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:
Barnett believes the Constitution exists to secure inalienable property and contract rights for individuals. This may sound like a bland and inconsequential opinion, but if widely adopted by our courts and political systems it would prohibit or call into question basic governmental protections--minimum wages, food-safety regulations, child-labor laws--that most of us take for granted. For nearly a century now, a legal counterculture has insisted that the whole New Deal project was a big, unconstitutional error, and Barnett is a big part of that movement today.

If your entire program is called into question by the notion that individuals have property and contract rights, maybe the problem is with your program.

And to the extent that, as believed by many, the Supreme Court's eventual accommodation to the New Deal was the product of duress in the form of FDR's court-packing scheme, then isn't that accommodation, in fact, illegitimate?

Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 PM | What do you think? [10]
But jk thinks:

Don't get pithy with me, I'll block your IP address! No. Wait a minute, I think I can...

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect us from ourselves?

Judge Robert Bork, Justice Antonin Scalia, and famously Chief Justice John Roberts think not. These conservatives decry "judicial activism" as "legislating from the bench" and robbing the electorate of its power to make law through the democratic process. I subscribed to that for many years.

Justice Thomas, Justice Stephen Field, and the Volokh/Cato cabal see the court's role quite clearly as protecting us from the tyranny of the majority. I now subscribe to that.

Lochner v New York is the Rorschach. Bork's book lumped it in with Dred Scot, Buck v Bell and Korematsu v US. Chief Roberts referenced it dozens of times in his dissent on Obergefell v Hodges.

David Bernstein and the libertarian school embrace as a defense of the right of contract. I recommend:

Damon Root Overruled [Review Corner]
Clark M. Neily III's Terms of Engagement [Review Corner]
David Bernstein Rehabilitating Lochner [Insty's Review Corner]

I believe you read the Lochner book, that was a turning point.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2015 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Allow me to pick apart your opening premise: "Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect us from ourselves?"

First I'll quip, "No, that's Congress' job." But seriously, there are too many pronouns in that statement for it to have any real meaning.

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect individuals from themselves? No.

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect the electorate from the politicians they select by plurality? No.

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect the Constitutional Republic from unconstitutional laws ratified by the other branches of government? You earned a gold star.

But when prior courts failed at this job, whether by political motive or by ill informed misinterpretation, it is proper for the sitting court to correct past mistakes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 2:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I was answering a pithiness challenge. Here are the antecedents you seek;

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect [those under the protection of the Constitution] from [those employing the tools of the Constitution]?

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2015 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair.

What do you think of the distinction I made between protecting citizens of the Republic and protecting the Republic, the very form and instance of the national government itself?

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 3:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I might push back that the Declaration defines the proper role of government as protecting individual rights, not the government's structure.

Battling anarchists of late, I have been spending much time on that. It's the mission statement for "Constitutional Minarchy™"* and the actual Constitution its reification.

So, individual rights require protection from any government authority. They've struck down plebiscitary referenda, legislation, lower court rulings, and executive overreach -- so I see them as a last line of defense for the proper role of government. Is that synonymous with our preferred type of government? Overlapping, but I'd say no.

*Accept no substitutes!

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2015 4:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well that's just it - defending individual rights is the first priority and, at the same time, almost impossible to define in a universal way.

The Founders' solved the problem by defining a government with strict limits and then leaving their posterity to operate the machinery they had built. But many of the foolish kids thought they were smart enough that the could redesign it and make it better. Balderdash.

So what I propose is a libertarian judicial activism that undoes the effects of the odious Amendments and a hundred-ten years of statist judicial activism, restoring the Republic as close as possible to the original, but with full and equal individual rights for all, individually.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 7:02 PM

Quote of the Day

We're deep into the "YOLO" stage of this presidency. -- Jim Geraghty
From his Morning Jolt newsletter [subscribe], today titled "Obama: Hey, I'm Going to Start Renaming Stuff, Just Because I Can"
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Dave Burge (Iowahawk) posts a reaction that should hit home with Colorado residents:

1. Out: Mount McKinley; in: Mount Denali 2. Out: Animas River; in: Obama River pic.twitter.com/BxWZHSke92

— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) August 31, 2015

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 31, 2015 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yessssssss!

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 12:55 PM

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.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Congratulations! I read both the overview and the whitepaper -- there's a lot of specialized knowledge that goes over my head, I admit, but I think I understand where you're headed with the issue of data protection. The second half of the whitepaper especially piqued my interest. Please keep us posted, to the degree that you can -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 31, 2015 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, I have to admit I am quite excited. If, when complete, it is not accessible to someone of half your intelligence, Brother Keith, I will have failed miserably.

I think I contribute just by being a fan of the genre of pop science books. My first contribution was insisting that every chapter open with a quote -- and I produced 20 pages of quotes that I had highlighted for previous Review Corners.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sounds like a real page turner!

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2015 1:30 PM
But jk thinks:

We're grading on a curve against The Amazon AWS S3 API and The CAN bus protocol tutorial; I ain't scared.

Actually, the target is to start with the Matt Ridley/Rational Optimist position of the importance of technology and knowledge and postulate ways to preserve that through catastrophic events. With a gifted author, that could work -- and my co-author isn't bad.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 1:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Good synopsis of attack profiles and threats. Of course, the real answer is backups that are offline (in my case, the Passport sitting on a shelf behind me - some day, in a SD box). This will be more challenging if I ever get my startup going... and another argument for workstation-based (*gasp* dare I say Outlook???) eMail

This is going to be an e-Book?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 1, 2015 3:06 PM

August 28, 2015

Satire on POTUS-Trump


The whole thing is really hilarious.

Trump-satire.jpg

What's a "DM" ?

Posted by nanobrewer at 4:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

"Dungeon Master"

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2015 5:16 PM

August 27, 2015

GOP 2016 Primary

I hope brother JG is still planning to caucus, so can clear up the Denver's confounding Post:

Colorado Republicans cancel presidential vote at 2016 caucus

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.

Posted by nanobrewer at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

I'll try to clear it up right now: The RNC rammed through a rule change in 2012 that made any non-binding preference poll in a caucus state, binding upon that state's delegates. In effect, it turned caucus states into primary states. It was a move closer to direct democracy and benefits the candidate favored by the national party power brokers - read: establishment - to the detriment of informed party members in flyover country. There may as well not be a national nominating convention if every state has a primary (or binding straw poll) the winner of which takes each and every delegate from that state. We could just mail it in.

Keeping the caucus, nationwide, is a key component of keeping The Republic.

So while it's technically true that "Colorado will not vote for a Republican candidate for president at its 2016 caucus," what went unsaid was that "Colorado Republicans will vote for Republican delegates to the Republican nominating convention at its 2016 caucus, who will vote for the Republican nominee at said convention." Just. Like. Always.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 11:59 AM

August 26, 2015

Lovin' Me some "eevil" Koch Brothers

I found this USA Today article while researching the funding structure of the excellent Generation Opportunity outfit and their free-market alternative news articles arranged by topic group.

