July 31, 2015

Oh, yes!

Amazon signs Clarkson/May/Hammond for Prime content.

Jeremy Clarkson has found his post-punch project: Alongside fellow ex-Top Gear hosts James May and Richard Hammond, the irascible Clarkson has signed on to host a new automotive series on Amazon Prime, which will start streaming sometime next year. It's a savvy move, contractually: The non-compete clause in the trio's old BBC contract apparently only forbade them from signing with a competing British channel for two years, and said absolutely nothing about working with the content-producing arm of an American logistics company.

Television Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | What do you think? [1]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Heh. Somebody's lawyer who wrote that non-compete clause is going to be cutting a rug dance very soon.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2015 7:01 PM


That other light haired woman at the WSJ Ed Page...

Finally, Mrs. Clinton has very good friends in the corporate world. This newspaper reported Thursday that while serving as secretary of state, she took the unusual step of intervening to fix a problem that Swiss banking titan UBS was having with the IRS. In the years that followed, UBS donated $600,000 to the Clinton Foundation, anted up another $32 million in loans via foundation programs, and dropped $1.5 million on Bill for a series of speaking events. Both sides deny any quid pro quo. But the pattern is clear: More than 60 major firms that lobbied the State Department during Mrs. Clinton's tenure also donated some $26 million to her family's foundation. -- Kim Strassel

But johngalt thinks:

And add to this the two months of deleted emails covering the time of the Benghazi attack. Woodward and Bernstein could not be reached for comment.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2015 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Richard Nixon, however, did have a comment.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2015 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

How quickly we inure to Clintonian tactics. Strassel's column talks about "Mrs. Clinton’s former spokesman, Philippe Reines, turned over 20 boxes of work-related emails taken in part from a personal email account."

I sit on an HOA board for le condo d'Amour. I was told the first day to get a dedicated account for HOA business and that I was never to delete anything in it. I routinely provide opposing lawyers permission to download the whole thing from Google. Were I to print out and submit boxes of emails that I chose not to lose, I would be in trouble.

But I lack Sec. Clinton's friends in high places.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2015 3:12 PM

Quote of the Day

I'm cherry-picking more for humor than appeal to authority. Our Margaret has a very measured and interesting look at Trump's Candidacy from the Upper West Side.

His rise is not due to his supporters' anger at government. It is a gesture of contempt for government, for the men and women in Congress, the White House, the agencies. It is precisely because people have lost their awe for the presidency that they imagine Mr. Trump as a viable president. American political establishment, take note: In the past 20 years you have turned America into a nation a third of whose people would make Donald Trump their president. Look on your wonders and despair. -- Peggy Noonan

But Keith Arnold thinks:

We're already a nation 51.7% of whose people made Barack Hussein Obama their president. Unless there's a helluvalotta overlap in that Venn diagram, then it means that five out of six voters fall into the Low Information category who will elect a leader on the basis of either celebrity, race, or free stuff.

A nation like that is already suicidal.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2015 12:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Congratulations are in order to Mister Obama, who has managed, simultaneously, to both increase the power and decrease the prestige of the office of President of the United States.

NED help us.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2015 2:57 PM

Whither GOP?

Ben Domenich asks Why does the Republican Party exist?

It's a damning indictment of Senate Majority Leader McConnell (I just don't know anymore -- KY)'s decision to reauthorize the ex-Ex-Im bank in a highway bill, which Domenich says "is a thousand page tax and pork-laden monstrosity which does not deserve to pass in the first place, and whose failure would be greeted as a positive development for any fiscal conservative."

I have defended leadership on these pages. In fact, I think I deserve a medal or a nice office in the old building or a cookie or something. Yet I'm now ready to pull the plug on my support of McConnell.

Blog-friend TG posted the Rod Dreher column "Fusion Fizzles" to my Facebook timeline and asked "Is Fusionism Dead?" I'm not sure whether he is a Monty Python fan, but my first thought was "it was coughing up blood last night!"

TG describes the Republican coalition as "hawks, preachers, and libertarians:" pejorative but accurate. I suggested that hawks and preachers overlap pretty well, that fusionism was required only to keep peace between preachers in libertarians. He suggests that hawk/libertarian split requires more focus. Is the GOP the party of Sen. Lindsey Graham or Sen. Rand Paul?

Wherever one stands, Domenich points out -- you got totally screwed by your party. Hawks: the President just made a treaty which facilitates Iran's nuclear ambitions without the "Advice and Consent" of the Senate, and rammed it through the UN. That cool with you? Preachers: Planned Parenthood gets almost half its funding from government. They got caught harvesting body parts. Any problem with that? Libertarians: the Ex-Im bank is back. The one victory for the Senate majority you worked to elect had a shelf-life measured in weeks. Problemo?

Yes, they're an antidote to the all out collectivism of the modern Democrats. But Rod Dreher, Ben Domenich, and David Harsanyi all ask "Why is there a party?" "What is its purpose?"

I got nothin'

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 9:59 AM | What do you think? [12]
But nanobrewer thinks:

He missed it; I think Steve Hayward is much closer to the mark:

McConnell likely knew that the House would kill the Ex-Im Bank, meaning that the vote was mostly symbolic and helpful to a few endangered Republicans

Which I do believe, even as I decry the back-room nature of the shenanigans. And hat's off to Sen. Cruz for exposing this! Since Ex-Im Bank is indeed dead in the real world, where does that leave Mr. Domenech? With a gutted (or to be more charitable, outdated) story if you ask me, but hey, he got published!

Now, to his point

Senate Republicans completely ceded their Constitutional duty regarding the Iran deal

This indeed was a situation where the GOP got outflanked by (a) the reality of a POTUS (and Sec. St.) who won't play ANY part of this game honestly, and (b) a media that will not stop to expose their every peccadillo as if it were a felony. I read a very compelling response (direct response by eMail) from Sen. Gardner that held up the honest, good parts of this play.

I can't really blame them for not coming up with a bill that had 100% mendacity rejection.... but that's why I don't bet published in the big pages, I guess.

Highway Bill.... which does not deserve to pass in the first place
which ... it.... didn't ... am I correct?!?

Shoot, he missed defunding or defanging the ACA, the putting a white tornado thru the IRS and closing NEA!

That all being said, I believe what he said is 75-80% true of the GOP leadership... but it's a bit broad to paint the entire party this way. One look at Tom Cotton or Trey Gaudy put the rest of this specious argument to rest, IMO.

Mr. Domenech needs to cool his jets and play the long, steady game, IMO.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 1, 2015 12:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh no, nb, it passed. 65-34 (Lindsey Graham didn't vote.)

And the disapprobation is directed toward leadership of the party, which does seem to have a firm grasp on the rudder.

I'll look for the Gardner statement.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I found it. Cory basically said, "I brought home the bacon for Colorado."

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

...and may God Bless the Republican Party!

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2015 3:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not positive, but I think Colorado's other Senator, the Democrat one, said something about pork as well.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 5:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd hope so -- his supporters sent him there to do "Infrastructure Investment." One might dream of a Republican being guided by other principles (I know, I crack myself up, too!)

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2015 7:18 PM

July 30, 2015

All Hail Insty


Otequay of the Ayday

About that lion...

Alas, the truth about Cecil's links to the patriarchy is all on YouTube for the world to see: the roaring and biting at those born without male privilege; the casual, utter disregard for female lion self-esteem; the skulking around like a half-hungry Marlon Brando trapped in a Mafia pizza parlor. This is because he was a wild animal, of course, and not a cartoon character. Regardless, let's move on.

RCP's Heather Wilhelm - Cecil the Lion and America's Broken Outrage Meter

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"'What lion?' was the response of [Zimbabwe's] acting Information Minister Prisca Mupfumira, after being asked about the death of Cecil." http://bit.ly/1DVYqRD

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 31, 2015 12:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Information Minister Prisca Mupfumira apparently hasn't met Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe's environment, water and climate minister, who told a news conference: "We are appealing to the responsible authorities for his extradition to Zimbabwe so that he be made accountable."

At least that's what AP is reporting.

"There has been an outcry," Muchinguri said. "Almost 500,000 people are calling for his extradition and we need this support. We want him tried in Zimbabwe because he violated our laws.

"I have already consulted with the authorities within the police force who are responsible for arresting the criminal. We have certain processes we have to follow. Police should take the first step to approach the prosecutor general who will approach the Americans. The processes have already started."

If Muchinguri's 500,000 people was meant to include Zimbabwe's Information Minister, I suppose it's really only about 499,999 people.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2015 2:54 PM


Judge Andrew Napolitano does not mince words at Reason.

I have not seen the emails the inspectors general sent to the FBI, but I have seen the Clinton emails, which are now in the public domain. They show Clinton sending or receiving emails to and from her confidante Sid Blumenthal and one of her State Department colleagues using her husband's foundation's server, and not a secure government server. These emails address the location of French jets approaching Libya, the location of no-fly zones over Libya and the location of Stevens in Libya. It is inconceivable that an American secretary of state failed to protect and secure this information.

But it is not inconceivable that she would lie about it.

But some dentist shot a lion.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | What do you think? [0]

What about Carly?

She gave a powerful speech at the RR library last week, and she'll be able to dish it out to the Dowager Empress with both her pump-shod shoes (can we have a category for First Pit Bull?).

On my first day in the Oval Office, I will make two phone calls. The first will be to my friend Bibi Netanyahu. I will reassure him that the United States will always stand with the State of Israel. My second call will be to the Supreme Leader of Iran. He might not take the call, but he will get the message

She speaks powerfully about "America" but it so-so on the liberty front, IIRC. Discuss?

2016 Posted by nanobrewer at 12:53 AM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Kamala? Yes, I was wondering when to begin needling you about that.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2015 4:04 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

There's not a thing you can say about Harris that will move my needle off the rage peg with her. A watchdog group collects evidence and confessions about the Mengelesque ghouls at Planned Parenthood and their baby-parts chop-shop, and Harris announces an investigation... of the whistleblowers. Planned Parenthood, in the meantime, gets a complete pass. No matter which side of the abortion debate you're on, these revelations should make your skin crawl. I kinda went all vein-popping ragey last night on Facebook about it. And Harris is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the California far-left. In a righteous society, she and her ilk would be shunned -- or worse.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 30, 2015 4:33 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

For the record: http://bit.ly/1M0gF0b

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 30, 2015 4:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

dagny and I would be overjoyed with Carly as the nominee. Or the veep, but top of the ticket is better.

Only problem I see with it is if Hilary craters and it's her against a handsome young Democrat male. The Democrats are much better at the "War on Women" than Republicans ever were.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2015 5:19 PM
But Jk thinks:

I wouldn't call Gov. Hickenlooper "handsome." Maybe a certain rugged good looks...

Posted by: Jk at July 30, 2015 11:35 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Ah, what a fresh take with nary a word wafted about that wanton self-promoter.

Yes, she'd be a dynamite VP selection - she won't be "handled" by anyone! - and is indeed "pugilistic, but respectful" and does not flail. She's been flaying the political talk show circuit (look up her schooling of Jake Tapper), and like the now-dormant Sen. Rand and the live-n-kicking Sen. from TX, been throwing back the media caca right down their righteous throats.

I for one, am soooo happy that the leading lights of the GOP are not accepting the media narrative on just about anything (hear that, Jeb?).

PowerLine's Scott Johnson was powerfully impressed by her appearance in Norwalk:

She described the roles of Lady Liberty and Lady Justice in American symbolism. The listener can conclude that Carly is both. The female listener can think, “And it is about time a woman is in charge.” But she didn’t say either thing directly. A conclusion that a listener reaches by herself is more strongly held. That was a masterful touch of persuasion.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 31, 2015 12:49 AM

July 29, 2015

Quote of the Day

Gut-wrenching to pick one - The Read Thing Whole!

I think [Jon] Stewart's show demonstrated the decline and vacuity of contemporary comedy. I cannot stand that smug, snarky, superior tone. I hated the fact that young people were getting their news through that filter of sophomoric snark. Comedy, to me, is one of the major modern genres, and the big influences on my generation were Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl. Then Joan Rivers had an enormous impact on me--she's one of my major role models. It's the old caustic, confrontational style of Jewish comedy. It was Jewish comedians who turned stand-up from the old gag-meister shtick of vaudeville into a biting analysis of current social issues, and they really pushed the envelope. Lenny Bruce used stand-up to produce gasps and silence from the audience. And that's my standard--a comedy of personal risk. And by that standard, I'm sorry, but Jon Stewart is not a major figure. He's certainly a highly successful T.V. personality, but I think he has debased political discourse. I find nothing incisive in his work. As for his influence, if he helped produce the hackneyed polarization of moral liberals versus evil conservatives, then he's partly at fault for the political stalemate in the United States. -- Camille Paglia

But johngalt thinks:

There's a political stalemate in the United States? Oddly enough, Leviathan government seems to keep lumbering along regardless.

I hold Stewart at fault for something far worse than "political stalemate." He contributes to something one might call 'political eugenics.'

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2015 2:37 PM
But jk thinks:

I wonder if my blog brother reads "stalemate" and equates it with "gridlock" (blessed, blessed, gridlock!)

I do not know whether stalemate is the right word. But Stewart is all about the "We're smart, but those stupid bumpkins that watch FOX News are evil and stupid and have bad hygiene practices." I'm rather tired of that and I cannot think of many who have contributed more to that (well, there is that POTUS fellow...)

She even dares to defend the Eeevil FOX News right after.

I must also leave a nice word for a deeply flawed hero of mine. Christopher Hitchens practiced that evangelistic atheism which I find off-putting, and I suspect Paglia is correct that his too-cool-for-God books were under-researched.

But one must bifurcate between those and a corpus which includes his deeply courageous and lively journalism and thoughtful historical commentary. I never read a word of his atheism books (and I am an atheist), but he wrote several great books and was honest enough to take on his left against President Clinton and militant Islamism.

A few pouty, adolescent indulgences can be forgiven.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2015 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If "I don't demonize Fox News" counts as defending it, then yes she did. But it was only in response to the interviewer's statement:

And that he [Jon Stewart] did the work of critiquing and fact-checking Fox and others on the right who helped create this debased media culture?

Esqueeze me?! Myopic much?

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2015 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Game. Set. Match: jk.

