October 18, 2017

Hypocritcially Whistling Past the Schadenfreude

The cognitive dissonance is somehow not disabling to those on the left who, with no choice but to denounce the sexploitation of Harvey Weinstein, completely ignore the same by their political heroes. George Neumayr sums it up in the American Spectator:

[The New York Times' Michelle] Goldberg, desperate to absolve the Democrats of the taint of Weinstein, works hard to inflate the misdeeds of figures such as Roger Ailes and equate criticism of feminist policies with misogyny. Fox News was "like his personal sadomasochistic brothel," she writes. (Ailes was accused of asking subordinates out and making leering comments, but he wasn't accused of sexual assault. There is a long way from his asking Megyn Kelly to twirl to the "sadomasochistic brothel" of Goldberg's imagination.)

All is better now on the liberal side, she declares, now that Weinstein's "impunity has come to an end" and he has been stripped of all his power:

He has lost his job and been expelled from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. France has taken steps to strip him of his Legion of Honor Award, the country's highest civilian distinction. He is being repudiated for violating progressive ideals about sexual consent, workers' rights and the fundamental equality of men and women.

Imagine her writing that last sentence about a long line of sexual goats in the Democratic Party. Or calling for the Edward Kennedy Institute to be renamed. Or demanding that Bill Clinton's honorary doctorates be taken away from him. It would never happen. And it never will happen. The obituarists of Harvey Weinstein will keep the progressive memory of Bill and Teddy alive forever.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)

February 4, 2016

If you think it's expensive now...

.... wait until they make if free, PJ O'Rourke famously said.

This comes to you courtesy of the tireless ones at PowerLine who found a Tufts study on the 5500+ page Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that was signed yesterday ... vewwwy quietly.

The summary is here, and highlights that the best results are

Widely cited projections suggest GDP gains for all countries after ten years, varying from less than half a percentage point in the United States to 13 percent in Vietnam.
Ahem, I'm not sure this sounds like a great idea, and will be digging deeper after seeing the title is Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Expect NPR to go with the first clause in that quote alone... and a convenient assum-er... preclusion:

[T]he CGE model used excludes, by assumption, TPP effects on employment and income distribution, thereby ruling out the major risks of trade liberalization.

While in the (slightly more) real world, Tufts employs United Nations Global Policy Model, which predicts
TPP would generate net losses of GDP in the United States and Japan. ... [increased inequality] and TPP would lead to employment losses in all countries, with a total of 771,000 lost jobs. The United States would be the hardest hit, with a loss of 448,000 jobs. Developing economies participating in the agreement would also suffer employment losses, as higher competitive pressures force them to curtail labor incomes and increase production for export.

Most alarmingly, in a presser, Jeff Sessions (not a friend of JK, AL) notes

the TPP also has a "living agreement" provision, guaranteeing that once implemented, Congress will have ceded its Constitutional authority to negotiate trade deals, permitting the negotiated TPP to be changed by a new international commission

whoops! living by rules not covered by our Constitution....I humbly suggest BHO sees himself and his similarly minded (if not credentialed) friends as the ones who'll be writing these new rules! Just might have to trade in my ARI institute card for a dirty, torn NATIVIST shirt from the Duck Dynasty folks!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:48 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I had to apply external pressure to help prevent dagny's head from exploding when Bernie Sanders said in the debate last night, "Of course I believe in trade but not unfettered, free trade. It has to be fair trade. I don't want American workers competing with foreign workers earning fifty-six cents an hour minimum wage. We can't have American companies shipping their jobs overseas."

I thought it might help if I paraphrased - "He wants to force American business to pay fifteen dollars an hour to people doing fifty-six cent per hour work. And he wants to force American consumers to buy goods made by overpaid workers, not the ones paid according to 'unfettered free trade."

Eventually she was fine, when we changed the channel.

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2016 8:50 AM
But jk thinks:

Q: "Why can't we have nice things?"

A: Bootleggers and Baptists. The cause of liberty is easily attacked from multiple directions, and coalitions of wildly disparate thinkers frequently overwhelm laissez faire.

I'm pretty tepid in my defense of TPP, but energetic in opposition to those who would kill any trade deal ever. And, I dare say, that club would include Sen. Sessions (no friend of jk - AL) and the "Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University."

I feign surprise that none of the studies from the Global Development And Environment Institute at Tufts University on Climate Change and Sustainable development have qualified for a ThreeSources post. I know: only so many hours in the day.

There is of course every chance that this paper is serious and important. But as the same web has a collection of anti-nafta articles on the 20th anniversary of that incredibly successful trade agreement, I am going to stick with my hasty first impression.

Posted by: jk at February 5, 2016 11:35 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Reading this [PDF] litany of the anti-environmental effects of TTIP I'm left to wonder... how can the most environmentalist-friendly President in US history be a party to this?

Posted by: johngalt at February 5, 2016 2:25 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Obama not noting potential environmental impacts to one of his pet projects? Ahhh, the Unbearable Lightness of being Liberal!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 9, 2016 12:16 AM

August 24, 2015

It's a Meme-a-palooza!

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


Posted by John Kranz at 4:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2015

i like memes [updated]

I went with brother JG's suggestion


Also, tell me if anyone else saw stronger statement from IMPOTUS than

While the investigation into the attack is in its early stages, it is clear that their heroic actions may have prevented a far worse tragedy.

Is it just me, or does he only react to bad news?

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:33 PM | Comments (7)
But nanobrewer thinks:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RE: The Meme

How about "Americans touring Europe"

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

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

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

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

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

thwarting what could have been a terrible terrorist attack

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

April 22, 2015

EV Superfund Alert

It is common knowledge that hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs. Which of course means it is not true.

While conventional lead acid batteries used for starting internal combustion engines (ICE) are readily recyclable, state-of-the-art lithium ion batteries are not.

Given the extremely high metal value of used cobalt-based lithium batteries it seems strange that only one company in the world, Unicore of Belgium, has bothered to develop a recycling process. When you take the time to read and digest Umicore's process description, however, the reason becomes obvious. Recycling lithium-ion batteries is an incredibly complex and expensive undertaking that includes:
  • Collection and reception of batteries;
  • Burning of flammable electrolytes;
  • Neutralization of hazardous internal chemistry;
  • Smelting of metallic components;
  • Refining & purification of recovered high value metals; and
  • Disposal of non-recoverable waste metals like lithium and aluminum.
The process is economic when a ton of batteries contains up to 600 pounds of recoverable cobalt that's worth $40 a pound. The instant you take the cobalt out of the equation, the process becomes hopelessly uneconomic. Products that cannot be economically recycled can only end up in one place, your friendly neighborhood landfill.

Disposable diapers are less a scourge upon the earth.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Worth it to run your car on coal...

Posted by: jk at April 22, 2015 4:03 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'm still holding out for a Delorean with the bolt-on Mr. Fusion on the rear deck.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 22, 2015 4:35 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

hybrid and EV cars are better for the earth than gas guzzling SUVs

It's not common knowledge, it's CONVENTIONAL WISDOM.. And (tsk-tsking the crude language on order) it's not 'untrue' it's about convention, not about wisdom.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 23, 2015 1:06 PM

August 2, 2014

Waiting for the ECB meeting next week.

