March 27, 2018

Mr. Uber loses his license

"I think my favorite model is an Uber with manual and automated controls. When possible, it uses automated control but in bad weather or a very complex environment it behaves just like today's vehicle." -jk, December 21, 2016.

I didn't remember that quote. I only went searching for our debates about autonomous automobiles (auto-squared?) where I predicted the problem with self-driving cars is the limitations of software. Never, however, did I imagine it would rise to this level of incompetence.

Thoma Hall's comments have been about clarifying a lidar array's role in the driving task; namely, that even when the lasers detect an object, "it is up to the rest of the system to interpret and use the data to make decisions. We do not know how the Uber system of decision-making works." If Uber's software doesn't process the data properly, then it doesn't matter what the lasers register.

When Arizona citizen Elaine Herzberg was caught jaywalking across a wide thoroughfare last week, the Uber behaved just like an ordinary vehicle when its operator is more interested in something below the windshield than in front of it. Uber struck the woman at cruising speed (44 in a 40 zone if I remember correctly the initial report) killing her.

Now the involved parties rush to deflect their own liability. And this is just the problem, isn't it? A sentient being can be held accountable. Problem is, all of the involved sentient beings have an excuse:

The software ignored our sensor.
The software I designed was controlling the car, not me.
The car was in automatic mode, so whatever happened was its fault.
As a pedestrian, I have the right-of-way and cars must yield to me.

Who will be satisfied when accidents are explained with the phrase, "The vehicle in question had not yet downloaded the latest firmware update that corrected that bug?"

Ah yes, Ms. Herzberg is statistically irrelevant. Maybe to the Governor of Arizona, but not to her two children. Consequently said governor has revoked Mr. Uber's license.

"He calls fatal crash 'an unquestionable failure' of the technology." (I think he meant unquestioned but you get the drift.)

The letter strikes a dramatically different tone from late 2016, when Ducey invited Uber to his state with celebration, saying "Arizona welcomes Uber self-driving cars with open arms and wide open roads."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I've been expecting this. And suppose it is deserved. It's a rare event had it waited tem more months, the cars would look good, had it happened six months sooner, vicious killers.

You know who else died that same day in car crashes? Statistically about 100 people! Statistically, I bet some of them had children as well.

You can do a little more searching and see where I said these vehicles would be flawless. But I don't think you'll find it. Over time, they will be better, en toto, than human drivers. And they will improve and be further refined.

A tragic and sad setback. Engineers will point fingers but lawyers will effectively find those to blame. But for now, you get your wish: the hundred who die every day will die at the hands of human incompetence -- huzzah!

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2018 10:10 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My intent was to be humorously ironic more than harsh. But I think we agree that the rush to market inspired by the race to be first does real harm to the movement. It has the effect not of replacing human accidents with fewer (or even far fewer) AI ones, but adding them to each other. As stated in this tech journal, "self-driving technology costs real lives while saving statistical lives."

I won't say that government should regulate this more than it already does, but I do believe the liability judgments against the makers and operators of killer robocars should be in the billions. There needs to be a real disincentive for them to use all of us as their unwitting crash test dummies.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2018 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt I deserved worse.

But the "she's not a statistic! She has children!" cri de Coeur puts me in mind of the currently ascendant wrong side of the gun debate. "Not one more Mom or Child must die!" I am told, so you must accept whatever overreaching policy prescription I'm peddling.

The other 90 (Reason corrects my math but not my philosophy) people dying without a rewrite of Arizona's traffic laws are no less real and no less loved by their families.

Ninety a day, every day. It seems short-sighted to not consider 35,000 against one whose name we know.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2018 4:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair cop. That was an easy argument, but a specious one. Allow me to reframe:

I would like to see each robocar company CEO stand in front of every one of her cars - literally.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2018 4:55 PM

January 25, 2018

Call Me 'Jan'

Not "too radical" for me. I find it rather fetching.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:29 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm trying to square "rock solid" from this review with "tinny whumma not unlike a wobbly metal shed" from the last one.

Can't argue with "looks like a nightmare" though. Although, I've seen worse.

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2018 8:12 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Car reviews have oddly splintered in the internet age. One used to just need Car & Driver and Consumer Reports to find the "most reliable" car. My confirmation bias was that any article that didn't have either Honda Accord, Civic, Camry or Corrolla in the top 10 was ... pushing something, shall we just say?

Wanna guess how many articles I read showing the likes of Hyundai (even one with Kia!), and Genesis? Odd, I found that....

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 27, 2018 10:03 AM

October 24, 2017

Et tu Bannon?

Besides the threesources-friendly headline, Bill McGurn's "Et tu, Steve Bannon" covers the ground we've been exploring pretty well. I do not suspect my appeal to the überelitest WSJ Ed Page will sway anybody, but McGurn says they need a larger majority more than a purge.

Certainly Mr. McConnell's leadership has taken a hit from the failures to get an ObamaCare repeal through. But slim majorities always disproportionately empower dissenters and outliers, regardless of who the majority leader might be. So long as GOP bills can be defeated by the defection of three Republicans, the Trump agenda will be held hostage to those on the margins, whether it's John McCain or Lisa Murkowski.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2017

"This is the death cry of the Republican Party"

My blog brother laments the caliber of primary opponents that Bannon is backing with GOP big money that used to go to "electable" candidates. As a life-long Republican I gotta say, this doesn't sound like a recipe for winning elections.

MSNBC love bird Joe Scarborough shared video of Bannon addressing a California GOP gathering, where the crowd booed such scions of the Republican Party as George W Bush and John McCain. "This is the death cry of the Republican Party," is the analysis by Scarborough. (Never mind that Scarborough himself pointed out that Bush was a deficit-spending Wilsonian, while he was still President.)

So is Bannon trying deliberately to destroy the GOP? I think it's worth listening to him in his own words (1:30) before passing judgment. If you do, contemplate what is more important, more necessary, for the preservation of liberty and the American Constitutional Republic - Republicans, or republicanism?

Voters have been fooled by Republicans in the past... and stood by them when, perhaps, it was a bad idea. The cold reality of hindsight has them now feeling, "I don't want to get fooled again." Don't feel bad though, it has happened to all of us.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:31 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Beware the modern day Royalists.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2017 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sorry, I am not sure I got the Scarborough thing: a choice of Rep. Scarborough and Steve Bannon? Nothing else on the menu? "Your either with Mika or you're with the terrorists."

I certainly don't think he's "trying to destroy the party." I suspect he is trying to ride the populist wave to have greater influence. I rarely speculate on motives, perhaps it is 100% patriotism. It could happen.

But I think his ideas are "wrong as pants on a trout" as Mr. Quint would say. I think it fair to say he'd like to do to the GOP what he did to Breitbart News: stoke emotional responses to populist conspiracy theories for fun and profit.

I can get leaving Senator McCain out of the big tent. But our party no longer has room for George W. Bush? Wow. Papa Bush was softer, Reagan was a free trader and unabashed immigration supporter. Ford, Nixon, Eisenhower seem unlikely . . . do any Republican presidents ever make the cut in Bannon's new rump party? He has already said only Sen. Cruz escapes a primary.

Yeah, we've been disappointed by Republicans. We have also recently lived through all-Democrat rule in the US (Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Cash-for-Clunkers, Solyndra) and Colorado (magazine limits, clean power plan) -- neither were best described as a golden age or republicanism.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2017 7:14 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Let's be honest: McCain's freshness date long expired, probably around 2002. I nearly had to hold my nose to vote for him in '08. I'm not going to cry about the occasional Flake-offs or Cork flying loose (though I'd prefer to shed Maine and IL).
I think both AZ and TN senators have chosen real-world discretion, hidden behind media-driven fau-trage at Trump or perhaps voicing "GOPe" frustration. I say, let Bannon have his day, but let's all stay active and vigilant... open primaries are a bigger threat to the liberty agenda, IMO.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 24, 2017 10:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Let's agree on something real quick before the floor drops out: I remember watching Sen. McCain and then-Sen. Obama debate economics in '08 and thinking "oh crap, one of these guys is going to be President." Many Republicans were heartbroken when Obama won, but nobody was sad that McCain lost.

Sen. Flake is different. He was the principled liberty voice in the House long before it was cool. He has been less spectacular in his Freshman Senate term, but remains dedicated to free trade and responsible immigration policy long after that was cool.

In short, if there is no room for Sen. Flake in the party, I cannot believe there remains a spot for me.

Okay, Bannon's day it is:

[Roy Moore] is a twice-disgraced former judge who believes 9/11 was divine retribution for our sins and an anti-Muslim bigot who can't quite bring himself to rule out the death penalty for homosexuals.

Posted by: jk at October 25, 2017 10:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You're speaking in defense of Jeff Flake 1.0. The updated version is a different creature:

The real resentment voters have is for Republican politicians who pretend during elections to be on their side, to share their priorities, to be ready to defend their beliefs – but turn out after the election to only defend on the things they’re comfortable talking to the media about… in other words, the only time when it doesn’t matter.

Jeff Flake 1.0 would have far fewer problems in the Trump era. He was a populist who raged against government corruption and cronyism. He would absolutely still criticize Trump, as many House conservatives still do, on trade and on transparency – but he would also be able to be with Trump on key issues instead of wagging his finger impotently on the way out the door. Draining the swamp is something Flake 1.0 would be all about getting right, and he’d be sticking around to make sure it got done. Flake 2.0 spent more time writing a book that now reads like an exit interview with Brave Brave Sir Robin.

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2017 1:30 PM

October 20, 2017

In case Judge Moore was too Mainstream for You

Karl Rove takes to the WSJ Ed Page to decry the quality of Steve Bannon's preferred primary candidates. I'll concede his lede is a bit over the top. But skip to the descriptions with me:

The first House candidate Mr. Bannon has blessed is former Rep. Michael Grimm, who was forced to resign his New York seat in 2015 after pleading guilty to tax fraud. Recently released after seven months in the federal pen, Mr. Grimm will challenge his successor, Rep. Dan Donovan. Presumably Mr. Grimm wont campaign in his orange prison jumpsuit.

Mr. Bannon has also tried recruiting his first gubernatorial candidate: Colorado's former Rep. Tom Tancredo, a nativist who once said President Obama was "a more serious threat to America than al Qaeda," who routinely attacks immigrants for turning America into a "Third World country," and who earlier this year accepted a speaking invitation from a white-nationalist group.

Mr. Bannon is also throwing support to upstart Senate challengers. In Nevada, where Sen. Dean Heller is up for re-election, Mr. Bannon supports Danny Tarkanian, a perennial candidate who has lost five races for four different state and federal offices. Mr. Tarkanian's sixth time is unlikely to be the charm.

On Tuesday Mr. Bannon was in Arizona campaigning for Kelli Ward against Sen. Jeff Flake. As a state senator, Ms. Ward held a June 2014 town hall to explore the claim that jet contrails are really chemicals sprayed by the government for weather, mind or population control.

You might not even find Rove's descriptions fair. But join me in seeing the common thread of candidate unviability. Rep. Tancredo is not going to be our lovely state's next governor. How badly do you want to gum up the works and damage the GOP brand for a quixotic run?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:44 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I'll answer your question with a question: Are we better off with Republicans who don't believe in republicanism?

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2017 2:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, if I want to join a party of principled purists who never win, I will join the gorram Libertarians.

I don't know anything about "Ms. Chemtrails," but Sen. Jeff Flake is as good a friend to the true republicanism you crave as there is in the US Senate. He is being primaried because he is not sufficiently devoted to immigration enforcement.

We don't like to do a lot of name calling around here, but I'll start with Senator-Elect Roy Moore(Lunatic - AL). Do you disagree that he will make things far more difficult for Republicans as he builds a monument to the Ten Commandments in his mashed potatoes in the Senate cafeteria?

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2017 3:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So much to rebut in that comment but for now let me just make a simple historical reference:

"Donald Trump can never win."

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2017 11:29 AM
But jk thinks:

Good, but I suggest "Donald Trump cannot win in Colorado" still holds. He found his electoral votes elsewhere, bully for him. But to extrapolate from that that "Tom Tancredo can be elected Governor of Colorado" or "Wind Power will replace fossil fuels" is rather like dividing by zero.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2017 11:46 AM

October 16, 2017

Potato, Potahtoe

Last week we engaged on these pages in fairly strident internecine dialog about Trump and Bannon and the Republican party, such as it is. None of us is wrong per se, so there was no chance that anyone might "see the light" and change his position. But perhaps we can all better understand each other's perspective. With help from the inestimable VDH, Victor Davis Hanson. Perhaps too much of a "nativist" for some, but hear him out.

In his latest column "It's 1968 All Over Again" Hanson succinctly describes two perspectives on the open warfare in Washington D.C.:

Is the problem too much democracy, as the volatile and fickle mob runs roughshod over establishment experts and experienced bureaucrats? Or is the crisis too little democracy, as populists strive to dethrone a scandal-plagued, anti-democratic, incompetent and overrated entrenched elite?

In closing, he poses the following observations:

Is the instability less a symptom that America is falling apart and more a sign that the loud conventional wisdom of the past -- about the benefits of a globalized economy, the insignificance of national borders and the importance of identity politics -- is drawing to a close, along with the careers of those who profited from it?

In the past, any crisis that did not destroy the United States ended up making it stronger. But for now, the fight grows over which is more toxic -- the chronic statist malady that was eating away the country, or the new populist medicine deemed necessary to cure it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:26 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Yes, Professor VDH is too nativist. But, after enjoying several of his lectures in Hillsdale's Athens & Sparta MOOC, and his magisterial introduction to the Landmark Edition Thucydides, he is a superb choice for appeal to authority.

I enjoyed the piece, but am prepared to "embrace the healing power of and:" Trump's supporters and critics can both be wrong. I know many in both camps and am not at all startled by the rigidity on the left. Yes, if he's Hitler and likes lemon in his tea, we must not ever use lemon.

I will not lie; I have been surprised by the stridency of his defenders. Zero politicians are perfect and the President is not the closest I've seen. Healthy skepticism of gub'mint and the people what people it seems well warranted.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2017 5:10 PM
But Terri Goon thinks:

It's hard to see, but if you squint your eyes, the skepticism exists, it's just that da other side is so very much over the top that even fence post sitters are almost required to defend the man.
I see a lot wrong with him, but I will defend him in conversation so that people can at least hear another version of whatever new outrage is current.

Posted by: Terri Goon at October 17, 2017 9:58 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I with Terri: I don't like the guy and agree with him perhaps half the time but my FB feed has gone from Outrage Theater to Kabuki Theater (over and over) in less time than POTUS can thrice tweet about NFL idiocy.

I've even taken to knee-capping my opponents at times; picking on the picayune to denigrate their threads... *sigh* it's just so much easier than lengthy debate (and I'm too irregular on FB).

What's my pick of the 50+% "good"? I've been told his picks for judges are outstanding, and I can attest that DOE & EPA are both going strongly in good directions.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 17, 2017 11:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Ummmm, yeaaaaahhhh, sortof, he said hesitatingly...

I frequently find myself defending him. He has done some fantastic things and exceeded my expectations in many areas. I agree the opposition is unhinged.

But, where would you good people admit he was wrong?

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2017 12:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He's wrong on many things. "Afflicting the comfortable" in Washington D.C. isn't one of them.

I want to push back on your "healthy skepticism of government" position. That was fine when Barack Hussein O was president, or George W Bush, or Bill Clinton or ... But Donald John Trump was elected for one reason more than any other (in my humble opinion): To wrestle government power away from the political elite. Trump is the present embodiment of voters' skepticism toward politicians.

There is no chance - zero, none, nada - that the administrative state will become a nationalist police power under the charismatic leadership of President Trump. Any weakening of the president strengthens the liberty-sapping Leviathan.

I know that's not a very nuanced analysis but statism thrives in the gray area between liberty and government power. The power of our free society goes up when the power of the administrative state goes down.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2017 7:25 PM

October 11, 2017

TEA Party v. Bannon

What does the TEA Party stand for? What does Steve Bannon stand for? There is not a single answer to either question but I submit that there is one "big idea" for each, and they go hand in glove. Hunter Lewis zeroed in on that idea in his criticism of a Weekly Standard piece on Bannon:

Mr. Caldwell gets to the essence of it when he writes: "Steve Bannon has the same idea that tea party activists have: a class of regulators in the government has robbed Americans of their democratic prerogatives. That class now constitutes an 'administrative state' that operates to empower itself and enrich its crony-capitalist allies."

Yep. That's why I marched on my state capitol with my "Enemy of the Statist" sign so beautifully hand-lettered by my dear blog brother.

Mr. Lewis then adds, "He also notes that Bannon thinks that "capitalism ought to rest on a Judeo-Christian foundation."

I can think of worse ideas than this. So, really, where are Bannon and the TEA Party now "debased?" Immigration? Trade? Bath water. The baby Republic is in desperate need of a washing. We'll throw out the dirty water later.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I respectfully suggest that when contemplating anything attributed to Steve Bannon, one should consider the imaginary universe where the protagonist is not this individual white male, so readily villifiable, rather any one of the Forgotten men or women of every race and faith who want merely to not be disadvantaged in the name of "equality" or "compassion." Or "national prosperity" as a result of erasing all distinctions between the nations of the world. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 12:32 PM

September 29, 2017

Not For more than a day or two Longer

Interesting that National Review is having the same internecine argument as we. But I will give my pal, Jonah, QOTD for a portion of his response:

Surely, we can think of a thousand opinions that we believe to be correct. We, after all, are in the opinion business. To paraphrase Paul Newman in the Road to Perdition, "There are only opiners in this room!" But I bet we could go through that list of correct opinions and identify a very large number of them that it would be best for the president to stay quiet about.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Consider Goldberg's main point: "Trump made the problem worse."

Trump made the problem more visible, the discussion of it louder and more impassioned, the number of players kneeling and pundits talking about it multiply, and yes, made people who were already mad at Trump more mad, but who says any of this is "worse?"

If the net result is that the natural cycle of yet one more social crisis is resolved faster, or at least made to progress further, faster, isn't that "better?"

I can't get past the notion that people who don't like Trump's style will never approve of Trump's tactics. No matter what.

Some people never liked Dirty Harry either, but he always got the bad guy.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2017 3:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hafta side with JK on this one: Trump took a simple problem, and exploded it all over the NFL, and perhaps beyond. "Should be fired!" is too much from the bully side of the pulpit.

He's supposed to be first and foremost, a leader. If he'd stopped with 'don't disrespect the flag', he would have kept that mantle. Now, lots of players (and owners) who don't disrespect the flag are being aligned with those who do. (the Kaepernick sleeze, who DOES disrespect all that is good and true ... when he is able to put out a cogent thought)

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 29, 2017 8:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Does anyone but me make any allowance for the fact that Trump's statements came at a political rally, and not from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office? It wasn't exactly the bully pulpit.

I understand that we bourgeois types prefer a certain decorum, but the boys in the hood have more respect for a man who keeps it real.

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2017 11:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I thought the "should be fired!" crack was a tweet. If not, he's still allowing his words to be twisted by virtue of his carelessness.

I do not think anymore that these tweets are proving he's 'crazy like a fox.'

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 1, 2017 12:56 AM
But jk thinks:

My work here is done.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2017 11:31 AM

September 28, 2017

Not For a whole lot Longer

Hey, just 'cause y'all are done...

No, I found a good, temperate piece by supermind Eugene Volokh that I enjoyed reading and that served to calm me down a bit further. He is not too keen on my argument (and David French's) that the President's speech is out of First Amendment bounds:

When the statements carry a threat of governmental retaliation if the employee isn't fired, then they stop being protected and may themselves become First Amendment violations. See, e.g., Okwedy v. Molinari (2d Cir. 2003). But I haven't seen such a threat in the Trump tweets I've read, and it seems unlikely to be implicit, especially since the NFL has little legal interaction with the president.

Score one for Brother jg. But I'm going to take general points that remove it further from the context of a culture war:
It's one thing to expect someone not to express a political view while on the clock, especially if he is free to express it on his own time. It's a graver imposition, I think, to demand that the person express a political view (or be seen as expressing it), even when he is on the clock.

All and all -- unsurprisingly -- a well reasoned view.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:52 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Well, he did say the latter point was outside of the law and, therefore, his area of expertise. ;)

Whatever happened to "politics stops at the water's edge?" That is the sentiment that is represented by EVERYONE standing for the national anthem. It's not the red anthem, or the blue anthem. At least not until Colin Kapernick tried to make it that way.

I'm not here to compel anyone - just to explain. And if one-third of NFL fans want to boycott over it, hey, it's a free country.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2017 4:30 PM

September 27, 2017

Not For (Much) Longer

Whip this horse once more? I've always liked Matt Labash, but as the distance between me and the staunchly neoconservative Weekly Standard has increased, I encounter him less frequently.

I'm giving him Qoute of the Day, though, both for witty language and encapsulating the problem I have with President Trump's escalation:

And yet, I flash back to F. Scott Fitzgerald's maxim that the test of a first-rate intelligence is to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time, while still detesting both of them. (I paraphrase.) For Donald Trump once again has taken a worthy idea (serving as a custodian of our patriotic sacred symbols) and sullied it with his boorish behavior, his total lack of judiciousness, his Twitter buffoonery, and his injurious choice of words. ("Get that son of a bitch off the field.")

The whole piece is very good.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

For some reason I don't feel like there's any upside to posting any more comments on this topic.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm taking a knee in this conversation to protest the blaming of Trump for the NFL's problems.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 11:50 PM

September 26, 2017

Not For Long

I'm promoting a comment thread to a new post. Both because I wish to add a link, and also to add the internecine category as I think I may have cheesed off Brother Keith on Facebook. Brother jg (who never gets cheesed off at me) said below "but I don't think Trump has ruined the NFL, he's just pointing out that it has been ruined."

I had given the President of the United States of America only half credit for ruining the NFL, but I am quite peeved with him. There is a dynamic of his speaking with bravado to excite his base, then his opponents overreact and act stupidly. Then the President and his base enjoy the overreaction. Lather. Rinse F'ing Repeat. (Oh, and Rant...)

This has been annoying me since Jan 20. But it had been annoying me from Monday-Friday, and a half day on Saturday. It ruined Sunday's otherwise excellent NFL lineup (Chris Collinsworth pointed that out as well). So I am bummed.

The new Link is to David French. And this or my commentary cheesed off ka. He adds one excellent point that the First Amendment does not proscribe Collin Kaepernick, but it does President Trump. I'd add that among 32 rich NFL owners, some likely have some business deal in front of the executive branch. The President would like me to fire my Left Tackle? Huh, he's on the bubble...

In the space of less than 24 hours this weekend, the president of the United States did more to politicize sports than ESPN has done in a decade of biased, progressive programming. He singled out free speech he didn't like, demanded that dissenters be fired, and then -- when it became clear that private American citizens weren't going to do what he demanded -- he urged the economic boycott of their entire industry.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

AND I LAMBASTED HIM FOR IT! If all bad executive behavior is the be permissible because one of the previous 44 did it, it's going to be a looooong few years. "Well, Jackson drove the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears; I don't see why President Trump cannot..."

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 10:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And you are perfectly welcome to lambast Trump for anything he says but the fact remains, there is no proscription in law or in tradition on the head of state weighing in, or even "issuing verdicts" on controversial issues. That was the purpose of my example. I did not make any judgment that what either of them said was right, only that they are within acceptable norms to say it.

[As an aside I should also point out that Andrew Jackson's use of government force to relocate folks is a far different matter than calling anyone "sons of bitches."]

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

To recap: he's better than Andrew Jackson and about the same as Barack Obama. Okay, we're in agreement.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Really? Is that the best you've got today brother? Smug?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! Well, it is a Wednesday...

No, no statute, but I think both examples incredibly and outrageously wrong. President Obama absolutely positively should not have commented on an ongoing local investigation (not only Gates, But Treyvon Martin "if I had a son"); it was a perversion of justice.

Calling for a private firm to fire somebody for voicing a position with which you disagree is really no better.

Both are very Banana-Republic-ish. There's no law against wearing a big Evita hat with fruit either, but...

(How was that? That was better, wasn't it? The Evita hat? I thought that was pretty good!)

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2017 7:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well there's this ideological struggle under way. Some even think it has escalated into a war - Social Justice versus Culture. What happens when one side stops showing up to the battle, but the other side doesn't?

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2017 8:48 PM

August 31, 2017

Autonomous Cars

Russ Roberts's EconTalk podcast this week features an economic look at the future of automobiles. There is curiously little discussion directly of the internecine issues we flog around here. But there are some very interesting ramifications of changing to electric and autonomous vehicles.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:21 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

A maddening aspect is that guest Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz is a Londoner and has a very un-American expectation of automotive use. "Well, it will be ok to have a car with only a 100-mile range for those who only drive 50 miles per week.

Don't let me scare you off -- still some very interesting things.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2017 5:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Per WEEK? Even a Londoner could only make it to and from the Tube station on that driving budget.

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2017 6:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm listening a second time (not to check, but I listen and work and get 95% coverage in two listens).

The first part is electric cars and second is autonomous. A serious discussion on charging economics ensues, but he is seriously complacent on range anxiety. I think that comes from being a Londoner and not considering the car a necessity like us "sceptics."

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2017 6:20 PM

July 5, 2017

Why I can't coexist with a robotic driver

Having just read Vox's latest article on self-driving cars, I'm more convinced than ever that I don't want one. You see, there are two different approaches - driver assistance or complete autonomy.

In the first approach, the car monitors the road and, just as importantly, the driver, and the most common autonomous action it will take is to nag the driver to "keep your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road." Think of it as a back-seat driver that never backs off.

Tesla's approach to self-driving -- one the company has doubled down on since Brown's death -- is for cars with partial self-driving capabilities to pester drivers to pay attention to the road.

Waymo is unique in that it has decided human drivers (read: "owner" or "passenger" or "reason for the device's very existence") can't be trusted to take control in the rare (and growing rarer) instances when HAL doesn't know what to do. So they omit all of the driver controls and work tirelessly toward a 100-percent bug-free machine (while interacting with a less than 100-percent bug free environment.)

