August 31, 2015
All Hail Insty
I have not read the linked piece yet, but the review is good.
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, this New Republic piece on Randy Barnett and the libertarian constitutional movement is really pretty good. But I thought this part was revealing:
Quote of the Day
We're deep into the "YOLO" stage of this presidency. -- Jim GeraghtyFrom his Morning Jolt newsletter [subscribe], today titled "Obama: Hey, I'm Going to Start Renaming Stuff, Just Because I Can"
August 30, 2015
Whither Review Corner?
Two weeks with no Review Corner -- should I short AMZN?
Your less than humble reviewer is co-writing a book, and devoting reading time to research. Review Corner may be a little sporadic through the end of the calendar year -- though every ThreeSourcer would enjoy A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design by Frank Wilczek. The Aristotelians 'round these parts (an overwhelming majority) will bristle at the author's fondness for Plato. But hang in there, he is not blind but rather seeks a superstructure which includes Aristotelian truth and Platonic beauty.
Plato insisted on beauty, and was ready to compromise-- or we might better say, to surrender-- accuracy. That disdain for facts, beneath its veneer of pride, betrays deep lack of confidence, and a kind of exhaustion. It gives up on the ambition to have it all, marrying beauty and accuracy, Real and Ideal.
Just started, but it comes well recommended and appears it will score some stars.
My book is a project at work that is a great fit for me. It's not a secret but my exact official role is unspecified. I'll be helping to complete a book already started. Here is a brief overview and here is a whitepaper.
August 28, 2015
Satire on POTUS-Trump
What's a "DM" ?
August 27, 2015
GOP 2016 Primary
I hope brother JG is still planning to caucus, so can clear up the Denver's confounding Post:
I heard the CO GOP co-chair on the radio attempting to clarify the new proposal... over which I'm still not clear. All I know is CO GOP will not be hosting a "straw poll." After reading the article, it appears his radio spot was spot-on. The GOP will not be conducting a straw poll, like the Dems will, but will caucus anyway.
August 26, 2015
Lovin' Me some "eevil" Koch Brothers
From 'Koch Donors Step Into Public View' - USA Today, March 31, 2015:
Chris Rufer, the CEO of a California tomato-processing company, told USA TODAY that he donates between $500,000 and $1 million each year to the Koch network but is not concerned with short-term political gains.
August 25, 2015
He'll Always Have Cillizza
No doubt, like Chris Cillizza, your first concern over a worldwide capital meltdown was "gosh, I sure hope this does not reflect poorly on President Obama."
Twitchy collects the responses: "'Dear Leader will be OK': WaPo 'hackery' puts America's fears at ease during market plunge"
August 24, 2015
It's a Meme-a-palooza!
I like brother nb's. But one could take a different direction...
August 23, 2015
i like memes [updated]
I went with brother JG's suggestion
Also, tell me if anyone else saw stronger statement from IMPOTUS than
While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.
Is it just me, or does he only react to bad news?
August 21, 2015
Even Clinton's staunch ally David Brock, founder of the rapid response organization Correct the Record, told POLITICO he has heard concerns from the donor class about how the barrage of headlines about criminal probes and FBI investigations are harming the campaign. -- Annie Karni @ PoliticoPeople get so tense these days...
Hat-tip: Taranto, and notable for the unflattering photo in Politico.
Maybe not a side-splitter, but funnier than the Trumpisms bit from last week.
Cato Book Roundtable -- the End of Doom
Great 80 minutes on Ronald Bailey's The End of Doom [Review Corner]. If you can't handle 1:20:00 (that includes the author and author Indur M. Goklany and a Q&A) scroll to the end and listen to the last question and Bailey's answer.
Let's play Hearts & Confessions. I was a huge supporter of Rep. John Kasich (10 Commandments - OH) when he ran for President in 2000. As Chairman of Ways & Means, I thought that he exemplified the "Spirit of 1994" mentality we still celebrate on these pages.
My Brother-in-law peeled off when he went big on the Ten Commandments in every classroom during a debate. But the Lord and President Reagan suggest that we keep our hearts open to forgive transgressions. Then Gov. Bush became inevitable and I solidified behind the nominee.
Kim Strassel examines his candidacy 16 years later and delivers a powerful eulogy to "compassionate conservatism."
Mr. Kasich is a happy-in-life-and-God conservative, and it makes him seem the optimist. Which is bizarre, because underpinning the entire compassionate-conservative movement is a glum surrender to the entitlement state. The left has won; all that remains is to argue that conservative big-government is better managed than liberal big-government. Note Mr. Kasich's celebration that his poverty program is less bad than other poverty programs. Yay. It's not really a winning message.
I was talking myself into accepting Kasich as the nominee. He wins in Ohio; he comes across as non-scary to moderates; he did well in the debate. No, he's not Rand Paul (But I have my doubts whether Rand Paul is Rand Paul some days...) but he's a lot better than Sec. Clinton or Senator Sanders.
Yet, Strassel's column -- and the famous "I don't know about you, lady..." line [*] have sunk him a fathom. Yes, he's an acceptable nominee if that's the best we can do, but I strongly hope it does not come to that.
August 20, 2015
Headline of the Day
Okay, maybe I'm climbin' on this Trump Bandwagon after all:
Do not read the whole thing-- the headline is much better than the story.
et tu, Thomas?
But it is indeed impossible if you are just looking for excuses for not trying. Republicans who are worried about Donald Trump should be. But their own repeated betrayals of their supporters set the stage for his emergence. This goes all the way back to "Read my lips, no new taxes."Something must have happened to the normally measured and reasonable economist from the Hoover Institute on the famous California college campus. He's even bought into the "far-right" anchor baby issue.
One of the most widely known abuses of the immigration laws is the creation of "anchor babies..."