A French Euro-critic makes some incredibly interesting points. Todd lumps the "individualistic" French and Anglo-Saxon cultures versus the hierarchical German culture.

Hat-tip: Blog friend tgreer.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2014

If you've lost Chicago's south side...

This might be a problem for the President.

[Embedded video deleted due to autoplay. Click through to article for video.]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 10, 2014

Obama Makes Mid-Sized Company Employees "Job Slaves"

In an article about the adminstration unilaterally revising the PPACA - again - those right-wing hacks at CNN embed a video bashing the President's signature legislation.

"Joe Biden said this is a big fucking deal. This is a big fucking disaster."

Next thing you know they'll be reporting that an American diplomat was murdered by terrorists in the middle east on the anniversary of 9/11.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:27 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2013

Mon Dieu!

One hates to take the side of the hackers. I mean, I am a law-and-order guy. But . . . . . . .

When the victims are EU Bureaucrats and the delivery mechanism is Carla Bruni, one must doff the chapeau:

NUDE pictures of former French first lady Carla Bruni were used to break in to the computer systems of dozens of diplomats, it emerged today.

The shocking security breach was first discovered at the G20 summit in Paris in February 2011 and may be ongoing.

"To see naked pictures of Carla Bruni click here" said a message sent to those attending, who included finance ministers and central bank representatives.

Via the (Australian) Telegraph. All pictures at the link are -- sadly -- SFW.

UPDATE: To see naked pictures of Carla Bruni click here.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Great, go ahead and drive up the bird killer clickthroughs why dontcha.

As for the Bruni pics, how long until they hack one of them into President Obama's selfie?

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2013 6:57 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm shocked that you clicked.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2013 11:02 AM

October 29, 2013

Mon Dieu!

Enough is enough ... For 18 months now, French professional soccer has been fighting, without being heard, against the 75 percent tax project, the tax is not only unfair and discriminatory, but also threatens the clubs competitiveness and survival. -- Frederic Thiriez, president of the French Professional Soccer League
Posted by John Kranz at 5:47 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2013

Yes, Still Whining

American Automobile Association observes that Gas Prices Surpass $3.00 per Gallon for 1,000 Consecutive Days in Longest Streak Ever.

"Motorists took notice when gas prices crept past $3 per gallon," continued Darbelnet. "Spending more on gas concerns consumers because it reduces savings and spending for everything else we need. Our leaders can help alleviate this economic burden by encouraging a national policy that stimulates production, limits price volatility, ensures greater efficiency and promotes alternative energy."

I have argued that Stealthflation contributes to higher fuel costs, but regulation is probably the larger culprit. Mandates and limitations on production, refining, blending and distributing all make fuel more expensive and less plentiful. The author previously concluded "the reality is that expensive gas is here to stay, which is tough on millions of people who need a car to live their lives" but if "our leaders" were to alleviate this economic burden, as he later suggested, then the 62% of people who believe gas is too high when it reaches $3.50 per gallon wouldn't have to "stop their whining." After all, the average household pays only about 4 percent of pre-tax income on gasoline. That's less than the portion it spends on food prepared at home.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Some guys cannot declare victory and move on.

Fuel is the best example of my contention: even though oil is denominated in dollars, the monetary inflation component of gasoline prices is minimal.

I get your "sucks to pay $60 to fill the minivan" point, really I do. But as we select whether Janet Yellen, Matt Damon, or Maya Angelou is to be the next FOMC Chair, I suggest there is value in bifurcating monetary inflation versus the costs of regulation (and everything else).

If one separates the monetary component, one sees that monetary inflation is not a big problem at this time. Buying Gold and demanding immediate unwinding of the Fed's prodigious balance sheet will not ease gas process. Building the Keystone Pipeline, fracking in update New York, removing biofuels mandates and eliminating boutique fuels requirements, conversely, will have a huge impact.

Call things by their right name, attribute effects to their proper cause and we can all get along.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 3:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Your buddy, Prof. Mark J. Perry, has an interesting piece today comparing what a young person could buy with a summer's minimum wage wages.

Just interesting...

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2013 4:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yep and yeah. I agree. Maybe I wasn't dismissive enough of the Stealthflation component of fuel prices but I couldn't pass on tying in with Perfessor Perry's "quit your whining" dismissal.

(Still, the Stealthflation component IS non-zero.) Moving on is overrated. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2013 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

> 0 on purpose. I am "old school" enough that I accept a 1-2% inflation target because the risk of deflation is so much worse. Some people I respect say that fear is overrated, but when it happens it always seems to be bad -- I'll keep my caution.

It is hard on mattress-savers, but if it is predictable and stays < 2 an investor can plan around it. Plus, like the just-linked Perry piece, disinflationary pressure from trade, productivity and innovation should easily eclipse it.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2013 10:32 AM
But johngalt thinks:

A true Prosertarian wouldn't be so willing to let government absorb the lions share (okay, would you admit "a healthy portion?") of productivity and innovation gains, for any reason. Isn't a fear of deflation akin to buggy whip price supports? Wouldn't it be better to let the market creatively destruct some businesses and deliver greater prosperity to one and all in the process? The whole inflation targeting thing just seems so 1974 to me.

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2013 3:36 PM

June 19, 2013

Quote of the Day

Tocqueville would not recognize America today. Indeed, so completely has associational life collapsed, and so enormously has the state grown, that he would be forced to conclude that, at some point between 1833 and 2013, France must have conquered the United States. -- Niall Ferguson
Posted by John Kranz at 1:06 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

... or, at very least, had conquered her large cities.


Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2013 2:15 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Bingo. Indeed, I would suggest that the collapse of the first led to the second.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 20, 2013 12:10 AM

April 3, 2013

That's not a bubble... THIS is a bubble!

Aw hell, I'm gonna blockquote it anyway, because the widely quoted passages are the wrong ones. The right ones are here:

These policies have brought America to an end-stage metastasis. The way out would be so radical it can’t happen. It would necessitate a sweeping divorce of the state and the market economy. It would require a renunciation of crony capitalism and its first cousin: Keynesian economics in all its forms. The state would need to get out of the business of imperial hubris, economic uplift and social insurance and shift its focus to managing and financing an effective, affordable, means-tested safety net.

And here:

It would require, finally, benching the Fed’s central planners, and restoring the central bank’s original mission: to provide liquidity in times of crisis but never to buy government debt or try to micromanage the economy. Getting the Fed out of the financial markets is the only way to put free markets and genuine wealth creation back into capitalism.

That, of course, will never happen because there are trillions of dollars of assets, from Shanghai skyscrapers to Fortune 1000 stocks to the latest housing market “recovery,” artificially propped up by the Fed’s interest-rate repression. The United States is broke - fiscally, morally, intellectually - and the Fed has incited a global currency war (Japan just signed up, the Brazilians and Chinese are angry, and the German-dominated euro zone is crumbling) that will soon overwhelm it. When the latest bubble pops, there will be nothing to stop the collapse. If this sounds like advice to get out of the markets and hide out in cash, it is.

From David Stockman's Sundown in America. New York Times Sunday Review, March 30, 2013.

