Ron Dermer gives an impressive speech in Florida, cited here and noting:
“The Prime Minister’s visit here is not intended to show any disrespect for President Obama,” he continued. “Israel deeply appreciates the strong support we have received from President Obama in many areas – the enhanced security cooperation, heightened intelligence sharing, generous military assistance and iron dome funding, and opposition to anti-Israel initiatives at the United Nations.”
perfect opening moves.... then to answer the WHY doe Bibi wish to address congress:
Th[at] is not just the right of the Prime Minister of Israel. It is his most sacred duty — to do whatever he can to prevent Iran from ever developing nuclear weapons that can be aimed at Israel.”
along the way, saying we have learned from our history that the world becomes a more dangerous place for the Jewish people when the Jewish people are silent
An impressive stroke; wonder if the Manhattan Media noticed? Why do so many prominent Israeli's have just-across-Mayberry names? And while I'm on a postulating parade: who's the last ambassador we had that was worth a damn?
I will stop the motor of the redistributionist state
Three Sources favorite Yaron Brook tweeted a reason Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz that was missing from the list compiled by John Dickerson of CBS. Dickerson's reasons include things like "he's fooled the grassroots" and created "false distrust" between members and their constituents. They're also jealous, says Dickerson, that "in a matter of months, Cruz has built a base of support that allowed him to act as the de facto Republican leader of the Senate."
But Brook nailed it, in less than 140 characters:
Why Senate Republicans hate Ted Cruz? Because they are unprincipled power-lusters.
Precisely. While Senate Republicans as a rule are more interested in going along and getting along, Senator Cruz is more interested in doing what he believes is right - acting consistently with his principles. Whatever a senator's principles, Cruz explained during the filibuster, he should be loyal to them and not to the dictates of party leaders. Cruz seeks to dismantle the power structure in the US Senate, where a cabal of senators from both parties effectively decides how every vote will transpire. That's not the way representative government works, it's the way a dictatorship tries to make itself look like representative government.
America's "dictators" employ wealth redistribution through government to maintain political power for themselves and, so far, Ted Cruz has shown he's not going to play that game.
I replied to Yaron Brook's tweet with an observation of my own: "In a very real sense, Ted Cruz has acted as a political John Galt - stopping the motor of redistributionism."
Much as I admire George Will, I have derided him on occasion as a conventional wisdom guy. I take all of that back. He and I have some differences but they are all well founded and philosophically consistent on "the Indiana Whig."
Click it on, you can work. But this is a masterful interview:
Thatcher died in London Monday, at age 87, having earned her place among the greats. This is not simply because she revived Britain's economy, though that was no mean achievement. Nor is it because she held office longer than any of her predecessors, though this also testifies to her political skill. She achieved greatness because she articulated a set of vital ideas about economic freedom, national self-respect and personal virtue, sold them to a skeptical public and then demonstrated their efficacy. -- WSJ Ed Page
Our new, raw kidfo arrives. "An object lesson in needing to get servers to take you seriously," Cowen says between mouthfuls. I turn to politics. What does he look for in a candidate? "What I would like to vote for is a candidate that is socially liberal, a fiscal conservative, broadly libertarian with a small 'l' but sensible and pragmatic and with a chance of winning. That's more or less the empty set." -- Tyler Cowen in a very good FT interview.
...And were it not for lying weasels like Sen. Ted Kennedy this giant would have graced the Supreme Court.
Robert Bork, who died today at the age of 85, was a former U.S. solicitor general, an antitrust scholar who taught (Bill Clinton, among others) at Yale, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals and an ardent foe of judicial activism. But he is best known for his failed nomination to the Supreme Court in 1987, which marked a turning point in our politics. "Borking" entered the Beltway lexicon. Political differences became an excuse for attacking someone's moral character.
I encountered his "Tempting of America" when researching my Dred Scott Book. That project fizzled, but I enjoyed the background reading: particularly "Tempting." That book more than any other kindled my interest in the judicial branch's temperament, philosophy and history.
Don't know if Jason Riley's piece is behind the paywall, but the ending should be enjoyed:
In an afterward to the 1990 paperback edition, Judge Bork commends President George H.W. Bush on his recent appointment of David Souter to the High Court, which Judge Bork assumes will help end "over half a century of liberal policy-making by the judiciary."
