (I am one exclamation mark away from rant) addressing the crowd. All of whom made matching signs before arriving at the rally. One might wonder if it was hard to get the time off work, but that could be misconstrued as a rant.

One might also suspect that the ACA itself, with many ill-thought provisions and unintended consequences had started this "death spiral" (those are not air quotes, I am quoting the article) through governmental mismanagement. One would read the article in vain for any such suggestion.

I only wish I subscribed so that I could cancel.

But johngalt thinks:

A far cry from the hand-lettered signs you wrote on the dashboard while driving to the State Capitol in 2008 for that TEA Party rally, eh brother?

As for time off work: Uh, they're on the dole.

My answer to "HEALTHCARE IS A HUMAN RIGHT" is "Get a job." I don't see any crutches or wheel chairs.

And, come to notice it, every single one of the faces in this frame are Caucasian. Which means, telling them to get a job does not make me racist, even by the race-baiters' definition.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2017 7:41 PM
But jk thinks:

A far cry indeed. The tight composition leads me to suspect that every person there was packed into the frame.

But I think my blog brother is unfair in suggesting that all the attendees are on the dole. Surely, many of the have full time jobs with the Union.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2017 12:10 PM

July 20, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

Alyene Singer at the Heritage Foundation estimates that [Obamacare individual mandate] subsidies will cost taxpayers $100 billion a year, up until 2023. In typical big government fashion, the grand barrage of mandates and subsidies and taxes and penalties is fashioned so that only the "smartest people in the room "...left-wing professors from MIT or Harvard or Stanford, can really master all the details of the plan. But if you oppose it, you are not just opposed to healthcare...you're opposing the interests of humanity.

In the end it's the classic case of government robbing Peter to pay Paul…and in this case "Peter" is the millennials. You know... the demographic group responsible for putting Obama into office, both in 2008 and 2012. As an article in Politico notes, "Mitt Romney would have cruised to the White House had he managed to split the youth vote with Barack Obama." In 2012, Obama won this demographic by a whopping 37 points, 67% to 30%.

Why would he turn around and stab them in the back? Particularly when today's youth are often in the stranglehold of massive student loan debt even before they begin to build wealth?

Because he knew he could get away with it.

Millennials are big on style and short on substance. At high schools and college campuses and hipster bars around the country, supporting Barack Obama was seen as the epitome of cool. But ask these young scholars and urban professionals to sum up the provisions of ObamaCare in 60 seconds. The results would likely be disappointing.

Young people want to be seen as progressive and open-minded and tolerant and caring. Precious few are interested in the Constitutional foundation of this country, or in learning about the way that big government socialist collectivists like Barack Obama trample on that foundation.

Obama Stabbed Millennials in the Back with Healthcare
By: David Unsworth

But jk thinks:

Tyler Cowen has produced some amazing work on the morality of time. We are stealing wealth from future Earthlings when we impede growth.

This example is more direct, but one of my favorites was the assertion that climate rules would cost "only" 1% growth of GDP. I don't know what Einstein thought this up, but 1% sounds small. Yet you have stolen half the wealth of the person born in 72 years.

How do you fix this? You need to have these young people thing rationally and methodically. I can see that if they take a class from Tyler Cowen. From Nancy McLean? Not so much.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2017 10:15 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"One percent growth of GDP" does sound small, but since current annual GDP growth is two to three percent, it destroys roughly 50% of GDP growth. Is it just me, or does that sound large?

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2017 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, if you're going to use math.....

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2017 1:36 PM

Colorado Republicans Celebrate Freedom

No, not Libertarians... Republicans.

Freedom. Freedom to think independently. Freedom to speak freely. Freedom to associate and gather, roundup. Freedom what makes America great. Freedom Roundup. The keynote speaker for the Inaugural Freedom Roundup Dinner, Jillian Melchior, editor of HEAT STREET and former reporter for Wall Street Journal and National Review, is an investigative reporter who takes head-on the challenges and assault to free speech and individual rights and exposes the hypocrisies to group-think and political correctness. Young. Dynamic. Smart. Courageous. Rising Star, catch her now!

The fundraising dinner is this Saturday night and yours truly has bought a table of eight. PM me if you'd like to join us!


July 19, 2017

Supporting jg's Equanimity


Cannot say the investment community is all that bent about GOP failures.

Not sure that's gonna work...


But johngalt thinks:

Joe Kennedy III. He's the one who crashed his car while driving drugged, right? Just checking. "I can't remember how long the President has been saying he won't stop beating his wife."

Trump is deflecting this attack saying, "I'm ready to sign it. Put the bill on my desk. Don't leave town until it's done."

