December 5, 2014
The essence of government
If you break a government law, "public officers" with guns are empowered to commit justifiable homicide: "When necessarily committed in overcoming actual resistance to the execution of some legal process, or in the discharge of any other legal duty..."
I do not suggest that it be otherwise, but merely that we think long and hard every time we create a new government law. For example, do we really want to subject either the citizenry or the police officers we hire to "serve and protect" to life and death disputes over the taxes that may or may not be paid on individual cigarettes?
New York has by far the highest cigarette taxes – over 5 bucks a pack. As it always does, this kind of policy has triggered black market trade. In March, Governor Cuomo announced the formation of the "Cigarette Strike Force" to crack down on illegal tobacco trafficking. A strike force. Sounds pretty violent. As Robert Tracinski has pointed out, the Garner case should remind us that government is force and more government has predictable returns. And if you believe cops are racist and unduly violent in general, every time you pass some silly law all you do is give them more opportunity.
And so begins the 'War on Loosies.' "It's okay, ma'am. We're justified."
Hat tip: Blog friend Terri, for alerting me that Harsanyi had written about the "Revenuer" angle of the Eric Garner case.
August 19, 2014
Removing an option entirely does not help teach good decision-making skills, it’s just temporarily taking something out of the equation for 6 or 7 hours a day.
Yet another argument against prohibition, but this one is not in support of legalizing recreational drugs, or alcohol, or pharmaceuticals. This lunatic nut job is very seriously suggesting the radical idea of unfettered access to ... groceries.
The recent passing of the Healthy, Hunger-free Kids Act was done with the best of intentions. The act, established as a way to promote healthy eating among kids and decrease childhood obesity, which is rising at alarming rates, sets nutritional standards for school lunches and snacks available to school-age children. That means the end of the elusive vending machine and the high-calorie snacks it contains.
That's "recently passed" as of 2011, but of interest today as it is back-to-school time. This is when it is most noticeable, with flyers coming home in packets of forms to complete. We've never been called into the office for sending our kids to school with Frito Lay products in their backpacks, but one does rehearse speeches in preparation for that possibility.
"We ask you to teach our children how to think for themselves but when it comes to the foods they may eat, you teach them that thinking is forbidden."
July 5, 2014
Happy Fifth (of Patron)
Remy warns of a government gettin' up in yo' grill.
October 16, 2013
Open for Redistribution!
After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.
I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:
1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.
2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.
3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.
Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."
One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.
Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!
"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?
July 19, 2013
Taking guns away - from the Leftists
Responding to President Obama's attorney general using the legally just ruling in The Florida Case as another excuse to take guns from law abiding citizens, Jeffrey T. Brown tells us to 'Stand Your Ground' Against the Left.
To Holder and the president, the isolated events involving Trayvon Martin, which have not been publicly replicated anywhere else in America on any regular or reported basis, serve as yet another excuse to launch sweeping radical attacks on the rights of all Americans. They loathe the ability of citizens to protect themselves against the left's predators, whether social or political.
There's an angle I hadn't given enough thought. It's commonly understood that welfare statists deplore citizens who can protect themselves against government, but don't the same voices tell us that criminals are the "real victims" and deserve our "understanding?" The latest Rolling Stone cover fits in that niche. If so, the fight to protect individual gun rights is both political and social.
Segue to a post-Newtown story about mass murders, also from American Thinker, which claims Psychiatric Community Not Stepping Up. I touched on this aspect of the Newtown case when I cited widespead use of anti-depressants like Ritalin ("Ritalin is not just like methamphetamine, Ritalin is methamphetamine.") in the comments here. Author Bernie Reeves is more specific, laying blame at the feet of those social professionals whose reason for being is to detect and treat the mentally ill - psychiatrists.
It is now time to remove guns from the top position in media coverage and implore the psychiatric community to coalesce and present a formula to identify and deal with potentially psychotic patients. As it stands now, the only method to remove dangerous patients is to have them arrested, which requires a process often too difficult and wrenching to contemplate.
March 12, 2013
Colorado is America's Canary
If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government, just look at what is taking place in Colorado. Editorialist Anthony Martin suggests Colorado Democrats appear determined to start a civil war.
A state that was once friendly to gun rights has now become a hotbed of leftwing political activism that directly challenges citizen rights -- unless that citizen wishes to smoke pot legally.
