WATCH YOUR MAILBOX!!!!
Just wanted to let you know - today I received my 2012 Social Security Stimulus Package.
It contained two tomato seeds, cornbread mix, a prayer rug, a machine to blow smoke up my butt, 2 discount coupons to KFC, an "Obama Hope & Change" bumper sticker, and a "Blame it on Bush" poster for the front yard.
Mitt Romney made a whistlestop visit to Craig, Colorado on Tuesday after seeing this video, which was sent to him by Frank and Kerrie Moe, the hotel-owning couple who star in it. The event was covered by the Denver Post and Steamboat Today, and one is left wondering if the Post's Sara Burnett was at the same rally as was Steamboat Today's Scott Franz.
Unemployment in Moffat County was about 8.3 percent in April higher than the state average, which increased slightly to 7.8 percent last month. But local miners and the mayor of Craig said the local coal industry has been stable, with no layoffs or reduced hours at the local mines or the power plant.
According to Franz, however, local resident Buchner sees life differently in the remote coal-mining and power generating town:
"We really believe Romney has the tools and the knowledge to get the economy going," Buchner said, adding that she only recently became politically active because of the economy. "When I talked to different people (at the rally), they were worried about money. People cannot get jobs. This is not an election to sit out." She said she doesnt think President Barack Obama can turn the economy around.
Not to worry though, Burnett says:
The Obama campaign counters that the president's "all of the above" energy approach includes clean coal, as well as wind, solar, natural gas and other sources renewable energy sources. They also note the president made one of the most significant investments in development of clean coal technologies with $3.4 billion in stimulus funding.
Now, one has to wonder if Burnett and "the Obama campaign" agree with Al Gore who says "clean" coal "doesn't exist." Clearly this administration will spend billions of taxpayer dollars on something while at the very same time regulating it out of legal existence.
Obama also has made the dubious claim that preventive care "saves money for families, for businesses, for government, for everybody." Problem: It's not true. Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf warned in 2009, "Although different types of preventive care have different effects on spending, the evidence suggests that for most preventive services, expanded utilization leads to higher, not lower, medical spending overall." Elmendorf cited a 2008 New England Journal of Medicine article that reported that less than 20 percent of preventive services save money, whereas the rest drive up costs.
One of my top five Supreme Court cases has to be Schechter Poultry Corp v United States. And I would certainly have to thank Amity Shlaes for elucidation.
In her history of the Great Depression, The Forgotten Man, Amity Shlaes begins the process of rescuing the Schechter brothers from obscurity by spending an entire chapter on their challenge to the New Deal. In this article I build on Shlaes's account to provide some broader context for their story and draw some implications for Jewish Americans.
Us goys can appreciate the story as well. It's an important rebuke to the New Deal, which is why Ms. Shlaes gives it a chapter. But in the shadow of contraception contretemps, it is a good precedent for religious liberty as well:
The problem for the Schechters was that Section 2, Article 7 of the NRA's Code of Fair Competition for the Live Poultry Industry of the Metropolitan Area in and about the City of New York, which sounds like something out of Atlas Shrugged, mandated "straight killing," which meant that customers could not select specific birds out of a coop. Instead they had to select a coop or half coop entirely. The code thus directly contradicted kashrut. This put the Schechters in an untenable position: Abide by the New Deal or abide by kashrut. Do the former and lose your customers. Do the latter and get arrested.
Like other liberty lovers, I love a good whine about Kelo and Raich and McConnell v FEC, but we have to study the wins as well as the losses. Schechter was a great win.
The key point here is that PE firms virtually never buy jewels -- happy, fast-growing companies with glistening profits. After all, such companies have access to other kinds of capital; they don't need private equity. And frankly, private equity is generally not in the business of polishing things up for a low-multiple return. It's in the business of reinvention and rebirth, with fireworks at the end.
During this kind of overhaul, do jobs get lost? Unfortunately, in the early stages, they often do. It's nearly impossible to massively improve productivity by keeping everything the same. But are companies saved? Again, yes. That's the whole point of private equity. You're trying to get a business from terrible to terrific, from dying to thriving. In the process, some jobs may go, but in the best-case scenario, with success down the road, many more will be created. And by preventing a company from going under, jobs will certainly be saved. -- Jack Welsh
Surely I was in store for some libertoid belly-aching, unpragmatic nonsense, and perfect as enemy of the good. And Jesse Walker fails to disappoint. Yet, it is difficult to argue with one point:
The problem is the idea that it would be good to take the guy out of his Senate seat, where he's well-positioned to battle actual bad legislation, and stick him in a job where he'll be expected to suppress his disagreements with his boss and serve as a public face of the Romney administration.
The loss of him in the US Senate and the general lack of independence he would have in Joe Biden's job do not seem fitting. And I hereby retract my endorsement.
Politicians will disappoint, yet there are also surprises to the upside. My Junior Senator, Michael Bennet, and neighboring Utah's Orrin Hatch (leans-RINO UT), don't enjoy many fulsome huzzahs from ThreeSources. And yet they are taking on the FDA on an important incursion into a new field they aim to destroy, viz., medical tracking software.
Something as simple as an iPhone app to record your glucose readings is not too small for the great thinkers at the FDA to spend ten years approving. After all, people might die!
A handful of mobile apps read data streams transmitted by medical devices implanted in patients, but one that tracks your pacemaker or blood sugar isn't the same as software embedded in medical devices that are cut into your body and then generate data. In its regulatory grab, the FDA is pretending not to be able to tell the difference.
The result could be the worst regulatory mismatch possible. An FDA process that takes years cannot possibly be applied to technologies that run on our phones or iPads and get updated on a regular basis.
Sens. Michael Bennet (D., Colo.) and Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) have introduced an amendment that puts a moratorium on the FDA's power grab while Congress studies how to build a modern regulatory framework suited to these new software tools. There's good reason why apps that support doctor and patient decisions might merely need to meet certain specifications (regarding ease of use, for example, or reproducibility of performance) to earn government approval, rather than undergo the time-consuming and costly premarket clearance that the FDA demands for other kinds of products.
The Bennet-Hatch amendment--which a bipartisan group of senators is trying to insert into a bill expected to pass Congress this week (the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, which helps fund the FDA's operations)--asks for the different government agencies that already have a stake in this software technology to work together on developing proposals for regulating these new tools.
And it's not as though no good conservative art or literature has ever been produced. It's just that today's conservatives have lost any sense of proportion or subtext. Everything is so overt and over-stated. I think that The Lord of the Rings is a basically conservative text. It's just not explicitly conservative and doesn't say anything nasty about Obama. -- Erik Kain as part of an interesting symposium on Conservatives and Pop Culture
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Doc Watson, the Grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world for more than a half-century, died Tuesday at a hospital in Winston-Salem, according to a hospital spokeswoman and his management company. He was 89.