That works out to one disengagement every 5,000 miles, a four-fold improvement over 2015, and by far the best showing of any company testing on California roads. At that rate of progress, it'll take a few more years for Waymo to surpass human levels of driving safety.

I do appreciate driver assistance tech, but if it becomes a real-world manifestation of Harcourt Fenton Mudd's 'Stella' largely, I might imagine, because of corporate liability attorneys, then I'm not buying without a mandatory "Shut. Up." feature.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:29 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I'd like to open a new line of inquiry. It strikes me that opponents of automation are "good drivers" (at least by their own estimation).

I'd suggest that we all consider not so much replacing ourselves with robots, but the gooberload of less skilled, less-attentive, overaggressive drivers we encounter in our daily travels. The true "less than 100-percent bug free environment" is created by unexpected actions of other drivers.

Driver assistance offers some safety advantages, I suppose and I take your concerns at face value. Complete automation is my Holy Grail. I've bored you with my productivity dream, but let me add efficient use of roadway.

Regularized speeds and reduced lane changes enable higher densities, thereby requiring less construction. Just as GMOs optimize land use for agriculture, automated transport would optimized land and resources required for roads.

Posted by: jk at July 7, 2017 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You paint quite a rosy picture of automated transport. What's not to like? Well, there's the human element. This utopian vision takes my mind to a slightly less rosy place. Miranda.

Once thought only to be fictional, Miranda in fact was an experimental colony where the Alliance tried to chemically modify its populace to be peaceful. This worked too well; it eliminated violence, but in the process it had a fatal side effect. The inhabitants lost all ambition; they stopped doing any work, stopped talking to each other, stopped reproducing and eventually stopped even feeding. For 0.1% of the population it had the opposite effect and caused extremely violent behavior, beyond mere psychosis but animalism. The "survivors" of Miranda were the Reavers who started to menace the Rim planets.

The Alliance managed to cover up their mess fairly well, erasing all official records of the planet. Those who had heard talk of Miranda heard false tales that terraforming was attempted but ultimately failed, and that the planet was an uninhabitable Blackrock. Of course, being in the heart of what was to become Reaver space, not many people made the trip to see if it was true or not.

And the money line:

When the Alliance recording was discovered, it became the perfect example of what would happen if the Alliance sought to interfere with self-determination.

I too would like to open a new line of inquiry. How is a world of automated transport different from state-sponsored mass transit? The similarities outweigh the differences, and those differences serve primarily to make it enticing enough for us to play along.

Posted by: johngalt at July 8, 2017 1:20 PM
But jk thinks:

It is a tool. We automated bank tellers and got ATMs because some "pained a rosy picture of banking on evenings and weekends," we released elevator operators to more productive endeavors. I'll see your Joss Whedon and raise you a Hans Rosling.

Curiously, we assimilated all those productivity innovations without inaugurating dystopia.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2017 6:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I still maintain that "mass transit" is a unique case. It's productivity (and other) enhancement is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: johngalt at July 11, 2017 3:42 PM

June 27, 2017

Happy Birthday ATM!

I know my Luddite blog brothers and sisters are not yet sold on the technology ("we're going to trust machines to handle our money?"), but I salute this innovative addoiion to productivity, convenience, and prosperity.

It's the golden anniversary of the ATM. On June 27, 1967, a Barclays Bank branch in London unveiled the world's first automated teller machine. It solved a common problem: In much of the world, cash could be obtained only when a bank was open, typically weekdays between about 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., known as "bankers' hours." The limited schedule often meant long lines. And it could be difficult, if not impossible, to obtain money from a bank other than your own.

The engineer often identified as having developed the first ATM, John Shepherd-Barron, said that his "aha" moment was a byproduct of arriving at his bank one minute after it closed. "That night I started thinking that there must be a better way to get cash when I wanted it,"

Posted by John Kranz at 3:16 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2017 11:15 AM

June 23, 2017

ThreeSources Movie Night!

Here's a nice example of that last point that comes from a silent film made all the way back in 1911! (Ironically, it was a tweet by Clive Thompson that brought this clip to my attention.) The short film is called The Automatic Motorist and here's how Michael Waters summarizes the plot in a post over at Atlas Obscura: "In it, a robot chauffeur is developed to drive a newly wedded couple to their honeymoon destination. But this robot malfunctions, and all of a sudden the couple is marooned in outer space (and then sinking underwater, and then flying through the sky--it's complicated)." In sum: don't trust robots or autonomous systems or you will probably die. -- Adam Thierer
Posted by John Kranz at 5:19 PM | Comments (0)

Bug or Feature?


Posted by John Kranz at 4:53 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2017

How much safer?

I took my blog brother at face value when he reported here that the number of automotive-related deaths would "plummet" from self-driving cars, with "most analyses suggest[ing] that autonomous vehicles will eventually prevent over half of the 35,000 deaths that occur on American roads each year, and some reports are much more optimistic."

For its part, Tesla Motors has said "Brown's death is the first known fatality in over 130 million miles driven with autopilot, while there is a U.S. traffic fatality once every 94 million miles for cars not using autopilot."

So if the number of traffic fatalities was cut in half, or more, by autonomous vehicles, wouldn't autopilot have to log, on average, 188 million miles or more between individual fatalities? (Assuming just one person dies per Tesla crash, of course.) It's true that the one Tesla autopilot fatality is statistically insignificant, but if Brown had had a passenger who also died, autopilot would be demonstrably less safe than non-autopiloted vehicles.

And this simple analysis assumes that all of the vehicles on the road would be autonomous. And that all of the fatalities on the road are caused by vehicles that would be made autonomous, and not by the negligence of pedestrians, motorcyclists, cyclists, medium and heavy truck or light truck and van drivers, to name a few.

No, it seems like the life-saving effects of self-driving cars are only a slight improvement over the old fashioned distracted human driver, with its natural self-awareness and instinct for self-preservation, at least while sober. Although this beneficial conclusion is reached before a statistically significant number of interactions between autonomous vehicles and roadway flag men. How exactly do you make eye contact with a self-driving car anyway? Maybe the safety comparison is closer to unity after all.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:14 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

We have a proximate technical agreement in the idea of AI-assistance in, well everything. I highly recommend Kasperov's Conversations with Tyler. Yes, man-machine partnerships will bring much of the safety benefits of autonomous vehicles.

I hate to take a side-road, but I am truly burning with the question "when will the first deaths occur from vehicles which stop themselves?" That's a popular feature, if commercials during sports are any indication. And it does not take much imagination to see its providing a bad outcome.

The answer to your "why not a driver?" is the productivity gains, not the safety gains. Y'know, cowboy, they wanted to keep elevator operators for the same reason. "What in the world is wrong with just assisting the human operator? The answer, of course, is 'nothing.'" Like the cell phone, the Luddites were beaten and we do not have to pay a union wage to a guy who punches buttons and prevents you from plummeting to your death.

True autonomy changes the landscape -- I want to reclaim commuting hours, move to a shared capital model instead of trillions sitting dormant 95% of the time, empower the disabled and blind, and turn the parking lots into wild animal refuges, where the deer and the antelope can play.

What's wrong with keeping a human behind the wheel? It precludes all those benefits I mentioned.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2017 11:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

How do you answer the closing question in my post: "How exactly do you make eye contact with a self-driving car anyway?"

Will flaggers ever feel safe again? Or pedestrians in general?

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2017 2:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not think that is insuperable. People did not feel safe in automated elevators for awhile, but they changed the technology to provide better indication.

Perhaps some lights on front, like the "Liddy Dole Lights" in the back window, could flashs to let you know you're "seen." I certainly think they'll be pretty effective at stopping at crosswalks and lights before they get too far.

Heck, we might automate the flaggers.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2017 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

Funny that I do not fear this, but I saw a "Roomba for weeds" video on Facebook and thought "Skynet. That's how it starts..."

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2017 3:56 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I can't wait to hear cockpit recordings of the human arguing with his AI driver. :-) IMO, assistive technology will wait, b/c the market will demand auto-taxis for the busy-busy and showoffs.

Honestly, the simplest way to be safe is to go slower, so there will be classic all2human resistance to the AI's control... but also human laziness can't be understated!

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 23, 2017 1:06 AM
But dagny thinks:


Posted by: dagny at June 27, 2017 2:10 PM

March 21, 2017

Dad Says

Sorry to double dip -- I posted this on Facebook as well.

Julian Simon called people the "ultimate resource." Julian Simon put up $10,000 of his own money against that stupid, Malthusian git Paul Erlich -- and won. David Simon thinks he knows what Julian Simon would say today, were he alive.

I miss Julian Simon more than most. He was my father. I often think about what he would say about the economic issues we face today. On the subject of immigration, I know what he would say: The economic evidence is clear that America needs more immigrants.

Great article.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:08 PM | Comments (8)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Good stuff, brother JG, mostly agreed with one nit:

Having any kids, not to mention more than two, has come to be considered "selfish" and "wasteful."
Another breeder says "not quite." Only the hardcore Progs are trying to throw babies out with the recycled bath water, and even they are non-foolish enough to keep it covert. (Read a Sierra Club brochure to familiarize y'sef with da' code...)
Generally, now that offspring are (much)less needed to work the farm, churn the butter, chew the fat and all that, and (somewhat) less needed to care for the elderly - as in "me" - the drive to have multiple children has lessened significantly. Having fewer children also leaves more time and money for "Me." Now that last sentence sounds selfish (as it is), so the enlightened, would-be elists crowd has learned to finesse it into altruistic gaia-servitude.
All in all, agreed. As far as us multiple-generation American borns keeping the breed going, review "The Roe Effect"!

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 21, 2017 11:32 PM
But jk thinks:

RE: the Four Rules: I appreciate that you're trying to craft the Constitution while I got the cushy job of writing the Declaration of Independence. Yes, to reify lofty, ambitious goals will require some compromises.

If I've truly convinced you and you just need a practical framework, my work here is done. However...

My objection to your eminently reasonable "designated point of entry" is that today's Paul Erlichs, like one Rep. Steve King (White Guy - IA), have placed insuperable barriers on legal entry. I wish to get rid of illegal immigration by making legal immigration easy. That should satisfy both of us but I can't see its happening.

I think all Americans should oughtta follow your other rules. Your specifying immigrants makes me think my work is not done. We don't put conditions on the new births at St. Joseph's today; some will disregard the constitution. Our new arrivals, like native born, are a resource.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2017 10:53 AM
But jk thinks:

RE: Congressman King: I could not disagree more fulsomely.

What fundamentally separates America from other nations is that we are bound by ideas and not race and not tenure. That place is called France. It's lovely. They have stunning vistas and delicious cheeses. But their nation is built on a geographical and racial identity.

You can't become French but you can become American, like my lovely immigrant bride has. I'm the ThreeSources slacker in the reproduction department, but her sisters' kids are very very very very much American.

Rep. King's contradict that which truly makes America exceptional.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2017 11:03 AM
But jk thinks:

RE: Reproduction rate: not only are five kids not needed to work the farm (JG makes do with f-o-u-r), but thankfully, half are not going to die before they're five. Looking at Steven Pinker's "Better Angels" as a society gets wealthy, the fertility rate goes down.

(To bring the discussion home, it's a huge reason Erlich was wrong.)

I'm deeply concerned about America's. The green guilt crowd is one reason. I also see sense in Glenn Reynolds's concern that we've made it less fun. There is always some scold checking your car seat, lecturing about nutrition, or ensuring that your ten year old was not home alone in a locked house for two hours. While the marginal benefit of "fun" has decreased, the marginal cost of dollars has gone up.

Whatever -- and I suspect it's an amalgam -- it's worrying.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2017 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm worried too, brothers. But the antidote to my fears resides in a dogged defense of the Constitution and its essential limits upon government. Hence, my "rules" above.

Yes, I wrote them for immigrants, as that was the topic du jour, but they are equally applicable to citizens. Agreed.

As for the controversial Congressman King, some are inclined to assume he is a racist and wishes only the worst for muslims, blacks and Catholics. Not me. Personally, I think he is, simply, "deeply concerned about America's" future. And what better way to extend the exceptional history of America and Americans, than for Americans to procreate greater numbers of offspring? There is no racial test here. The only qualifier I used was "western" citizens. By which, I mean, fully committed to the primacy of individual rights.

And I'll push back on nb's claim that "only the hardcore Progs" are anti-baby. They are certainly the number one cheerleader for choosing abortion over parenthood, but the message has been well received by far too many of our ideologically-neutral brothers and sisters (mostly sisters.) President Obama (bad example, I know, since he's a hardcore Prog) famously said he didn't want one of his daughters to be "punished" with a baby. In the best possible light he meant legally prohibited from self-determination, but the idea that nature's greatest miracle is some sort of criminal sentence is off-putting, to say the least. And then there is the birthrate. I'm fine with it being lower than it was a century ago, but for our economy to grow in real terms our population must grow as well. Replacement rate of human capital plus a moderate safety margin is a concept I'm sure my Bernankean blog brother can appreciate and support. (Unless we're all resigned to a Bill Gates future where we're all replaced by well-taxed robots.) And in that case, screw it all because, really, what's the point?

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2017 3:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, more people, yay! More 'Muricans, more immigrants! I think Rep. King agrees with half of that.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2017 3:49 PM

December 31, 2016

Problem with autonomous cars


We don't have enough donated organs to take care of the patients who need transplants as it is, and one in five organs used in transplants come from vehicular accidents. When the number of automotive-related deaths plummets from self-driving cars, one of the most reliable sources of healthy human organs and tissues will plummet as well. Most analyses suggest that autonomous vehicles will eventually prevent over half of the 35,000 deaths that occur on American roads each year, and some reports are much more optimistic.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2016

Equal Time

"What's the word? Gettysburg!"

Here on "Occupy Democrats" [fourth comment] we believe in giving equal time to both sides. Never Trumper Jonah Goldberg had his say below. As a Never Hillaryer ? I now give you Trump's Gettysburg speech, made yesterday. After a 10-minute intro by America's Governor, once a jk fave, Trump's remarks begin at 10:00. If you click play, however, you will start at what I feel is the meat of the speech where he discusses the raison d'etre of the "establishment," how it uses corruption to cling to power, and his proposal to change Washington and restore economic power to the voters, not the special interests. Enjoy!

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:45 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I thank you for your humor on the scurrilous "Occupy Democrats": charge. As a meme I liked on Facebook said "After the election, I hope we can all still be friends. Even if we're in different FEMA camps."

But the charge of Walmart* destroying Main Street with predatory pricing is right out of their playbook. (I hope everyone has seen the Penn & Teller BS on Wal-Mart -- it's one of the top three in our house.)

Walmart drives out competitors by offering better goods, prices, and service. As did A & P, Montgomery Wards, and a string of retail innovators before them.

Aaaaaand he's back. At 18:05 he hits the AT&T - Time Warner merger "a deal we will not approve in my administration." Oh.

"Likewise, Amazon should be paying massive taxes... and what that is doing to department stores." I took an online Econ 101 course taught by A Hillsdale prof, and that was his favorite example of disruption. The small towns in the frontier had a dirty store with high prices, low selection and nosy ownership. People have been delighted to receive every innovation but each has been greeted with worry about the inferiors' being lost.

Not only new deals. The Trump Administration -- like on NAFTA -- has given itself license to look over old deals and break them up. On Comcast's merger: "and we'll look at breaking that deal up and other deals like it."

At least Teddy Roosevelt had erudite charm.

I cannot bend principle far enough to accommodate this. I'm sorry the Speaker Gingrich and Mayor Giuliani can.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2016 1:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I did not listen to every word, much as I tried. I had to quit about 25 minutes in. And I was listening for the wheat while you were likely attuned to the chaff.

I did hear him say that "Amazon is paying nothing in taxes - they should be paying massive taxes." Let me do my best Bill Clinton impersonation here: That depends on your definition of the word "should."

If you mean that, under current tax codes, where corporations are taxed on their profits higher than in virtually any other country on earth, then yes, the highly profitable Amazon should be paying, as Donald likes to say, "obscene taxes" like he pays.

If, on the other hand, you mean under tax codes as they should be, where corporations are not taxed because all taxes are ultimately borne by individuals anyway and the fair and transparent way to tax individuals is directly, without chicanery that inflates the prices of goods and services, then no, Amazon should not be paying massive taxes.

In the light of recent criticism of Trump based on his carry-forward losses exempting him from taxes until those losses are re-earned, I conclude that Trump is referring to the first of those two definitions of "should" in which case, I agree with him.

The AT&T -Time/CNN merger is a special case of "Trust Busting" being as they are media giants, whom he had accused earlier in his speech of corruption and collusion with the federal Leviathan. I join his opposition to giving them more power.

And finally, on the analogy I made between the Wal-Mart effect on a small town and the Chinese currency manipulation and "illegal dumping" on the entire US economic system, I submit there is a difference in how the wielder of economic control will treat its customers once their competition is vanquished. Contests between commercial foes are called "commerce." Contests between geopolitical foes are called "wars."

But maybe we'll still get clean stores with copious selection after our national flag is changed from having fifty stars to one really, really big one... and all the white stripes are changed to match the red ones.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2016 4:30 PM

October 19, 2016

The Trump Doctrine on Trade

We haven't argued about this in a while. Largely, I believe, because Trump's positions were just populist slogans with little in the way of detail behind them. Two co-authors, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, change that with an RCP piece called "The Trump Trade Doctrine: A Path to Growth & Budget Balance." You might have noticed that it doesn't say, "and more American jobs." But that's because the jobs are a consequence, not a protectionist windfall.

Some excerpts:

Budget-deficit hawks often insist that the only way to balance the Federal budget is to raise taxes or cut spending. The far smarter path to balance the budget is simply to grow our economy faster.

No argument here, right? This is supply-side 101 and, in my mind at least, is a fantastic open to the article. I think I'm gonna like these guys.

You will notice we have not mentioned tariffs. They will be used if necessary against mercantilist cheating, but only in a very precise and defensive way.

Ultimately, our view is that doing nothing about unfair trade practices is the most hazardous course of action - and the results of this hazard are lived out every day by millions of displaced American workers and deteriorating communities. We simply cannot trade on their one-sided terms; they are just too destructive to the U.S. growth process.

I encourage the wonks to read the whole thing, and I expect there are elements you will be critical of (i.e. sell commodities to foreign companies to offset the deficit of buying their value-added goods) but on the whole it does look a lot more like fair trade than no trade.

And then there's that whole GDP growth thingey.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:27 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

I poorly tried to accept that some very small part of their claims were true, meaning some factory closures and job loss.

And, no, my Pareto boundaries are US -- from the forthcoming terrific wall on the south to the land of Tim Horton's up north. The huge, positive effects on world poor are gravy.

Taking your paragraph as example, you're going to create how many jobs to offset $2,000 for every household? At least my winners and losers are lopsided toward winners. We're going to start making party favors and USB thumb-drive covers in Youngstown, Ohio and employ five million (fire up the improbability drive, Zaphod!). And 295 million are going to pay higher prices? And be less competitive selling to the world.

I join my lefty friends in asking, just what golden age is Trump dreaming of restoring? Pre Nafta? Was that paradise? I like skinny ties and all...

Posted by: jk at October 20, 2016 6:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "exact cause of our innovation and prosperity" is international trade that pits our private corporations against state-subsidized competitors in communist China?

Posted by: johngalt at October 20, 2016 7:22 PM
But jk thinks:

We are clearly going to need beer.

The "exact cause of our innovation and prosperity" is our ability to use our comparative advantage and productivity, leveraging a worldwide supply chain and catering to a worldwide market, yes -- was that what you were trying to say?

The iPhone contains parts manufactured in 42 countries. You'd rather we all a black rotary dial from Ma Bell -- made right here in Patterson, New Jersey. I'd rather we had iPhones and a domestic ecosystem of developers and designers.

Posted by: jk at October 20, 2016 8:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mmmm, beer.

No that is not what I was trying to say. I was trying to say, I love comparative advantage and free trade and I am not convinced that the global economic trade is free and fair.

Because, while Boeing and Exxon-Mobil and Apple and Google and WalMart are giant, powerful, multinational corporations they are paupers in comparison to the Chinese government, who can legitimately be claimed to be their direct competitors.

There are three options: Ramp up federal subsidies of US corporations to compete with Chinese subsidies, tell the Chinese that we will severely curtail trade unless they desist subsidization, or just keep the status quo.

Trump's is the second of these three options. It is also, as I see it, the best.

Posted by: johngalt at October 21, 2016 12:00 PM
But dagny thinks:

Of course the game is rigged. Don't let that stop you--if you don't play, you can't win.

Robert A. Heinlein (of course)

Sorry JG, but I think your number 2 option is a very dangerous and unnecessary game of chicken.

But I'm just going to let JK handle this one.

Posted by: dagny at October 21, 2016 1:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

All y'all did notice that I tagged this post "internecine" right? Even dagny is arguing with me!

By "unnecessary" am I to assume that you are in favor of the status quo? You don't see anything dangerous or harmful in that?

Posted by: johngalt at October 21, 2016 3:59 PM

September 13, 2016

Some might call them "RINO"

Not me though. I know better. There's no such thing as someone who calls himself Republican, works as a campaign professional on behalf of Republican candidates, but who actually prefers when Democrats are elected if the Republican alternative doesn't have truly Democratic tendencies at heart.

"I've heard a lot of conservatives voicing frustration, like, 'How fucking hard is this, Hillary?'" said Ben Howe, a conservative ad-maker and an outspoken Trump detractor. "That's the only reason I'm panicked these days I'm losing faith in Hillary's ability to win this easy-ass election."

Many more quotes along these lines here, mostly unattributed.

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

[Point of order: Microsoft's new Edge browser will not let you go back if you mistype the password. Harsh! Be extra cautious.]

Mr. Trump is far enough outside the "GOP Mainstream" that I am not surprised to see Republican hoping he loses. He will certainly take the party in his direction if he wins.

I don't like that from a trade and immigration standpoint, but no doubt many feel that way on abortion or traditional marriage. He is not your typical Republican (c.f., "Paid Maternity Leave).

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2016 4:13 PM

December 28, 2015

Drunks and Drug Dealers

Bank robbers and killers
Drunks and drug dealers
Only crazy people
Fall in love with me -- The Wreckers
I'm always wary of a headline purporting to "bust myths." They frequently claim authority to advance an idea less grounded in facts that the myth. But I gave Paul Mirengoff at PowerLine a click for "The Myth of Over Incarceration."
We are led to believe that blacks are victims of the criminal justice system in large part because, thanks to the war on drugs, our prisons are overflowing with low-level drug offenders, a disproportionate number of whom are African-American. The left, including our President, the mainstream media, and others who love to cast our country in a bad light mindlessly parrot this theme.
Lets accede to some overlap. Anti-American sentiment is pretty heavy in the community which complains. Check. Demanding racial quotas to match the prison population does not match my idea of rule of law. Check. I concede that law in order in a vibrant society like ours requires enforcement. But enough Kumbayas.

Mirengoff's complaint is that drug offenders are a minority of inmates -- especially in state prisons and that most of these are dealers and not users. See? Everything's fine. Less than half of people in Federal Prison are in there for buying something or selling something that somebody else wanted. Presumably, we could imprison all the country's Japanese Americans and it would not be a violation of rights until they hit the magic 50% mark.

At the risk of disposing Christmas goodwill too early with two Internecine posts on Dec 28, I think we have, in Randy Barnett's words, "An inalienable right to property in our own person." This tradition traces itself back to JS Mill and says you cannot put me in jail for what I do to myself. Ergo: all the non-dealers are wrongly imprisoned. Whether or not they are a majority, every single one is a tragedy and a wrong.

But, dealers, jk! Drug dealers!

Well, I live in Colorado. And we have legal drug dealers who pay taxes and try to figure out how to do business in cash because their federal government disallows their being offered bank services. Maybe the Fed guys are in for heroin, but JS Mill was not so specific on Schedule I compounds versus Schedule II.

I don't suspect these guys are schoolboys. If they kill somebody to acquire turf, let's prosecute them for murder. And if we could just release 20% of non-violent inmates that would be a game changer. Sorry, I find that "myth" still holds.

UPDATE: Mea Culpa, I had misspelled Mirengoff. ThreeSources regrets the error.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:23 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I am ideologically sympathetic to your side, so I asked my jack-booted brother in law (the cop) about this "myth." He said most of the low-level possession offenses that result in jail time are cases that were pled down from a heavyweight (i.e. dealing) possession. "There's no incentive for the cop on the street to bust casual users."

So in effect, those on your side [whom I don't concatenate with you philosophically] are saying that dealers should plead down to a minor possession beef, and then be released because it was "only a minor possession."

And they aren't busting the neighborhood pot buddies; rather, the crack and heroin "businessmen."

The invisible hand that holds the needle and spoon may as well hold a dagger. Or do you suggest FDA regulation and labeling of recreational heroin? Ideologically I'm good with that. Morally, notsomuch. I s'pose this is my one (or one of very few) communitarian weakness.

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2015 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

And my communitarian weakness is to permit some restrictions on advertising heroin to toddlers during Saturday morning cartoons. (Flag this for oppo research should I ever choose to seek public office...)

Mirengoff also makes the case that the offenses all tend to be "plead-to;" I was perhaps ungenerous in omitting that. I think we differ in how far up the nasty drug-dealer chart we draw our red line. Yes there are brutal, murderous narco-terrorists up the chain which I must admit are "bad guys." But to Mirengoff, any seller is a dealer and ipso facto bad guy. I cannot love commerce as I do and accept that. A guy who brings in a half pound of weed (I'm probably showing my age, half and full pounds were common in my youth) and parcels it out to his adult friends for their convenience is by definition a dealer but not the hardened thug Mirengoff imagines.

John Stossel did a segment on an accident victim. Dude is in a wheelchair: employed, married, a few kids. He fills a prescription for his pain meds. That night he gets the SWAT raid, Three pills left over from his old prescription plus the prescription is over the limit! He's "a dealer" and served 10-15 years.

I hope that is rare, but when I hear "these guys are dealers!" I have to factor that in.

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2015 6:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

SWAT raids of homes to find evidence to bust drug dealers. ATF raids of cult compounds to find evidence to bust, what - statutory rape? Class 3 firearms? Both seem unwarranted to me, and an abuse of state power for dubious ends.