Again, your quote is from the Salondotcom question. Allow me to provide a little more context on Professor Paglia's answer:

I don't demonize Fox News. At what point will liberals wake up to realize the stranglehold that they had on the media for so long? They controlled the major newspapers and weekly newsmagazines and T.V. networks. It's no coincidence that all of the great liberal forums have been slowly fading. They once had such incredible power.

Where I come from, that's purdy good for a gay, atheist, art professor.

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2015 4:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Grading on that curve, you are correct. I just thought it was a long way from, "You know, the stuff they report is factually correct, even if you don't like to hear it."

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2015 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I took that as the subtext. Had she said it aloud, all of Stewart's fans' heads would have exploded --I abhor violence.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2015 9:52 AM

July 28, 2015


I hate to risk opening a new front in l'Affaire Trump. But from a pure political-game-theory perspective, I have been bucking conventional wisdom sub rosa -- and am now ready to come out.

I do not accept that a third party run from Trump would guarantee a Democrat victory. In fact, depending on the final tickets, the difference could be minimal-to-perhaps positive. There will be no shortage of disaffected Democrats if Sec. Clinton, Sen. Warren or Sen. Sanders leads the ticket. Perhaps a Sec. Jon Kerry, VP Joe Biden, or Gov. Hickenlooper (dammit, the country needs him!) could hold the Scots-Irish-Straight-White-Guy-Working-class vote. But if they nominate a commie or affirmative action candidate, Trump might look pretty good to that segment.

I don't know if it is backup or not, but Paul Gigot ends the Potomac Watch podcast [mp3] with a good story of then Sen. Al Gore's (No Controlling Authority - TN) misjudging Ross Perot's effect. No guarantee what it would do -- and it certainly depends on the other nominees.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

This far in front of the elections, polls are fairly useless, not much more than popularity contests in a high-school slam book. That being said, if an NBC/Marist poll told me it was dark outside, I'd still go to the window to check.

Trump is riding a popularity wave right now because he's saying things, and saying them passionately, that people wish their preferred candidate would say. He's not PC and can't be bought by the donor class. If other candidates who are better qualified were saying these things, Trump's ratings would vaporize. But their not. Except for Ted Cruz' exhibition in the Senate calling McConnell a liar, most of the candidates are being inoffensive, polite, and subdued.

Trump (dare I say this?) is a lot like Ron Paul. Ron Paul may be a head case, but sixty percent of what he said resonated with people, and other candidates weren't saying it. People want their candidate to have some fire in the belly, and show it. For example, on illegal immigration by violent criminals - it got revealed that nearly 3,000 homicides just in Texas (cite: http://bit.ly/1HZYp2Y). And there's the Steinle murder. People are pissed off. They want a candidate to be pissed off about it. They don't want a candidate who is sorta concerned but can take it in stride and remain civil. Good God, man, 3,000 homicides! If someone isn't angry to his core over that, the people want to know why not!

Trump is demagogue enough and showman enough to put it out there that he's royally pissed off. He's giving people red meat, and people don't want tofurkey and quinoa right now. Tokurkey and quinoa aren't going to pull this nation back from the brink.

Truth: a decade ago, Trump said he idenified more with Democrats than with Republicans. Truth: Trump has gone on record favoring a single-payor federalized medical system, like England's or Canada's. Truth: Trump has been a big Hildebeest supporter. People who aren't political junkies like us don't know that. What they know is that Trump is angry about the things they're angry about. There are LIVs on the right, just like there are on the left. If there weren't, Mike Huckabee would be off in a parsonage somewhere right now like Father Mackenzie, writing the words of a sermon that no one will hear.

I got posed a question this morning. How would I vote if next November, my choices were limited to this:

* DEM: Hillary!
* GOP: ¡Jeb!
* THIRD PARTY: The Donald

I had to think about it. Right now, I'd be torn between pulling the handle for Trump, if for no other reason than to give a giant middle finger to the GOP Establishment, and just sitting it out and hoping the nation would survive.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 28, 2015 7:30 PM
But jk thinks:

@nb: I am suggesting this is different than 2000. Aside from some old ladies in Palm Beach who couldn't understand the butterfly ballots, Nader pulled overwhelmingly from Gore and, the election being close, gave the win to GW Bush.

In '92, Perot probably pulled from both sides, but disproportionately from GHWB, giving us "The Clinton Years." (The lovely bride is a remorseful Perotista.)

I'm claiming that a 3rd-party Trump run would not pull as disproportionately from the GOP as claimed. He speaks (as my blog brother jg loves to remind me) to disaffection in the GOP base. In a general, I think he would find a lot of disaffection on both sides.

@ka: Nossir, I am a fusionist whether it is in fashion or not. I'll do what I can to have the party choose somebody more liberty-leaning than Gov. Bush (Common Core - FL), but if that's who we get, I am in. Likewise, I would ask supporters of Gov. Huckabee (No gag in spirit of teamwork - AR) to swallow hard and pull the lever for Rand Paul.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2015 9:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The Trump effect is already working. I attribute Cruz's throwdown with McRulingClass and Huckabee's "lead them to the ovens" comment to a recognition in professional political circles that the people really can "handle the truth!" In fact, they're starved for it.

And we can thump for party unity all we want... voters have shown that they'll stay home if the candidate is a RINO (2008) or a lillypad (2012.) Like them, I can't see myself voting for Bush. Not that I have any issue with the man, but the cabal he is in thrall to is the greatest cause of "the brink" to which br'er KA refers. (Hillary is too, but again - at least the party of socialism will get the credit/blame for whatever happens.)

The thing I admire about the Trump candidacy is that he is a businessman, not a politician. I want to see more businessmen run for political office. I want to see the big money donors put their own names on the ticket, not merely prop up a Manchurian Candidate whom everyone knows, or suspects, is his puppet.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2015 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

And the light on Hwy 7 and Lowell was just green -- that's because Trump is not afraid to tell people what is what!


Posted by: jk at July 29, 2015 4:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I find your "confirmation-bias" charge to be thinly supported.

What about the businessman thing? Any comment on that?

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2015 2:10 PM
But Jk thinks:

A business background with some political experience is a big plus on a candidate's resume. Mr. Trump -- and my new favorite, Ms. Florida -- have too little political experience. I wouldn't refrain from voting for either on that basis, but it is uphill.

We have been extremely critical of politicians, candidates, authors, pundits, filmmakers, and entertainers on these pages when they've dared deviate from ideological purity. We're not quite libertarians who make perfect the enemy of the good, but it's a tough room. And I like it like that.

Trump is a Bill O'Reilly candidate who shouts whatever pops into his head. I see zero connection to Liberty or any cohesive governing philosophy. And he pulls the media spotlight from those who have it.

Posted by: Jk at July 31, 2015 8:20 AM

July 27, 2015

Headline of the Day

Dowager Empress of Chappaqua's 'Campaign' Gets More Bad Polling News -- Michael Walsh
2016 Posted by John Kranz at 5:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

I don't usually hand out dedications on QOTD, but Brother Bryan heads off to GMU tomorrow to start his Economics PhD (say goodbye at Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons tonight!). Bryan Caplan compiles statistics on PhD completion -- and I got a kick out of this digression:

Of course, if you're contemplating a Ph.D. in economics, you won't be satisfied with simple bivariate results. What happens if you regress completion probabilities on a wide range of traits? The results are extremely messy.

Safe travels, brah!

Arthur Brooks, Call Your Office!

All those smarty-pants, free-market economists thought they foresaw all the deleterious consequences of Seattle's $15 minimum wage law. But did'ja see this? Did'ja?

The wage, to be phased in over several years, is needed, say proponents, because so many workers who have full-time jobs are on public assistance.

Many companies raised their employees' wages beyond the $11 an hour mandated by the law, which has led to some curious results. Employees are begging their bosses to cut their hours so they can keep their food stamps, housing assistance, and other welfare benefits.

Arthur Brooks [Review Corner] compares the brutal poverty of Dharavi India with American slums, and the small Austrian village of Marienthal. As you follow that list to the right, more government benefits cushion the privation poor citizens feel. (The factory closed in Marienthal and the city lived on as a welfare town and social experiment.) But, Brooks points out, industry and dynamism head the other way. Dharavi is unimaginable to an American -- but bustles. A few years on the dole in Marienthal, and people stopped being able to accomplish anything -- even with 99% free time.

But johngalt thinks:

Miranda, Austria?

"When the Alliance recording was discovered, it became the perfect example of what would happen if the Alliance sought to interfere with self-determination."
Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2015 4:09 PM


I am really diggin' some of the anti-junk science Facebook sites. Perfect complement to Ronald Bailey's The End of Doom (Don't wait for Review Corner, buy it today).

I enjoyed this troll skirmish. Obviously, the pro-GMO folks are paid shills because: grammar.


Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 26, 2015

Review Corner

While we sometimes express ourselves poorly, ours is not a worldview that sees poor people as liabilities to be managed. Conservatives fundamentally view poor people as dormant assets to be enlivened. The poor are not a burden on society in need only of charity. They are an untapped source of strength and growth, so long as we have the optimism and confidence to help them as they build their lives. Charity is important, but what poor men and women really need is investment.
AEI Chief Arthur Brooks's The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America is a healthy dose of conservatism. If America lacks a big-C Conservative party, it is no fault of Brooks.

But first a digression: blog friend SC sent a link to Kristen Bell's Mary Poppins paean to an increased minimum wage. It looked familiar and I found this link. One year ago tomorrow we asked the age old question: how do we counter the collectivist left's visceral, intuitive appeal to emotion with a 90-minute disquisition on some economist who died 150 years ago?

Brooks has an answer. I don't know if it is the answer, but an answer. In Conservative Heart, he develops and presents it. We're the folks who actually care.

Here's what a truly uncompassionate worldview would look like: It would throw in the towel on people and whole communities. It would lazily presume that a certain segment of the population simply cant make it, that they require an unending stream of unsatisfying government support to grind along at subsistence levels. A movement built on free enterprise, real hope, and earned success sees right through this lazy nihilism-- and rejects it.

He opens with a few chapters of redemption through work and trade. Truly tear-worthy tales of gang-bangers in New York City picking up trash and monstrously poor Indian (sub-continent, not Tonto) villagers sorting used plastic toothbrushes for recycling. Thaddeus Russell [Review Corner] speaks compellingly against it, but a little Calvinist appreciation for work has always animated me. Brooks wants to offer the dignity of work and achievement, giving all Americans the shot Dallas Davis found, entering into the (private, and revenue-generating) "Men in Blue" Doe Fund program after release from prison.
That winter, New York was hit by a huge snowstorm that paralyzed the city. While most were huddled in their homes, Dallas and his fellow Men in Blue ventured out into the frozen city. They swapped their brooms for shovels and started clearing the streets. Dallas could not believe how far he had come. "We were out there making paths for the elderly, for the children, for people to get to work. Here we were, people who had slept in the garbage, in train stations, under bridges-- those who society once thought couldn't accomplish anything. We were the ones bringing the city back to life."

Those big moments started piling up. He had always put on a macho facade, but as he held the first paycheck of his entire life in his hands, Dallas began to cry. The Doe Fund pays more than the minimum wage, but the amount on the check was not what moved Dallas to tears. It was what the check represented. "Someone really believed I could do something-- and that it was worth paying me to do it." That had never happened to him before.
Economics are just a small part of this, but the data are well worth looking at. Since its founding, the Doe Funds social enterprises have generated more than $ 750 million in revenue. Thats nearly a billion dollars in "dead capital" brought to life by a bunch of homeless men because one couple saw them as assets to empower and not liabilities to manage.

That's the free market view. A person as a resource. Capital. The soi disant compassionate?
One of my colleagues tells an instructive story. One afternoon, as he toiled at his PhD dissertation in a top university's poverty research center, an actual poor person walked in. He had seen the signs on the building and thought they could do something to help him. The expert researchers had no idea what to do. Their instinct was to call security.

It's powerful stuff. It's well written. It presents a very shareable, kind worldview. Brooks sees it as a platform free market folks could get behind and ride to electoral victory. And, to be fair, if Brooks ran the world, it would be a pretty good world and I'd be happy (AEI scholar Jonah Goldberg could be vice-dictator). But we cannot ignore the philosophical disparity between Brooks and the prevailing winds at ThreeSources.

He distances himself from "Compassionate Conservatism," but he does not hold up the crucifix to keep it contained in the corner. As a devout Catholic, he has one. He embraces the safety net and makes a strong case for limiting outside nonsense to ensure we can keep it solvent. He invokes some heroes in its defense:

Hayek and Reagan recognized the moral truth that a real social safety net is one of the great achievements of our free market system. Free enterprise has made America so prosperous that, as a society, we can afford to take care of our brothers and sisters who simply cannot take care of themselves-- and to provide temporary help to those who are down on their luck and need a hand up. Hayek and Reagan also easily distinguished between "some minimum of food, shelter, and clothing"-- a core safety net for the truly indigent-- and the sprawling, rent-seeking tangle that is todays welfare state. This is why the right must champion a true, sustainable safety net while condemning an ever-expanding system for redistributing income more broadly and establishing greater state control over the economy.

Here we start to see problems. I hear Yaron Brook's Israeli accent as I read this. I like the safety net too. But once you accept it, how do you say no to "Obamaphones?" I entertain no illusions of rolling back the safety net to private concerns, so I spend little time even deciding if that's something I would truly support. But I'm not being outlandish and doctrinaire to suggest that Brooks is a little too accepting. He denies "Compassionate Conservatism" but I hear strains of President Bush's "When people are hurting, government has to step in to help."
Our nation has a great deal of need that goes unmet. This is only exacerbated by years of misguided policies and a materialistic culture. The social justice agenda outlined above can restart us on a path toward our best selves and toward our privilege to help the vulnerable.

Yes, did I mention he wants to coopt the term "Social Justice?" He might be right, but it fills me with dread.

It's a superb neocon manifesto. And I don't use the modifier as drippingly condescending as some others 'round these parts. If we had to all get behind one big idea to win, this one would not be bad. Not my first choice, but compared to Sec. Clinton's proposed changes to capital gains rates -- I like it a lot.

Philosophical questions for a dozen nights out with ThreeSourcers. But a superbly written and thoughtful book of ideas and tactics that would benefit any body on the right. Four and a half stars.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 25, 2015

"Pissin' in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener" - Bumped

The title is a line from the new song by blog favorite Kacey Musgraves. I heard it for the first time today, on the radio. My thought was, "Damn, that is TEA Party Liberation Theology right there." We need to encourage her to record a duet with Snoop Dog. Play it in Baltimore. Chicago. Brooklyn.