I don't know whether to be happy or sad -- my favorite Democrat, Rep. Arthur Davis (D [Ret.] - AL [Ret.]) is becoming a Republican:
While I've gone to great lengths to keep this website a forum for ideas, and not a personal forum, I should say something about the various stories regarding my political future in Virginia, the state that has been my primary home since late December 2010. The short of it is this: I dont know and am nowhere near deciding. If I were to run, it would be as a Republican. And I am in the process of changing my voter registration from Alabama to Virginia, a development which likely does represent a closing of one chapter and perhaps the opening of another.
As to the horse-race question that animated parts of the blogosphere, it is true that people whose judgment I value have asked me to weigh the prospect of running in one of the Northern Virginia congressional districts in 2014 or 2016, or alternatively, for a seat in the Virginia legislature in 2015. If that sounds imprecise, its a function of how uncertain political opportunities can be--and if that sounds expedient, never lose sight of the fact that politics is not wishfulness, its the execution of a long, draining process to win votes and help and relationships while your adversaries are working just as hard to tear down the ground you build.
The whole thing is superb -- and not much longer than my excerpt. But I can't stop:
On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You've read that in my view, the law can't continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don't need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way--it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.
NEWS ORLEANS (Reuters) -- The votes are in and it is unanimous: Barack Obama will win re-election to the U.S. presidency in November, according to five astrologers who offered predictions at their convention on Tuesday.
Each of the five astrologers on the presidential panel explained how they came to their assessments, with most relying on studies of celestial charts pertinent to both Obama and presumed Republican nominee Mitt Romney for the date of either the election itself or the next presidential inauguration.
I had posted James Pethokoukis's Road to Freedom QOTD a few weeks ago. Many of the AEI bloggers have piled on since, and there are quite a few quotes from Arthur C. Brooks's book available on the AEI Blogsite.
And yet, I would advise you to take The Road to Freedom for a spin. It's very good, and its topic is near and dear to the hearts of ThreeSourcers: how can we make the most effective case for free markets and free enterprise?
As President of AEI, Arthur Brooks's opinion is interesting by default. As it happens, I think it will have a lot of appeal to ThreeSourcers, even though he is ready to concede a lot more to the state than most of us. Yet, the demand for a moral and not economic case will attract some ThreeSources enthusiasm. So what if growth is a little slower, if it is more "fair?" Brooks points out that a 1% d2GDP/dt2 means that in 72 years our descendants will have half the wealth they would without the loss. That the poor and the marginalized are the ones who truly benefit from growth and wealth creation.
A great read. At the end of the day I don't think either I or dagny or jg can claim Brooks to be "on our side" in the Elevator Talk wars (he does use the phrase "elevator talk"), but it is good data.
Four stars, as I have been too generous of late -- and that most ThreeSourcers will not encounter many new ideas. But what is there is well said, well documented -- and well worth a read.
He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much; who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who has left the world better than he found it, whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul; who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had; whose life was an inspiration; whose memory a benediction.
Attributed -- erroneously it seems -- to Ralph Waldo Emerson. A friend and I used to joke that "a perfect poem" was a rather high bar; neither of us though young at the time seemed on track to complete any of the markers to Emersonain success. He later got into Orchids; maybe he will make the botanical cut.
The poem was in an ad for a Boulder Bank, and the reason it scored the prized location was that it also had President Lincoln's letter to Mrs. Bixby I am shocked to learn that its authenticity is now debated. Even before the Internet: lies, lies, lies!
That was a long side track, but the phrase "perfect poem" has haunted me to this day. Who leaves behind something of perfection? Especially in art, it seems heretical.
And yet, I am going to credit Robert A. Caro with a perfect piece of scholarship for his four-volumes-and-counting exhaustive exegesis on President Lyndon Johnson. Caro is the greatest biographer of all time. While I quip that "it's too bad he wasted his skills on LBJ," that is neither fair nor accurate. Our Thirty-Sixth provides both a complex personality and an opportunity to examine our Republic's legislative and electoral system in intricate detail.
I think anybody is completely mad for not reading all four, and hope Caro's health holds out to complete the series. But I do recommend Volume III: Master of the Senate" to one who balks at the idea of all ("Master" alone is 1400 pages). These books show an insider's view of elections and legislation that nobody is naive enough not to suspect, yet nobody would be calculating enough to fabricate. I think you learn more about how government really works from Master of the Senate than 100 Civics textbooks. The warts and all view has even me rethinking the benefits of self government.
Caro also ranges around (again, he has the page count -- no idea how big this one is but it has occupied your humble blog brother for almost three weeks). The introduction sections on President Kennedy are as instructive as complete books. While the books are lengthy and dense with facts, they are not a bit turgid nor long winded. Masterful.
For a guy who has spent so much of his life on one individual -- I have always wanted to run into Caro at a cocktail party or Walmart* or somewhere so I could ask "Do you like him? At all?" Caro's writings have done much to engender a personal antipathy for Johnson that I do not feel for any other President, whether I like their policies or not. TR and Wilson destroyed this once free nation, but seemed interesting, real guys, who were devoted and patriotic.
The Lyndon Baines Johnson of the first three volumes -- and the author hints of the fifth -- is an unprincipled slave to ambition. All his personal failings happen to be those which most disturb me. He is brutal to subordinates, obsequious to superiors, and completely ruthless without an agenda to hang it on. All his crimes are committed for the betterment of LBJ.
For seven weeks in this book, his subject gets a chance to shine. The transition from November 22 in Dallas to his State of the Union gets deservedly high marks. His initial legislative agenda, where the master again finds the strategy and tactics to complete the JFK agenda and start his own has to be applauded for brilliance whether you agree with it or not. Like watching Marty Broduer beat my Rangers, you have to provide props where props be due.
Lastly, Caro grades on a curve because he does support the agenda without reservation. Those opposed to it are racists upholding progress demanded by the majority. No doubt true, but Caro surprised me by never giving the slightest nod to property or states' rights, or even questioning the efficacy or current fiscal condition of these vaunted programs.
That sounds like a huge negative to ThreeSourcers, but it is not. We're big boys and girls and we know academic dispositions. At the end of the day, nobody else on the whole planet could have passed JFK's tax cut, which set up decades of prosperity. Or the Civil Rights bill which suborned property rights but elevated human dignity.
A lot to think about. A lot to learn. A lot to enjoy. Five stars without question.
On last week's post criticizing the City of Boulder's "Climate Change Preparedness Plan" brother JK glibly (sarcastically?) quipped that "if things get too warm here [in Weld County] I can drive right over the line [into Boulder County]" where presumably he'll be "saved" from the "deleterious" effects of global, or regional, umm county-wide climate change. Not so fast, dear friend. There's big trouble in little Nirvana.
Seems the CCPP is part of a larger Climate Action Plan (CAP) that is enabled by a voter-approved tax that expires next March. The tax collects $1.8 million annually for the City of Boulder's pet enviro projects. Apparently Boulder County thinks the city is on to something and they are contemplating a "sustainability tax" of their own. Boulder Daily Camera:
"I'm very concerned that if the county goes ahead, our CAP tax will stand a very good chance of losing," Mayor Matt Appelbaum said. "And that will just kill us. That will set us way back. It would be a huge loss for us if we lost the momentum. There are many programs that are just getting going."
Councilwoman Suzy Ageton said the programs will "crash" if the tax is not renewed.