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.

Rufer, a Libertarian, said he's more interested in changing the "culture" through supporting the foundations and think tanks backed by the network "than in trying to win elections today."

"Democrats and Republicans are all the same," said Rufer, who gave $490,000 in 2012 to a super PAC supporting the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico.

Last week, he wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times declaring his support for a top Koch priority: jettisoning the Export-Import Bank. The federally run bank helps U.S. companies by subsidizing loans to foreign customers to help them buy U.S. products. Big-business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, support the bank and want Congress to reauthorize the bank's charter, which expires at the end of June.

Freedom Partners and other Koch-affiliated groups have denounced the bank as corporate welfare. Rufer said he opposes subsidies. "It's resources and property taken from other folks, and I consider that theft."

Rufer and another regular attendee of the Koch gatherings, Minnesota broadcasting magnate Stanley Hubbard, said they disagree sharply with Democrats' portrayal of the Kochs as power-hungry billionaires out to protect their financial interests.

"They aren't evil people trying to feather their own nests," Hubbard said of the Kochs, worth an estimated $42.9 billion each. "They've got it made."

Hubbard, who donated $450,000 to Freedom Partners' super PAC last year, described his fellow donors as largely self-made business people who are concerned about what they view as burdensome government regulations. "We believe it's very important that the little guy has a chance to get ahead, and the best way for that to happen is free enterprise," he said.

In addition to Rufer, more than two dozen other donors have signed op-eds backing the Kochs in the past seven months, including Dallas tycoon and former Texas Rangers owner Thomas Hicks and Tim Busch, the CEO of a California hotel-development and management company.

Others signing from Dallas: Thomas Hicks Jr., Holly and Doug Deason, Elaine Marshall, E. Pierce Marshall Jr., Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Tandy and Lee Roy Mitchell, and Gayla and Jim Von Ehr. Those signing The Desert Sun letter: Mike and Suzy Leprino; John and Carol Saeman; and Bob and Karen Rishwain, all of Indian Wells, Calif.; Mike and Marian Shaugnessy of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Other letter writers: Chris and Liz Wright of Denver and Minnesota executives Dean Spatz and Fritz Corrigan.

Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis said more donors are stepping into the spotlight to make it clear to critics that they are "not just attacking Charles and David Koch, they are attacking hundreds of successful business and philanthropic leaders" who support "free markets and a free society."

[emphases mine]

But johngalt thinks:

Forgot to include: [emphasis mine]

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Generation Opportunity articles are also refreshingly balanced and fair. I highly encourage liking their page, visiting it frequently, reading the articles and sharing them as widely as possible. 'Specially with da youts!

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

The demonization of the Koch's is sad, because it denies the opportunity to show the overlap og libertarians and progressive liberals. Prison reform, drug legaization, gay rights have HUGELY benefited from their eeeevil dollars

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Could the negative image of Messrs. Koch be an active creation of the media? Created by activist "journalists" like Jorge Ramos, who said yesterday, " I think -- as journalists, we have to denounce and espouse the dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump."

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Somebody on the Intertubes has done a great YouTube, stiching together every mention of "Koch Brothers" that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Cool Shades, be a shame if anything bad happened to them - NV) made from the Senate Floor. It's funny, then boring as it goes on forever, and then after one considers it, deeply disturbing: the Second ranking Democrat, routinely denouncing two private citizens from the well of the Senate Floor, for a simple difference in political philosophy. I doubt The Kaiser, Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden fared worse.

But the apogee of Koch Derangement Syndrome is when they asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ben & Jerry's - VT) if he favored more immigration. "Open Borders? No that's a Koch Brothers thing. Absolutely not."

Okay then.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 6:33 PM
But jk thinks:

RE Señor Ramos: If anyone could drive jk into the arms of that megalomaniacal, economic troglodyte populist that currently leads my party by double digits, it would be he.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 6:37 PM

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"

But johngalt thinks:

I listened to his Hossness Art Laffer last night on Lou Dobbs. Lou asked why electing Republicans hasn't resulted in any improvements in economic policies. "Well, presumably they prevented even worse policies from being enacted. We have the House, and now we have the Senate, but we're still lacking on single little office. In 2016 we'll get that too and then hopefully we'll start seeing some free market reforms."

I found this logic compelling, but it stands in opposition to the notion that congress is responsible for anything bad that happens, and the president "really doesn't have that much influence over the economy."

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2015 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Dr. Laffer: peace be upon his holy name. I do miss Kudlow's TV show, I used to see Art almost every week.

On Congress and the Executive (and I will ponder the Judiciary), I always purport there is great potential for harm to the economy: Obamacare®, Cash for Clunkers, EPA regulation, Dodd-Frank, Steel Tariffs: pick your Article I or Article II poison.

I (and I'm guessing Laffer to a point) see an economy wishing to grow but the Administration's boot heel on its neck impedes it. This is not to say that government "owns" the economy or should direct it or should be ultimately responsible.

But Jeeburzz, if they'd only try half a hard to screw things up!

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2015 5:10 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Always

I confess I did not know about Nick Lucas until I found myself the proud owner of a "Nick Lucas Model" guitar. Researching the great cowboy singer, I was struck how closely his repertoire matched my Father's favorite songs -- even including one I thought Dad had written. I heard Dad sing this 100 times; here 'tis in Nick Lucas style (though I cannot pull off the operatic tenor voice). Irving Berlin ©1925

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink


August 24, 2015

It's a Meme-a-palooza!

I like brother nb's. But one could take a different direction...

airmenonleave.jpg


August 23, 2015

i like memes [updated]

I went with brother JG's suggestion

American%20Heroes.PNG

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?

But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't find it - PowerLine had done some work scouring headlines and found both French and UK papers proclaiming the young americans as heroes. The AP's was tepid, but the Anti-American weeny award goes to (heh; PowerLine writers' home paper) Minn/St.Paul Star Tribune, "Authorities laud European train passengers for averting attack by heavily armed man" (note mandatory nod to "authorities" -- all hail gov't!!)

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2015 1:17 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I'm also considering purloining Instapundit's (who might have ripped it from John Kasich) sub-headline with:

"Courage is Contagious: America's got the fever"

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2015 3:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Has the attack been officially ruled an act of Terrorism yet, or is it "too early to conclude?"

(Im)POTUS has a breathless press statement on the White House website. It's a full paragraph long! The money line:

The two leaders agreed that the three, along with a French and a British passenger, had demonstrated remarkable bravery and acted without regard for their own safety in order to subdue a heavily armed individual who appeared intent on causing mass casualties.

