September 30, 2010

Armageddon?

That's what the Denver Post predicts if Colorado's Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 are approved by voters. [On November 2nd. That's a Tuesday. Polls open at 7 am and remain open until 7 pm. If you need a ride, CALL ME.] The Post concludes:

The economy already has reduced the size of government, and more cuts are coming.

State and local governments have not run up trillion-dollar deficits, and shouldn't be punished for what Congress and two presidents have wrought.

No. This is not true. Thanks to the $787 BILLION Federal "Stimulus" spending bill, state spending did not go down, though the rate of growth slowed a bit.


[From the link in paragraph 14 here.]

And more cuts will come only if voters tie government's hands, or at least their thumbs, with these three ballot measures.

It is true that Colorado's state and local governments haven't run up trillion-dollar deficits, but if you count state and local indebtedness as the de-facto deficit that it is then they have run up billion-dollar deficits.

Not done yet. There's also the local debt burden by Colorado's cities, towns, and counties.

Too bad the Post doesn't have access to this data. They might see things differently. But based upon what I see here we may well have armageddon if the measures don't pass.

But jk thinks:

Yup, less government == the end of the world.

Seen any polling? I have not seen a single positive message (outside of ThreeSources) on these and the whole phalanx of teachers and firefighters are arrayed in opposition. I can't believe this is going anywhere.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2010 11:11 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That's what I thought. Then I read some comments at the bottom of the Post story linked at the top. (Try to find the "show oldest comments first" button, since the later ones devolved into long-winded debates about abortion or some such.) The grassroots seem to innately understand that when politicians and the press say it's bad == it's good.

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2010 1:47 PM

Ritter gets an 'F'

CATO ranks the best and the worst! And our guv is included!

CO Governor Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The fact that my governator only sank as low as a D is thin gruel, acceptable only by comparison.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 30, 2010 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And according to the Colorado Union of Taxpayers [page 4] Ritter found a way to act in favor of taxpayers a whopping 8% of the time! They don't give letter grades but anything less than 60% used to be an "F."

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2010 2:56 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Everything Happens to Me

"Love this Tom Adair & Matt Dennis tune. A bit of Googling shows a Johnny Mercer/Hoagy Carmichael song by the same name. I have to go hunting for that -- I've never heard it."


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com



September 29, 2010

Look for the Union Label

Chapter 7 of part II flew by and I'm into chapter 8 already but here's an excellent scene about labor unions and government that I forgot to post from the beginning of Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal.

"Do you think the country will stand for it?" yelled Taggart.

"Stop kidding yourself," said Kinnan. "The country? If there aren't any principles any more—and I guess the doc is right, because there sure aren't—if there aren't any rules to this game and it's only a question of who robs whom—then I've got more votes than the bunch of you, there are more workers than employers, and don't you forget it, boys!"

"That's a funny attitude to take," said Taggart haughtily, "about a measure which, after all, is not designed for the selfish benefit of workers or employers, but for the general welfare of the public."

"Okay," said Kinnan amiably, "let's talk your lingo. Who is the public? If you go by quality—then it ain't you, Jim, and it ain't Orrie Boyle. If you go by quantity—then it sure is me, because quantity is what I've got behind me." His smile disappeared, and with a sudden, bitter look of weariness he added, "Only I'm not going to say that I'm working for the welfare of my public, because I know I'm not. I know that I'm delivering the poor bastards into slavery, and that's all there is to it. And they know it, too. But they know that I'll have to throw them a crumb once in a while, if I want to keep my racket, while with the rest of you they wouldn't have a chance in hell. So that's why, if they've got to be under a whip, they'd rather I held it, not you—you drooling, tear-jerking, mealy-mouthed bastards of the public welfare! Do you think that outside of your college-bred pansies there's one village idiot whom you're fooling? I'm a racketeer—but I know it and my boys know it, and they know that I'll pay off. Not out of the kindness of my heart, either, and not a cent more than I can get away with, but at least they can count on that much. Sure, it makes me sick sometimes, it makes me sick right now, but it's not me who's built this kind of world—you did—so I'm playing the game as you've set it up and I'm going to play it for as long as it lasts—which isn't going to be long for any of us!"


Rock on George!

I laugh at those who post "sorry for the light blogging" notices. "My Aunt Mabel is in town and I am takeing her to see Buffalo Bill's Grave..."

But we are family and I didn't want y'all to worry. I am onsite three days. Keep the world spinning as best as you can without my input.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:02 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 28, 2010

Hickenlooper: Tancredo a "lifetime politician" for agreeing with me

That's essentially what Denver Mayor and Democrat candidate for governor John Hickenloopersaid of the minor party spoiler candidate, Tom Tancredo recently.

Asked whether it looked to him like American Constitution Party candidate Tancredo was trying to move toward the middle now that he seems to be running ahead of Republican nominee Dan Maes, he noted that Tancredo has indeed changed his tune on the three tax-cutting measures on the ballot.

“He was in favor of all three, but now he seems to be rethinking that, which reveals him as a lifetime politician. I’ve been in business most of my life and I’ve been opposed to all three of those from the beginning,” he said.

Logic: exit stage left.

Hickenlooper continued his circular logic with this:

In the long-term, he said the answer to transportation funding is the same as the answer to all other state funding — creating a stronger business environment in Colorado. “We need to have a more pro-business attitude all across the state,” he said.

Proving that this is mere feel-good campaign rhetoric, since the Colorado Union of Taxpayer's open letter regarding those three tax-cutting measures Hickenlooper opposed "from the beginning" says that this is exactly what they aim to do.

- By reducing the rate of growth of tax rates, we will create conditions for economic expansion in Colorado.

(...)

- Expanding the economy will create more jobs

(...)

- Charter schools will also benefit from expanding Colorado’s economy.

(...)

- Expanding Colorado’s economy will also benefit fire protection districts and law enforcement agencies.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"...By reducing the rate of growth of tax rates..."

Not to put too fine a point on it, that's not reducing taxes, just increasing taxes more slowly. Good thing votes still know how to diagram sentences, or they might miss this promise to continue increasing taxes.

What????

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 28, 2010 6:30 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yeah, yeah, I know. It's also a good thing VOTERS know how to type.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 28, 2010 6:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That line might refer to something else but the tax rate is actually scheduled to decrease under one of these measures. 0.1 percent per year for 10 years. The horror!

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2010 3:25 PM

Thumbs up for Colorado's "Ugly Three"

That's the way I'm definitely leaning on Referendum 101 and Amendments 60 and 61 (the latter first mentioned at 3srcs here.) They've been slammed and slimed with voluminous advertising as "extreme" and as promoting "anarchy." They've been denounced by newspapers, state and local governments, and most politicians from both major parties for threatening to "bankrupt" Colorado and touch off a "voter approved recession." But jeez, they seem so tame when you look into the actual provisions.

» There is no “$1 billion reduction in state revenue.” The one-percentage-point reduction in the state income tax rate takes 10 years or more, is never more than 0.1 percent yearly, and occurs only in those years when income tax revenue grows more than 6 percent. If income tax revenue doesn't grow more than 6 percent, taxpayers won't get that 0.1 percent rate reduction. Reduction in state vehicle sales taxes is phased in gradually over four years. It totals well under 1 percent of total yearly state spending, now $19.6 billion.

And it goes on from there.

Now, in this "TEA Party election year" we should be able to count on Republicans to support limited government, right? Wrong. Colorado Union of Taxpayers:

“Many Coloradans are frustrated with the economy and the fee and tax increases by Governor Ritter and Legislators,” the letter said. “They are also suffering the consequences of earlier tax increases by Governor Owens’ administration. We share this frustration because we understand that in order to roll back and limit the scope of government in Colorado, we can count on neither Republicans nor Democrats.”

As I mentioned in a comment earlier today, if we can't get a Republican elected as governor then perhaps passage of these measures is even more vital. Like the man said, we must tie their hands or they will keep stealing.


"Rhyming Oasis?"

But he is "not a human being." [There will be no excerpt. Link is provided advisedly.]

Can't say I disagree with him not being human.

Hat tip: Bing

Music Posted by JohnGalt at 2:23 PM | What do you think? [0]

September 27, 2010

Apology Accepted

Quel Horreur! Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (if I wrote a novel, I'd name the CEO "Reed Hastings") is a Democrat Supporter and -- natch -- an America hater.

“How much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.”

The same Washington Examiner piece alerts that $224,700 out of $255,450 of Hastings's political donations has gone to Democrats.)

Yet it also provides an apology:

My Big American Foot is in my mouth. Yesterday, I made an awkward joke with a reporter in Toronto about Americans (like me) being self-absorbed relative to Netflix pricing in Canada. I was wrong to have made the joke, and I do not believe that one of the most philanthropically-minded nations in the world (America) is self-absorbed or full of self-absorbed people.

Some of the conservablogosphkommentariat seem a bit upset, but it looks like smallball to me.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [6]
But T. Greer thinks:

But we are self absorbed.

Most people in America can't be bothered to pay attention to comings and goings in their cities and states; it only gets worse the farther away the comings and goings are.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 29, 2010 12:20 AM
But jk thinks:

But what's wrong? I think we have a right to ignore government and the great benefit of limited government is it confers that sacred right on more people.

Posted by: jk at September 29, 2010 10:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And if paying attention to an ever larger sphere of comings and goings is such an admirable practice then why do we need to trek to remote, natural areas to "get away from it all?"

Indeed, it is only through the relative prosperity of America that we even have the free time to pay attention to things outside of our personal lives. So we're going to say Americans are bad when they choose not to spend their time on someone else's worries?

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2010 2:46 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"Eternal Vigilance", anyone?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 29, 2010 6:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, that's for us. Noblesse Oblige. If the masses want to watch American Idol I don't mind. The problem is the incentive to vote for more free government. If the Tenth Amendment is observed, I think you'll get a more serious if smaller electorate.

Man, I really do think I'm Kipling sometimes...

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2010 9:26 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

I would reverse the cause and effect. You say the tenth amendment will create a more serious electorate; I submit that a more serious electorate allows the Tenth amendment to go by unobserved.

I do not think this is a great deal to demand. the Americans of 1830 - far less prosperous than us, and generally possessing less free time as well - were excellent watchers of the worlds comings and goings. America was the most literate society in the world at the time; Tocqueville was amazed to see a weekly inside every log cabin. Indeed, America was linked up by telegraph long before the rest of the world because their was popular demand for news from across the country. Political associations and religious and social movements that obsessed with "others peoples worries" were widespread. Everybody knew the name of the local Sheriff, County Commissioner, and Rep in the House.

This kind of stuff is not too much to ask for today.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 1, 2010 5:15 PM

September 25, 2010

Mitch!!!

Blog friend tg links to an awesome site:

I came across the website Five Books today. The gist is this: every day the website interviews one politician, scholar, or pundit by asking them to pick the best five books on their self-selected "specialty subject" and explain why these five books ought to be read by the broader public and how these books influenced their personal or scholarly view of the chosen subject.

Governor Mitch Daniels's selections will not displease ThreeSourcers -- nor will his explanations.

tg's headline is sadly accurate: One More Website to Waste Your Days Away...

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [2]
But T. Greer thinks:

I was very impressed with the Mitch Daniels interview. I think Republicans would be wise to keep him in mind when 2012 comes around.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 25, 2010 6:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Also liked Brink Lindsey's that you suggested. I may even forgove him for "Liberaltarianism..."

Someday.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2010 7:09 PM

September 24, 2010

Losing the Moderate Republicans

Kenneth P Green, in a smart piece in The American, thinks he knows why the left is so worried about the loss of "moderate Republicans:"

Many Republicans have gladly gone along with such boondoggles as corn ethanol and biofuels (Remember George W's switchgrass speech?). They have also promoted what might be one of the most economically foolish thoughts in recent history, which is that "we need all of the above," meaning we need affordable and reliable fossil fuels, but also unaffordable and unreliable wind and solar power and environmentally destructive biofuels. And of course, there can never be enough nuclear power, regardless of the fact that the economics of nuclear power are dubious.

He describes Peggy Noonan's yardstick as a ratchet. This matches what I've always felt: you slow down the growth of government, but click click click the collectivists are always there to ratchet it back.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 8:03 PM | What do you think? [3]
But johngalt thinks:

This speaks to whether the liberty cause is better served by RINOs like [whoever that guy who Christine O'Donnell just beat] who win, or shamelessly small-government "extremists" who "can't win." If the "extremists" lose then we get more government and the results are attributed to those in power - Democrats. If the RINOs win then we get more government and, since government policies are "bipartisan," the results are attributed to capitalism.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2010 11:06 PM
But jk thinks:

The blog pragmatist is with you. There's a time to use the big tent to score a majority, but there are times to clean house.

Defeating Rep. Mike Castle may have cost an 'R' but it served notice to the establishment.

I am all in this year. Let's stand for something!

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2010 11:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Right ON! Right ON! Right ON!

The CO governor's race may be a lost cause for any kind of Republican this year but I'm thinking we can salvage something with Ref. 101 and Amendments 60, 61.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2010 2:22 PM

A Justice Worth Defending

Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal closes with this life-altering realization:

When one acts on pity against justice, it is the good whom one punishes for the sake of the evil; when one saves the guilty from suffering, it is the innocent whom one forces to suffer. There is no escape from justice, nothing can be unearned and unpaid for in the universe, neither in matter nor in spirit--and if the guilty do not pay, then the innocent have to pay it.

It was not the cheap little looters of wealth who have beaten me--it was I. They did not disarm me—I threw away my weapon. This is a battle that cannot be fought except with clean hands--because the enemy's sole power is in the sores of one's conscience--and I accepted a code that made me regard the strength of my hands as a sin and a stain.

Productive accomplishment is no vice, and for it no Atonement is owed.


Porcine Aeromotion

Pigs must be flyin'. An editorial in today's Denver Post, which originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune, is titled "Entitlement nation." It's main point is that our nation is on the cusp of an irreversible "culture of dependency." When the lamestream media picks up on this trend and expresses concern, you know it's getting dire. Maybe there really is a general awaking beginning to occur.

No excerpts on this one. It's short and you gotta read it.

Freedom on the March Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:43 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Better wear a sturdy hat! (Great link)

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2010 8:16 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Longmont Time-Call even picked up a condensed version in today's edition. It's obviously striking a chord and getting some traction.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 27, 2010 2:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"But today, there is a different specter: a broader culture of dependency that could eventually undermine our economic and political system."

"Eventually?"

Other than this I completely agree with the (belated) editorial - which means the author is obviously a racist, bigoted, heartless homophobe.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2010 3:21 PM

September 23, 2010

The Unearned: Love and Wealth

Today's is the penultimate entry from the turning point that is Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal:

I broke their code, but I fell into the trap they intended, the trap of a code devised to be broken. I took no pride in my rebellion, I took it as guilt, I did not damn them, I damned myself, I did not damn their code, I damned existence—and I hid my happiness as a shameful secret. I should have lived it openly, as of our right—or made her my wife, as in truth she was. But I branded my happiness as evil and made her bear it as a disgrace. What they want to do to her now, I did it first. I made it possible.

I did it—in the name of pity for the most contemptible woman I know. That, too, was their code, and I accepted it. I believed that one person owes a duty to another with no payment for it in return. I believed that it was my duty to love a woman who gave me nothing, who betrayed everything I lived for, who demanded her happiness at the price of mine. I believed that love is some static gift which, once granted, need no longer be deserved—just as they believe that wealth is a static possession which can be seized and held without further effort.


Christie 2012

If Rupert's going to steal our beloved "Quote of the Day," I'm going to lift his content:

Despite his repeated and vociferous denials, Gov. Chris Christie has been drawing attention as a possible 2012 candidate. One of the most recent to embrace the idea is Rep. Peter King, a congressman from Long Island. Mr. King told Politico.com that he feared the GOP would repeat its Clinton-era mistake of failing to find a candidate strong enough to take on an otherwise vulnerable incumbent.

The solution, he suggests, is New Jersey's Mr. Christie: "He's like a 12-round fighter. He has a conservative ideology, but doesn't come off like an ideologue. . . . I like the blue-collar streak he has."

Mr. King may be right about his Clinton diagnosis, and his solution also would address a problem stalking the GOP: the schism between the establishment and the Tea Party. Enter Sen. Jim DeMint, the Republican Party's designated troublemaker and Tea Party champion. Over the weekend, he told CNN's "State of the Union" he hadn't picked a 2012 favorite yet but he does have a model in mind: "Someone that's almost like a Governor Christie in New Jersey who's willing to tell people the hard truth that the federal government can't do any more. We've got to do less if you want to save our country."

Could this be the beginning of an effort by Tea Party leaders to position Mr. Christie as a 2012 alternative to Sarah Palin? -- Carl J. Kelm

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:50 AM | What do you think? [0]

How you like them grapes?

Prof Reynolds on the "education bubble:"

One point that I haven’t blogged, but that is worth mentioning here: The government decides to try to increase the middle class by subsidizing things that middle class people have: If middle-class people go to college and own homes, then surely if more people go to college and own homes, we’ll have more middle-class people. But homeownership and college aren’t causes of middle-class status, they’re markers for possessing the kinds of traits — self-discipline, the ability to defer gratification, etc. — that let you enter, and stay, in the middle class. Subsidizing the markers doesn’t produce the traits; if anything, it undermines them.

Awesome point. (His blog should be very popular with thoughtful content like this...)

Gub'mint intrusion plays both sides of the devaluation I discussed. Its subsidies increase the cost, sure -- but they also devalue the degree's value as "marker." The financial reward of a degree is its proclamation that the owner has the intellectual firepower to complete the coursework and the maturity to not quit and join a rock'n'roll band.

Its value as education qua education remains and I hope no one misconstrues my sour grapes as devaluing knowledge and study. But the reduced financial value at a greater financial price is worrisome and worth more consideration than it receives.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 8:59 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I agree 100 percent with the conclusion that government intrusion increases the price and reduces the value of a college education. And I'll go the extra distance of asserting that the knowledge value has also been degraded - but that is due to postmodernism more than government. [And I have some "standing" to make this claim inasmuch as I did not quit college and join a rock'n'roll band!]

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2010 7:08 PM

September 22, 2010

Tancredo Delenda Est!

New CNN Poll. Likely voters:

  • Hick 47%

  • Maes 21%

  • Whacko 29%


(Better news Buck 49% - Bennet 44%)

Why is Daddy's little Senator in Alaska big national news, when Colorado's well known sore loser is not?

Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong

CO Governor Posted by John Kranz at 7:20 PM | What do you think? [6]
But johngalt thinks:

Just heard on KHOW: Maes told Dan Caplis that Tancredo is "an illegal immigrant in this race" who is "trying to take a job away from someone who earned it." Caplis was speechless.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2010 8:06 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Awesome line!!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2010 10:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

UPDATE: Audio here. [13:58]

Another good line from Maes:

[7:45] "You guys have no clue what's gonna happen tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day." Followed by Caplis claiming "we actually do." I guess maybe there really is a God, and he works for KHOW!

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2010 2:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Sorry. Didn't mean to hijack your post brother.

To answer your parting question, I think the national attention in the Alaska race has something to do with a certain former VP candidate's endorsement and support. We also started hearing about the Delaware race after Palin got involved. And for what it's worth, it isn't too late for such a game changer in the CO Guv's race. First address the character attacks with corroborative evidence, wait for the reality of a 3-way race to set in and then, pick your moment. Mail-in ballots go out around October 13.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2010 2:26 AM
But jk thinks:

Mi post, su post Hermano.

I too loved the "illegal immigrant" line. At least we can have a little fun.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2010 8:44 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It was actually not that good a line. Putting aside my contempt for the democratic process: it does expose Tancredo's hypocrisy in pushing for one law he likes but ignoring another he doesn't, but applying it to illegal immigration is stupid. The rebuttal is easy to anyone who realizes that "it's against the law" is a red herring: if you want to hire someone who'll do as good a job (or better) for less money, and you're harming no one else, why shouldn't it be your right? You "earn" a job only because the one hiring you has willingly chosen you. That's the whole problem with the typical GOP line on immigration. They cling to "the law" when it suits them, and in seeking to deny others the freedom of peaceful commerce, they are directly stating that citizenship or "lawful residency" somehow entitles you to job preference over someone else. What that philosophy is saying is that the right to work, the right to exchange freely with another individual, is only with the permission of government.