I'm not saying I have any particular complaint about the anchor baby ruse, except perhaps that foreign smugglers are making handsome profits from it. But a whole lotta voters are deeply energized by the issue.
August 19, 2015
Menendez (HOSS, NJ) smashes the Iran Deal
... also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or colloquially, the Iran "deal" (which is not a treaty.... it's much less filling). The text of his speech is here, and here are some highlights from a 23-year veteran of the Foreign Affairs/Relations committee who voted against the invasion of Iraq, and with BHO 98% of the time.
I have had the privilege of dealing with major foreign policy and national security issues. Many of those have been of a momentous nature. This is one of those moments.
I start my analysis with the question: Why does Iran -- which has the world's fourth largest proven oil reserves, with 157 billion barrels of crude oil and the world's second largest proven natural gas reserves with 1,193 trillion cubic feet of natural gas -- need nuclear power for domestic energy?
He notes how Arak, Fordhow and Parchin were to be dismantled or destroyed, yet somehow We now know all of that fell by the wayside
The deal enshrines for Iran, and in fact commits the international community to assisting Iran in developing an industrial-scale nuclear power program, complete with industrial scale enrichment. While I understand that this program will be subject to Iran's obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, I think it fails to appreciate Iran's history of deception in its nuclear program and its violations of the NPT.
Then he cites JFK's book, finishes with:
I have looked into my own soul and my devotion to principle may once again lead me to an unpopular course, but if Iran is to acquire a nuclear bomb, it will not have my name on it.
As to the false choice:
The president and Secretary Kerry have repeatedly said that the choice is between this agreement or war,” he said. “I reject that proposition, as have most witnesses, including past and present administration members involved in the Iran nuclear issue, who have testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and who support the deal but reject the binary choice between the agreement or war.
It's worth reading... I want to cite the whole thing...
Why would our negotiators decide to negotiate access to other IAEA documents, but not these documents? Maybe the reason, as some members of Congress and public reports have raised, is because it will be the Iranians and not the IAEA performing the tests and providing the samples to be analyzed, which would be the equivalent of having an athlete accused of using performance enhancing drugs submit an unsupervised urine sample to the appropriate authority.
It is difficult to believe that the world's greatest powers, the U.S., Great Britain, France, Russia, China, Germany and the European Union, sitting on one side of the table, and Iran sitting alone on the other side, staggering from sanctions and rocked by plummeting oil prices, could not have achieved some level of critical dismantlement.
August 18, 2015
Did I Say I Hate Memes?
All McGovern talked about in '72 was the war in Vietnam, that he would get us out, and fast. Sanders is on to something that grips the Democratic Party voter. He is their messenger. The issue of economic inequality and economic unfairness, of being left behind and ignored and forgotten, is a powerful message.
Now, about that "non-establishment Republican..."
Shortsightedness as a virtue
A bit of sense in the WSJ Ed Page this morning. Not that that's a surprise, but Harvard Law Professor Mark Roe takes on the conventional wisdom that American corporations and their investors are too focused on this quarter at the expense of long-term financial health.
Sec. Clinton has boldly stepped in to "fix this" with a Rube Goldberg scheme to skew capital gains tax rates based on the holding period. That's nonsense on stilts, but the underlying sense of a problem has currency. What are we, Dickensian England? Must 400 year old corporations be protected to make multi-decadal, stable investment plans. Or are we a dynamic economy whose markets can quickly direct capital to its best uses?
Critics need to acknowledge that short-term thinking often makes sense for U.S. businesses, the economy and long-term employment. Bad short-termism is when boards and managers forgo good long-term business opportunities simply to meet quarterly earnings targets. Bad long-termism, obviously, is when they invest in businesses that have no future. There is an increasingly fine line between the two.
Investors routinely show a capacity to finance long term ventures in tech, energy, and pharmaceuticals. If they want P&G to hit their numbers, that is not so bad.
August 17, 2015
I was lashing out childishly to criticize Brother Keith's Home Sweet Home State in a comment. It was beneath me and I was wrong.
But, while I'm on a roll:
Hat-tip: Ed Driscill @ Insty
Quote of the Day
We're lending money we don't have, to kids who will never be able to pay it back, for jobs that no longer exist. -- Mike Rowe
I mentioned this in a comment.
I saw my first Sanders 2016 bumper sticker Friday; in the teachers' parking lot at my kids school!
Instapundit delivers a wonderful pithy column noting (amongst other things)
"The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits.
The most valuable property of the price mechanism is as a reliable mechanism for delivering bad news." These two statements explain a lot about why socialist systems fail pretty much everywhere but get pretty good press, while capitalism has delivered a truly astounding results but is constantly besieged by detractors.
Markets make people better off, but they don't provide sufficient opportunities for politicians to extract bribes and intellectuals to feel better about themselves. This explains why they're unpopular with politicians and intellectuals.
Lots of great links: Venezuela, the Whole Foods founder's column on why pedants pander to Marx,
And in personal experience, I tested the futility of arguing with a committed leftist, who tried to tell me the VA (the VA!!) wasn't socialist. I think his stuttering response is that it hasn't been "billed" as socialist, to which he couldn't clarify. He had no answer when i gently reminded him: the hospitals are owned by the gov't, the doctors are paid by the gov't and the patients are or were all gov't employees.
August 16, 2015
To return to an earlier example: You have gone out for drinks with some colleagues and students, and one of the students has proposed that you pay for everybody's drinks. Over your protests, the other parties at the table vote to have you pay for the drinks. You tell them that you will not agree to do so. They then inform you that, if you do not pay, they intend to punish you by locking you in a room for some time and that they are prepared to take you by force. Apart from the fact that you need some new drinking partners, what can be said about this scenario?That is a good taste of Michael Huemer's The Problem of Political Authority: An Examination of the Right to Coerce and the Duty to Obey. Heumer is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado (Go Buffs!) and was a recent speaker at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons.