And I didn't even quote the part about feckless calculations of inflation! That's gotta be worth something.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

March 28, 2013

Headline of the Day

French Toast
By Matthew Kaminski
French Socialist President Francois Hollande takes to the national airwaves on Thursday night to defend his economic plan, as his approval rating sinks to a record low.
Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Is he planning to sit by a fire, in a cardigan?

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2013 3:18 PM

December 31, 2012

Quote of the Day

In other words, a household with two people earning a little under €1 million would not be subject to the tax, while an individual making even a dollar more than €1 million would have to pay. So while it is fair to take 75% of what someone earns, it isn't fair unless the law confiscates 75% from all rich households equally. Come to think of it, that sort of social and economic leveling was the point of the French Revolution. -- WSJ Ed Page
Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (0)

December 18, 2012

Qui Est Jean Galt Deux

Gérard Depardieu gets Dr. Helen's QOTD

"I am handing over to you my passport and social security, which I have never used," he said. "We no longer have the same homeland, I am a true European, a citizen of the world, as my father always taught me to believe."

He concludes: "Despite my excesses, my appetite and love for life, I am a free being, Sir, and will remain polite."

Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2012

Qui Est Jean Galt?

The only word I question is "Despite."

Nonetheless [Gérard] Depardieu remains widely popular in France, despite making headlines for occasional drunken and lewd behaviour. The actor asserts he has always been an upstanding citizen, deserving "respect," and who has employed 80 people, always paid his taxes, and "never killed anybody." He said he paid 85 per cent of his income in taxes in 2012, and over 45 years, has paid 145 million Euros -- or £118 million -- in taxes.

Hat-tip: Blog friend EE by email. He enjoyed the phrase "vice president of the moderate conservative Radical Party,"

Posted by John Kranz at 11:11 AM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

A friend of The Refugee always laughs when someone justifies themselves as a good human being "Because they never killed anyone." As if scoring 10% on the Ten Commandments is a passing grade.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 17, 2012 5:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. Well, he is (er, was) French. Grade on a curve?

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2012 6:13 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It's not asserting that he's a good person just because he didn't kill anyone, but making a distinction between him and government. Depardieu never collaborated to send 75,000 Jews to concentration camps, and he never threatened anyone with kidnapping or death because the other party didn't "pay up" (which is what government does when you don't pay taxes).

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 19, 2012 6:33 PM

December 13, 2012

Exit, Stage Right

A few days back I posted a link to Part I of Brit philosopher Nick Land's crushing take on democracy and liberty, "The Dark Enlightnement." Strangely enough, the orignal entries disappeared from the "That's Shanghai" website shortly after the piece began to be extensively linked...

Fortunately, a Tumblr named Matt Leslie had posted it in full back in September. At over 27,000 words of reading neither easy or light, it's not everyone cup of tea, but I present it for your consideration.

I know that not everyone here agrees completely, but we are entering interesting times. It is not the end of civilization or a return to the Dark Ages, but it is indeed the kind of inflection point that has been seen before, many times, in human history. Things that cannot go on, will not. Reality is not subject to a filibuster in the Senate.

I wrote before that I am dead to national politics now, though I am still involved at the state and local level. Some states and locales will be much better to live in than others, when the New WoMen really get their program in place.

It's now about Flight, or Exit. Since there is no new frontier on Earth, and space isn't quite ready yet, it's going to be an internal exit. In the next few years a lot of the best people we've got are going to quit working so hard, quit trying to deal with DC, quit trying to make the world "better." Just for awhile.

Rand's vision was awesome, because it relied on the reality of human beings qua human beings, and the reality of this earth. "Is Atlas Shrugging?" articles have been written periodically for over 50 years. Maybe I'm wrong; but I hear it coming, like the faint low staccato of a distant stampede, that no one can stop. One can only get out of its way.

I'm not "depressed" (what a typical modernism!) by this, not at all. Again, interesting times! I'm with author Sarah Hoyt (of Colorado):

And then there’s the fact that in the rest of the world, if things get unbearable, you can always go to America. But we don’t have an America to go to. Which will only make us more determined to “ignore the order, buck the directive, roll up our sleeves and do for ourselves.”

This is why statists of any stripe so often throw their hands up and call us ungovernable. Not that this gives them the idea they shouldn’t try. No. Instead, they try to devise more cunning ways of governing us. You have them to give credit for dreaming the impossible dream. It’s the one proof we have that the sons of beetles are Americans.

So… after sixty years of creeping statism, they’ve now “captured the flag” – they have actually got all of the important systems sewn up: news, entertainment, education, government.

They think – can you blame them? – that they won.

I won’t say they can’t hurt us. They can. The mechanisms they’ve seized hold of are important and they are – natch – misusing them.

I’m not saying that this will be easy. It won’t. Our economy is likely to be an incredible shambles, and I’ve said before I think we’ll lose at least one city.

But, listen, the problem with these sons of… Babel is that they might be American, but they’re not American ENOUGH. If they were, they’d understand “ungovernable” and this willingness for each of us to go it alone (often for common benefit, but on own recognizance, nonetheless) is not a bug. It’s a feature. And that it’s baked in the cake of a people who came here to escape the top-down spirit of other places. Some of the black sheep (or as one friend of mine calls it, the plaid sheep) attitude is genetic, hereditary, inborn. And enough of us have it.

I'll tell you what's really funny; I've basically returned to where I was back in '75 when I read Harry Browne's How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. If you haven't read it, I recommend you do. No spoilers here.

But the title says a lot.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 4:39 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

December 12, 2012

75% Taxes! Mon Dieu!

I love Gerard Depardieu! The Wall Street Journal reports his relocation.

The latest rich Frenchman to make for the hills--or rather, the lowlands--is movie star Gérard Depardieu, who has recently become a resident of Belgium. Specifically, Estaimpuis, a small town less than half a mile from the French border. Per Estaimpuis Mayor Daniel Senesael: "He adores the canal, he adores the Burgundian castle, he adores the small butcheries, the cute little shops, the small corner cafe." No doubt.

France has no shortage of its own small, cute or Burgundy-related attractions. But Belgium has a few bonus points to attract the likes of Mr. Depardieu (estimated net worth: $120 million). Notably, Belgium has no capital-gains taxes on sales of shares and stock, while in France the Hollande-era effective rate comes to 34.5%, versus 19% previously. Belgium also lacks any "wealth tax," which under Mr. Hollande kicks in next year at 0.5% on assets over €800,000. Finally, Belgium's top marginal income-tax rate, at 53.7%, is positively Reaganesque compared to the new 75% rate that Mr. Hollande is imposing on incomes over €1 million.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:56 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

How hard would that "wealth tax" have hit Mr. Depardieu? I'm firewalled out so I'll have to do the math myself. $120,000,000 - $800,000 = 119,200,000 taxable at 0.5 percent = $596,000. Per year.

"Should 99.5 percent appear too small,
"Be thankful I don't take it all, Tax Man!"

Posted by: johngalt at December 12, 2012 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

He just likes the canal.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2012 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

And just because you'd do it to me: $120M - €800K = $118,954,719.77 * 0.05 = 594,773.59

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2012 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm auditioning to be M. Depardieu's accountant. I have already saved him over $1000.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2012 4:28 PM

July 18, 2012

The cost of government "help"

I finally made a cogent point out of a post I put up day before yesterday:

Government tax revenues as a percentage of national GDP:

China - 17%
USA - 26.9%
France - 44.6%

Doing much to explain why manufacturing [of Olympic uniforms and other necessities] is less costly in communist China than in "free" America. Also revealing why leftists think Americans are whiny losers for claiming we are Taxed Enough Already.