All that said, these rules to prevent third candidacies shows the inherent hypocrisy of politics. Tancredo would be doing the same damn thing if he had won the primary. Ordinarily it's good to have additional options, an additional person to "hire," except that this farce of democracy is about using others' money to hire the one who promises you the most.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 23, 2010 8:50 PM

What Would We Do Without Democrats?

I mean, what would we call the Post Offices?

Dan Reihl says "It's this bad."

"We always name post offices," [Democratic Majority Leader Steny] Hoyer replied with irritation. "It's a worthwhile endeavor to do that, and people really do appreciate it, particularly when it's their name and their community."

Reporters walking into House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer's office Tuesday morning noticed an open supply cabinet with a tape measure on the shelf.

It was a strange bit of office equipment. Are Democrats so resigned to defeat that they're expecting Republicans to stop by and take measurements of the majority offices?



Summers's Keepin' the Day Gig...

A reader asks Prof Mankiw whether Larry Summers is perhaps inflating Harvard's two-year leave rule as a reason for abandoning the festering sinking ship that is the Obama Administration returning to the ivory tower and ivy walls. The answer surprised me:

Different universities have different policies regarding faculty leave for policy jobs, and different degrees of enforcement. Harvard allows two years of leave, and it has the reputation of enforcing the rule rather strictly. I can imagine that Larry could have negotiated an extra semester of leave, but I would have been surprised if the university had extended his leave much beyond that. (FYI, I left my CEA job in February 2005 after being in Washington for precisely two years.)

He goes on to remind that it is a pretty decent job to risk. Interstin'


Tweet of the Day

fredthompson Bill Maher: wishes Obama were more like Jimmy Carter. I agree completely. I wish he were a former President, too. #ftrs #tcot

Honorable Mention (even though I disagree):

fredthompson Lady Gaga opposing DADT. Why take her advice on military? If she had her way, can you imagine what the uniforms would look like? #ftrs #tcot


Original Sin -> Guilt -> Self-Immolation

In this passage Reardon learns how to break the cycle.

Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal:

He thought: Guilty?--guiltier than I had known, far guiltier than I had thought, that day--guilty of the evil of damning as guilt that which was my best. I damned the fact that my mind and body were a unit, and that my body responded to the values of my mind. I damned the fact that joy is the core of existence, the motive power of every living being, that it is the need of one's body as it is the goal of one's spirit, that my body was not a weight of inanimate muscles, but an instrument able to give me an experience of superlative joy to unite my flesh and my spirit. That capacity, which I damned as shameful, had left me indifferent to sluts, but gave me my one desire in answer to a woman's greatness. That desire, which I damned as obscene, did not come from the sight of her body, but from the knowledge that the lovely form I saw, did express the spirit I was seeing—it was not her body that I wanted, but her person--it was not the girl in gray that I had to possess, but the woman who ran a railroad.

A "Right" to Loss Prevention

One of the bright spots of the recent Boulder, CO wildfire that destroyed 169 mountain homes in Four Mile Canyon is this story about loss prevention specialists responding like firemen to help save homes insured by the Chubb insurance company. The New Jersey based private insurer contracts with a Montana-based private company Wildfire Defense Systems to protect the homes of insureds. And Wildfire Defense Systems had negotiated an agreement with the Boulder Office of Emergency Management that stipulated their rights and responsibilities while working in the evacuation area. But, just hold on a doggone minnit...

Janice Wheeler, who lost her house on County Road 83 to the Fourmile Fire, likes the sound of Chubb's wildfire protection plan.

"I think it would be a very nice service to have," she said. "I would like to know that someone was specifically looking out for my house."

But Wheeler, an Allstate customer, wasn't entirely comfortable with the notion that people of higher means could buy additional protection for their homes when others couldn't.

"When you don't have that policy and someone else does, it sets up a have and have-nots kind of feeling," she said.

In America's entitlement culture you knew it was coming, didn't you? So which would you prefer, Janice? Outlaw such private fire suppression services or make them yet another government service offered to all residents "by right?" (Wait - don't answer that.)

But jk thinks:

This is Boulder County after all.

But it remains deeply disturbing that people prefer egalitarian privation to distributed prosperity. I whined seven years ago about the "Lexus Lanes:" even though it reduced congestion for all, we couldn't allow people to pay for express lanes. At least that one has a happy ending in Colorado.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2010 2:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But there's a special irony in the private firemen situation: The fire protection specialists, or "Sparkies" I'll call them, are not provided by the insurer because the insureds paid more for their homeowners insurance; conversely, Chubb sends them to the rescue so that they can keep insurance premiums lower.

It's cheaper to pay the Sparkies, even quite handsomely, than to rebuild million-dollar homes that could have been saved from destruction with a bit of foresight, pre-planning and a well-placed garden hose.

P.S. Much of that foresight and pre-planning is available for free to those who choose to use them.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2010 3:13 PM

Balderdash!

I am an optimist before a partisan hack. Government is likely to destroy liberty and it might well ruin the economy in the process. But dreams will live.

Insty links to law grad Ted Brassfield's asking the President "Is the American Dream dead for me?" There is video at the link but I actually liked the President's answer. Brassfield is disappointed that the President is not going to do a program designed to help Ted Brassfield.

I took whacks at all the leftists who said the American Dream was dead during President Bush's tenure. I have escalated concerns now but will not sit idly by as innovation and freedom and prosperity are besmirched.

The dream is fine. Brassfield will soon have a cell phone that can do brain surgery. There is enough freedom (I'd like more!) to allow innovation and prosperity. As a segue I offer the 2011 Chevy Cruze. I'm not recommending you buy one and I'll be keeping "The Mister Two." But let's applaud the innovation. For the same inflation adjusted cost as the 1994 Chevy Cavalier, you get a car that compares favorably with the safety features of a Mercedes Benz. WSJ:

This General Motors Co. compact car has 10 standard airbags--including a set for the front passengers' knees--electronic stability control, a system that senses when the car is at risk of rolling over, and another that automatically tightens the seatbelts in advance of a crash.

The Cruze's airbag count is the same as that for a Lexus GS sedan priced at just under $50,000.


Not many Cruze owners are likely to feel they've achieved the American Dream because they've purchased a compact. But they will be getting what their parents were paying Mercedes and Volvo prices for. And they have cell phones, laptops and the Internet.

Dream on.

Jonah Goldberg has been a reliable fellow traveler on this. He links as well in The Good Old Days Are Now.


Not Sure This Is Gonna Be Popular...

Brincos -- shoes for border crossers!

They re called Brincos, and they re shoes designed to help illegal immigrants cross the U.S.-Mexican border. Designed by Argentinean artist Judi Werthein, these shoes feature an array of items designed to make the dangerous trip across the border a little less so. There s a built-in compass, a pouch inside the tongue used to store aspirin and a map of popular routes going from Tijuana to San Diego on the insole. An Aztec eagle adorns the heel, while the shoes red, white, and green colors remind you that, yes, the shoes were designed with Mexican nationals in mind. The Brincos (the name derives from the Spanish verb brincar, to jump, as in, to jump the border) were handed out for free to migrants, while so-called hip stores in San Diego were spotted selling them for $215.

Immigration Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

How Dare You Employ Logic on Me?

The WSJ Ed Page crucifies the Administration’s new report which shows that job losses from the Deep Water Drilling Moratorium were not so bad.

For an Administration that loves to tout stimulus projects that create a handful jobs here or there, it takes some nerve to describe the loss of up to 12,000 high-paying Gulf jobs as a triumph. Also unmentioned in the report is that if the Administration had listened to its own outside experts--who insisted a moratorium was unnecessary--the jobs lost would have been near zero. It is the White House that handed the Gulf these pink slips--not the spill, or a poor economy.

But the best is to capture the Keynesians on stimulus. It seems the precious multiplier is less than unity when government destroys spending, yet greater when they artificially boosts it (you see, phlogiston in metals has negative mass...)
The report's numbers also violate the very logic the White House offered earlier on the stimulus spending. According to the authors of the stimulus, every $92,000 the government injected in the economy was supposed to create one job-year. Yet according to the moratorium report, pulling $92,000 out of the economy doesn't result in the reverse. Instead, the authors offer several imaginative explanations for why it is important to "discount" that $92,000 by 40% to 60% when estimating how many jobs will be lost because of the $1.8 billion decline in spending on Gulf drilling. Thus they arrive at 8,000 to 12,000 lost jobs. Louisiana State University Professor Joseph Mason, who has penned a rigorous critique of the report, notes that if the government had not engaged in such "ad hoc" discounting, the estimate of lost jobs would be about 20,000--in line with prior estimates.

Jobs, jobs, jobs!

Oil and Energy Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 21, 2010

Recovery Summer

Over already.

VP Biden Posted by John Kranz at 5:14 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Recovery autumn?

By the way, whatever happened to the lost year of recovery between June 2009 and June 2010?

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2010 7:30 PM

New Favorite Blog Headline Ever

JK Wins

One hates to gloat...

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

No you don't!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 21, 2010 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

No, I love it. But decent folk avoid it...

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2010 6:21 PM
But Terri thinks:

I can't believe I actually clicked through. doh

Posted by: Terri at September 22, 2010 10:52 AM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2010 11:03 AM

End State Borrowing?

This may be the first mention of Colorado's three restraint-of-government ballot initiatives - Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101. Opponents (governments and pro-government groups) have dubbed them "the ugly three."

Is there enough anti-government spending sentiment in the current climate to pass any of these three tough measures? Do any other states have similar limits? Let the discourse begin.

Here's a pro-61 web ad:

There are some well written comments here.


The Moral Code of 'Life'

Again, Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal

This passage immediately follows yesterday's ASQOTD:

"Yours was the code of life," said the voice of a man whom he could not forget. "What, then, is theirs?"

Why had the world accepted it?—he thought. How had the victims come to sanction a code that pronounced them guilty of the fact of existing?… And then the violence of an inner blow became the total stillness of his body as he sat looking at a sudden vision: Hadn't he done it also? Hadn't he given his sanction to the code of self-damnation? Dagny—he thought—and the depth of their feeling for each other … the blackmail from which the depraved would be immune … hadn't he, too, once called it depravity? Hadn't he been first to throw at her all the insults which the human scum was now threatening to throw at her in public? Hadn't he accepted as guilt the highest happiness he had ever found?

"You who won't allow one per cent of impurity into an alloy of metal," the unforgotten voice was saying to him, "what have you allowed into your moral code?"



"Thought Obama was gonna fix that!"

Got a new Amazon card. It's managed by GE Capital but seems like it might have some nice integration with the place I shop the most. I made a $600 introductory purchase and signed up for ebilling.

I got the bill before the item I ordered and before I got the card. Now I can't sign up to pay online because I don't have the card.

Damn predatory lending! There ought to be a law...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:55 PM | What do you think? [0]

Daily Show Union Bashing

Those right wing fanatics at The Daily Show are at it again:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Working Stiffed
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
On the web Posted by John Kranz at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

Political Quote of the Day

A good friend of the blog writes:

The greatest line in politics, ever...."I just dabbled in witchcraft, I never joined a coven." Christopher Buckley must be astonished at how completely real life narratives can swamp the imagination.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 20, 2010

But, the science was settled!

I know I beat my Popperian Dead Horse too much. But until I get word that light bulbs will be legal, you'll have to read...

Doctor Barry Marshall resorted to Frankensteinian ("frahnk -in-STEEN-ee-an") theatrics to overcome the conventional wisdom.

"I was met with constant criticism that my conclusions were premature," Marshall later wrote. "My results were disputed and disbelieved, not on the basis of science but because they simply could not be true."

It is often claimed that doctors were wedded to the idea that ulcers were caused by excess stomach acid, or that they didn't believe that bacteria could grow in the stomach. In fact, the main reason for the scepticism, says Richard Harvey of the Frenchay Hospital in Bristol, UK, was that four-fifths of ulcers were not in the stomach but further down the digestive tract.

Yet we now know that Marshall was right. After downing his bacterial concoction, he soon became far more ill than he had expected, vomiting and developing stomach inflammation. Later studies confirmed the theory. His discovery made it possible for millions of people to be cured of their ulcers with antibiotics, instead of having to take acid-reducing drugs every day.


Science, baby! You want consensus, go into market research.

Hat-tip: Instapundit


Anthropogenic Psychological Depression

Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal:

Such was the code that the world had accepted and such was the key to the code: that it hooked man's love of existence to a circuit of torture, so that only the man who had nothing to offer would have nothing to fear, so that the virtues which made life possible and the values which gave it meaning became the agents of its destruction, so that one's best became the tool of one's agony, and man's life on earth became impractical.

Otequay of the Ayday

Maybe it's just me, but this one had me laughing myself off the chair:

"There's been no witchcraft since. If there was, Karl Rove would be a supporter now."

Deleware GOP Senate nominee Christine O'Donnell referring to "hang[ing] out with questionable folks in high school.

But jk thinks:

Not just you. That threatened the keyboard a little bit earlier.

My Facebook friends have decided that she is "even worse than [Gov.] Sarah Palin!" To be fair, they have a much more damming quote:

Bill Maher: "Christine O'Donnell said American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains."
Jon Hamm: "She might be confusing American scientific companies with American ANIMATION companies!"

Proving nothing good ever comes from being on O'Reilly.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2010 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You've probably already contemplated this, but your FB friends need to read Shannon Love's explanation for Palin Derangement Syndrome. (Unless you're convinced that they prefer to view themselves as inferiors - inferiors who can't do for themselves what some superior elite so benevolently volunteers to do for them.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2010 4:11 PM

Quote of the Day

It's a dangerous precedent to give QOTD to Taranto, it's hard to stop. Guitar Player magazine finally had to institute a Hall of Fame so that Eric Clapton and BB King did not win every year. But this brings tears:

Maybe it's time to reconsider Take Your Daughter to Work Day. Frank Murkowski, Alaska's former senator and governor, took little Lisa to work in 2002, and now she refuses to go home. -- His Jamesness


Let There Be Light!

Rep. Barton outlines plans not only to whack ObamaCare®, but to bring back light bulbs (OpinionJournal video).


Wrapped Up With a Bow

Contra Krugman, (is there a better two word opening for a blog post?) I believe it is very important to understand how we got in the economic soup we're in.

In a NYRB review, he blasts Raghuram Rajan for wasting the time writing a book to investigate the causes for the crisis, when we all know we should be stimulating our way out of it. I paraphrase, but not much.

Given this bleak prospect, shouldn't we expect urgency on the part of policymakers and economists, a scramble to put forward plans for promoting growth and restoring jobs? Apparently not: a casual survey of recent books and articles shows nothing of the kind. Books on the Great Recession are still pouring off the presses--but for the most part they are backward-looking, asking how we got into this mess rather than telling us how to get out. To be fair, many recent books do offer prescriptions about how to avoid the next bubble; but they don't offer much guidance on the most pressing problem at hand, which is how to deal with the continuing consequences of the last one.

Rajan replies with an American.com column that closely matches my beliefs: loose money, accommodative GSE's and governmental measures to increase homeownership in lower income sectors. Again, I paraphrase.

If the government itself took credit for its successes in expanding home ownership then, why is Krugman not willing to accept its contribution to the subsequent bust as too many lower middle-class families ended up in homes they could not afford? I agree there is room for legitimate differences of opinion on the quality of data and the extent of government responsibility, but to argue that the government had no role in directing credit, or in the subsequent bust, is simply ideological myopia.

The article is not short, but it is for its comprehensiveness. It expertly takes on the main causes of the crisis and backs them up with data, including an almost amusing press release from Countrywide friend-of-Senator-Dodd Angelo Mozilo boasting of $8 Billion in Fannie backed loans for "underserved borrowers" (those would be the ones without assets and incomes) and a promise to lend that quickly so they can come back with more.

A reasonable person who agreed that the problem was, as Candidate Obama said, "the reckless policies of eight years of the Bush administration" or, as Candidate McCain declared "greed and corruption on Wall Street" would be very well served by reading this piece. It does not let President Bush nor Wall Street off the hook, but it underscores government's culpability and reinforces the law of unintended consequence.

Hat-tip: Prof Mankiw

But johngalt thinks:

You gave a lay definition for "underserved borrowers" so let me give one for "ideological myopia" - partisan bullcrap.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2010 3:05 PM

The end of a perncious lie and completion of a poem

The jewel of the Internets as I see it today is Eric Scheie's clarification of Isaac Asimov's "All Four Stanzas." I remain a big fan of Asimov and Francis Scott Key ("Frank" was Chief Justice Taney's brother-in-law and childhood friend, and was auditioning in my head for narrating my historical fiction novel on Dred Scott v Sandford).

Nick Gillespie trawls the Tea Parties trying to make a patriot admit that "Our National Anthem is a terrible song." Fie on those Libertoids I say! Libertario Delenda Est!

And yet (easy cowboy), Scheie was not ready to sign onto the jingoistic chain emails that misrepresented Asimov's far-more-nuanced nationalism. If I can give away the punch line of Scheie's piece, he coughs up six bucks for a copy of the magazine with Asimov's "All Four Stanzas." And he provides scans and OCR.

Here is the famed fourth as Asimov sings it:

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, while our cause it is just.
And this he our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Play Ball!

But johngalt thinks:

Excellent! The linked article is a good read.

I'd like to see it permalinked in the sidebar. Maybe under "Documents."

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2010 3:50 PM

Crocodile Tears

The Refugee is no fan of the NCAA ruling class, believing that many of their decisions regarding discipline, eligibility and so on are often capricious and lacking common sense. Nevertheless, the current lawsuits by former athletes demanding a share of NCAA sports revenue seems, dare he say, out of bounds.

ED O'Bannon, a formal basketball player at UCLA, and Sam Keller, a quarterback at Arizona State and Nebraska, have filed separate suits. In essense, both want a cut of the money that the NCAA gets from marketing their images.

There are millions and millions of dollars being made off the sweat and grind of the student-athlete," said O'Bannon, a former power forward at UCLA. "Student-athletes see none of that other than their education.

"...other than their education"?!? Like that's a throwaway? Even so, who's getting rich off the deal? Most of that money goes to the individual schools and pays for the scholarships and programs that allow these athletes to showcase their talent on a national stage. Without such a showcase, it is likely that many would never reap the millions in professional contracts that they sign after just one or two years of "school." Most college athletes don't get those mega-contracts, but do get an education that many could never afford without a scholarship and could not qualify for academically. Without the marketing revenue, fewer athletes get either mega-contracts or scholarships.

Cry me a river.

Economics and Markets Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [7]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Then by all means, Mr. Athlete, don't sign the contract and don't accept the scholarship. Ain't no chains for this gang. Courts have ruled that pro leagues cannot bar anyone 18 or older from joining directly. Try to go straight from high school to the pros and see where that gets ya (baseball perhaps being an exception due to the developmental leagues). The LaBron James' of the world can be counted on one hand with digits to spare.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2010 11:36 AM
But jk thinks:

Worms, can, opener, and I show up with a Cusinart®.

Your exception is the way I think it should be: a farm system that would allow players to develop and be paid. They are being developed but are also threatened with injury and certainly by senior year giving away prime earning potential.

There is a great tradition of college athletics, and most players will not pursue a pro career. How about we compromise and allow colleges to pay athletes?

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2010 11:49 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I could have gone all day without the visual of worms in a Cuisinart. :-)

Your point about developmental leagues is well taken. Under the current system, the NFL and NBA (and to lesser degrees NHL and MLB) have a "developmental league" in college sports without having to pick up the tab. I'm all for direct, compensated, developmental leagues. I'm not sure how paying college athletes would work out. I won't reject it out of hand, but need to consider it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2010 1:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just make it market based. Eliminate the ridiculous "amateur athelete" rule and let college players be paid by agents. The market will decide the worth. (And Reggie Bush could keep his Heisman.)

As for that college education - it would be worth far more if it taught Austrian economic theory.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2010 3:14 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sure, JG, but riddle me this: When was the last time you heard of an econ major, Austrian or otherwise, who could shoot 8 out of 10 free throws or run a 4.3 40?

If we move to this pay-for-play model, I don't know about you guys, but I would look forward to the annual National Championship game between USC and Notre Dame. CU, on the on the other hand, would be no more miserable than they already are. (Ouch, that's gotta hurt!)

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 20, 2010 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They don't have to major in economics, or even have econ courses be mandatory. But whenever economics is taught it should be all market economy, all the time.

