April 20, 2018

Be Very Careful What you Wish for

Colorado has gone to open primaries. Many people -- notably Jon Caldera -- have worried about the opportunity for shenanigans. Together with mail-in ballots and same day registration, a clever strategist could interfere with the other party's primary, especially if his or her preferred party was not competitive in the current cycle.

My general response is: "yeah, they could saddle us with Dan Maes for Governor and Ken Buck (HOSS - CD4) for Senate!" Those of you with a life or a location out of the Centennial State should know that refers to two uncompetitive candidates who were propelled by Tea Party enthusiasm to victory over more electable candidates.

Jim Geraghty ends his Morning Jolt newsletter with the 2016 version: the Clinton Camp's desire to run against the unelectable Donald J. Trump

ADDENDA: Who wanted Donald Trump to win the Republican presidential primary in 2016? Hillary Clinton's campaign.

From early on, the Clinton camp saw Trump as an enemy to encourage, Chozick writes. During the campaign, as had been previously reported, there was an effort to elevate Trump into a so-called Pied Piper in order to tie him to the mainstream of the Republican Party.

"An agenda for an upcoming campaign meeting sent by [Campaign Manager] Robby Mook's office asked, "How do we maximize Trump?" Chozick writes, describing a time when the GOP primary was still crowded.

I think we can consider Trump maximized now.

Be careful what you wish for!

I recall the sentiment in 2008. "If only the Democrats will elect that greenhorn, no-account Community Organizer, our principled statesman ***cough, cough, Senator McCain*** will sail to victory!'

I don't doubt some chicanery, but the idea that 13-dimensional string chess will work in electoral politics is flawed.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

You forgot Darryl Glenn.

But don't be so quick to pile on ol' Ken. Finishing within 30,000 votes (out of 1.77 million) or 1.7 percentage points was very respectable given that the Maes debacle happened the same year, obliterating any coattails from the top of the ticket. And then there was the three-to-one spending advantage.

The "cowboy boots vs. high heels" and "homosexuality is a mental disorder" comments are memorable, but probably not decisive.

I'm optimistic about Colorado's new open primary. It allows unaffiliateds to play a significant role in choosing party nominees, so I expect a moderating effect.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2018 6:28 PM
But jk thinks:

I was bein' nice.

Ha. Actually, I am less certain that Glenn knocked out a winnable opponent. An incumbent Senator is a challenge to knock off, even Senator Bennet (Backbencher - CO).

Rep. Buck is now my congressperson and I am a fan. But I think Jane Norton would have outperformed by at least 1.7%.

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2018 11:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of Darryl Glenn, he's running for U.S. Congress now and might have a decent chance now that the incumbent Republican Congressman Doug Lamborn is likely going to have to find honest work for a change. Glenn shares the primary ballot with state Senator Owen Hill and two political newcomers.

Posted by: johngalt at April 24, 2018 5:41 PM

February 22, 2018

Dark Days

I can accept the GOP (especially the Colorado GOP) doing some things I don't like. I can roll my eyes and move on.

But. This is a HORRIBLE and antithetical to free people. And the CO GOP Facebook staff spikes the football as a great policy victory.


I may take up heroin, if this is the soi disant freedom party. Pass the needle!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:08 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Getting hooked on smack seems an extreme reaction. Perhaps just move to a different "laboratory of democracy?" If this is a bad idea it will be revealed as such, once we compare drug abuse in states with such regulations to those without. Eh?

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2018 11:46 AM
But Terri Goon thinks:

Wait, weren't you against marijuana?

Posted by: Terri Goon at February 23, 2018 12:38 PM

January 31, 2018

All Aboard the Trump Train!

UPDATE: The Hill looks at the details of this poll.

A CBS News poll conducted in the immediate aftermath of the speech found that 75 percent approve of the speech. Eighty percent said Trump was trying to unite, rather than divide, the country.


Sixty-five percent of those surveyed said Trump's speech made them feel proud, 35 percent said safer, 21 percent said angry and 14 percent said it made them feel scared.

Safe to say, a large portion of the 14 percent who felt scared are probably Congressional Democrats.

h/t: My biological brother for the graphic

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

"It's been quite a while since we've had a president like that"

Here's my Quote of the Day nomination, from Investors Business Daily:

So, did President Trump win over Democrats on Tuesday? No. Contrary to the media's desires, he was really speaking to moderates and independents, not Democrats.

But any Americans who were listening with an open heart and open mind no doubt heard much to like, and even more to deeply admire: A president who loves his country, is avidly fixing its problems, and wants the continued help and support of the American people to do so.

Honorable mention, from the same editorial:

In any case a lot of Americans were probably surprised by what they saw and heard after a year of nonstop Trump demonization: A man in full, flawed but street-smart, full of love of country, ready to defend it, full of ideas, and eager to go forward. An American.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

The PL peanut gallery was succinct, and brilliant:
I like having an American president again.
"Americans want citizens who speak English, not politicians who speak Spanish"
Trump heralded heroes. Obama always touted victims. Heh.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2018 12:55 AM

January 30, 2018

No go Tancredo

"Hey snowflake, you can come out of your safe space now! Tancredo drops out of CO governor's race.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:10 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Classy (and difficult) move. If I can be Grinch and not Snowflake, my heart for the Congressman has grown three times this day.

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2018 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You're no Grinch, and you're not even a snowflake brother. But I couldn't resist the construction. ;)

I think he really believed he could win in the Trump era, but only because he thought Colorado was too much like Wisconsin. Nope. I'm glad he grew a clue.

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2018 11:34 AM

January 10, 2018

Boo Hoo #MeToo

Catherine Deneuve is among the first group of women to publicly express that #MeToo might not be what women really want.

Iconic French actress Catherine Deneuve is among 100 women who have signed a public letter blaming the #MeToo anti-harassment movement for creating a "totalitarian" climate that unfairly punishes men for flirting "insistently or clumsily," infantilizes women and undermines sexual freedom.

The letter says that #MeToo, the hashtag that emerged in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, has led to a campaign of public denunciation and summary justice. The victims have been "men who are sanctioned in their work, pushed to resign, etc., when their only wrongdoing was to touch a knee, try to steal a kiss, speak about intimate things during a professional dinner or send messages that are sexually loaded to a woman who wasn't attracted to them," the letter says.

The backlash has been swift, if not smart.

The letter was published Tuesday in French newspaper Le Monde. It sparked its own backlash from readers, including from Asia Argento, one of the women who accused Weinstein of sexual assault and helped bring down the Hollywood mogul. "Deneuve and other women tell the world how their interiorized misogyny has lobotomized them to the point of no return," Argento tweeted.

But I would like to ask MS. Argento, "If you forbid men you aren't attracted to from making advances, what are the men who you are attracted to to do?" But then, that question is irrelevant if the answer to "what men are you attracted to" is "none."

RELATED: Camille Paglia on Hugh Hefner's Legacy, Trump's Masculinity and Feminism's Sex Phobia

The entire article is fascinating, particularly the parts about Trump, but here's a germane snippet:

And American women don't know what they want any longer. In general, French women - the educated, middle-class French women, I mean - seem to have a feminine composure, a distinct sense of themselves as women, which I think women in America have gradually lost as they have won job equality in our high-pressure career system.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:19 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2017

America's "sin" isn't racism, it's freedom

I have to link and quote this article too, since it is such a personal hot button for me.

First, a definition:

I-con-o-clast. . [īˈkänəˌklast]


1.a person who attacks cherished beliefs or institutions.

John Daniel Davidson in The Federalist explains why it was inevitable that The Iconoclasts Come for George Washington. Yes, THAT George Washington. The first president. The father of our country. The man who "couldn't tell a lie." Except that, to hear the progressive SJW's tell it, it's ALL a lie. He was a heel, not a hero.

By now we should all be familiar with the inexorable logic of the iconoclasts, which goes like this. Lee, having fought for the slave-owning Confederacy in the Civil War, is more offensive than Washington, who merely owned slaves. Abraham Lincoln didn't own slaves but he did sentence a couple dozen Dakota Indians to death in 1862 for war crimes against defenseless men, women, and children on the Minnesota frontier. For that, student activists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have demanded the removal of Lincoln's statue from their campus. Frank Rizzo, the mayor of Philadelphia in the 1970s, didnít own slaves or sentence any Indians to death, but he was insufficiently supportive of the civil rights movement in his day, so his statue must come down, too.

Once it takes hold, iconoclasm knows no distinctions or subtleties. It sweeps everything away. When progressive activists began clamoring for the immediate removal of Confederate monuments across the country, I and others noted that since this wasn't really about the historical legacy of slavery but the imperatives of identity politics, there was no limiting principle to ensure that once they had finished with the Confederates they would not move on to the Founding Fathers, or Lincoln, or even the hapless Rizzo.

Identity politics. For what purpose? Civil rights? No, something else:

But the relevant history here is not what matters. The complexity and messiness of our nation's past - the irony, for example, that in the years leading up to the Civil War, Grant managed his father-in-law's 850-acre plantation in Missouri, including its ten slaves - is what makes American iconoclasm such a slippery slope. But it's not what inspires progressives to plunge down it. They do it because they believe it will lead them to power.

Never mind the irony that one of the things that truly made Washington great was his refusal to accept the mantle of King when it was offered up to him, no strings attached.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Leading them to power" is why progressives attack America's historical figures, and is also why the attack the Constitution - as DNC Chair Tom Perez did recently when he said "the electoral college is not a creation of the Constitution." His goal is to subvert the electoral college, and make the United States of America a democracy - something the Constitution was designed to prevent.

In such case the correct terminology is not "iconoclast" but "revolutionary" or "subversive" or "traitor." Take your pick, Democrat party.

Posted by: johngalt at November 1, 2017 2:51 PM

Cultural Rapprochement?

Finally, a mainstream journalist attempts to actually see the world through the eyes of a Trump voter. And he doesn't do half-bad!

From a Robert Leonard column in the Kansas City Star: [Robert Leonard is an anthropologist and hosts a public affairs program for KNIA/KRLS radio in Knoxville/Pella, Iowa.]

Doing my best to understand how my conservative friends might read Trump's speech, I read it again. Only this time, I contrasted Trump's messaging with how rural conservatives often view Democratic messaging. Here goes.

Trump began by saying we are a nation of believers and that "together we are strengthened and sustained by the power of prayer." Democrats want prayer out of the public sphere.

Trump called the Las Vegas shooting a "horrific mass murder" and an "act of pure evil." Democrats blame the guns and want to take yours away.

Trump honored the heroes of Las Vegas, including the police officers and other first responders. Democrats elevate thugs and view our protectors in blue with disdain.

Trump quotes scripture. Democrats ridicule those who do.

Trump stresses unity. Democrats divide American society into victims and oppressors.

Trump says, "We love our country." Obama went on an international apology tour.

Trump says, "We cherish the sacred dignity of every human life." Democrats murder babies.

Trump says, "We believe in strong families." Democratic policies pull them apart.

Trump says, "We are proud of our history." Democrats tear down monuments.

Trump says, "We respect our great American flag." Democrats take a knee.

I could go on. There's much, much more in Trump's speech that's fodder for conservative thought.

So, big media, keep up the great writing, thoughtful analysis, logic and reasoning. And fact checking. But, remember here in Trumplandia, you wonít change any minds. The cultural fissure is too deep, and relates to fundamentally different worldviews with respect to freedom and the nature of man.

UPDATE: More Robert Leonard fun (in case you doubt his "mainstream" bona fides.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2017

Dare they call this "fake news?"

Holman Jenkins writes in the WSJ: [No paywall. They must think everyone should read this.]

Mr. Mueller's tenure may not have bridged the two investigations, but James Comey's, Rod Rosenstein's , Andrew Weissmann's , and Andrew McCabe's did. Mr. Rosenstein appointed Mr. Mueller as special counsel. Mr. Weissmann now serves on Mr. Mueller's team. Mr. McCabe remains deputy FBI director. All were involved in the nuclear racketeering matter and the Russia meddling matter.

