This is, it seems to me, the hallmark of what it is to be American - ambition. Those who lack it typically use a different term - greed. Take Canada's Linda McQuaig, for example:
It's no accident that the United States claims the most billionaires -- but suffers among the highest rates of infant mortality and crime, the shortest life expectancy, as well as the lowest rates of social mobility and electoral political participation in the developed world.
Yeah, it's the billionaires' fault! Seriously? No, I don't think many take such suggestions seriously. But it is plainly evident that billionaires, at least some of them, are really, really, ambitious. I give you here, Exhibit A:
Jeff Bezos finally one-upped Elon Musk in space. On Tuesday Bezos' company, Blue Origin, announced its New Shepard space vehicle had ascended to 100.5km and returned successfully to the ground near its West Texas launch site.
Go ahead, billionaires, one-up each other. "Waste" your "ill-gotten" and "unequal" concentrated wealth on "extravagances" like reusable rocket ships. I, for one, approve. But next time give it a better name - like "The C.S.* Linda McQuaig."
German rapper "Deso (Devil's Son) Dogg" Cuspert turns to Islam, joins ISIL, dies in U.S. airstrike against men who "want your [German] blood" in Raqqa, Syria.
The evolution of "Deso Dogg," the hip-hop star with a chip on his shoulder, into "Abu Talha Al-Almani," a militant with blood on his hands and an airstrike's terrorist target is less unlikely than it sounds. Like so many of Islamic State's western recruits, Cuspert was simultaneously disaffected and indignant, the survivor of a troubled upbringing and a tumultuous adulthood who saw something in jihad -- faith, fulfillment, the promise of redemption -- he lacked at home.
Remember when Saudi Arabia announced that they were going to keep oil production high to depress prices and, by their calculation, undercut the U.S. oil boom?
What the Saudis and the naysayers closer to home seem to have forgotten is that the free market is the greatest incubator of technological innovation. Energy producers in this country have gauged the challenges of lower prices, are working to tackle them, and it’s paying off. …
OPEC’s gamble to kill American innovation was a short-term strategy without an endgame, and no appreciation of how the strategy would spur greater efficiencies and innovation in the U.S. Call this a gentle reminder: It is never wise to bet against capitalism, especially in Texas.
Unfortunately for the Saudis, they don't understand the power of innovation and free markets. Perhaps that's because President Eisenhower gave them the innovation of American and British countries in the 1950's, and they haven't had to innovate for themselves since... ever.
It shows that in 1896, income per person in the United States and Argentina, two of the richest countries in the world, was about identical. Argentina subsequently eschewed the free market, replacing it with trade protectionism and other corporatist policies intended to help the poor by redistributing wealth. By 2010, Argentine income was a third of that of the United States.
To which I'll add - imagine if, over the same period, the United States had not sought some sort of "enlightened middle path" of compromise between free markets and "corporatist policies intended to help the poor by redistributing wealth."
I know we more discuss free markets rather than finance markets here, but bear with me, as the freedom message rings out loud and clear from this column drawn off Yahoo's finance page by Rick Newman.
It's amateur hour in China
This is the next superpower?
You’ve got to be kidding
Investors began to think stocks were close to a peak, so they sold to lock in profits. Not what the government was expecting. The government tried to stem the selloff by enacting stimulus measures, instituting new rules and even preventing some institutional investors from selling. Authoritarianism displaced capitalism.
and just like Pravda when the latest 5 year plan failed:
China’s government has now reverted to the ultimate absurdity: Blaming critics of the markets’ performance for the whole fiasco.
and, noting that our GDP/capita is seven times' China's:
That gap might widen rather than narrow if China keeps trying to force-feed economic growth while American capitalism continues to rely on market forces and innovation.
but enough about China:
Western markets also tolerate short sellers and others who bet against stocks because it serves as a check on the system: When there’s money to be made by stocks going down, it forces better diligence among those betting stocks will go up. Abuses? Sure. But unleashing market forces in every direction—not just the one you want prices to go in—generates confidence that prices will gravitate toward an equilibrium based on reality.
Tolerate? Hell, they get their own TV show....
We’ve got plenty of problems here—including our own variety of political ineptitude—but at least we let supply and demand determine most prices. When China’s leaders let that happen, maybe it will be time to worry.
Let's hope! Senator Sanders certainly thinks we can't choose our own products, or prices... please nominate him!!! Let freedom reign, and rain its benefits widely.
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.
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.
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."
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.
I may not go on a "Cheese Easting Surrender Monkeys!" rant bashing Europeans. But the post is not over yet and my caps lock is winking at me like a Dublin streetwalker.
Right on the heels of the Pope's criticism of air-conditioning, the WaPo steps up to the plate: "Europe to America: Your love of air-conditioning is stupid."
Thankfully for my caps lock key, Megan McArdle has provided a serious and well-reasoned response. McArdle compares temperatures, examines energy disparities between heating and cooling, and comes to the careful conclusion that we're right and they're wrong:
I'd like to thank our European brothers and sisters for starting this important conversation. We should all pay more attention to profligate climate control. Why are people clinging to their unsustainable lifestyles and expending so much energy to make their homes comfortable year-round? Why don't they do the right thing for the environment? Embrace air conditioning, and get the heck out of Berlin.
I was speaking with a Europhile last week and have been smarting ever since. He talked up wonderful times -- and I shared that my memories of our Irish-based company and visiting investors in Ireland and the UK are quite fond.
I actually got my interlocutor to concede that staying with European friends is great pari passu with their wealth. I always stayed with millionaires. They had big American refrigerators, guest rooms, air conditioning, and drove Mercedes automobiles. They enjoyed the trappings of American life with the art and culture of Europe. Life is good.
But but but, you have to be a millionaire to enjoy the trappings of a US plumber. My socio-economic counterparts lived in small flats, had the micro dorm 'fridges, no car or one too small for five passengers.
Professor Piketty might explain that Europe's gini coefficient shows less inequality, but the US plumber lives like the multi-millionaire. Maybe the Lexus has more luxurious appointments, but a nice late-model SUV goes safely from A to B. A cheaper vacation maybe, a less tony zip code. But it is the European working class that lacks the accoutrements of their wealthier countrymen.
Happy Independence Day -- and accept an official "America, F*ck Yeah!" from Eric Cartman and me.
But one of our gifts is free speech. And Dylan Matthews at Vox has used those rights to publish a linkbait provocative piece: "3 reasons the American Revolution was a mistake." Matthews cites Britain's earlier abolition of slavery, the statistical anti-despotic qualities of parliamentary systems, and better treatment of native people under British rule in Canada.
My conservative buddies got the vapors. "Vox truly does hate America," says a commenter at Friends of Best of the Web. But after rebuilding the White House after the War of 1812, we've been pretty good buddies with the Britons. I'm down with American Exceptionalism, but we've stumbled and the greater UK (especially including Virginia in a counter-factual) can claim great defenders of liberty and human rights. We split over a pittance of a tax on tea and ended up with Lois Lerner.
So, no, I burst with pride but don't consider the suggestion treasonous.
Today, Megan McArdle responds on Facebook "to quarrel with is the breathtaking amount of exogeneity he assumes." It is not exactly the wind of butterfly wings to prevent the creation of the most powerful economic and military power. Yet, McArdle points out, he assumes every other bit of history happens essentially the same. It's a smart response. No rights chatter, no flag waving, just piercing reason (because Britain ignored natives in the frozen tundra, would they have left them in peace on a rich continent? What resources would they have employed to stop Southern rebellion?)
When the United Kingdom passed us in Heritage/WSJ's "Index of Economic Freedom" I confess I wondered what our blood purchased. Contra Matthews and McArdle, I prefer the dreaded gridlock (not the gridded dreadlocks) of our Madisonian Republic; that bug is a feature to me. The Bill of Rights protects our speech and privacy and self defense far better than in Canada or the UK.
But maybe King George could have granted greater autonomy and we could have stayed with the crown but implemented the best parts of Republican ideals. I dunno. Treason?
I now know what the eight years of the Barack Hussein Obama presidency will be remembered for, and our lefty friends aren't going to like it. Not because I'm about to bash Obama again - in fact, I will praise him (faintly.) Obama's legacy will not be national health care, wage equality, Mideast peace or even "stopping the rise of the oceans" although he will actually "do" this. (More later.) Instead, it will be the start of a new era of peace and prosperity across the globe.
The United States is poised to flood world markets with once-unthinkable quantities of liquefied natural gas as soon as this year, profoundly changing the geo-politics of global energy and posing a major threat to Russian gas dominance in Europe.
"We anticipate becoming big players, and I think we'll have a big impact," said the [sic] Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary. "We're going to influence the whole global LNG market."
Mr. Moniz said four LNG export terminals are under construction and the first wave of shipments may begin before the end of this year or in early 2016 at the latest.
"We?" Yes, President Obama's energy secretary is attaching his boss to this effort. The faint praise I promised lies in the fact that he allowed the LNG export terminal permits to be issued. He is "responsible" for the coming 'copious carbon energy for a pittance' revolution to the extent that he didn't try to stand in its way. (Although it likely would have flattened him the way his EPA is attempting to flatten the coal industry.)
America's parallel drive for shale oil is equally breath-taking. Scott Sheffield, head of Pioneer Natural Resources, said his company has discovered huge reserves in the vast Permian Basin of West Texas.
"We think the Permian could produce 5-6m barrels a day (b/d) in the long-term," he said. It is a staggering claim. This would be more than Saudi Arabia's giant Ghawar field, the biggest in the world.
Ryan Lance, head of ConocoPhillips, said North American oil output could reach 15m b/d by 2020 and 25m b/d over the next quarter century, three times Saudi Arabia's current exports.
A vault forward on this scale would establish the US as the leading energy superpower in both oil and gas, a revival that almost nobody could have imagined seven years ago when the United States was in near panic over its exorbitant dependency of imported fuel. It would restore the US to its mid-20th Century position as a surplus trading nation, and perhaps ultimately as world's biggest external creditor once again.
So this revival, this oil and gas "renaissance" started "seven years ago." Circa June 4, 2008, i.e. "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal." And as soon as the Global Warming Policy Center's "Blue Ribbon Panel" determines that global warming is a mirage of misguided scientific error corrections, President Obama can take credit for that too. But the accomplishment that will be remembered - the real change that makes real changes in the lives of real people - is cheap and abundant energy worldwide. And like the birth of liberty and prosperity that came in the 20th century, this one will also be a uniquely American creation.
Fracking is still an almost exclusive preserve of North America, and is likely to remain so into the early 2020s. China has large ambitions but the volumes are still tiny, and there is a shortage of water in key areas. Fracking remains mere talk in most other regions of the world.
Lukoil analysts say Russian extraction costs for shale are four times higher that those of US wildcat drillers. Sanctions currently prevent the Russians importing the know-how and technology to tap its vast Bazhenov basin at a viable cost.
John Hess, the founder of Hess Corporation, said it takes a unique confluence of circumstances to pull off a fracking revolution: landowner rights over sub-soil minerals, a pipeline infrastructure, the right taxes and regulations, and good rock. "We haven't seen those stars align yet," he said.
Above all it requires the acquiescence of the people. "It takes a thousand trucks going in and out to launch a (drilling) spud. Not every neighbourhood wants that," he said.
