April 30, 2010

Z

The lovely bride had one of these (not the T-top, sadly). Happy days.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:38 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

An emailer miscounts. We're on our third two-seater: '79Z, '86 & '04 MR2s. I had a midlife crisis in '99; I bought a station wagon...

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2010 11:14 AM

Immigrayshun

I'll see your Harsanyi and basically agree. We're not as far apart as usual. I do see the Arizona law as a rebuke to fed incompetence (heckuva job, Brownie!) and you can image my discomfort with my newfound allies. Sure Shakira is serious, but some of those other celebs appear to be posturing. The Denver Public Schools' boycott of Arizona travel is silly, but I'm glad to know some teachers can find a state that borders us on a map.

In the ultimate argument, though, I must see your Harsanyi and raise you a David Griswold at Cato:

Requiring successful enforcement of the current immigration laws before they can be changed is a non sequitur. Its like saying, in 1932, that we cant repeal the nationwide prohibition on alcohol consumption until weve drastically reduced the number of moonshine stills and bootleggers. But Prohibition itself created the conditions for the rise of those underground enterprises, and the repeal of Prohibition was necessary before the government could get control of its unintended consequences.

Ultimately -- and I wish we were not doing this in an election year -- we will get back to this and reach impasse. His comparison to prohibition is more deftly worded than my "relieve pressure" argument. But they are the same. Prosperity and freedom requires more liberal immigration than my pals, brothers, and sisters around here will accede to.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 7:08 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Like Harsanyi and I said, not while we're supporting a welfare state.

I also would require an oath to the Constitution such as that of the Naturalization Act of 1795:

In addition to the declaration of intention and oath of renunciation, the 1795 Act required all naturalized persons to be "attached to the principles of the Constitution of the United States" and be "well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same."

Posted by: johngalt at May 1, 2010 3:26 PM

"Free immigration to jobs?" OK

I know JK is a Harsanyi fan. Maybe David can bridge our divide.

Americans value immigration. They recoil from lawlessness. And frustration over the impotent border enforcement has manifested itself in a flailing overreach. Arizona's law isn't a referendum on Latinos or even immigration itself. It's an unambiguous rebuke of Washington.

(...)

But if you, like me, believe it's possible to advocate for a broad-minded immigration policy -- one that creates more expansive guest-worker programs, offers amnesty (though not citizenship) to some immigrants already here and enforces border control -- this administration is not making it easy on you, either.

The uplifting tale of the hard-boiled immigrant, dipping his or her sweaty hands into the well of the American dream, is one thing. Today we find ourselves in an unsustainable and rapidly growing welfare state. Can we afford to allow millions more to partake?

When Nobel Prize-winning libertarian economist Milton Friedman was asked about unlimited immigration in 1999, he stated that "it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both."

National Journal's Ronald Brownstein gives dismissive lip-service to violence in Mexico and unemployment in the US before blaming racism and nativism for the "hardening GOP position" on McCain-Kennedy style amnesty. I think he needs to read the Harsanyi piece too - "It's the welfare state, stupid!"

But jk thinks:

I like the basic premise. But I think he espouses the same naïveté I started with back when that cowboy dude was President.

Harsanyi thinks -- as I thought once

Very few Americans, on the other hand, are inherently opposed to immigration.

"Why can't?" I once asked we give stepped up enforcement to the Tancredoites in return for increased legal immigration. It seemed a natural compromise because both sides could claim victory and enjoy their spoils.

I was wrong and so is Harsanyi. There is something deeper. This isn't the Capital Gains rate, where I say it should be 0% and President Obama suggests 100, this ties into a national pride, an identity and it proxies for a host of deeper issues: bilingual ed, entitlements, and even "o prima numero uno como Espanol."

I can't even blame the Obama Administration. Seeing the failures of President Bush and Senator McCain on this, who wants to take it up?

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2010 7:31 PM

Quote of the Day

It was a good idea to get science and democracy from the ancient Greeks. Its not such a good idea to get fiscal policy from the modern Greeks. -- David Boaz
111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

It's a Coffeehousaversary!

One year of virtual coffeehousin' -- why, it seems like it was just last May...

banner4.gif

In anticipation, I bring back the first video I posted. Me and Sugarchuck on Cindy Walker/Eddy Arnold's "You Don't Know Me."

I think the audio and the video have improved a bit since then, but Brother SC's pickin' is as good as you're gonna hear all year.

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Very nice! I was unaware, until now, that SugarChuck played the role of Tool Time Tim Allen's neighbor "Wilson" on the sitcom Home Improvement. Very cool!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 30, 2010 3:09 PM

April 29, 2010

Take Us To Candy Mountain!

I used the word "zeitgeist" the other day. That's one sign of the apocalypse. But I have never seen any piece of art that captures its time period better than this captures the Obama Administration and the 111th Congress:.

Awesome! Hat-tip: Terri (follow the link for a good post on the writedowns).

But johngalt thinks:

Is there another link to the funny bit?

Man, and you thought Jon Stewart's stuff was obtuse!

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2010 12:11 AM
But jk thinks:

Not sure I understand the question. Clicking on the YouTube takes you to the video on YouTube. That’s all I got.

No, I like obtuse. Stewart is not really funny. His charm is when you agree, and feel you're part of his club -- you are so smart and the pathetic Palin/Beck crowd is so stupid. Many people I respect disagree, but I find him only mildly entertaining even when I agree.

You're a Dennis Miller fan as I recall. The best I ever saw was a serious Stewart - Miller debate. Witty because of the participants but not intentionally funny. A great moment.

Charlie, Charlie, we're going to fix health care, Charlie!!!

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2010 11:37 AM

Center for Western Civilization at CU

Few things make me proud of my alma mater these days, but this is one of them. I recently learned about the existence of the Center for Western Civilization at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

The Center for Western Civilization seeks to encourage critical reflection on the distinctive traditions, languages and issues that characterize the cultures of Western civilization, in order to help the citizens of Colorado and the United States understand and appreciate their past in itself and as the basis of a free and creative future.

Apparently they are modeled in some fashion upon Michigan's Hillsdale College. I'm also told that 100 percent of the program's funding is privately sourced. Huzzah!

Education Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

It will be a great place for dirty hippies to meet for rock-throwing displays of indignity against globalization. Huzzah!

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 3:43 PM

Quote of the Day

In addition to the cost, states are worried about the strings attached to the program. In a conference call with state officials last week, HHS officials weren't able to answer specific questions about federal mandates that will be placed on participating states. That's discomforting because HHS will draft the program's rules only after states decide whether to sign up. -- Grace Marie Turner
From a great editorial in the WSJ, looking at States' decision to sign up for high-risk pools that are scheduled to run out of money "next year or in 2012."

Senator Levin, that is one s****y deal.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:17 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

And to think I've been accusing Goldman and Paulson of improper disclosure!

I'm hard-pressed to think of a time when the federal government was more hypocritical. We've seen it bad, but every new day has a new thing exceeding the ones before. Congress wants to regulate derivatives because it claims people aren't smart enough to understand everything in there -- investors need government's "protection." Yet the states are being told, "Sign here, we'll tell you the terms later."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 29, 2010 1:43 PM
But jk thinks:

One becomes bored with pointing out that a private business would be jailed for half the stuff Congress does.

But after the mau-mauing we saw in the Senate the other day for 1/1000th of this, one has to mention it again. These guys want to regulate systemic risk.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 1:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the subject of playing by different rules, in yet another discussion about public employee pension programs and their UNSUSTAINABLE (hear that liberals?) defined benefit plans a guest expert on the Rosen show informed listeners that while the government has to adhere to GAAP accounting principles they have their very own advisory board to interpret them. Where the private sector has FASB (Financial Accounting Standards Board) the (state and local) public sector has GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board.) A quick Wikipedia search revealed that GASB "is a private, non-governmental organization." Okay, I guess, but I still suspect governments get far more lattitude than corporations.

I also learned that a similar effort was initiated in 1990 for the federal government. That version of GAAP is defined by the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. This is distinctly NOT a private organization. And something tells me they'll let federal agencies get away with just about anything.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 3:21 PM

Kangaroo Subpoenas Released

Another day, another never-mind ObamaCare moment. Earlier this week, House Democrats concluded that the deluge of corporate writedownsamounting to about $3.4 billion so farwere in fact the result of ObamaCare, not the nefarious CEO conspiracy that the White House repeatedly cited when it was embarrassed soon after the bill's passage.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke rushed to attack AT&T, Verizon, Caterpillar and many others reporting losses from a tax increase on retiree drug benefits as "premature and irresponsible." He later took to these pages to denounce those who noticed these writedowns as "disingenuous" and peddling "overheated rhetoric."

Meanwhile, House baron Henry Waxman vowed to summon the offending executives to his committee because their actions "appear to conflict with independent analyses, which show the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs."

Mr. Waxman has since canceled those hearings with much less dudgeon or media fanfare, and the report from his own staffers explains his retreat. "The companies acted properly and in accordance with accounting standards in submitting filings to the SEC in March and April," -- WSJ Ed Page


Wait -- you mean ObamaCare® really is going to cost these companies billions of dollars? They were following GAAP to disclose this? The only political games were on the supporters' side?

Enjoy it ThreeSourcers. It's one of those great moments that nobody you talk to will ever know it happened. Kind of like ClimateGate or RatherGate™ But we know!

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:43 PM | What do you think? [0]

Europeanization

I was going to post this yesterday, then I wasn't.

The segue today is the Cato video a few posts down with its admonition that "Democrats are not always your enemies." I don't know if anybody is going to like this but me, yet I encourage you to consider this counter-intuitive thought from Forbes's Shikha Dalmia:

If universal health coverage was part of the longstanding liberal agenda to implement a European-style welfare state in America, Arizona's tough new anti-immigrant law represents the conservative agenda to install a European-style surveillance state. Indeed, the very same conservatives who could not find words strong enough to condemn the Europeanization of America under ObamaCare are now greeting the Arizona law--which will require residents to prove their lawful status to authorities on demand--with a cheerful smile and a shrug.

I'll concede that Article IV gives legitimacy and consistency to one who supports Constitutional limits on government and strict enforcement on immigration laws. Unlike Tea Partiers who like Medicare and <merlehaggardvoice>Social Security</merlehaggardvoice>, they are on firm Constitutional ground.

But because things are allowed by the Constitution doesn't mean we want a ton of it. We are at war but I really don't have room to billet a dozen soldiers in my condo.

I've kept silent on the Arizona contretemps because I know we will divide along the same old lines (that is, everybody against me) but I think Dalmia is on to something here.

Likewise, a compelling case can be made that the State of Arizona is in an emergency situation with increased violence and increased breakdown in the social order to its South. I actually accept this and have criticized the law only from a Constitutional, civil liberties perspective. I'll look the other way if they need to get rough on the border.

But the other escalation, as mentioned in a comment, is that the the leading candidate to be the GOP Gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Scott McInnis, made headlines last night saying that he would like to sign a similar law in Colorado. We do not face the same situation as Arizona and it is clearly out-of-bounds in Colorado. That he so quickly accedes to such an authoritarian solution does not speak well for his devotion to liberty.


Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 11:34 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

I'm far more concerned about the creeping "surveillance state" effect of things like red-light cameras than about states enforcing long-standing federal immigration laws.

And I think McInnis' rapid endorsement of AZ's treatment of illegal immigrants has more to do with political calculation than with core beliefs. And it will be popular in Colorado because the difference between Arizona's and Colorado's situation is one of degree.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

I should probably stop but...

Red light cameras are a great concern. As are texting-while-driving laws, the new ridiculous child-seat laws in Colorado, and anything that allows you to be pulled over for police questioning with no evidence of wrongdoing.

The difference, to carry Dalmia's point of comparison with ObamaCare, is that the swarthy residents of the Grand Canyon State will need to provide documentation just for living. Not driving, not buying gas, not boarding an airplane. Just sitting there.

Likewise (and Randy Barnett has an awesome WSJ Editorial on this) ObamaCare will now force you to buy insurance -- and prove it -- just to be alive.

The red light camera, like the auto insurance mandate, is an imposition on the privilege of driving a motorcar on our fine public streets. The health insurance mandate, and the documentation requirements of brown Arizonans are not consistent with Dalmia's idea of American liberty -- nor mine.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, I've now read Dalmia's unconvincing dystopia. Firstly, a national ID card was being widely discussed long before the new Arizona law came to pass. I'll pass on any further deconstruction of her assume-the-worst musings to focus on a stark discrepancy between your impression and mine of the AZ law. You have now referred to "arbitrary and capricious demands for documentation" and Arizonan's "need to provide documentation" for "just sitting there." As I said before, I've been led to believe (yes, by the rabid, racist, right-wing media echo-chamber) that police must have reasonable cause, called in the biz "lawful contact" before asking for a license/green card/I-9 form. Naturally I assume that the 4th amendment still applies in Arizona and that there are no fewer defense attorneys there now than before Governor Brewer signed the bill.

Clearly we could both benefit from reading the actual law before butting heads much more. Here is a link to the Senate Fact Sheet on the bill, courtesy of the Caplis and Silverman page on www.khow.com.

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2010 1:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Not that I necessarily believe this will satiate your desire for the liberty of brown Arizonans but I think this basically says, "We know that if we contact people solely on the basis of race we'll have more FBI agents up our ass than Sheriff Arpaio."

"34. Requires the act to be implemented in a manner consistent with federal laws regulating immigration, protecting the civil rights of all persons and respecting the privileges and immunities of U.S. citizens."

Posted by: johngalt at April 30, 2010 2:20 AM
But jk thinks:

Read the bill before I vote on it??

Dang, you ARE un-American!

Posted by: jk at April 30, 2010 11:39 AM

April 28, 2010

Self-defensophobia

I've been struggling with a private, personal issue, which I feel makes me an outcast in polite society. I long for the day when I can freely express my true nature in public without fear of recrimination or ridicule. Unfortunately, it looks like that day has not yet arrived.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Open Carrier Discrimination
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Hat tip: OpenCarry.org

Gun Rights Posted by JohnGalt at 3:27 PM | What do you think? [4]
But jk thinks:

I have been watching a lot of Jon Stewart lately. I applauded his defense of Trey and Parker, my bro-in-law put a long clip on Facebook of his fighting Bernie Goldberg and FOX News. This.

Man, I just do not find the guy funny. His gags are slow and predictable. The audience eats up his ironic stare. But I remain impervious to he charms.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2010 5:28 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Here's a hint for that idiot woman: if you have time to notice the gun and wonder if he's there to shoot you, you're safe. He'd have shot you already if he wanted!

And the reason they walked around without encountering a robbery is two-fold. First, robberies are infrequent, but "Better to have a gun and not need it, than to need it and not have one." Second, had there been a robber, only a suicidal one would have tried something. Shooters like gun-free zones like schools, churches and LAX.

The friend in Utah whom I've mentioned has started carrying openly, even in grocery stores. Would his .40 stay in the holster on his hip if he had bad intentions? Would a robber want to try something if he knew that he could be picked off from behind?

"A strong body makes the mind strong. As to the species of exercises, I advise the gun. While this gives moderate exercise to the body, it gives boldness, enterprise and independence to the mind. Games played with the ball and others of that nature, are too violent for the body and stamp no character on the mind. Let your gun therefore be the constant companion of your walks." - the bitter extremist (and traitor) Thomas Jefferson

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 28, 2010 8:46 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Don't know about you fellas, but I feel much safer when I can see who has a gun and who doesn't. Laws that force people to conceal their guns are nonsensical on so many levels....

Posted by: T. Greer at April 29, 2010 1:48 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, it's where people can carry concealed weapons that they're safest. A would-be criminal could be among 100 people without a visible weapon in sight, but for all he knows, the person next to him is armed.

Forcing concealed carry is immoral. People should be free to carry openly or concealed.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 29, 2010 1:54 PM

OMG, He's Not Going to Shill for GS Again???

No. Definitely not. Well, maybe a little.

I must "call them as I see them" and I saw enough yesterday to cement my position that I trust the greedy, insufferable, big-eared, Goldman creeps waaaaaay more than the preening Senators who felt their job was to yell at them.

I linked yesterday to Senator Levin. Boy, that guy is one of my faves. It is sad enough that not one out of one hundred of these people has any clue about risk management or how financial instruments operate, but Senator Levin cannot even comprehend business. He felt he had found the smoking gun in the "s*****y deal" email. If he had spent one second in the private sector, he would know that deals and projects and product developments "go s****y" rather frequently.

Once something turns to the dark brown side, you don't just leave it on the P&L. You have to deal with it. In the software realm you might bring in a new team. If you're Goldman, you have to get it sold and off your books.

I don't link to Powerline a lot, but John Hinderaker nails it today. He's a lawyer and does this for a living. And he is astonished at how bad the Senators are.

The process was painful due to the Senators' lack of skill. It's also probably true that the Goldman folks didn't say quite everything that they knew. But, as one who spends much of his life poring over emails and other documents, looking for evidence I can use in depositions, I can say authoritatively that the Goldman emails aren't bad. This is a relatively tame collection on which to try to hang some sort of scandal.
[...]
The Senators, seemingly without exception, are embarrassingly ignorant of modern risk management techniques. They really don't seem to understand how and why firms like Goldman Sachs hedge their exposure to various economic trends.

What the TiVo grabbed for Kudlow last night was instead filled with Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill's brutal and grilling testimony. Man, no wonder GS gained a buck a share on a day the market tanked.

McCaskill (another favorite of mine) was clearly certainly honestly deeply disturbed and upset at the things that had gone on mind you. She demonstrated that she did not understand what had gone on, but asked the CEO Lloyd Blankfein if he couldn't understand why she and everybody else was so gosh darn upset!

Hinderaker points out the Republicans were no better. I saw a clip of Senator Susan Collins (RINO - ME) this morning and she proudly boasted that she was frustrated just 30 seconds into her question. Damn those pointy head pinstriped bastards upsetting that dear flower so!

No, I am not defending GS again. My point is made particularly well by Hinderaker, in his close:

I'm not a particular fan of either Goldman Sachs or Congress, but today's hearing confirms that, given a choice, I'd rather have Goldman Sachs regulating Congress than Congress regulating Goldman Sachs. Goldman's employees are much smarter, considerably more honest, and far more likely to have my interests at heart.

Amen.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Lisa M thinks:

jk, the most apt quote on the whole mess comes from Charles Krauthammer . If I may:
"When the Incas had a crop failure, they would take somebody up on a hill and they would execute them. This process is the same — except it has a little less dignity. I'm sure the language was cleaner in the Inca process.

And the idea that somehow this is all Goldman Sachs — what you had in the Goldman Sachs deal was sharks trying to outsmart other sharks. These were not securities that were sold on the street to individuals, you and me. . . .

This is absurd. The Congress is as culpable as is Wall Street, and this whole exercise is a way to imply that it's all the big bad bankers in Wall Street and it was not the Congress, which is hugely responsible for the entire collapse."

Posted by: Lisa M at April 29, 2010 7:23 AM

April 27, 2010

Aprilfest vaulting photos

Commenters to the post that shamelessly promoted our first ever AVA recognized competition asked for pictures. We aim to please.

If you click the second button from the right in the slideshow viewer it will go fullscreen.

Since I took all of the pics you won't get to see me in spandex. (We're all grateful.)

But T. Greer thinks:

Very cool. I have had family members do equestrian shows before, but never vaulting. Jumpers have always impressed me.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 28, 2010 7:01 AM
But jk thinks:

AWESOME ON STILTS! (or horses..)

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2010 11:19 AM
But dagny thinks:

Under the category of more shameless self promotion, jg is too modest. He and oldest daughter Zoe particpated on the Mile High Vaulters WINNING trot team. Also the photo above is our wonderfully patient 19 hand percheron, Sampson, getting the final touches on his elephant costume for the fun event at the end of the show. EVERYONE is invited to come for a visit or a ride sometime.

Posted by: dagny at April 28, 2010 1:22 PM

Save Are Teacher!

We don't need no thought control...

Tim Cavenaugh brings us a gem

Terry Hoffman, a language teacher at Des Moines, Iowa's Merrill Middle School, organized a large group of students the other day to protest a spending slowdown, and to demonstrate some of the excellent results the Hawkeye state is getting for its $7,419 per pupil:

saveareteachers.jpg


For full effect, click through to the video.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 6:54 PM | What do you think? [0]

Dang Good Advice

From Cato:

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 5:18 PM | What do you think? [7]
But jk thinks:

All hope is lost.

That's your takeaway? He made a (throwaway) line on a call to return to Federalism, so that Tea Partiers do not get mired in social issues, and your single comment is that it's an attack on abortion rights?

Sorry, I was just surprised -- I had to watch it again to see what you were talking about. Yup, you're right, he has my crazy-ass view of Roe. But if that's a dealbreaker for you and a lack of flat out repeal is a dealbreaker for pro-lifers, then we have no plurality, Leviathan-plus wins.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2010 5:47 PM
But dagny thinks:

1. Republicans aren't always your friends.
c.f. Bush, McCain, Collins, Snowe, Crist.
2. Some tea partiers like big government.
Well, it's not called the TTM Party (although I'd support that one too.)
3. Democrats aren't always your enemies.
That's right. Look at the principled vote of one Ben Nelson. cough, cough.
4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.
Iraq was a consequence of a feckless U.N. more than anything else. Can we start by just asking them to reform or get the hell out of our country? I hear France is nice.
5. Leave social issues to the states.
OK, it's a pet peeve. Can you blame me for focusing on this one? I suppose I'm guilty of the same thing most readers are. We comment only where we disagree, with rare but notable exceptions.

Posted by: dagny at April 28, 2010 9:30 PM
But jk thinks:

You guys gotta be more careful about setting your name. Identity ambiguity is an unfair advantage [smileyface].

I don't want anybody to abandon their principles. But any success from the Tea Party movement will require a little *cough* pragmatic ability to come together on important issues and leave other things at the door.

Abortion seems almost quaint -- the real danger to the Tea Party is immigration. I think it is still underappreciated how badly that rift hurt the GOP in 2006 and 2008. Am I going to support Scott McInnis if he wins the CO Gubernatorial primary and wants to "sign a law like the Arizona one?"

Tough times lay ahead. But if Jefferson and Hamilton were able to work together...

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 11:12 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, dagny comments infrequently enough that I never check the "remembered" name entry when I comment from a shared computer.

I hope (and pray?) that abortion is merely a quaint political issue now. I do agree that Republicans and conservatives in general are more bold in standing up to hollow shout-downs like "racist" "nazi" "hater" "homophobe" and continue to press for their beliefs. That's one reason you see the AZ legislature and governor actually growing a pair to "make illegal immigration illegal." The horror! And unlike the 50-50 issue of abortion, the political support for border control is lopsided in favor. (I think 55 pro, 36 con, 9 unsure.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 11:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Game On! (See my new post Apr 29) I cede Arizona's right to strict enforcement BUT NOT arbitrary and capricious demands for documentation AND NOT its spreading to Colorado.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll save the back and forth for the new post but for balance let me say...

My understanding of the Arizona law (essentially a duplication of long-standing federal law) is that "arbitrary or capricious" demands for documentation are forbidden.

If Colorado were to follow AZ's lead it's not really "spreading" to our state in the sense that federal law already has standing here too.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 3:03 PM

Quote of the Day

Goldman Sachs on Capitol Hill. Once again, they are the smartest guys in the room ... -- James Pethokoukis

UPDATE: For you reason based empirical guys who want proof, here's Senator Levin (and salty language warnings).


Draw Mohammed

It is not often that I part ways with James Taranto. His humor and genial outlook are an inspiration to me, as is his ability to engage the other side and hold to principle. (Plus he's had me on BOTW a few times and I am very easily bought!)

But I have to respectfully diverge from "Everybody Burn the Flag." Taranto seriously explores and comes out opposed to "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day:"

The problem with the "in-your-face message" of "Everybody Draw Mohammed Day" is not just that it is inconsiderate of the sensibilities of others, but that it defines those others--Muslims--as being outside of our culture, unworthy of the courtesy we readily accord to insiders. It is an unwise message to send, assuming that one does not wish to make an enemy of the entire Muslim world.

I have a few weeks and plan to correspond with a couple of Muslim friends before then. But unless I get a change of heart, tune in May 20 for a respectful -- if badly executed -- image of the Muslim prophet.

Courage is a funny thing. I'm not extremely worried about ritual beheading with our small readership (a whois does provide my infidel address) but it is way out of my comfort zone intentionally to offend innocent people. I don't take that lightly.

But the heart of liberty for me is that none of us is empowered to prevent another from offending us. I'm disturbed by "Milton Friedman, Father of World Poverty" signs but I'm not issuing fatwas. One of the prices of freedom is extending it to others, and this religious group has no standing to tell me what I can and cannot draw.

Had our elites stood up for freedom, I would pass. Rare kudos to Jon Stewart, by the way. He was brave and correct in his defense of his colleagues. But I think it is unfortunately required -- to preserve freedom -- that everybody draw Mohammed.

UPDATE: Taranto posts some thoughtful responses today -- hey I told you he was a swell guy!

But johngalt thinks:

Very well said SC and, like Taranto, I think you approach Islam as it might be and not as it is now. Specifically, I'm unaware of any "New Koran" that tempers the faith's teachings from those of the 6th century.

I wonder this: How can your Muslim friends look you in the eye and tell you their religion deserves your respect when, if not tempered by their participation in western society, it teaches them that you are less than human and they have a right, which springs from their own "fidelity" to Islam, to harm you?

Posted by: johngalt at April 28, 2010 3:05 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

John Galt’s comment on my post contains within it one of the most pertinent questions we will answer in our lifetimes; is Islam compatible with the values of 21st. century America? There are clearly Muslim fundamentalists in this country that wish to do us harm and there are others, as evidenced by the Minneapolis cab drivers that wish to live under Sharia, rather than laws written in accordance with the Constitution. That being said, there are Christian fundamentalists and many other factionalists who would live outside of our laws and do us harm as well. The question is, how do we gauge the threat. I have been asking myself that question since 9/11. The answer I’ve come to rests on two assumptions and I’ll readily admit I could be wrong, but I hope that I am not.

My first assumption is this: the Koran, like the Bible, is a spiritual text and as such, it transcends place and time. It is also like the Bible in that it is an ancient text written in a specific historical, geographical and cultural location and it shares the Bibles’ historical limitations, in that books written to benefit people living in small tribal patriarchies, will contain elements sensible to those cultures and not our own. It is my belief that most contemporary Muslims, interpret their Koran as most contemporary Christians interpret the Bible, not literally but figuratively. Both documents give ample opportunity for those so inclined to miss the forest for the trees but the Muslims I know seem to be living a Koran that teaches tolerance and living in God’s love and service. I don’t hold the specific details of the Bible against it, acknowledging that it has been used to justify terrible things over the centuries, nor do I hold that the Koran and it’s followers must be locked into a violent, 6th century world view.

My second assumption is that most Muslims in this country share our belief in the Constitution and the declaration of Independence. Most of my Muslim friends are immigrants, so they came here seeking freedom and I believe they see our founding documents as their best hope for securing that freedom. They are willing to live and let live.

Obviously, if I am wrong, we are all in a world of hurt and the years to come will be perilous indeed. If I am right, we need not insult followers of a great world religion to defend our First Amendment. We are not required to follow the British in creating a parallel society, one for Sharia and one for English law. Rather, we demonstrate through speech and tolerance the value of free speech. Let the cartoonists draw Mohammed when it suits them but for the rest of us, let’s speak hard and with compassion. And don’t forget to write Al Franken.

Posted by: sugarchuck at April 28, 2010 5:57 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Woot! I am with SG here.

I'll add this question:

What is the goal here? Are we standing up for our right to free speech? Or is this an attempt at the 'Spartacus' defense, as mentioned earlier?

I am not sure drawing Mohammed is a particularly effective way to achieve either goal.

Consider the audience. Lets say some 4 million Americans draw Muhammad on draw-Muhammad day. How will the average Muslim see this? How much you wanna bet that 'freedom of speech' will never enter the discussion? No, it will be - 'see, look at intolerant Muslim-hating Americans." That is how the Muslim street will see it. Tribalism writ large. And how does that help us? What will the American people gain by being thrown into an us-vs-them competition with Islam itself?

Lets not fool ourselves. We can scream ourselves silly saying, "I'm doing this to protect the right to insult any belief and creed", but all that will be heard is, "I'm doing this to protect those who insult your beliefs and creeds." And ot be honest, this isn't a message I am too keen on sending.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 29, 2010 2:23 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, that's how the West-hating Muslim world will see it. Tolerant Muslims, wherever they are, will see that Americans are at worst being "ignorant" about that Western ideal of free speech. Rational people will ask themselves, "They're being offensive, but won't Allah take vengeance? Is it necessary for me to kill over this?" So someone can have his opinion, and you can have your opinion that his opinion is dog poop.

My purpose is to expose the irrational ones, the closet jihadists: they seem normal but will suddenly demand the shedding of "infidel" blood. This is why I use the old term Mohammedan for jihadists, to show that their religion is about Mohammed, not Allah. The Spartacus motive isn't mine yet still has merit for others. "And what if you track down these men and kill them, what if you killed all of us? From every corner of Europe, hundreds, thousands would rise up to take our places. Even Nazis can't kill that fast."

"us-vs-them competition with Islam itself"

Who made it "us-vs-them" in the first place, though? Even without the cartoons, the jihadists still make it "us-vs-them." Maybe this amounts to poking an anthill, but then we can see just how many ants there are.