Larry Kudlow is in. I just caught Thursday's show last night (Yay TiVo and Yaayy Broncos!). It was not one to miss.
Here is the Gov. Dean piece The Refugee quoted. Gotta raise taxes on everybody, not just the rich!
But the jewel for me was Senator Rand Paul (HOSS - KY). He confirmed my parliamentary suspicions, and favors strategic retreat to getting killed in a compromise:
Senator Rand Paul, who may have the best idea, told me in an interview this week that he's prepared to pin the tail on Obama's tax-and-spend donkey. "In the Senate," Paul said, "I'm happy not to filibuster it, and I will announce tonight on your show that I will work with Harry Reid to let him pass his big old tax hike, with a simple majority, if that's what Harry Reid wants, because then they will become the party of high taxes, and they can own it."
Mister Mencken had it right: "Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard."
UPDATE: I left out that Kudlow repeated this to his guests on Friday in the spirit of endorsement. Elections have consequences, right H.L.?
I'm pretty sure that my post "Straight Outta Rand" was not quite in line with the Three Sources style book; I am not even sure how many of the brethern and sistern had any idea of the parody's original reference.
Yet another benefit to Liberty on the Rocks: I actually have some Facebook friends who are not economically illiterate. Interesting chatter about Gov. Chris Christie (Very Large HOSS - NJ)'s admonition against price gouging. Brother Bryan and a cohort of Liberty on the Rocks-ers were educating some folks. You'll be pleased to hear that I stayed out, except to recommend Russ Roberts's awesome The Price of Everything.
The forces of light are otherwise holding the banner of freedom aloft quite well without me. Today, Bryan adds a link to this excellent explanation from mises.org:
On October 27, as East Coast residents prepared for Hurricane Sandy, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie threatened "price gougers" with stiff penalties. As David Brown pointed out in Mises Daily on August 17, 2004, shortly after Hurricane Charley hit Florida, foul weather is when we need market prices the most. Capitalism needs more foul-weather friends, not fair-weather friends like Christie.
Let us postulate that a small Orlando drug store has ten bags of ice in stock that, prior to the storm, it had been selling for $4.39 a bag. Of this stock it could normally expect to sell one or two bags a day. In the wake of Hurricane Charley, however, ten local residents show up at the store over the course of a day to buy ice. Most want to buy more than one bag.
So what happens? If the price is kept at $4.39 a bag because the drugstore owner fears the wrath of State Attorney General Charlie Crist and the finger wagging of local news anchors, the first five people who want to buy ice might obtain the entire stock. The first person buys one bag, the second person buys four bags, the third buys two bags, the fourth buys two bags, and the fifth buys one bag. The last five people get no ice. Yet one or more of the last five applicants may need the ice more desperately than any of the first five.
But suppose the store owner is operating in an unhampered market. Realizing that many more people than usual will now demand ice, and also realizing that with supply lines temporarily severed it will be difficult or impossible to bring in new supplies of ice for at least several days, he resorts to the expedient of raising the price to, say, $15.39 a bag.
The piece is titled "Price Gouging Saves Lives in a Hurricane." Why does Governor Christie want to kill people?
I was thinking about a proper theme song for Election Night, and it came to me! I know these guys have been a huge success for over 35 years and Brian Johnson did a fine job, but for me the only Real Thing was the few dazzling years when Bon Scott brought his inimitable writing and style.
Play it on Nov. 6 and raise a glass to the man. "Skål", brother!
I have watched Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's speech three times now. I fear one more trip to YouTube might result in a restraining order.
But it struck me what the quintessence of the speech was. Of course, it was a superb and heartfelt speech, artfully delivered. If you can avoid corneal hydration during "the little girl from segregated Birmingham..." part you are broken.
Beyond even that, though, it occurred that Condi is the bridge from the Old GOP to the new. She represents the best of what President George W Bush (43) left us. The Sharanskyite appeals to the universal appreciation for liberty, American Exceptionalism -- American Greatness.