This is as unlikely a legacy as anyone could have imagined for a president who, as candidate, bragged that electricity costs would "necessarily skyrocket" as a result of his policy goals designed to promote alternatives to oil and gas. But given the bareness of the cupboard in his presidential library storeroom, I suspect he will gladly take it - deserved or not.
What are men to rocks and mountains? -- Jane Austen
A hat-tip to one of my favorite progressive interlocutors on Facebook for that.
I saw news footage of Kevin Jorgeson and Tommy Caldwell's success in Yosemite.
Two climbers made it to the top of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park on Wednesday, the first ever to scale the 3,000-foot granite wall using only their hands and feet and safety rope.
Working in Boulder, rock climbing is pretty popular. Those who have met me in person might suspect that I did never have Comparative Advantage in that sport. As I never got into it, I developed a shutoff mechanism: when the topic came up, I would just quietly think about hockey and nod at appropriate intervals. "Light, $380 shoes, yes, tell me more..."
After many years that kicked in during the news reports. But I realized this morning that I had missed the Randian heroic achievement. Ms. Austen, let me tell you about men. They super-glue their bleeding fingers in nightmarish cold on the side of a 3000' granite cliff so they can climb to its summit. Just because.
As the bailout recedes in the rear-view mirror, can an American enjoy a little jingoistic pride in his country's iconic sports car?
My favorite -- of many -- moments on Top Gear was when the lads were in the US. Jeremy was dissing on a Corvette, James got kinda out there in something, but Richard Hammond drove a Dodge Charger or Challenger and said "We drive all these £300,000 cars, but if you're a plumber in the United States you can buy, insure, and drive this car." Bingo. I love Mr. Clarkson, but I don't think he ever got that.
Less surprisingly, Jay Leno gets it. "You can have a Ferrari, or you can have 18 of these."
President Obama famously said that he believes "in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."
So one may wonder why he didn't balk when Teleprompter instructed him to say this:
It's part of what attracts people from every corner of the globe to this country, understanding that for all our flaws there's something essential that we stand for that nobody else does, and we're willing to put our money and time and effort and resources and occasionally our lives on behalf of that.
Something essential... that we stand for... that nobody else does. This, friends, is the definition of an "exception" and makes "this country" exceptional.
And even more directly, when he said that "America continues to be the one indispensable nation..." one might be forgiven for thinking that, perhaps, President Obama is proud to be an American. He continued:
...and that what we stand for - liberty and democracy and conservation and fairness and justice - those are the things that people around the world aspire to and seek, and they expect the United States to be on their side.
I agree, Mr. President. Me too. Although I suspect we may differ on the meaning and intent of "democracy and conservation and fairness" and yes, probably even "justice." You did notice that only one of the values you expressed is a part of the name for "that lady with the torch in the middle of the water" didn't you?
What the Hell is Administrative Law, and Where Did it Come From?
That is the question which is, by every account, answered brilliantly in a new book by Professor Philip Hamburger of the Columbia Law School: Is Administrative Law Unlawful?
Amazon reviewer Ross Huebner wrote last month:
Professor Hamburger outlines the fact that administrative law (outside of very limited circumstances) is not only unconstitutional, but it is anti-constitutional as well. I recommend this book as a worthy legal history of administrative law and state simply that it should be in every serious scholar's library for both historical and legal purposes.
In a radio interview this morning the author explained that administrative law, essentially the rules and regulations of Administrative Branch agencies, crept into our government after its founding as a holdover from the pre-Constitutional era and do not have any justification under the Constitution. To the contrary, Article I Section 1 begins: "All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States..." therefore any legislative powers exercised outside of Congress are illegal.
And not just legislative, but judicial powers are wrongly exercised under color of "administrative law." Who may lay his finger on the Constitutional passage that enumerates that? Article III Section 1 begins: "The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish." No mention of EPA or FDA that I could find.
Hat-tip Jim Geraghty [if you haven't subscribed yet...] who puts this in context with the RAM Truck "God Made a Farmer" and the Coke multicultural milieu ad as "we want to feel good about America again."
The farmer in the Ram Trucks ad is what we think we once were, and want to still be: hard-working, reliable, honest, filled with determination and integrity. The Coke ad actually begins with a cowboy who would fit in the Ram Truck ad, but moves on to breakdancing kids, a family visiting the Grand Canyon, a big (Hispanic?) family settling in for dinner, folks wobbling at a roller rink and laughing at themselves. That ad shows that we're warm and welcoming, close to our families, spending quality time with our kids who aren't sitting in front of a video game console or staring at the screen of their phone.
And then Neal McDonough -- "Hey, it's that guy from Band of Brothers and Captain America!" -- comes along and stabs a needle of adrenaline and confidence into our heart. He chuckles about other countries sitting at cafes and taking August off. He walks past his kids, who are doing their homework, with one appearing to working on a model of DNA. He explains that "we're crazy, driven hard-working believers," and high-fives his younger child, who obviously has already absorbed this cheerful, confident philosophy. He's got a gorgeous house with a pool, happy, bright kids, a good-looking wife who reads the Wall Street Journal after he does, and he looks good in a suit. He's got spring in his step. The world is his oyster, and he says it's America's oyster, too, because "you work hard, you create your own luck, and you've got to believe anything is possible."
We've heard many opinions on the multi-lingual Coca Cola Superbowl ad "America the Beautiful" including here, here and here. I'd like to share one more viewpoint. This from a son of Chinese immigrants who also happens to be a Republican candidate for congress in the Colorado district that encompasses Boulder (CO-2).
In a historic recall election Senate President John Morse was booted from office, capping the end of a long and passionate fight over gun rights in Colorado. It marks a wake-up call for Colorado Democrats, who are suddenly coming to the realization that they're not invincible after all.
In a legislative session this spring dubbed "one of the most liberal ever" by the Durango Herald's Joe Hanel, Democrats sprinted to the left on gun control, and virtually every other policy in the left-wing agenda.
The Morse recall results are a swift kick in their proverbial nuts. A reminder to legislators that getting elected office doesn't give you a free pass to do whatever your progressive paymasters demand of you.
A hearty congratulations to my compatriots to the south. It wasn't my fight but I cheered loudly and rooted you on.
Oh and by the way, the headline says "total" recall, alluding to the other senator facing a no-confidence vote, Pueblo Democrat Angela Giron. She's toast too, by a 20-point margin.
Mike Rosen did a very good job deconstructing the "America sucks" diatribe of a Denver Post columnist on his radio show Tuesday, but for those who don't have time or inclination to listen I'll do it again here, hitting just the high points.
First the title: "Beware of zealots this Independence Day." That's right, flag-waving Americans should remind "thoughtful" people of bomb-throwing Islamists. But perhaps I'm just too sensitive.
In recent times, we've seen an uptick in gratuitous, obsequious, false patriotism, rooted in empty slogans and reflexive - not thoughtful - displays of bravado rather than heartfelt allegiance and love of country.
Recent times? I believe this began in earnest on a particular date: September 11, 2001. Didn't something memorable happen that day, Steve?
They proclaim love of country is exhibited in the absolute defense and embrace of the Second Amendment, typically above all other constitutional provisions, as a critical defense against a paranoia-imagined government takeover.
And here the - thoughtful - Mr. Lipsher either denies or ignores history. Take your pick. Why can boy scouts take "Be Prepared" as their motto but the rest of us should, instead, place complete faith in a government that says, "trust us, we'll take care of you?" A government operated by other men, no better nor worse than those whom it serves, but entrusted with the authority to use force. Like all other powers in government, that force must be checked.
They throw around terms such as "liberty" and "tyranny" without any apparent appreciation for their meaning: They are mere buzzwords, dog-whistles to help them identify "us" and "them" in their quixotic quest to "take America back" from implied - but rarely explicitly stated - minorities, liberals, Muslims, Hollywood, welfare recipients and the Kenyan/socialist/America-hating President Obama.
This is mere rant, intended to detract from concrete ideas of liberty and tyranny. While it is true that some Americans are xenophobic this by no means describes the majority of American patriots, much less their motives. They merely seek to maintain what is great about America - individual freedom and the right to create one's own prosperity - without having it "spread around a little" against his will.
Like most Americans, I truly love my country and the unparalleled opportunities it affords me, and I'm proud of our achievements as a nation. But I also see its flaws - often cloaked in our incredible wealth and national arrogance - and I want it to be better.
But are you proud of your achievements as an individual? Or, more importantly, do you believe others have the right to be proud of their own achievements? Achievements like incredible wealth and, not arrogance, but pride in their "heartfelt allegiance and love" of a nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal?
I believe you when you say you want America to be better. So do I. But there may be a great divide between what each of us would prescribe as "better." For my part that would be more freedom not less, less regulation and compulsion not more, more charity and volunteerism not more taxation and redistribution. These principles should extend beyond our shores as well: Free trade with other nations not free aid, defense cooperation not replacement of their armed forces with ours. Every nation, like every person, is free to work and achieve and own the fruits of those labors without threat of being pillaged by others, like redistributive governments that employ a Viking morality under the guise of democratic "majority rule." These principles would make not just America better, but the world.
On this day, July 4, 2013, Happy Independence Day people of the earth.
I am reading Charles Johnson's "Why Coolidge Matters" You'll have to wait for Review Corner, but Johnson does an awesome job of tying Coolidge to the Declaration of Independence. What he believed and how he governed came directly from the Declaration.
The WSJ offers today's "Notable & Quotable" from his "Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence" in Philadelphia, July 5, 1926:
It was not because it was proposed to establish a new nation, but because it was proposed to establish a nation on new principles, that July 4, 1776, has come to be regarded as one of the greatest days in history. Great ideas do not burst upon the world unannounced. They are reached by a gradual development over a length of time usually proportionate to their importance. This is especially true of the principles laid down in the Declaration of Independence. Three very definite propositions were set out in its preamble regarding the nature of mankind and therefore of government. These were the doctrine that all men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain inalienable rights, and that therefore the source of the just powers of government must be derived from the consent of the governed.
If no one is to be accounted as born into a superior station, if there is to be no ruling class, and if all possess rights which can neither be bartered away nor taken from them by any earthly power, it follows as a matter of course that the practical authority of the Government has to rest on the consent of the governed. While these principles were not altogether new in political action, and were very far from new in political speculation, they had never been assembled before and declared in such a combination. But remarkable as this may be, it is not the chief distinction of the Declaration of Independence. . . .
It was the fact that our Declaration of Independence containing these immortal truths was the political action of a duly authorized and constituted representative public body in its sovereign capacity, supported by the force of general opinion and by the armies of Washington already in the field, which makes it the most important civil document in the world.
From the man known for his silence and considered by the Schlesinger school as not a man of thought.
On the heels of it's dismissive editorial, which I linked in the comments on yesterday's post about an 8-county split from "Old Colorado" to form a new state, comes this spin-heavy "news" piece that clearly shows a nerve has been struck in D-town.
Mazurana said the process of breaking way from the state and starting a new one, is long and difficult. Both the state legislature and the U.S. Congress would have to approve.
"All the rest of the states are are not going to want to share their federal aid with this new state," Mazurana said. "And the state is not going to give up oil and gas money on a whim."