And yet federal agents cannot even merely "infiltrate" mosques. In this light, it's impossible to argue that no-knock federal raids are conducted "for public safety."

Posted by: johngalt at December 30, 2015 6:16 PM

October 8, 2015

The stumble party bumbles

I don't like calling the GOP the stupid party, especially while Biden, Boxer, DeGette, McDermott and Waters live, bloviate & regulate (alphabetically, not by IQ). Even if we consent to agree the Democrats be labeled the corrupt party, especially with their vaunted leader: Her Royal Corruptness.

Still, this week nearly made me give that up. So, I researched the news on McCarthy's gaffe on Hannity; which upon analysis appears to more a tool for Sturm und Drang agitators like Steinberg and Morris than a complete meltdown that requires the services of a "political strategist and analyst" like Steinberg to find a new speaker (nudge, nudge). Here's what the presumptive Speaker said:

... a conservative speaker, that takes a conservative Congress, that puts a strategy to fight and win. And let me give you one example. Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because shes un-trustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought and made that happen.

Geraghty for once goes for understatement; "heck of a start." Even Gowdy stayed with "Just wrong, Kevin" while Politico tried to fan the flames with a splashy, "Gowdy Slams McCarthy" headline.

So, handing ammunition to the opposition is still going to be part of the Speaker's schtick... lovely. At least this unforced error took place during a time when the collateral effect was minimal; let's hope he learns and this leads impetus to the HFC's efforts to get a solid conservative [note: McCarthy's Heritage rating is 60%... pretty decent for a pretty-boy] into the leader's position.

That apparently is the thrust of the vote for Duncan Hunter [83%] for Speaker: to show the GOP caucus how many votes HFC commands, in order to build support for their choice for Majority Leader.

Let's hope... I still like McClintock [90%]

Posted by nanobrewer at 1:02 AM | Comments (8)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Not to fuel the fires of gossip or anything, but McCarthy backed up very quickly after Rep. Jones announced that whoever runs for the speakership needs to be untainted by scandal, which rules out McCarthy. Speculation is that his ongoing relationship with a certain Congresswoman from NC might run afoul of that, and he's concerned that it may get revealed publicly.

I think there are maybe six people in the world who know McCarthy but don't know about his alleged intramural relationship, but apparently he was concerned about one of those six finding out.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 8, 2015 2:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think the McCarthy withdrawal is simpler than that, KA. The royal guards told him to step aside when it became clear his gaffe was all of the ammunition the HFC needed to block his ascendency. And Boehner abruptly halted the proceedings until they can line up a new fair-haired boy to foist upon the House rabble.

It may not be a successful strategy, but it was better than their alternative.

Posted by: johngalt at October 8, 2015 4:29 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

As this was the first I'd heard of it, I went looking and good god, but the rumors are already flying fast, furious and ugly:

Internet address originating from the Department of Homeland Security was tied to entries made on the Wikipedia pages of North Carolina Rep. Renee Ellmers and California Rep. Kevin McCarthy, alleging that the two Republicans were having an affair.

Daily Caller is no Enquirer and this is spooky stuff... which can "come around" if you get my drift. Either way this is ugly: the presumptive speaker was having an extra-marital affair about which "everybody knew" or he was sneaking around a la John Edwards. I suppose the good is that this (and he) is now "out."

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2015 11:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And that he wasn't having an affair with a Democrat.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2015 11:44 AM
But Jk thinks:

Just watched the Hillary! commercial Rep. McCarthy starred in. I wish he would have spent more time fooling around.


Posted by: Jk at October 9, 2015 4:36 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Here is a good article about one thing that he powerfully supported, and effectively enacted:

The D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program helped 6,252 low-income District students attend parochial or other private or voucher schools.

When President Obama took office, he wanted to end the voucher program, a bugaboo of the teachers’ unions. However, Boehner was able to get it reauthorized and expanded to $20 million in 2011 as part of a budget deal with the White House.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 10, 2015 2:43 AM

September 23, 2015


Never heard of it, or Charles Cook, but he's published a Manifesto!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:54 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Some bald dude on the Internet gave it five stars!

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2015 10:22 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And since writing this, I've seen his name twice and even heard him mentioned on the radio! My mind, it seems, is not in the game at times....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 24, 2015 11:53 PM

September 11, 2015

Still missing the forest for the trees

On this 14th sad anniversary of 9/11, as the President of the United States prepares to deliver to the ideological creators of Islamism not bombs, but billions of American taxpayers' dollars, I was inspired by a Facebook meme to revisit Leonard Peikoff's 'End States Who Sponsor Terrorism' advertisement from October 2nd, 2001 edition of the New York Times.

I recalled we had discussed that essay on these pages, and that it was not well received. I see now that much if not all of the blame for that falls on my shoulders. I foolishly suggested that the war against Islamism could be won with superior firepower. It cannot, and Peikoff knows that. He said as much in his essay. It can only be won by the equivalent of the "de-Nazification" of Iran. To my credit, I did at least excerpt that portion of his essay in my 2005 post.

Eliminating Iran's terrorist sanctuaries and military capability is not enough. We must do the equivalent of de-Nazifying the country, by expelling every official and bringing down every branch of its government. This goal cannot be achieved painlessly, by weaponry alone. It requires invasion by ground troops, who will be at serious risk, and perhaps a period of occupation. But nothing less will "end the state" that most cries out to be ended."

The whole piece is worth re-reading, as I did, with nine more years of experience under our belts. Please do so and see if perhaps your judgment of Peikoff's conclusions was as mistaken as was my proposed way forward.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:57 PM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, I seem to recall commenting one time, if not two, that regime change was the only real solution. Sadly, the slow and rocky road to the Arab Spring sort of quashed any momentum we might have had (tho' it didn't stop Hillary from nudging Libya into anarchy).

As a point of order: were the Iranians positively tied to 9/11?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 12, 2015 11:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Iran was not linked to 9/11, legally or militarily. Peikoff's point, however, is that they are linked to it ideologically:

If one were under a Nazi aerial bombardment, it would be senseless to restrict oneself to combatting Nazi satellites while ignoring Germany and the ideological plague it was working to spread. What Germany was to Nazism in the 1940s, Iran is to terrorism today. Whatever else it does, therefore, the U.S. can put an end to the Jihad-mongers only by taking out Iran.
Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2015 12:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Two great things about having a blog of such longevity:

-- The fame, income, and influence it affords;
-- I do enjoy reprocessing an old discussion.

I'm going to be a bit stubborn on this one and postpone my rapprochement with Mr. Peikoff for another year. I first am going to push back on his selection of Iran as a singular locus of evil. Evil, yes, but we could hand out a lot of plaques in their neighborhood.

He dates the start of Islamic extremism to the '79 revolution and places Iran at the root node. I do not share that. I remain heavily influenced by Lawrence Wright's "The Looming Tower." Wright lays a historical, ideological foundation on Sayyid Qtub (a man about whom, Jonah Goldberg says "desperately needs to 'buy a vowel'"). Wright documents Salafist, Sunni origins leading directly to Osama bin Laden.

My second new datum is discussion with blog friend tgreer. We don't always agree but he is steeped in diplomatic/strategic thinking on foreign policy, and is exceptionally learned in that area. Throughout the contretemps over the Iran Deal, he has railed against conservatives, right wingers, republicans and nascar retards in general over Iran hate.

Our friend looks at ISIS, and Saudi Arabia, and Syria, and wonders why Iran has been singled out. I pushed back on this and won't rehash all the arguments here. But he did plant a seed. If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

Ten years ago, I thought I had the answers and I tread a bit more cautiously. But sand into glass does not seem the moral or efficacious way out.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2015 2:16 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:
If we had a long alliance with Iran and I suggested that we should switch sides and support Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, you'd rightly tell me I was out of my mind.

I'm trying see to which mind you're in; the sentence doesn't make sense to me....

"Iran Hate" is based on their ideological bent, and their $400B economy, with solid reserves of oil and NG and a sophisticated arms industry. Still, I'll wait to hear more from someone well versed in the highly-touted Looming Tower. Yes, the Saudis do fund Salafists, but they don't allow them to get ICBMs, nor to topple other governments.

Syria? You've got to be kidding (I think LT is now out of date on them...); even before their recent donnybrooks they had the economy of New Hampshire, no navy and the Turks leaning over their shoulder... all they can create is refugees. I'm not even that worried about the Norks (49th GDP-wise, were they to be a state); and they HAVE nuke-tipped, ICBMs.... wobblier than their mentally-IL leader.

Sand into glass? No, no, when I say regime change I mean an orange, pink or puce revolution...

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 14, 2015 11:30 PM

February 13, 2015


Some guys can't catch a break. Now that it's over, Ruchir Sharma comes out on the prestigious WSJ Ed Page in fulsome support of Stealthflation, which I vigorously opposed.

While there are many reasons behind the decline in the price of oil, one of them is the end of QE, which has reduced speculation in commodities and strengthened the dollar. The price of oil and the dollar have long been known to move in opposite directions. Now, the sharp decline in the price of oil and other commodities like food is putting more money in the pockets of the middle class.

I think I still put more weight on other "many reasons," but let it not be said that I do not play fair.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Well you did totally crush me in the GLD/SPY wager.

One of the many reasons in addition to the end of QE is the beginning of Euro QE.

And speaking of putting more money in the pockets of the middle class, consider this: Office supply big box Staples, like many retailers, has a low profit margin. (SPLS' is 2.67% and the "Food and Staples" sector of the S&P500 is 2.9 on average. (No, not the same kind of staples.))

"So what's your point, pointy head?" My point is that government makes more net profit from the gross revenues of these "evil corporations" business than the "evil" corporations themselves do. The average state and local sales tax, nationwide, is about 7%, or more than double that of WalMart: 3.27%.

Talk about a drag on the economy. And government didn't even build that!

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2015 11:56 AM

January 16, 2015

Core CPI

I teased my Facebook friends that "nobody blames the eeevil speculators when oil prices go down!" (Don't worry, none of them got it.)

But I might let a salvo loose here. A corollary is "nobody bitches about energy's non-inclusion in the core CPI when oil prices go down!" Am I wrong? When gas is $4, I am assured it's incontrovertible evidence of inflation. At $1.859, nobody's asking Janet Yellen to cry havoc and let slip the dogs of liquidity.

U.S. consumers are seeing prices rise at the slowest annual pace in more than five years, largely thanks to a global plunge in oil prices, presenting a potential complication for the Federal Reserve as it looks to raise interest rates this year.

The consumer-price index, which measures what Americans pay for everything from coffee to airline tickets, rose 0.8% in December from the same month a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday. Decembers 0.8% annual rise was the smallest since October 2009, when prices fell 0.2% on the year.

(Yes, that is $1.859 and yes that is a 10 gallon tank.)

Posted by John Kranz at 12:27 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

No no no, you've got it all wrong. We're merely in a Stealtflationary pause.


(And this a comedic pause.)


Fair cop. And I probably deserve it for not restricting the scope of my new economic measure to fiscal, rather than monetary, causes. I'm sure I have described it differently in the past but I think my original concept was that the cost of things was going up for reasons other than monetary inflation. Things like tax policy, regulation, mandates and other government distortions of the market.

So with apologies to Uncle Milton, "Inflation is everywhere and always a monetary phenomenon, while stealthflation is everywhere and always caused by one of the many other idiotic things government does."

What we're seeing in today's fuel prices is the result of private competition succeeding faster than government had expected, and thus outstripping the (non-inflationary) price raising power of government. But the bureaucrats are trying their damnedness to catch up.

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2015 2:47 PM

December 20, 2014

jk Solves the GOP Immigration Dilemna

Who better to wed pragmatic politics to smart policy? Wait -- don't answer that. But do give this a spin:

I applaud my blog brother for a well thought out outline of a plan to move forward. Curiously, I would be all in but do not think it will be accepted by my opponents. There is not a great amount of good faith between both sides. Any path to citizenship generally gets called "amnesty;" and the first time I hear "amnesty" I shut down respectful engagement.

But I have a suggestion. I recommended this month's Reason magazine for the Ted Cruz cover story. I also just finished Shikha Dalmia's excellent story on immigration. Dalmia -- and indeed most everybody at Reason and me -- decries the limited number of legal opportunities for immigration. "Get in line!" say opponents of illegal immigration. They skipped the line, make the ones currently here get back in line &c. I -- and Reason -- counter that there is no line.

There is not. There is a lottery and a lottery is not a line. If there are 50 spots and you are #51 -- you are not first next year. Any place there is a semblance of an orderly queue, it is like the Boulder Gun Club which has a 310 year waiting list. Yes Mr. Kranz, sign right there -- we'll call you or use whatever form of communication is common in 2315.

THE NEW GOP IMMIGRATION PLAN: create and enforce orderly queues for H1-B, Farm workers, family reunification, hardship cases, and I'd hope to add a guest worker queue. This will allow Congress to raise or lower quotas as needed. If they are too small as they are now, there is a risk that illegal crossings will continue. But I am willing to think those on the other side of the disagreement are better. Some Union guys and some protectionists will want to shut it down, but most people who see respect for law and sovereignty would not object. And the powerful Chamber of Commerce wing of the party would push the quotas up.

With a legal path, my team would loosen up on allowing enforcement. If a line is indeed extant, you can punish those who jump it.

Still 11 million unresolved issues, but the legislature would need to devise a method to get the current undocumented in line. Make them return to their home country to apply if you must. I disagree strongly but won't have this shot down with the A-word. You would think many would do what it takes to get legal status. Worst case it leaves them hear but at least moves us to an orderly system going forward.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:46 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It seems so simple!

Posted by: johngalt at December 21, 2014 3:38 AM

December 15, 2014

Match. Fuse. jk.

I'm off the Ted Cruz (Presidential Candidate - TX) bandwagon.

To be fair, I was never 100% comfortably seated. He has a compelling biography and I enjoyed his speech at the 2012 GOP convention. But, while he can be a principled voice for liberty, I have always found it mixed in equal parts with self-aggrandizement.

I accept that not a lot of humble people run for President. I laugh that -- when I really pinned them down-- what really bothered my progressive friends about President George W. Bush was "arrogance." And I'll concede there was some frat-boy bravado behind the legendary "smirk." I laugh because the new occupant of 1600 Penn is a messianic megalomaniac, but the same crowd is not so much disturbed.

I relate the partisan nature because I must also admit that my preferred candidate, Rand Paul (Presidential Candidate - KY), shares some of the same faults. Yet I assert that Sen. Paul is "doing what it takes to be elected as a 'pragmatic' libertarian."

We'll have plenty of time to sort it out before 2016, but Sen. Cruz's unfortunate stunt cost the cause of liberty dearly.

But Cruz's last-minute procedural maneuver to demand a vote on immigration scuttled that deal and forced senators to stay in Washington for the weekend. Not only did the immigration vote fail by a wide margin, 74-22, but the maneuver allowed Democrats to advance a slate of two dozen Obama nominees to executive branch positions faster than they otherwise would have proceeded.

The nominations include Tony Blinken as deputy secretary of state, Dr. Vivek Murthy as surgeon general, Sarah Saldana as head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Carolyn Colvin to lead the Social Security Administration. These, in addition to several judicial appointments, are expected to begin processing on Monday.

"It will have the end result of causing nominees who I think are not well qualified to be confirmed, so I don't understand the approach that he is taking," Republican Susan Collins of Maine told The New York Times. "And I think it's very unfortunate and counterproductive."

Bluto: "This calls for a pointless gesture!" Exactly that for which my Facebook Feed cries. Had he done it over overspending, I might have a bit more sympathy. No, it is over the red-meat, base-firing-up issue of "amnesty!"

So screw it -- he can't even be Vice President now.

UPDATE: "fart-boy corrected to "frat-boy;" ThreeSources apologizes...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:36 AM | Comments (16)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... Are we to trust Candy Crowley and George Stephanopoulos..."

Hell, no.

"Well, I did try to start a fight..."

Didn't take it as such; like the favored candidates I named, I think all of us here agree on a lot more than not. What distinguishes us doesn't divide us. Huh; maybe a lot of people in politics could learn something from us. We may have significant differences on guns, religion, drugs, or immigration that make us all interesting. I know I've changed since I first started participated here, and I'm the better for it.

"But I am still choosing."

If history is any teacher, I will likely have to change my choices somewhere along the way as mine fall by the wayside. We've had some interesting conversations on these pages about the relative ranking of past presidents, and I wouldn't be averse to doing the same to the field of candidates. Besides the ones already named in the comments up to this point, are there any I've missed that we might want to include at this point?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 15, 2014 7:53 PM
But Jk thinks:

Condoleeza Rice.

Posted by: Jk at December 15, 2014 8:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

So this story from a lefty journal (as did one in WaPo that PowerLine cited) notes the following as confirmed:

a deputy Sec. of State, Surgeon Gen'l (disliked by the NRA for some social media posts), the head of SSC, the lead of ICE... what, maybe 2-3 weeks earlier than they would have otherwise been?

Talk about a tempest in a teapot. And why hold fire on Sen. Lee? B/c he's not targeted by the liberal media, is all I can see.

Mostly importantly, is there any doubt dingy Harry would have gotten these appt's confirmed before the GOP wave washed in? The media avoided that little detail, as apparently everyone here did. Lastly, I'll say these stories are working on GOP fratricide the way Sharpton worked the crowds in Ferguson. Put down the matches, my fellow walkers.

Cruz is not likely to get very far in GOP primary land b/c he is so principled, well-spoken and would rather "Fight, than switch" (to cite an old death-stick schtick from the ole' days)...oh, and such a target for liberal bile.

If we're going to pile on one of our best and brightest, can it be over something real, and not just "annoying Republicans" or giving the liberal media an inviting target?

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 15, 2014 11:34 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Doubling down on Nanobrewer's: Twitchy weighs in on whether this is Cruz' fault:

Money quote: "Thanks to Ted Cruz, Mike Lee & the other conservatives who are being smeared for doing what the whole GOP should be doing."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 16, 2014 12:04 AM
But jk thinks:

I wondered if I would get a full throated defense of Sen. Cruz. Well played!

Senate rules and procedures are such witchery that it is hard to say who is right. My understanding was that Cruz's tactic forced the session to last over the weekend and that this gave Sen. Reid an extra few days' tenure as Majority Leader. Without Cruz, he would have had to convince his caucus to stay an extra weekend -- and we are not talking about men and women with Peyton Manning's work ethic.

I consider another three days of the 113th Senate an unalloyed bad. I don't agree with Sen. Lindsey Graham (FOXNews - SC) everyday, but I join him in desire to close the book on 113 and -- as the great political philosopher Bob Segar said -- turn the page.

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2014 10:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Here's an interesting article on Cruz' strategy, suggesting that "it seems all but a given that [he] will mount a bid for the White House."

The assumption from one Cruz adviser is that it is the filter of the media that has generated the negativity surrounding Cruz and fueled the misperceptions about him. If he runs for president, the idea is that voters will see him unfiltered, and that he will succeed in persuading them. He will first have to win a primary, and another senior adviser tells me that there, he expects most of the contenders to offer poor imitations of Cruz's anti-Washington shtick. "Do you think anybody's going to out-anti-Washington Ted Cruz?" he asks. "Good luck."
Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2014 3:59 PM

November 22, 2014

Wherein jk Parts Company with Jonah Goldberg

Jonah -- proudly -- represents Burkean conservatism and I am grounded more in a Lockean, rights-based libertarianism. So we have parted on shading and nuance several times. But my history with, respect for, and appreciation for Goldberg has always provided the benefit of the doubt to his case.

But we have found a cross product of -1 on an important issue. Jonah finds mondo-scientist and hateful shirt-rocker Matt Taylor culpable in shirtgate -- not of misogyny, but of fashion violations and a class 3 abuse of casual Friday.

Many of my friends and colleagues on the anti-PC right have responded with understandable outrage. And it's true: Taylor's confession of wrongdoing did feel forced -- awfully North Korean.

Still, the feminists have a point. Although I like the shirt (which is now selling like hotcakes), I would never wear it to a nice restaurant, never mind on a globally broadcast TV interview. The reason I wouldn't wear it has very little to do with my fear of offending feminists. It's simply unsuitable professional attire. I'd ask critics of the feminist backlash, would you wear it on a job interview? How about to church or synagogue?

So the Burke-Locke split is just a small creek compared to the sartorial ocean that divides me and Mister Goldberg. I always wanted to explore things more deeply with blog friend Perry. He was a Wall-Streeter and his blog linked to the occasional "Ten Must-Do Men's Dressing Tips" of which I would follow . . . zero.

There is a huge split between East Coast and West US, more between urban and rural, and a monstrous divide between technical professions and New York Journalism. I don't know that I'd wear "the shirt" to a job interview but I have interviewed and hired many who were dressed equally casually. Nor would I refrain from hiring a candidate who showed up in that. I would shave points off only if it reinforced some other concerns.

I think a lot of people choose technical professions because they don't like to dress up. And on a higher plane, most want to be accepted for their achievements if not the content of their character -- certainly not the color of their shirt. Law and Investment Banking might be swell occupations, but to the tech worker they appear capricious with the attractive, well dressed and obsequious worker advancing faster than his or her better qualified rivals.

Doctor Taylor probably went into science to avoid being judged by his shirt. Jonah Goldberg makes a mistake to apply his standards outside his profession.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:14 PM | Comments (5)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Sounds like a finalist for defining kerfuffle, but I'm happy the news cycle is slow. For what it's worth, I agree 100% with JK, right down to agreeing with Mr. Goldberg 99% of the time.

I've noticed this sartorial divide as well.... strengthens my resolve to never live east of Denver!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2014 12:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Perhaps I need modify my pronouncement of Friday last - "Only women, and gentrified easterners, notice clothes." I realize this suggests our blog friend Perry is gentrified but I'll guess he prefers that to "blue collar."

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2014 1:09 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm still doing the math. Brother nb agrees with Jonah 99% of the time; jk agrees with Jonah 99% of the time. Yet, jk & nb agree with each other about 90% of the time.

It's not quite the Riemann Hypothesis, but it does give one pause...

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 1:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just nobody, ever, say "97%" and I'm good.

Posted by: johngalt at November 24, 2014 2:37 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at November 24, 2014 5:03 PM

October 20, 2014

Adam Smith on Crack

Now that's a provocative headline! Upworthy here we come!

I highlighted a couple of quotes from Sunday's Review Corner of Russ Roberts's How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness. I wanted to separate them from the review, yet use them here to torture my blog brothers with an appeal-to-authority in our ongoing, internecine debate on The War on Drugs.

Roberts finds that Smith had suspicions about anti-Hayekians centuries before there was a Hayek to oppose. Smith was a man of government and he saw -- up close and personal -- those who would run our lives to improve us:

He seems to imagine that he can arrange the different members of a great society with as much ease as the hand arranges the different pieces upon a chess-board. He does not consider that the pieces upon the chess-board have no other principle of motion besides that which the hand impresses upon them; but that, in the great chess-board of human society, every single piece has a principle of motion of its own, altogether different from that which the legislature might chuse to impress upon it.

Roberts, Russ (2014-10-09). How Adam Smith Can Change Your Life: An Unexpected Guide to Human Nature and Happiness (p. 207). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.

Roberts "chuses" the Drug War to illustrate:
I have met kind, empathetic, earnest people who see recreational drugs as a great scourge. And certainly some drug users destroy themselves and their families through their inability to control their desires. Yet the war on drugs has failed despite the desires of those kind, empathetic, earnest people and despite the harm that comes to drug users. The war on drugs has failed because too many chess pieces have their own movements; too many people like to use drugs. And too many people see those desires as a potential for profit, which it surely is.

Kind, empathetic, earnest blog brothers?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

What, no music? There's gotta be a sound track to go with an internecine war on drugs discussion.

OK, The Refugee willingly rises to the bait of what is clearly a friendly taunt among blog brothers. He also counts himself among those who see substance abuse as a great scourge - and the challenge of our time.

First, it would be useful to define what constitutes "winning" the war. Does addiction need to be eliminated before those opposing the war would admit that it was won? Surely not, as the "war on crime" certainly has not been won by that definition, yet no one is suggesting that we disband law enforcement. The Refugee would suggest that "winning" means a steady decline in use and addiction. By that definition, we are "winning the war on tobacco."

One must also observe what is missing from this analysis, which is a solution to the problem. That means that either the author does not see it as a problem, despite acknowledging the lives and families ruined by drug abuse, is simply throwing up his hands in surrender, or sees the problem as a societal abstraction.

Imagine if our Founding Fathers had seen their society's challenges too daunting to tackle. They might have said, "Gee, the king sure is powerful." Or, "Wow, the British navy sure has a lot of cannons." And, "How can we ever expect a bunch of farmers and merchants to defeat the best trained, best equipped, most professional army in the world?" Great problems are not solved by passivity. They are solved by people willing to relentlessly pursue a problem until a solution is found, willingly failing over and over and realizing that you can be wrong many times but need be right only once to be successful.

Those who see drug abuse in the abstract are the modern version of Marie Antoinette saying, "Let them snort cake." Would any blog brother suggest that eradicating (or even significantly reducing) substance abuse would be a bad thing?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 20, 2014 1:56 PM
But jk thinks:

"La la la la, La ls la la-la-la-laaah.."

It strikes me that we have a more fundamental disagreement. I don't want to dodge your direct questions, but perhaps the disconnect is whether it be a legitimate function of government. Is there Kumbaya potential in "get the feds out of it, unless you can lay your finger on the No weed Clause in Article I Section 8?" Then we can argue about the strictness of local enforcement and I would be much more open to local laws. Short-cutting the commerce clause argument, Claude Wickard, I'll stick to intra-State production, sales and consumption.

As to direct questions:

The founding fathers were seeking to protect our liberties. I back off not because it is difficult, but because it is wrong.

If tobacco is your success story, we're farther apart than I thought. Really, really, read the Aftermath book. New York taxes a pack of smokes $2.50 or something. That's a brutal and regressive tax on the poor, props up crime because it is so distortionary (actually funded the 9-11 hijackers in part), and we just had a guy killed by the police in Central Park for selling bootleg cigarettes. I quit 20 years ago, but if my heath were better I'd start up again in protest of the moral preening, hectoring, and misplaced government coercion.

