June 30, 2014

Socialism And Soccer

Hey, I was shocked too - but this is in the New York Times!

When billionaires acquire clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City or Chelsea, their fortunes change. When a very rich country like Qatar wants to host the World Cup, it gets its way even if entirely unsuited to the undertaking.

All this often undermines the beauty of the game. Sulky and overpaid stars, dubious deals and rapacious players' agents are now part of the scenery. Football has been no exception to the inexorable process that sees the authentic and the genuine undermined by big money and manufactured images.

Until along came Diego Simeone and his "socialist football." Think of him as the Thomas Piketty of the soccer world. It is impossible to understand what has been happening at the remarkable World Cup in Brazil without considering his impact.

Ann Coulter, call your office!

UPDATE: I'll promote our commenter's link: looks like the complete book on PDF here.

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | What do you think? [9]
But AndyN thinks:

I've held off on writing about soccer for a decade... so as not to offend anyone.

Coming from Coulter, on any subject, that might be the funniest thing I've ever read.

I stopped reading her column years ago, not because I find her offensive (although I see why some people would), and not because I disagree with her (although I sometimes do), but because I don't see her contributing much to any conversation. At best she's preaching to the converted, but she frequently does it so shrilly that there's almost no chance someone who doesn't agree with her already will bother to pay attention to any point she's trying to make.

That said, calling anything in that soccer column "hatred" stretches the word beyond any rational definition.

Posted by: AndyN at July 1, 2014 1:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I took a look. (Your link is broken.) Did you see anything objective, or just the ad hominem that I saw? Most of the footnote links are self-referencing.

Daniel appears to criticize Coulter's style and her treatment of him personally. Okay, whatever. I don't agree with her on everything and I don't view things through the same lens but this reads like a full-blown character assassination. I'm not interested.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 1:41 PM
But jk thinks:

AndyN is right. The Coulter column on soccer is pretty funny. I confess I had not read it.

@jg, I found it interesting. From the title, I guess I was not surprised to find ad hominem attacks. When you complete your magnum "JK is a liar, thief, cheat, and bad guitar player" I think people will be prepared for some negativity.

At its best, I think one must admit to a "Streisand Effect:" it elevated my throwaway joke line, got several of us talking about her, and got me to search for/click on/read/link to her column. Score one for the blonde. (And I fixed the link, thanks.)

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2014 2:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The manuscript is almost ready for proofreading.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Gimme a few days notice, I want to have some new material ready for when the publicity hits.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2014 4:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

BTW... you left out "drunkard."

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 6:11 PM

Lacking Access to Guitar Strings

My boss told me I could "buy my own damn guitar strings." Really, people, how long are we going to let them keep us down like this?

Hat-tip: Daily Caller

SCOTUS Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I've been following this on and off throughout the day (check out @SCOTUSblog on Twitter for some of the best of it!), and predictably, the statist left has trotted out the usual list of strawmen. See also:


I have a question for the left that's I've never had a good answer to: if in the employment relationship, the employer is progressively seen as having an obligation to provide not just a paycheck, but also healthcare, wellness programs, daycare for our babies and toddlers, smoking cessation plans, "Employee Assistance Programs" for a variety of life issues, retirement pensions, and so many other things -- all arguable good things, especially in the eyes of the Left -- then why is the Left working so hard to destroy employment in this country? Why do they hate working people so much?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 30, 2014 6:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the link Keith. My Facebook roster, however, means I never have to go looking for leftist nonsense -- it finds me.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2014 6:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Speaking of SCOTUSBlog, for those seeking something a little more uplifting, here's Eugene Volokh

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2014 7:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

NYT editorial: "Limiting Rights: Imposing Religion on Workers"

The rebuttal to part 1 of the headline is, "One man's ceiling is another man's floor." But the second part is laughable. "Thou shalt come to work at my company or face..." what, exactly?

Isn't the imposition of secularism on employers just as egregious as, say, Islamists requiring women to wear a burka?

But the religionists brought this upon themselves with moralizing laws going way back before Salem, recently including the ones that made ALL birth control illegal. A Texas Baptist on FNC this morning said, rather proudly, "I'm not a Republican or a Democrat, I'm just a Christian who votes for Christian values." Ironically this came moments after he also said that religious liberty must be protected. Can you spell "hypocrite" Mr. unaffiliated Christian?

No. The proper frame of reference is not "religious liberty" or "civil rights" or "gay rights" it is INDIVIDUAL rights and INDIVIDUAL liberty. Any individual is rightly free to discriminate however he may please, even if he pays people to do crap for him. But government is not. Corporations share some rights with "people" but government doesn't.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 11:34 AM

June 29, 2014

The new Eco-Incandescent light bulbs are here!

Just when you thought you'd never again see a good-old light bulb because that mean nasty government made them illegal, geniuses at GE and Philips have found a way to make them all over again. [Thomas Edison - call your office.] They're called "eco-incandescent."

This is news, because they just hit the market, but it isn't a surprise as I explained it in a January 2011 blog post comment after carefully reading the 2007 federal law that "banned the light bulb." Bulbs could only be sold if they were more efficient than standard bulbs by, if I remember correctly, at least 20 percent. The new eco-incandescents are (magically) 28% more efficient.


They are also (less magically) several hundred percent more expensive. Thanks mean, nasty government!

Back in 2011 I accused lamp makers of manipulating the market via regulation, so that "Competitors can no longer undercut each other's cheapest products and saturate the market with them." But Hank Rearden, or is it the Chinese, is not deterred. "Eco-Smart" brand bulbs undercut more expensive models by GE and Philips. Depending on wattage, they are one to two bucks each.

What a country!

But jk thinks:

I hate to criticize my blog brothers on something as picayune as category choice, but. I think you left out We're from the government and we're here to help.

Who but gub'mint could bring us a 60 Watt bulb that uses only 43 Watts (and costs a buck and a quarter). The stupid! It hurts!

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2014 9:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop. I should have reflexively added "WFTGAWHTH" after typing the words "what a country!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2014 11:37 AM

Bill and Hillary Clinton - White, Southern, RACISTS!

Anyone who criticizes President Obama, we are told by those who refuse to criticize President Obama, does so because he is black. By disagreeing with "a smidgeon" of the first black president's agenda, performance or statements one exposes oneself, supposedly, as a "racist." Today I read that, according to the new Ed Klein book 'Blood Feud' that category of despicable human being, as early as last May, included the Clintons.

Clinton ranted, "The thing with Obama is that he cant be bothered, and there is no hand on the tiller half the time. That's the story of the Obama presidency. No hand on the fking tiller," according to the book, which was excerpted exclusively in Sunday's Post.

"Obama has turned into a joke," she went on, according to Klein.

"The IRS targeting the Tea Party, the Justice Department's seizure of AP phone records and [Fox reporter] James Rosen's e-mails -- all these scandals. Obamas allowed his hatred for his enemies to screw him the way Nixon did," she raged, the book says, adding that she called the president "incompetent and feckless."

Bill was also quoted:

"I hate that man Obama more than any man I've ever met, more than any man who ever lived," Bill told pals, according to the book.

Whoa, not just a racist but a hater. But like, you know, it's not rally true, it's just like some stuff that some guy wrote to sell his stupid book.

Review Corner

A generation of students has gone to school on the banal truth that all literature is "constructed," and learned to scoff at the notion that words on the page might express something essentially authentic about the writer. The usefulness of this insight runs up against its limits when you pick up Orwell's essays. Open these books anywhere and you encounter the same voice. Orwell always sounds like Orwell: readier to fight than most writers, toughened but also deepened by hard, largely self -inflicted experience, able to zero in on what's essential about a poem or a politician or a memory, unsurprised without being cynical, principled without being priggish, direct and yet slightly reserved.
Yup. That is Keith Gessen introducing a superb collection of Orwell essays in All Art Is Propaganda. The essays are literary criticism from the 1940s and, while each is striking in depth and style, the collection shows Orwell developing his philosophy and his voice.

The book is the essays. Gessen gives the world a gift in their collection, and provides a well crafted introduction. He snuck in one biographical detail I did not know:

It's interesting that Orwell didnt go to college. He went to Eton, the most prestigious of the English boarding schools, but he loafed around there and, afterward, went off to Burma as a police officer. College is where you sometimes get loaded up with fancy terms whose meaning youre not quite sure of. Orwell was an intellectual and a highbrow who thought Joyce, Eliot, and Lawrence were the greatest writers of his age, but he never uses fancy terms.

He does not use "fancy terms," but he has an intellect that is deep and broad. He sounds just as professorial to me as Eliot. When he discusses Dickens, Tolstoy, and Shakespeare he wraps his understandings around a deep familiarity. He has directed me to back to each (although, for the moment I find myself on Tolstoy's side that "King Lear" is wanting). For a dropout, ex-Burmese policeman, and Spanish Civil War vet, let's say he was pretty well read.

The first essay is on Charles Dickens. ThreeSourcers, if you do not want to commit to reading the entire thing, please accept my assurance that ponying up the $9.99 on Kindle and reading just the Dickens essay is worthwhile.

Dickens is one of those writers who are well worth stealing. Even the burial of his body in Westminster Abbey was a species of theft, if you come to think of it.

When Chesterton wrote his introductions to the Everyman Edition of Dickens's works, it seemed quite natural to him to credit Dickens with his own highly individual brand of medievalism, and more recently a Marxist writer, Mr. T. A. Jackson, has made spirited efforts to turn Dickens into a bloodthirsty revolutionary. The Marxist claims him as "almost" a Marxist, the Catholic claims him as "almost" a Catholic, and both claim him as a champion of the proletariat (or "the poor," as Chesterton would have put it).
It seems that in every attack Dickens makes upon society he is always pointing to a change of spirit rather than a change of structure. It is hopeless to try and pin him down to any definite remedy , still more to any political doctrine. His approach is always along the moral plane, and his attitude is sufficiently summed up in that remark about Strongs school being as different from Creakle's "as good is from evil ." Two things can be very much alike and yet abysmally different. Heaven and Hell are in the same place. Useless to change institutions without a "change of heart"--that, essentially, is what he is always saying.
There are whole worlds which he either knows nothing about or does not wish to mention. Except in a rather roundabout way, one cannot learn very much from Dickens. And to say this is to think almost immediately of the great Russian novelists of the nineteenth century. Why is it that Tolstoy's grasp seems to be so much larger than Dickens's-- why is it that he seems able to tell you so much more about yourself ? It is not that he is more gifted , or even, in the last analysis, more intelligent. It is because he is writing about people who are growing. His characters are struggling to make their souls, whereas Dickens's are already finished and perfect.

If we've a modern Orwell, I suggest it might be Penn Jillette. Both are driven by foundational honesty which supersedes their beliefs in a way I cannot muster. I can explain away President Bush's push for Faith Based Initiatives or Speaker Hastert's hardball tactics passing Medicare Part D. Orwell takes sides but questions them better than most. Perhaps Hemmingway in "For Whom the Bell Tolls" also questions the purity of the cause -- but Hemmingway comes off cynical and Orwell comes off completely honest.
Technically, by the standards of the time when it was made, Chapaiev is a first-rate film, but mentally, in spite of the unfamiliar Russian background, it is not so very remote from Hollywood.
The film is in fact a fairly ordinary one, except that its tendency is "left." In a Hollywood film of the Russian Civil War the Whites would probably be angels and the Reds demons. In the Russian version the Reds are angels and the Whites demons. That also is a lie, but, taking the long view, it is a less pernicious lie than the other.

As literary critic, Orwell could be devastating; my extensive excerpts from the Dickens essay make him sound like a fanboy compared to the entire piece. But, what many lack -- even my hero, Eliot, sometimes -- is a joyful appreciation.
Unfortunately I cannot quote; unprintable words occur almost everywhere. But get hold of [Henry Miller's] Tropic of Cancer, get hold of Black Spring and read especially the first hundred pages. They give you an idea of what can still be done, even at this late date, with English prose. In them, English is treated as a spoken language, but spoken without fear, i.e., without fear of rhetoric or of the unusual or poetical word. The adjective has come back, after its ten years' exile. It is a flowing, swelling prose, a prose with rhythms in it, something quite different from the flat cautious statements and snackbar dialects that are now in fashion.

The man who says "all art Is propaganda" does not shy away from political observations. Over the writings, one sees his transformation from socialist to social democrat (half a step, right?)
But there is something rather curious in being Whitman in the nineteen-thirties. It is not certain that if Whitman himself were alive at this moment he would write anything in the least degree resembling Leaves of Grass. For what he is saying , after all , is "I accept," and there is a radical difference between acceptance now and acceptance then. Whitman was writing in a time of unexampled prosperity, but more than that , he was writing in a country where freedom was something more than a word. The democracy, equality and comradeship that he is always talking about are not remote ideals, but something that existed in front of his eyes. In mid-nineteenth-century America men felt themselves free and equal, were free and equal, so far as that is possible outside a society of pure communism.

I have acres more highlighted quotes, but as the late, great trombonist Alan Frederickson used to yell from the bandstand "You're not here to enjoy yourself! You're here to get well!"

This completes three review corners about great intellects of the 20th Century. Chesterton, Popper, and Orwell each exist to have their powerful ideas coopted, just as Orwell complained about Dickens's. Orwell saw truth, Popper saw reason, Chesterton saw beauty. Each is a part of me.

But none were of my philosophy. Reading Hayek, or Mises, or Bastiat, or even Ayn Rand, I think that person was one "of us." I must come to terms with Chesterton/Popper/Orwell. Orwell was a socialist, Chesterton a Catholic who would clearly side with Pope Francis before Michael Novak, and the Popper page shared this two days after my review.

The sight of hopeless men, women, and children on the city streets, suffering hunger and cold, touched him deeply and left indelible impressions on his memory. Eliminating poverty would be the major goal of his future proposed reforms, and he would see disappearance of poverty from much of the Western Hemisphere as one of humanity's greatest achievements. The libertarian's lesser concern for poverty, and their willingness to trust the market to relieve it, he would regard as mistaken, if not callous. -- Malachi Haim Hacohen, "Karl Popper The Formative Years 1902-1945"

All these men wrote under the shadow of Nazism, Depression, and the Spanish Civil War. Freedom was in retreat. I posit that they could not envision liberty's triumph, forcing each to seek compromises to preserve liberty's ember. But that is of course unbridled arrogance on the order of "If alive today, surely Jesus would be a Bronco Fan." Ludwig von Mises saw all the horror up close and personal yet still predicted liberty's triumph. We're told Willie Nelson's heroes have always been cowboys, perhaps all mine are Democratic Socialists.

Reviewing the reviewer, this is as good as it gets. Buy this book and open it to a random page. Five Stars.

When you return to these essays, the mystery evaporates. You would probably not be able to write this way now, even if you learned the craft: The voice would seem put -on, after Orwell; it would seem deliberately "hard-boiled." But there is nothing put-on about it here, and it seems to speak, despite the specificity of the issues discussed, directly to the present. In Orwells clear, strong voice we hear a warning. Because we, too, live in a time when truth is disappearing from the world, and doing so in just the way Orwell worried it would: through language.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:14 AM | What do you think? [1]
But T. Greer thinks:

Orwell is every liberal's favorite conservative and every conservative's favorite liberal.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 2, 2014 9:52 AM

June 28, 2014

And So it Begins, Beauprez and Hickenlooper on... Gay Marriage!

At this benefit gala for musicians Denver's Fox31 had its first opportunity to talk with both gubernatorial candidates at the same time and place since Beauprez won the GOP primary, less than a week ago. So what pressing statewide issue did they find most important for the voters to know about without delay? Why, gay marriage of course.


Stay tuned next week when they'll find out where the candidates stand on abortion, birth control, premarital sex, and teens dating without chaperones.

CO Governor Posted by JohnGalt at 11:20 AM | What do you think? [5]
But jk thinks:

jk defending the media? local media? What hath FOX31 wrought?

It is not perhaps my #1 issue, but it is probably fair to say that the next Gubernatorial term may well influence gay marriage in Colorado (especially if Glendale Mayor Mike Dunafon* is elected and it becomes mandatory). We have the Tenth Circuit ruling this week and Boulder's issuing licenses -- there may be some clarification.

I contrast that to Cory Gardner and Personhood. The 114th Congress will be pretty far removed from the abortion debate: maybe 1/100th of a SCOTUS confirmation?

*That's a joke. I love Mike Dunafon. But Libertario Delenda Est and all...

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2014 9:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

So many libertarians "love" Mike Dunafon and so many conservatives "love" Ben Carson, but most of them haven't taken the time to look closely at their positions on every issue. If so they would find out that these men are as unprincipled as any other politician. Specifically, Carson is for gun control. I can't list a specific from memory for Dunafon but after perusing his campaign FB page one day I concluded that Rand would have called him "hippie."

I've been lauding Beauprez and his "Liberty's Promise" platform and advising folks we need to let him know when his positions contradict liberty. We now have our first opportunity. Denying the legal government sanction of marital partnership to two same-gendered humans is contra their liberty. The fact that "a majority of Coloradoans" agree doesn't alter the principle he's chosen to campaign on, it only means that's the direction the political wind is blowing. Now we've all got to figure out a way to tell him.

P.S. Just because I bashed Fox31 doesn't mean I agreed with Beauprez, and just because Beauprez is wrong doesn't mean Fox31 is right to make this the priority issue in the race.