"Pourin' salt in my sugar won't make yours any sweeter."

A-dang-men. The chorus is good too but I won't excerpt. You'll have to listen. (Like you don't want to listen anyway.) This video looks like a bootleg from a live show in Florida. And a damn fine bootleg too.

This music blogger was impressed too.

Studio version here.

UPDATE: The linked studio version has been yanked, but here is the official video instead. And what the heck, let's bump it too.

But jk thinks:

The bootleg is Purdy good, I like the studio -- better audio ( plus one more verse?)

A YouTube commenter named David says "nice song hope she doesnt make a smutty video out of it keep pure"

Huh, we can't all agree on everything I guess...

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2015 12:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep, see the "blog favorite" hyperlink above. Just prior to the "Liberation Theology" hyperlink, to an academic post without a 'pretty girl with guitar' video.

In fairness, I haven't gotten around to reading this weekend's Review Corner effort either.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2015 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No extra verse. Played 'em both at the same time to find out. :)

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2015 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

D'oh! I did not see that one. I will confess that I expected the "This music blogger" to link to ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2015 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

*Obi Wan Kenobi voice* "Hover your mouse, Luke."

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2015 7:31 PM
But jk thinks:

"I'll just do me, honey, you just do you." If that ain't a libertarian manifesto...

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2015 11:47 AM

July 24, 2015

Serious Take on Iran Deal

I owe blog friend tg a link on this. I think he wrote this rather serious piece to quiet my lengthy comments on a Facebook post.

You'll want to read the whole thing, so I will provide backstory rather than excerpts. My friend and most serious follower of statecraft that I know is quite nonplussed about "the American Right" for having what he views as unsubstantiated reflexive enmity toward Iran over other powers in the region. Our swell allies, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Qatar, you know the list -- are certainly no more rights-respecting than Iran. I suggested they were less dangerous to the US and its interests, but he rebutted quite well.

He's a statecraft guy (you take that back!) and sees Iran a balance to ISIS, whom he considers a far greater threat.

He's got me pretty well convinced on everything but I hold my Israel card. If PM Netanyahu loved the Iran deal and was sending roses to Sec. Kerry, I guess I would be in. His opposition is enough to sway me double digits.

For those who'd like an additional reading assignment an a sunny Friday afternoon: I had also shared this Objectivist examination (Hat-tip Yaron Brook) of the Iran deal. Peter Schwartz captures my skepticism of international diplomacy and madmen's signatures on parchment.

Neither view matches what I see on Conservative websites.

Iran Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:
matches what I see on Conservative websites
Well, apart from nominating Iran as a regional foe and domestic oppressor, as well as citation of Chamberlain's deal from Munich - all of which are widespread - these are quite distinct takes.

Schwartz's view is more rational (as are the comments) and levelheaded than I ever expected possible from HuffPo!

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 25, 2015 8:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, in fairness, I saw 20 minutes or so of PBS's Frontline on the rescue of the Yazidi women from ISIS. I generally would not counsel to decide on policy based on "Frontline," but if one looks at Iran and ISIS on an "evil" scale, there is no contest.

The US backed Marcos, Batista, and Somoza against Communists. I'm not very proud of that, but remain proud of opposing Communism. If I may paraphrase, tg is prepared to claim the Ayatollah as "our son-of-a-bitch." Before you say "never" you might watch a few minutes of Frontline. (DId I really say that?)

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2015 12:10 PM

Quote of the Day

I think there is exactly one politician who has never let me down. Sen. Phil Gramm (HOSS TX) has an awesome editorial in the WSJ today on Dodd-Frank:

Dodd-Frank's Volcker rule prohibits proprietary trading by banks. And yet, despite years of delay and hundreds of pages of new rules, no one knows what the rule requires--not even Paul Volcker.

Honorable mention:
Most criticism of Dodd-Frank focuses on its massive regulatory burden, but its most costly and dangerous effects are the uncertainty and arbitrary power it has created by the destruction of the rule of law. This shackles economic growth but more important, it imperils our freedom.

July 23, 2015

Liberty! (Bumped)

Penn Jillette's Keynote Speech to the Independence Institute

Forty-five minutes. Make some time and watch the whole thing.

UPDATE: I can't coerce you, but I'd use any combination of bribery, charm, persuasion, reason, peer-pressure, guilt and duty that would get you to watch. I have now seen it three times.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | What do you think? [4]
But Terri thinks:

Watched it yesterday and just clicked in to watch it again.
Sir, yes sir! It IS good.

Posted by: Terri at July 23, 2015 1:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"There is nothing more beautiful about America than the fact that we don't agree."


Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2015 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

'Tis true. I shall not deny it. I listen to Garth Brooks.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2015 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

And I like a few Dead tunes. I still laughed.

Posted by: jk at July 29, 2015 5:34 PM

July 22, 2015


I may not go on a "Cheese Easting Surrender Monkeys!" rant bashing Europeans. But the post is not over yet and my caps lock is winking at me like a Dublin streetwalker.

Right on the heels of the Pope's criticism of air-conditioning, the WaPo steps up to the plate: "Europe to America: Your love of air-conditioning is stupid."

Thankfully for my caps lock key, Megan McArdle has provided a serious and well-reasoned response. McArdle compares temperatures, examines energy disparities between heating and cooling, and comes to the careful conclusion that we're right and they're wrong:

I'd like to thank our European brothers and sisters for starting this important conversation. We should all pay more attention to profligate climate control. Why are people clinging to their unsustainable lifestyles and expending so much energy to make their homes comfortable year-round? Why don't they do the right thing for the environment? Embrace air conditioning, and get the heck out of Berlin.

I was speaking with a Europhile last week and have been smarting ever since. He talked up wonderful times -- and I shared that my memories of our Irish-based company and visiting investors in Ireland and the UK are quite fond.

I actually got my interlocutor to concede that staying with European friends is great pari passu with their wealth. I always stayed with millionaires. They had big American refrigerators, guest rooms, air conditioning, and drove Mercedes automobiles. They enjoyed the trappings of American life with the art and culture of Europe. Life is good.

But but but, you have to be a millionaire to enjoy the trappings of a US plumber. My socio-economic counterparts lived in small flats, had the micro dorm 'fridges, no car or one too small for five passengers.

Professor Piketty might explain that Europe's gini coefficient shows less inequality, but the US plumber lives like the multi-millionaire. Maybe the Lexus has more luxurious appointments, but a nice late-model SUV goes safely from A to B. A cheaper vacation maybe, a less tony zip code. But it is the European working class that lacks the accoutrements of their wealthier countrymen.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

McArdle's story makes good points; America is, by and large, warmer and more humid than most of Europe, but the argument that "we have a greater need for it" isn't quite satisfying, and should be for the denizens of ThreeSources. Allow me to propose a somewhat more satisfying answer.

Dear Europe: we use more air conditioning that you do because we wish to. Because we want to. Because we can. We earned it, we built it, we installed it, and we can afford to run it. We're such a prosperous nation that even our poor have air conditioning. Yep, most of America's poor have at least one running car, a flat-screen TV, a computer, and air conditioning. Because that's how much disposable income we're used to having.

We're productive, and what we earn and profit, we have a right to spend as we see fit. We don't give you any grief about how you spend your capital (well, unless you're Greece, whose citizens are probably wishing right now that they could afford to run the air conditioning).

That's how productivity works in a free society: you do something to make money, keep the profit, and spend it on what you want to spend it on, within the bounds of a few laws and a certain amount of common sense.

Truth be told, I live in Southern California, on the edge of a desert, and yet in the last three summers, I think I ran the air conditioning in my house a grand total of four days. That's not bad for living in weather that's capable of hitting 106 degrees on God's temperature measurement scale. And unlike your French, I can shower daily when it gets like that, rather than just marinate in cologne. Dressing with less and running a fan is usually fine for me. I'm not addicted to air conditioning, but I'll tell you what I don't do -- I don't whine about my neighbor's use of his air conditioner like an envious four-year-old whose playmate has a shiny toy that my mother can't buy me.

So, in conclusion, we run our air conditioners because we can. We desire to do so, and we can afford it. That's freedom. We're not living at the mercy of the world around us. When we have a heat wave, we go inside, pour a couple of Arnold Palmers from the pitcher in the 'fridge, and put the game on the big-screen. When you have a heat wave - the kind of heat wave that in a place called West Texas they call "late spring" - we turn on the cable news and watch the European death toll climb. You know why we do that? Because we have big-screen TVs, and you're too stupid to install air conditioning for when you need it.

Because 'Murrica, that's why.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 23, 2015 1:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I blame the metric system. They don't actually know just how gorram hot it is where they live. In America, summertime temperatures can reach 80, 90, 100 degrees or more. But in Europe they think it's only 27, 32, or maybe in their wildest heat wave, 41 degrees. If they had real thermometers they would realize that's just too danged warm for even us hairless apes.

Posted by: johngalt at July 23, 2015 2:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But seriously now, and I do mean seriously...

Why is it not okay for anyone to tell me who I can love and marry, or whether I can kill my own unborn child, but perfectly fine to tell me what temperature I can keep my home?

Oh, here's why:

In the long run, America's air-conditioning addiction may also have another negative side effect: It will make it harder for the U.S. to ask other countries to continue to abstain from using it to save energy.

But we wouldn't ask other countries to abstain. We're Americans. We mind our own business. Meddling in the affairs of others is a European invention, albeit one that is all too rapidly infecting American society.

"If everyone were to adopt the U.S.'s air-conditioning lifestyle, energy use could rise tenfold by 2050," Cox added, referring to the 87-percent ratio of households with air-conditioning in the United States.

And would still cost a fraction of the expense being proposed to reduce the global temperature by a single degree.

Given that most of the world's booming cities are in tropical places, and that none of them have so far deliberately adopted the European approach to air-conditioning, such calculations should raise justified concerns.

Yes, amongst those who will only truly enjoy their self-imposed suffering if they can succeed in imposing it on everyone else too.

P.S. Regarding the passage: "Cooling uses much more energy than heating, which is why many Europeans prefer sweating for a few days over continuously suffering under the effects of global warming in the future."

No, it doesn't. Heat pump efficiency is the same in either direction. And where I live, cooling from 90 to 70 takes a fraction of the energy as heating from 20 to 70.

Posted by: johngalt at July 23, 2015 3:10 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

As my friend Adam Elkus tweeted:

"Oddly missing from this article is the 2003 heat-wave that killed 70,000 people."

Posted by: T. Greer at July 23, 2015 8:44 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Cooling uses much more energy than heating

It's an apples to oranges comparison that only a journolist would try to make & McArdle covered it: (summarizing) we spend more to heat homes than cool them, b/c cooling to comfort-level on an awful day is only making up a ~30 degree difference, but heating has to make up twice that difference or more.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 23, 2015 11:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Brilliant comments, commentariat! One more miss: Europe jacks up its energy rates 80-100% with nonsensical renewable energy mandates. We would never succumb to . . . uh, hang on . . .

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2015 10:08 AM

They Fixed it!

Prepare to weep, ThreeSourcers! They've rewritten The Little Red Hen

In Chicago, there's a children's literacy museum on wheels called StoryBus. It's a 37-foot Winnebago that promotes reading to kindergarten and pre-K students. (It's a great idea, by the way, and gets considerable private funding). Visit the StoryBus website and you can find a new version of the LRH story. Everything is pretty much the same as the original until the hen insists on eating the bread herself.

At that point, the other animals are shocked. "Oh me! Oh my! Oh me, oh my!" they shout. The next and final paragraph reads as follows:

"The next time the Little Red Hen found some grains of wheat, the lamb (maybe somebody ate the goose and the duck) planted it in the rich, brown soil, the cat watered it carefully every day, and the pig harvested the wheat when it had grown tall and strong. When the dough was baked, together the animals made hot chocolate and ate the fresh, warm bread. It was delicious! The animals lived happily ever after."

Maybe they will "fix" Atlas Shrugged next -- James and Dagny and Wesley Mouch all get together and build a great new shiny railroad and drink hot chocolate.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 4:34 PM | What do you think? [8]
But AndyN thinks:

It occurs to me that this is a Rorschach test. The first time I read it my morning coffee hadn't had time to awaken my inner cynic. I was going under the assumption that, as in the original story, the Little Red Hen had asked her neighbors if they'd be willing to help her. Upon further consideration, I can see how a Marxist reading the same new ending would assume that the workers had simply seized the capital and taken what they considered to be their fair share of the proceeds. Of course, a Marxist wouldn't acknowledge that in that scenario, the lamb, pig and cat would have used the bread to make roast chicken sandwiches.

Posted by: AndyN at July 23, 2015 10:17 AM
But jk thinks:

You had me rethinking it. The "improved" ending has much to commend it.

But the whole point of LRH was consequences. She did all the work, she enjoyed the rewards. That value, sadly, lives now only in LRH -- we "fixed" it everywhere else. Sad to see consequences extirpated even from stories.

On your sandwiches, I saw a funny FB meme today.

"What did socialists use before they had candles?"


Posted by: jk at July 23, 2015 11:36 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

... lest it disrupt the plans of the World Council and the Department of Candles...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 23, 2015 1:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

AndyN, did you really conclude that the fairness of the Little Red Hen story revolves around her being a better sharer? I thought it was about thems that helps make, gets to help eats. Now that is fair.

But I still had the same reaction as your initial one - they're simply spelling out the way it should be done, for kids whose parents were raised by Baby Boomer parents themselves and were never taught the values of work and property. The sad part is not the new ending, but that the new ending has to be explained to the parents.

Posted by: johngalt at July 23, 2015 2:22 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Actually, JG, I had considered putting "fairness" in ironic quotes but hoped it would be obvious that I was talking about those other guys.

Posted by: AndyN at July 23, 2015 3:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Got it.

By the way, "Atlast Shrugged?" Awesome.

Socialist electricity joke? Double awesome.

Posted by: johngalt at July 23, 2015 3:41 PM

All Hail Greg Gutfeld

WE HAVE YET ANOTHER CONVERSION! Another lefty friend discovering her inner Catholic. Who cares about differences on contraception, abortion, gay marriage, divorce, and -- one assumes -- transubstantiation of matter. It's me and His Holiness against FAUX NEWS!