"We're going to go off a cliff if this doesn't pass," she said.
One wonders if Boulder County's "sustainability tax" will be more sustainable than Boulder City's CAP tax.
As I first heard on today's Rush Limbaugh program, Complete's Todd Shepherd broke the story about former Denver Mayor Federico Pena, currently a western US campaign co-chair for Obama 2012, who "has been a partner at private equity firm Vestar Capital since 2000." The significance, of course, is that Romney's Bain Capital background is, in the words of the president, "part of the debate that were going to be having in this election campaign."
Obviously I have nothing against "vulture" capitalists, but let's debate: Is it unacceptable for a corporate turnaround artist to be president of the United States but perfectly fine if he just shills for some useful idiot to hold the office on his behalf?
Complete closes with this:
If the President intends to make this election about Romney's record at Bain, then Mr. Peńa and James Kelley must come clean about layoffs at Del Monte, Solo Cup Company, and Birdseye foods. If not, Mr. Peńa might not be available to stand on the campaign stage with the President at his next Colorado rally.
That is, unless the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media says he can.
I got permission to share a private email from a good friend of this blog. I would go for anonymity, but the geography will give away sc:
Went to a meeting on defeating the marriage amendment last night. I guess I'm ankle deep in gay activism. Didn't see that coming, but what's right is what's right. So here are two take aways from the evening; the gay republican speaker was pretty well received, better than I would have thought and better than the guy JG mentioned. The second thing that occurred to me was that throughout most of history and in a lot of places in the world now a meeting like that could have gotten us all arrested and probably killed. God bless the United States of America! The constitution in practice has been a dream deferred, but we are achieving its promise. The God given, inalienable rights once limited to some will eventually be recognized as belonging to all. That document separates us from most of human history and is still man's best hope. I guess I'm kind of proud of having a small role to play In seeing that dream deferred becoming a promise kept. America, f#%k yeah!
Between us, I have my doubts about Minnesota. I think we are competitive in Rochester, Duluth and the cities, but only by razor thin margins, which throws the decision outstate and I don't see us winning there.
It seems a long time since I have linked to Kim Strassel. I will remedy that today.
Administration surrogates are actively touting the President's "job creation" in the auto bailouts, ramping up "investments in green energy" and questioning Governor Romney's claims from Bain. It seems that he is not responsible for jobs at Staples after he left, yet he is vilified for the steelworkers who got laid off after he left. Whatever.
Strassel steps back to compare the President as Venture-Capitalist-in-Chief:
So, take your pick. Mr. Obama's knock on free enterprise is that it is driven by "profit," and that this experience makes Mr. Romney too heartless to be president. The alternative is an Obama capitalism that is driven by political favoritism, government subsidies, mandates, and billions in taxpayer underwriting--and that really is a path to bankruptcies and layoffs. If the president wants to put all 3,545 green stimulus jobs he's created up against Bain's record, he should feel free.
Voting for Rand Paul's Amendment to disarm the Milk Police:
Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)
John Boozman (R-AR)
Jim Coburn (R-OK)
John Cornyn (R-TX)
Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Mike Johanns (R-NE)
Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Mike Lee (R-UT)
Rand Paul (R-KY)
Jim Risch (R-ID)
John Thune (R-SD)
Pat Toomey (R-PA)
David Vitter (R-LA)
Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Blog smackdowns are so childish. What are we in the third grade? I mean --
Tim Cavenaugh is murdering Andrew Sullivan! You'll want to read the whole thing> But my sense of fair play forces me to excerpt this for blog brother jg:
I'd like to take "soaring inflation" and "moribund economy" together: Sullivan posts two charts, one showing GDP growth averaging flat-or-flattish since 2007, and another showing inflation in every quarter except one. During that period, inflation has been a cumulative 10.97, according to a Koch-funded rightwing hate group called "the Bureau of Labor Statistics."
Reagan famously asked, "Are you better off than you were four years ago" to defeat incumbent President Jimmy Carter. Mitt is using a similar strategy against today's incumbent president. This graph shows why it might be a winning play. Substantially more people are at a diminished income than there were at any time in the last 50 years, and there's a long way to go back to the baseline.
Seems Ben Domenech is not enamored with the trailer for the new Great Gatsby film:
There is not a single actor in the thing who looks comfortable in the role, and the glitz and glam shrieks of this being an Occupy Wall Street take on American capitalism, which Gatsby never was. The CGI New York looks more like Tron. I cant tell if I prefer the terribleness of Tobey Maguire's non-acting to that bearded fellow's overacting. And DiCaprio, poor DiCaprio, simmers with the confused emotion of a man who has just tasted plain yogurt when he thought it was vanilla. Here, toss some shirts.
"We're not looking at a guy who's at 52 percent approval ratings," said Floyd Ciruli, one of the state's top independent pollsters, who in April found Obama's approval ratings hovering at 45 percent among likely voters. "Even though the economy and unemployment is a little better than the national average, the level of anxiety is just about as high here as any place else. There's general anxiety that [the economy] could turn south again."
I may be still too close to Boulder, but I think Colorado will be tough for Governor Romney.
There's a crisis in Los Angeles. Is it the city's projected $250 million budget deficit? The city's $10 billion shortfall in pension obligations? Its crumbling infrastructure? A public school dropout rate approaching 50 percent? No, the City of Angels is facing catastrophe in the form of grocery bags.
So great is the menace that the City Council is poised to impose on the good people of Los Angeles the country's strictest grocery bag ban, prohibiting the distribution of both plastic and paper bags.
Author Jay Beeber compends a great list of the stupidity of this: disease, environmental costs of reusable bags, economic costs of nannyism, &c. But one of the interesting factors was what a small part of the waste stream grocery bags are. For all the talk of the scourge, it remains a miniscule portion of waste.
California's Statewide Waste Characterization Study shows that "Plastic Grocery and Other Merchandise Bags" consistently make up just 0.3 percent of the waste stream in the state. That's three-tenths of 1 percent. In comparison, organic waste such as food and yard clippings makes up 32 percent while construction debris comprises about 30 percent. The effect of eliminating free grocery bags on the amount of waste generated in the city would be insignificant.
I apologize for my long absence from the blog. The past 5 weeks have been a blur; between Future Candidate School at the Leadership Institute and planning the kick off event for Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons I have had very little time for anything else. I was so busy in fact, that I committed a major PR error by not coming onto Three Sources to shamelessly self promote my event.
Fortunately, brother JG had my back and kindly posted here to remind the Three Sources community about the event. On a personal note, it was great to have JG, Dagny, and their family join us for our kick off event.
Having realized the above mentioned PR error, I would like to give all the followers of Three Sources some exclusive information about our upcoming Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons event.
You're hearing it here first:
Our next event will be on Monday June 4th from 6-9 PM. Our speaker will be Christopher Doss from the Leadership Institute who will be talking about the current state and future of the liberty movement and the different ways all of us can become more involved. His speech will be roughly 20 minutes in length and will be followed by 10-15 minutes of Q&A. Trust me, you will want to ask him questions. He was one of my instructors for Future Candidate School in D.C. two weeks ago and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Liberty, Economics, and Grassroots Activism.