Let's stop here. All this needs to be sorted out, but not in a spirit of panic and hysteria. We are a prosperous, successful country, in pretty good shape right now by historical standards, even if our officials behave in the frequently dubious, self-interested way they always have.

But still: By any normal evidentiary, probative or journalistic measure, the big story here is the FBI - its politicized handling of Russian matters, and not competently so.

"... frequently dubious, self-interested ...?" Try completely illegal.

As for me, if our federal justice system can't successfully investigate and prosecute these crimes our nation is doomed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

the big story here is the FBI
Yes, and by extension: Obamanites. Tracking comments at PowerLine, I already see the left's distract-tack: "so the HRCampaign hired someone shady to do a shoddy OpFor report; nothing burger!"

PowerLine has been flogging this pretty hard (all 3 main authors) under titles like "Investigate This!" and "Fusion Contusion." A contributor with FBI background submits:

in the anti-Trump conspiracy that‚Äôs exactly what was needed: FISA coverage, ‚Äúwiretaps.‚ÄĚ There was no time to do the painstaking research on Trump and his associates‚Äďthey needed FISA and they needed it NOW. They‚Äôd already been turned down at least once. The NSA info was essentially useless, because what they really wanted was to get conversations between Trump and his associates here in the US‚Äďall USPERs‚Äďnot international conversations (those were either lacking or harmless). Yes, NSA probably scoops up internal US communications of USPERs, too, but to use it without a FI and without a FISA order would be illegal. Therefore, the ‚Äúdossier.‚ÄĚ

This is what it'll take for the media to drop the Russia-Collusion story; that it nets negative for Democrats. Face it, the media by and large has become the AV Club of the Democrat Party.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 28, 2017 12:31 PM

October 23, 2017

"This is the death cry of the Republican Party"

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

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

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

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

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

Beware the modern day Royalists.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Okay, Bannon's day it is:

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

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

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

The real resentment voters have is for Republican politicians who pretend during elections to be on their side, to share their priorities, to be ready to defend their beliefs ‚Äď but turn out after the election to only defend on the things they‚Äôre comfortable talking to the media about‚Ķ in other words, the only time when it doesn‚Äôt matter.

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

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

October 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)

October 16, 2017

Potato, Potahtoe

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

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

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

In closing, he poses the following observations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 28, 2017

De-boogeymanning Trump

Trump is worse than Hitler we've been told. Can we please take a breath?

I did my thoughtful best to reply to a friend who is scared about a president who fires or threatens to fire people for not being patriotic. I think it is germane to repost it here too.

I agree that they have the freedom to kneel. I don't agree that it is a First Amendment issue, however. Those who frame it that way are relying on the assumption that the President (still not a supreme ruler despite some of the excesses we've witnessed from that office in recent decades) might use government force to have people fired, or worse. From a libertarian viewpoint, what I heard in his comment, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners ...say... he's fired" is a reminder that owners have rights, and so do fans, not just players. Freedom does not indemnify one against consequences. Or are you suggesting that, because a baker has to make and serve cakes at ceremonies he is personally opposed to, a team owner can't fire players for his own personal reasons? Where's the freedom in that?

Presidents have, in the past, actually fired government employees for protesting. President Reagan fired government air traffic controllers when they went on strike. The Republic survived. The current president isn't even doing that. Indeed, it has become much harder for presidents to fire people since then.

You mentioned earlier how our minds can be made to play tricks on us. President Trump has been called "worse than Hitler" but why? What is the argument for that? And did this horrific characterization precede the conclusions that his detractors are coming to in the wake of perfectly rational executive decisions or statements? Is it a factor in their assumption of the worst of intentions on his part?

I fully agree with you on your basic point: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to stand for the anthem nor to recite the pledge of allegiance." But the threats you fear are hollow in our free society, and disgrace exists only in one's heart.

I take it even further: "I do not want my country to be one that starts to forcefully compel individuals to do anything against his will." Unfortunately, we have crossed that line many times on many issues, and are much further down the slippery slope that frightens you on the issue at hand. I can't tell you how frightened I was during the previous eight years. Or, in retrospect, how much more frightened I should have been during the eight years prior to that.

What I see today is an electorate that has had enough of leaders who put "the world's" interests first. America is a nation that was founded on each individual's ability to put his own interests first. This is the complete opposite of "National Socialism" or any other form of socialism. It is individualism. President Trump was elected to return to that ideal. To "make America great again." Whether he succeeds or not, or takes the right decisions at this turn or that, is still to be seen. But I see it as an existential necessity for the Republic of the United States of America, and therefore for human freedom in the entire world - not just in our country. I'm willing to give him a pass for whipping up a patriotic frenzy amongst supporters who feel the same way.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:33 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

But I feel underrepresented in the "No Trump is not Hitler, but nor is he the reincarnation of James Madison" camp.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2017 4:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

That's cool - as long as you aren't afraid of the boogeyman.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2017 4:33 PM

August 24, 2017

"I may be Hitler, but I'm still not Trump"

The segue machine is set to kill.

I may have set a personal record in tagged categories for this post. It's part five of a YouTube original creation by Chris Ray Gun called "Social Justice: The Musical"

I post this one first because it's the first episode I found [while searching for "modern protest songs" after listening to Buffalo Springfield's 'For What It's Worth' following 'The Night They Drove Ol' Dixie Down' as referenced in the previous post] and also because it is timely and entertaining. The guy seems very talented and well worth a look at his other work.

Enough. On with the show!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2017

COEXIST! (Unless you think you're more oppressed than me)

What do you get when you award special status to a range of "victim" groups, such as women, racial minorities and religious minorities, and then convey additive special status for the "intersectionality" of multiples of these groups? European social psychologists have studied the situation and their published findings demonstrate something they call "competitive victimhood."

We propose that, in some societal circumstances, this competition bears on the recognition of past sufferings - rather than on their relative severity - fostering negative intergroup attitudes. Three studies are presented. (...) Overall, these studies provide evidence that struggle for victimhood recognition can foster intergroup conflict.

The paper was published in March but this week's Dailywire dot com article about it distills the essence:

The underpinnings of much the modern-day Oppression Olympics comes in the form of intersectionality, which argues that various forms of oppression against minority groups are interconnected. The intention was to create coalitions of people to understand where other people come from and how their experiences and their identity could help defeat The System. This creates various ghost-like figures, such as "The Patriarchy" or "the Zionists," who are responsible for the oppression of others. However, intersectionality has forced people of different backgrounds to compete as to who has been oppressed more and for others to get in line if their identity could possibly result in someone else's poor fortune.

At risk of oversimplification, allow me to try distilling it even further. Demanding special status and treatment, even to the point of actively discriminating against others, fosters resentment amongst others who earnestly play the same game. And what once were natural allies become distrustful and resentful of each other, while competing for the same spoils of alms. It's hard to see how this ends well for the SJWs.

To which I reply, "Intersect away."

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 20, 2017

Colorado Republicans Celebrate Freedom

No, not Libertarians... Republicans.

Freedom. Freedom to think independently. Freedom to speak freely. Freedom to associate and gather, roundup. Freedom what makes America great. Freedom Roundup. The keynote speaker for the Inaugural Freedom Roundup Dinner, Jillian Melchior, editor of HEAT STREET and former reporter for Wall Street Journal and National Review, is an investigative reporter who takes head-on the challenges and assault to free speech and individual rights and exposes the hypocrisies to group-think and political correctness. Young. Dynamic. Smart. Courageous. Rising Star, catch her now!

The fundraising dinner is this Saturday night and yours truly has bought a table of eight. PM me if you'd like to join us!


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

July 13, 2017

CNN Meme Fallout

Shared by a friend:

There are dozens of these.
Here's why.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:36 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I was not going to click . . . but I did. That was pretty funny.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2017 6:50 PM

May 16, 2017

It Would be Churlish to Laugh

Today's word is "schadenfreude."


Posted by John Kranz at 11:15 AM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Nice! I also like the Meme featuring E. Warran (aka, Fauxcahontas... other names?) who charged $400k for a class but likes to prattle on about 'free' education.

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 19, 2017 12:17 AM
But jk thinks:

Her employer, as Russ Roberts likes to point out, has a $32.7 <jg_voice>B-b-billon</jg_voice> endowment with a fire-hose input. If they think it's too expensive, they could just stop charging tuition and it would be decades before anybody noticed.

But better to ask you and me to pony up some $$$...

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2017 4:34 PM

April 20, 2017

OMG -- they're acting like GOP!

So, the Democrats and Hollywood glitterati pony up "more than $8 million, quadruple the next-closest contender" according to Jim Geraghty. And Senator Ice Cream from Vermont cannot play along?

Over the last few days, Sanders's [sic, it's only the WaPo] has at times offered some odd comments for a guy pushing for Democratic unity.


Posted by John Kranz at 4:32 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Hopefully it's contagious.

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2017 5:18 PM

April 11, 2017


That was a big word when I was a kid. It's still a big word; but it was popular in late 1960s. The WSJ Ed Page doesn't dredge up this polysyllabic chestnut, but they do pen a paean to the Establishment today.

No, that is not news; they could change their tagline to "The GOP Eastern Pointy-headed Establishment's Official Organ." Even your blog pragmatist has rolled his eyes at some of their extreme moderation. But today's topic is the newly minted Justice Gorsuch and the "Establishment's" role in his replacing Justice Scalia.

Don't tell Mark Levin, but Judge Gorsuch is a card-carrying member of America's elite. He attended Columbia, Harvard and Oxford. He clerked at the Supreme Court, worked at a prestigious law firm, and spent a decade on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. These are the credentials of an accomplished legal mind, and they and the judge's first-rate temperament are the reasons that Democrats couldn't defeat him, try though they did. Now he can apply that experience and intellect to advance conservative legal principles for a generation or more.

Why was the seat open? It was thanks to Sen. Mitch McConnell (Establishment - KY)
The Majority Leader was able to maintain the unity of his variegated conference last year to deny a vote or hearing to President Obama's nominee, Merrick Garland. Does anyone think Senators Ted Cruz or Mike Lee could have pulled that off?

Then this year Mr. McConnell kept moderate Members on board to break a Democratic filibuster of Judge Gorsuch. That outcome was far from a foregone conclusion, but Mr. McConnell worked behind the scenes rather than grandstand publicly that he had the votes. In the end the Senate establishment delivered for the conservative grass-roots.

I have huzzahed the President's successes and listed my disagreements. But the foundation of the future GOP is being laid down -- and I confess I do not trust the Establishment to create it. But nor do I trust the "never-ending insurgency."
The tragedy of the current conservative movement is that too many of its leading voices seem to believe in never-ending insurgency that casts anyone in power as a sellout. They profit from raging at the failure that they promote.

But the goal of a political movement, populist or not, is not to be in perpetual opposition. The goal is to win elections and use the levers of power to achieve certain policy ends to make America a better country.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:49 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

A prickly point-of-order: Yes, those Republicans who used to do what could "once be counted on doing" are the ones we today call the establishment.

And "what they did" was use the toolbox of parlimentarism, politics, whip counts, and *egads!* compromise to structure legislative victories. Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee (and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin) and Rep Justin Amash are my peeps and I wish there were 535 of them in Congress.

But, when they drove the train, we got four more years of Obamacare. When gravely old Mc-RINO-Connell drove, we got "Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch."

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2017 2:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't mean to be argumentative, but Mc-RINO-Connell gave us Associate Justices Kagan and Sotomayor (and Alito) too - B.T. (Before Trump)

And rather than repeat the second half of the sentence you expanded upon, I'll just suggest that readers look at it again.

I never objected to politics and parliamentary procedure, or even to compromise. The bug in the system is the "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours" type of "compromise" that was used to reward big donors with special government favors. That was the dominant paradigm that we insurgents are battling to subvert.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2017 4:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, then I'll be argumentative.

So Senator McConnell is to blame for the confirmation of Justice Sotomayor??? After the first Latina was nominated by a Democratic Resident, and her Confirmation was sent to a Democratic 111th Senate with Sen.Patrick Leahy (Devil Incarnate - VT) chairing the Judicial Committee. Clearly, if the Senator had lit himself on fire in the well of the Senate, we'd have Randy Barnett in her seat today.