It's really a shame that the jihadists make it "us-vs-them." In my travels around Mindanao, except for certain places few civilians dare to go, I've seen lots of Muslim Filipinos (at least those who wear traditional clothes) living peacefully with their largely Roman Catholic countrymen. Some men wear traditional robes, and mwomen wear hijab (burkas are very rare), yet virtually all are peaceful people.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 30, 2010 9:50 PM
But T. Greer thinks:
Who made it "us-vs-them" in the first place, though? Even without the cartoons, the jihadists still make it "us-vs-them."

Agreed. But don't we play into their hands by reinforcing the narrative?

Poke the anthill? That is a fair reason - better than most I have heard. But if the act of poking the anthill creates more ants?

Posted by: T. Greer at May 1, 2010 2:26 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I don't think we could "reinforce their narrative" beyond what the jihadists already believe: the parades for 1400 years have called for beheading those who insult the Prophet, as well as a caliphate across the world.

By definition the number of total ants won't change. We'll just see more of them than before. Oh yes, I recognize that "Draw Mohammed" will be offensive, and it will offend Muslims who weren't offended before. But we'll see which were willing to commit violence after being offended.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at May 2, 2010 8:39 PM

Hating the Haters

I love this stuff.

Liberals calling Freedom Works to express their displeasure with the GEICO guy getting fired.

Warning: Language is rather salty.

But jk thinks:

Yeah, the language is a little rough -- but you have to admit they make some good, substantive, intellectual comments...

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2010 11:46 AM

April 26, 2010

Put Me Down as "Right On!"

WSJ:

Financial-overhaul legislation failed to move to the Senate floor after it failed to garner 60 votes. All Republicans voted against moving forward in the 57-41 vote. Democrats meanwhile agreed on a proposal in the bill to overhaul derivatives rules.

I just don't see the successes of regulatioon that this is meant to build on.

But johngalt thinks:

The reporting on this vote has been strange. "All Republicans voted against" the thing, plus Democrat Ben Nelson. But the 41 "nay" votes equals the number of Republicans in the Senate.

The official record shows that two Republicans, Bennett of Utah and Bond of Missouri, abstained. And joining Nelson of Nebraska in voting no was ... Reid of Nevada.

Election year politics works in mysterious ways.

Posted by: johngalt at April 27, 2010 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh wait! I know this one!

Senator Reid has not joined Club for Growth, his voting against allows him procedural rights to call a new vote.

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2010 3:10 PM

Damn That Recession Thingy!

If you don't care for partisan hackery, go somewhere else.

The AP reports on an AP/GfK Poll, that Democrats have blown a nine-point lead in the field "whom do you trust more to handle the economy?" Gee, could that be because of spending? taxes? entitlements? savaging the property rights of preferred debt holders?

Nope, It is another sad effect of George W. Bush's recession.

WASHINGTON Notch one more victim of the recession: With crucial midterm elections nearing, Democrats have lost the advantage they've held for years as the party the public trusts to steer the economy.

The timing could be fortunate for the Republicans. With jobs and the economy dominating voters' concerns, the GOP will wield the issue as a cudgel in the battle to grab control of at least one chamber of Congress this November and weaken President Barack Obama.


Bad luck, Dems! But don't worry -- it was nothing you did.

(My bias meter broken? Me be unfair?)

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 5:55 PM | What do you think? [3]
But T. Greer thinks:

Lets hear the pitch then. Everybody hates Washington at the moment - they don't need convincing that the Dem's are evil, but they do need convincing that the Republicans are not. So when the Dems start to say, "You saw what the Republicans did to the economy, give us more time to prove that we can turn it around", what is the response?

Posted by: T. Greer at April 27, 2010 5:55 AM
But jk thinks:

First, if I may clarify, my point was that perhaps the public's disapproval of Democratic tactics might be the fault of Democratic tactics. You'd certainly expect dissatisfaction with exigencies in the field right now, but I felt the lede washed away any doubt that people don't like bigger government and bailouts.

The Grand Old Party does have a sales job ahead to me as well as to you. I remain confident in the ideas of FA Hayek and Milton Friedman. I hope that the GOP out of some combination of fear, opportunism, and conviction will champion those ideas.

Because I feel the Democrats have pretty explicitly abandoned them. They used to at least pay lip service, but now seem comfortable (and possibly correct) that they can prosper as the Party of Government.

My sales pitch in late April is that the primaries display a desire to return to limited government. Marco Rubio's performance in Florida portends poorly for conventional Crist Republicans. Senator Bennet is in trouble in Utah, Brother Johngalt is a delegate in Colorado. I don't see any move to those ideas on the Dem side. (Mickey Kaus is anti-elitist, but he is placing tough immigration at the top of his campaign. Plus, he is a quixotic long-shot.)

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2010 10:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Bennett is now third in the polls. The PRIMARY polls. A friend of mine is a state delegate, and was he telling me that Bennett got booed at one gathering?

Liberal media outlets have admitted pro-bailout Republicans' woes, using headlines like, "Republicans in trouble for bailout votes." I can't help but suspect it's so Americans who largely just look at headlines (and there are a lot more than we care to imagine) will think these Republicans are in trouble for being against bailouts.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 27, 2010 9:39 PM

It is Time to Build a Wall!

Or else, taxpaying Americans are going to escape! NYTimes:

WASHINGTON Amid mounting frustration over taxation and banking problems, small but growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship.

What we have seen is a substantial change in mentality among the overseas community in the past two years, said Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group based in Geneva. Before, no one would dare mention to other Americans that they were even thinking of renouncing their U.S. nationality. Now, it is an openly discussed issue.

The Federal Register, the government publication that records such decisions, shows that 502 expatriates gave up their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status in the last quarter of 2009. That is a tiny portion of the 5.2 million Americans estimated by the State Department to be living abroad.

Still, 502 was the largest quarterly figure in years, more than twice the total for all of 2008, and it looms larger, given how agonizing the decision can be. There were 235 renunciations in 2008 and 743 last year. Waiting periods to meet with consular officers to formalize renunciations have grown.


Disturbing.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'd be curious to know which freedom-loving, market-based independent democracies these expats are choosing as their new homes; I note that, save for the Swiss resident, they don't tell us which destinations are highest on the list - doubtless in hopes of not giving us ideas.

What happens in Costa Rica, stays in Costa Rica...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 26, 2010 7:11 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

... and since the subject was previously raised here, I wonder how many of these expats renouncing their citizenship are MDs. There could conceivably be sufficient docs there now to staff that overseas Mayo Clinic being proposed...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 26, 2010 7:13 PM

Life Imitates Penn & Teller

An awesome episode of Penn & Teller's B******t, is the one on recycling. In the intro, the hosts admit that "they kinda believe it" but nevertheless, the purveyors of reason must conclude that recycling "is B******t!"

The show is entertaining and informative, of course, but one of the great bits is when they walk serious young LA homeowners through the new system. A man with a clipboard instructs on the proper contents of the eight different color bins. It's hilarious because they cannot get a Californian to complain no matter how bad they make it.

Well, in the land of Orwell, they're bringing this skit to life:

recycle.jpg


This is from a story in The Daily Mail -- an excitable publication to be sure, but I'm guessing there's a very good chance this is legit.

Hat-tip: Taranto.

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 4:04 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

See, I've always suspected that with all the extra bins curbside, the underlying motivation was to make us peasants limit the number of cars we own - after all, they leave us no place to park them, forcing us to eliminate a polluting gas-guzzler.

But surprise! The big win in the greeniness category is our cars! This article has persuaded me that I'll be trading in my 2004 model next year for the 2011 - yes, the one with the green, environmentally-friendly 302 that, coincidentally, generates 412 horsepower:

http://tinyurl.com/2vr733n

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 26, 2010 7:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, Keith's love of country and the environment know no bounds. Good for You!!!

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2010 7:45 PM

Public Employee

Can't say the pacing is quite there, but those who view SNL as an arbiter of the zeitgeist will be glad to see Public Employee Unions harshed upon:

HT; @mkhammer

Television Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

The players' hearts didn't seem to be in it did they? Nor the audience, with polite laughter and a smattering of applause. But it's no surprise with, according to this source, nearly 1 in 5 Americans in government jobs so a sizeable share of the audience is either among the ridiculed or has a friend or relative who is so.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2010 3:07 PM

Your Goldman Stooge

Doth he protest too much? It's just that most people who stooge for Goldman Sachs get paid -- really well - for it. I'm just disappointed that I'm dong it fer nothin'.

Gordon Crovitz piles in on my side today, defending synthetic CDOs, short positions, and yes even GS. When the housing bubble was about to burst, who knew? Regulators? Condo flippers? Nope: short sellers and one Mister John Paulson.

Beginning in 2006, Mr. Paulson concluded that the end of the bubble was near. Goldman Sachs created special securities to facilitate trading, in this case synthetic collateralized debt obligationssynthetic because this instrument didn't include mortgage-backed securities but was designed to move in line with them. Mr. Paulson thus communicated his wisdom to the market through these securities, which, far from undermining markets are best understood as an efficient information medium for resetting prices.

Thus allocating capital to its best use. Somebody took the other side of the trade with imperfect but reasonable disclosure..
There was no secret about why these securities were created. "All our dealings were through arm's-length transactions with experienced counterparties who had opposing views based on all available information at the time," a spokesman for Mr. Paulson said last week. "We were straightforward in our dislike of these securities, but the vast majority of the people in the market thought we were dead wrong and openly and aggressively purchased the securities we were selling."

I'm going to excerpt Crovitz's ending for those who have yet to knuckle to Rupert's Iron Will:
Do we really want the next bubble to continue even longer before it bursts? Derivatives are more important as a way to trade on information about housing than about many other markets, because houses are not as liquid as, say, shares in companies.

Easy money, easy mortgages, and banks too big to fail were key causes of the credit crisis. It was also Wall Street's greatest information failure in many years. We need more trading, not less, and more signals in the market faster that prices need to be adjusted. The last thing we need is outlawing opportunities for people like Mr. Paulson to bring vital information to market.


I for one am pretty happy to know that the SEC regulators are watching porn all day on my tax dollar. It's when they work that they really screw things up.

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Mr. Paulson thus communicated his wisdom to the market through these securities,"

Oh? And where was the information that he was the very counterparty on something he was helping to promote?

"imperfect but reasonable disclosure.."

But that's exactly the problem: it wasn't reasonable. Goldman didn't reveal a simple connection that would have materially mattered to some clients, and that's why they're as culpable as Paulson. Oh yes, Paulson was already well-known for shorting real estate markets, and that only enhanced the reputation of his subadvisory position: "Hey, this reall must be something Paulson believes in!" But what if clients were told, "Paulson advised this part of the portfolio, but he's going against it." Wouldn't some people have decided not to go through with it?

If Paulson had duped Goldman by using a shell company as the counterparty, Goldman might have some excuse. They knew, though, exactly who Paulson was as their advisor and as their client. It's a total conflict of interest that this Crovitz jackass ignores. I'm calling him a jackass because he's ignoring the real issue while portraying things as something they're not. Obama might be using this as an excuse to "attack derivatives," but I am not. I don't talk about "fairness" in terms of socialist "Let everyone have the same information." I'm talking about "fairness" in terms of two contracting parties engaging in full disclosure of relevant terms.

I'm not a subscriber to the WSJ, but the last part of what's available is only half the story. Crovitz says, "The investment bank crafted securities that let him put his money where his analysis was, pointing to the housing boom as unsustainable." This is not entirely true. "The investment bank crafted securities partially based on Paulson's subadvising, which let him put his money where his analysis was, although by going contrary to the very portfolio he helped create (and implicitly advised would do well)."

As I commented in the other post: why would you buy a product that I'm subadvising but directly shorting? Maybe you would, if you think I'm wrong, but Goldman never revealed this. So much for communicating information. A grocery store doesn't have to telling a customer that fruit is cheaper down the road, but this is much more complex. This is a contract where this conflict of interest should have been disclosed: "Here, try these oranges. We hired this guy to help pick only the best. BTW, he's a local dentist who specializes in repairing chipped teeth."

How would a dialogue of proper disclosure have gone?

"One more thing, Mr. Client. Mr. Paulson helped subadvise this, but he's the counterparty. He's betting this will go down."

"I see, and so why then is he subadvising in a direction contrary to his own money?"

It would have been fair for Paulson to remain an advisor but not be the counterparty, or to be the counterparty and not the subadvisor. Not both. He could have been an advisor and shorted a similar product, possibly even one at Goldman, but certainly not the same one he helped create.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 26, 2010 1:22 PM

April 25, 2010

Yield Chaser

Man, I have to take a shower twice a day now that I have taken up defending Goldman Sachs -- but if the ACLU can go to bat for Illinois Nazis (man, I hate Illinois Nazis!), I can keep up the truth telling.

Teri Buhl and John Carney post in the Atlantic that "Goldman's 'Victim' in SEC Case Was a Yield Chaser" (scare quotes in original).

This single-minded pursuit of yield provides an important context for the SEC's case against Goldman. In hindsight, it can appear that Goldman must have been committing some kind of fraud in order to sell subprime CDOs that performed so badly. But at the time, the buyers of these instruments were actively seeking exposure to subprime risk.

So, the "victim" was not some 65 year old woman from Dubuque who lost her retirement savings and now has to eat cat food. It was a German bank "so absorbed in the pursuit of high-yield returns from financial instruments linked to the U.S. housing market that it preferred to lose one of its top executives rather than change course."

The SEC should pick up the flag and let the boys play.

HT: Insty

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It's not so much the showers, but the quality of your asbestos suit. :p

The victim doesn't matter. At least, it shouldn't matter that someone can "afford." It could be a widow, or a huge bank investing money, and the crime is still the same. Remember that banks, even through their own accounts as a firm, are ultimately investing individuals' money.

Of course Goldman's clients were looking for profit. That's implied. But why would Paulson, as an advisor on the product, then take a contrary position in his own portfolio if he believed the GS product would do well?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 25, 2010 2:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed that the sympathetic value of the victim doesn't matter. Good point.

I am less willing to cede that the sophistication and risk appetite of the so called victim doesn't matter. Der Wienerbankers* not only knew they were getting a high-risk vehicle -- they were actively seeking them out.

*(Sorry for the racial slur, I was figuring that Herren Kranz and Eidelbus could exchange such a remark -- don't the rest if you try it, though!)

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2010 10:25 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Well, talking about risk only takes us away from the issue. It doesn't matter who was seeking risk, or how much. What matters is that Paulson was an advisor on the product, implicitly promoting that position, and was the counterparty. Would you buy into a fund that you know I'm subadvising, when I'm the same counterparty that will benefit when the investment goes south? Maybe you would, but you have to ask yourself: "Why is this guy betting against something he's telling me to go long on?"

There are lots of SEC regulations and NASD rules that forbid players from taking positions contrary to what they promote. For example, a research analyst generally can't even trade in the opposite direction from his last published rating. I consider these rules and regulations as common sense that reputable firms already follow. Requiring compliance with rules and regs, though, gives jobs to SEC staff who otherwise couldn't survive in the private sector. We don't need them, or "regulations" or "law," to recognize conflicts of interest. Goldman isn't in trouble because of risk, but because they didn't reveal Paulson's contradictory positions. If he were simply the counterparty, that would have been fine. If he had been just an advisor, that would have been fine. Both? Not fine.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 26, 2010 12:53 PM

April 24, 2010

Review Corner

I think ThreeSourcers would enjoy 1912: Wilson, Roosevelt, Taft and Debs--The Election that Changed the Country by James Chace. It's an interesting mix of politics and philosophy, covering three Presidents and an important labor leader.

Chace does a good job. Of course, he is a historian so he doesn't appreciate anything that ThreeSourcers do. He's very dismissive of President Taft, who played golf instead of working 24 x 7 to remove our freedoms like Presidents Roosevelt and Wilson.

But I've inured to that. Think happy thoughts for me as I begin John Milton Cooper's new bio of Woodrow Wilson.

What Chace does superbly is to contrast Wilson's and TR's Progressivism, and -- as we've discussed -- contextualizing it and tying it to FDR's. I'll give it Four and a half stars for its readable and comprehensive look at a sizeable span of American history as many paths converge on this intriguing election. (Spoiler alert: Wilson wins!)

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 23, 2010

More on GM

I linked to Blog Friend Everyday Economist's post Did GM Pay Back Its Loan Sort Of.

EE got a condescending letter from a GM PR flack, and in a new post revises and extends his remarks.

What GM has done is use the TARP money that was placed in escrow by the Treasury Department to repay the remaining interest bearing debt of $6.7 billion. Given that this money was not paid for with profits earned by the company it is effectively a debt-for-equity swap not a loan repayment. In other words, the Treasury approved the repayment of the loan with the escrow funds and the government therefore hopes to recover the remainder of their investment by selling common stock after GMs initial public offering that is intended to take place this year. As I stated in my previous post, I am skeptical that the government will be able to fully recoup its initial investment through this process.

But you have to click to read the flack's letter. As a GM owner, you should stay abreast of what they spend your money on.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Silly me, I had guessed GM raided the pension fund again. The UAW is naturally scared they'll lose their jobs, but they want more than that, because the Big Three have covered all these losses by raiding the piggy bank.

Everyone in America can now shout in joy, "I paid off my mortgage early!" when merely refinancing.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 24, 2010 9:59 PM

Vaulting at Atlantis Farm this weekend!

We're very excited to be hosting our first ever AVA Recognized vaulting competition this weekend (unless we float away like an ark - 2 inches of rain and counting!) It is a regional event and we will have clubs from Colorado, New Mexico and I think Texas here to participate.

Everyone's welcome to come and see the fun. Admission is free. Wear your mud shoes! (Schedule wise I'm informed that johngalt will be vaulting with his daughter at 9:30 am and again at 11:00 am on SUNDAY.)

Click continue reading for more info with, I apologize, very little attention to formatting. I hope the links will work.

What is Equestrian Vaulting?


They do What? ! ? ! ...


on the Back of a Moving Horse!!!


CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT EQUESTRIAN VAULTING

Watch our USA Team at the last World Equestrian Games

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-2qWGIlymHQ


COME AND WATCH OUR REGIONAL CLUBS COMPETE !


INVITE YOU TO JOIN US FOR APRIL FEST 2010

Hosted by Region IV of the

American Vaulting Association

An American Vaulting Association Recognized Competition

Compulsory and Freestyle Performances performed

by our Regional AVA Teams

featuring

ALBUQUERQUE VAULTERS

EQUESTARZ

GOLDEN GATE VAULTERS

MILE HIGH VAULTERS

VAULTERS DEL SOL


Saturday, April 24th 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM

&

Sunday, April 25th 8:00 AM to Noon

Free Admission & Parking

Concessions on Site

at Atlantis Farms, Home of Mile High Vaulters

MAP

http://www.mapquest.com/maps?city=Fort+Lupton&state=CO&address=2252+County+Road+21&zipcode=80621-8439&country=US&latitude=40.033034&longitude=-104.867274&geocode=ADDRESS


Visit us at

www.MileHighVaulters.com

http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?et=1103288910882&s=1119&e=001yz51cTtOoose-i3QzPyWE74YKQob-edQDMkcDWbyB6hH4tvi0XQa9ctIpLi0EWOYv2HC73AmFDIwbYfPVS_mG86yJmyN5CJ6B4OZyQ1px55hz1eAHvo6Y8__QractcwQp0EmPWFkrINkdEzvWCTUag==


For More Information contact Jodi

Via E -mail

or telephone 303-931-7072


SEE YOU AT APRIL FEST !

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Good luck, JG, and send pictures!

I don't want to say that we're getting a lot of rain, but there's some guy with a long beard building a boat across the street. Might have to get to know the feller...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 23, 2010 2:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

We complain, but I recall that our PA brothers and sisters had this much rain in a single morning not long ago. It just seems like more to us because 10-12 inches is our annual total. (It's not supposed to come all in the same month, though!)

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2010 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

I still complain. Philidelphians can drive to a seacoust in less than three days.

Way cool about the competition -- looks like it's drying up over here.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2010 5:29 PM

Jonah!

I'm off today, so I have time for magazine length articles that the rest of y'all might not.

But Jonah Goldberg's What Kind of Socialist is Barack Obama? is awesome on stilts.

In the spirit of "Liberal Fascism," Goldberg uses labels with caution but remains unafraid to use them where they are correct.

It's not like you're going o be rewarded for working hard...

Hat-tip: Instaundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

When Bill O'Reilly asked Dick Morris "What advice would you give President Obama to improve Democrats' chances in the next election?" Morris said, "First, he has to want to change." When O'Reilly asked if Morris thought he would change Dick said, cautiously, "No. I think he's a committed left-wing idealogue socialist."

The labels are finally beginning to hit closer to the mark.

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2010 2:05 PM

Hold the Presses!

ObamaCare® might cost more:

But the analysis also found that the law falls short of the president's twin goal of controlling runaway costs, raising projected spending by about 1 percent over 10 years. That increase could get bigger, since Medicare cuts in the law may be unrealistic and unsustainable, the report warned.

It's a worrisome assessment for Democrats.

In particular, concerns about Medicare could become a major political liability in the midterm elections. The report projected that Medicare cuts could drive about 15 percent of hospitals and other institutional providers into the red, "possibly jeopardizing access" to care for seniors.


Hat-tip: Megan McArdle who asks Who could possibly have predicted this shocking and totally unexpected turn of events?

In other news, gambling at Rick's? DEVELOPING...

UPDATE: Matt Welch at Reason:

Now that the world is belatedly waking up to the fact that President Obama lied his face off about the fiscal impacts of health care reform, maybe it's an appropriate time to point out that he's lying his face off about financial reform as well:

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

So There!

Mondo heh. Brother TG sends a link to a funny response to my friends collectivist Facebook paean:

This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock, powered by energy generated solely by Southern California Edison and manufactured by the Sony Corporation.

I then took a shower in my house constructed by Centex Homes, sold to me by a Century 21 real estate agent, and mortgaged by Citibank.

After that, I turned on my Panasonic television which I purchased with a Washington Mutual credit card to a local NBC Corporation affiliate to see what their team of hired meteorologists forecasted the weather to be using their weather radar system.

While watching this, I ate my breakfast of eggs and bacon, both produced by a local farm and sold to me by my local grocery store, and took my prescribed medication manufactured by Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Astra-Zeneca, and Novartis.

When my Motorola-manufactured Cable Set Top Box showed the appropriate time, I got into my Toyota-manufactured Prius vehicle and set out to my graphic design workplace and stopped to purchase some gasoline refined by the Royal Dutch Shell company, using my debit card issued to me by Bank of the West. On the way to my workplace, I dropped off a package at the local UPS store for delivery, and dropped my children off at a local private school.

Then, after spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the company-mandated standards enforced at my workplace, I drive back to my house which had not burned down in my absence because of the high manufacturing quality of the products inside and of the company which built my house, and which has not been plundered of all its valuables thanks to the alarm services provided by Brinks Home Security. I was able to rest easy knowing that even had this happened, I would have an Allstate insurance policy which would cover any damage to my home and anything that was stolen.

I then logged onto the internet, financed and ran in part by various different private corporations such as Google, Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon, and posted on the Huffington Post and Daily Kos about how capitalism is the source of all evil in this country.


On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Huzzah!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 23, 2010 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"...capitalism and corporations are the source of all evil in this country."

I'll just add: In addition to manufactured products being high quality they are also certified and listed by Underwriters Laboratory or Intertek ETL/Semko to comply with voluntary industry safety standards. (Did everyone notice that little word ... voluntary?

Posted by: johngalt at April 23, 2010 1:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Nerve hit! UL is a fantastic model for private regulation. JG, Silence and I have all crossed swords with this outfit and can attest to their being as capricious, bull-headed, and bureaucratic as any gub'mint outfit.

And yet, they are voluntary and actually have some competition from their Canadian and European counterparts.

It's the perfect model for a private FDA and USDA. Why not SEC, FTC and I'm sure more if you think harder.

Posted by: jk at April 23, 2010 5:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said. And the mention I made of Intertek (the firm) and ETL (their mark) was because they are a US competitor to UL. We initially used UL and then switched to ETL for some products because the former's service was, um, "unwieldly." Years later we noticed that UL made significant improvements and streamlining of their processes.

I think there's a name for this private sector phenomenon... Jeez, it was on the tip of my tongue.

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2010 12:17 PM

April 22, 2010

Headline of the Day II

I am going to have to overrule myself. This headline is too perfect:

First They Came for Hitler...

downfall.jpg

Hat-tip: Instapundit

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 7:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

The GM Loan -- Paid in Full!

I (I surmise "we") had a few thought when this news broke.

  • Yeah right,

  • By what subterfuge did this occur?

  • Don't we still own all that stock?

Thankfully, as I was getting snotty, blog friend Josh at Everyday Economist was getting informative. He has a superb post on this that it will not degrade by excerption.

Must thing read whole, you.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

While President Obama notices whats happening [environment improving], apparently the folks over at government-run TV (PBS) didnt get the memo, offering up this week a two-hour American Experience Earth Day documentary on the inspiring story of the modern environmental movement. Not much inspiration here; to the contrary, the film is so drearily conventional that its about as inspiring as a bad tribute cover band trying to recreate Beatlemania in an Elko, Nevada ballroom. -- Steven F Hayward
I used to play in Elko...
Environment Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

How the Stimulus Bill "Works"

The blogosphere continues to do the work that American establishment mass-media won't do - watch government closely and report what it finds to the public.

The IBD Ed page credits BigGovernment.com for finding that the baseline jobs number the O Admin used to sell the Stimulus Bill has been fudged to create an illusion of "2.8 million jobs created or saved."

Without stimulus, we were told, there would be 133.9 million jobs in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2010. That's the baseline. With stimulus, we would have almost 3.7 million more than that.

Today, there are 129.7 million jobs. The folks at BigGovernment.com looked at the data and found that to justify the administration's current claim of 2.8 million jobs saved or created, they had to lower the baseline by 7 million jobs to only 126.9 million.

This is a little like a football team making a first down, not by advancing the ball 10 yards, but by having the referees moving the first-down marker.

Indeed, a chart in the April 14, 2010, report on the stimulus shows that's what the administration has done. It has moved the yard markers by altering and lowering its original baseline projections.

The administration continues paying a shell game with its "saved or created" job claims. First, it went from "creating" jobs to "saving or creating" them. Then it listed jobs saved or created in nonexistent congressional districts and zip codes. Now it's altering its own baseline projections to show progress where there is decline.

Eventually the New York Times will notice, right? Right?

But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Thankfully Obama never tried the "3.5 million new jobs" from "renewable energy" endeavors. That would have destroyed 10 million jobs that already existed.

After that, his claims went up to 4.1 million "new," and then "saved or created."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 23, 2010 10:32 AM

Paraphrase of the Day

The actual quote from Jonah Goldberg's column in yesterday's NRO piece is too long and buries the money phrase. To paraphrase:

...dissent has gone from being the highest form of patriotism under George W. Bush to the most common form of racism under Barack Obama.

Gordon Glantz, please call your office.

To see the full quote in context, go here.

Media and Blogging Posted by Boulder Refugee at 3:40 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'll bite: Gordon Glantz?

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2010 4:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Gordon Glantz is the managing editor of The Times Herald that LM refered to, and smacked down, in the "Teabaggers Explained" post below. Worth the read and here's the link: http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2010/04/18/opinion/columnists/doc4bca8357242a0745728550.txt

You really have to sit up and pay attention in Three Sources country!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 22, 2010 4:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Hockey Man -- gotchya!

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2010 4:36 PM

Headline of the Day

The good people at AP have captured the President in one sentence:

Obama slams Wall Street ways while asking support

UPDATE: Better in threes:
3obamaheadlines.gif


Coffeehousin'

Hey Shameless Self Promotion + bleg today. I am thinking of moving from YouTube to Vimeo. I think this loses me iPhone compatibility. Anybody else have a weird configuration that cannot see this week's video?

Comment or email would be appreciated.


banner4.gif

This Nearly Was Mine from South Pacific (Rodgers and Hammerstein, 1949).

But Terri thinks:

I can still see it.

Posted by: Terri at April 22, 2010 12:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Is it the mix, or the host site or just me ... the audio seems clearer and brighter. The sound of your fingers sliding the fretboard is much more prominent. Like bein' there.

And I just finally got around to listening to the recording of your dad. It is priceless.

Posted by: johngalt at April 22, 2010 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Five stars for the critic. The folks at Vimeo use less aggressive data compression on the audio side. This precipitated the switch.

Curiously they're both getting more generous for video quality which takes up gobs more room. I'm no audiophile, but it's still too much. If you download the mp3 (of course that's compressed) you get a warmer tone.

Thanks, Dad would have dug the coffeehouse.

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2010 4:02 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I enjoy them all, but this one was especially good!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 22, 2010 4:10 PM

Larry Summers, Call Your Office!

At a developers' conference yesterday in an older building in Ft. Collins, I saw an unusual thing.