His speech covered some structural modifications to a constitution which he felt would limit transgressions better than we had seen. He presented some good and interesting ideas: require a supermajority to enact laws, replace the government agency supreme court with citizen jurors. Interesting, but Prof. Huemer was only play-acting the role of monarchist; his heart is in anarcho-capitalism.
Problems of Political Authority, true to its title, first questions consent of the governed. You did not sign the Constitution, nor did the indigenous peoples or Arizonans who woke up to be Americans one day. Without consent, Huemer makes a valid point that there is no intrinsic authority on which coercion is supported.
Where Randy Barnett [Review Corner] builds on natural rights, Huemer's foundation is obvious principles, like the opening quote -- and the book is filled with many such examples, making it accessible and enjoyable. If your neighbor cannot buy a gun and print a badge on his 3D printer and take on a governmental role, Huemer asks why we allow it from a State? In a nice riff, he describes the Colorado Capitol building:
The building is set on a hill so that visitors look up at the building as they approach and must climb a set of stairs to reach the door. The doors are much larger than a human being, and once inside, the visitor confronts vaulted ceilings three or four times higher than the typical human being. There are many buildings in Denver much larger than the capitol building but perhaps none that is so successful at making the visitor feel small. All of this emphasizes the power of the state and creates a disposition toward respectful submission on the part of the visitor.
I found the first section compelling and suggest that Huemer makes a perfect case for minarchy -- I'd say he gets full credit for discrediting John Rawls. As we will see, I'm not certain he effectively undercuts Robert Nozick, but who among us would disagree with the conclusion to part one?
No one has the right to coercively enforce counterproductive or useless policies nor to enforce policies aimed at goals of lesser import. The state may be entitled to collect taxes, to administer a system of police and courts to protect society from individual rights violators, and to provide military defense. In doing so, the state and its agents may take only the minimal funds and employ only the minimal coercion necessary. The state may not go on to coercively impose paternalistic or moralistic laws, policies motivated by rent seeking, or policies aimed at promoting unnecessary goods, such as support for the arts or a space program.
Well, except for Tang®
The following sections describe a society with private security and justice. and I don't think he differs wildly with Randy Barnett for his having chosen a different route. My HOA settled a multi-million construction defects lawsuit through arbitration -- and we hire private security to kick teenagers out of the pool on weekend nights. It's like I'm living in anarchist's utopia!
Why not build this out, allowing security and arbitration firms to flourish? The anarchists' best argument is why certain goods particularly do not benefit from the free market. My sister, who reliably votes Republican and makes a long drive frequently to hear speakers at Liberty on the Rocks (she was there to see Huemer) thinks the stores will sell bad meat in the USDA does not inspect. Roads are a famous enough libertarian argument to have become a tiresome cliché
Yet, I won't take the next step and trade our far-from-perfect justice system for Walmart* and Target. As a Constitutional Minarchist (my new label) I find the dream of a countrywide expectation of respect for my Bill-of-Rights rights worthy of all the valid concerns of empowering a state.
It is great to be forced to defend the right flank as it were. Working in Boulder, one must always remind coworkers that the world would not stop with a small reduction of government -- hell even Big Bird has moved to HBO! Philosophically defending the other side is a worthy exercise. I doubt it is to the level of a Barnett or Huemer, but I will give it a go:
"Justice is a good candidate for public good because true, absolute protection of individual rights is not popular. One can build roads where users will pay the tolls to go, release Nickelback CDs to adoring fans and in my world enforce the 9th and 10th Amendments absolutely.
"But the 1st through 8th amendments are not popular enough to be provided by the market. I look at the free speech cases like Snyder v. Phelps and I look at removal of the Confederate Battle Flag from the General Lee in 'Dukes of Hazard.' I cannot imagine an empowered polity ever allowing the Westburo Baptist Chuch, or Illinois Nazis (man, I hate Illinois Nazis!) to have speech rights.
Go down the list. I do not trust Target or Starbucks or Disney to allow an absolute right to firearms. I don't trust the private or public security apparatuses to honor 4th Amendment protections without a layer on top to which one can appeal."
What about authority? That is harder to square. But real estate for societies/nations is a scarce resource. Maybe we'll build some Heinleinian colonies in space, but for now everyone enters this world saddled with the geography of their birthplace. That does not confer authority to garnish my wages to find "Cash for Clunkers," but you may fund the courts and a military that operates within Constitutional limits. And I am rather glad (as Huemer is not too blinkered to admit) that I won something of a governance lottery being born in Denver and not, say, Caracas.
On foreign policy, I have to trot out Deepak Lal. Huemer -- and he is not overly ambitious or too guilty of overstatement -- describes a safe rights-respecting society among democratic nation states, and a Ron Paul-esque devotion to defense and not imperialism. But I read it and think "that would work well as long as there were a United States." He gives the example of Costa Rica which dissolved its military in 1948. But if the US and UK are not extant to uphold Lal's Liberal International Economic Order, I envision a less prosperous world -- and that is the best case.
I'll close with one unsubstantive disagreement with Prof Huemer about Inauguration day. His version:
Immediately after the oath, the Chief Justice addresses the new president as "Mr. President". The oath is followed by a speech and a parade. What function does this ritual serve? On the surface, the function is to ensure that the new president will serve faithfully and preserve the Constitution. But this is a very weak method of attempting to ensure that outcome. If a president has it in mind to serve "unfaithfully" or to violate the Constitution, it is unlikely that his memory of having promised not to do so will be the force that stays him. The swearing-in ceremony is mostly for emotional effect. It is like a magic spell that confers power and authority on the new president so that, just as he completes the words of the oath, the person is converted into a president.