(And I'll let that Buff bashing slide on the heels of CU's drubbing of the Rainbows.) You and my brother - bandwagon hoppers!

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2010 4:15 PM

September 19, 2010

It's all about the revenue

Nick Gillespie has a great post on the idiocy that is the advocacy of tax increases on the rich as revenue enhancements:


The point of my post is given away in its title (sorry, I'm not good at building suspense): Those supporting a reversion back to Clinton-era tax policies constantly blame the Bush cuts for starving federal coffers and, hence, increasing the deficit. Why partisans such as Obama and Pelosi would then argue that 82 percent of foregone revenue - $3.2 trillion out of $3.9 trillion - should go uncollected is understandable in light of electoral politics. But that doesn't make it any less deceitful. Indeed, as I point out in a New York Post op-ed today, Speaker Pelosi is now crowing about "Obama middle-income tax cuts," which apparently refers to Obama maintaining the Bush rates for the foreseeable future.

Read the whole thing.

2010 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:02 PM | What do you think? [0]

Review Corner

ThreeSourcers may breathe a sigh of relief. This will be the final post discussing Robert A Caro's Master of the Senate.

At the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo, TX, there was (is I guess) a 72 oz. steak that is yours for free if you eat it in one hour. I never tried this particular challenge. But I felt, at the conclusion of this book like I had just finished the steak. It was really good but I have been reading it for what seems like a Senate term and was glad to see the last page.

Despite all my whining, I am going to give it five stars and a hearty recommendation. I never learned as much between starting and finishing a book in my life. There are 1400 pages and I dare you to read one and not learn something.

He begins with a historical view of the Senate and the framers' intent in adding this antidemocratic house to the legislative branch. He charts the institution's course through the antebellum years of Calhoun, Webster and Clay. He lambastes the postbellum years as the Executive Branch gains strength. He gives serious consideration to both sides of the 17th Amendment. Then he charts how LBJ harnessed diffuse powers of the body to further his on ambition and lust for power.

The crowning achievement is a step by step walk through the passage of the 1957 Civil Rights Bill. LBJ wants the presidency and knows his only hope at being more than a sectional, Southern candidate, is to pass "a Nigra bill." For seven months, he pieces together one coalition after another, compromise, dealmaking and parliamentary chicanery. We all know this stuff goes on, but the detail and determination is stunning.

Y'all are better scholars than I and will not get bogged down in its thickness and density as I did. But there is not one of you that will not like it.

Five.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 8:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

Not Just Legislation. Not Just a Piece of Paper

Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

Got to Break Some Eggs to Make an Omelet

Mao Zedong, founder of the People's Republic of China, qualifies as the greatest mass murderer in world history, an expert who had unprecedented access to official Communist Party archives said yesterday.

Forty-five million on four years! That Hitler fellow was an underachiever.

This from an Independent.co.uk review of a new book on "the great leap forward" (they do do PR okay).

[Frank Dikötter's] book, Mao's Great Famine; The Story of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, reveals that while this is a part of history that has been "quite forgotten" in the official memory of the People's Republic of China, there was a "staggering degree of violence" that was, remarkably, carefully catalogued in Public Security Bureau reports, which featured among the provincial archives he studied. In them, he found that the members of the rural farming communities were seen by the Party merely as "digits", or a faceless workforce. For those who committed any acts of disobedience, however minor, the punishments were huge.

State retribution for tiny thefts, such as stealing a potato, even by a child, would include being tied up and thrown into a pond; parents were forced to bury their children alive or were doused in excrement and urine, others were set alight, or had a nose or ear cut off. One record shows how a man was branded with hot metal. People were forced to work naked in the middle of winter; 80 per cent of all the villagers in one region of a quarter of a million Chinese were banned from the official canteen because they were too old or ill to be effective workers, so were deliberately starved to death


Dikötter points out that this almost (45M vs. 55M) the number of people who died in WWII.

Yet capitalism is evil. Walmart* employees have to pay for their own health care. Hat-tip: Instapundit

China Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

NRA-holes

Remember this? Now there's more, but this time it hits closer to home. NRA casts in for Frazier, Markey, Salazar. Markey and Salazar, incumbent Democrats who voted for Obamacare and/or Stimulapalooza, signed on to a token pro-gun measure or two and are suddenly, in the NRA's view, pure as the wind-driven snow. But just how valuable is an NRA endorsement now, in post-TARP America?

The NRA also backs John Salazar in his bid to retain his 3rd Congressional District seat over state Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez. Salazar earned an "A" rating from the organization.

But Tipton shrugged off the endorsement, adding that the group almost always backs an incumbent unless the lawmaker is blatantly anti-gun.

"I am an NRA member and I've gotten an 'A' rating from them before," said Tipton, "so this is not a surprise."


So is the gun-control issue now firmly in the "safe" category as brother BR suggests, or is the NRA merely another member of the power elite cabal?

The easy part is that in either case they don't deserve my donations, or membership.

UPDATE:

Former CO state senate majority leader Mark Hillman adds some details about the NRA Markey endorsement.

The NRA’s flim-flam press release touts her co-sponsorship — that’s Beltway speak for “honorary cheerleader” — of a bill that she knows will never come to a vote in a Democrat-controlled Congress.

On the Second Amendment, Markey is no profile in courage. Her two actual “pro-gun” votes were meaningless throwaways, cast to gain political cover (which the NRA is now slavishly providing) after the outcome of the vote was no longer in doubt.

He also shares my conclusion, at least in part:

When I cast my vote for Congress, it will be for the candidate I know I can count on. When I donate to groups that support my Second Amendment rights, it won’t be to the NRA.
But jk thinks:

I think I'll agree with you and defend the NRA (squish!)

ObamaCare® and Simulapalooza® (like it) do not threaten gun rights and should not constitute a good reason to not endorse an incumbent. So you go right along kids -- have a good time.

But our liberty is clearly under greater threat from the SEIU than the Brady Campaign. As such I will direct my scarce advocacy resources accordingly.

I think the Club for Growth is the best deal in town these days. I will keep token memberships in the NRA and RNC but all my contributions will go directly to candidates or Club for Growth.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2010 12:27 PM

The TEA Party Threat - to BOTH Parties

Speaking of Sarah Palin, why does the left hate her so much? Shannon Love at Chicago Boyz blog explains in this very well reasoned post.

In short, it is not the ideas she puts forth, its that someone like her is significant at all.

(...)

Leftism at its heart holds that a small percentage of humans have a vastly superior understanding of everything compared to ordinary people. The point of leftism is to empower these superior individuals to impose their superior understanding upon society by the force of the state. Leftists must be viewed by themselves and others as superior human beings if they are to have a claim to power and status.

(...)

On this basis [perceived superiority] Palin is a nightmare: She went to a state college. She lives in the “backwoods”. She likes hunting, fishing and sports. She likes country music and representational art. She doesn’t have the right accent. She doesn’t dress appropriately. She’s a Pentecostal instead of atheist, Unitarian, Episcopalian, etc.

Palin’s success stabs them in the heart of their anxiety. If Palin can be a successful political leader, what does that say about the leftists’ claims of intellectual and moral superiority? If people don’t just instantly assume that leftists are smarter and better than everyone else, why would people trust a leftist government to make so many decisions about the people’s live, e.g., medical care?

Yes, yes and yes.

There's also an interesting observation in the comment thread:

Lexington Green says: "Of course, most conservative pundits treat her with condescension as well. They have a stake in the same status games."

To which Love replies: "That is true. I think we are seeing more of a generic middle-class insurgency against an integral political class than a left-right divide."

Now there is an explanation that fits every example of the GOP intra-party tension. Read back through the quotes above replacing "leftists" with RINOs or establisment-Republicans and see how well it fits.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 11:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

Palin to Rove: "Go to ..."

Have you heard yet that, in the wake of Christine O'Donnell's Deleware primary victory, Sarah Palin told Karl Rove to "Go to hell?" Well, not really, but that's how NPR blogger Frank James tells it.

When she got to Rove, at about the 27:54 point in the C-Span recording she said:
And Karl, Karl, go to (she pauses ever so slightly and her demeanor stiffens subtly) here. You can come to Iowa. And Karl Rove and the other leaders who will see the light and realize that these are just the normal hard-working patriotic Americans who are saying no, enough is enough. We want to turn this around and we want to get back to those time-tested truths that are right for America."

So not only does she appear to playfully taunt Rove with the "go to, here" line, she implied that he was in the dark about what's really happening in the Republican Party. For if he weren't in the dark, why would he need to visit Iowa to "see the light?"

The moment has that all important plausible deniability. Palin can say she didn't tell Rove to go to hell and she didn't.

"Plausible deniability?" How about "actual" deniability? I think Mr. James would like the GOP intra-party tension to be a lot more than it really is. He concludes...

The fight for the future of the party continues. And it will involve Republicans violating what the man the fundraising dinner was named for — President Ronald Reagan — called the 11th commandment. Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

But I don't hear any Republicans speaking ill of fellow Republicans. What I hear is TEA Party Republicans speaking ill of northeastern liberals masquerading as Republicans. And I hear establishment Republicans cautioning their newly-involved brethren that 'you can't win in certain areas with actual conservatives on the ballot.' And in reply, the Republicans voting in those primaries are saying, 'I'd rather lose on the field of battle than surrender before we even get there.' There's much to like in that strategy.

2010 Posted by JohnGalt at 10:37 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 17, 2010

Quote of the Day

The first lady doesn't mind ordinary families eating out on special occasions. But, she claimed, restaurant efforts to reduce calories and fats have been insufficient. And too slow. "We just don't have the time to waste," Mrs. Obama added. -- Andrew Malcolm
Hat-tip: James Taranto. If you think FLOTUS's obesity campaign is mostly harmless, I suggest you follow the links and read her remarks.
But Terri thinks:

Sorry JK, I'm still voting 'mostly harmless'. Her remarks are complements to the association for "their efforts" and letting them know she's doing what she can to get people to vote with their feet by ordering healthy items on the menus for their kids.
And if tax dollars are used to subsidize school lunches, I am good with buying actual vegetables vs pizza.
I'm sure I'll get skewered here, but Mrs. Obama is currently riding the wave of local (see NYC) laws concerning restaurants and giving her input.
Still harmless - it's just done by her and she's one to keep a close eye on.

Posted by: Terri at September 18, 2010 8:26 AM
But jk thinks:

Is that a dagger in my heart or a bacon cheeseburger?

I'll concede that she has yet to ask for explicit legislation. But she asks restaurants to give up their best selling items and make changes that will negatively affect customer satisfaction.

With a life in the public and non-profit sector, she and her husband have an ignorance bordering on contempt for businesses that compete for customers, Restauranting is an extremely competitive business and making your food a little less delicious impacts the bottom line.

Beyond liberty concerns, the government's advice has been so stupendously bad. Four food groups -- I mean four best lobbyist organizations? Following the food pyramid for 12 years gave me a pyramid shape. Maybe the First Lady's advice today is good and maybe not. But I disagree that it is her position to tell restaurants what they should serve em.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2010 11:31 AM

Our Peggy

Peggy Noonan has taken some pretty well deserved shots on Three Sources pages. It appears, however, that she's back on her medication. So much so, in fact, one might think that she's taken to reading these same pages.

Her piece in today's WSJ captures the true essence of the Tea Party better than any others to date:


I see two central reasons for the tea party's rise. The first is the yardstick, and the second is the clock. First, the yardstick. Imagine that over at the 36-inch end you've got pure liberal thinking—more and larger government programs, a bigger government that costs more in the many ways that cost can be calculated. Over at the other end you've got conservative thinking—a government that is growing smaller and less demanding and is less expensive. You assume that when the two major parties are negotiating bills in Washington, they sort of lay down the yardstick and begin negotiations at the 18-inch line. Each party pulls in the direction it wants, and the dominant party moves the government a few inches in their direction.

[...]

Democrats on the Hill or in the White House try to pull it up to 30, Republicans try to pull it back to 25. A deal is struck at 28. Washington Republicans call it victory: "Hey, it coulda been 29!" But regular conservative-minded or Republican voters see yet another loss. They could live with 18. They'd like eight. Instead it's 28.

[...]

What they want is representatives who'll begin the negotiations at 18 inches and tug the final bill toward five inches. And they believe tea party candidates will do that.

This is a lot of excerpting, yet there is still much other content in the opinion worth reading. Nevertheless, the last couple of paragraphs or so indicate that Our Peggy is still only 11 steps through the 12 step program. It's progress, though!

2010 Posted by Boulder Refugee at 5:51 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Being a ThreeSources insider has its perquisites. I met The Refugee for coffee and got a sneak preview of this post. Noonan's is a pretty good piece and I can even live with the last two ppgs.

I'm going to excerpt one more that I liked:

The second thing is the clock. Here is a great virtue of the tea party: They know what time it is. It's getting late. If we don't get the size and cost of government in line now, we won't be able to. We're teetering on the brink of some vast, dark new world—states and cities on the brink of bankruptcy, the federal government too. The issue isn't "big spending" anymore. It's ruinous spending that they fear will end America as we know it, as they promised it to their children.


Posted by: jk at September 17, 2010 6:57 PM

Man? Or Sheep.

No, I haven't given up the 'Atlas QOTD' franchise. I'd stopped listening during drive time due to a pressing need to keep up with developments in the CO governor's race on talk radio.

Today's quote comes from the meeting to discuss the implementation of Directive 10-289 on "the morning of May first" and resonates with our nascent liberty movement. Might society's intellectual luminaries protest their plan to make everything in the private sector "stand still?"

Part II, Chapter 6 - Miracle Metal:

Fred Kinnan, head of the Amalgamated Labor of America speaking:

Intellectuals? You might have to worry about any other breed of men, but not about the modern intellectuals: they'll swallow anything. I don't feel so safe about the lousiest wharf rat in the longshoremen's union: he's liable to remember suddenly that he is a man—and then I won't be able to keep him in line. But the intellectuals? That's the one thing they've forgotten along ago. I guess it's the one thing that all their education was aimed to make them forget. Do anything you please to the intellectuals. They'll take it."


Black Helicopters Appear in Broad Daylight...

...embarking from the White House.

Republican candidate for CO governor Dan Maes took some heat in early August for suggesting that statist influences at the United Nations are inserting themselves into state and municipal governments through an organization called ICLEI. I'll admit that if you've never heard of these self-important busybodies the whole idea can sound a bit conspiratorial. Even our own jk joked "See the bikes all come in black helicopters..."

Yet today, from the "just because I'm paranoid doesn't mean they're not really out to get me" department, we have the White House's Ocean Policy Initiative.

What the administration in effect is putting in place is an alternative power structure that circumvents existing state and local decision-making bodies and replaces them with made-in-Washington zoning. All of this is taking place without the consent of Congress, without the consent of the governors, and, most important of all, without the consent of the governed.

Suddenly the idea that similar efforts to influence local decision-making by the U.N. might "threaten our personal freedoms" doesn't seem like such a crackpot remark. JK commented "Let's pick smarter fights than this, boys." I'll counter with, "Someone has to start connecting the dots for voters sooner or later. Let's hope that when they do it isn't too late to get our liberty back using the ballot box."


Glaeser on Goolsbee

Harvard Econ Prof Edward L. Glaeser has some kind words about President Obama's campaign economics advisor and CEA nominee Austan Goolsbee.

His most cited paper, which he wrote with Jeffrey Brown, looks at the value of the economic competition created by the Internet. Comparing groups with more and less Internet usage, the authors find that “a 10 percent increase in the share of individuals in a group using the Internet reduces average insurance prices for the group by as much as 5 percent.” On one level, the paper produced an interesting new fact about an emerging technology, but on a more basic level, it illustrates a timeless economic truth: competition is better for consumers than monopoly.

Professor Goolsbee’s work on direct-broadcast satellite television pushes further along this line. Using elegant econometrics, he concludes that “without DBS, entry cable prices would be about 15 percent higher and cable quality would fall.”

He also illustrated the power of competition in the airline industry, where he found that Southwest didn’t even need to fly somewhere to lower fares. Just the threat of the low-cost airline’s entry into a market spurred incumbent airlines to cut their prices.


This work caused a lot of libertarian types to buy into the Hope and Change Mystique. His student, Megan McArdle, wrote glowingly about his intellect upon his nomination.

And hey, he's Chicago Boy of sorts.

I'm glad to hear the President will have that kind of intellectual power at his disposal. And hope that free trade and competition beliefs seep into policy. But I've seen Goolsbee on Kudlow & Company several times and his ability to discard his academic beliefs and parrot a party line has concerned me.

Then again, be glad he did not pick Elizabeth Warren!

Hat-tip: Mankiw. From whom I stole the title. Dang, economists have such funny names...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:59 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

You keep posting about Obamanomics and I'll keep quoting 'Atlas Shrugged:'

"Every expert has conceded long ago that a planned economy achieves the maximum of productive efficiency and that centralization leads to super-industrialization." "Centralization destroys the blight of monopoly," said Boyle. "How's that again?" drawled Kinnan. Boyle did not catch the tone of mockery, and answered earnestly, "It destroys the blight of monopoly. It leads to the democratization of industry. It makes everything available to everybody. Now, for instance, at a time like this, when there's such a desperate shortage of iron ore, is there any sense in my wasting money, labor and national resources on making old-fashioned steel, when there exists a much better metal that I could be making? A metal that everybody wants, but nobody can get. Now is that good economics or sound social efficiency or democratic justice? Why shouldn't I be allowed to manufacture that metal and why shouldn't the people get it when they need it? Just because of the private monopoly of one selfish individual? Should we sacrifice our rights to his personal interests?"
Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2010 3:11 PM

Thank You Senator Sherman!

John Sherman was first sent to the Senate in 1861. He had a distinguished career, serving in the Executive and legislative branches. In 1890, after returning to the Senate he passed the Sherman Antitrust Act.

Liberty is timeless. The words of Jefferson, Locke, and Cicero move us today. But legislation has a shelf life -- and this one had a little green fuzz around it in the nineteenth century.

One could not explain to the august Ohioan what a "Google" was, yet his 120 year old eponymous legislation is being employed by the firm's rent seeking competitors.

A debate in the WSJ Ed Page today asks "Is Google a Monopoly"

Amit Singhal of Google argues the competition is one click away. Charles Rule, an attorney whose firm represents corporations suing Google, counters that the company commands a share of search advertising in excess of 70%—the threshold for monopoly under the Sherman Act..

I/you/we have had a lot of bad things to say about Google. The firm warrants its own category and I see the latest post is entitled "Really, Really Evil."

But no firm has more honestly won its market share in the history of market share. Anybody can compete with them today and reach 100% of their customers. We were negotiating to sell our start up to a Google competitor as a last gasp to save ourselves. The company competes with <scary music>Microsift</scary music>, phone directories, Yahoo and is now threatened by Social Media sites.

They own no infrastructure to fend off competition. Like 'em or not, they (I tried to keep them singular, really I did) earn their monopoly every day by giving people what they want.

Requiescat in pace, Senator, your ghost is not needed here.

But johngalt thinks:

Well said. Unlike Microsoft, I'm no fan of Google. Yet suing Google over its commercial success is worthy of another Atlas Shrugged quote:

"We have the right to do it!" cried Taggart suddenly, in defiance to the stillness of the room. "We need it. We need it, don't we?" There was no answer. "We have the right to protect our livelihood!" Nobody opposed him, but he went on with a shrill, pleading insistence. "We'll be safe for the first time in centuries. Everybody will know his place and job, and everybody else's place and job—and we won't be at the mercy of every stray crank with a new idea. Nobody will push us out of business or steal our markets or undersell us or make us obsolete. Nobody will come to us offering some damn new gadget and putting us on the spot to decide whether we'll lose our shirt if we buy it, or whether we'll lose our shirt if we don't but somebody else does! We won't have to decide. Nobody will be permitted to decide anything; it will be decided once and for all."
Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2010 3:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, I forgot to mention one more thing:

BING!

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2010 10:41 PM

September 16, 2010

RSC!

Can we get these folks to take over the RNC and campaign committees?

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Like!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2010 3:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've been trying to come up with a "Not In My Name" slogan against statism.

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2010 7:17 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Love it. Lifting it. Posting it at my blog.

Thank you!

Posted by: Lisa M at September 16, 2010 9:13 PM

Last Wishes

From an obituary in a Georgia newspaper:


The family respectfully asked in lieu of flowers that memorial contributions be made to the American Cancer Society or to the campaign of whoever is running against President Barack Obama in 2012.