Oh yes, and the title of the statement? "Readout of the President's Call with President Francois Hollande of France" If you aren't actively looking for "Three American Heroes Save French Rail Passengers" and if you don't know the approximate date it occurred, you probably never read this.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2015 3:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

RE: The Meme

How about "Americans touring Europe"

Eurail pass, Brussels to Paris: $84 euro
Medal of bravery: Free
Taking down Islamist terrorist bare handed: Priceless!

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2015 3:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh, and the medals were the "Legion d'honneur." France's highest decoration.

Posted by: johngalt at August 24, 2015 3:51 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, that same statement of a phone call did say:

thwarting what could have been a terrible terrorist attack

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 24, 2015 11:29 PM

August 21, 2015

Tough Room

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 @ Politico
People get so tense these days...

Hat-tip: Taranto, and notable for the unflattering photo in Politico.


I'm Speechless

Maybe not a side-splitter, but funnier than the Trumpisms bit from last week.

But jk thinks:

Like.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2015 4:02 PM

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.

Junk Science Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Starting at 1:15, I surmised.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2015 4:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Privatized fisheries were his most concrete examples: N.Zealand and Iceland, who'd have guessed!

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 23, 2015 11:53 PM

Mister Chairman

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.

Of course, there is another approach to compassion. It's the version made popular by Jack Kemp, and embraced by House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan--and a growing list of converts. It holds that there is nothing whatsoever compassionate about consigning low-income Americans to a government health-care system that delivers second-class outcomes. There's nothing compassionate about making today’s working poor pay into a bleeding Social Security system or finance middle-class tax perks. There's nothing compassionate about propping up a federally run poverty industrial-complex that spends most of its money on itself.


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.

But nanobrewer thinks:

I still like the Walker/Fiorina ticket....

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 23, 2015 11:54 PM

August 20, 2015

Headline of the Day

Okay, maybe I'm climbin' on this Trump Bandwagon after all:

Donald Trump says he'd use ISIS to 'scare the pope' into supporting capitalism

Do not read the whole thing-- the headline is much better than the story.

But johngalt thinks:

I found this Q&A interesting because of Trump's comment that "capitalism isn't working well in America" but the linked article misquotes, and misconstrues, what he really said.

Peter Weber quote:

Trump went on to say that capitalism isn't working well in America, because regulation; that in order to be competitive, America has to open itself up to "great capitalism" (presumably like Mexico and China); and that the pope "isn't actually opposed to capitalism."

What he actually said:

"Capitalism is a great thing when it works properly. In our country, Chris, it has not been working properly. (...) Between regulation, between all of the Dodd Frank, between all of the things that have been imposed, we aren't competitive like we used to be. We have to open up our country to great capitalism."

"And I don't think the Pope is opposed to capitalism by the way. I've seen a lot of what he's opposed to and I don't think the Pope is opposed to capitalism."

How does one presume he means we should be more like Mexico and China? Perhaps by some measure of income inequality, or "haves" and "have nots?" Like the Gini Coefficient? Well, over the past 60 years China's inequality has risen, and Mexico's has fallen, with the result that, today, both are virtually equal to a fairly constant index in ... America.

Posted by: johngalt at August 20, 2015 5:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, it ruins this awesome headline to discover that he never said any such thing. I tried to warn you...

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2015 10:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Umm. What?

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2015 11:54 AM

et tu, Thomas?

Nobody was surprised when Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity sang the praises of Donald Trump. But Thomas Sowell?

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..."

(...)

This is such an obvious racket, and so widely known, for so long, that you might think our "responsible" leaders would agree that it should be stopped. But, here again, there are excuses rather than action. One distinguished conservative commentator even said recently that this is such a small problem that it is not worth bothering with.

The anger of Americans who feel betrayed by their own elected officials is not a small thing. It goes to the heart of what self-government by "we the people" is supposed to mean.

To say that it is a small thing is even worse than saying that we can't do anything about it. We certainly can't do anything about it if we won't lift a finger to try.

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.

But nanobrewer thinks:

For my $.02, he's angry. Angry that Reagan conservatism seems to have been abrogated to the think tanks, and today's GOP is merely "Democrate Lite."

Well noted in this phrase: their own repeated betrayals of their supporters set the stage for his emergence

I wish he'd focus on the positives, like Carly and Carson or how we could drag a dull Walker or Kashich over the end line, but I think I see where he's coming from.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 21, 2015 3:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think he's also mad that it's come to this point - where it takes a carnival barker to give rank and file Republicans a voice that party leadership can't ignore.

But this is, it seems to me, the substance that undergirds Trump's style:

Now here we are in 2015, and we have a leading presidential candidate declaring that political correctness is possibly the biggest problem the country faces.

Many politics watchers view Donald Trump as a clown who throws out un-PC verbal bombs in lieu of actual policy positions. Maybe he is, but he's also proof that every extreme movement provokes an equally extreme backlash.


Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2015 7:32 PM

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.

Hot damn!

Posted by nanobrewer at 6:29 PM | What do you think? [2]
But AndyN thinks:

A quick web search tells me that Senator Menendez is a firm believer in AGW. While I agree with him that the Iran deal is horrible, it would be nice to hear a reporter ask him why he thinks Iran should produce electricity by filling the air with greenhouse gases instead of converting to the most reliable and efficient clean energy currently in use.

Posted by: AndyN at August 19, 2015 10:43 PM
But jk thinks:

I was not expecting to see Sen. Menendez earn the "HOSS" appellation, but it is well deserved here.

Posted by: jk at August 20, 2015 9:46 AM

August 18, 2015

Did I Say I Hate Memes?

Rethinking...

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All Hail Taranto!

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On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:00 PM | What do you think? [0]

McGovern-Sanders 2016!

My blog brother pines [7th comment] for a "collapse of the Democratic Party in 2016's enabling a non-establishment Republican..." It could happen.

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.

Sanders is serious. The issue is serious. He needs to be taken seriously. No longer small potatoes, he is a big deal.

Now, about that "non-establishment Republican..."

But jk thinks:

Of course, some (not me, I am proud to say) wished for Senator Obama to get the nomination in 2008 because he would be so easy to beat...

I know I do not know a perfect cross section of American voters, but I am astonished at the Bernie luv on my Facebook Feed. He has all me lefty, Democratic voters (seriously 100%). Yesterday some high school classmates were talking him up. A couple of Union Teachers but not wildly political by any means. All #feelthebern.

It's a long and arduous road to knock off the Dowager Empress, but I think the CW is missing something here.

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2015 3:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The linked article started out by enumerating his substantial baggage but you're right. Being the D nominee would make him formidable. If he were to face off with Jeb or some other establishment guy he could well win.

"United Socialists of America!"

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2015 3:39 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Face it (you did start this thread with FB, after all), having a "D" and not being a Clinton immediately blows up skirts (sustainably sewn, from organically grown, free range and minority gathered whole cloth) all over the front range and Left Coast.

How many will note that Sanders doesn't have a D?