However, the notion could draw the backing of well-heeled conservative backers, he said. "The Koch brothers could come in along with some other wingnut groups." [emphasis mine]
I'm thinking of a new 501c3 application: "Colorado Wingnuts for Liberty and Property Rights"
Carolina and the Dakota Territory have done it. Perhaps Virginia and West Virginia are a better example. Commissioners of Weld County, Colorado, the third largest county in Colorado and third most productive in the nation, are publicly contemplating a split from the remainder of Colorado. Seven neighboring counties would possibly join us.
Commissioners said Thursday that failed legislative efforts to crack down on oil and gas, as well as increases in rural renewable energy standards were "the straws that broke the camel's back."
Conway told the Tribune that Weld County's main economic drivers, agriculture and energy, are under attack, even though those sectors contribute significantly to the state's economy. He said the county's return on its financial contributions to the state are minimal.
He's just being polite. Weld and other rural counties are the makers, Denver and other urban counties are the takers. This could be a win-win for the urbanites, who could finally wash their hands of the coal, oil and gas energy they so disdain. We'll just take our cheap, reliable energy and go away. Heck, we won't even ask for another star on the flag. Just give us the liberty that our ancestors were born with, and our descendents deserve to enjoy.
Truly one of the great speeches in all our nation's history. Hat-tip: Blog friend sc who adds "The Boomers on the other hand, gave us Woodstock and Obama." That was so funny I didn't even ask permission to share.
"I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I've seen in the last 30 years."
Carville accurately described the conservative view: "'If we only got someone who was articulate and was for what we were for, we would win elections. And we get these John McCains and these Mitt Romneys and these squishy guys that can't do anything.'" Carville added: "Well, there's one thing this guy is not -- he ain't squishy, not in the least."
"If defending Americans' constitutional liberties and fighting for policies that will spur job growth and economic recovery is [the] Democrats' definition of 'extreme,' it confirms that their convoluted, misguided priorities do not represent the best interests of New Yorkers," a spokeswoman for Cruz, a Princeton and Harvard Law honors graduate and one of just three Hispanics in the Senate, told The Post.
"They [New York Democrats] clearly have bigger problems to deal with than lobbing useless criticisms at a Republican senator coming to town to speak at an event for Republicans," the spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, continued.
UPDATE (05/09 13:25) Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater
As for Perry, he’s old news. Public Policy Polling announced this week it’s dropping the GOP governor, who barely registers following his bungled White House bid last year, and replacing him with Cruz in future surveys of potential presidential candidates.
"..America, America, God shed clear sight on thee. And crown thy past, with, at long last, a future that is free." -- Facebook friend and former Colorado state senator Shawn Mitchell (Tuesday "via mobile")
The Sheriff of El Paso County, Colorado, Terry Maketa, told constituents yesterday that he would prevent gun confiscation in his jurisdiction if a "lawfully signed warrant" were not in play.
"I would step in the way if federal law enforcement was acting under some directive and seizing weapons without a lawfully signed warrant," he said, adding that he's not worried about that because he's received emails of support from federal law enforcement agencies.
"I think they would turn first, quit and join me before following something as ludicrous as that," he said.
This is welcome reassurance to the majority of Coloradoans who oppose big-city mayors' politically motivated gun control railroad job in the Democrat-controlled Colorado state government. Speaking of which,
"I don't have any plan to run for governor, for senate, for house," he said. "I say that knowing full well things can change."
"We're not going to get critics coming on board,"Aglialoro said. "The academic-media complex out there doesn't want to like the work, doesn’t want to understand it, fears the lack of government in their lives, wants the presence of government taking care of us."
Insists on demanding the unearned.
Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has expressed support for some of Rand's writings, and Aglialoro says Ryan's 2012 campaign alongside Mitt Romney could have used a bit more of her thinking.
"It would have served the campaign well if he would have embraced the natural way to capitalism that Ayn Rand, and I think Romney and Ryan should have quoted [her] over and over and over again during the campaign, that it's the producers who should be applauded and appreciated and not denigrated, that 'rich' is not a dirty, four-letter word. It's a good, four-letter word."
But that's in the past and we're looking forward.
Aglialoro is looking at a different politician to carry the mantle of Ayn Rand in Washington: Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
"Since they're starting to beat up on Cruz, there must be something good about him. Cruz is new on the scene, on the side of the free market, of limited government, of capitalist instinct in our society. So I think Cruz is somebody who could fit the bill."
"The point isn’t that anyone in our country is Hitler," Paul said, repeating that he is not comparing anyone to Hitler. "But what I am saying that is in a democracy you could somehow elect someone who is very evil . . . When a democracy gets it wrong, you want the law to be in place."
Video still live here: http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN2/
Damn I'm proud of the United States Senator from Kentucky, Rand Paul.
UPDATE: Senator Rand Paul's fillibuster for individual rights and against an ever more powerful central government attracted an unusual ally to the Republican's side: Code Pink.
Paul’s nearly 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor — which delayed the vote to confirm John Brennan as director of the CIA — was unusual in that it brought together unlikely allies: libertarian-leaning Republicans, establishment Republicans, Democrats and even left-wing activists like Code Pink.
They're still as misguided a group of lemmings you'll ever see, but it is refreshing to see any willingness to stand with traditional foes over a particular principle. I'll say this for Code Pink: Their principles are almost completely wrong, but at least they have principles.
It's an old story: Special interest group sues profitable corporation for alleged harm to animals or cattails or whatever Loraxian victim said group can conjur. But this time the story has a happy (for capitalism and individual rights) ending. Animal rights group settles lawsuit with Ringling. That's right, animal rights group settles, NOT Ringling.
An animal rights group will pay Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million to settle a lawsuit the circus filed after courts found that activists paid a former circus worker for his help in claiming the circus abused elephants.
That's a 9.3 million share of dollars donated to the group by weepy sensitive souls, motivated by all those sad "abandoned puppy" picture ads in the back of Redbook and Good Housekeeping.
The ASPCA said in a statement that "this litigation has stopped being about the elephants a long time ago" and that officials decided it was in the group's best interest to resolve the lawsuit after more than a decade.
Yeah, that and the fact that their little entrapment scheme blew up in their faces.
Sarah Hoyt, who grew up in the Socialist Paradise of Portugal and is a successful author of many a fine SF/F novel, sees the future...and has faith that the American people will weather the difficult times ahead with some measure of style:
I’ve said before that I became an American by reading Heinlein books. This is true at least to an extent, though I’d be at a loss to explain the process to you. I mean, if you knew how to do that, book by book, chipping away, so someone starts out wondering what’s wrong with all those Americans who don’t like taxes (don’t they know taxes are civilization? And have always existed) and ends up thinking getting a Don’t Tread On Me tattoo is a brilliant idea, even while immersed in a socialist, communitary system, we’d have no problems. We’d just use “the process.”
Mind, you, it is likely that the er… Heinleinizing (totally a word. Don’t worry your pretty head) of my opinions came from watching socialism up close and personal. Heinlein had help. But all the same, and even so, by the time I came to the States as an exchange student I had been, so to put it, primed to react to the US as “home.”
This is why statists of any stripe so often throw their hands up and call us ungovernable. Not that this gives them the idea they shouldn’t try. No. Instead, they try to devise more cunning ways of governing us. You have them to give credit for dreaming the impossible dream. It’s the one proof we have that the sons of beetles are Americans.
So… after sixty years of creeping statism, they’ve now “captured the flag” – they have actually got all of the important systems sewn up: news, entertainment, education, government.
They think – can you blame them? – that they won.
I won’t say they can’t hurt us. They can. The mechanisms they’ve seized hold of are important and they are – natch – misusing them.
I’m not saying that this will be easy. It won’t. Our economy is likely to be an incredible shambles, and I’ve said before I think we’ll lose at least one city.
But, listen, the problem with these sons of… Babel is that they might be American, but they’re not American ENOUGH. If they were, they’d understand “ungovernable” and this willingness for each of us to go it alone (often for common benefit, but on own recognizance, nonetheless) is not a bug. It’s a feature. And that it’s baked in the cake of a people who came here to escape the top-down spirit of other places. Some of the black sheep (or as one friend of mine calls it, the plaid sheep) attitude is genetic, hereditary, inborn. And enough of us have it.
Finally, let's note that Sarah is from COLORADO. There's just something about that place. Rand didn't choose it to be a star of Atlas Shrugged out of thin air.
"When I had the gun, I didn't think I was actually going to have to shoot somebody," the 6th grader recalled. "I think it's going to change me a whole lot, knowing that I can hold my head up high and nothing can hurt me anymore."
Twelve year-old Kendra St. Clair after shooting an intruder with her mother's .40 cal Glock during a burglary of her Oklahoma home.
UPDATE: A local TV news report at embedded here ends with the additional information that the suspect was arrested last year in connection with the kidnapping of a 17 year-old girl with "diminished mental capacity." This was quite possibly more than a burglary attempt.
Think of it as morality tales for the iPod generation.
Dr. Yaron Brook of the Ayn Rand Institute credits Arthur Brooks at American Enterprise Institute as the most influential proponent of the morality of free markets and capitalism. The results of AEI's Video Contest will show you why.
I posted the First Prize winner, as determined by a collection of judges, on my Facebook page. But I think they're all great. Each one is a 2-minute lesson in anti-statism, and in true free market fashion I'm linking to the full page of finalists for you to pick your own winner. As for me, I'm the father of three daughters and I choose for my favorite: Suzie's Lemonade Stand.
Many of these teach lessons that used to reside in public education. This is an excellent opportunity to return them there.
Watch them. Share them. Promote them.
UPDATE: I may have awarded too soon. I'll stand by my favorite but honorable mention also to "Pet Enterprise" and "Making Pie." I also predict JKs fave will be "FES International." Like I said: Awesome ... Every ... One.
How many times have we heard the left make baseless claims that Big Oil uses its money and influence to stamp out competition wherever it can, and thereby maximize their own profits? Investors Business Daily printed an editorial yesterday that now, finally, substantiates that claim. But it's not what you might think. In this case "Big Oil" equals Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Russia's state-owned oil monopolies.
Venezuela's state Foundation National Cinematheque has been financially linked to "Gasland," a 2011 anti-fracking documentary whose aim was to paint fracking in the U.S. as dangerous.
This week, the Heritage Foundation's Lachlan Markey found that United Arab Emirates-owned "Image Media Abu Dhabi" financed "Promised Land," a Matt Damon film that shows U.S. oil and gas companies as greedy behemoths out to poison America's small towns.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has been accused of financing radical environmentalist groups through foundations to undercut oil sands production in Canada, which is America's top supplier.
If you have to ask why they oppose American energy production, here is the answer:
All this signals something big is at stake in global power politics: fracking, which threatens petrotyrants as no nuclear weapon ever has. The Gulf states, Venezuela and Russia derive their power solely from their dominance in energy production, not by their economies.
If fracking and the combination of investment, high tech, expertise and geography enable the U.S. to produce natural gas at $3 a unit, while Russia can only do it at $10, the threat is obvious.
Declaration of Independence for the iPod Generation
One of the problems with teaching American History and the Founding Fathers is the "crusty old white dude" barrier. Here, Soomo Publishing blends a new teaching tool with a cover of a popular song to teach a little good old revolutionary history.