I daresay we got a Republican Senate because Sen. McConnell did not engage in the pointless self-immolation that the insurgents so admire.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2017 6:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What I'm suggesting is that, by being less distinguishable from the average Democrat, McConnell contributed to the Senate's Democrat majority, which then approved Sotomayor and Kagan.

Furthermore, Sotomayor and Kagan were nominated because McCain and Romney were more like McConnell than like Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Romney in particular, seemed on course to defeat Obama until he hid under the desk in the second debate.

All pointing to the unashamed political-incorrectness of Trump as a bigger factor in the nomination of Judge Gorsuch instead of Judge Garland than the "establishmentism" of Senator McConnell.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2017 4:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Perfect. Gotcha. I fear you overestimate the political appeal of philosophical clarity, but we've had that conversation before.

Posted by: jk at April 14, 2017 10:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't see it as philosophical clarity at all. Trump, for example, infamously has "no guiding principles." But at the same time, his guiding principle is "make America great." Rand would be appalled at the hodge podge of value judgments that statement likely includes, but as a "whole idea" like they say in charades, she would applaud it - to the extent that "America" stands for individual freedom and accomplishment while specifically prohibiting the ruling of men by other men.

THAT, dear blog brother, is what moved the election needle away from political correctness and toward President-elect Trump. (In my estimation.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 14, 2017 11:12 AM

April 3, 2017


The political bogeyman du jour is called "alt-right." Supposedly it is an uber nationalist and racist movement that propelled Donald Trump to his otherwise "inexplicable" victory in the presidential election. But what about the left? On the other side of the political divide, says VDH, the alt has become the majority.

What are its tenets other than the obvious of addressing man-caused climate change by radically restructuring the American economy, favoring a lead-from-behind stature abroad, and seeing "you didn't build that" capitalism as parasitic rather than nourishing of American democracy?

Its overarching ideology seems to be a filtered version of campus postmodernism. Therefore the "truth" is simply a pastiche of "stories" or "narratives." They can gain credence if those with power and influence "privilege" them, in efforts to enhance their own status and clout. "My story" is just as viable as "the truth," a construct that does not exist in the abstract.

So we can see why attacks on the left's "unreason" or "hypocrisy" are powerless. Their morality has nothing whatsoever to do with reason or consistency. Reality has little standing in the world of the new left, thus explaining how its adherents can support LGBT and Islam at the same time, often in the same breath.

Read the whole thing. It's a very enlightening description of the modern American Democratic party, and how the real "alt-left" consists of enfeebled voices like those of James Webb or Joe Manchin.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

The Free Speech Movement, led by a fiery Italian-American, Mario Savio, erupted at the University of California at Berkeley in 1964, the year I entered college. It was a cardinal moment for my generation. The anti-establishment stance of the Free Speech Movement represented the authentic populist revolution of the 1960s, which resisted encroachments of authority by a repressive elite. How is it possible that today's academic Left has supported rather than protested campus speech codes as well as the grotesque surveillance and over-regulation of student life? American colleges have abandoned their educational mission and become government colonies, ruled by officious bureaucrats enforcing federal dictates. This despotic imperialism has no place in a modern democracy. An enlightened feminism, animated by a courageous code of personal responsibility, can only be built upon a wary alliance of strong women and strong men.

-Camile Paglia in 'Women Aren't Free Until Speech Is'

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Loves me some Camille Paglia

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2017 3:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Me too. I'll check out the Tyler Cowen interview soon. Meanwhile, if you click through my link and read her short piece on free speech you'll find this other notable quote:

"We are plunged once again into an ethical chaos where intolerance masquerades as tolerance and where individual liberty is crushed by the tyranny of the group.

The premier principles of my new book, Free Women, Free Men, are free thought and free speech‚ÄĒopen, mobile, and unconstrained by either liberal or conservative ideology."

My mental working title for the post was "Camile Paglia - Objectivist." An obvious overgeneralization, but the parallel to Rand's two "mystics" are inescapable: Conservative ideology being the Mystics of Spirit and liberal ideology being the Mystics of Muscle.

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2017 4:55 PM
But jk thinks:

An Objectivist Theology Professor. I can sell that.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2017 6:51 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh™: Insty links to the same piece with the comment "I mean, if women were free, who would listen to feminists?"

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2017 10:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Theology professor? Paglia? non! Art and literature.

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2017 4:32 PM
But jk thinks:

Corrected I stand. I misremembered that false factoid from her dust-up with the Dawkins-Hitchens wing.

Posted by: jk at March 27, 2017 9:54 AM

March 1, 2017

Moving the Presidential Needle

I would like to burst forth with effusive praise of the President's speech to Congress last night, but dagny judged that I am a, what was the term, "partisan cheerleader" or something to that effect. Yes, it's a tough living room in our household.

So I'll let the 857 viewers whom CBS polled before and after the speech give the verdict:

The president moved opinion among viewers on his plans for a number of policy issues, comparing their views before and after the speech. The percent favoring his plans for fighting terrorism, addressing crime, improving the economy, handling illegal immigration, and dealing with Obamacare all jumped.

Republicans and Democrats did see the president's description of the country quite differently. Most Republicans think Mr. Trump's depiction of the state of America is accurate, while six in 10 Democrats think the President's description is worse than the country really is.

There is agreement across party lines that Mr. Trump is trying to do what he said he'd do during the campaign.

An uncharacteristic lack of negativity from this establishment media source, to be sure. To offset it they were sure to include a disclaimer that "As is typical for a presidential speech, viewers tended to come more from the president's own party; in this case more Republicans tuned in." And they repeated it THREE TIMES. Still, Democrat viewers were not unaffected:

Forty percent of Democrats at least somewhat approved; 18 percent strongly approved.

And if you've lost 40 percent of your party, Messr's Schumer, Obama, Pelosi and Perez, nearly half of them strongly, don't bother looking at the unaffiliateds.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:08 AM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2017

Otequay of the Ayday

Blog brother jk has the Wall Street Journal. I have Investors Business Daily:

Even Trump's executive order on visas and refugees is far from an overreach. At its core, it temporarily halts - it does not ban - travel from seven countries identified in a 2015 law as highly terror prone. The reason is to give relevant agencies 90 days to make sure policies in place are effective at keeping terrorists out. His decision to halt refugees from Syria is right in line with previous presidential limits on refugees imposed in the name of national security.

We are hardly advocating that Trump follow in Obama's footsteps. We vigorously opposed Obama's executive overreach and will do the same if Trump tries to exceed the limits to his authority. The Constitution's divisions of power are there for a reason.

But it has been amusing to watch Democrats and the media - who encouraged Obama's overreaches - lose their minds over the prospect of Obama's pen and phone in Trump's hand.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:06 PM | Comments (0)

January 27, 2017

The One Absolute of Postmodern Relativism

There is so much to say about this fascinating article, and so much of it requires even more thought than I've given it already. So for now, I'll just make this a de-facto Quote of the Day and suggest that everyone read the full article and its detailed explanation of how candidate Trump turned the criticisms of him back upon his accusers, and even seemed to willingly and repeatedly step into politically-incorrect messes, only to emerge from the other side stronger and more resolute.

Donald Trump is the First President to Turn Postmodernism Against Itself

Democrats gleefully welcomed Trump's victory in the Republican primaries with the expectation that they'd bury him in a pile of condescension for being a buffoon and scorn for being the next Hitler. Better yet, they figured that his astounding rise confirmed everything they had long assumed about half the country and were now free to say out loud: they are indeed a basket of irredeemable racist, sexist, homophobic deplorables. Mainstream Republicans would surely hop on board the progressive train rather than be associated with these creeps.

None of this happened, of course. But why? Because what Trump's enemies failed to grasp was that he wasn't winning because of the crazy things he was saying, but because of the phony outrage and affected condescension it provoked. Many people empathized with Trump for enduring the contempt that he deliberately brought against himself. Trump kept playing the role of the antihero, and Clinton kept playing the role of the pearl-clutching fraud.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:15 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

And yet, the relativists still. don't. get it.

Tom Brady’s Politics Are More Un-American Than Colin Kaepernick’s Have Ever Been

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2017 4:50 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Their bubble is sooo thick, and coated with so much patchouli oil and rainbow flags that they are having trouble finding their way out.

The article (what I had time to read) time & time again brought up Nazi Germany themed items but never said what and how Brady embraced any of them. Guilt by association, pure and simple. One commenter even pointed this out: it was a friendship, started before politics and presumably above politics, with the comment citing some public statements about how he didn't agree with everything. He didn't get far....

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 28, 2017 9:39 AM
But jk thinks:

Doesn't the ThreeSources Style Guide suggest a warning when linking to HuffPo?

Brady's obliviousness reeks of white privilege and dismissiveness; a #MAGA trait if there ever was one. But what's most troubling is the way Brady’s Trump endorsement has been treated compared to Kaepernick's political statements.

Kaepernick, Kaepernick . . . wasn't that the second string quarterback of some 1-11 team? The name rings a bell.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2017 12:36 PM

January 26, 2017

Making "Bully" Great Again

Not even a week into his Presidency, Donald Trump seems to rack up accomplishments by the day rather than by the month or even year, by his predecessor. But there's more to the comparison than mere ambition or scope of vision. There's a palpable difference of style, and it clearly favors the man portrayed as "vulgar" and "misogynist" over the one lauded as "clean and articulate."

As the meeting got started, the president, whom House Speaker Paul D. Ryan says wants to push "an ambitious agenda," employed chivalry and humor.

As his high-powered breakfast guests took their seats, Trump played the role of gentleman, holding General Motors CEO Mary Barra's chair.

"Let me help you with that," said the victorious presidential candidate, whose campaign trail comments and a leaked "Access Hollywood" video caused millions of women around the globe to protest last Saturday.

Then came more humor that got a big laugh from the car executives, when the president suggested they go around the table for introductions: "I'll start. I'm Donald Trump."

Imagine the 44th president, often (and aptly) referred to as the Narcissist in Chief, being so self-effacing. In contrast:

Over the last eight years, Obama and his aides hosted private-sector officials and stakeholders from the nonprofit world regularly. But the 44th president was often criticized for not socializing more with lawmakers, though his top aides near the end essentially argued a president should not have to - and expressed their belief that Republicans poisoned the relationship from the start.

Now who's guilty of excessive rationalizations? [Fourth comment] The most powerful man in the free world gives up because, dog gonnit, "they don't like me?" Almost in revenge, President Obama declared I will use my pen and phone to take on Congress. This is the tactic of a modern-day bully.

President Trump was thought to be exactly that during the presidential primary campaign, calling his opponents "low energy," "little," and "lyin'." But in his first days as President, Donald John Trump is reverting to an earlier meaning of the term. The meaning implied when President Theodore Roosevelt Jr. coined the term "bully pulpit" as a reference to the White House. In those days, "bully" was more apt to mean "superb" or "wonderful" and not the ruthless and insensitive lout it conjures today.

But the meetings with lawmakers and the titans of industry havenít been merely social occasions. During the Monday evening session, the president "made it clear" to congressional leaders that "he expects no delays in getting his agenda through Congress and out of Washington," Spicer said Tuesday.

President Trump seems determined to make many things Great Again - the more, and the faster, the better.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (0)

December 1, 2016

A Crowdsourced GOP

The GOP has been touted as the "big tent" party. None other than William F. Buckley Jr. promoted political pragmatism in the ranks when he said the Republicans' goal should be to "choose the most conservative candidate who can win the election" rather than apply some litmus test or another to everyone who asked for our nomination.

The 2016 elections, primary and general, saw a relatively new paradigm supercede the traditional way of doing things - at least in one party. (Hint: It was the party that won.) That paradigm was political crowdsourcing.

Trump economic advisor Stephen Moore takes to the Investors' Editorial Page for a victory lap:

Trade and immigration are unambiguously good for the country - but they will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down our throats by the elites. In this way, I am more of a populist.

The elites in both parties have never understood Trumpism and often are contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyles of the Trump loyalists.