I guess I'm guilty of viewing the drug problem abstractly. You want to move the chessboard pieces around and I really do not. So I have no solution like Obamacare opponents lacked one. More freedom might help. My brother has still not agreed that alcohol prohibition was a failure. More freedom helped there. Alcohol has been quite the scourge in my circle of friends -- do we go back to Elliot Ness? (If alcohol's less scouragious, and maybe weed's not so terrible some days, who decides?)

I'll say let the chess pieces make their lives as best as they can without government intrusion.

Posted by: jk at October 20, 2014 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The drug war question is not, as I see it, whether or not eradicating or even significantly reducing substance abuse is a good thing. It is good. Clearly so. The question is: Has legal prohibition been, on the whole, good or bad.

Taking the "war on tobacco" claim at face value, I must have missed the era when tobacco was outlawed.

Finally, not to inflame but to inform, the stance that great problems are solved by people willing to relentlessly pursue a problem until a solution is found, willingly failing over and over and realizing that you can be wrong many times but need be right only once to be successful, is also the modus operandi of the World Socialists, is it not? Some problems have no solutions. Some creatures behave in ways contradictory to survival. c.f. Darwin, Charles. Efforts to save every individual from harming himself ultimately results in a society where all individuals are hopeless. c.f. Miranda. God helps he who helps himself.

Posted by: johngalt at October 20, 2014 3:48 PM

October 9, 2014

Christians, Libertarians and Ayn Rand

OK, The Refugee admits that he stole the headline wholesale from the actual article by Heather Wilhelm. This is red meat to Three Sourcers.

The Refugee is not going to pull quotes because the article speaks very well for itself. Wilhelm addresses what should be a rather natural alignment between these three groups, but is rather a prickly association at best. Worth the read if you have five minutes.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:50 AM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

This Randian also disagrees with Armstrong. He has been baited into single-issue voting by "Mainstream Colorado" whose principal donors include labor unions, trial lawyers and the Pat Stryker/Tim Gill "Blueprint" cabal. And whose "designated filing agent" Julie Wells is the same as for another advocacy group "Priorities for Colorado" who produced mailers suggesting that our friend Susan Kochevar, candidate for another state legislative seat, "refused to cooperate in the Jessica Ridgeway investigation." Disgusting.

No, Ari, MC and PforC don't give a damn about your principles, and won't represent you when their candidates are elected anyway, they only want one thing: Fewer votes for the Republican. And, for whatever reason you don't vote for Woods (whom I heard on Grassroots Radio Colorado and sounded imminently reasonable and rational and principled, and never mentioned personhood) you play right into their statist little hands.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2014 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Furthermore, the Objectivism based position that "rights begin at birth, not conception" is shared by Colorado Senator Mark Udall, who is currently campaigning for re-election. So on this self-selected single issue, does Armstrong also intend to vote for "Mark Uterus?" I certainly don't. Udall's position here is based on the "pure principle" of the abortion rights movement, not on a sober assessment of competing individual rights. This stopped clock happens to be right, at the moment, but I'm sure not going to vote for it.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2014 3:12 PM
But dagny thinks:

Doesn't seem Ms. Wilhelm is working to make the association less prickly.

Two comments from the, "Randians round these parts."

1) If Ms. Wilhem wants us Randians to get behind her coalition, she would have more luck if she didn't spend her second paragraph calling us names. Presumably if Rand is strident, elitist and misanthropic, I am too.

2) Has Ms. Wilhelm ever actually read Rand or is she just stealing her descriptions and characterizations from Bill Maher? This article is based on several common but serious misinterpretations of Rand and the philosophy she espoused.

Posted by: dagny at October 9, 2014 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Agree with every word. So, as they ask at the end of "Once More with Feeling" where do we go from here?

How do you corral those who would benefit from smaller, less-intrusive government to work together? Wilhelm's mistakes strike me as more rhetorical. Armstrong, by contrast, is well informed and correct: he is being asked to vote for somebody whom he sees clearly expanding the power of government in one area.

I've met my House rep a few times. most recently at the Weld County GOP Breakfast (next meeting Oct 18). I dare say there are several points of disagreement I could find were I to look as hard as Armstrong. Does that mean I'm going to vote for her Democratic challenger?

I see both sides but want so badly to have enough duct tape and bailing wire to hold the coalition together through the election.

Posted by: jk at October 9, 2014 3:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This is "voting AGAINST the greater evil" incarnate.

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2014 5:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I have just commented as much on the Ari Armstrong article.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2014 3:49 PM

September 19, 2014

Stossel on Immigration

Here's a clip from Stossel's immigration show last night. I mentioned in a coment a better section on Sen. Sessions and Mark Zuckerburg. The show will be replayed on FOX News Sunday at 10 Eastern / 8 Mountain.

Around 4:10 there is a good Hayekian argument about central-planning, government and democracy.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM | Comments (0)

September 17, 2014

Taranto Weighs In...

L'Affaire Grimes was too juicy for James to keep out of.


Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2014

Kentucky Woman

"She gets to know you."

And when Kentucky voters get to know her, they may make Kentucky Republicans wish they had nominated "TEA Party favorite" Matt Bevin instead of... ol' Mitch.

Doggone, I really hope the GOP swings enough seats to control the senate without McConnell because, like this CNN commentator says, I'm one of those who sees him as part of the problem.

I'm watching this race real closely because to me it could be the biggest indictment of politics as usual. If Republicans win the senate because Barack Obama hasn't led, but McConnell doesn't return to the senate to lead it because he's part of, a big part of the dysfunction in Washington, this could be a race that really shows how the public is just tired of the way both parties are running this place.

"She goin' to own you."

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:30 PM | Comments (16)
But nanobrewer thinks:

McConnel has been generally unphelpful and most un-leaderlike, IIRC. Boehner doubles down by repeatedly going out of his way to be nasty, and do things (specifically, to try to force an Immigration Reform bill) that really hurt conservatism and the Party. Hurting the GOP may not terribly important 'round here perhaps, but think about the title he ran for just 3 years ago.

He's given the media way too many weapons with which to continue the rhetorical beating (as if they need the help!) of GOP and the Tea Party. This to me says he's more than just a politician, but a rank and low-down DC Insider. Of the 2-3 times I'm aware of these low-down maneuvers, the only explanation I can see -- and I follow the inside-baseball aspect of politics to a certain degree -- is to ingratiate himself to media and the liberal cognoscente.

With friends like this.... McConnel I can stomach, Boehner needs to be crushed. IMHO

Here's what Morning Joe had to say:

Boehner and the leadership don’t talk to their members. A lot of times, I’ll call my buddies and I’ll say hey, what’s going on? What are guys doing? And they go, ‘we wish we knew.’ I say well, when’s the last time Boehner told you what the strategy was, because Newt sometimes talked, as you know, too much. They say well, Boehner doesn’t talk to us. Well, what do you mean he doesn’t talk to you? They say he never tells us what’s coming next. We’re guessing half the time.

Sounds like Obama's style of "leadership", if y'ask me....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 16, 2014 4:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wow - strong letter to follow, eh? Leave the conversation for an hour and look what happens.

I'm surprised at the visceral reaction to Boehner/McConnell. These guys must continually thread the needle and have done as good a job as anyone could, IMHO. No really egregious legislation has passed since Boehner became speaker. When we only control one half of Congress, the best we can hope for is to block the bad stuff. Asking them to get anything worthwhile past Reid or Obama is unrealistic.

Look - someone is going to hold the Senate seat from Kentucky. Can you name one Kentucky Democrat that you'd prefer over McConnell?

"Better to let Democrats take the blame..." - really? We've been trying that strategy since 2008 and now we have Obamacare, $17 trillion in debt, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq/Afghanistan, lost all credibility as a world leader, our enemies are stronger and our allies weaker, Sotamayor/Kagen are in SCOTUS and the DC Circuit has been packed with libs (total of 53 Circuit Court appointments overall) and it may take a generation to rebuild our military - not to mention the abuses of imPOTUS power and scandals. Yet, I see no sign of the presumed popular uprising of which y'all speak. Newsflash - the general electorate ain't all that engaged or astute. If the Republican's win the Senate, (and that's a big "if"), it will be a squeaker not a landslide. If we lose Kentucky, we basically have no shot at a majority. Then, Obama will be free to pick whichever Supreme Court nominees he likes in the final two years, as some may retire, because Senate Majority Leader Reid will extend the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominees.

If y'all aren't ready to pull on every oar (and lever) to take back the Senate, then why expect the average citizen to care? And God help our Republic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2014 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BR: And now we have Obamacare (McConnell voted for funding Obamacare), $17 trillion in debt (McConnell voted for the debt hike)... Continually thread the needle?

Here are some of the most egregious McConnell votes:

The lack of new bad laws owes more to the House than to McConnell, I think. McConnell's voting history sort of demonstrates he's rowing those oars against us as often as not. This isn't a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good; this is a case of a man who disdains people like us and is bold about proving it, with his votes and his mouth, because he believes that no matter how much he betrays us, we'll keep sending him back to Washington to screw us some more.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I think a couple of my blog brothers might be confusing the constant blogger/Tea Party opposition to GOP leadership as actual misfeasance on McConnel's part.

There were a couple disappointments in your evil ten list, but if you are in the US Senate any amount of time, you will have some bad votes for things you have traded, or taken procedural votes, or made a mistake.

Part D and TARP I were Republican initiatives. Like 'em or not, they were President Bush's deals and he was at best taking one for the team.

Debt limit, funding &c. Yup, he did not do a government shutdown which could have hurt the party. I know there is not 100% agreement, but to present that as proof of prodigality is unfair.

I've come to accept that the "wave" is not on the menu this year, and it is become sadly clear that Colorado will not help with the +6: the Scion will keep his seat with #waronwomen ads.

I'm foursquare with The Refugee -- you guys are willing to give up a GOP seat, enjoy two more years of "Majority Leader Reid."

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 6:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother jg inks to CNN (egads!) and "but McConnell doesn't return to the senate to lead it because he's part of, a big part of the dysfunction in Washington..."

I love that part of dysfunction in Washington! I'm ready to give him a medal for that dysfunction in Washington -- he is stopping a lot of Democrat nonsense.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 6:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But not the important nonsense, as that might be bad for the party.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2014 12:20 AM

August 25, 2014

David Plouffe, Rehabilitated?

I'm placing this under "internecine" because some of my blog brothers have yet to find enlightenment on the glories and intrinsic liberty of self-driving cars. That said, we'll likely all agree on the wisdom of keeping a watchful philosophical eye on key members of the President's campaign staff.

The WSJ Ed Page saluted David Plouffe for his vocationally inspired epiphany on the evils of overregulation, both in a column last week and on their weekend FOXNews show. Today, Gordon Crovitz adds "[...] who ran Barack Obama's campaign in 2008 and served as a senior presidential adviser. Too bad Mr. Plouffe didn't discover the virtues of deregulation before leaving government."

Crovitz's column is about regulation of self-driving cars. We will pay -- in tens of thousands of needless deaths -- for every year this technology is delayed by a Federal apparatus that defaults to "no."

The Obama administration's standard reaction to technological innovation has been to block change via regulation: The Federal Aviation Administration bans commercial use of drones, the Food and Drug Administration restricts gene-testing suppliers such as 23andMe, and the Federal Communications Commission is considering massive regulation of the Internet in the name of "net neutrality."

Federal regulators are also putting the brakes on self-driving cars, which are closely related to the Uber innovation--enabling riders to order a car service using their smartphone app. If fast-moving technology hadn't collided with slow-moving regulators, this might have been the last summer you'd have to drive your own car.

In fairness, the bias toward impeding innovation preceded President Obama's election by several decades. I had been concerned that the tort bar and excessive litigation would stop this technology. Perhaps I can rest easy knowing that the government would never allow it anyway.

Crovitz closes with a historical-fiction-counterfactual that Mister Plouffe returns to Washington as an advocate against over-regulation. I think it more likely he will lobby for additional impediments to self-driving cars. Why, they could affect the bottom line of his new employer...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

June 27, 2014


I'm quite pleased that there is intellectual and philosophical competition in the GOP. I of course choose to leverage that in the primaries and then hope for a certain amount of nose-holding-loyalty in the general. We were discussing below whether CO Gubernatorial nominee, Rep. Bob Beauprez, was irredeemably establishment -- jg and I say no.

But that's not important now. For those who do not attend Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons, you are missing great speakers, very good food, spotty but friendly service . . . and questions from my friend, Dave Walden. His questions generally feature an opinion or two, a story, and a perceptive inquiry.

A mutual friend pointed out this video and Dave graciously allowed my to post. I have been trying to recruit him to blog here, but here is a taste of his genial wit and charm -- with a message at the end.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:19 AM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2014


First: Wow. Didn't see that coming.

Second: I have read some pretty good (and some bad) commentary. Peter Suderman at Reason provides a balanced look at four reasons VA-7 may have given its favored son the heave-ho.

But it is hard to contradict Jim Geraghty's terse summary:

Take a victory lap, Mickey Kaus, Mark Levin, Laura Ingraham.

Kaus, at least, is tuirnung donuts it the parking lot. Insty has linked to him about 147 times since the exit polls trickled out last night.

Perhaps I am too pragmatic to be a 'bagger. I read that Professor Brat is a sharp, eloquent, and principled defender of small government. So. Yay.

But the advertisements linked Rep. Cantor to President Obama and "Amnesty." If there is one word I'd love to never hear again, it is of course "Obama." (See what I did there?) But if I get two, the second is certainly "Amnesty." Amnesty is the "bloody shirt" of the immigration debate. I can take immigration opponents seriously until they use that word. Then, they've lost me.

Meanwhile, Sen. Lindsey Graham (TeeVeeStar - SC) cruises to victory in the Palmetto State. I would love to see a principled lover of liberty prevail there. Against Cantor? Not so much.

A sports metaphor, scarecrow? We've just traded a really good Left Tackle because he couldn't throw 60 yard spirals. But try and throw one with JJ Watt standing on your head.

Tea Partiers are happy, I guess I am not one after all.


UPDATE II: Corrected District number: was VA-11 should be VA-7

Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

"We are the Knights who say 'Amnestee!'"

The Prosperitarian in me says it will fuel growth. The Administration is sworn to smother any economic life with taxes and regulations -- here's a "compromise-worthy" task that might both be positive for the economy and happen while that-other-word-guy is living in the White House.

The Pragmatist in me says it would be electorally advantageous not to be they guys telling 30-something percent of the voting public that we're going to build an 27' barbed-wire electric fence to keep you guys out.

Fears of Obama's (I said it) discretionary enforcement are well founded. I am such a Ricardian Sop, I don't care, If we trade more H1-Bs for more enforcement and don't get the enforcement, I have not been baited=-and-switched. I would meet my opponents halfway on that and try to structure some mechanisms to address their concerns -- but only if they stop calling it "Amnesty."

Waiting three years for the workers we need to grow is like waiting three years for Keystone XL. Well, yeah, if we have to -- but why?

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2014 6:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Workers we "need" to grow? Have you looked at the labor participation rate lately? The recovery has made the decision, to stay away, not the workers. It would have taken a bilge pump far bigger than this to stop the sinking of the Titanic. That's your "why."

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Readers might be interested in CU Boulder visiting conservative scholar Steven Hayward's view on immigration reform, found in his Powerline Blog post today - After Cantor:

I think there’s some room for reasonable changes in our immigration practices—I rather like the idea of an auction system, favoring people who would bring valuable assets or skills to the country—but the time is not now. The Democrats are operating from bad faith, looking only to sign up more Democratic voters, and Republicans have been operating from massive confusion married to bad motives.
Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 10:41 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the line which preceded your excerpt: "(Or as I put it on Twitter: 'What's the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress? Immigration reform is definitely dead.')"

Not sure I agree that capricious enforcement of a reform bill will be any worse that capricious enforcement of current law.

And, yes, we need immigrants. North Dakota Walmart*s are starting people at $17.10, unemployment is ~2% -- that is what growth an prosperity provide. More workers/entrepreneurs/customers fuels growth.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2014 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the line which preceded your excerpt: "(Or as I put it on Twitter: 'What's the difference between Elvis and immigration reform in Congress? Immigration reform is definitely dead.')"

Not sure I agree that capricious enforcement of a reform bill will be any worse that capricious enforcement of current law.

And, yes, we need immigrants. North Dakota Walmart*s are starting people at $17.10, unemployment is ~2% -- that is what growth an prosperity provide. More workers/entrepreneurs/customers fuels growth.

Posted by: jk at June 12, 2014 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't mind you having the last word but just as there are jobs that "Americans won't do" there are also jobs that "Mexicans won't do" - any job north of Cheyenne. North Dakota will have to look somewhere else to stem their labor shortage. Hey, maybe start a rumor about a gold rush or some such.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2014 3:04 PM

February 6, 2014

Immigration, English, and Coca Cola

We've heard many opinions on the multi-lingual Coca Cola Superbowl ad "America the Beautiful" including here, here and here. I'd like to share one more viewpoint. This from a son of Chinese immigrants who also happens to be a Republican candidate for congress in the Colorado district that encompasses Boulder (CO-2).

If you like it, or him, be sure to "Like" his Facebook Page. I did.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:52 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hmmm... The Refugee is no longer in Colo CD2,(hence the nom de plume), but Leing might actually be worth some financial support. Cory Gardner is kind of a lock in CD4. I'll have to check out Leing's policy positions, but likely anyone is better than Polis.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 6, 2014 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

"Personally, I enjoyed the ad as it celebrated the diversity of culture we enjoy in America" (0:15)

Me too.

"For me the issue is about empowering everyone to learn to use the language" (0:45)

Me too.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

@Refugee: Leing sent an energetic and bright young staffer to Liberty On The Rocks - Flatirons. Brother jg spoke with him and I was quite impressed.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I was most impressed by his claim to have won a student body election on the CU-Boulder campus. He said he was on the "Empower" ticket. This in contrast to the "Veritas" ticket or unaffiliated.

Turns out, with a quick search, he was seated despite finishing 6th out of 7 candidates. :) Colorado Daily.

Posted by: johngalt at February 6, 2014 4:57 PM

February 5, 2014

The Lads at Trifecta Split as Well

Topic One: the Coke ad. Three different interpretations.

Just int'resting...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:13 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Starting again from the perspective of the Coke mAd Men, perhaps it was "How do we message an aspirational view of America that is international in scope?" I can see this being the result of that intent.

The feelings it stirs are diverse and dramatic. It is the sort of expression that Rand might have appreciated, in the same way she enjoyed the large as life story by Victor Hugo - Les Miserables - despite her disagreement with many of the writer's values and opinions.

The ad has been quite successful in at least one sense: Attracting attention. Whether that attention is negative or positive is, I think, most dependent on the inclination of the viewer. And it can, I also think, change over time depending on the ebb and flow of each individual viewer's changing inclinations.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 5:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There were two other commercials discussed.

"Is there anything more American than America?" Yeah, an iconic American automaker regulated into such a weak position that only Fiat would stoop low enough to buy it. That is a snapshot of contemporary America.

"Turn the streetlights back on?" Voila! Gentrification on naked display. Proof positive of Bill Ayers' "white supremecist" America.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2014 5:19 PM
But jk thinks:

My Facebook crowd is giddy over this. "Stoopid knuckledragging Rethuglicans surprised that languarges other than "Merican exist!" Again, I long for the seriousness and nuance 'round here. I hope I played at least halfway toward the high end of that spectrum.

One comment made me laugh. In a comment below a self-righteous post, one friend-of-friend I don't know says "Good for Coke! I'll never ever ever buy any of their products or consider buying a share of their stock. But good for them!"

Demographics anybody?

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2014 5:39 PM
But dagny thinks:

OK, I'll play. Female, under 25, public skrool educated. I would say blond, but that would get me in trouble for stereotyping.

Posted by: dagny at February 6, 2014 1:10 PM
But dagny thinks:

OK, I'll play. Female, under 25, public skrool educated. I would say blond, but that would get me in trouble for stereotyping.

Posted by: dagny at February 6, 2014 1:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I do not remember the picture and I do not know this person. But the mutual friend is a 40-something Mom with three kids, mortgage, good job. I'm guessing the friend is more "established" than your picturing.

I've got a pile of sub-25 nieces -- not on the blond side of the family, those are all much older now -- and I can eye roll at their college-know-it-all-hippie views on business and politics. The scary ones are those who did not grow out of it.

Posted by: jk at February 6, 2014 1:34 PM

November 16, 2013

And The Discussion Continues...

The part of jg will be played by former Federal Reserve trader Andrew Huszar, jk will be represented by Jeapordy! champion and AEI Scholar, James Pethokoukis.

I found it enjoyable and was glad to find video online. As far as our local discussion, I am squishier than JimiP. Q-E-One-and-done is somewhat compelling, yet so is Pethokoukis's reference to the contractionary policies of an overly-tight ECB.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

In real life jg is he one with great hair. But I am doing the casting today: Bwaa haaa haa!

Posted by: jk at November 16, 2013 10:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Every time we've had a QE program, something good has happened."

"Stocks have gone up"
More cash seeking fewer shares of something tangible.

"Job growth is better this year than last year"
The same was true in 1930.

Yes, when you eat desert you feel good. How long can you live and how happy will you be eating only desert?

But more important than this, both practically and morally, how long can you eat desert when the only place it comes from is your "rich neighbor's" plate?

Posted by: johngalt at November 17, 2013 10:25 AM

September 27, 2013

Senator McCain's "Democratic Response" to Cruz's Filibuster

Did anyone else hear John McCain's weak-kneed floor speech after Ted Cruz finished his filibuster? I was dubstruck by the praise he gave to Obamacare and the Democrats, juxtaposed with his derision of Cruz et al and the principles and ideas of which they spoke for 21 hours. Investors' editorial page shared my disgust.

Cruz wasn't long off the floor before Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a war hero, raised a white flag in one of the most disgraceful Senate speeches ever delivered.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., aptly called it "the Democratic response" to Cruz. It can be summed up in two of McCain's own defeatist words: "We lost."

There's more on McCain's fecklessness but the editorial closes with a look at the GOPs future:

Aged elephants like McCain make a Tea Party-based third party likely. That would cinch long-term Democratic dominance in D.C. McCain's 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, told Fox's Neil Cavuto there already are three parties: the liberal Democrats, the GOP establishment, and Republican "good guys" like Cruz.

But this week, Ted Cruz gave America a look at the GOP future, in all its boldness and common sense. We hear Arizona has many fine retirement homes, Sen. McCain. Time to pass the torch.

Don't let the door hit yer ass.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Sen. McCain wants to hear from you! Your Opinion Matters!

I hope you will also forward it to your family and friends so I can get their input on the issues facing our nation as well. Upon completing your survey, please consider making a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or even $250 to Country First. Your donation will ensure we have the funds necessary to fight back and have our voices heard.
Posted by: jk at September 27, 2013 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

He's pretty bashful about it, but I am sure ThreeSourcers who wanted could give more than $250. The web page seems to allow it.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2013 5:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Upon reflection, I was crass and disrespectful to the senior senator from Arizona. I'll rephrase:

Americans respect and appreciate your service to our nation, Senator McCain. Few in our country's history have given faithful service for so long and in so many ways. It is long past time for us to repay your dedication and so, with our most sincere blessings, we invite you to take the rest of your life off, in peace and solitude, far from the chattering and partisan bickering of our nation's capital. Happy retirement, American hero. Go now. Please.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2013 10:44 AM
But jk thinks:

To be continued in Review Corner tomorrow. I, the GOP, and ThreeSources need to come to terms with neoconservatism and national greatness conservatism.

C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook have a book, "Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea" that traces it to its Straussian roots and finds it philosophically dangerous. Brother Bryan recommend this book. I mistakenly purchased the CATO roundtable discussion where several CATO scholars respond to the book and Thompson responds/rebuts.

Very satisfying, but I need -- as a neocon in recovery as it were -- to go back and read the entire book. Those piqued can view a video discussion.

In a life-or-death struggle between modernity and radical Islam, which I am not convinced does not exist, Senator McCain is a good Republican. In a life-or-death struggle with Progressives and Luddites and collectivists at home: Not. So. Much.

Your updated phraseology is spot on.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2013 12:31 PM

July 26, 2013

Chris Christie: libertarianism "very dangerous"

At the Republican Governors Association gathering in Aspen, CO this week, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie sounded the alarm against the danger of too many people having too much freedom.

"As a former prosecutor who was appointed by President George W. Bush on Sept. 10, 2001, I just want us to be really cautious, because this strain of libertarianism that's going through both parties right now and making big headlines, I think, is a very dangerous thought," Christie said.

Christie's statement was in the context of the narrowly defeated bill that would have reduced funding for NSA collection of Americans' phone records, a subject that Christie dismissed as "esoteric."

Rand Paul tweeted a response:

Christie worries about the dangers of freedom. I worry about the danger of losing that freedom. Spying without warrants is unconstitutional.

But what I really want to know is, where the hell is the libertarian streak that's going through the Democrat party right now?

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:08 PM | Comments (10)
But AndyN thinks:

I once encountered a young leftist (who didn't think he was a leftist) arguing that Anthony Weiner isn't a leftist, he's a left-libertarian. Yeah, I know, it makes about as much sense as claiming that George W Bush was a serious conservative based on his campaigning on compassionate conservatism. Unfortunately, that's about as deep as most people's political understanding runs - if you say you think people should be allowed to get stoned and engage in consequence-free sex, you're a libertarian regardless of how much big government intrusion in our lives your actions actually support.

Posted by: AndyN at July 27, 2013 1:14 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN; That's why I find primaries to be more fun; the IQ skips up at least a few points. But the GOP needs to pick somebody who can be sold to the low-information voter. That may or may not come to play in this, but Christie may enter as "the guy who won twice and big in a very blue state." That is ignored at liberty's peril.

@jg: Do we differ much? I'll go with the Gutfield quote and even admit that I am under-educated on Paul's foreign policy. My data points are an absolutism on NSA and a rush to pull foreign aid. Both are pretty popular-to-populists but I am willing to endure a little more nuance. Perhaps President Rand Paul will grow in office as Obama did and end up at a perfect place.