The statements led Fox's Gutfeld to suggest Pope Francis "doesn't want to be your grandfathers pope" during a June 16 episode of "The Five" after a draft of the encyclical leaked to the public. "He wants to be a modern pope," Gutfeld lamented. "All he needs is dreadlocks and a dog with a bandana and he could be on Occupy Wall Street."
Rant Posted by John Kranz at 3:12 PM | What do you think? [2]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In the words of a certain comic-strip writer who's recently announced he's coming out of retirement:


This is nothing more that the secular Left doing in the religious arena what they do it the political one every four years. "McCain/Romney/Jeb is a Republican that finally I could consider voting for!" In the political arena, that sentiment lasts just long enough for the RINO to secure the nomination; immediately afterwards, that support evaporates, and the chosen Republican is suddenly demonized. Admit it, it's happened twice.

"Now here's a Pope I finally can get behind!" they'll announce. Let His Holiness come out against homosexual marriage or abortion, and that support will disappear faster than pancakes at a Sunday breakfast buffet.

I'm no Catholic and I've got no right to pick the leader of their church, but I've got to tell you, there are some ways I'm missing that Benedict XVI fella.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 22, 2015 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair, but it drives me mad (jk, step away from the Facebook...)

JPII. Miss me some anti-Communist Holiness.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2015 4:47 PM

Better news

All Hail Taranto -- but all hail survey respondents in the Centennial State:

If Hillary Clinton weren't inevitable, one might begin to wonder if she's really going to be the next president. A new Quinnipiac poll finds Mrs. Clinton "in trouble" in three swing states: Colorado, Iowa and Virginia. In each of them, she trails all three of the top candidates for the Republican nomination.

In Colorado, Mrs. Clinton trails Jeb Bush 41% to 36%, Scott Walker 47% to 38% and Marco Rubio 46% to 38%

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 21, 2015

Planned Parenthood Channels Adam Smith

One of my best arguments in support of "fossil fuel" as a commercial energy source relates to the fact that it comes from substances that occur in nature, and needs merely be harvested instead of manufactured. I compare it to my hay farm, where the grass grows due to natural forces of rain and sun and biology, and I just have to collect and process and store it. A valuable trade commodity is the result - naturally.

Typically I am engaged in this debate with one or more folks who lean left. They tend to favor nature over man-made, equality over individual wealth, and non-profit over profit. Their worldview predisposes them to resist any commercial effort. So it was quite an irony to learn that the leading provider of human abortion services in the United States, Planned Parenthood, regularly engaged in the "collection, processing, storage, and inventory and records management for specimens" of what is clinically referred to as "human gestational tissue" or sometimes more specifically referred to as hearts, lungs, livers, or "calvarium" i.e. heads.

Defenders of the practice have been quick to point out that any funds that change hands are strictly to cover the "very high" costs of preserving the parts (which are clearly more valuable to everyone involved than was the sum of those parts.) But now we learn that one Planned Parenthood doctor joked that "I want a Lamborghini" when discussing the funds that change hands in return for the "tissue." As morbid and cavalier as all this is, there is at least some vindication here for the concept of free trade, even on the part of those who can be relied upon to dismiss the marketplace as *ahem* vile and inhuman, at least to the extent that anyone benefits beyond the point of break-even... to the point of profit.

Perhaps she only meant for the Lamborghini to be used as a company car, shared equally by everyone? No, no. She did say, "I want..."

But jk thinks:

"Oh Sweet Jesus the Jew!" As Penn might say. We are going there.

As one who vocally calls for legalization of selling one's own Kidney, I do find myself disappointed that the actual scandal is commerce in body parts rather than body parts.

I champion the trafficking in adult kidneys under Randy Barnett's fundamental "Inalienable right to property in one's own person." My kidney, my decision.

But, I am still squishy on whose property is being trafficked here. If the fetus is developed enough to have brain activity on its own, then I would suggest it has the deed to its liver and kidneys. Not having reached majority age, he or she cannot contract for the transaction, but nor can the parent.

As happens in this great nation, we are arguing about the wrong thing, but one cannot reproach pro-lifers for making good use of indelicate speech of opponents. This makes Mitt Romney's 47% speech look like the pledge of allegiance.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 3:25 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm not yet comfortable with the notion that an unborn child is property, to be bought and sold, and at the cost of his or her life -- or "potential" life, depending on which side of the abortion debate one chooses to take.

The next logical step would be that the father has a fifty-percent ownership stake in said livestock (and can you just imagine THAT lawsuit?) -- oh, wait, except for one point that's not being addressed. When Planned Parenthood sells those body parts to "research labs," the mother (and father) never got paid for the raw materials. This isn't an issue about the parent selling the organs; PP has harvested the organs which they didn't have to buy from the previous "owner."

Consider THAT.

The funny thing is, it wasn't that long ago that those on the pro-abort side were hectoring us that it's not a live human, but merely a "clump of cells." Do you remember the "clump of cells" line? This past week, we've suddenly learned that this "clump of cells" includes a developed liver, lungs, a heart, and a whole payload of other valuable organs. I swatted a mosquito last week with a shoe. THAT'S a clump of cells now - an undifferentiated melange of former parts.

I'm troubled at the sanguine demeanor of a person who can casually haggle the price of baby guts while nibbling at a Caesar salad. It seems to me that the act would require a Mengele-level sociopath. Godwin's Law be damned, I don't play that card often, but I think in this case it's merited.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 21, 2015 5:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

jg's dad, the right-communitarian is no pro-choice advocate but is willing to tolerate legal abortion because of the infanticide that occurs in countries that ban it. Now THAT is sociopathic: Abandoning, or worse strangling, a newborn to death with your own hands in front of your own eyes removes any "clump of cells" or "human gestational tissue" abstraction. It is murder in cold blood.

I didn't set out to prove or disprove the morality of abortion, however. I still don't believe it is the purview of government and its laws and its guns. I set out to show that even if one accepts the inevitability of abortion at some rate, and even if one accepts the medical use of fetal tissue for certain scientific purposes, very few will accept "BabyPartsRUS" as a legal commercial activity. And Planned Parenthood knows it, or else they would embrace these video exposes rather than hide from them.

And as an added bonus I took the opportunity to show that commercial "profit" is as natural to the human race as quinoa. Okay, more natural than quinoa.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 6:08 PM
But jk thinks:

One potential point to push back on brother jg is Caesar Salad Chompin' lady's admission that she changes her procedure to preserve the most valuable parts. That is a disturbing part of the calculus. Were a more painful or degrading procedure used to preserve profit, then involving cash is ipso facto immoral. I heard that what she described was actually illegal.

Barring this, I would suggest that the exchange of money is not the worst part of this grisly tale. If we determine the procedure to be legal, it is not made worse if involves financial trade.

In reference to clump of cells, Keith, I have struggled with discerning the interstice which defines a human life. If the question is embryonic research, I find clump of cells compelling. An early-term abortion is its own tragedy as potential human life is intrinsically valuable, but the presence of distinct organs does not denote human life.

I have stolen (I believe from Brother nb) the presence of brain waves, which I understand to be ~22-weeks. We accept their absence as defining death. On either side of that line, I'm uncomfortable, but accept that as a rational interstice to use to confer birthright liberty.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 6:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Well, well; of all places for this to pop up! Yes, I think I've stipulated based on my own research and feelings that the 1/2 way point in any pregnancy is a logical compromise to this awful debate. 20 weeks is a nice, round number.

Personally, I support the voluntary dispensation of body parts.... and rather prefer that there is no market to support a profit motive.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 22, 2015 12:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Naturally I support profit wherever it is possible without harming others. "Harvesting" a "waste product" seems to fall into this category but as NB rightly observes, the profit aspect creates a perverse incentive to perform more abortions. This is what makes it immoral - when one or more doctors counsels indecisive mothers to abort so they can buy their Lamborghini.

The financial trade itself is not the perversion, the predisposition toward abortion and away from full-term birth is the perversion, on the part of the abortion "doctor."* Planned Parenthood has long been accused of seeking to increase the amount of abortion procedures conducted in this country. Perhaps now we are learning the true cause of that behavior. Does this not discomfit?

* See Hippocratic Oath

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2015 11:48 AM

Department of non-sequitor fish

Because long-term growth is suffering from an abnormally low cap gains rate...


UPDATE: The IBD Ed Page seems not to be onboard.

The initial reaction by tax experts was one of befuddlement.

"I'm struggling to see how it affects the behavior of corporate management by going after the investors," said David Kautter, a partner at McGladrey, a Chicago-based tax consultancy firm. "It seems to me they're shooting at the wrong target."

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

You have to look precisely at the choice of words used to describe this policy proposal: "longer-term economic growth." That is what she proposes will happen to long-term growth under her plan... longer-term economic growth.

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2015 11:16 AM

Time for Despair Yet?

Donald Trump is up in the polls, and the most pro-liberty State Rep I have ever met solicits viewpoints on whether grocery stores should be permitted to sell liquor with comments running 2-1 against.

There is no constituency for liberty. Perhaps AEI conservatism, a'la Arthur Brooks is the best to be hoped.

I'll see if another cup of coffee helps....

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

The fact that "The Donald" is polling better than politically-correct politicians is due, in my opinion, more to the fact that he refuses to couch his statements in politically-correct code language than to any specific issue he talks about, or what position he takes on that issue. For that, I am a big fan. Before one can have a marketplace of ideas, one must first have more ideas to listen to than the number Bernie Sanders proposes we have of deodorant.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 3:19 PM

Quote of the Day

Ed Driscoll on "Trigger Warnings:"

Ray Bradbury was just slightly off -- no reason to burn books, when society is too afraid to even open them.

But johngalt thinks:

Did you intend for this post to segue the one above it?

No reason to have a variety of political candidates when society is too afraid to even hear them.
Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

It's a free country, and I applaud Mr. Trump's decision to run. I said the same thing about Gov. Jeb Bush.

I am disappointed in his fans (like the Grateful Dead). Unlike the Dead, I expect he will flame out soon (perhaps on l'affaire McCain?) and I wish for it to happen sooner rather than later.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 3:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Why? That's what I don't get. Why do you wish for Trump to flame out ASAP but not, say, Jeb? I love that Trump afflicts the politically comfortable. I hope he stays around long enough for his fellow candidates to catch whatever disease of directness has metastasized within him.

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2015 4:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I think everything he says is wrong. He has no core principles and does not promote liberty. He favors single payer medicine, is cool with eminent domain -- he has actually used it -- and calls Republican George Bush "the worst President we've ever had."

While he spouts, serious candidates are failing to get exposure. And he is damaging the Republican brand (which doesn't need much help in being trashed).

I won't cry when Gov. Jeb Bush backs out, either. But in the meantime, we can have a serious talk about Common Core, Immigration policy, and some serious and successful tax reform in Florida. What substantive item is added to the debate courtesy of Mr. Trump? I liked his arming the recruiters and military bases, but that's a broken clock being right.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What substantive item is added to the debate courtesy of Mr. Trump? There are a few here. (Three outta four ain't bad. And the fourth has, at least, the right outcome in mind - eliminate government debt and lower the tax burden to promote economic growth.)

Not campaignin'. Not lobbyin'. Just being an Ombudsman.

Posted by: johngalt at July 22, 2015 3:21 PM

I don't do Twitter

But I wish I did: heck, I don't even know the difference between that and Twitchy.

This looks to be good; titled not enough popcorn, as Think Progress and Sanderites battle of White Privilege.

Hillary tries Snapchat? Ahh, forget it....

But jk thinks:

I need to start over on Twitter. I follow hundreds of folks who I am sure are great people, but they are pugilistic conservatives who live to score debating points. This makes my Twitter feed kind of a right-wing version of my Facebook feed. With far fewer cute kittens.

(I don't know if you're being self-deprecating for dramatic effect, but Twitchy is a "best-of-twitter" that collects a conversation they feel to be noteworthy.)

The great purge remains on my to-do list. Following thinkers I really respect would make it useful. I got into this courteous reciprocal following etiquette and have created a 140-charachter cesspool.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2015 9:50 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sooo, that's why they look so similar: I seriously had no idea ... thanks!

pugilistic conservatives who live to score debating points

Hopefully, this rises above the tit4tat and Neener-neener level, but I'm glad that conservatives are out there keeping the flame alive. Recall that I still have the fear that RedState's Eric is honing in on truth when he wrote:
[The Left] will now work extra hard to push conservatives forcibly into a ghetto of thought. The overarching goal will be to convince you that no one agrees with you and there are no voices echoing you

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 22, 2015 12:01 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, one has only oneself to blame for the intelligence level on one's Twitter feed.

I got in the habit of following everyone who followed me, which is a type of normal etiquette among the non-famous. Us plebes all look to expand reach and long to have 234,531 followers. Then I found most of my feed was neener-neener. (By structure, it is more combative than Facebook -- a lot of people seem to be cruisin' for a fight.)

Too bad because there is some very good wheat among the chaff. I need to devote a half day to separation or learning my clients well enough to sort and quarantine.

Posted by: jk at July 22, 2015 11:18 AM

July 20, 2015


Today, on the 46th anniversary of Apollo 11's triumph, its celebration feels hollow. America no longer leads the way into space. She doesn't even have a vehicle to get astronauts into orbit. Americans no longer seem intrigued by what might be possible. Instead, they fear it. The unknown that was once so inviting is now forbidding. In the mistaken pursuit of a paradise on Earth, America has ceded the heavens -- Noah Rothman
Placing me in mind of my favorite movie quote of the year:
Cooper: We used to look up at the sky and wonder at our place in the stars, now we just look down and worry about our place in the dirt.
A private spaceflight company took one small step for asteroid mining this week with the launch of its first spacecraft to test technology that may one day help tap into the riches of the solar system.

The Arkyd 3 Reflight spacecraft, a small satellite built by the space-mining company Planetary Resources, launched from the International Space Station on Thursday (July 16), beginning a 90-day mission to test the avionics, control systems and software needed to make asteroid mining possible.