I harbor less antipathy toward our previous nominee than some around these parts, but Senator McCain's address was awful. He was preaching bellicosity to an auditorium of war weary Republicans to just-barely-polite applause. Rice was Reaganesque about American leadership without conjuring up mental images of Abu Ghraib and Karzai corruption.
I don't want to go back to No Child Left Behind, President Bush, Rep. Tom Delay, and Speaker Hastert, but the party did not begin in 2010. Rice bridges the best of both. The party of Lincoln.
Another good Atlas Shrugged vid. This one with Congressman Allen West. Ten minutes long, it includes very good short answers to questions like "How did Atlas Shrugged inspire you" and "Do you see any change in the American culture back towards individualism?" He even uses the ladder to prosperity analogy I use to explain how minimum wage and equal pay laws hurt workers instead of help them.
Chris Christie is not a wimp, a hippie, or a countercultural icon. He's not known for taking time out from budget negotiations to smoke dope, or for his sympathy for drug dealers.
Yet he is a soft-liner on the war on drugs. That the combative New Jersey governor and Republican rock star -- just tapped to keynote the GOP convention in Tampa, Fla. -- vocally dissents from drug-war orthodoxy is another sign that the tectonic plates of the drug debate are shifting. Perhaps our appetite for spending billions and incarcerating millions, in the service of pieties immune to rational analysis, is not limitless after all. -- Rich Lowry
I all but wept. One of the great Hosses of all time hit it out of the park on Kudlow last night (Joe Kernen guest hosting).
Rodgers's bit starts at 4:50 if you don't have 10:46. I agree with every word and don't think I have heard it said better.
The whole concept that somehow people are dragging the economy is wrong, People are the economy. The intelligence and wealth they create is what creates the jobs.
Rodgers also criticized the increasing militarization of the border, alluding to a famous Ronald Reagan speech.
To me, that makes the country look weak. What made the Soviet Union look weak? "Gorbachev, tear down this wall." When a country is so screwed up it has to put a wall between itself and its neighbor, that puts weakness on the other side of the fence.
The key point here is that PE firms virtually never buy jewels -- happy, fast-growing companies with glistening profits. After all, such companies have access to other kinds of capital; they don't need private equity. And frankly, private equity is generally not in the business of polishing things up for a low-multiple return. It's in the business of reinvention and rebirth, with fireworks at the end.
During this kind of overhaul, do jobs get lost? Unfortunately, in the early stages, they often do. It's nearly impossible to massively improve productivity by keeping everything the same. But are companies saved? Again, yes. That's the whole point of private equity. You're trying to get a business from terrible to terrific, from dying to thriving. In the process, some jobs may go, but in the best-case scenario, with success down the road, many more will be created. And by preventing a company from going under, jobs will certainly be saved. -- Jack Welsh
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Doc Watson, the Grammy-award winning folk musician whose lightning-fast style of flatpicking influenced guitarists around the world for more than a half-century, died Tuesday at a hospital in Winston-Salem, according to a hospital spokeswoman and his management company. He was 89.
In the darker days of my adolescence, I spent a summer where I could do nothing but go to the Aladdin theater on East Colfax, buy a ticket to see "The Last Waltz," and watch it three or four times. I look back with sadness & bemusement at a lost summer, but I kept a special attachment to The Band: most notably the vocal prowess of Rick Danko and Levon Helm. Both of whom we've now lost.
Levon Helm, singer and drummer for the Band, died Thursday in New York of throat cancer. He was 71.
"He passed away peacefully at 1:30 this afternoon surrounded by his friends and bandmates," Helm's longtime guitarist Larry Campbell tells Rolling Stone. "All his friends were there, and it seemed like Levon was waiting for them. Ten minutes after they left, we sat there and he just faded away. He did it with dignity. It was even two days ago they thought it would happen within hours, but he held on. It seems like he was Levon up to the end, doing it the way he wanted to do it. He loved us, we loved him."
D'ja catch this yesterday -- PJ O'Rourke pursues the squire's life in New Hampshire and gets -- a superb column out of it.