If you want to read about the "civil war" part you'll have to click through. I'll not be accused of incitement.
Quote of the Day
Starbucks will continue selling sugary coffee drinks under the "half milk" loophole, a special little loophole created by Bloomberg and his minions to make sure that the Crusading Liberal White People who support this ban are actually not affected by this ban. If Starbucks had been included in the ban, the shrieking from Bloomberg's Crusading Liberal White People supporters would have been deafening, and the thing would have been killed. So they made certain that the ban didn't apply to White People's Big Gulps, even though they contain nearly as much sugar and much more caffeine than Other People's Big Gulps." -- Ace (h/t Jim Geraghty)
February 21, 2013
A Goodyear tire plant in France is scheduled to close, so the French government is attempting find a sucker, er, suitor to take it over along with the workers and union contracts. They approached Titan International, a US maker of farm tires. Titan is lead by a rather blunt CEO, Maurice "Morry" Taylor, whose nickname is "The Griz." The Griz sent a letter to the French industry minister indicating that it would be stupid to take over a plant where the workers only work three hours a day.
"The French workforce gets paid high wages but works only three hours. They get one hour for breaks and lunch, talk for three and work for three," Taylor wrote on February 8 in the letter in English addressed to the minister, Arnaud Montebourg.
Red meat indeed for Three Sourcers; the article will elicit multiple huzzahs. Would it be possible to get a guy like this for president? Probably not. He ran for the Republican nomination in 1996 and even The Refugee does not remember him. However, we need more business leaders willing to stand up and compete rather than seeking rent from the government.
January 2, 2013
But it does focus the mind...
Still, death is not everything. Even if "being overweight doesn't increase your risk of dying," Dr. Klein said, it "does increase your risk of having diabetes" or other conditions.That's the NYTimes walking back a study which suggests a lower mortality rate for overweight people.
"But don’t scrap those New Year’s weight-loss resolutions and start gorging on fried Belgian waffles or triple cheeseburgers." says Pam Belluck.
Okay, I'll pass on the waffle, but the cheeseburger sounds pretty good. What I'd rilly rilly like to pass on is the nanny state laws from Mayor Bloomberg and the First Lady, and the new school lunch guidelines that are starving some students.
Maybe -- if it's not killing us -- y'all could let us decide for ourselves? Like a free citizenry?
Hat-tip: Insty who adds "But remember, most of the anti-obesity crusading isn't really about health, it's about not wanting to look at fat people. So this won't change much."
December 5, 2012
It seems to me that most of us Three Sourcers had a pretty good idea that the election of Mitt Romney was not going to "solve" America's problems. We didn't talk about it much, explicitly, but deep in our hearts I think this extraordinarily bright collection of humans knew that this is the way things really are.
He gives it the catchy title "The Dark Enlightnement" but I might just call it reality. If you have a few minutes, read the piece and let us discuss our next move. I don't think mine will be to research whether Rubio, Ryan or Jindahl is the best choice for 2016...
October 30, 2012
Tweet of the Day
July 3, 2012
Law of the Day
Taranto includes this paragraph which stands on its own:
SB 1476 stemmed from an appellate court case last year involving a child's biological mother, her same-sex partner, and a man who had an affair with the biological mother and impregnated her while she was separated temporarily from her female lover.
Hollywood is on the phone right now. Has there ever been a better description of what it foolishly thinks Americans want to see?
June 29, 2012
Explaining why tax rates matter
Leftist politicians often argue that tax rates don't matter or at least ignore the implications. Here's a parable that might, perhaps, help some to grasp the concept.
Suppose there is a remote island with just two inhabitants, Joe and Bob. The government of our island offers Joe and Bob a choice: they can either work and earn $40,000 per year creating goods for export or the goverment will assure them of a "sustainable income" of $20,000 per year. Joe, being a go-getter, opts to create goods and live more comfortably on the higher income. Bob would prefer to stay home and play video games knowing that he can "get by" on $20k. The government has to balance its books (in our parable, there is no China from whom to borrow funds). In order to do so, it imposes a 50% income tax. Seeing this, if you were Joe, how long would you continue to work hard (or work at all)?
Now, try the same thought experiment start with a 10% tax and going up to 80% in increments.