Even so, wouldn't France be much better off if they didn't waste so much tax money on smart bombs and aircraft carriers?

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2012

International Tax Misery Index

Well aware that I'm risking graphic chart overload here, I couldn't resist posting the graph below showing the combined total, in percentage points, of corporate income tax rate, personal income tax rate, employer SS tax rate, employee SS tax rate, VAT/sales tax rate and wealth tax rate for the countries that have such a thing. Sixty-one countries are listed, including China. Since both corporate and personal taxes are listed I suppose the theoretical maximum index score is 200, or 100 percent of personal income plus 100 percent of corporate income. But this is no justification for US federal government confiscation of 42.65 percent of both personal and corporate income. (61.6% and 53.9% in NYC when state and local taxes are included.)


Of sixty one nations, four have a TMI below 52 points: Qatar, UAE, Hong Kong and Georgia. The rest start at 70 points and go up from there. I find it mind boggling that Americans take to the streets to protest taxes that approach 50 percent, while Frenchmen sit still for tax rates of 79.4% on corporations and 86.7% on individuals. I realize these are top marginal rates, paid only by evil "one percenters" and corporations. Nonetheless...

And despite the second highest Tax Misery Index in the world, China is still better disposed to make American Olympic Team costumes. (Perhaps this is better explained by an average US hourly compensation cost of $34.74.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:57 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

After posting I realized that while this chart is eye-catching it doesn't really give much information. The figures listed are tax rates, not revenues, and top marginal rates at that. The chart shown at this Wikipedia page can be sorted by 2012 Heritage Foundation tax revenue as percent of GDP thus revealing:

China - 17%
USA - 26.9%
France - 44.6%

And thus proving my original thesis, that manufacturing in the USA is more difficult because of government imposed costs.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Take a look at the countries with tax revenue less than 15% of GDP. They include:

Dominican Republic, Philippines, Singapore, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Guatemala. A who's who of country-of-origin tags I've seen on clothing goods.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:26 PM

May 17, 2012

That's Fresh!

Haven't posted a "Let them eat Cake" for a while. But I need to borrow the WSJ's Notable & Quotable today. "Actor Will Smith during a French television interview this week:"

Smith: I have no issue with paying taxes and whatever needs to be done for my country to grow. I believe very firmly that my ability to sit here--I'm a black man who didn't go to college, yet I get to travel around the world and sell my movies, and I believe very firmly that America is the only place on Earth that I could exist. So I will pay anything that I need to pay to keep my country growing. . . .

Interviewer: Do you know how much in France you would have to pay on earnings above one million euros [under new French President Francois Hollande's proposal]? Not 30%. 75%.

Smith: 75?! Yeah, that's different, that's different. Yeah, 75. Well, you know, God bless America.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2011

Not Getting It

How much longer do we have to endure government economic estimates based on static analysis of tax rate changes?

In November the mail-in ballot votes will be tallied to decide whether Colorado will lose 7,400 to 11,600 private sector jobs [you know, the ones that pay their own way and don't require a new tax every year to keep them going?] The culprit is Colorado's Proposition 103, a five-year plan to hike three different state taxes on individuals and businesses, conceived and placed on the ballot almost single handedly by Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) and his personal fortune.

Voters will decide between the projected outcome voiced by one Senator Mary Hodge (D-Brighton) who said "she’s optimistic that state finances will not take a turn for the worse," or that of Barry W. Poulson, Senior Fellow in Fiscal Policy and Professor of Economics (retired), University of Colorado, Boulder and John D. Merrifield, Professor of Economics, University of Texas whose analysis resulted in the job loss estimate in the lede. To understand the magnitude of the job loss you can read the paper or just watch this video from a Jon Caldera press conference that, somehow, I haven't seen reported by Denver's Fox 31.

By the way, there weren't enough dominoes to have one for every job lost. Each domino represents TWO jobs.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:47 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:


For our out-of-state friends, this is about the only thing on the ballot most places. It should be very low turnout. And the Fox affiliate Brother jg torques me with runs a commercial every four minutes about "our children try so hard, but some have a four-day week, some have to pay to ride the bus, and our state is 49th in higher-education spending."

Colorado has been good in the past at rejecting these things but I think the polity is changing for the worse and fear this will pass.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2011 11:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes and, setting the statistics straight, while spending may or may not be 49th as a fraction of the state's economy or some other measure it is 30th per capita.

Furthermore, educational results are not directly proportional to spending. For example, more spending on teachers and less on adminstrators would be helpful. American schools have on the order of one administrator per 3 teachers, while those in other, more successful, western nations are closer to one per 20 teachers. And there are domestic differences as well. For our below-average investmentColorado's SAT scores rank 15th in the nation.

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2011 2:06 PM
But jk thinks:

A friend had a bumper sicker: Colorado, 49th in education spending. I told him he should have his kids educated in Newark or Washington DC.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2011 2:28 PM

May 18, 2011

Quote of the Day

First of all, Strauss-Kahn has evidently gotten away with treating the fairer sex as his playthings for some time. No wonder his nickname among the French is "le grand seducteur," which I believe roughly translates to "the short, tubby serial rapist." -- Ann Coulter
Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

According to Rush Limbaugh, the somewhat confusing French name 'Dominique Strauss-Kahn' has an easier to remember translation into English: Bill Clinton.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2011 11:31 PM

May 17, 2011

Quote of the Day

Time to dust off the francophobe "Let them Eat Cake" category:

Meanwhile, while Bernard-Henri is scandalized that a mere chambermaid can get a "great" man like Strauss-Kahn in trouble with the law merely by credibly accusing him of sexual assault, I am proud to live in a country where a housekeeper can get a world leader pulled off a plane bound for Paris. If something like that couldn't happen in France, then shame on France and shame on Levy for thinking otherwise. -- Jonah Goldberg

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And I'm proud to live in a country where a "mere" daughter's killing by her father is met by justice.

Posted by: johngalt at May 17, 2011 3:49 PM

October 19, 2010

Mai Non!

Velveeta Socialism® update.

If the US is becoming France, is that so bad? Well:

PARIS – Masked youths clashed with police and set fires in cities across France on Tuesday as protests against a proposed hike in the retirement age took an increasingly radical turn. Hundreds of flights were canceled, long lines formed at gas stations and train service in many regions was cut in half.

President Nicolas Sarkozy pledged to crack down on "troublemakers" and guarantee public order, raising the possibility of more confrontations with young rioters after a week of disruptive but largely nonviolent demonstrations.

This is, of course, a response to President Sarkozy's plan to make workers retiring in 2018 work until they're 62 -- Mon Dieu!

Importing their economic model does not give us 700 year old castles, fields of lavender and sunflowers, world-class cuisine, cheese or chocolate. Just the double-digit unemployment and riots.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:09 PM | Comments (0)

September 30, 2009

Naive and Egotistical

I used to think that of French leaders...