Mine: "The oath is historical and is dictated in the Constitution. The power is not in the Oath but there is much power in the spectacle of the peaceful transfer of power on January 20 every four years as dictated in the constitution to the winner of the electoral college."
For governance is a difficult endeavor. I agree with Huemer that our government should do far less of it. But instituting one among men, for the purpose of protecting out birthright liberty is a worthy one.
August 14, 2015
Quote of the Day
As can be seen from the graphic above, there is a strong correlation between carbon dioxide increases and adjustments to the United States Historical Climatology Network (USHCN) temperature record. -- Professor Robert Brown
I've chosen my side
Grab a couple barf bags for the first section. Hannity and Ann Coulter share the great wit of Donald Trump -- and I fear one may not be enough.
But I share Charles CW Cooke's [Review Corner] gobsmackery that anybody but Coulter and Hannity are in.
Barack Obama - EEVIL Carbon Polluter!
A government imposed cut of CO2 emissions by 30 percent just isn't good enough for some people. What about the other 70 percent!
"Instead, our president proposes ineffectual actions, demonstrably short of what is needed, and persists in approving fossil fuel projects that will slam shut the narrowing window of opportunity to ensure a hospitable climate system. I aim to testify on behalf of young people. Their future hangs in the balance," he said.
"He" is former NASA chief climate scientist, James Hansen - a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit by children against the government claiming that "the nation’s fossil fuel policies violate their constitutional rights."
It is sometimes said that a population always gets the government it deserves. In this case, however, it seems that government is getting the mal-educated youth that it deserves.
Portentious First Paragraphs
Kim Strassel writes a piece today on Sec. Clinton's campaign. Never one to bury the lede, she begins:
The Titanic was a beautiful ship.
August 13, 2015
Trumpisms by non-Trumps
Funny? Maybe I'll try it again this evening, after a couple of beers.
Karl Rove gets a nice bon mot in a guest editorial today:
In a June speech [The Dowager Empress of Chappaqua] accused Republicans of orchestrating "a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people." She then called out Govs. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Scott Walker for supporting election-law reforms and for periodically removing dead people and felons from registration rolls.
Headline of the day
President Lincoln said you can offend some of the people all of the time or . . .
1000 Words of the Day
Quote of the Day
ADDENDA: Trump's the frontrunner, China's blowing up, the Jets quarterback gets knocked out by his own teammate over a $600 debt, and some couple in Mississippi planned on joining ISIS on their honeymoon. This is the kind of week where a sharknado would feel normal. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
August 12, 2015
Life Imitates Art
Gateway Pundit - Letter to Editor predicted EPA spill in Colorado's Animas River.
"Reading between the lines, I believe that has been the EPA's plan all along. The proposed Red & Bonita plugging plan has been their way of getting a foot in the door to justify their hidden agenda for construction of a treatment plant. After all, with a budget of $8.2 billion and 17,000 employees, the EPA needs new, big projects to feed the best [sic] and justify their existence."
Gateway Pundit speculates further:
The letter detailed verbatim, how EPA officials would foul up the Animas River on purpose in order to secure superfund money. If the Gold King mine was declared a superfund site it would essentially kill future development for the mining industry in the area. The Obama EPA is vehemently opposed to mining and development.
Michael Crichton, call your office.
At the most recent Liberty on the Rocks - Flatirons a local Objectivist discussed the subjects of morality and politics, and how they relate to the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. Morality, he said, is a code by which a man guides his own actions. A non-contradictory morality also recognizes that every other man must be free to guide his own actions. Suffice to say, most folks do not adhere to a non-contradictory morality.
Q&A at the conclusion of the talk was wide ranging. At one point, yours truly made the assertion that altruism, or Christian charity to the poor, is a "back door" to the moral justification of collectivist redistribution. In our modern age we know Christian charity as an act of personal choice, subject to each person's free will. But, as I found evidence of today, this has not always been the teaching of the church.
[Saint] Ambrose [340-397 A.D.] considered the poor not a distinct group of outsiders, but a part of the united, solidary people. Giving to the poor was not to be considered an act of generosity towards the fringes of society but as a repayment of resources that God had originally bestowed on everyone equally and that the rich had usurped.
Marxist egalitarianism thus has honest origins, at least among those who honor Christian traditions.
(Or, since this quote is referenced from a 2012 text by a Princeton professor of history, it could be complete revisionist crap.)
World Socialism, thy name is "Sustainability"
To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which it is claimed curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations.
This is from the executive summary [PDF] of a new report by the National Association of Scholars. Never heard of them? Me either. The report is titled: 'Sustainability - Higher Education's New Fundamentalism.'
They call it "fundamentalism" because examination, investigation, discussion and debate are forbidden. The "science is settled." The doctrine is final. The living must be harmed so that "the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is not compromised. [The sustainability movement makes no mention of how aborting them in the womb compromises the needs of the members of those future generations.]
The sustainability movement began in 1987 with a UN report - "Our Common Future" and has metastasized into 1438 degree programs at 475 colleges and universities worldwide. Interestingly, the majority of them - 1274 or some 95 percent - are in the United States; at least one such program in every one of our 50 united states. So the camp of this ideological enemy of freedom and liberty and, yes, science, is not across the Atlantic, but here on our own soil.
Thank you National Academy of Scholars for exposing the nature and scope of this movement and the professional organization "Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education" (AASHE) that promotes the fully immoral idea that "we" are not as important as some unknown and non-existent "future we."
And they have the nerve to criticize believers in "unknown and non-existent" deities.