Conservatives should go back and read Jude Wanniski's classic "The Way the World Works." Wanniski reminds us over and over again of the lesson of history that there is great collective wisdom in the decisions made by the American voters. It's not often wise to second-guess them, but rather to listen to what they are saying.

A lot of good things come with the Trump package. Probably three conservative justices on the Supreme Court, the biggest tax cut and assault against regulatory overreach since the Reagan era, spending cuts, ObamaCare repeal, enterprise zones for inner cities, vouchers for kids in failing schools, and so on. But it's a package deal, folks. If you want purity, vote for Ron Paul for president again and see where that gets you.

Elitario Delenda Est?

But it is a new Republican party, and a new political and policy era has begun. What Donald Trump achieved on election night was to topple the legacies of three family dynasties all at once: the Clintons, the Bushes and the Obamas. They were the troika of big losers in 2016. Trump didn't topple the Reagan legacy of growth, optimism and peace through strength.

If the Age of Trump is to be a success, he will build on and modernize that legacy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:10 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Hoping for the best. Yet, would you not agree that Republicanism rests on a mixture of elites and "demos?"

Nobody loves to bash the pointy-heads much more than me. But that does not mean that I want the populist elements to get their way on everything. I'm pretty cozy with the pointy-heads at the WSJ Ed Page on economics, but roll my eyes at their Newyawkeh positions on forearms.

I'm hardwired to rail against plebiscitary democracy, but was reminded by a good Republican speaker at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons that most of Colorado's best freedom-based laws have come from citizen initiatives.

It's tough, but economics proves -- and I don't use the word lightly -- many counter-intuitive things that the average laid-off steel worker may not have encountered.

We're back to Hamilton - Jefferson and I am firmly convinced we need draw from both.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2016 3:35 PM

November 22, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

While I do not think we should legitimize the remarkable fear those on the Left profess, I do suppose I can understand why they are afraid. In a way, it is even rational. The Left expects the Right to do to them what the Left's political philosophy would demand the Left do to the Right: hunt down any dissenting voices and silence or hurt them.

David Danford in The Federalist - Here's Why Progressives Lose Their Minds When They Lose Elections

They do not understand the Right's view of government and what the founders of America had in mind. The founders understood that government could only provide limited justice. This could then be used to enable the individual pursuit of happiness in a free country. As Washington put it, the object of our politics is "the benign influence of the good laws of a free government."

In other words, the goal is to make the rule of law and the power of government as gentle and as unobtrusive as possible. Errors in politics, then, are deviations from being benign and are themselves fairly harmless. If the system of government you live under is limited, then you can take a breath when things do not go your way and continue to have a conversation and hope that next time you might win.

The end of all of this is to say that what you are seeing is the logical result of incoherent, utopian progressive political thought. Our society is full of those confused about the purpose of American government, and something changed with this election.

Before, there were two conceptions of justice competing under the surface, but only one knew that it had to destroy the other. Now, the other one has realized it has to fight to exist, and fighting it is. Until one wins out, this war of ideas will continue, the Left will embrace hysterics, and political correctness will reemerge.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:31 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2016

O.J. Rides Again

The news of last Friday's FBI decision, and the coverage of it over the weekend, struck me as the same kind of bombshell real-time news phenomenon as O.J. Simpson fleeing police in a white Ford Bronco. So naturally I wanted to read the Wayne Allen Root article by the same name - Hillary and the White Ford Bronco.

At any minute I expect to hear that every national TV news network is hosting live coverage of a police car chase. It will feature Hillary riding in the back seat of a white Ford Bronco, driven by Huma, headed for the Mexican border, with hundreds of FBI vans and police cars chasing behind. And of course Democrats lining the streets to catch the last glimpse of their former presidential nominee.

Hillary has had quite a series of October surprises. Just one would be enough to drive anyone into doing something strange. But Hillary has already suffered two devastating October surprises.

And rumor has it thereís another on the way.

But the real legacy of the Clintons, Hillary and William Jefferson, is far grander than a mere flouting of federal law regarding classified information.

What this new FBI investigation is not about is taking bribes (disguised as donations) at the Clinton Foundation from countries that fund ISIS. Wikileaks proves Hillary knew that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were funding ISIS, but took their money anyway.

What this investigation is not about is taking $1 million from Qatar to celebrate Bill Clintonís birthday. What did that country expect in return? What did the Clintons promise?

What this investigation is not about is Hillary taking $12 million from the King of Morocco, who are our own government considers corrupt, while Secretary of State. What did the King expect? What did the Clintons promise?

What this investigation is not about is the crime of treason for running an organized criminal enterprise called the Clinton Foundation built around ďpay for playĒ while Hillary was Secretary of State.

What this investigation is not about is running a charity scam called the Clinton Foundation that rarely pays out anything to charity and uses the billions it receives in "donations" to fund a billionaireís lifestyle for the Clintons.

What this investigation is not about is funneling almost $700,000 in what looks like bribes (disguised as "donations") through Clintonís best friend Terry McAuliffe to the Democratic politician wife of the FBI agent overseeing Hillaryís investigation.

All of that is still to come.

Unless she is pardoned by Barack Obama on January 19th, 2017.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:57 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Of course you know what is objectively right. And so does jk. He said, "She skates" not "She's innocent."

Your friend A people are lying to themselves to protect something. Or if not to themselves, then to you, but still to protect something. The more interesting question you should be asking is, what are the Clinton apologists protecting?

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2016 11:08 PM
But jk thinks:

And I suggest objective supporting evidence to B is to compare how less connected people were treated for the same offenses. Officers have lost their commissions for inadvertently doing what Sec. Clinton has done with mens rea.

General David Petraeus and Scooter Libbey must be wishing they had sent a million to the Clinton Foundation.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2016 11:32 AM
But jk thinks:

Nope! Director Comey has spoken -- she is innocent of all charges, ever (that issue in the fourth grade with the fountain pen and her rival's dress? Exonerated!)

I really do not know what to say.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2016 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You could say the same thing my dear ol' dad said.

"Drain the swamp."

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2016 12:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


friend A people are lying to themselves to protect something

Their egos. I have the same issue writ large: my favorite is the one who's been telling me the GOP is done as a party... for, well, as long as we've been FB friends. Years. Long before DJT won a single primary. He's an entrepreneur (well, not really successful one) who's a dedicated Sanders guy. That HAS to be ego. He's also a bit of an arrogant prat, so the ego big holds.

There are some "type A" who are just long-time Dems who will listen to the whisper campaign about the nasty, poopy-headed GOP (even for a guy like Romney).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2016 12:21 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Director Comey has spoken -- she is innocent of all charges

No, she skates. The weasiling used was there was no "intent" to cause harm or break the law. Charming. I can just see now that 'hate' speech will invariably be put in the intent column. The insanity has begun... perhaps even, as PowerLine postulates if Trump wins (he's won OH, WI and FL).

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 9, 2016 12:31 AM

October 13, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

"But it all reminds us that it is beyond high time that we grab the Republican Party by the Bush and grab the Democratic Party by the Clinton and toss them all out into the gutter where they belong."

Charles Hurt in Bush vs. Clinton redux in 2016.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:58 PM | Comments (0)

September 18, 2016

A brief history of revolutions - France and USA

The "Le Mis" episode in this year's election is picking up steam, no thanks to the establishment media who seem dead set on burying the story, and burying Trump himself.

From a nice article by Breitbart's James Pinkerton:

Here again we see the difference between the US and France. Through our history, for the most part, the American elite has been willing to accede to reasonable demands, if only to stave off revolution. In other words, the system can work.

Jackson ran for president again in 1828; it was the "revolt of the rustics" - a peaceful revolt. The campaign was bitter: It's fair to say that the Eastern elite of that era were as horrified by Jackson as the Eastern elite of our time are horrified by Trump. Indeed, hard as it might be to believe, the elite were more appalled by the insurgent Jackson back then; in the widely circulated coffin handbills, he was accused of everything from adultery to mass murder to cannibalism.

Yet despite all this establishment vitriol, Jackson won in a landslide, and the first political era of America, a time of aristocratic leadership, was ended. Indeed, in many ways, our modern political system - that is, two-party politics, with the winner needing the mass-mobilization of the electorate to win - originates from 1828.

And though the first aristocratic era of America came to an end, a second aristocratic era - that is, two-party politics - ultimately rose to replace it. Now, Trump has executed an unlikely hostile takeover of one of the two parties, and the aristocrats are nervous.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:46 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

We're embracing Jackson Now? Root node of the Democrats, perpetuator of slavery, villain of the trail of tears? Founding architect of Executive overreach?

I think he was right n the bank, and I'll applaud his heroism in the War of 1812. But this shows to what extent Republicans will disavow all the party has stood for. Still waiting for the tribute to Bull Connor.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2016 1:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I read it not at all embracing Jackson, but an historical warning to the aristocrats of our age. Too much imposition of your will upon the people, the economy, the law, can result in a populist rebellion featuring a chief executive who you find horrifying.

Posted by: johngalt at September 18, 2016 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair. But I searched in vain for some text -- even a small disclaimer -- suggesting that Trump might actually be Jacksonesque. And that is exactly what some of his GOP detractors fear.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2016 9:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the reason it doesn't matter if Trump has big government or executive abuse tendencies is that all of his pedigreed predecessors had those failings too - even the ones we were promised would not have them.

The nature of revolution is that the leader is rarely a font of restraint. Democrat and Republican co-(mis)rule has brought us to this moment.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2016 2:51 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm sentimental. I miss being lied to.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2016 5:51 PM

September 17, 2016

Do you hear the people sing?

In yesterday's 'Les Deplorables' post the "soundtrack" I linked was one I chose. I hadn't read far enough into the article (the second sentence, as it turned out) to learn that it was the same song the Trump campaign selected.

He took the stage, introduced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the 'Les Mis' anthem 'Do You Hear the People Sing' blasted through loudspeakers.

The article includes a brief video of the introduction, but it only captures the end of the intro and the beginning of the speech. I am so moved by the synergy of the spectacle I am left only to attempt a recreation of it myself.

This moment is reminiscent of Barack Obama's "Hope" poster, created by a supporter and then going viral. The 'Les Deplorables' imagery was created by pro-Trump blogger Keln, whose blog post on its creation and adoption features a commenter writing, "You are a genius......the trump movement has its logo."



And here is a nice version created around the video game 'Assassin's Creed.'

Some see the rebellion being against "the rich." It wasn't. It was against the aristocrats. More specifically, the monarchists.

The June Rebellion or the Paris Uprising of 1832 (French: Insurrection rťpublicaine ŗ Paris en juin 1832), was an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans on 5 and 6 June 1832.

Long live liberty.
Long live republicanism.
Long live the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.

And like Trump and his "Deplorables" the June Rebellion was largely a movement of the working class:

Subsequent identification of rebels revealed that most (66%) were working-class, a high proportion being construction workers. Most others (34%) were shopkeepers or clerks.
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2016

Les Deplorables



Click here for the soundtrack.

News story here.

Liberté! Fraternité! Trump!

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:54 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Your heart will be warmed to learn that I have joined the Facebook group. A very funny, ribald crew if not the most intellectual. I have the softest spot for people who accept their pejorative names as badges of honor (I once suggest that tea partiers should do the same with "teabaggers," but that was a bridge too far.)

The Deplorables thing has a great deal of energy.

Posted by: jk at September 17, 2016 1:21 PM

September 14, 2016

The Centrist versus the extremist

It is a curious discontinuity that the Republican nominee whom party loyalists deride as "not a conservative" or "without guiding principles" is, at the same time, portrayed by the domininat media as an agent of the "alt-right" and as extreme an ideologue as has been seen in presidential politics in our lifetimes. All while the Democratic nominee campaigns on more and bigger leftist government programs than were proposed or delivered by the two-term predecessor from her own party. Which of them then is really the "extremist" and which the centrist or "mainstream" candidate? Conrad Black concludes:

Both nominees did the necessary to keep their parties out of their own end zones, but to capture the center that always decides American elections, Mr. Trump has only to modulate the polemics, not really change course. Mr. Clinton has to walk backwards on her hands toward the center while dragging a cartload of ethical and legal baggage and ardently praying for a Trump relapse into reactionary gaucheries -- exacting acrobatics, even for a lady in a neon pantsuit.