Both Paul and Christie are extremely effective explainers of liberty. No doubt I'll disagree with both, but I'd be happy with either.

My point, contra Gutfeld, is that the libertarians are running for the exits a few months early this season. They wonder why they have no political power, but they can't play like grownups. The second somebody says something "impure" they'll vow never to vote for him/her again -- off to Gary Johnson 2016 and we have not even had the midterms.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2013 5:54 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I am reading this slightly differently.


I think Gov Christie's remarks need to be placed in context. Two things happened this week that serve as the immediate context for his remarks.

1. The vote on the NSA funding amendment, as JG notes

2. A great deal of the conservative literati have been writing/debating about "reform conservatism", and the phrase "libertarian populism" keeps popping up.

Isolationism was not part of this context. Nor was it explicitly part of his remarks. One can oppose NSA without opposing isolationism.

The NSA vote was interesting because you had a coalition of radical liberals and radical conservatives strongly united (there was some pretty heated rhetoric on the House floor before the vote - directed by members of one party at their own party members!) against the establishment. It was a very clear divide and ti gives lie to many of the 'hyper partisanship' stalemate stuff we hear so much.

There is a large section of the Republican party, which Christie has termed libertarian, that wants to make this a central issue. The fact so many Democrats voted for the issues suggests that these concerns are open political capital no one has managed to capitalize on yet.

Thought leaders, wonks, and the more prominent politicians (like Mr. Rand) who are part of this wing have been working rather hard over the past few months to get their agenda crystallized and to force a debate about the future of the Republican Party. Two Presidential defeats in a row and the GOP has to do some soul searching. These men are ready to mount a fight for the Republican Party's soul.

NSA and civil liberties is part of this. Other topics of note are drones and secret assassinations, crony capitalism, the revolving door between executive agencies, lobbyists, and industry positions, and ending the drug war and all of the evils that come with it. Foreign policy takes a back seat in this discussion.

As I see it, Christie is fighting back against the NSA push specifically and the general "libertarian populist/reform conservative" movement generally. This is not where he wants the party to go and he has carefully chosen a place to make his stand against the movement in the most dramatic yet risk free way that he can.

Jk faults the libertarians for being spoilers and giving up on the GOP and going out of their way to drudge up men like Christie. Maybe. But from my view point, the libertarians have - for once - gone out of their way, think-tank, interest group style, to create a platform for the Republican Party - to change the party instead of just protesting against it. And that is exactly what Gov Christie is fighting against.

The libertarians have due reason to be upset.

Posted by: T. Greer at July 28, 2013 3:07 AM
But jk thinks:

Libertarians of all case always have good reason to be upset. I get upset with them because they punch so far under their weight in politics. Their tantrums are not effective though far less populous and engaged groups drive the debate and policy.

jg and tg make good points as to context, but might be overthinking a bit. I think Governor C is playing the long game. He purposefully campaigned just enough in 2012 to get the GOP aching for the candidate they couldn't have so that he could be the front runner in an open seat year. He then campaigned for a landslide in New Jersey, knowing that is his ticket.

Executing a multi-year plan for the White House (think not Machiavelli but Henry Clay), I don't think he is reacting to a Senate speech or a couple opinion articles in an odd numbered year. There is clearly a war for the party brewin' (I suggest, like Angel, the Republican Party has no soul as it were to fight over).

Christie is laying down his position as the standard bearer of a traditional, hawkish, law-and-order, Republican Party. He's got bits of Eisenhowerism that will drive Tea Partiers crazy, but Eisenhower won elections. Larry Kudlow is with him on guns, the WSJ Ed Page is with him on NSA snooping, Bill Kristol will prefer his foreign policy. The sum is a formidable hunk of the GOP from which to wrest the nomination.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2013 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes but it is the crusty old "establishment" hunk. It is the hunk that is on a serious electoral losing streak with up and coming voters. It is the hunk that appeals to old white guys. Well, it doesn't appeal to this old white guy anymore.

If there is a "soul" of the Republican party it is "thou shalt oppose abortion at every turn." To the point that I'm getting right to life mailers in the name of Rand Paul. So in that respect Paul is not abandoning traditional planks, much to my chagrin. But it's wise to win the primary first, and that seems where he's focusing - Iowa.

A great analysis by TG helped me see the bigger picture: The strain of libertarianism that Christie calls "dangerous" is most dangerous to establishment politicians, be they R's or D's. The establishment power base is on the coasts, particularly the east. They rigged the game to suit themselves and anything that diminishes government power doesn't suit them. A President Christie would be another President Bush, but with fewer principles (2A). I'd rather continue a reform effort that has anti-government corporatism appeal than elect another president who will maintain the big spending, big taxing, big regulating status quo. Freedom is at stake. I stand with Rand and his ilk.

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2013 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I ended this post by asking where are the libertarian Democrats? While I have serious trust issues with the senior senator from Colorado (and this is an election year for him) he does sound here like he might be listening to the junior senator from Kentucky.

So that's why it's important to have this debate. We're having it in the Congress. Moderates, liberals, conservatives, all are sharing concern about the reach of the NSA's bulk collection program. Let's change it. Let's reform it. Let's narrow it.

OOOOOOhh. "Dangerous."

Posted by: johngalt at July 29, 2013 4:42 PM

June 28, 2013


How Libertarian is jk? Well, according to Bryan Caplan's Libertarian Purity Test 78/160, or:

51-90 points: You are a medium-core libertarian, probably self-consciously so. Your friends probably encourage you to quit talking about your views so much.

Amen Bryan...

Posted by John Kranz at 8:59 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

I scored a perfect 100.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2013 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

?! We need to diff our responses over beer someday. Brother Bryan and some Objectivist pals were complaining that big-Os scored low (...and who does this punk think he is?)

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2013 3:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I expect our pal Perry would score highest of us all. If you score 160 you aren't necessarily a perfect libertarian, or even Libertarian, but you probably are a perfect anarchist.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2013 7:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yes, a line-by-line discussion would be welcome. I do still owe you a brew for the GLD-SP500 bet. Or if I don't, I would happily pay it again.

Posted by: johngalt at June 28, 2013 7:30 PM
But T. Greer thinks:


Which surprised me, given the number of things on the first tier I disagreed with. I guess those ones I did support I supported all the way to their most radical options.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 28, 2013 10:54 PM
But jk thinks:

And on Facebook, I see Brother Keith edges me out. I'm pleased that ThreeSources is a hotbed of anarchy, but disappointed that I am the stodgy old conservative.

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2013 10:25 AM

April 9, 2013

Obama IRA Proposal Redux

I am nothing if not fair. Were I to withhold this inculpatory evidence, I could no longer claim that mantle.

My hero, Larry Kudlow, and his entire brilliant panel -- save for a weasely Democrat apparatchik take Brother jg's side on the IRA contretemps. I have not seen Mister K this animated in some time:

I'll rethink things, but still think weasely apparatchik guy (just at the end) and I have a point.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It sounded like Kudlow rebutted weasely apparatchik guy (WAG) quite effectively by pointing out that there's nothing tax-free about an IRA. It is merely tax deferred.

It is more and more clear that the goal is to eliminate the inheritance of wealth from one's ancestors. It is the ultimate in class warfare - the nuclear class-bomb, as it were.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2013 4:29 PM

March 17, 2013

Review Corner

In 2001, my wife, Shawnna, and I moved to Arizona. I love nearly everything about my adopted state, but the one thing that troubles me greatly is Arizonas widespread hostility toward Mexican immigration, not just illegal but legal as well. Among many Arizona conservatives, opposition to immigration dwarfs all other political issues, even in the face of economic recession. The vehemence on this issue initially puzzled me, given that Arizona still is the land of Barry Goldwater and largely reflects his libertarian, live-and-let-live philosophy.

Indeed, I have often joked that if Arizonans are really serious about protecting our traditional values against assault from hostile newcomers, we should wall off our western border to California rather than our southern border.

Governor Jeb Bush and Clint Bolick provide a solid blueprint for moving forward in Immigration Wars. I don't agree with every word of it, and I'm rather certain it would not be any ThreeSourcer's idea of perfection. It is a contentious debate, and apart from the bitter clingers on both extremes, I think the authors understand it is about compromise and understand it is about moving forward. While imperfect, if Congress were to pass it exactly as written, there is nothing in this book that I could not live with.

The best part is its two foundational premises:

We believe comprehensive reform should be constructed upon two core, essential values: first, that immigration is essential to our nation, and second, that immigration policy must be governed by the rule of law. Those who expound only one of those values to the exclusion of the other do violence to both, because the two values are inseparable.

Many of our circular, circuitous, and cicumlocutious immigration debates have danced around this, because I was unable to state my premises so clearly.

The authors are as pro-immigration as I am and the book celebrates many reasons for increasing and legalizing/normalizing additional immigration. The talk shows and political reviews have focused on their solution to current undocumented aliens. Those who came here as adults are offered a pathway to permanent legal status but not a head start toward citizenship. This is not the plan I'd write, but I can sign on if this is un-am-nasty enough for a plurality.

This is the most contentious issue, and the position of a prominent Republican is newsworthy. Some of the more subtle points are more interesting. Bush and Bolick call for refocusing preferences on skills and economic need in favor of "family reunification."

Reuniting someone with their long lost third cousin twice removed is sweet. But it sets up a chain migration that can grow without bounds. Plus, it is biased toward less productive new citizens. Spouses and children can follow an immigrant but no further. We're sending home doctors and entrepreneurs and physics geniuses to bring more grandmothers in. Sweet, but not in our best economic interests.

One hopes that this might get resolved. We cherish rule of law, yet look the other way for startling abuses to people and equal enforcement.

It is in no one's interest for illegal immigrants and their families to live in the shadows. We need everyone to participate in the mainstream economy, to pay taxes, to participate openly in their communities, to be willing to report crimes-- that is to say, to be accountable, responsible members of society. That cannot occur when people fear they will be arrested if their immigration status is known.

It is an enjoyable and quick read touching economics, education and politics. If the debate were moved forward in this direction, that would be a huge net positive.

Four stars.

UPDATE: That other fella named Bush has a very good guest editorial in the WSJ today.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 8, 2012

Ending the Cease Fire

Nothing like an argument over legalizing drugs to start an imbroglio at Three Sources. It's probably been more than a year since the last internecine brouhaha and The Refugee is not really interested in starting another one (there are so many other interesting polical issues at the moment.) Nevertheless, he's pretty sure this post violates the terms of the armistice.

The Denver Post is currently running a series that follows "Angel," a heroin addict living on the streets of Denver. She survives by panhandling $90+ dollars per day to get the needed "fixes" and sometimes a room. She will live on the goodness of strangers, (i.e., in their homes), until they learn that her stories are mostly hustles. Her signs asking for help are mostly lies. Life is getting from one fix to another, but according to the story, there is no evidence that she commits any crimes more serious than misdemeanor trespassing and the like. The Denver cops know her, but never arrest her for simple use or possession of drug paraphenalia. (From The Refugee's perspective, this is de facto legalization.) So far so good. No crimes against others. Should Angel not have the right to inject her body with whatever substance she chooses?

The Refugee argues that drug use is rarely a victimless crime and the case of Angel bears that out. It turns out that Angel was pregnant while using heroin, knowingly continued to inject herself and gave birth to a daughter with a rare form of dwarfism. Angel left the child with another junkie, who passed out from drug use while the child was in her care. Social services removed the child from Angel and the child is now in the care of a foster parent who specializes in children with special needs. (The Refugee could probably open a second front in this battle with the appropriateness of the State taking a child from its parent.)

The situation here is that Angel knowingly injected another human being, albeit In Vitro, with heroin. Should that be a crime? In The Refugee's opinion, yes - child endangerment, child abuse, assault and anything else a creative prosecutor can dream up. Angel's narcissistic negligence has condemned another human being to a life of difficulty, struggle and likely early death. The cost of the child's care will be borne by the Colorado taxpayer. The Refugee does not begrudge his tax dollars going to help this child, but it illustrates how Angel's personal choice impacts others.

Angel is not a victim, she is a perpetrator and should be serving time.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 12:04 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Fascinating and of course a tragic case. The consequentialist answer is that I will happily support the brand new crime of fetal-poisoning if you will help me dismantle the drug war. Alcohol is legal and superbly damaging to infants. Yet, post 21st Amendment, we do not proscribe its use by the entire population to protect the unborn.

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2012 1:48 PM
But Terri thinks:

And from the female perspective, would you suggest that drug laws should only apply to the ladies?

Maybe just the ladies between the ages of 14 and 55? Unless you carry a certificate showing you've had a hysterectomy?

Posted by: Terri at October 8, 2012 2:20 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Terri, the male who donates the sperm should also be held accountable for child abandonment if that is applicable. In this case, the father is serving eight years in prison for armed robbery to fund his drug habit. Should only men be held accountable for the consequences of their addiction? Certainly Angel has not.

Hopefully, we can have a Three Sources kumbaya moment and agree that drug users are not victims, as the media often portrays them, and at least hold them accountable for their actions against others, regardless of gender.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 8, 2012 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Nooo. No Kumbayas yet.

My point was that we should not legislate that all citizens be limited to a diet and health regimen appropriate for pre-natal care. Some people are very much not pregnant and can choose their risks accordingly.

If your purpose was to point out that some drug users are bad people, you succeeded but it was unnecessary. Yet I don't think it is commensurate with the ideals of ThreeSources that people's fundamental rights are dished out in accordance with their behavior.

I don't suggest legalization in reparation for users' victimhood -- I claim that we are owners of our own persons and sovereigns of our selves. If you wish to protect her harming of another individual, I suggested I was on board, though I am not too keen on locking up her mate -- that one's new. But to the extent she harms only herself, with heroin or a 17 oz. sweetened beverage, I have to leave the decision with her

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2012 3:42 PM

September 21, 2012

Quote of the Day II

I should never award before the G-File comes out [subscribe].

After all, if Romney loses this thing there will only be a vicious civil war on the right that will make the fight scene from Anchorman seem like one of the slower moments in My Dinner with Andre. -- Jonah Goldberg

Posted by John Kranz at 1:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 29, 2012

Stealthflation to hit 15% by 2014?

I've said it a few times since August and been chastened for it, but this time it comes from the pen of an actual economist. UConn's Steven R. Cunningham writes in IBD, The Fed's Anti-Recession Effort May Unleash 15% Inflation

For about a decade before the autumn of 2008, when the U.S. economy tanked, the multiplier stood steady at the 8-to-9 range. That means every new dollar in the monetary base resulted in an $8 to $9 increase in the money supply. After the financial meltdown, bank lending dried up and the multiplier fell roughly to the 3.5-to-4 level.

At the same time, the Fed made a decision to ensure liquidity for transactions in order to encourage the recovery. To do so, it boosted the monetary base through the expansion of bank reserves and currency, at whichever rate was required to keep M2 expanding at around the same rate it had been. Between October 2008 and December 2011, the Fed expanded the base by $1.45 trillion, more than doubling the base to nearly $2.6 trillion.

The problem is that as the recovery progresses, the multiplier will move back toward normal levels, and the money supply will expand. Because of this, inflation could increase significantly beyond the 7.2% projected from 2011 data.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the Fed is working on methods to drain the excess reserves from the system and lessen the risks of high inflation. But there are reasons to doubt the Fed's ability to do so.

Maybe if some huge national emergency were to materialize, prompting the spending of those reserves "in the national interest." A war, perhaps.

Cunningham's conclusion is less ambiguous:

Despite the many uncertainties, one fact remains: An enormous wall of money has built up in the banking system. If it finds its way into the general economy at pre-recession rates, the United States is in for quite a ride.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | Comments (4)
But EE thinks:

What's the standard error on that 2 year forecast? Regardless of what one believes about inflation, there are simply too many variables and too much time between now and then to make any meaningful predictions.

Posted by: EE at February 29, 2012 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't know which ThreeSourcers are on record saying there will never be inflation; the FOMC is certainly playing with fire. I'm just not sold on stealthflation. In spite of the cool name, I disagree that severe inflation is already here and just not accounted for in the Core PCE defaltor.

Stay stealthy, my friend. Else they'll kick me outta the Ron Paul club.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2012 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

CPI: 3.1 percent

American Institute for Economic Research's EPI: 8 percent.

Causes notwithstanding, the dollar buys less than CPI says it does.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2012 12:38 PM
But EE thinks:


Did you read the article? It says at the bottom of the article that this really isn't a representative sample of what people actually purchase. It is meant to be provocative -- just like the study that will come out next week about lower productivity due to March Madness.

Along with Barry Ritholtz, I used to make fun of "inflation ex inflation" where somebody would dispel fears of rising inflation by saying, "if we remove...then inflation really isn't that bad." I used to make fun of this by saying that "if we remove the rising prices, there is no inflation." However, this isn't one of those times. Inflation is low.

Do excess reserves pose a threat? Perhaps, but not at the present.

By the way, the CPI thinks housing prices have risen. So that means that it overstates inflation.

Posted by: EE at March 2, 2012 1:33 PM

January 4, 2012

Still not Sure

Blog Brother JK has made numerous impassioned cases for Gov. Huntsman to be the GOP standard bearer versus the current Duffer-in-Chief. The basic argument, as The Refugee understands it, is that the former governor from the state geographically to the left of Colorado would be better at promoting Liberty. The Refugee is not so sure. The Good Gov seems to have taken a page from the Newt Gingrich playbook of attacking capitalism in an effort to get at Romney.

In an "exclusive interview with the Huffington Post," Huntsman characterized Romney as an "agent for Wall Street." ["Why would any self-respecting Republican give an exclusive interview to HuffPo," pondered The Refugee. But that was just him being snarky.]

Hoping to establish a competitive position once the Republican presidential primary contest shifts its focus from Iowa to New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman sharply criticized Mitt Romney on Tuesday, saying the frontrunner would be an agent for Wall Street and protector of the status quo if elected.

Huntsman goes on:

"It is the fact that he has raised so much money from the large banks, the banks that need to be right-sized. If you are the largest recipient of funds from Wall Street, and in particular the large banks, you are not going to be inclined to want to change that model. Because those who run those banks want no change, they profit off the status quo and clearly they are not going to be inclined to want to bring about any change."

It turns out that Romney has received 24% of his contributions from financial interests. Ouch. But wait - Huntsman has receive 21% from financial interests - is 3% really the magical difference between an agent for Wall Street and an agent for change?

The really disturbing thing, however, is that Huntsman - the alleged purveyor of Liberty - believes that his administration could judge what the proper size of a bank should be and what products it should offer:

Huntsman, by contrast, has argued for banks to be reduced in size, and for stricter limits to be placed on the type of financial activities they can undertake.

Romney's take is somewhat different:

"I believe that institutions have the capacity to go through bankruptcy if necessary to reorganize their obligations," Romney said. "I think what happened in 2008 was not a matter of one bank, Lehman Brothers, having caused the entire collapse. I think the matter was that we had a massive problem in our economy, which was precipitated by the subprime mortgage crisis, that threatened not just one or two banks but threatened the entire banking sector, our entire financial services sector. And that was a setting very different than that that would be caused by one institution getting in trouble."

Is The Refugee cherry-picking quotes and issues? Perhaps, but he continues to be troubled by a candidate who often sounds and behaves more like a Democrat than a Republican.

UPDATE: link

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:42 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Unsurprisingly, the HuffPo piece is not my favorite description of Gov. Huntsman's bona fides. Most of the offending quotes are actually the author's and without links or attribution. Maybe he is guilty as charged, I want to hear it from someone other than Sam Stein.

As long as government will step in and ensure too big to fail, lassiez faire may not be the best or most popular option for the financial sector. Gov. Romney's "we're really going to let them go this time!" sounds good on paper.

I do not offer the Governor as an ideal candidate. Today's HuffPo piece has him aggravating Granite State seniors by sticking with the Ryan plan and others by suggesting that ObamaCare rules on existing conditions be kept. That's batting .500 but I'd take the trade any day of the week.

Now is the part of the comment where I point out that Phil Gramm is not running this year and that Steve Forbes is on Gov Perry's team instead of his own.

Huntsman sounds like a Democrat?" [sharpen knife sounds...]

-- Gov Romney, of individual mandate fame, phases out his cap gains tax cuts for those making more than $200K. Don't remember that in the GOP playbook.

-- Speaker G wants Romney to give back the money he made bankrupting companies at Bain Capital and says Gov R should "thank him for making him rich" rather than "Romneyboat him." Ryan's plan is "rightwing social engineering" and a spot on the climate change couch besides Speaker Pelosi is comfy.

-- Gov Perry supported forced vaccinations and Rep. Bachmann suggested they caused retardation.

-- Senator Santorum wants the government to define manufacturers and charge them 0% tax. Maybe a "Department of Sector Coolness" could be established to allow the Executive Branch to assign tax rates based on political favor. Wasn't that Taft's idea?

This year's field features the philosophical purity of a Snoop Dogg urine sample. In that field are two governors who have successfully passed free market principles at a state level and fostered impressive growth. One of those guvs has featured ostentations displays of religiosity and bashed gay people. These might be GOP values but I think they'll be a tough sell.

The one left. Yeah. That guy!

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2012 4:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I offer, for consideration, Iowa Caucus Entrance Polls

The Iowa frontrunners:

"Is a true conservative"
Romney - 1%
Santorum - 36%
Paul - 37%

"On most political matters, do you consider yourself Moderate/Liberal"
Romney - 35%
Santorum - 8%
Paul - 40%

Take away the names, the faces, the first ladies, the dirty hippies ... A "true conservative" candidate with tremendous appeal to moderates and liberals. Is this not a dream candidate for the GOP?

Posted by: johngalt at January 4, 2012 5:43 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"What is a self-respecting Three Sourcer doing quoting HuffPo?" is certainly a valid question.

Point of order, Mr. Chairman: The Huntsman quotes are purported to be direct statements in a first-hand interview. They are therefore in themselves attributed and a link is a nonsequitur. Now, if Stein fabricated them from whole cloth, that's another matter.

This is indeed case of having to make the best choice from a bad lot. Very sad, considering we have so much talent on the sidelines, a highly vulnerable incumbent and so much at stake.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 4, 2012 7:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

During the '10 Colorado governor's race, newcomer Dan Maes applied the terms "institution" and "revolution" to the GOP establishment and the TEA Party rabble, respectively. It may be instructive to contemplate which of those labels applies to each remaining candidate. Then think about which element you want to put in charge of the national government.

My recent acceptance of the Romney Inevitability was made possible by a self-delusion that Romney is not a party "insider." His political career has been outside Washington and he was endorsed by South Carolina TPD Governor Nikki Haley. I believe these are merely finer shades of gray on Mitt's thousand-dollar suits. I think a bolder distinction is required to ignite an anti-Obama landslide. And no, I don't mean the good-looking young white Catholic boy.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2012 12:09 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The remaining few who would fit the "revolution" moniker likely have no shot to win. The white Catholic boy has no shot, either, and he definitely is not worthy of the "revolution" designation. In his case, Newt's comment that right-wing social engineering is no better than left-wing social engineering might actually apply.

Mitt the Inevitable is a technocrat, not a visionary, but he appears to be the best we've got. The election is likely to be a squeaker either way.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 5, 2012 12:09 PM

January 16, 2011

The "TEA Movement" is More Popular Than a "Big-Tent"

Comity? Who needs comity?

Jared Rhoads of The Lucidicus Project (Helping medical students understand free markets) agrees with me (and Robert Tracinski) that limited government is not merely a practical issue, but a moral one.

I used to think that Republicans did stand for individual rights on principle, but that they shied away from moral arguments because they deemed it better public relations to be "big-tent," inclusive, neutral. Well, over the past two years, the Tea movement has demonstrated that pro-individualist moral sentiments are popular and effective. We are still waiting for the Republicans to catch up.

What is holding them back? As writer Craig Biddle explains in a recent article in The Objective Standard, Republicans face a self-imposed obstacle in their effort to limit government to its proper functions: they still believe that being moral consists of sacrificing oneself for the needs of others.

Imagine approaching your moderate Republican Congressperson and making the case for cutting government based on the morality of individual rights. He may smile and nod in agreement, but as Biddle indicates, there is conflict churning in his head:

Repeal Obamacare? How can we do that if the right thing to do is to sacrifice for others? People need medical care, and Obamacare will provide it by forcing everyone to sacrifice as he should.

Phase out Medicare? How can we do that if we are morally obliged to provide for the needy? The elderly need medical care, and Medicare provides it by forcing everyone to pony up.

Phase out Social Security? How can we do that if, as the bible tells us, we are our brother's keeper? The elderly need money for retirement, and Social Security provides it by forcing everyone to do the right thing.

The only proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights. It is not to oversee our healthcare, help us be charitable, or assist with our retirement planning. There is no way to roll back Obamacare or other government encroachments without recognizing this fact and stating it openly on the floors of the House and Senate.

The next time we circulate a petition, let's tell the supporters of Obamacare that what they have done is not simply impractical, unfair, or too expensive. Let's tell them it is wrong.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 2, 2011

The Next Moral Crusade -- Capitalism

Over the New Year's holiday spent here in Seattle with Mr. and Mrs. Macho Duck I re-read an article in a 2008 issue of The Intellectual Activist (Vol. 20, No. 1.) The article's title is 'Fusionism Comes Unfused.' It reopened some internecine disputes in a clearly stated way so I wanted to share. Checking first for posts containing the word "Tracinski" (the author) I found a drought from 2007 until 2010. Shame on me!

The piece reviews the 2008 GOP primary season, where Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee's early leads evaporated, for no apparent reason, to leave the field wide open. Tracinski attributes the cause to a "desperate desire" on the part of GOP voters to avoid the stark choice between a pro-defense, pro-markets and "not particularly religious" Giuliani and a "strongly religious, anti-abortion candidate who has nothing particular to offer on the war and denounces the pro-free-market Club for Growth as the 'Club for Greed."

"But in avoiding the choice between a religious agenda and a secular agenda, Republicans were forced to evade the substantive issues at stake in th election and focus instead on the personal qualities of the candidates. (...)