One might think of this as the elasticity of labor, but that concept would leave our Lefist friends in the dust.
June 8, 2012
I should probably not compare this former Coke® executive to a weasel. I'm certain weasels have some positive benefit to the ecosystem. Todd Putnam not so much.
Putman, 51, shares that view. But he is also driven by another motive: From 1997 to mid-2000, he was a top marketing executive at Coca-Cola.
Thank all that is holy and decent that this brave whistleblower came forward to accept the accolades and approbation of the Washington Post and New York's mayor. What courage!
June 4, 2012
Tweet of The Day
March 15, 2012
Trey Parker, Matt Stone...Line One!
For the first time, the federal government will directly attack the nation's tobacco addiction with a series of advertisements highlighting the grisly toll of smoking, a campaign that federal health officials hope will renew the stalled decline in the share of Americans who smoke.
If my health were just a little bit better, I swear I would take up smoking. I see high schoolers lighting up and think "good for you!" Liberty truly is more important than death -- and a little John Stuart Mill goes a long way. Either we are sovereign individuals who own our own bodies, or we are subjects of government.
The Helmet-tip here goes to cycling legend and all-around-HOSS Lance Armstrong. I follow him and his Livestrong cancer page on Facebook. Love the man, but he celebrates every nanny law that possibly impacts cancer. I can see his point, but am not sure he sees mine. Curiously, there are many liberty lovers who push back, politely (mostly) arguing that gub'mint is not the answer.
If I may rant a bit, I am sooo completely totally bored with this. You can't watch a movie on DVD without sitting through some anti-smoking propaganda. There are countless PSAs by countless groups. Now the Federal Government -- not like they have anything else to spend money on.
Show me one person who does not understand the dangers of smoking, who will be educated by this supraconstitutional nannying. One.
February 13, 2012
"American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil"
Hillsdale College's Paul Rahe has done it again. Being thrice granted Quote of the Day honors on our humble blog (here, here and most notably here) his posting of last Friday explains in grand detail and with far greater authority the warning I've been sounding for just a few short years of my relatively young life - that Christian altruism enables Marxist-Leninist policies in the west. I called it The Virtue of Selfishness. Rahe calls it American Catholicism's Pact With the Devil and says it goes back to FDR and the New Deal in the 1930's.
In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States -- the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity -- and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism -- the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people's money and redistribute it.
August 10, 2011
A TEA Party for Britain?
JK linked an excellent article on the UK "riots" [scare-quoted since they're more accurately characterized as looting sprees] that revealed the failures of government as protector of property and liberty. But one expects a Libertarian to recognize these realities. What is remarkable is when a self-proclaimed "left-winger" does so. Brendan O'Neill blogs from Great Britain:
This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one's own community. And as a left-winger, I refuse to celebrate nihilistic behaviour that has a profoundly negative impact on working people's lives. Far from being an instance of working-class action, the welfare-state mob has more in common with what Marx described as the lumpenproletariat. Indeed, it is worth recalling Marx’s colourful description in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon of how that French ruler cynically built his power base amongst parts of the bourgeoisie and sections of the lumpenproletariat, so that 'ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars... and from this kindred element Boneparte formed the core of his [constituency], where all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the expense of the labouring nation.' In very different circumstances, we have something similar today -- when the decadent commentariat's siding with lumpen rioters represents a weird coming together of sections of the bourgeoisie with sections of the underworked and the over-flattered, as the rest of us, 'the labouring nation', look on with disdain.
This fraction of English society, 'the laboring nation' as O'Neill applies Marx' term, is what I would call the analog to America's TEA Party. Those Americans are fed up with being taxed to support a free ride in food, lodging, healthcare and pensions in our Euro-style welfare state, and in the wake of the latest wave of English hooliganism a comparable share of Britons are fed up when the lumpenproletariat that their taxes support roll through town and "shit on their own doorstep."
Atlas is shrugging on both sides of the pond.
June 12, 2011
Ignorant Laws Have No Excuse
I set out on the internet this morning to find support for a personal premise: The existence of unenforced laws undermines respect for those laws that are enforced. The experience caused me to recognize an unacknowledged subsequent premise: Individual liberty is enhanced in a law-abiding society. For some time now I have thought the first premise was a call to action in furtherance of the second premise but then I questioned the validity of that objective, and of the second premise itself.