Black then proceeds to paint the Clinton campaign as Humpty Dumpty, which all the left's horses and men can't put back together again.

Mr. Trump has no further need of the tactics the Democrats assumed would drive the moderate majority into their arms.

There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton yet realizes that she can't rely on her opponent to discharge a verbal blunderbuss into his own cloven feet. Her vast train of bearers and beaters and cheerleaders and silent helpers, Bushies, Cruzites, the Sanders Left, the Hollywood claque, the largely leprous press corps, President Obama (in one of the most hilariously cynical professions of affectionate continuity in American political history) - all have only eight weeks to escape oblivion. It certainly could happen, but it is not now likely.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (9)
But johngalt thinks:

The trend his direction needs to continue, that's for sure, for him to pull it out.

I heard that he's up to 88% support among Republicans now. Still room for more improvement there, as the reality of President HRC grows ever closer.

But this is all possible, according to Black, because compared to HRC, Trump appears the practical and realistic and fair choice. Because she's so extreme.

Let's talk about that "basket of deplorables" comment: Why would she say such a politically risky and inflammatory thing if she thought her position was already comfortable?

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2016 5:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Also, perhaps thanks to Gary "the Johnson" Johnson, maybe Colorado.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2016 5:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Not counting Colorado out, but I am thinking it is part of a surprise rout, not inching him over 270.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2016 6:30 PM
But AndyN thinks:

I think you're Lucy football analogy is apt when it comes to PA, but there's one reason I'm holding out hope. Before the 2012 election I was driving back and forth across PA several times, and I remember seeing a lot of "vote like your job depended on it" kind of billboards sponsored by fossil fuel interests. Back then those signs were just campaigning against rhetoric. Now that trying to bankrupt an industry and throw thousands of people out of work seems to be the one promise that the current Democrat president seems to have been able to keep, those kind of campaign ads will probably drive a lot more people to the polls.

That said, I'm not entirely sure there are enough votes in all of flyover PA to cover the margin of fraud in Philadelphia.

Posted by: AndyN at September 14, 2016 9:27 PM
But AndyN thinks:

Oh dear God. Your not you're.

Posted by: AndyN at September 14, 2016 9:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahaha! I could fix that for you, but now I am enjoying it too much.

Trump talked about redrawing the map and I think PA and WI are worth watching (Madison is no doubt a subsidiary of Philly in corruption).

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2016 11:09 AM

September 13, 2016

Some might call them "RINO"

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

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

Many more quotes along these lines here, mostly unattributed.

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

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

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

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

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

August 9, 2016

All Hail... VDH

The good professor believes that the Democratic alternative - Hillary and the record of President Obama - is so bad that "almost any Republican could take at least 45 percent of the vote, regardless of the shortcomings of the candidate or campaign." But, he says, Donald may be the "almost."

So is character really fate? Or is there any chance that the outer Trump's business savvy and heralded self-interest might half tame his inner Trump to avoid subterranean mines, to keep him on message, and to relax and ride the wave of the disastrous daily news fare to the White House?

If there is, it will be largely because in summer 2016 enough voters see the current reality of polished lying and corruption in the White House and at the head of the Democratic ticket as more dangerous than the potential of a crude counterpart on the 2017 horizon.

I suppose some may dismiss his perspective since he doesn't even bother to mention that "there are other candidates in the race." Perhaps that's because, for every practical purpose, there aren't.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2016

Why do they say "Yes We Can?"

Because without help from others, they can't achieve their goals. Worse yet - they vilify those who can achieve their goals individually, whether it be from superior talent and ambition or merely, different goals. But when one's goal is turning history's greatest republic into a socialist democracy, that's a goal for an "us" rather than a "me."

Slate's William Saletan has drilled down on this distinction - I vs. we; Trump vs. Clinton - and finds Hillary's "togetherness" more to his liking:

The "we" approach suits Clinton's personality. It reflects what she learned from her mother's childhood - that "no one gets through life alone" - and the philosophy of good works Clinton was taught in church. It echoes the message of her book, It Takes a Village, and her collaborations with Republicans on legislation to promote adoption and health insurance. Clinton wants global progress toward controlling climate change. No leader can do that alone.

The "I" approach, conversely, captures what's wrong with Trump. He's a natural antagonist, picking fights with Sen. John McCain, Gov. John Kasich, Megyn Kelly, and others who don't please him. He uses race, ethnicity, and religion to smear people who get in his way. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Trump ditched investors and contractors to whom he owed money. "Donald Trump has a passion," Kaine observed in his speech to the Democratic convention on Wednesday. "It's himself."

ďWeĒ is also the word that socialists use to justify all manner of abuses, principally against earners and producers. It is the way they promote their ideal Ė equality Ė at the expense of the American ideal Ė liberty.

But readers of Ayn Randís ĎAnthemí know that nothing happens without the individual. And one individual meets other individuals. They cooperate. They trade. They fall in love. They say ďI love youĒ not ďwe love the unspecified.Ē They enter into trade agreements. And when those agreements are no longer beneficial to them, they are free to withdraw from them and enter new ones. Who ever said NAFTA must be immortal?

I agree with Saleton that ďThe fundamental choice in this election is between Trumpís ďIĒ and Hillaryís ďWe.Ē Saletan says ďSheís with us.Ē Trump says, ďI am your voice.Ē He chooses her, and I choose to have a leader speak for me, not tell me whatís best for me. ďI know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:11 PM | Comments (1)
But carolinmd thinks:

I believe Hillary's use of we is only the engine she uses to achieve the very real "I" of her true purposes...I doubt her sincerity for as a serious student of Saul Alinsky, the author of Rules for Radicals", who was her mentor in college, she has perfected the ways and means to use deception to her advantage. And if she is elected, she will finish what Obama has started as they have a common goal..

Posted by: carolinmd at July 31, 2016 12:18 AM

July 28, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

For Americans to think that it is progress to move from the Founders' revolutionary achievement - a nation of free citizens, endowed with natural rights, living under laws that they themselves have made, pursuing their own vision of happiness in their own way and free to develop as fully as they can whatever talent or genius lies within them - to a regime in which individuals derive such rights as they have from a government superior to them is contemptible. How is a return to subjection an advance on freedom?

Myron Magnet in 'Why are Voters So Angry?' that nb linked yesterday.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2016

Is Trump a "Right-Liberal?"

And if so, why don't jk and dagny admire him?


I'm so perplexed by my relative willingness to rally on the "Trump Train" and so many of my friends and relatives unwillingness, I went back to the Political Coordinates Test for possible clues.

I don't know where Donald Trump would fall on the Political Coordinates graph but I would expect it to be "right-liberal." Not as right, and perhaps more liberal, than the ThreeSourcers in that quadrant, but this is admittedly a guess. Interestingly, Trump is positioning as the "law and order candidate." That is a strongly communitarian sentiment, but I doubt that is what turns off jk or dagny, or cements his appeal to jg's dad. It does appeal to moi, jg, however, despite my scoring as a "liberal" and not a communitarian.

I'll not overreach here and attempt too many conclusions. I just thought this line of examination might help explain some things. But I need some help getting there.

UPDATE (jk): I thought I'd try taking the test as I understand Donald Trump's positions.(It might be expanded into some original reporting with snippets of speeches or policy positions to back it up.) But the first question made me laugh so hard, I'm not certain I can continue:


UPDATE II (Still jk): Pfffft!


Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Admittedly it's an oversimplification that "being in my quadrant" means I'll admire a candidate. And if Trump truly "has no guiding principles" as is often charged, can he even be constrained to one quadrant or another? Perhaps my premise is faulty - maybe Trump is a left right-communitarian liberal? But I don't think so.

Posted by: johngalt at July 23, 2016 5:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I am just as surprised at our impasse. I did a quick test with "my guesses" at Trump's answers. I was fair but not diligent. It truly would be a good piece of original reporting to do it right. Anybody want to join in?

Guesses got me 22.2% Right, 44.4% Communitarian. As Right as President George HW Bush and as Communitarian as President Reagan.

It's a superb argument. I don't find his positions inviolate, but you are correct to point out that he is fundamentally not too different and waaaaay closer than Sec. Clinton.

The convention speech was a gargantuan turn-off for me. The areas where we do agree I felt lacked depth and detail while the areas where we do not were both more forceful and more likely to have specific actions. "Build a wall," and "Renegotiate NAFTA" are clear. Reform regulation, cur taxes (without any spending cuts) were amorphous catch-phrases.

You have defended his trade and immigration restrictions as seeking both fair and legal. He highlighted Nafta and China's entrance to the WTO in his speech, to pin them on (President William Jefferson) Clinton.

WOW! This kicked off an impressive economic boom and lifted millions of Mexicans and billions of Chinese out of poverty. My gripe with (Sec. Hillary Rodham) Clinton is that she casually discards these amazing successes of her husband because they no longer have currency in the Party of Sens. Sanders and Warren.

But, if those don't make the grade on Trump's list, I daresay no trade will.

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2016 7:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:


I tried to guess Trump's answers too. I wanted to compare my version of Trump to yours. I tried to be fair too, and left some answers neutral if I didn't have a sense of what Trump would pick. If I had an inkling but wasn't certain, I gave it the mid-way response.

Where you scored Trump 22.2% Right, 44.4% Communitarian, I have him 44.4% Right, 30.6% Communitarian.

The same neighborhood, with differences only in degree. Not a Right-Liberal, as many putative conservatives have charged, but one suspects that anyone not as far right as they are would earn the label "liberal" even if he is still right of center.

I humbly request that you add these dots to your chart. I think they are informative, especially if you include the dots for Presidents Bush, Reagan, Obama and Clinton. (Noteworthy: Obama scored 67% left but only 33% liberal. A reminder that "liberal" isn't the threat conservatives should fear, leftism is.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 24, 2016 1:11 PM

June 30, 2016

The Other Side is Not Dumb

My mad-lefty, biological brother posted this on Facebook. Me, and his mad lefty buddy with whom I did the book exchange, and a couple others posted wildly approbational comments. It's a good and short piece.

The "Other Side" Is Not Dumb

Thereís a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called "Controversial Opinion." The rules are simple: Don't talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you arenít allowed to "argue"-- only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from "I think James Bond movies are overrated" to "I think Donald Trump would make a excellent president."

Last time I played that game, I -- of course -- talked about "Fight Club." But . . . oh, maybe I should not have mentioned that.

I went searching for a Megan McArdle piece which said similar things and influenced me deeply. My Google-Fu® chops were not up to the challenge, but she also asked how many of your posts are virtue-signalling and tribal to the point where they undermine persuasion.

It's a good piece. McArdle's was, of course, better. But she's not a stupid lefty.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:45 PM | Comments (0)

June 16, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

In the fantasyland of modern progressive politics, if a boy identifies as a girl, then he's a girl. But if a gay Muslim registered Democrat identifies as a martyr for the Islamic State, he's still a Republican.

The Federalist's Sean Davis - The New York Times Can't Figure Out the Orlando Terrorist's Motive

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2016

The Real Racists: PC-Worshipping Republicans

For many weeks during the primary I defended Donald Trump's (choose one: lame-brained, idiotic, myopic, stupid, or maybe just misunderstood, distorted, poorly explained) statements because a) I respected the passion and sincerity of the blue-collar movement that propelled him and b) I believed I could see a respectable (read: rational self-interest) point of view in most everything he said. I have largely been quiet since he achieved presumptive nominee status. "My blog brothers are tired of my excuse-making" thought I.

This morning I read Steven Moore's "The Stupid Party Keeps Getting Stupider." It explains exactly why I believe Republican "thought" leaders - Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush - the crowd we, or at least I, hoped to see defeated and discredited and lose in the primary - which they were, and did - have been backing the bus over their standard bearer at every opportunity. Why? Because, as Moore opens, "The Republican braintrust knows only how to appease the left."