Not many, hopefully a few more than notice that despite all his whinging about inequality, every Democrat-led bill passed this last decade has made things worse.

And even the WaPo has caught up on the apples2zebras non-equivalence needed to hoist the gender pay gap up the ole' pole.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 19, 2015 4:39 PM

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.

The world is riskier today, change is faster than ever, and new technologies can quickly destroy markets and businesses. It makes no sense for brick-and-mortar retailers, say, to invest long-term in new stores if their sector is likely to have no future because it will soon become a channel for Internet selling.


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.

But T. Greer thinks:

Steve Denning demures (Link fixed).

Posted by: T. Greer at August 21, 2015 4:57 PM

August 17, 2015

Golden State

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

California Posted by John Kranz at 6:46 PM | What do you think? [7]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In other state and regional news, developments out of Colorado keep getting better and better:

http://bit.ly/1gTPQxn

I could see Californians going along with Federal demands like this. Californians are stupid, government-worshipping sheep. I thought Colorado would be close to burning the EPA to the ground over this.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 18, 2015 9:14 AM
But jk thinks:

Threat of $35,000/day fines will wilt resolve in most locales.

I thank my brother for kind words about my home state -- and I suspect our mine owners to be pretty brave -- but the state as whole is in deep doodoo (if you'll pardon technical jargon).

Our urban areas have gone steeply left. Watching local punditry, someone lamented "will Denver ever vote against any tax increase for anything ever?" Hip gentrification has succeeded, but it is becoming San Francisco on the Platte.

As whined in our secession push, the urban areas have disproportionate influence in the legislature.

Maybe build a raft out of old tires and Coors cans...

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2015 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking only of California for the moment, that state does still seem to be alive and well.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2015 12:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And speaking of Colorado, whom exactly did you suspect would burn the EPA to the ground? Our governor? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

We have a good Attorney General but defanging a federal agency will take more than what a handful of wronged states can accomplish. More likely we'll see EPA comeuppance over their coal burning rules.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2015 12:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Colorado's governor? No. Colorado's freedom-loving citizens? (Well, until Brother JK schooled me on how that metric may have lurched leftwards.)

I hear my friends on the right complaining that with the demise of the rule of law, our Elected and Appointed Overlords are "turning this country into a third-world banana republic." Those overlords need to remember that in civilized nations, they'd eventually wind up with prison sentences and public humiliation when the wheel turns around, and it always does. In third-world banana republics, they wind up dancing from lampposts or sent off to the killing fields.

Consider the news today about the private server through which Hillary Clinton funneled all our state secrets - now revealed to have been kept in the bathroom closet of a loft serving as a mom-and-pop company. I can guaran-damn-tee you that the sensitive foreign policy communications of the lowliest third-world dungpiles do NOT get stored in the bathroom of some unknown citizen - not in Bangladesh, not in Uzbekistan, not in Namibia. I seriously want to know what in the fresh hell anyone involved in this escapade was thinking.

I will be frank. I have no confidence in our Federal government, and by that I mean both parties. Even the Republicans in whom I have confidence are a small minority of the party. I am at - no, I am long past - the point of believing that Leviathan needs a date with a chain saw and a chipper-shredder. I don't know whether the best solution is an Article V convention, secession, or revolution.

People shouldn't be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 18, 2015 1:01 PM
But jk thinks:

I vote Article V, seeking liberty with as little discontinuity as possible. I think of the Buffy/Angel A/B episodes "Fool for Love" and "Darla" and do not wish to empower the vampires through the revolution.

Regaining the role of blog optimist for one shining moment, I have this dream of a collapse of the Democratic Party in 2016's enabling a non-establishment Republican in the Rand Paul or Carly Fiorina to get a mandate and majorities to deliver smaller government.

I think the economy is poised to (if I may resort to technical economic jargon again) "completely freakin' explode" if the government would soften its boot heal on the neck of producers. Credit would somewhat rightfully accrue to the new administration and we might get a taste for prosperity.

You may sa-a-a-aay I'm a dreamer, but it happened in Canada and the Democrats are not looking wildly formidable.

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2015 1:41 PM

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

Found it!

I mentioned this in a comment.

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But Keith Arnold thinks:

That kind of can-do entrepreneurism ought to serve them well, if they can sustain it once they get here.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2015 12:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Here? Those are Californians trying to get to Costa Rica to escape high speed rail.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 1:11 PM

Coffeehousin'

Coffeehouse

Red River Valley

Riza lends me her banjolele (Trad.)

Live at the Coffeehouse dot Com

Permalink

On Socialism

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.

But jk thinks:

Outstanding. I love the NN Taleb line "The free-market system lets you notice the flaws and hides its benefits. All other systems hide the flaws and show the benefits." That may not work on your VA friend, but that is a very good argument.

SIDE NOTE: I have lauded Taleb on these pages but he is persona non grata on my GMO sites for some anti-biotech nonsense. He is doubling down and it is war. To be fair, he is an odd bloke: he drinks nothing invented in the last 1000 years. Brilliant people can be wrong.

I find Internet memes so annoying that even ones I like are tainted, but there is a great one about that says "Socialism: so good people build rafts out of trash to escape it."

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 10:20 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm giving Insty a twofer on the subject of Bernie Sanders and the socialism he espouses.

Insty links to a story at FutureOfCapitalism.com called that protrays the diference between socialism and the free market. Comrade Sanders is selling campaign tee-shirts. Union-made, et cetera. "Allow two to three weeks for delivery." He then demonstrates in the free-market environment of Amazon, hundreds of Comrade Sanders tee-shirts, in stock and primed for delivery in a day or two. Here's the link:

http://bit.ly/1No1j59

Comrade Sanders doesn't appreciate the value of competition. He famously whined that having 23 different deodorants and 18 choices of sneakers is a picture of what's wrong with America. He couldn't be more wrong; multiple competitors bringing their products to market, keeping the shelves stocked for immediately delivery and competing on price and quality, is exactly what distinguishes a free country from a failed Marxist state where the central planners force their subjects to stand in line at empty grocers, hoping that the officially-sanctioned bread baker will have products to sell sometime this week.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2015 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, that is an excellent and pithy defense of capitalism.

But what's wrong with government bakers? If it prevented the denial of a single gay wedding cake, wouldn't it be worth it?

Seriously though, a "government baker" WOULD be a "public place" because it is made possible by taxpayer dollars. Masterpiece Bakery is NOT a public place. It is a private place that offers its services to the public. Why are lawyers and judges so stupid? [/Trump voice]

Furthermore, same-sex plaintiff's attorney Ria Mar seems from his or her [apologies for the microagression ... "its?"] statements to support legal gay marriage. Why did the same-sex plaintiffs choose this attorney to represent them? Why didn't they force a "homophobic" Christian attorney to plead their case?

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2015 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, I feel a burning desire to adopt a child so that I can someday tell my grandchildren about the "cake police" of the early 21st Centiry.