I'm good!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:57 PM | What do you think? [0]

Quote of the Day

We help the middle class when we unburden them from the very policies that Hillary Clinton would double down on. She champions Big Government, which we know enables crony capitalism and exacerbates inequality. If you are wealthy, powerful and well-connected, you can handle Big Government. If you are small and powerless, you are getting crushed by things like our colossal, 70,000-page tax code. I have advocated for rolling back regulations, simplifying the tax code and moving to zero-based budgeting -- policies that will support small businesses and raise up the middle class." -- Carly Fiorina
From Insty's "Five Questions"

Throwback Thusrsday!

Umm, but it's Monday... Facebook has "a thing" called Throwback Thursday: post an old photo of yourself or family with the #tbt hashtag. I mine it to recycle old coffeehouse videos.

I don't spend much time reliving ThreeSources moments of glory past, but I occasionally look up something and enjoy the persiflage.

Insty was hawking Jim Bennett & Michael Lotus's "America 3.0: Rebooting American Prosperity in the 21st Century: Why America's Greatest Days Are Yet to Come" this weekend; blog friend tg had recently referenced it on his site; and I remembered our having a disagreement.

I reviewed it in July 2013 [Review Corner] and I'll stand behind my "world's most negative four star review of all time."

It also represents some field preparation for Sunday's The Conservative Heart by Arthur Brooks. This is an important book full of majestic insights and political wisdom -- all grounded on ideas that may not sit well with ThreeSourcers. It may get the world's most effusively positive four star review.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | What do you think? [0]

An Important American Anniversary

No, not the moon landing -- though Bing has a nice tribute today.

I was remarking on the five years of Dodd-Frank! And Chairman Jeb Hensarling has a nice tribute of sorts in the WSJ Ed Page today.

Before Dodd-Frank's passage, former Sen. Chris Dodd said that "no one will know until this is actually in place how it works." Today we know. The law he co-wrote with former Rep. Barney Frank is gradually turning America's largest financial institutions into functional utilities and taking the power to allocate capital--the lifeblood of the U.S. economy--away from the free market and delivering it to political actors in Washington.

A popular meme says some tommyrot about "You blame food stamp recipients for tanking your 401K -- No, that was 'Wall Street!'" I fear this will absorb into common consciousness like President GHW Bush and the supermarket scanners. But this is a more pernicious lie.

The correct meme would read "No, that was Government!"

But nanobrewer thinks:

Once again, Big Government takes aim at Wall Street, and lands a direct hit on main street.

Before Dodd-Frank, 75% of banks offered free checking. Two years after it passed, only 39% did so

Did it solve the Too Big to Fail problem it was intended for? Hah; first guess doesn't count...

in the last five years regulators have approved only one new bank, as opposed to an average of 170 new banks per year before 2010. According to [CEI's] Berlau: “This lack of new bank competitors is one important reason why a large bank failure could severely curtail the supply of credit and availability of financial services. That in turn sets the stage for a continuing cycle of bailouts.”
Posted by: nanobrewer at July 21, 2015 12:34 AM

July 19, 2015

Review Corner

Anybody see the movie The Jane Austen Book Club? It's pretty good and it has a Buffy alumnus in Marc Blucas (Riley). That's okay, nobody in The Adam Smith Book Club had seen it either -- yet I was amused in limning out a screenplay...

I don't want to out anybody, but the three handsome fellas pictured below met almost every week for six months to discuss another section of Adam Smith's An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776). The others had recently completed Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments, I was late to the party.


I thank them both for their time and keen insights. As Blog Brother Bryan points out, Smith leaves an outline for 240 years of economic study. Future economists develop and detail specific concepts, but it is startling how frequently the general idea was written by Smith in the Eighteenth Century. One idea that is wholly attributed to Smith is Division of Labor.

In a tribe of hunters or shepherds, a particular person makes bows and arrows, for example, with more readiness and dexterity than any other. He frequently exchanges them for cattle or for venison, with his companions; and he finds at last that he can, in this manner, get more cattle and venison, than if he himself went to the field to catch them.

The good Scottish Professor comes incredibly close to usurping David Ricardo and capturing comparative advantage as well. But he has -- and opens the book with -- the wealth producing effects of trade and the importance of a larger economic sphere. Even though it was more difficult in his time:
There could be little or no commerce of any kind between the distant parts of the world. What goods could bear the expense of land-carriage between London and Calcutta? Or if there were any so precious as to be able to support this expense, with what safety could they be transported through the territories of so many barbarous nations?

(Deepak Lal, call your office!)

His most famous contribution is "the invisible hand," an ancestor of Hayekian spontaneous order. This actually appears in his first book "The Theory of Moral Sentiments," but this famous line has made Smith many political friends and enemies over the years:

It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest. We address ourselves, not to their humanity, but to their self-love, and never talk to them of our own necessities, but of their advantages. Nobody but a beggar chooses to depend chiefly upon the benevolence of his fellow-citizens.

Russ Roberts's "Invisible Heart" [Review Corner] uses this when Sam asks Laura whether she called ahead to order her bagel.
"Do you ever go to sleep worrying that the bakers of the city won't make enough bagels for tomorrow? Never! But why not? Some mornings, you only buy one. Some mornings a dozen. Some mornings you don't buy any. Some mornings you buy three dozen because you're throwing a brunch. Isn't it amazing that all over the city, tomorrow, there will be plenty of bagels? You and your fellow bagel lovers don't have to make reservations. You just show up and there they are. Isn't it wondrous?"

If Smith is beloved to economists, he is in even higher esteem held by lovers of liberty. He speaks of natural liberty, rails against crony capitalism, specifies the proper means of funding government (the Sovereign) and the proper purposes of the Sovereign. The purpose of the book is thought to lobby against mercantilism and trade restrictions. The Corn Laws were repealed in 1840.
The laws concerning corn may everywhere be compared to the laws concerning religion. The people feel themselves so much interested in what relates either to their subsistence in this life, or to their happiness in a life to come, that government must yield to their prejudices, and, in order to preserve the public tranquillity, establish that system which they approve of.

Deepak Lal considers this to be the beginning of explosive growth during Pax Britannica. This is 64 years after publication, but we understand the persistence of agricultural subsidies -- hell I hope we can kill the ethanol mandate before 2079; I'd call that a win. Restrictions to trade are always and everywhere to be viewed with suspicion:
But, perhaps, no country has ever yet arrived at this degree of opulence. China seems to have been long stationary, and had, probably, long ago acquired that full complement of riches which is consistent with the nature of its laws and institutions. But this complement may be much inferior to what, with other laws and institutions, the nature of its soil, climate, and situation, might admit of. A country which neglects or despises foreign commerce, and which admits the vessel of foreign nations into one or two of its ports only, cannot transact the same quantity of business which it might do with different laws and institutions.

I'll share another keen insight from the group: Smith has never travelled to China (or Indostan, or Santo Domingo); he does not have Google or even BBC documentaries. Yet, he has a keen knowledge of history, customs, and laws of many places and their application to economics. No meeting completed without a unanimous declaration of Smith's prescience and broad knowledge.
It is not more than fifty years ago, that some of the counties in the neighbourhood of London petitioned the parliament against the extension of the turnpike roads into the remoter counties. Those remoter counties, they pretended, from the cheapness of labour, would be able to sell their grass and corn cheaper in the London market than themselves, and would thereby reduce their rents, and ruin their cultivation. Their rents, however, have risen, and their cultivation has been improved since that time.

Always against the protectionists, always against that which limits or subsidizes trade, always against the protection of the powerful from competition. And yet, he is not doctrinaire or even remotely radical -- he took a position as a tax collector at a Customs House. His suggestions are deeply pragmatic, yet "natural liberty" keeps shining through.
If a nation could not prosper without the enjoyment of perfect liberty and perfect justice, there is not in the world a nation which could ever have prospered.

He also offers a pragmatic and wholly economic case against slavery. Though one senses the moral philosopher found the practice abhorrent, it is a waste of resources to incentivize men so poorly.
Slaves, however, are very seldom inventive; and all the most important improvements, either in machinery, or in the arrangement and distribution of work, which facilitate and abridge labour have been the discoveries of freemen. Should a slave propose any improvement of this kind, his master would be very apt to consider the proposal as the suggestion of laziness, and of a desire to save his own labour at the master's expense. The poor slave, instead of reward would probably meet with much abuse, perhaps with some punishment.

I finished the book on July 4. Smith is excited about the future of the Colonies in America.
Such has hitherto been the rapid progress of that country in wealth, population, and improvement, that in the course of little more than a century, perhaps, the produce of the American might exceed that of the British taxation.

Yet, he refers to "the present difficulties" a few times and ends with a message which perhaps better captures our Independence than glorious military conquest:
"If the project cannot be completed, it ought to be given up. If any of the provinces of the British empire cannot be made to contribute towards the support of the whole empire, it is surely time that Great Britain should free herself from the expense of defending those provinces in time of war, and of supporting any part of their civil or military establishment in time of peace;"

Scottish for "screw them."

It is a great book. People make sport of its length. And he goes into "digressions" sometimes which can be pretty turgid. But the prose is actually very readable and he is not without wit. I actually have read it twice. I took an online economics course which assigned a few sections, but I thought I would read the whole thing. I confess I did not get much out of the first run. Lacking a background in economic concepts, I grasped the liberty bits but failed to appreciate the contribution to economics -- or grasp a lot of his contributions.

The group was a huge benefit as well -- sharing favorite sections and quotes. but also being able to clarify some unfamiliar 18th Century language and concepts. Five stars of course. I'm not going on record giving WoN any less. Matt Ridley tells Russ Roberts in a podcast that he considers it a gift to the world on the order of Darwin's Origin of Species and the he "wanted to go back to every professor he's ever had and ask 'why didn't you tell me about this?'"

UPDATE: Lawrence Reed has a nice post on WoN today.

The ideas of Adam Smith exerted enormous influence before he died in 1790 and especially in the 19th century. America's Founders were greatly affected by his insights. The Wealth of Nations became required reading among men and women of ideas the world over.

A tribute to him more than any other individual, the world in 1900 was much freer and more prosperous than anyone imagined in 1776. The march of free trade and globalization in our own time is further testimony to the enduring legacy of Adam Smith. A think tank in Britain bears his name and seeks to make that legacy better known.

Ideas really do matter. They can change the world. Adam Smith proved that in spades, and we are all immeasurably better off because of the ideas he shattered and the ones he set in motion.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 17, 2015

Mister Moderate (Bumped)

Fun test going around Facebook,


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 10:01 PM | What do you think? [17]
But jk thinks:

My biological brother, Dick, leads the pack on Communitarianism at 22.2%

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2015 10:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

jg's biological father seems to have overtaken him: 100% Right, 66.7% Communitarian. Zowie! Pops is no moderate.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

While we're waiting for more, consider this:

Obama is 67% left, 33% liberal.
Bill Clinton is 20% left, 14% liberal.

Which means, jk, and bryan, and Milton Friedman (and I) are all more liberal than Bill Clinton.

But I drop out of the club when compared to Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

jg's Millenial nephew: 88.9% Right, 69.4% Communitarian

(Am I related to these people?)

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Another interesting observation:

Of the four presidents scores offered for comparison, the two Republicans (Dubya and Reagan) are both right-communitarians while the two Democrats (Obama and Clinton) are left-liberals. Is there perhaps a reason why a left-communitarian or right-liberal doesn't win the presidency? Need more data points.

If true, everyone on the plot could one day be POTUS except me, jk Bryan and AndyN.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 4:21 PM
But dagny thinks:

Sorry I'm slow to the party. I spent the weekend playing with horses. 97.2% right, 33.3% liberal. Not surprised.

Posted by: dagny at July 20, 2015 1:09 PM

Those Republicans Sound Pretty Good

Dr. Bradley Joseph Francis Birzer is the visiting Conservative scholar at CU.("Gorillas in our midst..."). I heard him speak at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons.

Here is his speech to the Broomfield County Republicans and the Boulder County CO Republicans about the philosophical roots of conservatism:

Politics Posted by John Kranz at 2:10 PM | What do you think? [0]

July 16, 2015

Quote of the Day

"There's a fine line between asking a tough question and maybe crossing that line a little bit and being disrespectful, and I think that happened here," said CNN's Dana Bash, adding that it was an "embarrassment to journalism." -- Tom Tillison "Angry Obama lashes out at CBS's Major Garrett for 'loaded' question""
UPDATE: Honorable mention:
"I bet Sharyl Attkisson could tell Garrett what happens at CBS when journalists there covering the Obama White House actually do their job." -- Ed Driscoll @ Insty
But nanobrewer thinks:

This reminds me of the phrase: the brainwashed never stop to wonder. Since the media has thrown their baby (minds) out with the (AGW/diversity/"caring") bathwater, they have not asked what line it was that dare not be crossed?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 19, 2015 9:31 AM



I Wish you Love

Charles Trenet

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Happy Anniversary!

Big month -- we were just able to congratulate johngalt & dagny. Today marks 32 years since my best friend become my darling bride.

Colorado Tweeps should drop by the Industrial Revolution Brewing Company in Erie this evening.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:05 AM | What do you think? [0]

July 15, 2015

They Lied?

They said there was a system in place to certify eligibility for subsidies under the PPACAo2010. But Peter Suderman suggests -- and I hope you are stiing down -- that this might actually be a lie.

Heres how pathetically bad Obamacare's federal insurance exchange is at detecting fraud: 11 completely fake enrollees who were improperly granted subsidies last year in a damning and widely covered undercover investigation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) were automatically re-enrolled again, according to an AP report. Some of them even got higher subsidies this year.
It also tells you how much the administration's word is worth when it comes to oversight of Obamacare. A senior administration official certified that a working subsidy eligibility verification system was in place when it obviously wasn't. Months later the administration said it would fix problems that a nonpartisan government investigation had revealed. A full year later, it's still very broken. Whether administration officials are intentionally lying or merely incompetent doesn't much matter; the point is that you can't trust them either way.

I wish you could see my shocked face -- it's a panoply of contortion.

But johngalt thinks:

There's a simple explanation for this. The GAO is racist! And so is this Seter Puderman fellow, whoever he is. The nerve. They should be ashamed for saying bad stuff about "America'sFirstBlackPresident-Care."

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2015 7:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Furthermore, without the sarcasm of my previous comment, this business about government officials "intentionally lying" or being "merely incompetent" dovetails into another story in the headlines recently. A perpetrator of bad acts, having tried it once and both getting a reward and failing to be punished in any way, becomes a serial perpetrator. His bad acts increase in frequency and severity because, well, why wouldn't they? This is, it seems to me, the dominant modus operandi of too many government agencies and political office holders in our time. Not only are the three branches of the federal government in cahoots, the Fourth Estate is also in on the game. So all of the bad actors are rewarded and none of them punished. This goes for the majority of public employees just the same as it does for, Bill Cosby.