This was not back-to-the-land land. I wasn't trying to get in touch with Mother Nature or even leave a message on her answering machine. I wasn't pursuing the era's whole grain and handicraft dream of self-sustenance that still persists in parts of Brooklyn. I wanted to be Lord Grantham of "Downton Abbey" before he was a figment of the BBC's imagination.
I'd majored in English literature and, as sometimes happens, thought this was supposed to make me English instead of literate.
I love the intellectual argument. Philosophy. Quiet. Meet your enemies halfway.
Andrew Breitbart's considerable energies and gifts ran in a different direction. His penchant for confrontation qua confrontation made me nervous at times.
But Jeeburz, nobody did it better. He may have been loud but did you even notice that he always seemed to be right?
I'm going to steal Greg Gutfield's message in its entirety (ht Insty):
I met Andrew Breitbart in 2005 when I was asked to write for the Huffingtpon Post. He was running the show. Everyone who knew him -- left and right -- said he was brilliant, eccentric, one of a kind. I instantly fell in love with the guy. To this day, i've never met anyone as fearless. He was my first guest on Redeye, a show I got largely because he told people about me. He became a cheerleader for my work, but more important, a dear close friend I could confide in, about anything. My wife called him the wizard, for he could conjure up anything at any time with limitless energy.
He's the only person I know who operated without a safety net. He always knew things would turn out the way they were supposed to - so he didn't worry about money or, i guess, his health, too much.
He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world -- knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark.
My heart felt condolences go out to Susie and the kids.
The good folks at @Epiphone and @GibsonGuitarsPR salute The Band's Rick Danko.
Danko was under-appreciated. In a band of fairly good singers like Levon Helm and Robbie Robertson, too few noticed the all-time vocal chops he put on so many of those great tunes. I was quite taken by his voice and impish humor in "The Last Waltz" (which I saw about 100 times the summer it came out in a pique of adolescent angst, but that's another story...)
I saw him live with Paul Butterfield at the old DU arena; I bought the solo album he is working on in one scene of "Last Waltz;" and I'd stop to hear the little background vocs he added to Clapton's "No Reason to Cry" album.
I lifted this video from the Epiphone page. If you don't want the (odd) bass lessons, skip to 1:50 for a sweet little blues jam.
Lenore Skenazy has appeared frequently on John Stossel's show and I have long appreciated her writing.
I suspect she is the last reasonable person in the whole nation. Her primary message is that people should evaluate statistics and not hide in the basement over whatever the media are hyping this week ("I can't go out -- there are Toyotas on the roads...")
She has a superb year-end piece in the WSJ Ed Page today on the difference between an isolated incident and a trend.
This collective decision not to distinguish between rare screw-ups and systemic dangers is turning us into neurotic Nellies who worry about, warn against and, finally, outlaw very safe things. My favorite recall from the Consumer Product Safety Commission a few years back concerned a chair that had a screw protruding from the underside. While the commission reported that there had been "no reports of injuries to humans," there had been "one report of a dog's fur becoming entangled in the screw."
Call my lawyer! When a twisted tuft is enough to prompt a 20,000-chair recall, that's setting the safety bar pretty high.
Ms. Skenazy is raising her son, not only to have the delightful sobriquet "Izzy Skenazy" but also to be a confident young man who can walk around his neighborhood and ride the subway by himself. The whole article is excellent.
The Velvet Revolution's Vaclav Havel has died. I celebrated Christopher Hitchens for his gift of spreading ideas. Havel turned ideas (and in my opinion less than-stellar rock and roll) into freedom for . . . how many? We can't count. Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch like to credit Havel with the fall of the Soviet Union. I'd give equal billing to President Reagan, Prime Minister Thatcher, Pope John Paul, and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa.
But Havel gets bonus points for continuing to speak out for liberty long after the USSR was vanquished. Havel remained a player until his death at 75.
Gillespie digs up Welch's 2003 Profile in Reason. I'm going to steal his pull quote comparing Havel to George Orwell. Then I'll suggest you can read it to encompass Havel, Orwell, and Orwell's recent biographer Christopher Hitchens.