But "Trump's 21% standing as an independent becomes a little less impressive when you consider that Deez Nuts also polls at 7% as an independent, which sort of suggests that might be the floor for a third party candidate." (Deez Nuts, an Australian hard-core punk band, presumably would not meet the constitutional eligibility requirements to serve as president.) -- James Taranto (Hail)
Quote of the Day
Even for a Clinton, this is all very low and unseemly. Worse than that, it has jeopardized national security. Hillary has no explanation or valid defense. This should be "game over" for her presidential campaign. Her entourage of advisers and toadies should now focus on hiring an adept criminal-defense team. -- Buck Sexton, National Review
August 11, 2015
Boycott Christmas Seals
And any other fundraising activities of the American Lung Association.
Founded in 1904 to fight tuberculosis, it was renamed the Lung Association in 1973 with the tagline "It's a matter of life and breath." Today it is "Fighting for air." And it is an epic battle against something Lung Association National President and CEO Harold P. Wimmer (and the EPA) call "carbon pollution."
"Breathing healthy air is essential to life. The evidence is clear that climate change now harms lung health and public safety. Warmer temperatures degrade air quality by making ozone pollution worse than it should be, and create more particle pollution from increased wildfires and drought. Add to that more frequent and intense extreme weather events, such as heat waves and floods, and the spread of some dangerous diseases, and you see why we need the Clean Power Plan."
Yes, that's right. The "Clean Power Plan" that promises to reduce the global temperature by 15/100ths of a degree in 85 years is somehow, magically, going to "bring immediate health benefits to the American people."
"Carbon pollution" must be quite deadly. I suggest we return to simply calling it carbon dioxide and carbonating our beverages with it. Instead, the Lung Association issues press releases and buys radio adverts to promote the political agenda of the global warmist redistributors. This 2012 Annual Report Addendum [PDF] shows that of the $58 million spent by the Lung Association that year, nearly $10 million went to "advocacy" and less than $7 million to research. (That $7 million is a mere 12% of total expenditures, by the way.)
So no, I'm not inclined to subsidize any more of the Lung Association's sanctimonious hot air. Neither should anyone else.
I can't find the radio spot that precipitated this tirade but I'll share it too, if I do find it. It specifically praised Governor Hickenlooper's Clean Power Plan.
Fun: that is my comment quoted:
August 10, 2015
Freedom. Safety. Prosperity.
That is how most Americans prefer to live, and it's why 70 to 80 percent of people in metropolitan America live in suburbs and beyond.
University of Washington demographer Richard Morrill notes that the vast majority of residents of regions over 500,000 -- roughly 153 million people -- live in the lower-density suburban places, while only 60 million live in core cities.
These people make up a sizable portion of what became known as the "middle class." But that middle class has, for many reasons, been shrinking over the past several decades. One big reason is, as GOP presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina often repeats, Democrat policies.
I spent twelve years in the state of California, a state that's been ruled by liberals for a long time. And guess what you have: about a hundred and thirty billionaires--good for them--the highest poverty rates in the nation, the exodus of the middle class, the destruction of industry after industry after industry.
This sad story is explained in stepwise fashion by Joel Kotkin of Real Clear Politics in 'The Peril to Democrats of Left-Leaning Urban Centers' from which I will heavily excerpt:
These social and economic changes inform the new politics of the Democratic Party. On social policy, the strong pro-gay marriage and abortion positions of the Democrats makes sense as cities have the largest percentages of both homosexuals and single, childless women. When the party had to worry about rural voters in South Dakota or West Virginia, this shift would have been more nuanced, and less rapid.
For her part, Ms. Fiorina does seem to possess that intelligence.
August 9, 2015
To the accepted Christian tradition that man must be free to follow his conscience in moral matters if his actions are to be of any merit, the economists added the further argument that he should be free to make full use of his knowledge and skill, that he must be allowed to be guided by his concern for the particular things of which he knows and for which he cares, if he is to make as great a contribution to the common purposes of society as he is capable of making.I gave deservedly high marks to Don Boudreaux's The Essential Hayek [Review Corner], but sometimes one must dive into Hayek. All but his most academic work is very accessible -- it's nothing you can't make it through. But there's a dryness to Hayek's prose even as his ideas grab you. Mises sings and Friedman pulls at the heart; Hayek interests.
Unkind words from a self-described Hayekian. All the same, the extra reading section of Ruiss Roberts's Invisible Heart [Review Corner] recommended his Individualism and Economic Order, which I had never encountered. "Oh Amazon, make this 1989 collection of his older essays magically appear on a small handheld device in my home! Thanks, Amazon!"
The twelve Chapters include essays, articles and speeches from across his career. but many are from the early days of the New Deal when consolidation, control, and Keynesianism were dominant. This lone academic, nevertheless, was correct.
What individualism teaches us is that society is greater than the individual only in so far as it is free. In so far as it is controlled or directed, it is limited to the powers of the individual minds which control or direct it. If the presumption of the modern mind, which will not respect anything that is not consciously controlled by individual reason, does not learn in time where to stop, we may, as Edmund Burke warned us, "be well assured that everything about us will dwindle by degrees, until at length our concerns are shrunk to the dimensions of our minds."
His preface points out that "the essays collected in this volume may at first appear to be concerned with a great variety of topics, I hope that the reader will soon discover that most of them treat of closely connected problems. While they range from discussions of moral philosophy to the methods of the social sciences and from problems of economic policy to pure economic theory, these questions are treated in most of the essays as different aspects of the same central issue." And with Hayek the central issue is the physical and moral limitations of top-down planning against free competition. Hayek applies it across many social and economic lines.
ThreeSourcers would find much to like about this book and little to question. Randians will like a swipe at Comte, Austrians will of course dig his monetary policy (he suggests pegging the currency to a basket of commodities: $1000 is some gold, some silver some wheat, some pork bellies, some tin). But all will appreciate his focus on competition and individualism.