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2015 7:10 PM

All Hail Insty

In fairness, I think this has been my blog brother's point, and it contains much truth:


July 14, 2015

Miss me?

It sure seems like a long time since jk has railed against Saganism -- is he okay?

Damn straight, Skippy.

My "I F'ing Love Science" lefty pals are all agog on Facebook over the Pluto flyby (even though it is only a dwarf planet..) and the pentaquark discovery at the Large Hadron Collider. As well they should be.

I don't want to spoil the fun, but I wish to ask whether they might pause and give our species a few props. I know we're all insignificant and stuff -- dust mites of the galaxy and all. But people sent this craft to Pluto, built the Collider, staffed it, analyzed the results -- and shared those results with the world.

Go humanity!

Rant Posted by John Kranz at 6:34 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Never missing a chance to bash a Republican over a current event...

But NASA is also one of the main purveyors of the satellite observations of Earth that are a basic necessity for many fields of Earth science. That's the part Cruz doesn't like: He wants to slash the agency's budget for Earth sciences—in particular, for climate change, a subject on which Cruz's theories are, in the words of one scientist, "a load of claptrap."

Funny how the warmists have gone from "97% of scientists" to "one scientist."

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2015 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Or, if you prefer your pride a little more provincial, here's a great bon mot from a FOBOTW member:

The US launched something the size of a piano 3 million miles, hit a target window approximately 37 x 55 miles in size, and arriving within 1 second of the estimated time of arrival.

Not bad for a country that doesn't use the metric system in daily life.

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2015 1:25 PM

I Didn't Mean THAT Woman...

Insty links to a great Milo Yiannopoulos post: In Defense of Ayn Rand, Monster Under the Progressive Bed. Yiannopoulos doesn't bury the lead:

Liberals are constantly begging for more female authors and female lead characters in literature, but one woman author and philosopher remains stubbornly absent from progressive reading lists. Her name is Ayn Rand, and she is responsible for a theory called objectivism, which holds that reality exists independently of consciousness and that rational self-interest is the proper moral purpose of life.

My ü'berprogressive niece came out of high school loving Rand. A BA at U Cal Berkeley and Masters at Columbia "fixed" that tout suite. And when I bring it up, she laughs it off like I would my high school leisure suits.

But she did admit that she was drawn to the string female characters. Too bad their slavish devotion to collectivism at all costs supersedes their dedication to equality.

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome read.

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2015 3:38 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Funny, my BA from UC Berkeley successfully cemented my respect for Rand - probably as a result of seeing everything she opposed getting all up in my face there.

Or perhaps it was the other way around; maybe Rand inoculated me against the contagion of the Berkeley mindset.

To quote from a recent movie's ending: "A bit of both!"

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 14, 2015 5:19 PM


I saw my friend Dave at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons last night. He graciously allowed me to continue attempts to recruit him as a blogger. He sends this by email:

Castration: To remove the testicles or ovaries.

Now I am reasonably certain that the percentage of Greeks who have undergone castration, when compared to the numbers of citizens of other countries, is not particularly noteworthy. However, in the Greek's tireless quest to obtain something for nothing, (not alone in such goals mind you) the numbers who are now undergoing "CASHTRATION," IS noteworthy. Virtually everyone save the tourists are being placed under a financial knife of their own doing, one in which their cash savings will be cut out and removed.

This leads to my passing on to you something I heard cleverly stated by a financial commentator yesterday on FOX. He was asked what was his assessment of the apparent latest "deal" in which Greece would be again advanced credit to pay its immediate bills.

Responding with an earnest seriousness he replied, "Well, a rolling loan gathers no loss."

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

July 13, 2015

The ThreeSources Crusades

Blog friend tg sent a very interesting link in reference to our Islam vs. Islamism discussions. "Would comment myself but I'm on vacation and the only computer I have is my phone, takes too long to type and so.etimes [sic -- what kinda phone won't correct that to 'sometimes?'] comment entry doesn't work. It's telling that, despite the presence of the offending passages in the Koran, mass exodus of Christians out of the Middle East didn't start until 40 years ago."

The linked post is well worth a read in full.

At the turn of the twentieth century, China, Japan, and Korea saw vast changes in the shape of their society because the old Neo-Confucian world view that had upheld the old order had been discredited. In Europe both communism and fascism rose to horrific heights because the old ideology of classical liberalism that had hitherto held sway was discredited. As a global revolutionary force communism itself withered away because the events that closed the 20th century left it discredited. If Americans do not worry about communist revolutionaries anymore it is because communism was so thoroughly discredited that there is no one left in the world who is willing to pick up arms in its name. [3]

I'd find a couple points to quibble with, and a couple of his favorite sources are not mine. But it is on one level an important data point, covering the opinions of some bright people younger and more integrated with Islamic communities than most ThreeSourcers. And I found his main thesis completely credible -- that we are fighting a modern political movement, not a millennium-old religion. (Though there was that Crusades thingy . . . it was in all the papers).

Intriguing point that the exact relationship of Islamism to Islam may not be as important as some surmise (Buffy fans will hear the slayer silencing her speculative scoobies with "it doesn't matter.") It might be overblown, but it is difficult for me to craft a message that is intolerant of Islamism yet not of Islam. Our pluralism has been somewhat weaponized against us.

It's a serious and well informed piece. My flippancy aside, I appreciate his sending it along.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:52 AM | What do you think? [5]
But johngalt thinks:

"A Civilization is at Stake Here" is a very interesting essay and I find little to disagree with. I might quibble whether classical liberalism has actually been "discredited" as is claimed in the excerpt, but that is tangential to the point - what is the motive of the Islamists?

I do not wish to engage in a debate about Islam with my comments. Rather, I tried to express "the primary goal of the movement."

Greer writes:

If we properly understand the ideology that drives these men and their supporters we can find other weak points that can be exploited."

I humbly submit that I enumerated the motivations of these men and their supporters (and the word "men" should be taken in its gender specific sense.) The Islamist's goals are "wanton raping, pillaging and looting." His ideology is "authoritarian, totalitarian, misogynistic, and genocidal."

So, to me, the most obvious weak point to exploit in discrediting them is women's rights. That is my aim in suggesting that Islamism is not a "religious" movement. To focus the understanding of those who howl at the slightest hint of western misogyny, yet look the other way as young women are subjugated, mutilated and tortured to death by the enemies of civilization. And the lead photo in the original article illustrates this point in a stark relief that is inaccessible to those too young, or too obtuse, to remember.

Hey mister fireman, forget about that small Caucasian boy with a magnifying glass near the ant hill... Mrs. O'Leary's swarthy cow is marching straight toward the world's largest munitions plant. Redirect your hoses!

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2015 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, I wanted to ask about the discrediting of Classical Liberalism as well -- I'll wait until he has returned from vacation.

Perhaps I did not get the paper that day.

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2015 5:08 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I'm back.

I probably ought to have said "classical liberal world order." But if you had asked the average intellectual between 1918-1936 if classical liberalism was a spent force I think most would have said yes. WWI was the defining turning point here--and because of this, the worst disaster of world history, IMHO. Before WWI things were basically moving in the right direction everywhere. Europe was full of liberalizing, cosmopolitan, and constitutional monarchies. Trade was everywhere, and more free than it would be for the seventy years that followed. Europe was at peace; with the exception of the short Franco-Prussian war, Europe had not seen great power war within its borders. Europe was confident that liberalism was the way to go.

When the war was over that all changed. In Russia, and later China, you had communism; in Germany and Italy, and later Japan and again China, you had facism; in America you had statist progressivism. Everywhere you had strident nationalism, a rejection of free trade, an increase in racism and the idea that many ethnicities could live in one place peacefully. Confidence in international relations were shattered, and the first great multinational institution--the League of Nations--was formed. Wilson tried to create an entirely new order for the world, and he failed, leaving behind him depression and anarchy.

John Steele Gordon has this great, depressing essay on this theme called "What we lost in the great war." It is a good read.

Classical liberalism eventually came back. But it took four decades--and horrors far greater made in the name of the ideologies that replaced it--to make people take it seriously again.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 15, 2015 11:22 PM
But Jk thinks:

All the Progressives considered classical liberalism discredited. I'll accept that; I just don't think it was.

Hayek and Mises kept the flame lit, not unlike Islam's defense of science in the dark ages.

And I'm on board with WWI as worst disaster in history, but it is inextricably linked with progressivism.

Posted by: Jk at July 16, 2015 8:07 AM
But Jk thinks:

All the Progressives considered classical liberalism discredited. I'll accept that; I just don't think it was.

Hayek and Mises kept the flame lit, not unlike Islam's defense of science in the dark ages.

And I'm on board with WWI as worst disaster in history, but it is inextricably linked with progressivism.

Posted by: Jk at July 16, 2015 8:07 AM

July 12, 2015

Review Corner

"You're the only guy I know who can make misery sound inspiring."

"Capitalism involves struggle, but it has an invisible heart beating at its core that transforms people's lives. If you give it the chance. Look at the full picture and you get a very different perspective."

Russ Roberts got a nice, five star review last fall for his superb How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. Looking for his latest EconTalk with Matt Ridley, I see Bing® returns seven pages if you search russ roberts site:threesources.com. There were two, but I just recently discovered the older one in which he interviewed Ridley after the release of The Rational Optimist [Review Corner]. Listening (as everybody should) I heard Lord Ridley mention The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance . I snapped it up on Kindle.

Invisible Heart was released in 2002 (they had books back then?) and is more on the lines of his "The Price of Everything." Economic concepts are woven into a fictional story, where freedom lovers seek romance as they edify potential love interests (my tears are welling up as I type...) Both "Price" and "Heart" are very enjoyable reads -- with very good economic ideas.

Invisible Heart is set in a tony Washington DC prep school. Protagonist Sam Gordon teaches economics; Literature teacher, Laura Silver, comes from a lefty family of lawyers and consumer advocates. Does this thing have a chance? [No spoilers here...] Yet as she eavesdrops on his class she begins to be exposed to different concepts.

"One hundred years ago," he continued, "over forty percent of the American labor force was in farming. Now it's less than three percent. Imagine a heart-rending television show about the kids at the turn of the century being driven off the farm by technology that improved farm productivity. Do you think those kids and their children today are glad that we let that happen? Imagine how impoverished our lives would be today if we had decided to stop changes in farming out of 'compassion.'"

I am making it seem more heavy handed than it is -- there are some very surprising plot twists as they explore capitalism's benefits and shortcomings in the shadow of closing factories and televised congressional hearings of a greedy CEO. Yet, instead of insipid collectivism, the dialog has things ThreeSourcers might actually say.
"I thought you liked private charity, Sam." "I do. And I think it's lovely when wealthy people give their wealth away. There's nothing wrong with the concept of 'giving something.' It's the extra word 'back' that drives me nuts. It implies that the wealth was stolen, that it once belonged to the community and should be returned.

At the end of the book, there is an extra reading assignment for each chapter (Not Sure Jayne Ann Krentz does this) directing readers to Bastiat, Hayek, Adam Smith. I discovered a Hayek book I hadn't encountered.

Fun stuff. Five stars without question. To be honest, I would recommend the newer "The Price of Everything" above this one. But reading either, you'd soon want the other.

"That surprises me, Sam. Here we are [at the Jefferson Memorial] in the heart of government power, looking at its religious monuments. I thought you were the great skeptic of government power." "True. But I love America. It's still the place of possibility, the best place to dream of what might be. And that's because of a deeply held conviction many Americans have in the power of being left to one's own devices. The power of liberty to unleash the human spirit and let it soar."

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 1:32 PM | What do you think? [8]
But jk thinks:

And to clarify my fuzzy prose and missing antecedents: This review is for Invisible Heart. The How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life review mentions surprise that there is no extant Review Corner for "The Price of Everything." ©2008. that may have preceded Review Corner but I have mentioned it a few times and it is very good.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2015 9:36 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It took me a while to ascertain that you were quoting from a FICTIONAL work. But we certainly could have written what you attributed to us!

You have my permission as well, although I think the author attribution reads better with the single syllable name in the last position. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2015 2:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Don't think of it as fictional; think of it as something from a few years in the future in an alterate timeline. There's at least one more collaboration as a follow-up volume: "Washington, Lincoln, Coolidge, Reagan, and Renard: Five Great Presidents" that will need to be published.

As for the name order... there's a certain cadence to what you say. Kander and Ebb, Rogers and Hart, you know. I will take that under advisement, or perhaps leave you two to thumb-wrestle for it...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 14, 2015 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

The bio blurb on my next CD will read "He has been compared to Lorenz Hart." (I may not mention that it was for syllabic paucity.)

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2015 5:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What does he want from us JK? What's with the flattery festival? ;)

Would I be getting too far out in front of future history to say, "Make room for me on Mount Rushmore?"

Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2015 5:39 PM
But jk thinks:

I've never been circumspect of flattery -- it's one of my endearing qualities.

Posted by: jk at July 14, 2015 5:59 PM

July 11, 2015

Becoming a fan of FB

B/c I've sound a way around the WSJ's firewall and now can read Best of the Web: link to the stories from FB. Terrific!

Oh; shhh.....

July 10, 2015


Ever wondered what a graphical representation of real-time cyber attacks looks like? This.

h/t: @MichaelBrownUSA

Technology Posted by JohnGalt at 5:46 PM | What do you think? [2]
But nanobrewer thinks:

That is wildly cool; I'd put it up as my screensaver, but I'd never get any work done!

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 12, 2015 8:41 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And what is with Sao Tome being such a big participant?

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 14, 2015 4:27 PM

At Least it's not the Koch Brothers

Where have you gone Penn & Teller? I know you have a new Broadway Show and I enjoy your "Fool Us" program on Channel 2 (CW Network).

But this nation has needs. And it needs an authoritative, stentorian voice to stand tall and proclaim: The Beepocalypse is Bullshit!"

Though regurgitated with perfect seasonal periodicity, the demise of the little yellow blighters that scare and annoy me is overblown. The studies are actually singular -- one study, done by one scientist, reviewed by zero entomologists forms the foundation of the alarmist claims. The one scientist, Chensheng Lu, relishes his role as green crusader against pesticides and GMOs.