Hat-tip: Gateway Pundit via Insty

Is this fair? I would object to hearsay testimony from a Greta guest on a topic I did not agree with. But I think we can agree it has verisimilitude.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The French invented Raison d'Etat. They know naive when they see it.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 30, 2009 1:19 PM

September 29, 2009

Looking to France for Strength

The Wall Street Journal recaps the French admonishment of President Obama's naive UN speech. Excellent in that it was completely unreported in other American media,

They also add new data. This was not just frustration with a speech. France and the UK tried to get the President to make a strong speech at the UN and confront Iran in tandem. Instead, Obama wanted to take his hope and change act on the road.

Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.

President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been "frustrated" for months about Mr. Obama's reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn't want to "spoil the image of success" for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.


UPDATE: @MajoratWH (Whose tweets from WH press conferences make Twitter worth signing up for): Gibbs: at Geneva IAEA talks the US will confront Iran "on behalf of the world" and Iran will show "the world" its true nuke intentions.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:26 AM | Comments (0)

September 26, 2009


I don't have explicit permission, per se, but I am gonna roll with this. I've known blog friend SugarChuck for many moons. And I am going to share this one just as it came:


The French president mocks the American president for being foolish and gutless. Change we can believe in!

Sent from my iPhone

We might need to update our list of great Frenchmen...

UPDATE Check this headline in The Telegraph (The Telegraph!):

Barack Obama: President Pantywaist restores the satellite states to their former owner

UPDATE II: A good blog friend agrees that it is time to update the good frog list. The real story seems to be the lack of coverage in the American press. One gets tired of saying "What if this had happened to President Bush?" But one wonders all the same.

And sc sends a link to Michael Gerson's devastating WaPo piece..Gerson waited for his anger to subside -- good thing. SC adds: "Comparing what he did to high school kids and mock UN is an insult to highschool kids."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:24 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

While President Clinton's U.N. representative, Madeline Albright told that world body of redistribution that America "doesn't want to be the world's sole superpower anymore" or something to that effect. Under President Bush the great giveaway was put on hold for 8 years. Now that the U.N.s fellow travelers are back in the White House... EVERYTHING MUST GO! They have the same plan for America's place in the world as they do for productive individual American's place in the country: Donor. Since no other nation on Earth has what it takes to become a fellow superpower the only way for them to become equals with America is to willfully weaken America, in every possible way. It's the Tall Poppy Syndrome on a worldwide scale.

Q: How much wealth can be given away in four years?
A: We're about to find out.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2009 11:02 AM

June 23, 2009

Mon Dieu!

A hard line for Iranian freedom, a hard line on taxes:

Jimmy P: France on the left side of Laffer Curve:

This, from the president of France: “I will not increase taxes,” he said, “because an increase in taxes would delay the end of the crisis and because by increasing taxes, when we are at our level of taxation, we would not reduce deficits — we would increase them.”

In the minus column, do I remember his letting Carla get away? That's a bad move.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:42 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Alright, I'll make my pledge now:

If Obama is re-elected in 2012 I'm moving to ... FRANCE!

After all, JK's already suggested it.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2009 4:18 PM
But jk thinks:

There's a Starbucks! (Kidding mon amis, coffee in France would not be a problem, with or without the green & white!)

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2009 4:32 PM

April 30, 2009

Without the Great Cheese

Reason's Veronique de Rugy asks the President not to turn the US into France

This is clearly where we are headed and this argument needs to be made, plus the John Galtish scenario of having France without a free US with which to trade and share innovation.

Hat-tip: Mankiw

Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2009

Mon Dieu!

Not a very Happy New Year for French auto insurers:

The French Interior Ministry has increased its provisional count of the number of cars torched over New Year's Eve from 445 to 1,147.

Hat-tip: Pillage Idiot, who mentions "land of brie, wine, and car torchings. I omitted "body odor," because that's understood." I guess the Sarkozy spirit of Hope and Change hasn't made it to Baltimore.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:58 PM | Comments (3)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hmmm... Could this be the start of Detroit's new initiative to stimulate demand?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 5, 2009 6:38 PM
But Keith thinks:

Boulder Refugee: what's this, a conspiracy theory? I think this can be logically disproven in four simple steps:

(1) Detroit's "Increasingly Smaller Three" don't have the gumption to fire up the Car-B-Q in order to increase demand, and frankly, aren't in the business of meeting consumer demand - otherwise, they'd build cars people would actually buy;
(2) The UAW, being a union, have the thugs and muscle to pull this off, and the cojones to try it - but since union auto workers aren't required to actually produce cars in order to retain their employment, they lack motive;
(3) The notion of the automakers and the UAW to cooperate with each other in order to conspire to do this as a team defies the imagination. Work together? Feh.
(4) Even if you were to serve up every Citroen and Renault in France as a flaming Crepe Suzette, you don't think the French would actually buy Chryslers to replace them, do you?

Did you ever think we'd find a way to bash both the French and the automakers in a single-subject post? This is a cause for celebration.

Posted by: Keith at January 5, 2009 11:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:


Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 6, 2009 10:54 AM

July 11, 2008

Le Tour, Duex

The "Let Them Eat Cake" blog category was started long before we had met Nicolas Sarkozy (or Carla Bruni) and was put in place to collect all our bashing of France. I come once more to praise her.

I admitted that I enjoyed watching the Tour for the excitement of sport, the beauty of the French countryside, and the preternatural athleticism of the riders. This all holds. But I am going to add that Le Tour de France represents classical liberal economics and individualist values better than any other sport.

I say this because it captures the hybrid of team and individual dynamics of the real world. Typical team sports blend individual and team achievement in a good way, it's healthy for young boys and girls and I have no objection. In cycling, though, you end up working with other teams when your interests match.

This happens all the time without any forethought between individuals, individuals and teams, or among multiple teams. Stages three and five were dominated by breakaways: in the first kilometer of Stage 3, four riders broke off the front on a very long stage. "Again, Bullwinkle? That trick never works" sneered the peloton in their smug little European accents. "The four of you cannot possibly sustain the power that the 174 of us can. When we feel like it, we will flex our collective muscle and bring you back. Mon Dieu, and all that..."

Only they did not. The audacious four held on and Samuel Dumoulin crossed the line first, followed by America's Will Frischkorn, Frenchman Romain Feillu and Italy's Paolo Longo. Their breakaway held for almost the entire 208km course. These guys are not on the same team, but they created an ad hoc partnership that garnered them glory and time (Feillu got the yellow jersey). Stage 5 was the opposite. The peloton allowed an early break to stay just out front, with multiple teams keeping the peloton close enough to snap it away in the last 300m.

Sometimes a team's second best sprinter may try to play off another team while his team sets up their star. This sounds an awful lot like business to me. You partner with a competitor to achieve a certain goal, go outside your team to achieve an individual goal, or even team up with a rival to smash somebody else.

All riders use the power of the group to advance their individual goals. Adam Smith would be proud (though he might wonder about those Lycra® shorts).

Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent insights, JK. And I'll add that these dynamics used to exist in other race sports. Take NASCAR for example: Such self-interest elements have taken a back seat (pun intended) to the egalitarianism of throttle restrictor plates and universal body profiles from tip to tail. There is no discernable difference between a Dodge Charger and Toyota Camry except the badge on the front of the hood, and this is a true abomination. I'd suggest that congress force them to change their name from NASCAR to IROC but those (congress) are the clowns clowns who taught the virtues of "equality" to the good ol' boys in the first place.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2008 12:06 PM

July 8, 2008

Le Tour

I love all things American and can be almost as much of a sports jingoist as James "Metric Football" Taranto. In all my time in the UK and Ireland, I never developed a taste for soccer. To be honest, the Olympics remind me too much of the UN for me to enjoy any but a few of my favorite events.

Enough Ugly American cred for you? Good.

The Tour de France is one of the great sporting events. They don't always speak 'merican real good, and they have funny names -- but this is well worth watching. I was an avid, compulsive cyclist before I had MS. I had a couple of 10,000 mile years, I went with no car for most of a year, and I was in the mountains every warm weekend (usually bleeding in the dirt).

I have the build of a blocking tight-end and not a bike racer, and I lacked the athleticism to be good, but I made up for my deficiencies in enthusiasm. More a mountain-bike guy, I nevertheless tried to follow the tour. And it was almost impossible, you could read about it in a magazine, but there was almost nothing on television and VP Gore's Internet was not up to video specs yet.

This year, the cable channel Versus (home of the Stanley Cup as well) is providing incredible coverage. I don't know that they will do every stage, but so far they have complete live coverage of each stage, commentary, interviews -- it's an incredible production.

The race is great this year as well. No time bonuses, and no prolog time trials have really opened it up -- the yellow jersey was available to about any rider on the first stage. All the finishes have been mind bogglingly exciting. It's July: hockey's done, football hasn't started and baseball is in the soft middle. Enjoy the French countryside and incredible athleticism of these premier athletes.

Keep the volume down, and if anybody asks, tell 'em you're cleaning your guns...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | Comments (0)

May 7, 2007

Vive Sarkozy!

The Republic of France (Fifth I guess, but whose counting?) has done something I wish Americans would do -- reject 1968.

On one hand, the President is not a powerful executive in the French system. And Sarkozy will face an entrenched bureaucracy that makes John Bolton's and Paul Wolfowitz's jobs seem easy. Yet it would be a mistake to underplay this choice that the French people made.

Larry Kudlow talks about a Sarkozy-Trichet axis: a pro-market, altlanticist leader in France and a powerful and skillful central bank president could really put Rumsfeld's "Old Europe" back on the economic map.

Kudlow does look on the bright side of things. But whatever the eventual outcome, the rejection of Socialism, in France, even well packaged as in Ms. Royal's candidacy, is a great day for freedom. Today France, tomorrow the US Congress...

ver.jpg By the way. For my blog brothers and friends who think of Sartre and Company, let me present an alternate Gaullist image (stolen from Instapundit).

Vive la France!
Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

If it can happen in France, why not America in '08?

From Sarkozy's victory speech:

"I will restore the value of work, authority, morals, respect, and merit. I'll restore national pride and national identity."

And from a recent debate with the Socialist Royal he said:

"France's moral crisis has a name. It is a crisis of work," he told the 20 million French voters watching.

"I want the workers to be respected. I want to protect the French from seeing their jobs going abroad. I don't believe in living on social welfare. I don't believe everyone is the same. I believe in merit, I believe in effort and reward for that effort and I believe in social mobility. But above all, I believe in hard work."

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2007 3:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

P.S. I'm with your demonstrator... "Chirac ist ein wurm."

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2007 3:15 PM

October 5, 2006

The French Intifada


    Radical Muslims in France's housing estates are waging an undeclared "intifada" against the police, with violent clashes injuring an average of 14 officers each day.

    As the interior ministry said that nearly 2,500 officers had been wounded this year, a police union declared that its members were "in a state of civil war" with Muslims in the most depressed "banlieue" estates which are heavily populated by unemployed youths of north African origin.

    It said the situation was so grave that it had asked the government to provide police with armoured cars to protect officers in the estates, which are becoming no-go zones.

This and the 10,000 killed in Thailand are fronts in the war against Islamicfascism we simply don't hear about.

Posted by AlexC at 9:33 PM

June 13, 2006

Geno's Imbroglio III

The politically correct police have begun their thought-crime prosceution.

    Philadelphia's Commission on Human Relations has filed a pair of discrimination complaints against Geno's Steaks over its policy asking customers to order using English.

    The complaints were filed late Monday. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city claims the restaurant is guilty of "denying service to someone because of his or her national origin, and having printed material making certain groups of people feel their patronage is unwelcome."

    The Inquirer spoke with the Rev. James S. Allen Sr., the commission chairman, who said it was the commission's job to get the sign removed.

    "We think it is discriminatory, and we are concerned about the image of Philadelphia," he said.

In somewhat related news, Philadelphia's crime rates have gone up. Shootings are up 15.2% to 809 this year, and a hundred and sixty-six homicides so far this year. Up two from the same period last year, which was the biggest year for murder in eight years.

But back to Geno's.

Sanely another steak shop (though not Pat's "King of Steaks" across the street) has taken my advice.

    Steaks On South is responding to the controversy with its own sign.

    It has posted a sign on the front door that says "feel free to order in any language. We will gladly serve you with brotherly love." The new eatery just opened on South Street.

South Street used to be the bohemian part of town. Now it's got the Gap, McDonalds and a Starbucks.

Regarding the earlier blog post and it's comments, here's a picture of Senator John Kerry eating his cheesesteak with swiss provolone and tomatoes.


I'll give Joe Vento the last word.

    "Anybody who is here who is a proud American has to learn the English language. That's what that sign says. You don't want to speak English, you don't want to be a proud American. Get out of the country then."

    Vento now says he's received national and local support since his sign gained national attention.

    "No way is it coming down."

Update: Philly police officer "Wyatt Earp" says...

    How fun is it to see the libtards screaming about the sign Joe Vento posted at Geno's Steaks: "This is America. When ordering SPEAK ENGLISH! "? Yeah, how dare he make a policy decision for his own business?

Posted by AlexC at 2:22 PM | Comments (6)
But silence dogood thinks:

Funny thing is, at my local Chipotle it would be much easier for me to order in Spanish, if my Spanish were that good, based on the language of the employees doing the serving. My sign would say "Order in any language, but expect blank stares for those other than English" If your goal is to communicate, and the purpose of language usually is, then you must use the language that is understood. In this country that means English. Order in Swahili if you like, but don't expect to get what you ordered. The sign is not discriminatory, it is quality control. Any nationality will be served but an order in English will ensure your satisfaction.

Posted by: silence dogood at June 13, 2006 2:45 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

When I was in Spain I really appreciated the good humor and patience of the waiters who helped me order food there. I am glad there weren't any "Spanish Only" signs up in the resteraunts there.

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 13, 2006 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I hear there's a major problem with young English speaking people flooding the food service sector in Spain and refusing to learn the local language. Lifelong Spanish speakers are finding themselves unable to communicate with businesses in their very own home town. And yet, no backlash. Those Spaniards... so compassionate!

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2006 1:35 AM
But AlexC thinks:

It's an amazing thing that English has become the recognized international language of commerce everywhere but here.

Posted by: AlexC at June 14, 2006 10:02 AM
But jk thinks:

Actually, the Spanish culture is in far greater peril from English and American culture than is ours from Spanish language and Mexican culture.