Pardon me if you find the comparison trite, but where are you on the Woolworth's lunch counter? I cannot go full Goldwater and tell the private corporations that they can choose to not serve African Americans. I read many musical autobiographies and the hardships endured by black musicians in the American South is gut-wrenching.

I can differentiate between lodging and food as being required for life, but I confess that is opening a Carolene Footnote Four bifurcation.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2015 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I admit that this is easier for me to say than for someone who lived through it, but I would have preferred that government stay out of it. "Hardships" are unfortunate, but so is being forced to comply against one's will. The latter is even, I would argue, worse.

Government force distorts social structure just as it distorts economic markets. Our "reward" for government "fixing" racial divisions is Sandra Day O'Connor's majority opinion in Grutter v. Bollinger that "racial affirmative action wouldn't be constitutional permanently but long enough to correct past discrimination ─ an approximation limit of around 25 years, or until 2028."

A time limit on Constitutionality is pragmatism, not principle.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2015 12:22 PM

August 16, 2015

Review Corner

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 minarchist; 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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | What do you think? [0]

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.

But johngalt thinks:

Wow. Almost Democrat-like in her ability to rationalize facts that don't fit her argument.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2015 6:06 PM
But jk thinks:

I think Ms. Coulter and Mr. Hannity have such intense emotions on the immag -- excuse me AMNESTY!AMNESTY!AMNESTY!!! -- that it engenders a lot of forgiveness. Sure we can have single payer and eminent domain, as long as somebody's not afraid to deploy a little barbed wire and machine gun nests.

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2015 6:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And an "assault weapons" ban! "Oh, lots of Republicans were supporting that." Yeah, like George H.W. Bush. You know, the only one-term president since Jimmy Carter. Big Media pundits blamed "read my lips - no new taxes" for his failed re-election, but signing the AWB was far more damaging, politically.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2015 7:06 PM

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.

But johngalt thinks:

If she sinks again she will, no doubt, take her place alongside Alan Keyes, Ralph Nader and Eugene McCarthy on this list.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2015 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Tempted to add Henry Clay. Yes, he was successful in many other endeavors, but he wanted to be President and ran four times as his party's nominee. What's a guy got to do to get on a list around here?

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2015 2:58 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Harold Stassen.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 14, 2015 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, I got a kick out of James D. Martin, who was called "the Harold Stassen of Alabama."

Posted by: jk at August 14, 2015 4:17 PM

August 13, 2015

Trumpisms by non-Trumps

Funny? Maybe I'll try it again this evening, after a couple of beers.


Disenfranchisement

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.

Oddly, she made these remarks in Texas, which has a relatively lax absentee voting law and nearly two weeks of no-excuse early voting. New York, where Mrs. Clinton was twice elected to the U.S. Senate, does not allow early voting at all and only offers absentee ballots to those physically unable, for one reason or another, to go to the polls. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton thinks New York's sitting Democratic governor is part of the nefarious "sweeping effort" to disenfranchise voters.


Politics Posted by John Kranz at 6:08 PM | What do you think? [0]

Headline of the day

President Lincoln said you can offend some of the people all of the time or . . .

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On the web Posted by John Kranz at 3:14 PM | What do you think? [0]

1000 Words of the Day

beavis_hillary.jpg

CORNHOLIO 2016!


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]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

HELP WANTED: experienced quarterback, able to adapt quickly to playbook. Prefer candidate who does not run into the tailbones of their own offensive linemen. Serious candidates only; send resume and combine results to New York Jets.

Tim Tebow has already left town and says he's not coming back. This could be the last chance for JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 13, 2015 12:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They've a capable starter in Ryan Fitzpatrick, currently second on the depth chart. A more accurate passer than Geno, it seems to me that the 6th round rookie linebacker who broke Smith's jaw did the team a favor.

And even the Jets aren't incompetent enough to not recognize that. It's why I'm willing to bet they orchestrated the "accident" as a way to eventually put an end to football activities in the region for a long time to come.

What's that sound?

WHUP-WHUP-WHUP-WHUP

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2015 1:08 PM

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.

But nanobrewer thinks:

PowerLine helps us remember last year's Elk River (WVa) spill whereby several employees of the company responsible went to jail. This spill is 300 times bigger... wanna bet the servers are being scrubbed!

And once again, the Sierre Club proves itself more interested in enhancing its own power (by sucking up to Big Gov't) than protecting the environment.

The company that owns this mine has apparently allowed dangerous conditions to fester for years, and the mishandling of clean-up efforts by the EPA have only made a bad situation much worse. As we continue to learn what exactly happened, it’s time that the mine owners be held accountable for creating this toxic mess
Posted by: nanobrewer at August 13, 2015 12:38 AM
But jk thinks:

Gentlemen, I don't think I'm in.

This letter is interesting, but I think critics of the EPA and general government overreach and incompetence are poorly served claiming malfeasance. Not that there was no possible malfeasance, but we were handed a seven layer cake of misfeasance with cream cheese frosting and cherries on top.

I like where nb is headed -- compare the treatment of private sector players to the EPA. Bring up the Deepwater Horizons spill early and often. Put a dollar in the jar as @DanaPerino did and speculate the response during George Bush's presidency.

With a wonderful example of why we don't let government do things, let's not risk a black-helicopter detour.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2015 12:02 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

JK, I don't blame you; it's axiomatic that one should “never ascribe to malice that which can adequately be explained by incompetence.”

A big part of me chooses to make an exception for this instance, though. In this case, the government's "experts," people who allegedly did this very thing for a living, had every reason to know in advance that this would happen, and were warned in advance by a local resident with the training and expertise to know what he was talking about. This isn't the case of a fifteen-year-old taking Mom's Chevy and trying to jump a ravine with it; it's more like a guy who studies the result of crash-dummy tests for Government Motors doing it. I am not a hydraulic engineer, but when there's this big a "he really should have known better" factor involved, people have a right to presume guilty knowledge. They could be wrong, but the right to presume it becomes reasonable.

The long-standing history of the EPA poking their nose in the area about this issue also militates toward the belief that deliberate action was involved. Those mines, if the reports are to be believed, were safe and stable for a little short of a century. If it ain't broke... well, we're all reasonable men, and reasonable men can fill in the blanks.

I dunno. Maybe the fact that I live in a state going through a Man-Caused Drought right now, a big chunk of which is dependent on water from the Colorado River, has something to do with my prediliction. But if someone floated the idea that this whole thing was a half-assed attempt by the Administration to cut off Pete Coors' supply of brewing water... well, I wouldn't put it past them. They have a history of targeting people with an R after their name.

Well, that might be a stretch.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 13, 2015 12:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don Stott predicted the release. One week later, the release occurred. No black helicopter there. Just a "Gee, dude was right. Is he predicting anything else based on the same evidence and analysis?"