I love Mike Rowe. My young daughters, I'm proud to say, also love Mike Rowe's Discovery Channel show 'Dirty Jobs.' Consequently, I'm a bit perplexed that I hadn't heard of this before today:
Dear Governor Romney,
My name is Mike Rowe and I own a small company in California called mikeroweWORKS. Currently, mikeroweWORKS is trying to close the country’s skills gap by changing the way Americans feel about Work. (I know, right? Ambitious.) Anyway, this Labor Day is our 4th anniversary, and I’m commemorating the occasion with an open letter to you. If you read the whole thing, I’ll vote for you in November.
Pig farmers, electricians, plumbers, bridge painters, jam makers, blacksmiths, brewers, coal miners, carpenters, crab fisherman, oil drillers…they all tell me the same thing over and over, again and again – our country has become emotionally disconnected from an essential part of our workforce. We are no longer impressed with cheap electricity, paved roads, and indoor plumbing. We take our infrastructure for granted, and the people who build it.
Today, we can see the consequences of this disconnect in any number of areas, but none is more obvious than the growing skills gap. Even as unemployment remains sky high, a whole category of vital occupations has fallen out of favor, and companies struggle to find workers with the necessary skills. The causes seem clear. We have embraced a ridiculously narrow view of education. Any kind of training or study that does not come with a four-year degree is now deemed “alternative.” Many viable careers once aspired to are now seen as “vocational consolation prizes,” and many of the jobs this current administration has tried to “create” over the last four years are the same jobs that parents and teachers actively discourage kids from pursuing. (I always thought there something ill-fated about the promise of three million “shovel ready jobs” made to a society that no longer encourages people to pick up a shovel.)
I don't remember everything from 1985 - Ronald Reagan was president and I was graduating from college - but another vivid memory is the US Defense Department's decision to replace the venerable John Browning designed Colt 1911 pistol as the standard duty issue firearm for all armed forces. It was the height of a nascent competitive bid movement in government procurement and not enough attention was paid to quality or to a host of other issues. The Pentagon seemed to hope that making a change to a cheaper, foreign-made, smaller caliber pistol would deliver the same excellent service as its predecessor while also showing that they were a modern, non-discriminatory, progressive organization willing to take the "smarter" path. They selected the Beretta M9, a 9mm pistol made in Italy, to replace the seventy-four year old Colt. Now, some twenty seven years later, at least one branch of the U.S. armed forces is willing to admit a mistake. Fox News: Sticking to their guns: Marines place $22.5M order for the Colt .45 M1911
Some reports suggest Marines are not happy with their main Beretta M9s for their lack of accuracy and stopping power. With M1911's now supplying Special Ops, growing interest may lead to a better solution.
"To have the 1911 selected again for U. S. Forces 101 years after its initial introduction is just an incredible testament to the timeless design and effectiveness of the Colt 1911," Dinkel said. "This is truly a gratifying contract award."
Now, more than any time I can remember, it is reassuring to know that some Americans are willing to admit when they make a mistake - and act quickly to fix the problem the best way they know how.
"...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."
Courtesy the New York Times, which ran a companion piece yesterday describing their history of printing the Declaration on July 4. Take a close look at the image accompanying that article. (Who knew that "18th-century English extant" read right-to-left?
But they redeem themselves today with this nicely transcribed reprint:
[Hint: Right-click and "save picture as" to open in a viewer allowing magnification.]
Many have publicly encouraged the reading of this foundational document on the holiday celebrating our nation's birth. I was surprised to learn one of them is Bill Moyers, but not surprised to learn why.
Moyers calls it "the pathology of white superiority that attended the birth of our nation." Jefferson, he said, got it right when he wrote about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the core of our human aspirations," but he denied these liberties to others on the basis of their race.
In this way, Jefferson embodies "the oldest and longest battle of all," Moyers asserted, "the battle of the self with the truth, between what we know, and how we live."
Let us hope that future historians have the luxury of a similarly derisive view of Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion on the 2012 'Obamacare' case, for buttressing an originalist interpretation of the commerce clause but "allowing the prevailing mood of the era to dictate his ruling on questions of taxation." Thomas Jefferson and John Roberts - apparently, a pair of "cowardly clowns."
Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" is the anthem of the überpatriotic. It's blasted to misty eyed Americans at NASCAR and TEA Parties. And I get it. It's a fine song and an interstice 'twixt those who can comfortably express such love of country and those what cannot. I get it
But if we're going to have a Pop country anthem, may I nominate this:
This is what our country is about and what I fear may be slipping away. But it's a unique look at the corporeal reality of liberty versus the abstractions we discuss around these parts.
I got permission to share a private email from a good friend of this blog. I would go for anonymity, but the geography will give away sc:
Went to a meeting on defeating the marriage amendment last night. I guess I'm ankle deep in gay activism. Didn't see that coming, but what's right is what's right. So here are two take aways from the evening; the gay republican speaker was pretty well received, better than I would have thought and better than the guy JG mentioned. The second thing that occurred to me was that throughout most of history and in a lot of places in the world now a meeting like that could have gotten us all arrested and probably killed. God bless the United States of America! The constitution in practice has been a dream deferred, but we are achieving its promise. The God given, inalienable rights once limited to some will eventually be recognized as belonging to all. That document separates us from most of human history and is still man's best hope. I guess I'm kind of proud of having a small role to play In seeing that dream deferred becoming a promise kept. America, f#%k yeah!
Between us, I have my doubts about Minnesota. I think we are competitive in Rochester, Duluth and the cities, but only by razor thin margins, which throws the decision outstate and I don't see us winning there.
He's already garnered Otequay of the Ayday. Perhaps Quote of the Day also, some time before the morrow. And on this auspicious day, the 280th anniversary of General and President George Washington's birth, I share news that author and historian John White leads a 3 year-old campaign to award General Washington the Medal of Honor. Soldier, statesman and patriot, George Washington was also the very definition of bravery in battle.
Washington's willingness to lead his troops from the front, while shots from British sharpshooters and his own men flew across the battlefield around him, inspired the American forces to hold together throughout the war. A young officer who observed Washington in combat at the Battle of Princeton wrote, "I saw him brave all the dangers of the field . . . with a thousand deaths flying around him." The sight of his commander in chief, he said, set an example of courage such as he had never seen.
One may wonder where else a commander would lead but "from the front" although other styles are fashionable of late.
Awarding the Medal of Honor to Washington would accomplish three objectives. First, it would properly recognize his bravery in battle. Second, it would bring public attention to that fact, which in turn would encourage greater public awareness of American military history in the Revolutionary era. Third, it would elevate Washington as a role model for young people, showing them the courage that defines a true hero, as distinguished from entertainers and other celebrities.
"What astonishing changes a few years are capable of producing! I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical form of government without horror. From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable & tremendous! What a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal & falacious! Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend." --George Washington, Letter to John Jay, 15 August, 1786
I've long felt that Heinlein and Rand were intellectual partners. Rand gave us the indisputible philosophical foundation for mankind's heroic existence and Heinlein provided the warm, soft, yet grittily-realistic interpretation that makes us more comfortable with the idea of individualism and self-sufficiency within and around a community of others. Rand denounced religion. Heinlein explained it. He really did have an amazing way with words:
I am not going to talk about religious beliefs, but about matters so obvious that it has gone out of style to mention them.
I believe in my neighbors.
I know their faults and I know that their virtues far outweigh their faults. Take Father Michael down our road a piece --I'm not of his creed, but I know the goodness and charity and lovingkindness that shine in his daily actions. I believe in Father Mike; if I'm in trouble, I'll go to him. My next-door neighbor is a veterinary doctor. Doc will get out of bed after a hard day to help a stray cat. No fee -- no prospect of a fee. I believe in Doc.
I believe in my townspeople. You can knock on any door in our town say, 'I'm hungry,' and you will be fed. Our town is no exception; I've found the same ready charity everywhere. For the one who says, 'To heck with you -- I got mine,' there are a hundred, a thousand, who will say, 'Sure, pal, sit down.'
I know that, despite all warnings against hitchhikers, I can step to the highway, thumb for a ride and in a few minutes a car or a truck will stop and someone will say, 'Climb in, Mac. How how far you going?'
I believe in my fellow citizens. Our headlines are splashed with crime, yet for every criminal there are 10,000 honest decent kindly men. If it were not so, no child would live to grow up, business could not go on from day to day. Decency is not news; it is buried in the obituaries --but it is a force stronger than crime.
I believe in the patient gallantry of nurses...in the tedious sacrifices of teachers. I believe in the unseen and unending fight against desperate odds that goes on quietly in almost every home in the land.
I believe in the honest craft of workmen. Take a look around you. There never were enough bosses to check up on all that work. From Independence Hall to the Grand Coulee Dam, these things were built level and square by craftsmen who were honest in their bones.
I believe that almost all politicians are honest. For every bribed alderman there are hundreds of politicians, low paid or not paid at all, doing their level best without thanks or glory to make our system work. If this were not true, we would never have gotten past the thirteen colonies.
I believe in Rodger Young. You and I are free today because of endless unnamed heroes from Valley Forge to the Yalu River.
I believe in -- I am proud to belong to -- the United States. Despite shortcomings, from lynchings to bad faith in high places, our nation has had the most decent and kindly internal practices and foreign policies to be found anywhere in history.
And finally, I believe in my whole race. Yellow, white, black, red, brown --in the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability....and goodness.....of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth, that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth --but that we will always make it....survive....endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure --will endure longer than his home planet, will spread out to the other planets, to the stars, and beyond, carrying with him his honesty, his insatiable curiosity, his unlimited courage --and his noble essential decency.
Heh. Makes me think of Tiananmen Square! The Boston Bruins were honored with a White House reception today marking the occasion of their Stanley Cup victory last season. The team's players were in attendance, except one.
Nearly every other member of the Bruins was at the ceremony, where President Obama congratulated the team on its victory. Thomas is a staunch conservative and is expected to explain his snub of the president on his Facebook page this evening.
I would remind Mr. Stephenson of this bon mot from the early career (Governorship) of Ronald Reagan:
You grew up in a different world," the student said. "Today we have television, jet planes, space travel, nuclear energy, computers. ..."
Taking advantage of a pause in the student's litany, Reagan said, "You’re right. We didn't have those things when we were young. We invented them."
It is that "student" who is today unable to deal with the "big stuff" in life. That "Free Speech Movement" that Mario Savio started sure has made things better for us.-- Insty reader Drew Kelley
In emphasizing the Q&A, JK says the speech is skippable. Perhaps, but a few choice lines are, shall we say, an exception.
"Telling those who are scared and struggling the only way their lives can get better is to diminish the success of others, trying to cynically convince those who are suffering that the American economic pie is no longer a growing one that can provide more prosperity for all who work hard, insisting that we must tax, and take, and demonize those who have already achieved the American dream. That may turn out to be a good campaign strategy Mister President, but it is a demoralizing message for America."
The riffs on leadership and compromise, hope and failure, and fixing government were excellent but what impressed me most was philosophical. He defended the idea of American exceptionalism, and explained that what our nation represents over the past few years doesn't live up to that standard. "Real American exceptionalism" is "earned American exceptionalism."
Quoting Reagan describing, in 1989, what he always envisioned whenever he spoke of America as "a shining city on a hill..."