Heh.

2012 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:15 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Awesome Amendment

Randy Barnett and William Howell have a guest editorial today on "The Repeal Amendment:"

"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed."

ThreeSourcers will enjoy his whacks at the 16th and 17th Amendments. And all will agree that we focus too little on repeal. The integral of legislation over 222 years is a severe threat to our liberty.

I have posted the complete text under "Continue Reading..." Sorry, Rupert, but it's for a good cause -- the restoration of state powers as a bulwark to Federal encroachment.

On Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. The celebration of Constitution Day this year takes on renewed significance as millions of Americans are objecting to a federal government that has bailed out or taken over banks, car companies and student loans while it prepares to take charge of the practice of medicine. Unfortunately, because there is no single cause for this growth of federal power, there is no single solution.

One cause is political, with elected officials promising solutions to social problems that are beyond their power to deliver. Another is judicial, with federal judges who have allowed the Congress to exceed its enumerated powers for so long that they no longer entertain even the possibility of enforcing the text of the Constitution.

Also responsible are two "progressive" constitutional amendments adopted in 1913. Both dramatically increased the power of the federal government at the expense of the states, creating a constitutional imbalance that needs to be corrected.

The 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to impose an income tax, allowing it to tax and spend to a degree previously unimaginable. This amendment enabled Congress to evade the constitutional limits placed on its own power by effectively bribing states. Once states are "hooked" on receiving federal funds, they can be coerced to obey federal dictates or lose the revenue.

The 17th Amendment provided for the direct election of U.S. senators by the voters of each state. Under the original Constitution they were selected by state legislatures and could be expected to restrain federal power. Whatever that amendment's democratic benefits, the loss of this check on the federal government has been costly.

In its next session beginning in January, the legislature of Virginia will consider proposing a constitutional "Repeal Amendment." The Repeal Amendment would give two-thirds of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation. Its text is simple:

"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed."

At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or seek an amendment to the Constitution. A state repeal power provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse.

The Repeal Amendment should not be confused with the power to "nullify" unconstitutional laws possessed by federal courts. Unlike nullification, a repeal power allows two-thirds of the states to reject a federal law for policy reasons that are irrelevant to constitutional concerns. In this sense, a state repeal power is more like the president's veto power.

This amendment reflects confidence in the collective wisdom of the men and women from diverse backgrounds, and elected by diverse constituencies, who comprise the modern legislatures of two-thirds of the states. Put another way, it allows thousands of democratically elected representatives outside the Beltway to check the will of 535 elected representatives in Washington, D.C.

Congress could re-enact a repealed measure if it really feels that two-thirds of state legislatures are out of touch with popular sentiment. And congressional re-enactment would require merely a simple majority. In effect, with repeal power the states could force Congress to take a second look at a controversial law.

Americans revere their Constitution but have also acted politically to improve it. The 13th and 14th Amendments limited the original power of states to violate the fundamental rights of their own citizens, while the 15th and 19th Amendments extended the right to vote to blacks and women. The 21st Amendment repealed another "progressive" reform: the 18th Amendment that empowered Congress to prohibit alcohol.

The Repeal Amendment alone will not cure all the current problems with federal power. Getting two-thirds of state legislatures to agree on overturning a federal law will not be easy and will only happen if a law is highly unpopular.


Perhaps its most important effect will be deterring even further expansions of federal power. Suppose, for example, that Congress decides to nationalize private pension investments. Just as it must now contemplate a presidential veto, so too would Congress need to anticipate how states will react.

The Repeal Amendment would help restore the ability of states to protect the powers "reserved to the states" noted in the 10th Amendment. And it would provide citizens another political avenue to protect the "rights . . . retained by the people" to which the Ninth Amendment refers. In short, the amendment provides a new political check on the threat to American liberties posed by a runaway federal government. And checking abuses of power is what the written Constitution is all about.

Mr. Barnett is a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and author of "Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty" (Princeton 2005). Mr. Howell is the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, this IS awesome. Not that I'm not appreciative but I'd still like to see some check on the commerce clause as a companion measure.

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2010 10:53 PM

Quote of the Day

Blame that on George W. Bush, who arrived billing himself as a compassionate conservative, a description that was accurate except for the adjective and the noun. -- Steve Chapman
Reason Cheers the Tea Party.
Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

All of Me

Sadly the last of the City Wine Sessions with Kirk: Seymour Simon's 1931 hit!"


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Visit the virtual coffeehouse as well as City Wine, 347 S. Colorado Blvd in Denver.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Now you've got the tune stuck in my head! But that's OK, cuz it's one of my favorites.

If you've never seen the 1984 movie classic with the same name starring Steve Martin and Lily Tomlin, then add it to your next Netflix order. Nothing heavy - just pure fun.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 17, 2010 11:36 AM
But jk thinks:

"Back in Bowl?" One of my all time favorites!

Thanks.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2010 12:25 PM

September 15, 2010

End Racism in America

Blog friend tg suggests that everybody in America should see CATO's video "Ten Rules for Dealing with Police."

We had some good natured persiflage on his comments page as to whether the wonky CATO introduction was better than the short documentary they screened and highlighted (I took the affirmative).

But I suggest ThreeSourcers watch it for a different reason. It highlights drug prohibition's exacerbation of race relations. The officer after makes the claim we could "end racism" by ending the drug war. I don't think I'll go that far, but I will suggest:

  • Aggressive drug policing makes residents feel disconnected from their communities.

  • This deracinated populace has no reason to contribute to a community, city, state, or country that they are not a part of.

  • Without policing drug crimes, police could establish better relations with lower-income communities and enjoy greater cooperation and participation.

I'm guessing ThreeSourcers are going to hate this video. It teaches Constitutional rights, but it is presented through a prism of institutional and police racism. I'd challenge you to disagree if you want, but realize that these feelings are prevalent. And that they are perpetuated thanks in part to drug prohibition.

RELATED TOPIC; My blog brother jg offers another "trade" for drug legalization in a comment below. This time, he offers to accept legalization in exchange for privatization of education financing. Milton Friedman would be proud: vouchers and ending prohibition.

I'll accept either half of that deal and love both. But I again think he misidentifies the polity for legalization. Are the teachers' unions the obstacles to ending the drug war? Maybe they are but I do not see it that way.

I will say that I am stunned from my representative sample of the population. I agree with a populist, Limbaugh-listening relative and his überprogressive daughter. I have bonded with libertarians, liberals, and a large smattering of conservatives. Yet the opposition around ThreeSources surprised in its ferocity. I still think there is a plurality for it. But the distribution and different reasons preclude it -- and make jg's legislative bargains particularly difficult.

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 6:51 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee has little to say that will advance the debate, but will say that this is an awesome post! Very well articulated.

Nevertheless, he cannot help making a few comments. What this argument really says is that drug abuse is disproportionately within the minority community. Thus, legalizing drugs would largely get the cops off minorities backs, so to speak. However, it would likely do nothing to reduce the incidence of substance abuse among minorities. Cops are not the scourge - narcotics are.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 15, 2010 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words.

There is a line in the CATO discussion that suggests "We already have drug legalization in the white community." I'll suggest that we have more trafficking in minority communities.

By nature, you'll have more use among less affluent demographics. But I return to the NRA-esque argument of let's deal with the crime and abuse instead of inanimate objects.

Were non-users and no-offenders less likely to encounter police searching for narcotics, it would be a huge step forward for making our society more inclusive.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2010 9:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The "obstacles to ending the drug war" are the many examples of societal chaos when drug use is rampant. Do we have many examples of widespread drug forbearance where it is not prohibited? More simply, where has legalization resulted in lower consumption among at-risk populations?

The way to win the drug "war" is to restore hope to the members of those at-risk populations. I don't see how abandoning their communities to the ravages of drug distribution and use will engender anything of any sort of positive nature. (Those damn po-leece don't even care enough about us poor *fill-in-the-blank* folk to come down here and arrest these animals!)

What we are ferrociously opposed to is rewarding drug use, particularly when it is draped in the clothing of some magical "but all the bad stuff will stop when it is legal" canard.

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2010 4:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Ahem. The government's role is to minimize drug use? That's the reason to continue denying liberty? Perhaps we should outlaw transfats. They're bad. And everywhere they're illegal less is consumed. Salt. Bacon, Cheeze-whiz. You make this stuff legal and more people will use it!

I think they have "ravages of drug distribution" now. Abandoning them to a legal market will provide some commerce in a licensed legitimate business. The idea that users will be significantly worse neighbors than gang wars for sales territories is hard to accept.

What is easy for me to accept, as a rule of law guy, is that you don't make something legal because you cannot enforce it. That's compelling, but not for unjust law.

"We cannot reward those colonists, they must pay the Stamp Tax!"

"We cannot reward those runaway slaves, they must return to their masters!"

"We cannot reward those suffragists until they realize that inferior women cannot be trusted with the voting franchise."

"We cannot let those n****** ride in the front of the bus in Montgomery!"

You legalize because you believe in liberty, but many other benefits are accrued.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2010 5:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If we aren't careful we'll fall into the pattern of past debates. I didn't mean to imply that it is government's role to minimize drug use. I'm trying to point out the reasons why otherwise liberty-minded folk - my LAPD brother-in-law included - can support prohibition. I'm trying to advance the dialog.

You make a valid point about the relative scourges of drug users vs. outlaw drug dealers. That's the direction the conversation needs to lead, not back to "you're a nannyist because you want the streets to be safe for your wife and children."

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2010 7:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I thought you were (somewhat rightfully) going to blast me for comparing the stoners to the great freedom struggles.

Bit I disagree the idea of legalization as a "reward." Individual sovereignty is the foundation of birthright liberty. We don't let people do things, we stop prohibiting them, except in the case of direct harm to others.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2010 10:39 AM

Clinton on the Tea Party Candidates

Bill Clinton on the direction of the Republican party:


Clinton, speaking at a Democratic fundraiser in Minneapolis, said there was no mistaking that Republicans have tacked hard right and questioned whether former President George W. Bush would fit in among the party's candidates this year.

"A lot of their candidates today, they make him look like a liberal," Clinton told an enthusiastic crowd at a downtown hotel...


Two points:

1. Why is that a bad thing? It seems to me that Republicans seem to win fairly easily when they run on platforms of freedom, free markets, and strong defense. Even Ahh-nold won the governor's race in the People's Republic of California on a Reagan-eque platform -- despite abandoning it once in office. If only folks like Chris Christie had ran more moderate campaigns.

2. Wasn't Bush fairly liberal already -- at least as a Republican? I would submit that Bill Clinton (post-1994) makes Bush look fairly liberal.

2010 Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:14 PM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Wow, it's a Clintonpalooza today. Who knew?

I fear you're talking to Republicans, hb. Clinton is talking to democrats who believe President Obama's description of the Bush years as some kind of lasseiz faire nirvana. But these Tea Party Quacks...why...they're even worse!

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2010 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This speech was foundational for the 2012 campaign to elect his wife as the "sensible, moderate, reasonable" alternative to the "extremes" offered by Obama or the TEA-Party influenced Republicans.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2010 3:07 PM
But hb thinks:

Sorry jk, I was a bit lazy. I can understand why Clinton would emphasize this point, but this is also the meme in the media and the upper echelons of the Republican party as well.

Posted by: hb at September 16, 2010 10:40 AM

Building a Bridge to the 20th Century

CNBC Host and former Reagan aide Larry Kudlow hit an odd agreement last night with Vermont Governor, doctor, and DNC chief Howard Dean.

Gov Dean dusted off that sweet old saw "returning to Clinton levels of taxation" [insert Democratic boilerplate about surpluses here...] Larry, moderating a debate between Dean and CNBC colleague Michelle Caruso Cabrera, asked "how about if we return to Clinton level spending?" Dean -- outwitted or sincerely -- acquiesced.

Take that Rep. Tom Price! You want to roll back to 2008 spending, how about 1998?

We all know the "Clinton-level" is a canard. Alan Viard (who got a link the other day) exposes the flaws superbly in the American today.

In 2010, the top income tax rate bracket for ordinary income is 35 percent. Besides wages and interest income, this income category includes profits from pass-through business firms--sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations. Under the president's proposal, the top bracket will rise to 39.6 percent. A stealth provision that phases out high-income taxpayers' itemized deductions will also be reinstated, adding another 1.2 percentage points to the effective tax rate, bringing it to 40.8 percent. Wages and some of the pass-through income will also remain subject to a 2.9 percent Medicare tax. These 40.8 and 43.7 percent tax rates, which will apply in 2011 and 2012, match the 1994 to 2000 rates--the same top bracket, stealth provision, and Medicare tax were in place then.

But the picture changes in 2013. Under the healthcare law adopted in March, the Medicare tax will rise that year, from 2.9 to 3.8 percent. Also, a new 3.8 percent tax, called the Unearned Income Medicare Contribution (UIMC), will be imposed on high-income taxpayers' interest income and most of their pass-through business income that’s not subject to Medicare tax. So, under the president's proposal, virtually all of top earners' ordinary income will be taxed at 44.6 percent, starting in 2013. We’re not just going back to the Clinton-era rates of 40.8 and 43.7 percent.


Wake up! I know that was a lot of percentages, but this is good ammo for the argument we face on the extension of the tax cuts.

But what about doing it for real? The Democrats want to return to the Clinton years and more than a few Republicans yearn for a (pre-meltdown) Gingrich Congress. Let's codify it: we want the 90s back!

Not the grunge music and flannel shirts, but the real Clinton tax rates after he cut cap gains. And return to the 1999 budget, indexed for inflation and population growth. If that is not enough revenue to fund all the new programs we added since then, they'll have to be dropped or offset with other cuts.

Count me in.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

A Great Michael Kinsley Column in the Atlantic

A great friend of this blog is almost apologetic in forwarding a link to this.

Blog friend admits to the article's including "whoey mongering above and beyond the call" but knows we share a visceral distaste for boomers' self-congratulation. Merely hearing Kinsley admit what we all know is well worth the click. (I kid about Kinsley but he's a good writer and this is a good piece).

Nobody actually wants the Boomers dead (or at least nobody has been impolitic enough to say so), but many wouldn't mind if they took early retirement. From the day John F. Kennedy said "The torch has been passed to a new generation" to the day George H. W. Bush headed back to Houston, seven members of the World War II generation occupied the White House, for a total of 32 years. The Boomers had just two presidents, Clinton and Bush the younger, over 16 years, before the citizenry said, "That's enough. Let's move on." Barack Obama, born in 1961, is technically a Boomer, but consciously ran against a version of Boomer values, and got a lot of self-hating Boomer supporters as a result.

Kinsley gets around to a point I have made. Our fathers and grandfathers fought wars all over the world to preserve freedom for posterity. We the boomers won't even pay our damn doctor bills.

When he gets away from bashing his self indulgent generation and gets to remedy, I diverge a bit. But he suggests repaying the national debt as the boomers' D-Day. A grand and difficult sacrifice for freedom.

Bravo!

The medicine he prescribes isn't mine and even he isn't keen or specific on his solutions. If we accelerate taxes enough to pay it off, we would pass along less prosperity and innovation. But if we were to actually get entitlements onto at least a sustainable path, it would be a gift to posterity.

UPDATE: I recommended back Ayn Rand's Apollo and Dionysus (one of her best works).

POINT OF ORDER: "We, kimosabe?" Those who extend the boomers to 1964 don't know many people born in '64. I used to call myself the last baby boomer because I saw the culture through my older siblings. An oldest or only child born in '60 would likely not be a boomer -- no way President Obama is. You had to be born when Truman or Eisenhower was president. If "Christmas Story" looks like home, you might have to own up.

UPDATE II: The blog friend who sent the link thinks I am too charitable toward Kinsley. Tough room.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

"Accelerate taxes enough to pay it off" [the national debt] and there won't be enough money to do so. In addition to "less prosperity and innovation" we'd also have, a larger national debt.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2010 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Curious that I end up being the Michael Kinsley defender. You never know what'll happen...

If you drag yourself to page four, he suggests advancing inheritance taxes. I'm not advocating that, and I have never been a deficit hawk. I'd rather leave a foundation of freedom and prosperity than a clean balance sheet.

But I liked Kinsley's admission that the boomers take while other generations have given so much. If this sentiment could be directed at entitlement reform it would be powerful and positive.

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2010 4:32 PM

September 14, 2010

I Hear You. The Rest of the World Hears You

Keith Hennessey shares his recollections of the President and people he knew:

Nine years ago today President Bush visited Ground Zero in New York City. One lasting image is of the President, standing on a pile of rubble with his hand on the shoulder of a firefighter named Bob Beckwith, talking to the rescue workers with a bullhorn.

Awesome. Hat-tip: Terri

But AlexC thinks:

That speech, and that moment, still gives me chills to this day.

That's the George Bush I will always remember.

Posted by: AlexC at September 14, 2010 8:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And that's the George Bush that was re-elected in 2004. You know, "You're either with us or you're with the terrorists?" Who knew that even the President's State Department wasn't with us?

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2010 2:24 PM

Sun Rises in East!

The Washington Post afternoon politics edition includes:

3) Snowe open to deal on taxes
The Maine Republican says she's "not drawing lines in the sand" on the Bush tax cuts.

That would be a little too obvious for a Taranto "Bottom Story of the Day," but it got me wondering whether the gentle lady from Maine ever drew a line anywhere on anything.


Quote of the Day

In this age of partisan polarization, Republicans and Democrats found something on which they could agree: Arlen Specter does not belong in the Senate. -- James Taranto
Pennsylvania Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Lisa M thinks:

This whole post was so delicious, I found it hard to choose just one quote to pick as a favorite.

Posted by: Lisa M at September 14, 2010 8:51 PM

Does the Econ Department have a Separate Cafeteria?

I just cannot believe the rest of the faculty hangs out with Mankiw, Miron and Robert Barro.

Barro pens a perfect piece on today's WSJ Ed Page on the importance of incentives. He correctly claims them as the foundation of "Supply Side Economics." And he correctly contrasts them with the economic policies of the current Administration.

My hope is that the administration will shift away from programs based on Keynesian reasoning and toward policies that emphasize favorable economic incentives. Extension of the full tax cuts of 2001-03 and a reduction in the period of eligibility for unemployment insurance would be good starts.

Yeah. Good luck with that, Professor. And I want a pony.

UPDATE: Huh? Did somebody say Jeffrey Miron?

But johngalt thinks:

The administration has no compunction if the world's most prosperous nation must be impoverished in order to make it "just."

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2010 3:01 PM

Tagline of the Week

Old Spice®: Best Smell in the NFL
Kindof a low bar, n'est ce pas?
Posted by John Kranz at 10:25 AM | What do you think? [0]

The New Devil Incarnate

Now that NYAG Eliot Spitzer is (perhaps) safely ensconced in talkshowdom, we can now focus on CTAG (and Senate Candidate) Richard Blumenthal. Like Spitzer, his prosecutorial career has been one of innuendo, trial by jury, and thuggish pursuit of settlements. The due process oeuvre does not appeal to these types: better to get a subpoena and publish some embarrassing emails.

William Saletan offers a crueler assessment than I. He thinks we should hold him up to his own standards:

Richard Blumenthal, the attorney general of Connecticut, has a problem. He's running for the U.S. Senate, and he's been caught on video implying falsely that he served in Vietnam. He'd like your understanding as he explains that he simply "misspoke" about his service. He'd like you to give him a break.

But Blumenthal has never given anyone a break. He has made a career out of holding others to the strictest standards of truth--and mercilessly prosecuting them when they fall short.


May he be smacked down in November by Ms. McMahon.

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 13, 2010

Good Reason Not to "Go Wobbly"

The Internets are ablaze with suggestions that Leader Boehner would vote to preserve the "Bush Middle Class Tax Cuts" if he felt he could not get the high end. He and Speaker Gingrich were suggesting as much on FOXNewsSunday yesterday.

Prof Mankiw links to an AEI report that makes a substantive case that that would be the exact wrong course.

Congress is poised to allow the high-income rate reductions in the Bush tax cuts to expire while extending the middle-class Bush tax cuts. This combination would increase the deficit while reducing incentives for earning income, saving, and investing.