During the short breaks between segments, there were long lines at the Men's restrooms (no that apostrophe is not misplaced), while the ladies could walk right in. The patriarchy was not preserved.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

THE NEW MONEY: Even uglier than the old money. Every redesign is worse than the one before its like the Facebook of currency! -- Glenn Reynolds
Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 21, 2010

Unavoidable economic catastrophe? Not quite

In the first of what is sure to be many linked articles from Independent Women's Forum, Nicole Kurokawa cites a Heritage Foundation report explaining how easy it would be to balance the budget with spending cuts-

Instead of finding new ways to take money from American's pockets, government should focus on cutting spending. And there is plenty to cut. The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl notes, "Simply bringing real federal spending back to the $21,000 per household average that prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s would balance the budget by 2012 without raising a single tax on anyone.

"Never let a crisis go to waste," even if you have to create it yourself.


The Zapf Curve and Cities

Something fun and marginally non-political.

Why do citiies fit a Zapf curve?

Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw

Posted by John Kranz at 1:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Nobody wants to be caught defending GS. But I will fight to my last beath defending shorts.

Remember, the long investors could have bought mortgages directly if they wanted to invest in housing. They wanted the more attractive premium stream from insuring mortgages for an investor who was betting they would fail. And only in hindsight has Mr. Paulson become the mastermind who made billions betting against what now is judged to have been a bubble. -- Holman W Jenkins, Jr.

From a great column, "The War on Shorts, Cont. Start with a villain. Find a crime."

But Lisa M thinks:

jk, if you liked Jenkins (and who doesn't?) you'll like McCarthy. here.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 21, 2010 6:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Awesome link, thanks. I tend to agree with McCarthy -- I even saw language in the prospectus that suggested GS held short positions.

The Dr, K quote "shame they can't both lose" is perfect here. Even if Paulson or GS get slapped down for this, I'm okay. My real fear is that this populist anti-Wall Street frenzy will be whipped up to where short positions or complex vehicles or naked options will be disallowed. "It's witchcraft! She's short on positions he doesn't own! Burn the witch!"

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2010 10:20 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've read too many contradictory reports to know, but it does sound bad for GS and Paulson.

The SEC's complaint alleges that after participating in the portfolio selection, Paulson & Co. effectively shorted the RMBS portfolio it helped select by entering into credit default swaps (CDS) with Goldman Sachs to buy protection on specific layers of the ABACUS capital structure. Given that financial short interest, Paulson & Co. had an economic incentive to select RMBS that it expected to experience credit events in the near future. Goldman Sachs did not disclose Paulson & Co.'s short position or its role in the collateral selection process in the term sheet, flip book, offering memorandum, or other marketing materials provided to investors....

The SEC alleges that Goldman Sachs Vice President Fabrice Tourre was principally responsible for ABACUS 2007-AC1. Tourre structured the transaction, prepared the marketing materials, and communicated directly with investors. Tourre allegedly knew of Paulson & Co.'s undisclosed short interest and role in the collateral selection process. In addition, he misled ACA into believing that Paulson & Co. invested approximately $200 million in the equity of ABACUS, indicating that Paulson & Co.'s interests in the collateral selection process were closely aligned with ACA's interests. In reality, however, their interests were sharply conflicting.

In and of itself, a short position is nothing. It could be a hedge, like holding gold in your portfolio, or credit default swaps against CDOs. The latter is what's involved here, and many firms use CDS and other legitimate investment tools to hedge. A firm could sell one thing to one client, then something inversely performing to another client. But it's improper if a firm sells something to clients and then hedges in its own accounts as a complete offset of what it sells to clients. Forget rules: it's fraud when you're representing something to clients as potentially good, but betting against it yourself.

GS apparently didn't short in its own accounts what they sold to clients. But Paulson held an advisory position when constructing the original portfolio, and then his own hedge fund took out massive CDS on that portfolio -- CDS through Goldman! If the SEC's complaint is correct that this relationship was not disclosed, then it's a very serious case of misrepresentaton, breach of fiduciary responsibility, and conflict of interest.

You don't need "regulations" or "law" to acknowledge that it's wrong to present a strategy as good while deliberately hiding that an advisor is betting against it in his own business. My employer subadvises other firms' mutual funds, in firm-to-firm relationships. What if one of our portfolio managers helped create a position in a fund he was subadvising, then created a short position in one of our own funds?

Paulson and his hedge fund haven't yet been charged with wrongdoing, and I wonder why. They're just as complicit, if the charges are true, but Paulson's friendship with Chuck Schumer might have something to do with it. If worse comes to worst, he'll just run to Switzerland until Obama gives him a midnight pardon...in exchange for a campaign contribution for Michelle's Senate run.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 22, 2010 1:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear you, but don't you think it hinges on disclosure? I don't know what constitutes "material" disclosure that they are fighting about, but it was disclosed in the prospectus that the firm might take a contrary position.

Don't I have a right to say "Perry, I think these Lady Gaga Albums are all a pile of crap, but if you'd like them, I'll make you a deal..."

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2010 2:23 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, couple more things on the timing. The SEC announced this on the very same day that Obama said that financial reform must include derivatives regulations. Humm!

Also, I'm accustomed to seeing stupid explanations on the third Friday of the month for the typical afternoon market rallies. November 21, 2008: markets rallied after Geithner's nomination was announced? Baloney. Options expire at market close on the third Friday of each month, so you generally see a bit of a rally as people have to cover positions. It was the liberal media looking for any excuse to make it seem, "Hey, those capitalists love Timmy!"

Last Friday was...the third Friday of the month. There was some recovery in the afternoon from the morning plunge, but imagine how fortunate it was for those who knew about the announcement in advance, then purchased a lot of put options on GS at, say, a strike price of $180. Minimal premium, lotsa profit. And Treasury and Federal Reserve staff are not subject to insider trading laws.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 22, 2010 3:00 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But that isn't quite what Goldman said. Goldman said, "We can't make any promises about returns, but you can reasonably infer that we're constructing a portfolio here, with the assistance of outside advisors, with good potential for positive returns." The firm may take a contrary position somewhere, but at minimum it's a conflict of interest when an outside advisor takes a contrary position in his own business.

Note that I'm not going by the law, only by what's right. I'm the first to accuse the SEC of shaking down companies over "disclosure," but it appears that GS and Paulson didn't just fail to disclose something obvious. "Hey John, want to buy these Lady Gaga CDs? I think they're a good opportunity for you, and my outside advisor JP helped pick them out. By the way, he may have helped with the selection, but he's going to make a huge profit if these CDs turn out to be duds."

Someone at Seeking Alpha said that, sure, Paulson would profit, because he was on the other side of the deal. Goldman's clients in Abacus 2007-AC1 would have known there was someone on the other side, by definition. But the other person turned out to be an advisor who's part of the team saying they expect a positive return for GS clients!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 22, 2010 4:04 PM

Wine Whine

Everybody is so worried about air travel in the wake of the awjejwajkjwkejkwa volcano in Iceland.

I remember when Mt. Pinatubo erupted in the Philippines, we had the year of no summer, and our grapes did not ripen because there was not enough hot weather. It was the one year we got no grapes. And that was between the Philippines and Lafayette, Colorado.

I'm kind of a Southern Hemisphere Shiraz guy (yes, I have seen that South Park!) but it doesn't take much imagination to think that France and Italy could have a cropless year. That seems potentially more devastating than a few weeks of travel.

Damned, extra-marital affairs -- at least the French reaped what they won't sow.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:56 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

No doubt loose women are to blame.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 21, 2010 12:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So, combining this post with the lesson of the one above we should all invest heavily in last year's vintage of European wines.

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2010 3:39 PM

Carry-on Bag Fees

The humanity! Paying for carry-ons!

Oddly, though, bookings are up 50%

Spirit Airlines claims that bookings have soared since it announced it would add a fee for stowing carry-on luggage in its overhead bins, TheStreet.com reports. That publication writes "Spirit's bookings for after August 1 -- when the policy takes effect -- have risen 50%, said Spirit CEO Ben Baldanza. He said tens of thousands of tickets have been sold as a result of the policy, which was announced April 6."

Baldanza claims sales have been boosted by fare cuts he says the airline instituted along with the new carry-on fees, which top out at $45 per passenger. Fliers who belong to Spirit's subscription "$9 Fare Club" can stow carry-ons for $20. Spirit says it chopped up to $40 off its lowest fares at the same time it announced the carry-on fee.

"Our customers get it," Baldanza tells The Street.com. "The media says they don't like it, but if you are me, you see that the number of people who buy tickets is expanding. I think the outrage is from people who already pay high fares on other carriers. But our customers see the power of a really low fare with the option to choose what else they want."


Huh? Choice? Freedom? Customers "get it?"

To be fair, I must report that FOX31 Good Day Colorado did report this this morning.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Here's what I want to know - Who gets to board first, those who pay the extra fee or those with no bags for the overhead bins? More importantly, who gets to de-plane first? Do carry-oners have to pay more AND wait longer? No wonder Schumer is outraged!

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2010 3:32 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

While Schumer is at it, I hope he plans on building in some "anti-bitch" legislation to keep those flight attendants in line.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 21, 2010 6:52 PM

Stimulus!

Now don't get me wrong. I'm still an Occam's Razor guy and I really don't think they are this smart, but...But we are poised to have a robust recovery, based on the natural resilience of the free world economy, plus an extra secret weapon.

The secret weapon is fear of 2011. The Bush tax cuts expire, more sharp hooks from ObamaCare® set in, more regulation. Better to get while the getting is good. There are serious and silly elements in the list, but they all add up on the same side.

1) Don Luskin offers the biggest and most serious. But sadly, it mostly affects government 2010 will be the last year to convert your standard IRA to a Roth IRA. I will certainly do this. Pay taxes at Bush rates, not whatever happens when the ObamaCare bills come due. This will mean a wash of revenue -- and a bump for brokers, I suppose.

2) Make what you can in Q1 and Q2, then spend Q3-4 assembling a defensive position.

3) We're getting into the silly, but 300 million times a small number can sometimes be a big number. Glenn Reynolds wags "BETTER BUY IT, THEN, BEFORE THEYRE OUTLAWED BY THE FDA: I Really, Really Want A Deep-Fat Fryer!"

4) On the same line, protection of our current lifestyle. I am headed to Home Depot this weekend for some plants (the lovely bride farms our deck) and I had it in mind to buy a case or two of incandescent light bulbs. A Facebook friend was compiling a list of what he was going to buy. Incandescent bulbs, two-stroke oil, salt. It was offered in fun, but when I posted that I was buying incandescents, the comments poured in and several were serious.

Larry Kudlow warns conservatives to "not fight the tape" the recovery is real. After Q3, though, all bets are off.


April 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

The voiceover is by US citizen (and spiritual mentor, most recently, to Major Hasan) Ayman al-Awlaki. He is explaining the rationale for killing identified individuals, including the creators of South Park.

Mr al-Awlaki says things like, "Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that."

Maybe hed get a worse press if he were to stop pussyfooting around and explicitly incite violence by saying something openly hateful like "I'm becoming very concerned about federal spending." -- Mark Steyn


Hat-tip: Instapundit

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | What do you think? [3]
But AlexC thinks:

LIKE

Posted by: AlexC at April 20, 2010 10:17 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Yeah, that second comment about federal spending borders on sedition.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 21, 2010 7:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I fear to have it on the blog. This domain is registered in my name!

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2010 10:38 AM

Our Right to Overseas Travel

I'm guessing y'all have seen this, but I feel compelled to post.

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a years hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.
Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.

And I was worried about carry-on luggage?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

When Salt Shakers Are Outlawed...

Blog Brother ac posts this to Facebook with that light-hearted comment. Me, I'm thinking of baking up a Banquet® Pot-pie and ending it all.

FDA plans to limit amount of salt allowed in processed foods for health reasons

[...]

Officials have not determined the salt limits. In a complicated undertaking, the FDA would analyze the salt in spaghetti sauces, breads and thousands of other products that make up the $600 billion food and beverage market, sources said. Working with food manufacturers, the government would set limits for salt in these categories, designed to gradually ratchet down sodium consumption. The changes would be calibrated so that consumers barely notice the modification.

The legal limits would be open to public comment, but administration officials do not think they need additional authority from Congress.


What, you mean that Constitution thingy again? I wish you guys would just shut up about that.

Citizens or Subjects? Today, it's looking like the latter.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:21 PM | What do you think? [3]
But T. Greer thinks:

They don't need additional authority from congress? What?


There is something wrong with this country.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 21, 2010 2:12 AM
But jk thinks:

Nope, they learned that from your buddy, TR.

Sorta kidding. Underappreciated in the concern for liberty is the arrogation of power to the Executive Branch. I'll hawk Gene Healy's "The Cult of the Presidency" one more time.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2010 10:31 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

"Under appreciated in the concern for liberty is the arrogation of power to the Executive Branch."

Indeed. This scares me much more than most pieces of legislative leftyism ever will. With legislation, at least, those responsible can be taken to account. It the citizenry dislikes the actions of those they have elected, they can throw the legislators out of office? But these guys? They can't even pretend that they represent the people. Heck, they acknowledge this with the words they use - their job is to try and hide the effects of the new regulations so that consumers will notice nothing.

Well, there goes democratic accountability!

Posted by: T. Greer at April 21, 2010 8:54 PM

Truth in Media (no, REALLY)

Just when you thought it wasn't safe to consume any establishment media news product comes this in US News and World Report: Global Warming, Ethanol, DDT and Environmentalisms Dark Side

Those who question global warming alarmists claims and policy prescriptions have been compared to holocaust deniers. Yet what are we to call environmentalists whose policies have resulted in the deaths of millions and could exacerbate poverty and hunger? The movie title Not Evil, Just Wrong may be too charitable.

Snap! Now that's what I call 'Hope and Change' in the news business. How did this happen? The story was written by Carrie Lukas, VP of Policy and Economics at the Independent Women's Forum (because "All issues are women's issues.") Their mission:

The Independent Women's Forum is a non-partisan, 501(c)(3) research and educational institution. Founded in 1992, IWF focuses on issues of concern to women, men, and families. Our mission is to rebuild civil society by advancing economic liberty, personal responsibility, and political freedom. IWF builds support for a greater respect for limited government, equality under the law, property rights, free markets, strong families, and a powerful and effective national defense and foreign policy. IWF is home to some of the nation's most influential scholarswomen who are committed to promoting and defending economic opportunity and political freedom.

OK, sounds good so far. They may have been founded in 1992 but it's hard to believe this has been their mission all along. I think JK'd have linked 'em by now! ;) Better late than never though.

UPDATE: Here's the link to the entire US N&WR entry and not just the excerpt on balanced-ed.org. It's an editorial. Oh well, the flicker of hope felt really good for those few minutes. Still check out iwf.org though.

But jk thinks:

In my defense, I have linked to the filmmakers several times.

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2010 4:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think iwf.org is affiliated with 'Not Evil, Just Wrong' but I could be wrong, not evil too.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 5:23 PM

Buffy News

Now I know what it must be like to see that your favorite niece is starring in a porn flick.

Charisma Carpenter has joined the Butterfinger Defense League. She's in a very classy, artistic commercial with Sir Mix-a-lot, describing the joy of big Butterfingers, and we are told she'll soon have her own video "Sassy Puppies." Joining the ranks of top flight A-list celebrities like Erik Estrada and Lou Ferrigno,

Dearest Cordy -- I hope the money's right.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Fret not, brother. She's fighting the good fight ... "defending" Butterfinger candy bars. From what, you ask? From this.

I think they're gonna need some more help: Paging Mr. T.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

"Cordelia" has prven herself pretty able in a fight.

I'm all for people doing commercials and did not mean this post to be either as sad or judgemental as it came out. I must learn to not write when emotional.

You go, Ms. Carpenter! And please pass along my apologies to Misters Ferigno, Estrada, and Mixalot.

Posted by: jk at April 20, 2010 3:47 PM

We've Broken the Pricing Mechanism

Awesome piece from Gerald P O'Driscoll, Jr. of Cato in todays WSJ. He suggests that a more common-law approach to financial reform might be better than a brand new shiny SarbOx.

The idea that multiplying rules and statutes can protect consumers and investors is surely one of the great intellectual failures of the 20th century. Any static rule will be circumvented or manipulated to evade its application. Better than multiplying rules, financial accounting should be governed by the traditional principle that one has an affirmative duty to present the true condition fairly and accuratelynot withstanding what any rule might otherwise allow. And financial institutions should have a duty of care to their customers. Lawyers tell me that would get us closer to the common law approach to fraud and bad dealing.

We need to delve into financial reform. It is an interesting internecine discussion. My pal, Larry Kudlow, is on board in a big way. He had Senator Dodd on and is convinced that this bill ends "too big to fail."

Less introspective pundits blast the $50Billion fund as a "bailout fund" but it is meant to provide debtor-in-possession funding to wind-down a firm and sell off its assets if it cannot survive.

And yet, the WSJ Ed page -- no populist organ -- has argued that the Dodd bill perpetuated TBTF. When in doubt, I always think less Christopher Dodd Legislation is better than more.

I hope the article is available (I looked a little on Cato.org for an ungated link) for a fascinating subtext. O'Driscoll points out that Crony Capitalism has broken the pricing model, leaving us (my words not his) little better than Communism in the affected industries:

Congressional committees overseeing industries succumb to the allure of campaign contributions, the solicitations of industry lobbyists, and the siren song of experts whose livelihood is beholden to the industry. The interests of industry and government become intertwined and it is regulation that binds those interests together. Business succeeds by getting along with politicians and regulators. And vice-versa through the revolving door.

We call that system not the free-market, but crony capitalism. It owes more to Benito Mussolini than to Adam Smith.

Nobel laureate Friedrich Hayek described the price system as an information-transmission mechanism. The interplay of producers and consumers establishes prices that reflect relative valuations of goods and services. Subsidies distort prices and lead to misallocation of resources (judged by the preferences of consumers and the opportunity costs of producers). Prices no longer convey true values but distorted ones.

Hayek's mentor, Ludwig von Mises, predicted in the 1930s that communism would eventually fail because it did not rely on prices to allocate resources. He predicted that the wrong goods would be produced: too many of some, too few of others. He was proven correct.

In the U.S today, we are moving away from reliance on honest pricing. The federal government controls 90% of housing finance. Policies to encourage home ownership remain on the books, and more have been added. Fed policies of low interest rates result in capital being misallocated across time. Low interest rates particularly impact housing because a home is a pre-eminent long-lived asset whose value is enhanced by low interest rates.


UPDATE: Jimmy P has three great posts. He is balanced but skeptical:
On paper, Democrats have a case to support their convictions. Their bill gives regulators new authority to wind down non-bank financial institutions. Tougher new capital and leverage requirements, as well as limits on risky activities, are supposed to make failures much less likely. A $50 billion bank-financed pool would fund resolution costs though this whole idea may yet be dropped.

The trouble is, teetering banks and their creditors might still assume that while not too big to sue as Goldman can attest Uncle Sam would still think them too big and interconnected to fail. And thats the problem for many Republicans. The bill tends to favor discretion over hard and fast rules. While the feds would have the authority to shut down institutions, for instance, they wouldntbe required to do it.

111th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 19, 2010

Earth Day Looming

Balanced-ed.org is working on leveling the playing field, fighting back against bias in environmental education in public schools.

In Pa, they've done interviews with Dom Giordano and Bob Durgan.

They're looking for personal stories about it for publication... thing like showing Al Gore's "documentary" An Inconvenient Truth & etc.

You might recall that British schools have been ordered to run disclaimers when presenting An Inconvenient Truth in the classroom.

The move follows a High Court action by a father who accused the Government of 'brainwashing' children with propaganda by showing it in the classroom.

Stewart Dimmock said the former U.S. Vice-President's documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, is unfit for schools because it is politically biased and contains serious scientific inaccuracies and 'sentimental mush'.

He wants the video banned after it was distributed with four other short films to 3,500 schools in February.

Mr Justice Burton is due to deliver a ruling on the case next week, but yesterday he said he would be saying that Gore's Oscar-winning film does promote 'partisan political views'.

This means that teachers will have to warn pupils that there are other opinions on global warming and they should not necessarily accept the views of the film.

But johngalt thinks:

My brother and his sons were telling me about Gore indoctrination at their swanky Boulder County private school. I sent him the link to tell his story. I'll try to refresh my memory and put the story here too.

Thanks for the link. It led to some other good stuff.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK, here's the story (third hand): The day after screening Gore's 'Inconvenient Truth' in class from start to finish my brother sent his son in with a 5-minute Stossel segment "where he had a bunch of people debunking the theory." To her credit the teacher did share part of it with the class, although she didn't see fit to let it run to the end of the "whole" 5 minutes.

Do you suppose Stossel changed her mind that fast?

Posted by: johngalt at April 21, 2010 3:26 PM

Quote of the Day

I think it was Obama with his usual condescension except he ratcheted it up to Code Orange into snootiness where he looks down his nose at the gun-and-god crowd, the lumpenproletariat, as he sees it. And he ridicules them because they're not grateful enough to him.

And look, it's quite obvious what hes talking about. He thinks that they are stupid because they don't recognize that he hasn't raised their taxes. -- Charles Krauthammer

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 6:45 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AlexC thinks:

How often did President Bush knock his political opponents?

Posted by: AlexC at April 19, 2010 7:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You cut the Krauthammer quote short. The last word was supposed to be "... yet."

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 2:44 PM

Liberty

All is lost. Put your Gadsden flag away; shred your clever tea party signs. It is over.

This was on teevee news this morning. I know I'm a little insulated by the rarified air of ThreeSources, but nobody thought that there was anything wrong:

NEW YORK - U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer said Sunday he's trying to get the federal government to prohibit airlines from charging a fee for carry-on baggage, calling it a "slap in the face to travelers."

The New York Democrat is making a personal plea to the Treasury Department to rule that carry-on bags are a necessity for travel, which would make them exempt from a separate fee outside the ticket price.

"Airline passengers have always had the right to bring a carry-on bag without having to worry about getting nickeled and dimed by an airline company," Schumer said. "This latest fee is a slap in the face to travelers"


Not a "dagger in the heart," Senator?

They showed a national news clip, had a local reporter introduce the story from DIA, and all chatted about it at the anchor desk after. Not a contrary word was issued. Thank You, Chuck Schumer for sticking up for us. The intro reporter encouraged us to imagine "young moms' having to pay these outrageous fees." The anchor closed with "they'll go as far as they can until somebody (Brave, Brave, Sir Schummmer!) stops them."

Of course, I am screaming at the TV. Some company, that owns or leases their own goddam planes, is trying a pricing strategy. I used to love Aer Lingus in Ireland. Tickets are about Nine Euros and you pay for pretzels and water. I don't know that Spirit is like that, but if they were it would be a great consumer benefit to have the choice. You don't like it? Fly another airline.

Also no thoughtful mention of the 30 minutes you spend on the ground where everyone who has brought everything they own in a three-axle, 3/4 ton rollaway finds spots in the overhead bins.

Nope, we can't have innovation (as mad as I am I bet it will fail). Senator Schumer and "five Democratic Senators" are going to dictate legal and illegal pricing structures.

That is a slap in the face. And nobody else cares.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That SOB was on a local news broadcast the other night, patting himself on the back for this faux "courage." I would have thrown my fist through his face on the TV, except it wouldn't have done any good, and more importantly, the TV is my own property. That's the difference between Schumer and me: his "career" is about making people pay for the lives of others, and he doesn't have to care how much is spent or on what, while I do.

My state's senior senator is all about making everybody pay the same higher rate, regardless of actual use. He opposes cable companies charging customers more if they exceed a certain amount of bandwidth. Gee, heaven forbid that a company should have the freedom to charge its customers based on individual usage, instead of low-users subsidizing those who use it a lot. Airlines, cable companies, and especially health insurance.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 19, 2010 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was wondering when you were going to get to this story...

The other way to look at it is this: At the height of liberal-progressive power, controlling both houses of congress and the White House, knowing full well that "B-Day" [backlash] is less than seven months away and the time to ram through pet laws and regulations is now, this is the best that one of America's senior liberal legislators can muster. I say let them have hearings and testimony and CBO scorings. Let the Republicans hold press conferences and floor speeches against them. Chew up 8 or 10 weeks on this.

But your sentiment is well taken. :)

By the way, did you know Spirit Airlines' plan was to charge only for overhead bin space? Carry-ons are free if you put them under your seat. There you go Schmucky, "necessity" allowed at no cost.

Schumer's "nickel and dimed" quote reminds me of the old "Why does government put pickpockets in jail?" joke. "Because they can't stand the competition." Except we're losing more than nickels and dimes to Washington P.C.

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2010 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Prob'ly right on wasting the 111th Congress's time.

My despair was the media treatment. I don't expect Hayek quotes and supply-demand curves from the children on FOX31 Good Day Colorado, but one could tell that this wasn't even a controversy. This was government at its finest.

I was guessing the footspace was free. They also used "up to $45" but the implication was that a ball-point pen was $45. I can think of nothing more cheerful than knowing the folks with the monster rollaways were paying for the privilege.

I'm reminded of a Reason mag takedown of Perry's previous Senator. Senator Clinton hauled all the bankers in front of committee and demagogued them for hours on ATM fees. Reason had a nice "let me get this straight" piece: they provide cash from your account on the street all over every city in the world. Instant convenience you may use or ignore. And Senator Clinton won't let them charge $1.50 for this if you do?

I think Perry's right. I'm guessing four more years of Democratic rule and every restaurant will be one buffet price. Yum!

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2010 4:16 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Gee, that'll be terrific. A reservation at Le Cirque will have to be years in advance, while a Big Mac (by itself or in combo) will run $50. But the feds will subsidize Burger King so the supposedly final cost to customers will be $1. The subsidies can be paid for by higher capital gains taxes and 100% estate taxes!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 20, 2010 2:50 PM

Pickin' a Fight

My Blog Brother Johngalt has made several dismissive comments about Senator John McCain. And, to be fair, he has a lot of material to work with.

I think blaming him for his offspring's politics is a little too far (cf. Ronnie Reagan) but I would join in a happy thrashing for campaign finance nonsense, opposition to the Bush tax cuts and his general disposition to over-regulation.

But I dropped a fly for a substantive defense of Rep. JD Hayworth's primary challenge and nobody struck. Looking for party purity to principle, I think McCain is better on spending than Hayworth and I am backed by the only decent guy out of 535, Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ, Earth, Sky, and Heaven Above).

For all his faults, I was reminded of something I always liked about Senator Crotchety. Yesterday on FOX News Sunday, he was asked about the secret memo that we didn't have a plan for Iran. He flashed his impish grin and said "I didn't need a secret memo to know the Administration had no plan for Iran."

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

I tried to stop short of blaming the senator. I just said he must be proud.

I haven't looked that closely at Hayworth, possibly because I'm afraid of what I might find. My attitude on the matter has been that it's a referendum on McCain. That's why I initially thought he'd prevail in the end, and why I later decided it was important to defeat him. My opposition is softening some, but I still think the cause of liberty might be better off without his "support."

Is it just me or does McCain seem to be better for our side when the Dems are in the majority, and worse when they aren't?

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2010 3:40 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair, But aren't they all? Hope and Change -- only President Obama could make the GOP look so good!

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2010 4:17 PM
But sarawilberz thinks:

Every time I start digging into hayworth I come away feeling dirty. John McCain is the man I will vote for.

Posted by: sarawilberz at April 20, 2010 1:33 AM
But clairejo90 thinks:

John McCain is better for America PERIOD. Hayworth is everything that is wrong with politics, personal gain over the good of the country.

Posted by: clairejo90 at April 20, 2010 1:38 AM
But sueoak72 thinks:

Yeah how come hayworth has only released where the money came from in that trust? I would like to see where it went. Proably to some member of his family. Someone do some digging and see if the family dog filed a w2.

Posted by: sueoak72 at April 20, 2010 2:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here you are, three good reasons why McCain should be voted out of office. His supporters best argument for him are personal attacks against his opponent. Again, where was this toughness when his opponent was a black man? (Or was it because his opponent was a Democrat?)

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 2:52 PM

April 18, 2010

Rockies No-No

Congratulations to Ubaldo Jimenez of the Colorado Rockies for pitching the first no-hitter in team history last night at the Atlanta Braves.

And shame on the sizeable minority of Braves fans who booed the on-field celebration by the visiting team.

Sports Posted by JohnGalt at 2:29 PM | What do you think? [1]
But AlexC thinks:

Between the 20 inning "pitchers matchup" and the no-hitter Saturday was a hell of a day for baseball.

Posted by: AlexC at April 18, 2010 8:15 PM

I am the TEA Party

LM's picture with her sign at a recent PA TEA Party was all the excuse I needed to put up this pic of me at the most recent Denver party. Not only am I "wealthier and more well-educated than the general public" and "just another extremist element who thinks he should get to spend his own earnings" I am also an ...

Can't you just tell how absolutely freakin' filthy RICH I must be?? In defense of the NY Times though, I do have a college degree.

The Times also said, "The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45." So what exactly does "tend to be" mean? 50.1% I suppose.

I meet all those requirements, sure enough, and look at all those old white dudes behind me, but then the Times story goes on to quote four TEA Party celebrants. Their names are Elwin, Kathy, Dee and Jodine. If this had been a pro-Obama rally the Times would probably have said "women outnumbered men three to one."

Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Lisa M thinks:

Love it, jg! I may have to lift that one for the next Tea Party.