They seemed to be saying: see how racially progressive I am. I just denounced Donald Trump. He's the Republican racist, not me. That's statesmanship for you.

Question: Does anyone believe this strategy will bring a stampede of black and Latino voters into the party? Do they think this will get the media off their back?


All of this is self-defeating on a thousand levels. First, don't these lame-brained Republicans get it that they hang together or they hang separately? Tearing down Trump will mean thousands of political casualties down ticket. Democrats do get this.

Second, since when do we judge our candidates based on the left's warped criteria? Republicans seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome of seeking the affection of their captors.

And this is I think the single biggest reason for the Trump phenomenon. American voters, be they Republicans, Democrats, or unaffiliateds, are sick and tired of watching politicians from both parties slavishly serve the politically correct version of racial ettiquette. Trump talks about race in a way that no other politician does - the same way that most voters talk about it, or at least think about it. Without varnish. Without blinders. Recognizing that it is used as a political tool to disadvantage whites so that others can be "lifted up" but - hasn't anybody noticed - there is no lifting up!

Moore offers a playbook for Republicans to blitz up the middle to the goal line:

Instead, why don't Republicans ever try to seize the offensive on the race card? Want to divide and conquer the left? Take a school choice agenda into the inner city and tell poor minority parents that the GOP is offering their kids better schools? Promise to bring safety, jobs, and development to their neighborhoods. Promise to stop putting young inner city blacks in jail for drug use.

The greatest victims of Barack Obama's littany of economic failures have been blacks and Hispanics. Obama's no racist, but the impact of his policies is. Does it really matter that he means well?"

Apparently it does, if your name is Romney, McConnell or Paul.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:57 AM | Comments (0)

May 25, 2016

Nailed it!

This. A Barton Hinkle makes an important point by marrying conservative distrust of disorder with libertarian distrust for the state monopoly on force.

[Sen. Bernie Sanders:] "Our campaign of course believes in nonviolent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals."

Which, to be blunt about it, is a crock. Sanders' entire campaign is premised on the idea of violent change--lots of it. His supporters just want someone else to do the dirty work.

Sanders proposes hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is another way of saying he wants to make it illegal for employers to pay workers less than $15 an hour--even when there are workers who are willing to take less. He also proposes to make employers provide 12 weeks paid family and medical leave, two weeks of paid vacation, and seven paid sick days.

How is he going to achieve all that? By changing the law and then enforcing it. Note the root of the word "enforce." If a company chooses not to comply the consequences will, eventually, entail the use of armed officers of the law.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:58 PM | Comments (0)

May 12, 2016

Make Washington D.C. Work Again

Since the Indiana primary, I have been squinting my eyes in search of silver linings in the dark cloud of Trump. I think I see faint outlines, and have attempted to sow optimism both on these pages [3rd and 4th comments] and privately.

One of those faint outlines is fairly well drawn out by Washington Times' Charles Hurt. It is not fair to cherry pick but I think his close is most enticing:

Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.

But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.

[emphasis mine]

By Charles Hurt - - Wednesday, May 11, 2016


Unruly voters have elected an opportunistic showman as their presidential nominee. They were aided by infiltrators in the primary who were not even Republicans.

The nominee, Donald Trump, is a reality star billionaire real estate developer who has a history of vacillating political allegiances. He even made campaign donations to the most evil countess of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, who is designed to be her partyís nominee against Mr. Trump.

Into the breach steps Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, the highest elected Republican in the land. He declares he is not ready ó in good conscience ó to support his own partyís nominee for president because Mr. Trump has not demonstrated he is a good and principled conservative.

And, once again, the Washington political punditry begins another wildly premature funeral dirge for Mr. Trumpís campaign, the Republican Partyís hold on power in Washington.

Meanwhile, loyal and thoughtful conservative voters who do not care for Mr. Trumpís bombast and harbor justifiable concerns about his devotion to Republican ďprinciplesĒ are despondent.

There goes the White House, they say, the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court. And, with socialist Democrats running amok, there goes the republic and the worldís greatest beacon of hope and freedom.

Or, perhaps we are seeing something entirely different. Maybe this is a rekindling of the finest dreams envisioned by our founders.

In a time of great economic distress with high unemployment and a sluggish economy, a non-ideological businessman is pitted for the presidency against an insufferable and strictly partisan hack who has been an integral cog in the broken political system for three decades.

The businessman will win. And the party hag will be sent off to a long-needed retirement of bitterness and scorn.

On Capitol Hill, Republicans will keep the House and ó if they donít screw it up ó keep the Senate.

Yet, with the Supreme Court in the balance, these Republicans in Congress will maintain a skeptical eye down Pennsylvania Avenue at their new leader. They will question his motives and pick apart his proposals.

When his proposals wobble too far from the conservatism they are now vowing to protect, lawmakers can reign him in. If he nominates someone to the Supreme Court who is not worthy to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, they can reject the nominee.

And the voters will reward them for it! The democratic republic our founders envisioned will be restored!

For too long, both parties have fallen into the deep rut of partisan blindness. On both sides of the aisle, party politics comes before American interests at every turn.

Story Continues →

Continued from page 1

Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have unilaterally surrendered vast amounts of power to the presidency. Congress ó the first branch of government closest to the will of the people ó as been neutered.

Former President George W. Bush had his Republicans in Congress and President Obama has his Democrats. As a result, Americans have been saddled with a vast expansion of the federal government into every aspect of our personal lives. The debt burden is, literally, unfathomable.

Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.

But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.

ē Charles Hurt can be reached at charleshurt@live.com. Follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:42 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I cannot open that page. One of the ads assaults my browser both on iPad and two different browsers on Windows. I'll take your word, but if I may generalize...

I read many items that suggest a GOP voter should overcome bad personality traits: "Vote for the boorish lout, It's important?" My vote is currently unclaimed because I find his professed policies actually worse than Sec. Clinton's.

Should Sen. Sanders prevail -- and I still find that probability nonzero -- I will vigorously support Trump. Because they are equally bad on trade and Mister Trump is clearly better on domestic policy. Vulgarianism and all.

Posted by: jk at May 13, 2016 9:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I meant to warn about the heavy scripting. I'll try to lift the text and paste into the "continue reading."

Yesterday my sister, with the help of Scott Adams, helped me see why Donald appeals to so many, so much more powerfully, than he does to Three Sourcers. It's because he addresses them on an intentionally irrational level. Those of us who look for consistency in principles are listening to a man who speaks a foreign language. (It's not just Donald who does this, by the way, but many, or even most, successful politicians.)

It goes like this.

Posted by: johngalt at May 13, 2016 12:04 PM

May 4, 2016

Quote of the Day

This year, small government conservatives discovered they are much more of a minority than they ever thought they were. They learned that their old dream of nominating and electing someone who could clearly articulate the conservative cause is more of a pipe dream fantasy. They discovered that a lot of people who call themselves "conservative" on those surveys have their own idiosyncratic definitions of the word. And they may wish they were back in the Big Tent of yesterday, the one that got blown down and ripped apart and can no longer give them the shelter and nourish the illusion that they are very strong in number and influence. -- Neo-Neocon
Nailed it for me. The whole piece is purdy good.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:54 PM | Comments (7)
But Jk thinks:

But, Comrade Trotsky, U.S. National Politics still interested in you.

Posted by: Jk at May 5, 2016 6:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Honestly, I'd much prefer to see the Republican party dominated by a different ideology than conservatism. Something more like, maybe, republicanism.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2016 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Quote of the Day! Do you want attribution if I Facebook it or (some guy I know?)

Posted by: jk at May 5, 2016 4:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sure, but it may also benefit from a definition of what is "republicanism." I updated the comment with a link to the Wikipedia entry that does a fine job, near as I can tell.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2016 5:21 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, conservatism has not recovered from Bush-43's erm "version."

This bears quoting:

It stresses liberty and unalienable rights as central values, making people sovereign as a whole, rejects aristocracy and inherited political power, expects citizens to be independent in their performance of civic duties, and vilifies corruption.[2] American republicanism was founded and first practiced by the Founding Fathers in the 18th century. For them, according to one team of historians, "republicanism represented more than a particular form of government. It was a way of life, a core ideology, an uncompromising commitment to liberty, and a total rejection of aristocracy."
What we can say is the 'party' of Cantor, McConnel, Boehner and DeLay is dead!

Long live Cotton, Gowdy, Ernst, Scott, Walker, Pence, Jindal, Fiorina, Martinez....

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 5, 2016 11:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Seriously nano, as Republicans, why are we concerned with "conservatism?" When did that become our guiding principle? Is it, like the word "liberal" simply repeated often enough that it has become accepted as the gold-standard of Constitutional fidelity?

Why do (did) we consider ourselves "small-government conservatives" or "Constitutional conservatives" instead of small-government or Constitutional republicans? Or simply, Republicans?

The reality is that the terms republican and Republican are distinctive only in print, and the term Republican has been quite thoroughly smeared by the left - much the same as the term liberal has been smeared by the right.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2016 9:03 AM

April 26, 2016

Three Cheers for the Sucky GOP!

I had an unfruitful argument with a moderately-anarchist-public-choice friend on Facebook. This person is a brilliant champion for liberty, but way too cool for a stodgy political party.

It's late and it's desperate, but I shared this Harsanyi piece (all hail!). If nothing else, it's a superb headline:

The GOP Sucks, But Itís Not As Bad As Everyone Thinks

the rest is pretty good too. He lists the defenses of the Grand Ol' Party we're both tired of making to Tea Partiers and Libertarians.
As far expectations go, Republicans deserve blame for making promises they couldn't possibly fulfill--including the notion that they could repeal Obamacare. Then again, overpromising is not exactly a new political trend. And it's not as if voters flock to candidates who tell them unvarnished facts about this cruel world of ours.

But did Republicans do nothing but surrender the last eight years?

Spoiler alert: no. Read the whole thing. I mean, if you want to and have time. And if you're not in Venezuela with no power.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is an awesome column; needs posted, quoted, referenced and re-tweeted! I'd have put the title "GOP may suck..." but I quibble.

Here's a quick laundry list:

put an end to a bipartisan gun-control legislation. They stopped the so-called Paycheck Fairness Act ‚ÄĒ twice ‚ÄĒ and the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, which would have raised taxes. They stopped the American Jobs Act bailout and the authoritarian Card Check stuff. They stopped the DISCLOSE Act and the sequestration replacement and the Keep Student Loans Affordable Act of 2013 and the across-the-board federal minimum wage efforts. Republicans sued and won when Obama abused his power by naming recess appointment NLRB

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 26, 2016 11:42 PM

April 22, 2016

Climate Change: What do Scientists Say?

Did somebody say Earth Day? Here is the latest scientific interpretation of the "Climate Disruption" caused by humans being healthy and prosperous. Hint: It's not all a matter of science.

Lindzen was a lead author of one of the chapters of the original IPCC report.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:24 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Ahh, excellent pitch for PragerU: been meaning to go there for so long (just did). Lindzen is one of my favorite go-to guys, and one of the names I've memorized for my cocktail-party spiel of "name three prominent, published scientists..."

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 25, 2016 11:32 AM

April 19, 2016

Donald Trump - Direct Democrat

Tell me if you've heard this one before: "In America, anyone can become anything he wants to be, even President of the United States, if he is smart and hard-working." This timeless bit of parental advice comes to mind as I read the ending of a Yahoo News interview of veteran [Democratic] party official Elaine Kamarck. When asked, "Why were the Founding Fathers concerned about parties," she answered,

"The founders were concerned about the mischief of factions. (...) No other democracy in the world nominates its candidates in primaries. All the parliamentary democracies have party conferences and they have lists. You can't just go run for Parliament in Devonshire [U.K.]. You have to be placed on a list by the central party committee.

Prior to that, Kamarck agreed with the interviewer, "Exactly. He [Trump] is arguing [for] direct democracy."