The middle class cuts enlarge the deficit and contribute to a steep marginal rate and überprogressive rate curve.
Most defenses of the high-income rate reductions continue to rely on misplaced arguments about small-business aid and Keynesian demand stimulus. These arguments solidified political support for the initial passage of the tax cuts, but impeded the establishment of lasting pro-growth tax policy. Laying a firm foundation for sound tax policy will require bringing the neglected stepchild in from the cold and making the economic-growth case for the high-income rate reductions.

But johngalt thinks:

Mankiw - He's that big proponent of Pigouvian taxes ... correct? Is he now seeking salvation?

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2010 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

He's a free market guy -- he did his best to keep President Bush on track...

Were you in his ec10 class, he'd say he likes it because it's free market. Define a negative externality, tax it and allow the market to use less, pay more, substitute, and innovate. He would pass a big energy tax but subtract the revenue from corporate or cap gains tax.

My problem is allowing the government to define these negative externalities. Jazz music, coffee, convertibles and trans-fats would be next.

But compared to the non-Econ Hahvaad faculty, he's Glenn Beck with a 12-guage and a hound dog.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2010 4:16 PM

Drug War, Federal Power

Pick any reason you want to hate this:

Thirty-seven-year-old El Paso City Council member Beto O'Rourke, a father of three, told me that before witnessing the slaughter of his neighbors and the economic decline of his city, he'd never really given the drug war much thought. But in 2008, after more than 1,660 murders, the city council sponsored a resolution condemning the violence with an amendment he offered "calling for an open and honest dialogue on ending the prohibition in this country." The resolution passed 8-0, but the mayor vetoed it on the grounds that it would make the city look bad in Austin and Washington.

When the council tried to override the veto, Mr. O'Rourke says council members received phone calls from Democratic Congressman Sylvester Reyes that "basically threatened [the city] with loss of federal funds if we continued with this resolution." Mr. Reyes's office says it only sent a message that in a moment when the congressman was trying to garner stimulus funds for El Paso, the resolution "wasn't helpful." The override failed by two votes.


"Am open and honest dialog" threatened the city's esteem in Austin, Washington, and in the take-a-number-please line for Federal Jack.

Meanwhile across the Rio Grande, "Since the beginning of this year, more than 2,200 people in the city have been murdered. Since 2008, the toll is almost 6,500. On a per capita basis this would be equivalent to some 26,000 murders in New York City." This is causing, Mary Anastasia O'Grady asserts, conservatives in Texas and Catholics in El Paso to rethink Drug Prohibition that they have heretofore supported.

tg, call your office...

War on Drugs Posted by John Kranz at 4:51 PM | What do you think? [3]
But Jillian Galloway thinks:

$113 billion is spent on marijuana every year in the U.S., and because of the federal prohibition *every* dollar of it goes straight into the hands of criminals. Far from preventing people from using marijuana, the prohibition instead creates zero legal supply amid massive and unrelenting demand. We are all responsible for the consequences of this policy!

According to the ONDCP, at least sixty percent of Mexican drug cartel money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S., they protect this revenue by brutally torturing, murdering and dismembering countless innocent people.

If we can STOP people using marijuana then we need to do so NOW, but if we can't then we must legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match. One way or the other, we have to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate their highly lucrative marijuana incomes - no business can withstand the loss of sixty percent of its revenue!

To date, the cartels have amassed more than 100,000 "foot soldiers" and operate in 230 U.S. cities, and it's now believed that the cartels are "morphing into, or making common cause with, what would be considered an insurgency" (Secretary of State Clinton, 09/09/2010). The longer the cartels are allowed to exploit the prohibition the more powerful they'll get and the more our own personal security will be put in jeopardy.

Posted by: Jillian Galloway at September 14, 2010 12:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I have a better idea than legalizing pot, thus allowing market forces to drive the price down to something on a par with spinach and therefore put outlaw gangs "out of business." Instead the US Federal Government should mandate that all Americans buy a set quantity of pot from government owned and/or regulated suppliers whether they want it or not. Non-compliant growers and distributors will be raided by the FBI and shut down. THAT'S the most effective way to put private, for-profit organizations "out of business."

(Tongue placed only slightly into cheek.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2010 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not drawing any reactions with yesterday's quip I'll try a slightly more serious approach:

Legalize pot (and maybe eventually hash, qualludes, cocaine, PCP, meth, etc. - because you know the bar would keep moving) but privatize the public school system and give equal credit vouchers for education to every child-citizen, which their parents could spend on a local, private, for-profit school of their choice. The number of students being taught that "tune in, turn on, and drop out" is in their best interest would plummet.

This would also have incalculable other positive consequences.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2010 2:32 PM

Quote of the Day

Having the temerity to give it to myself today:

Spent the morning at the Doctor's (drug trial maintenance, no worries) and the afternoon at the DMV. Lawdy, I fear the result of the upcoming merger.

I paid my dues...

Health Care Posted by John Kranz at 4:28 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Add a trip to the Post Office for stamps and a visit to the IRS, and you'll have completed the Grand Slam Four-Bagger of Governmental Doom.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 13, 2010 5:23 PM

September 12, 2010

That's Gotta Sting a Bit...

If Chris Wallace delivered the ass-kicking that Jon Stewart did, they'd burn down Rupert's Headquarters...

2010 Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | What do you think? [0]

Happy 9/12

Actually my sister's birthday...

I don't know that this video is great. But isn't it sad that the Obama administration has forced us to learn the plural "stimulas?"

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | What do you think? [0]

September 11, 2010

The Next Hoover

Jonah Goldberg has a great column suggesting that -- if President Obama is a reincarnation of a 20th Century president -- it is Hoover and not FDR.

I loved this whack at his Cleveland speech. I have heard this offending quote a dozen times, and I am progressing through the five stages of grief...

Here’s Obama in his Cleveland speech Wednesday, describing the philosophy that defined the Bush years: “Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. Cut trade deals even if they didn’t benefit our workers. Cut back on investments in our people and our future — in education and clean energy, in research and technology. The idea was that if we had blind faith in the market, if we let corporations play by their own rules, if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, America would grow and prosper.”

What movie was he watching? At best this is a Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Robot battle between delusion and dishonesty. Rhetorically, Bush never advocated anything like any of this. Indeed, Bush the compassionate conservative described his philosophy thus: “When somebody hurts, government has got to move.” More concretely, under Bush we had massive spending increases on education, alternative energy, the National Institutes of Health, and health care. We saw the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, and the trade deals Bush pushed are now part of the Obama agenda.

But Obama needs to spout such hogwash in order to sell some very old “new” ideas.


Please to whole read thing if suggest. Hat-tip: Instapundit

But johngalt thinks:

Hey, don't be so hard on Hoover.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2010 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Dude rocked at saving Belgians. But I ask you to reevaluate the performance of POTUS31.0.

He embodied the "fatal conceit" that a gifted mining engineer could come in and run government and the economy as a closed system. He teed the ball up for FDR.

And he signed Smoot-Hawley!

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2010 10:12 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I never said Hoover was a good president. He's all the things you said and a bag of chips. And yet, America's sitting President is an order of magnitude worse.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2010 2:31 PM

September 10, 2010

Mencken the Mensch!

H.L. Mencken, to me, is a Bartlett staple. You see all these clever quotes and they are usually attributed to Mark Twain, Samuel Johnson, or H.L. Mencken. The one I've been enjoying of late is " Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." The man died not knowing what an Obama was and yet wrote that (I suspect as a Baltimore resident, he likely knew a Pelosi or two).

Damon Root as Reason reviews a new release of his "Prejudices." My literate blog betters are probably way ahead of me, but I did not know the depth of his devotion to liberty and -- specifically -- his aversion to majoritarianism.

Whether he was denouncing alcohol prohibition (“the criminal, in the public eye, is not the bootlegger and certainly not his customer, but the enforcement officer”), moral crusader Anthony Comstock (“a good woman, to him, was simply one who was efficiently policed”), or government itself (“in any dispute between a citizen and the government, it is my instinct to side with the citizen”), the overriding theme of the series remained steady: individual liberty versus the tyranny of the majority.

Nor is this some kind of Glenn Beck/jk roadside conversion. He was there at the birth. And he fought it.
Take Mencken’s horror at the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, which he called the “Wilson hallucination.” Under the terms of Wilson’s Espionage Act of 1917, it became illegal to criticize the U.S. government during wartime. Among the victims of this vile law was the radical union leader and Socialist Party presidential candidate Eugene Debs, who spent three years rotting in federal prison for delivering an anti-war speech. Facing strong pressure to pardon Debs once the Great War was over, liberal hero Wilson flatly refused. “Magnanimity was simply beyond him,” Mencken wrote. “Confronted, on his death-bed, with the case of poor Debs, all his instincts compelled him to keep Debs in jail.” Mencken was no fan of Debs’ left-wing politics, of course; Mencken once described the typical Progressive as “one who is in favor of...more paternalism and meddling, more regulation of private affairs and less liberty.” He simply hated government criminality in all its ugly forms.

Giants. Innumerable giants.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 7:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Leftism at its heart holds that a small percentage of humans have a vastly superior understanding of everything compared to ordinary people. The point of leftism is to empower these superior individuals to impose their superior understanding upon society by the force of the state. Leftists must be viewed by themselves and others as superior human beings if they are to have a claim to a power and status. -- Shannon Love
Hat-tip: @JimPethokoukis. Part of a smart piece on "status anxiety" as a foundation of Palin hatred.
Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 3:55 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Lisa M thinks:

As a corollary to that quote, I'd venture that many liberal drones who parrot the party line do so because they believe "I agree with the smart guy, ergo I ARE smart!"

Posted by: Lisa M at September 10, 2010 9:22 PM

Tancredo's "Lost His Freakin' Mind" going 3rd Party

That is what guest host George Brauchler told caller "Eric" in this interesting 5 minute conversation on Peter Boyles KHOW radio show this morning. [Starts at 0:45]

I thought this Eric guy made some pretty good points:

Tom Tancredo is not a legitimate candidate for a 3rd party. He's a Republican. The primary is over.

How can Tom Tancredo sleep at night after violating his own advice NOT to go third party?

Dan Maes is the victim of character assassination by the Denver Post.

The absence of 1099's for Dan Maes from the KBI doesn't prove that Maes is lying.

To put the headline in context, the full statement by Brauchler was as follows:

"So listen, I get what you're sayin' Eric. I disagree with what he did. I think it's hurtful to the conservative movement. I think it's gonna put someone in office I completely disagree with. I think Tom's lost his freakin' mind. But how does that translate into, 'He should not have a voice on the stage if voters are gonna have the choice between these different candidates?"

Not bad radio!

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Tancredo, party of one, your table is ready... Tancredo, party of one...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 10, 2010 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's more than one, but not a lot more. There are the 20 Benedict Arnold "Republicans." And a bunch of talk radio regulars who I've been privately referring to as "Tanc's Cranks."

Clearly Tancredo's supporters number in the hundreds or even thousands across the state. But our population is over 5 million.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2010 6:51 PM

Sour Grapes

Instapundit readers have been absorbing a lot of "higher education bubble" talk of late.

Today, Professor Reynolds links to a WaPo story on a hedge fund manager who is not sending his two daughters to college. James Altucher is well known to Kudlow watchers as a frequent guest (in a cavalcade of bald economists, Altucher is recognizable for having the follicular density of a schoolboy).

I'm a big fan of education qua education (not enough of a fan to do it for myself...) but I watch my nieces pile up debt at state schools. My aspiring M.D. niece will be able to work for the government, but I fear the humanities and business majors are going to graduate knowing only about recycling, the voracious American hegemony, and the scary side of the compound interest equation. Call my grapes sour, but the WaPo offers quite a roll call:

But what about the lessons offered by the success stories that have unspooled along a different path? Dropouts are the toast of the dot-com world. To the non-degreed billionaires' club headed by Microsoft's Bill Gates (Harvard's most famous quitter) and Apple's Steve Jobs (left Oregon's Reed College after a single semester), add: Michael Dell (founder of Dell Computers, University of Texas dropout), Microsoft co-founder and Seattle Seahawks owner Paul Allen (quit Washington State University) and Larry Ellison (founder of Oracle Systems, gave up on the University of Illinois).

Success sans sheepskin isn't only for the technology set.

David Geffen, co-founder of DreamWorks, bowed out of several schools, including the University of Texas.

Redskins owner Daniel Snyder dropped out of the University of Maryland.

Barry Gossett, chief executive of Baltimore's Acton Mobile Industries, builders of temporary trailers, also left Maryland without a degree. (No hard feelings, apparently: In 2007, he donated $10 million to the school.)

Perhaps these are unique individuals in whom a driving entrepreneurial spirit outstripped the plodding pace of book learning.

Or perhaps they point to a new model.

Education Posted by John Kranz at 1:33 PM | What do you think? [6]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

This is like encouraging black youth in the projects to count on the NBA to escape the 'hood or anyone using the lottery as a retirement plan. For every high-profile example, there are 10,000 (or 1,000,000) faceless examples that would have been far better off reading Chaucer and learning Econ 101.

While there are those with the intelligence, circumstances and chutzpah to be successful no matter what, 99.999% of us are not their equals.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 10, 2010 2:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Excellent point.

I think Altucher's concern, however, is well founded. As the quality of education comes down and the price goes up, one should ensure that something more than "herd mentality" drives his pursuits.

And thanks for including me in the top .001%! I'll not forget the compliment!

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2010 3:31 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

If memory serves, another famous non-college graduate is James Taranto.

As the parent of a college age student embarking on her third year of school, we had enough saved to pay her way for three solid semesters (at a state supported school) with the understanding that after that, she would have to get student loans. Well, as I mentioned, she's beginning her third year, but probably has enough credits to qualify as a first semester sophomore, because even though she has been paying a full time tuition, she did not take advantage of that free ride at the beginning and took just enough credits to qualify as full time (and therefore health benefits under my plan). Oh yes, then she failed a couple of those classes, which she will have to take all over again.

On the other side of the coin is me, her 44 year old mother who has about as many college credits amassed as she does at this point. I returned to school last year and have been plugging away at it. The difference is that while I am going to a much more expensive school, my employer is picking up 75% of the cost of tuition.

Now, I have very mixed feelings about pursuing this degree. My schooling at Hard Knocks University has allowed me to achieve the same level of professional success that many of my peers have achieved with MBA's. And quite frankly, in my current occupation, a degree isn't going to mean any sort of advancement for me and a change of career is out of the question, unless it's to go into business for myself (which may happen anyway) I resent the amount of time I have to spend in class and the amount of time I spend on assignments. At the same, I've been carrying a rather large chip on my shoulder for most of my life because I don't have that little piece of paper that validates me as a worthwhile contributor to society.

All that being said, I've been reading Prof. Reynolds a lot lately and have taken his words to heart because they really ring tru to me. I have discussed with my daughter and she is seriously considering getting herself a full time job with her own benefits (she is a diabetic, so health insurance is a necessity) and a benefits package that will pay at least part of her tuition if she goes part time. She is already in debt $14,000 and she still has probably three years to go with no clear direction.

So long story long, I had hoped for her to avoid my course, which was full time job/part-time school (which was the only option ever presented to me) but I think this is the right course for her.

Posted by: Lisa M at September 10, 2010 9:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks. We seem to be pretty well represented at ThreeSources (the sheepskinned were a minority of the blog founders).

Watching Kudlow last night, John Taylor was on. Star struck young man that I am, I started telling the lovely bride about "The Taylor Rule." She asks "why don't you go back and get a degree in Economics, you love it so much?"

Like you, it would do zero for my career advancement but it might be a good "self-esteem" buy. For the chip, I suggest telling people you are "self-educated" like "self-employed."

Or I bet we could add your credits, your daughter's and mine and get one degree. I'd like it on weekends if that's okay.

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2010 9:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Haven't read the link yet but...

In 1985 I spent $485 per semester for an engineering degree at at state school. In 2005 my sister-in-law spent $3000 per semester for an econ degree at the same state school. My degree has served me well but hers? She started at teacher's college this semester while working part-time at Starbucks. One wonders how she got through the entire Econ curriculum without them ever mentioning that it was a bad investment.

Worst of all is the staggering tuition inflation. That's what happens when government gets involved to make sure college is "affordable for all."

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2010 12:01 PM
But jk thinks:

It would be more stupid to say that education is always a waste than to say it is always a boon. I think the valid (and seemingly new) idea is that an evaluation is worthwhile.

I'd still guess an EE degree from a good in State school is still a great buy after the government decupled the price. But gender studies? An Ivy? A boutique liberal arts college? Huge investments.

Edumecators love to quote the stat that college kids make <doctor evil voice>$1 million</doctor evil voice> more over a lifetime. Altucher points out that the $200K they spent could be invested to produce $2.8 Million.

In other sour grapes moments, I've also suggested that there is selection bias on that million dollar figure as well. The top tier will do well either way, and the bottom may not light it up in academicism or the job market.

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2010 10:26 AM

All Hail Harsanyi!

I try to help my friends out. Brother br is on the road and suggests a David Harsanyi column. A David Harsanyi column whacking Rep. Tom Tancredo (R - White). I'd better post:

Approximately 70 percent of citizens are concerned about a lack of border control, but very few share -- as former Republican Majority leader and Tea Party activist Dick Armey appropriately described -- Tancredo's "harsh and uncharitable and mean-spirited attitude on the immigration issue."

Stemming from this all-inclusive fear of illegal aliens, Tancredo has taken protectionist and isolationist positions -- voting against a number of free-trade agreements in Congress, for instance -- that are antithetical to the tenets of fiscal conservatism.


My pal Harsanyi is still too harsh on Dan Maes, but a Tancredo whack is always appreciated.

CO Governor Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [0]

Christie 2012

Mister President, Sir!

HT: Insty

2012 Posted by John Kranz at 10:08 AM | What do you think? [3]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You beat me to the posting, JK, but only because I'm out of town. I love this guy!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 10, 2010 11:02 AM
But dagny thinks:

I heard this on Rosen the other day. Maybe when he is done being governor of NJ we can get him to come be governor of Colorado. In case no one has noticed, we seem to be having trouble in that area.

Posted by: dagny at September 10, 2010 3:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry, Dagny, if I get my way he's going to be busy. Tommy W. Wilson went straight from his first term of NJ Gov to President exactly 100 years ago. History does rhyme...

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2010 4:03 PM

September 9, 2010

20 Prominent Republicans Pledge Not to Vote for Republican Governor

Denver Post:

More than 20 elected and formerly elected Republicans have abandoned their party's gubernatorial nominee Dan Maes to throw their support behind third-party candidate Tom Tancredo.

Here's hoping that Dan Maes eventual margin of victory will be more than 20 votes anyway.

But jk thinks:

I hope that was not the surprise.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2010 6:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I must admit to being disappointed at finding Bob Beauprez on the list. Prominent Republicans don't need to support Maes, but they don't need to endorse his opponent, either.

Republican party rules (at least last I knew) prohibited any party official from endorsing a non-Republican. These endorsements also strike me as a violation of Reagan's 11th Commandment.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 9, 2010 6:09 PM
But jk thinks:

And I just voted for Joe Wilson (last time).

Big time violation of Reagan's 11th.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2010 6:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

BR is correct. I was told as much at a precinct captain's meeting this evening. "Party bylaws prohibit any of us [representatives of the Republican Party] from publicly advocating for any candidate who is not a Republican." Then she said, "But they don't say anything about what you can do in private." There was a clear sense that many in the room wanted to support Tancredo. There was never anything improper said, however, so I held my tongue. "If you can't say anything nice [about Maes] then don't say anything at all," we were told.

The quote of the night came when it was suggested that, if we have a T-shirt for one of the Republican candidates, to wear it while we're out knocking on doors and if you don't have one then we can get you one. Then one man said, "I'll need one. All of my T-shirts are obsolete."

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2010 10:45 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Tancredo is so far right he's warped around to the left, just like Pat Buchanan. Catch Harsanyi's piece in The Post today to read it put much more eloquently than The Refugee ever could.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 10, 2010 11:05 AM

Dan Maes 'Little Surprise' Quip Makes NRO Headline

What a pleasure it was to find a national reference to Colorado's gubernatorial race that has something positive to say about the Republican nominee, Dan Maes. On its Battle '10 blog NRO's Michael Sandoval tells us that Dan promised a "little surprise" on Thursday (today.)

I'll avoid temptation and not excerpt the most exciting speculation that Sandoval engages in for fear of creating expectations. You'll have to read for yourself.

Here's another possibility: Some evidence to corroborate his believable but ridiculed KBI story would be helpful.


