January 6, 2014

Presidential Bait-and-Switch, the Sequel

Long-time blog readers will recall the historical corrections here and here explaining that FDR did not end the Great Depression, he extended it. But not previously told is the story about how he was elected, following a Republican incumbent with a spending problem. Here is the short version. Holler if any of this seems familiar.

It was socialist Norman Thomas, not Franklin Roosevelt, who proposed massive increases in federal spending and deficits and sweeping interventions into the private economy - and he barely mustered 2 percent of the vote. When the dust settled, Warburg shows, we got what Thomas promised, more of what Hoover had been lambasted for, and almost nothing that FDR himself had pledged. FDR employed more "master minds" [a term FDR had used derisively while campaigning] to plan the economy than perhaps all previous presidents combined.

After detailing the promises and the duplicity, Warburg offered this assessment of the man who betrayed him and the country:

Much as I dislike to say so, it is my honest conviction that Mr. Roosevelt has utterly lost his sense of proportion. He sees himself as the one man who can save the country, as the one man who can "save capitalism from itself," as the one man who knows what is good for us and what is not. He sees himself as indispensable. And when a man thinks of himself as being indispensable . . . that man is headed for trouble.

Was FDR an economic wizard? Warburg reveals nothing of the sort, observing that FDR was "undeniably and shockingly superficial about anything that relates to finance." He was driven not by logic, facts, or humility but by "his emotional desires, predilections, and prejudices."

"Mr. Roosevelt," wrote Warburg, "gives me the impression that he can really believe what he wants to believe, really think what he wants to think, and really remember what he wants to remember, to a greater extent than anyone I have ever known." Less charitable observers might diagnose the problem as "delusions of grandeur."

H/T: The blog page of KHOW's Mandy Connell

UPDATE: Speaking of White House accounts, here is one of the first - by SecDef Robert Gates. WaPo My summary: Gates loved the military and its troops, detested the "truly ugly" culture in Congress, and thorougly mistrusted and disliked the President and his staff.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:10 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Amity Shlaes relates this story in her book "The Forgotten Man:"

As Henry Morgenthau [Secretary of the Treasury under FDR] reports in his diaries, prices were set by the president personally. FDR took the U.S. off the gold standard in April 1933 and by summer he was setting the gold price every morning from his bed. Morgenthau reports that at one point the president ordered the gold price up 21 cents. Why 21, Morganthau asked. Roosevelt replied, because it's 3Ă—7 and three is a lucky number. "If anyone knew how we set the gold price," wrote Morganthau in his diary, "they would be frightened."

Wizard of a different sort...

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2014 6:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I can't say I'm looking forward to future accounts of "wizardry" in the BHO White House, but there is no doubt the same sort of genius at work.

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2014 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Kindle version on sale for $2.99 today!

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2014 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Bought and delivered to both kids' Kindles. Now mister and missuz johngalt can read it together. Thanks for the tip!

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2014 7:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow. Nobody's ever listened to me before. :)

I think you'll both dig it.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2014 10:13 AM

February 19, 2013

Presidents Day (Belated)

A day late but still worth posting, I have a personal mistrust of "Presidents" Day. The Wiki entry says it is a combination of Washington and Lincoln's birthdays, and was pegged to a Monday by the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. I see it as a diminishment of America's greatest president, her first. While George Washington's Birthday was a federal holiday dating to 1879, Lincoln's birthday was never a federal holiday. The diluted, homogenized and de-personalized "Presidents" Day holiday was born in the 1980's, a result of an initiative begun in 1951 Compton, California "not to honor any particular President, but to honor the office of the Presidency." Why not then call it Oval Office Day?

But now back to Lincoln. Here is a character of two sides if ever there was one. One is almost shunned for speaking poorly of him, however. My first negative exposure came, as an adult, reading about his history with the so-called "Robber Barrons" a brief glimpse of which is found here. Coincidentally, our current president is fond of quoting, citing and championing the ideas of the Sixteenth. Yesterday I found a well done Presidents site, which includes a brief quote from each of America's presidents.

Lincoln: "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?"

Lincoln likely referred to domestic rather than foreign enemies, but this does dovetail with the 44th president's stated and practiced foreign policy.

Obama: "It's easier to start wars than to end them. It is easier to blame others than to look inward. [!] It is easier to see what is different about someone than to find the things we share. But we should choose the right path, not just the easy path."

A bit rambling and disjointed - poorly veiled criticism of his predecessor. Not quite as inspirational as Washington's "Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair; the rest is in the hands of God."

Long live, the office of the President of the United States.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I am surprised to read Lincoln's was never a Federal holiday. I remember getting both the 12th and 22nd off school (and walking ten miles in the snow...)

I meant to share something yesterday so everyone could share my horror, but now I cannot find it. Somebody put up a quote of President Wilson to celebrate President's Day! Thomas Woodrow Wilson! Guitar God John Pizzarelli even put on Radio Deluxe's Facebook page that it is to honor Presidents Washington and Lincoln, not all presidents.

In spite of my ancestors' grey uniforms and my contrarian libertarianism, I am not a Lincoln-hater by any stretch. Preservation of the Union was a noble goal. His courage and tenacity are worthy of admiration. The eloquence of the Lincoln-Douglas debates and the Gettysburg Address...

I'm not pleased that the States were centralized but see that as the price of abolition. I am sympathetic to Lord Acton and Thomas Woods's sorrow that the original compact was broken by the Fourteenth Amendment -- but if that be the cost of Thirteenth and Fifteenth, I will pay.

That said, it is humorous that he is particularly immune to criticism. He is Saint Abraham or "The Tyrant," ne'er between.

One of my favorite books of all time is James F. Simon's Lincoln and Chief Justice Taney: Slavery, Secession, and the President's War Powers, a beautiful look at the Constitutional struggles of the time.

It's the Devil versus the Saint and I defy the ThreeSourcer to choose our beloved 16th. History's greatest monster, Chief Justice Taney, is on the right side of every issue and deserves quite a bit of credit for balancing Lincoln's tendency to overreach.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2013 4:33 PM

December 5, 2012

Reconsidering 2016

It seems to me that most of us Three Sourcers had a pretty good idea that the election of Mitt Romney was not going to "solve" America's problems. We didn't talk about it much, explicitly, but deep in our hearts I think this extraordinarily bright collection of humans knew that this is the way things really are.

He gives it the catchy title "The Dark Enlightnement" but I might just call it reality. If you have a few minutes, read the piece and let us discuss our next move. I don't think mine will be to research whether Rubio, Ryan or Jindahl is the best choice for 2016...

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:16 PM | Comments (8)
But Bryan thinks:

My God that was depressing. And Awesome!

Posted by: Bryan at December 5, 2012 4:50 PM
But Steve D thinks:

The endarkenment

Posted by: Steve D at December 5, 2012 4:56 PM
But jk thinks:

...and I just crawled back off the ledge where I was going to jump after the election.

Every word of the linked piece is true (I suspect the authenticity of the Franklin quote as well) and yet what a Hoppe never concedes is the great run of Constitutional Republicanism in the United States. It took us almost two hundred years to break the fine machine that Madison et all constructed -- and we can still use it to assert rights of speech and self-defense unfathomable in other modern and free Democracies.

The rise of the United States from backwoods colonies in the 18th Century to Argentina's economic equal in the 19th to a superpower in the 20th to hegemon in the 21st makes me think that there might be something to that Constitution thingy.

I love reading Hoppe and Lysander Spooner and Lord Acton. Their beliefs reinforce many of the things I hold true. But what I strive for is attention to the US Constitution, accepting its warts Even accepting the 16th and 17th Amendments which ruin it.

On this day, dear friends, we repealed prohibition and ratified the 21st Amendment. Hope lives.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 5:01 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Brother jk, I love your optimism, which mirrors my own natural inclination. But the inexorable logic of the situation seems well, inexorable.

I will be out of touch until tomorrow, when I hope to get more into the "what should be done" of the situation.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at December 5, 2012 5:15 PM
But jk thinks:

I am calling for tempered pessimism. No, the United States is unlikely to return to its pre-progressive, lasseiz faire liberty. But we've seen Canada, Finland and Sweden roll back government. It can be done.

Consistent with Reason 40th Anniversary: yes, government is going to hell, but freedom advances in other spheres. We have the TSA, but we have the Internet. In the heat of an election -- or after a disastrous one, I know that sounds like the consolation prize, but it's a vector as certain as democracy -- and it points the right way.