If you are interested in getting more involved in grassroots activism, then I cannot suggest this class enough. Mr. Doss will be teaching this all day class on grassroots activism and your's truly will be attending. It is an all day event that includes lunch. Having attended several Leadership Institute trainings, I can tell you that this will be well worth the $25.
One day after President Barack Obama vowed to attack Mitt Romney's private equity record through to November, a super PAC supporting his re-election unleashed a new ad that enlists the former Massachusetts governor's erstwhile primary rivals to do just that.
Dear David Brooks, can't spell R-U-B-E without YOU!
The NYTimes idea of a conservative famously thought the crease in then Senator Obama's trousers signified that he was ready for some Article II work. Curiously, I don't recall Hamiltion mentioning pressing in Federalist 69, although there were some superb trouser jokes in "The Rutles."
Brooks is discontented, though. It seems private equity and capitalism have done more for this great nation than its best dry cleaners have:
While American companies operate in radically different ways than they did 40 years ago, the sheltered, government-dominated sectors of the economy -- especially education, health care and the welfare state -- operate in astonishingly similar ways.
The implicit argument of the Republican campaign is that Mitt Romney has the experience to extend this transformation into government.
The Obama campaign seems to be drifting willy-nilly into the opposite camp, arguing that the pressures brought to bear by the capital markets over the past few decades were not a good thing, offering no comparably sized agenda to reform the public sector.
That's the question dagny asked me at the conclusion of last night's inaugural Liberty on the Rocks, Flatirons Chapter meeting. I could do no better than my universal explanation for why so many people make so many bad choices, Ayn Rand's admonishment that, "Reason is not automatic. Those who deny its existence cannot be swayed by it."
David versus Goliath, the American Revolutionaries, "The Little Engine That Could," Team USAs "Miracle on Ice," the Star Wars Rebel Alliance, Rocky Balboa, the Jamaican bobsled team and the meek inheriting the Earth.
Everyone, it seems, loves an underdog. Why is that?
We begin life tiny and helpless, at the mercy of those who are bigger and more powerful than us: parents and guardians who tell us what to eat, what to wear, how to behave (even when to sleep and wake up). From childhood into adulthood, were told what to do by those who wield more powerour parents, teachers, bosses government. So naturally, we have a predisposition to resent the overdogs and root for the little guy.
But this tendency, which international political consultant and human rights activist Michael Prell calls underdogma, can be very dangerous both to America and to the world at large.
In Underdogma, Prell, who has worked world leaders including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Australian and Canadian prime ministers and the Dalai Lama, explores our love/hate relationship with power within our culture and our politics. Underdogma explains seeming mysteries such as why:
Almost half of Americans blamed President Bush for the attacks of 9/11, even while the American media described the architect of these attacks as thoughtful about his cause and craft and folksy.
Gays and lesbians protest those who protect gay rights (America, Israel), while championing those who outlaw and execute homosexuals (Palestine).
Environmentalists focus their rage on America, even though China is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
The United Nations elevates countries such as Sudan to full membership on the UNs Commission on Human Rights, even as the ethnic cleansing of Darfur proceeds.
Tracing the evolution of this belief system through human historyancient Greece to Marxism to the dawn of political correctnessPrell shows what continuing with this collective mindset means for our future. While America and its president increasingly exalt the meek and apologize for their power, Americas competitors and enemies are moving in a different direction. China is projected to overtake the U.S. economically by 2027 and is ready to move into the position of hegemon, and radical Islamists are looking to extend their global territory, taking any sign of weakness as a chance to attack.
America must return to its founding spirit, and underdogma must stop nowour nation depends on it.
This is a fascinating explanation that I'm inclined to take at face value until proven otherwise. However, I don't think I'm on board with the conclusion that underdogma "must stop now." I called this tendency healthy and will stand on that position. What must stop is allowing the Progressive left to continue casting the collective as underdog to the individual - any individual. Underdogma is a force that can and should be used for good. The notion that a gang, or state or interest group is less powerful than individual citizens is so preposterous that all can see it, if only some light is given.
It looks like a great book and could be an excellent topic at a future Liberty on the Rocks.
No doubt blog brother Bryan is too much a shrinking violet for "Shameless Self Promotion." Ere will I step into the breach.
He is co-founder of a Flatirons branch of Liberty on the Rocks, and their debut meeting is in Louisville Colorado tomorrow night.
Join us on Monday, May 21st, for our inaugural meeting to kick off the Flatirons chapter of Liberty on the Rocks. After you're personally welcomed by co-founders Mike Shelton and Bryan Cutsinger you'll be treated to the keynote speech, Why Freedom Works, delivered by none other than Representative Donald Beezley. You'll then have the opportunity to network with other local liberty supporters. Come for the event, stay for the food and networking - you're guaranteed a great evening no matter what!
This event is open to the public, you're welcome to invite friends!
After all, if your first book is an exploration of racial identity and has the working title "Journeys In Black And White," being born in Hawaii doesn't really help. It's entirely irrelevant to the twin pillars of contemporary black grievance -- American slavery and European imperialism. To 99.99 percent of people, Hawaii is a luxury vacation destination and nothing else.
Whereas Kenya puts you at the heart of what, in an otherwise notably orderly decolonization process by the British, was a bitter and violent struggle against the white man's rule. Cool! The composite chicks dig it, and the literary agents. . . . In a post-modern America, the things that Gatsby attempted to fake -- an elite schooling -- Obama actually had; the things that Gatsby attempted to obscure -- the impoverished roots -- merely add to Obama's luster. Gatsby claimed to have gone to Oxford, but nobody knew him there because he never went; Obama had a million bucks' worth of elite education at Occidental, Columbia and Harvard Law, and still nobody knew him ("Fox News contacted some 400 of his classmates and found no one who remembered him"). In that sense, Obama out-Gatsbys Gatsby. -- Mark Steyn
The Obama Administration is once again poised to begin harassing Gibson Guitars of Nashville, Tennessee, this time taking its grievances with the company to musicians and fans at summer concerts across the nation.
Administration officials have threatened to raid summer concerts in order to seize what it deems to be illegal guitars made from wood that has been banned.
I hoped this was a hyper-sensitive blogger gone off the rails, but we have at least two Senators involved.
A meeting was held today between [Sen. Lamar (R - TN)] Alexander, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., representatives from the music industry and the wood import business, and conservation and environmental groups to come up with a workable solution.
As the bible says: "wheresoever two or more Senators gather together with industry representatives, thy property rights be unsafe" (Something like that -- Brother Keith might tweak it a bit).
Again, my hope is that the insanity of this will show non-ThreeSourcers the true costs of government overreach. One hopes...
Rich Lowry is harshing the mellow on the day Zuckerberg's Friends & Family list made eleven cents a share!
Facebook has transformed oversharing from an annoying habit of the poorly socialized into the very stuff of daily interactions. No thought is too banal, no event too minor, no mood too passing, no photo too embarrassing to be posted on Facebook. One of the great self-regarding egotists of all time, the late author Norman Mailer, might have blanched at the unrelenting self-exposure of it.