Like Orwell, Havel was a fiction writer whose engagement with the world led him to master the nonfiction political essay. Both men, in self-described sentiment, were of "the left," yet both men infuriated the left with their stinging criticism and ornery independence. Both were haunted by the Death of God, delighted by the idiosyncratic habits of their countrymen, and physically diminished as a direct result of their confrontation with totalitarians (not to mention their love of tobacco). As essentially neurotic men with weak mustaches, both have given generations of normal citizens hope that, with discipline and effort, they too can shake propaganda from everyday language and stand up to the foulest dictatorships.
Unlike Orwell, Havel lived long enough to enjoy a robust third act, and his last six months in office demonstrated the same kind of restless, iconoclastic activism that has made him an enemy of ideologues and ally of freedom lovers for nearly five decades.
Havel was given many awards in his lifetime, though never the Nobel Prizes (for peace or literature) which he so richly deserved. But notable among his prizes was Germany's prestigious Quadriga Award, which he won in 2009 and then returned earlier this year when Vladimir Putin was named the 2011 recipient.
It was that old disgust with hypocrisy again. When he died Sunday at age 75, he knew his legacy lived on with freedom-seeking people around the world, not least the imprisoned signatories of China's Charter 08 who took their inspiration directly from him. Their day of freedom is coming.
Christopher Hitchens was one of -- if not the -- last element in the set intersection of journalist and public intellectual. He embraced ideas of the left and offered me the most sincere and rational challenges to my beliefs that I have encountered. He did a great book with The Weekly Standard's Chris Caldwell: Left Hooks, Right Crosses. Each submitted a dozen or so favorite articles or papers which captured or reinforced his beliefs and wrote an introduction. His half of this compilation and his Letters to a Young Contrarian represent the most logical (if still unconvincing) arguments for left wing ideas I have ever encountered.
Of course, my introduction to Hitch was his magisterial No One Left to Lie To, which perhaps wins the award for greatest title ever
He crossed the road so frequently to become an object of true affection for those on the right. Reading The Long Short War or No One Left lead many to claim him for our side. Jonah Goldberg pens an awesome G-File today, comparing Hitch to Whittaker Chambers. Jonah brushes with claiming Hitchens.
I first got the idea that Hitchens might be a man of the Right after watching him on C-Span discussing the Odyssey. He was on with, among others, Jody Bottum and a left-wing female academic who (at least as far as I remember it) had little to offer other than blah-blah-blah-white-males-blah-blah (I'm paraphrasing). Hitchens had no use for the woman and really had nothing to say to her. Meanwhile, he could have a real argument with Bottum because they could at least agree that the text matters and that indictments of the heterosexist norms of the Pale Penis People were not that interesting. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed to me that Hitch -- who believed in the importance of Western Civilization (he said he'd rather defend Western Civilization than denounce John Ashcroft), gloried in the splendor of the Canon, admired other cultures but rejected utterly the asininity of multicultural leveling -- was certainly not a man of the contemporary Left, or maybe not of the Left at all
If you do not subscribe to Jonah's letter you are mad, but let me know and I will forward this superb column to you.
Beyond polemics and his evangelical atheism, his brief biography of Thomas Jefferson, books on Henry Kissinger and Mother Theresa, and Why Orwell Matters deserve a serious place in scholarship.
Hitch was a man of reason, a man of western enlightenment, and a man of great intellectual and physical courage. At the suggestion of a Facebook friend, we toasted his Hitchness at 7:00 last night. I don't think he'd appreciate a "requiescat in pace" so Cheers, Hitch!
Once the room quieted and the protesters were locked outside, Christie resumed speaking and offered his thoughts on the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"Here's the way I feel about it: They represent an anger in our country that Barack Obama has caused," he said, drawing cheers from the crowd. "He's a typical cynical Chicago... politician who runs for office and promises everything and then comes to office and disappoints, and so their anger is rooted not in me or Mitt Romney, their anger is rooted in the fact that they believed in this hope and change garbage."
Christie called them disillusioned and said he "feels bad" for them.
"Now they are angry but they're not mature enough to know they should be angry with themselves," he said.