Posted by: johngalt at June 29, 2014 10:05 AM
But dagny thinks:

I am REALLY REALLY REALLY tired of politicians, both Democrat and Republican, who profess to believe in Liberty for All but who actually believe in Liberty for PLU.

Thanks Mr. Beauprez for yet another election in which I have to hold my nose all the way to the polls.

Posted by: dagny at June 30, 2014 1:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't you mean thanks Messr's Beauprez AND Hickenlooper?

I have conversed with an unnamed Beauprez confidant who told me Bob's position will be that man/woman marriage is codified in the Colorado Constitution, which he will be sworn to uphold. Also that the court system will decide the issue regardless of his beliefs about gay marriage. Weak tea, I agree. The difficulty is that politics is a pragmatist's game. Principles take a while to be effective and the election cycle is finite. While we continue to advocate for consistent principles we still need to help elect the least authoritarian politicians. The perfect candidate will not be on the ballot for a few more cycles (at least.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2014 1:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This article explains some of the retail politics challenges facing Colorado Republicans. Lang Sias and Mario Nicolais were primaried by RMGO.

Posted by: johngalt at June 30, 2014 2:06 PM

Executive Overreach

Entered a Facebook fight today. A workmate "likes" this:


So sad that people cannot separate principle from personalities. This will not likely be settled before both these men are out of their positions. It is Article I vs. Article II and -- as I mentioned on FB -- is over 100 years late.

There are those on the right afflicted as well, but I posit that the quotidian consumption of "The Daily Show" and "Colbert Report" feed the left. Laugh lines work better with politicians than principles.

Executive Power Posted by John Kranz at 10:54 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 27, 2014

The Columbia Record Club of Health Services

It was sooooo good this year, they're gonna sign you up again. Nope, none of that pesky shopping and comparison required! They've got you! CNBC:

That autopilot the government is putting your Obamacare enrollment on? You need to take back the controls.

A plan to automatically re-enroll the vast majority of people who bought health insurance on HealthCare.gov could lead to some nasty surprises from much higher premium costs for people who don't bother shopping around for a different plan next year, experts warned Friday.

"Autopilot will not be the smart move for many people," said Larry Levitt, a senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, a leading health-care analysis nonprofit firm.
The autopilot option for enrollment could also, in some cases, result in people who had paid no money at all out of pocket for their insurance premiums in 2014--because of the value of the subsidies they get--abruptly learning in January that they now have to personally pay some money each month.

Dear Mister President

Forgot when I signed up for White House SPAM. It is sometimes interesting:

Hi, everyone --

Yesterday, I had lunch with a woman named Rebekah at Matt's Bar in Minneapolis.
Rebekah wrote me a letter earlier this spring telling me about the challenges facing her family. More and more, she told me, she and her husband are working harder and harder just to get by.

So I decided to reply to her letter in person.

Rebekah and I spent the day together -- we stopped for burgers before holding a town hall with other members of the community and small business owners, to hear directly from folks about what's on their mind.

I'll be doing more of these trips over the course of the summer, visiting people who have written me, to spend a day in their cities and towns. Because speaking directly with the folks I'm working for every day is the best way to help more Americans understand why growing opportunity in this country is so important.

So if you've got a story you want to share with me -- about how you're doing, what challenges you face, and what's working for you -- I want to hear from you.
When Rebekah wrote me, she said, "I'm pretty sure this is a silly thing to do, to write the President."

But it's not a silly thing at all. It means so much to me to read your letters. They remind me exactly who we're fighting for every single day.

Because, as a nation, we've made it through some tough times. Over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs. But we have more work to do to open the doors of opportunity for more Americans. That's part of what makes these visits so important -- I want you to know that I'm keeping up this fight until everyone who works hard has the chance to succeed.

If you're feeling inspired, drop me a line. Tell me about your family, your neighborhood -- or simply how you're doing.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

President Barack Obama
P.S. -- You can send it by mail, too. You might even know the address already: 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.

This email was sent to jk@<>
Unsubscribe | Privacy Policy
Please do not reply to this email. Contact the White House
The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW Washington, D.C. 20500 202-456-1111

But johngalt thinks:

" "

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2014 6:25 PM

Quote of the Day II

So let me ask: Which of the following statements comes closest to your view?
The idiots at The New Republic are too stupid to read and understand the results of the Pew study.

The hacks at The New Republic deliberately twist whatever they can to make conservatives look bad.

-- Ann Althouse

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Is this an either/or thing?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 27, 2014 3:12 PM

Gene Healy, Call Your Office

There is no denying that Executive Power has crept up through the years to the point that I would call it a Constitutional Crisis. But Kim Strassel brings forth fond remembrances of past Congresses who protected their purviews -- even from an Executive of their own party.

But should that president step on Congress's size 12 toes, all partisan bets were off.

Andrew Johnson was impeached by nearly two-thirds of the House for the "high crimes and misdemeanors" of violating a controversial law that the House had passed. Theodore Roosevelt's regulatory reaches were bitterly opposed by conservatives in his party. The Republican speaker, Joseph Gurney Cannon, famously complained of the Rough Rider: "That fellow at the other end of the avenue wants everything from the birth of Christ to the death of the devil." When FDR announced his court-packing plan, it was a Democrat, Henry Ashurst, who labeled it a "prelude to tyranny" and delayed the bill in the Senate for 165 days, contributing to its defeat.

This institutional cantankerousness was alive and well through the Bush era. In May 2006, the FBI raided the office of then-Democratic Rep. William Jefferson. Republican Speaker Denny Hastert and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a blistering joint statement denouncing it as a violation of the separation of powers. Republicans and Democrats spent much of the Bush years jointly attempting to force the president to give Congress more say in his wars and detention policies.

Brother jg asked when our generation's Mark Felt would show up. I'd sooner see our Sen. Howard Baker.

UPDATE: Or Johnny Walters.

Quote of the Day

Our Margaret reviews Sec. Clinton's book tour:

Now she's Mom--mature, settled, with a throaty laugh and a thickening middle. Or grandma. After six years of presidential leadership from a lithe, supple, snotty older brother, Mom will seem an improvement. -- Peggy Noonan

But Terri thinks:

Seriously? Peggy Noonan after her disastrous Obama vote will look to Clinton as an improvement. What is wrong with her? (Peggy)

Posted by: Terri at June 27, 2014 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Hardly a ringing endorsement...

Let the record show that I supported then-Sen. Clinton in 2008. "strategic" GOP friends suggested I should register D and vote for then-also-Sen. Obama, Because he would be so easy to beat. How's that Hopey-Changey working out for you?

I can damn with faint praise too: I think she would be much better than the current occupant -- but I hope we do not have to find out. Jonah Goldberg says in today's G-File that he would prefer Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D - Wahoo) to Sec. Clinton. Not gonna join him there.

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2014 3:01 PM


I'm quite pleased that there is intellectual and philosophical competition in the GOP. I of course choose to leverage that in the primaries and then hope for a certain amount of nose-holding-loyalty in the general. We were discussing below whether CO Gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Bob Beauprez, was irredeemably establishment -- jg and I say no.

But that's not important now. For those who do not attend Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons, you are missing great speakers, very good food, spotty but friendly service . . . and questions from my friend, Dave Walden. His questions generally feature an opinion or two, a story, and a perceptive inquiry.

A mutual friend pointed out this video and Dave graciously allowed my to post. I have been trying to recruit him to blog here, but here is a taste of his genial wit and charm -- with a message at the end.

Internecine Posted by John Kranz at 9:19 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 26, 2014

World Cup

Please do not be disappointed by the Metric Football results today. My understanding of the rules is that the umpires can call for extra time and wake the players in the middle of the night to continue.

We could still pull out a tie! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Sports Posted by John Kranz at 4:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Not with zero shots on goal we can't. The German goalie could have remained in bed. Or in the pub.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 4:17 PM

Quote of the Day

All Hail Stossel:

[Reporters] are much less fond of complex stories in which problems are solved subtly by the dynamism of the free market. The invisible hand, after all, is invisible. It works its magic in a million places and makes adjustments every minute. That's hard for reporters to see--especially when they're not looking for it.

Often, when it comes to news that happens slowly, the media get it utterly wrong. I suspect we get it wrong now about things like global warming, genetically modified foods, almost any story related to science or statistics, or, heck, basic math. Math threatens many reporters.

But johngalt thinks:

Or the futility of the reform efforts of the liberty movement, aka "the tea party." "It works its magic in a million places and makes adjustments every minute" too. That's hard for reporters to see - especially when they refuse to look for it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 3:39 PM

c Denier

Phys.org -- Physicist James Franson of the University of Maryland has captured the attention of the physics community by posting an article to the peer-reviewed New Journal of Physics in which he claims to have found evidence that suggests the speed of light as described by the theory of general relativity, is actually slower than has been thought.
Science Posted by John Kranz at 11:21 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Oh my, the recessionary impacts of Obama Administration policies are proving to be even more widespread than anyone has predicted.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes. At this rate, January 20, 2017 will neevvver get here.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2014 4:09 PM

Clearly, it was the Weather

First quarter revised GDP growth is -.2.9%. Edward Prescott and Lee Ohanian on the WSJ Ed Page point out that productivity fell at 3.5%. Not good.

Lagging productivity growth is an enormous problem because virtually all of the increase in Americans' standard of living is made possible by rising worker productivity. In our view, an important factor contributing to declining productivity growth is the large decline in the creation of new businesses. The creation rate of new businesses, as well as new plants built by existing firms, was about 30% lower in 2011 (the most recent year of data) compared with the annual average rate for the 1980s. (The data is the Census Bureau's Business Dynamic Statistics.) The decline affected nearly all business sectors.

Virtually every state has suffered a drop in startups, which suggests that this is a national, and not a regional or state, problem. It may not be surprising that states hit hard by the recession, such as Arizona, California and Nevada, have a 25% to 35% lower rate of startups. But the startup rate in such business-friendly states as Tennessee, Texas and Utah is also down substantially, and in some cases exceeds the declines in the states that suffered most during the recession. Even North Dakota, which has benefited enormously from oil and gas fracking, has a startup rate lower than in the 1980s.

I've been hearing much about "The Polar Vortex" to explain this away. You have to give points for trying, don't you? Not only is it not ObamaCare's fault -- but we can blame it on Global Warming!

Prescott and Ohanian see more systemic problems and urge tax and immigration reform plus fixes to Dodd-Frank. I can hardly argue against that, but find it interesting that they do not mention the PPACAo2010 as impeding startups and new business formation. My opposition to the PolarVortexers' explanation is that we have winter in some form every year and Obamacare is a brand new exogenous factor. Taxes and immigration policy certainly suck rags (pardon the econ jargon) and certainly contribute to tepid growth, but this sudden contraction correlates pretty closely to the more egregious aspects' of the ACA kicking in.

UPDATE: This is a guest editorial -- The Ed Page is ready to finger ObamaCare®

January saw the formal launch of the Affordable Care Act, and its attempt to transform U.S. health insurance and medical practice. So it's notable that a major cause of the sharp downward revision in first-quarter GDP was a decline in consumer spending on health care. Lower exports and investment also played a role, but the overall decline in health spending from the previous quarter was a startling 6.4%.

Health spending is nearly always a positive contributor to GDP, and in the fourth quarter of 2013 it contributed 0.62%. But health spending fell so sharply in the first quarter that it subtracted 0.16% from economic growth. The Bureau of Economic Analysis, which calculates GDP, hadn't been able to capture the magnitude of the health spending decline in its two previous estimates of first quarter growth.

UPDATE II: Obama Voter, Megan McArdle says "Big Losers in GDP Report: Democrats"
The most worrisome potential explanation is that health expenditures fell because, well, health expenditures fall when the economy is contracting. I'm not exactly ready to call recession yet -- consumption was still basically healthy, and the weather was awfully bad. But I'll be crossing my fingers until the next report comes out.

And so, presumably, will Democrats: partly because they are patriotic Americans who want to see their country do well, but also because recessions are bad for incumbents and, one imagines, particularly bad for the party that claimed the other guys had driven the economy into the ditch and that they were just the folks to drive it out.

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Democrat policies just pulled the economic wheel more sharply in the same direction as the Republicans had steered it, so who thought we'd go anywhere but deeper into the same ditch?

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 3:49 PM

June 25, 2014

All Hail Taranto!


But Keith Arnold thinks:

"We Shall Overspend..."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 25, 2014 4:28 PM

An algrorithm to choose lesser crazies...

I'll happily segue off confusion over my previous post's title.

Ari Armstrong posits a solution to the underlying game theory in a four-way primary: approval voting.

He suggests you vote for all candidates you "approve of." Most votes wins.

In other words, fewer than a third of Colorado Republican primary voters, or a little over 111,000 people (in a state with a population of around 5.3 million people), cast a vote for Beauprez--hardly a popular uprising.

Consider what might have happened under approval voting. The basics of approval voting are straightforward: Each voter gets to vote for as many candidates as he or she approves of. The candidate with the most votes wins. For example, if I had voted in this primary under approval voting, I would have cast a vote for both Gessler and Tancredo (despite my deep disagreements with the latter).

Gessler may well have been everybody's second. I note that I would split differently than Armstrong. I'd've voted for Gessler, whom I wanted, and Beauprez to block Rep. Tancredo.


Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Not to say that you implied otherwise, but I have been pretty honest about how much I have "evolved" on this issue.

Perhaps the anti-modernity of religious zealots is just too much. Sharansky is wrong about a universal yearning for freedom. I'm still wrestling but rereading that, I am not in a mood to apologize for optimism.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2014 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

No apology needed - and I don't think Sharansky was wrong. The Iraqis ten years ago were ecstatic about being free and being able to vote. Remember the purple fingertips? I do.

The explanation isn't that Sharansky was wrong; it's that things happen. For some - like the underclass in Iraq, and elsewhere in the Middle East - the relentless oppression and hostility pushes people to give up hope, accept one's lot, and pay the jizya or the danegeld. They still would like to be free, but better led than dead, right?

For some - and here I think of America, to our everlasting shame - 52% of the masses have been co-opted by free stuff. Freedom is okay, but they're getting an EBT card, healthcare at the taxpayers' expense, and an Obamaphone, without having to earn any of them. Trading their birthright for a bowl of red stew, as it were.

Sharansky was wrong, so much as many people around us let that longing for freedom get shouted down by some other pressure or some other bribe. Looking at our own country, I often think that people like us here are no longer the rule, but the exception.

That being said, never forget that in 1775, only 30% of us wanted independence; another 30% we fine with George III, and the rest were too busy with whatever took the place of Oprah back then to care which way the wind blew.

My point in bringing up that early post was not that you were wrong; it's that people gave up or gave in, and the times, they are a-changin'. This does not bode well for the course of the world.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 25, 2014 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Like, you guys are, like, saying that freedom and free stuff are in two different directions. "Economic Justice" says that I can, like, be free to exercise my civil right to food, water, healthcare, and a new smartphone like every six months. Where's the conflict? You racists! Stop confusing people that you hate!

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 3:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Back to the subject of this post for a moment: I seem to have started an argument with Ari Armstrong in the comments on the linked article. Maybe I'm Pollyanna but I'm growing in optimism over the Beauprez candidacy. I called it a "golden opportunity for the liberty movement." Am I wrong?

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 4:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I would not escalate the contretemps by calling Armstrong "a TEA Partier," but I think many independent types cast Republicans in to "establishment" and "liberty" buckets. Rep. Beauprez will e'er be in the establishment bucket.

The question is whether redemption is extant for GOP politicians. In Armstrong's defense, gravitation waves seem easier to prove.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2014 4:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The lines of debate are curious because I place myself in the "TEA Partier" bucket and I'm standing up for Beauprez. That establishment bucket, however, has folks packed into the bottom and other folks hanging on the rim with one arm. Thad Cochran is irredeemable. Bob Beauprez is not in that class. I credit his western heritage, his electoral rebuke in 2006, and his stint as a talk radio jock. Like Governor Huckabee, speaking in stark terms about the political and philosophical issues of our day, brightly lit by the sunlight of the liberty movement, seems to have loosened some of those well-earned "establishment" scales.

I posit the better question is whether Beauprez or Hickenlooper, who recently apologized for signing gun ban laws, is better stock for a political makeover into something that is freedom friendly, if not exactly the torch in the Statue of Liberty's right hand. And I think that question has a unanimous answer.

Posted by: johngalt at June 26, 2014 5:38 PM

Can we go with the least crazy guys?

I had been thinking about "The Kurds." As the US tries to choose between the Sunni and Shia to find the lesser-crazy partner in Iraq -- I thought, is there not another? Did not the Kurds establish pluralistic zones of modernity in the North and pump oil even during wartime?

Brother Keith brought it up on Facebook. He has some personal experience and travel as I understand and thinks very highly of them. I just thought in the loony-bin that is Iraq, they were most capable of answering the phones when the Doctor was in conference. (Sorry to be ThreeSources's own Rudyard Kipling, but few in the region have behaved with distinction.)

William Galston calls for Kurdish Independence on the WSJ Ed Page today.

The lines British and French diplomats drew on a map in 1916 never corresponded with ethnic and sectarian realities on the ground, and now the lines of the Sykes-Picot agreement are unsustainable. "Iraq" and "Syria" are names, not nations.