In short, faced with a big ideological question on the role of religion, Republicans dodged the issue and instead chose a candidate on non-ideological grounds. [McCain, the flip-flip-flopper]

Yet the conflict between the religious and secular wings of the conservative agenda cannot be avoided, even if Republicans declined to resolve it this year.

Republican fusionism is unstable because its basic premise -- that the moral foundation of free markets and Americanism can be left to the religious traditionalists -- is false. For five decades, under the influence of fusionism, conservatives have largely ceded to the religious right the job of providing the moral fire to sustain their movement. But they are discovering that the religionists do not have a strong moral commitment to free markets. In fact, the religious right seems to be working on its own version of 'fusion' -- with the religious left.


The reason for this shift toward the religious left is that religion ultimately cannot support the real basis for capitalism and a strong American national defense: a morality of rational self-interest. Christianity is too deeply committed to a philosophy of self-abnegation, a destructive morality that urges men to renounce any interest in worldly goods and to turn the other cheek in the face of aggression. (...)

Tricked by William F. Buckley and his fusionists into outsourcing moral questions to the guardians of religious tradition, the right has never been able to develop the moral case for rational self-interest -- which means that it never developed the moral case for the profit motive, property rights, and the free market. Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism; they sense its virtues, but thanks to "fusionism," they are unable to articulate them. And this means that they have never been able to turn the defense of free markets into a moral crusade."

To my religious brothers and sisters I urge you not to read this as an indictment of your faith. Religious morality has much to offer in the realm of personal values. But as a universal guide for the conduct of civilizations it is too easily co-opted by the forces of World Socialism.

A defense of capitalism as the means for men to deal with one another is not only not an abandonment of moral values, it is the only moral crusade that can hope to ever have a peaceful end.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I guess this post means holiday comity is now officially over. It was fun.

I don't know that Mr. Tracinski has changed his tune since 2008, but I posit that the Tea Party and the 2010 elections have about completely debunked his argument.

I had the good fortune to meet, via one of my most leftist friends, one of Hizzoner's state campaign chairmen, I parroted the media line about how Giuliani erred in waiting for the Florida primaries, yadda, yadda. This person, 25 years my junior looked at me as a naive waif and said "yeah, that's what we said -- we spent piles of money in New Hampshire and couldn't get anywhere." Without dismissing the candidate's faults, the GOP is clearly not ready for a social libertarian of Giuliani's stripes.

But by the same token, they did not pick His Huckness. TIA sees that as some nefarious plot, I see it as recognition of electoral exigencies. Moderates appeal to the American electorate and prosper in the American system.

Yet I return to the Tea Party, which brought a bounty of serious freedom candidates like Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul. Subtract the evangelicals from the Tea Party and you have a typical libertarian gabfest with some angry bearded guys.

I think this comment still holds: we have to hold our uneasy partnership together to hold back the forces of collectivism. Frank Meyers was right -- it's worth it.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2011 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And I say the TPM validates his argument.

I read you as focusing on one aspect of the post: why Rudy and Huckabee were rejected. It is a fact that they were, and you passed right on by the new fusion of the religious right with the religious left or the assertion that Republican fusionism is fundamentally unstable.

As for the TEA Party verdict, consider from the last quoted paragraph - "Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism; they sense its virtues..." But they don't understand why it is virtuous. The closest they usually come is to quote the Declaration of Independence's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The World Socialists slay this foe with the ol' "200 year-old dead white guys" argument.

The past quote you linked celebrated that "pro-lifers line up to vote when it's 40 below." They do so because it is a moral cause for them. You couldn't oppose making the profit motive, property rights and the free market an equally or more powerful moral cause, so you must just consider it impossible. "If man were meant to fly then God would have given him wings."

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2011 2:52 PM

December 23, 2010

Why is Ricky Gervais an Atheist?

Another question I didn't know I needed the answer to is, "Who is Ricky Gervais?" But the internet dropped it in my lap so I read it. There are some funny lines. Like this:

So what does the question "Why dont you believe in God?" really mean. I think when someone asks that they are really questioning their own belief. In a way they are asking "what makes you so special?" "How come you werent brainwashed with the rest of us?" "How dare you say Im a fool and Im not going to heaven, f--- you!"

Not necessarily as deep as Christopher Hitchens but more fun.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:33 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2010


Two moderate professors, two takes on the same story:

N. Gregory Mankiw

Joshua Gans alerts me to a minor brouhaha over Neil Gaiman (a fantasy and science fiction writer) charging a library $45,000 to give a talk. Mr Gaiman apparently understands the concept of opportunity cost (principles number 2 in my favorite textbook). Here is how he explains his fees at his website.

Ann Althouse:
Contact Lisa Bransdorf at the Greater Talent Network. Tell her you want Neil to appear somewhere. Have her tell you how much it costs. Have her say it again in case you misheard it the first time. Tell her you could get Bill Clinton for that money. Have her tell you that you couldn't even get ten minutes of Bill Clinton for that money but it's true, he's not cheap.

A Poll: Neil Gaiman is:
a) a douchebag.
b) an artist.
c) a rational participant in economic reality.

Althouse does not show her cards. But Mankiw seems to be doing well; as of this writing 86% of the poll respondents chose "c."

Posted by John Kranz at 4:49 PM | Comments (0)

June 14, 2009

Ayn Rand's Revenge

With a timely look at the question of what defines conservatism here is another revealing link from brother Russ - 'William F. Buckley vs. Ayn Rand: Ayn Rand's Revenge.'

And unfortunately, Buckleys insecure rants against Rand retarded the intellectual progress of the right for decades.

The important point here involves Buckley, but it involves a lot more. The issue with Buckley is that he truly had nothing to contribute intellectually. And when faced with a true intellectual like Rand, all he could do was guttersnipe. Yet the wider point pertains to conservatism today.

Until it begins to intellectually justify itself in a logical way, conservatism will remain lost, and statism will continue its march. Rand provided the intellectual justification for capitalism and liberty and she did so by reference to the fundamental metaphysical facts of reality and human existence. She did not appeal to tradition or the supernatural. She appealed to the rational. And the public has been responding to her ever since.

Buckley and his cohorts brag about their electoral successes-"we elected Reagan" they chime. But what permanent changes have been made? The procession of the welfare state goes on. And who can stop it, people who say God went "poof" and then there were rights?

Rand made the case against the welfare state root and branch. She was the first to make a secular case against Communism and Socialism, and the first to make a fully secular defense of American values. The fact that her ideas were shut out by Buckley hurt the entire cause of Americanism.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Start with something positive, to bring the poster around to your side and establish your reasonableness. Well, I agree that the Conservative movement would have done better to adopt more of Ayn Rand's ideas.

And I approve of the word "gutttersniping." It describes McHugh's column pretty well.

Beyond that, you might put me down as a "no."

For a follower of Ayn Rand to denigrate another author for personal peccadilloes is a little rich. Even her most sympathetic biographers admit to her "insensitivities." Buckley's kid has written a Daddy Dearest book, but he and Pat were pretty well loved by the staff of National Review and even by many of his ideological opponents.

If Buckley's movement has failed because we have Socialism in the US, didn't Rand fail? And Hayek, Mises, Milton Friedman? All a bunch of big losers?

Buckley wrote about 600,000 books, hosted what was the longest running show on PBS, started one of the most important political magazines of out time, and shepherded a movement that, yes, did get President Reagan elected. Freed tens of millions from Communism. Launched the greatest peacetime expansion of the economy in the 20th Century.

I really don't see a tell-all book as Ms. Rand's revenge. I do, sadly (and maybe the little Objectivist kiddies should leave the room for this bit) see this as emblematic of Rand's followers' addition by subtraction: start with 20 people who value individual freedom and property rights -- then kick out 11 who aren't pure enough and enjoy nine devout followers. That's where "Revenge" against ideological allies gets you.

You might sell some books with that but you will not get people elected and you will not impede the loss of freedom.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2009 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We can't help but read under the influence of our preconceptions, can we? I wondered why the author even broached the "personal peccadilloes" subject except that was a major element of the younger Buckley's book. Upon re-reading it seems it was the reverse of what you suggest. Buckley apparently "would ridicule Rand on a personal basis for alleged personal shortcomings" and now gets his comeuppance at the hand of his own son.

Before reading this piece I had no real sense of a rift between Buckley and Rand, nor any clear explanation for the limited GOP adoption of Rand's economic ideas other than her atheism. Mr. McHugh's article gives a brief insight into both of these. And the title refers to the revenge of Rand's ideas as millions flock to read her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged (Amazon sales rank #84 in paperback) and thousands wave "Don't Tread On Me" flags at TEA Party rallies following the electoral return of unapologetic statism a mere 2 decades after Reagan left office.

The author claimed that a government rooted in Rand's objective justification for capitalism and liberty would be more enduring than one based on the idea that "God went 'poof' and then there were rights." Until this is tested it remains only a hypothesis, but the latter tactic has been dismantled by the Secular Progressive left in less than a generation.

I don't read the author as suggesting that anyone be "kicked out" of the popular party of capitalism and liberty (whenever that party actually emerges). The criticism is that Buckley used his considerable influence to "shut out" the ideas of Ayn Rand from mainstream Republican politics. Why he did this is academic. Far more important is undoing his damage. You said that the conservative movement would have done better to adopt more of Ayn Rand's ideas and Joseph McHugh and I say, "Better late than never, and no time like the present." Defend capitalism and liberty in secular terms and watch the healthy growth of a new political movement: Americanism.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2009 7:47 PM

April 17, 2009

Defending (and Counseling) Sarah Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's comments at an Indiana right-to-life event yesterday are making a lot of news. And naturally most of it is slanted to portray her as an extreme pro-lifer who wants the government to eventually outlaw all abortions. But the comment I found most interesting isn't even being reported. While plenty of left-stream outlets are covering her candid admission that she considered aborting her son Trig when she learned he would likely be a Down's baby, I have yet to find an account that includes her conclusion that she was "happy with the choice she made." [When I find a video clip of this I'll link it here.]

UPDATE: Embedded below are parts 5 and 6 of the seven part account on YouTube, and I must admit that I misinterpreted her remarks. I think the part I paraphrased was this, from 2:47 into part 6-

"So I prayed that my heart would be filled up - what else did I have - I had to call upon my faith and ask that my heart be filled up, and I'll tell ya the moment that he was born I knew for sure that my prayer was answered, and my heart overflowed with joy."

But in making her own case for every pregnant woman to choose life for her unborn child, she did talk about how she enjoyed the freedoms of privacy and choice in the matter of her own pregnancy. Freedoms that some in the pro-life cause would take away.

Part 5, (2:50) On why she didn't tell anyone she was pregnant -

"It was just really though too, at the sweet sacred time, a secret between Todd and God and me. I figured that's all who needs to know."

Later Palin said she considered abortion when she first learned she was pregnant, while out of town "at an oil and gas conference" and again at 13 weeks when she learned that Trig had an extra chromosome and would likely be a Downs baby. She knew this because of the results of amniocentesis, an elective procedure, of which "only my doctor knew the results. Todd didn't even know."

Part 6 (0:28) -

"And friends here tonight, that faith was built on what I hear from you, Vandenburg Right to Life. The seeds that you plant in a heart with your kind and your adamant efforts that can grow into a good decision to choose life."

The significance of this is not what her choice was, but that SHE made the choice.

I expounded on this in a comment [or click on "continue reading"] to a Bonnie Erbe blog on the opportunity that Palin's remarks present to the Republican Party.

And as long as the GOP continues to let itself be dominated by atavist religious conservatives, it will keep its title as minority party for a long, long time.

In a specific way I agreed with this remark, and ended with an exhortation to the Alaska governor- I would like to see Sarah Palin campaign for President on the platform that "abortion is abominable, but government prohibition of it is worse."

My concern is that if she in particular doesn't stake out this position then nobody will be able to defend her as a viable presidential candidate. Any other Republican would do well to take the same approach, but for Palin I view it as essential.

- 3SourcesJG's complete Bonnie Erbe blog comment:

While listening to Governor Palin's live remarks I heard her say that after considering abortion briefly she, and I'm paraphrasing, "is happy with the choice that she made." But if Roe v. Wade is ever reversed and a single state outlaws abortion then women in that state won't have the right to MAKE that choice. Even Governor Palin, who I greatly admire and respect, might feel differently about her child if the state had forced her to give birth under force of law.

Abortion is the thorniest moral issue in contemporary politics, with the grayest of gray areas in dispute. Human life does not mean merely the physical act of breathing - it includes the rational thought process of self-determination. A human being who is not free to make his own choices in life is nothing more than an animal.

The choice to abort DOES result in the death of a human being but the right to life belongs first and foremost to the pregnant woman because she is an independent, self-sufficient individual. An unborn child with a parasitic relationship to that individual has no moral claim upon its host. It is a brutal fact of nature (whether you believe that nature was created by God or not) but without it we are not citizens, but subjects. The line to draw is not between when life begins and when it has not, but between whose rights take precedence.

And to this extent I believe Bonnie Erbe is right: To be a genuine majority party the GOP needs to "get out of people's bedrooms." Advocate for morality, yes, but do not attempt to use the power of government to enforce it. I would like to see Sarah Palin campaign for President on the platform that "abortion is abominable, but government prohibition of it is worse."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:19 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

Other than in philosophy books, that is the most reasoned argument I have heard in years. I'd definitely vote for that position. Are you running?

Posted by: Terri at April 17, 2009 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm on board as well, jg. But trust me, Terri, the writings on this blog are virtual guarantees against any of us ever getting elected dog catcher. (Though oppo-research could be great publicity...)

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2009 11:26 AM

May 31, 2007

Internecine, Episode I

I have the first show's guests:

NRO Corner

We hereby challenge the Journals editors to debate the immigration bill in a neutral venue with a moderator of their choosing two or three of us versus any two or three of them. We propose to do it in Washington next week so it will have the maximum impact on the Senates consideration of the most sweeping immigration reform in decades (time and place to be worked out in a mutually satisfactory fashion).

Posted by John Kranz at 4:16 PM

April 15, 2007

Tax Day Coffee Smelling

Officially, tax day isn't until Tuesday (due to the 15th being on a Sunday and the 16th being an official holiday in D.C.) but the well known and lamented date of April 15th mustn't go by without some discussion of the state of taxation in America.

"Work hard. Be faithful. You'll get your just reward."

Those words appear on a statuette my father was given on the occasion of the closing of the College of Engineering at the University of Denver, where he had tenure. (The statuette was of a conscientious gentleman with a giant blue screw through his torso.) They can just as well be applied to American taxpayers who have earned a high school diploma or better in their educational career.


The preceeding chart comes from a fascinating April 4, 2007 study report by Robert Rector et. al. of The Heritage Foundation entitled, 'The Fiscal Cost of Low-Skill Households to the U.S. Taxpayer.' The report summarizes the chart this way:

Chart 7 compares households headed by persons without a high school diploma to households headed by persons with a high school diploma or better. Whereas the dropout-headed household paid only $9,689 in taxes in FY 2004, the higher-skill households paid $34,629 more than three times as much. While dropout-headed households received from $32,138 to $43,084 in benefits, high-skill households received less: $21,520 to $30,819. The difference in government benefits was due largely to the greater amount of means-tested aid received by low-skill households.

Households headed by dropouts received $22,449 more in immediate benefits (i.e., direct and means-tested aid, education, and population-based services) than they paid in taxes. Higher-skill households paid $13,109 more in taxes than they received in immediate benefits.

OK, so you're probably wondering, what's new? What's new is the trend in dropout households in the U.S. According to the World Net Daily article that cites the study:

About two-thirds of illegal alien households are headed by someone without a high school degree. Only 10 percent of native-born Americans fit into that category.

I have advocated on these pages (and stand by it today) that immigration should be free and unlimited to non-criminal aliens, provided that citizenship (and voting rights) must still be earned and that entitlement programs that make immigrants a burden on the taxpayer are first reduced or eliminated.

The Rector report explains the realities we face.

Politically feasible changes in government policy will have little effect on the level of fiscal deficit generated by most low-skill households for decades. For example, to make the average low-skill household fiscally neutral (taxes paid equaling immediate benefits received plus interest on government debt), it would be necessary to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, all 60 means-tested aid programs and cut the cost of public education in half. It seems certain that, on average, low-skill households will generate deep fiscal deficits for the foreseeable future.

Hat tip: The Canadian Sentinel

Click continue reading to see the report's conclusion in its entirety.


Households headed by persons without a high school diploma are roughly 15 percent of all U.S. households. Overall, these households impose a significant fiscal burden on other taxpayers: The cost of the government benefits they consume greatly exceeds the taxes they pay to government. Before government undertakes to transfer even more economic resources to these households, it should have a very clear account of the magnitude of the economic transfers that already occur.

The substantial net tax burden imposed by low-skill U.S. households also suggests lessons for immigration policy. Recently proposed immigration legislation would greatly increase the number of poorly educated immigrants entering and living in the United States.[12] Before this policy is adopted, Congress should examine carefully the potential negative fiscal effects of low-skill immigrant households receiving services.

Politically feasible changes in government policy will have little effect on the level of fiscal deficit generated by most low-skill households for decades. For example, to make the average low-skill household fiscally neutral (taxes paid equaling immediate benefits received plus interest on government debt), it would be necessary to eliminate Social Security, Medicare, all 60 means-tested aid programs and cut the cost of public education in half. It seems certain that, on average, low-skill households will generate deep fiscal deficits for the foreseeable future. Policies that reduce the future number of high school dropouts and other policies affecting future generations could reduce long-term costs.

Future government policies that would expand entitlement programs such as Medicaid would increase future deficits at the margin. Policies that reduced the out-of-wedlock childbearing rate or which increased the real educational attainments and wages of future low-skill workers could reduce deficits somewhat in the long run.

Changes to immigration policy could have a much larger effect on the fiscal deficits generated by low-skill families. Policies which would substantially increase the inflow of low-skill immigrant workers receiving services would dramatically increase the fiscal deficits described in this paper and impose substantial costs on U.S. taxpayers.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:57 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Mmmm coffee.

Bastiat talks about "the seen and the unseen." With all due respect, you -- and my brother in law -- and a lot of other people whom I highly respect -- love to point to a datum in the "seen" category and say "See?"

Lower income households provide less revenue and use more government services. Who is surprised? Those without a diploma will earn less than those with; illegal immigrants tend to be less educated than native born citizens, yup.

I contend, still, that the "unseen" value that these workers and consumers bring to the economy more than compensates for the increased use of public services. The educated in your table are able to earn what they do, in large part, because there is a less educated work force (stop him before he says "comparative advantage" -- too late!).

To allow the educated (or ambitious dropouts like me and AlexC) to get ahead and innovate frequently requires allowing them to leverage less-educated labor. As Ricardo showed, both will be wealthier.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2007 2:06 PM

November 13, 2006

Internecine Grudge Match, Round 4 (or so)

Last week, in JK's latest installment of "border security is a political loser" he appears to remain convinced that campaigning on border control hurt the GOP candidates who did so. Or perhaps he's only suggesting that it didn't help them. Either way, it appears the same is also true for the new Democrat majority.

WaPo reports today in Democrats May Proceed With Caution on Immigration:

But when it comes to immigration, things are never easy. In the days after the election, Democratic leaders surprised pro-immigration groups by not including the issue on their list of immediate priorities. Experts said the issue is so complicated, so sensitive and so explosive that it could easily blow up in the Democrats' faces and give control of Congress back to Republicans in the next election two years from now. And a number of Democrats who took a hard line on illegal immigration were also elected to Congress.

Hat tip: Rush.

JK also applauded the "JG seven points" [7th comment] for immigration policy reform but added, "You think Tommy Tancredo would go for it? Wait let me answer that -- no way in hell!"

Well, here's the latest from "Tommy:"

Anti-immigration Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.), who was distraught after the election, believing a guest worker program was inevitable under the Democrats, now says he's changed his mind.

"It seemed to me that it was not going to be as easy for them as I had anticipated or feared," Tancredo said. "They're not putting it out there as their number one, out-of-the-box issue."

The more he thought about the issue, the more cloudy the future seemed.

"I don't know," he said. A temporary guest worker program "could certainly happen. I may be just skipping past the graveyard."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

1. I should not refer to an elected representative of the US Congress by first name, certainly not a diminutive. I apologize, Johnny, for calling Rep. Tancredo "Tommy." That was bad form and I will not repeat it.

2. It most definitely hurt the GOP as a whole to head into elections without a solution to the emergency they had concocted. This was underscored nicely on the Journal Editorial Report this weekend. (scroll to bottom) Some individual races were won in spite of candidates' embracing enforcement-only, but I've yet to read a convincing case of one who won because of it and there are many examples of candidates' losing with that as a chief or high priority.

3. That Rep. Tancredo has himself tossed in the towel on his signature issue after last week's drubbing indicates that he realizes what a loser issue it is. Saying the future is cloudy and that it might happen someday does not strike me as a ringing endorsement of the JGVII.

Posted by: jk at November 13, 2006 3:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, sorry about the scare quotes around Tommy. I didn't mean to imply that it was disrespectful. I think Tommy is a fine name for him! Don't know what I was thinkin'.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2006 1:07 AM
But sugarchuck thinks:

As to point two, the crisis on the border was not concocted; it is real. The emergency is the failure to do anything about it. If JK is correct about a majority of people opposing a border fence and a muscular security presence and voting on their opposition,then so be it. The "folks" are wrong and all the situational populism in the world won't make them right. The southern border needs to be controlled, period. The rest of it, amnesty, worker programs, etc..., is another topic.

Posted by: sugarchuck at November 14, 2006 9:55 AM
But jk thinks:

Tommy is a very fine name. I try to always address every member of legitimately elected office by his or her title. The most difficult two for me are Vice President Gore and Rep. Tancredo. Al and Tommy just slip through.

We perhaps need to fly everybody out and hash this out over beers or cappuccinos. I don't feel my points are getting across and I feel frustration on your parts.

We all want law and order. We all want to know who is crossing the border. I think that addresses the emergency.

I think my blog brothers and the Tancredoites and the Bill O'Reilly brigades are wrong to seek enforcement only. It would require a level of militarization and aesthetics that would be unpalatable to most people.

I also believe that enforcement-only would damage the economy. I started with economic arguments. Bastiat's "Seen and Unseen" hold the day: these people contribute far more to our economy than they take out. Even with the illegal chaotic nature, the influx has made us wealthier.

Since I want to fix it and do not believe enforcement-only works, I champion "comprehensive" reform. I said a November ago that enforcement and increased immigration are complimentary, not exclusive. For this reason, I thought a compromise House-Enforcement/Senate-Guest Worker could be done in conference.

All hail the seven points! Science be praised!

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2006 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I haven't heard any blog brothers argue for enforcement ONLY. We ask for enforcement FIRST.

It can be argued that this amounts to enforcement only for the period until immigration reform passes but don't forget about the 12 million already here. They'll keep their jobs and any negative effect on the supply of labor will be gradual and discernable. This will apply the proper market pressure for the political solution you earnestly seek.

Posted by: johngalt at November 14, 2006 3:53 PM
But jk thinks:

We're talking compromise, committee legislation. Congress cannot legally bind another Congress and intra-congressional staging requires more trust than 535 legislators can generate or sustain.

You have to bargain: "Tommy," says Senator McCain(he can use first names) "you approve guest workers and a path to citizenship, we'll add 200 miles to your fence." The whole thing gets sausaged up and placed on the President's desk for a signing. No first, no later.

As far as the current residents sustaining the labor pool, I seek a plan that will allow them to leave and come back legally.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2006 4:30 PM

September 22, 2006

House's "Last Gasp Measures" on Immigration

The WSJ editorial page and a beloved blog brother are deriding the efforts of republicans in the House of Representatives to "do something about this immigration problem about which they've whipped everybody up." FNC's Major Garrett gave a detailed report on events in the legislative body during Thursday's 'Special Report with Brit Hume.'

Here are the highlights -

Republicans "steamrolled" three bills through the House:
Bill 1- Imposes a 20-year prison sentence for anyone constructing or financing the construction of a cross-border smuggling tunnel.
Bill 2- Allows for longer detention and swifter deportation of illegal alien felons or illegals who belong to criminal gangs.
Bill 3- Encourages local and state police to find and apprehend illegal immigrants.

"Democrats say the bills have little chance of becoming law."

Republicans Hastert and Boener presented a chart entitled, "House Republicans' Border Security Now September Agenda" which listed the following bullet points:
- More Border Fencing and Improved Surveillance Technology
- "Catch & Return," not "Catch & Release"
- Detention and Deportation of Alien Gang Members
- Expedited Removal of Alien Criminals
- Increase in Prosecution of Alien Smugglers
- Criminalization of Construction and Financing of Border Tunnels
- Detention of Dangerous Aliens Unable to be Deported
- Reaffirm Authority of State and Local Law Enforcement to Enforce Immigration Laws
- Funding for Secure Border Initiative
- Funding for More Border Patrol Agents

Personally, I fail to see how any of these individual measures are "bad politics, bad economics" or "bad imagery." Better yet, taken as a whole they give the appearance of a "comprehensive" approach.

While detractors share common cause with representatives John Conyers and Sheila Jackson Lee who decry the failure to pass "comprehensive immigration reform," the three house bills passed today with large bipartisan margins, as Democrats hasten to put themselves on the politically popular side of these obvious steps.

Bill 1- Passed unanimously. Bill 2- Passed with 100 democrat "yea" votes. Bill 3- Passed with 62 democrats piling on.

The three bills have no companions in the Senate, but House leadership hopes to roll them into the "must pass" Homeland Security spending bill scheduled for hill action next week.

This is shaping up to be quite a mighty "gasp."

And don't forget the 700-mile border fence the house already approved, which is also scheduled for a Senate vote next week.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:28 AM | Comments (3)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

"Democrats say the bills have little chance of becoming law."

The Dems said that,.and YOU believed them???

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 22, 2006 9:53 AM
But jk thinks:

All of these measures would be good politics, good economics, and good imagery were they combined with some legislation which would give American business the labor it requires and provide a way for those honest laborers to cross and take those jobs. Then it would be a sign of a secure America that welcomes workers but not lawbreakers.