The second coming of Silent Spring? Almost from the day his first study was published, Lu was making grandiose claims. By his own admission, he is the definition of an activist scientist. He is on the board of The Organic Center, an arm of the multi-million dollar Organic Trade Association, a lobby group with strong financial interest in disparaging conventional agriculture, synthetic pesticides and neonics in particular--a conflict of interest that Lu never acknowledges and to my knowledge no other journalist has reported.

Earlier this month, OTA announced it is partnering with Lu to tout the benefits of organics, including promoting the dangers of neonics.

A scientist associated with Monsanto would be called corrupt.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM | What do you think? [0]

Principles Subject to Change

My, my. The things you find on the Internet...

Sadly, not Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter [subscribe] from which I liberally excerpt.

On President Bush:

Bush has been so bad, maybe the worst president in the history of this country. He has been so incompetent, so bad, so evil, that I don't think any Republican could have won.

Evil, huh. About his successor:
His speech was great last night. I thought it was inspiring in every way. And, hopefully he's going to do a great job. But the way I look at it, he cannot do worse than Bush.

Nobody likes a mindless partisan. How about free market healthcare?
TRUMP: I think you have to have it, and, again, I said I'm conservative, generally speaking, I'm conservative, and even very conservative. But I'm quite liberal and getting much more liberal on health care and other things. I really say: What's the purpose of a country if you're not going to have defensive [sic] and health care?
If you can't take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it's all over. I mean, it's no good. So I'm very liberal when it comes to health care. I believe in universal health care. I believe in whatever it takes to make people well and better.

KING: So you believe, then, it's an entitlement of birth?

TRUMP: I think it is. It's an entitlement to this country, and too bad the world can't be, you know, in this country. But the fact is, it's an entitlement to this country if we're going to have a great country.

Can we, perhaps, close the Trump boomlet now? Or must I excerpt direct negotiations with Iran...

Dem2016 Primary Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Keep it comin! We want the knuckledraggers to be excited by the stuff he's saying [now] but not so excited that they actually follow through on "voting my heart" when primary time comes.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2015 1:36 PM

Your Lord of the Elitist GOP Scum

Insty links to this "must read from Ace." I don't know if you must read it, but confess the underlying point is extremely interesting -- especially in light of internecine disagreements over the Trump 2016 candidacy.

Ace divides the GOP base into two groups. And then, explains why he hates both of them!

I hate that the Middle Class is so comfortable being what I would term "crude," and in fact seems to take a backwards-ass pride in being crude of expression, especially in regard to things they know are extraordinarily sensitive. They seem to have this passion for making controversial subjects even more controversial, by engaging in, or supporting, a style of carelessly offensive cant.

But I hate that the Comfortable Class is So. Fucking. Cowardly.

I'm not a H8er, but it's difficult to argue with either point. Again, read the piece if you want -- I think the idea is great but I'm not certain that he develops it that well. The Trump boomlet is built on this friction.

Economically, I am down with the white rabble. In fact, I aspire to be rabble someday. Politically, I am with the elites, although there are places -- guns, cough, cough -- where we disagree. But I asked my blog brother whether the party should really reflect the average voter. We're not so big on plebiscite democracy 'round these parts, and there is a populist strain in the party which rejects free trade, immigration, reproductive rights, drug decimalization, gay marriage and supports the foolish trapezoid behind the goaltender. I'm not saying all of these positions are wrong or incompatible with my support, but I surely wish to push the party in my more libertarian direction.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | What do you think? [0]

Horsin' Around

Our humble little vaulting club has grown in size and skill level, to the point where the Mile High Vaulters are the second largest club competing at the AVA National Championship this year. And the best part - Northern Coloradoans have a chance to come and watch them compete for top honors at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland!

Come on, y'all! (There's not much talk like that in the equestrian vaulting community. That's all me.)

But dagny thinks:

Please if anyone has time to stop by, hunt down some Mile High Vaulters who will be able to find me to say, "HI!"

Posted by: dagny at July 10, 2015 2:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Where's the website, Dagny? I'd like to bring a horse-crazy friend...

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 11, 2015 12:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

The event itself does not have its own website. But there is more info available here: http://www.americanvaulting.org/Nationals2015/index.php

on the American Vaulting Association website. Then there is info about us specifically at www.milehighvaulters.org . and on our Facebook page.

Posted by: dagny at July 13, 2015 12:53 PM

July 9, 2015

1000 Words of the Day

July 8, 2015

Hail Kevin!

TS'ers who know my family name probably hadn't guessed that my Yia-Yia and Papu emigrated from Athens to Virginia in the 1930's. I may be half-greek, but I'm all American, and can appreciate a bit of schadenfreude, after they've defaulted again which gets any sympathy lost for those that may have voted against EUnification.

The title says it all: The Greeks Invented Mathematics, and Now Its Bankrupting Them.

In the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, Greek leaders lied to bond investors and the bosses at the European Union, claiming that they were complying with EU restrictions on the size of government deficits and national debt. In reality, the Greeks had been scheming with their bankers notably Goldman Sachs to keep excess debt off the books. Financial crisis or not, that book-cooking was always going to be revealed: Greece maintained an excessively liberal pension system (Greeks could retire after 35 years of work at 80 percent of their working income; for Germans, its 45 years and 46 percent)

The only thing I can think to say is: Math is Hard. :-0

But jk thinks:

Did not know that -- I hope you'll make a special trip to an ATM in solidarity of your people.

Agree on Williamson. I wandered away from NR but they have a good stable.

It is as though the Muses came to an agreement: In the here and now, mankind is subject to rhetoric, but mathematics gets the final say. In Athens, in San Juan, in Detroit, in Sacramento, in Springfield, and, soon enough, in Washington, Mathematics is arousing herself from her torpor, and she is cranky as hell.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2015 9:32 AM

All Hail!



Jonah (Trump Bad Deal for GOP):

History is full of failed men who mistook flattery for insight.
Better to play a Cincinnatus who won't relinquish his plow -- or in this case, his line of cologne.
In his announcement speech -- the brevity and discipline of which were impressive only by the standards of Fidel Castro or Joe Biden -- Trump shouted his certainty that Mexico is sending rapists and other criminals to America, but he could only "assume" (sotto voce) that "some" of those Mexicans are good people. -- Jonah Goldberg

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 2:25 PM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Great news on breakfast.

"Et tu" expresses frustration with the number of Trump supporters I see in the Right-Wing-Crazies fold of my Facebook friends. I strongly disagree that Trump's candidacy is positive. I am in Goldberg's camp: when I ask a moderate to consider voting for the GOP in 2016, his or her opinion of the party will be somewhat shaped by Trump's style and substance. That's a bad thing.

Should the party represent the interests of the average registered Republican? You can put me down as a "no." Elitist scum that I am. (Post coming soon about Ace's Middle Class vs. Comfortable Class).

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2015 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You've given a false dichotomy: Should the party represent the interests of the entrenched big government RINOs or should it represent the interests of the average registered Republican?

Can't we all get along? Can't we all live side by side in peaceful harmony, drinking ice cold Coca Cola? Even sharing it with our moderate friends? Yes - if the party represents republican (little r) principles, not this group or that group's "interests."

C'mon, man.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2015 1:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously, how many millenials have ever seen this?

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2015 1:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I dunno, man...

You imply that one is an interest and one is not. I think we both seek a party that pursues principle and one that seeks the best principles.

The rank-and-file, grassroots, populist, middle class, party members have a lot of wrong ideas. I get queasy when I see a candidate feeding into that, be it Sen. Santorum, Gov. Huckabee, Mr. Trump (sir!), Senator Cruz, or Senator Paul who I hear is bashing "Sanctuary Cities" today. I don't know the details but it sounds opportunistic at the least.

Do I want these good people fired up in the Primary voting their hearts? Again, I'm leaning toward no.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2015 2:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't know if it adds to the debate, but Jonah remains all-in:

There have been times in the past when I’ve gotten crosswise with certain segments of the conservative base and/or with the readership of NATIONAL REVIEW. And, because, like the Elephant Man, I am a not an animal but a human being, I have always had at least some self-doubt. That’s as it should be. People who share principles should not only hear each other out when they disagree; they should be able to see each other’s points and hold open the possibility that one’s opponents have the better argument.

This is not one of those times, at least not for me.

I truly, honestly, and with all my heart and mind think Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters are making a yuuuuuuge mistake. I think they are being conned and played. I feel like a guy whose brother is being taken advantage of by a grifter. I’m watching helplessly as the con artist congratulates him for taking out a third mortgage.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2015 3:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It seems we are talking past each other again.

I am not a Trump supporter. Okay, I understand you are railing against thems that is. Fair enough.

But my pleasure lies, besides watching hoi oligoi get all squirmy and disgusted, in seeing the public dialog get fired up, not the well-meaning folks who pick the wrong solutions to government induced problems. You see, I believe they are smart enough to support the right ideas, just as soon as they hear them.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2015 4:32 PM

July 7, 2015

Follow Up

Sad to say that even my tepid appreciation for Jessica Alba's Honest Company may have been too generous. I suggested that " I fear there may be a bit of 'woo' involved" but surmised that "as far as I know, receives no special subsidies. Nor is anyone mandated to purchase vegan, hypoallergenic Face and Body Lotion."

All true. But the NYPost's Julie Gunlock (and you bet there's a nice photo of the CEO at that link!) is less than comfortable with the "woo."

Yet the company's main commodity is fear -- and a false promise that its products are better and much safer for you and your child than those sold by other companies. It's a marketing strategy that clearly works.

Alba often boasts that she really cares about her customers and implies those other guys -- her competition -- do not.

Relaying the story of why she started her company, Alba told ABC News that after doing research, she "found that there are a lot of toxic chemicals in everyday products, and I was more horrified to find that there are more toxic chemicals in baby products."

Is this true? Are there toxic chemicals in baby products?

Of course there are, and for good reason.

Ah, yes, "chemicals." Glad her products are not so polluted.

My original point holds. She's spreading fear -- but isn't Whole Foods? Ben & Jerry's? It's a free country.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 1:28 PM | What do you think? [0]

Wrong Side of History?

How can you become sad looking at pictures of attractive young women?

Jim Geraghty shares a couple of pictures in his "Morning Jolt" Newsletter, and suggests that they disprove assumptions about an assumed inexorable march toward freedom. At the very least, one can be "on the wrong side of history" for a long time.

Afghanistan, 1970:


Iran 1971:


Nothing a bloodthirsty, Seventh Century religious movement cannot fix.

But johngalt thinks:

I think I can, and must, clarify my assertion without resorting to a dictionary definition of "religion." I mean to say that while the Islamist movement identifies itself with a religious tradition, that particular religious tradition was created - or at least, as KA elaborated, eventually evolved into something that was - for the purpose of justifying the initiation of force against others.

This initiation of force was, and is again today for the Islamists, the primary goal of the movement. Advancement of the teachings of the religious tradition, i.e. peaceful speech and persuasion, is not the principal purpose. The teachings are only a means to another end, and provide a supposed moral sanction. Islam, in its pure form, is not religion qua religion but rather, religion qua piracy. Or at least, this is my understanding of the unvarnished history of Muhammad.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2015 11:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Clear as mud" dagny says.

Whether Islam is or is not a religion is not my point. My point is that attributing Islam's code of human conduct to "a superhuman agency or agencies" is intended to confer a moral sanction upon that code and thus, to defend it from critics.

This is one of the clearest examples I know of the danger in allowing ancient recollections of a superhuman agency's moral code to guide human moral conduct.

Now, we can draw a distinction between the moral code of Islam and every other known religion thusly: The personal observance of any religious tradition other than Islam allows for the peaceful observation of the same or any other religious tradition, or even no religion whatsoever. Islam however, as practiced by the Islamists, requires the killing of infidels.

While all other religions rely upon persuasion to attract adherents, Islamism relies upon murder. And yet the "free" west is loathe to criticize Islam because it is a "religion." Here is the focus of my point - It is not a religion worthy of respect and consideration, it is a set of sheep's clothing for a bloodthirsty cult. A sort of a "moral Trojan horse" if you will.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2015 4:32 PM
But jk thinks:

jk -- ThreeSources's defender of Islam!

But, but, but, you're comparing other religions to "Islamism." I'll grant that the militant wing of Seventh Day Adventists does not strike fear into airline travelers like a throaty "Allahu Akbar!" But you're ignoring a billion practicants who can accept pluralism.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2015 7:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JG: I'll defend you again, then - I understood your point perfectly well, and I agree.

The article I referenced makes the case that, as far as Islam goes, its roots are suspect. Mohammed took what benefitted himself, what aggrandized himself, and what conformed to his wants and desires, laid them down as law, and then wrapped them all up in God-words and said "this isn't just me talkin' - this is the will of Allah!" And then he reinforced his decrees by the point of the sword. Today's Islamists are following in this same tradition, and I think we could come up with a hundred or so examples in short order.

And I hope you're not soft-pedaling anything you're saying on my behalf, because if you're concerned I might take offense, trust me -- I don't and I won't. My own faith tradition bases its code of conduct on the pronouncements of "a superhuman agency" and I've never gotten the impression you've belittled me or my ideas on that basis. Of course, I've never threatened to saw someone's head off over it. Sure, someone might bring up the Crusades or how Galileo was treated, but we in the Reformed side of the aisle just roll our eyes and will tell you that even the Catholics have outgrown that. Heck, I think I've held a lower opinion of Mike Huckabee than anyone here -- and that's saying something.

You'll laugh, but I deal with the reverse, when I talk with people who don't understand how a real Christian can be so comfortable with Ayn Rand, and then I have to explain that - and just to let you know, it's a fun conversation (a hobby I've had since the movie "Dirty Dancing" came out, and the villain of the piece was a caricature devoted to The Fountainhead -- you can look that up).

Back to your point, I'd echo your final paragraph by saying that Islam is, as far as honest religion goes, a system of domination and despotism wrapped up in God-words to give a magic sanction to the personality issues of its founder, and it attracts exactly the same kind of people. That drive is unchanged from its founding all the way to the present. It's a projection of its founder wrapped up in the garments of religion.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 9, 2015 7:56 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I took so long writing my pithy answer to JG, that JK was able to slip in undetected at get his own comment in. Sorry about that.