Removing self-directed rule in fear of democracy is tossed around pretty cavalierly by the anarcho crowd. I really don't want to move to Singapore, Dubai, or Hong Kong in spite of high economic freedom.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2012 6:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I got me this cabin in the woods...

KIDDING!

Posted by: johngalt at December 5, 2012 6:31 PM

November 14, 2012

The Men Who Built America

Me and little Ellis, Jr. have very much enjoyed The History Channel's The Men Who Built America. One gets gets a real sense of where Rand was coming from in her "hero worship" of American industrialists. If the Three Sourcers have time for television, I highly recommend we all watch it as inspiration and for discussion at future meetings.

I do have a concern that perhaps certain events are given the Hollywood treatment. The assassination attempt on Henry Frick portrayed in the movie bears little resemblance to real life. Still, the fact that these men are shown as giants, without too much emphasis on how they were all racist, sexist, xenophobic homeophobes is reason enough in today's media landscape to celebrate!

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 4:33 PM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2012

Albert Jay Nock: The Masses and the Remnant

Have you read the Book of Isiah lately? As we head into tomorrow and the Most Important Election of Our Lifetimes, I recall what the great Albert Jay Nock had to say in The Atlantic Monthly back in 1936:

It was one of those prosperous reigns, however — like the reign of Marcus Aurelius at Rome, or the administration of Eubulus at Athens, or of Mr. Coolidge at Washington — where at the end the prosperity suddenly peters out and things go by the board with a resounding crash. (...)

"Tell them what is wrong, and why and what is going to happen unless they have a change of heart and straighten up. Don't mince matters. Make it clear that they are positively down to their last chance. Give it to them good and strong and keep on giving it to them. I suppose perhaps I ought to tell you," He added, "that it won't do any good. The official class and their intelligentsia will turn up their noses at you and the masses will not even listen. They will all keep on in their own ways until they carry everything down to destruction, and you will probably be lucky if you get out with your life." (...)

Why, if all that were so — if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start — was there any sense in starting it? "Ah," the Lord said, "you do not get the point. There is a Remnant there that you know nothing about. They are obscure, unorganized, inarticulate, each one rubbing along as best he can. They need to be encouraged and braced up because when everything has gone completely to the dogs, they are the ones who will come back and build up a new society; and meanwhile, your preaching will reassure them and keep them hanging on. Your job is to take care of the Remnant, so be off now and set about it." (...)

As the word masses is commonly used, it suggests agglomerations of poor and underprivileged people, laboring people, proletarians, and it means nothing like that; it means simply the majority. The mass man is one who has neither the force of intellect to apprehend the principles issuing in what we know as the humane life, nor the force of character to adhere to those principles steadily and strictly as laws of conduct; and because such people make up the great and overwhelming majority of mankind, they are called collectively the masses. The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.

One may, if one has actually had a semblance of an education, recall that the Founders made sure the masses would not have a real voice in how the United States was to be run. As in every Republic in history, this gradually broke down. 1913, 1933, 1965...each step in the process seemed right at the time. There were good reasons; all the best professors at America's finest universities taught them.

And so we have come to this pass. Tomorrow, I expect that the masses will reelect the President and accelerate the time whent he Remant must again rebuild a failing society. Take a deep breath, Three Sourcers. We are a piece of the Remnant and better put on our armor and sharpen our swords, for truly the Scheiss is coming.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:14 PM | Comments (4)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I realize that this is serving as a sort of election prediction. I would be delighted to be proven wrong tomorrow. If so, I will happily go right out of the Prophecy business!

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 5, 2012 3:47 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Might I add, when the Scheiss hits the rotary impeller, it will not be distributed evenly.

Isaiah had an unenviable job laid out before him. I disagree with you about tomorrow's expectations, but even with the SCOAMF departing 1600 Pennsylvania, it only slows down the process. Eventually, all Republics follow the course of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

That being said, it will be the place of the Remnant to rebuild in the aftermath of the economic carnage, and I'd recall these words to your mind for that situation:

"The road is cleared," said Galt. "We are going back to the world."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 5, 2012 4:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"SURVIVOR: US Economic Collapse Edition"

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2012 5:16 PM
But dagny thinks:

Seems like there are several places I could put this reply but I am going to put it here because, I think I must be counted among the pessimists at this time. I don’t wish to be remnant. Such re-building will require guns, and hunger. I might survive such but as one of the few parents on this blog, I realize that it would be very hard on my little kids. It will cost them a childhood if not more.

I remember on election eve 4 years ago thinking that we would probably win because there was no way that 50% of our electorate was stupid enough to vote for such a thinly-veiled, failed socialist ideology. Boy was I wrong! I clearly misjudged our electorate. I still don’t think they are mostly stupid, naïve, uneducated, or lazy. I think they are mostly irrational. I don’t think they are intentionally or maliciously irrational. I think they are unknowingly trained to be irrational.

For example, many say that, “health care is a right, everyone should have healthcare.” But they also agree that Doctors, Nurses, and Janitors in hospitals deserve to be paid. So how can I have a, “right,” to someone else’s efforts? But the vast majority of Americans are capable of holding these and many other inherently contradictory ideas.

So I think they will re-elect Barack Obama because they are incapable of recognizing which policies have resulted in our current economic woes, and which policies might correct them based on rational analysis. I sure hope I am wrong again!

Win or lose, I will continue my efforts to fight the destruction of this country as we know it.

As my jg says, “Atlas Shrugged was a cautionary tale, not a blueprint.”

Posted by: dagny at November 5, 2012 8:45 PM

October 8, 2012

Anniversary to Celebrate (?)

The (?) because I am of two minds about celebrating someone's death date. As a Christian it seems wrong--every human contains the imago dei, no? Yet, it seems undeniable that the world is a better place after the deaths of certain individuals; when Stalin went to Hell the wholesale murder of Soviet citizens slowed to a trickle.

Ernest "Che" Guevara certainly falls in this group. This little sicko, POS "revolutionary" took great joy in looking out his office window and watching defenseless men and boys shot down by firing squad--when he wasn't down there himself shooting them in the head.

Humberto Fontova gives us a nice concise summary on this, the 45th anniversay of "Che's" inglorious death. Indeed, his manner of death was particularly fitting:

His pathetic whimpering while dropping his fully-loaded weapons as two Bolivian soldiers approached him on Oct. 8 1967 ("Don't shoot!" I'm Che!" I'm worth more to you alive than dead!") proves that this cowardly, murdering swine was unfit to carry his victims' slop buckets.
A sickeningly "nuanced," at times even fawning Wikipaedia article actually tries to make his ironically painful execution by the Bolivian Army into some kind of last heroic stand, and includes this:
An array of notable individuals have lauded Guevara as a hero; for example, Nelson Mandela referred to him as "an inspiration for every human being who loves freedom", while Jean-Paul Sartre described him as "not only an intellectual but also the most complete human being of our age".

Well, this goes out to Mandela, Sartre, the Castro brothers, and every other "revolutionary" who saw human beings as objects of a World-Historical drama to be used, tortured and murdered: "Che's" end was cosmic justice; some of you will die in bed in your comfortable old age but I'd be awfully worried about what happens after that!

So yeah, I will raise a cold one tonight and think about the sorry dirty end of a sorry dirty bastard, and the drink will taste just a little better.

FETE

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 12:46 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

Cheers!

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2012 1:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Che died on Columbus day? (I jest.)

Blog brothers to the end, jk and I shall toast the demise of Che at Liberty on the Rocks this eve. (With the frosty brew I buy him in repayment of a gambling debt.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 8, 2012 3:57 PM

September 27, 2012

What caused the end of Obamanomics?

My wise and dear father caught me at a loss this morning when he asked if I know what ended the Great Depression? "WWII production?" I knew it was wrong as soon as I said it, but I must confess his answer was more correct and succinct than any I've ever heard: "FDR died."

Investors: Weak Economy Dims Americans Hope In Obamanomics

Some may argue that Obama took office in the midst of an epochal financial crisis, with an economy hurtling downhill. Fair enough -- as far as it goes.

But after four years, that excuse rings hollow. Obama's record suggests he won't put into place policies that foster economic growth and job creation.

Even worse, Obama gives us scant hope for better times on his watch. He's the godfather of big government policies that burden the economy -- a new health care system that will add punishing costs to hiring and small business and financial regulations that will stifle lending.

Obama promised change. And indeed the economy has changed.

But President Obama is young and healthy, so America is fortunate that he is Constitutionally limited to two terms of office. Better yet, we can elect a businessman with a proven track record of rescuing failed enterprises to replace him.

UPDATE: Jay Leno agrees.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I like it! But FDR was replaced with Truman...