Here I may perhaps mention that only because men are in fact unequal can we treat them equally. If all men were completely equal in their gifts and inclinations, we should have to treat them differently in order to achieve any sort of social organization. Fortunately, they are not equal; and it is only owing to this that the differentiation of functions need not be determined by the arbitrary decision of some organizing will but that, after creating formal equality of the rules applying in the same manner to all, we can leave each individual to find his own level.
The Austrian School is so closely associated with monetary policy, but at its heart, it is the importance of time in decision making -- opening, expanding, or closing a business is always a bet on the future. And any arbitrariness in the currency, trade, or regulation is distortive.
Whether it is economical to run a machine hard and to neglect maintenance, whether to make major adjustments to a given change in demand or to carry on as well as possible with the existing organization-- in fact, almost every decision on how to produce-- now depends at least in part on the views held about the future. But, while the manager clearly must hold some views on these questions, he can hardly be held responsible for anticipating future changes correctly if these changes depend entirely on the decision of the authority.
He explains why central planning will not work just as his adopted nation takes it up. He decries corporatism and currency uncertainty, again, as the experiments begin. The planners were so certain that the economy was just a giant set of matrices to solve with a little linear algebra and perhaps some of those futuristic computin' machines. But Hayek puts "exist" in quotes when discussing knowledge. We all solve problems at work every day, creating knowledge on the fly -- you cannot collect something that exists only in scare quotes.
The funnest summer book? Not so much. But a great look at the beating heart of the free market economy we love so much. And an I-told-you-so to the New Dealers (probably why it was published in 1989). Five stars.
But what to the politicians are fixed limits of practicability imposed by public opinion must not be similar limits to us. Public opinion on these matters is the work of men like ourselves, the economists and political philosophers of the past few generations, who have created the political climate in which the politicians of our time must move. I do not find myself often agreeing with the late Lord Keynes, but he has never said a truer thing than when he wrote, on a subject on which his own experience has singularly qualified him to speak, that “the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back.
August 8, 2015
Sad, lonely guys who promote their Facebook comments to a blog post on Saturdays..
The trial of the killer in the Aurora Theater shootings was -- of course -- big news in Colorado. When the sentencing decision came in, it seemed strangely muted. There was a plea deal three years ago to get life in prison. They called 1400 potential jurors and spent three years to seek the death penalty. The jurors found him guilty on all counts and rejected insanity defense. Yet they could not get the unanimous decision required for capital punishment.
Some libertarian anti-capital-punishment-always and some "why'd you spend all my money and anguish the families for a deal that was on the table" conservatives have teamed up on Facebook.
But I think it rather an appropriate use of government. Thus spake the squish:
I'll be the token conservative today I guess; some other plans fell through.
August 7, 2015
Oddly close to my own evaluations
... are those of Camille Paglia on the GOP debate last night.
Trump is a Trojan Horse sent by the crafty Clinton machine. He has a bellyful of swords aimed at GOP hearts.
[Okay, I didn't figure this one out on my own, and she's not the first to suggest it, but it makes as much sense as anything I've got.]
Cara Carleton Fiorina-
Midway through the event, Fox News inserted a clip of Fiorina at the earlier debate of candidates who hadn't made the cut. For a surreal moment, I thought it was Dustin Hoffman in drag in Tootsie -- it was exactly the same lilting Heartland accent. There is universal agreement that Fiorina won her debate hands down. Let's hope she is automatically promoted to the big league at the next GOP debate. Throw the male duds overboard!
Tweet of the Day
Stolen from brother jg on Facebook:
Hat-tip: John Podhoretz
What Winning Looks Like
Whom does the WSJ choose for the Ed Page photo? Why, it looks like that woman from the "JV Debate."
One candidate made a greater impression than any other, and she wasn't even on the main stage. Here is Carly playing Hardball with Chris Matthews. [can't find embed code]
Trump isn't the only businessman in the field. The other businessman is a woman.
UPDATE: Here's my favorite excerpt from the linked interview.
"I will ask her [Hillary Clinton] why she continues to say she's a champion of the middle class while every single proposal she has put forward makes crony capitalism worse and worse and worse, which makes income inequality worse."
UPDATE II: (jk here) I found the embed code. It's Purdy good...
August 6, 2015
President George W. Bush, Juror
I'll stay up late and share points of disagreement with this man. But I can't help but like him:
Instant relief from vomiting, nausea
It wasn't the gas station sushi. If you're sick, it is certainly from reading all the laudatory farewells to Jon Stewart.
Predictably, the mainstream media has been penning paeans to Stewart's genius this week. Rolling Stone--in all seriousness, it seems--calls Stewart the "Last Honest Newsman," while a blogger at Salon effuses, "Jon Stewart felt like a Messiah... He felt real in a way that people who made a living talking about politics hardly ever feel." Over at The New Yorker, David Remnick admits that Stewart's posture as a centrist was always "a little disingenuous" given his obvious liberalism, but nevertheless concludes, "Stewart is a centrist only in this sense: he is not so much pro-left as he is anti-bullshit."
Truth to power.
But before you grab for the Pepto-Bismol®, read John Daniel Davidson's smart take on how Stewart enabled "the Politics of Spectacle." I hate to insult my many friends who watch it, but I will. It is all self referential and self-congratulatory. He's got nothing else.
"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."
I feel better. Instant relief.
Telling it like it is!
Donald Trump -- not afraid to take on Big Pharma: vaccines cause Autism!
Donald Trump is leading the GOP field in polls of Republican voters. This fact has some grabbing the popcorn, others tearing out their hair, and still others shaking their heads at the state of U.S. politics today. But if you're among the one in four adults in the US with a mental health condition, if you have an interest in children’s health, or if you love an autistic person, then you might view Trump as more troubling than bemusing or amusing.
Waiting to hear about fluoridated water...