We should recognize that the big man was there to support Governor Romney. Just sayin'
Education is at the heart of it all, but the culture is, too. Moral relativism has done so much damage to the bottom end of this country, the bottom fifth has been damaged by the culture of moral relativism more than by anything else, I would argue. If you ask me what the biggest problem in America is, I'm not going to tell you debt, deficits, statistics, economics -- I'll tell you it's moral relativism. Now is it my job to fix that as a congressman? No, but I can do damage to it. But it's the job of parents to raise their kids ... But let's not ignore it. These things go beyond statistics, they go into the culture. As a policymaker, I simply make that as an observation, not that I have an answer and a bill I can pass in Congress and to fix that. -- Rep. Paul Ryan (HOSS - WI)
In addition to those of you who've joined us today, I'm told that these remarks are being webcast live for the benefit of Hillsdale students back in Michigan, where it is currently 8:30 a.m. -- or, as most college students call it, the crack of dawn. Your scholarly passion for human freedom must be powerful indeed. -- Rep, Paul Ryan
Well worth a whole thing kinda readin' -- plus a bonus Shepard Fairey parody. But a sad close, not Ryan but Paul Rahe:
Can you imagine either of the serious contenders for the Republican Presidential nomination giving so thoughtful a speech? Does either have any clear idea of what needs to be done? It has long been my judgment that Barack Obama's Presidency could be saved only by the Republicans. Those in the House and the Senate have done splendidly in this particular -- far better than I expected. But the Presidential field is still weak. There is nothing in Romney's background to make one confident that he fully shares Ryan's sentiments. Perry may well agree with Ryan, but he has not yet displayed a genuine capacity for making the argument.
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."
Silent Cal, of course. Charles Johnson is writing a book about President Coolidge and -- correct me if I'm wrong -- the last of the Constitutional Chief Magistrates speaks to us today:
That productive capacity, Coolidge knew, was sapped by the spendthrift--he called it "socialistic"--notions of government that sought to be all things to all people. Coolidge, making note of federal farm subsidies and flood insurance, criticized the thinking of "expect[ing] the government in some miraculous way to save us from the consequences of our own acts," in a post-presidential column on Oct. 17, 1930. Americans, he wrote, "want the right to run our own business, fix our own wages and prices, and spend our own money, but if depression and unemployment result we look to government for a remedy."
As Coolidge saw things in 1924, "A government which lays taxes on the people not required by urgent public necessity and sound public policy is not a protector of liberty, but an instrument of tyranny. It condemns the citizen to servitude." Coolidge helped Americans prosper by letting them be free.
"There are millions of people around the world who have more economic freedom, a better life, and a higher standard of living today thanks to Friedman's enormous influence. Friedman was the strongest and most effective advocate of economic and political liberty in modern history, and the anniversary of his birthday provides an opportunity to reflect and appreciate his enduring impact on the world." -- Mark J,. Perry
I try to hold back the tears that this man demurred on a presidential run in 2012.
At least a dozen states ended fiscal 2011 with surpluses. Indiana reported one of the largest, with an extra $1.2 billion in its accounts. Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, on Friday authorized bonus payments of up to $1,000 for state employees. An employee who "meets expectations" will get $500, those who "exceed expectations" will receive $750 and "outstanding workers" will see an extra $1,000 in their August paychecks.
"No state anywhere comes close to Indiana's record of spending tax dollars carefully, with total savings over the last six years in the billions. Your spending efficiency has enabled us to stay in the black even as revenues plummeted," said Mr. Daniels, who recently flirted with a run for the White House but ultimately stayed out of the race.
The tea party/talk-radio expectations for what Republicans can accomplish over the debt-limit showdown have always been unrealistic. As former Senator Phil Gramm once told us, never take a hostage you're not prepared to shoot. Republicans aren't prepared to stop a debt-limit increase because the political costs are unbearable. Republicans might have played this game better, but the truth is that Mr. Obama has more cards to play.
Phil Gramm, top hoss of all time...
The WSJ Ed Page is suitably pessimistic today. And why not? The Administration is playing for keeps. They'll starve granny to win an election (I would too, that was not a moral reproach) and we should never forget that a compliant media will help them pin the blame on the GOP.