A common sight around Independence Mall in Philly is the guy who dresses up as Ben Franklin. I'm not sure who pays this guy to walk around the city pretending he's Ben Franklin, but he was hanging out on the fringes of the rally all day. Finally, just beofe my girlfriend and I were getting ready to leave, he came up and, reading my sign, remarked, "Boy, you two really look like dangerous radicals." We agreed that we were indeed dangerous radicaqls, and Ole Ben began to elaborate about his sympathy witht eh Tea Partiers. My guess is that if he wasn't working, he would have joined in with us.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 18, 2010 9:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm thinking I should start working on a Ben Franklin costume for the next TEA Party. My sign will be "A REPUBLIC, MA'AM, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT."

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 2:53 PM

Quote of the Day

The rally, estimated in the tens of thousands, also displayed a wacky, irreverent spirit that I found endearing. I can't help but smile when paunchy small-business owners aged 50 and older don three-cornered hats and hoist rattlesnake flags in exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. -- Robert McCartney, WaPo
McCartney "differ[s] strenuously with the protesters on about 95 percent of the issues" but gives a pretty fair assesment of the participants.
Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | What do you think? [0]

TEABAGGERS EXPLAINED

At last, I have the lowdown on these tea parties you have been hearing so much about. A work friend posts this on Facebook:

Teabaggers (OK, the Tea Party), explained: "What's happening here is that you have a few leaders tapping into a very, very old seated racial resentment. . . . It's about 'those other folks' getting something that would otherwise go to you. That's ancient, and it goes back to reconstruction times. That's not about... information." -- Laura Flanders on Real Time with Bill Maher

There were 44 comments. One guy seemed to have not completely bought in, but the rest were how right she was and thank you for telling us this and...

I broke my no-politics-on-Facebook pledge yet again and there are now 45 comments. Perhaps I need a quota. If I could only pipe up once a month, I could save it up for a good cause.

Again, the poster lives near me, has three kids and a mortgage. This is not some poli-sci major at CU. I assume her laudatory commenters are in a similar class and situation.

UPDATE: Okay, I got me first response. I don't know the sender but she chose to personally engage on an intellectual level:

Head in the sand , head in the sand looking like a fool with your heads in the sand.
I just read back through this entire string and am struck by the single generalization that was made: "disagreeing with the left ALWAYS leads to charges of racism".

You go white people - who else would know better about the end of racism or even what it looks like - I guess I was just being a crazy liberal to listen to people of color on the issue -

I am sure the "birthers" are just concerned Americans worried about the political direction of the country - my bad for doubting.

NO ONE said all Tea Party activists are racist and I would imagine that the geographic location of any rally would be a factor in the characteristics of the participants at said rally. Exchanges like this one are sure leading me to the conclusion that, beyond the overt and covert racial elements of the movement, there are a growing number of Tea Party supporters willing to condone racism by their unwillingness to acknowledge it even exists.


Have I thanked ThreeSourcers lately? Even when there is bloodletting like Perry and TG, it is on topic and thoughtful. Thanks.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | What do you think? [8]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"NO ONE said all Tea Party activists are racist"

This is true only when taken literally. The libtards simply say that Tea partiers are acting out of racism -- meaning the movement as a whole, and that racism isn't necessarily the direct motivation.

I don't even need to go into specifics. I'll just provide this and let y'all form your own conclusions.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 18, 2010 7:39 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

"Racist" is just the liberal way of saying "Shut up!" I'm about sick of this method of non-debate too, and tweeked my old managing editor's nose about it as I commented on his column this morning. If you are interested, his phoned-in column, and my response are here.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 18, 2010 9:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One heckuva smack-down. Loved it! I'd say Gordon would be better off sticking with roller hockey, where he only lost 10-2.

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2010 10:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And it was news to me that Megan McCain joins Herr Olbermann and Janine Garofolo in believing TEA Partiers are "racist redneck hicks." (Toward the bottom of PE's google link.)

Pappa John McCain must be so proud!

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2010 10:45 AM
But jk thinks:

I was glad he wasn't on my hockey team.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2010 10:58 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Loved your reply, LM. But I guess that makes me a racist.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 21, 2010 10:18 AM

April 17, 2010

Saturday TV for ThreeSourcers

Yaron Brook, Tony Blankley, and Terry Jones (Investors.com, not Monty Python) discuss tea partiers, limited government, political pragmatism, and a "once in a lifetime chance."

I don't think "Underdog" is on (dating myself...), check out this on PJTV (17 mins).
.
Blankley frightens with his reminder to forget the New Deal and Great Society, just the liberty we've lost since 1975 when you could buy a toilet that had as much water in the tank as you wanted.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:04 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 15 - "TEA Party Day"

I posted a TEA Party article by one of JK's favorites... now here's one of mine - Robert Tracinski: American Love of Liberty is Not Dead.

The whole idea behind income taxes and runaway government spending is a reversal of the original meaning of America. It is a switch from a system of individual rights, a nation of independent individuals, private enterprise, and private property-to a system of subservience to the state.

(...)

I didn't think I'd see anything worse than that article-but wouldn't you know it. On Monday, there was a new article in the Boston Globe by somebody named James Carroll, who argues for "the true patriotism of paying taxes." He says that we should show gratitude for paying taxes, because it is our chance to show our dedication to-and this is a real quote-"the sacred treasure we share as a people." That "sacred treasure" is the state. And, he says, "Taxes are its sacrament."

The state as "sacred"? Taxes as a "sacrament"? I've heard it said that the left wants to put the state in the place of God, but I've never heard someone on the left admit it so clearly. Religious folks would view this as sacrilege. I'm secular in my outlook, but I agree-it's a sacrilege against America.

2010 Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

There isn't enough profanity in the world to describe an asswipe like Paul Regala.

The real Patriot's Day is Monday, the 235th anniversary.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 9:58 PM

Prosperity depends on Constitutional Limits of Government

Larry Kudlow is on board with the 'Contract from America.'

Harking back to the Founders' principles of constitutional limits to government is a very powerful message. It's a message of freedom, especially economic freedom. The tea partiers have delivered an extremely accurate diagnostic of what ails America right now: Government is growing too fast, too much, too expensively and in too many places -- and in the process it is crowding out our cherished economic freedom.

It's as though the tea partiers are saying this great country will never fulfill its long-run potential to prosper, create jobs and lead the world unless constitutional limits to government are restored.

2010 Tea Party Posted by JohnGalt at 10:46 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Larry has been talking it up on his show as well. He had the guy who started it on, and he has asked most of his guests about it.

I'd go for all of them but (always gotta be a "but...") I'd reword #9 as reducing government intrusion into the energy sector. It reads "Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, NATIONAL EBERGY POLICY, Less government,."

But that's small beans. Yes, jk is on board with the output -- and celebrates the Hayekian, crowdsourced creation.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2010 11:25 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm going to quibble a little with the phrasing, but not the sentiment. To say that "Government is growing too fast, too much, too expensively and in too many places" still implies that there's a proper rate for government to be growing fast, to be growing much, to be growing expensively, and that there are many places where it's proper to expand.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 10:02 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let me put it another way that I heard from someone years ago. Once you say something like, "Taxes are too high," you've just admitted that there's a certain level you find acceptable.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 10:05 PM

TEA Party "Contract From America"

Here's a political platform I can completely support. Comprised from the online votes of over 450,000 Americans are the top ten priorities of those who want to take their country back from the welfare statists. They call it the Contract from America.

1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nations global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)

3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 wordsthe length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitutions meaning. (63.37%)

6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isnt restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)

8. Pass an All-of-the-Above Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)

9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)

But jk thinks:

Excellent! What he says.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2010 11:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It's more awesome-er the more I think about it. It would make a great bumper sticker too. Even dagny would put it on her car.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2010 11:33 AM
But Lisa M thinks:

I can't claim it's my original sentiment--I did in fact get it off of a bumpersticker. But it sums up everything I want to say. Heading out now armed with my camera!

Posted by: Lisa M at April 17, 2010 12:10 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Independence Hall Tea Party pics here.

I had a great time, met a lot of great people and I will definitely go again.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 17, 2010 9:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good pics LM! I share your appreciation of the grandma and "biker dude" conversing. I see plenty of this kind of thing at the TEA Parties I attend too. And a grandmotherly type was the one to told me to "show that one a lot more" about my "What part of 'Enumerated Powers' don't you understand?" sign.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2010 12:26 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

The funnier picture that I didn't post was the one of the group of gay Obama supporters who were hanging out at the edge of the crowd all day watching being intensely engaged by a Ron Paul supporter wearing and "End the Fed" tee shirt. The more I think about everything I saw and heard down there yesterday, the happier I am that I went.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 18, 2010 9:32 PM

The Making of Electoral Landslides

A new book published this month explains how four wealthy progressives transformed Colorado politics from red to blue in a single election cycle. The Blueprint by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager describes the targeted use of massive amounts of cash in close races to essentially buy Colorado politics for the Democrats. If they're smart, Republicans will adopt much of this winning strategy.

I haven't read the book but one or both authors appeared on two different Denver radio shows today. In the morning Rob Witwer was on the Rosen show and both authors were interviewed by KHOW's Craig Silverman in the afternoon. A critical concession mentioned in both venues was agreement by the monied donors from the very beginning that they would not bicker with each other over policy differences. Instead, they all agreed that their solitary goal was election of Democrat candidates.

I'm not sure it's that simple for Republicans. After all, we have McCain and his merry band of big-government do-gooders to be wary of. But I do think the advice is useful when it comes to the fiscal/social conservative divide.


April 16, 2010

Where is the other half of Conservative voters?

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh cited opinion poll results that have shown consistently, since the question was initiated in 2002, Americans consider themselves "conservative" by a 2-to-1 margin over those who call themselves "liberal." So why are GOP and Democrat registrations nearly equal in the 30 percent range? I guess it's because Republicans aren't "chic."

David Harsanyi gives a more pointed explanation in his observations on yesterday's Tax Day TEA Party at the Denver capitol:

And though tea party supporters are more conservative than the average voter on social issues, as well -- particularly abortion, according to a separate Gallup Poll -- The New York Times reports that 8 in 10 tea party activists believe the movement should focus on economic issues rather than cultural ones.

How long have we been hearing from moderate, sensible, worldly Republican types that if only -- if only -- the right found God on economic issues and lost God on the social ones, there would be an expansion of appeal and support? Apparently, they were right.

The rest of the column gives some good polling info on TEA Party opinions. For example, would you believe that most TEA Party activists believe the taxes they now pay are "fair?"

But Lisa M thinks:

Yes, jg, I started this post agreeing with your assessment because I do think the abortion issue gets in the way of fiscal conservatism, in that the issue has been so inflated in importance of the minds of the people---it's a RIGHT to kill your unborn child!----that any opposition to it is looked upon as a revocation of rights. (As an aside, I think we've already hashed that out here, and I would say our basic disagreement boils down to when to confer rights on an unborn child.) That all being said if a fiscal conservative is pro-choice, it's not a deal breaker for me.

However, there is such a thing as a pro-life Democrat, PA's own Bob Casey Sr. (Junior is a joke) being the prominent among them. But Bart Stupak, even though his collapse at the end was ridiculously weak, was elected as a Democrat on a pro-life platform. I think there is still a segment of Dems out there--shrinking, to be sure---that still think that this is their father's democratic party and don't understand that their party has been hijacked by the far left. Since the so-called pro-life democrats failed their constituency in the health care vote, it will be interesting to see where this shakes out.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 16, 2010 8:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair enough. But for my part I've always believed that Dems claim a pro-life stance only when they think it's required to win election in a given district, while pro-life GOP'ers are more likely to crawl across broken glass for the issue. And why? Because the (yes, religiously motivated) pro-life lobby demands total commitment, or else they take their money and votes and go home.

I just hope that most pro-life voters are able to join you in adopting the TEA Party principles with at least as much intensity and dedication as they've pursued outlawing of abortion and gay marriage. Events of the post-Reagan era have shown that either conservative faction by itself is no match for the welfare eco-statists.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2010 2:44 AM
But Lisa M thinks:

I agree 100% with this assessment: "Because the (yes, religiously motivated) pro-life lobby demands total commitment, or else they take their money and votes and go home." and agree that fiscal conservatism should be everyone's first priority for government, especially in these times.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 17, 2010 9:04 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Kum Bay Ahhhh!

In re-reading the original post to dagny I noted that Harsanyi already observed that TEA Partiers are more socially conservative than the average voter - and yet overwhelmingly support a "focus on economic issues rather than cultural ones."

I hope I don't risk the shared joy of the moment with a fine adjustment to your characterization of our difference on the abortion issue. I think we agree that an unborn child has rights at conception. The disagreement is over the hierarchy of those rights: I say they trump the rights of every other individual except the mother.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2010 11:23 AM
But jk thinks:

As a great philosopher once said "It's a mixed up, muddled and shook up world 'cept for Lola."

Growing up in a Catholic community, there is a significant vote that goes to Republicans from voters who yearn for a progressive agenda but cannot countenance abortion (through-the looking glass Johngalts and Dagnies).

It's an electoral dynamic that cannot be ignored.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2010 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We try to ignore them anyway, the same way you try to ignore kids in a public pool who you just know are peeing in it. We (dagny and I) call these types "the worst of both [philosophical] worlds." They want to infringe the social AND economic liberties of others. The ones you speak of are disciples of the social justice movement that Glenn Beck railed against.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2010 12:46 PM

Quote of the Day

This is worth parsing because it gets to the heart of what's wrong with Obamanomics. The Summers argument is that increasing unemployment insurance increases aggregate demand and thus reduces unemployment. This is because he and the neo-Keynesians believe that the impact on macroeconomic demand of this jobless spending outweighs the microeconomic harm on individual incentives.

In other words, if government pays people for not working, then more people will work. Subsidize unemployment and you will somehow get less of it. But if this were true, we could lower unemployment even more if we increased jobless benefits to $100,000 a year per person to cause an even greater surge in demand. -- WSJ Ed Page comparing Larry Summers's academic analysis of jobless benefits to his new-found political view.



Live at the Coffeehouse

My sister Diane joins me for Alleghany Moon by Al Hoffman and Dick Manning (1956).

banner4.gif

liveatthecoffeehouse.com.


April 15, 2010

Amazon MP3s

I was emailing with a friend of ThreeSources about Amazon MP3s. I cede that they lack the selection of iTunes, but purchases are unprotected and in mp3 format, so they will play on any device. Plus they are integrated well enough into iTunes that it is as convenient as Jobs's shop.

They have a "100 albums for $5" every week. I bought the new Jeff Beck last week, and Miles form India today, "a world music fusion record based on compositions by Miles Davis."

Posted by John Kranz at 5:07 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I also love Amazon's MP3s. The selection is truly amazing. Recently I downloaded a couple of Lawrence Tibbett, who I grew up listening to. This is the same album whose LP I have around somewhere.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 15, 2010 9:30 PM

Tweet of the Day

GayPatriot RT @jimmiebjr: I get the feeling that, as a kid, when other kids played astronauts, the President played bureaucrat who cut their funding.
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for the soapbox. Just finished reading the AP story on Obama's new "adventures in space." To summarize, he's killing the Constellation mission to the moon and replacing it with "billions into research to eventually develop new government rocket ships for future missions to a nearby asteroid, the moon, Martian moons or other points in space. Those stops would be stepping stones on an eventual mission to Mars." (...) "...with details still to be worked out."

I guess the key differences are the words "eventually" and "other points in space" and "details." Maybe they'll happen, maybe they won't. And maybe this president isn't content with the next mission to the moon being credited to his predecessor's vision instead of his own.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2010 4:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I am pretty squishy on this. Some of the Samizdata folk are celebrating the transition from government exploration to private. And I can't complain about admitting that we cannot afford everything we'd like.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2010 5:02 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll have to use the same argument here as before: by what right can my neighbors come to me and demand that I pay for part of exploration that I don't agree with?

Going to Mars might be nice, but I have far too many other expenses to worry about paying for other explorers.

If you want space exploration, nobody's stopping you from contributing. Or roads, bridges, schools and water systems. It's the fact that some people don't want to pay for bad roads, slowly built bridges, schools they don't have children in, and water systems they don't like, that causes others to band together and form a "government."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 15, 2010 9:34 PM

Quote of the Day

Yesterday's Facebook quote, but they're all timeless, right?

City smog and filthy rivers are not good for men (though they are not the kind of danger that the ecological panic-mongers proclaim them to be). This is a scientific, technological problem--not a political one--and it can be solved only by technology. Even if smog were a risk to human life, we must remember that life in nature, without technology, is wholesale death. -- Ayn Rand

The Commons Problem and pollution are so often cited as an insuperable need for government and regulation. I feel my friends' twitchy fingers ready to type that corporations would not bother with a technological solution unless government forced them to not dump sewage into the river.

Perhaps it's a fair cop. I'd just remind them that prosperity and affluence provide clean air and water. The Soviet Union had no shortage of government -- yet was not anyone's idea of an ecological paradise.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

The Avatar DVD will be released on Earth Day. That is so perfect and so sickening I'm not sure which to feel.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2010 12:13 PM

EAT THE RICH!!

David Leonhardt at the New York Times has looked at the situation carefully. The right wing blogs (huh?) and talk radio are all abuzz that 47% don't pay any Federal Income Tax. Well, that's true but not really important. The important thing is the clear need to raise taxes on the rich.

The answer is that tax rates almost certainly have to rise more on the affluent than on other groups. Over the last 30 years, rates have fallen more for the wealthy, and especially the very wealthy, than for any other group. At the same time, their incomes have soared, and the incomes of most workers have grown only moderately faster than inflation.

So a much greater share of income is now concentrated at the top of distribution, while each dollar there is taxed less than it once was. It's true that raising taxes on the rich alone can't come close to solving the long-term budget problem. The deficit is simply too big. But if taxes are not increased for the wealthy, the country will be left with two options.

It will have to raise taxes even more than it otherwise would on everybody else. Or it will have to find deep cuts in Medicare, Social Security, military spending and the other large (generally popular) federal programs.


We clearly cannot cut spending on a program that is popular. And we clearly cannot make 47% of the country actually pay taxes. Damn, we're out of options.

Professor Mankiw suggests that Leonhardt is dismissive of the effects of tax rates as incentives or disincentives to the wealthy.

Over the past half century, the top marginal tax rate has fallen from 91 percent in the 1950s and early 1960s to 35 percent today. Thus, the amount a person gets to keep at the margin has risen from 9 percent to 65 percent, that is, by a factor of 7.2. If the elasticity of taxable income with respect to 1-t is one, as some studies find for high-income taxpayers, then the incomes of the rich would have risen by a factor of 7.2 as well. If the elasticity is one-half, then their incomes would have risen by a factor of 2.7. In either case, the change in pretax income attributable to the tax cuts is substantial.

By comparison, the incomes of the superrich (top 0.01 percent), as a share of total income, increased by a factor of about 5 over this period. So, it seems that for plausible elasticities, a significant portion of that increase can potentially be explained by the cuts in the top marginal tax rate.


With tea party sentiment in full swing, I'm thinking that the first principles argument is actually stronger than the Laffer curve argument. You can credibly call that bass-ackwards. With our debt scenario, tax reduction would be a powerful aid to growth and the resulting prosperity would be the best chance to fund the debt.

I just believe that ideals of liberty, real fairness, and anti-confiscatory sentiment are ascendant right now. The better answer to Leonhardt is "No, we don't want to be slaves to the state" rather than "the elasticity might be as high as 1:1."

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 14, 2010

Regulation Reality Tour

Coming to Colorado

Posted by John Kranz at 7:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Port Wine Stain Removal?

JK just highlighted the press "discovery" of the impending doctor shortage and treatment delays and degradation under Obamacare. But Obamacare's big selling points were affordability and accessibility. We'll get improvements in those areas by mandating that everyone have coverage, right? Wrong.

In June 2002, Washington Policy Center published a study showing how state-imposed mandates add to the cost of health insurance. Since then state lawmakers have added new mandates, and the cost of insurance has continued to rise.

Yes I realize that the verb 'mandate' acts on different objects in the comparative cases, but the idea is that when government interferes in the marketplace only bad things happen.

Taken together, however, mandates impose significant cost on the health insurance market. State-imposed mandates carry the force of law, and they interfere directly in the voluntary relationship between buyer and seller. Mandates mean people are forced to pay for coverage they may not otherwise choose. This leads to a crowding out effect coverage customers prefer is not available because insurers must offer the mandated benefits instead.

In Washington state, where this report was produced, the state mandates some 57 different conditions, providers, and beneficiaries be included in every health insurance policy. Included among these is "port wine stain removal." Imagine that not being covered. Oh, the humanity!

But jk thinks:

I had a pre-existing port wine stain and was denied coverage...

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2010 5:22 PM

Is This That Supply and Demand Thingy Again?

I don't think they're even factoring in Doctor Galts (Henderson, was it?) But "experts" on the WSJ News pages are discovering what real experts on the WSJ Editorial Page were screaming for months: we won't have enough doctors without ObamaCare®, ObamaCare® makes it worse, and ObamaCare® does nothing positive to alleviate the shortage.

The new federal health-care law has raised the stakes for hospitals and schools already scrambling to train more doctors.

Experts warn there won't be enough doctors to treat the millions of people newly insured under the law. At current graduation and training rates, the nation could face a shortage of as many as 150,000 doctors in the next 15 years, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges.


This is so weird. Government controls the price. And then there's a shortage. Somebody should do a study and see if there is some correlation...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You're just an evil, racist right-winger. Stop clinging to your guns and religion!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 14, 2010 1:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not Henderson but Hendricks, Doctor Hendricks.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2010 3:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

When did Obamacare partisans ever claim their bill would result in more doctors, better care or shorter wait times? They said it would make health insurance affordable and undeniable.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2010 3:18 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Of course, what good is the insurance if you have no one to provide the services it's supposed to pay for.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 14, 2010 5:22 PM
But Everyday Economist thinks:

If only someone had written about the problems with the supply-side of health care:

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=050107B

(Warning: Shameless self-promotion)

Posted by: Everyday Economist at April 14, 2010 9:44 PM
But jk thinks:

@EE: Shameless Self Promotion is a feature not a bug around here. It's a great article and well worth a(nother) read.

The reference to substitution is interesting. Walgreen's has added nurse practitioners in in-store clinics. I think that CVS and Walmart* have done the same. In anything resembling a free market, this would be an effective solution for much of what ails health care.

Yet I worry that the perpetuation of a top-down, command-and-control model will impede the growth of these services, which would help alleviate the upcoming shortage.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2010 10:34 AM

Quote of the Day

The profound crisis of our era is, in essence, the conflict between the Social Engineers, who seek to adjust mankind to conform with scientific utopias, and the disciples of Truth, who defend the organic moral order. We believe that truth is neither arrived at nor illuminated by monitoring election results, binding though these are for other purposes, but by other means, including a study of human experience. On this point we are, without reservations, on the conservative side. -- Professor Bainbridge
This is from a great column arguing against Bruce Bartlett's suggestion that we don't sweat government's infringing on liberties because of prosperity. I am guilty of badly paraphrasing Bartlett, but Reason Magazine does much of the same. Sure, taxes and spending have dectupled, but gays are accepted and the Internet is cool.

Maybe liberty in the private sphere is a good reason to not jump off a government bridge, but it is not a good reason to not fight further intrusions. (Four negatives and two split-infinitives in one sentence, but I'm not revising nothing.)

Good piece, hat-tip: Instapundit

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I read the whole article. 5-stars.

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2010 3:26 PM

April 13, 2010

The Saudi Press is Upset with the Repression

President Obama shows off liberty at his big nuke shindig. Dana Milbank at WaPo:

They entered a capital that had become a military encampment, with camo-wearing military police in Humvees and enough Army vehicles to make it look like a May Day parade on New York Avenue, where a bicyclist was killed Monday by a National Guard truck.

In the middle of it all was Obama -- occupant of an office once informally known as "leader of the free world" -- putting on a clinic for some of the world's greatest dictators in how to circumvent a free press.

The only part of the summit, other than a post-meeting news conference, that was visible to the public was Obama's eight-minute opening statement, which ended with the words: "I'm going to ask that we take a few moments to allow the press to exit before our first session."

Reporters for foreign outlets, many operating in repressive countries, got the impression that the vaunted American freedoms are not all they're cracked up to be.


But T. Greer thinks:

Guys, what do you imagine such a transition would look like? Are we going to wave the magic libertarian fairy wand and have the world be a good place? Please. Millions of laws across the world would need to be repealed. Committees would have to go through each one and find those that need to be repealed, that those that could be amended, and those that could live on unaltered. You would need to make a timetable for laying off millions of people. Many governments would need to be restructured entirely. For all of this you would need a plan.

But really this is marginal. By focusing on the free market example (which is a fantasy that will never happen) my true point is being obscured. Lets pretend it is something you (or at least JK) might support - a summit between NATO allies to negotiate a plan for victory in Afghanistan. Would you want reporters in there? Would you want every wink, every backroom deal, every admission of political realities not publicly admissible, shared with the world in real time? It would destroy the conference and any chance it has for success.

I don't imagine you would want this conference wrecked. But that is because you agree with its aims. Conferences on nuclear disarmament, they should be wrecked.

But politics does not work like that. You are breaking the norm. Rules have to apply to both sides.

To take a rather crude analogy - terrorism is never right for one side. You cannot lend your support to placing bombs in your opponents house and then be surprised to find them in your own. No matter how dangerous a president is, we don't advocate his assassination. The precedent is dangerous. Killing cannot be the way we politick.

This is an extreme example, but the principle extends down to the bottom. Do not sanction methods to defeat a policy proposal that you do not want to - or are not prepared to - face yourself.

Personally, I would rather reserve the right to hold private international conferences with allies or enemies in the future. This is why I have no problem with Obama using this tool now, even if I disapprove with his goal.


Posted by: T. Greer at April 17, 2010 6:04 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
Millions of laws across the world would need to be repealed. Committees would have to go through each one and find those that need to be repealed, that those that could be amended, and those that could live on unaltered. You would need to make a timetable for laying off millions of people. Many governments would need to be restructured entirely. For all of this you would need a plan.
I don't know if you're deliberately creating a strawman, but at the least your claim of a needed "plan" is utter hogwash. You just lack the imagination to comprehend what human sweat can accomplish, and that people will be forced to work for themselves when they can't live off of others' labor -- steal from others' labor. You should check out Lew Rockwell's plan for the first 30 days. "DAY FOUR: The minimum wage is reduced to zero, creating jobs for ex-federal bureaucrats at their market wage. All pro-union laws and regulations are scrapped. The jobless rate falls dramatically."

The American colonies survived for four years without a national government after freeing themselves from Crown law. They did just fine. Oh, you'll probably point to Shay's Rebellion, but what else? American civilization hardly collapsed on itself. Trade, domestic and international, didn't cease.

Why are timetables needed for government workers? Let them get honest work. Real work. I really don't care if they all starve to death en masse, I really don't. There is no pity in my heart for those who have lived their lives by stealing from my labor.

But really this is marginal. By focusing on the free market example (which is a fantasy that will never happen) my true point is being obscured.
A free market doesn't exist because state-worshippers like you will always need others to pay for your lives, or at least you believe in letting others make others pay for their lives.
Lets pretend it is something you (or at least JK) might support - a summit between NATO allies to negotiate a plan for victory in Afghanistan. Would you want reporters in there? Would you want every wink, every backroom deal, every admission of political realities not publicly admissible, shared with the world in real time? It would destroy the conference and any chance it has for success.
You might have had a point except that you talked about "negotiate a plan for victory" -- a complete oxymoron. "Negotiate" is another word for "compromise," and if something is in our national interest, there is no room to compromise.

Military planning is entirely different, though. We haven't even gone there.

So why would you not "want every wink, every backroom deal, every admission of political realities not publicly admissible" exposed for all the world to see? Or are you arguing that politicians, as our "best and brightest," are just so smart that they're saving people from themselves? This must be your Nicholson impersonation: "You can't handle the truth!"

I don't imagine you would want this conference wrecked. But that is because you agree with its aims. Conferences on nuclear disarmament, they should be wrecked.
"Wrecked" is your word, not mine. I've only been saying that conferences on nuclear disarmament are useless at best, so I have absolutely no respect for them. It disarms nations like the U.S. whose character is about using them legitimately, while doing nothing to prevent evil nations from developing them. It's exactly like expecting criminals to obey gun control laws.
But politics does not work like that. You are breaking the norm. Rules have to apply to both sides.
You still don't understand what "nuclear disarmament" is about. It's applying our rules to ourselves, while the bad guys laugh at our rules they'd never follow.
To take a rather crude analogy - terrorism is never right for one side. You cannot lend your support to placing bombs in your opponents house and then be surprised to find them in your own. No matter how dangerous a president is, we don't advocate his assassination. The precedent is dangerous. Killing cannot be the way we politick.
This is a bad analogy. I support doing violent things to someone when he's done bad things, or is reasonably believed to be ready to do bad things.

The real analogy is this: I don't believe in terrorism and wouldn't plant bomb in my neighbor's house, but he believes in planting bombs in mine. What good does it do, then, for me to round up all the good guys and proclaim we're going to cut down on the number of bombs around?

This is an extreme example, but the principle extends down to the bottom. Do not sanction methods to defeat a policy proposal that you do not want to - or are not prepared to - face yourself.
I already live my life by the principle that I don't do anything to others that I wouldn't want them to do to me -- in politics, business or social interactions. But what about those who will infringe upon my rights? Well, simply, I reserve my right to use force to defend myself.
Personally, I would rather reserve the right to hold private international conferences with allies or enemies in the future. This is why I have no problem with Obama using this tool now, even if I disapprove with his goal.
The "tool" you're talking about is, as my "leader," Obama's declaration that while his office claims to have ultimate responsibility for national defense, he's going to hamstring it in the futile hope that bad guys will follow suit. Reality does not work that way.