Here's a backup piece for your link. 55% of business owners would not start a business today.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2012 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And if Obama died he'd be replaced with Biden. Again, we're more fortunate now. Keep Barack on Michele's diet for the next 40 days (or, worse case, 4 years, 40 days.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2012 5:12 PM

September 21, 2012

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.

In this one I like the music AND the lyrics.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Grammy!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2012 11:25 AM

August 28, 2012

From Paul Ryans Lips to Rewriting History

I heard an interesting young blogger on the Mike Rosen Show today. Tina Trent was describing the anti-GOP protests outside the convention, including "Code Pink" activists dressed in vagina costumes. A caller asked for her blog address so I decided to check it out. I found a very involved story about three college history professors rewriting history for consumption by grade-schoolers. Allow me to condense Tina's smart but lengthy History Mystery: How Fast Can PBS and the NYT Destroy a Generation of Young Minds?

In his first campaign speech as presumptive vice-presidential nominee, Paul Ryan related advice from his late father: "I still remember a couple of things he would say that have really stuck with me. 'Son, you are either part of the problem or part of the solution.' Regrettably, President Obama has become part of the problem, and Mitt Romney is the solution."

Soon thereafter, NYT published an article by ADAM GOODHEART, PETER MANSEAU and TED WIDMER which attempted to credit a former Black Panther with coining the phrase and all sort of innuendo about what that says about Ryan.

Tina then looks further and discovers that these three "historians" are part of Washington College's "Historically Corrected" program and contribute to a PBS feature called "History Detectives."

Think of it as replacing a dull slog through facts about the Revolutionary War with a bunch of equally dull (yet far less challenging) anecdotes about the time your mom’s brother smoked a bunch of pot while watching the Washington Monument levitate (Yes, I know, it was really the Pentagon. But aren’t facts bourgeois?).

Mary Grabar and I wrote about this PBS-fuelled erosion of learning about history in a report for Accuracy in Media, titled PBS: Re-Educating America’s Schoolchildren, Thanks to Your Contributions. In it, you’ll find our take on another History Detectives lesson plan, one that curiously parallels this lunatic New York Times piece. In “Hot-Town: Pigs on the Streets” (yes, that is the title), children are led through a fun, a-historical exercise in which they “investigate” the origins of a poster denouncing the police; contemplate police brutality at the ’68 convention, and then hear from a former Black Panther “client” about all the great lunch programs the Panthers used to run.

There's more after this, including a timely expose into Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver's admission of raping white women as a revolutionary tactic. (No word yet on whether or not it was "legitimate" rape.)

Follow the link to the original article for voluminous hyperlinked sources.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2012

2016 Movie - Food for Thought

I watched the Dinesh D'Souza film 2016-Obama's America yesterday with family and friends. My brother and father were the driving force and dad thought it so important we all see it that he paid for all of us. Having been cautioned by JK's distaste for D'Souza's conspiratism I was eager to see and hear for myself what evidence Dinesh presents, and what hypothesis he has formed.

As a starting point I read this critical review by Washington Post's Michael O'Sullivan. His instinct is to dismiss it as a rehash of prior Obama hatred, but some of his dissmissals ring hollow.

As readers of the Forbes article know, the central thesis of "2016" is that Obama's worldview -- his "compass," as D'Souza calls it -- was largely shaped by the anti-colonialist, anti-white and anti-Christian politics of Obama's supposedly radical Kenyan father. Never mind that Obama, growing up, spent precious little time with the man, who for most of his son's early life was estranged from Obama's mother. D'Souza trots out a professional psychologist to speculate on how the senior Obama's absence reinforced his influence, rather than weakened it.

D'Souza makes it all sound almost plausible, but only if you're predisposed to believe that Obama hates America. It's bashing, all right, but with a velvet-gloved fist.

What is glossed over here is how he makes it sound plausible. That explanation is omitted and replaced with a cautionary "almost" to convince readers they need not bother to evaluate the plausability on their own. D'Souza explains that Obama's worldview was constructed not in the image of his absentee father, rather in the idealized image of him portrayed by his mother. Ann Dunham, an almost completely overlooked component of Barack's formative years, was as anti-American, or at least anti-capitalist and anti-"colonialist" as they come. So says D'Souza. He supports this claim with multiple facts. He concludes that diminishing America's influence in the world, in effect punishing America for its colonial heritage, is fully consistent with many of the previously inexplicable acts of President Obama: To repair America's "plunder" of foreign resources he gave billions of American taxpayer's dollars to Brazil and others to build up those nations' oil industries; to push back present-day colonialism he has sided with Argentina over Great Britain in the Falklands conflict; his mideast policy arguably reflects a prejudice against western influence in favor of native rule, whatever that may happen to become. Actions as seemingly unimportant as returning a bust of Winston Churchill and presenting gag gifts to the Queen of England also betray a lifelong hatred for that country, the once great colonial power which had colonized and "exploited" his father's native land - Kenya.

In the film D'Souza also shows how then candidate Obama diverted attention from these beliefs and tendencies by suggesting his goal was a racial reconciliation within America. When longtime mentor Reverend Jeremiah Wright's anti-Americanism threatened to derail his campaign, Barack gave a nationally televised speech on race relations and distanced himself from the anti-colonialist values. And when other formative influences were called into question his campaign skillfully portrayed them as good-ol American leftists rather than the world socialists they would likely call themselves. When the President lectures America about the unfairness of the "one percenters" Americans think of wealthy corporate titans standing unapologetically on the shoulders of the working or "middle" class. But to a world socialist, EVERY American is a one-percenter, right down to the homeless shelter or overpass dweller who may freely beg for change and sleep opon the paved streets of American cities, free from scourges like disease, garbage dumps and open sewage running through the streets of a typical third-world village, always with ready access to medical treatment-on-demand in the shiny hospitals of the most prosperous nation on earth.

My opinion of the validity of D'Souza's original conclusions is buttressed by Elizabeth Reynolds' 'D'Souza's "Rage" a Middling Psychoanalysis' in The Dartmouth Review. After labeling Dinesh as an "ultra-conservative member of the Dartmouth Class of 1983" and praising Obama's book 'Dreams From My Father' she presents a fair, perhaps more fair than she intended, interpretation of the facts in D'Souza's book. Her conclusion:

Perhaps D'Souza's anti-colonial theory does help explain, as the Weekly Standard put it, Obama's omnipotence at home and impotence abroad. It is a matter of the reader's opinion. Regardless, D'Souza brings something new to the table with his latest book. It seems clear to me that D'Souza has done his research, with his extensive history of colonial Africa and insightful background information on Obama's early life. His concept of investigating the impact of Barack Obama's father had potential, but I'm afraid that D'Souza's conclusion, that Obama is trying to essentially destroy America, ultimately takes it too far.

Ironically, it is Reynolds who takes it too far for "essentially destroying America" is not D'Souza's claimed goal for Barack Obama. He merely wants to diminish our nation, not destroy it. The call to action at the end of the film? Every American must decide for himself if America should be diminished - and vote accordingly.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:43 PM | Comments (7)
But Jk thinks:

#3 box office?

Posted by: Jk at August 26, 2012 11:36 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On entertainment value - 2 stars.
The music was good and the cinematography of exotic locales almost made one feel he was there. But really, how long can one enjoy listening to strange people speaking with strange accents?

On "must-see-ness" - 5 stars.
(Out of 5.) If he is right, don't you want to know?

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 1:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

In reply to "did not" I might ask an Obama supporter why he asked a non-partisan commission (Simpson-Bowles) to develop a workable debt reduction strategy and then completely ignored their advice. "Can you tell me one reason why you believe the president seriously wants to lower the national debt?"

Big enough? Non-partisan enough?

(He [Obama] wants to raise taxes on the rich. "Okay, that's eighty billion dollars of debt reduction per year, assuming the rich agree to keep doing what they're doing. How many eighty billions are there in sixteen trillion?")

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Do I want to know? I don't know. Whether he is wedded to failed policies because of his academic background and ignorance (likely) or willfully wants to damage America -- does it matter?

My Dad used to correct me "you can't look into a man's heart." I think that advice may be handy here.

Then he'd suggest I get a haircut...

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2012 7:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great review! The Refugee will likely save his money, as he does not need to be convinced of something he already believes. However, it does start a very worthwhile conversation in the broader electorate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 27, 2012 8:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Barack Obama's academic background, such as we know of it, started at home and was reinforced by every leftist who crossed his path, either academically or socially. Barack Obama may indeed be ignorant to the efficacy of Austrian economics but not because he is an ignorant man.