Colorado "Public Climate-Change Commission"

One week after publishing the story I linked about the Colorado PUC chairman colluding with Xcel Energy (to mandate the use of natural gas to replace coal for electrical generation) the author, Peter Blake, wrote this article about the same PUC chairman and another commissioner, which gives details on that collusion.

As early as last Dec. 8, Binz noted that the commissioners “are being engaged by gas producers to examine the potential for replacing coal with gas in the dispatch order.... (fellow commissioner) Matt (Baker) and I have talked to reps from IPAMS, COGA, Noble and Chesapeake.”

Engaged by the gas producers? Why would regulators, who are essentially jurists, be holding unilateral talks with just one side in the energy business?

(...)

Coal, though still the cheapest provider of 24/7 baseload energy, was never involved in discussions and didn’t know the bill was coming. Ritter, in a moment of candor, explained why to a renewable energy conference in Aspen last Saturday. “We didn’t believe that coal was going to be really able to add to the conversation,” he said, claiming its lobbyists would have pushed for a study instead.

Let me translate: "We hate coal."

There are state laws designed to prevent this sort of thing. From the 8/26 Blake piece:

But there is in fact a law requiring commissioners to disqualify themselves “in any proceeding in which their impartiality may reasonably be questioned.”

There is an even stronger law requiring their removal by the governor should they “lend the prestige of their office to advance the private interests of others,” or “convey the impression that special influence can be brought to bear upon them.”

But what if that special influence is being brought to bear upon the governor too?


I'm Beginning to See the Light

Ann Althouse summed it up pretty nicely yesterday, but there is a great column in The American today. The rationale for taking our freedom away is to promote "all these green energy jobs" when in reality it is accelerating the push overseas:

“See, when folks lift up the hoods on the cars of the future, I want them to see engines stamped ‘Made in America,’” Obama said in an August 16 speech at a Wisconsin plant. “When new batteries to store solar power come off the line, I want to see printed on the side, ‘Made in America.’ When new technologies are developed and new industries are formed, I want them made right here in America.”

But as the upcoming closure of America’s last major incandescent lightbulb factory shows, such claims are generally bunk. Even the Washington Post, not exactly famous for its conservatism, points out that while the Obama administration pledges 800,000 “clean energy” manufacturing jobs by 2012, “the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States has been shrinking for decades, from 19.5 million in 1979 to 11.6 million this year, a decline of 40 percent.”

The Post also observes that those lightbulb jobs aren’t just moving across town, they’re moving overseas


I'm a big fan of globalization, and a new Chinese factory factors not into my sleep loss. But it would be better if we did not make profitable and desirable domestically produced products illegal.

(Plus a suggestion to ramp up the stockpiling of incandescents. Stimulus baby!)

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 2:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Skylark

"One more from the City Wine Sessions!"


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Visit the virtual coffeehouse as well as City Wine, 347 S. Colorado Blvd in Denver.


September 8, 2010

And We're Here to Help

Ann Althouse:

"The last major GE factory making ordinary incandescent light bulbs in the United States is closing this month...."

Oh! It is so sad. It is doubly sad. The workers are losing their jobs, and we, who love traditional light bulbs are being deprived of a product we want. And those vile CFL bulbs? They're made in China.

Thanks a lot, Congress.

Now, how many incandescent bulbs do I need to stockpile last until the end of my life? I need to buy them before 2014....


Do I have untill 2014? I was afraid that was next year. I plan to buy some serious casage and don't want to wait too long.

Citizens? Nay, subjects. Hat-tip: Instapundit

Environment Posted by John Kranz at 4:47 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You'll buy your 40 cases of light bulbs, and ten minutes later, the price of electricity will skyrocket - as promised. The optimist is buying incandescent lights; the pessimist is buying candles.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2010 5:26 PM
But jk thinks:

..like you're going to be able to afford matches...

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2010 6:19 PM

Maes Addresses Concerns...

Over police work, Frieda Poundstone and "overstated" business success.

As a political outsider who is being shunned by the party, Dan doesn't have access to the same contribution channels that Scott McInnis would have (or that Tom Tancredo does.) Nor is he treated well by established media. So he has to rely on personal appearances, the internet, and bloggers, to get his message out. Like this.


Democrat Betsy Markey - Triage Victim

Triage: –noun
1. the process of sorting victims, as of a battle or disaster, to determine Medical priority in order to increase the number of survivors.

This is the word chosen by the NYT to describe how the DCCC will choose to deploy its campaign funds across the country.

With the midterm campaign entering its final two months, Democrats acknowledged that several races could quickly move out of their reach, including re-election bids by Representatives Betsy Markey of Colorado, Tom Perriello of Virginia, Mary Jo Kilroy of Ohio and Frank Kratovil Jr. of Maryland, whose districts were among the 55 Democrats won from Republicans in the last two election cycles.

This Coloradoan story has claims by both Markey's campaign and the DCCC that the report is "not true" but also gives this explanation:

Colorado State University political scientist Kyle Saunders said the New York Times story could hurt Markey's fundraising among the Democrats' national donor base.

"In making these kinds of statements, the party committees are trying not to hurt any enthusiasm or momentum the campaign has in fundraising and voter mobilization; however, they do want to guide other outside and affiliated groups - without coordinating of course - as to their strategy," Saunders said. "There will be signals to these groups as to their thinking - and chief among those will be how the party and affiliated groups spend their money over the next two or three weeks."

Markey is running out of time before the narrative that she can't win becomes irreversible, he said.

If Congressperson Markey is to survive the disaster that has been the first half of the Obama Administration she'll have to swim from Fort Collins to Washington D.C. without any help from inside the beltway.

2010 Colorado Posted by JohnGalt at 2:41 PM | What do you think? [0]

Tancredo ACP Lawsuit Filed

Last week I linked a story explaining how Tom Tancredo's third-party challenge to Dan Maes violates state law. Today a pair of apparent Maes supporters filed a lawsuit seeking to remove Tancredo from the ballot.

"Our attorneys have reviewed the recent complaint by the disgruntled Maes voters related to this certification and are confident that the courts will find no grounds on which to overturn the decision by the one individual with authority to make such decisions," said Bay Buchanan, Tancredo's campaign manager.

Yes, that Bay Buchanan. But those filing the lawsuit are quite a bit more objective in their statements. From a radio interview [last third of clip] on 630 KHOW this afternoon, plaintiff Joe Harrington said,

"The US Supreme Court held in a case in the past (...) in a case called 'Storer' that the general election ballot is reserved for major struggles; it is not a forum for continuing interparty feuds. The disaffiliation statute protects the direct primary process by refusing to recognize independent candidates who do not make early plans to leave the party and to take the alternative course to the ballot. It works against independent candidacies prompted by short-range political goals, pique, or personal quarrels.It is also a substantial barrier to a party fielding an independent candidate to capture and bleed off votes in a general election that might well go to another party."

Harrington closed by saying, "These aren't real complicated rules but, you know, he's got to follow the rules the same way that illegal immigrants have to."

But jk thinks:

Buried the lead, bro -- that last line is a "Quote of the Day" if I e'er seen one!

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2010 10:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Harrington left it as a parting shot so I followed his lead. Quite a zinger, eh?

Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2010 2:29 PM

September 7, 2010

Quote of the Day

In an earlier post, JK mentioned the wildfire burning west of Boulder, Colo. The fire, as of this morning, had consumed 7,000 acres and nowhere near containment.

Governor Bill Ritter, quoted in The Denver Post online, had this to say:

"This is a very volatile situation."

Ya think, Guv? With insight like that, we now know why you're a one-termer and the budget never got solved.

Quote of the Day Posted by Boulder Refugee at 4:09 PM | What do you think? [0]

Perspective

The lovely bride and I were a little grouchy about the smoke from a mountain wildfire. We shut all of our windows and turned on the A/C.

I just received word that a good friend's house burned to the ground. He has nothing but the clothes on his back.

"I complained that I had no shoes..."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:38 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

My condolences to you friend!

The Refugee is curious whether his ancestral home in Sunshine Canyon still stands. Probably, as it is a bit down-canyon from the epicenter.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 7, 2010 4:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

An estimated 63 homes destroyed so far and no containment. Many more are at risk. Sheriff's assessment: "Pray for rain."

On the positive side, I read that they finally got air tankers up after noon, when the smoke level rose enough for visibility. Smoke jumpers took over control from local firefighters at 6 pm today. The homes of nine volunteer firefighters burned while they were working to protect others.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2010 11:55 PM

September 6, 2010

THIS TIME IS DIFF'RENT!

This $50 Billion in new spending will save the economy! Not like that other $Trillion we flushed down the toilet.

MILWAUKEE -- A combative President Barack Obama is promising to put Americans back to work rebuilding roads, railways and runways, and is blaming Republicans for opposing his efforts to stimulate the economy.

In remarks prepared for a Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, Obama says his six-year transportation plan should attract bipartisan support. The plan would need congressional approval, which will be tough to achieve this election year.

Obama says every time he's moved to help the middle class, Republicans in Congress say no.

The president said, "Remember when our campaign slogan was 'Yes We Can?' These guys are running on 'No, We Can't,' and proud of it."


Veritably bursting my buttons with pride in opposition to this! Happy Labor Day!

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If it is this $50 billion that will heal the economy, why didn't we start with it?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 7, 2010 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, he was gonna, br. but the 40 GOP Senators and minority in the house prevented him!

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2010 3:16 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Michelle Malkin links to the WSJ's reporting that, at least as of last February, only a third of the transportation stimulus had been spent. So it's two thirds by now, and getting the Fed to print another $50 billion will help?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 8, 2010 10:42 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

A Bastiat quote that cannot be repeated too often: "But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them, and gives it to other persons to whom it does not belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 8, 2010 10:44 AM

Philosophie

I'm going to riff on the ideas of a very good friend of this blog. I'm going to do it without attribution as I fear that I'll get it wrong or present it poorly rather than intellectual theft.

Pure libertarianism and pure communalism, sayeth my sagacious bud are both built on the ideal of pre-lapserian man. Each is undone by sin (the word "sin" gets nine mentions in six years at ThreeSources, not a real frequent topic 'round here).

I was thinking of this as I continue my plod through Caro's "Master of the Senate" as the rapaciousness of its subject (one Lyndon Baines Johnson) continues to astonish.

It strikes me that the existence of predatory and rapacious individuals remains a pretty good argument for Conservatism. A benefit of an organized society is the identification, mitigation and sometimes removal of these individuals (when we don't make them President, that is...)

In Series Seventeen of my Constitutional Republic vs. Anarcho Capitalism discussion with Perry, It is suggested that I hire my own constabulary if I want police protection. Among other concerns, I ask both "What rights will I have against search and intimidation by other people's private police forces?" and "Over how large a sphere will we be able to trace the predators?" If my block is patrolled by my crack team of ex Israeli soldiers and supermodels and AlexC's by his goons, and Perry just sits on his front porch with a .30-06, a rapacious individual can go from jurisdiction to jurisdiction -- no wait, there are no jurisdictions -- from area to area committing crimes until he is shot or falls in love with the town librarian and starts a boys' band.

It's a valid exercise for a guy who calls himself a libertarian to defend government, but the regularity and contiguousness of law in the United States is a great benefit. And it is one that cannot be bought by a few individuals without government power. You know I wish it did not come with agricultural subsidies, the FDA and now ObamaCare®. But I remain comfortable choosing the "mend it don't end it" route.

Madison said it all and better in #51:

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself. A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 9:21 AM | What do you think? [19]
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The first is self interest. The market is an amazing vehicle for channeling self interest towards constructive and mutually beneficial ends - but it is not perfect. Man is irrational. And jealous. Moreover, the interests of one man often conflict. If the benefits of the market are not obvious and immediate, or if the man in question is simply stupid, lazy, or otherwise disadvantaged, or if he believes that his interests are in conflict with those of another, it is all to easy for him to slide into behavior less virtuous than the mutually beneficent market transaction. Six million years of evolution has preconditioned us to lie, cheat, thieve and murder. And all too often these things offer a reward that outstrips the treasurer made by juster means."

A couple of things: markets aren't perfect, but it isn't because the mechanism of voluntary trade isn't perfect. The principle of two parties coming to peaceful, mutual agreement IS, in fact, perfect. Markets as a whole are imperfect only because information is not. Let's say I buy a trinket in Chinatown for $10 because I didn't know someone a block away is selling the same thing for $9. That's not a failing of "the market," but of my failure to have all information. And it may not have been a failure anyway. Maybe I'm in a hurry and the other one is out of my way, and the dollar was less important than saving several minutes to search and backtrack.

One of the most important points of Gordon Tullock and James Buchanan's public choice theory, contradicting the naive notion of "public service," is that people remain just as self-interested when they go into government work. Everything you've said here about human nature is why governments begin in the first place. Those people who don't, or cannot, live in peaceful cooperation with others must employ force to get what they want. In fact, this negative behavior is amplified, for government officials (elected or unelected) can get more than they could as individuals, and any dirty work (e.g. arrests and the underlying use of force for not paying taxes) is done for them.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 9, 2010 12:15 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Perry-


Never said that government should provide for the sick, stop drugs, prevent crime, etc. My point was that once communities lose the capacity to deal with these challenges on their own the government tends to step in and deal with it for them. It follows that those concerned with size and largess of our government should do all in their power to strengthen community institutions, associations, and social mores, thus pre-empting the role the state claims as its own.

To say it another way: if people are already caring for Welfare Juanita because they believe it is the right thing to do, because they face social censure if they do not, or because there are private charities devoted to such causes, force will never enter the equation.

.


I concede that "The principle of two parties coming to peaceful, mutual agreement IS, in fact, perfect." I also agree that lack of information impairs markets systems. I have but one thing to add: even if information was perfect and complete the potential for imperfectness would remain. Data collection is not enough; we also must interpret the data we receive. As humans are prone to force new information into preconceived categories and narratives and use their reasoning abilities to confirm what they want to believe the potential for errors in interpretation are huge.

This is an argument against government as much as it is against markets, however. At its base it is an argument against power. If we cannot count on man to make rational decisions, it is best to ensure that any one man's decisions will impact the smallest number of people possible.

Is anarchism the best way to do this?

I remain unconvinced. The main example you call upon is the early American colonists - but they were not anarchists in any meaningful sense. They were subject to plenty of laws that would make modern libertarians balk: fines for missing Church; stockades for public displays of affection; pillories for drunkenness.

The early colonists were "free" in the TR's sense of the word: self-reliant and autonomous. They did not need London's help to build barns, plant crops, or protect themselves from Indian raids. But they were far from living without government.

You said earlier:

Everything you've said here about human nature is why governments begin in the first place. Those people who don't, or cannot, live in peaceful cooperation with others must employ force to get what they want.

And this is why I have little faith in anarchism's ability to distribute power or preserve liberties. Perhaps my view on this is colored by my recent readings - I am midway through Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It tells the story of the Han dynasty's dissolution and the kingdoms that rose from its ashes. The first 500 pages of the book are nothing but intrigues among the generals and officers who served the Han. Bribes here, poisonings there, battles everywhere - slowly we watch a small group of hungry-power men attract other men just as viscous and cruel as themselves to their cause, conquering and killing until one war lord is strong enough to defeat all others and impose his will upon the land. And do you know who the winner is? The villain. The book is based on real history; Luo Guanzhong could not change the fact that his heroes, wise and virtuous to a man, are eventually defeated by the warlords most willing terrorize their way to victory.

Who prevailed in the anarchy of the French revolution? Or a century later, what type of men came to power when the Russian tsars were deposed? Real anarchy, particularly when inflicted upon a people grown accustomed to serfdom (as have our fellow subjects in the USA), is the playground of tyrants and terrorists. What promise can it hold for our future?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 9, 2010 3:58 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
Never said that government should provide for the sick, stop drugs, prevent crime, etc. My point was that once communities lose the capacity to deal with these challenges on their own the government tends to step in and deal with it for them.
Governments don't come into existence on their own. Governments come into existence because people -- minority or majority -- form them. Whether it's a king, or a community deciding to forcibly extract resources

You're saying, essentially, "Well, it happens." Fine, but do you say that it's right?

It follows that those concerned with size and largess of our government should do all in their power to strengthen community institutions, associations, and social mores, thus pre-empting the role the state claims as its own.
And a fat lot of good that does, when people have things like the right to vote for redistributing my property to themselves. It's easier for them to sit back and rely on a government, instead of talking to me and getting my consent. So it comes back to the problem that there is any form of government in the first place.
To say it another way: if people are already caring for Welfare Juanita because they believe it is the right thing to do, because they face social censure if they do not, or because there are private charities devoted to such causes, force will never enter the equation.
Good luck with that. If there's any political apparatus that doesn't require people to exert full effort, then they simply won't. Government started to condition people into believing that it could "supplement" what private individuals couldn't do, and so private charity did less.

It works on the receiving end also. Obviously, when there's no government to take care of her, Welfare Juanita will be encouraged to a job and/or have fewer kids. She might not necessarily, but she won't have the forced support of Other People's Money.

I concede that "The principle of two parties coming to peaceful, mutual agreement IS, in fact, perfect." I also agree that lack of information impairs markets systems. I have but one thing to add: even if information was perfect and complete the potential for imperfectness would remain. Data collection is not enough; we also must interpret the data we receive. As humans are prone to force new information into preconceived categories and narratives and use their reasoning abilities to confirm what they want to believe the potential for errors in interpretation are huge.
This is getting into Israel Kirzner's economic theory of the Kirznerian entrepreneur. The entrepreneur is a risk-bearer, as Schumpeter said, but also has a comparative advantage in information. The successful entrepreneur is better prepared to receive information as well as be right about how to use it, and it's through his self-interested actions that a market is pushed toward equilibrium.
This is an argument against government as much as it is against markets, however. At its base it is an argument against power. If we cannot count on man to make rational decisions, it is best to ensure that any one man's decisions will impact the smallest number of people possible.
Consider what you're saying here. People can and do make plenty of rational decisions all the time, though. Strictly speaking, a "rational" decision is one that was not made with systematic error. Let's say I'm really busy and have just 15 minutes to grab lunch and be back at my desk, so it's not the monetary cost of this Italian restaurant but that lunch there would take an hour. Thus getting Chinese or halal food is a rational decision. Irrational is if government required me to take an hour, no matter what, so that I couldn't get a quick lunch and keep working. If my employer made the irrational choice of forcing me to take an hour, then I wouldn't finish my work, and the market would eventually take care of it. There's no such possibility with government.

And how do you propose to limit a person's influence on others? That can be accomplished only by force, and that means someone decides "how much is too much." What about Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, whose innovations affected the whole globe? Those affected me positively. What about OPEC cutting production, which affects me negatively though doesn't force me in any way?

If you're talking about negatively affecting others, you cannot actively prevent harm to others. You can only punish it, and the threat of punishment becomes a deterence.

Is anarchism the best way to do this?
The alternative is government, and you cannot have a government if you want a truly free people. Or do you care to admit that you don't really believe in full rights to life, liberty and property? Government is inherently all about taking away someone's freedom for the sake of others. If that person being taken from had been willing, then the government wouldn't have existed in the first place.
I remain unconvinced. The main example you call upon is the early American colonists - but they were not anarchists in any meaningful sense. They were subject to plenty of laws that would make modern libertarians balk: fines for missing Church; stockades for public displays of affection; pillories for drunkenness.
You're talking about Puritans, who hardly sought free societies. Schoolchildren are taught that they sought "religious freedom," which was about subjugating others to it.

Murray Rothbard recounted the anarchy of Pennsylvania, when people refused to pay taxes for several years yet still seemed to get things done. Heaven forbid Penn would have had to get honest work himself, instead of demanding tribute from others.

The early colonists were "free" in the TR's sense of the word: self-reliant and autonomous. They did not need London's help to build barns, plant crops, or protect themselves from Indian raids. But they were far from living without government.
Outside of religion-based cities, colonials did live in anarchy. Because they were used to it, and because their children grew up living in freedom, they were more than unused to the various governments that the Crown established over them.
And this is why I have little faith in anarchism's ability to distribute power or preserve liberties. Perhaps my view on this is colored by my recent readings - I am midway through Luo Guanzhong's Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It tells the story of the Han dynasty's dissolution and the kingdoms that rose from its ashes. The first 500 pages of the book are nothing but intrigues among the generals and officers who served the Han. Bribes here, poisonings there, battles everywhere - slowly we watch a small group of hungry-power men attract other men just as viscous and cruel as themselves to their cause, conquering and killing until one war lord is strong enough to defeat all others and impose his will upon the land. And do you know who the winner is? The villain. The book is based on real history; Luo Guanzhong could not change the fact that his heroes, wise and virtuous to a man, are eventually defeated by the warlords most willing terrorize their way to victory.
China is hardly an apt comparison to us. For all its thousands of years of civilization, it has never had a tradition of liberty. It also has never had a tradition of the people keeping themselves armed, so that they could resist tyrants.