By contrast, the Kurds are a distinct people. They have their own language, culture and history. They have been oppressed by every country in which they have languished as a minority. They were promised independence in 1920, only to have that promise rescinded three years later. They have made wise and patient use of the autonomy they have gained in Iraq. It is hard to think of a people who more deserve their own state.

The case for Kurdish independence is more than moral. Despite persistent corruption in Iraq, the Kurds there have governed themselves effectively and have attracted significant foreign investment. Their army has proved to be disciplined and effective. With the Kurds' recent takeover of Kirkuk, they have what they have long regarded as their true capital, their Jerusalem. And the Iraqi Kurds' entente with Turkey allows them to export oil without Baghdad's cooperation, securing their economic independence.

I'm all in.

War on Terror Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I thought this post was going to be about Tom Tancredo coming in second in the CO governor GOP primary. But on that or Kurdistan, I'm all in too.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2014 12:42 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

After seeing the House clasp hands and sing "We Shall Overcome" this week, I was guessing from the title that the post was about the kerfuffle over House leadership...

Yes, I do have a lot of affection and respect for the Kurds, and jk, thank you for including the text from the article where they were cheated out of having their own country. I shared with jk a little something that I'm doing that includes an interesting vision for Kurdistan in the future.

I'd add that Turkey has also recently done an about-face on the issue, and for two reasons: first, it's bad enough having to share a border with Syria, and with Iraq suddenly jumping onto the crazy train, having a peaceful Kurdistan on that border instead of Iraq would be one less thing to worry about. Second, they hope the Kurds living in Turkey would pack up and move there without tearing off a piece of eastern Turkey in the process.

When I'm elected President, my second major foreign policy action will be to publicly recognize Kurdistan's sovereignty. The first, of course, would be to serve a thirty-day eviction notice on the United Nations in New York, but I suppose that would be for another post entirely...

Anyway, I'm all in on this issue, and have been for a long time -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 25, 2014 1:09 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Here is what the WarNerd had to say about the Kurds this week:

The Kurds, who’d come through a nightmare century with remarkably little hatred for anyone, as far as I could see, didn’t buy this at all. My Kurdish students, as fine a group of people as I’ve ever met, used to say at every opportunity, “I have Christian friends! I have Yazidi friends! I have Turcoman friends! I have Shia friends!”

I guess if you’re a middle-class American, “I have [minority-sect] friends” sounds sort of patronizing. At least, when I told people back home about my students’ boast of inter-community friendships, the kewl leftists among them sneered a little, like “Oh that’s just like whites saying ‘my black friends.’”

Which, frankly, made me want to break a latte glass over their heads and cut their throats with the broken base. No, it isn’t like that slack Berkeley cliché about “my black friends”; it isn’t like that at all. I just wish Americans would stop assuming every place is like us. Let me tell you, for a Sunni Kurd to say, “I have Shia friends, I have Christian friends” is about as brave and radical as it gets, short of suicide, in the Middle East. I never heard any of my Saudi students say anything remotely like it. Well, how could they? By law, Shi’ism and Christianity are banned in the Kingdom. So they didn’t have the opportunity, even if they’d had the mindset (which they didn’t).

Something wonderful came out of the horrors of 20th century Iraq, among the Kurds of the Northern hills. They became the only non-sectarian population in Iraq, and perhaps the only such group between Lebanon and India.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 26, 2014 11:43 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Memo to jk: when the Kurds to get their own country (which ought to include Mosul and Kirkuk, for the record), we need to send them a link to this post - one of those "you heard it here first" kind of things. So they know who their friends are.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 26, 2014 12:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd give them from Israel to India, were I drawing the maps. You think they have the humor to appreciate the Kiplingesque condescension? I might clean the post up just a smidgen.

Posted by: jk at June 26, 2014 1:32 PM

June 24, 2014

There's an Unholy Trinity!

Pope Francis, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senator Bernie Sanders walk into a bar...


Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 5:55 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Where in the leftist Pope's sanctimony is there room for the word "liberty?" He criticizes the "impersonal" but his 'solutions' are far from personal.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2014 11:00 AM
But jk thinks:

His defenders say "He's from Argentina and his anti-Capitalist rhetoric is suited to that country's cronyism."

I bristle because it can be used by Warren, Sanders and worse by every two bit despot in even worse hellholes than Massachusetts and Vermont.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2014 11:24 AM

Vindication of the day

Nixon said in a May 1974 interview with a supporter that if he had followed the liberal policies that he thought the media preferred, "Watergate would have been a blip."

The media noted that most of the reporting turned out to be accurate and the competitive nature of the media guaranteed massive coverage of the political scandal.

From the Watergate Scandal Wikipedia page.

Your ThreeSources Word of the Day

"Exfoliation" of evidence.

UPDATE: Rep. Trey Gowdy tells a joke.

IRS Scandal Posted by John Kranz at 12:51 PM | What do you think? [4]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Tomorrow's word for the day: "defenestration" of bureaucrats.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2014 1:22 PM
But jk thinks:

We may hope...

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2014 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, not merely pedantry here, the word is "spoliation."

The spoliation inference is a negative evidentiary inference that a finder of fact can draw from a party's destruction of a document or thing that is relevant to an ongoing or reasonably foreseeable civil or criminal proceeding: the finder of fact can review all evidence uncovered in as strong a light as possible against the spoliator and in favor of the opposing party.

The theory of the spoliation inference is that when a party destroys evidence, it may be reasonable to infer that the party had "consciousness of guilt" or other motivation to avoid the evidence.

In the spirit of fair play I will add that, while defenestration of bureaucrats is a good idea every day, in this specific case I would prefer incarceration of them. How much time did Dean and Haldeman do for Watergate?

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Will the present-day William Mark Felt please step forward.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:55 PM

Yeah, What Penn Says

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 12:34 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

If a white man speaks in Hollywood, and a Progressive doesn't like what he says, did he really even make a sound?

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Ask Gary Oldman.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 24, 2014 5:44 PM

One for our friends in the Storage Industry

Washington Examiner

Mild-mannered Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, pressed the IRS commissioner with pointed questions about why the agency didn't rescue Lerner's emails by using its existing backup system.

"It's actually a disaster recovery system," Koskinen said, "and it backs up for six months in case the entire system goes down ... That was the rule in 2011. Policy."

"Why didn't they just go to that six-month tape?" Chaffetz asked.

It's "a disaster recovery tape that has all of the emails on it, and is a very complicated tape to actually extract emails [from], but I have not seen any emails to explain why they didn't do it. So I -- It would be difficult, but I don't know why they didn't do it," the commissioner replied.

"But you said that the IRS was going to extraordinary lengths to give it to the recovery team, correct?" the Utah congressman said.

"That's correct."

"But it's backed up -- on tape?"

"For six months, yes."

"So," Chaffetz continued, "why didn't you get them off the backup?"

"All I know about that is that the backup tapes are disaster recovery tapes that put everything in one lump," the commissioner said, "and extracting individual emails out of that is very costly and difficult, and it was not the policy at the time."

IRS Scandal Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

If Koskinen really knew what he was talking about his reply to "why didn't you get them off the backup" would have been, "Everyone knows that the restore function never works. IT staff just laughed at me when I asked them that."

Seriously though, "not the policy at the time?" Our disaster recovery policy has no provision for actual recovery? And since when has "very costly and difficult" ever stopped the federal government? Seriously? We - can't - afford - it? You expect anyone to believe that?

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2014 2:23 PM

Quote of the Day

Even better, Justice Scalia's [majority opinion in Utility Air Regulatory Group v. EPA] explicitly defends the structure of the Constitution. Blessing the EPA's tailoring rule would be "a severe blow to the Constitution's separation of powers" where Congress enacts laws and the President enforces them, he writes. This remedial civics lesson ought to be unnecessary but with the Obama crowd it's essential. "We are not willing to stand on the dock and wave goodbye as EPA embarks on this multiyear voyage of discovery" that ignores the will of Congress, Justice Scalia writes. -- WSJ Ed Page

June 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

The thing about dogs eating homework is, it could actually happen. This can't. -- Kyle Smith, NYPost
Part of a great column: imagine if Goldman Sachs had tried this defense... Hat-tip: Insty.

Review Review Corner

A friend (and a friend of this blog) posted a link to this on Facebook a few weeks back. I read it and missed the byline. It was written by David Harsanyi, and last night I read it again because he tweeted "most important thing i've ever written"

ThreeSourcers know my appreciation for Harsanyi; and, damn if about every word in his most important piece isn't accurate; but I will confess that I enjoyed "Frozen" more than "Tangled."

Sunday's Review Corner will tackle Orwell's literary criticism and I don't think I need a spoiler alert that George will pick up some stars. Orwell and TS Eliot's deep and intellectual criticism remain a joy on their own and a key to deeper appreciation of the art they reference. But I am a blues guy still. And there is an element of art that some may call spiritual and some will call left-brain, but it is one step beyond our ken.

I have no children, but I am a fan of Disney's animated films. When I saw Tangled, I said "yeah, that's pretty good" and went on with my life. Frozen was more immersive, and it might be the social media buzz around "Let it Go." I've now heard it sung by firefighters and Marines -- the best is Jimmy Fallon, Idina Menzel & The Roots. When I finally saw Frozen, I had heard the song and had a hook.

I'll confess to Harsanyi that at the end of Frozen, I thought "what was that all about?" Then I saw that it was adapted from Grimm's "The Snow Queen." Okay, then -- for Grimm that is straight up. It is an usual story to say the least. But repressed internal powers and fear of hurting those we love are extant human emotions.

Fair cop about the depth of the male character as well. Yet if may channel Dr. Helen Smith for a second, the Disney princess procession is leaving increasing little room for male characters at all. I imagine the next will be set in a seraglio with no males whatsoever.

At the end of the day, Harsanyi is right. But I've seen Frozen four or five times (I suspect that's what's known as "morning" in houses with youngsters) and enjoyed it every time. I watched Tangled once, and then again after reading Harsanyi's article. I may watch it again now that I know it was Harsanyi -- talk about appeal to authority. It is good but it is not nearly as captivating.

There's a chord change in the Neville Brothers' "Tell it Like it Is" that makes me cry. It is more than resolution, it is transcendent. The Frozen plotline does not hold up to intense scrutiny and several characters are weak. But many of its sequences are captivating: Olaf dreaming of summer, Elsa's Ice palace, returning to the trolls.

All Hail Harsanyi -- but I'm still going with Frozen.

UPDATE: I muffed the Twitter conversation by "quoting" but the thread is rather enjoyable, even if my side is not well represented.

Art Posted by John Kranz at 9:22 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 22, 2014

A Flanking Attack in the "War on Women"

ThreeSourcers understand that any "warfare" in the so-called "War on Women" (TM) is actually waged between Democrat and Republican politicians, with lost progress on women's issues as collateral damage. It is a valuable electoral tool for Democrats, and arguably the only one left for embattled Colorado Senator Mark Udall. As his likely opponent, Republican Cory Gardner, wrote in an op-ed last week:

In Colorado's Senate race, Sen. Mark Udall began his campaign for re-election with nasty, deceptive ads attacking my record on this subject rather than say anything about his own accomplishments over his long career in politics. Between Sen. Udall's campaign and Sen. Harry Reid's. super-PAC, the Washington establishment has already spent $1.5 million on attack ads trying to use contraception as a wedge to divide our state. They argue that I, and others, would ban contraception when they know that charge is completely untrue.

But Gardner has a far better strategy than mere defensive denials. He has counter-attacked and pledges to work toward OTC status for "the pill."

When treatments go over-the-counter, two things happen: they get dramatically cheaper and consumers save time and hassle by avoiding unnecessary doctors' appointments just to get the pharmaceuticals they already know they need.

Fewer unneeded doctors' appointments mean fewer missed workdays and child-care expenses, more productivity and more time with family. This is particularly true for rural families like mine where doctors are not always nearby.


Since it makes so much sense, you might wonder why this change has not happened yet. It's because too many people in Washington would rather play politics with contraception instead of actually making life easier for women. Too many Democrats prefer to attack Republicans on the issue of contraception rather than actually make contraception more available and affordable and too many Republicans are afraid to break the mold.

Who now calls him misogynist?

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:01 AM | What do you think? [3]
But jk thinks:

Hope so. I saw Sen. Udall's personal attack ad (a description the Denver Post shares) and found it very compelling for a moderate, low-information voter.

The ad and Rep. Gardner's response are visible at the link.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2014 6:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BRILLIANT parry and counterthrust by Mr. Gardner. I heartily approve. A simultaneous slam at Udall, the FDA, and the entrenched overlords in DC.

Imagine a pro-lifer on the campaign trail, with an opponent who screams "he'll make abortion illegal, even in cases of rape and incest!" and then countering with "I have no problem giving you abortion for cases of rape and incest - in fact, we should make them both a capital crime, because we value a woman's honor, and her right to choose - especially her right to choose who has sex with her."

That being said, as far as the alleged "war on women" goes, the best thing about the battle between the sexes is fraternization with the enemy. Vive la difference!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at June 23, 2014 10:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Agreed all around. But once again, my side is explaining and their position is intuitive and obvious.

I love being "of" thought and reason -- it is just such a negative in election cycles.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2014 9:54 AM

Review Corner

What Popper aims to do, and at his best does do, is to seek out and attack an opponent's case at its strongest. Indeed, before attacking it he tries to strengthen it still further. He sees if any of its weaknesses can be removed and any of its formulations improved on, gives it the benefit of every doubt, passes over any obvious loopholes; and then, having got it into the best-argued form he can, attacks it at its most powerful and appealing. This method, the most intellectually serious possible, is thrilling
I mentioned Popper once in front of an Oxford-edumacated economics friend of mine. He said that Dr. P was spoken of in hushed tones because "his was the only intellect that John Maynard Keynes feared in debate."

To place my intellect on this particular scale, well I subscribe to the Karl Popper Facebook Page and recommend it highly. Popper is eminently readable, but his prose is the antithesis of Twitter. Single paragraphs span multiple pages. Not turgid, but could you give us mortals a chance to come up for air now and then? For this reason, I'll admit that I enjoy reading about Popper more than I enjoy reading Popper.

I had seen him and read some quotes, but I "discovered" Popper as Popperian epistemology was one of the four threads in David Deutsch's Fabric of Reality. Deutsch explains Popper better than Popper and explains Richard Dawkins way better than Richard Dawkins. But Deutsch takes only a slice of the man's work and there is quite a bit more to be had.

The Popper FB Page recommended Philosophy and the Real World: An Introduction to Karl Popper by Bryan Magee as the definitive introduction. First released in 1973 and last updated in 1985, the short book is not available on Kindle. And, why do I need an Introduction? I've read both volumes of Open Society and its Enemies. And the footnotes. And the footnotes of the footnotes.

The friend who turned me onto Deutsch and I have traded Popper books. They are not easy to find and he had a leg up living in the UK for a few years. We have a running disagreement that he likes "the science stuff" and I like "the philosophy stuff." The best thing about Philosophy and the Real World is that it unifies these concepts better than the Dude's rug. It was not just science that was advanced by reason and intellectual criticism. To Popper it was thought. And, being a good Aristotelian, science and philosophy were not distinct. Popper codifies the scientific method -- then applies it to Philosophy.

Related to this is another, much slighter obstacle between Popper and possible readers. He believes that philosophy is a necessary activity because we, all of us, take a great number of things for granted, and many of these assumptions are of a philosophical character; we act on them in private life, in politics, in our work, and in every other sphere of our lives--but while some of these assumptions are no doubt true, it is likely that more are false and some are harmful. So the critical examination of our presuppositions--which is a philosophical activity--is morally as well as intellectually important. This view is of philosophy as something lived and important for all of us, not an academic activity or a specialism, and certainly not as consisting primarily in the study of the writings of professional philosophers. Nevertheless it does mean that most of Popper's work consists of the critical examination of theories, and in consequence there is a great deal of discussion of 'isms', and a great many allusions to thinkers of the past, especially in the first works he wrote in English when he was still under the influence of the German academic tradition.

Popper codifies the scientific method, then builds a philosophy on it . . . all in a days work. But then he applies intellectual rigor to Marx, Engels, and the political descendants of Kant and Hegel and puts a political philosophy on top.
Popper's paradoxes, which he calls 'the paradox of sovereignty'. If, say, power is put in the hands of the wisest man, he may from the depths of his wisdom adjudge: 'Not I but the morally good should be the ruler'. If the morally good has power he may say, being saintly: 'It is wrong for me to impose my will on others. Not I but the majority should rule'. The majority, having power, may say: 'We want a strong man to impose order and tell us what to do'. A second objection is that the question: 'Where should sovereignty lie?' rests on the assumption that ultimate power must be somewhere, which is not the case. In most societies there are different and to some extent conflicting power centres, not one of which can get everything its own way. In some societies power is quite widely diffused. The question 'Yes, but where does it ultimately lie?' eliminates before it is raised the possibility of control over rulers, when this is the most important of all things to establish. The vital question is not 'Who should rule?' but 'How can we minimize misrule--both the likelihood of its occurring and, when it does occur, its consequences?'

After presenting two well reasoned volumes on the individual empowerment, freedom from totalitarianism and the most vicious debunking of Marxism you will ever encounter, Popper suggests -- in a less wealthy period than today -- that it is unconscionable to allow poverty in a wealthy society. He joins Chesterton (last week) and Orwell (next week) in championing the kind of Social Democrat, mixed economy that ThreeSourcers exist to oppose.