And prior to that she explained that parties choose their nominee, not primary voters. Allahpundit cited her explanation and then offered an analogy -

I laughed this morning at the news that "Boaty McBoatface" was the British public's choice for the name of a new polar research ship, just because it's so weirdly in sync with the delegates' dilemma in Cleveland. The Natural Environment Research Council asked for suggestions on what to name its new vessel; the public responded with something that's funny yet, shall we say, sub-optimal for a serious research expedition. So now the NERC, which has final say, has to decide: Should it do the democratic thing and send Boaty McBoatface out onto the high seas or should it do something more befitting the gravitas of its mission and choose a more traditional name? What they'll do, I assume, is compromise by giving it a traditional name while formally recognizing somehow what the people's choice was in the form of a plaque or something onboard. Maybe the GOP's delegates can do that too. Nominate Cruz at the convention, but call Trump up onstage and give him a nice bowling trophy recognizing that he won the most popular votes. He'd like that, no?

But this is exactly what Trump is advocating, and promising to "reform" about the Republican Party "over the coming years." Who knows, he might even succeed. But if he does, parents will no longer be able to tell their children that "You don't have to have special connections, or a family name - in America, anyone can become the President of the United States."


In related news, Ben and Jerry have been arrested.

Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were among approximately 300 people who were arrested Monday as part of protests by a group called Democracy Awakening.

The Vermont-based ice cream company's website says the purpose of the protests is to make sure everyone's voice is heard "and that power in this country is returned to the people."

What was that word again... that means "all the power is returned to the people?" Oh yeah - anarchy.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 14, 2016

Trump - GOP should be "ashamed" it's not democratic

I am not making this up.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ratcheted up his criticism of the Republican Party and its process for selecting delegates for the GOP nomination, calling it "not democracy at its finest."

In an interview on Tuesday, ABC News' Jonathan Karl asked Trump whether he and his campaign were ready for the delegate-by-delegate fight that is dominating the primary.

"No, I was ready for a democratic race, meaning, you know, democracy," Trump said. "And this is not democracy, this is not democracy at its finest."

Really? Is that your basis for criticizing the Republican Party Mr. Trump, that it isn't democratic?

"I think we're doing very well but despite that, it's a rigged system it's a very unfair system and it's not democracy," he added.

With respect sir, there's another party that practices what you preach, and does it quite well. It's called the Democratic Party. They even have super delegates, which allow them to practice super democracy!

Republicans don't blindly award the party nomination to whatever Tom, Dick or Harry has the most chalk marks next to his name. First, you must earn a majority* of delegates to the national convention, not a mere plurality. Second, party rules are carefully designed to promote a system of reflection and contemplation that leads to a nomination of the best candidate, the one who best understands and promotes a republican form of government, not merely the most popular from among a field of many.

Most of the delegates you earned came from early states where your support was stronger than any other individual candidate, but far less than a majority of state Republican voters. Now that the field has narrowed, delegates are coalescing behind the candidate they believe is best for the party and best for the country - and it isn't Donald Trump.

The system isn't "stealing" the nomination from you sir, it is working just the way it is supposed to, because in the ongoing campaign the Trump appeal has hit a ceiling.

However, if the national convention isn't settled on the first ballot, it looks likely that many of the 50 delegates from the Palmetto State would desert Trump, who came in first in the primary, but with only 33 percent of the vote. The national convention will go to multiple ballots if Trump does not win at least 1,237 delegates out of the 2,472 available from 50 states, six U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Currently, Trump has 743 delegates to Cruzís 545 and 143 for Kasich.

However, South Carolina is not the only place Trump has failed to organize at the state level. He is facing delegate setbacks in Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Wyoming, Washington State, Missouri, and California.

And yet, for the most part, this reality didn't become national news until the Colorado GOP Assembly. Well done, Colorado Republican brothers and sisters.

* A fact that Trump aide Ed Brookover admitted today, in fact:

"The hard number is 1,237, and we think we're going to blow way past that," said Brookover, a long-time GOP political operative in Washington.

1,237. Number. Hard.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:31 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Someone should tell the Donald that we live in a constitutional republic, not a democracy. Which is exactly what the founders wanted, and only NY liberals want to change!

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 15, 2016 10:25 AM

April 6, 2016

"Creepy" Cruz

Bad news for Ted Cruz from the world of science: Many women find him "creepy."

In a new paper published in New Ideas in Psychology, two researchers from Knox College try to outline a more explicit definition with the results of the first-ever empirical study of creepiness. They concluded that a person's "creepiness detector" pings when she encounters something unpredictable or outside the norm, like a person with idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, unusual physical characteristics, or a tendency to over- or under-emote. When someone looks or behaves in a way that appears unstable or violates social norms, we feel uneasy - we think there's a chance they may pose a danger to us, but we can't know for sure.

Fortunately for Ted, he's not the only Republican candidate who's a creep.

These creepiest mannerisms happen to align perfectly with a random sampling of Republicans who've run for president this year. Imagine the creepiness of a chronically dry-mouthed Marco Rubio, the unnerving flat-lipped tic of booger-eater Ted Cruz, and the compulsive sexual remarks of one Donald Trump.

So maybe it's just a matter of Slate columnists thinking all Republicans are creeps. Or maybe, even limited to female Slate columnists.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hmm, yes, this bears some semblance to science, ... like astrology... "booger eater" really? Someone should take her crayons for a bad-metaphor check.

Posted by: nanobrewer at April 6, 2016 11:21 PM

April 5, 2016

President Ted Cruz - A Philosophical Endorsement

Three days ago, Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard, endorsed Ted Cruz for president. Craig gives an issue by issue summary of the many ways Ted Cruz stands alone in this political contest, and all of them boil down to his recognition of individual rights and holding ideas as absolutes. Read it in full here, if you like. He cites many of the quotes I've heard Cruz state over the months of this primary campaign. He also cites several of the times that Cruz has quoted the seminal work of Ayn Rand - 'Atlas Shrugged.' One of these was when I first became a stalwart fan of the first-term Senator from Texas. Namely, in a 2013 Senate floor speech urging the defunding of Obamacare:

Cruz also read the passage in which Dagny Taggart poses the question, "What is morality?" - and receives the answer, "Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price." After pausing to let that sink in, Cruz said:

That's counsel that the United States Senate should listen to. That's counsel that I would encourage every Democratic senator who feels the urge of party loyalty to [listen to] . . . I would encourage my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle: As difficult as it is to cross one's Party leaders, I say, with perhaps a little familiarity of the consequences of so doing, that it's survivable - and that ultimately it is liberating.

Imagine a politician who recognizes the difference between right and wrong, or even acknowledges that the distinction exists. Imagine a politician willing to defend the good at any cost. Imagine the benefit that could abound to all honest and self-respecting people.

Biddle writes,

Imagine the possibility of a U.S. president speaking from the Oval Office, "I'd like to share a few excerpts from one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand . . ." and encouraging Americans, "go tomorrow, buy Atlas Shrugged, and read it."

In other words, imagine President Ted Cruz.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Ari Armstrong is moderately in.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2016 5:20 PM

April 1, 2016

Centennial Senate Candidates Forum

No teevee cameras at our sleepy little forum in Fort Lupton, but here is a 2-minute news report on the same (mostly) candidates speaking in Centennial.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:47 PM | Comments (0)

Fracking Causes Earthquakes, Not God

That is the implication made by this Denver Post story covering the Republican Women of Weld senate candidates forum in Fort Lupton Wednesday night (attended by dagny and me.) "Peg Littleton says God causes earthquakes, not fracking" blares the sub head.

"I say, 'Drill, baby, drill,' " said Littleton, an El Paso County Commissioner and member of Colorado's homeland security and hazards advisory committee.

Later, she took a step further as she attacked scientific reports showing links between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and earthquakes, suggesting God is the reason they occur.

"There have been earthquakes long before we ever did fracking," she said. "Let's be honest. You know God is kind of in control of those. And not by us drilling down in the ground and doing the fracking."

The implication is clear, and is reflected in comments on the story - that Republicans in general, or at least these seven candidates at the forum, or at least this Sarah Palin wannabe, are anti-science religious nut jobs.

Well what do the "scientific reports" say? That small earthquakes can indeed be induced by high-volume wastewater disposal into wells drilled specifically for that purpose. It is not caused by fracking. So Littleton's claim that the earthquakes are not caused by fracking is accurate.

And who is surprised by that finding? Fracking is done all over the country, and earthquake activity is localized in this area of Oklahoma within 30 kilometers of water disposal wells.

If we were so unfortunate that we had to rely on the Denver Post for all of our information about the world I could only exclaim, God help us.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)
But n thinks:

Keyser sounded most reasonable of all ... he's shaped up to be my pick, reminding me of Tom Cotton; if anyone's asking?

Posted by: n at April 4, 2016 11:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the comment, n!

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2016 6:16 PM

March 10, 2016

Six Reasons That Trump Voters are Not Embarrassed by Him

This morning I suggested to dagny that Donald Trump has already told us who his running mate, or mates, will be - Smoot and Hawley. But Trump voters aren't completely ignorant on trade and economics, they've merely been misled. They see (or think they see) job growth and prosperity in China, Mexico, et. al. and wonder why if trade is so great for them, why isn't it great for us too? The answer, of course, is that it is great for both of us. But demagogues like Trump and Sanders tell eager listeners that trade is to blame for the damage done by big government, through tax and regulatory expansion, not to mention mandates to do things less economically.

Red-blooded, patriotic attorney and combat veteran John C. Kluge explains six reasons why he is a Trump voter, and resents those who tell him not to be:

1- Trump isn't a "conservative."

What Republican presidential nominee in the last 25 years has been?

2- What has "conservatism" become today, anyway?

"Conservatives have become some sort of schizophrenic sect of libertarians who love freedom (but hate potheads and abortion) and feel the US should be the policeman of the world. The same people who daily fret over the effects of leaving our society to the mercy of Hollywood and the mass culture have somehow decided leaving it to the mercies of the international markets is required."

Kluge seems to be conflating "conservative" with "establishment" or more precisely, neoconservative. But he has a good point here.

3- Mismanagment of the war on Islamic extremism:

"I fully understand the sad necessity to fight wars and I do not believe in "blow back" or any of the other nonsense that says the world will leave us alone if only we will do the same. At the same time, I cannot for the life of me understand how conservatives of all people convinced themselves that the solution to the 9/11 attacks was to forcibly create democracy in the Islamic world."

4- Donald Trump's vulgarity, combativeness and incivility are virtues, not vices:

The standard Democrat playbook is to lie, slander and mislead voters about their Republican opponents. "And now you tell me that I should reject Trump because he is uncivil and mean to his opponents? Is that some kind of a joke? This is not the time for civility or to worry about it in our candidates."

5- "I do not care that Donald Trump is in favor of big government."

This one is a swing and a miss. "That is certainly not a virtue but it is not a meaningful vice, since the same can be said of every single Republican in the race. I am sorry, but the "We are just one more Republican victory from small government" card is maxed out. We are not getting small government no matter who wins. So Trump being big government is a wash."

Ted Cruz' message* is not reaching this man.

6- Help us Donald Trump, you're our only hope:

"Trump offers at least the chance that he might act in the American interest instead of the worldís interest or in the blind pursuit of some fantasy ideological goals. There is more to economic policy than cutting taxes, sham free-trade agreements and hollow appeals to ďcutting governmentĒ and the free market. Trump may not be good, but he at least understands that. In contrast, the rest of the GOP and everyone in Washington or the media who calls themselves a conservative has no understanding of this."

And this is where one might ask, "But what about Ted Cruz? The establishment hates him. The Senate hates him. He constantly harps on Constitutional limits - doesn't he offer at least as much a chance to "act in the American interest" as Trump?"

"Marco Rubio would be nothing but a repeat of the Bush 43 administration with more blood and treasure spent on the fantasy that acting in other peopleís interests indirectly helps ours.

Ted Cruz might be somewhat better, but it is unclear whether he could resist the temptations of nation building and wouldnít get bullied into trying it again. And as much as I like Cruz on many areas, he, like all of them except Trump, seems totally unwilling to admit that the government has a responsibility to act in the nationís interests on trade policy and do something besides let every country in the world take advantage of us in the name of "free trade."