I never claimed to be looking into his heart. Supposedly he showed us that himself in 'Dreams.' But there exists a tidy triangle connecting the points of the "Global Fairness" Movement, young Barack's friends and family, and President Obama's actual policies and actions.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 11:59 AM

February 22, 2012

Hoss of Hosses

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.

Huzzah!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2012

Reagan says...

I made a cursory search to see if this had been posted on these pages since the first of the year. If it has never been so in the blog's history we should all consider ourselves ashamed for the oversight.

Ronald Reagan, interviewed by Manuel Klausner in Reason Magazine, July 1975:

REASON: Governor Reagan, you have been quoted in the press as saying that you’re doing a lot of speaking now on behalf of the philosophy of conservatism and libertarianism. Is there a difference between the two?

REAGAN: If you analyze it I believe the very heart and soul of conservatism is libertarianism. I think conservatism is really a misnomer just as liberalism is a misnomer for the liberals–if we were back in the days of the Revolution, so-called conservatives today would be the Liberals and the liberals would be the Tories. The basis of conservatism is a desire for less government interference or less centralized authority or more individual freedom and this is a pretty general description also of what libertarianism is.

Now, I can’t say that I will agree with all the things that the present group who call themselves Libertarians in the sense of a party say, because I think that like in any political movement there are shades, and there are libertarians who are almost over at the point of wanting no government at all or anarchy. I believe there are legitimate government functions. There is a legitimate need in an orderly society for some government to maintain freedom or we will have tyranny by individuals. The strongest man on the block will run the neighborhood. We have government to insure that we don’t each one of us have to carry a club to defend ourselves. But again, I stand on my statement that I think that libertarianism and conservatism are travelling the same path.

So what Reagan lovers should be asking is, it seems to me, which of the GOP presidential nominees are hostile to libertarian thought and which are the very embodiment of it?" Ron Paul for President. Do it for the Gipper.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2011

Happy WTF Day

Monday, October 10, 2011, the 3-day weekend observation of that well-known holiday traditionally observed on October 12 every year because of something noteworthy that happened on that day in 1492: Discoverer's Day!

Yes, my Scenic Hawaii calendar actually uses this term. I'm gonna have to throw out this politically correct piece of ... wait a minute.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Beat me. I was still typing...

Frederick Douglass married Anne Murray on September 15, 1838. It's a little close to Labor Day, but I'm in: Frederick Douglass Day, anybody?

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2011 3:58 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Anne Murray? I think I had one of her albums years ago.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 10, 2011 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Still have "Croonin'" in my MP3 collection. Very good album.

Mea maxima culpa -- it was Anna Murray who was married to my hero for 44 years.

Douglass first tried to escape from Freeland, who had hired him out from his owner Colonel Lloyd, but was unsuccessful. In 1836, he tried to escape from his new owner Covey, but failed again. In 1837, Douglass met and fell in love with Anna Murray, a free black in Baltimore about five years his senior. Her freedom strengthened his belief in the possibility of his own.[16]

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2011 6:15 PM

September 13, 2011

HOSS Alert

George Jones is 80 today.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:57 AM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2011

Reagan for kids (especially the 18-year olds)

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."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Ooooooooh i dooooooon't knooooooooow maaaaaaaan....

Perhaps I have been whacking at the Gov for too long and need to better "recalculate pros and cons in real-time" but the tone of this is Reefer Madness meets Emmanuel Goldstein meets a PBS Kids' Recycling Special.

I enjoy a positive portrayal of our 40th as much as the next ThreeSourcer but there is little factual information here and the tone tries too hard to persuade to actually be persuasive.

And those Teeth! Millions of young children will grow up having Ronald Reagan nightmares! That can't be good.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2011 10:55 AM

January 5, 2011

Animated Prosperity Index

This is fascinating. The per capita income and average lifespan of the citizens of 200 countries over the past 200 years animated in just 4 minutes. Fascinating and thought provoking.

Hat tip: Brother Russ

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:29 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I have had a lot of lefties send this to me. It seems to appeal to them, yet I agree (and always respond) that it shows both the prosperity that comes from property rights and a natural amelioration of population caused by that prosperity.

On that note [segue alert!], I almost linked this yesterday: Kenneth P. Green at The American suggests the Earth's population could fit in Texas, receive adequate water from half the flow of the Colombia River, and feed itself with American agriculture. All the rest of them other countries could be a theme park or something.

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2011 11:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll posit that it appeals to them because it shows how "the differences between the countries of the world was wider than ever" in 1948 and beyond, and the "huge inequalities within countries" today. But the answers to those lefties are many:

The countries whose wealth increased were the industrialized nations, who particated in the industrial revolution.

The lifespan in today's Congo (about 45 years) now exceeds that of even the most prosperous countries, even as recently as the late 19th century.

Advances in health and wealth in the prosperous countries were not contemporary with declines in the poorer ones. ALL nations improved over time, but at different rates.

Lefties probably also beam at the sunshine and lollipops forecast from Mr. Rosling: "That huge historical gap between the west and the rest is now closing. We have become an entirely new converging world. And I see a clear trend into the future. With aid, trade, green technology and peace it's fully possible that everyone can make it to the healthy, wealthy corner."

I agree with the forecast but I'll quibble with him on the causes: Trade, technology and peace. No aid. No "green" caveat on technology. And peace.

Yes, peace, but how? Translating John Lennon's "Imagine" into every language? Probably already done, but to no avail. Here's an idea - COEXI$T.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2011 2:32 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It would be interesting to see this graph adjusted for inflation (he did not say if it was or not) to measure real earnings gains.

It would be even more interesting to see the expression of wealth as marginal income exceeding survival requirements. In other words, it's nice to see that African incomes are going up, but if 95% of the population barely makes enough to survive, that's vastly different than the United States where 87% of the population has income exceeding survival requirements. That's a much better measure of wealth and probably would throw the graph back to huge disproportion.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 5, 2011 2:54 PM

November 10, 2010

Political Salesmanship of the Income Tax

New commenter "PoppaGary" (welcome!) explains that Washington State's defeated "income tax for the rich" was distrusted, in part, because "in Washington, most initiatives can be changed after 2 yrs by a simple majority of the Legislature" and "based on their past behavior, in 2 yrs they would have forced it on everyone." This reminded me of the way the federal income tax was foisted upon Americans in 1913. It was justified as a tax "only on the rich."

I did some crude analysis based on data for income tax rates and brackets [Table 1.] and using an inflation calculator:

Beginning in 1913 the income tax was levied against "adjusted gross income" as it is today. Considering just the personal exemptions the tax was zero on the first $3000 of earnings for single persons or $4000 for married couples. Adjusted for inflation from 1913 to 2010 these tax floors are equivalent to $66,193.64 and $88,258.18, respectively.

The tax on adjusted incomes up to $20,000 ($441,290.91) was just 1 percent, or a maximum of $200 ($3,750.97).

The top tax bracket was for adjusted incomes over $500,000 ($11,032,272.73) and was just 7 percent.

These numbers make today's argument that individuals earning over $200,000 are "the rich" pretty da_n laughable: $200,000 today is equivalent to $9,064.32 in 1913 dollars, resulting in a tax of $90.64 ($1999.93.) I don't make anywhere near 200K but I'd gladly trade my tax burden for that of 1913's version of "the rich."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | Comments (0)

September 7, 2009

I Love Oil

(And why everyone else should too.)

JK recently heralded America's Petrosesquicentennial, the 150th anniversary of the first American oil well. We are quite enamored of the "black gold" on these pages. And why not? 3.8 gallons of oil derived gasoline (you may have heard of it - it's been used as a primary motor fuel for nearly a hundred years) which can be purchased on any street corner for about ten bucks, produce as much energy as an average lightning bolt (about 500 megajoules.)

And the safety of this miracle fuel is such that anti-industrial zealots like those on Dateline NBC have had to use remotely detonated explosives to recreate accidental fuel tank explosions.

But there's more to oil than gasoline. Much more. Modern necessities made from oil include jet fuel, propane gas, plastics, asphalt, and dozens of petrochemicals essential to hundreds of industries we could hardly imagine living without. (Paints, fertilizers and textiles to name just a few.)

I went searching for the historical significance of the Petrosesquicentennial and found the following graph of world population and income since 1500. It shows a precipitous rise in population around the time of the Industrial Revolution. But the per capita world GDP rose only 31 percent in the early decades of the Industrial Revolution (1820 to about 1870). In the next 30 years however, inflation-adjusted individual incomes went up another 45%, and 20 years later nearly doubled from there. Finally, by the end of the 20th century, individuals earned a whopping SEVEN TIMES what their ancestors did at the time commercial oil production began.