Et tu, Ruperte? Even FOX Business this morning twisted the knife. The local FOX affiliate has a 40-second interview with FOX Business as part of the morning news. I usually look forward to it as a brief respite of adult conversation. This morning, the local newscaster asked Lauren Simonetti whether the no SS Checks threat was real. I was awaiting a smackdown that never came. "Yes, it's real; that would add to the debt limit," said the lovely and normally talented network anchor. It's as technically true as it is improbable, but, dang, when you've lost FOX...
If you're in a segue mood, Insty links to a Fiscal Times piece that assures the President that he has overplayed his hand.
President Obama has run into a brick wall. It's called the will of the people. The reason he can't force Republicans to raise the debt ceiling is that he will not countenance a deal that cuts spending but doesn't raise taxes. He seems unable to grasp that 236 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 41 Senators have signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, promising that they will "oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and /or businesses...and oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates."
I'm taking the pessimists' side today. The forces of goodness and light do not have the power.
"I worship the ground the Paul Ryan walks on," [VP Cheney] said referring to the Republican Congressman from Wisconsin. "I hope he doesn't run for president because that would ruin a good man who has a lot of work to do." -- Tom Elia at The New Editor
Click through for context on the famous, colorful contretemps between VP Cheney and Senator Pat Leahy.
The Post-Clinton (That would be President William J, not his wife) GOP Wave produced some colorful characters. But I am wondering how many of them have reached potential. Speakers Livingstone and Hastert leave a tarnished legacy. Speaker Gingrich's calamitous first weeks as a 2012 candidate do not inspire with the vigor of '94. John Kasich has a good gig as Governor of Ohio. I still think of him highly but wince at his 2000 Presidential run. I was supportting him strongly and he went on at great length in a debate about the importance of the Federal Government placing the Ten Commandments in every Public School classroom. Ow, that still stings.
I am going to suggest Leader Richard Armey as The Hoss of the Class of 1994. Some of his lobbying work did not go down well with the cognoscenti, but a fella has to eat, and the First Amendment is clear on our right to petition the Government.
He was one of the first and the few to embrace the Tea Party movement, coauthoring a manifesto. And he is at it today on the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal, underlining the importance of choosing a 2012 candidate who supports vigorous entitlement reform:
Instead of throwing grandma off a cliff, we are trying to save grandma's Medicare. The case for reform has gotten stronger since 1995. Spending, borrowing and debt are all far greater problems now. Global bond markets are now openly skeptical of Washington's ability to pay its creditors, as evidenced by Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of U.S. debt from "stable" to "negative." Such a downgrade would make higher borrowing costs and a painful fiscal restructuring likely, unless large spending reductions are enacted soon.
We go into this fight on much better ground than 16 years ago. There was no tea party then. A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that three-fifths of Americans want a balanced budget. And according to a recent FreedomWorks poll, conducted by Luntz Global, 78% of swing-state voters think "no spending should be off-limits," while 88% believe entitlement reform is "urgent and necessary."
Mr. Ryan has bravely started a debate the country needs, putting forth a proposal that fiscally conservative, limited-government reformers can strongly support. If we could improve on his plan in just one respect, it would be to give seniors still more choice and control.
I'll second that emotion, Smokey. I cannot imagine supporting a status quo Republican in 2012.
"The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both."
I mentioned the "spectacular 'Free to Choose' episode, 'Created Equal." Said episode is number five in the series and while I recommend the whole thing (which appears to be posted on YouTube in six parts) I will highlight part 5, with some excellent exchanges between his Hossness and a young Thomas Sowell in the red corner and Frances Fox Piven (of Cloward and Piven infamy), British Ambassador Peter Jay, and moderator Robert MacKenzie in the blue corner.
FRIEDMAN: __ I want to carry it back to an earlier point. Number one, there's no question but what equality of results, if it comes about through a framework of freedom, is a desirable result. Number two, I argue in the film I've argued here that in point of fact you get greater equality of actual results by a system under which people are free to achieve unequal results. That for the poor people of the world that Frances Fox Piven was talking about, the most effective mechanism for enabling them to improve their status is not a governmental program which seeks to ascribe to them certain positions which seeks to provide them with certain goods and services, but a governmental program which tries to eliminate arbitrary barriers to advancement. I would say that in this world the greatest source of inequality has been special privileges granted by government.