I'm proud to stand with Reps. Conyers and Lee but I suspect their motives are different than mine.

The old line is that a House majority can pass a ham sandwich. The key has always been, is, and will remain the flexibility of the House in conference. As they now seem to confuse intransigence with toughness, I am not confident.

Posted by: jk at September 22, 2006 10:14 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

jk,..America has plenty of labor out there. Its up to the Dems to get them off the welfare addiction and the so-called "urban leaders" to stop telling them welfare is better than working for "da man!"

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 22, 2006 12:24 PM

July 12, 2006

Sweet Land of Liberty - Please Take a Number


Here's a cartoon for JK. The Allen Forkum analysis that accompanies it on the site is also excellent. He cites the same WSJ editorial that JK did two days ago, and singles out the arbitrary legal immigrant quota as largely responsible for the ongoing crisis. Forkum also challenges the WSJ assertion that "the conservative silent majority is pro-immigration" by referencing a blog poll of right leaning bloggers who favored the House bill to the Senate's 44 to 6. I can't see the connection between "conservative silent majority" and bloggers, but the result is strikingly similar to the tone on right leaning talk radio.

Personally I suspect that many conservatives would temper their opposition if given the conditions on legal immigrants that I offered in my comments yesterday:

1) That they learn English, some basic US history, and show personal initiative to assimilate themselves into "The American Way." [...] 2) Reverse America's drift toward democracy, i.e. "mob rule" and the "tyranny of the majority." America is a "Republic madam, if you can keep it."

Forkum speculates that many of these right leaning bloggers are primarily concerned with American security in a post-9/11 world, but I suspect a general fear of negative unintended consequences of more and more immigration, legal and otherwise. Conservatives rightly distrust the government to prevent these consequences, given the track record of the last 20 or more years. The most threatening of these consequences is the one addressed by my condition number 2: As things stand today, there is a genuine risk that one day a majority of Americans will vote to make Spanish our official language, not to mention scores of other initiatives that would effectively make the US more like Mexico than the land of liberty we grew up in.

The opposition is not, therefore, to immigration per se, but to the threat of statism that illegal immigrants are a visible component of. The less visible elements include John Dewey's postmodern educational system, the widespread acceptance of altruism as a moral code, and the mythical belief that America is governed by democracy. All of these elements are promoted to varying degrees by one or both of the two dominant political parties, so they have become mainstream beliefs. (Worse yet, one party promotes ALL of them, all by itself!)

Unless Americans defend the ideas that American exceptionalism is real, that every man is entitled to his own property, and that the Constitution limits the powers of the government to infringe the rights of individuals, the forces of statism will destroy the beloved institutions that empower those ideas. The Americans who make up the so-called "conservative silent majority" understand this threat, though perhaps not its causes or champions. The simple fact that they're willing to fight against it in whatever way they can is encouraging.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:53 AM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm talking about Joe six-pack, Fred the UPS guy and Billy Bob with a gun rack in his pickup truck. These aren't militia members, but they are representative of the conservative silent majority. They are the reason talk radio and conservative blogs survive and thrive.

I'm not sure that 52 bloggers are representative of their views any more than 33 conservative elites, but I do stand by my analysis of what gives them the jitters on immigration.

Incidentally, if the Senate bill did what you proposed in your prior comment it would not be such a non-starter in the House. The US Senate, as with the Colorado legislature, is not about to allow any meaningful voter reform.

Posted by: johngalt at July 12, 2006 11:22 AM
But dagny thinks:

Normally I'm all for the philosophy but in this case I find myself compelled to point out the practical. Hormonally deranged no doubt.

I refuse to send my beautiful and genius daughter to the Fort Lupton public schools where her education would be sadly neglected in favor of the majority hispanic speaking population. Nevertheless, I am required to PAY for the Fort Lupton public schools.

I get furious just thinking about it. This is what illegal immigration means to me and many others I expect.

Posted by: dagny at July 12, 2006 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

I think the elites track closely to the shared philosophies you and I espouse.

The talk radio crowd joins us on patriotism and support for our troops and their mission. I thank them for that. (Hey, I'm the big tent guy.)

I know that the populists follow Bill O'Reilly into a price-gouging witch-hunt as soon as gas hits #3. They'll support limiting "outrageous" CEO pay. I think we need the principles of the elites.

Remember that I am not so much endorsing the Senate Bill as President Bush's idea of a compromise including the Senate's liberal immigration and the House's enhanced enforcement. Juntos podemos, President Bush said in his first inaugu4ration. Together we can.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 11:44 AM
But jk thinks:

Likely the blogging equivalent of getting between a bear and her cub, but I'm going to proceed...

Dagny, you cannot claim that you would be happy sending your beautiful, genius daughter to the Fort Lupton Public Schools were it not for immigrants. I know for a fact that you could find ten things wrong with it, and I wonder whether Spanish-speaking immigrants would grace the top five.

No ThreeSourcer I know sends a child to traditional public school. I refuse to believe that you would be the first except for immigrants.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 11:54 AM
But dagny thinks:

10 things?, I could probably find 50, up to and including errors in the textbooks. Just because there are other things wrong with the public schools does not mean that illegal immigration is not a large problem to address. But, that is not my main issue. I clearly phrased it badly. My main issue is that I am expected to PAY for the FLPS. Money that I could spend to educate my child as I see fit is spent to teach philosophical nonsense (not even in English) to illegal immigrants.

Additionally, part of my point was the feelings engendered by the debate which do not change even if I would not send my child there. Furthermore, I try not to vote based on feelings but I am a rare individual in that regard.

I do claim that there are probably a few remaining public schools that I would consider sending my child to. However, I dont want to move to Highlands Ranch. There is no room for the horses.

Finally, no ThreeSourcer? Silence, Lattesipper, no support for our wonderful public school system?

Posted by: dagny at July 12, 2006 12:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I understand. And I sympathize. And I would fix it your way if I could. The pragmatist in me says that train left the station a long time ago, no sense worrying about the martini olives in the club car. At least a voucher would allow you to get some money back. I pay for the bi-lingual school across the field from me (Motto: educating tomorrow's Burger King workers today!) and I have no kids.

I think you are unfair to oppose liberalization and normalization of immigration (sounding like a good rap song) because you are frustrated with coerced public education. My point is that you'd be coerced either way, you might as well be wealthier.

I shouldn't speak for everybody but I know ThreeSourcers' kids' being in Catholic schools and public charter schools, and some others are too young. I could be wrong. My little Skylark was graduated from obedience training at the Humane Society. I received no public funds.

Posted by: jk at July 12, 2006 2:47 PM

July 3, 2006

Sen McConnell on Flag Burning

It seems the Republicans at ThreeSources have found something else to disagree on. (Though we all feel it is wrong to end a sentence with a preposition.)

I have been rather strongly opposed to the flag burning amendment. Simply put, I think it wrong to put a symbol -- no matter how sacred -- above freedom.

I suggested in a comment that Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) was deserving of two profiles in Courage awards. First, he opposed McCain-Feingold all the way to the Supreme Court as all the media were leading Kumbuyas with supporters from both parties. He should wear McConnell v FEC as a badge of honor.

I suggested a second for him for opposing the flag amendment. This time standing apart from his GOP Caucus, but both times choosing freedom of speech and a defense of the First Amendment as protecting political speech.

JohnGalt disagreed and provided this link to a press releases explaining his vote. JG found it unconvincing but jk finds it a perfect description of my beliefs. I provide a link to encourage everybody to read it in full.

I dont share the slightest shred of sympathy with any who would dare desecrate the flag. They demean the service of millions of Americans, including my father and the brave men and women currently fighting the War on Terror. They deserve rebuke and condemnationif not a punch in the nose.

I revere the American flag as a symbol of freedom. But behind it is something largerthe Constitution. The First Amendment, which protects our freedom of speech, is the most precious part of the Bill of Rights. As disgusting as the ideas expressed by those who would burn the flag are, they remain protected by the First Amendment.

Our Founding Fathers wrote the First Amendment because they believed that, even with all the excesses and offenses that freedom of speech would undoubtedly allow, truth and reason would triumph in the end. And they believed the answer to offensive speech was not to regulate it, but to counter it with more speech.

JG finds the comparison to the Second Amendment tenuous but I do not. These rights are granted absolutely in the Bill of Rights and I am tired of our officials picking and choosing the ones they feel should be honored.

Our country is sacred and exceptional for its ideas. I cannot put a symbol -- even one I cherish -- above those ideas.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:44 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Well done, JK. I fully understand the principled stand that you and the good Senator are taking in defense of the indefensible. Verily, I once stood with you on this. But, much to dagny's consternation, I've revised my position. I wondered if it were just the power of the season inflating my patriotic, jingoistic, jack-booted knee-jerk reflexes. Nope.

Please allow me to accurately state the opposition:

First, I don't find the comparision to the Second Amendment tenuous. It's an excellent comparison. What I do find tenuous is the idea that gun grabbers will be dissuaded in the slightest by the absence of a Flag Burning Amendment. And the argument it would encourage them is disassembled below.

As for the amendment, those who read my comments carefully know that I called for a prohibition on burning the Flag "in the public square." Burn away in your opium den, or even you trash strewn back yard, you wastoid maggots. Quoting myself, ['Freedom of Speech?' June 30, 2006]:

"Everyone should always have the right to say, "America sucks" or "the flag stands for ______" (insert collectivist slur of choice). But nobody should have the right to burn the Flag in the public square, even if he owns said flag. There is no "self-evident" right of an individual to publicly and uncerimoniously destroy, with extreme prejudice, the preeminent national symbol of this country."

So there you have it. Free Speech is perfectly protected, Constitutionally. Pyromania and incitement to riot, on the other hand...

Now, I'm not suggesting the offense carry a mandatory minimum term in jail, or even (necessarily) a fine. Just do away with the ridiculous spectacle of uniformed police officers holding back battle-worn vets who try to do exactly the same thing as Rick Monday, whom JK praised for rescuing a fuel-soaked flag from the centerfield grass of Dodgers stadium. ['Rick Monday', July 02, 2006]

Posted by: johngalt at July 5, 2006 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Always great to agree with Dagny. I appreciate your position protecting the flag but question your implementation.

1) The part about restricting free speech from the public square. Syrians can criticize the government in their basements, Sharansky bifurcates between fear societies and free societies by what can be done in the public square.

2) You're going to make something illegal yet prohibit jail time for contravention? a $1000 fine so that the rich have free speech but the poor do not?

3) Dangerous public pyromania and incitement to riot are already illegal, speech is legal. We're talking about a special exception for the US Flag.

Posted by: jk at July 5, 2006 4:07 PM
But jk thinks:

To be fair, I have never seen "the ridiculous spectacle of uniformed police officers holding back battle-worn vets who try to do exactly the same thing as Rick Monday." A little slippery discretion is called for in that instance. To legislate it is sadly legislating away free speech.

You can't let the crowd tear the Illinois Nazis apart either, and as I've said "Man, I hate Illinois Nazis!"

Posted by: jk at July 5, 2006 4:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Illinois Nazis gather to SPEAK. Calling America a budding fear society if we stop flag burners is laughable. I admit I haven't given careful consideration to the implementation of such a statute, but what harm can come from giving the flag as much protection as other national symbols, like bald eagles for example?

Here's a brain twister for the ACLU: Do Illinois Nazis have the right to free speech if that speech includes use of the N-word? I wonder which sacred cow they would protect then.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2006 12:49 AM
But jk thinks:

I use Illinois Nazis because I like the Blues Brothers Allusion, but also because I think the high point of the ACLUs' existence was their protection of the Nazi march in Skokie. I learned a lot about free speech from that, and considered myself a budding young civil libertarian. I also loved Alan Dershowitz's book, "Taking Liberties."

We sadly agree on what the ACLU has become, I cannot imagine their championing any but left wing causes anymore. they have become just another partisan organization.

But back to wrasslin': you put words in my mouth. No, we're not a budding fear society but free speech is about what you can do in the public square and allowing it in your basement doesnt strike me as a valid compromise..

And is audible vocal speech the only thing protected? Are we in danger because the First Amendment doesn't enumerate blogs?

Posted by: jk at July 6, 2006 9:57 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I got the Blues Bros tie-in. (I never knew what Illinois Nazis were before that movie!)

The equality of spoken and written speech are clear.

Posted by: johngalt at July 6, 2006 11:57 AM

June 20, 2006

Immigration Consensus

Not at ThreeSources! But the WSJ Ed Page credits a consensus among economists. Here's the editorial. stolen posted in full:

Finally a consensus has been reached on immigration. No, not among politicians, who can't agree on a rational immigration reform. The agreement is among professional economists.

In an open letter to President Bush and Congress last week, more than 500 prominent economists, including five Nobel laureates, proclaim that "immigration has been a net gain for American citizens." The letter adds that "while a small percentage of native-born Americans may be harmed by immigration, vastly more Americans benefit from the contributions that immigrants make to the economy, including lower consumer prices. As with trade in goods and services, gains from immigration outweigh the losses." Alan Greenspan often made this same point about the benefits of immigration while he was Federal Reserve Chairman.

What is striking about this immigration letter is that it is signed by economists from different fields of research, political affiliations and ideologies. It is possible that no other issue in the economic field, with the exception of the benefits of free trade, inspires such unanimity of professional opinion as immigration does.

Several years ago the Cato Institute surveyed the past presidents of the American Economic Association and the past chairmen of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. Eighty percent agreed that immigration has had "a very favorable impact on the nation's economic growth," and 70% said that even illegal immigrant workers "have a positive economic impact." These experts agree that on balance immigrants don't displace native workers, depress wages or abuse welfare. If only these economic facts could break through an immigration debate that is dominated by emotion and political fear.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:00 AM

June 10, 2006

Google Searches

No one here has blogged about Google in a while.

But someone at the Google Blogoscope has compiled a list of censored searches at the Chinese Google.

The top 10?

    human rights
    mao zedong
    what google censors
    bird flu

Human is censored? I guess a search like that could lead to "human rights"... but that's really casting a wide net.

Posted by AlexC at 10:24 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Pick at that scab! Pretty soon, none of us will be on speaking terms with another.

I will concede that CW has gone entirely your way; even a lot of Google people think they were wrong.

Yet I stubbornly hold on to my contention that it is no different to ask British Petroleum not to sell gas that contributes to global warming. We should remove the "consciousness" from corporations and let them be bound by the invisible hand. Maximize the asset value of shareholders and let others fight for universal rights. Donate some money if you want.

Professor Reynolds contends that they have lost their cool factor with the China deal and the censoring of conservative blogs. People are eyeing them skeptically and boycotting. For what it's worth, I'm a Yahoo guy by tradition and inertia but I wouldn't claim they had done much better.

My last company was almost bought by the "Dogpile" folks. They are nice and bright, check out

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2006 1:05 PM
But AlexC thinks:

BP should continue to sell gas because that's always been their goal. (Well, really it's make money)

Make fuel.

Google's whole point was to provide information. When they go deliberately tampering with the information, not for some technical reason, but for a governmental reason, that's where people get pissed.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 10:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Aha! You found it yourself. Google is not in business to provide information, they are in business to sell advertising. Operating in China allows them to sell more advertising.

If you talk to a Google engineer (which I do not recommend) they like to say their business is "raising the world's IQ." By providing hobbled Google to the Chinese instead of a state owned solution, I would say they had succeeded on that point as well.

You might have a compatriot at Banana Oil. Ian has to experience the firewall firsthand Plus his quote from "The Fountainhead" will be well received.

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2006 12:32 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ok, mea culpa. Google's business NOW is to make money. They used to be about finding information. The two google founders worked on it as part of PhD work.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 1:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah but the $117 BBBBillion market cap is not a referendum on their research, it exists to pursue business opportunities.

I know we'll never agree on that but don't you see a danger in asking a corporation to pursue some greater good than increasing asset value? It's going to be far more frequently employed by leftists who'll want an agenda you don't agree with.

How about companies make money and bloggers save the world?

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2006 6:19 PM
But AlexC thinks:

All I'm asking is that a corporation persues their stated ideals. If it's "do no evil" I'm at a loss as to how that fits with "kowtowing to a evil political system."

If they're going to do the latter, they should drop pretense of the former.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 10:23 PM

June 4, 2006

On the Web


    A US state is to enlist web users in its fight against illegal immigration by offering live surveillance footage of the Mexican border on the internet.
    The plan will allow web users worldwide to watch Texas' border with Mexico and phone the authorities if they spot any apparently illegal crossings.

    Texas Governor Rick Perry said the cameras would focus on "hot-spots and common routes" used to enter the US.

This is a clever idea, except for the one tragic downfall.

The toll-free call in number. How long before it's rendered useless by crank calls?

Posted by AlexC at 9:43 PM

May 26, 2006

VDH on Immigration

We're entering a brave new world according to Victor Davis Hansen.

    Many Americans - perhaps out of understandable and well-meant empathy for the dispossessed who toil so hard for so little - support this present open system of non-borders. But I find nothing liberal about it.

    Zealots may chant Si, se puede! all they want. And the libertarian right may dress up the need for cheap labor as a desire to remain globally competitive. But neither can disguise a cynicism about illegal immigration, one that serves to prop up a venal Mexican government, undercut the wages of our own poor and create a new apartheid of millions of aliens in our shadows.

    We have the entered a new world of immigration without precedent. This current crisis is unlike the great waves of 19th-century immigration that brought thousands of Irish, Eastern Europeans and Asians to the United States. Most immigrants in the past came legally. Few could return easily across an ocean to home. Arrivals from, say, Ireland or China could not embrace the myth that our borders had crossed them rather than vice versa.

    Today, almost a third of all foreign-born persons in the United States are here illegally, making up 3 to 4 percent of the American population. It is estimated that the U.S. is home to 11 or 12 million illegal aliens, whose constantly refreshed numbers ensure there is always a perpetual class of unassimilated recent illegal arrivals. Indeed almost one-tenth of Mexico's population currently lives here illegally!

Posted by AlexC at 8:55 PM

The President's 'Balanced' Plan for Immigration Reform

Days after the Presidential Address to announce 6000 National Guard troops sent to "back up" the border patrol for 1 year, JK asked if I would call myself "supportive of the president's outline [of a "balanced plan" describing a "rational middle ground" on immigration.] My answer at the time was that it seemed more like the Reagan amnesty than a sustainable solution to an on-going problem. You see, I hadn't actually listened to the entirety of the 16 minute address... until last night.

One factoid I learned was the one about the National Guard. Irrespective of their assigned duties, they will be there for only a year before being "reduced as new Border Patrol agents and new technologies come online." Then there was this stunner:

"Second, to secure our border, we must create a temporary worker program. The reality is that there are many people on the other side of our border who will do anything to come to America to work and build a better life. They walk across miles of desert in the summer heat, or hide in the back of 18-wheelers to reach our country. This creates enormous pressure on our border that walls and patrols alone will not stop. To secure the border effectively, we must reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across."

Memo to President Bush: We already have a temporary worker program. It's called the H1B Visa. But there aren't enough of them and they aren't temporary. And, if I'm not mistaken, the latest version of the Senate bill actually reduces the number of visas available. [Actually, this may have referred to a reduction from the prior proposal to treble them.]

Look, if "the reality is there are many people (...) who will do anything to come to America and work" and if you want to "reduce the numbers of people trying to sneak across" then just give legal work visas to all of them. And for NED's sake, don't make seeking a job a felony, criminalize the failure to seek a job! (Not really, but you get my point.)

But this is the one that really pisses me off:

"Fourth, we must face the reality that millions of illegal immigrants are here already. They should not be given an automatic path to citizenship. This is amnesty, and I oppose it. Amnesty would be unfair to those who are here lawfully, and it would invite further waves of illegal immigration."

No, Mr. President, this is not amnesty. Amnesty is giving people a pass for breaking a law without repealing said law at the same time. What you've described is lunacy.

You say, "There is a rational middle ground between granting an automatic path to citizenship for every illegal immigrant, and a program of mass deportation." That is true, but this is also a false dichotomy. Since when has citizenship been required for permanent resident status? Just let legal immigrants live here and work here, and be subject to each and every one of our laws, but without the voter franchise.

In conclusion,

1) Secure the goram border, using armed guardsmen if necessary;
2) Revise H1B visas to include assignment of Social Security numbers, allow unlimited renewals, and make far more available each year;
3) Issue these new visas (with all your biometric whiz-bangery) to every illegal alien in the country. (And make damn sure no visa holders remain on the voter rolls.)
4) Eliminate citizenship as a birthright unless one or more parent is a citizen but other than this, make little if any change to the citizenship process.
5) Start drafting wholesale entitlement reforms now, in secret, to be put forth after the GOP holds congress in '06.

Any questions?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:32 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, what are you smokin'?

Entitlement reform in the new GOP 110th Congress will be pretty difficult to pass after the President has failed on Social Security, failed on immigration, and Congress has a smaller Republican majority.

I asked if you could support the President and the answer, I suppose, is "no." You've crafted your own plan, weeks after the President. The armed guards are not palatable to most Americans and do not constitute good politics (cf. Pete Wilson, former Governor). The additional Visas are workable to me but will be fought by unions. The change in citizenship for native birth is not on the table anywhere.

Entitlement reform will be up to Speaker Pelosi. I know you read an article that says it's improbable, but few serious people this month are calling it impossible.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2006 5:10 PM

May 17, 2006

WSJ on Immigration

I'm not the only one. The Editorial Page of the Wall Street Journal is with me on the President's speech.

President Bush laid out a "rational middle ground" on immigration Monday night amid an irrational election year. The question in the next few weeks is whether his own political party is smart enough to seize the moment and follow, or would rather run off on the anti-immigration rails.

Everybody I talk to says "rails!" I was speaking with a Bush-supporting but Tancredo-friendly relative yesterday. He's of the "wall first" flavor and I respect him immensely. But he said that the government isn't ready to create ID cards. I asked if we were more ready to build a 2000 mile wall. "Is the environmental impact study complete?"

An accompanying graph shows a nice linear rise in border patrol agents from 4,000 in 1994 to under 12,000 today. I think this belies the concept that enforcement has been ignored or gravely under funded Yes, it could be improved (and I think the President laid out exactly how) but enforcement-only will not work. The President's plan of fence, technology, more agents, guard troops, ID cards, and employer enforcement would combine to provide effective enforcement, while legal paths to work and citizenship would relieve the pressure on the border.

The reason has less to do with policy -- Mr. Blunt is not a policy man -- than with this year's elections. The President's approval ratings are down, Congress's are even lower thanks to its poor record of achievement, and so the Members have grabbed immigration enforcement as the issue to turn out the GOP base. We'll find out in November if it worked, though for now all it seems to have done is divide the party and drive Mr. Bush's ratings even lower.

The President is offering Congress a way out of this box canyon. His proposal for a guest-worker program is a serious attempt to reduce the incentives that immigrants have to enter the U.S. illegally. He also realizes that, for the illegals already here, mass deportations are impractical and would spell political suicide for the GOP. Hence, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is trying this week to garner more support for a bipartisan plan that would put these illegal workers on a path to citizenship if they pass a background check, pay fines, learn English and satisfy other requirements.
We realize we're pushing uphill by mentioning these realities amid what has become a full-fledged political panic. Mr. Bush probably also erred in not objecting more vigorously last year when the House GOP rolled out its punitive legislation that makes working here illegally a felony. That bill has both inflamed Hispanics and made immigration control a larger and more polarizing issue than it needed to be this year. If Republicans want to emerge with their majority intact, they'll take Mr. Bush's advice and support reform that does more about immigration than pretending that more border police will solve the problem.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:27 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

The Democrats made a brilliant move when they insisted on language in the House immigration bill making illegal immigration a felony. This one fact is cited almost universally as the "GOP's punitive legislation." Brilliant move, Nancy!

The single biggest complaint I have about "guest worker" is "path to citizenship." If you want to be a citizen, follow the rules already in place. Period.

BUT... I strongly endorse the idea of revising immigration law to eliminate quotas on legal entry for the purpose of employment. I.D. everyone, keep out the criminals and terrorists, then let the markets run the show.

On top of this we still need to stop spending tax dollars on bilinguality and, since non-citizen workers will no longer be "in the shadows" they can be held to all the same civil standards as citizens are.

As a free bonus, once the law about legal entry is changed then everyone who came in before is no longer a criminal.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2006 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I am looking for those who are more enforcement oriented than I who were won over by the President's balanced plan. I don't expect you to dance about giddily, but would call yourself "supportive" of the President's outline?

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2006 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I heard the beginning of his speech before leaving for dinner with in-laws, but what I heard sounded good - the beginning part, where he was speaking in generalities about values and such. As for his proposed plan I can't say that I really understand the details.

My general sense though is that it it more like Reagan's 1984 "amnesty" than like a sustainable solution to an ongoing problem. I could be wrong, but that's how it comes across.

I still have yet to hear the president or anyone in government talk about unlimited legal work permits. They always focus on "path to citizenship" and never mention that annual quotas and, thus, motivation to immigrate illegally, will remain.

Can you tell me what the president's "balanced plan" does to eliminate the current scarcity of opportunities for legal immigration?

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2006 4:21 PM

April 11, 2006

Day by Day

Posted by AlexC at 11:49 PM | Comments (1)
But LatteSipper thinks:

They're both right.

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 12, 2006 10:30 AM

April 10, 2006



Can someone explain to me what, exactly, I'm looking at?

(Tip to Michelle Malkin)

Posted by AlexC at 2:50 PM | Comments (10)
But AlexC thinks:

JK, how about the distinct disadvantage?

Namely, if it were so great, people wouldn't be fleeing it.

At least before the the Civil War, our union was a voluntary one, so people could petition to join it (ala Texas)...

But could you imagine the enormous sh!tstorm that would erupt? Depending on how you gerrymandered the states/provinces you could give a bunch of seats to Dems or a bunch to the GOP. It would make the Missouri Compromise look like cupcake time.

Posted by: AlexC at April 10, 2006 8:32 PM
But jk thinks:

I can imagine, but we are encouraged to think big at ThreeSources.