(Click on graph to enlarge)

While the Industrial Revolution began in the early 1800's without oil it "centered on improvement in coal, iron and steam technologies." The truly modern developments "steel, electricity and chemicals" were hallmarks of the Second Industrial Revolution which, though not clearly delineated from the first, roughly coincided with the commercialization of oil in America.

So if you love iPods, cell phones, jet planes, mass transit, modern medicines, supermarkets, artificial light, white collar jobs ... and the income to pay for all of these and more ... you'd best come to grips with your closet love affair with oil.

UPDATE [10:43a EDT]: As often happens, I omitted a key argument in the thread. The point of all this was to set up the assertion that the advent of cheap and abundant oil was not only coincident with the Second Industrial Revolution, but catalyzed it. Try to imagine the course of the industrial age without it. Certainly a gallon of gas could have been replaced, say with 121 cubic feet of natural gas or 9 pounds of coal, but extracting and using a liquid fuel proved far more practical and economical than those gaseous or solid ones, at least for some uses. And I contend those uses were - and remain - important. Add to this the less obvious fact that many chemical uses of oil may be irreplaceable.

Oil has clearly fueled prosperity. Not only that, it did so for everyone.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:00 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack
But jk thinks:

And let's not fail to celebrate John Rockefeller, who gave non-wealthy Americans the gifts of affordable heat and light. His nickel-a-gallon kerosene provided productive hours of reading and working to those who could not afford dollar-a-gallon whale oil.

For this generous gift to our nation's poor and his unprecedented philanthropy, we call him a "robber baron."

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2009 11:23 AM
But JC thinks:

"Enamored with oil"
The terms "ignorance is bliss" comes to mind with the mountains of scientific evidence pointing to the fact that we need to migrate away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels have served as a valuable resource and a sturdy bridge to where we are today. That bridge is about to collapse and if we fail to engage fully in the deployment of alternatives, we are going to be challenged with how quickly we can migrate to another planet! I have a poster on the wall that says "If you can't adapt, you get left behind." Those words are positioned strategically over the fossil remains of a plesiosaur.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA516815

http://ntl.bts.gov/lib/31000/31900/31911/RAND_TR652.pdf

NAVY responds to RAND report:
http://www.dodbuzz.com/2011/01/25/navy-fires-salvo-at-rand-alt-energy-report/

http://www.aces.edu/waterquality/faq/faq_results.php3?rowid=4638

As the "sweet crude" (easy to refine) sources dwindle, we see the industry shifting to tar sands and shale. The added cost to extract usable fuels from these "hard" sources are being passed on to the consumer while the global oil giants amass huge profits in preparation for energy intensive extraction processes.

Time for a paradigm change!
Every single day our individual homes are awash in energy (wind and solar being the primary). What percentage of that energy did you capture today? Still dependent on the ever-increasing costs for fossil fuels? Still denying the advantages of migrating to alternatives? Prepare to become fossilized! :?

Posted by: JC at May 30, 2013 9:23 PM

June 23, 2009

A Time To Choose

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:37 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Inchoate philisophical looks at PM Thatcher and President Reagan -- just four posts apart. Thank you for shopping at ThreeSources!

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2009 12:47 PM

May 1, 2009

Isn't this a national holiday yet here in Obamaland?

Lest we forget amongst the pressing news of the day, happy May Day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2009

Republic or Oligarchy

Most of us, I'm sure, are familiar with the idea that "left" vs. "right" or "liberal" vs. "conservative" are imprecise definitions of political philosophy. What I've promoted instead is that political structures are organized along a continuum from fully collectivized to complete individual liberty.

This excellent video presentation by YouTube's "notdemocracy" describes the balance as one between "total government" and "no government." Five basic types of government cover the spectrum: monarchy - oligarchy - democracy - republic - anarchy. But only two of these are "stable" forms of government: oligarchy and republic. The other three naturally evolve into one of those two. (Hint: Everything becomes an oligarchy except a republic.)

Readers who watch this will understand why I consider it so important to fight for the integrity of the original Constitution, which means removing antithetical amendments to it such as the 16th.

Hat tip: Dr. Ignatius Piazza via jg's friend Russ.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:34 PM | Comments (6)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Not that excellent. Whoever put this together blindly clings to "law" and does not recognize the concept of peaceful capitalist anarchy, just because it has no "law." So what? We have plenty of "law" today, and what has that done for personal liberty?

When this guy speaks of "law," is he talking about natural law or man-made law? Is he talking about the natural right to defend yourself and your property, which are a priori and need no legislation to enforce or guarantee? No, he speaks of "law" in the sense of rule.

Now, the problem with republics is that they degenerate into democracy. Tytler said, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury." From the very start of our "republic," the federal government practiced wealth redistribution. It was a trickle but increased during the days of "internal improvements," then in the 20th century with the welfare state.

As far as "stability," that exists only with slaves who don't rise up against their masters. Everything else about human society will wax and wane.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 21, 2009 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't know about this guy, but he refers to America's founders. They attempted to establish a man-made law that codified natural law - and no more. Then they attempted to preserve man's inalienable rights from future man-made laws via the Constitution. The Constitution is the only thing that stood in the way of a natural degeneration to democracy and beyond.

You may be able to cite examples of wealth distribution based on tariffs and fees but I think you'll agree the real heavy lifting wasn't possible until the progressive income tax effectively enacted by the 16th Amendment. That was in 1913. Democracy in America is, therefore, essentially a 20th century phenomenon.

As for anarchy as a desirable political system, I think even Rand would agree with the proposition that "the proper amount of government makes everyone freer." Of course this statement is vague as to quantitization of "proper" but clearly it is more than "none."

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2009 7:09 PM
But caritas thinks:

I think that people who watch this video dont realize that the creator pulled a lot from Plato's republic, that book went through these steps in much the same way but what Plato left out was that his republic was in reality not a republic but an oligarchy because the people would be ruled by a guardian class, and that the transitions from republic to democracy usually have to be sparked.

Posted by: caritas at March 22, 2009 1:54 AM
But jk thinks:

I like the video's rejection of absolute democracy. It's a good introduction to those who don't understand why "one man, one vote" is not the ideal.

It does, however, imply the existence of an ideal law. I appreciate rule by law but suggest we have not yet seen the text of that ideal. The original Constitution we all admire permitted slavery and counted people as three-fifths based on their skin color.

You want to keep all the Amendments but the 16th? Then it is a Republic? That seems awfully capricious. You call shenanigans on Wilson, but Lincoln had Federal troops in place to push the 14th. I think the 12th and 17th do more to degenerate republicanism into democracy. (You'll recall I wanted to rescind both until I encountered Governor Blogojevich, now I am not so sure.)

It is damned difficult to structure law; stop by my HOA meeting or get Sugarchuck to tell you a tale or two about township council. My problem with this video is that it papers over this difficulty. Like Perry, I see it championing a Law that does not exist.

Caritas -- great handle but you have to share it with my test server at work. I do wish I had a webcam to watch Johngalt as he reads your accusation of promulgating Platonicy.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2009 12:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't take caritas as accusing me of promulgating [word] Platonicy [?]. He said Plato's Republic was an oligarchy. That's more than I know on the subject, but it agrees with what I and the video have said.

Which is not that the 16th Amendment is the Constitution's only problem, nor that the Constitution was perfect. I agree with the idea of an "ideal law" analogous with Perry's "natural law." That this law is "a priori and need[s] no legislation to enforce or guarantee" is proven false by the violation of this law all over the world (including, more and more, here in the USA.)

The Constitution sought to guarantee natural law. It did the job fairly well right up to the point where amendments such as (but not limited to) the 16th were adopted by unconstitional processes.

Some (ahem) have suggested the American people would quickly re-ratify the 16th Amendment if so proposed. I say it was more likely in 1913, before the public really understood what it would lead to. And yet it was necessary at the time to falsify the results in the state legislatures. In the full light of day, with a complete airing of the facts, it doesn't even fare as well as the old ERA (equal rights amendment).

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2009 2:52 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
I don't know about this guy, but he refers to America's founders.
Well, that in itself means nothing. Many liberals today refer to the Founding Fathers, like when Democrats proclaim themselves "The party of Jefferson."