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2017 11:24 AM

Life is not ThreeSources

I misuse the blog franchise/meme just a bit. A more specific headline would be "WSJ Ed Page not heeding Brother jg's call for calm:"

Senate Republicans killed their own health-care bill on Monday evening, and some are quietly expressing relief: The nightmare of a hard decision is finally over, and now on to supposedly more crowd-pleasing items like tax reform. But this self-inflicted fiasco is one of the great political failures in recent U.S. history, and the damage will echo for years.

The proximate cause of death was Mike Lee of Utah and Jerry Moran of Kansas linking arms and becoming the third and fourth public opponents. The previous two public holdouts were Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell could lose only two GOP Senators. But this defeat had many authors, some of whom are pictured nearby and all of whom hope to evade accountability for preserving the ObamaCare status quo.

But this wasn't the inevitable result of some tide of progressive history. These were choices made by individuals to put their narrow political and ideological preferences ahead of practical legislative progress. The GOP's liabilities now include a broken promise to voters; wasting seven months of a new Administration in order to not solve manifest health-care problems; less of a claim to be a governing party; and the harm that these abdications will wreak on the rest of the Republican agenda and maybe their hold on Congress.

And, again, what an odd coalition: Sens. Susan Collins, Rob Portman, Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran... do these people have anything in common?

But johngalt thinks:

Investors' Ed page, however, does find common ground:

As economist Herbert Stein once put it, if something can't go on forever, it won't.

That's the reality facing ObamaCare. And it's one Democrats have so far been able to avoid by focusing the public's ire on the fumbling GOP efforts to come up with a replacement plan.

But with repeal-and-replace now off the table, all we have left is the self-destructing ObamaCare. Don't be surprised if ObamaCare's popularity suddenly nose-dives again.

Calling Collins, Portman, Paul and Lee a "coalition" is like saying "right" and "wrong" are conspiring to defeat the evil "middle." Each does it for her own reason, but the reasons are as different as night and day. Fortunately for us, though, they've saved us from that evil "middle" that looks far more like "wrong" than "right."

Boulder Refugee and I happened to talk about this last weekend. He thought Rand Paul was singlehandedly bringing down the compromise bill, and was a bit chapped. At the time I defended Senator Paul, saying it could be a Trumpian plot to make the measure look "too liberal" and keep the RINOs on board for a vote, and Paul might switch his vote at the last minute. Alas it seems the measure really was too liberal - and by liberal I mean massive wealth redistribution and massive market distortion. You'll note that I'm still defending Senator Paul.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2017 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm with The Refugee on this one. I b'lieve we share a pragmatic streak.

I went looking for the "Like" and "HaHa" buttons after reading your penultimate paragraph. It's witty, but I suggest the darker definition of coalition implied by "Bootleggers and Baptists." Sens. Paul and Lee may be consorting with angels but they are delivering a lifetime extension of the ACA.

It's failures? Why those are because the eeeevil Republicans have "starved" it and wished it to fail (because its eponymous namesake is brown according to one Facebook friend just this morning).

Libertarians gave us ObamaCare when they ran a principled candidate against mushy middle Sen. Max Baucus (Mushy Middle - MT) in 2006, sending Jon Tester to supply vote #60. Now they perpetuate it because they cannot bear to appease the Rob Portmans.

I still suspect Sen. Cory Gardner is dancing today. I am not -- and it's not just the MS.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2017 2:53 PM

July 18, 2017

Bloody RINOs!!!!

And yet...

I was partially wrong to blame "libertarian" GOP senators for the demise of Obamacare Repeal and Replace. The breaking straw as it were was a RINO from Kansas.

"I am a product of rural Kansas," [Sen. Jerry] Moran said July 6 to an overflow crowd in Palco, a small town north of Hays. "I understand the value of a hospital in your community, of a physician in your town, of a pharmacy on Main Street."

Without the ACA, how would Kansans possibly have such luxuries?

Bloody Libertarians!!!!

My favorite Senators are all in a cabal to ensure eternal government control of healthcare. As the great healthcare economist Peter Green would say, "Oh well."

Golly, I love liberty. And principle. And all that shit (uh-oh, it's now "a rant.") But I also live in Colorado and have seen 36,471 AARP commercials about the vicissitudes of "the Republican Health Care Bill." And I watched breathless coverage of the brave and true (albeit paid) disabled protesters in Sen. Cory Gardner's office. Sens. Paul, Lee, and Johnson "cannot vote for" a bill they don't like. Gardner -- and I suspect many heaving sighs today -- is out of work if he votes for a bill Paul likes.