So you're going to have anarchy where, yes, the evil strong will still try to prey on the weak. This ignores those who are good and also strong, who will defend the weak because they want to. What's the alternative? A government where it's legitimized that the strong will prey on the weak.

Who prevailed in the anarchy of the French revolution? Or a century later, what type of men came to power when the Russian tsars were deposed? Real anarchy, particularly when inflicted upon a people grown accustomed to serfdom (as have our fellow subjects in the USA), is the playground of tyrants and terrorists. What promise can it hold for our future?
That's utter horseshit. Neither revolution was anarchy, but one set of tyrants seizing rule over the previous one.

Re-read the three paragraphs from Bastiat, then get back to me. What right do my neighbors have to form a government and take my property, when they cannot do that themselves as individuals? Call it "practical" or "pragmatic," but it means that I am not truly free. Even the most limited of governments means that I must give up at least a little of my property, against my will, so that others can redistribute it.

No believer in peaceful anarchy, whether you call it anarchy-capitalism or rational anarchy, ever tells you it'll be a perfect world. But it's not like we live in a peaceful, perfect world anyway, right? Don't you want at least a fighting chance to live life on your own terms, instead of accepting a little bled from you in exchange for someone's promise of security that can never be delivered anyway?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 10, 2010 1:34 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

This is a place-holder. I will be really busy for the next 2 days so I probably will not get the chance to reply until then.

With that said, thanks for linking to the Mises article on Pennsylvania. It was interesting. I recommend all the others here read it too, if they have not already.

-T. Greer

Posted by: T. Greer at September 10, 2010 4:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Nice work, gents. What a joy to have this level of serious discussion. If I have not thanked everybody around here lately, let me do so.

I will share one story in favor of anarchy. Stossel showed a small city in the UK that had spent £800,000 on a computerized traffic system. They soon learned that traffic moved better during power outages. And finally consented to shutting it off. In the environment where we most expect structure, spontaneous order prevailed.

And yet, I can only sign on for limited anarchy. Which could be better called libertarianism or limited government.

I did enjoy the Rothbard Pennsylvania piece. But

I think it speaks to my side more than Perry's.
If for most of 1684-88 there was no colonywide government in existence, what of the local officials? Were they not around to provide that evidence of the state's continued existence, which so many people through the ages have deemed vital to man's very survival? The answer is no. The lower courts met only a few days a year, and the county officials were, again, private citizens who devoted very little time to upholding the law. No, the reality must be faced that the new, but rather large, colony of Pennsylvania lived for the greater part of four years in a de facto condition of individual anarchism, and seemed none the worse for the experience. Furthermore, the Assembly passed no laws after 1686, as it was involved in a continual wrangle over attempts to increase its powers and to amend, rather than just reject, legislation.

Missing was revenue for Wm. Penn and new legislative activity. But there were courts, there were local officials. So we are talking about extremely limited government but nonzero government.

The other maybe-too-obvious point is that this only lasted a few years and saw several attempts to ramp up control even in that short period. It seems the uncertainty of that would be difficult. And in the end, it became Bob Casey Jr.'s and Ed Rendell's Pennsylvania.

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2010 7:55 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
I will share one story in favor of anarchy. Stossel showed a small city in the UK that had spent ÂŁ800,000 on a computerized traffic system. They soon learned that traffic moved better during power outages. And finally consented to shutting it off. In the environment where we most expect structure, spontaneous order prevailed.
This is similar to stoplight-free areas in Europe. Roads were designed so that they curved and merged, which took a little getting used to, but traffic moved better.

This isn't to say that stoplights aren't effective. Someone who owns a big piece of land and allows (charges) people to travel his roads could set up a stoplight system as he sees fit. People would then be free to travel his roads, or someone's design that eliminates stoplights.

And yet, I can only sign on for limited anarchy. Which could be better called libertarianism or limited government.
But in all this time, you cannot get around the one reason any amount of government is against freedom: someone, if only one person, is being forced to participate. If every last person in my town wanted the government, but I didn't, I'd still be forced to pay into a system I don't want.

Once again, a government exists for the simple fact that at least one person will not give up his rights to life, liberty and property. You can argue any point you want about this or that part of government being necessary, but you are arguing that I don't have, in fact that I can't be permitted to have my full rights. In arguing that any amount of government is necessary, you are saying that someone must be compelled to give up his life, liberty and property to the decisions of others.

Missing was revenue for Wm. Penn and new legislative activity. But there were courts, there were local officials. So we are talking about extremely limited government but nonzero government.
If you read it again, these were private individuals who served in official capacities but not as government employees. They weren't voted in. They gave up their own time to serve. They wielded no authority over others that had an inherent backing of force. This is the private council I've been talking about, where everyone involved has voluntarily agreed. They had no authority (and claimed none) over anyone who chose not to participate and was harming no one.
The other maybe-too-obvious point is that this only lasted a few years and saw several attempts to ramp up control even in that short period. It seems the uncertainty of that would be difficult. And in the end, it became Bob Casey Jr.'s and Ed Rendell's Pennsylvania.
Because, as Jefferson said, "The natural order of things is for Liberty to yield and government to gain ground." Today, people just aren't vigilant about liberty. Back then, people were more vigilant, but the Crown was too strong. Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 13, 2010 8:01 PM

September 5, 2010

Review Corner

Still slogging through Robert A Caro's "Master of the Senate." This becomes the longest I have ever spent with a single book and the end is barely in sight. While I am enjoying it, a good friend of this blog gave me a much appreciated diversion.

On the occasion of the passing of my wonderful dog Skylark, Brother Sugarchuck suggested I read Garth Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain.

I would read a couple loooooong chapters of MOTS and click the Kindle over to read a few short breezy chapters of "Racing." After a decade-long run of reading mostly nonfiction, this is the first fiction book that has really grabbed me. We've got enough dog and motorsports lovers around here that I think it'd be a hit.

Beautiful. Five stars. Now back to LBJ...

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 7:14 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've also read both "The Art of Racing In The Rain" and "Marley and Me" recently, and liked Stein's book a bit better. I think it was the point of view - a dog recounting his life in flashback - and the unique premise. I won't spoil the end.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 6, 2010 10:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Truly enthralled by "Racing." I did not read "Marley & Me" but, like the rest of America got the movie, certain that with Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, and a Larador, I was in for a laugh riot. I'm still in therapy.

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2010 11:42 AM

Our Insecticide Dates from 1776

Al Maurer of The Constitutionalist Today makes an analogy between the race for Colorado's next governor and a trio of ponderosa pines in his rural backyard. Two trees on the other side of his fence were infested with pine bark beetles. He feared that the beetles might infest a tree of his, "which was bigger, straighter, older and yet stronger than the two infected trees" so he cut them down. But it was too late and his tree was also infested with beetles.

Unless you live in Black Forest like I do, why should you care about my tree? Because the story is a fitting analogy for this year’s Colorado governor’s race.

The two trees on the other side of the fence are Tancredo and Hickenlooper. Dan Maes is our tree. We in the Liberty movement and the Republican Party didn’t plant him or grow him. We listened to his message and because it is like ours, we bought into him and his candidacy. It was our support rather than his brilliance as a politician and campaigner that brought victory at the state assembly and the primary election. He’s not the most beautiful or strongest tree in the forest, but he’s our tree. And he’s a whole lot better than those two infected trees on the other side of the fence.

He’s taken some hits this week. The beetles that are the establishment press, the pundits, and the self-appointed power brokers are focused on destroying him. When they’re done with him (or their ratings start to decline), they’ll move on to the next target. Abandoning him will not save the other candidates on the ticket—quite the contrary, it will embolden these insects to attack someone else.

No, We the People and the new alternative media are the insecticide. You see, the beetles are not all-powerful. Not all of the beetles carry the fungus that destroys the tree. Strong trees can survive and even thrive if assisted. The insecticide I used was pretty old; I wasn’t sure it was going to work. Our insecticide is old too—it dates from 1776.

Dan said yesterday that he is in it to win it. Always has been.

Are we?


CO Governor Posted by JohnGalt at 12:48 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

Then: “There are times where you can afford to redecorate your house, and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding the foundation," Obama said in early 2009. Now: The Audacity of Taupe! -- Mary Claire Kendall

Denver Post: "Disgraced" Maes must step aside...

In an editorial posted 24 hours prior to the ballot certification deadline Denver's newspaper said that Colorado voters "deserve a credible Republican choice" for governor. (I'd be glad to know that the Post's editorial board is so concerned about a quality Republican candidate if I believed that they were not irretrievably invested in Democrat, statist, ideals.)

The Post's parting thought is this:

Coloradans deserve better than what we have now, and would benefit greatly from a legitimate race involving both major parties.

This is where I agree with them. What do Coloradans have now? A Democrat governor and a Democrat-controlled legislature who have conspired to raise taxes and fees on state citizens and their businesses, contributing to a virtually stagnant job market.

Another possibly unintentional admission by this statement is that ours is a two-party political system. Minor parties exist but our office holders are chosen by a party primary vetting process and a general election to choose from between the two competing sets of ideas and visions of the major party nominees.

"The issues facing Colorado are important, and voters deserve a legitimate gubernatorial race and debate between credible candidates — not a sideshow," says the Post - disengenuously, since their newspaper has played a large role in creating the sideshow. (The paper elevated Maes' "oh, by the way" bicycle program comments into a major issue story and bragged in the editorial that their reporter pushed the Kansas police work issue that supposedly led to all the establishment GOP defections. And yet, ColoradoPols.com says "It's not a new story--inferences about Maes' time as a cop in Liberal, Kansas 25 years ago, a job from which he was fired, have been widely circulated. (...) But it seems to be the pretext that Colorado GOP kingpins were looking for.")

Alright then, Post. let's debate the issues. You have the ball.

Instead the Post continues to disparage the Republican candidate with relentless ad-hominem:

"Disgraced." Not "credible." Paid a "huge" fine. $300 cash donation "violated state law." And finally, "Maes apparently lied" about doing undercover police work in Kansas - a self-serving characterization if there ever was one.

My wife believes I may be so invested in Maes candidacy that I can't be objective in evaluating him. This is certainly possible, and I've asked myself the same question over the past week. But my investment thus far is less than $100 and ten hours at the State Assembly, and a few fundraisers/speaking events. (Okay, and some blogging.) But isn't it possible that the anti-Maes voices are invested as well? From the Post editorial: "We've questioned Maes' credibility for two months and said he wasn't fit to serve as governor." No reason to change their minds now, I suppose. Even if, as Colorado Pols purports, "After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there's very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches." Isn't there a story here? Isn't it news when the chairman of one of the state's two major parties declares "I am very disappointed in the decision by [my party's nominee] to continue his candidacy for governor." Isn't there a story here? Particularly when, as Colorado Pols asks, "And for all the angst about Maes among GOP leadership, why don't the voters share it?"

Unfortunately for those of us interested in the truth, the Post and the GOP establishment are both deathly afraid of the same threat: voters thinking for themselves.

CO Governor Posted by JohnGalt at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [0]

Please No More Taxes

Our brothers and sisters in the Keystone state probably already know about PleaseNoMoreTaxes.org but I just discovered them. Apparently there was a recent video contest to explain why you think taxes should not be raised further. I liked this one.


September 3, 2010

On the ballot: Hickenlooper - Maes - Tancredo

The 5pm deadline has passed and neither Maes or Tancredo has abandoned his campaign. It will be a 3-way race.

Maes: “After speaking with, and hearing from, numerous Coloradans – from former Senators to family farmers – I’ve determined that I cannot turn my back on the 200,000 voters who nominated me to run for this office,” said Maes. “During this time of deliberation, I listened equally to those who wanted me in this race and those who did not, and after internalizing that advice, I’m proud to say I’m in it to win it."

Tancredo: “It doesn’t matter what Dan Maes does or what the Republicans do,” Tancredo told The Post. “I don’t care if they bring back Abraham Lincoln to run. From this moment on, I’m never going to answer this question again. I’m here to stay.

“I have done more than any other candidate to try and correct the problems in the Republican party but they have said no.

“I no longer consider Dan Maes a serious candidate. He is now the third-party candidate.”

So let's get this straight: 200,000 Colorado Republicans said that Dan Maes is the party's nominee, and one ex-Republican says he's "now the third-party candidate?" Which of these men is delusional?


Ron Paul: Audit our Gold Reserves

I'm not a reflexive gold-standard guy, but I do believe that the Federal Reserve Banking system is hopelessly corrupt. I'd be glad to see stuff like this discussed in our nation's capitol:

Paul said everyone accuses him of wanting the gold standard but he said he doesn't accept that. “I accept the idea of a gold coin standard and I think we can do much better than what we had," he said. "There was a lot that they did pre-Fed that was not exactly right but we never had a disastrous loss of purchasing power long-term, we didn’t have a great depression, we didn’t have the 1970s with stagflation and we wouldn’t have what we have right now.”

(...)

Paul also said he wants to legalize the freedom for people to choose. “My proposal for now is to legalize the constitution to use gold and silver as legal tender in a parallel standard and have it compete with paper money. If people get tired of using the paper standard they can deal in gold or silver,” he said.

Hat tip: Our buddy Gabe

But jk thinks:

Do I know Gabe? I have two buddies Gabe and cannot imagine either one passing this along.

No argument on a Fort Knox Audit or legalizing specie. I do not support Rep. Paul on an audit of the Fed. Craptastic though its results have been, I do not see an inquiry by Rep. Henry Waxman's (Moonbat - CA) improving them.

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2010 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, that wasn't a "royal" our. Jus' mine and the misses. I did send him a link though and encourage him to join in with our blathering.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2010 4:25 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I can just picture a $1 gold coin. Anybody got a microscope?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 3, 2010 4:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A $20 silver coin is roughly 1 ounce.

And if someone bought something from you using one you would feel like you had actually been paid.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2010 5:44 PM

A Libertarian case for Warmongering and Imperialism

A few years of Penn & Teller and John Stossel have pretty much converted me to doctrinaire libertarian positions on social issues.

I've never felt welcome in lib circles, however, because of my support of muscular foreign policy. I still hold that Dr. Deepak Lal is correct and that a truly global marketplace requires similarly global policing. My prospetarian support of the largest possible Ricardian economic sphere causes me to accept a bit of American Adventurism.

This does not sit well with Ron Paul Revolutionaries or the Editorial board of Reason.

Marc Theissen today takes President Obama at his word "Trillion Dollar War" and suggests that all of our efforts in Iraq, Afghanistan and all of the Mideast and Africa are covered by this figure. And that it represents less than 1% of GDP for the time period.

Seems to me that spending less than one cent on the dollar to stop another 9/11 is a pretty good investment—especially when one considers the human and economic costs of another catastrophic mass-casualty attack.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:48 PM | What do you think? [12]
But T. Greer thinks:

But the traditional American constitutional government was built for a radically different America - one with 298 less million people, no hegemonic empire facing threats from terrorists, no economy dominated by electronic financial transactions, ect. At which point does the structure have to change with the circumstances?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 4, 2010 1:30 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"I'm armed but happy to have the local constabulary keeping an eye on things. I like courts and I like our military's contribution to a Liberal International Economic Order."

So pay for them yourselves -- why must I be forced into them?

"My friends in Abilene can purchase cheaper goods and, as Thiessen suggests have a diminished chance of economic or physical disruption from terrorism."

Not necessarily. It's a big assumption that lumps everyone together when everyone's lives are not the same, and there's no equal benefit at all despite the taxation.

"I accept consent of the governed up to a certain much lower level of government."

Be very, very careful with what you're saying here. So you're saying that there ARE limits to your rights to your own property, because other people call themselves a "government" to legitimize taking from you.

Consent of every last person governed, yes. Consent of the "governed" meaning, what, a majority? Super-majority? As I've said before, the reason governments exist is because at least one person won't surrender himself to the rule of others.

"I generally play this against civil libertarians who are concerned that the government can see what books I read at the library."

It's not the only issue, but a government that can do that is powerful enough to control everything else in your life. A government with that power means that you're not free.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 4, 2010 1:30 PM
But jk thinks:

@tg: I flatly reject that we outgrew the Constitution. I think we allowed its protection to erode -- perhaps irrevocably. But there is nothing in your list which cannot be handled by a government that keeps its nose out. Jefferson dealt with the Barbary Pirates. Nothing about electronic transactions cries out for state control.

The scalability to size and population was a question, but I think we did okay.

@Perry: What to say? We are not free today (the Reason.tv moonshine clip about made me cry -- why did we give liberty away?) But nor would I feel free if I had to hire my own private police force.

Posted by: jk at September 4, 2010 5:21 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@JK-

Never said 'state control' is what is needed. Just suggested that perhaps the existing constitutional structures, even if they were restored to their former glory, would not be the best instrument for the American people as they exist today.

The problem of scale is the most important on this count, I think. What was the ratio of population to representative in 1790? Not an exact figure, but somewhere rather close to 20,000 : 1. And what is it now? 690,000 : 1? Do you think the elected officials can truly represent the people - or know the people they are supposed to represent - when their constituents clock in at 2/3rds of a million? The founders would have balked at the idea.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 4, 2010 8:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I have read interesting suggestions that we radically increase the number of districts to better approximate founder's intent. While I would consider them, I think your scale argument misses a philosophical point (oh goody, here he goes...)

The key -- and reason I appreciate it so -- is representative democracy. I support all the Amendments that expanded the franchise, but a case can be made that we sampling voters not a plebiscite. For that reason, I think a large district does not preclude representation.

Posted by: jk at September 5, 2010 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

JK has a good point. The Constitution played a large part in America's phenomenal prosperity. Unfortunately, the ghosts of Madison et. al. are not able to ensure that our neighbors in government follow the dictates of that constitution. The best they could do was leave it up to a Supreme Court, and we all know that hasn't always worked very well for us.

I don't believe we'll ever have PE's anarcho-capitalism but I think it is critical for him and others to continue advocating it. Practical government is shaped by theoretical ideas. We can, and should, agitate for contitional fidelity but government will evolve. It is up to people like us, through vehicles like the TEA Party movement, to make sure it evolves toward liberty instead of statism.

Posted by: johngalt at September 5, 2010 9:54 AM

Quote of the Day

The media tried to paint Bush as the privileged yuppie, masquerading as the Texas rancher, idly chain-sawing on his spread. But at least Bush went to the Texas outback for vacation and got his hands dirty. Obama’s problem is that Axelrod and Emanuel could not stage a chain-sawing task for Obama if they tried — severe injury would surely follow. -- VDH
President Bush Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | What do you think? [0]

Elections are Powerful Things

Ron Wyden (D OR) [no, no joke, he's a Democrat from Oregon] is one of the more enlightened Democrats, but he was a good team player and voted for ObamaCare®. With an election looming, he now suggests a "State Mulligan." WSJ Ed Page:

Last week Mr. Wyden sent a letter to Oregon health authority director Bruce Goldberg, encouraging the state to seek a waiver from certain ObamaCare rules so it can "come up with innovative solutions that the Federal government has never had the flexibility or will to implement."

One little-known provision of the bill allows states to opt out of the "requirement that individuals purchase health insurance," Mr. Wyden wrote, and "Because you and I believe that the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates, I wanted to bring this feature of Section 1332 to the attention of you and the legislature."

Now, that's news. One of the Democratic Party's leading experts on health care wants his state to dump the individual mandate that is among ObamaCare's core features. The U-turn is especially notable because Mr. Wyden once championed an individual mandate in the bill he sponsored with Utah Republican Bob Bennett. We have differences with Wyden-Bennett, but it was far better than ObamaCare and would have changed incentives by offering more choices to individuals and spurring competition among providers and insurers.


With serious consideration of extending the Bush Tax Cuts, and a key leader deserting ObamaCare®, there is a delicious irony of a party coming to its senses and yet repudiating everything it campaigned on. We're going to keep those "tax cuts for the rich -- that 'drove us into the ditch?'" And that great Health Care victory "well that's okay for the other 49 states."