Even then, which Founding Fathers? Jefferson believed in real liberty, while Alexander Hamilton was a statist who desired one United State government to rule all (which is what

They attempted to establish a man-made law that codified natural law - and no more. Then they attempted to preserve man's inalienable rights from future man-made laws via the Constitution. The Constitution is the only thing that stood in the way of a natural degeneration to democracy and beyond.
Yes and no. The problem with the Constitution is the consolidation of power, and making it absolute law without any ability to question it. If you don't obey, for example, the 16th or 18th Amendments, no matter how bad the law might be, you're a criminal.

Declaring something "the law" does not necessarily mean it is right or proper. Many bad things have been set forth as legislation, statute, etc. Now you might say, by what standard are we to craft law? It's simple: is a particular "law" doing anything for all persons' lives, liberties and property, or is it a bad law that redistributes and/or targets specific individuals or groups?

"The rule of law" does not mean that law must always be obeyed. It means that whatever law there is, it must apply equally to everyone, else it's merely the rule of men.

You may be able to cite examples of wealth distribution based on tariffs and fees but I think you'll agree the real heavy lifting wasn't possible until the progressive income tax effectively enacted by the 16th Amendment. That was in 1913. Democracy in America is, therefore, essentially a 20th century phenomenon.
It most dramatically increased speed in the 20th century, yes, but "internal improvements" began in the early 19th, as did the first income tax under Lincoln. It became a matter of the federal government getting more money from the states, and borrowing more.

All the money in the world doesn't matter if the government has no desire to spend it, and if the people have no desire to elect officials who will redistribute their neighbors' wealth. The "democratic process" took root in the early 19th century as people began asserting their "right to vote," and by the late 1830s the U.S. national debt necessarily increased. It wasn't as much as the 20th century, but relative to the budget then, it was tremendous. The national debt had nearly been paid off under Andrew Jackson, then started going up under Van Buren.

As for anarchy as a desirable political system, I think even Rand would agree with the proposition that "the proper amount of government makes everyone freer." Of course this statement is vague as to quantitization of "proper" but clearly it is more than "none."
Government must exist only with the consent of the people. Not just "the majority" of the people, but "the whole people" constituting everyone. Thus the "proper" amount is the maximum that any given person is willing to give.

Even so, you're talking about a "political system" rather than a government. That's where corrupt favor-trading and wealth redistribution enter.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 23, 2009 9:41 PM

March 12, 2009

Constitutional Taxation

One or two of you may have noticed my comment under Tuesday's Quote of the Day. Fewer still may have followed any of the links. I got a chance to investigate futher today.

From a November 7, 2002 Press Release by Paul Andrew Mitchell, B.A., M.S., Counselor at Law, Federal Witness and Private Attorney General:

On a much broader scale, the absence of liability statutes raises the specter of widespread government fraud, going all the way back to the year 1913. And, there is no statute of limitations on fraud.

The main problem which the SUBPOENA seeks to solve is to confirm, once and for all, the apparent absence of any federal statutes which create a specific liability for income taxes imposed by subtitle A of the Internal Revenue Code.

(...)

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.

But what of that pesky federal witholding that AlexC lamented?

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

by

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.

Guess what?

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:

http://www.supremelaw.org

See also:

“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”

“A Cogent Summary of Federal Jurisdictions”

“BATF/IRS -- Criminal Fraud”

“Income Taxes and Government Fraud”

“A Monologue on Federal Fiscal Fraud”

“Miscellaneous Letters of Correspondence”

# # #

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

I s'pose. I know a guy (and I think you do, too) who makes an impassioned and reasonable sounding case that he does not have to pay taxes because of a non-capitalized 's' in State in the 14th Amendment.

So, that works just fine until he gets a job and has to explain it to HR that "he doesn't need to fill out a W-4 because he is a sovereign citizen of the State of Colorado." I just think this will land you in the same (rhymes with 'jackpot') place.

The sad part of my disbelief, though, is the alacrity with which our State and Federal legislators would rectify any situation that threatened incoming revenue. I don't think that a Congress that just passed a trillion or two in spending last month would allow a return to 19th Century funding.

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2009 10:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I gave a few minutes thought to the consequences of a tax that everyone has to pay. Since one can't get blood from a turnip and government spending can't stop on a dime, the deficit would be monumental until outflows could be made to match inflows. It would be chaotic - perhaps even disastrous (particularly in urban areas.) But it would be RIGHT.

Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2009 11:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Stop me if I'm just being argumentative. But I think you're falling into the Libertarian trap of "misoverestimating" your electoral support.

Again I suggest that your most optimistic scenario is realized. Justice Ginsberg, writing the concurrent opinion of the court's 8-0 majority (Associate Justice Scalia was hunting with Dick Cheney) vacates the 16th Amendment.

You and I would cheer; Rep Ron Paul and Jeff Flake would jockey for position; The Fair-taxers would fill SPAM-filters everywhere...

...and the rest of the world would act as quickly as it could to overcome this little procedural obstacle. This could threaten health care to children! The AARP would mobilize 60 million hotel-discount card holders with a TV blitz. In the end a crushing majority would line up to get back to the status quo ante before their checks were delayed.

Sad, perhaps, but I cannot look at any recent election cycles and see a desire for a do-over (maybe on "Dancing with the Stars...")

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2009 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"... this little procedural obstacle."

Are you suggesting that the Constitution of the United States could be amended by an act of congress, or of the president?

I suppose you have cause there because that's what's been done in the case of the 16th amendment, and others. I'm afraid the constitution has become nothing more than a rallying cry for freedom-loving Americans. It sure doesn't stop our government from doing what it damn pleases.

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2009 1:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm suggesting that they'll do whatever it takes. If they can ignore it they will, but if they have to, they will break the world land speed record in ratifying a new amendment. They could do it in three days, with very little objection.

Posted by: jk at March 17, 2009 1:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe I'm just a rube. Two-thirds of the members of both houses of congress, then majority vote by legislatures of three-fourths of the states seems a tall order to me. Three days? Really?

And a separate question: You really don't think we could muster 34 senators OR 145 congressmen to keep America as the world's sole Republic?

http://www.usconstitution.net/constam.html

Posted by: johngalt at March 17, 2009 6:08 PM

October 26, 2008

Weather Underground: Kill the "die hard capitalists"

From LGF: Bill Ayers' Terrorist Group Discussed Genocide of Americans (includes video)

Quoting Larry Grathwohl, an FBI informant and member of the Weather Underground, in a 1982 documentary on the group:

"I want you to imagine sitting in a room with 25 people, most of which have graduate degrees, from Columbia and other well-known educational centers, and hear them figuring out the logistics for the elimination of 25 million people.

And they were dead serious."

I wonder if McPalin's last week of TV ads will include anything from this list. Though I suspect it may require pictures of Obama and Ayers building pipe bombs together to get through to some people.

Hat tip: Blog brother Cyrano

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Population planning, from abortion to forced sterilization, has always been part of the liberal/collectivist agenda.

"In order to stabilize world populations, we must eliminate three hundred and fifty thousand people per day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it." No one batted an eye when Jacques Cousteau said this completely contemptuous thing.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 26, 2008 2:23 PM

September 27, 2007

Remembering Stalin

Reuters reports:


Despite Stalin's record, recent polls have shown many young Russians have a positive view of the former Soviet leader and there have been attempts this year to play down his excesses, which have found an echo among the country's youth.

Fifty-four percent of Russian youth believe that Stalin did more good than bad and half said he was a wise leader, according to a poll conducted in July by the Yuri Levada Centre.


More good than bad?!

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:08 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

He was just misunderstood, you know.

Similarly, Americans revere FDR despite the true history in front of them. At least the Russians acknowledge Stalin did some bad things; most Americans are ready to beatify FDR.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2007 5:04 PM
But jk thinks:

I hear you. Watching Ken Burns's "The War" documentary after reading Amity Schlaes's "The Forgotten Man" is a bit like jumping out of the sauna into an icy pool.

One might rightfully his war leadership. Burns echoes the lie that his economic policies ended the depression. A longer post about Mr. Burns and his film when I finish.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2007 7:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If FDR had actually been a great wartime president, he'd have recognized what was happening in Europe and stopped it in the 1930s.

It's not a modern phenomenon that Democrats abhor a preemptive strike against our enemies, no matter how justified.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 28, 2007 1:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Preemptive?" He**, Churchill's Britain was at war with Germany for more than TWO YEARS before the "great wartime president" acted. Even then, it wasn't until after both Japan AND Germany had declared war against the U.S. Even CANADA went to Britain's aid from the start.

Even in the frenzied anti-war environment of the present day I'm certain that any US president would act immediately to defend an ally the likes of England were she to come under military attack. Instead, FDR spent two years trying to figure out how to play Churchill and the Brits out to wear down the Germans. Shameful.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2007 3:34 PM

July 31, 2007

Cal!