The fact is. freedom is off the menu. The genius, if you wish to call it, of Obamacare was providing the benefits "with stroke of a pen" and deferring the casts and ramifications for future administrations and Congresses. The "right" to keep your layabout 25-year old on your insurance in case he sprains his thumb playing World of Warcraft is embedded in our hearts and statute. All moves toward liberty will be met with pain.

Jim Geraghty puts it better than I:

The problem is that "starting fresh" doesn't change any of the dynamics in place. Republicans (and, by extension, much of the country) want contradictory changes, changes that Moran lists as his requirements. Americans want lower premiums, but they also want insurance companies to keep covering preexisting conditions. They want to see the cost of Medicaid go down, or at least rise slower, but they also don't want to throw anyone off of Medicaid. They want the number of uninsured to go down, and they want the mandate repealed.

And we want property rights, privacy, and liberty. Get on it, Republicans -- time's a wastin'...

But jk thinks:

...and chocolate sprinkles on top.

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2017 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now we know how the Roman Empire came to an end.

Seriously though, things that can't go on forever, won't. Nobody can say with certainty how this will turn out but something has to give. And it can get pretty bad before that has to happen. c.f. Venezuela.

Even more seriously, I think we all need to relax. The main reason nothing is happening on this in Washington is because there's no consensus over what to do amongst voters, who need to get it "good and hard" for a while longer.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2017 5:26 PM
But jk thinks:

You're clearly right on the consensus. My concern on the reaction to "Menkenian Democracy" is that the worse things get, the more people look to the State for solutions.

I'm pretty relaxed. But my buddies on the Dem-loving left and RINO-hating right have a frighteningly good point: "You guys have been planning this for seven years, and when you get the opportunity, we get this?"

Just as ObamaCare's flaws were obvious to people not named Pelosi before the bill was passed, all the challenges to Repeal and Replace were apparent since it was. No plan. No ideas. That is a disappointment.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2017 11:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

To the contrary, mon frer, the problem was too many plans, and too many ideas, such that none could be agreed upon.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2017 2:27 PM

July 17, 2017

Quote of the Day

"But to be always worrying about the gap between me and someone else, I think it's the road to unhappiness at the individual level and the road to tyranny at the national level." -- Russ Roberts [~36:50]

July 16, 2017

Review Corner

During this same period of nine years, from my nineteenth to my twenty-eighth year, our life was one of being seduced and seducing, being deceived and deceiving (2 Tim. 3: 13), in a variety of desires. -- St. Augustine, The Confessions.
Two thinkers I admire have implicitly done me a disservice.

Both Ayn Rand and Karl Popper divide philosophers into a type of red-team vs. blue-team. I'll let those who know Rand better than I correct me if I am wrong, but my Überhoss Popper divided his "Open Society and its Enemies" into a good guy volume and a bad guy volume. Both would start with Platonists vs. Aristotelians. Apollonians vs. Dionysians, then descend the historical ladder, placing Kant and Wittgenstein et al into buckets.

Along the way, one cleaves an interstice between St, Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas: "Aquinas baptized Aristotle" in Chesterton's pithy bon mot.

The Confessions is week eight in the Hillsdale Great Books 101 MOOC I am taking. I am taking longer than 12 weeks, but I am reading the entire work for each and not the provided selections.

It is right, fitting, and proper to categorize Augustine (the lecturer pronounces it og-GUS-tin, I've said og-gus-STEEN my whole life) as a Platonist. My shame is that I've avoided him. Pari-passu with grey hairs, I'm trying to expand my thought. Three consecutive lessons from the Bible and St. Augustine are both my penance and proof.

I refused sacrifice to daemons on my behalf; yet by adherence to that superstition I sacrificed myself to them. What is it to 'feed the winds' if not to feed the spirits, that is, by one's errors to become an object of delight and derision to them?

The Confessions is enjoyable for its antiquity (~397 AD) but also for its honesty and intellect. As a youth and young adult, the author is lost to earthly pleasures and, more seriously, the cultish philosophy of Manichaeism. I appreciate that he uses rational thought and good philosophy to escape the misguided beliefs of the Manichees.
Since I had done much reading in the philosophers and retained this in my memory, I compared some of their teachings with the lengthy fables of the Manichees. The philosophers' teachings seemed to be more probable than what the Manichees said. The philosophers 'were able to judge the world with understanding' even though 'they did not find its Lord' (Wisd. 13: 9).