It remains a frustrating obstacle to my desire to coopt all there of these preternatural intelligences to service of my beliefs. But we have a hundred years of history on them and America's ascension to superpowerdom on classic liberal concepts. I'd think all of them could be moved at least into the Reagan camp of freedom with a safety net for the truly needy.

Philosophy in the Real World is a great introduction to Popper, whether an introduction is required or not. Five Stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | What do you think? [2]
But T. Greer thinks:

This is a good review.

Nicholas Nassim Talen speaks well of Popper as well. One of the few philosophers the guy actually likes.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 22, 2014 10:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words. I'm a huge Taleb fab as well.

Although he's a modern example of someone who assembles a brilliant foundation but I'm not certain puts the correct over-arching worldview atop.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2014 10:59 AM

June 21, 2014

I don't think that word means what you think it means

Let's talk about politics and race.

Politics Posted by JohnGalt at 12:19 PM | What do you think? [0]

The Junk Science Hall of Shame

Picking "the worst Junk Science agitprop" is impossible. No matter how bad one seems, you can always come up with another that is worse: a proof-by-induction of infinite suckage.

But, dearest ThreeSourcers, I have a special place in my heart for BPA bottles. Jane Goodall lived with lower primates: I worked with guys who had PhDs who would not drink water out of a BPA bottle (I think that is one point for Jane).

Insty links to a story in that noted scientific organ, The Stir, which is quite sympathetic to the concerned.

For several years now, moms have been making the choice they thought was best for their little ones: Steering clear of bisphenol-A (BPA), the toxic substance in plastic that may mess with the endocrine system, disrupting hormones, and causing a variety of short- and long-term health concerns for our children including asthma, cancer, infertility, low sperm count, heart disease, liver problems, and ADHD. But apparently, even if you've been incredibly conscious and checked every sippy cup and water bottle to ensure it's marked "BPA-free," it may not be enough!

May not be enough (really? An exclamation mark? A period would have been fine!) Enough of what, exactly? Bisphenol-A, like most things hated by The Stir readers, has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. Moms today may worry about sippy cups, but my Mom worried about botulism. BPA "may mess with" (no proof, ever) [see update] the endocrine system. Botulism will mess with you, fatally in six of ten cases. We threw out dented cans when I was young -- now I buy them on sale.

While BPA liners are a huge advance, Modernity Guy should contemplate that leached BPA is a call for another innovation. Yet, what the poor Stir Moms are discovering [Shocking Spoiler Alert] is that there is some danger in everything. It seems the Non-BPA bottles leach other and likely worse stuff into baby's organic, alar-free applesauce.

Not to mention incredibly frustrating, considering that we think we're doing everything we can to protect our children by doing the research before going shopping for sippy cups, only registering for the BPA-free baby bottles, keeping certain plastics our kids use out of the dishwasher or microwave, etc. But news like this it makes it seem like even our best efforts are all for naught. It makes it seem like even our best efforts aren't enough to protect our kids, and that's nothing short of extremely aggravating.

Rub a little dirt in it, Mom; he'll be fine.

I am reminded of a favorite Emily Dickenson couplet

The surgeon must be very careful when to use the knife.
For underneath his fine incision, lays the culprit: life.

UPDATE: A friend (no, not a PhD) sends a link to Mother Jones which contradicts my claim of "no proof ever." I should update it to "scant proof."

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, well if it's above the CONSUMER'S UNION recommendation, I'm "convinced."

Micrograms, nanograms, picograms, KICK!

Posted by: johngalt at June 21, 2014 3:42 PM

June 20, 2014

They Won't Last Long at these prices!

I think we may all be in the wrong business:


So, do you think I am okay with the new one for $563.10, or should I pony up for the vintage used at $883.95? I just bought a very cool vintage tenor guitar for $400 -- had no idea it'd be twice that to buy a book!

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 4:55 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Pshaaaw! A bargain, at only 20 cents per chord.

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2014 5:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahaha - a little perspective is in order. Also, that's really just $281.55 for standard tuning and $281.55 for "Irish."

I imagine it won't be long before they lose their trademark prorection for Irish Tuning™: it is pretty demeaning.

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2014 10:21 AM


Rather than grandstanding about terrorist atrocities in Iraq or even a flood of undocumented alien children across our southern border, every single Republican congressman or senator should be jointly focused like a period-full-stop laser beam on the most deadly serious threat to US civil society today: The likely use of federal government power to influence the outcome of an election, and the obvious cover up that attempts to obstruct investigation of the original crime. Harry Reid's hometown newspaper says it well:

This is not a partisan witchhunt. It is an inquiry to determine whether a federal agency conspired with elected members of a political party to influence the outcome of an election. And it already screams of a cover-up.

The full editorial is loaded with winks and eye rolling over the "accidents" which befell the evidence requested by congress. On any objective scale, Watergate was a misdemeanor compared to Obamagate. The only thing about the more recent of these two is the news media's curiosity.

But jk thinks:

The second article of impeachment was the misuse of the IRS to punish political enemies. And Rose Mary Woods only lost 18-1/2 minutes.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:07 PM

This time Obama is right

I've been in unfamiliar territory this week as I find myself approving of President Obama's decision to NOT start shooting and bombing "ISIS terrorists" in Iraq. The novelty here is the agreement with the president, and disagreement with most hosts and callers on talk radio. One notable exception is Jason Lewis, who says we have no business risking blood or treasure in the latest Iraq violence.

"Because Iran will if we don't" is no reason to insert ourselves in Iraq's civil war. Nor is "because Russia will if we don't" a reason to use force in Syria or Turkey. (We can have a conversation about Ukraine.)

Perhaps I'm following a recent trend of taking contrarian views without sufficient reflection and if so, I welcome those who may correct me. But first I want to warn you that my side includes Wednesday's "From the Right" editorialist on IBD's Ed page, Doug Bandow.

It is time for Washington to stop trying to micromanage other nations' affairs and to practice humility. This wouldn't be isolationism. America, and especially Americans, should be engaged in the world. But our government's expectations should be realistic, its ambitions bounded. American officials should abandon their persistent fantasy of reordering the world.

Obama's foreign policy may be feckless. But that's not its principal failing. As long as Washington tries to dominate and micromanage the world, it will end up harming U.S. interests.

Yes, that was from the right, a place not occupied by Neocons like McCain, Graham and Cheney.

But jk thinks:

Tentative agreement, though I think we are coming from different perspectives.

A blog named after a Natan Sharansky quote must come to terms with some of the excesses of neo-conservatism. I have quietly revised some views since 2003, but I am not in the camp of Rand Paul's WSJ Editorial today. And I suspect, I am neither in the camp of brother jg.

An older, wiser, hindsight-enabled jk looks back and concludes:

1) The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was worthwhile. War opponents are correct to point out bad current conditions, but they never compare those exigencies to 11 more years of Saddam Hussein's rule. Some good things happened in Iraq -- and some good things happened in other mideastern nations; Sharansky was vindicated.

2) I don't agree with Ambassador John Bolton everyday, but he was on The Independents last week. Facing a triple barrel of hostile, Libertoid snark, he held firm that invasion, good, nation-building bad. We deposed Saddam in nine days. With all respect to Sec, Powell, it wasn't Pottery Barn. We could have left it broken and done it again if the new government was not more amenable. Folks came in and looted the museums? Sorry 'bout that.

3) I recall talking with ThreeSourcers in 2008. It was obvious that then Senator Obama was going to win and we knew he would squander the hard-fought gains. We knew he'd telegraph a retreat; hell, he campaigned on that. Thucydides warned about long engagements and Democracies.

4) A projection of strength would have gone a log way in Ukraine, Afghanistan, and Iraq. President Obama so obviously wants to focus on Domestic issues that the would world knows they may act with impunity. We were the house with the "proudly gun free!" sign out front and now we're surprised we were robbed.

5) At this point in time, I do not trust the President's commitment, discernment, or competence to intervene. The Electoral College chose him, he chose disengagement, we are where we are -- blustering our way in there now has little upside and tremendous downside.

BUT: I'll quibble with Bandow's "As long as Washington tries to dominate and micromanage the world" and Rand Paul's "We will do ourselves no favors if we simply recommit to the same mistakes and heed the advice of those who made them in the first place."

I sure wish the world did not require US influence and that Pax did not require Americana. But I do not believe it for a second. David Boaz and Rep. Ron Paul assert that they'll leave us alone if we leave them alone. People used to tell me that about wasps -- and they always stung me.

Bringing me to: 6) Elect a competent and tough C-in-C in 2016. Until then, world, you're on your own.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good reply. It seems I'm not too far in the weeds but brother BR hasn't chimed in yet.

I agreed with 1) and 2) at the time, and I agree with them still, albeit stronger on 2) than 1).

A big problem with a foreign policy of "projecting strength" is that someone might call your bluff. Islamists are generally inclined to do this in spite of self-interested reasons not to. They're kinda old fashioned playground toughs that way. But take Bandow's point about Iran and the Shah back in '53. What if we'd left them alone then? We'd still be a Satan for supporting Israel but there would be fewer grievances for sustaining anti-American fervor.

Here's the rub: I don't advocate isolationism, rather diplomacy with carrots instead of sticks. Just as I don't agree with government force as a tool for reducing drug use or abortions, I think we'll do better with the nations and peoples of the world when they try things on their own and find out we were right when we needled and cajoled and incentivized our way than if we bomb their asses for disobedience. Or even just install our own puppet regimes.

I'm really curious where you quibble with "Washington ... dominate and micromanage the world." Are you happy when Washington does that to Colorado? We are all TEA Partiers now!

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I should admit that 2) has been a point on which I've evolved ("Hey, jk, you misspelled 'cravenly inconsistent!'") I would not have argued against a quick withdrawal, but sticking around and teaching them the finer points of Democracy seemed plausible. I believed Sharanshy that all hearts yearn for liberty and I wept at purple fingers. All that seems rather naïve today.

We're both Occidentalists in different ways. I think their self-interest shines more brightly in preservation than incentive. So put me down for "sticks."

Don't like "dominate and micromanage" because it implies that all US influence is bad or wrong. I like when we meddle with Iran and generally torque off North Korea, neither are protected by the Tenth Amendment.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 7:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I may not be on record about it but I disapproved of the post war plan as "nation building." I might not have said it, but I believed it.

"Sticks" must be used only in defense, whether that be of the homeland, of our citizens, or even of minority populations in foreign lands on occasion. In Iraq, some are proposing that we use our force to protect the majority population from a minority. Sorry, that's their own job.

I don't read Bandow as saying that all US foreign policy seeks domination and micromanagement, but that when it does go that far it is contrary to our interests.

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2014 10:44 AM

A Question for Anarchists

I gave a glowing review to Randy Barnett's "The Structure of Liberty: Justice and the Rule of Law" last month. It got five stars and the Editor's Choice Award. My admiration for Barnett is without bound and I think this is a very important book.

My blog brother threatens suggests a crowdsourced, ThreeSources Constitution and I applauded the suggestion. As big a fan as I am of James Madison, Barnett makes an uncomfortable point, viz., a centralized authority will be suborned by those with interest and power.

It is difficult to imagine a better start than the US Constitution. The depth of thought shown in The Federalist Papers and the ratification process is shocking to the modern eye and ear. We cannot have a Colorado Senator's race without gross distortions and exaggeration of picayune issues. The balance, the seriousness, and the intellectual depth of the founders -- and the public -- continues to stagger.

Yet it is parchment and has been evaded for hundreds of years by those with or seeking interest and power. And its protections are ineffective.

Barnett solves this with "a polycentric legal order in which consumer choice and competition would provide a better check on the abuse of the powers of law enforcement." Under this, more property is private and subject to the owner's jurisdiction. You can wear your gym shorts at Walmart* but not a Saks. Without the vast public areas we have today, law enforcement and justice remains more in private hands. Again, I weaken his arguments by paraphrasing, but I was for the first time truly compelled to accept a more anarchist view.

But I believe I have found the flaw. What if there were a place like Barnett suggests where this theory could be tested? No, not Somalia -- you guys shut up in the back!!!

Worse than Somalia -- America's University Campuses. On Campus, you are subject to the Constitution and Local laws, but to an extent you have traded them away. Your legal order is polycentric as you manage outside laws with inside laws. On the first read through The Structure of Liberty, it is easy to image an America of Disneylands where you are comfortable in a private purview whose owners interest is tied closely to your safety. But you aren't guaranteed Bill-of-Rights rights in Disneyland -- and that has been my hang-up in accepting private law enforcement and justice.

The new University guidelines for sexual assault cement my case. If the Utopian vision is an America of Disneylands, I posit the dystopia is a nation under the aegis of "The Dean of Diversity and Equality."

I accept that the Constitution did not have the protections to save itself, though we've had a great run and still enjoy many protections. Do not take me too pessimistically, but everybody who has read this far understands my concerns. The preponderance of private bodies -- identical to the Universities -- could collectively go to Nanny Defcon 5 in a short time. And we would be looking for our monocentric Constitutional protection.

I think we'll get the gun laws and the panic-of-the-day "protections" currently seen on Campuses. Everywhere.

Here's George Will having his column dropped by the St. Louis Dispatch for the temerity of questioning Campuses' capacity to adjudicate sexual assaults.

Of course, if you don't like a college that has such rules, you can go to another college well, you can go online.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:21 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

My premise is that certain things are universal, and should be universally recognized by civilized governments. That is not the case today, as a Christian woman in the middle east may soon find herself in jail for the high crime of going outdoors.

One important part of my Constitution of Free Peoples is disambiguation. All of the worthwhile amendments would be incorporated in the main document, and the part we now know as the 10th amendment would still come at the end and be restated along the lines of: Anything not expressly provided above as a legal role of the federal government is expressly prohibited to the federal government. This, and the abolition of amendments, are perhaps the most important components.

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2014 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Hey, if you get 0:54 minutes, Here's a great podcast of Barnett discussing "The Structure of Liberty" with Aaron Ross Powell and Trevor Burrus from Cato.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 4:06 PM

Popper on Climate Change

I've promised a Review Corner on Bryan Magee's Philosophy and the Real World: An Introduction to Karl Popper. By sheer accident, I read, in series, three books about/by three great early/mid 20th Century thinkers: Chesterton, Popper and Orwell. I've light-bending respect for each but feel they have made errors that were particular to their time.

My original objections to Global Warming were based on Popperian epistemology. Reading Magee's superb introduction I am reminded how germane his arguments are against DAWG.

To prevent Review Corner's becoming about Climate Change, I want to do a separate post. Popper codified what we call scientific method. Fascinating that he developed a full blown philosophy on top, but if nothing else he provides a description of how scientific knowledge advances.

As I said earlier, Popper recommends that we formulate our theories in as clearcut a way as possible, so as to expose them most unambiguously to refutation. And at the methodological level we should not, he says, (see page 19) systematically evade refutation by continually reformulating either our theory or our evidence in order to keep the two in accord. This is what many Marxists do, and many psychoanalysts. Thus they are substituting dogmatism for science while claiming to be scientific. A scientific theory is not one which explains everything that can possibly happen: on the contrary, it rules out most of what could possibly happen, and is therefore itself ruled out if what it rules out happens. So a genuinely scientific theory places itself permanently at risk. And here we come to Popper's answer to the question raised at the beginning of this chapter. Falsifiability is the criterion of demarcation between science and non-science.

Popper has a front row seat to the 30 years that shook Physics and the brainpower to understand advances in relativity and quantum theory. What I read from a textbook happened in real-time to Popper. Newtonian mechanics, which described the world for hundreds of years (I'd suggest it had better than a 97% consensus) was superseded by Relativity. At the same time, Marx, Engels and Freud claim the scientific mantle for their theories. As Popper sang, "one of these things is not like the other one:"
On 29th May the observations were made. And they corroborated Einstein's theory. Other theories which claimed to be scientific and were at the height of intellectual fashion in the Vienna of Popper's youth, such as those of Freud and Adler, did not, and could not be made to, put their lives at stake in this way. No conceivable observations could contradict them. They would explain whatever occurred (though differently). And Popper saw that their ability to explain everything, which so convinced and excited their adherents, was precisely what was most wrong with them.

Climate Science explains everything and no theory since Freud's Id, Ego and Superego has ever been less falsifiable. It is cold, Climate Change; it is hot Climate Change; floods, fires, hurricanes, more ice, less ice...

There is no May 29 for Climate. Every year it seems we read another experiment on a phenomenon suggested by Relativity. New clocks and lasers and rockets have provided a century of May 29ths -- and Albert's predictions have always come up on top.

UPDATE: It is frequently May 29 in Cosmology: Big Bang breakthrough team allows they may be wrong

June 19, 2014

All Hail the Evil Koch Brothers!

Hat-tip: The Hill

But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2014 4:14 PM


We're agnostic in the Indian symbol debate, though we've never understood why the critics think fans and athletes want their team names to represent something other than strength, courage or pride. If names were meant to convey dislike--of, say, Vikings, Yankees or the Irish--then Redskins owner Dan Snyder would have converted to the Washington Harry Reids years ago. -- WSJ Ed Page

IRS Scandal: Now, officially, "Worse than Watergate"

We've seen lies. We've seen violations of the Constitution. We've seen every sort of despicable behavior on the part of government officials in President Obama's "most transparent administration in history" up to and including cover ups of despicable behavior. But now, in the IRS scandal, we have evidence of a cover up - in the form of "missing" evidence.