And another HOSS-quote from the chapter's conclusion-
"Because if I were wrong, if freedom led to wider inequality, I would prefer that to a world in which I got artificial equality at the expense of freedom. My objective, my god, if you want, is freedom. The freedom of human beings and the individuals to pursue their own values."
With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It's not an abstraction. I'm a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. -- Senator Rand Paul
Hat-tip: Ed Driscoll, who quotes Atlas Shrugged's Dr, Hendricks "Let them discover the kind of doctors that their system will now produce."
We've been hard on California politicians of late (oh, the last nine years or so....) but there are some bright lights.
Rep Mary Bono Mack (R CA45) completely stole my heart as one of the House Impeachment Managers in 1998. Today she's written up in Reason for proposing reasonable reforms of the insane Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) .
Bono Mack's proposed tweaks to the law, as part of the Enhancing CPSC Authority and Discretion Act of 2011, are impressively commonsensical: The new rules would require a cost-benefit analysis (wild!) to see if mandatory third-party testing of virtually anything a kid might come in contact with is actually cost-effective at improving safety. If the answer is "not always"--as it certainly will be--the law would empower the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to change the regulations.
Hoss (I am assured the same term works across different genders).
I'm not jealous of a lot of things. But last year, a friend of mine casually mentioned that GMU Economist Russ Roberts was his good friend and had been his MBA faculty advisor. Here is is hip hoppin' with The Jacket.
Governor Mitch Daniels delivers a serious fact and policy filled talk to the AEI on education. His style differs from the big man in the Garden State, but he matches him in seriousness, moral clarity -- and is deeper into a demonstration of his programs' efficacies.
I apologize for the many links to long videos this week. I know they are not conducive to work, but I am nursing a bad cold. The first half hour is his speech, if anybody has a chance, the remainder of the 50 minutes is Q&A.
And no, he's not Mister Charisma, but the self-effacing, plainspoken Hoosier might look pretty good in contrast to an incumbent of far more style than substance. My thoughts turn to Silent Cal when Gov. Daniels speaks -- he could be our generation's Coolidge, right when he is most needed.
If you've no time to watch videos, follow the hat-tip link:
Where Sarah Palin Resigned, Mitch Daniels Rolled Up His Sleeves By Andrew Kelly
As threatened, I pulled the plug on "Digital Preferred," the COMCAST package that includes FOX Business Channel. Eighteen dollars a month, and all I ever watched was Stossel.
Investigating alternatives, it looks like his shows make it over to Hulu about three weeks after they air. Even better, his new website provides copious clips. Three long segments from his special on Ron Paul (R- TX) are viewable here.
I still cannot join Rep Paul on monetary policy, and I do not happen to subscribe to his principled stance on "World Policing." But what a breath of air. The segment I linked, the 10% solution, includes a Chris Matthews/David Corn (~1:10) segment ridiculing him and his refreshing response.
Even if I don't accept them all, the world clearly needs to come a lot closer to Paul's positions. And I just got his book on Kindle --- who knows, maybe he'll get me in the end.
Stephen Moore reports in WSJ's Political Diary that the Democrats are drawing a little blood tying Republican Senators to Paul Ryan's reforms in "Mediscare Redux." (Kids, don't diagram that last sentence...)
Fear of the senior vote has already chased off Profile-in-Courage Susan Collins (Incumbent - ME) and some mid-lights are looking nervous. But a guy who has to win statewide in Arizona is standing tall.
One member who isn't backing away is Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, who is running for Senate next year. In an interview, Mr. Flake says that he plans to go to Sun City and other retirement areas in Arizona to explain the fiscal necessity of the GOP cutbacks. "I think we need to reassure seniors on Medicare that this plan impacts future retirees, not them," he tells me. He also says that Republicans have to do a better job reminding seniors that "Medicare is going broke if we stick with the current system."
We've been seeing a lot more of these lately, so I made it a category. I don't watch 'Meet the dePressed' but my old-school father does. If he didn't, I'd never have seen the following exchange. Dad's email included this editorial message: "I saw Marco Rubio on Meet the Press. He chewed up David Gregory and spit him out."