Completely off topic: JK will already know about this, but by way of explanation for JG, I've been doddering along with a novel I'm writing, of which JK has seen the prologue and two chapters, I think (I just finished the final edit of chapter 28 today!). Each chapter is introduced with a snippet of sorts, an excerpt from some fictional textbook or article. I was wondering if either of you would object to the use of this at the beginning of Chapter 27:

"The economic story of the last hundred years of Earth history was merely an accelerated version of the hundred years before them: the transfer of capital from producers to government through onerous taxation and regulation, and from there to the politically connected by political artifice, while doling out nothing more than bread, circuses, and rhetoric to the average family."

- Kranz and Rinard, “Reality Economics: Smith, Bastiat, and Hayek”

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 9, 2015 8:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for the able backup brother Keith. You did detect a reluctance take on ALL religion. But as I've said, as long as they only proseletyze with the pen and the tongue, and not the sword.

JK refers to the "peace-loving" average Muslims that Ayaan Hirsi Ali implored to resist the violence, intolerance and subjugation of the Islamists in their midst. But as she herself pointed out (and I can't find the blog post that cites it) in an ideological battle between a moderate Muslim and a devout one, the moderate is disarmed. So who are these moderate Muslims more afraid of - me or their fundamentalist brothers? No, I suspect most of the folks you suggest I'm "ignoring" would welcome my criticisms. They just want a deity to believe in, not an excuse to rape, pillage and murder.

Posted by: johngalt at July 10, 2015 12:48 AM

July 6, 2015



You Don't Know Me

Eddy Arnold & Cindy Walker ©1955

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com


July 5, 2015

Review Corner

Market prices, as we'll see in the next section, guide each of us to act as if we know about-- and as if we care about-- the preferences and well-being of millions of strangers.
ThreeSourcers with a low utility for economics books are in luck today. Don Boudreaux's The Essential Hayek is free on Kindle today. I think I paid 0.99.

What is more, this is not some dusty 920 page tome that will demand a year of your life. Boudreaux takes ten important concepts from FA Hayek and presents them with very accessible commentary in ten short chapters. You can read it while you pretend to watch the big soccer game this evening.

Boudreaux is a favorite of mine (blog brother Bryan sent me a photo of his office door when visiting George Mason University) and he does a great job selecting topics and explaining Hayekian insights. Hayek contributes so substantively to liberty theory, but his style is not pithy and much of his work was targeted at academics. Yet so much of ingrained belief around here is presented forcefully by Hayek: the power of freedom in markets, the dangers of centralization and coercion, and the fundamental power of ideas:

Marx, of course, was a man of the political left. Stigler was a man of the political right. Yet according to both Marx and Stigler, ideas are determined; ideas do not determine. Marx and Stigler each was driven by the idea that nothing as intangible, as subjective, as unobservable, and as unquantifiable as mere ideas could play a significant role in driving a society.
If George Stigler were correct that government policies are driven only by special-interest groups-- and therefore that the ideas that people have about the "rightness" or "wrongness" of policies are irrelevant-- then governments wouldn't bother to portray farm subsidies and the creation of other special-interest-group privileges as being in the public interest. The very dishonesty and duplicity that is so common in the pronouncements of all governments, today and in the past, testify to the power of ideas.

There can be no doubt that ideas have consequences.

Boudreaux pulls off a nice analogy to refute the demand-side arguments of Keynes and Sec Robert Reich.
If you have all of the parts of, say, an automobile scattered randomly about a large room, the main reason you do not have a functioning car is not that you do not want, or that you fail to "demand," such a car. Instead, the chief reason you have no functioning car is that those parts aren't fitted together in ways that allow them all to operate smoothly.

What puts the car together? Prices. Yes some people will be hurt. But every price support, tariff, and top-down control mechanism delays the assembly of the functioning vehicle.
It is regrettable that the process of unwinding unsustainable investments takes time. But lasting economic health requires that such unwinding occurs. Unfortunately, during the time required to unwind the unsustainable investments there is indeed a great deal of economic suffering. And, understandably, there are many appeals to political authorities to ease the suffering. As we'll see in the next chapter, political authorities too often respond to these appeals with policies that only mask and worsen the problem.

It's easy to think that Hayek is telling the injured party to eat cake or hear "sucks to be you" in his Austrian accent. But reading the whole short book provides an appreciation for the equality and opportunity provided by free markets.
As Hayek himself understood, however, the case for freedom and free markets must continually be rejuvenated and made again and again and again. The project is never completed, as more recent political developments in Britain and the United States attest. Opposing ideas-- those of collectivism of one form or another-- are always being generated, refined, and spread. Failure by classical liberals and other defenders of a society based on free markets and strictly limited government to counter these collectivist ideas will guarantee the victory of collectivism.

Five stars. C'mon, it's not like you're going to miss many goals or anything.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 9:31 AM | What do you think? [2]
But Don Boudreaux thinks:

Thanks so much for this kind and excellent plug!

Posted by: Don Boudreaux at July 6, 2015 3:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let's make that, "...will guarantee the [temporary] victory of collectivism." Until the unsustainable redistributive "investments" unwind and the concomitant great deal of economic suffering is endured.

So you (and Don) make a case for freedom and free markets but that's even more "cruel and heartless" than telling them to eat cake. You're telling them, "eat cake you've made yourself."

I'm sorry, but there's no getting around the idea that freedom requires a continual exercise of the "Hard America" principle - the tough love of a father who says, "No." Ask the ant about his experience with the grasshopper. Ask the Germans about their experience with the Greeks.

If you think "compassionate conservatism" means "you can have guns AND butter" you're doing it wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at July 7, 2015 3:07 PM

July 3, 2015

I Find it a Great Debate Topic

Happy Independence Day -- and accept an official "America, F*ck Yeah!" from Eric Cartman and me.

But one of our gifts is free speech. And Dylan Matthews at Vox has used those rights to publish a linkbait provocative piece: "3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake." Matthews cites Britain's earlier abolition of slavery, the statistical anti-despotic qualities of parliamentary systems, and better treatment of native people under British rule in Canada.

My conservative buddies got the vapors. "Vox truly does hate America," says a commenter at Friends of Best of the Web. But after rebuilding the White House after the War of 1812, we've been pretty good buddies with the Britons. I'm down with American Exceptionalism, but we've stumbled and the greater UK (especially including Virginia in a counter-factual) can claim great defenders of liberty and human rights. We split over a pittance of a tax on tea and ended up with Lois Lerner.

So, no, I burst with pride but don't consider the suggestion treasonous.

Today, Megan McArdle responds on Facebook "to quarrel with is the breathtaking amount of exogeneity he assumes." It is not exactly the wind of butterfly wings to prevent the creation of the most powerful economic and military power. Yet, McArdle points out, he assumes every other bit of history happens essentially the same. It's a smart response. No rights chatter, no flag waving, just piercing reason (because Britain ignored natives in the frozen tundra, would they have left them in peace on a rich continent? What resources would they have employed to stop Southern rebellion?)

When the United Kingdom passed us in Heritage/WSJ's "Index of Economic Freedom" I confess I wondered what our blood purchased. Contra Matthews and McArdle, I prefer the dreaded gridlock (not the gridded dreadlocks) of our Madisonian Republic; that bug is a feature to me. The Bill of Rights protects our speech and privacy and self defense far better than in Canada or the UK.

But maybe King George could have granted greater autonomy and we could have stayed with the crown but implemented the best parts of Republican ideals. I dunno. Treason?

But Keith Arnold thinks:

"In England itself, slavery was illegal at least going back to 1772..."

According to my watch, that was four years before we officially parted company. George could have extended that to the Colonies Across The Pond, and then the whole argument would be moot. But he didn't. It took another several decades and the efforts of an amazing man named William Wilberforce to get Old Blighty out of the slave trade.

"America would have a better system of government if we'd stuck with Britain..."

Says a partisan of the government that could have averted World War Two. Thank you very much, Neville Chamberlain.

He goes on to describe how much better the British system is, because there is no gridlock, and no irreconcilable differences between monarch and Parliament. The best example he can cite: "In the UK, the Conservative government decided it wanted a carbon tax. So there was a carbon tax. Just like that. Passing big, necessary legislation — in this case, legislation that's literally necessary to save the planet — is a whole lot easier with parliaments than presidential systems."

I'm sorry, was that supposed to be an argument FOR the British system, or against it? Because I'm confused.

The Founders wisely decided that the citizens themselves would be the best safeguarders of liberty. In Merrie Olde, the elites decided to inflict a carbon tax on the people, and because enough of the elites agreed, the proles got to bend over and take it. Here in the land of Sic Semper Tyrannis, free people have - up until recently, at least - prevented our elites from imposing a long list of folly on us -- things like Kyoto, gun confiscation, and any number of other bits of mayhem that the serfs of other countries now endure.

So, IMAO, Dylann Matthews is more than welcome to fold his ignorant opinion in half and shove it back up into wherever he pulled it out of, enjoy Londonistan and what remnants are left of what was once a great nation up until about a hundred years or so ago, and he can take Piers Flippin' Morgan with him while he's at it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at July 3, 2015 3:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2015 4:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:
But maybe King George could have granted greater autonomy...

Well, he had his chances. Many of them, in fact. Instead he chose to commit "a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states."

And besides, he was a King. Man can not long endure life under the dominion of another man. Like the President of the United States, for example.

Happy Independence Day, y'all! To a great extent, you ain't.

Posted by: johngalt at July 4, 2015 10:13 AM
But Jk thinks:

All the Progressives love a Parlimentary system -- Wilson called for it in his academic work.

Appreciate and agree with the comments. Plus the World never gets the Declaration or Constitution. A great loss.

For a real holiday treat, read both if Randy Barnett's excerpts from his forthcoming book. Awesome on stilts!

Posted by: Jk at July 4, 2015 4:43 PM

July 2, 2015

I Think we should start following other people...

"This man [Justice Thomas] does not belong on the Supreme Court. He is an embarrassment. He is a disgrace to America." -- George Takei
I stopped following George Takei several months ago. I miss his clever puns and intellectual humor, but as mentioned before, his single issue-advocacy was too-frequently contrary to liberty.

On the one hand, Hollywood media guy goes on leftist rant does not even rise to the level of "dog-bites-man." But this is an important story because a) Takei has finally chased me completely away; but more importantly b) it plays into a very interesting piece I read yesterday. Sulu -- fire up the Internet Segue Machine™!

Scott Shackford at Reason wrote a short post that has kept me in constant reflection:

Is This Where Libertarians and the Gay Community Part Ways?
In the 40-some-odd years since the Libertarian Party took such positions, we've seen the end of sodomy laws, the end of officially sanctioned government discrimination against gay employees, both civilian and military--and with Obergefell v. Hodges, the end of government bans on same-sex marriage recognition. We've seen the end of just about every government policy that treats gay and lesbian citizenry as somehow less than the heterosexual citizenry.

So: Is that it, then? Have supporters won, after all this time? Should we move on to other issues of liberty?

If I can be more flippant than Reason, no, Takei and his cohorts will move all battle resources to person the cake police barricades, uproot religious freedom laws, and generally call for more government coercion.

I decry the small percentage of libertarianism in the polity and jested on Facebook "Oh boy, Libertarians: the party that adds by dividing!" But Shackford is dead nuts on (ooh, poor word choice...) the alliance ended June 26, 2015.

UPDATE: Proof Deux: "Hillary Clinton, Loudly and Proudly, Taps Into a Vein of Support Among Gay Voters"

Hat-tip: James Taranto

Gay Rights Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | What do you think? [3]
But nanobrewer thinks:

He was declared the winner in RedState's contest of "who'd be the worst winner." My best friend has also stopped following him.

I'm sad that Takei's long standing humor was simply masking an ugly, angry ignorance and not a sign of wisdom at the marvel and folly of the human experience. I hope he's over it soon.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 4, 2015 9:02 AM
But AndyN thinks:

I think this pretty much hits the nail on the head...

Posted by: AndyN at July 6, 2015 8:26 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN: I did see that after I posted this. Awesome!

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2015 9:36 PM

July 1, 2015

Happy Fourth

But johngalt thinks:

Ummm, it's not the "Fourth of July" holiday, it's "Independence Day." Derrick Wilburn sez, "It's time to end 'the 4th of July.'"

Now on to the video.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2015 11:05 AM
But jk thinks:

Wilburn is correct. But, to use an analogy which might hit home, "that horse has left the barn."

In my time with the startup, I spent the first week in July in Ireland every year to welcome the new fiscal year. In stores or pubs, Irish people went nuts to wish an American "Happy Fourth." I felt they made a bigger deal of it than my native countrymen.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2015 12:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair 'nuff, but when my horses "leave the barn" (which they are known to do on occasion) I go get them and put them back in.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2015 12:54 PM
But dagny thinks:

Actually, usually I go get them. Just sayin'...

Posted by: dagny at July 2, 2015 1:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Happy Independence Day.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2015 1:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2015 2:25 PM

I hope he's wrong

It's pretty chilling, what Eric at RedState states:

A newspaper in Pennsylvania has declared it will no longer allow letters to the editor opposed to gay marriage because it is a fundamental right.

The Los Angeles Times refuses to run letters pointing out that global warming is a scam. [nb: ok, this goes back to 2013, and the debate continues]

Twitter can declare support for traditional marriage to be hate and turn off accounts, mine included.

MSNBC will run news stories on the rise in hate groups that, no doubt, the Southern Poverty Law Center will list. That list will include all orthodox Christian churches.

but his finish is strong.
[The Left] will now work extra hard to push conservatives forcibly into a ghetto of thought. The overarching goal will be to convince you that no one agrees with you and there are no voices echoing you

I was quite disturbed by this the other night; but know we will not go down w/o a fight.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:05 AM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

Mark Steyn, whom I appreciate immensely but almost never agree with, had a riff the other day someone quoted. If you'll take it third hand from memory he points out that Conservatives have had incredible electoral successes. Republicans now have the House and Senate and 31 Governorships.

Yet, Conservatism to a Millennial, says Steyn, is only the punchline to a Jon Stewart joke.

Glenn Reynolds used to say the Koch Brothers or Karl Rove would be better off buying a couple Women's Magazines than Super PACs. (Though, to be fair, the Kochs are looking pretty good with drug reform and gay marriage.)

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2015 10:50 AM

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