Paul Bedard summarizes, links to a Daniel Henninger WSJ editorial making the "official" judgment, and throws in this hilarious MSNBC segment where the morning hosts joke about the story that "I've never told a lie" Jay Carney parroted out to all of us.

MSNBC Morning Joe [may need to use fullscreen mode to see video.]

I'll excerpt: "I'm an idiot... Even I know that if you have a hard drive and you can't find an email you can get a little nerd to come in and they can find them for you." (...) "Instead of 'We trashed the evidence and tore it up and buried it... no, we were earth friendly." [On the claim that the hard drive was "recycled."]

Daniel Henninger opens his "worse than Watergate" editorial by saying, "With 2 and a half years left in the Obama presidency, it is at least an open question what will be left of it by December 2016. Or us." Indeed.

Quote of the Day II

It's a Two-Quote Kinda day. Jonah has some fun with the President's penchant for straw man arguments:

Scour the Internet until your fingers bleed, and you wont find a single person who has denied that Bowe Bergdahl is someone's child. -- Jonah Goldberg

Hickenlooper Gun Ban Denial Goes Horribly Wrong!

I like the old-fashioned ways of politics better, where they actually got creative in their prevarication. The lies we're told today are so phony, so obviously transparent, it takes all the fun out of exposing them. But I will say we rarely get to see the unvarnished gut reaction when a politician is caught red handed in an outright lie. Full stop period. Like this:

"How many apologies do you want? What the f***!"

Only one for each lie, governor.

HT: Westword Blog post.

But jk thinks:

Sadly, he lost Mayor Bloomberg's emails when his hard drive crashed -- I guess we'll never know.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 12:12 PM

Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat...

Barack Obama created Darrell Issa. -- Dan Henninger

ACLU: Right more often than a broken clock!

I recant. Yesterday, I suggested that the decision to pull trademark protection for the Washington Indigenous People's Epidermises Football Club was . . . okay, I might have used the word "genius." I am willing to change that to "too clever by half."

I accept -- and somehow expected -- good pushback from ThreeSourcers on this. All commentariat points were valid. But I had actually softened earlier when I saw this tweet from Kevin Glass at the ACLU. As jg remonstrated: If the Illinois Nazis™ (Man, I hate Illionois Nazis...) deserve protection, so too do the 'skins. And:


At first blush, it might seem obvious that the USPTO should have the ability to deny registration to racist or vulgar trademarks. But, as with all things free speech, who gets to decide what's racist or vulgar? That's right, the government, which is just ill-equipped to make these kinds of determinations. The motorcycle group above is a good example of the potential unintended consequences.

You were right and I was wrong: full capitulation.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:35 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

The founders seemed to understand, even if the great Constitution they crafted was too nuanced in explaining it to the numbskulls who followed them, that difficult decisions should be made by the people affected by them, and not by some detached "king" a great distance away.

I plan to enlist ThreeSourcers' help in crafting a modern boilerplate Constitution of free governments for free peoples. Supreme Court Justice Ginsberg famously dismissed the US Constitution as a starting point for any new nation, but I think we could throw out some chaff and revolutionize government across the world. (Yes, I really am that humble.) Stay tuned, and do some pondering in the meantime.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2014 11:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Magnanimous in victory -- gotta love ThreeSourcers.

I think we all ponder it each day. I look forward to your project -- holler if I can provide any IT/Platform support (separate blog? Category? Facebook?)

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2014 12:19 PM

June 18, 2014

Rare Government Genius

The Washington Redskins football team is a private enterprise and should be allowed to choose its name. Inviolately true.

But the government is charged with trademark protection. And if they are displeased with just cause, they can yank that protection.

The DC Football team can keep the name, forbearing some revenue from piracy. Or they can change the name and protect their brand.


I have supported the Indigenous-people's-epidermises in this contretemps until today. This is a new emotion and might be subject to persuasion. But my first thought is that this is pretty bright. I'll concede that it empowers government somewhat and that this might get out of hand -- but this is an enumerated federal power and I'll grant them broad interpretations of those.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:17 PM | What do you think? [4]
But johngalt thinks:


It is the market's place to pass judgment on the "harm" done by a trademark, not government's. Free Speech uber alles.

Yours truly, Illinois Nazis (TM)

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2014 9:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't believe me? Just ask Harry Reid:

"Daniel Snyder may be the last person in the world to realize this, but it is just a matter of time until he is forced to do the right thing."

Cuz if there's one thing that says "enumerated powers" it's forcing private parties to "do the right thing."

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2014 10:02 PM
But AndyN thinks:

A friend pointed out to me today that it's the government's position that the word Redskin is so offensive that everybody should be able to use it to make money. I'll accept this new policy if they now withdraw trademark protection from the United Negro College Fund and the NAACP.

As a practical matter, I don't imagine this is going to hurt the Redskins much. For starters, it apparently can't be enforced until all the appeals have been worked through, and the Redskins have already beat this type of ruling in court twice before. Real NFL logo gear tends to include other trademarked images and logos - you can try to sell a knock-off Redskins jersey, but it will still look like a knock-off if you can't put an NFL logo on it. And I just read somewhere (sorry, can't remember where) that they can still go to court and fight against copyright or trademark infringement without the trademark or copyright being registered, as long as they can demonstrate that it belonged to them first.

Posted by: AndyN at June 19, 2014 12:34 AM
But jk thinks:

Yup, you both are right. I've backtracked so far I put it in its own post.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2014 9:52 AM

David Harsanyi, Call Your Office

And Ben Franklin, and everybody who has even pointed out the evils of Democracy.

It seems their property rights can be stolen from under their feet by ballots while they are abroad defending ours by bullets. The Colorado Observer: Military Voters Won't Get Ballots in Loveland Fracking Fight


All Hail Insty!





"Political parties are private organizations; they may adjust their rules however they wish."

I've heard that and likely have said it. But my primary ballot is identical in every way to the mechanisms used n the General (except it does not have all those smelly Democrat names on it). Do they pay? Can we start a ThreeSources party and force the County machinery to process our ballots?

Colorado Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Well, not completely as they wish. State law allows candidates to petition onto a party primary ballot without participating in said party's caucus and assembly process. It's in the state constitution, I'm told.

Want to start your own government-supported private party? Look here: http://www.sos.state.co.us/pubs/elections/Candidates/FAQs/QPOandMinorParty.html

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2014 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Interesting, thanks for the link. I suppose my Libertario Delenda Est card would be rightly revoked were I to form a Minor Parties or Qualified Political Organization.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2014 7:30 PM

June 17, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

The man who makes everything that leads to happiness depends upon himself, and not upon other men, has adopted the very best plan for living happily. This is the man of moderation, the man of manly character and of wisdom. -Plato

Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/p/plato_2.html#8puyA1pRkPdO2XYP.99

Told You So?

Remember when Susan Rice said "we will catch the Benghazi attackers!" And Darrel Issa said "No, you will not catch the Benghazi attackers!" And Ms. Rice said "Will too!!" And Rep. Issa said "So's your old man!" And...

No. I don't remember it much like that, either. But Scott Wilson at the WaPo does.

The weekend capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, one of the suspected ringleaders of the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA-run annex, gives Obama another told-you-so moment in Washington's score-keeping culture.

But the achievement is also likely to do little to tamp down the partisan fervor surrounding the administration's public management of the deadly Benghazi attacks, a still-raw political legacy of the 2012 presidential campaign that continues to preoccupy Republicans and their most ardent supporters on the right.

Let me get this straight. The Administration:
  • Bombs a country and ousts its leader with no plans to stabilize or recover;
  • Staffs a consulate with sub-par security;
  • Denies requests for additional security;
  • Sends no help during an eight hour attack;
  • Lies about the cause of the attack;
  • Lies -- aided by the outrageously unscrupulous antics of Candy Crawly -- about its characterization of the attack during a debate;
  • Throws a filmmaker in jail showing to the world our appreciation for free speech;
  • disavows filmmaker's rights;
  • Refers to the above as "a phony scandal."

And now, the WaPo thinks this is all magically expunged because an arrest was made? Told-you-so?

But johngalt thinks:

I haven't yet heard... What role did Abu Khattala allegedly play in "Innocence of Muslims" - Dolly or Key Grip?

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2014 6:05 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Would anyone care to explain to me how a "spontaneous" event can have a ringleader?

Posted by: AndyN at June 18, 2014 10:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Perhaps Abu Khattala (or "Chip" as he's known in the industry) is Libya's Roger Ebert. "The Composition!" "The Lighting!" "The Insipid Dialogue!" "Somebody's gonna die!"

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2014 10:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Tying together this Benghazi misdirection aka "ringleader's arrest" with last Friday's #UnderPlayedStory, how is it that the NYT is able to report... "that Khattala 'told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video" yet they can't find any clues in the disappearance of two years worth of email records that arguably could end the Obama Administration early? Do private Libyan conversations have better data retention policies and technologies?

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2014 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent point AndyN. When they needed a scapegoat scalp [intentionally gratuitous "redskin" reference] the Obama Administration arrested ONE filmmaker. After his faux culpability was played out they arrested ONE - I don't know what... outspoken Libyan who was interviewed by western media?

And in the Salon piece I linked in the previous comment they have him tried, convicted and sentenced already, including the implication that there are no co-conspirators to keep pursuing. "Silly Republicans, Obama kicked your ass! Take that, bitches."

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2014 10:10 PM

Two Tweets of the Day?

Two hundred eighty characters -- suck it up!

Hat-tip: Taranto

Education Posted by John Kranz at 4:23 PM | What do you think? [0]


Think you can buy these people off?


After which it will be "water that has ever been microwaved," "customers who have been vaccinated..."

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

...air ever exhaled by a Rethuglican...

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2014 2:50 PM

Bringing their organizational skill to environmentalism!

After they have solved that, I think the VA might move onto childhood obesity and a definitive proof of the Reimann Hypothesis. (Hat-tip: Jim Geraghty)

June 16, 2014


I think we're at an inflection point in our great republic.

Are we going to allow this?

The announcement came late Friday, a too-cute-by-half cliché of a PR strategy to mitigate backlash. "The IRS told Congress it cannot locate many of Lois Lerner's emails prior to 2011 because her computer crashed during the summer of that year."

I rushed to Facebook with a Rosemary Woods joke when it happened. I thought I'd show off my unique wit, but it seems I share my uniqueness with about a million of my closest friends on Facebook and Twitter.

But when Ms. Woods lost the infamous 18 minutes of White House recordings, the entire universe said "come on, really?" Nobody believed it and I recall some forensic study that showed it was not done in a contiguous streak matching Woods's accidental foot pedal explanation. It rather showed stops and starts which suggested "nope, I didn't get that bit, better try again."

I posit that the same minute percentage accept Lois Lerners's fanciful tale. The question Ron Fournier asks is whether we shall see the same scrutiny. Which brings me back to my inflection point: The DOJ will not act. As Insty says, "Eric Holder's job is scandal-goalie." Will the press accept this -- may I call it total bullshit? -- and carry on?

They have shown every willingness to cover up so far. I ask because the mood seems to be shifting as the prevarications pile up, and because this one is so simple and outlandish. The Benghazi video story struck me as beyond credulity but I am a partisan hack. There is some fog of war and you cannot ascertain others' rationality from afar.

But this. You don't really need to bring in "an IT expert" tough Powerline did. These are government servers in the branch most noted for document retention. A Rosemary Woods day or two would be extremely suspicious -- two years is laughable.

If. If they get away with this bald-face lie, than the Bananarepublicization of America is complete and self rule is truly over.

Strong words but not overwrought -- if we can be lied to this directly it is over. Three cheers to Fournier but I hope he is not alone.

UPDATE: Jeff Dobbs via Jim Geraghty:


UPDATE II (QOTD nominee):

After all, there isn't a "smidgen" of e-mail evidence to suggest otherwise. -- John Fund

UPDATE III: Hell, I'd settle for answers toSharyl Attkisson's Nine Questions

But AndyN thinks:

I hate being cynical, I really do, it's painful and tiresome, but realism demands it.

What exactly do you think not getting away with this will look like? Is it even remotely possible that in the face of overwhelming public derision the IRS will admit that they lied and hand over the documents? Barring that, is it even remotely possible that the DoJ will do its job and conduct a real investigation? And when the DoJ refuses to act, will Holder be forced from office - either resigning under pressure or impeached?

Even if Holder joins the growing crowd under the bus, who will replace him? The President will appoint another Holder, and the pattern will repeat itself. There's very little chance that the IRS/DoJ are stonewalling of their own volition. They're protecting the White House, and the White House will just keep replacing its protectors with people of like mind.

So resolving the problem means either the President must resign or be impeached. Does Barack Obama strike you as the kind of man who will admit his wrongdoing and resign in shame? Does it seem at all likely, even if the GOP takes the Senate this fall, that there will be 67 Senators willing to remove the President from office? Which 16 Democrats do you see joining a united Republican caucus?

I'm afraid self rule is already over. I'm just not sure whether it's better or worse that the aristocracy is so confident in their power over their subjects that they now feel they can flaunt it openly.

Posted by: AndyN at June 16, 2014 10:34 AM
But jk thinks:

AndyN, your superbly crafted comment deserves to stand as the last word. But it did include a good question.

I am not looking for impeachment -- the "Biden Insurance Policy" protects him from all but the highest crimes and misdemeanors. I would like Ms. Lerner's scalp and I would love to see some tarnish spread to the administration.

What I really want to see is an adversarial press. The put-a-dollar-in-the-jar-every-time-you-say "if Bush woulda done this" exceeds the GDP of several African nations. My challenge was to our esteemed press corps not to accept this excuse.

The Administration will continue to lie -- can we dial it back from "lie with impunity?"

Posted by: jk at June 16, 2014 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If the press were ever to confront the president they would be guilty of racism, their highest "crime."

Posted by: johngalt at June 16, 2014 2:37 PM

June 15, 2014

Review Corner

Gilbert Keith.

Someday, you'll win a trivia contest with "What is G.K. Chesterton's full name?" If you are on Jeopardy, be sure to phrase the answer as a question.

I reviewed Gilbert Keith's What's Wrong with the World last May. He is difficult to read on Kindle because one wants to underline every other line of his magnificent prose.

Some time ago I wrote a little book of this type and shape on St. Francis of Assisi; and some time after (I know not when or how, as the song says, and certainly not why) I promised to write a book of the same size, or the same smallness on St. Thomas Aquinas. The promise was Franciscan only in its rashness ; and the parallel was very far from being Thomistic in its logic. You can make a sketch of St. Francis: you could only make a plan of St. Thomas, like the plan of a labyrinthine city.

I'm not a man of envy. Payton Manning's new little bungalow in Cherry Hills is a fine structure; his rival Tom Brady's wife is extremely attractive, blog friend sugarchuck has some cool guitars. I'm fine with that. Mazel tov! But two good friends took some of their Catholic education at the firm hand of the Jesuits: one in high school, one in grad school. And I am green that the entire, substantive, intellectual aspect of Catholicism was never shared with me. Eleven years of parochial school theology got me a succession of deconstructionist, feel good hooey.

The Charles Murray book reviewed last April suggested that its young reader cough, cough engage in serious religious thought and study. Randy Barnett's masterful Structure of Liberty [Review Corner] used natural law and St. Thomas Aquinas as a foundation. So, I ponied up $1.99 for a Kindle version of Chesterton's St. Thomas Aquinas (illustrated and annotated).

He opens with a lengthy (well, not too lengthy -- it is a very short book) comparison of St. Francis because, again, he had written a similar book on St. Francis. But as an introduction, it is helpful to compare something new to something known.

Perhaps it would sound too paradoxical to say that these two saints saved us from Spirituality; a dreadful doom. Perhaps it may be misunderstood if I say that St. Francis, for all his love of animals, saved us from being Buddhists; and that St. Thomas, for all his love of Greek philosophy , saved us from being Platonists.

It would be rich of your review corner author to compare himself to any saint, but I was certainly drawn to Aquinas. Chesterton says that he "baptized Aristotle," bringing him into a church completely in the clutches of Platonic spirituality and mysticism. I have blasted the current pontiff, once or twice, for his irrational economics. I hope nobody missed Kevin Williamson's superb essay pushing back against an Honduran Cardinal's anti-Capitalism. Dare I mention Michael Novak?

Aquinas stands for reason and in the middle ages says that there is no conflict between religion and science. Both seek the same truth.

He practically said that if they could really prove their practical discoveries, the traditional interpretation of Scripture must give way before those discoveries. He could hardly, as the common phrase goes, say fairer than that. If the matter had been left to him, and men like him, there never would have been any quarrel between Science and Religion.