Slate magazine published, in October 2007, a rather wide-ranging compendium of unenforced law discussion by Tim Wu.
He addressed the drug war, illegal immigration, copyright, polygamy and more. Wu seems to conclude that non-enforcement is good for America. Not, as I would attempt, in furtherance of greater liberty but of "the economic interests of the nation."
Immigration policy is perhaps the strongest example of the ways in which tolerated lawbreaking is used to make the legal system closer to what lies in the economic interests of the nation but cannot be achieved by rational politics. All this is why the Bush administration faces an uphill battle in the course of trying a real internal enforcement strategy.
I tend to agree with this conclusion but I attribute as cause the very American attitude of individual liberty amongst voters who won't tolerate a heavy hand against individual workers and employers. More to the point is what this does to our representative government. Since our legislatures cannot achieve rational laws our judiciaries and our executives, at both state and federal levels, exercise discretion in which laws are enforced and to what extent. This appears, at first, to be a good outcome since the forces that guide the police and the courts are those of public opinion which derive, in turn, from individuals. We effectively have 300 million citizen legislators. However, this system has (at least) two major flaws.
First is the disparate influence on the legal system from concentrated versus individual interests and the tyranny of the majority. Allowing the trial lawyers lobby, the AARP and SEIU to dictate which laws are left to wither (and which to be bolstered) is no boon to liberty.
But worse yet, the ability of government to "get" any individual on some trumped up charge whenever it is "necessary" is a hallmark of totalitarian states.
At the federal prosecutor's office in the Southern District of New York, the staff, over beer and pretzels, used to play a darkly humorous game. Junior and senior prosecutors would sit around, and someone would name a random celebrity--say, Mother Theresa or John Lennon.
It's one thing when government lawyers make selective prosecution into a drinking game, but quite another when used as a tool of coercion and intimidation. In the name of liberty, laws to prevent "injuring a mail bag" have no place in a just society. Liberty is enhanced when laws are obeyed, but said laws must first be not just objective and knowable but also justified in the cause of protecting individuals from others and not from themselves.
May 18, 2011
Score one for JK
JK and The Refugee have sparred from time to time regarding the appropriateness of police using overwhelming force in no-knock raids. It has now been fully five days since the Indiana Supreme Court ruled that homeowners have no right to resist law enforcement entry into their house, whether the raid is legal or illegal, with or without a search warrant.
The Refugee has been cringing, waiting for JK to drop the hammer on his head like the Sword of Damocles. Well, he can no longer take the suspense and will stipulate for the record that this ruling is outrageous. Here is a pretty good post on Hot Air by Bruce McQuain regarding the ruling.
April 26, 2011
'Mother of Exiles'
This is the name that Emma Lazarus gave to the Statue of Liberty when it was gifted to America from France in the 19th century. The poem she reluctantly wrote to aid in raising funds for the building of a base to place it upon came to be the statue's meaning put into words:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
One analysis of the poem published by the University of Virginia errs in its characterization of an irony:
"As political propaganda for France, the Statue of Liberty was first intended to be a path of enlightenment for the countries of Europe still battling tyranny and oppression. Lazarus' words, however, turned that idea on its head: the Statue of Liberty would forever on be considered a beacon of welcome for immigrants leaving their mother countries."
I disagree with this conclusion. The statue and Lazarus' words were, in fact, symbols of enlightenment and freedom and did stand in contrast to European tyranny and oppression. However, the fault for European emmigration was not America's new statue but the fecklessness and intransigence of Old Europe's governments.
Is this germane again, today? Do the words in the great statue's base beckon to a new generation of American Patriots to strive for not just "democracy" but liberty?
It is true that much progress toward liberty has been made in America's 19th and 20th centuries, but in many other ways the once "golden door" of America has become as tarnished as the oppressive societies to whom she once showed the way. From the U of VA's concluding paragraph:
Just as Lazarus' poem gave new meaning to the statue, the statue emitted a new ideal for the United States. Liberty did not only mean freedom from the aristocracy of Britain that led the American colonists to the Revolutionary War. Liberty also meant freedom to come to the United States and create a new life without religious and ethnic persecution.