"In my mind it was a tall proud city, built on rocks stronger than oceans, windswept, God blessed, and teeming with people of all kinds living in harmony and peace. A city with free ports that hummed with commerce and creativity. And if there had to be city walls, the walls were open to anyone with the will and the heart to get here. That's how I saw it, and see it still."
"That, is American exceptionalism. Not a punch-line in a political speech, but a vision, followed by a set of principled actions that made us the envy of the world. Not a reelection strategy, but an American revitalization strategy. We will be that again, but not until we demand that our leaders stand tall by telling the truth, confronting our shortcomings, celebrating our successes, and once again leading the world because of what we have been able to actually accomplish. Only when we do that will we finally ensure that our children and grandchildren will live in a second American century. We owe them, as well as ourselves and those who came before us, nothing less."
This post legitimately spans multiple categories. I don't recall it being discussed here when it was first released, last May I believe, so I'll immortalize it in the 3Srcs/EatOurPeas archives now.
For the youth of America who don't remember the economic resurgence that came about under the policies of President Ronald Reagan Mike Huckabee offers a new animated American History series to give them the pro-America version of events they may or may not have ever heard of. Here's a clip from the Reagan Revolution episode.
Mike Huckabee calls it an unbiased telling of history, while those more inclined to a politically-correct worldview see the religion boogeyman as they quote from the video's website: "We recognize and celebrate faith, religion and the role of God in America's founding and making our country the greatest place on Earth," the site reads.
I had attributed this reflexive anti-religion attitude to a majority of the one-third of American voters who are unaffiliated with a party but I'm ready to concede it may be yet another form of extremism that's been made to appear mainstream by the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media. In defense of his product Huckabee claims that, "Ninety-one percent of liberals who were shown the videos said they not only learned something they would buy them for their kids."
WELDON, N.C.-- When a hurricane makes landfall, the head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency relies on a couple of metrics to assess its destructive power.
First, there is the well-known Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale. Then there is what he calls the "Waffle House Index."
Green means the restaurant is serving a full menu, a signal that damage in an area is limited and the lights are on. Yellow means a limited menu, indicating power from a generator, at best, and low food supplies. Red means the restaurant is closed, a sign of severe damage in the area or unsafe conditions.
We live ten miles from one and have been known to appreciate its rustic charms. But I had no idea that the firm strives to be the first open in an emergency.
The company decided to beef up its crisis-management processes. Senior executives developed a manual for opening after a disaster, bulked up on portable generators, bought a mobile command center and gave employees key fobs with emergency contacts.
In a recent academic paper, Panos Kouvelis, a business-school professor at Washington University in St. Louis, pegged Waffle House as one of the top four companies for disaster response, with Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Home Depot Inc. and Lowe's Cos.
Waffle House managers say sales volume can double or triple in the aftermath of a storm. The company, whose annual sales are estimated to exceed $600 million, won't discuss the costs or benefits of reopening quickly after disasters. It says its strategy is more about marketing and building goodwill than profits.
Talk about an underserved character in American History. I went looking for a biography of Francis Scott Key, and there is none of the quality I expected. There is one from 1934, cobbled together from oral histories and his correspondence with John Randolph. Amazon has one for $29.95.
Carl Swisher wrote a biography of Key's brother-in-law, Roger B. Taney, in 1935 and I imagine a similar friendly, folksy, biography. I enjoyed the Swisher book while I was researching the Chief Justice, but I would strongly prefer a modern biography.
Historians may have overlooked him, but here's a damn fine version of his song:
A recent article in Vanity Fair by Howard Wasdin and Stephen Templin describes the training process of our Navy SEALs. It is well worth the whole read and concludes:
Nevertheless, sometimes a SEAL can't find his way back to Mother Ocean and must make a choice between fighting to the death or surrendering.
For many brave warriors, it's better to roll the dice on surrendering in order to live to fight another day--SEALs have incredible respect for those POWs. As SEALs, though, we believe our surrender would be giving in, and giving in is never an option. I wouldn't want to be used as some political bargaining chip against the United States.
I wouldn't want to die in a cage of starvation or have my head cut off for some video to be shown around the world on the Internet. My attitude is that if the enemy wants to kill me, they're going to have to kill me now. We despise would-be dictators who wish to dominate us--SEALs steer the rudders of their own destinies. Our world is a meritocracy where we are free to leave at any time. Our missions are voluntary; I cant think of a mission that wasn't. Ours is an unwritten code: It's better to burn out than to fade away--and with our last breaths we'll take as many of the enemy with us as possible.
Read this and understand why nobody, but nobody, can beat us militarily. It is only when our politicians get involved that our wars go wrong. If only our politicians had the same honor, pride and committment of those they send to battle.
Hat tip: RealClearPolitics.com
The Vanity Fair cover photo of Katy Perry ain't bad either.
A NY Times editoral yesterday squeaked, "It's Not Over in Wisconsin." But I'm quite happy to correct them - as the WSJ notes, it really is. But what most interested me in the execrable Times piece was it's opening line:
Republican lawmakers in Wisconsin have reversed half-a-century’s middle-class progress in the state by erasing collective-bargaining rights for public employees.
First of all, this explains why Progressives are so agitated - issuing death threats - calling for "class war" - with the democratically enacted legislation in Wisconsin. It took them fifty years to achieve the present state of their glorious people's state, yet in a few weeks a handful of Republican politicians have pulled out one card and the rest of the house-of-cards came tumbling down.
But what else does this seethingly indignant sentence say? Middle-class progress over the last 50 years is to the credit of - unions? Then why are unions such a minority presence in the private sector? But I digress. To fully understand what "progress" means for the middle-class one must first consider how the middle class has changed in five decades. The graphs at this Tax Foundation post show that the 1960 middle class consisted mostly of married couples, a large portion of whom had children. Fast forward to 2007 and that demographic is mostly represented in the top two quintiles of taxpayers. (You know, the "rich.") Today's middle class is single filers.
These demographic shifts have no doubt contributed to the perception of rising income inequality. When the so-called rich are increasingly couples with two incomes, they will naturally look wealthier than the vast number of single taxpayers who now populate the statistical middle.
But those single taxpayers aren't poor. They're now the middle class!
As for the nuveaux "upper class"...
Because of the progressivity of the federal tax code, these couples end up facing the highest federal income tax rates even though they live distinctly "middle-class" lifestyles.
As lawmakers look for solutions to the economic challenges facing today's "middle-class" but upper-income families, they would do well to consider the way in which taxes--federal and local--are contributing to the problem.
And that, boys and girls, is what is driving the events in Wisconsin. To borrow from the SEIU mob vernacular, "This is what middle-class progress looks like!"
Here IT comes. The film version of my favorite novel, which we last discussed here and here, is in post production and should appear in theaters "No later than Tax Day, April 15."
Many of my trepidations about making this story into a movie have been salved by this interview with executive producer and financier (read: owner) of the film, John Aglialoro.
Ranked by Forbes Small Business as the 10th richest executive of any small publicly-traded company (revenues under $200 million) in 2007, Aglialoro is one of those rare corporate executives who fully "gets" the philosophical message in Atlas Shrugged.
So the storyline should be safe. The scope of this movie is Part I of the book, which readers can review key points from by reading those entitled entries in Three Sources' "Atlas Shrugged QOTD" archive.
But we'll have to wait for the second sequel for that scene. I've heard that the intentions for Parts II and III of the book are to be separate sequels, each following about a year after it's predecessor.
Judging by some of the scene photos the setting of the movie will be decidedly modern. Apparently it will be set in our time, not in that of the book's writing. This is as it should be. The uninitiated youth will be more captivated than with a more faithful portrayal of the book. And, more importantly, we are closer to the events of the story becoming reality today than at any time in history.
Rush Limbaugh was the first I heard use the construction 'Happy Dependence Day' as a celebration of the Fourth of July under President Obama and the Democrat Congress. It's a fitting title for sharing the words of a more contemporary version of the song 'God Bless America' which I started last night and put the finishing touches on this morning. "Enjoy."
Gaia, bless America,
Land I assume;
Stand astride her,
And guide her,
Through the night,
With your might,
Where's my bailout;
Where's my health care;
Where's my solar,
Gaia, bless America,
Gaia, bless America,
Copyright holder 'johngalt' in the year of "Tbe One We've Been Waiting For" II (2010) and licensed for public use.
I was going to make this an "Otequay of the Ayday" post but there were too many good quotes. Glenn Beck keynoted this year's CPAC conference. It was brilliant. He told Republicans it's time to say, "I'm sorry."
"It is still morning in America, it just happens to be kind of a head pounding, hung over, vomiting for four hours kind of morning in America."
Why? Progressivism. And it's in both parties.
"I'm so sick of hearing people say, 'Oh, well, Republicans are going to solve it all.' Really? It's just Progressive Lite. (...) Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution. And it was designed to eat the Constitution. To 'progress past' the Constitution."
"This is the cancer that is eating at America. It is big government. It's a socialist utopia. And we need to address it as if it is a cancer. It must be cut out of the system because they cannot coexist. And you don't cure cancer by, 'Well, I'm just gonna give you a little bit of cancer.' You must eradicate it.
"Dick Cheney, a couple of days ago, was here and he says, 'It's gonna be a good year for conservative ideas.' That's true. That's very true. It's gonna be a very good year, but it's not enough just to not suck as much as the other side."
He then played on his own battle with alcohol addiction and mocked the Republican party with the first step of the Twelve Step program: "Hello, my name is the Republican Party and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government."
Watch the video to see what he said about the Big Tent concept, and many, many other good points. Like American citizens giving ten times the charitable contributions of France ... per capita. And the depression of 1920 as compared to the "Great Depression." And Calvin Coolidge versus Woodrow Wilson.
Hat tip for the vid link to a critical Ryan Witt at examiner.com.
Some good comments there and he promises to "fact check" Beck's speech "later today."
The absence of any statutes creating a specific liability for subtitle A income taxes means, quite simply, that federal income taxes are totally and completely voluntary, in the common everyday meaning of that term. Liability only begins when Form 1040 is signed.
So it would seem that refusing to complete a tax return, or even completing it and refusing to sign it, may legally absolve an individual of any federal income tax liability. I met a man who actually adhered to this strategy in the early 1990's. At the time I thought he was a madman. Now I believe I've found his justification.
Further stunning proof that these taxes are truly voluntary can be found at IRC section 3402(n). Here, Congress has authorized a form called the “withholding exemption certificate” abbreviated “WEC”. The term “withholding exemption certificate” occurs a total of seventeen (17) times in that one statute alone.
However, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) has never created an official form for the WEC.
I haven't yet found any information on the status of the legal action since the date of this press release. (Is there an honest judge left anywhere in the United States Federal Government?) Here, however, is Counselor Mitchell's brief essay "Let's Dismantle the IRS: This Racket is Busted"
Let’s Dismantle IRS:
This Racket is Busted
Paul Andrew Mitchell
Private Attorney General
All Rights Reserved without Prejudice
It’s time to dismantle the Internal Revenue Service. This organization has outlived its usefulness.
The hunt was on, several years ago, when activists like this writer confirmed that IRS was never created by any Act of Congress. It cannot be found in any of the laws which created the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
The U.S. Supreme Court quietly admitted as much, at footnote 23 in Chrysler Corp. v. Brown. In a nation governed by the rule of law, this omission is monumental.