For one, my Buffy sire Jonathan V Last owns this genre: hating social media is all things to him. Like Last, Lowry is entitled to his opinion. I'm not buying the stock, but I defend Facebook and Twitter from enemies foreign and domestic.
I know probably as many non-FB people as FB people (though in the swing states, they are trending toward Zuckerberg). The snobbishness of the anti crowd frequently surprises me. One relative slurps all this up on National Review and The Weekly Standard. "How can you be interested in what somebody's having for Lunch?" Well, I'm friends with your grand-daughter, she's vacationing in New York and she had lunch at ..." Still not interested?
I don't think it will eclipse the printing press, or fire, or Spanx® or anything, yet people on both sides take it too seriously. It's free, it keeps you in general contact with those whom you want at a closeness you dictate.
It is -- as a business -- vulnerable to fashion and does not deserve a P/E advantage over Apple or Google (I mentioned I wasn't buying...) Yet it enjoys a huge base, critical mass, and generally good branding to date. The deniers are missing something.
Seems the recipes for Pow Wow Chow may have been plagiarized. Mai non!
Among the ingredients for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing: "Imported mustard," Worcestershire sauce, cognac, and of course crab, all presumably readily available to a, er, 19th-century agrarian Cherokee settlement in Oklahoma. No wonder Scott Brown's campaign is now fundraising off of this clusterfark.
Jamie Dimon's loss of $2 Billion on a private portfolio, which dominated the news cycle for several days and caused three JP Morgan executives to be fired: catastrophe!
Gub'mints' loss of our money: campaign advertisement!
It's all been said, but Lawrence Lindsey says it purdy good in the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page today:
Consider two other recent episodes. The Obama administration guaranteed a $535 million loan to Solyndra, then lost everything on its bet when the solar-energy company went bankrupt last September.
Then there is the auto-industry bailout. According to the TARP inspector general's April 25 report, taxpayers have been paid cash and securities worth $50.9 billion on the $79.7 billion extended to General Motors, General Motors Acceptance Corp. (now Ally Financial) and Chrysler. That is a $28.8 billion loss.
Nevertheless, the president's re-election campaign is running an ad bragging about the bailout's success. Meanwhile, J.P. Morgan's much smaller loss is the subject of speeches and hearings and a howling chorus in the media.
I'll back off the "private" description a bit. Certainly JPMorgan enjoys TBTF status and a concomitant government put indemnified by, yes, you and me. Sign me up for a way to fix that. But on what planet does a 1% loss matter more than a 100% loss (Solyndra) or a 36% loss (GM)?
Jim Geraghty was worried that The Cornhusker State was "pulling a Buck/O'Donnell."
After Tuesday's Nebraska GOP Senate primary, I wrote that I hope Nebraska Republicans know what they're doing.
It turns out they do: "State Senator Deb Fischer holds an 18-point lead over Democrat Bob Kerrey in the first Rasmussen Reports survey of the Nebraska U.S. Senate race since her upset win in last week's state Republican primary."
November will tell, but I am more proud of the Gadsden Flag Gang with each passing season. The media, the left, and even my man Larry Kudlow suspect that they have fizzled because they're not marching. If I may change to first person, we are demonstrating a superb mix of idealism and pragmatism. We have less time to march now that so many of us are State Delegates and Precinct Committee Chairs.
And, sometimes you have to overshoot or else you don't know your range. While I admit that I'd be happy with "Senator Jane Norton" from Colorado, I can't say I miss Mike Castle in Delaware. Speaking of witches, I'd like another term for Sen. Snowe in Maine, but replacing Hatch and Luger with TEA Party Republicans -- this is shaping up to be an excellent year.
UPDATE: Blog friend Terri links (thanks!) and reminds fo a great post of hers Ihad read but not linked
What is clear is that the "Tea Party" is not dead. Im still here.
A story on Investor's Ed Page today introduced me to the American Legislative Exchange Council. Seems the organization has a process by which individual legislators from many states work together to craft model legislation, for potential implementation in state governments, that promote limited government, free markets, and federalism. Evidence of their effectiveness is the all-out campaign by Progressive groups to silence them.
So what's got the left so agitated? Is ALEC involved in organized crime? Has it stolen money from state treasuries? Bribed officials? Polluted the environment? Clubbed baby seals?
Nope. The left is targeting ALEC for the simple reason that it's been effective in promoting pro-business, free-market ideas and policies, mainly by drafting model legislation that lawmakers can use as a template in their own legislatures.
Those bills, mind you, still have to make it through their states' representative bodies, and then get signed by their governors.
In other words, it's democracy at work.
ALEC answers its critics directly on its FAQ page.
Q: What does ALEC have to say about its detractors, including Common Cause?
A: ALEC encourages all Americans to actively participate in the public policies of this country. As legislatures and governors pursue the best solutions for their states, ALEC understands and expects that some groups may oppose solutions that emphasize free markets and limited government. ALEC respects these disagreements. It is disappointed, though, that some have chosen rhetoric over honest discussion by attacking and distorting ALECs nature and record to advance their own political agendas.
ALEC is proud of its work and its limited role. It provides a venue for earnest discussion on important economic issues. ALEC does not lobby in any state. Its model bills and resolutions are public policy resources for state legislators. To the extent any ALEC model bill is successful, it is because it provides legislators and their constituents with the kind of free market, limited government solutions they want.
Barack Obama, the first African-American president of the Harvard Law Review, was born in Kenya and raised in Indonesia and Hawaii. The son of an American anthropologist and a Kenyan finance minister, he attended Columbia University and worked as a financial journalist and editor for Business International Corporation. He served as project coordinator in Harlem for the New York Public Interest Research Group, and was Executive Director of the Developing Communities Project in Chicagos South Side. His commitment to social and racial issues will be evident in his first book, Journeys in Black and White.
Haven't posted a "Let them eat Cake" for a while. But I need to borrow the WSJ's Notable & Quotable today. "Actor Will Smith during a French television interview this week:"
Smith: I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here--I'm a black man who didn't go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing. . . .
Interviewer: Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above one million euros [under new French President Francois Hollande's proposal]? Not 30%. 75%.
Smith: 75?! Yeah, that's different, that's different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.
After introducing the motto "Forward!" -- identical to slogans of Socialists of the past and present-- Obama rolled out an imaginary vision of Julia, in which the government is involved in all aspects of a person's life.
No need for virtual reality. There is a real-life timeline for an average person in a society where the government plans, regulates and provides free services for its citizens in countries past and present the USSR, Cuba, etc.
I personally lived that life in the former USSR until age 30. When my young family of three immigrated to the USA, my parents stayed behind. After botched medical procedures in a free hospital, my father screamed from pain for three days before he died at age 70.
Like President Obama, Russians also evolved on the gay rights issue. Homosexuality used to be outlawed in the Socialist Soviet Union. Today it is not a crime in Russia. Even so, facing an alarming decline in number of newborns and an eventual demographic disaster, they do not play with the redefinition of marriage.