Stott "read between the lines" that the release was a desired event by EPA, to secure Superfund Site designation. Gateway Pundit predicts a government moratorium on mining activity in the area. Both are predictions that can be observed to see if they come to pass. If one or both does happen, we'll talk again. Until then, you're right - fire EPA management and mark their jackets "ineligible for rehire" or defund the agency.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2015 12:55 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JG: who's Don Stott? The letter I saw ("God bless Silverton, and God protect us from the EPA!") was signed by Dave Taylor of Farmington, NM.

No Snark here; I want to know all that I can about this.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 14, 2015 12:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, Dave Taylor. My bad. Don Stott wrote the letter above Dave's.

Posted by: johngalt at August 14, 2015 1:17 PM

Christian Charity

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.)

But jk thinks:

Speaking of . . . the speaker that night has carried on a most enlightened email thread with a libertarian, Christian lawyer.

I would forward (with, I believe the good graces of the participants) to any who send me an email jk [at] threesources [dot] com or any other address you have for me. (You may unsubscribe at any time and I will not sell your address for any less than $3.00)

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2015 12:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Being a member of a church that practices every ancient, AD tradition dreamed of, I'm not terribly surprised to see 'forced giving' being proposed by a Saint.

Still, a far cry from any association with current practices (Pope FunkedUp excepted, of course).

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 14, 2015 12:12 AM

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.


QOTD II

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
But jk thinks:

Front-runner? Poll: Sanders surges ahead of Clinton in NH

Posted by: jk at August 12, 2015 3:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I just saw a BERNIE - 2016 bumper sticker on a car in my (Boulder, CO) office parking lot.

Hillary - The country is so "ready for" her they embrace the first left-leaning alternative who comes along.

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2015 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Peter Suderman begins the thankless task of cataloging her untruths.

Posted by: jk at August 12, 2015 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

I saw a Bernie 2016 bumper sticker last week in Lafayette. It was on a Subaru Outback (cue shocked face).

Posted by: jk at August 12, 2015 4:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Vermont's Jay Parini says of "Bernie,"

As president, he would take his agenda to the country and without flinching. And he might just convince Americans to support legislation that would actually benefit them in the long run and even in the short run.

What's not to like? Benefit all Americans in the long AND the short run. Well, except for the top 2 percent. And maybe a few "special interests." Like gun owners, doctors and patients, investors, and anyone who uses energy for heat or transportation. But everyone else will be PUMPED!

Posted by: johngalt at August 12, 2015 4:48 PM
But jk thinks:

#feelthebern

Posted by: jk at August 12, 2015 6:15 PM

August 11, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

taranto150811.gif

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

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.

But jk thinks:

Some commenter on Reason had a funny quip about that. I'll look it up if I get a chance...

You've got me, bro. [John] O'Sullivan's Law states that any organization or enterprise that is not expressly right wing will become left wing over time. That is so sadly true. I'll neither forget nor forgive the flurry of emails I received from the National MS Society hyping the PPACAo2010. Hard to imagine something worse for MS patients.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2015 7:28 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm surprised they weren't on the scene with "I Can't Breathe." They missed the heck out of that bandwagon.

Like many other organizations, they've devolved into fundraising machines to maintain a way of life for their people at the top of their pyramid. The Clinton Initiative may have perfected this business model, but they're not alone.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 11, 2015 8:12 PM

Snark Recognition.

Fun: that is my comment quoted:

jk_comment_reason150811.jpg

But Keith Arnold thinks:

First you get the EPA to dye the Animas River in Broncos colors, and then this. JK, I had no idea you had this kind of influence. I am in awe.

I just saw a little entertainment you'll enjoy - a quote from Friedrick Hayek: "The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design. - Hayek" The quote is posted with a picture of Hayek -- SALMA Hayek. Commenters flip out over the supposed misandry, having no idea that it was the economist and not the actress who said it. I'd wager the commenters have never heard of the economist; further evidence that we're entertaining ourselves to death. What passes for education these days...

Anyway, linky goodness here:

http://bit.ly/1WfN864

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 11, 2015 1:35 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

YIKES. I just read in the Silverton Standard & the Miner about a "Letter to the Editor" by Dave Taylor, published on July 30, predicting a week in advance the EPA "accidental disaster" on the Animas River. Mr. Taylor goes so far as to intimate it appears to be intentional, in an effort to justify Federal intervention.

First, the Anti-Dog-Eat Dog law puts the kibosh on the Phoenix-Durango rail line; now, the EPA creates a Superfund site. In Colorado, fiction becomes real life. Never let a crisis go to waste, and if you don't have one, create one.

See the source: http://bit.ly/1gBbIxv

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 12, 2015 6:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent link KA. And a great comment by one Desmond McGrath, wherein he refers to the present day EPA as the "Gaia Gestapo." He urges a "de-Nazification" of the agency. How about the entire federal government?

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2015 12:03 PM

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.

Yet with those battles [gay marriage and abortion] essentially won, the new urban politics are entering into greater conflict with the suburban mainstream, which tends to be socially moderate, and even more so with the resource-dependent economies of rural America. The environmental radicalism that has its roots in places like San Francisco and Seattle now directly seeks to destroy whole parts of middle America’s energy economy.

Such policies tend to radically raise energy costs. In California, the green energy regime has already driven roughly 1 million people, many of them Latinos in the state’s agricultural interior, into "energy poverty" -- a status in which electricity costs one-tenth of their income. Not surprisingly, those leaving California, notes Trulia, increasingly are working class; their annual incomes in the range of $20,000 to $80,000 are simply not enough to make ends meet.

Geography seems increasingly to determine politics. Ideas on climate policy that seem wonderfully enlightened in Manhattan or San Francisco -- places far removed from the dirty realities of production -- can provide a crushing blow to someone working in the Gulf Coast petro-chemical sector or in the Michigan communities dependent on auto manufacturing.

It's more than suburban or rural jobs that are on the urban designer chopping block. Density obsessed planners have adopted rules, already well advanced in my adopted home state of California, to essentially curb much detested suburban sprawl and lure people back to the dense inner cities. The Obama administration is sympathetic to this agenda, and has adopted its own strategies to promote "back to the city" policies in the rest of the country as well.

But as these cities go green for the rich and impressionable, they must find ways to subsidize the growing low-paid service class -- gardeners, nannies, dog walkers, restaurant servers -- that they depend on daily. This makes many wealthy cities, such as Seattle or San Francisco, hotbeds for such policies as a $15-an-hour minimum wage, as well as increased subsidies for housing and health care. In San Francisco, sadly, where the median price house (usually a smallish apartment) approaches $1 million, a higher minimum wage won't purchase a decent standard of living. In far more diverse and poorer Los Angeles, nearly half of all workers would be covered -- with unforeseen impacts on many industries, including the large garment industry.