I always contend that people are poor because of bad government. If we brought our far-less bad government, their economy would skyrocket. Folks aren't leaving because the Tequila is bad; they're searching for American opportunity.

It would be very tough to add all those likely Democrat districts, yup. That's why you need Canadian provinces and subdivision of Texas (for the Senate). Most of our oil comes from these places -- it'd be Nafta on Steroids!

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2006 8:52 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

But LatteSipper thinks:

51st state? Holy cow! Are we invading Mexico?
Posted by: LatteSipper at April 10, 2006 04:22 PM

Why not? Those people are obviously leaving for the US because life in Mexico sucks under the current regime.

I think its high time GWB took charge and set things right south of the border! Maybe then, those people will leave us alone!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 10, 2006 9:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Before I'm accused of "going all Sam Houston" on our neighbors, I agree that it is a right and a privilege to be admitted into the Union and I want nobody who doesn't want to go and doesn't prove it by referenda.

Nobody pointed out that if we need more GOP districts, we can always offer statehood to Iraq...Silence? LatteSipper?

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2006 10:34 AM
But LatteSipper thinks:

(rising to the bait ...) After all we've done for Iraq, I don't think they'll be anxious to receive any more gifts from us. Perhaps Iran would be interested.

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 11, 2006 2:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If Mexico joins the union you can bet it will be voluntary, because you can also bet they'll get more out of the deal than the other 50 states will. I just hope the public restrooms in Mexico become more like ours instead of the other way around.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2006 3:12 PM

April 7, 2006

Name for This?

None dare call it sedition.

    Mayor Gavin Newsom said Thursday that The City will not comply with any federal legislation that criminalizes efforts to help illegal immigrants.

    The mayor also denounced a bipartisan congressional proposal that would beef up border security and allow as many as 12 million illegal immigrants to gain legal status.

    Newsom, who has not been afraid to wade into controversial national issues such as gay marriage, appeared with a group of elected officials on the steps of City Hall to support immigrants, documented as well as undocumented.Newsom also signed a resolution sponsored by Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, and passed unanimously by the Board of Supervisors, urging San Francisco law enforcement not to comply with criminal provisions of any new immigration bill.

    San Francisco stands foursquare in strong opposition to the rhetoric coming out of Washington, D.C., Newsom said. If people think we were defiant on the gay marriage issue, they havent seen defiance.

What are the state's rights / federalism issues involved in something like this? I have no idea where to even begin.

Posted by AlexC at 5:27 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

I bet his eyes were closed when he said it!

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2006 6:07 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Well,...maybe this is why that city Supervisor stated that the US doesn't need a military. If it were sedition, Bush would be within his rights to sic the Army on SF!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 7, 2006 7:15 PM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, I'd like to know if he was smelling his own farts.

I'm thinking I'd like to rent of the planes you see at the beach pulling an advertisement.

I'd fly it over the Mexico-California border.
In spanish it would say, "The city of San Franscisco welcomes you! Kids stay free!"

Posted by: AlexC at April 7, 2006 9:26 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

So when a mayor says his city's government won't abide by a some portion of pending legislation, that's sedition, huh? What is it when a president signs a bill into law and adds an addendum that he is not obliged to obey the requirements of the law?

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 9, 2006 12:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll concede that it is not sedition to abjure enforcement of a law that doesn't exist yet.

We have a very complicated power sharing arrangement between cities, states and federal government that is constantly tested and adjudicated. You'll find most of us siding against the Feds on Federalism grounds (Raich v Gonzales is second only to McConnell v FEC for worst SCOTUS decision of my lifetime).

But when the laws are settled, we expect both sides to honor them. Mobile, Alabama cannot outlaw abortions, Coeur d' Alene cannot allow chattel slavery. Cities like SF (and Boulder?) that refuse to recognize the Patriot Act or prosecute Federal laws are, well, um, seditious.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2006 11:12 AM
But LatteSipper thinks:

Yet that appears not to apply to our beloved president. Bush signed the Patriot Act extension with much fanfare, then the Whitehouse quietly issued a signing statement in which Bush said he was not bound by elements of the law. Shouldn't he have vetoed the law if felt there were elements he couldn't abide by?

Posted by: LatteSipper at April 10, 2006 12:13 PM

Wall First, Questions Later


    Forget employer sanctions. Build a barrier. It is simply ridiculous to say it cannot be done. If one fence won't do it, then build a second 100 yards behind it. And then build a road for patrols in between. Put cameras. Put sensors. Put out lots of patrols.

    Can't be done? Israel's border fence has been extraordinarily successful in keeping out potential infiltrators who are far more determined than mere immigrants. Nor have very many North Koreans crossed into South Korea in the last 50 years.

    Of course it will be ugly. So are the concrete barriers to keep truck bombs from driving into the White House. But sometimes necessity trumps aesthetics. And don't tell me that this is our Berlin Wall. When you build a wall to keep people in, that's a prison. When you build a wall to keep people out, that's an expression of sovereignty. The fence around your house is a perfectly legitimate expression of your desire to control who comes into your house to eat, sleep and use the facilities. It imprisons no one.

    Of course, no barrier will be foolproof. But it doesn't have to be. It simply has to reduce the river of illegals to a manageable trickle. Once we can do that, everything becomes possible -- most especially, humanizing the situation of our 11 million existing illegals.

Posted by AlexC at 2:57 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

Except for his perpetuation of the "11 million" myth (some estimate 20 million or more) this is a great column. Krauthammer advocates for the same thing JK has for weeks now: "Radical legalization of those already here." Except, like me, he insists on concrete (pardon the pun) measures to end illigal immigration. But as neither JK nor I has done, Charles observes that resistance to the former will nearly vanish if the latter is effectively achieved first. He proposes a year or two interval between the two.

This is a compromise solution that works - both sides get the result they want. Presuming, of course, that Krauthammer's prediction on the part of security advocates holds and that legalization advocates really are willing to allow illegal immigration to be stopped.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2006 3:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Further, kudos to Charles for elevating the idea of serious and deliberate border security from "Tancredo quackery" to mainstream (media, at least) legitimacy.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2006 3:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Speaking of inside baseball, I watched an hour of the Senate floor debate this morning. Some speeches were very good (Sen. Craig, R-ID!) but it was about a cloture motion for the Martinez-Hagel amendment, Minority Leader Reid calling the Republican's obstructionist, I was agreeing with Sens. Feinstein and Kennedy, Sen. Jeff Sessions from Alabama will play the part of Tom Tancredo today...

I'm surprisingly calm. Things are happening according to plan. I will get what I want in the end and publish an indecent I told you so to my GOP Immigration Win piece.

The Senate will pass a bill that is very light on enforcement, but includes a guest-worker provision. The House passes a tough enforcement bill (I'll take a little more wall, but am not up for a Krauthammer/Israel wall if we can avoid it).

Conference will hammer out a "comprehensive" bill that will be a little tough for the Wall Street Journal and too lenient for Rep Tancredo, but we'll all move along.

Looking for that seed of disagreement, it occurs to me that I do not see illegal immigrants as the security threat that others on this page do. It concerns me that N million people are here illegally but that terrorist threats are more serious from domestic sources or other countries.

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2006 6:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Small security threat? Tell that to the wife of Boulder County motorcyclist Dale Englerth who was run over by an illegal who, instead of being prosecuted, was deported to Mexico by Boulder police because of a "scheduling snafu." Or the wife of Denver cop Donnie Young, who was shot in the back of the head by an illegal who worked at one of Denver mayor Hickenlooper's restaurants. These are individual examples meant to show the horror of the problem, not the magnitude.

How about the Mexican drug gang MS-13? 11,000 organized Mexican illegals conducting business with impunity in 33 US states. Or Mexican army patrols crossing miles into US territory and firing upon US border officers. One editorialist I read claims "a full 30% of illegals fill our prisons." I'm not sure of this stat, or what this is a percentage OF, but it's clearly troubling.

But the greatest threat from the current state of immigration policy is the near complete ignorance of our current laws. When some laws go unenforced, other laws are soon ignored. Particularly by those with little or nothing to lose and everything to gain. The current debate is not about changing the law, but about whether we'll try to enforce it or, through abandonment, effectively repeal it. I say we MUST enforce this law. We need to be brave if we want to be free.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2006 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Tragic examples of crime. When I say small security threat, I suggest a small threat of terrorism.

People want to tie the global war on terrorism onto their favorite projects, be it midnight basketball, multicultural education, whatever. I hear the protectionists and the close-the-border crowd using this and I think it is equally risible.

Illegal immigration, as you point out, has many of its own problems. But I reject the call to include it as national security.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2006 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't close the border - control it. (This is my new broken record track.) New York congressman Pete King said yesterday that intelligence reports of terrorism activity at the southern border are troubling, and that waiting for a tragedy to occur before doing something about it is irresponsible. Seems to me you'll have a hard time convincing voters that idea is some kind of extremism.

Posted by: johngalt at April 10, 2006 3:07 PM

April 2, 2006

Immigration Politics

"The Republican Party is Split on Immigration" scream the headlines. We certainly have some disagreement around here. I don't see Democrats providing real leadership here, and I question that a united front is doing them much good.

I have had to face opposition to my views from Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson. A friend emailed this article with the Subject "Hanson." I thought it was the band. Of course, VDH has written a whole book about adverse effects of rampant illegal immigration and unassimilated Mexican people in has native California.

I have repeatedly made the case for a guest worker program, and said early that it could be packaged as a compromise with stricter security, resulting in a GOP win. I have faced the squeamish task of defending those who broke the law, those who refuse to assimilate, and even the ridiculous marchers who flaunted their ignorance and opposition to this country's ideals.

That's tough work for a law-and-order guy but I think that the economic advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, and that a guest worker program is a step toward a legal, controlled process that recognizes the exigencies of 11 million folks who are, well, here.

A very good point made by the other side was poll numbers showing overwhelming support for enforcement. As blog pragmatist, I have to look toward victory but feel that the support is "a mile wide and an inch thick," and that leadership could show people the benefits and overcome the demagoguery that has plagued this issue.

Bill Kristol seems to back me up in this week's Weekly Standard." In Y is for Yahoo, Kristol indulges in some name calling to a Representative from my state. But he also repeats the truth that the electorate has not been that kind to those who espouse policies that can be thought anti-immigrant.

The leaders of what he calls "THE HOUSE CAUCUS TO RETURN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY TO MINORITY STATUS--also known as the House Immigration Reform Caucus" all happen to be from safe seats. Statewide office holders have to be more moderate.

Dana Rohrabacher has represented a safe GOP seat in Orange County for almost two decades. He's chosen never to run statewide. In California, Republican governor Pete Wilson exploited the immigration issue to help get reelected in 1994, and the voters passed a Republican-backed anti-immigration measure, proposition 187. No Republican candidate except the idiosyncratic Arnold Schwarzenegger has won statewide since.

Virgil Goode has a safe GOP seat in Southside Virginia. He's never run statewide. Last fall, the Republican gubernatorial candidate, Jerry Kilgore, tried to exploit illegal immigration by denouncing a local community that wanted to build a shelter that might accommodate some illegals. He lost, in a red state, a race he had been favored to win.

Anti-immigration yahoo Tom Tancredo carried the sixth district of Colorado comfortably in 2004 (though running slightly behind pro-immigration George W. Bush). But in Tancredo's state, the GOP did miserably in 2004, with Democrat Ken Salazar winning the Senate seat and Democrats gaining control of both houses of the legislature. Meanwhile, in the safe fifth district of Iowa, Steve King did run two points ahead of George W. Bush in 2004. King was able to outspend his challenger 10-1, while Bush faced a huge Kerry effort in that swing state.

Four GOP senators voted in the Senate Judiciary Committee for the comprehensive immigration bill these blustering House members believe is electoral suicide: Arlen Specter, elected and reelected in blue state Pennsylvania; Mike DeWine, elected and reelected in swing state Ohio; and Lindsey Graham from South Carolina, and Sam Brownback from Kansas--both very popular in their red states. John McCain, lead sponsor of a bill that resembles the Senate Judiciary Committee bill, has a pretty impressive electoral record in Arizona, a competitive state. George W. Bush, a pro-immigration Republican, has won two presidential elections--as did another pro-immigration Republican, Ronald Reagan.

Adding these examples to Pete Wilson's temporary gains but long term GOP minority in California, I do not see this as an election winner.
The American people are worried about immigration. In a Pew Survey released last week, 52 percent of Americans saw immigration as a burden, while 41 percent said it strengthened the country; 53 percent support sending illegals home, while 40 percent endorsed a path to citizenship. Given the hoopla about illegal immigration, this division is in fact surprisingly close. In any case, it means GOP senators and congressmen--and presidents--have plenty of room to show leadership and to resist demagoguery. Most Republican officeholders know that the political--and moral--cost of turning the GOP into an anti-immigration, Know Nothing party would be very great. It could easily dash Republican hopes of becoming a long-term governing party. How many Republicans will have the courage to stand up and prevent the yahoos from driving the party off a cliff?

UPDATE: An AP/Ipsos poll shows support for guest worker programs.
The survey found 62 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans favored temporary worker status.

"If I were in the White House, I would be pretty pleased about this," said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political science professor who studies public opinion. "It does suggest pretty strongly that the president has the opportunity to drive public opinion on this."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:13 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

VDH's last two paragraphs say about everything I believe on this subject.

I'll be your huckleberry, JK: "How does a 'guest worker' program stop the future flow of illegal immigrants?"

It will do that, won't it? Isn't that a problem that needs to be solved? Do we agree on that?

Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2006 3:11 PM
But jk thinks:

I agree with almost all of VDH's last two paragraphs. I said in an email the other day that a permanent underclass is a concern with a guest worker program. I think that the advantages outweigh this risk and Im not sure Professor Hanson agrees.

Huck? The guest worker program does three things to reduce illegal immigration:

1) Given a safe and legal method, most legal workers would abjure the dangerous coyotes and illegal crossings;
2) Given access to legal guest workers, companies would hire these legal workers at a premium over illegals;
3) This would give the US a more solid economic and moral footing to toughen border security.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2006 4:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

First of all, "reduce" is a weasel word. One percent is a "reduction." I said "stop." By this I mean cut by 95% or more. Isn't that the goal? Efficacy?

To analyze the rest I tried to find the links to the Senate subcommittee bill I was reading over the weekend but couldn't put my mouse on it today. I wanted to look for definitive measures that would address each of your points. Failing that, for now, I'll wing it.

1) Wouldn't this be simpler and more effectively achieved by merely raising the quota on legal immigrations from Mexico?

2) If this were true then wouldn't companies be hiring legal citizen and resident alien workers now, also at a premium?

3) I disagree with this one at its root. Our moral footing is nonexistent as long as we refuse to officially acknowledge the premise I put forth in your first elevator talk. Beside that, what makes you think if border security isn't tightened now that it will be in the future? It's not just terrorists that need to be kept out, its anyone who's not willing to follow our laws. The first one they're faced with is, you don't get to come in without scrutiny, due process and intent to assimilate. Sorry, that's just the way it is (and the way it has to be.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 4, 2006 3:34 PM
But jk thinks:

By reduce I mean greater than 50%, likely towards 80-90. The efficacy will be determined by the other part of a "comprehensive" immigration package, which is increased enforcement. I know that Congress will provide heightened enforcement enough for me, I lobby for the part that is up in the air: the guest worker program.

1) Yes, a dramatic increase in H2-B visas would meet most of my needs, I consider that equivalent to a guest worker program. A large difference is what to do with 11 million people who are already here.

2) I assume that there is currently a premium for legal workers and know there is a huge premium for assimilated, English speaking workers. This would provide more workers that are cheap and legal, which is good for the economy.

3a) If we close the border tomorrow and send everybody home, jobs will go unfulfilled, that is the economic footing. When we supply sufficient legal workers, we can enforce the border without economic damage.

3b) As for moral footing (I propose jk's law: you and I will never agree on anything that has the word "moral" in it), I find it immoral to tell people who want the work that they cannot have it. Right now, we have this crazy anti-Bastiat way to look the other way when some come in. Give me your lucky and shifty enough not be caught masses... A legal method would be moral to those who came and give us every right to be tough on those who ignored these new legal means.

3c) I gave up on the Elevator Talk, it was shot down by shoulder guided missiles from a rogue philosopher junta. I'm back to rambling and dissembling...

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2006 6:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

OK now, please forgive me if I wander a bit here but this is a complicated subject I'm learning more about every day.

You liken the guest worker program to an H2B visa given to some or all of the millions of illegal immigrants already here. That implies that, as with the H2B visa, these workers are here TEMPORARILY and are coming for a job with an expressly stated duration of 1 year or less.

But your explanations of points 2 and 3 above imply that the worker is already here and available to employers looking for help. But when an H2B visa expires the worker is REQUIRED (save for up to 2 years of extensions) to leave the country, ostensibly to return home. Will this be the case with "guest worker?"

Please don't be so despondent over our differences friend. We certainly agree it is immoral to "shoot a man in Reno, just to watch him die." We also agree that individuals have a natural right to create and to take jobs without permission from the government. But there is also an important tool for self-preservation known as citizenship that must sometimes trump the rights of individual NON-citizens. That's what's at issue here after all.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2006 3:00 PM

March 31, 2006

The Marches

Just a few pictures from this week's marches.

    Our signs helped to counter the American flags. Our people expressed their agreement with our message.

    Racist Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R of California 4th district) of red-neck Orange County said that he didn't care how long people had been in "this country" illegally, if they were here illegally for 5 or 50 years that they should be deported. Fine! Europeans have been here illegally since 1492, START THE DEPORTATIONS NOW! First one to go should be this Nazi Rohrabacher!

    Sensenbrenner, Schwarzenegger, Rohrabacher, funny how they all have Germanic names! .....No, it's not funny at all!

    What does the immense success of "La Gran Marcha" mean to Mexicanos and other Latinos? It simply means that we now have the numbers, the political will and the organizational skills to direct our own destinies and not be subservient to the White and Jewish power structures. It means that we can now undertake bigger and more significant mass actions to achieve total political and economic liberation like that being proposed by Juan José Gutiérrez, President of Movimiento Latino USA. Juan José Gutiérrez is proposing that the coalition that organized "La Gran Marcha" meet in Arizona or Texas on April 8 to "organize a mass boycott (huelga) against the economy of the USA" to take place on May 1, May 5 or May 19.

(tip to NRO)

Victor Davis Hanson (read the whole thing)

    If many thousands of illegal aliens marched in their zeal, many more millions of Americans of all different races and backgrounds watched--and seethed. They were struck by the Orwellian incongruities--Mexican flags, chants of "Mexico, Mexico," and the spectacle of illegal alien residents lecturing citizen hosts on what was permissible in their own country.

    If the demonstrators thought that they were bringing attention to their legitimate grievances--the sheer impossibility of deporting 11 million residents across the border or the hypocrisy of Americans de facto profiting from "illegals" who cook their food, make their beds, and cut their lawns--they seemed oblivious to the embarrassing contradictions of their own symbolism and rhetoric. Most Americans I talked to in California summed up their reactions to the marches as something like, 'Why would anyone wave the flag of the country that they would never return to--and yet scream in anger at those with whom they wish to stay?' Depending on the particular questions asked, polls reveal that somewhere around 60-80% of the public is vehemently opposed to illegal immigration.

Posted by AlexC at 12:05 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I think the poll numbers show a lack of leadership. The polls were against the Dubai ports sale as well.

The Wall Street Journal lead editorial today asks whether the GOP wants to be the party of Ronald Reagan or Tom Tancredo: ?do Republicans want to continue in the Reagan tradition of American optimism and faith in assimilation that sends a message of inclusiveness to all races? Or will they take another one of their historical detours into a cramped, exclusionary policy that tells millions of new immigrants, and especially Hispanics, that they belong somewhere else?"

The marches and the Mexican flags and the upside down flag are all counter-productive. That's not too far from Republicans being thrown in with Pat Robertson and David Duke. I recognized these problems in a blog entry on March 27:

I don't defend these people or the quotes you post, but I'm not going to choose to be poorer to spite them.

I want to be the party of Reagan: optimistic, welcoming and seeking greater wealth. Rep Tancredo has my permission to ignore comparative advantage and to mow his own lawn.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2006 2:15 PM
But AlexC thinks:

JK, you're missing the point. My argument is NOT "close the borders". Take immigrants. Welcome them. But assimilate them. Countless millions have done that. What were seeing lately is not assimilation, but special treatment, and even worse DEMANDS for special treatment.

You're right about the party of Reagan. But he wouldn't approve of those signs, and that behavior. America is a melting pot. Not a multiple course meal.

Posted by: AlexC at March 31, 2006 3:09 PM

February 7, 2006

Rhode Island - Senate

It's time for another episode of the left wing's favorite TV, "Internecine". Where generally agreeable free-market capitalist types feast on their own to find out who reigns supreme.

The opening volley begins with an editorial from the National Review.

    The argument that conservatives should support Chafee rests entirely on the assumption that he's the only Republican who can win in Rhode Island. This logic may be what has led the National Republican Senatorial Committee to continue throwing resources behind him. The assumption may or may not be true, but, whatever the case, it is far from clear that the GOP — to say nothing of conservatives — gains anything from Chafee's continued presence in the Senate. When votes really matter, he can't be counted on. Positions such as the one he took on Alito allow Democrats and the media to speak of "bipartisan opposition" to the Bush administration. And if the GOP's majority ever depended on Chafee alone, there's every reason to believe he'd bolt the party, just as James Jeffords of Vermont did in 2001.

    There is an alternative. Steven Laffey, the Republican mayor of Cranston, is running against Chafee in the September primary. His underdog campaign has shown both pluck and promise. Laffey has a track record of winning Democratic votes: That's the only way he could have been elected two times as mayor of Cranston, a city of about 80,000 residents, most of them Democrats. But on key issues, Laffey is a conservative: He supports tax cuts and the war in Iraq, opposes corporate welfare and other forms of wasteful spending, and is pro-life. The Club for Growth has decided to back him. His campaign has unfortunately chosen to bash "Big Oil" in some of its early advertising — but, as we said, it's difficult to be a Republican in Rhode Island.

Nothing quite like picking at a scab. Read their whole editorial.

Posted by AlexC at 6:30 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

I had opposed this before on the grounds that Chafee votes for GOP leadership in the Senate and I think that the NR folks gloss over that lightly and that Committee Chairpersonships are important. Before Jeffords, the Democrats tried Chafee and he held.

The Club For Growth and certainly jk have limited resources to spend on elections. My point remains that there are better plays out there than Laffey's primary bid.

The editorial made me even less enthused after I read that Laffey is bashing big oil in his early ads. That portends poorly in a state where there will be intense pressure to "grow" in office; he might grow into a new Lincoln Chafee!

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2006 7:23 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Well bashing big oil doesn't make him any different than Arlen Specter.
.. and you defended him.

What important is what NRO outlined where Laffey beats Chafee.
"He supports tax cuts and the war in Iraq, opposes corporate welfare and other forms of wasteful spending"

Spirit of '94.

Posted by: AlexC at February 8, 2006 12:44 AM
But jk thinks:

Scurrilous charge! I believe that I have said exactly ONE nice thing about Senator Specter in four years of blogging. That was a well deserved kudo for his handling of the Alito hearings (where I was joined by many conservatives including Sugar Chuck who had convinced me to support the Toomey primary bid [which I did]).

I supported the Toomey bid because Specter was set to chair the Judiciary Committee and I didn't expect the future kudos I'd be sending his way.

I would support a primary against Voinovich in Ohio; I would not mind trying to bump Hegel in Nebraska (although a perusal of his voting record in the Almanac looks good). States where you could conceivably take out a wishy-washy-lican and have a good shot at electing a real conservative -- I'm in!

I'll even applaud a Quixotic thrust at a Chafee, Snowe, or Collins. I'm just going to spend my money where I feel it will have a better impact.

Defending Specter, jeez, the abuse I take around here...

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2006 10:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Over the weekend I heard Voinovich say nice things about John Bolton - no more tears! Still think he should go? (I don't know much more about him, I'm just askin'.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2006 10:48 AM
But jk thinks:

"Lachrymose George" came on my radar the day insisted that the final committee version of the 2003 tax cuts could not exceed $350 Billion or he wouldn't support them. From The Almanac of American Politics:

"Voinovich came to the Senate, after 32 years in public office, as a big government Republican, willing to back tax increases as he did in 1992 but dubious about cutting them, as he was in 1999 and 2000. In his previous positions he had been required to balance budgets, and he seemed viscerally repelled by deficits. In 1999 he voted against the Republicans' $792 billion tax cut, against the smaller Democratic tax cut, and against the bipartisan moderates' compromise tax cut. In April 2000 he was one of two Republicans to vote against the Republican budget. In July 2000 he was one of four Republicans to vote against estate tax repeal and the only Republican to vote against marriage penalty relief. He did support the Bush tax cuts in May 2001, when it looked as if the surplus would be permanent. In October 2001 he worked to scale back the tax cuts in House Republicans' stimulus package. In February 2003 he came out against the $700 billion Bush tax cut and in April he and Olympia Snowe insisted they would back no cut higher than $350 billion. That led Finance Chairman Charles Grassley and Majority Leader Bill Frist to say they would insist on that figure from conference, to the rage of the House Republican leadership."

EEEW! Again, browsing the "key votes," his other votes look pretty good: no to an ANWR ban, Yes to Iraq war funding. I'd take points off for backing an Assault Weapons ban, shrug my shoulders at a "Y" on same-sex marriage ban. He opposed Roe V. Wade and supported a partial-birth abortion ban -- I doubt if either votes gets him support from JohnGalt.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2006 11:11 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Ok, maybe defended was too harsh a term.

Oh, here's some more commentary this AM.
"Republicans in Rhode Island say that Sen. Chafee had given private assurances that he would be supporting the Alito Supreme Court nomination. His reversal on this issue drew a public rebuke from his most reluctant supporter, popular Gov. Don Carcieri (R), and endangers him in his primary race against Cranston Mayor Stephen Laffey (R). Laffey must now be considered the narrow frontrunner in the Republican Senate primary after crossing the $1-million mark and outraising Chafee in individual contributions for the quarter."

Posted by: AlexC at February 8, 2006 12:29 PM