Otherwise there's a lot in common among an Obama administration striving for total government involvement in people's lives, the communists of the former Soviet Union and modern Socialists in Russia.
Elizabeth Warren has pushed back hard on questions about a Harvard Crimson piece in 1996 that described her as Native American, saying she had no idea the school where she taught law was billing her that way and saying it never came up during her hiring a year earlier, which others have backed up.
But a 1997 Fordham Law Review piece described her as Harvard Law School's "first woman of color," based, according to the notes at the bottom of the story, on a "telephone interview with Michael Chmura, News Director, Harvard Law (Aug. 6, 1996)."
It is a well travelled Republican talking point that the gay marriage issue is a distraction from President Obama's economic record. It's true of course, but the Republicans are as much to blame for said distraction as the Democrats.
A friend from suburban Wichita, Kansas emails a link to this story about a public school teacher posting his views against gay marriage on his Facebook page. He has every right to his beliefs, of course, and to speak them publicly. But by continuing to oppose legal recognition of same-sex marriage we allow him to become the face of our conservative party. I will not stand silently by. How many of us have wished we could have been present in the face of an incident of racial discrimination in the segregated south and that we would have had the courage to say, "No, that is wrong?" Same story, different age.
My Kansas friend sent the link with the note "Need your comments here" to both me and my brother. What follows is my response, which rebutted my brother's.
[Brother] writes that it is "nonsense" that established law denies a right for same-sex marriage, then declares there is "no defined right for same sex couples to "marry." Which is it?
[Brother] writes that "The majority of the country does not care what people do in their own bedrooms or whom they decide to 'love'" but then proclaims homosexuality "abnormal" and that he doesn't support homosexual weddings because that would "redefine something that has been a pillar of communities for 5000+ years" and "the more we break down the institution of marriage to simply be a whim, the more our society will continue to degrade." So you, and "the majority of the country" are fine with homosexuality, you just don't want to acknowledge it in law?
[Brother] faults Conkling, the Hutchinson teacher, for "taking the cause backwards" and "fuel[ing] the opposition" by opposing gay marriage on religious grounds. I say [brother] is no different by attempting to oppose this individual liberty on non-religious grounds, whatever those might be. Until he clarifies his contradictions there's no way to know what objective basis he claims.
Conkling's "logic" is even more fallacious: Homosexuality is wrong because it is a sin, equal in God's eyes to all other sins, and we are ALL sinners. He says all sins are equal in God's eyes so homosexuality is equal to murder, but it's also equal to lying. Do you agree that lying is as wrong as murder? I don't. Conkling says he condemns gay marriage "because those who embrace it will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven." First of all, doesn't the bible teach man to "judge not?" Secondly, there are other beliefs about heaven and sin and for one man to impose his own upon all other men is just as wrong as Sharia law.
Would it not be better to simply allow civil unions, conferring all the legal rights of marriage while witholding the term "marriage" than to continue to allow this issue to divide Americans and distract from issues that actually matter to all of us, like whether or not America will be a socialist country? And even if they aren't satisfied with civil unions and come back next year demanding "marriage" who cares? Whatever it is called it will still be a minority behavior. Unlike drug legalization nobody makes a legitimate case that legal homosexual marriage will cause more homosexuality. (But so what if it did? Will that affect you? Your children? Anyone who is not "abnormal?")
The cause of western laissez-faire capitalism is a cause of individual liberty. Individual liberty in commerce is a human birthright, as is individual liberty in social relations. Individuals are, by their nature, free to join a commune or establish a nuclear family; free to love another of the same gender or of the opposite gender. If you want to live free of oppressive taxation and wealth redistribution your only argument is individual liberty as a human birthright. But you weaken that argument by denying others a liberty of which you disapprove. Stop it. Admit your mistake and strengthen your position in the debate that really matters - that really affects you and your family's lives - by abandoning a debate that doesn't matter. Don't insist that your beliefs hold dominion over the beliefs of others lest they turn your logic back on you and insist that you are your brother's keeper.
Among the biggest surprises is a 21.5% or nearly $2 billion decline in personal income tax payments from what Governor Jerry Brown had anticipated. This reinforces the point that when states rely too heavily on the top 1% of taxpayers to pay the bills, fiscal policy is a roller coaster ride.
California is suffering this tax drought even as most other states enjoy a revenue rebound. State tax collections were up nationally by 8.9% last year, according to the Census Bureau, and this year revenues are up by double digits in many states. The state comptroller reports that Texas is enjoying 10.9% growth in its sales taxes (it has no income tax), while California can't seem to keep up despite one of the highest tax rates in the land.
This would seem to suggest that California should try cutting tax rates to keep more people and business in the state, but Sacramento is intent on raising them again.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is casting Mitt Romney as a greedy, job-killing corporate titan with little concern for the working class in a new, multi-pronged effort that seeks to undermine the central rationale for his Republican rival's candidacy: his business credentials.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- California's budget deficit has swelled to a projected $16 billion -- much larger than had been predicted just months ago -- and will force severe cuts to schools and public safety if voters fail to approve tax increases in November, Gov. Jerry Brown said Saturday.
The Democratic governor said the shortfall grew from $9.2 billion in January in part because tax collections have not come in as high as expected and the economy isn't growing as fast as hoped for. The deficit has also risen because lawsuits and federal requirements have blocked billions of dollars in state cuts.
I sure hope those tax hikes pass so that revenue can start a-flowin' in -- this sounds serious.
Eduardo Saverin, the billionaire co- founder of Facebook Inc. (FB), renounced his U.S. citizenship before an initial public offering that values the social network at as much as $96 billion, a move that may reduce his tax bill.
Good riddance, pal! We sure don't need guys like that around here!
JPMorgan Chase lost $2 billion due to some reckless trading of synthetic credit securities. Chief executive Jamie Dimon blamed "errors, sloppiness and bad judgment." JPMorgan Chase earned $19 billion last year so this won't sink them. And, as one might expect, many folks immediately blamed the lack of regulation for the loss -- because, apparently, some people believe the market should be risk free. And actual, isn't this a great argument not to layer the industry with more regulatory burden? (Unless, of course, there was something illegal going on.) Sloppiness and bad judgment should cost you money.
Rhetorical question: Wouldn't it be nice if everyone got similarly worked up when government wastes billions on sloppiness and bad judgment? -- David Harsanyi
On hearing of the death of the great French diplomat Talleyrand, his Austrian rival Metternich is reputed to have said: "What did he mean by that?" Perhaps we can be too cynical in assessing politicians' motives. And so maybe we should just give President Obama credit for doing the right thing in endorsing marriage equality, and leave it at that. -- David Boaz
Nakedly political, but my Facebook friends are in rapture. What do I do -- pick a fight?
An issue has been bugging The Refugee and it's time to address it. That is, Leftist continually use "the government" as a singular entity. Examples would include, "The government should do this..." or "The goverment should pay for..." Can we agree that the government is actually a plural entity?