Aquinas takes on the Platonists of his own church as well as the encroachment of Islam, and "The Manichees." But his crusades are fought with reason and philosophy.
For the Augustinians derived only from Augustine, and Augustine derived partly from Plato, and Plato was right, but not quite right. It is a mathematical fact that if a line be not perfectly directed towards a point , it will actually go further away from it as it comes nearer to it. After a thousand years of extension, the miscalculation of Platonism had come very near to Manicheanism.
Hence, we may say broadly of the Moslem philosophers, that those who became good philosophers became bad Moslems. It is not altogether unnatural that many bishops and doctors feared that the Thomists might become good philosophers and bad Christians. But there were also many, of the strict school of Plato and Augustine, who stoutly denied that they were even good philosophers. Between those rather incongruous passions, the love of Plato and the fear of Mahomet, there was a moment when the prospects of any Aristotelian culture in Christendom looked very dark indeed. Anathema after anathema was thundered from high places; and under the shadow of the persecution, as so often happens, it seemed for a moment that barely one or two figures stood alone in the storm-swept area. They were both in the black and white of the Dominicans; for Albertus and Aquinas stood firm.

Aquinas was high-borne and chose the life of a friar. He was accepted into society, lectured at Colleges but was not subsumed by anything but thought and philosophy. Chesterton says "But he had all the unconscious contempt which the really intelligent have for an intelligentsia."
There may be many who do not understand the nature even of this sort of abstraction. But then, unfortunately, there are many who do not understand the nature of any sort of argument. Indeed, I think there are fewer people now alive who understand argument than there were twenty or thirty years ago; and St . Thomas might have preferred the society of the atheists of the early nineteenth century to that of the blank sceptics of the early twentieth.

But, to a 13th century friar, "A is A."
Against all this the philosophy of St. Thomas stands founded on the universal common conviction that eggs are eggs. The Hegelian may say that an egg is really a hen, because it is a part of an endless process of Becoming; the Berkeleian may hold that poached eggs only exist as a dream exists; since it is quite as easy to call the dream the cause of the eggs as the eggs the cause of the dream; the Pragmatist may believe that we get the best out of scrambled eggs by forgetting that they ever were eggs, and only remembering the scramble. But no pupil of St. Thomas needs to addle his brains in order adequately to addle his eggs; to put his head at any peculiar angle in looking at eggs, or squinting at eggs, or winking the other eye in order to see a new simplification of eggs.
According to St. Thomas, the mind acts freely of itself, but its freedom exactly consists in finding a way out to liberty and the light of day; to reality and the land of the living. In the subjectivist, the pressure of the world forces the imagination inwards. In the Thomist, the energy of the mind forces the imagination outwards, but because the images it seeks are real things. All their romance and glamour, so to speak, lies in the fact that they are real things; things not to be found by staring inwards at the mind. The flower is a vision because it is not only a vision. Or, if you will , it is a vision because it is not a dream.

And yet, the book ends a little sourly. This long-review-of-a-short-book is the first of three: today GK Chesterton, next week Karl Popper, then George Orwell. I posit that each of these three brilliant sons of liberty made economic and political errors because of the dark times in which they lived. Liberalism was in its death throes to each and each tried to posit a world with liberty in a post-Liberal universe. My man Mises saw the eventual victory of Liberalism, but Chesterton, Popper, and Orwell saw the need to make the best of a crueler world post Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin.

I can forgive the Middle Ages Friar for not cheering on free market economics. He predated Menger, Bastiat, Adam Smith, and Ludwig von Mises -- and his cable package did not include CNBC, so he never saw Kudlow. But Chesterton, sadly, piles on:

He foresaw from the first the peril of that mere reliance on trade and exchange, which was beginning about his time; and which has culminated in a universal commercial collapse in our time. He did not merely assert that Usury is unnatural, though in saying that he only followed Aristotle and obvious common sense, which was never contradicted by anybody until the time of the commercialists, who have involved us in the collapse. The modern world began by Bentham writing the Defence of Usury, and it has ended after a hundred years in even the vulgar newspaper opinion finding Finance indefensible. But St. Thomas struck much deeper than that. He even mentioned the truth, ignored during the long idolatry of trade, that things which men produce only to sell are likely to be worse in quality than the things they produce in order to consume.

Something of our difficulty about the fine shades of Latin will be felt when we come to his statement that there is always a certain inhonestas about trade. For inhonestas does not exactly mean dishonesty. It means approximately "something unworthy," or, more nearly perhaps, "something not quite handsome." And he was right; for trade, in the modern sense, does mean selling something for a little more than it is worth, nor would the nineteenth century economists have denied it.

Usury -- and "less than handsome" goods for trade. I weep. But at the end of my triumvirate review, I intend to bring Chesterton, Popper, Orwell, and maybe Aquinas to 2014. I will ask them to use their preternatural intellects to update the economic side of their philosophies.

Chesterton's book? Five starts, of course!

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:
Between those rather incongruous passions, the love of Plato and the fear of Mahomet, there was a moment when the prospects of any Aristotelian culture in Christendom looked very dark indeed.

History repeats, does it not?

GKC's myopia on trade was a fairly simple one: He ignores the reality that, while a thing is itself, it can have different value to different folk. The object is invariable - its value is not. (How much more would you pay for a bottle opener before your beer is opened than after?) And that example doesn't even account for the difference between bottle or can aficionados. Or sots and teetotalers. Or Blutarsky and Flounder.

Posted by: johngalt at June 17, 2014 5:51 PM

June 12, 2014

Spirit of Capitalism

Roger Simon highlights a Kevin Williamson essay, where Williamson goes all Michael Novak on an Honduran Cardinal's ass:

You cannot redistribute what you dont have -- and that holds true not only for countries but, finally, for the planet and the species, which of course is what globalization is all about. That men of the cloth, of all people, should be blind to what is really happening right now on the global economic scale is remarkable, ironic, and sad. Cure one or two people of blindness and you're a saint; prevent blindness in millions and youre Monsanto

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:51 PM | What do you think? [0]

Otequay of the Ayday

And if the 11 million illegals who live here obey the law, pay taxes, learn English, and understand the Constitution, they deserve legal status. Citizenship is an issue way down the road. And yes, we must include border security, where unfortunately Obama's lax policies have contributed to the calamitous surge in illegal-immigrant children. But temporary visas or work permits should be part of a sensible reform package. The E-Verify system can work.

So, Mr. Brat, as a free-market economist, surely you know there's no reason why all this cannot be done.

Hopefully you will come to believe that sensible immigration reform is pro-growth and pro-GOP.

Larry Kudlow, 'David Brat, Right on Free-Market Economics'

(Quoting Kudlow on CIR, so's jk don't have toooooooo.)

But jk thinks:

Millions pay withholding on fake SSNs for which they can never get refunds or claim any benefits. This is something of a windfall to the treasury which is never computed in opponents' balance sheets. They also pay sales taxes, property taxes through rent, and any local fees. Not to say that zero are not using services for which they do not pay, but the balance is at the very least a lot more nuanced.

The line sounds great, Andy -- the orderly queue is the centerpiece of civilization and order. But in the case of immigration, it is an absolute fantasy. There is no line -- there are some with connections who hope to emigrate and there are a few with family already here that can hope for some unification.

But those who just want to live here, whether a newly minted PhD in Engineering from Stanford or a good worker who would like a shot at the better life -- which my immigrant have friends have received -- have no hope. One can fill out a form, but there is no line, there is no wait list where a name will come up someday. There's an H1-B system that fills its annual quota in a couple days.

These people could be starting exciting new business, providing the labor for others to start or grow one -- or just be legal taxpayers and customers. It strikes me as a pretty good deal.

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2014 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

1.2 million pay witholding on ITIN's, which probably do allow refunds and benefits.


Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2014 10:57 PM
But AndyN thinks:

JK - I'm aware that a lot of criminals, both foreign and domestic, use fake SSNs. I also don't deny that taxes automatically withheld from them may be a net financial gain for the government. However, if part of Kudlow's criteria are that foreigners who entered the country illegally deserve legal status because they pay taxes and obey all our other laws besides the ones they broke entering the country, acknowledging that a lot of them pay taxes by falsifying government documents isn't much of an argument against my original point. People who aren't legally allowed to be in the country can't both obey the law and pay taxes unless they're entirely dependent on someone else for their upkeep.

As for there being no line for immigrants wanting to come here legally - that H1B quota is a line. Is the permitted length of that line too short? Perhaps. I'm more than willing to entertain the possibility that we should be encouraging more legal immigration. That doesn't change my opinion that the criminals who are here now shouldn't be given priority treatment over people who've been waiting to come here legally all along. Those people also could be starting new businesses, providing labor for others to do so, or just be legal taxpayers and customers. And I'm inclined to believe they'll be less likely to violate our other laws than people who have a history of doing so.

Posted by: AndyN at June 14, 2014 8:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Any body else had their tax return held up?

isn't helping....

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 15, 2014 1:38 AM
But Terri thinks:

Andy is right.
Increase the amount of visa's available.

That is not only the short term, but the long term solution to this problem.
I don't get why it isn't the 1st thing on the agenda. Perhaps equal to confirming we're going to work on being serious about a border or stop any talk of amnesty which just invites illegal activity.

Posted by: Terri at June 15, 2014 10:01 AM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, my work here is not done. <wink />

I know I go on about immigration, but after Facebook threads it is enriching to discuss with people guided by reason and appreciative of liberty.

The H1-B has elements of a line but no continuity. If there are 300 this year and I am number 301, that gives me no leg up next year; the line forms anew. That is a multi-winner lottery and not a line.

But I accept, to Terri's point and Andy's, that it could be expanded to create a line. I am all for that. But it will not happen.

There are those who oppose any increase in immigration for a variety of reasons. Some see zero-sum economics and believe every immigrant taking a job leaves one fewer job for US citizens (cf., South Park). Unions see a shift away from Union labor. Some have baser motives.

Even with a plurality remaining, neither would legislators on either side "give this away." This most popular chip is held hostage by the right to enact more security and on the left to get a path to citizenship. You can't give the abolitionists Missouri and then discuss Kansas.

If the H1B is fixed, we still have all the same messes. More Doctors around to treat everybody, which is nice, but there is a demand for low wage labor and a supply of it separated by a very narrow river. On that front, I most definitely hold my position that this "line" we keep hearing of is a fiction. There is zero legal path for a Mexican or Central American who would like to come here, work hard, pay his taxes, and establish a better life.

I am a law and order guy. It gets me kicked out of a lot of Libertarian events -- even the ones with a cash bar. If there were a legal path, I'd happily get tough on those who chose not to use it. As there is none, I'm sympathetic to those who make my life better and theirs, at great cost and jeopardy to themselves.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2014 11:17 AM

About more than immigration...

Feeling better... James Freeman of the WSJ Ed Page "takes a closer look:" (Wait, is that what Blog Brother jg asked me to do?)

As a Journal editorial notes, Mr. Brat "ran against Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which is the Lord's work, as well as the farm and flood insurance bills that Mr. Cantor guided through the House this year. To the extent his victory warns the GOP to disavow crony capitalism, Mr. Brat has done a public service." Mr. Brat also attacked the Majority Leader for his support of the TARP bank bailouts, Medicare expansion and various spending bills.

And Mr. Brat managed to pull off his upset without support from any of the big Washington-based groups that have sought to appropriate the Tea Party brand. What's also noteworthy about this tale of an insurgent defeating the establishment candidate is that the 7th district is in many ways the home of the establishment. While the district includes some rural towns, it largely covers the affluent areas around Richmond populated by white-collar professionals.

But johngalt thinks:
The GOP's new nominee in the Virginia 7th district is socially conservative with a strong libertarian streak and a healthy admiration for Ronald Reagan's "peace through strength" policies for national defense. As always, that appears to describe the winning Republican coalition.

The Council on Foreign Relations could not be reached for comment.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2014 3:24 PM

Quote of the Day

First, I apparently wasn't perceived by some people as a "serious" candidate. Given the fact that I was the only candidate in the race with an entire platform based on child poverty, mass incarceration, income disparity, diminishing civil liberties, domestic surveillance, student loan debt, corporatization and rule by oligarchy, passing a Green New Deal, and a Constitutional Amendment to rid corporations of the rights of personhood, I'm a little stymied as to what makes a person "serious" enough to pass muster with the so-called "serious" people who make such judgments. Indeed, mine was the only top tier candidacy that actually did make a serious critique of the political status quo.-- Marianne Williamson
Hat-tip: A Facebook friend who says "Imagine a world where the politicians thought like this.... Maybe one day."

June 11, 2014

Libertario Delenda Est!

I may have something of a fellow traveler over at Reason. Brian Doherty pens a Libertarian-focused look at the Brat/Cantor race. What's the L-cred of this soi disant Randian Econ Professor?

Brat seems really solid on some things, like surveillance (against it), the Second Amendment (for it), spending (for balancing budget), and Obamacare (against). He's bad on immigration and ambiguous, which generally means bad, on a sane foreign policy. And if Virginians want an actual capital-L Libertarian Party candidate to vote for in Cantor's old House seat, they have James Carr, part of the team assembled in that state where Robert Sarvis did amazingly well in his governor's race last year and is trying to repeat history in his federal Senate race this year.

Good story, good story. . . Then, The "Radicals for Capitalism" author describes the "Structure of Liberty" [Review Corner] author:
For example, Randy Barnett is a true blue, Lysander Spooner-loving anarchist, the product of the libertarian movement machine of the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Institute for Humane Studies in the 1970s and '80s. He has also, unusually for such a radical libertarian, become an important public intellectual--recognized by The New York Times as one of the most influential legal thinkers and activists of his time due to his work fighting in the Supreme Court for getting the feds out of state-level medical marijuana and for undercutting the legal argument for Obamacare. Barnett managed to both write the best modern defense of an anarchist legal order and be the darling of the conservative legal group the Federalist Society for his explication of the libertarian roots of the Constitution.

Barnett also thinks, and recently tweeted, that when it comes to politics, "a 'libertarian moment' does not entail across-the-board libertarianism." Barnett has long insisted that libertarians really ought to vote for Republicans over Libertarians (even as polled public support for the idea of a third major party opposed to Democrats and Republicans reached a record high 60 percent last year). As Barnett told me this week, "to move in a libertarian direction doesn't require a politician to agree with" the entire consistent body of libertarian thought. Besides, by definition, he points out, a Libertarian Party makes the other two major parties less libertarian than they would otherwise be by siphoning libertarians toward that third party. (He doesn't put a lot of credence in the "making a major party lose will make that party embrace libertarianism" idea.)

Indeed. Libertario Delenda Est.


First: Wow. Didn't see that coming.

Second: I have read some pretty good (and some bad) commentary. Peter Suderman at Reason provides a balanced look at four reasons VA-7 may have given its favored son the heave-ho.

But it is hard to contradict Jim Geraghty's terse summary:

Take a victory lap, Mickey Kaus, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham.

Kaus, at least, is tuirnung donuts it the parking lot. Insty has linked to him about 147 times since the exit polls trickled out last night.

Perhaps I am too pragmatic to be a 'bagger. I read that Professor Brat is a sharp, eloquent, and principled defender of small government. So. Yay.

But the advertisements linked Rep. Cantor to President Obama and "Amnesty." If there is one word I'd love to never hear again, it is of course "Obama." (See what I did there?) But if I get two, the second is certainly "Amnesty." Amnesty is the "bloody shirt" of the immigration debate. I can take immigration opponents seriously until they use that word. Then, they've lost me.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (TeeVeeStar - SC) cruises to victory in the Palmetto State. I would love to see a principled lover of liberty prevail there. Against Cantor? Not so much.

A sports metaphor, scarecrow? We've just traded a really good Left Tackle because he couldn't throw 60 yard spirals. But try and throw one with JJ Watt standing on your head.

Tea Partiers are happy, I guess I am not one after all.


UPDATE II: Corrected District number: was VA-11 should be VA-7

But jk thinks:

"We are the Knights who say 'Amnestee!'"

The Prosperitarian in me says it will fuel growth. The Administration is sworn to smother any economic life with taxes and regulations -- here's a "compromise-worthy" task that might both be positive for the economy and happen while that-other-word-guy is living in the White House.

The Pragmatist in me says it would be electorally advantageous not to be they guys telling 30-something percent of the voting public that we're going to build an 27' barbed-wire electric fence to keep you guys out.

Fears of Obama's (I said it) discretionary enforcement are well founded. I am such a Ricardian Sop, I don't care, If we trade more H1-Bs for more enforcement and don't get the enforcement, I have not been baited=-and-switched. I would meet my opponents halfway on that and try to structure some mechanisms to address their concerns -- but only if they stop calling it "Amnesty."

Waiting three years for the workers we need to grow is like waiting three years for Keystone XL. Well, yeah, if we have to -- but why?

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2014 6:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Workers we "need" to grow? Have you looked at the labor participation rate lately? The recovery has made the decision, to stay away, not the workers. It would have taken a bilge pump far bigger than this to stop the sinking of the Titanic. That's your "why."

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Readers might be interested in CU Boulder visiting conservative scholar Steven Hayward's view on immigration reform, found in his Powerline Blog post today - After Cantor:

I think there’s some room for reasonable changes in our immigration practices—I rather like the idea of an auction system, favoring people who would bring valuable assets or skills to the country—but the time is not now. The Democrats are operating from bad faith, looking only to sign up more Democratic voters, and Republicans have been operating from massive confusion married to bad motives.
Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the line which preceded your excerpt: "(Or as I put it on Twitter: 'What's the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress? Immigration reform is definitely dead.')"

Not sure I agree that capricious enforcement of a reform bill will be any worse that capricious enforcement of current law.