My dad used to say, "Jesus Christ was perfect, and look what happened." I'll rephrase it here. Jesus lived a life of peace, and look what happened. But evil wasn't meant to be eradicated then, and that's why Jesus will return with a sword.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 11:57 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Sayeth Perry:

You just lack the imagination to comprehend what human sweat can accomplish, and that people will be forced to work for themselves when they can't live off of others' labor

Wait, who is creating staw men here? Reread my words. Did I ever state that this world of free men and free markets would be unable to function without state help? I said that a plan would be needed to dismantle the current governmental structures that that stop this from taking place. Heck, even Lew Rockwell admits this - his piece is titled "Thirty Day Plan", isn't?

The American colonies survived for four years without a national government after freeing themselves from Crown law. They did just fine. Oh, you'll probably point to Shay's Rebellion, but what else? American civilization hardly collapsed on itself. Trade, domestic and international, didn't cease.

Strawman, again. As before, I never said that it is impossible for the world to get along without the US federal government. Feel free to read everything I have written up to this point. It simply isn't there. (Though as a tangential point - you would be hard pressed to find many among the constitutional framers, or those who voted with them, who did not think the colonies were reaching a crisis point. But whatev, right?)

Why are timetables needed for government workers?

Oh, because I was hoping to craft an example that, despite its fanciful end point, had some semblance to reality. You know, the reality where those people being laid off can vote. The kind of reality where most people are not the kind of cold hearted bastards who like to see their family and friends thrown out into the street. You know, like the one we live in?

A free market doesn't exist because state-worshippers like you will always need others to pay for your lives, or at least you believe in letting others make others pay for their lives.

Sure? Very clever of you? I'd only add one bit: and it will stay that way, because the state-worshippers have the guns. And the state worshippers are in the majority. Thus I can state that these dreams of an international free market paradise are fantasies, however nice they may look to you or I.

You might have had a point except that you talked about "negotiate a plan for victory" -- a complete oxymoron. "Negotiate" is another word for "compromise," and if something is in our national interest, there is no room to compromise.

Where to start? There are negotiations that do not involve much compromise at all - say, the standard military alliance. But even they require compromises of some sort or another - we protect you with our bombs, you let us use one of your bases. A win-win at first glance, but as the Futenma spat has shown, such agreements involve pain as well as gain for the parties involved. Which brings us to the broader point - there is no monolithic 'national interest' to be striven for in any international situation. There are many interests, and none are set in stone. Any one policy, treaty, proposal, or military engagement juggles the bunch of 'em, eventually deciding to give more weight over the other. Thus the Japanese must juggle the autonomy and liberty of the citizens of Futenma with economic ties to the United States and the American nuclear umbrella. They knew what they could afford to compromise and what they could not.

Military planning is entirely different, though. We haven't even gone there.

So why would you not "want every wink, every backroom deal, every admission of political realities not publicly admissible" exposed for all the world to see? Or are you arguing that politicians, as our "best and brightest," are just so smart that they're saving people from themselves? This must be your Nicholson impersonation: "You can't handle the truth!"

Why exactly is military planning different from other types of government planning, exactly? I would love to hear you explain the distinction.

As for the "why don't I want to see every wink wink" question... I pretty much hit this one in the very first comment, didn't I? How many incidents - examples from the entire course of human history are fair game - come to mind where significant alliances, laws, international treaties, business deals, or collaborative actions involving multiple parties were completed with the entire world watching every minute of the proceedings? As George Mason noted with his motion to keep the '87 conference under wraps:

"such a record of the opinions of members would be an obstacle to a change of them on conviction; and in the case of its being hereafter promulged must furnish handles to the adversaries of the Result of the Meeting."

And that was before 24/7 media of today's time.

I am a sure more than a few anti-federalist complained about the "best and brightest" then too.

As for the rest - you seem to miss my argument entirely. The "rules" I talk about are not the nuclear disarmament regime Obama tried to cajole the world into. The rules are those norms we - as members of the opposition - adhere to. The rules we apply to ourselves as opponents of the President's policies. Obama could be hosting a NATO planning session, a G-20 summit, or an international summit on the proliferation of Hello Kitty toys, and my point would be the same. The President of the United States should be able to kick out the media out of international summits when he feels that such is required to accomplish the summit's goal. Even if you, or I, or some self-righteous reporter thinks the conference itself is being held for stupid, inane, or immoral reasons, he should still be able to do this.

You can argue against the ends, but do not do so by ruining the means.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 18, 2010 5:52 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
Wait, who is creating staw men here? Reread my words. Did I ever state that this world of free men and free markets would be unable to function without state help? I said that a plan would be needed to dismantle the current governmental structures that that stop this from taking place.

Heck, even Lew Rockwell admits this - his piece is titled "Thirty Day Plan", isn't?

I am merely stating your position, unobfuscated. When you talk about a "plan," it's about going through laws to sort what should be kept, what will be done with government workers, and other nonsense. The only "plan" needed is to stop. You don't even need a law that "All laws incompatible with the individual's inalienable rights to his own life, liberty and property are hereby repealed/rendered null and void." You just need bureaucrats (from the IRS to EPA), police and courts to stop enforcing the laws.

It's clear you don't understand the nature of Rockwell's plan: it's about restoring liberty by stopping government from doing things, and letting freedom emerge. Government does not create: its operations are solely the exertion of force on things that already exist. That is why government cannot create freedom except by staying out of a free people's way. Did you notice that there isn't a single element of Rockwell's plan where government actually takes action to create anything? His plan could just as easily take place in one day, in one hour, in the few minutes it takes someone to read his plan.

Strawman, again.
You're such a hypocrite to try to ignore your strawmen and accuse me of creating my own. I will warn you here: cut it out. You have no idea what you're getting into.
As before, I never said that it is impossible for the world to get along without the US federal government. Feel free to read everything I have written up to this point. It simply isn't there.
You're full of it. I guess you haven't had occasion before, but you will learn now that you shouldn't try to weasel out when I'm around. I won't let you, bubba. You didn't say "it is impossible for the world to get along without the US federal government," specifically, but you did say a libertarian society would need a "plan," then used a strawman to make it appear that the necessary "plan" is impossible to achieve.

Oh, but you did say "the free market example (which is a fantasy that will never happen)..." Far it be it from me to assume anything about your incredibly vague statement there. Silly me!

We had free markets in the colonies, and fitting in with the principle that government can only interfere, the free markets existed where the Crown didn't tax or "regulate." Americans were trading peacefully with the French and Indians, but the British wanted to fight a war. The British then needed to tax the colonies, granting charters for tea to the East India Company, imposing high taxes on alcoholic beverages and sugar, and forcing everything that the colonies imported to be routed through England. So when the colonial traitors smuggled and evaded taxes, it was all because they were exercising their God-given rights to transact peacefully with others, without having to give a "cut" to government or otherwise have the terms dictated. Free markets.

(Though as a tangential point - you would be hard pressed to find many among the constitutional framers, or those who voted with them, who did not think the colonies were reaching a crisis point. But whatev, right?)
Though I now disagree with the Constitution itself, the intent was to strengthen the national government but hardly set up a system of mass redistribution of wealth (though it did get perverted into that). I think Madison said some vague things about "few and enumerated" powers. Nor was there any naive intent of disarming America, hoping the world would follow.
Oh, because I was hoping to craft an example that, despite its fanciful end point, had some semblance to reality. You know, the reality where those people being laid off can vote.
Another strawman. You talk about "reality" as if the current situation of voting can never change. Why can't it? You're just like the colonials who weren't necessarily Loyalists, but didn't have the imagination to imagine that Crown rule could be overthrown.
The kind of reality where most people are not the kind of cold hearted bastards who like to see their family and friends thrown out into the street. You know, like the one we live in?
This isn't just another of your strawmen. You're either a damned fool or a liar for insinuating that I'm one of those "cold hearted bastards" for opposing government's role in charity or providing jobs. Tell us, why do you believe government has any role in that?

And did you understand a single thing of what I said? If these people cannot support themselves after having spent entire careers working courtesy of my tax money, then I really don't care if they starve in the street. Their careers were spent using their talents in endeavors they wanted, funded by taxpayers' dollars, while the rest of us with honest jobs have to produce things of value. That's why free markets work, and government programs don't.

The very problem with this country is because people can vote themselves power over others' lives and property. In this new society of freedom, it won't matter if ATF Alfred, IRS Isaac and BEA Bea can vote. They'll have to get themselves real jobs, because even if Senator Sam stays in power, he'll have no power to help pass laws that make me pay for them to get jobs. So again, you demonstrate a lack of imagination. You're envisioning a society of "freedom" that in fact is back to the same old thing of democratic voting.

Take a bridge in my county as an example. The state of New York and the federal government committed to a total of $17.9 million dollars for a bridge in Chappaqua. This isn't the Tappan Zee: it's a two-lane bridge spanning perhaps a few hundred feet! I'd observe the unionized contractors every morning, and naturally it would be four or five of them standing around -- drinking coffee, talking, anything but productive work -- while one actually did something. Why should I care if they lose their jobs? These thieves could spend the rest of their lives on the street, sleeping on church steps and begging for spare change, for all I care.

Sure? Very clever of you? I'd only add one bit: and it will stay that way, because the state-worshippers have the guns. And the state worshippers are in the majority. Thus I can state that these dreams of an international free market paradise are fantasies, however nice they may look to you or I.
And which "state-worshippers" are you talking about? Not Sarah Brady and others who believe in gun control.

Here's sort of an early warning system for you: it's these folks who the media has demonized as racist right-wing extremist types, the ones clinging bitterly to guns and religion, who tend to own guns. They're just outnumbered by votes, and there are a lot of people in this country who won't put up with having their rights determined by others' votes.

State-worshippers largely rely on the police and military, so you have to ask yourself just one thing: will those two public institutions protect state-worshippers? They tend to attract conservatives, remember.

I personally agree with a friend who's been saying for years that this will lead to civil war. The two sides will be those who want their rights to life, liberty and property, and those who want to usurp others' rights.

Where to start? There are negotiations that do not involve much compromise at all - say, the standard military alliance. But even they require compromises of some sort or another - we protect you with our bombs, you let us use one of your bases. A win-win at first glance, but as the Futenma spat has shown, such agreements involve pain as well as gain for the parties involved.
The example of a military base is exchange, not compromise. Our base in Okinawa is neither: it's an absurdity. We're giving up more than we gain, and the Japanese largely don't want us. The simple answer is to pull out, but the military and military contractors don't want the reduction in forces.
Which brings us to the broader point - there is no monolithic 'national interest' to be striven for in any international situation. There are many interests, and none are set in stone. Any one policy, treaty, proposal, or military engagement juggles the bunch of 'em, eventually deciding to give more weight over the other.
There actually is one "national interest," or at least what should be the single one: freedom. Everything else is about redistribution. American generals and military contractors could never do as well in the private sector, so they rely on the taxpayer to pay for their livelihoods.
Thus the Japanese must juggle the autonomy and liberty of the citizens of Futenma with economic ties to the United States and the American nuclear umbrella. They knew what they could afford to compromise and what they could not.
That's a lot of nonsense. Do you really believe that? Japan and the U.S. don't need American troops on Okinawa for American and Japanese consumers to trade. If the U.S. pulled out, would Japanese exporters say, "Hmmph, well no more for you"?

Nor is there really a need for American taxpayers to pay for Americans to stay on Okinawa for Japan's government -- or that of any nation that the U.S. government deems "good" -- to think that if they're attacked, the U.S. could retaliate heavily. Except that the bad guys now know Obama's in charge and doesn't want us to use everything at our disposal.

Why exactly is military planning different from other types of government planning, exactly? I would love to hear you explain the distinction.
Because when it comes to battle plans, whether raiding insurgents in Iraq or fighting the Taliban, that requires inherent secrecy. When it comes to the political machinations deciding how to fleece American taxpayers, which senator is logrolling, that's different. If it were exposed that a senator, oh, traded her vote because her state received an extra $300 million, you don't think that needs to be exposed? Only for the last 15 or so years would it have received timely criticism, though hardly as widespread as today.
Wait, who is creating staw men here? Reread my words. Did I ever state that this world of free men and free markets would be unable to function without state help? I said that a plan would be needed to dismantle the current governmental structures that that stop this from taking place.

Heck, even Lew Rockwell admits this - his piece is titled "Thirty Day Plan", isn't?

I am merely stating your position, unobfuscated. When you talk about a "plan," it's about going through laws to sort what should be kept, what will be done with government workers, and other nonsense. The only "plan" needed is to stop. You don't even need a law that "All laws incompatible with the individual's inalienable rights to his own life, liberty and property are hereby repealed/rendered null and void." You just need bureaucrats (from the IRS to EPA), police and courts to stop enforcing the laws.

It's clear you don't understand the nature of Rockwell's plan: it's about restoring liberty by stopping government from doing things, and letting freedom emerge. Government does not create: its operations are solely the exertion of force on things that already exist. That is why government cannot create freedom except by staying out of a free people's way. Did you notice that there isn't a single element of Rockwell's plan where government actually takes action to create anything? His plan could just as easily take place in one day, in one hour, in the few minutes it takes someone to read his plan.

Strawman, again.
You're such a hypocrite to try to ignore your strawmen and accuse me of creating my own. I will warn you here: cut it out. You have no idea what you're getting into.
As before, I never said that it is impossible for the world to get along without the US federal government. Feel free to read everything I have written up to this point. It simply isn't there.
You're full of it. I guess you haven't had occasion before, but you will learn now that you shouldn't try to weasel out when I'm around. I won't let you, bubba. You didn't say "it is impossible for the world to get along without the US federal government," specifically, but you did say a libertarian society would need a "plan," then used a strawman to make it appear that the necessary "plan" is impossible to achieve.

Oh, but you did say "the free market example (which is a fantasy that will never happen)..." Far it be it from me to assume anything about your incredibly vague statement there. Silly me!

We had free markets in the colonies, and fitting in with the principle that government can only interfere, the free markets existed where the Crown didn't tax or "regulate." Americans were trading peacefully with the French and Indians, but the British wanted to fight a war. The British then needed to tax the colonies, granting charters for tea to the East India Company, imposing high taxes on alcoholic beverages and sugar, and forcing everything that the colonies imported to be routed through England. So when the colonial traitors smuggled and evaded taxes, it was all because they were exercising their God-given rights to transact peacefully with others, without having to give a "cut" to government or otherwise have the terms dictated. Free markets.

(Though as a tangential point - you would be hard pressed to find many among the constitutional framers, or those who voted with them, who did not think the colonies were reaching a crisis point. But whatev, right?)
Though I now disagree with the Constitution itself, the intent was to strengthen the national government but hardly set up a system of mass redistribution of wealth (though it did get perverted into that). I think Madison said some vague things about "few and enumerated" powers. Nor was there any naive intent of disarming America, hoping the world would follow.
Oh, because I was hoping to craft an example that, despite its fanciful end point, had some semblance to reality. You know, the reality where those people being laid off can vote.
Another strawman. You talk about "reality" as if the current situation of voting can never change. Why can't it? You're just like the colonials who weren't necessarily Loyalists, but didn't have the imagination to imagine that Crown rule could be overthrown.
The kind of reality where most people are not the kind of cold hearted bastards who like to see their family and friends thrown out into the street. You know, like the one we live in?
This isn't just another of your strawmen. You're either a damned fool or a liar for insinuating that I'm one of those "cold hearted bastards" for opposing government's role in charity or providing jobs. Tell us, why do you believe government has any role in that?

And did you understand a single thing of what I said? If these people cannot support themselves after having spent entire careers working courtesy of my tax money, then I really don't care if they starve in the street. Their careers were spent using their talents in endeavors they wanted, funded by taxpayers' dollars, while the rest of us with honest jobs have to produce things of value. That's why free markets work, and government programs don't.

The very problem with this country is because people can vote themselves power over others' lives and property. In this new society of freedom, it won't matter if ATF Alfred, IRS Isaac and BEA Bea can vote. They'll have to get themselves real jobs, because even if Senator Sam stays in power, he'll have no power to help pass laws that make me pay for them to get jobs. So again, you demonstrate a lack of imagination. You're envisioning a society of "freedom" that in fact is back to the same old thing of democratic voting.

Take a bridge in my county as an example. The state of New York and the federal government committed to a total of $17.9 million dollars for a bridge in Chappaqua. This isn't the Tappan Zee: it's a two-lane bridge spanning perhaps a few hundred feet! I'd observe the unionized contractors every morning, and naturally it would be four or five of them standing around -- drinking coffee, talking, anything but productive work -- while one actually did something. Why should I care if they lose their jobs? These thieves could spend the rest of their lives on the street, sleeping on church steps and begging for spare change, for all I care.

Sure? Very clever of you? I'd only add one bit: and it will stay that way, because the state-worshippers have the guns. And the state worshippers are in the majority. Thus I can state that these dreams of an international free market paradise are fantasies, however nice they may look to you or I.
And which "state-worshippers" are you talking about? Not Sarah Brady and others who believe in gun control.

Here's sort of an early warning system for you: it's these folks who the media has demonized as racist right-wing extremist types, the ones clinging bitterly to guns and religion, who tend to own guns. They're just outnumbered by votes, and there are a lot of people in this country who won't put up with having their rights determined by others' votes.

State-worshippers largely rely on the police and military, so you have to ask yourself just one thing: will those two public institutions protect state-worshippers? They tend to attract conservatives, remember.

I personally agree with a friend who's been saying for years that this will lead to civil war. The two sides will be those who

Where to start? There are negotiations that do not involve much compromise at all - say, the standard military alliance. But even they require compromises of some sort or another - we protect you with our bombs, you let us use one of your bases. A win-win at first glance, but as the Futenma spat has shown, such agreements involve pain as well as gain for the parties involved.
The example of a military base is exchange, not compromise. Our base in Okinawa is neither: it's an absurdity. We're giving up more than we gain, and the Japanese largely don't want us. The simple answer is to pull out, but the military and military contractors don't want the reduction in forces.
Which brings us to the broader point - there is no monolithic 'national interest' to be striven for in any international situation. There are many interests, and none are set in stone. Any one policy, treaty, proposal, or military engagement juggles the bunch of 'em, eventually deciding to give more weight over the other.
There actually is one "national interest," or at least what should be the single one: freedom. Everything else is about redistribution. American generals and military contractors could never do as well in the private sector, so they rely on the taxpayer to pay for their livelihoods.
Thus the Japanese must juggle the autonomy and liberty of the citizens of Futenma with economic ties to the United States and the American nuclear umbrella. They knew what they could afford to compromise and what they could not.
That's a lot of nonsense. Do you really believe that? Japan and the U.S. don't need American troops on Okinawa for American and Japanese consumers to trade. If the U.S. pulled out, would Japanese exporters say, "Hmmph, well no more for you"?

Nor is there really a need for American taxpayers to pay for Americans to stay on Okinawa for Japan's government -- or that of any nation that the U.S. government deems "good" -- to think that if they're attacked, the U.S. could retaliate heavily. Except that the bad guys now know Obama's in charge and doesn't want us to use everything at our disposal.

Why exactly is military planning different from other types of government planning, exactly? I would love to hear you explain the distinction.
Because when it comes to battle plans, whether raiding insurgents in Iraq or fighting the Taliban, that requires inherent secrecy. When it comes to the political machinations deciding how to fleece American taxpayers, which senator is logrolling, that's different. If it were exposed that a senator, oh, traded her vote because her state received an extra $300 million, you don't think that needs to be exposed? Only for the last 15 or so years would it have received timely criticism, though hardly as widespread as today.
As for the "why don't I want to see every wink wink" question... I pretty much hit this one in the very first comment, didn't I?
No, you didn't. Not in the least.
How many incidents - examples from the entire course of human history are fair game - come to mind where significant alliances, laws, international treaties, business deals, or collaborative actions involving multiple parties were completed with the entire world watching every minute of the proceedings? As George Mason noted with his motion to keep the '87 conference under wraps:
So you're going to compare the Constitutional Convention, where no favors were traded, with all the logrolling and closed-door deals of today? Mason was talking about not recording official minutes so that the end product could be judged on its merits, without the delegates being attacked for changes in opinion. Even so, the delegates later recounted stories. That's why we know of the debates over a bicameral legislature, counting slaves as 3/5ths of a person, etc.

What we have today are hardly mere changes of opinion. They're changes of allegiance. You really would try to compare Mason, Madison and Franklin with Landrieu and Nelson?

I am a sure more than a few anti-federalist complained about the "best and brightest" then too.
If you read Patrick Henry's valid criticisms, his complaint wasn't about the closed-door proceedings, or the people responsible, or even the compromises that occurred. It was about the finished product.
As for the rest - you seem to miss my argument entirely. The "rules" I talk about are not the nuclear disarmament regime Obama tried to cajole the world into. The rules are those norms we - as members of the opposition - adhere to. The rules we apply to ourselves as opponents of the President's policies. Obama could be hosting a NATO planning session, a G-20 summit, or an international summit on the proliferation of Hello Kitty toys, and my point would be the same. The President of the United States should be able to kick out the media out of international summits when he feels that such is required to accomplish the summit's goal. Even if you, or I, or some self-righteous reporter thinks the conference itself is being held for stupid, inane, or immoral reasons, he should still be able to do this.
No, I don't miss your argument entirely. It's you who miss mine. When the President of the United States supports the theft of my property, that he's taken upon himself the ultimate authority to defend the country but will purposely restrict an effective deterrent to be used only against bad guys, he is not entitled to any respect. Such a person deserves no respect nor any civil treatment.
You can argue against the ends, but do not do so by ruining the means.
And what "means" are they? I'm one of those working to restore liberty against someone who claims he can violate mine because of his noble ends. And you'd better take care to pick the right side, because there's no middle ground there.

You said before: "Do not sanction methods to defeat a policy proposal that you do not want to - or are not prepared to - face yourself." And that's fine with me. If I violated someone's rights, I'd expect him to use every appropriate measure of force against me.

As for the "why don't I want to see every wink wink" question... I pretty much hit this one in the very first comment, didn't I?
No, you didn't. Not in the least.

How many incidents - examples from the entire course of human history are fair game - come to mind where significant alliances, laws, international treaties, business deals, or collaborative actions involving multiple parties were completed with the entire world watching every minute of the proceedings? As George Mason noted with his motion to keep the '87 conference under wraps:
So you're going to compare the Constitutional Convention, where no favors were traded, with all the logrolling and closed-door deals of today? Mason was talking about not recording official minutes so that the end product could be judged on its merits, without the delegates being attacked for changes in opinion. Even so, the delegates later recounted stories. That's why we know of the debates over a bicameral legislature, counting slaves as 3/5ths of a person, etc.

What we have today are hardly mere changes of opinion. They're changes of allegiance. You really would try to compare Mason, Madison and Franklin with Landrieu and Nelson?

I am a sure more than a few anti-federalist complained about the "best and brightest" then too.
If you read Patrick Henry's criticisms, his complaint wasn't about the closed-door proceedings
As for the rest - you seem to miss my argument entirely. The "rules" I talk about are not the nuclear disarmament regime Obama tried to cajole the world into. The rules are those norms we - as members of the opposition - adhere to. The rules we apply to ourselves as opponents of the President's policies. Obama could be hosting a NATO planning session, a G-20 summit, or an international summit on the proliferation of Hello Kitty toys, and my point would be the same. The President of the United States should be able to kick out the media out of international summits when he feels that such is required to accomplish the summit's goal. Even if you, or I, or some self-righteous reporter thinks the conference itself is being held for stupid, inane, or immoral reasons, he should still be able to do this.
No, I don't miss your argument entirely. It's you who miss mine. When the President of the United States supports the theft of my property, that he's taken upon himself the ultimate authority to defend the country but will purposely restrict an effective deterrent to be used only against bad guys, he is not entitled to any respect. Such a person deserves no respect nor any civil treatment.
You can argue against the ends, but do not do so by ruining the means.
And what "means" are they? I'm one of those working to restore liberty against someone who claims he can violate mine because of his noble ends. And you'd better take care to pick the right side, because there's no middle ground there.

You said before: "Do not sanction methods to defeat a policy proposal that you do not want to - or are not prepared to - face yourself." And that's fine with me. If I violated someone's rights, I'd expect him to use every appropriate measure of force against me.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 19, 2010 12:01 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Replyeth Perry:

I am merely stating your position, unobfuscated. When you talk about a "plan," it's about going through laws to sort what should be kept, what will be done with government workers, and other nonsense. The only "plan" needed is to stop….. You didn't say "it is impossible for the world to get along without the US federal government," specifically, but you did say a libertarian society would need a "plan,"

1.) It has been made clear that the plan referred to was the plan to shut world governments down. I do not seek to plan the coming libertarian society. As you have noted, such a plan is oxymoronic. Attacking any “plan” beyond this transitory plan, which I view necessary, is demolishing strawmen.
2.) More substantively, you say that no such transitory plan is needed – all one must do is say “stop”. This sounds quite nice in theory, but I doubt it would meet any success in reality. Do not underestimate the nature of the beast. You can’t just tell the juggernaut to ‘stop’. You can try, but you will be crushed in the process. Millions of unpaid workers (several hundred thousand of which are armed soldiers) and billions in defaulted loans do not lend themselves well to the creation of a minarchial paradise. Rockwell says that the destruction of bad labor laws will give everybody jobs within a month – I don’t think those markets will be around in a month. What you will have is anarchy. Not anarchy of the happy libertarian sort, but anarchy of the bloody, violent, precursor to despotism sort. That is what yelling “stop” does. Not because free men need a government to keep them from anarchy, and not because the government creates these markets – but because yelling ‘stop’ destroys the entire framework our current society is organized upon. Is the current framework unjust? Surely. But shifts of this magnitude – even when launched in the cause of liberty or justice – are bad. For such a shift to occur you would need a society that is ready for it. Psychologically ready. And that does not happen by turning it all off on day one. Less they be gradual in nature, revolutions are the lodging of despots and tyrants.

But you already know this. The argument is as old as Burke.

We had free markets in the colonies
And the point is….? Many things have happened in the past, haven’t they? All of Europe was Catholic once. I know few Catholics today ready to bank on a Catholic resurgence in the Northlands. The Mongol Empire was once ruled a fourth of the world. I have spoke with no Mongolians (though I have had the opportunity to become friends with many) who expect their empire to be restored. We had free markets in the past. This means nothing for the possibility of free markets in the future.
You talk about "reality" as if the current situation of voting can never change. Why can't it? You're just like the colonials who weren't necessarily Loyalists, but didn't have the imagination to imagine that Crown rule could be overthrown.

The original thought experiment that started this discussion – a group of world leaders meeting to develop a schedule for the destruction of market inhibitions world over – was placed in the present. But I will concede the general point. At some point in the future we may have substantive electoral majorities ready to destroy the state in all of its meddling manifestations. If that is the case, however, I doubt that there would be that much government left to cut away anyway. It would be the gradual revolution, and with that I am fine.


This isn't just another of your strawmen. You're either a damned fool or a liar for insinuating that I'm one of those "cold hearted bastards" for opposing government's role in charity or providing jobs. Tell us, why do you believe government has any role in that?

Oh, I don’t really believe the government should have any role in all that. I do recognize, however, that throwing millions of people out on the streets would be a disaster. Look, if these people are already content to steal other people’s livelihood through indirect means, what makes you think they will hesitate to do as much directly. These folks are not going to starve in the street. They will plunder and pillage.

I was a bit hesitant to use ‘Cold Hearted Bastard’, but I decided it needed to be said. Here is why: this how most people view the issue. This is not how you see the issue, but this is how the vast majority of all Americans do. Not just the Americans being thrown out into the street. Not just liberals. The overwhelming number of Americans. Including conservatives. Including soldiers. Few are those with pity for those throwing their fathers, brothers, and sons into the streets. The minute you 'stop' the current regime is the minute everybody calls you - and your compatriots - cold hearted bastards.

Which is why you will lose this war. If civil war does come, as you say, the side fighting for international free markets and the end of government as practiced in the 20th century will not win. If the war is fought for something simpler – say, gun rights - then it is an open game. But libertarian paradise? Those soldiers do not want libertarian paradise. Most conservatives do not want libertarian paradise. If you fight to ‘stop’ the government you don’t have a civil war. You have a few dozen Wacos, at best.

The example of a military base is exchange, not compromise.

Sure. But it was also negotiated. This was my entire point!

There actually is one "national interest," or at least what should be the single one: freedom. Everything else is about redistribution.

I had a feeling you would say that. You have a quote from Mr. P Henry to that effect on the header of your blog, right? But I will go with you on this – what happens if we use freedom as the stick to measure all matters of foreign affairs? You are still left with a pretty confused mess. Do we give Americans more freedom by telling Patton to role ahead and hit the USSR as he so dearly wants to, or are we better off dividing Europe into parts totalitarian and free? Macarthur says we need to nuke China, Acheson says this will kill more lives than it will save. Which choice is in the service of liberty? Indonesia says it will allow American businessmen full freedom to invest as they wish, but only if we stop protesting their grotesque restrictions on civil liberties and train their version of the KGB. Which one does more for the cause of liberty?