On Three Sources, we often say "taxpayers" when referring to government. This is better, but is still too impersonal. Instead, can we say, "you and your neighbors"? Thus, one might say, "You and your neighbors are obligated to pay for my birth control," or "You and your neighbors should all pay more so that I can have longer unemployment benefits." Yeah, it's a lot of keystrokes, but folks around here type pretty fast. It might bring home just exactly who "the government" really is, one blogger at a time.
Sort of. Yesterday afternoon my dad emailed that "Mitt is speaking in Ft. Lupton tomorrow." I pressed him for more and he sent me a Denver Post press mention that sent me into search mode for an invitation. Having just exchanged emails with Colorado GOP Chairman Ryan Call the day before, I decided I'd try to ask him for an entree. Waiting nervously for his reply I also called my county commissioner with the same request. Both of them came through and before I knew it I was on the list. "We would love it if you could attend. Thanks for your support!" Turns out, it was set to happen in an oil field just a few miles away.
The setting was idyllic, considering it was one of those "environment destroying, wildlife maiming" oil wells. Governor Romney used the occasion to criticize President Obama's "all of the above" energy policy. "I've been trying to figure out what he means by that," Mitt said. "I've concluded that he supports any form of energy that is above the ground. He doesn't like those that happen to be under ground."
He also cited the President's statistic that America has just 2 percent of the world's oil reserves. "But this is old thinking" Romney said. "Recent discoveries and new technologies like horizontal drilling and fracking have created a new reality where the United States could become the world's leading producer of oil based energy." He extended this future vision to "an explosion in American industry and manufacturing, leading to greater prosperity for everyone." Of course, "Energy isn't the only factor in this equation, but it is a big factor."
Belated apologies to any local blog brothers who missed out on the opportunity. I would have posted the news and offered to share the RSVP info but had two other appointments that kept me busy.
I also captured the entire speech on video and might post some excerpts down the road.
What is free enterprise? It is the system of values and laws that respects private property and limits government, encourages competition and industry, celebrates achievement based on merit, and creates individual opportunity. Under free enterprise, people can pursue their own ends, and they reap the rewards and consequences, positive and negative, of their own actions. Free enterprise requires trust in markets to produce the most desirable outcomes for society. It is the opposite of statism, which is the belief that government is generally the best, fairest, and most trustworthy entity to distribute resources and coordinate our economic lives.
Well, you could make this stuff up -- but would yours be as good as this? The Tale of Fauxcahontus takes a curiuos turn:
In what may be the ultimate and cruelest irony, not only is it unlikely that Elizabeth Warren's great-great-great grandmother was Cherokee, it turns out that Warren's great-great-great grandfather was a member of a militia unit which participated in the round-up of the Cherokees in the prelude to the Trail of Tears.
Ruin, in Greek mythology, is the spirit of delusion, of rash impulse, of folly. As voters did in France, Greeks voted against the undeniable and unavoidable consequences of their own actions. Ruin brought them to crisis, and Ruin continues to pushes them during this crisis. Maybe the ECB will save the Greeks. Maybe German taxpayers will. But clearly the political system cannot tolerate more of the same. Not that a departure from the euro would be a walk in the park, as UBS has noted: -- James Pethokoukis
I'm catching up with work, but a great friend of this blog sends a link to this Reason piece on economics and Delta Blues.
The tragic image of the blues that originated in the Mississippi Delta ignores the competitive and entrepreneurial spirit of the bluesman himself. While it is certainly true that the music was forged in part by the legacy of slavery and the insults of Jim Crow, the iconic image of the lone bluesman traveling the road with a guitar strapped to his back is also a story about innovators seizing on expanded opportunities brought about by the commercial and technological advances of the early 1900s. There was no Delta blues before there were cheap, readily available steel-string guitars. And those guitars, which transformed American culture, were brought to the boondocks by Sears, Roebuck & Co.
For extra credit, segue it into a celebration of the opportunities provided musicians by that eeeevil Disney Corporation. It just hit me this trip that Disney probably writes checks to more musicians than everybody else in the world put together.
Playin' tuba at the German Biergarten at Epcot isn't Mick Jagger but there are hundreds of guys getting scale every day. Then the movie studio, ABC network, hotel lounge, cruise ships...
Vacation was fun. Don't short your Disney stock just yet, that thing is the real deal. I spent two days on Mickey's Plantation (one chortles but it is an impressive organization). Then I rented a car because landlubbers like me cannot miss a chance to see the ocean. We drove up to Cape Canaveral and happened to arrive on an Atlas V launch day. That's my picture in the dictionary, next to "fortuitous."
A swell time, but I missed a couple big political stories. I kept up with the Chen Guangcheng case through ThreeSources and the WSJ Ed Page. I do not know that I have my head around that one yet. I believe in the liberalizing power of trade and remain unsure that a hard line stance from an American President who is not committed to liberty qua liberty is a good idea. I hope things turn out well but am not ready to take shots at Secretary Clinton or the President over this just yet.
However. The other story. Jee. Burzzz. Julia. I think they took the mask off and let the country peer deeply into their belief system. This is not dog eating; this is the philosophical debate of which ThreeSourcers dream.
As Russ Douthat mentions, we might lose. But we have a chance to discuss competing visions.
At the same time, the slide show's vision of the individual's relationship to the state seems designed to vindicate every conservative critique of the Obama-era Democratic Party. The liberalism of "the Life of Julia" doesn't envision government spending the way an older liberalism did -- as a backstop for otherwise self-sufficient working families, providing insurance against job loss, decrepitude and catastrophic illness. It offers a more sweeping vision of government's place in society, in which the individual depends on the state at every stage of life, and no decision -- personal, educational, entrepreneurial, sexual -- can be contemplated without the promise that it will be somehow subsidized by Washington.
The condescension inherent in this vision is apparent in every step of Julia's pilgrimage toward a community-gardening retirement. But in an increasingly atomized society, where communities and families are weaker than ever before, such a vision may have more appeal -- to both genders -- than many of the conservatives mocking the slide show might like to believe.
Game on. This is the question, and if liberty loses the American experiment is over. But I would rather discuss Julia than canines and contraception. It's [Wo]Man's relationship to the State. Game on.
UPDATE: I posted this before I had seen blog friend Terri's excellent take:
Creepy. And very disdainful of women. Julia being the example woman who receives government help throughout her whole life. (though there is that one section where she is probably paying more in taxes than she is receiving. I'm surprised Obama didn't mention the interstate highways that allow Julia to get from web job to web job or to go on vacations.)
It's an odd thing that they didn't mention those taxpaying years when Julia can "give back" to others who could use a leg up. That sort of thing. But no, instead Julia, little girl that she is, just relies on the government and doesn't contribute. Creepy.
I went to bed the night of April 30 sweating bullets.
I had a 5AM ride to the airport arranged and I had pre-ordered two Kindle books scheduled for release on May 1. Surely the good folks at Amazon would hook me up the night before or right at midnight and I would have something to read on the plane.
Right? Yes they did. And I enjoyed -- thoroughly -- Jonah Goldberg's Tyranny of Clichés on the way out.
It is hard for me to be objective with Jonah. He is such a favorite, I don't know if I could not like one of his books. We actually have a few areas of disagreement. But I so appreciate his method, writing chops and analytical skills that I consider him a real go-to guy. This book is no exception.