Breaking the Rules
This may be President Obama's most positive legacy - his example that the President of the United States doesn't really have to follow any rules. It seems to have made an impression on Americans, at least those who respond to opinion polls. On the way to the ballyhooed reprise of Bush v. Clinton, both are losing ground in their respective primary races. Hillary is virtually tied with self-proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders and Bush trails a non-politician who is as immune to damage from his numerous gaffes as President Obama is from his numerous scandals. Meanwhile, Bush's own gaffes become weighty albatrosses upon his candidacy.
Blog brother jk lovingly[?] dubbed me "Trump fanboy." I admit to reveling in his TEA-Party friendly, "make America great again" stance. Mostly, I like that he is a businessman and not a politician. Ayn Rand wrote that businessmen are America's greatest resource, and that men like Hank Rearden have nothing to apologize for, and government has no legitimate power over them. Trump isn't the only non-politician in the 17-person GOP field. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have a similar professional pedigree. But Trump is unique in that he can fund his own campaign. He answers to no one. He has been a winner in business, and could be a winner in politics. General George Patton purportedly said, "America loves a winner. Americans won't tolerate a loser." But under the present administration, America has been losing at every turn.
Even the professional punditry is beginning to take notice. Jeff Greenfield writes, "What if Trump wins?"
The more telling question is: When do voters actually cast their ballots in ways that upend core premises?
So like Jesse Ventura before him, Trump may resonate and win.
And, in a comment that resonates powerfully with today's Trump phenomenon, consider what 28-year-old aircraft mechanic Greg Uken told the New York Times about why he was voting for Ventura: "I don't put up with a lot of stuff, and neither does he."
UPDATE: Here is the Patton quote:
Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
UPDATE: While I'm busy torturing my dear blog brother, I may as well pile on with this quote from a long-time favorite of his, Rudy Giuliani:
"So we might have a little of a Ronald Reagan here, a guy they underestimate," Giuliani observed.
So what did pass, anyway?
New thread to dissect this old can'o worms. To which Brother JG said "it passed" [referring to the Transportation bill, with Ex-Im bank funding]
So, what actually did pass was one and a half things. Starting Here: 1st sentence
Congress sent President Barack Obama a three-month bill to keep highway and transit money flowing to states on ThursdayThis also was passed by the house; does not include the Ex-Im bank.
The full, $350B (Six year) bill did pass the Senate, and includes the Ex-Im bank, but the House never considered it. So, my point about McConnel passing a bill but not getting the legislation to POTUS still stands. As the dry report from our Fox friends states:
A fight in the House over renewal of the bank is also likely
The full bill also includes this little morsel:
encourages states to impose user fees on electric vehicles because they use roadways but don't contribute to federal gas tax revenues
Not exactly going to knock Common Sense or any clause of the The Federalist Papers out of history's notice, but not the clarion call to a doorma(n)t GOP either.
August 5, 2015
Wages of Stupidity
Teed up for any TS'ers who still have the patience to explain these things to the Sander-ites.
The idea of using a minimum wage to overcome poverty is old, honorable – and fundamentally flawed.Thus spake ... The New York Times. Whose 1987 editorial argues the correct federally-mandated minimum wage is zero.
And Brookings just came out against the $15 wage that's all the current rage
I have much more serious worries about a $15 an hour minimum wage, which constitutes a wage increase of 50% to 100% in most places (even after adjusting for inflation). In cities like Seattle, with a relatively more educated workforce and dynamic labor market, it might be a gamble worth taking. But in other cities, such as L.A. and Washington, D.C. – with their large populations of less-educated workers, including unskilled immigrants – such increases are extremely risky.
Those people are "stuck on stupid." Hat Tips to those tireless folks at PowerLine
We're All Going to Die!
The biggest problem is that the growing middle class is consuming more meat than ever before, according to the report.
So much better when they just wallowed in poverty, wasn't it? They want to eat meat?
Another way to look at it is that these people will create, manufacture, finance, and consume the amazing innovations that will make us all richer -- and better fed.
The Part Where jk Agrees with Sen. Santorum
The idea that they have left out the runner-up for the 2012 nomination, the former four-term governor of Texas, the governor of Louisiana, the first female Fortune 50 CEO, and the 3-term Senator from South Carolina due to polling seven months before a single vote is cast is preposterous," Rick Santorum communications manager Matt Beynon said in a statement Tuesday.
From Jim Geraghty's "Morning Jolt" [subscribe]
August 4, 2015
Conservatives should not be bystanders
Interesting column on the Obama's administration latest attempt to dictate how Americans shall live.
Kurtz has a possible solution:
It's not impossible that Republicans in Congress might succeed in defunding or repealing AFFH. Much depends on the precise form in which funding for HUD is passed, as a separate bill or as part of a massive omnibus spending bill. Obama has his veto power, but it's conceivable that he will receive an AFFH defund amendment in a larger bill that he finds difficult to veto.
Let's see if the GOP can still do "the math" and really play the ground game, no matter how dirty it gets.... I agree that defunding the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (AFFH) is doable and necessary: I'll be writing both my senators.
Jeffco School Board Member Vindicated
When newly elected Jefferson County School Board member Julie Williams suggested last fall that the AP US History curriculum was incomplete and might warrant "a review" she was lynched by the education establishment and an army of willing pawns for trying to "whitewash history." Well...
Now the College Board, creator and owner of the AP test and curriculum, agrees with Ms. Williams.
According to the College Board Website: "[T]he 2014 edition of the 'AP U.S. History Course and Exam Description (CED)' sparked significant public conversations among students, educators, historians, policymakers, and others about the teaching of U.S. history."
Jim Geraghty wraps it up:
"Take my Huck, take my Rand, take me where I cannot stand . . . I don't care, I'm still free; I'll take the woman who ran HP . . . Our country's gone out of whack; fix it or we ain't comin' back . . . Help this land and economy, we'll still be the land of the free.