Posted by: jk at June 14, 2006 10:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

All of these observations are true, but the most important one is this: Only in America do we ENCOURAGE the diminution of our own language and culture.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2006 1:36 PM

June 12, 2006

Geno's II

Maybe Joey Vento should have put a "we reserve the right to refuse anyone service" sign up instead.06122006genossign.jpg

    The Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations will file a complaint later on Monday, effectively opening an agency case against Geno's Steaks of South Philadelphia, said Rachel Lawton, acting executive director of the agency.

    The Philadelphia controversy has fed a national debate over immigration in which the U.S. Senate passed a bill that would declare English the national language and politicians have raised objections to a Spanish version of the national anthem.

    The sign may violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance, which bans businesses from discriminating on the basis of nationality or ethnicity, Lawton said.

    "The complaint will say that the sign discourages patronage by non-English speakers because of their national origin and/or ancestry," said Lawton, whose agency enforces the city's anti-discrimination laws.

    Geno's will be given a up to two weeks to respond and, if the agency determines the sign has violated the city ordinance, will be ordered to take the sign down. If the restaurant refuses, it will be subject to a $300 fine, Lawton said.

Mr Vento has no intention of taking the sign down.

Good for him.

I wonder if it's a $300 one time fine or $300 / day fine.

    Roberto Santiago, executive director of the city's Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, said he received around 50 "hate" e-mails in response to his criticism of the sign.

    One from California said groups like his should be banned for representing "filthy, illegal alien invaders", he said.

    "This is dividing this nation," he said.

Geno's or this "mulit-lingual" thing we've got going?
    "I'm really saddened by these individuals who are upset by having to be tolerant. I'm glad I'm living in an America where comments like Mr. Vento's are out of order."

First amendment and freedom expression be damned!

Geno's is probably forty miles from my house. But it might be time for a sandwich.

Update: I take that first part back. He already has that sign. (thanks to Chris)

Posted by AlexC at 3:10 PM

June 9, 2006

The Geno's Imbroglio

Perhaps you may have heard of this.

    Order in English only. That's the new rule at one of south Philly's most famous cheesesteak places and it is cooking up a lot of controversy.

    Geno's Steak owner, Joey Vento, has really touched a nerve with a little sign on his cheesesteak stand that says, "This is America. When Ordering Speak English." Vento has been getting calls from all over the country.

    "We got troops (that are) getting blown up, and here we've got this big, bad Joey Vento who's got the audacity to try to teach people to speak English in America where the language is English and if you don't know it, you're not going anywhere," Vento told NBC 10 News.

    So, what happens to a customer who cannot or will not speak English?

    "The bottom line is no one has ever been refused," Vento said.

    Vento said his workers are happy to help non-native speakers and haven't turned anyone away.

First off, Geno's and it's neighbor across the street Pat's are the famous cheesesteak vendors in Philadelphia. Nevermind that they both suck. Real fans of the steak sandwich go to Tony Luke's on Oregon Ave under I-95.

Anyway... Here's an entreprenuer, Joey Vento, who decides to run his sandwich shop the way he sees fit. And there's an outrage?

Actually it's more of a "losing your mind."

For example, YoungPhillyPolitics.

    Some would say, a cheesesteak is not a constitutionally protected right, therefore, being denied one really does not mean anything. But, in reality, it is so much more important than that. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the "CRA") makes it so. According to the CRA, "[a]ll persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." 42 U.S.C.S. Sec. 2000a(a). It could be credibly argued that language is an indicia of national origin. Some people only speak Spanish, Cambodian or Chinese. To deny them the ability to order food based on their language necessarily relates to their national origin. In my mind, this is paramount to discrimination. Also, the racial classification of "Latino" could be implicated in terms of this language dispute.

Yeah. Civil rights. It's a good thing all the real civil rights problems in this country have been solved that we can worry about 8000 calorie paper wrapped heart attacks.

Phillyfuture.org has a round up of local links AND says this.

    This is sad and infuriating at the same time. Not only is there a complete lack of empathy in displaying the sign, there is zero recognition of personal and cultural history.

    It's one thing to encourage and help immigrants learn English. It's another thing entirely to forget where you came from and take some stand that spits on it.

    I can't help feel that the sign was put up for false reasons. That no one can be that hypocritical. That this is a publicity stunt and now we're all taking the bait. Pat's Steaks has been synomonous with Philadelphia cheesesteaks nationally. Now Geno's enters the national consciousness - for entirely the wrong reasons.

    There are children dieing in the streets from gun violence seemingly every day in Philadelphia. This kind of story is a distraction from the real problems the city faces and can even serve to re-ignite racial tensions.

    So there is only one way to say this...

    Shame on Genos. Shame on them.

Of course both posts miss the point that at Geno's you still get your steak. You just have to order it in English.

Blonde Sagacity writes...

    Vento says that his grandparents came from Italy and though they may not have spoken perfect English --they made an attempt to learn the language...

    (Notice: the sign under the order counter is of Daniel Faulkner -the police officer that was murdered by Mumia Abu-Jamal)

    Ya know, I might go get some Geno's today...

I mentioned that Geno's main competitor is Pat's - "the King of Steaks". It's directly across the street. In the country I remember, Pat's would have a put up a "Se Habla Espanol" sign up and Geno's sign would end up coming down. And really, I wonder how many customers this would have really affected anyway.

At the end of the day, it's his store. If he wants to alienate (pun intended) non-English speaking customers who insist on ordering steaks in __________, that it certainly his right.


Posted by AlexC at 8:43 PM | Comments (6)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

I'm siding w/ Vento on this one. How many times have you entered a Wendy's/McDonald's/BK and struggled to get the counter staff to understand you, when YOU are the one speaking English?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 10, 2006 12:08 PM
But jk thinks:

I have had my rights stripped from me as well. I know the pain and anguish.

At Juan's burritos in Socorro, NM, Juan would serve you mexican food right out of his kitchen unless the Health Inspector had shut him down that week. It was great stuff. Juan good naturedly would feign deafness if a customer wanted "two burritos, please." Yet "dos burritos, por favor" sent his (not altogether clean) knife into a flurry of activity.

I cannot imagine "cheez, with" would take much more polyglotism than "Grande pollo burrito, por favor" Hell, they almost taught Senator Kerry how to order!

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2006 12:54 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ahem... that's "cheeze wit."

About Senator Kerry, Pat's "King of Steaks" failed. Kerry ordered his steak with Provolone and Tomatoes.
Completely and utterly wrong. For trying to be "regular guy" he ended up looking like a schnook.

Posted by: AlexC at June 11, 2006 10:55 AM
But jk thinks:

My mistake. Of course, when I come to Philly, I'm expecting you to order for me.

I remember the Kerry thing, I found that very amusing. "Could I have a Lite sandwich with some crumbled Feta cheese, and a side of escargot?"

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2006 11:45 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Alex...minor correction: Kerry tried to order his steak w/ Swiss cheese and had to settle for Provolone.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 12, 2006 2:31 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Swiss! Ha! They speak French in parts of Switzerland! ;)

Posted by: AlexC at June 12, 2006 3:10 PM

January 8, 2006

Liberté Chérie

Liberté Chérie is the name of a French, libertarian think tank. In "An Australian in Paris," Paul Belien interviews its leader and popular member (to the media) Sabine Herold.