Next week: Public sector unions are destroying the economy!

112th Congress Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM | What do you think? [0]

It's Time, Dan

Dan Maes has now lost the support of not only of the state GOP luminaries/establishment, but of the Tea Party and 9/12 groups that got him through the primaries. With those losses, he has become unelectable. But even if he were elected, could he govern? Probably not. It's time to go, Dan.

CO Governor Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:10 AM | What do you think? [11]
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

John Andrews was President of the Independence Institite, then a state legistator and a candidate for governor (lost to Romer as I recall). Here's a link if you want to know a bit more about his positions.

http://www.liberty1.org/whythe~1.htm

Creating more safe seats for liberal Democrats won't do much for liberty, either.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 3, 2010 12:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Vast, moderate-wing conspiracy." No, certainly not. The establishment Republicans that are all publicly leaving Maes' side are certainly mainstream, but not "moderate." I've struggled to find the connection between them and the firebrand TPD* Tom Tancredo in fervent opposition to the other TPD Dan Maes. I think the answer may well be abortion politics, and Tambor Williams may have been the last straw.

It's still left to play out throughtout the day, and my 20 percent estimate is now up to 30 percent with the Ken Buck defection (that I was expecting) but I still see this as a battle for control of the state GOP.

I think the Maes campaign still has a chance to win in November because abortion politics is a political loser in Colorado - even, I assert, among Republicans.

I'll also disagree with JK - The anti-Dem sentiment in the state and the nation is so strong the electorate is begging for an alternative to Hickenlooper. Most would vote for Norton, or Beauprez, or even Tancredo or Maes. The best outcome for victory is to just limit the choice to any ONE of these.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2010 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

*TPD (for those who still don't know the acronym): Tea Party Darling.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2010 2:58 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, I don't think the issue is about policy, abortion or otherwise. Andrews is decidely Libertarian, though I don't know his specific stand on abortion. The others are pro-life, but none of them based their candidacies on the issue. Of course, everyone mentioned knows everyone mentioned, so there may be some group-think going on. They are certainly talking.

Nevertheless, they may be reading the same tea leaves that I am: Maes is making one unforced error after another. You might call his gaffes embellishments, white lies, political truth-stretching or whatever, but they appear to be falsehoods nonetheless. If it were just one, it would be a mistake. But, he has issues on his business, his political contributions, his personal finances and his work record.

Pre-primary, it might have been Establishment vs. TPD. Afterward, though, he picked up many establishment endorsements; I don't think they were just setting him up. Moreover, the other TPD, Buck, does not have any of these issues with Republican leadership. There's just too much smoke to believe that there isn't a fire somewhere.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 3, 2010 3:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think it may have been in an interview that I heard Andrews say he is staunchly pro-life.

How many of those Establishment endorsements came after the naming of Tambor Williams as Maes' running mate? Zero, as I recall.

Conversely, Tancredo's running mate made a point of her pro-life credentials.

In the Ice Cream Social with Dan Maes at the State Assembly he told all of us in attendance that he is "definitely pro-life" and a few more sentences to buttress the point. (The woman in front of me said, "GOOD!") It seemed like he was building up an area of perceived weakness. My current working theory is, as I suggested above, the pro-life wing of the GOP was never comfortable with him and Tambor Williams broke the dam.

Sad.

On the other hand, if I am right then I'll definitely be pleased to see Dan tell his detractors he's not so easily dispatched. We should know in the next few hours.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2010 3:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

CompleteColorado-dot-com has evidence of GOP dirty tricks against Maes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 3, 2010 6:54 PM

September 2, 2010

Palin Tracker

If the WaPo is going to trouble itself with an online Palin Tracker to follow how her endorsements are performing (which I still find creepy), they could at least update it within 24 hours of a huge win.

If Governor Palin did nothing more than replacing Lisa Murkowski with Joe Miller, she would be a plus to the party.

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM | What do you think? [0]

You Got Belgians Running Europe?

Miss Him Yet?

But Lisa M thinks:

Oh my God. This made me spray water all over my keyboard when I read it.

Posted by: Lisa M at September 2, 2010 5:59 PM

Happy Atlas Shrugged Day

I'm the first one on this?? From Facebook:

Ayn Rand Happy Atlas Shrugged Day! The novel begins on September 2 with Eddie Willers noticing a giant city calendar. "He thought suddenly that there was some phrase, a kind of quotation, that expressed what the calendar seemed to suggest. But he could not recall it."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:35 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

And I thought today's only significance was the Hollywood numerology of the date: 90210.

(I really need to "like" the Ayn Rand Facebook page, don't I?)

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2010 4:37 PM

Teabaggies Get One Right

I've expressed perhaps too much concern over the inexperience and lack of slick political skills among the new generation of "Tea Party Candidates." We shall see in November.

But I saw Mama Grizzly's Joe Miller last night on Kudlow. This guy is the real deal: war vet, top of his class at West Point, clean, articulate... No seriously, he would raise the average IQ of the US Senate by 10 points. He has firm philosophical underpinnings and the brainpower to contextualize and express them.

Lee Cary suggests the old guard makes room for some of this new talent:

The current GOP leadership would be wise to heed the lesson of Joe Miller's victory over Senator Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary in Alaska and announce that they'll step aside if Republicans gain a majority in one or both Houses of Congress. Congressman John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell do not represent the leadership of a GOP with a longer-term future. They are the generals of the last political war, where they lost. And their party, if it wins, will have done so mostly because the Democrats lost support.

I'm actually a big Mitch fan. Leader McConnell has impressed me with principled stands on flag-burning and his eponymous Supreme Court challenge to McCain-Feingold. His performance as minority leader has been awesome. If he's not an inspiring speaker, he has herded felines pretty well.

Tea Party Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | What do you think? [0]

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Route 66

"I finally get to play with my friend Kirk!"


Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Visit the virtual coffeehouse as well as City Wine, 347 S. Colorado Blvd in Denver.


Establishment Republican Withdraws Maes Endorsement

Denver Post, Karen Crummy:

"I'm concerned about the revelations. I'm withdrawing my endorsement," said Brown, referring to a Denver Post story today that Maes embellished details about his law enforcement background. "I'm beginning to find that (Maes') explanations are not adequate."

"Revelations?" I'm not surprised that the Denver Post is calling retired city managers and chiefs of police in another state to investigate the nature of "undercover" work that Dan Maes may have done as a Kansas cop twenty-five years ago, but I am a little surprised that a veteran politician would balk over such a triviality.

On Dan Maes Facebook page someone said that "Hank Brown is an old crony of Tom Tancredo." I replied,

I don't know about Brown being a Tancredo crony but he is definitely an "establishment" Republican. Dick Armey* said a mouthful when he warned, "The [TEA Party] movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party. It is ...aiming for a hostile takeover." It seems to me that many GOP insiders are fighting back, slinging mud, and trying to maintain their stranglehold on the Colorado Republican Party. This is sad. If true it means they'd rather be in control than win the election.

*Link to Dick Armey - A Tea Party Manifesto

UPDATE: Democrat blog 'Colorado Pols' discusses what looks like a Last Ditch Attempt to Force Maes Out.

First of all, we don't buy that the "9/12" groups--who, mind you, are not the 'Tea Party' and subject to their own influences--are spontaneously rising up against Maes, any more than we think Hank Brown didn't know all about Maes when he endorsed him. After everything Republican leadership have themselves done to force Maes out since his victory over the tainted McInnis, there's very little question who is orchestrating this avalanche of bad press for Maes, slamming home just as the last day his name can be replaced on ballots approaches.

Word is the GOP Kingmakers want to replace Maes with their 2006 loser, Bob Beauprez.

But jk thinks:

Brown can do what he wants, I s'pose. I am curious how much play it would have gotten if Gary Hart had withdrawn his endorsement of Hickenlooper. I don't know how much play this got in the print edition, but he Post tweeted and Facebooked this story heavily yesterday. Big news.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:31 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The story was prominantly Page One in the print edition, as are most anti-Maes stories.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 2, 2010 11:04 AM
But jk thinks:

The Denver Post BREAKING: Former state senate president John Andrews is latest in GOP to call for Dan Maes to drop out of the Colorado governor's race. Maes is reportedly weighing whether he should stay in.

The 17th Amendment is looking better all the time -- thanks Wilson!

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 2:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

How much leverage do you think it took to turn Andrews? As of yesterday Maes had Andrews' "unwavering support." Today it wavered.

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2010 4:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Cynical to suggest that The Denver Post's implicit offer of a front page story for an endorsement retraction is to tempting for your average (or below) politician?

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 5:16 PM

Report: Tancredo Candidacy Violates State Law

Colorado Revised Statute 1-4-1304 to be exact. Kyle Getchey reports in The Constitutionalist Today that Colorado Law and the American Constitution Party's own bylaws require that the party's nominees be registered members of the party no later than January 1, 2010.

So, who will reign in this invalid candidacy?

Under Article 8, "the chairman shall enforce the observation of the bylaws and rules of the ACP." But obviously this isn't happening. So, if the ACP's Western States Area Chairman Frank Fluckiger (no joke) will not enforce the principled party's bylaws, then maybe some nice Republican should mount a legal challenge. Perhaps this distinguished member of the GOP could pursue action against the ACP, Tancredo, and Fluckiger, all three. That could make for good sport.

With a byline dated today (mountain daylight time) this story looks like it might have legs. But hurry, the ballot printing deadline is Friday!

CO Governor Posted by JohnGalt at 12:59 AM | What do you think? [2]
But jk thinks:

Would CRS 1-3-1304 stand in the way of Fluckiger joining Hickenlooper on a ticket? Bumper sicker sales alone could fix the state deficit...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:38 AM
But jk thinks:

But I'm being flip -- superb post!

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:39 AM

September 1, 2010

Tom "Third Party Approach is Suicidal" Tancredo

Many times over the past weeks since Dan Maes won the Colorado gubernatorial primary I have searched for a copy of the video showing Tom Tancredo telling TEA Partiers, "Whatever you do, stay with the GOP. Don't form a third party." This is significant, of course, because bolting for a third party is exactly what the GOP stalwart has done, supposedly to prevent leftist Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper from winning the election. Ironically, polls have shown that Maes has an excellent chance to defeat Hickenlooper head-to-head in a 2-way race. (Particularly if the GOP establishment would stop hounding the man at every opportunity.) I still haven't found that video but I did finally find Tom's open letter to Tea Party Patriots.

Some patriots are tempted to launch a third political party or back one of the existing small parties that never attract more than one or two percent of the vote in state races. I strongly believe that such a course is suicidal and would only result in splitting the conservative vote and guaranteeing the re-election of liberals and socialists.

I believe the Republican Party is the natural home of conservatives and that the road back to constitutional government lies in taking control of the Republican Party from top to bottom, from county committee to the statehouse and all the way to Washington, D.C.

(...)

Yes, over the last decade, many individuals left the Republican Party because George Bush led the national party to abandon its principles and support several big government programs. But leaving the party is not the answer. Fighting for your principles and reshaping the party is the answer.

Throughout our nation’s history, third parties have never succeeded in taking power and running the government. They have sometimes succeeded in pushing a major party in a new direction, but just as often, they succeeded only in electing the more liberal candidate after many conservatives waste their votes on a third party candidate. Remember 1992? Ross Perot never had a chance to be president, but he did help elect Bill Clinton.

(...)

We know that our country faces real dangers – from Radical Islam abroad and from multiculturalism and the Marxist agenda at home. We also know politics is not a game, that the choices we make today affect our future for generations to come. Our children’s and grandchildren’s liberties are at risk as never before.

I hope you will join me in the Republican precinct caucuses in March, the county assemblies in April and then at the state convention in May. Besides supporting candidates who support the Contract with Colorado, help me lay the foundation for a generation of conservative leaders.

Well Tom, we did that. Dan Maes was a close second at the March caucus. He won the top spot at the state convention. And, most recently, he won the statewide party primary. And what have you done? You have joined "one of the existing small parties that never attract more than one or two percent of the vote in state races" and unless you somehow cajole Dan into quitting the race he is so completely invested in you likley will succeed "only in electing the more liberal candidate after many conservatives waste their votes on a third party candidate."

Gee thanks.

CO Governor Posted by JohnGalt at 11:08 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I may be softening on the Tea Party again. It is astonishing how little faith the State GOP puts in the voice of its members.

I know Estes Kefauver won, but he should step aside and let us annoint Adalai Stevenson...

We could do far worse than Governor Hick. If this year cleans out some deadwood from the CO GOP, it will be a good year.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 11:00 AM

Tancredo Polling at 9 Percent

Our friend David [Harsanyi] opines after citing a new Rasmussen poll showing all CO governor candidates losing support over the past few weeks but most notably the self-important Tom Tancredo's support is in single digits when poll respondents are asked for not just their preference, but which way they really expect to vote. David says-

And when it’s all said and done, Tancredo’s vanity entry into gubernatorial politics will expire in the same state it existed, instilled with a false sense of importance.

(The third comment on the Harsanyi post is pretty good too.)

CO Governor Posted by JohnGalt at 10:49 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Third comment is pretty good -- probably some crackpot though.

Took me a second to get the "Three's Company" picture. Hail Harsanyi, but lighten up on Mister Maes...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:27 AM

Tweet of the Day

@AceofSpadesHQ [Discovery Channel Enviro-gunman] Lee Smith thought he'd die due to increasingly lethal weapons technology. *Spot on,* dude!
Environment Posted by John Kranz at 6:13 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Speech

Marc Thiessen captures my thoughts:

It is telling that with the hundreds of hours Obama has spent speaking on healthcare, the stimulus, and his other domestic priorities, he could not dedicate a full 18 minutes to addressing the war on terror. That, as much as anything he said last night, sends a message across the world about this president's priorities, determination, and resolve--and not an encouraging one at that.


Unintended Consequences

Professor Mankiw links to an Economist article that suggests solid state lighting will not reduce energy use -- it will simply increase the demand for light.

The light perceived by the human eye is measured in units called lumen-hours. This is about the amount produced by burning a candle for an hour. In 1700 a typical Briton consumed 580 lumen-hours in the course of a year, from candles, wood and oil. Today, burning electric lights, he uses about 46 megalumen-hours—almost 100,000 times as much. Better technology has stimulated demand, resulting in more energy being purchased for conversion into light.

That, at least, is the conclusion of a study published in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics by Jeff Tsao of Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico and his colleagues. They predict that the introduction of solid-state lighting could increase the consumption of light by a factor of ten within two decades.


Just as the efficient vehicle owner finds himself driving more miles, so these will increase consumption. This would be good news to me, but blog brother jg is more concerned about light pollution than I.

Either way we can agree that the ridiculous nannying toward adopting these devices will -- mirabile non freakin dictu -- not achieve the nannies' goals.

But johngalt thinks:

Whoa, an Anthem reference. Nice!

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2010 10:39 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The quote from Economist begged for it; that, or a reference to a petition from candlemakers and allied industries regarding sunlight, to protect advances in our lighting technology. Fidelity to Rand and Bastiat are both valued among the lot of us...

Seriously, though - if we humans are clever enough to create advances in any science, then why should we not enjoy the fruits of our labors? We don't invent more efficient lighting to stick to the antiquated consumption budget; we invent more efficient lighting to create more light. Were we to suddenly discover a new, plentiful fuel source for cars (be it massive oil reserves or an engine that ran on ambient static electricity), then why should we continue driving gutless, underpowered four-cylinder cars when we could savor the wind in our hair and the thrill of triple-digit speed?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 1, 2010 11:54 PM
But jk thinks:

To the pantheon of Rand and Bastiat, let me add my hero, Dr. Karl Popper (the only man by whom John Maynard Keynes ever admitted to be bested in debate).

Germane here because a footnote to a footnote in The Open Society and its Enemies talks about "those who would send us back to the caves." Working in Boulder County, that represents almost everybody I know. As we celebrate light, a beloved cousin pushes the whole family to establish a weekly candlelight dinner: not for romance mind you, for "the environment."

Humans, pace the late Discovery Channel Gunman, do not deserve heat and light -- and certainly not fun in transportation.

But, brother, please rethink your aversion to tetracylendrical automobiles.

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 10:15 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Adjectives, my good jk, adjectives - my aversion is to *underpowered* four-bangers. Remember, the 1986 Mustang SVO also ran on just four... plus an intercooled turbo package. 'Twas a NICE four.

Having said all that, I'd almost be willing to wager serious money you didn't buy that MR2 solely for its mileage per gallon, and the reasoning in the original post still reigns supreme. Quod erat demonstrandum.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 2, 2010 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

@JK- To your cousin, doesn't he/she realize how much CO2 is emitted by candle flame? I think you should propose dinner in the dark. (If you REALLLLY want to be environmentally friendly...)

Posted by: johngalt at September 2, 2010 7:24 PM
But jk thinks:

What? You mean replacing all electric light with candles would not help the environment? Man, if only she had a cousin who cared enough to tell her these things...

Posted by: jk at September 2, 2010 7:42 PM

But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You are correct if the mission was to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Or if the mission was to please the Liberal Left. By those criteria, he got a twofer.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 1, 2010 11:37 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Not sure what you mean by all that BR. Mind elaborating?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 1, 2010 12:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sure. When Obama took office, he promised a number of things including closing Gitmo and ending combat operations in Iraq by August 31, 2010. The Left has been hammering him for continuing Bush-era war strategies, not closing Gitmo as promised and sending more troops to Afghanistan. Obama needed a "win" with his base by meeting yesterday's deadline.

In looking at the situation on the ground, we have seen a significant rise in insurgent attacks, including a coordinated attack on 13 sites right after our combat troops exited. The Iraqi government, though exceeding the expetations of some (read: Biden, Obama) still is not fully stable after the last elections. Thus, it would likely have been more prudent to keep combat forces in place for another few months until the current Iraqi government is settled and they are in a better position to repel insurgents. However, Obama's domestic political agenda seems to have trumped military conditions. If these conditions continue to deteriorate, then he will have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Not a given, perhaps, but if conditions do deteriorate, I seriously doubt that he will send troops back in. Hope I'm wrong.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 1, 2010 1:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd say "Mission Accomplished" at liberation (true when the infamous banner was unfurled) and at basic stabilization (I'll accept the V-I date of 11-22-08).

I'll join you that the Bush-era goal of a "stable ally in the War on Terror" is threatened, but declaring a transition from combat on August 31, 2010 does not bug me.

Many things do bug me. The suggestion all troops would be gone in a year was bad. I'd suggest the examples of Germany and South Korea where our troops are stationed on bases in friendly soil.

All in all, we have civilian control of the military and a troop presence of 50K strikes me (military tactical genius that I am) as reasonable. Would another year of 100K troops make a huge difference? Is this not the reduction of forces agreement created by President Bush? This President badly needs a victory lap so he's taking it.

Put me down as offended by Our President's diffidence to our achievements and disturbed by the lessons he learned, but I don't think he has yet broken Iraq. President Bush's hard fought victory will likely endure.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2010 2:09 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

BR-

I believe you overestimate the docility of the democratic base. There are very few lefties (or isolationists) I know who think that leaving 50K troops in the country fulfills Obama's campaign promises. (This seems to be the standard reaction).


The decision to draw down in Iraq, I think, has much less to do with Mr. Obama's electoral base than does the continuing mess that is Afghanistan. The bright minds in the Pentagon know that they can't run two 100,000+ troop counterinsurgencies at the same time. It is not politically feasible. Heck, given the turn over rates of the officer corp, it isn't militarily feasible. The decision to continue on in Afghanistan was the decision to draw down in Iraq.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 1, 2010 4:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The staged "withdrawal" of combat troops may not impress the moveon.org crowd but for a guy with so few promises kept he had to have this one.

Speaking of militarily feasible, a retired Major General whom I hold in high regard claims that VICTORY is possible, but not via COIN (Counter-Insurgency) strategy. [Scroll down to COIN Stubbornly in Place]

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2010 10:48 PM

Quote of the Day

It's early but I'm going to give it to my favorite blogger (present company excepted):

What the press found superlative about its Katrina reporting was the realization — very comforting post-RatherGate — that if they all agreed on a storyline and pushed it, they could still move the polls despite the alternative media. That the reporting was crap didn’t matter at all. -- Glenn Reynolds


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