Yet this means little if economic persecution remains. Let not the New Colossus be transformed from the Mother of Exiles to the Mother of Equals, nor let our "tired" our "poor" our "huddled masses" once able to breathe free, succumb to the persecution of "shared sacrifice." Some lecture us that "cutting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong" and "when Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us." And yet, how do government policies which violate the eighth and tenth commandments advance Jesus' word?
God's judgement, and liberty itself, are things reserved only to individuals and not to the abstract form we call "nations." Our government "overlords" would do well to remember this important distinction, as would voters.
March 5, 2011
"Nothing to See Here"
A few excellent passages from a Mark Steyn IBD editorial on the "random" murder of US airmen in a German civil airport:
The strange shrunken spectator who serves as President of the United States, offering what he called "a few words about the tragic event that took place," announced that he was "saddened," and expressed his "gratitude for the service of those who were lost" and would "spare no effort" to "work with the German authorities" but it was a "stark reminder" of the "extraordinary sacrifices that our men and women in uniform are making . . ."
And this last applies to Western Europe just the same.
So among other things we have some sobering news for your favorite, possibly marijuana-medicated, effete urbane egalitarian idealist who most likely calls himself "Progressive:" What killed the social welfare state, or at least hastened its demise? The sexual revolution.
And in bleak contrast with the western immigrants from Islamic regions who want to manage a 7-Eleven or drive a taxi or go to med school in the land of opportunity are the Islamic refugees looking for a free lunch. These are the ones most likely to, in Steyn's words, self-detonate. And what brought them to our neighborhoods? The social welfare state.
November 29, 2010
Airport Security Non-event
The Refugee trepidatiously embarked on the nation's air transportation system last week, wondering how the new TSA procedures would affect the experience. After taking into account ThreeSourcer's split decision regarding pat down versus scan, he decided to try the combination microwave/Cuisinart device on one segment and the full-body grope on the other. T'was not to be. In neither case did the TSA see fit to administer either torture upon him. In fact, the lines were amazingly small both Tuesday and Wednesday. On Wednesday, supposedly the busiest travel day of the year, he walked straight through Midway Airport securty without having to wait for a single person.
The news was not all good, however. In Denver International Airport, the man in front of The Refugee did get selected for the grope. This gentleman appeared to be in his 70's and could not walk or stand without assistance, nor breathe without oxygen tanks. Wow - if al Qaida is reduced to recruiting men who can neither walk nor breathe without medical intervention, surely we've won the war on terror. Sadly, it is more likely we who have lost - lost our minds for thinking this system is a fair trade of personal liberty for safety.
June 3, 2010
Why copy Europe now?
In short, as a reaction to the self-destruction of Europe in World War II and the twin monsters of fascism and communism, Europeans thought they could change human nature itself through the creation of an all-caring, all-wise European Union uber-citizen. Instead of dealing with human sins, European wise men of the last half-century would simply declare them passé.
Both are good questions, and I have a single answer for both of them: If America doesn't follow suit quickly enough the "utopian" Euro-centric systems may crumble of their own weight before we get there.
The Progressives/Marxists/Euro-socialists will, of course, tell us that once America is integrated into the collective it will suddenly become sustainable. How, exactly, they never say. Nor do they explain our lack of recourse if, once the "bill is passed," we find it undesirable.
April 21, 2010
Unavoidable economic catastrophe? Not quite
In the first of what is sure to be many linked articles from Independent Women's Forum, Nicole Kurokawa cites a Heritage Foundation report explaining how easy it would be to balance the budget with spending cuts-
Instead of finding new ways to take money from American's pockets, government should focus on cutting spending. And there is plenty to cut. The Heritage Foundation's Brian Riedl notes, "Simply bringing real federal spending back to the $21,000 per household average that prevailed in the 1980s and 1990s would balance the budget by 2012 without raising a single tax on anyone.
"Never let a crisis go to waste," even if you have to create it yourself.
January 15, 2010
Quote of the Day
Let's stipulate that Americans consume what is for some an unhealthy amount of salt. But there are many things Americans consume too much of: reality TV; Ke$ha CDs; stories about hunky, sensitive vampires; Facebook. If Mr. Bloomberg were only prepared to do something about "Twilight," I might look the other way when it comes to his morbid preoccupation with food. -- Eric Felter