The premise -- and this book is far more partisan than Liberal Fascism -- is that the left cheats in the war of ideas by passing off platitudes and bromides as thought and argument. The Tyranny Blog on NR has more background on the book and several examples:
One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter
...the sort of thing that would make any good Jesuit weep. It steamrolls through a fallacious comparison, confusing ends and means on its way, in order to celebrate both relativism and nihilism and elevate moral cowardice as an intellectual principle.
Violence never solves anything
Really? It solved our problems with the British empire and ended slavery.
Better ten guilty men go free than one innocent man suffer
So you wont mind if those ten guilty men move next door to you?
Diversity is strength
Cool. The NBA should have a quota for midgets and one-legged point guards!
Goldberg is funny and, as mentioned, far more pointed than in his previous book, but I appreciate the scholarly research to back it up. He quotes Michael Oakeshott
You truly take to heart Oakeshott's lovely epigram, "The conjunction of ruling and dreaming generates tyranny."
And then runs right into a pop culture reference:
But this is not really fair. The French Enlightenment was a lot like the Star Wars franchise: It started great; it just evolved into disaster over time, as the characters became more and more unbelievable. Montesquieu, after all, influenced the Founding Fathers as much as anyone, and was the author of the whole idea of the separation of powers.
Switching back and forth as easily as I switch from Sumatra to Columbian coffee:
"[W]e must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement," insisted Jane Addams in 1902, "and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection to the activity of the many." Walter Rauschenbusch, the leading proselytizer of the progressive social gospel movement, declared, "New forms of association must be created.... Our disorganized competitive life must pass into an organic cooperative life." Elsewhere, Rauschenbusch put it more simply: "Individualism means tyranny."
I don't know that your average ThreeSourcer will change positions of discover a lot of new ideas in this book. But I guarantee everyone who takes it up will be entertained, learn a lot of new foundational material, and likely have a few myths punctured (let us say I have a couple of research projects after completing it).
Five Stars! It's Jonah fer cryin' out loud!
BTW: The second preordered book is Robert A Caro's The Passage of Power. Volume IV in his masterpiece biography of President Johnson. Mister Kindle says I am 13% in (Volume III was 1400 pages, I am not sure what I am into here) and it is incredible. The section on President Kennedy is better than any books I have read on Kennedy. I have no problem claiming Caro to be the best biographer of all time, this seems to keep on or above the trend line.
UPDATE: Good Tyranny of Cliches review in the New York Post
The deal also stipulates that the Chinese government would treat Chen and his family humanely, that they would be relocated, and that Chen would be allowed to study at a university. Senior administration officials told reporters in a background briefing in Beijing that Chen called Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the car to the hospital and said, "I want to kiss you."
Riiiiiight. I'm sure they will be "relocated" and he can "study" ... how to be a good comrade citizen. (Ain't buying that kiss Hillary business though.)
Glasser noted that Zeng Jinyan, the wife of well-known activist Hu Jia, contradicted that account on Twitter, saying Chen told her he had asked to "see" Clinton, not to kiss her.
Clinton, in a statement, said, "I am pleased that we were able to facilitate Chen Guangcheng's stay and departure from the U.S. Embassy in a way that reflected his choices and our values." [Translation: We have defused this awkward and embarassing international situation.]
Chen, according to the AP, said that it was true he had expressed his desire to stay in China. But now that U.S. officials have left him alone in his hospital room, he is having second thoughts.
"I think we'd like to rest in a place outside of China," he said. He then asked to relay a message to Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ). "Help my family and I leave safely."
So Chen and his family, like many Americans and their families, must seek the aid of state or local government in the face of federal tyranny. Let's hope that Senator Smith has more pull with the Chinese government than President Obama does.
Last year's "Occupy" protests brought the term "1 percenter" back into our familiar lexicon. Supposedly representing the "super rich" who "control" America, it is a term of derision used by some who declare themselves representatives of the "rest of us" or the "99 percent."
But surprisingly, as Walter Williams observed, those arrested at Occupy demonstrations are overwhelmingly white and above average in both income and home value.
The median value of the homes of the arrestees was $305,000 a far higher number than the $185,400 median value of owner-occupied homes of the rest of us. Ninety-five of the arrestees lived in homes valued at more than $500,000. Those who rented paid a median rent of $1,850 per month. Of the 984 protesters arrested, at least 797 are white. One Occupy Wall Street protester arrested presumably, if you listen to the mainstream media, penniless and from a blue-collar family lived in an $850,000 home in the nations capital.
And less surprisingly, America's wealthiest counties are the suburbs surrounding our nation's capital, Washington D.C. As Williams puts it, "The nations richest counties are close to Washington, D.C., where people come to do good and wind up doing well for themselves." But do just 1 percent of Americans "run" America? This article claims that about 1 percent of us have held elective office, now or in the past. But that's about as close as you can get to showing such a small sliver of society "runs" a nation and economy as great and diverse as America's. To actually, functionally "run" a country has been shown to require, at a bare minimum, a group I like to call The 6 Percenters.
I haven't been able to post in a while due to a very hectic schedule.
I know that immigration has been a hot topic on 3sources in the past, and I thought I would try to reignite the debate. I tend to have a more "open borders" approach when it comes to immigration instead of the more "protectionist" approach favored by mainstream conservatives. I came across this article today that makes a great economic argument for the liberalization of human capital flows in the same way and for the same reasons as the liberalization of traditional capital and trade markets.
It is interesting to note how many "free market" folks out there adopt immigration polices that are totally inconsistent with their views on free trade.
Bloomberg television carried this 20-minute debate live yesterday. Drudge linked it with the headline: Ron Paul staying in race, may not support Romney. But I don't think I would have pitched it that way. I had already seen the story as a hit on my Google Alert for "Liberty Dollar." Andrew Kirell via MEDIAite wrote:
Krugman, grinning through Rep. Pauls answers, responded that if you think you can avoid [the government setting monetary policy], youre living in the world that was 150 years ago. Predictably, Krugman continued on to defend our monetary policy as a response to free market economy gone amok, and explain why he thinks government is necessary in order to prevent future depressions.
When discussing the topic of inflation (something Krugman wants more of), Rep. Paul hit back that [Krugman] wants to go back 1,000 years to the Greco-Roman times when inflationary monetary policy was a common practice. Paul explains how the Roman empire eventually destroyed their currency through inflation, implying that Krugmans desire for the federal government to print more money could lead to similar consequences.
Krugman chuckled and responded: I am not a defender of the economic policies of the emperor Diocletian. So lets just make that clear.
Well, you are. Thats exactly what youre defending, Paul insisted.
Mitt Romney, take notice: When you're opponent says, "I'm not _________" the correct reply is, "That's exactly what you're doing."
When co-host Trish Regan questioned Paul on whether he wants to abolish the Federal Reserve entirely, he explained that he wants to legalize private currencies to compete with the government monopoly on currency. As it stands today, if people use a private currency, they can go to to jail (as we saw several years ago with the federal raid on the Paul-inspired Liberty Dollar).