The search for its real origins has taken this nation down many blind alleys, so convoluted and complicated are the statutes and regulations which govern its employees rarely, if ever.
The best explanation now favors its links to Prohibition, the ill-fated experiment in outlawing alcohol.
The Women’s Temperance Movement, we believe, was secretly underwritten by the petroleum cartel, to perfect a monopoly over automotive fuels. Once that monopoly was in place, Prohibition was repealed, leaving alcohol high and dry as the preferred fuel for cars and trucks, and leaving a federal police force inside the several States, to extort money from the American People.
All evidence indicates that IRS is an alias for the Federal Alcohol Administration (“FAA”), which was declared unconstitutional inside the several States by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1935. The result of the high Court’s decision in U.S. v. Constantine confined that FAA to federal territories, like Puerto Rico, where Congress is the “state” legislature.
Further confirmation can be found in a decision by the First Circuit Court of Appeals in Used Tire International, Inc. v. Manual Diaz-Saldana, which identified the latter as the real “Secretary of the Treasury.” The Code of Federal Regulations for Title 27 also identifies this other “Secretary” as an office in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
This is ominous data. It serves to suggest that IRS has no authority whatsoever to mail envelopes from the “Department of the Treasury.” Such obvious deception is prohibited by federal mail fraud statutes, and defined as a predicate to racketeering.
Moreover, the vagueness now proven to frequent the Internal Revenue Code forces a legal conclusion that the entire Code is necessarily void, read “no legal effect.” The high Court’s test for vagueness is obviously violated when men and women of common intelligence cannot agree on its correct meaning, its proper construction, or its territorial application.
Take, for instance, a statute at IRC section 7851. Here, Congress has said that all the enforcement provisions in subtitle F shall take effect on the day after the date “this title” is enacted. These provisions include, for example, filing requirements, penalties for failing to file, and tax evasion.
Title 26 has never been enacted into positive law, rendering every single section in subtitle F a big pile of spaghetti, with no teeth whatsoever. Throughout most federal laws, the consistent legislative practice is to use the term “this title” to refer to a Title of the United States Code.
To make matters worse, conscientious courts (an endangered species) have ruled that taxes cannot be imposed without statutes assigning a specific liability to certain parties.
There are no statutes creating a specific liability for taxes imposed by subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code. This is the set of statutes that impose the federal income tax.
Look at it this way: if Congress imposed a tax on chickens, would that necessarily mean that the chickens are liable for the tax?
Obviously not! Congress would also need to define the farmer, or the consumer, or the wholesaler, as the party liable for paying that tax. Chickens, where are your tax returns?
Without a liability statute, there can be no liability.
This now opens another, deeper layer in this can of rotting worms. If IRS is really using fear tactics to extort an unlawful debt, then it qualifies for careful scrutiny, and prosecution, under the Racketeer-Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act aka “RICO”.
How fitting, and how ironic, that IRS is legally domiciled in Puerto RICO.
When we get down to brass tacks, we find that Congress encourages private Citizens to investigate and bust rackets, mainly because it perceived a shortage of public prosecutors talented enough to enforce RICO statutes against organized crime syndicates.
This shortage is the real reason why the RICO statute at 18 U.S.C. 1964 awards triple damages to any party who prevails, using the civil remedies it provides. And, happily, State courts like the Superior Court of California also enjoy original jurisdiction to litigate and issue these remedies.
All of this would approach comedy in the extreme, were it not also the case that IRS launders huge sums of money, every day, into foreign banks chiefly owned by the families that founded the Federal Reserve system.
Did you think the Federal Reserve was federal government? Guess again!
One of the biggest shocks of the last century was an admission by President Reagan’s Grace Commission, that none of the income taxes collected by IRS goes to pay for any federal government services.
Those taxes are paying interest to these foreign banks, and benefit payments to recipients of entitlement programs, like federal pension funds.
So, the next time your neighbors accuse you of being unpatriotic for challenging the IRS, we recommend that you demand from them proof that IRS is really funding any federal government services, like air traffic control, the Pentagon, the Congress, the Courts, or the White House.
Don’t hold your breath.
Honestly, when all the facts are put on a level table top, there is not a single reason why America should put up with this massive fiscal fraud for one more day.
It’s now time to dismantle the Internal Revenue Service.
Keeping all those laundered funds inside this country will result in economic prosperity without precedent in our nation’s history.
Let’s bury IRS beneath the Titanic, where it can rust in peace forever along with the rest of the planet’s jellyfish.
America deserves to be a living, thriving Republic, not another victim of Plank Number Two in the Communist Manifesto.
About the Author:
Paul Andrew Mitchell is a Private Attorney General and
Webmaster of the Supreme Law Library on the Internet:
“U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Falls Silent in Face of SUBPOENA for Tax Liability Statutes”
“31 Questions and Answers about the IRS”
“What Is the Federal Income Tax?”
“Electronic Censors Found at U.C. Berkeley’s Law School”
“Private Attorney General Backs UCB’s Graduate Instructors”
“Paul Mitchell Blasts Clinton, Rubin for Racketeering”
“Paul Mitchell Applauds House Vote to Kill IRC”
“Paul Mitchell Urges Nation to Boycott IRS”
“The Kick-Back Racket: PMRS”
“Congresswoman Suspected of Income Tax Evasion”
“Our Proposal to Save Social Security”
“Charitable Contributions by the Federal Reserve”
“Legal Notice in re Withholding Exemption Certificates”
OK, maybe just "partly-cloudy." (It seems to be in order around here these days. JEEZ!)
Bill (not Billy) Kristol writes in today's NY Times that the American public usually does show pretty good judgement:
Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country and of course concerned about the economy. But, as Pew summarized, “there is little indication that the nation’s financial crisis has triggered public panic or despair.”
In fact, “There is a broad public consensus regarding the causes of the current problems with financial institutions and markets: 79 percent say people taking on too much debt has contributed a lot to the crisis, while 72 percent say the same about banks making risky loans.”
Needless to say, the public’s not always right, and public opinion’s not always responsible. But as publics go, the American public has a pretty good track record.
In the 1930s, the American people didn’t fall — unlike so many of their supposed intellectual betters — for either fascism or Communism. Since World War II, the American people have resisted the temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and have turned their backs on a history of bigotry.
And this good judgement might just lead to a McCain-Palin victory in November:
But it’s hard to blame the public for preferring Obama at this stage — given the understandable desire to kick the Republicans out of the White House, and given the failure of the McCain campaign to make its case effectively. And some number of the public may change their minds in the final two weeks of the campaign, and may decide McCain-Palin offers a better kind of change — perhaps enough to give McCain-Palin a victory.
The media elites really hate that idea. Not just because so many of them prefer Obama. But because they like telling us what’s going to happen. They’re always annoyed when the people cross them up.
Finally, Kristol puts a face on this "common man" who makes up the American public: Joe the Plumber.
And to Peggy Noonan, who wrote that Joe “in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made.” At least McCain and Palin have had the good sense to embrace him. I join them in taking my stand with Joe the Plumber — in defiance of Horace the Poet.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
The forces of darkness and anti-modernity do not lie peacefully, whether in the caves of Afghanistan or the capitals of Europe, They are active and are bound to win a few.
That said, I am still disappointed in the World Bank scandal. The scandal being, of course, that a good man who was trying to clean up a corrupt institution such that it could actually do some good was run out by the thugs who profit from corruption. The Wall Street Journal has a well written recap of what transpired, so I will link and excerpt, not summarize it.
We've said from the beginning that the charges against Mr. Wolfowitz were bogus, and that the effort to unseat him amounted to a political grudge by those who opposed his role in the Bush Administration and a bureaucratic vendetta by those who opposed his anti-corruption agenda at the bank. That view was vindicated by yesterday's statement, which showed how little the merits of the case against Mr. Wolfowitz had to do with the final result.
In a better world, the bank would shrink to perform only its core mission of helping the world's poorest nations. That's not going to happen, however, so the best that President Bush can do now to minimize the damage of the Wolfowitz putsch is by replacing him with someone who shares his agenda and will clean the place up. No European should have a chance to do that given what has transpired, not even Tony Blair. Nor should he name another well known member of the Council on Foreign Relations seminar circuit whom the Europeans and staff can quickly capture.
We've suggested former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who saw first-hand how these institutions function while investigating the U.N.'s Oil for Food scandal. But whoever it is, the core task of Mr. Wolfowitz's successor should be to clean the World Bank stables, or shut it down.
I'm glad that the European economies are doing better and that a new crop of leaders show some fondness for capitalism. L'Affaire Wolfowitz shows, however, that there is a fundamental difference between Europe and America in each's tolerance for corruption.
Europe stood still as the Oil for Food corruption undermined the only chance the world had to avoid the Iraq War. It wasn't WMDs, it was the fecklessness of Europe to enact and enforce tough sanctions and to demand thorough inspections Now we are repeating the same errors in Iran, with a corrupt Europe having been expanded to include corruption in Moscow and Beijing.
Bill Bennet wrote a book about President Clinton's troubles where he discussed European bemusement at Americans' caring so much about a trivial matter. Bennet, whom I've disagreed with on a thousand things, got off one of the great lines ever. I quote from memory: "Europe has much to teach us about wine, culture, and cuisine. America, however, has much to teach Europe about morality in government."
The players have all changed, but that part remains true. Europe doesn't seem to care that the UN or many of its satellite NGOs are corrupt, incompetent, and counter-productive. There may be friendlier G-8 meetings with Sarkozy, Merkel and Brown. But a huge gap remains in the tolerance for corruption in NGOs that must be addressed. And it will have to be addressed by America.
What's that? Did Bill Gates promise to buy Apple Computer and divide all of its stock amongst all the AIDS patients in Africa? Did Mahmood I'mInAJihad just convert to Christianity? Did Hillary divorce Bill? No.
Owning guns in D.C. may soon become legal, as federal appeals court ruled that the right to bear arms applies not only to militias.
Three years ago, a lower-court judge had told six D.C. residents of high-crime neighborhoods who wanted the guns for protection that they don't have a constitutional right to own handguns.
City argued that the Second Amendment right to bear arms applies only to militias, not individuals.
Today judge held that the Second Amendment doesn't just apply to militia service, or to people with "intermittent enrollment in the militia."
Just what was this D.C. gun ban? From the Cato Institute via P.R. Newswire:"Under existing law, no handgun could be registered in the District, and even pistols registered prior to D.C.'s 1976 ban could not be carried from room to room within a home without a license."
Well, what's wrong with that CNSnews? If that is the "democratically-expressed will of the people of the District of Columbia" then who cares that, "Even though the nation's capital had one of the strictest gun bans in the country, it also suffers from one of the five-highest murders rates of major cities nationwide?" I guess two out of three federal appeals judges care:
In a 2-1 decision, the judges held that the activities protected by the Second Amendment "are not limited to militia service, nor is an individual's enjoyment of the right contingent upon his or her continued intermittent enrollment in the militia."
The court also ruled the D.C. requirement that registered firearms be kept unloaded, disassembled and under trigger lock was unconstitutional.