John Karol is an independent filmmaker whose latest film is sure to please jk. He discusses his latest film in the NY Sun:


"Make a film on Calvin Coolidge?" When the idea was first suggested to me I barely could muster a yawn. As a "liberal" filmmaker, what little I knew of Coolidge came from New Deal historians who view him as a somnambulant "capitalist tool" whose presidency served only as a prelude to disaster.

"Why Coolidge?"

"Read his autobiography — 250 pages, large print."

I did, and was intrigued. I moved on to his speeches, all of which he wrote himself. A master at delegating duties, Coolidge was not one to delegate beliefs. His speeches read like lay sermons to the American public, revealing fundamental values and ideals any small "d" democrat should embrace. I was hooked.


Coolidge on taxes and farm subsidies:

Harding, Coolidge, and Secretary of the Treasury Andrew Mellon sought to kick-start the economy by reducing the top marginal tax rate to 25%. They did. Revenues increased dramatically, presaging Arthur Laffer by half a century. Both presidents ran surpluses in all their annual budgets. By the time Coolidge left office, the national debt had been cut by one-third.

New Deal historians maintain that the tax cuts of the 1920s reversed the progressive tax policies of Woodrow Wilson. Far from it. Exemptions increased so much that by 1927 almost 98% of the American people paid no income tax whatsoever. When Coolidge left office in 1929, wealthy people paid 93% of the tax load. During Wilson's last year in office they had paid only 59%.

Less remembered, and less appreciated by contemporary politicians, was Coolidge's aversion to farm subsidies. At great political risk, Coolidge twice vetoed the popular McNary-Haugen farm subsidy bill. As Coolidge put it:

"If the government gets into business on any large scale, we soon find that the beneficiaries attempt to play a large part in the control … and those who are the most adroit get the larger part of it."


We could use a man like Coolidge in 2008.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:41 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Silent Cal, come home we need you!

Larry Kudlow tells people: "What do you mean? Harding was great -- he gave us President Coolidge!"

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2007 12:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Goofy fact #372: Senator McNary, whose bill was vetoed, was Willkie's running mate in 1940. They did not see eye to eye.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2007 12:39 PM

January 7, 2007

What's behind the "religion of peace"

Many, myself included, believed that American appeasment of mideastern terrorists began with the Iranian hostage crisis at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in 1979. Examination of this historical timeline shows that it began at least as early as July 26, 1956.

7/26/56 Suez Canal nationalized; Egypt blockades Straits of Tiran. France, Britain and Israel take the canal. US pressures them to withdraw (November).

This wasn't, however, the worst example of surrender on the part of America's government, nor was the aforementioned hostage crisis. But this one is in the running.

(I can't effectively excerpt this article. There's just too much valid information. I have copied it all to "continue reading" to make sure it doesn't get lost.)

Is it too late to try President Nixon for treason?

Hat tip: Dr. John Lewis

Jewish World Review Jan. 2, 2007 / 12 Teves, 5766

With the quiet release of a 33-year-old US State Department cable, a good chunk of the edifice of the longest-running big lie was destroyed

By Caroline B. Glick





Time for world to admit it was duped to the tune of billions of dollars


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Yasser Arafat was a master of the big lie. Since he invented global terrorism with the founding of the Fatah terror organization in 1959, Arafat successfully portrayed himself as a freedom fighter while introducing the world to passenger jet hijackings, schoolhouse massacres and embassy takeovers.


To cultivate the myth of his innocence Arafat ordered his Fatah terror cells to operate under pseudonyms. In the early 1970's he renamed several Fatah murder squads the Black September Organization while publicly claiming that they were "breakaway" units completely unrelated to Fatah or to himself.


In 2000, as he launched the current Palestinian jihad, he repeated the process by renaming Fatah terror cells the Aksa Martyr Brigades and then claiming that they were completely unrelated to Fatah or to himself. This fiction too, has been successful in spite of the fact that all Aksa Martyr Brigades terrorists are members of Fatah and most are members of Palestinian Authority official militias who receive their salaries, guns and marching orders from Fatah.


Last week, with the quiet release of a 33-year-old US State Department cable, a good chunk of the edifice of his great lie was destroyed.



ON MARCH 1, 1973, eight Fatah terrorists, operating under the Black September banner stormed the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan during a farewell party for the US Embassy's Charges d'Affaires George Curtis Moore. The terrorists took Moore, US ambassador Cleo Noel, Belgian Charges d'Affairs Guy Eid and two Arab diplomats hostage. They demanded that the US, Israel, Jordan and Germany release PLO and Baader-Meinhof Gang terrorists, including Robert F. Kennedy's Palestinian assassin Sirhan Sirhan and Black September commander Muhammed Awadh (Abu Daud), from prison in exchange for the hostages' release.


The next evening, the Palestinians brutally murdered Noel, Moore, and Eid. They released their other hostages on March 4.


Arafat denied any involvement in the attack. The US officially accepted his denial. Yet, as he later publicly revealed, James Welsh, who served at the time of the attack as an analyst at the National Security Agency, intercepted a communication from Arafat, then headquartered in Beirut to his terror agents in Khartoum ordering the attack.


In 1986, as evidence of Arafat's involvement in the operation became more widely known, more and more voices began calling for Arafat to be investigated for murder. As the New York Sun's online blog recalled last week, during that period, Britain's Sunday Times reported that 44 US senators sent a letter to then US attorney-general Edwin Meese, "urging the American government to charge the PLO chief with plotting the murders of two American diplomats in 1973."


The article went on to note that the Justice Department's interest in pursuing the matter was making senior State Department officials uneasy: "State Department diplomats, worried that murder charges against Arafat would anger the United States' friends in the Arab world, are urging the Justice Department to drop the investigation."


As late as 2002, in spite of President George W. Bush's pointed refusal to meet with Arafat, the State Department continued to protest his innocence. At the time, Scott Johnson, a Minneapolis attorney and one of the authors of the popular Powerlineblog weblog, inquired into the matter with the State Department's Near Eastern Affairs Bureau. In an emailed response from the bureau's deputy director of press affairs Gregory Sullivan, Johnson was told, "Evidence clearly points to the terrorist group Black September as having committed the assassinations of Amb. Noel and George Moore, and though Black September was a part of the Fatah movement, the linkage between Arafat and this group has never been established."


So it was that for 33 years, under seven consecutive presidential administrations, the State Department denied any knowledge of involvement by Arafat or Fatah in the execution of its own people.


Until last week.



THE CABLE released by the State Department's historian states, "The Khartoum operation was planned and carried out with the full knowledge and personal approval of Yasir Arafat, Chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, (PLO), and the head of Fatah. Fatah representatives based in Khartoum participated in the attack, using a Fatah vehicle to transport the terrorists to the Saudi Arabian Embassy."


Although clearly skilled in the art of deception, Arafat could never have succeeded in creating and prolonging his fictions and with them, his crimes, without the cooperation of the US government and the media.

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In this vein, the release of the State Department cable raises two daunting questions. First, how is it possible that the belated admission of a massive 33 year cover-up of the murder of senior American diplomats spanning the course of seven consecutive presidential administrations has been ignored by the US media? A Google news search for Cleo Noel brought up but a handful of stories - none of which were reported by the major news networks or national newspapers.


On the face of it, the released cable, which calls into question the very foundation of US Middle East policy for the past generation is simply stunning. The cable concludes, "The Khartoum operation again demonstrated the ability of the BSO to strike where least expected. The open participation of Fatah representatives in Khartoum in the attack provides further evidence of the Fatah/BSO relationship. The emergence of the United States as a primary fedayeen target indicates a serious threat of further incidents similar to that which occurred in Khartoum."


The media's silence on the issue does not merely raise red flags abut their objectivity. By not availing the American public to the knowledge that Fatah and the PLO have been specifically targeting Americans for 33 years, the media has denied the American people basic knowledge of the world in which they live.


The media's abject refusal to cover the story raises an even more egregious aspect of the episode. Specifically, what does the fact that under seven consecutive administrations, the US government has covered up Arafat's direct responsibility for the murder of American diplomats while placing both Arafat and Fatah at the center of its Middle East policy, say about the basic rationale of US policy towards Israel and the Palestinians? What would US Middle East policy looked like, and what would have been the results for US, and international security as a whole, if rather than advancing a policy that made Arafat the most frequent foreign visitor to the White House during the Clinton administration, the US had demanded his extradition and tried him for murder?