And, yes, we need immigrants. North Dakota Walmart*s are starting people at $17.10, unemployment is ~2% -- that is what growth an prosperity provide. More workers/entrepreneurs/customers fuels growth.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2014 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the line which preceded your excerpt: "(Or as I put it on Twitter: 'What's the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress? Immigration reform is definitely dead.')"

Not sure I agree that capricious enforcement of a reform bill will be any worse that capricious enforcement of current law.

And, yes, we need immigrants. North Dakota Walmart*s are starting people at $17.10, unemployment is ~2% -- that is what growth an prosperity provide. More workers/entrepreneurs/customers fuels growth.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2014 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't mind you having the last word but just as there are jobs that "Americans won't do" there are also jobs that "Mexicans won't do" - any job north of Cheyenne. North Dakota will have to look somewhere else to stem their labor shortage. Hey, maybe start a rumor about a gold rush or some such.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2014 3:04 PM

June 10, 2014

Quote of the Day

Put down your Kleenexes, Sec, Clinton did not have it perhaps quite so bad as she averred...

Leaving aside for a brief moment how utterly farcical it is to use "struggle" and "houses" in the same sentence, the notion that the Clintons were presented in their post-presidency with anything other than a license to print money is unyielding in its abject hilarity. By 2001, Bill Clinton had made $200,000 per annum for eight years while paying nothing toward his housing or upkeep, and, in addition to the extraordinarily lucrative speaking gigs that American ex-presidents are now to expect, he had a lifetime of pensions and benefits to look forward to. (David Graham points out that, in the last 14 years, he has received nearly $16 million from the government.) By the end of the year in which he left office, the couple had made $16 million and enjoyed between $5 and $30 million in assets. By 2004, they had $50 million to their names. And by 2014, Clinton had become the highest-earning former president in America's history, with net assets of nearly $200 million. Being smart sorts, the couple knew full well that this was coming, which is why in 1999, with their apparently destructive legal bills still racking up, they bought a $6 million house in Chappaqua, N.Y., so that Hillary could legally run for the Senate. One suspects that if the Clintons had been genuinely worried that their legal fights might bankrupt them, they would not have done this, nor would friend Terry McAuliffe have agreed to loan them $1.3 million toward its purchase. -- Charlie Cooke

Hat-tip Jim Geraghty

UPDATE: In spite of the lengthy excerpt, whole thing the please read -- it is an impressive takedown of the Clintons which might come in handy over the next couple of years.

UPDATE II: Thanks, Facebook!


But dagny thinks:

I'm not the world's largest Clinton fan, yet I find something to criticize in the above quote.

I will start by admitting I don't know exactly what Hillary said and I did not whole thing the please read so I may be way off base here...

BUT I have a problem with the argument that so and so could not possibly be struggling because they make X amount of dollars and have X dollars in assets. The Clintons income and asset numbers sound very large to me but I am certain the jg and dagny income and asset numbers would sound very large to some people as well.

I still feel entitled to complain that the economy sucks and my dollar doesn't go as far anymore. If you are in debt and struggling to pay bills, it feels bad no matter where on the income scale you fall.

As I do not believe that those lower on the income scale have a claim to what I have worked for, I therefore do not believe I get to tell those higher on the scale what their status should be.

The question of whether the Clintons actually, "earned," what they have is a different question and whole other matter. I would wish they hadn't collected an additional 16 million of taxpayer dollars but as JK noted in another post, that amount is in the noise range for governments.

Posted by: dagny at June 10, 2014 6:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not think that we should engage in class envy against the Clintons -- even though it world be positively fruit juicy to turn that tactic back on those who claimed that Gov. Romney was somehow "too rich" to be president.

But I'm not sure I'll join on your -- or Sec. Clinton's -- right to whine. Yes, you possess it but said person on lower rung has a more absolute right to laugh at you for doing so. And her ability to make five time the median annual income for an hour's gabbing at some cronies justifies some good eye-rolling.

If you are missing any context it's that she trotted out this tear-jerk to defend herself against Diane Sawyer's questions about $200K speaking fees. Had she taken the dagny approach and said "Diane, I was awesome -- they should've tipped me and washed my car" then I'd be in. But this is because she is embarrassed to be in the class she's in.

She also complains about the taxes. My sympathy chip is perhaps not completely soldered in today.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2014 7:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A very enjoyable article! Not only does it reveal Empress Hillary's empty wardrobe, it suggests an erudite replacement acronym for 'ROFLMAO' with the phrase "unyielding in its abject hilarity." UAH? UIIAH?

Dagny's defense of the wealthy from attack for being wealthy is worthy, but not in the case of government royalty like Bill and Hillary Clinton, who lived rent and mortgage free in state and federal mansions for a couple of decades. However, what I found most interesting was HRH HRC's reference to taxes:

Her husband, she told Sawyer, "had to make double the money because of, obviously, taxes."

"Because of, obviously, taxes." Is she suggesting that, prior to leaving government service, their incomes were not taxable? I find no support for that reality, so what did she mean? "Double the money" compared to what?

But leaving aside the obvious issue that "yes, Ms. Clinton, so does every working American" she was caught by Ms. Sawyer's inopportune question, which revealed the obvious parallel between "astronomical speaking fees" and "obscene profits" - the former being Sawyer's characterization of her and her husband's *ahem* "earnings" and the later being HRH HRC's characterization of any profit earned by anyone who is not a contributor to her campaign. Marie Antoinette comes to mind.

I do feel a twinge of sympathy for HRH however since, if she has parroted class-warfare egalitarian rhetoric long enough to convince herself it is morally justified, the cognitive dissonance must genuinely keep her awake at night. (Ready for 3am phone calls, perhaps.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 3:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee saw some of clips and it seemed to be HRH attempting to say, "I feel your pain." Unfortunately for her, it came off very hollow. Trying to imply that she and Bill were just a paycheck away from homelessness as they left the White House just doesn't pass the laugh test.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 11, 2014 4:26 PM

June 9, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"Recoveries make a CHOICE...

...and our recovery was CHOOSING to stay away."

- From the newly released Graphic Edition of Amity Shlaes' 'The Forgotten Man.'

Tweet of the Day

GOP Policy on Energy and Climate

"We will address our energy needs and any externalities with science and innovation; they will use politics."
Maybe it is too late, or the media narrative too established, but I think Republicans could expose the lefties' anti-science predilection and possibly turn the tables.

I know Solyndra was about 11 scandals ago. But the Democrats (read The Mark Udall for Senate Campaign) have designs on playing up "denialism." How can you consider voting for a troglodyte, flat-earther who doesn't even believe in Climate Change?

To combat this, I offer, free of charge (excepting my normal Koch Brothers stipend), a GOP Energy and Climate Plan for 2014 & 2016:

Addressing Energy Needs and Climate Concerns with Science

1. Research
Offer a series of sizable "prizes" for substantive progress in raw R&D. Forgive me libertarians and strict Constitutionalists, but compared to the alternative, $10 Million for each of these is a bargain (and a prize is far less distortionary than subsidies or mandates):

  • Dime-a-watt Photovoltaics
  • CO2 Sequestration/Recovery for coal combustion
  • Flare capture/recovery
  • Direct algae production of usable fuel
  • Kudzu-diesel
  • Some wind metric...

The non-distortionary nature of a prize makes it harmless. The cost for any of these producing significant advancements would be good value. And you're supporting research institutions and American can-do-ism.

2. Defined metrics for regulation.
Why do we have Ethanol mandates, and Solyndra, and not the Keystone XL Pipleline? Some very large campaign contributors have more than a bit to do with it. EPA regs, LNG Exports, Pipelines, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the Designated Hitter will be evaluated -- in a ThreeSources' Administration -- on actual impact and cost/benefit projections: not campaign contributions.

3. Funding for Climate Science
Again, I apologize to Mister Madison, but continued grants to study not only "Global Warming" but ocean acidification, possible mitigation strategies, &c. are small compared to the current, devastating regulations.

We're not denying anything -- except that our opponents schemes have been more about science than rewarding political constituencies.

UPDATE: So, if I include a link, it is not "a Rant?"

The proposed EPA rules would cost approximately $51 billion a year and destroy 224,000 jobs each year through 2030. The poor and people on fixed incomes will be hurt the most. And all this pain will be for absolutely no gain: It will have no impact at all on the global climate, according to reports published by the libertarian Heartland Institute--based on peer-reviewed climate science.

But johngalt thinks:

Chuckle. Yer still good if your rant has a link to the Koch-Brothers (TM) Heartland Institute.

One question: Is there any room for safe, carbonless, nuclear power under the big energy tent?

Okay, two questions: How does this new spending on research prevent further and greater spending on subsidizing bad ideas - you know, the ones that can't sustainably survive in the market without subsidies?

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2014 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

SIDENOTE: As you can imagine, Robert Bryce's Book was pretty keen on noocyuler power from a density perspective -- hard to beat mc2

I'm in a trading mood. Applying rational, methodic, quantitative evaluation likely gets rid of all ethanol mandates and subsidy. Boom, baby! I just paid for my x-prizes ten times over.

The straight grants will fund some nonsense, no doubt. But if we are performing cost-benefit analysis before promoting bad ideas to policy, I'm in.

People lose their minds over "$3 million to give monkey's cocaine!" or "$600,000 to study parakeet flatulence!!" -- or whatever the outrage of the week is. You can bash science grants from a libertarian or Constitutional perspective, but you cannot tell me that's what is breaking us. I shrug pretty vocally at those.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2014 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't say it well enough - by "subsidizing bad ideas" I meant, handing out much greater grants, or mandates, or rules, or loans (you can pay us back when you are profitable, wink wink) for cronies to start businesses based on one or more of those bad ideas. Perhaps its unfair to expect you to fix everything, but I think those ventures must be off limits with gub'mint dough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:46 AM

June 8, 2014

Review Corner

We call our species homo sapiens--wise man--but we are, in fact, homo faber, man the creator. We have changed the face of this planet with our tools and structures, and we will continue doing so. Assuring future prosperity requires that we continue exploring the atom and exploring deep space.
This describes Karl Popper's "World 3" (coming soon to a Review Corner near you) but it captures Robert Bryce's anti-Malthusian Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper: How Innovation Keeps Proving the Catastrophists Wrong.

Moore's Law applies to and is well-accepted in the microprocessor sector. A newer faster smaller cheaper computer is almost as predictable as a user's story of the older, bigger, slower, and more expensive equipment he or she began using. (Having a brother who worked on mainframes, I have learned not to get into one-upsmanship in that area...)

But Bryce expands it to all fields of human endeavor: Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper energy, agriculture, transportation, music -- everything where innovation is allowed, and sometimes, even where it isn't.

The trend toward Smaller Faster is not dependent on a single country, company , or technology. Nor is it dependent on ideology. Smaller Faster Lighter Denser Cheaper has flourished despite Marxism, Communism, Socialism, Confucianism, and authoritarian dictatorships. It might even survive the Republicans and the Democrats.

Leo Fender gets a shout out for empowering the individual in music with the tools to be heard in the theatre, and then the same technology's allowing The Beatles to be heard around the world on the Ed Sullivan Show.
The vacuum tube allowed musicians to be heard as individuals, and in doing so liberated millions of people. Lee De Forest, the Alabama-born inventor who perfected the vacuum tube, would eventually win more than three hundred patents. But none of his other inventions would ever be as important as the vacuum tube.

The book is great for a modernist like me. I'd put it beside Matt Ridley's The Rational Optimist [Review Corner] or David Deutsch's The Beginning of Infinity [Review Corner]. Those are sacred texts to a technocrat like me, but what Bryce may do better is to directly take on and negate the neo-Malthusians, who -- if I may borrow from Popper again -- would "take us back to the caves."
Collapse anxiety pervades the rhetoric of many of the world's most prominent environmentalists as well as some of the biggest environmental groups. They abhor modern energy sources as despoilers of earth's beauty and natural order and cling to the idea that we humans have inappropriately sought to subdue nature for our own shortsighted, materialistic, and short-term benefit. In their view, we humans have sinned so much against Mother Earth that even the weather has turned against us.
The facts are simply indisputable: never have so many lived so well, or so free. Yet despite this astounding progress, there remains an entrenched and powerful interest group that believes we humans are doing too much, that we must reduce our consumption of everything, return to our agrarian past and employ what one prominent catastrophist calls "a new civilizational paradigm." Following such a path would be disastrous.
McKibben and his fellow travelers believe that salvation lies in pursuing low density in both energy production and food production. But the precise opposite is true. Density is green. It's only by increasing the density of our energy and food production that we will be able to meet the demands of our growing population. And yet, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, and many other groups want to pave the world with low-density wind turbines.

ThreeSourcers will also enjoy the quantitative nature of the book advances are measured and compared to what they replaced and back to what was used in antiquity.
The original Model T was equipped with a 2.9 liter engine that produced 22 horsepower (about 16,400 watts) and weighed about 300 pounds (136 kg). The result: gravimetric power density of nearly 121 watts per kilogram. That power density was 73 times that of a horse, 12 times that of the Boulton & Watt design and about six times that of the engine Corliss had introduced in Philadelphia three decades earlier.

The energy section will warm the hearts of ThreeSourcers, if read on Kindle, at 0.44°C/µW -- energy density, near and dear to all.
That Obama and Kennedy, both of whom went to Harvard, claim that a super-high-energy density substance that can be deployed for innumerable purposes, from pumping well water in Kenya to emergency generation of electricity in Lower Manhattan, is somehow bad or even yet, tyrannical, is nonsense on stilts. Rather than talk about the tyranny of oil, the two Harvard grads might as well complain about the tyranny of physics-- or better yet, the tyranny of density.

Detailed Appendices describe the units used and data sources for the quantitative sections. For all its factual content, the book is an easy and enjoyable read. Five Stars, easy.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:04 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 7, 2014

Negotiating with Satan

I call this a rant because it comes straight from my thoughts, without any supporting hyperlinks.

I hear many commentators discuss the implications of America's recent decision to negotiate with terrorists in the trading of five Islamist war criminals for the feckless Bowe Bergdahl. "This will only endanger our troops as it encourages the enemy to attempt taking more of our soldiers as hostages."

What I don't hear is anyone contemplating what this exchange has done to the Jihadis. Here are some observations:

- Dealing with their enemy with dialog instead of bullets weakens the "purity" of the "all infidels must be killed" ideology. UBL seemed to be more ruthless in this ideology than the Taliban, and their leader Mullah Omar, now seem to be.

- Trading value for value is capitalism. This is the path to peaceful coexistence. Capturing more Americans to trade for other things they want is, while distressing, an improvement on the strategy of "kill enough of them that they lose their political will and flee."

Our soldiers' presence in their primitive lands seems to have effected a sort of "Peace Corps" effect as they learn that, individually, Americans are not devils.

Jihad Rant Posted by JohnGalt at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:

Since writing this I've felt some regret about analogizing the trading of hostages with capitalism. Human lives are not "capital" and capturing free people is not "creating wealth." Capitalism requires free trade, and trading in captivity can never be compatible with free trade.

Is an expanded hostage trade really an improvement - from the civilized point of view - from the "kill the infidels" strategy? If it helps to lead a great number of Islamists to recognize their enemy's right to exist, and eventually reform Islam and renounce its mistaken moral license to kill infidels on sight, then yes I think so.

Do I believe this is Obama's strategically desired outcome? No. I believe he withdraws from battle for egalitarian pacifist motivations, and trades Gitmo's prisoners as a means to close Gitmo. The Taliban and other Islamists (Iran, anyone?) may be more likely to draw undesirable conclusions from America's actions than the one I outlined above. So just consider this hopeful observation as my attempt for the "blog optimist of the month" award.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2014 9:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It also bears my stating openly that the Taliban's behavior in this episode has affected my attitude toward them, if only slightly. A reading of their history as the government of Afghanistan is warranted, however, to show just how far they have to evolve and reform from a society of forced religious order to one of individual rights.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2014 10:23 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee's quarrel with this post is that it seems too dependent upon ipso facto analysis. Just because the Taliban has kept a soldier alive as trade bait does not indicate that they have moved closer to Western values of individual life and commerce. These people have been haggling since Abraham put Isaac on the alter and drive a harder bargain than God. They may be ideological, but they are also supremely practical. They will not give up a thing of value for nothing, whether the return be propaganda, comrades or money. Kidnapping for ransom is a time-honored craft in that part of the world.

Obama has now establish the "list price" of a US serviceman. Moreover, because he justified the trade based on Bergdahl's "deteriorating health," he has incented the Taliban to capture soldiers and starve/torture them within an inch of their lives to extract maximum value. Because Bergdahl lived, others will be tortured and die. Another case of Obama picking winners and losers, perhaps.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 9, 2014 5:34 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Trading one's life for 72 virgins may the most extreme example of Islamic haggling, though one could argue that it less like haggling and more like heaven on the pre fixe plan.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 9, 2014 5:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. I believe you're right BR. Continued reflection convinced me that this doesn't show the Taliban has moved away from a pure ideology. Instead, it shows that their ideology was never pure to begin with. That, I think, is the important takeaway here: Despite all of their, literally, "holier than thou" rhetoric they are no different than any other human males who, as Robert Heinlein wrote, "will hoist the Jolly Roger" when they see a good opportunity to do so.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:53 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And that criticism remains: If America is so evil, Taliban, how can you negotiate with them?