These radicalizing trends are likely to be seen as a threat to Democratic prospects next year, but instead will meet with broad acclaim among city-dominated progressive media. Then again, the columnists, reporters and academics who embrace the new urban politics have little sympathy or interest in preserving middle-class suburbs, much less vital small towns. If the Republicans possess the intelligence -- always an open question -- to realize that their opponents are actively trying to undermine how most Americans prefer to live, they might find an opportunity far greater than many suspect.

For her part, Ms. Fiorina does seem to possess that intelligence.


August 9, 2015

Review Corner

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.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | What do you think? [0]

August 8, 2015

Life.

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.

I'm rather a squish on capital punishment. I am sympathetic to the argument that it is too strong a power for government to possess. Yet I am a Constitutional minarchist and it is clearly enabled in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, provided there is due process.

There was certainly due process in this case (and there would have been in a zillion appellate opportunities). The prosecutor felt this crime so heinous as to pursue it and it is pretty hard for me to argue that if we have it that it not be used here.

While I'm also sympathetic to the idea that we could have had this three years ago with a plea -- we frequently discuss the legitimate powers of government. If running the courts and prosecuting murder are not the first things legitimately enabled, I don't know what is. (I'm reading Michael Huemer's Problem of Political Authority and he uses murder frequently as an "obvious" rights case on his way to provide a foundation for anarchy.)

The government wastes a lot of money and does a lot of things it should not do. Prosecuting murderers I am strangely cool with.

But johngalt thinks:

"If you had known 3 years ago what you know now..."

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2015 1:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't want to overreact, but I did prefer the plea three years ago.

There is a monstrously large beta on any execution in this state: the prosecution had to win, overcome a bunch of appeals (although my understanding is that his judge did a great job and left little room). And, then, you have to have a Governor in 2040 or whenever the appeals run out who will carry out the sentence.

That's a lot of improbability on the right hand side of the equation, and I have no specific vengeance. I do have a respect for the rule of law and think it was carried out. (I know things are a bit raw, but my comment generated no argument in a thread leaning the other way.)

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2015 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You are more prescient than I. I preferred the death prosecution when the decision was made.

Maybe it was the evidence at trial or maybe some good arguments opposing the death penalty since then, or both, but I find myself at peace with the life sentence. Partially, I will pragmatically admit, because it means the taxpayers won't be asked to pay lawyers to prosecute the many appeals cases and pay more lawyers to legally defend the morally indefensible little maggot at the same time.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2015 2:33 PM

August 7, 2015

Oddly close to my own evaluations

... are those of Camille Paglia on the GOP debate last night.

Trump-

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!

Yes. Let's.


Tweet of the Day

Stolen from brother jg on Facebook:

Hat-tip: John Podhoretz

But Keith Arnold thinks:

And in all the sturm und drang about the debate and the moderators and who got more questions, every single one of those candidates on stage answered more questions in one evening than the Dowager Empress of Chappaqua has answered since the first of the year.

I read elsewhere that the Russians and the Red Chinese know more about the contents of the Hildebeest's server than the American people.

Why should these things be?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 7, 2015 6:38 PM

What Winning Looks Like

Whom does the WSJ choose for the Ed Page photo? Why, it looks like that woman from the "JV Debate."

carly_wsjedpage.jpg


Carly!

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]

http://www.msnbc.com/hardball/watch/carly-fiorina--hillary-clinton-has-lied-499990083940

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...

But jk thinks:

She seems to have won the evening. I saw (on my FOX News TiVo app) the panel discussion and highlights of the "JV debate" the panel and internet at large seems to have unanimously given the night to Ms. Fiorina (she now leads in an Instapundit online poll).

The other item from catching up on Twitter was the FOX hosts. A lot of love and a lot of hate for Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace -- anybody have a comment?

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2015 12:53 PM
But jk thinks:

David Harsanyi sez (one of the) best evah!

For one, it featured journalists willing to ask genuinely challenging questions. The performance by the moderators, a fiesty Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier, and Chris Wallace, should put to the rest the notion that Fox News is any less interested in serious political journalism than competing cable news networks. Fact is, it's difficult to imagine a panel of MSNBC or CNN anchors peppering a slate of Democratic Party candidates featuring Hillary Clinton with comparably vigorous queries.

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2015 12:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Another Harsanyi cut:

Seeing him like this, I’m not sure Trump is as detrimental for Republicans as everyone imagines, considering he makes anyone standing near him look like Cicero. And these debates? They’re only going to help the GOP.
Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2015 6:24 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm having this recurring vision of seeing Carly standing near The Donald on a debate stage, and the first time Trump's ego comes out, Carly breaks out in a rousing chorus of "You're So Vain."

If she were to do that, I'd never stop voting for her.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 7, 2015 6:42 PM

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:

But nanobrewer thinks:

You gotta admit, he's a Mensch....

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 9, 2015 4:45 PM

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."

What [Camille] Paglia doesn't say outright is that Stewart's comedy has no element of personal risk because it's mostly a mass exercise in confirmation bias--instinctively partisan, designed not to shock or challenge but to reassure. To do this, he flatters his audience. That's the only way to make the show entertaining, after all.


I feel better. Instant relief.

But nanobrewer thinks:

apparently his viewers for the last show were some 3.5M, whereas the Trump-debate got 24 million... there is hope.

And thanks for clarifying why I've only found him funny in very small (select) snippets.. glad I didn't spend the time....

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 9, 2015 4:40 PM
But jk thinks:

I was happy to see the disparity and have to admit that Mr. Trump brought a lot of viewers to the GOP debate.

Stewart is extremely funny -- I've enjoyed a bunch of the clips I've seen. But there is a sameness that makes me surprised that people would watch all the time. You can see the agag coming a mile away

STEWART: Surely, the FOX Host isn't going to say that school lunches are the defining civil rights issue of our time or anything...

FOX HOST: School lunches are the defining civil rights issue of our time.

[STEWART ROLLS EYES, SHRUGS SHOULDERS]

AUDIENCE: [Raucous laughter]
To be fair, Penn & Teller use this same formation in BS to great effect, but as a spice not the meal. Posted by: jk at August 10, 2015 10:36 AM

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...

But johngalt thinks:

There's another rumor that his short list for running mates includes Jenny McCarthy. That would be a real shot in the arm for his campaign.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2015 6:38 PM

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?

One answer, based not on guesses about what might happen, but on what has happened in America's political past is that when disaffected voters discover a power that they did not realize they had, highly unanticipated consequences may follow.

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."

So full-speed ahead, Donald. I can only hope that you are, and will be, more Austen Heller and less Gail Wynand.

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.
But johngalt thinks:

Best line of the night... Rand Paul to Chris Christie on NSA surveillance of Americans: "I don't trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again go right ahead."

I only heard a couple of shots against Herr Trumpmeister tonight. Rand Paul accused him of wanting to buy and sell politicians when he wouldn't pledge to support the Republican nominee, whomever it may be. But the real hit job came from Governor Huckabee:

It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who's very high in the polls, but doesn't have a clue about how to govern. A person who has been filled with scandals and who could not lead. And of course I'm talking about Hillary Clinton.
Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2015 1:40 AM

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 Thursday
This 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.