The article is a good look at French thought that changed my mind about many things.

For many French, ‘liberal’ remains a pejorative. The French Revolution didn’t just lop off the king’s head, it enshrined the State in his place as the new sovereign. In some ways, perhaps, it was easier to kill the king than it was to kill the notion of kingliness. In France, someone is always in charge. Today, the bureaucracy is bloated and all-powerful. Bureaucrats rule their petty fiefdoms like little Napoleons, and the state regulates everything it can see. Welfare rules the lives of millions, and entrepreneurialism as understood in Australia or America is almost non-existent. People don’t just go out and do things, people wait to be told what to do. The king is dead, long live the king.
Okay, that's not surprising. But that only 7% of the French workforce is unionized? That nobody really knows how they are funded?

Very good article. In the lede, he points out that "After all, if one couldn’t believe three contradictory things simultaneously, [liberté, égalité, fraternité] one wouldn’t be French.

Like liberty minded people everywhere, they suffer from a paucity of candidates that really believe.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 2:41 PM

November 15, 2005

Jacques Carter

Fox News:

    President Jacques Chirac said Monday that more than two weeks of violence in the poor suburbs of France is the sign of a "profound malaise" and he ordered new measures to reach out to troubled youths and fight the discrimination believed to be at the root of it.

I wonder if the French are going to take the serious steps of freeing up their economic system to overcome the malaise? I suspect that they're going to look right past the systemic malaise and attempt to patch up the "dissaffected youth malaise" by throwing government Euros at the problem. Building youth centers, etc...

Are they going to be integrating the native born Muslim youth population?

Likely not.

Things are improving nevertheless.

After nearly two weeks of rioting France, only 270 cars were torched last night. Compared to the nearly 1,400 at the riot's peak, so it's hard to discount the progress in the French quagmire.

Footnote: President Carter never actually used the word malaise in his speech, but history has labelled it as "the malaise speech."

Posted by AlexC at 6:00 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I heard somebody say that 100 cars is a "normal" Saturday night in France. Not sure if this is true.

Will they reform? I think Jonah Goldberg said it best: "More chance that Velveeta will be declared the National Cheese!"

Posted by: jk at November 16, 2005 10:27 AM

November 5, 2005

French Acquiescence

French Muslim riots keep getting uglier.

    A nursery school was badly burned in Acheres, west of Paris.

    The town had previously escaped the violence, the worst rioting in at least a decade in France. Some residents demanded that the army be deployed, or that citizens band together to protect their neighborhoods. At the school gate, Mayor Alain Outreman tried to calm tempers.

    "We are not going to start militias," he said. "You would have to be everywhere."

In other words, attempting defense is too hard.

Posted by AlexC at 1:30 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

There are a handful of media stories that truly frighten me and this is one. The most recent issue of The American Enterprise paints a dystopian vision of Europe’s future. I thought that it was maybe in a couple of decades or toward the middle of the century.

I am not saying that this is le deluge, but days of spreading civil unrest is not good. AlexC points out that they cannot stomach defense, they surely cannot stomach the tough economic and political steps needed to address the underlying causes.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2005 1:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I see the same things in continental Europe as JK and AlexC do, but my reaction is opposite from JK's. I'm relieved that the inevitible consequences of socialism and multiculturalism will be played out on the other side of a great ocean. What WILL frighten me is if voters don't continue, even hasten, to repudiate such policies in OUR country.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2005 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Mark Steyn's sobering view is not to be missed:


Posted by: jk at November 6, 2005 5:11 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

It is a sobering view, and an interesting article, but I am left wondering about Steyn's analogy to 8th century Moors and conclusion about government weakness. The geography and the ethnicity are correct, but what else? Did he overlook the racial riots of the late 1960's encompassing major cities in this country from Detroit to Washington D.C. to Los Angeles, or should I claim a conservative media bias? Racial tensions between police and youth would seem to have a direct comparison here or even more recently to the 1992 riots in LA. Had Lyndon Johnson or George H.W. Bush showed some sort of weakness that led to these outbreaks of civil unrest? Would he not have investigated or given any credence to African American grievances for fear of appearing weak and instigating more violence? It almost seems as if he is about to touch on the racial and economic factors and then lets them slip away unanalyzed. Fair enough to use these riots as evidence against the economic stagnation of socialism but to leap to government weakness upon the international stage seems to miss the mark.

Rioting should be a wake up call, but we should answer the right alarm. Now, before you put me in the liberal pacifist column know that I am not advocating we sit down on Oprah's couch with Islamic militants. I do believe force is required to restore order. My personal connection to the two LA riots is quite close. In August 1965 my mother was 10 months pregnant with me and my father was on the east coast to attend his mother's funeral. My uncle, a marine colonel drove up from San Diego in the middle of the night, his service revolver on his belt, to drive my mom and brother safely away. It turns out we were 20 miles away from the closest trouble spots, but it is a memory my mother will never forget. Same for me in 1992. I was a field engineer and covered east LA, Compton, Lynwood, and Southgate. I arrived home that Thursday evening to watch Reginald Denny be beaten on live television and violence spread to blocks where I had been hours earlier that day. Sobering to say the least. Then as now in France the first order of business is to restore order with force. But the job doesn't end there, unless actions are taken to repair the underlying problems all it will take is a small spark to reignite the wildfire.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 7, 2005 3:04 PM
But jk thinks:

The '92 LA riots scared me as well. I was in Minnesota and was worried about driving home, worried that the whole fabric of the nation was being rend in twain. Sugarchuck took me to Northridge, MN, and things didn't look so bad.

Looking back, it does not appear that there was enough fuel to keep them alive. There is/was turbulence in the African American community but it was not enough to sustain or spread violence.

I have to watch for schadenfreude here. I do not want Western Europe to fall. I do not want my most dystopian predictions to occur.

But these rioters seem disaffected in a way that the LA folks were not. They are a lot less assimilated into the mainstream culture and they have far less opportunity.

I think Steyn's point is less about Socialism than about what he sees as a permanent conflict between East-West, or Islam vs. everybody else. The multicultural, socialist, apologetic state does not seem capable of fixing these things it has broken.

My civil unrest story is that my dad packed us up and fled our Denver neighborhood when Dr. King was killed. My siblings laughed about this for decades, yet I found there was extreme rioting and violence about a mile away. The newspapers back then believed it best not to publish it for fear of fomenting more.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2005 3:52 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

I don't know JK, are they less assimilated and more disaffected? Perhaps somewhat, in many cases we are talking about at most 2nd generation folks so they have had less time to assimilate than some of our own rioters. I am not sure who that speaks worse of, the French for the magnitude of their current problem, or us who have disaffected folks after many generations. Basically I see this more as racism and lack of economic hope and thus more in tune with problems we face here in our cities than with Islamic radicals. It's about discrimination (real or perceived) and lack of employment opportunities not some grand East-West or Islamic struggle. Malcom X preached Islam and African identity but the reality is that these youth share much more in common with their adopted countrymen than they do with those who live in their ancestral courtiers.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at November 8, 2005 11:40 AM