"The district's definition of the militia is just too narrow," Judge Laurence Silberman wrote for the majority Friday. "There are too many instances of 'bear arms' indicating private use to conclude that the drafters intended only a military sense."
The opinion of the lone dissenting judge is telling. Her foundation for supporting the 30-year old law was not that individuals are not militia members, or that handguns are not hunting tools. Instead she wrote, "the Second Amendment does not apply to the District of Columbia because it is not a state."
Can I believe my eyes? I'm still not sure I believe a sitting federal judge actually wrote this. The reporter must have misrepresented, right? I wonder if she would also argue that the first, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, nineteenth, twentieth (take a breath), twenty first, twenty second, twenty third (oh really?), twenty fourth, twenty fifth, twenty sixth and twenty seventh amendments don't apply to D.C. because "it is not a state?"
For some time now I've been considering creation of a "Slave-o-Meter" that reflects the global movement toward collectivism and away from individual liberty modeled after the Union of Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock." I was dissuaded by the notion that the "Slave-o-Meter" would only ever move in one direction: toward collectivization of humankind. (And because I still haven't thought of a better name than Slave-o-Meter.) This development in D.C. is one rare, delicious, possibly temporary case where it moved noticeably in the other direction.
UPDATE: [13 March] I am eternally grateful to JK for his comment link to the WaPo editorial on this. It allows me to share this remarkable quote:
"While the ruling caught observers off guard, it was not completely unexpected, given the unconscionable campaign, led by the National Rife Association and abetted by the Bush administration, to broadly reinterpret the Constitution so as to give individuals Second Amendment rights."
"Zarqawi was alive when U.S. forces arrived on the site," Maj. Gen. William Caldwell said in a satellite interview from Iraq. "The Iraqi police arrived first, they found him in the rubble, put him on a gurney of some type."
Caldwell, the chief U.S. military spokesman in Iraq, said Zarqawi tried to roll off the gurney to escape once he became aware of the fact that he was being taken into custody by coalition troops Wednesday night after two 500-pound precision guided bombs blew up his safehouse near Baqouba.
U.S. forces immediately made a visual identification of Zarqawi but were unable to interrogate him because he died of his injuries "shortly after" being pulled from the rubble, Caldwell said.
Caldwell indicated that U.S. troops "went into the process to provide medical care to him" before he expired. He did not elaborate on the medical assistance.
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the al-Qaida leader in Iraq who waged a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and beheadings of hostages, has been killed in a precision airstrike, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday. It was a long-sought victory in the war in Iraq.
Al-Zarqawi and seven aides, including spiritual adviser Sheik Abdul Rahman, were killed Wednesday evening in a remote area 30 miles northeast of Baghdad in the volatile province of Diyala, just east of the provincial capital of Baqouba, officials said.
"Al-Zarqawi was eliminated," Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said.
At the White House, President Bush hailed the killing as "a severe blow to al-Qaida and it is a significant victory in the war on terror."
I would have rather seen a capture THEN the execution, but hey.
Blogosphere reaction to the death of Abu Musa'ab al-Zarqawi grows faster than can possibly be read, let alone commented on. So far though, some quick generalizations can be made. Like last week's arrest of the Toronto terror suspects, this is by and large a righty blogosphere story. Lefty comments are perfunctory, if they exist at all.
Blogometer is a sort of round up of all blogs goings on. I highly recommend it.
Leave it to the good people of Philadelphia, whose football fans once famously booed and threw snowballs at Santa Claus, to come up with the perfect takedown of the most inflated (in more ways than one) superstar in contemporary sport. With the visiting Barry Bonds at the plate and needing just two home runs to tie Babe Ruth's iconic 714 lifetime homers, the banner was raised: "Ruth did it on hot dogs & beer.''
Let's not forget the hypodermic needle thrown during batting practice.
The stinking bum.
I had to double check this wasn't a George Will column.
Real Identity: I am a 41-year old teacher – high school math, physics, and logic – and dance instructor, with a B.S. in Mathematics, a B.A. in Philosophy, and an unofficial minor in Physics. I am an advocate of Objectivism, the first philosophy in the history of mankind to get the theory of concepts right and to be fully objective – all thanks to the achievement of Ayn Rand. I have two cats and a horse, who get treated extremely well. They get hugs and kisses – and they owe their good treatment to Rand’s identification that life is about living, about achieving positives, not about “achieving” the zero or avoiding punishment…which point many people do not get…
I take my nom de blog because of Cyrano’s line: “To fight - or write. [But] Never to make a line I have not heard, In my own heart.”
The line is part of a speech on the part of Cyrano (Brian Hooker’s translation):
To sing, to laugh, to dream,
To walk in my own way and be alone,/Free, with an eye to see things as they are,
A voice that means manhood - to cock my hat/Where I choose - At a word, a Yes, a No,
To fight - or write. To travel any road/Under the sun, under the stars, nor doubt
If fame or fortune lie beyond the bourne -/Never to make a line I have not heard
In my own heart; yet, with all modesty/To say: "My soul, be satisfied with flowers,
With fruit, with weeds even; but gather them/In one garden you may call your own."
So when I win some triumph, by some chance,/Render no share to Caeser.
In a word, I am too proud to be a parasite./And if my nature wants the germ that grows
Towering to heaven like a mountain pine,/Or like the oak sheltering multitudes.
I stand not high it may be – but alone!
Here is Barry Kornhauser’s translation of a part of that whole:
To dream, to laugh, to sing,/to let my heart take wing,
Free! - with an eye open to see all things as they are!
To fight—to write—to follow the moon or any star
that I choose/win or lose...
On Blogging: As reason is man's means of survival and only means of cognition, ideas are man's most important tools. It is important to speak and to write, in order to stand up for what is right and good. As Aristotle said in the Rhetoric: “it is absurd to hold that a man ought to be ashamed of being unable to defend himself with his limbs, but not of being unable to defend himself with speech and reason, when the use of rational speech is more distinctive of a human being than the use of his limbs.”
What’s more, if it were not for the Internet and bloggers, we would be very misinformed about current events: the Paris Riots, the Mohammed Cartoons, Islam, CAIR, Envirowackism. That’s a sad thought…
On Politics: Because I believe each person is an end in himself/herself, not a means to be used by someone else, by King, by God, by society, or by the environment; because I believe each person is self-sovereign and rational (by nature, if not by practice) – I am an advocate for the only moral social system, the only system consistent with human nature: capitalism. Recommended: Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal by Ayn Rand.
After years of tiresome conservatism, always siding with big business against the little guy, I've decided that I'm going to see the error of my ways, and become a liberal.
I'm burning my NRA card, and replacing it with an ACLU card.
And I'm turning in my guns, replacing them with hugs.
Environmental issues should always trump economic interests and I'm ready to raise taxes on the rich. It's not confiscation, it's compassion (or is it compensation?) Social Security needs no repair, neither does Medicare.
I retain my membership in the Roman Catholic Church, however it's tempered with my own blend of abortion on demand and interest in hemlock, and I will not attend it's weekly services until women are welcomed into the Priesthood.
I'm tired of tirelessly defending the Bush Doctrine and all of it's attendant and necessary lies.
We should have left Iraq alone. North Korea and Iran were needlessly antagonized when the President Chimpy McBushitler labelled them the Axis of Evil.
Iran? Don't worry about them. They need to defend themselves against the aggressive Israeli/Zionist state.
I think that our military should only be used at the behest of the UN, and only with their blessing. A corollary to that is that I believe Neville Chamberlain was misunderstood and peace should have been given another chance to work.
And don't you dare call me unpatriotic!
I'm out and I'm a proud liberal!
Of course, before the process is totally complete, I'm going to need a government run health care system to cover my lobotomy, as my government paid prescription of stupid pills are only a temporary fix.
While Cuba played the Netherlands in the World Baseball Classic, a spectator in the stands raised a sign saying: "Down with Fidel," sparking an international incident that escalated Friday with the velocity of a major league fastball.
The image of the man holding the sign behind home plate was beamed live Thursday night to millions of TV viewers _ including those in Cuba. The top Cuban official at the game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan rushed to confront the man.
Puerto Rican police quickly intervened and took the Cuban official _ Angel Iglesias, vice president of Cuba's National Institute of Sports _ to a nearby police station, where they lectured him about free speech.
"We explained to him that here the constitutional right to free expression exists and that it is not a crime," police Col. Adalberto Mercado was quoted as saying in El Nuevo Dia, a San Juan daily.
When he met with NBC 10 morning anchor Dawn Timmeney, Gogan Lakhmna was meeting with his architects about his latest condo project.
"Let's all think forward and think about the upgrades we want to offer to accommodate Andrea," Lakhmna said.
Despite owning $250 million in real estate in the Philadelphia area, this 34-year-old multimillionaire is always looking for the next challenge.
"There's a term for people like me in the business world. They call them deal junkies. We are just hungry for the next deal," Lakhmna said.
Lakhmna has had that hunger ever since coming to Philadelphia from India to attend graduate school at Drexel University.
Lakhmna worked as a pizza deliveryman to help pay for his tuition and shortly after getting his MBA, he was wheeling and dealing.
A gas station in Delran, N.J., was the first piece of real estate that Lakhmna bought and he managed to negotiate a deal with the owner that he would work up to 20 hours a day for a piece of the action.
Lakhmna now has a portfolio of 50 properties, including one in Northern Liberties.
"When I go to my work sites and I see work happening and a building coming up, that is what gives me satisfaction, and I don't see an end right now," Lakhmna said. "There is still that burning in my belly that tells me there is still more I have to do."
The next generation of NASA space vehicles have been named.
Sources have revealed the latest list of the names NASA has given to its new fleet, with a Greek goddess, a Roman mythological god, and a near-by star winning through as the identities of the new ships that will send America back to the moon and on to Mars.
In the next decade, Altair, Artemis and Ares (I and V) could well become space community household names, as NASA returns to exploration past our own orbit.
A huge step up from NASA administrator Mike Griffin's 'Apollo on steroids' tag, the Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV) has been christened 'Altair' - named after a variable double star in the constellation Aquila.
Altair is also an Arabic word meaning "the flyer."
Occasionally there's some discussion of Jazz music on these pages but I've gotta say that anyone who doesn't listen to country music is missing out on some serious "flyover country philosophy lessons." Take the latest release from Trace Adkins, for example. (Links include sound clips) In 4:01 he explains the subtleties of male motivation in virtually all of life's endeavors, boiling it all down to a single word: badonkadonk.
Now Honey, you can't blame her
For what 'er mama gave her
It ain't right to hate her
For workin' that money-maker
Band shuts down at two
But we're hangin' out till three
We hate to see her go
But love to watch her leave
With that honky tonk badonkadonk
Keepin' perfect rhythm
Make ya wanna swing along
Got it goin' on
Like Donkey Kong
Shut my mouth, slap your grandma
There outta be a law
Get the Sheriff on the phone
Lord have mercy, how's she even get them britches on
With that honky tonk badonkadonk
(Ooh, that's what I'm talkin' bout right there, honey)
Pure poetry (except for finding nothing better to rhyme with "goin' on" than "donkey kong.") Trace integrates the individual rational components of this and the other two verses thusly:
That's it, right there boys; that's why we do what we do.
It ain't for the money; it ain't for the glory; it ain't for the free whiskey;
it's for the badonkadonk.