I am sure you could come up to the answer to each one of these dilemmas, just as real statesmen did. That is besides the point – ‘national interest’ is an ambiguous son of a gun, even when framed in terms of liberty. Teasing out which option among many is truly in service of freedom is not always easy. You have a fondness for things painted in white and black, but that just doesn’t work here.

That's a lot of nonsense. Do you really believe that? Japan and the U.S. don't need American troops on Okinawa for American and Japanese consumers to trade. If the U.S. pulled out, would Japanese exporters say, "Hmmph, well no more for you"? Nor is there really a need for American taxpayers to pay for Americans to stay on Okinawa for Japan's government -- or that of any nation that the U.S. government deems "good" -- to think that if they're attacked, the U.S. could retaliate heavily. Except that the bad guys now know Obama's in charge and doesn't want us to use everything at our disposal.
Eh, it was a part of the original postwar deal that the US and Japan would be economic friendlies. That is to say, that neither would construct a labyrinthine of laws to stop investments from one to the other. The relationship is pretty well locked in place now, and to the extent that the governments of either nation won’t touch it with too heavy a hand. (Comparatively speaking, of course). But it was not so when the deal was originally being hammered out.
Because when it comes to battle plans, whether raiding insurgents in Iraq or fighting the Taliban, that requires inherent secrecy.

Why thought? I am a taxpayer. Don’t I have a right to seeing how my money is being used? What if I personally object to the way this commander is wasting money, or that commander is waging his campaign? What differences exists between this and your bridge?

Your next response dodged my question, so I will state it again: How many incidents - examples from the entire course of human history are fair game - come to mind where significant alliances, laws, international treaties, business deals, or collaborative actions involving multiple parties were completed with the entire world watching every minute of the proceedings?

Mason was talking about not recording official minutes so that the end product could be judged on its merits, without the delegates being attacked for changes in opinion. Even so, the delegates later recounted stories. That's why we know of the debates over a bicameral legislature, counting slaves as 3/5ths of a person, etc.

This is fastidious. The delegates also closed the doors, pulled drapes over the windows, and vowed not to talk about the details of the conference with the press, curious Philadelphians, or their families. They only discussed the details with any depth after the convention was over. But during the convention it was kept under wraps.

If you read Patrick Henry's valid criticisms, his complaint wasn't about the closed-door proceedings, or the people responsible, or even the compromises that occurred. It was about the finished product.

Does this invalidate my statement in any way shape or form? (There were folkswho criticized it for the closed-door proceedings, BTW. Thomas Jefferson, for example, called it “an abominable precedent”. See Carol Berkins, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, p. 65).

Now to hit a whole bunch of stuff of a similar theme:

Though I now disagree with the Constitution itself, the intent was to strengthen the national government but hardly set up a system of mass redistribution of wealth (though it did get perverted into that). I think Madison said some vague things about "few and enumerated" powers. Nor was there any naive intent of disarming America, hoping the world would follow. …

So you're going to compare the Constitutional Convention, where no favors were traded, with all the logrolling and closed-door deals of today?....
You really would try to compare Mason, Madison and Franklin with Landrieu and Nelson?...
When the President of the United States supports the theft of my property, that he's taken upon himself the ultimate authority to defend the country but will purposely restrict an effective deterrent to be used only against bad guys, he is not entitled to any respect. Such a person deserves no respect nor any civil treatment.

And what "means" are they? I'm one of those working to restore liberty against someone who claims he can violate mine because of his noble ends. And you'd better take care to pick the right side, because there's no middle ground there.

Yes, I am going to make those comparisons and feel no compunction for doing so. I do not know how much simpler I have to get before you understand the actual argument I am trying to make.

I believe that the congress of the United States should be able to pass any constitutional law. Even if I disagree with the law, even if I think it to be foolish, immoral, or otherwise deficient, Congress should have the power to pass this law.

I believe the Supreme Court of the United States should be able to interpret and judge unconstitutional any law passed by congress. That I may disagree with an individual ruling or justice does not give me proper justification to condemn the SCOTUS’s power.

This works in reverse. No party, politician, or Congress should be able to pass unconstitutional laws at all- even if I like the goal of the legislation. No executive orders should ever be passed – even if I like the end result of an individual goal.

It is on this there is no middle ground. If you find the power to pass constitutional laws or the power of judicial review to be abhorrent, then that is fine – but then don’t start supporting such the minute policy is going your way. If, on the contrary, those powers are legitimate, then support there possible exercise in all cases, not just those you feel all warm and fuzzy about.

Hosting international meetings with other heads of state absent the media is a tool Presidents should have at their disposal. I am not going to ruin the tool because I don’t like how this particular President is using it. Lest you find the means itself to be a base or inappropriate thing, the argument should lie against the ends.

Posted by: T. Greer at April 20, 2010 1:07 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
1.) It has been made clear that the plan referred to was the plan to shut world governments down. I do not seek to plan the coming libertarian society.
So now you've shifted gears toward something completely different. That was not the subject.

You said, "Are we going to wave the magic libertarian fairy wand and have the world be a good place? Please. Millions of laws across the world would need to be repealed. Committees would have to go through each one and find those that need to be repealed.... For all of this you would need a plan."

Don't be such a mealy-mouthed weasel. Can't you see already that it doesn't work with me?

As you have noted, such a plan is oxymoronic. Attacking any "plan" beyond this transitory plan, which I view necessary, is demolishing strawmen.
Oh, well pardon me for, ahem, going only by what you write. I guess I need to be Carnac and go by what you mean, not by what words you leave?

If you're going to talk about your own government, say so. If you're going to talk about what would be required to achieve a laissez-faire state, then please do us the courtesy of knowing what you're talking about, and/or being more clear in your dialogue.

2.) More substantively, you say that no such transitory plan is needed - all one must do is say "stop". This sounds quite nice in theory, but I doubt it would meet any success in reality. Do not underestimate the nature of the beast. You can't just tell the juggernaut to ‘stop'. You can try, but you will be crushed in the process.
Ah yes, the natural threat that if it's done, bad things will happen. Bastiat debunked this sixteen decades ago:

But here is what you do not see. You do not see that to send home a hundred thousand soldiers is not to do away with a hundred million francs, but to return that money to the taxpayers. You do not see that to throw a hundred thousand workers on the market in this way is to throw in at the same time the hundred million francs destined to pay for their labor; that, as a consequence, the same measure that increases the supply of workers also increases the demand; from which it follows that your lowering of wages is illusory. You do not see that before, as well as after, the demobilization there are a hundred million francs corresponding to the hundred thousand men; that the whole difference consists in this: that before, the country gives the hundred million francs to the hundred thousand men for doing nothing; afterwards, it gives them the money for working. Finally, you do not see that when a taxpayer gives his money, whether to a soldier in exchange for nothing or to a worker in exchange for something, all the more remote consequences of the circulation of this money are the same in both cases: only, in the second case the taxpayer receives something; in the first he receives nothing. Result: a dead loss for the nation.

Millions of unpaid workers (several hundred thousand of which are armed soldiers) and billions in defaulted loans do not lend themselves well to the creation of a minarchial paradise.
The word is "minarchist," just like "anarchist" instead of "anarchial." Is there any point in me talking to you when you don't know what you're talking about, or are you Humpty Dumpty and making up your own vocabulary?

You top even the state-worshippers of Bastiat's time by claiming there will be not just unemployment, but violent retaliation. That's a nice admission that you're completely spineless when it comes to your government, you know. That's what you're saying: that to disband the military to invite them to take from the rest of the country by force, so you'd rather pay your taxes and keep them happy.

Liberty is rarely won without bloodshed, and such a battle would finally determine things. I don't see it happening here, not with the regular military. First, I don't see that American soldiers would become like medieval armies, raiding every village. It's not in the American character. Second, they wouldn't get very far, because supplies are finite. The strategy planners would realize they couldn't keep it going forever. This leads to the third, that it would be easier for them to get real jobs -- courtesy of the newly found disposable income that former taxpayers would have.

Rockwell says that the destruction of bad labor laws will give everybody jobs within a month - I don't think those markets will be around in a month. What you will have is anarchy. Not anarchy of the happy libertarian sort, but anarchy of the bloody, violent, precursor to despotism sort. That is what yelling "stop" does.
You clearly have no idea what "anarchy" is. Why would such a condition lead to "despotism" when a people are suddenly free? The French Revolution quickly led to dictatorship because it was based on rights granted by the state, and people believed they were owed things by the state. The American Revolution led to freedom simply because it was based on individual rights. The American Revolution was based entirely on saying "stop" to the Crown, yet no Loyalist colonials started rioting when they had to start earning their bread.

You can "doubt" that markets will emerge, but again it shows you have no imagination. It would be a matter of days when the former government workers realize that the old paychecks aren't coming anymore. So if they don't get honest jobs, they'll be starving on the streets. It's really quite simple and only takes an understanding of incentives.

So tell us: why is it a bad thing for government workers to have to find real jobs? Why are you so opposed?

Not because free men need a government to keep them from anarchy, and not because the government creates these markets - but because yelling ‘stop' destroys the entire framework our current society is organized upon. Is the current framework unjust? Surely. But shifts of this magnitude - even when launched in the cause of liberty or justice - are bad. For such a shift to occur you would need a society that is ready for it. Psychologically ready. And that does not happen by turning it all off on day one. Less they be gradual in nature, revolutions are the lodging of despots and tyrants.
But you already know this. The argument is as old as Burke.
Did the colonists have to "wait" until they were "ready"? They didn't, and they didn't have to. Even now the Brits disdain the Revolution. Of course, they lost.

The problem with Burke and his conservatism, though he supported the colonials over a tyrant king, was his conservatism. Conservatism holds too much to tradition and "the wisdom of ancestors," and gradual change. It resists the possibility that tradition and ancestors can be wrong, and it does not consider that when things finally get bad enough, quick action must be taken.

And the point is….?
The point is that when you claimed free markets are impossible, you were full of it.
Many things have happened in the past, haven't they? All of Europe was Catholic once. I know few Catholics today ready to bank on a Catholic resurgence in the Northlands. The Mongol Empire was once ruled a fourth of the world. I have spoke with no Mongolians (though I have had the opportunity to become friends with many) who expect their empire to be restored.
This is not only a complete non sequitur, and factually wrong. Europe was not entirely Catholic at one point: try looking up things like the Muslim history of southeastern Europe, or the Spanish atrocities against Jews. I suppose in your revisionist history, Jews didn't exist in Europe after 1492?

Bubba, you really picked the wrong person to argue history with.

We had free markets in the past. This means nothing for the possibility of free markets in the future.
That isn't what you said. You said: "By focusing on the free market example (which is a fantasy that will never happen) my true point is being obscured."

Talk about backtracking. Such a shame -- for you -- that you can't edit your previous comments, isn't it?

The original thought experiment that started this discussion - a group of world leaders meeting to develop a schedule for the destruction of market inhibitions world over - was placed in the present.
You've opened the door. Don't try to close it, now that you're losing, by reducing things to general discussion. JK and I were talking about Obama convening a meeting to disarm the United States of some nuclear weapons in the vain hope that bad nations will follow suit. Good or bad?

But I will concede the general point. At some point in the future we may have substantive electoral majorities ready to destroy the state in all of its meddling manifestations. If that is the case, however, I doubt that there would be that much government left to cut away anyway. It would be the gradual revolution, and with that I am fine.
The nature of the state is that it never disappears or is reduced gradually. Reagan's reforms did nothing to freeze, let alone turn back, the growth of the federal leviathan. Even the communist ideal says that after a socialist revolution, the state will simply disappear.

History has repeatedly shown, and not just in the American colonies, that liberty is never won by gradual means. The state encroaches gradually but cannot be undone gradually.

Oh, I don't really believe the government should have any role in all that. I do recognize, however, that throwing millions of people out on the streets would be a disaster.
So you don't believe in it, but you're spineless enough to go along with it.
Look, if these people are already content to steal other people's livelihood through indirect means, what makes you think they will hesitate to do as much directly. These folks are not going to starve in the street. They will plunder and pillage.
Let them try. If I must, I will personally kill as many of them as I can. Can you say you have the same conviction? Or do you want to experience light chains rather than that animating contest for freedom?

But I don't see it happening like that, not with our military. It's a romantic notion that they do it for "honor" and "patriotism," but most really join because, like one of my closest friends, there isn't much else for them in terms of work, and the military was there. In the absence of government-funded jobs, they'll want to turn to honest labor. Taxpayers will have more money to hire them or buy goods and services from them, and government won't be skewing labor markets by offering jobs that people by definition aren't willing to pay for.

Some ex-military may go overseas as soldiers of fortune. Others may consider turning to thuggery, but with the consequences that a lot of Americans are armed -- legally or not. "Well there are certain sections of New York, Major, that I wouldn't advise you to try to invade." It especially holds true today. And note that this shift to freedom will show us which ones, deep down, were criminals all along. That's not a bad thing.

I was a bit hesitant to use ‘Cold Hearted Bastard', but I decided it needed to be said. Here is why: this how most people view the issue. This is not how you see the issue, but this is how the vast majority of all Americans do. Not just the Americans being thrown out into the street.
You really need to be more careful in the words you use and how you use them. So "most people" are stupid in using those three words. Why should I regard the opinion of people who are clearly wrong? Nearly half of American workers don't pay any federal income taxes yet are content to receive services that the rest of us pay for. Most Americans don't understand the concept of economic slavery.

Tell us plainly: do you not think it's morally wrong for all these millions of government workers to live off our substance? "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance."

Two thirds of American colonials didn't want independence, remember. They either were loyal to England or didn't care. Fortunately a third did find it worthwhile to fight. That's the power of a lamb willing to fight the two wolves.

Not just liberals. The overwhelming number of Americans. Including conservatives. Including soldiers. Few are those with pity for those throwing their fathers, brothers, and sons into the streets. The minute you 'stop' the current regime is the minute everybody calls you - and your compatriots - cold hearted bastards.
There you go again, making the case for "pity" so people can have jobs courtesy of my taxes. Handing over my money at the point of a gun so someone can have a job isn't "pity," it's extortion. It's Don Fanucci making it clear that bad things will happen if his nephew doesn't get a job from Abbandando. Abbandando can't afford to employ two, so he has to let Vito Corleone go.

If you haven't been noticing the political climate, a lot of conservatives are getting outraged at the Republican Party for its own history of spending too much. But, as I've pointed out to Republican friends, heavy spending and centralization of power began with the first Republican president.

Naturally, the government that robs Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul. But when it comes to force, the situation won't last. For once, we might actually see the emergence of people who truly understand how big government has gotten, and that drastic things must be done if all else fails. What do you think they were doing at the Virginia park rallies yesterday, flying paper airplanes? The opponents, usually liberals, tend not to be armed. They're going to find themselves outgunned, if it comes to that (as I think it is).

Which is why you will lose this war. If civil war does come, as you say, the side fighting for international free markets and the end of government as practiced in the 20th century will not win. If the war is fought for something simpler - say, gun rights - then it is an open game. But libertarian paradise? Those soldiers do not want libertarian paradise. Most conservatives do not want libertarian paradise. If you fight to ‘stop' the government you don't have a civil war. You have a few dozen Wacos, at best.
See above. There aren't enough of them who will want, or be willing, let alone have the sustained means, to subjugate their fellow Americans.

You also don't realize that the Waco siege was a stand of liberty. Like with Randy Weaver, the Branch Davidians weren't harming anybody until the ATF came and started shooting at them. It was never proven that anyone was being harmed or coerced, but the media happily portrayed the accusations as irrefutable fact. I mentioned on my blog last night that two material witnesses were arrested and held for months. No trial, no indictments, not even any accusations.

Sure. But it was also negotiated. This was my entire point!
"Negotiating" as in "I'll give you this if you give me that"? No. You wrote, "negotiate a plan for victory." You're talking about compromise, and there's no need to "negotiate" or "compromise" on winning. You just do it.
I had a feeling you would say that. You have a quote from Mr. P Henry to that effect on the header of your blog, right? But I will go with you on this - what happens if we use freedom as the stick to measure all matters of foreign affairs?
Actually, it's on the right sidebar. Bastiat is in the header. But in any case, thank you for admitting that your highest priority is not freedom. That's why you're just a state-worshipper.

What is your priority, then? Peace and prosperity no matter how many individuals are trampled upon? The ends justify the means?

You are still left with a pretty confused mess.
Here's a free clue: liberty is not orderly. Liberty is about every individual being able to make his own choices without harming others. When seen as a whole, society is "random" because nobody is being controlled or thrust into the same pattern as everyone else.
Do we give Americans more freedom by telling Patton to role ahead and hit the USSR as he so dearly wants to, or are we better off dividing Europe into parts totalitarian and free? Macarthur says we need to nuke China, Acheson says this will kill more lives than it will save. Which choice is in the service of liberty?
The first two are rather easy choices: the U.S. did not decide to involve itself; it was dragged in. The third is is why government in all forms makes easy choices difficult: we decided to wage war, with Truman calling it a "police action," that by itself cost more American lives than it ever saved. We would have lost fewer men if we had attacked Chinese forces with everything we had, for certain, but it would have been easier if we hadn't gotten involved in the first place. In the name of fighting for liberty, Americans were again drafted to fight and die in a country some of them couldn't have located on a globe.
Indonesia says it will allow American businessmen full freedom to invest as they wish, but only if we stop protesting their grotesque restrictions on civil liberties and train their version of the KGB. Which one does more for the cause of liberty?
The easy answer: our government doesn't help death squads, and the Indonesians will have to decide whether they can go without peaceful trade with Americans -- individuals, not the government. Conversely, those Americans will decide for themselves whether they can trade with Indonesians. Trade with the government that treats people brutally? Probably not. Trade with Indonesian individuals who have nothing to do with taking away the liberty of others? Sure.

Isn't it easy to decide when liberty is the entire foundation?

I am sure you could come up to the answer to each one of these dilemmas,
And what are your own answers, or do you just like to change the subject?
just as real statesmen did.
The difference between how "real statesmen" view things and how I view things is that "real statesmen" lump entire nations together (whether foolishly or with evil intentions), as if my interests aligned with those of someone in Crown Heights, Topeka or Eureka. These "real statesmen" you admire are nothing more than arrogant and self-righteous for presuming they can decide best for others, and many will burn in hell for what they did to entire people's. I, however, view things in terms of individuals and each individual's rights, and any authority I may have over anyone was never assumed by force.

Did you ever hear of the Morgenthau Plan, and how FDR got Churchill to agree with it? It's so easy to turn a blind eye to the starvation of a country when your countrymen are being paid off. But you'd just say they were being "real statesmen," evaluating things in ways I couldn't comprehend. You'd be partially right: I could never comprehend designing such evil.

That is besides the point - ‘national interest' is an ambiguous son of a gun, even when framed in terms of liberty. Teasing out which option among many is truly in service of freedom is not always easy. You have a fondness for things painted in white and black, but that just doesn't work here.
Your attempt at nice-sounding rhetoric only shows how you and other state-worshippers unnecessarily complicate the world. The world is about right and wrong: does a certain action violate anyone's rights, or doesn't it?
Eh, it was a part of the original postwar deal that the US and Japan would be economic friendlies. That is to say, that neither would construct a labyrinthine of laws to stop investments from one to the other.
Again, this is where governments at best unnecessarily complicate things. They can't make things possible, only make things harder (if not impossible). So tell us why you think governments should not be stopped? Why do you say it's impossible when it's clearly a necessity to prevent "leaders" from interfering with individuals' right to free commerce?
The relationship is pretty well locked in place now, and to the extent that the governments of either nation won't touch it with too heavy a hand. (Comparatively speaking, of course). But it was not so when the deal was originally being hammered out.
Isn't that a wonderful deal? Decades before I was born, "statesmen" gave me the gift of tying me up in a treaty, ensuring I'd pay for troops to stay in Japan among Japanese who don't want them.

Do you not understand that I don't need a "treaty" to trade with Japan? My employer does extremely well in Japan and still would if American troops entirely left Okinawa. Without a treaty, would the U.S. and Japan really plunge back into war?

Why thought? I am a taxpayer. Don't I have a right to seeing how my money is being used? What if I personally object to the way this commander is wasting money, or that commander is waging his campaign? What differences exists between this and your bridge?
Actually I'm talking about tactics for specific battles. For overall plans, of course there needs public oversight. There's a clear difference between "We're going to attack this hill" and "We're sending 10,000 more troops to strengthen this province."

But this is quite a change for you. Not long ago you were saying that closed-door meetings were a necessity. So are you a hypocrite in another way, or do you just set different standards?

Your next response dodged my question, so I will state it again: How many incidents - examples from the entire course of human history are fair game - come to mind where significant alliances, laws, international treaties, business deals, or collaborative actions involving multiple parties were completed with the entire world watching every minute of the proceedings?
What you ridiculously call a "dodge" was in fact that, with everything else, I didn't see that. Your question is moot with a moot answer, because "the entire world" hasn't had the capability of "watching every minute" until recent years. But here's a prime example: the world would have been a better place if Roosevelt, knowing he was being watched at Yalta, wouldn't have dared betray Eastern Europeans to the Russians. Patton was right, while Roosevelt was too busy singing Uncle Joe's praises.

What about UN conferences today? Not much scrutiny, as most Americans don't pay any attention to the headlines. Delegates from terrorist nations can say just about whatever they want.

This is fastidious.
In what way? "Demanding"? "High standards"? My response is quite plain.
The delegates also closed the doors, pulled drapes over the windows, and vowed not to talk about the details of the conference with the press, curious Philadelphians, or their families. They only discussed the details with any depth after the convention was over. But during the convention it was kept under wraps.
Yes, and your point? It's one thing for Mason to defend not keeping minutes, or for the Federalist papers to be published pseudonymously, because they were not the government. The Constitution still had to be ratified, and there was no guarantee it would be. As arrogant as Jefferson thought they were, the delegates were ultimately only making a proposal.

It's entirely different when Obama, who wields authority over me, deliberately trades my liberty and safety behind closed doors, not to mention that the final product directly endangers me when he claims the opposite. Everything he does directly deals with my liberty and therefore deserves no secrecy.

Does this invalidate my statement in any way shape or form? (There were folkswho criticized it for the closed-door proceedings, BTW. Thomas Jefferson, for example, called it "an abominable precedent". See Carol Berkins, A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution, p. 65).
Don't you mean Carol Berkin? Good lord, you are just so easy to pick apart. Do you actually know a shred of what you're talking about, or do you just collect pithy quotes from things you haven't read, to use later in an attempt to seem well-read? I even wonder if you have the book: is that page 65 of the paperback or hardcover edition? If you want well-written history, try David McCullough. But to get back to the subject, oh yes, your statement is even more invalidated than ever. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for failing to make the point so miserably.

I side with Henry even more than Jefferson with criticism of the Constitution. Closed-door proceedings are one thing, so Jefferson had more than a fair point, but the final result was hardly establishing liberty (or justice for that matter).

Yes, I am going to make those comparisons and feel no compunction for doing so. I do not know how much simpler I have to get before you understand the actual argument I am trying to make.
That's wonderful: so when Madison proposes a framework national government, in no way obliging anyone to agree to it, you're comparing that to a Louisiana senator getting a $300 million boost for her state? You're one of the biggest morons I've ever encountered.

Since what I said, though simple, didn't sink in with you, I'll say again:

When the President of the United States supports the theft of my property, that he's taken upon himself the ultimate authority to defend the country but will purposely restrict an effective deterrent to be used only against bad guys, he is not entitled to any respect. Such a person deserves no respect nor any civil treatment.

That is what JK and I are saying. Anybody can call a meeting. It's by what authority, and what authority you wield in the meeting, that matters.

I believe that the congress of the United States should be able to pass any constitutional law. Even if I disagree with the law, even if I think it to be foolish, immoral, or otherwise deficient, Congress should have the power to pass this law.
And just when I thought you couldn't even be a bigger fool, you have to say this. So you believe that "if it's the law," no matter what, Congress can pass it?

That's the very problem with law: just because something is "the law" does not mean it is just or proper.

Slavery used to be "the law," and found constitutional. Dred Scott was ruled to be property. But that was ok with you?

Presidents can and have imprisoned people without trial, because Congress passed laws to allow it. The Supreme Court did nothing to stop the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. That's all ok with you?

God have mercy on your soul. You prize law over justice, statute over righteousness. You really do not think it's better to deal with what is just and right, even if it's not chiseled into some piece of marble or inked on parchment?

I believe the Supreme Court of the United States should be able to interpret and judge unconstitutional any law passed by congress. That I may disagree with an individual ruling or justice does not give me proper justification to condemn the SCOTUS's power.
So it was ok with you that Suzette Kelo had to give up her house, just because government (up through the Supreme Court) said so?
This works in reverse. No party, politician, or Congress should be able to pass unconstitutional laws at all- even if I like the goal of the legislation. No executive orders should ever be passed - even if I like the end result of an individual goal.
There's another of your problems, thinking that the government will somehow control itself. For how long has the federal government thumbed its nose at the Constitution? There was no power for Congress to appropriate money for canals and railroads, yet it did. There was no power for Congress to give money to Edward Collins' failed shipping line, or any other business, yet it did. It does today with Amtrak.

There was no power for Lincoln to impose the first income tax, or throw newspaper editors in jail for sedition. Both were later determined unconstitutional, a great comfort to those whose money was already taken and whose lives were already ruined.

Parts of FDR's New Deal was found unconstitutional, but Jacob Maged had already lost part of his life when he was jailed -- all for charging less than competitors to press pants. You present "judicial review" as if it's of any effect, when the very morning Obama signed the health care tyranny, the Supreme Court should have struck it down.

It is on this there is no middle ground. If you find the power to pass constitutional laws or the power of judicial review to be abhorrent, then that is fine - but then don't start supporting such the minute policy is going your way. If, on the contrary, those powers are legitimate, then support there possible exercise in all cases, not just those you feel all warm and fuzzy about.
The reason I'm an anarchist, and I don't know how much of this you'll understand, is that this "authority" was never given by me. It was assumed by those who happen to find themselves appointed or elected. If you read Lysander Spooner, especially "The Constitution of No Authority," you might understand where I'm coming from.
Hosting international meetings with other heads of state absent the media is a tool Presidents should have at their disposal. I am not going to ruin the tool because I don't like how this particular President is using it. Lest you find the means itself to be a base or inappropriate thing, the argument should lie against the ends.
You really are mealy-mouthed. JK and I never objected to mere meetings. It's how they're conducted, which explains the dangerous outcomes, that we object to.

Nothing about your strawmen and your hypocrisy in accusing me of some; I'll take your silence as concession. Tread carefully if you care to reply further, because you're not the first to whom I show no mercy for state-worshipping.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 20, 2010 11:36 PM

Happy Memories of the Ford Years

On this day in 1976 the U.S. Treasury Department reintroduced the two-dollar bill as part of the U.S. Bicentennial celebration. -- @Historyday
And it'd score you two gallons of gas and three packs of cigarettes. Of course, you were wearing an ugly shirt and listening to crappy disco...
Posted by John Kranz at 5:27 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

"Whip Inflation NOW!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 11:17 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Touche', JG. I had forgotten that little gem - and the WIN campain buttons - as though it were the public's attitude toward inflation that was the cause of it all.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 14, 2010 10:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I enjoyed the Alan Greenspan quote at the link - he recalled thinking "This is unbelievably stupid."

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2010 3:07 PM

Colorado Primary Scramble

Heard a radio report today that Jane Norton now intends to petition onto the primary ballot instead of counting on 30% minimum support at the state GOP convention next month. ColoradoPols covers it here. She joins Tom Wiens as one of the candidates who doesn't energize the grassroots activists enough to waste a few weekend mornings supporting her (or him.) Apparently John McCain's PAC money can buy petition signatures more reliably than it can buy energetic supporters.

Related: Heard Dick Morris tell KOA Denver's Mike Rosen yesterday that "Jane Norton has to beat Bennet or Romanoff in November. It's imperative. Hopefully not very many Republicans will flake off and support a weaker candidate." Come on Dick. You'll just have to start helping Buck raise campaign cash after he's OUR nominee.

But jk thinks:

I received a lengthy email from the Norton Campaign today, explaining their position. If Morris supports Norton, you've just made your most salient pitch for Buck!

Posted by: jk at April 13, 2010 5:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Blind squirrel, at your service...

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 11:18 PM

Quote of the Day

If you like your plan, you can keep it: Whoops - Congress Eliminates Own Health Care Plan via Obamacare http://bit.ly/c2W08d #tcot #hcr -- @bdomenech (Ben Domenech)

UPDATE: Same topic, diff'rent pundit:

Good luck with that, guys. Are congressmen really going to pass legislation to rectify the harm ObamaCare did to them, while continuing to subject everyone else to this awful, hated law? Leaving the law in place isn't a politically attractive option either, for the reason National Review's Yuval Levin points out: "If you had your own research service to help you figure out what the law will do to your insurance, the answer would likely be just as confusing and discouraging." The CRS's findings are a powerful reminder that ObamaCare likely holds horrible surprises for everyone. -- James Taranto

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 1:46 PM | What do you think? [0]

I Make a Bad Civil Libertarian

I'm glad that privacy purists count jurisprudential pin-angels to protect my abstract liberty. Rock on guys! Don't endanger national security more than you have to, but keep at it.