How many lives would have been saved if the US had not been intent on upholding Arafat's big lie? How would such a US policy have impacted the subsequent development of sister terror organizations like Hizbullah, al-Qaida and Hamas, all of which were founded by members of Arafat's terror industry?


Sadly, the release of the cable did not in any way signal a change in the US policy of whitewashing Fatah. In contravention of US law, for the past 13 years, the State Department has been denying that Fatah, the PLO and the Palestinian Authority are terrorist organizations, and has been actively funding them with US taxpayer dollars.


This policy went on, unchanged even after Fatah gunmen murdered three US embassy employees in Gaza in October 2003. This policy continues, unchanged still today, as Fatah's current leader, Arafat's deputy of 40 years Mahmoud Abbas works to form a unity government with Hamas. Indeed, the central component of the US's policy towards the Palestinians today is the goal of strengthening Fatah by arming, training and funding its Force 17 terror militia.


In a November 14, 2006 interview on Palestinian television, Ahmed Hales Abu Maher who serves as Secretary of Fatah in Gaza, bragged of Fatah's role in the development of international terrorism. In his words, reported by Palestinian Media Watch, "Oh warrior brothers, this is a nation that will never be broken, it is a revolution that will never be defeated. This is a nation that gives an example every day that is imitated across the world. We gave the world the children of the RPG [Rocket Propelled Grenades], we gave the world the children stone [-throwers], and we gave the world the male and female Martyrdom-Seekers [suicide bombers]."


Imagine what the world would have looked like if, rather than clinging to Arafat's big lie that he and his Fatah terror organization were central components of Middle East peace, the US had captured and tried Arafat for murdering its diplomats and worked steadily to destroy Fatah.


Imagine how our future would look if rather than stealthily admitting the truth, while trusting the media not to take notice, the US government were to base its current policies on the truth, and the media were to reveal this truth to the world.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:17 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Both Natan Sharansky and Christopher Hitchens refer in their books to mock war crimes trials for Henry Kissinger. Toss in Nixon -- and Dulles for his role in the Suez Canal if you want.

The real trouble is not that they weren't tried, the problem is that their intellectual progeny fill the State Department, MSM and Washington "establishment" thinking. Arabist, detente, realist appeasers are the flavor of the month.

President Bush was brave and true to reject and oppose this thinking but the seconds are ticking off the clock. If Iraq does not improve soon, the Scrowcroft-Zbrenski axis of appeasement will claim they were right all along, and America will not act again for freedom in any of our lifetimes.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2007 11:26 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I'll have to cross-post this!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at January 8, 2007 8:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Now THAT'S a reaction I can celebrate! Thanks Medic!

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2007 4:13 PM

July 11, 2006

$66 Billion in Unearned Guilt

I've been thinking about how to blog this story since it broke: Megabillionaire Warren Buffet recently donated (evading the estate tax in the process) $37 billion of his $44 billion in personal wealth to a charitable foundation established by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Combined with the $29 billion already under foundation control the resulting $66 billion is five times the wealth of the next largest, the Ford foundation.

I won't belabor the contradictions of Buffet praising the estate tax as an "equitable tax...in keeping with the idea of equality of opportunity in this country, not giving incredible head starts to certain people who were very selective about the womb from which they emerged." Or of his criticism of "dynastic wealth" coupled with the likely, though I haven't been able to document it, multi-million dollar inheritances he'll leave his own children.

I'm most interested in the issue raised by John J. Miller on the Opinion Journal page of July 7th. "The Microsoft mogul and his wife should not leave their foundation to posterity," he writes.

I fully agree with many points made in this editorial. For example:

"Surely there are better reasons to embark upon the world's biggest grant-making program than to salve the conscience of a guy who has no business feeling guilty in the first place."

And, "If Mr. Gates views his foundation as a vehicle for guilt riddance, chances are his grants will fail often and spectacularly. Yet if he views it as a way of furthering his already enormous contribution to society through nonprofit rather than for-profit means, then perhaps he will make a positive difference in the areas where he is focusing his efforts: global health and American education."

But Mr. Miller's principal point is not just that a charitable foundation should be used to further the values of its benefactor(s), but that it must necessarily be constrained to shut itself down after some arbitrary number of years for fear of the "harmful trend" of "an organization that exists in perpetuity, clinging tightly to its assets and ever further removed from its benefactors and their intentions."

It seems to me that if you want your wealth to live on and contribute in your image after your passing, you'd want it to do so for as long as possible. The trick here is to build something that can't be highjacked by others for their own purposes after your passing. This is exactly the problem that faced the founders of the United States government. So here we have another instance of resignation that nothing can retain its original nature and purpose against the pressure of revisionism.

The irony here is that the Gates Foundation, which has chosen to make a positive difference in the areas of global health and American education, has an opportunity to counteract such pressures. The reason the American Constitution, the American government and the American way of life are under threat today is precisely because of revisionist pressures endemic to modern American education. If the Gates Foundation threw even a fraction of its weight behind a return to accurate and objective teaching of American history and civics it could single handedly save the nation from apathetic disintegration.

Alas, such an effort is unlikely from a man who says, "We really owe it to society to give the wealth back."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:13 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Well said.

It strikes me that this giveaway is the world’s largest Rorschach test. Folk Marxists can either coo in delight that the Gateses have discovered "what's really important" or more likely think "damn well time those robber barons gave some back!"

I'm guessing a rare moment of unity for ThreeSourcers believing this will end very badly. I suggested when it happened that they clearly would do less good for society giving it away than they did when they earned it. Now I fear O'Sullivan's law will kick in [Every non-Conservative organization becomes more liberal over time] and that this money could become a colossus of unintended consequences, doing far more harm.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 9:04 AM
But howard thinks:

"Or of his criticism of 'dynastic wealth' coupled with the likely, though I haven't been able to document it, multi-million dollar inheritances he'll leave his own children."

-as far as I've heard in previous interviews with, and statements from, Buffet, he has no intention of leaving millions to his own heirs. And his beliefs against dynastic wealth are purportedly based on the idea that inheriting abstract sums of material wealth begets more laziness than not. I don't believe his support for the estate tax is any more elaborate than that.

Agree or disagree, there's very little hypocrisy in his position on this - unless you know something about his motives that I don't know. But then it seems like a lot of people are in the business of questioning what others do with their money, and here I thought that was a liberal tendency.

Posted by: howard at July 12, 2006 11:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Howard, I said in my post on this topic that "Mr. Buffett can do what he chooses, indeed that's the best benefit of having billions, is it not?"
http://www.threesources.com/archives/003037.html

Two concerns you'll hear around here are, one, that the foundation will devolve into something that doesn't match its founders' wishes, and that its gifts will do more harm than good. And, two, there is a distinct disconnect between his objection to dynastic wealth and his use of tax shelters for his own estate. The WSJ says:

"In explaining his charitable motivations this week, Mr. Buffett also went out of his way to say that he is "not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth." This is fair enough, and is also one of Mr. Buffett's arguments for so vocally defending federal death tax rates of 50% or more. But we can't help but point out that Mr. Buffett's gift will itself be shielded from Uncle Sam because it is going to a foundation. So in practice he is in favor of death taxes only for those whose estates are too small to hide in foundation tax shelters.

In addition to his Gates Foundation gift, Mr. Buffett also said he will give major donations well north of $1 billion each to separate foundations run by his three children and another in the name of his late wife. These gifts, too, will be shielded from taxation and will allow his heirs to wield power and influence long after the 75-year-old has gone to his just reward."

Gates and Buffet did a lot of good for people as they assembled their fortunes. I doubt they'll do half as much good giving them away, but that it sheer speculation.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2006 9:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you Howard for the eloquent comment. I did try to learn what Buffet has or will leave to his children but was unable to find even the $1B donations to his children's foundations that JK informs us of by way of the WSJ.

So even if they don't receive direct cash inheritance, each will certainly award himself a salary as full-time director of the foundation. (Hey, a guy's gotta eat, right?)

I also wanted to clarify: The liberal tendency is not to question what others do with their money, but to control it. (Or prevent it altogether.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2006 3:56 PM

June 6, 2006

Operation Overlord

Today marks 62 years since Europe's liberation began.

Battle of Normandy

I expect to be fully vegged out on History Channel this evening.
NormandySupply.jpeg

Thank you to all of the brave men and women who accomplished the impossible!Normandy_cemetery.jpg

Posted by AlexC at 11:45 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

THAT, friends, is a quagmire!

Thanks to all who have served. And thanks, ALex for reminding us that this day is more than the date which matches my phone prefix )6/6/6).

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2006 1:39 PM