I can make some more recommendations as well. Off the top of my head...
Songs About Me (same album)
Welcome to Hell (Trace Adkins, Greatest Hits Vol. 1)
The Taliban Song (Toby Keith, Shock'n Y'all)
Friedrich, at 2blowhards, ponders the impetus for the American Revolution. He makes a good point that in the global scheme of things, the colonists did not seem to be aggrieved on the order of other oppressed peoples. Okay, Stamp Tax Bad, tariffs, yadda yadda. We have MUCH more oppressive taxation today and my musket is in its case.
He examines a book with economic and biometric data, William Fogel’s “The Escape from Hunger and Premature Death, 1700-2100.” ($65!) and discovers that the colonists were taller, ate better and lived longer.
Given that most Americans of the Revolutionary War period were of British extraction and could hardly have been ignorant of conditions there, it must have been as plain as the nose on their faces that people lived far longer, ate far better and grew up more sturdily in the Colonies than in the Mother Country. So when the British government started tightening the screws on the colonies in the wake of the French and Indian wars, the mental calculation of the colonists must have been pretty simple: “Let me get this straight: you British aristocrats, in your infinite wisdom, want to make us Americans more like the average British working man? In short, you want us to live as poorly as you do? I think not, if I have anything to say about it. Martha, what did you do with my rifle?”
In short, it appears that rather than being the work of ultra-touchy libertarians, the American Revolution was one of the most substantively motivated conflicts in history. The colonists had a good thing going, and didn’t intend to give it up lightly. Who wouldn’t go to war, even today, if the disputed prize was a 17-year difference in life expectancy?
Saddam tortured, we torture. Saddam used WP chemical weapons against insurgents and civilians, we use WP chemical weapons against insurgents and civilians.
Like torture, the apologists try to justify our use of such abhorrent techniques, oblivious to the fact that our moral standing is in tatters and our crediblity beyond repair. We aren’t just losing the war in Iraq, we are losing our credibility in the world.
I thought ever since the go-it alone invasion, the subsequent occupation, the evening at Abu-Graib, Gitmo Korans, W '04 re-election, we've been losing credibility as a nation on the international scene.
I say "losing," but by the metric of the chicken-little "falling credibility" crowd, we've actually been hemorraging it. And hemorraging it for years.
Which begs the question, "How much more credibility do we have left to lose, if we haven't lost it all?"
Either we're the nation-state equivalent of the Black Knight from Monty Python's Quest for the Holy Grail, or we have not really lost any.
I would venture to suppose that there are nations out there saying, "Gosh, those Americans are really paying for doing the right thing." Those nations are providing any kind of support they can to the Global War on Terror. Nations like Mongolia. Once a giant in terms of warring, now a very minor international player are pledging support... as are the nations of new Europe.
Those nations remind of the parable I once heard while sitting in a pew. (Luke 21, if you're interested) The rich man tithes a lot to the Church because he has it, the poor widow tithes to the Church because that's all she has. It's sacrifices like those from nations that don't have it to sacrifice, who understand credibility.
Credibility from those nations is important... and worthwhile.
Included in that list are our steadfast friends the British and the Australians. With whom we share a common cultural bond.
Where it has been lost, what did it matter? Those nations likely did not share common interests with us *cough*le France*cough*)... or they see advantages to staying friendly with us. (ahem, China)
Our Republic's credibility has not been lost. Not to any nation that matters. On the contrary, we have gained it in the eyes of those people who understand the fight and the sacrifices at hand.
What encompasses the American spirit more than gathering with your neighbors and their children, sitting on your lawn and blowing up surreptitiously procured fireworks which your state forbids you from buying?
Save for throwing boxes of tea into the harbor, I dare say "nothing."
No surprise that Mark Steyn would have the best exegesis on the flag burning amendment.
Unlike Congressman Cunningham, I wouldn't presume to speak for those who died atop the World Trade Center. For one thing, citizens of more than 50 foreign countries, from Argentina to Zimbabwe, were killed on 9/11. Of the remainder, maybe some would be in favor of a flag-burning amendment; and maybe some would think that criminalizing disrespect for national symbols is unworthy of a free society.
"[C]riminalizing disrespect for national symbols is unworthy of a free society" definitely nails it for me. But every Steyn column provides thought, and humor as well as rhetoric. And this does not disappoint. He contends that legal flag burning helps us to see our enemies for what they are. Better still, he shows that the flag is burned because of its power.
Banning flag desecration flatters the desecrators and suggests that the flag of this great republic is a wee delicate bloom that has to be protected. It's not. It gets burned because it's strong. I'm a Canadian and one day, during the Kosovo war, I switched on the TV and there were some fellows jumping up and down in Belgrade burning the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack. Big deal, seen it a million times. But then to my astonishment, some of those excitable Serbs produced a Maple Leaf from somewhere and started torching that. Don't ask me why -- we had a small contribution to the Kosovo bombing campaign but evidently it was enough to arouse the ire of Slobo's boys. I've never been so proud to be Canadian in years. I turned the sound up to see if they were yelling ''Death to the Little Satan!'' But you can't have everything.
AlexC made recent mention of liberty babes or "protest babes" with respect to Azerbajian. Coincidentally, a friend emailed me a picture that qualifies as "liberty babes, American style." (You figure out which ones I mean.)
Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone. And now, for something a little different...
Philosophically, the actions of the US government following the Great Depression were deplorable. But that judgment is somewhat mitigated by the fact that other equally deplorable government policies helped create the miserable situation in the first place. But this is not meant as a discussion of the New Deal, rather an appreciation of some of the artwork that resulted from it.
The Loveland, Colorado post office, where thousands from around the world send their mail for a unique postmark on Valentine's day, displays a mural that captivated my spirit. This inspired me to learn more about it, and it's creator, 'R. Sherman' or James Russell Sherman, I came to learn.
Some time on the internet allowed me to discover an entire website dedicated to art of this nature, as it was funded by several New Deal programs.
The Colorado page listed all of the New Deal artwork on display in Colorado post offices and linked to photos of some of them, but not the Loveland mural. Seeking to rectify this, I emailed a photo to the webmaster and she posted it thusly.
This painting moves me because of its rich color, romantic realism, and its subject: The industrious harvest of nature's bounty by enterprising and creative individuals. My newfound side profession as a hay farmer dependent upon irrigation water probably has a lot to do with the joy I find in this painting, along with my romantic attitude toward the realm of industry.
Russell Sherman: A fine twentieth century American lithographer, illustrator and painter, Russell Sherman studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. His first exhibited works of art date from the early 1930's and at this time he moved to the American north west. His landscapes deal mostly with this region and British Columbia. During the following years Sherman's original lithographs were shown at exhibitions in San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York.
A number of this artist's lithographs were commissioned by the Associated American Artists of New York. Since its founding (in the mid 1930's), the A.A.A. was responsible for the publication of many important etchings and lithographs by such major American artists as Reginald Marsh, Grant Wood and Thomas Hart Benton. Both by its printing techniques and by the quality of paper (a sturdy white, wove), At the Brook is most probably an Associated American Artists commissioned lithograph.
At the Brook is a superb, original example of Sherman's lithographic art. Using strong contrasts of light and dark and decorative art deco elements, Sherman created a landscape of unforgettable purity and beauty. It is in every regard a most spectacular image.
Edition: As mentioned earlier, At the Brook is most probably a publication of the Associated American Artists. If so, it would have been printed in a limited edition of 250 impressions.
Image Size: 7 7/8 X 10 3/4 (Sizes in inches are approximate, height preceding width of plate-mark or image.) Matted with 100% Archival Materials
Price: $225.00 US
Condition: Printed upon sturdy wove paper and with full margins as published around 1940. Signed by the artist in pencil along the lower margin. A strongly printed impression and in flawless condition throughout. This original lithograph represents a prime example of the art of Russell Sherman.
Note: The artist biography and information pertaining to this work of art has been provided for the benefit of our viewers. Check our site periodically for new additons. There are new biographies and works of art for sale posted every month.
John Holmgren from Shafer Minnesota has painted his cab and trailer with the names of all those who lost their lives in 9/11. The trucker has been "pulled over" numerous times just so the troopers can get their picture taken with the truck.
I cannot clear from my mind the term "South Park Republicans." Stephen Stanton credits the term's coinage to Andrew Sullivan, but has written the most comprehensive exegeses on the species in TCS.
His first column asked how the GOP could do so well in elections if only a group of stodgy old rich evangelical white millionaires voted for them:
The answer could very well be the "South Park Republicans." The name stems from the primetime cartoon "South Park" that clearly demonstrates the contrast within the party. The show is widely condemned by some moralists, including members of the Christian right. Yet in spite of its coarse language and base humor, the show persuasively communicates the Republican position on many issues, including hate crime legislation ("a savage hypocrisy"), radical environmentalism, and rampant litigation by ambitious trial lawyers. In one episode, industrious gnomes pick apart myopic anti-corporate rhetoric and teach the main characters about the benefits of capitalism.
South Park Republicans are true Republicans, though they do not look or act like Pat Robertson. They believe in liberty, not conformity. They can enjoy watching The Sopranos even if they are New Jersey Italians. They can appreciate the tight abs of Britney Spears or Brad Pitt without worrying about the nation's decaying moral fiber. They strongly believe in liberty, personal responsibility, limited government, and free markets. However, they do not live by the edicts of political correctness.
I suspected I fell into this taxonomy, so I started watching the show. I find it humorous but (pardon the pun) one-dimensional. It's funny but it's only funny. Buffy, by comparison, is artful, thought-provoking, dramatic and funny. But South Park is REALLY funny!
Last night's episode really blew me away. It was well crafted. A tight plot with two well-integrated sub plots: Kenny's selection to lead heaven's army based on his performance in a video game, and Kenny's drifting between heaven and earth as other, disinterested parties fought over his feeding tube.
How did they get this out so quickly? I expect even some hard-to-offend South Park folks may be offended. It was irreverent.
But it was good. The Archangel Michael, who swears like Patton at every setback, is an image that has kept me laughing all day.
Last night clears up their politics for me. They are even more libertarian than Stanton allows. They take a great whack at Republicans ("Satan, the forces of heaven have a Keanu Reeves, what shall we do?" "What we always do: we'll use the Republicans!")
What I liked was that they make of Republicans for what they are and for what I make fun of them for. Hollywood movies and network sitcoms ridicule a straw man Republican that I don't recognize, and I'm not sure exists. But the GOP officials in last night's South Park definitely exist.
Am I a South Park Republican? (Well, Terry, labels can be so constricting...) yeah, I guess I am.
The caricature of North Korea's "Dear Leader", Kim Jong-Il, in the film, "Team America: World Police," is striking a discordant note among North Korean officials, and probably their supreme leader himself, despite his well-known love for private viewings of foreign movies.
Sometimes the truth hurts, Kim.
A Czech newspaper, Lidove Noviny, reports that a North Korean diplomat complained that the film "harms the image of our country." He was even quoted as saying, "Such behavior is not part of our country's political culture."
Apparently rampant starvation doesn't hurt the image of his country.
In related news, Michael Moore was also upset about his role in the film, joining international Islamo-fascists, the Film Actors Guild and their members Hollywood and the French.