Orin Kerr at the Volkh Conspiracy thinks this fellow was done wrong:

Durdley was an emergency paramedic for the local county who was at work using a shared computer. When he was done using the shared computer, he forgot to take away the thumb drive had attached to one of the computers USB ports. Later on, a captain of the paramedic team named Johnson, was using the computer and saw the thumb drive attached. Johnson decided to see what was on the thumb drive, so he double-clicked on the my computer icon, double-clicked on the thumb drive icon to see the list of files, and then double-clicked on some files to see what they contained. Johnson found child pornography files on the thumb drive, leading to charges against Durdley.

Now I'm no lawyer, but doesn't this contravene the "Don't-be-a-stupid-moron Clause?" I enjoy the academic nature of Kerr's argument and, again, I appreciate the defense of privacy qua privacy. But I clearly lack the sympathy for the stupid required to pursue this field.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It's said when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But coincidentally, the other day I had seen a reference to California v. Greenwood, in which the Supreme Court ruled that you have no expectation of privacy regarding garbage you leave outside.

Like in the Greenwood case, I'd argue the most important consideration is where Durdley lost his incriminating property. He knew that the computer was not private (in that it belonged to him or someone else, who granted him permission to use it), and while not fully open to the public, it was open for some public use. Consider: do you have expectations of privacy if you're observed dropping a bloody knife in a public place, and someone gives it to the police, who later use to link you to a murder?

Furthermore, it was another private individual, with permission to use that computer, who discovered the evidence of Dudley's criminal activity. The files themselves were not visually apparent on the physical thumbdrive, but they were still readily viewable to anyone with access to the computer. (Especially someone who'd examine the contents in good faith, to determine ownership, like if someone opened a wallet not to steal its contents but to look for ID.)

Let's say this had been a private guest in Dudley's own house, who noticed something incriminating in plain view (e.g. Durdley accidentally opened a picture, but not filenames, which by themselves are not incriminating) and alerted police. That would have also not violated any of Durdley's expectations of privacy. Now if it had been a guest on his property who wouldn't have known the contents of a thumbdrive, but stole it and then turned over incriminating evidence to the police, a court would throw it out.

But even if the evidence is thrown out, it's clear to the rest of us that it wasn't planted, and Dudley is a really sick individual who deserves to be burned alive.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 14, 2010 8:05 PM

April 12, 2010

New Software Tax

Good thing this new sales tax on software doesn't have any onerous compliance costs:

Q: We have a customer that has a large presence in Boulder. We sold to a group in New Jersey, to be used in Poland, and paid for out of Chicago. But the Boulder facility may (they aren't sure) use the system with our software, but probably running on servers in New Jersey.

Colorado: If the software is sold for multiple points of use, the purchaser is liable to remit the tax, not the vendor. The purchaser should give the vendor a multiple points of use exemption certificate. Tax should be apportioned on the purchase price on the basis of the location of the users that are licensed to use the product at the time of purchase. If those locations are not know, the purchaser should use its best business judgment to identify the number of expected users in Colorado based on the facts as they exist at the time of the sale.

Boulder: A delivery or download address must be established to determine where taxation should occur. If it is not clear, Boulder would tax the use of the software here unless proof could be provided that a legally imposed tax was charged and paid somewhere else.

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 7:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Sounds like the Boulder I was happy to move out of. 'Round nineteen eighty something I took out a building permit to convert my single car garage to a double. They charged me sales tax on my estimated materials figure and said, "You can tell your suppliers you've already paid the city tax." "What if I buy outside of Boulder?" I asked. "Then you'd be liable for that city's tax."

Great. Glad you're here to help.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 2:34 PM

Two Views of Justice Stevens

Both from Cato. I really do need my TV show. "Tonight, on 'Internecine:' two Cato powerhouses smackdown on the legacy of Justice John Paul Stevens!" [theme music swells in background, cut to scene in three...two...one...]
Ilya Somin takes the side I imagine most ThreeSourcers felt (and we'll all remember to our deaths exactly where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news that Justice Stevens was retiring...)

Justice Stevens "grew" from his country-club Republican roots to becoming the Courts liberal lion. While a friend of liberty in certain limited circumstances, he ultimately hangs his hat on supporting government action over the rights of individuals in contexts ranging from property rights (Kelo v. New London) to the Second Amendment (D.C. v. Heller) to free speech (Citizens United and Texas v. Johnson, the flag-burning case) to executive agency power (Chevron). And even on those issues where friends of liberty can disagree in good faith as a matter of policy, such as abortion and the death penalty, Stevens admittedly and unabashedly asserted his own policy preferences instead of following the law.

Timothy J. Lee -- and I read his first -- surprised me with libertarian props for the Ford pick:
Justice Stevens wrote the majority opinion in some of the most important high-tech cases of the last four decades. In other cases, he wrote important (and in some cases prescient) dissents. Through it all, he was a consistent voice for freedom of expression and the freedom to innovate. His accomplishments include:
[...]
So if you enjoy your iPod and your uncensored Internet access, you have Justice Stevens to thank. Best wishes for a long, comfortable, and well-deserved retirement.

"Thanks for tuning in -- next week, Marty Peretz and Mayor Ed Koch square off: Is Obama Insane? Or does he just hate Jews?"

BTW: Kindle® fans, CATO@liberty is one of the best Kindle blog subscriptions. It's very inexpensive and provides a lot of good content without following links.

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 6:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

What could four million workers do?

A nice video from Cato on taxes:

Well worth a watch in full, but one statistic in there blew me away. The time spent on tax compliance is equivalent to four million full time workers. How rich would we be with the houses, cars, computers, video games and guitar amplifiers that four million full time workers could produce?

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:31 PM | What do you think? [5]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And of course, the Administration sees this bass-ackwards - the tax code provides jobs for all these people that reforming the code would put out of work. If you've got a cousin working at H&R Block, how are you going to explain to them why you want to take away their job?

After all, there's a limit to how many people we can make employed by giving them a cushy gig with the Census...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 12, 2010 6:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Dead. Weight. Loss. I won't say that they'd be above trying that, Keith, but this is raw and apparent; there's no cash-for-clunkers or even broken windows obfuscation. If these four million timewasting jobs are doing anything, they are making things worse by reducing transparency and impeding the flow of capital to its best sources.

Four million full time workers.

Posted by: jk at April 12, 2010 7:15 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I have a friend who's a Keynesian and a big believer in government. We met when simultaneously starting out on the legal side of the financial sector (he's now with FINRA, as a matter of fact). One day he told me how this ultra-regulated environment was good because "it creates employment." The idea of broken windows can't get through the thick skulls of people who have such broken thought processes.

One day he said the welfare state is a good thing, because "it fulfills the doctrine of Jesus Christ." Then I slapped him, though accidentally, having meant to do it just in the air. But in hindsight, he deserved it for that blasphemy.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 12, 2010 11:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

'Welfare in Jesus' name' is called "Social Justice" and is what got Glenn Beck accused of hating Christianity. Isn't it odd that whenever one denounces statism he is accused of hating something else - blacks, gays, Christians - but never statism. Hmmm.

P.S. Who says there's any limit on cushy gov't jobs? What're you, KA, a public servant hater??

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Four. Million. Workers.

Imagine how many million-dollar National Park Outhouses those people could build!

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 3:29 PM

Found his Killer Instinct

The Campaign Spot wonders "where was all this twisting of the knife back in 2008?"

I for one was convinced by the Jeff Flake endorsement and will risk tea party disapprobation by coming out fulsomely for Senator John McCain in the primary. Woohoo! Go John!

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 5:09 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Even John McCain thinks only straight white men are fair game for criticism. ...wonder what he says to the mirror every morning.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 2:50 PM

Artist for Freedom

Art is great. Art is powerful. The ideas and emotions it can express in a single image are difficult to ignore. Unfortunately a majority of "artsy" types seem to be of the collectivist bent. Obama used art to perfection in his 2008 election campaign to propogate, as Jon Voight said, "the greatest lie." Since the election heard 'round the world I've been on the lookout for an artist on OUR side. Today, I found him: Bosch Fawstin - artist and author, creator of 'Pigman' the anti-Islamist super-hero and much, much more. For example: AMERICANS: GET UP & FIGHT

Here's another good one: "NOvember"

Bonus points for (at least) two Ayn Rand quotes on the main page.


U Think U Got a Good Job?

Not as good as Penn:

penn_nudity.gif

UPDATE: The next one might be even better (if you click "Continue" you cannot blame me...)

Bullshit Season 8: We just had a lot of naked people licking a Volvo ("I said vulvA"). It was supposed to be funny and stupid, it was sexy

Posted by John Kranz at 2:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 11, 2010

"Capitalism is the only truth that keeps the nation healthy and fed."

I happened upon this on FNC's Huckabee show yesterday and have to share it, now and for posterity.

Actor Jon Voight, one year the junior of my 'mad-as-hell over the state of American governance father' uses his interview on the show as a platform for a ranting expose against the sitting President of the United States, except that he isn't ranting - he's sober as a judge and serious as a heart attack.


Hat Tip: Marc Schenker at Associated Content who gives a thorough review of the letter and its presentation. Special recognition for the word "Bailoutpalooza."

UPDATE: [12APR 12:38 MDT] I checked google news to see if any other media outlets were talking about the Voight letter. You can see all four related stories here. But you can't see the original story that I HT'ed anymore. Apparently AssociatedContent.com has blackballed it. And earlier today the original author, Marc Schenker, posted another story revealing the censorship. Of course that posting gets "The content you're looking for has been removed" treatment as well. But google saw it before it was yanked.

Associated Content Censored My Accurate Reporting on Voight's Criticism of Obama Associated Content - Marc Schenker - ‎19 hours ago‎ today. As some of you have read, my article of today ACCURATELY REPORTED on Jon Voight's criticism of Barack Obama, which was delivered on Mike Huckabee's ...

Is this a genuine case of internet censorship? Anyone know how to access the google cache pages?

AssociatedContent.com "is an open content network. AC's platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers."

Apparently some content is less equal than others.

Mega hat tip: The patriot who youtubed the Huckabee appearance - "DouggieJ." It may only be a matter of hours before youtube blows him away too.

Note: As of this UPDATE, the video has 18,458 views (compared to 196,251 who viewed 'Obama can't name any ChiSox players?')

But jk thinks:

I dunno man. It's nice to hear a Hollywood cat talk up capitalism, but I think rape and poison are over the top.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2010 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A more appropriate word may be found than rape but poison is precisely correct: "Giving them the idea that they are entitled to take from the wealthier who have lived and worked in a democracy that understands that capitalism is the only truth that keeps a nation healthy and fed." [pointed glare]

Keep swallowing that and, when you run out of the wealthy, you're dead.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2010 6:00 PM

President Taft Responds

This post should be a Review Corner. I would give five stars to President Taft for "Our Chief Magistrate and his Powers." It is a series of six lectures given at Princeton, concatenated to create a book. President Cleveland has a similar -- and also good -- one in the genre, but Taft's is Magisterial.

It is free on Google Books. I read them on my SONY eReader®, but you can download the SONY "Reader Library" software for use on a computer. I bet the good folks at Google make the text available as well. I think every ThreeSourcer would dig it. It is somehow very accessible and readable without being watered down. Our most good humored president takes an insightful look at the office after holding it, yet with the dispassion of a future Chief Justice.

He does stoop to take one political shot. And it is a response to the exact quote I shared with you a few weeks ago, He first responds to the jab I highlighted:

I may add that Mr. Roosevelt, by way of illustrating his meaning as to the differing usefulness of Presidents, divides the Presidents into two classes, and designates them as "Lincoln Presidents" and "Buchanan Presidents." In order more fully to illustrate his division of Presidents on their merits, he places himself in the Lincoln class of Presidents, and me in the Buchanan class. The identification of Mr. Roosevelt with Mr. Lincoln might otherwise have escaped notice, because there are many differences between the two, presumably superficial, which would give the impartial student of history a different impression.

It suggests a story which a friend of mine told of his little daughter Mary. As he came walking home after a business day, she ran out from the house to greet him, all aglow with the importance of what she wished to tell him. She said, "Papa, I am the best scholar in the class." The father's heart throbbed with pleasure as he inquired, "Why, Mary, you surprise me. When did the teacher tell you ? This afternoon?" "Oh, no," Mary's reply was, "the teacher didn't tell me I just noticed it myself."


The last chapter is "The Limits of Executive Power" and Taft then takes on TR's assertion that the executive branch should do anything to improve the public weal not explicitly proscribed by the Constitution:
The mainspring of such a view is that the Executive is charged with responsibility for the welfare of all the people in a general way, that he is to play the part of a Universal Providence and set all things right, and that anything that in his judgment will help the people he ought to do, unless he is expressly forbidden not to do it.

He moves on to President Roosevelt's plans to break the Pennsylvania coal strike and nationalize the mines. He provides approbation to TR for his actual handling of the crisis, but opprobrium for the backup plan included in his Autobiography.
Now it is perfectly evident that Mr. Roosevelt thinks he was charged with the duty, not only to suppress disorder in Pennsylvania, but to furnish coal to avoid the coal famine in New York and New England, and therefore he proposed to use the army of the United States to mine the coal which should prevent or relieve the famine. It was his avowed intention to take the coal mines out of the hands of their lawful owners and to mine the coal which belonged to them and sell it in the eastern market, against their objection, without any court proceeding of any kind and without any legal obligation on their part to work the mines at all. It was an advocacy of the higher law and his obligation to execute it which is a little startling in a constitutional republic. It is perfectly evident from his statement that it was not the maintenance of law and order in Pennsylvania and the suppression of insurrection, the only ground upon which he could intervene at all, that actuated him in what he proposed to do.

Read at least the last chapter of this short book.

UPDATE: Google link with reader

Executive Power Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Taft was a lot more astute than I ever gave him credit for. The comparison to Lincoln is appropriate on the only scale that matters: how much is someone for liberty? Honest Abe centralized power not just at the federal level, but at the federal executive level: suspension of the writ of habeas corpus (allowing him to jail 300 newspaper editors for the crime of disagreeing with him), the first draft, the first income tax.

Even for those who believe limited government is a necessity, that whole thing about "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined" started fading two centuries ago. Much went out the window starting in 1861.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 11, 2010 5:24 PM
But jk thinks:

There's a section where he goes deeper into Lincoln. Taft was prepared, if not to look away, to give wide latitude to President Lincoln based on the severity of what he was facing. He compares this rather unfavorably to TR's being ready to take over the mines,

Posted by: jk at April 12, 2010 10:00 AM

April 10, 2010

Woooooooah!

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 9, 2010

Grassroots GOP Sausage Making

Tomorrow is the date of the Weld County (Colorado) GOP County Assembly. One of my favorite parts of the caucus process is the vote taken on individual policy planks that have been submitted for consideration by precinct caucus attendees. In this way the ideas and priorities of individual citizens can rise to prominence if they are shared by - ahem - a majority of those voting. I think this is a good and healthy part of self-governance and I am always interested to see where my neighbors take a stand and where they don't.

Click continue reading to see the list of all 29 Resolutions for Consideration, listed in order of the number of precincts that submitted them. Resolution number 1 should be no surprise:

1. The Weld County Republican Party affirms the sanctity of human life and supports the God-given, constitutional right to life of all human beings from conception to natural death and therefore opposes public funding of abortion providers and fetal or embryonic stem cell research. Further, the Party supports the passage of an amendment to the Colorado Constitution to apply the term "person" to every human being from the beginning of their biological development. (53/63.9%)

I assume you all know how I'll be voting on this one.

I'll try to update after Assembly with the results of the ballot.

UPDATE: Dad and I both voted NO on the abortion, immigration, gay marriage, term limits and uranium mining resolutions [numbers 1, 4, 7, 22 and 25.] All 29 resolutions passed anyway. (I tried to vote YES twice on the global warming resolution [27] but couldn't hack the electronic voting machine with the tools I had with me at the time.) I'd still like to know how many other NO votes there were, of the 300-odd delegates, so I'm going to try calling the County Clerk's office next week. I asked one of the clerks in attendance if results would be posted on the 'net and she didn't know.

*The figures at the end of each resolution represent the number of precincts that submitted the resolution over the percentage of the 83 precincts (or 73.5% of all 113 precincts in Weld County) that submitted resolutions.

NOTE: Resolutions are listed in the order of most often submitted to least often submitted and are in the order that they will appear on the voting machines for your vote at assembly.

2. The Weld County Republican Party resolves to support only Republican candidates and elected officials who oppose all forms of gun control and uphold the right of all law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms under the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. (37/44.6%)

3. The Weld County Republican Party supports affordable health care but not through national socialized health care legislation and encourages the Colorado Attorney General to use every legal means to resist its mandate. (24/28.9%)

4. The Weld County Republican Party supports fully securing and controlling all U.S. borders to stop illegal immigration and terrorist infiltration. Further, the Party opposes all non-emergency government benefits, amnesty and sanctuary programs for illegal immigrants; supports heavy penalties for employers of illegal immigrants; and supports amending the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to read: "all persons born of U.S. or naturalized citizens in the United States..." (Italicized and underlined words to be added to the existing wording.) (24/28.9%)

5. The Weld County Republican Party supports the rule of law as well as judges who respect and uphold the Constitution and interpret laws as written, rather than overriding the will of the people who make them by legislating from the bench. Therefore, the Party recommends that Colorado Supreme Court Justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez, Nancy Rice, and Chief Justice Mary Mullarkey not be retained in office. (18/21.7%)

6. The Weld County Republican Party supports limited national government that is fiscally responsible while providing for strong national defense. The Party also supports the free enterprise system, equal protection under the law and individual and private property rights where U.S. citizens have the freedom of expression and exercise individual responsibility with liberty and justice for all. (17/20.5%)

7. The Weld County Republican Party supports Traditional Marriage Amendments to both the Colorado and U.S. Constitutions that legally establish marriage as the union of one man and one woman. (17/20.5%)

8. The Weld County Republican Party supports only English as the national language of the U.S. (15/18.1%)

9. The Weld County Republican Party supports less regulation of the oil and gas industry to encourage reasonable domestic oil and gas production and decrease U.S. reliance on foreign oil. (15/18.1%)

10. The Weld County Republican Party supports private property rights, including legislation prohibiting the use of eminent domain for the benefit of private business or for government revenue enhancement. (15/18.1%)

11. The Weld County Republican Party supports educational excellence through parent involvement, school choice, charter schools, school vouchers, home schooling, and public school and teacher accountability. (14/16.9%)

12. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all non-federal government officials within the State of Colorado assert Colorado's sovereignty under the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution. (14/16.9%)

13. The Weld County Republican Party supports the elimination of income taxes en lieu of a fair tax in the form of either a flat tax or a consumption tax. (13/15.7%)

14. The Weld County Republican Party opposes the implementation of Sharia Islamic law in any form or to any degree anywhere in the U.S. (13/15.7%)

15. The Weld County Republican Party supports strong national defense as well as the War on Terrorism, including current U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Further, the Party supports, honors and prays for the members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their families and is committed to providing them with the resources they need to complete their mission. (12/14.5%)

16. The Weld County Republican Party supports primary elections to select Presidential candidates. (12/14.5%)

17. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring Congress to operate the federal government under a balanced budget annually. (12/14.5%)

18. The Weld County Republican Party supports conserving Colorado water through the development of additional water storage projects to supply the needs of Colorado municipalities, industry and agriculture. (11/13.3%)

19. The Weld County Republican Party supports religious freedom in the U.S. as intended by America's founding fathers, including the public expression of religion guaranteed by the 1st Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. (11/13.3%)

20. The Weld County Republican Party does not support globalism or the concept of a North American Union because they violate the principles of self-governance inherent to the U.S. Constitution. The American republic form of government and its system of checks and balances that operates under the rule of law has no provision for regulation from non-elected, unaccountable, international institutions. (10/12.1%)

21. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Congress make no law that applies to U.S. citizens that does not apply equally to Congress and conversely, that Congress make no law that applies to Congress that does not apply equally to U.S. citizens. (8/9.6%)

22. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment the U.S. Constitution limiting Congressional terms. (8/9.6%)

23. The Weld County Republican Party supports an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring the immediate, comprehensive and objective Congressional audit of the Federal Reserve banking system in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Practices which will be made public upon completion and conducted annually thereafter. (6/7.2%)

24. The Weld County Republican Party supports tort law reform that reduces frivolous and exorbitant lawsuits, especially against medical professionals. (4/4.8%)

25. The Weld County Republican Party does not support uranium mining in WeldCounty. (4/4.8%)

26. The Weld County Republican Party supports limiting all legislation to a single subject that is of reasonable length and understanding, and the prohibition of earmarking. (4/4.8%)

27. The Weld County Republican Party does not recognize global warming and does not support emissions trading also known as Cap and Trade. (4/4.8%)

28. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all government officials should conduct their duties in accordance with the U.S. Constitution and that all documents pertaining to the regulation of U.S. citizens clearly site the Constitutional provisions authorizing such regulation. (4/4.8%)

29. The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Congress be limited to receiving the same Social Security retirement and Medicare health benefits as all other U.S. citizens. (4/4.8%)

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 2:35 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 8, 2010

On The One Hand, 100 Video Cameras

On the other hand, the probity of a Union Boss:

As Breitbart spoke, [AFL-CIO chief Richard] Trumka said he himself had seen the events in question. "I watched them spit at people, I watched them call John Lewis the n-word," Trumka said. "I witnessed it, I witnessed it. I saw it in person. That's real evidence."

Your call.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 4:44 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Then there shouldn't be a problem producing verifiable video and audio, right?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 8, 2010 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

We don't need proof. We have the word of a long-time union official.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2010 12:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, who are we going to believe, him or our own lying ears?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 9, 2010 3:05 PM

America's "Unusual Bargain"

In the 25th comment under JK's "That's Not Me" post lamenting the "God and Values and Country" flavor of the organized TEA Party Express bus tour JK expressed that "giving" a right to individuals which, in turn, takes away the rights of other individuals to "define my own law" is an unusual bargain. Maybe I'm being too cavalier but I believe that's what America has always been about. In the 26th comment I made a layman's case for a supportive Constitutional interpretation:

I contend that our difference of opinion arises from two different interpretations of the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

I submit that these unenumerated rights are those of individual people. I read you as insisting that what is not explicitly prohibited by the Constitution any majority of people may impose upon all individual people. I say the latter interpretation de facto turns the ninth amendment on its head.

It's an interesting topic worthy of its own post. And the original thread rolled off the page today. Something tells me that commenters aren't yet finished.

UPDATE: An extension of the excerpt from my own comment (in response to jk's first comment below).

The ninth amendment is to protect the rights of individuals, of minorities, from all levels of government, not of states from the Feds. By my reading the tenth amendment does not give the states power to abrogate the right of individual people "to be secure in their persons..."

This is the nature of my "parasite" argument. That clinical term does not imply benefit or harm, but the state of being conjoined as one person in the eyes of the Constitution. No, you won't find this in the text. But you will find numerous prohibitions that threaten Obamacare or "the right to receive uncompensated medical care from my neighbor."

(Emphasis added.)

But jk thinks:

So there is indeed a right to health care (nowhere does it say there isn't). And any law which allows any provider to refrain from providing any treatment for any reason will be struck down.

This will save us a lot of debate on ObamaCare and I won't have to endure another one of those "God and Values and Country" TEA parties.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2010 4:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Funny, I haven't seen any legislatures passing such laws ... telling doctors they don't have to treat someone.

I don't understand why it's so hard to recognize that a document acknowledging unenumerated individual liberties doesn't imply unenumerated government powers. Specifically enumerating the latter is the way to protect the former.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2010 7:49 PM

That Internet Thingy is Quick

Perfess'r Reynolds beat me to the joke -- by twelve hours.

HMM: Qatari Diplomat In Custody After Possible Shoe Bomb Attempt. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: Worse than a shoe bomb he was smoking in the bathroom.


The flight was bound for DIA so the local crews gave it full coverage. It became apparent halfway through that the guy would rather confess to attempted terrorism than smoking.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Left can forgive "freedom fighting," but lighting up a cig? That's going too damn far! Throw the bastard in jail!

He would have been better off tokin' a doobie and claiming it was for medicinal purposes. The SF city attorney would have taken his defense pro bono.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2010 4:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Taranto bats clean-up:

Certainly no one condones such behavior, but when such things happen, we ought to ask ourselves: Why do they hate us? This makes clear that the time has come to reconsider all those culturally imperialistic antismoking laws.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2010 4:32 PM

TARP I vs. Bailout Mania.

Our abortion discussion is set to roll off the page today. Don't worry: jg, dagny, lisam and I got it pretty much resolved. We also seem to have reached kumbayanistan on immigration (though I suspect the enforcement lovers didn't spend too much time on the Reason "legal immigration" flowchart).

So, there's only one issue which divides us. I supported the first TARP. To reiterate, I think Secretary Paulson looked into the abyss and took dramatic action to avert a potential market Armageddon. We can debate moral hazard, precedent, counter-party versus liquidity risk, actual versus perceived seriousness, and the efficacy of action. All are fair game. And I have admitted that all make me a little queasy as I defend my original support.

Yet, I will not accept the blurring between TARP I, the stimulus, and the auto bailouts. Those have all been lumped together which I find convenient for the Obama Administration to share culpability with the Bush Administration.

TARP I was diverted before execution to provide liquidity beyond the purchase of "troubled assets," the T&A in TARP (not to be confused with the T&A on RNC expense accounts). Even with this, the original relief recipients have done well, paid back the government and, as suggested, the Treasury made profit on some of its investments.

The part that ain't worked, won't work, never will work is the expansion of TARP to include GM and Chrysler. Megan McArdle has some sobering figures on the pension obligations that we now own, But I want to highlight this gem of an admission:

Make no mistake, these companies are still on life support. The CBO expects that the lion's share of the government's losses on TARP will come, not from anything the Bush administration did, but from the Obama administration's decision to bail out the automakers and to a lesser extent, its bailout of homeowners. It seems that a big chunk of our cost may come from picking up the gold plated pensions . . . "Cadillac Plans", if you will . . . of the automakers. And lest you think I'm picking on unions over management, it was management that used the UAW as a prop to extract these gargantuan sums from the pockets of innocent taxpayers.

History is being rewritten for the 2010 and 2012 elections. For those who love intervention, the stimulus saved the economy; for those who hate bailouts, Bush did it.

If you imagine a continuation of Paulson's TARP I without the stimulus or UAW bailouts, you don't get a picture of libertarian utopia, but you get a much better balance sheet. A delimiter is required between President Bush's actions and President Obama's. Luckily, I am here to keep up the fight.

But jk thinks:

Ten bucks!

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2010 6:39 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

That is cheating and you know it. :P

Besides, we all know you are just trying to get another thread with 20 comments on it. ^_~

Posted by: T. Greer at April 8, 2010 7:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Even going by your rules of the Constitution, where are the enumerated powers for Congress and the Executive to take tax money to give to private institutions?

Even the concepts of police, courts and a military must be funded by purely voluntary means, otherwise it's still force. The third I'd contribute to, but the first two have done nothing positive for me. In fact, the first two have done many negative things for me and my family, which is really to be expected because their authority over me is not by my consent.

Or are you saying that freedom is not quite as free as it seems to be, that you don't have full rights to your property (in that your neighbors can vote to tax you)? Are you saying you're not quite free to associate with whomever you want, because your neighbors will have some dominion over you regardless of your wishes? I'm not trying to be mean or argumentative here, I'm just trying to show you the line of thought that led me to where I am today. It's a stark realization that government, by definition, cannot allow for complete liberty. I don't mean going around murdering and stealing, I mean having full personal sovereignty over your person, your mind and your property.

TG, you know me all too well. Once again:

Since no individual acting separately can lawfully use force to destroy the rights of others, does it not logically follow that the same principle also applies to the common force that is nothing more than the organized combination of the individual forces?

If my neighbors as individuals cannot compel me to give money against my will, then how can they do that under the guise of "government"? If my neighbors come to me and I consent without duress, then there's no need for a government in the first place. But a government is necessary when peaceful individuals aren't willing to give up their lives and property to the decisions of others.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 8, 2010 11:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Amen brother.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2010 10:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet, we do have government and we do have a Constitution. I'm willing to live here under the former so long as it is actually constrained by the latter. The fact of being passed in a Constitutional manner doesn't make government's laws constitutional. Congress "doesn't care" about the Constitution and the Supreme Court often doesn't understand it. For the whole of the 20th century the three branches were more often in collusion rather than in constitutional balance. And now more than ever.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2010 10:33 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You have to realize that the Constitution is just another set of laws by men. GWB was right, in the wrong way, when he said it's "just a goddamn piece of paper." It may be the "Supreme Law of the land," but so what? Kings' decrees have been supreme law as well. At best it's something corruptible -- "The law perverted!"

And what about when the Constitution has been clearly wrong, like sanctioning slavery, and being amended to forbid alcohol? It only goes to show that being law, even the top law, doesn't mean something is right or just.

"I'm willing to live here under the former so long as it is actually constrained by the latter."

But it's not, of course. It hasn't since the early 19th century, with the beginning of "internal improvements" redistribution. And who stood up to Lincoln's centralization of power, e.g. conscription and income taxes? Well, a few hundred newspaper editors, so he suspected habeas corpus and threw them in jail. My friend Sheldon Richman, at the top of his blog, quotes Madison's "but bind him down by the chains of the Constitution" and replies, "Fat chance."