Answer: Because the negotiation is not between "good" or "evil" in either an absolute OR a relative sense, but between "haves" and "want to haves." Or in familiar terms, producers and looters.

Hey, don't Democrats frequently call Republicans "evil" too? Hmmm.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:57 AM

June 6, 2014

Three Cheers for Boulder!

Okay -- I know his account was hacked now...

Nope. The lovely bride and I had a very nice evening last night. A good friend was playing at the St. Julien Hotel. It is across the street from my old office and I believe our band was the first one to play there.

We saw the ensemble Laughing Hands: a hyper-eclectic acoustic ensemble. I've seen them several times and cannot recommend them highly enough. Superb musicianship, unusual instruments, diverse repertoire -- they're great.

The backlighting challenged even the mighty Lumina 1020

The great conundrum is that, somehow, without Boulder, that doesn't really happen. I was beating up Austin last week, but it is the same deal. To say it coarsely: without the lefties we'd have Dunkin' Donuts and no Starbucks.

Mind you, we need some Federalism so that they cannot run the whole country, but there has to be a Boulder.

What Freedom Looks Like!


No idear.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I've seen this before. The pic looks like a line at an ATM, not a "student debt forgiveness applications machine." Someone trying to make a business out of some government program. Same mierda, different dia.

Posted by: johngalt at June 7, 2014 11:22 AM

Quote of the Day

Jonah Goldberg points out [subscribe] that the White House's Hacks can't even do Hackery right:

In the old days, there was an unwritten rule of politics: Don't put the president next to a guy who looks like he just emerged out of spider-hole with Mullah Omar. But these are more relaxed and tolerant times. Still, in the Washington of yore, the president's advance team would at least go over with the president's guests what they might say when standing alongside the leader of the free world. You know just to make sure everyone is on the same page. But that's hard to do when the page is written in ... Pashto!

June 5, 2014

-- And Bailing Out Students

Enumerating Sen. Mark Udall's platforms for re-election, I left one out:


Other people's money. That will, sadly, be popular in Colorado.

Quote of the Day

"We have to quit putting out fires," said one Democratic senator, who asked not to be named in talking candidly about internal party views of the White House. -- NYTimes (via Taranto)

Democratic solutions to inequality - an analogy

If the Democratic meme of "income inequality" were applied to medicine, this is how it would work:

Supposed you break your arm and take it to a doctor for fixing. Using "inequality" logic, the doctor would first provide aspirin for "immediate relief." Then the doctor would go to the next patient and break his arm. Nothing would be fixed, but everyone would be equal.

Using free market logic, the arm would be set and immobilized until it healed. This solution would be neither pain-free nor immediate, but would eventually result in having two good arms.

But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. Yeah, I see. Fortunately we have Hippocrates, and his ancient oath to protect us from mistreatment by physicians.

How do we go about getting that applied to government?

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2014 6:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Harrison Bergeron, call your office!

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2014 7:20 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Good point, JG. If only we had some established, codified set of principles that government officials could be required to swear an oath to uphold.

Posted by: AndyN at June 5, 2014 8:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Man would THAT be cool!

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2014 9:20 PM

Three Cheers for the ACLU!

They do get it right now and then: Skokie in 1978, and "Campaign Finance Reform" today.

Democrats pushing for a constitutional amendment that would give government the authority to regulate political spending by outside groups will do so without one traditional ally at their side.

In a letter submitted Tuesday to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the American Civil Liberties Union expressed opposition to the amendment, saying it would "lead directly to government censorship of political speech and result in a host of unintended consequences that would undermine the goals the amendment has been introduced to advance."

My buddy and Senator, Mark Udall (Daddy's - CO) looks to be betting the farm on three issues that are hard sells in Colorado:


Democrat incumbent Sen. Mark Udall (Colo.) will receive support from an out-of-state gun control group in his reelection campaign, after backing stricter gun laws in the past.

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the group founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, has raised more than $15 million in support of candidates like Udall, who wants a return of the assault weapons ban. The group wants to limit gun owners to 10-bullet magazines, and to "examine" America's "glorification of violence."

Energy once again is dominating Colorado's U.S. Senate race with the announcement that climate change guru Tom Steyer is tapping his fortune to make sure Democrat Mark Udall wins another term.

Steyer, a retired hedge fund manager from California billed as a "green billionaire," founded NextGen Climate Action. He said Thursday he is donating $50 million to the super PAC to target seven Democrat races nationwide, including Udall's, and the group is expected to raise at least another $50 million.

Very important on Facebook that people sign Sen. Udall's petition demanding that Cory Gardner accept climate change. Umm, Yeah!!! Sure. I guess...


Looking for issues to push in this year's congressional elections, Senate Democrats are proposing a constitutional amendment that would enable government at the federal and state levels alike to heavily regulate campaign contributions and expenditures. The effort is driven by the Democrats' intense disagreement with Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance. The amendment likely will fail, as it certainly should. As in so many areas of governance these days, liberty--here the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment--is at stake.

The third peg was his Amendment overturning The First Amendment Citizens United v. FEC.

All of these have some traction in "Purple" Colorado. But Democrats get elected as "moderates" and, while Udall's new allies have deep pockets, they will be easy targets for attacks as -- excuse me, but I must -- "Too Extreme for Colorado!". The ALCU's demurring now removes any legitimacy the Amendment may have had.

I guess he'll have to ruin on his support for ObamaCare®!

June 4, 2014

Whose side is he on anyway?

The inestimable Colonel Ralph Peters (US Army-Retired) describes how President Obama and the man-children in his administration could be so myopic as to believe the general public, not to mention active and retired military members, would greet their "prisoner swap" with glee.

This is a fundamental culture clash. Team Obama and its base cannot comprehend the values still cherished by those young Americans "so dumb" they joined the Army instead of going to prep school and then to Harvard. Values such as duty, honor, country, physical courage, and loyalty to your brothers and sisters in arms have no place in Obama World. (Military people don't necessarily all like each other, but they know they can depend on each other in battle -- the sacred trust Bergdahl violated.)

President Obama did this to himself (and to Bergdahl). This beautifully educated man, who never tires of letting us know how much smarter he is than the rest of us, never stopped to consider that our troops and their families might have been offended by their commander-in-chief staging a love-fest at the White House to celebrate trading five top terrorists for one deserter and featuring not the families of those soldiers (at least six of them) who died in the efforts to find and free Bergdahl, but, instead, giving a starring role on the international stage to Pa Taliban, parent of a deserter and a creature of dubious sympathies (that beard on pops ain't a tribute to ZZ Top). How do you say "outrageous insult to our vets" in Pashto?

UPDATE: Col. Peters refers to inevitable book and movie deals for Bergdahl, "quite possibly the most-hated individual soldier in the history of our military" but a movie that tells his story has already been made. His is the part of Ephialtes.

Mugged by Reality

Austin: The Boulder of Texas!

"I'm at the breaking point," said Gretchen Gardner, an Austin artist who bought a 1930s bungalow in the Bouldin neighborhood just south of downtown in 1991 and has watched her property tax bill soar to $8,500 this year.

"It's not because I don't like paying taxes," said Gardner, who attended both meetings. "I have voted for every park, every library, all the school improvements, for light rail, for anything that will make this city better. But now I can't afford to live here anymore. I'll protest my appraisal notice, but that's not enough. Someone needs to step in and address the big picture."

Texas Posted by John Kranz at 3:09 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I wonder if Austin permits fracking?

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 4:23 PM

Family Guy Does Colorato Politics

Can't say I'm a fan of "Family Guy," but that may have to change:

But johngalt thinks:

"Don't bring me down, bro'!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 4:34 PM

Shh -- or I'll release more terrorists!

If ThreeSources does not discontinue its ACA Horror Story of the Day, feature, I'll have no alternative to releasing Khalid Sheik Mohammad!


Susan Rice Lied on a Sunday Show?

That would be news! But Matt Vierkant, a team leader of another squad in Bergdahl's platoon, is more charitable:

Asked about the statement Sunday by National Security Adviser Susan Rice that Bergdahl served "with honor and distinction," he said: "That statement couldn't be further from the truth. I don't know if she was misinformed or doesn't know about the investigations and everything else, or what."

Quote of the Day

I'm sure conservatives can find [CIA Director Leon] Panetta decisions they disagree with, but let's face it: In a national security team that included or includes the likes of Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Tommy Vietor, he looks like George S. Patton. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
But johngalt thinks:

I would pay dearly to see one of our present day press gaggles question George S. Patton. How many of them do you suppose he could reduce to tears?

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 12:29 PM

I See What You Did There

Crazy Like a Fox?


We'll keep on releasing terrorists until you start telling pollsters you love me!!

But johngalt thinks:

But... the President and his administration said they would be hailed as liberators.

Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 12:36 PM

June 3, 2014

Quote of the Day

Obama's move was an ultimate victory for those at the White House and the State Department who had previously argued the military should "suck it up and salute," says the official familiar with the debate. -- Massimo Calabresi , TIME

It was the third of June

...another sleepy, dusty, delta day...

Happy Billie Joe Day!

Music Posted by John Kranz at 6:16 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:



Posted by: johngalt at June 4, 2014 5:54 PM

Brave, Brave, Sir Robin.

Sec. Clinton, in the shadow of le Condo d'Amour, takes a bold stand on the deserters-for-terrorists swap: "Well, we'll see."

Gotta click, MSNBC wants me to buy an embed code. That's gonna happen.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

June 2, 2014

Happiness is Not Zero Sum

David Azerrod has an interesting piece at Heritage's The Foundry Blog. He suggests that conservatives fall into a trap when they accept the Left's analogy of a race.

What Quinn's avowedly discomfiting conclusion reveals is that it is time to drop the flawed race of life analogy once and for all. Life is not race. Life is a journey whose goal is happiness. And happiness is not a finite national resource--there is plenty of it to go around. My happiness need not come at the expense of others.

In a race, I can only win if all the others lose. In life, my happiness leaves you perfectly free to go about your life and find your own happiness. We can't all be happy all the time, of course, but that is not because we are all racing against one another, but because the crooked timber of mankind is subjected to the endless vagaries of life.

If we take our bearings from the Declaration of Independence rather than from a metaphorical footrace, we can see that we are not all racing toward the same finish line, but each pursuing happiness in our own way. Some want to be baseball players; others choose to become priests--occasionally, some will even forego a promising baseball career to enter the priesthood. Some are gifted musicians; others have a knack for languages. We've got introverts and extroverts; men of action and dreamers; those who can and those who teach. Human beings in all their marvelous diversity!

Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, jk has to make tortured segues. Here's John Lawlor, a guy who likes to play the tenor guitar. He's an iconoclast, not a hipster. If you can find 52 minutes, I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you cannot, scroll to 45:00 and listen to "Take me Out to the Ball Game."

If you listen to all 52, you'll know that happiness really is not finite.

UPDATE: Yes, you have to turn the audio waaay up.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 6:52 PM | What do you think? [7]
But johngalt thinks:
"They do not want to own your fortune, they want you to lose it; they do not want to succeed, they want you to fail; they do not want to live, they want you to die; they desire nothing, they hate existence, and they keep running, each trying not to learn that the object of his hatred is himself . . . . They are the essence of evil, they, those anti-living objects who seek, by devouring the world, to fill the selfless zero of their soul. It is not your wealth that they’re after. Theirs is a conspiracy against the mind, which means: against life and man."

Excerpt from those 60-odd pages that most readers skip over, the passage known as Galt's Speech, in Atlas Shrugged.

To them, happiness actually IS zero-sum - as a game and also a reality. (And "them" has a long list of members.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2014 2:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Br'er BR mentioned "envy."


Posted by: johngalt at June 3, 2014 2:43 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

BTW, a four string guitar? Aren't those called "ukulele's?"

It must be tough finding music suitable to a four string - it holds 50% fewer notes than a six string, and fully two-thirds fewer than a 12 string.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 3, 2014 4:52 PM
But jk thinks:

And yet, Mister Lawson seems to do all right. (For those who did not find the 52 minutes, he addresses the point directly, saying fewer strings and more open intervals allow him to hear the harmony as opposed to the denser, congealed unity of a guitar chord.)

It's a very unusual instrument -- the tuning is inline with a mandolin/fiddle rather than guitar or ukulele. I've lived life in the dank recesses of music stores and confess I have never seen one. I could -- ahem -- order one from Eastwood, where I got my seafoam green mandolin and resonator guitar.

But I wouldn't do that. That would be self-indulgent.

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2014 5:11 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...and would create envy due to increased guitar inequality.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 3, 2014 5:32 PM
But jk thinks:

No. Unlimited happiness...

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2014 6:07 PM

All Hail Taranto!

"For a president who came to office hoping to restore public faith in government as a force for good in society, the mess at the Department of Veterans Affairs threatens to undercut his reputation for effectiveness," writes New York Times reporter Peter Baker in a "news analysis."

That's a little like describing the Monica Lewisnky scandal as a blemish on Bill Clinton's reputation for marital fidelity. -- BOTW Jun 2, 2014

UPDATE: The same column contains a link to an Onion piece I had never seen:
Bruce Springsteen Accidentally Plays 'Big Government's Stealin' Our Livelihood' At Obama Rally

PARMA, OH--While performing at a campaign rally for President Barack Obama on Thursday, rock icon Bruce Springsteen reportedly failed to fire up the largely working-class audience when he accidentally played an acoustic ballad titled "Big Government's Stealin' Our Livelihood." "Can't ever feed the appetite of Uncle Sam / Stealin' half my paycheck out of my hand," crooned Springsteen, unintentionally alienating the bemused crowd with brazenly pro-market and anti-union lyrics that detail the struggles of a small business owner named Mikey who is forced to declare bankruptcy due to a weak economy plagued by industry overregulation.

Glad I am a Hockey Fan

...where both black players are treated exceptionally well!



Sports Posted by John Kranz at 9:27 AM | What do you think? [0]

June 1, 2014

Review Corner

John Considine is an economist . You might remember him from articles such as "The Simpsons: Public Choice in the Tradition of Swift and Orwell" and "Yes Minister : Invaluable Material for Teaching the Public Choice for Bureaucracy" or from teaching economics to students at University College Cork, Ireland.
Even the endnotes are fun in Homer Economicus: The Simpsons and Economics.

Joshua Hall, Associate Professor of Economics at West Virginia University, likes to use Simpsons and Springfield references in his lectures. He mentioned the title to Professor and HOSSess Deirdre McClosky who said "that should be a book." I don't know if Hall has a low utility for work or a keen sense of Comparative Advantage, but he elected to solicit essays from other instructors rather than write the book himself.

He collected 16, covering "The Economic Way of Thinking," "Money, Markets, and Government," and "Applied Microeconomics." Each appreciates The Simpsons and the result is a very enjoyable read.

The invisible hand, as well as the four-fingered invisible "yellow" hands of the Simpsons, applies to more than what people usually consider to be the narrow scope of economic activity.
Unfortunately for Homer, he won't be creating new money any time soon. For that matter , he won't be multiplying existing money either. Homer finds himself in the same situation as Bart in "I Don't Wanna Know Why the Caged Bird Sings." That episode begins with Bart writing over and over again on the chalkboard that he is not an FDIC-insured bank. D'oh!

Economics is one area where one is not too surprised to find 16 academics who are sympathetic to liberty and distrustful of government and central planning. Where the discussion wends its way into politics. most ThreeSourcers would be sympathetic to the arguments.
If we start with the assumption that government is run by socially benevolent and well-informed central planners, then we would be rather indifferent between Pigouvian taxation , regulation, and the assignment of property rights as policy alternatives to correcting externalities. In reality, politicians and bureaucrats are every bit as self- interested as the rest of us human beings, and our judicial system might handle certain industries even more poorly than regulators. This requires us to consider the case-specific practical difficulties of implementing policies. On The Simpsons, "Mr. Spitz Goes to Washington" provides one such case study of the difficulties involved.
For over a half a century government failure scholars believed that there was a bias in favor of government intervention as a solution to market failure. The Simpsons addresses this bias-- even if the show is possibly biased in the other direction. Even if we do not accept the perspective of The Simpsons on government, there is no getting away from the way in which it invites us to consider the alternative to any proposed government intervention in the economy.

I am pretty familiar with this genre, as I read similar compendia of literary criticism or philosophy discussions around Buffy and Angel; I read those by the schooner. Like this, some submissions are better than others. Andrew T. Young of West Virginia University has one of the longer and better articles on money. Building on the line in the "Trilogy of Error," where Milhouse pleades, "I cant go to juvey! They use guys like me as currency!" Young asks "Could Milhouse actually become money in the juvenile hall?" with a serious discussion of the functions of money and whether our bespeckled friend meets those requirements.

I've enjoyed The Simpsons over the years. I would not call myself a die hard fan, but when I come across it, I always laugh -- and I appreciate Groening's ability to scratch pretty deep with an animated comedy.

In general, the fascinating part about the members of the Springfield community is that, despite being fictional characters created for entertainment purposes, their biases correspond quite well to those observed by behavioral economists in real people. Lisa even notes in the first episode of the show that Homer has the same frailties as all human beings, and this theme is certainly exemplified throughout the show, perhaps even to a larger degree than the writers realized.

Informative and enjoyable -- four stars easy.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:59 AM | What do you think? [0]

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