Aquinas gets all the props for reconciling the Church with science, but Augustine is no Torquemada. The predictive powers of even the ancient cosmology guides him to question Manichean dogma.
Many years beforehand they have predicted eclipses of sun and moon, foretelling the day, the hour, and whether total or partial. And their calculation has not been wrong. It has turned out just as they predicted. They have put the rules which they discovered into books which are read to this day. On this basis prediction can be made of the year, the month of the year, the day of the month, the hour of the day, and what proportion of light will be eclipsed in the case of either sun or moon; and it happens exactly as predicted. People who have no understanding of these things are amazed and stupefied.

[On a side note, is it not amazing that this capacity existed for thousands of years without engendering an acceptance of a non-heliocentric universe?]
I compared these with the sayings of Mani who wrote much on these matters very copiously and foolishly. I did not notice any rational account of solstices and equinoxes or eclipses of luminaries nor anything resembling what I had learnt in the books of secular wisdom. Yet I was ordered to believe Mani. But he was not in agreement with the rational explanations which I had verified by calculation and had observed with my own eyes. His account was very different.

I have a confession of my own. The first ten of 13 books are autobiographical and relate his philosophical and spiritual journey. The last three espouse the spiritual truths he has attained after conversion. I found the last three unfulfilling and bordering on tiresome. The recent convert goes on at length about his transformation. Haven't we all invented an excuse to escape such a speech in our daily lives? That's cool Jim, hey I think I hear my wife calling...

But all in all, it is a focused look at an exceedingly bright mind of antiquity. I don't think I'll apportion stars, but I would recommend it.

But johngalt thinks:

Ah yes, Augustine. Volume 18 of the Great Books of the Western World.

No I haven't read it, but you are contributing to a rekindling of my interest in that collection.

Posted by: johngalt at July 17, 2017 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

$0.99 on Kindle!

Stars seem inappropriate, but I might do a cheesy ranking at the end. The Confessions will be in the bottom half.

Posted by: jk at July 17, 2017 3:26 PM

July 13, 2017

CNN Meme Fallout

Shared by a friend:

There are dozens of these.
Here's why.

But jk thinks:

I was not going to click . . . but I did. That was pretty funny.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2017 6:50 PM

The Ultimate Voter Fraud

Bill Whittle explains how the USA would naturally vote, without one particular form of institutionalized election rigging. [2 minute video]

Did Someone Say "Government Boondoggle?"

Not our government this time, but that of South Australia (which should be thought of as "like Canada" because down under it gets colder as you go south, not warmer, and because they have a higher than average propensity for telling people what to do, and going along with what they're told.)

Elon Musk's Tesla has contracted to provide the "world's largest battery storage facility" for connection to South Australia's electrical grid. The 100 Megawatt, 129 Megawatt-hour array of thermally-managed rechargeable lithium-ion battery packs "will be able to power around 30,000 homes at max capacity, which Tesla says is equivalent to how many were without power during a storm that caused a state-wide blackout in South Australia in 2016. The real goal, however, is to help stabilize the South Australian electric power grid, by controlling power delivery according to peak demand."

Nevermind that the storm lasted for days, and the battery can power all of those homes for just a little more than an hour, the real necessity is grid stabilization. Not because loads fluctuate any more than they ever have, but because generation by wind is inherently variable and unreliable. And if wind speeds are either too low, or too high, for more than that hour-plus, the same problem would occur.

But why is SA in this situation?

South Australia needs this project because of decisions by its political leaders:

Over the last three years, South Australia has decided to shut down its coal-fired power stations and instead rely on wind, solar and gas.

I won't debate the merits of such policy here except to wonder whether building additional gas-fired electrical generation would be a far less costly and more reliable solution than relying on wind and batteries.

Fear not - they're doing that too:

The system will not solve South Australia's grid woes by itself.

The response plan also includes a new government funded, A$360 million, 250 MWe fast reacting gas turbine power plant, a bulk electricity purchase contract designed to encourage construction of a new privately owned power plant, a taxpayer financed exploration fund for additional natural gas supplies, special powers granted to the SA energy minister to order plants to operate, and a requirement for electricity retailers to purchase a fixed portion of their power from SA generators.

Headline of the Day

"Media gets high on Antarctic Crack"

Anthony Watts at Watts Up With That hits a favorite refrain of mine. There is insufficient appreciation among scientists and zero for journalists about the proportion of the Earth's duration which we have witnessed or recorded. He responds to "the biggest iceberg scientists have seen:"

So what? There weren't any "Arctic or Antarctic scientists" a mere half-decade ago, and bases weren't even established until World War II followed by a hectic post-war expansion:

My version of this story is that moths only live one day, so I always picture the VP Al Gore moth panicking as the skies get dark, "Oh my, what have we done? This has never happened before." It's a goofy story, but we are moths to geology.

Don't click this. Comments (2)