Politics Posted by nanobrewer at 12:13 AM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for doing the research to clarify this nb. So there's still hope that the Ex-Im will fade away, but that will require a larger number of House Republicans to stand on their hind legs than did Senate Republicans. Should be interestin'.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2015 12:46 PM

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
(double-entendre intended!)

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

But jk thinks:

The Science is Settled!

Economists are pretty famous for equivocation, but you have to go way out to the political fringe to support minimum wage. It's one of the rare consensuses.

When economics fails to back up your policy: Bring up Finland!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2015 4:20 PM

We're All Going to Die!

Somebody needs a copy of Roland Bailey's The End of Doom [Review Corner]...

The biggest problem is that the growing middle class is consuming more meat than ever before, according to the report.

Global water supply is already stressed, and raising cattle and washing and processing the meat requires more water than most crops.

A growing middle class with more disposable income is also straining soy and grain reserves. Prices of wheat, corn, soybeans, and rice are already twice what they were in 2000, the report says, and prices are expected to double again in the next couple decades.

More middle class families will also put more pressure on farmers, according to research from the World Institute of Development Economic Research. Right now there are about four rural dwellers for every city dweller in Asia and Africa, but according to UN projections, by 2040 that ratio will only be 2:1. That means growers will need to feed twice as many city inhabitants by 2040.


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.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:04 PM | What do you think? [2]
But johngalt thinks:

Not to worry - the middle class is disappearing, not growing.

Posted by: johngalt at August 5, 2015 2:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Whew, That was a close one.

The rich will be able to eat the poor. Problem solved.

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2015 3:30 PM

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]

But johngalt thinks:

The "Trump fanboy" is staying home. I need to do some prep work before the tile setter comes again on Friday to work in our kitchen. But I will find a way to listen to the mano a minions "distraction" while I work.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2015 12:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Political money speaks: "Take Trump Out"

This threat is said to come from an assortment of Wall Street and business interests concerned over the potential volatility of a Trump political machine – volatility that might make him "unmanageable" should he actually go on to become the Republican nominee.

It should also be noted some of these high-powered donors are helping to finance the campaigns of BOTH Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush. Presently, Donald Trump represents the single greatest threat to their intention of controlling the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2015 12:23 PM
But dagny thinks:

Not to name drop or anything, but "Macho Duck," was very happy to hear that friend JK had been invited for dinner. Invitation stands, even for a last minute decision. I was told, "he loves what JK puts on FB."

Posted by: dagny at August 6, 2015 1:13 PM
But jk thinks:

And I a big fan in return.

Alas the medical trip turned into a blowout at 80MPH, stranded on the side of the road in nowheresville, give up on Roadside Assistance after an hour, repair tire, and slink home trip. I may never leave le condo d'amour again. But thanks!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2015 4:46 PM
But jk thinks:

I join my blog brother in disapprobation for big money GOP establishment donors (The world's worst punk-rock band name, by the way)'s efforts to push Mister Trump out. Much as I'd like them to succeed, I must admit that is wrong.

It is a free country and if a blowhard Democrat with zero principles and lacking any sense of liberty wants to run for the GOP nomination, he or she can. It is up to the voters to say no.

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2015 5:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Exactly! And if Bernie's momentum continues unabated, Hillary may do precisely that. "I didn't leave the Democrat party. The Democrat party left me!

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2015 6:41 PM

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.

Posted by nanobrewer at 5:04 PM | What do you think? [1]
But jk thinks:

I also like Insty's solution: Start with Chappaqua

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2015 10:16 AM

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."

It now includes "improvements to the language and structure of the course," a statement on the APUSH Website reads. "Every statement in the 2015 edition has been examined with great care based on the historical record and the principled feedback the College Board received. The result is a clearer and more balanced approach to the teaching of American history."

Review. Examine.

Potato. Potahto.

But nanobrewer thinks:

I still think this was an excuse to get to a recall b/c the union was pissed about the new compensation plan.

Complete Colorado has been keeping an eye on things, like how the Recall petition is full of lies: http://coloradopeakpolitics.com/2015/07/08/just-plain-wrong-jeffco-recall-petition-language-lies-open-organizers-to-legal-issues/

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 6, 2015 1:18 AM

Debate Wrapup

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:

But nanobrewer thinks:

I haven't read Geraghty in a long time: too long! He cites another Firefly reference with this tweet about Carly "Fan favorite, network doesn't get it, beloved after..."

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 4, 2015 12:43 PM

August 3, 2015

All Hail Taranto!

taranto150803.gif

On the web Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | What do you think? [0]

Schadenfreude is a dish best served cold.

To be fair, Ivy Starnes Dan Price is only destroying his own company. He hasn't coerced anybody else into his foolish scheme or enacted legislation.

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.

A couple of days after the announcement, she decided to talk to Mr. Price.

"He treated me as if I was being selfish and only thinking about myself," she said. "That really hurt me. I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position."


Nossir! I'm a collectivist, I promise! I'm just a part of a hard-working, well-qualified, highly-value-additive community.


Philosophy Posted by John Kranz at 12:44 PM | What do you think? [1]
But johngalt thinks:

When will they realize that being selfish is a virtue? If Price had been more selfish about the disbursement of his company's revenue, his company would still have some to keep paying employees what they're worth. What good is a job that pays 70K, "no matter what" if the company offering them goes under?

Selfish owners offer sustainable jobs.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 3:09 PM

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.

"Whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council," said our Lord. "Raca" and "council" are Aramaic for "playing the Hitler card" and "New Hampshire primary." -- P.J. O'Rourke



August 2, 2015

Review Corner

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.

Instead of disdaining fellow human beings as a cancer or a plague, as modern neo-Malthusians do, Naam rightly argues, "If we fix our economic system and invest in the human capital of the poor, then we should welcome every new person born as [a] source of betterment for our world and all of us on it."


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.

Top-down bureaucratization of the sort favored by many environmental activists moves societies back in the direction of natural states in which monopolies are secured and run by elites. Innovation would thus stall and the ability of people and societies to adapt rapidly to changing conditions, economic and ecological, via free markets and democratic politics would falter.


Five Stars.

UPDATE: If you like your Review Corner by video, Nick Gillespie interviews Bailey

UPDATE II : And a lengthy but enjoyable CATO roundtable.

Review Corner Posted by John Kranz at 12:26 PM | What do you think? [0]

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
But johngalt thinks:

Even Raul and Fidel could not have screwed the place up this bad, this fast.

Posted by: johngalt at August 1, 2015 10:33 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

My favorite quote is:

academia back in the United States (where failure is celebrated as long as you worship the state and have good intentions

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 1, 2015 12:15 PM

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