UPDATE: Mondo Heh -- I had to embed nb's:
August 3, 2015
Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold.
To be fair,
All the same, it is enjoyable in a gruesome-accident-on-the-side-of-the-road way. Poor Maisey McMaster quickly saw that things were not going to work well for her and her fellow hard-workers.
"He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn't get much of a bump," she said. To her, a fairer proposal would have been to give smaller increases with the opportunity to earn a future raise with more experience.
Nossir! I'm a collectivist, I promise! I'm just a part of a hard-working, well-qualified, highly-value-additive community.
Quote of the Day
PJ Gets into the spirit of the "Huck-a-Whack:"
I'm a Christian too. Maybe I'm not a hard-shell Baptist ordained minister dog-in-the-manger-at-Bethlehem Christian like you are. But I think you could use a refresher course in Christianity.
August 2, 2015
In his 2013 book The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, technologist Ramez Naam asks an intriguing question: "Would your life be better off if only half as many people had lived before you?" In this thought experiment, you don't get to pick which people are never born. Perhaps there would have been no Newton, Edison, or Pasteur, no Socrates, Shakespeare, or Jefferson. "Each additional idea is a gift to the future," Naam writes. "Each additional idea producer is a source of wealth for future generations." Fewer people mean fewer new ideas about how to improve humanity's lot.
Ronald Bailey is the Science Editor of the libertarian-leaning Reason Magazine, or as Penn Jillette says "leaning? it done fell over!" He adds an excellent work to the corpus of optimistic, anti-junk science, pro-liberty economic science books ("Aisle 12 sir, right between Astrology and Lawnmower Repair...") The End of Doom: Environmental Renewal in the Twenty-first Century carries the torch forward in a readable but data-heavy volume.
When I presented my book proposal [for his first book] to my editor, Thomas Dunne, at St. Martin's Press back in 1992, he actually told me: "Ron, we'll publish your book and we'll both make some money. But I want to tell you that if you'd brought me a book predicting the end of the world, I could have made you a rich man." Human beings do have a psychological bias toward believing bad news and discounting good news. But besides that, the sciences surrounding environmental issues have been politicized from top to bottom.
Bailey un-politicizes it. I cheer along to his total destruction of Malthusian environmental pessimism "Neo-Malthusians like the Ehrlichs, Pimentel, and Emmott cannot let go of the simple but clearly wrong idea that human beings are no different than a herd of deer when it comes to reproduction." I swoon to his defense of GMOs and nooculur power. I nod nervously at his acceptance of anthropogenic global warming
I have been reporting on climate change for a quarter of a century. I covered the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at which the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change was negotiated. I have since reported from ten of the United Nations annual Climate Change conferences. The anecdote at the beginning of this chapter reveals that after years of reporting on the subject, attending scientific conferences, talking with scientists, and extensively reading the research literature, I have concluded that the balance of the evidence indicates that climate change could become a significant problem for humanity as the twenty-first century unfolds.
Bailey doesn't use the term "lukewarmer" and he is not as sanguine as Matt Ridley. I'd put him closer to the Bjorn Lomborg camp -- he thinks it is potentially serious, but he's not coming after your light bulbs. Or putting the UN in charge of the World Economy.
Unsurprisingly for a Reason dude, his inclination is toward liberty. He is more concerned than I, but equally confident that our future smarter, wealthier selves will be able to deal with it. He makes a devastatingly good point which I would turn on the VP Gores of the world:
In [Yale's William Nordhaus's economic] scenarios sketched out above, a 2 percent loss of income would mean that the $ 60,000 and $ 138,000 per capita income averages would fall to $ 58,800 and $ 135,240, respectively. Stern's more apocalyptic estimate would cut 2100 per capita incomes to $ 48,000 and $ 110,400, respectively. How much should people living now on incomes averaging $ 10,000 per year spend to make sure that people whose incomes will likely be 6 to 14 times higher aren't reduced by a couple of percentage points?
We don't ask peasant farmers in Namibia to "do without" so we can have nicer things (well Greepeace does, but we shouldn't...) Why do we ask the people of 2015 to do without to enrich the much wealthier inhabitants of 2100?
The only change Bailey proposes for present Earthers is to develop more nuclear power so that we may fuel economic growth without adding carbon to the atmosphere or additional acidification to the oceans.
I spent more time on the section that might be the least favorite of ThreeSourcers, but I would not chase anyone away. It's complementary to a lukewarmer and I'd suggest acceptable even to a knuckle-draggin' denier. The bulk of the book is an optimistic vision of a better world with freedom and technology, and a convincing case to not allow the luddites and fear-mongers to take it away.
What about the Brundtland report criterion? There is only one proven way to improve the lot of hundreds of millions of poor people, and that is democratic capitalism. It is in rich democratic capitalist countries that the air and water are becoming cleaner, forests are expanding, food is abundant, education is universal, and women's rights respected. Whatever slows down economic growth also slows down environmental improvement. By vastly increasing knowledge and pursuing technological progress, past generations met their needs and vastly increased the ability of our generation to meet our needs. We should do no less for future generations.
UPDATE: If you like your Review Corner by video, Nick Gillespie interviews Bailey
UPDATE II : And a lengthy but enjoyable CATO roundtable.
August 1, 2015
Quote of the Day
As Tyler Durden explains at ZeroHedge.com, policies imposed from Washington must shoulder a big part of the blame for [Puerto Rican insolvency]: the wizards on the Potomac encouraged debt and deficit spending, priced hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans out of entry-level jobs with a punishing minimum wage, taxed and regulated commerce and investment to a crawl, and showered the island with debilitating welfare. The place would be a showcase of government-induced prosperity except for one sticking point: government. -- Lawrence Reed