Remember that in every case that "Congress shall have power to ____," it means Congress shall have power to take from someone to give to someone else. I don't consent to that. I don't believe in a post office or public roads supported by my own money, and if I believe enough in an army or navy, I'm quite capable of giving my own money. I don't consent to nine justices and their staff having the power to decide -- to rule -- that a woman must sell her house to a private developer.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 9, 2010 3:21 PM

The Raciest Thing Ever on ThreeSources

100408beelertoon_c.jpg

Nate Beeler

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

TEA Party: "Cut the spending, b-tch!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2010 2:28 PM

Coffeehousin'

It's family week at liveatthecoffeehouse.com. I found video of my father singing his original composition, Belle Isle Streetcar Line, so he's got the guest slot.

banner4.gif

His little princess, my sister Diane, joins me for Johnny Mercer's Goody Goody.


April 7, 2010

Must See TV!

Taranto on Kudlow. You have 11 minutes. Wait a minute, you don't have Kudlow set to TiVo? Huh waa?


Quote of the Day

Sawr on Twitter. Assuming it's a "real" Letterman quote:

Letterman: So Pres Obama throws out the first pitch at the Nationals game. Hi & outside. Then cuz its the National League he has to bat

Posted by John Kranz at 5:12 PM | What do you think? [0]

Obama Can't Handle Immigration Reform

Shikha Dalmia says that neither the time nor the President is right for immigration reform (hmm, something we might all agree on). Dalmia links to one of my favorite charts and -- among many good points -- makes yet another immigration statement that we might all agree with (I said "might):

The fundamental problem with America's immigration system is that it forces Americans to justify to their government why they want to bring someone into the country, instead of requiring the government to justify to them why they can't. Uncle Sam is less gatekeeper, more social engineer. Instead of focusing on keeping out those who pose a genuine security or public health risk-- the only immigration policy consistent with ideals of limited government -- it is driven, among other things, by a need to manage labor market flows and the national demographic makeup.

An excellent article. I only wish Forbes would replace Ms. Dalmia's picture with the small poorly-lit mug shot we expect. Hers is somehow distracting.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 4:24 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Terri thinks:

Hey - even I agree!

Posted by: Terri at April 7, 2010 5:37 PM
But jk thinks:

KUMBAYA!

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2010 5:48 PM

April 6, 2010

Quote of the Day

On this day in 1973 Ron Blomberg of the NY Yankees became 1st designated hitter in MLB history//37 yrs of darkness followed -- @EdMorrissey
(He was walked).
Posted by John Kranz at 5:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

'94, hell!

If the last great hope is to have a last great hope, we'll need -- not just another 1994 -- but a 1946. Michael Barone explains:

In the off-year election of 1946, Republicans gained 13 seats in the Senate and emerged with a 5145 majority there, the largest majority that they enjoyed between 1930 and 1980. They gained 55 seats in the House, giving them a 246188 majority in that body, the largest majority they have held since 1930.

Of course, the political climate was completely different:
Polls from 1937 to 1940 saw majorities opposing Roosevelts never-enacted Third New Deal and supporting cuts in government spending, favoring curbs in the power of labor unions, and opposing welfare programs.

And:
Democrats in 19451946 were closely allied with labor unions, which were deeply involved in politics and were avidly seeking more members and more bargaining power.

Would an historic GOP landslide be worth anything to liberty lovers? I'd have to say in context, yes. They might booger everything up, but it would be a powerful signal against government expansion.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 4:50 PM | What do you think? [0]

365 Days of Coffee

Cool Beans.

365 coffee pix.

Hat-tip: @DevilDogBrew

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 2:33 PM | What do you think? [0]

Philly Sports

Some comment chatter about Mister McNabb's trade seems a good segue to plug Galley Slaves.

I don't know how many of you read this blog regularly, but it is a constant gem. The slaves are pro political writers so they rarely get too deep in politics (free milk, cow something or other...). But they are always entertaining on culture, tech, gaming, media -- and Philadelphia sports.

Jonathan V. Last celebrates the Nets' tenth win: Good news: The most sacred record in Philadelphia sports is safe..

Always on the blogroll -- always worth a read.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

Pick The Next Panic

Having a chronic disease, it's easy to get down now and then. I try not to let it last too long, and one of my favorite pick-me-ups is to insist that I have to live long enough to see what the next b******t apocalypse enviro-scare is.

I won't suggest that Bret Stephens of the WSJ Ed Page is hastening my demise with some Simeon-scenario, but I did get a kick out of today's contest to come up with the next one.

Herewith, then, I propose a readers' contest to invent the next panic. It must involve something ubiquitous, invisible to the naked eye, and preferably mass-produced. And the solution must require taxes, regulation, and other changes to civilization as we know it. The winner gets a beer and a burger, on me, at the 47th street Pig N' Whistle in New York City. (Nachos for vegetarians.) Happy panicking!

Stephens -- like brother jg -- is pretty sure DAWG is DEAD. I like this kinda talk:
The difference between the two stories has little to do with science: There were plenty of reasons back in October to suspect that the Arctic ice panicbased on data that only goes back to 1979was as implausible as the now debunked claim about disappearing Himalayan glaciers. But thanks to Climategate and the Copenhagen fiasco, the media are now picking up the kinds of stories they previously thought it easier and wiser to ignore.

This is happening internationally. In France, a book titled "L'imposture climatique" is a runaway bestseller: Its author, Claude Allgre, is one of the country's most acclaimed scientists and a former minister of education in a Socialist government. In Britain, environmentalist patron saint James Lovelock now tells the BBC he suspects climate scientists have "[fudged] the data" and that if the planet is going to be saved, "it will save itself, as it always has done." In Germany, the leftish Der Spiegel devotes 15 pages to a deliciously detailed account of "scientists who want to be politicians," the "curious inconsistencies" in the temperature record, the "sloppy work" of the U.N.'s climate-change panel and sundry other sins of modern climatology.

As for the United States, Gallup reports that global warming now ranks sixth on the list of Americans' top 10 environmental concerns. My wager is that within a few years "climate change" will exercise global nerves about as much as overpopulation, toxic tampons, nuclear winters, ozone holes, killer bees, low sperm counts, genetically modified foods and mad cows do today.


And yet, Cap'n Trade is still on the agenda, none of the warmies are going anywhere, nor is any of the stupid legislation (while you're at the WSJ site, read the editorial on California's AB32 nonsense).

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [0]

March Madness

Irst-fay, congratulations to Silence Dogood's alma mater.

Econd-say, what is the deal with the NCAA? Our illustrious 535 sports fans-in-chief will call investigations for steroids or the BCS, but the NCAA cartel is sacrosanct, Ilya Somin:

Most sports fans are currently watching the NCAA basketball championship game. Since my own basketball interests are usually confined to the NBA, I am instead going to take this opportunity to denounce the NCAAs cartel-like effort to use the power of government to keep its members from paying student athletes for their labor.

It really is whacked. Why can't they "fix" that and leave health care alone?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:13 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah. And before we know it you'll be lobbying government to allow us to pay each other for human organs.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2010 2:31 PM

GOTV

I like Bill Whittle's stuff. Don't know that we agree on everything, but I admired his mix of passion and intellect in his old EJECT! EJECT! EJECT! essays. Now he has brought that to PJTV. Professor Reynolds has been hawking this video as particularly important.

It's short and worth a view in full, but the heart is to meet up with five people at a TEA party, then you and your five each bring five new voters on election day. Drive them to polls. People who would not otherwise vote.

This is like admitting that you don't know what that third pedal on your car does, but here I go:

I don't think I have ever once changed a single vote or generated a vote for a candidate I support. I can hope that my small donations may have been used effectively, and that perhaps as a cog in the GOTV effort, that I may have played a part. But my efforts at direct suasion have all turned up goose eggs.

Working the phones at GOTV, I have annoyed many people but I cannot recall one who said he'd vote or vote for my candidate.

Most of my friends are involved and will vote and will choose their candidate without my sagacious counsel. The squishes I do know seem immune to my suggestions. And I'll rent a bigger car if I must but I don't know anyone who doesn't vote because they need a ride.

Whittle and that Rove fellow make it sound simple, but I have yet to knowingly add one vote beyond mine. Maybe I should find another interest.

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 5, 2010

GM Owners Fine Rivals $16.4M for Non-existent Problem

AP:

"We now have proof that Toyota failed to live up to its legal obligations," LaHood said in a statement. "Worse yet, they knowingly hid a dangerous defect for months from U.S. officials and did not take action to protect millions of drivers and their families."

But Lisa M thinks:

Saw this on NRO just now and immediately thought of you. I think Toyota should sue all those people who faked their "sudden acceleration" for defamation to pay the fine.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 5, 2010 6:12 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You know, "due process" is so antiquated nowadays...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 5, 2010 11:03 PM

'Leave Us Alone' -

'Getting the government's hands off our money, our guns, our lives.' The 2008 Grover Norquist book by this name posited a future politics driven by the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" on one side and the "Takings Coalition" on the other. This dovetails nicely with our recent discussion and Norquist apparently addresses the social values schizm toward the end of the book [Craig Matteson review]:

If I disagree with Norquist on anything it is his rough dismissal of social conservative issues towards the end of the book. However, I understand his emphasis on economic issues and their rough correlation with social conservative issues. That is, if you look at all economic conservatives in the Republican party, they will also include almost all of the social conservatives and some of those who are more liberal on social issues. So, we get more voters to help us win our issues with economics. This ignores the reality that for social conservatives, some issues are so vital that sitting home or creating a new party would be better alternatives than letting them slip out of the public debate.

If there is anything that religious leaders can do to help save America and the American way of life it is to disabuse their flocks from keeping social issues in the public political debate. Take them back to the public moral debate where they rightly belong.

And "Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally" is a good place to start.


Quote of the Day

If you say to an average person: "What would you rather have: Free health care or an un-trampled Constitution," people are going to pick free health care because people like free stuff. They also like rainbows, puppies and therapeutic massage and, one day, we will all have a right to those too I hope. Which is why we had the Constitution to begin with: To protect us from ourselves. -- Greg Gutfield.
Gutfield is respecting Rep Phil Hare's candor "I give him credit for saying what no one else on his side is saying: This entitlement means more to us than the principles on which our country was founded." We're stupefied hearing him say he doesn't care about the Constitution (and them of course, conflating it with the Declaration -- the depredating that.

But Gutfield is sadly right. My newfound Facebook Communists don't see why some old piece of paper should keep them from getting free stuff.

UPDATE: Heh. Blog Brother ac posts Gutfield's "politically-incorrect" iPad review.

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

With apologies to Robert Heinlein: "TANSTAFHC"

(Tahn-stahf-hic?)

From the original manuscript: "Means 'There ain't no such thing as a free lunch.' And isn't" I added, pointing to a FREE LUNCH sign across room, "or these drinks would cost half as much. Was reminding her that anything free costs twice as much in long run or turns out worthless."

Magister dixit.

Means same for Health Care.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2010 2:24 PM

April 4, 2010

iPad

For computing platforms, I'm a PC <montypythonvoice>and so's my wife.</montypythonvoice>. But for entertainment, we do do the Apple thang and the lovely bride had hers delivered yesterday.

I have to admit it is extremely cool, I like it almost as much as Stephen Colbert:

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Stephen Gets a Free iPad
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorHealth Care Reform

Quote of the Day II

And I am now convinced of what I have long suspected the United States has a president with a serious personality disorder.

Now I admit I am not a professional psychiatrist or psychologist, nor do I see myself even remotely as a paragon of mental health, but I have made a decent living for over thirty years as a fiction writer whose stock in trade is perforce studying people and this is one strange dude. He makes Richard Nixon seem almost normal. -- Roger Simon


Not sure I agree with the man under the hat, but it is a great column...


Quote of the Day

Obamacare was supposed to provide unicorns and rainbows: How can it possibly be hurting companies and killing jobs? Surely there's some sort of Republican conspiracy going on here!

More like a confederacy of dunces. Waxman and his colleagues in Congress can't possibly understand the health care market well enough to fix it. But what's more striking is that Waxman's outraged reaction revealed that they don't even understand their own area of responsibility - regulation -- well enough to predict the effect of changes in legislation. -- Glenn Reynolds in an Examiner editorial with bonus Hayek references,

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

April 3, 2010

The Inevitable Backlash

Against myself.

While we Jeffersonian tea-partiers whine about the bus, we should probably admit that the Hamiltonian wing is doing a better job with publicity and organization. I forget the exact context, but brother jg's first response to my first complaint was "you could hear." No musician should ever under-appreciate a quality PA run competently.

And, numbers matter. I don't know how many times I learned of a big TEA party rally in Denver -- that happened the day before I heard about it. The bus tour I decried did get me there, as it did to the good folks in Omaha: hundreds expected, thousands attend..

The big traffic problems in Southwest Omaha Thursday night could be blamed on one thing: a political rally. Some people had to park more than a mile away from the event. It's exactly what Tea Party organizers were hoping for.

The Tea Party Express Bus Tour began last weekend in Saturday. "One person does make a difference," says one of the tour speakers.

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom helped organize this stop. "I think a lot of people who haven't got too involved in politics before have really gotten angry and frustrated to the point that they want to get involved in politics now," says Doug Kagan who represents the organization.

Lynn Ewing brought her family to boat ramp/picnic area at Lake Zorinsky. "I think they're being taxed to death and it's not fair."

Organizers were expecting a few hundred at the rally but instead there were an estimated 3,000.


I surely would like to impute some more intellectual and ideological values on the group, but I may have been a bit harsh on some allies. Not very pragmatic of me.

Hat-tip: Classical Values via Instapundit

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Lisa M thinks:

jk, there's an tea party event at Independence Mall in Philly non April 17 that I am going to try to get to. It's NOT a bus event. Your review of the Tea Party express was very useful, in a very positive way in making my decision to attend this event.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 3, 2010 8:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

LM, This is a little off-topic, but fits well with the title "Inevitable backlash." What are Philly fans saying about the McNabb trade? Sounds a bit like if the Broncos had traded Elway to the Raiders.

One can almost understand a trade given McNabb's age and recent injury history. But to a conference rival?? If McNabb rolls into Philly and beats the Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie had better have a reservation in the witness protection program, I would think.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 5, 2010 2:03 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Refugee, I don't know if I can quite sum up the Philly mentality having actually experienced it, but I'll try. Almost to a man, Philadelphians are THRILLED that McNabb is gone. His stats mean nothing to the fans here; in fact there is only one thing that does:
THE MAN HAS NOT WON A SUPERBOWL FOR THIS CITY
Therefore he must go. This happens to every Philadelphia sports superstar eventually, because they never win championships (Fightin' Phils being a recent exception to that) but I heard a local sportscaster talking about it this morning on the radio; he seems to think these guys hang around too long. Mike Schmidt, Charles Barkley, Randall Cunningham. They all lose their luster and Philly fans turn on them.

For some choice entertainment, however, I would highly recommend the Eagles/Redskins matchups this year. Especially if the birds are having a good year. The fans will be ruthless.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 5, 2010 6:19 PM
But dagny thinks:

My parents are transplanted Eagles fans currently living in Seattle but still inordinately dedicated to their, "iggles." They are the exception to the, "thrilled," group in Philly and are sorry to see him go.

Call me a Denver fan but I think Mike Shanahan is VERY smart man.

Posted by: dagny at April 5, 2010 7:07 PM

April 2, 2010

"Extremist" Group's Website

Whoa. What to make of these guys. You may have heard about their letters "sent to 30 governors demanding they step down within 3 days or be removed."

For the record, I used quotes around "extremist" because that is the word being used by government officials and lamestream media to describe them. I think they're likely right, however. Unless of course this is all a government plot to discredit Constitutionalists.

If it is though, it's pretty sophisticated. These guys don't really seem to have much reverence for the Constitution.

The one common belief that ties the American population together is faith in the Constitution. Many Americans are willing to fight and die in its defense even as they blindly trade notes of debt issued by a foreign bank. We decided that restoring, in principle, the Constitutional institutions through December 19, 1860 was the approach MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED (and that's the bottom line, failure being unacceptable). We rejected restoration to 1933, the Articles of Confederation or ancient times as being insufficient (1933) or unworkable, at least in terms of achieving our goals rather than proclaiming our patriot knowledge of history. Of course we recognize that the Constitution was the method for imposing on the States the obligations rejected by the colonies to pay the Revolutionary War debts to the Bank of England. Notwithstanding, we can relieve the suffering of the sovereign People by agreeing with those who choose to glorify a man-made document.

And then they proceed to declare their own man-made document "as a genuine covenant with the Creator in honor of the Law."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | What do you think? [0]

April 1, 2010

I Could Not Have Decided for Myself

Don't worry, the AP suggests you're coming out okay:

WASHINGTON Drivers will have to pay more for cars and trucks, but they'll save at the pump under tough new federal rules aimed at boosting mileage, cutting emissions and hastening the next generation of fuel-stingy hybrids and electric cars.

The new standards, announced Thursday, call for a 35.5 miles-per-gallon average within six years, up nearly 10 mpg from now.

By setting national standards for fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions from tailpipes, the government hopes to squeeze out more miles per gallon whether you buy a tiny Smart fortwo micro car, a rugged Dodge Ram pickup truck or something in between.


Where do you start with the awfulness of this policy? First principles. Government does not create more fuel efficient cars -- like the minimum wage, it just makes some purchases illegal.

It seems that citizens could choose whether they wanted to pay more for a more fuel efficient car. But as subjects, we are told.

But johngalt thinks:

Read this post to my dad. He pointed out that those new government-approved cars aren't more fuel efficient they're merely more fuel economical as a result of being smaller and lighter. [And I add, less comfortable and more dangerous.]

Today Jason Lewis said, "Just when you thought the world hasn't gone completely insane..." as the lead in to a story.

I couldn't help wondering, "Who thinks that?"

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2010 9:20 PM

Metal Repair Spray

OnlineMetals' patented "Cut Away!" Metal Repair Spray A product that allows you to instantly repair and reverse any mistakes you've made while cutting your material.

This stuff looks pretty cool. I don't know if they carry it at Home Depot or even McGuckin's yet so you'll have to order yours online here.

Humor Posted by JohnGalt at 5:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

That's Not Me! That's Not Me!

The first TEA party I attended was transformative.

Here were enough people to cover the West lawn of the State Capitol, all of whom believed in limited government and enumerated rights enough to come down to the West lawn of the State Capitol. The people were nice, the signs were clever, the atmosphere festive. Many times since, I have wished I could have shown that to non-believers on the right and left. No, these people are not crazy racists -- and no, these people are not ignorant fools who will let this opportunity slip away. I would have been proud to have brought anyone I know there.

Yesterday, The Tea Party Express bus tour rolled through my hometown. We were again on the West lawn and once again there was a good crowd, bright signage, and general comity. Sadly, this time the event was tarnished by the Tea Party Express. Where I would have longed to share the first experience, this one would have embarrassed me. At times, it felt as if I were watching an SNL portrayal of a Tea Party. What? Tina Fey is not scheduled to appear?

Brother jg and Sister dagny-- after providing most commendable handicapped transportation services -- worked the crowd, politely engaged some counter-protesters, and starred in photos with their clever signage and preternaturally photogenic daughters. My lovely bride and I opted for a secluded opportunity to sit and listen. If you dance every dance, you may not care so much that the band sucks; but if you sit and listen...

The first TEA party had Jon Caldera from the Colorado Independence Institute, a couple State Senators came out of the Capitol and I think Michele Malkin was the "star." The sound was poor and the spontaneousness of the event was apparent. Hayek would have been proud.

While any two or three of yesterday's speakers or performers would have fit in perfectly, the sum total was dispiriting. There was not a single intellectual, philosophical or educational speaker. There was a lengthy series of patriotic songs and poems and speeches supporting the troops. I don't think anyone who has read this blog for more than three days would suggest that I am indifferent to patriotism or to recognition of those who wear the nation's uniform. But we have work to do and what started as sweet (a Gold Star Mom extolling her son's last day with stories and a song she composed) grew kitschy and maudlin. Again, consider the reviewer.

When the theme turned to politics, it was red meat ("Pelosi and Reid and Obama, or as I like to call them 'Lenin, Stalin, and Mao-lite'") and several more novelty songs. Oh-boy. The rap song from the guy from Waco was notable as it was the only time "limited government" was mentioned in the entire rally.

In between, the chatter was condescending and offered no recognition to the more libertarian attendee. It was God and Values and Country. The hand lettered signs were intelligent and bespoke of sophistication and awareness of politics and media. And yet, the speakers talked down "You know, were going to have an ee-lec-shun this year"

To make my experience complete, Rep, Tom Tancredo closed the show. His introduction included a cringe-inducing Strom Thurmond moment of deep regret and sadness that he didn't win the presidency in 2008.

At the end, I asked Brother jg to drop me off at Democratic Party HQ so that I could sign up. Ive calmed down a little since then but if the bus tour folks successfully co-opt the TEA Party, the last great hope for the last great hope has been extinguished.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 2:28 PM | What do you think? [26]
But jk thinks:

Umm, yeah, self-determination. The ability to enact and enforce laws under the auspices of a State Constitution so long as those laws are not superseded by the Federal Constitution.

I would support a ban on D&X procedures (an assertion of the right to life of a viable infant) and would support parental notification with reasonable safeguards.

And yet, the Federal government, though the Judiciary, has removed my voice. They have packaged it with a pretty bow of "rights," but it remains an infringement on my self-determination.

The Constitution can be amended. It is no gift to liberty that it can sometimes be ignored. You cannot run to the Constitution for protection from ObamaCare® and then shrug when another overreach happens to please.

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2010 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So the state, which sets state law, is a "self?"

I don't understand how you think any of this rebuts my argument that state law is the imposition of majority will upon the minority.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2010 7:41 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Prior to the Roe decision, many states had their own abortion laws. What Roe did was create a sweeping new "right" that had not existed, the right to privacy, and from there infer that the right to privacy meant the right to kill an unborn child. States can dictate to me whether or not I may carry my .357 concealed, or in certain areas. If they can place restraints on my right to bear arms, which is, in fact, clearly enumerated in the Constitution, why can they not regulate the ability to terminate our young, a far more consequential and heinous practice?

jg, I understand your point that a fetus is essentially a parasitic organism until birth; however, I would argue that to most women who decide to complete their pregnancies, should that pregnancy end in miscarriage, that woman is not going to say, whew! I'm glad I was cured of that parasitic organism. On the contrary, most women will mourn the loss of their "baby." On this point, I can speak from personal experience as well. In this instance, the only thing that changes the equation is whether the mother wants the child or not. A decision, given the ubiquity of birth control and sex education these days, that could have been made before a human life was hanging in the balance.

Additionally, given the advances in modern medicine, a fetus is viable long before the pregancy comes to term at 40 weeks. My cousin gave birth to twins at 26 weeks gestation; they are now active and completely normal seven-year-olds. So the question becomes, at what point would it have been ok to terminate the lives of those twins without it becoming murder? Any time prior to their emergence from the womb? This seems a rather arbitrary way to decide when a human life, already begun, can be snuffed out.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 7, 2010 8:44 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

dagny, forgive me, but I did not originally see your post above and there are a few things that need clarification. You characterize my position as "wanting the government to DO something" which is correct, up to a point: I want the government to UNDO something that they should have never done in the first place. Then put it back to the people to decide. Once the people's voices are heard on the matter, I believe only then can the country have an intelligent, and somewhat less emotional discussion regarding abortion rights.

I agree that your body is your business, however, as I mentioned to jg in the post above, at what point does the human being inside of you gain rights? As a woman you make many choices with regard to birth control and whom you decide to sleep with; the decision to get pregnant in my mind is the same as deciding to have unprotected sex. Irresponsibly starting another human life, then choosing to shrug off that resulting responsibility to another human being by terminating that life cheapens all life. And it makes all life an easy thing to end. It is my belief that the ubiquity of abortion led in a direct line to the starvation death of Terri Shiavo, a woman who was brutally murdered by the state because, like a woman making a choice about her unborn baby, someone else made a choice for her: that her life was not worth living.

As a woman, and a mother of a daughter with a chronic illness, the fact that anyone can make a decision that another's quality of life (or potential quality of life) would not be worth living chills me to the bone. I don't necessarily believe abortion should be outlawed, but neither do I believe it is a right enumerated in the constitution.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 8, 2010 7:37 AM
But jk thinks:

I put this toward the worng post. (What's he going on about...)

I vote in my State. My State has a constitutional process (a pretty wide open one as you know in Colorado) to create laws. I can work through the legislature or referendum process and seek to enact laws. But Article VI gives the Constitution supremacy over the laws I may enact.

Fair enough if the topic deserves Constitutional purview. I'll respect the 13th Amendment and not re-institute slavery. But every time you "give me a right" and take away my power to define my own laws, you've offered an unusual bargain.

Majority rule as tempered by a State and Federal Constitution is certainly not inconsistent with republican government. If you’re concerned that Colorado's referenda process is too close to plebiscite, consider another State.

Speaking of not answering. I haven't heard much on Justice Clinton's defining health care as a right. It's not much more a leap that security->privacy->abortion. You either live in a Constitutional framework or you do not. I think you're being opportunistic in deciding when to be constructionist and when to follow a "living document."

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2010 10:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I am arguing that the "unusual bargain" you described is what makes America unique in the world. She is "the land of the free..."

I have not read the majority decision in Roe, at least not recently. I am not defending the reasoning of the decision, but its result. And I do not find its result inconsistent with the Constitution or kicking the door open for ignorance or overreach.

I contend that our difference of opinion arises from two different interpretations of the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

I submit that these unenumerated rights are those of individual people. I read you as insisting that what is not explicitly prohibited by the Constitution any majority of people may impose upon all individual people. I say the latter interpretation de facto turns the ninth amendment on its head.

The ninth amendment is to protect the rights of individuals, of minorities, from all levels of government, not of states from the Feds. By my reading the tenth amendment does not give the states power to abrogate the right of individual people "to be secure in their persons..."

This is the nature of my "parasite" argument. That clinical term does not imply benefit or harm, but the state of being conjoined as one person in the eyes of the Constitution. No, you won't find this in the text. But you will find numerous prohibitions that threaten Obamacare or "the right to receive uncompensated medical care from my neighbor."

LM: It appears that said parasite argument hasn't persuaded you, unless I can take credit for your not necessarily believing abortion should be illegal. Your arguments have reinforced my belief that abortion is abominable, but I disagree that when individuals choose this it "cheapens" all life. Individual self-determination is the essence of a moral existence. As a three-time witness to the miracle of human birth I am convinced that the matter is rightly decided by the woman, under advisors of her choice, and her Creator.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2010 3:29 PM

TEA Party Pix

Here are some pix from yesterday's TEA party in Denver. Click the links below each for a higher resolution image.

A lengthy (and surprisingly negative) review is on the way after I finish some stupid work stuff.

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Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, doesn't one of those signs say Threesources.com? :)

Thanks for the pics brother, and the soapbox. I missed much of the program including, apparently, all of the local speakers due to mingling in the crowd and keeping two of my small children in sight at all times. Here are my highlights:

Saw gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes walk right past me - wasn't sure it was him 'til it was too late to say hi.

Saw uber-liberal Denver Post columnist Mike Litwin walk right past me. Said, "Hi Mike!" He smiled back and said hello. (See, we're not extremists!!)

Saw one of the teachers from my daughter's preschool. Refreshing!

Saw less than a dozen young *white* people holding small, letter-sized signs alongside Lincoln Blvd. Signs read "I (heart) Pelosi" and "I (heart) Obama." Engaged a few of them in conversation about-
i) Caucuses - Apparently participation in only the last one or two marks us as "out of touch" or "uncaring" or in some other way worthy of derision.
ii) Taxes - We "extremists" think we should get to spend our own earnings. "But we do!" the pleasant 30-something female retorted. "Not really" I said, "since about half of our paychecks go to the government." I ended the back and forth shower of statistics by asking, "Do you know when Tax Freedom Day is?" They didn't know WHAT Tax Freedom Day is.
iii) Public employee unions/wages/retirement plans - I asked if it's really right for us to pay full salaries to gov't employees when they retire, even though they're no longer working for us. "Yes because their pay is so low to start with." They weren't aware of recent statistics showing avg. gov't wages are 145% of comparable private sector employees. "Teachers" they said. "Teachers are very poorly paid." I said that's a shame considering the obscene amount of money we pay for public education.
Around this time a middle-aged (and less pleasant although, also *white*) female chimed in with "How much of your money do you think is in PERA?" [The Public Employees' Retirement Association] I said that since PERA is a defined benefit plan, if its investments don't earn enough to cover obligations then the rest comes out of the state General Fund. She said I was wrong. I said I don't think so, but I'll look into it again. I did. From 'Retirement Benefits' page 5: "If you meet the eligibility requirements for a service retirement, your defined benefit will be 2.5 percent of your HAS [highest average salary] for each year of service credit up to 100 percent."

Was asked by a pleasant older male (circulating a petition to get GOP also-ran Tom Wiens on the primary ballot) what the last word of my "ENEMY OF THE STATIST" sign means. I said it means, "communist, totaltarian any form of collectivist." Still not sure what I meant I said it's someone who employs statism. My jaw dropped when he said he never associated the word statist with communist and ... he teaches government! Sigh.

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2010 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, now that you mention it, the extremely well lettered sign beside the really super-cute kid does look like it says threesources.com...

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2010 3:16 PM

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