* Click "continue reading" for a snippet of Cruz' message last night when interviewed by Megyn Kelly.

Now, let's focus on the third area which is where you want to go, which is legislation. Legislation is the hardest lever to use because right now Congress is fundamentally broken. It is dysfunctional. I am campaigning based on two big legislative policy initiatives. Number one repealing every single word of ObamaCare.


And number two, passing a simple flat tax and abolishing the IRS.


KELLY: Control of the House and the Senate and the Republican Party if you want to get that done.

CRUZ: Now, listen, you are right. And neither of those are easy. I am not remotely naive or Pollyannaish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're behind you, Ted.


CRUZ: That's actually the key. Listen, could I get either of those done in this current Congress? Not a chance. Because right now the Washington cartel, all of the lobbyists, all of the special interest, they depend on the status quo. The IRS tax code, the reason it's so long is that's where all the carve outs, all the subsidies, all the handouts are buried in that tax code. How do you change it? You know, if you look at the last time we broke the Washington cartel, it was 1981. It was the Reagan revolution where Reagan took it to the people and there was a tidal wave from the people. The way we get that done is I intend to make 2016, the general election against Hillary Clinton they referendum on repealing ObamaCare and abolishing the IRS.


Posted by JohnGalt at 2:30 PM | Comments (0)

March 8, 2016

Did Somebody Say "Monotonous Din of Donald Trump?"

Three Sources apologizes for not posting enough of the awesome work of IBD's Michael Ramirez.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:23 PM | Comments (0)

February 29, 2016

If political candidates were beer brands...

...this would be Donald Trump.

Pop a top and hear me out.

The rise of "sophisticated" craft beers has cut deeply into the market share of the "macro" brews, leaving them to find new ways to appeal to drinkers than "just" bikinis. Millions of dollars of professional advertising research and production later, we have - "Not Ponies", hard working blue collar men, big American brewing [owned by Belgians, I must admit] rock stars, sports champions, "Not Sipped", "Not Soft", "Not Imported", "Not a Fruit Cup", beautiful young women, "Not for Everyone" and ending with, "Not Backing Down."

The guy at the bar, who flicked the lemon off the rim of his beer glass, is NOT voting for a country club member for president - unless that guy OWNS the country club and talks like a Teamster.

Politics is at least as much about message and marketing as it is about ideas, if not more, unfortunately. Whoever wants to beat Trump needs his own version of "America, f*ck yeah!" to compete with this. Just an observation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Perhaps in a general election -- and Reagan's "Morning in America" comes to mind. Simplify and emotionalize to capture lower info voters in a general (without talking down to true believers).

But Brother nb captures my wistful ennui below by saying "Damn, a Cru-Bio showdown could have been so good for liberty...."

Amen. And a Rand Paul -> Scott Walker -> Bobby Jindal -> Cruz -> Rubio even better. I think if you are selling your candidacy to Republican Primary voters as a beer brand then you are doing it wrong. Or, much worsely and matching my darkest fears, the polity is wrong. Maybe Republicans are as stupid and racist as my lefty friends have been trying to tell me.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2016 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some are, 'tis true, but no greater percentage than are Democrats.

Picture the man at the bar in this commercial though. Would you call him stupid? Does he look stupid, and not thoughtful? Or anyone else in the commercial? And yet you can easily imagine them pulling a lever for a potty mouthed billionaire because they think he will fix what needs fixing.

I dunno, I guess I just think the "stupid racist" crap gets thrown around way too casually. Guys who carry lunch pails to work have as much right to their opinion as anyone else. God bless America!

I also meant this as an anti-snobbery play. I have friends and relations who deride me for drinking Coors and Bud. "Life's too short for cheap beer" sez they. When I grew up this beer was plenty expensive and plenty tasty. Liking craft beers now doesn't mean I also have to stop liking the beer I loved first, sez I.

This Bud's for you, unless you're too good to drink with me. And there's Donald's true appeal, is it not?

Posted by: johngalt at February 29, 2016 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I do wish I could summon Jonah Goldberg to the blog. He could admire my Buffy reference and critique my bold Trump == (WJ) Clinton claim.

He could also pontificate here. He is an unabashed fan of Budweiser, no less abashed ridiculer of elitism and fruit beer style frumpery in all things. But. He opposes Trump in a way that side by side comparisons make me look like " a leaner."

No, your beer drinking friend is not stupid -- but he is choosing a product which is not tied to reason. Choosing a candidate in a primary is a more intellectual endeavor.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2016 5:24 PM

February 25, 2016

Democracy and such

Democrats should be, if nothing else, democratic. Good or bad, that's their gig, right? The people should choose our political office holders, and the members of the several parties should choose their nominees for those offices, right?

Well, one major party is doing a better job of adhering to that ideal than the other.

PRIEBUS: Come on. That's not my job. My job is to put forward the fairest process that we can put forward, to not put my hand on the scale, to allow our delegates to make the choices that they want to make and then accept the decision that the delgates make, unlike on the Democratic side where they have superdelegates and could give a darn about what the grassroots are telling the party. That's not how we operate our party on our side.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 24, 2016

Words Have Meanings

Did Republicans "define socialism down" by calling every left wing proposal "socialist?" Now, how do they call out Senator Sanders (Socialist - VT)?

So asks Paul Starr in Politico who fears Senator Ice Cream because of his effect on Democrats:

Socialism and Sanders have their heart in a different place--economic equality before all else. Socialism is still the dream of those who don't worry about concentrating power in the state or about the perverse effects of making goods and services available at a zero price. To bring socialism back from the dead wearing New Deal liberalism as a mask is no service to either. Socialists should know the difference, and liberals should too. After feverish right-wing accusations that every liberal proposal is tantamount to socialism, the last thing liberals need is a Democratic presidential candidate blurring that line.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:05 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2016

The Munger Rule

I'll join my blog brother in wishing a respectful Happy Birthday to dear President Washington.

But -- and I am thinking out loud here, I reserve the right to revise and reinterpret my remarks -- I think he is responsible for all that is wrong with this great nation.

Our first President was a Unicorn! Who cares about executive power when it will be handled by a man above avarice and graft? My new favorite economist is Michael Munger. Listen to any of his EconTalk appearances with Russ Roberts -- he's a great wit and gifted thinker.

One of his great riffs is "Unicorns;" everybody loves them, but they don't exactly exist. His FEE article addresses those who view the State as a Unicorn. To be fair, he has argued elsewhere that "the free market" can be the right's unicorn. But enjoy:

But they may not immediately see why "the State" that they can imagine is a unicorn. So, to help them, I propose what I (immodestly) call "the Munger test."
Go ahead, make your argument for what you want the State to do, and what you want the State to be in charge of.

Then, go back and look at your statement. Everywhere you said "the State," delete that phrase and replace it with "politicians I actually know, running in electoral systems with voters and interest groups that actually exist."

If you still believe your statement, then we have something to talk about.

This leads to loads of fun, believe me. When someone says, "The State should be in charge of hundreds of thousands of heavily armed troops, with the authority to use that coercive power," ask them to take out the unicorn ("the State") and replace it with "George W. Bush." How do you like it now?

If someone says, "The State should be able to choose subsidies and taxes to change the incentives people face in deciding what energy sources to use," ask them to remove "the State" and replace it with "senators from states that rely on coal, oil, or corn ethanol for income." Still sound like a good idea?

Posted by John Kranz at 3:50 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Hey! No fair making me laugh! Yes a big hunk is my perception of "likeability." Not quite hair and smile, but I'll admit to its being difficult to measure.

I gave Sen. Cruz well deserved props for opposing ethanol when and where it counted -- and I have beat up Sen. Rubio for his affiliation with the bloodsucker cronyists at the sugar lobby.

So Sen. Cruz deserves some points for having the seeds of small government. But he shows little inclination to stay in the box with his hawkishness on war, Trump-Lite immigration policy, reflexive opposition to gay marriage and abortion, and flip-flop on drugs. I'm not sure I trust the guy who opened -- opened! -- his campaign at Liberty University to "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's."

Marco has multiple flaws. We're both picking from the bottom of the barrel and I respect those making a different pick. I'll not ask either to leave the race. They both have a path to victory and the game theory can get out of hand. I rather wish some of the others were still in.

Try this line on: "Now that all the extremists for MY cause are gone, I'm looking for a moderate."

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2016 5:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Vis-à-vis hawkishness - Rubio excoriates Cruz for voting against (two, I believe) defense authorization bills. Can we compromise at "shoestring budget hawk?"

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:58 AM
But jk thinks:

He's playing to a crowd that hungers for more American leadership -- a crowd that includes me. But the carpet bombing, sand-into-glass rhetoric concerns me.

I'll push back a little on the shoestring comment. Dan Mitchell at CATO is correct that the real tax rate is the spending rate. Sadly, we learned this from President George W. Bush: cutting the rates and goosing up the spending is not fiscal conservatism.

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2016 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That should have been shoestring-budget hawk, or hawk on a shoestring budget. He was against approving the defense authorization bill, after all. The one Rubio is proud to have supported - GWB-like. Still like him better?

There seem to be a couple of ceilings at play here: The uber outrageous outsider (I won't call him anti-establishment) seems capped at about 1/3 of the primary electorate. And as D.C. McAllister pointed out in my Otequay of the Esterdayay, "establishment" candidates are only drawing about another 1/3 of the primary electorate. And those two factions are not just oil and water - they are gasoline and match. So why isn't the guy in the middle - who has at least some appeal to both evangelicals and atheists, reformers and compromisers - the wise compromise to "unite the party" and win the _*cking election? Why try to force either extreme down the throat of the other two-thirds?

Limbaugh has called Cruz "the closest thing we've seen to Reagan in our lifetime." I could "settle" for that. Anyone else?

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 12:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Mr. Limbaugh is not my go-to guy for endorsements, but I'm open. Do you happen to know whom he supported in 2008 and 2012?

Posted by: jk at February 23, 2016 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It wasn't an explicit endorsement, but I took it as a covert one. He says enthusiastic things about Trump too, but never compared him to Reagan.

I don't recall specific "hints" like that from 4 or 8 years ago.

Posted by: johngalt at February 23, 2016 2:19 PM

February 16, 2016

Ten minutes of safe space hilarity

Give it at least four minutes if you want to learn the PC term for "frat boys."

H/T: AEI's Carpe Diem blog

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:05 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2016

Life Imitates ThreeSources

Events on New Year's Eve in Cologne, Germany, appear to reflect the "license to rape" I wrote about over a year ago.

...Ayaan Hirsi Ali's claim in a WSJ piece that a central part of what the jihadists are about is the oppression of women.

The central issue here, morally justified by the "pure principles of the Prophet" is a profound illiberalism. One which permits one class - devout Muslim men - to do anything his heart desires to every member of any other group. A "license to rape" is a popular selling point to young men.

Flash forward sixteen months:

Police in the western German city of Cologne responded on Monday to outrage over a string of sexual crimes over New Year's Eve. According to police, the series of assaults in one of the city's busiest thoroughfares represented a "completely new dimension of crime."

Some 90 criminal complaints, including one allegation of rape, have been brought to the Cologne police department after women said they were molested by a crowd of men who had gathered in the city's famous square between its central train station and towering Gothic cathedral. Authorities expect more victims to come forward in the next few days.

Fortunately, German authorities are not taking this lying down:

Mayor Henriette Reker, who made international headlines in October when she was stabbed on the campaign trail, has called a crisis meeting, which will include local and federal police, for Tuesday to address the crimes.

Reker told the local press she found the men's actions "monstrous."

"We cannot tolerate this development of lawlessness," Reker told the "KŲlner Stadt-Anzeiger" newspaper.

Speaking with local newspaper "Express," Ralf Jšger, the state interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, promised swift action.

"We will not accept that groups of North African men gather expressly for the purpose of debasing women by sexually assaulting them," the paper quoted Jšger as saying.

Memo to "2016's young feminist crusaders" - You're doing it wrong.

Joking aside, if I have one message for 2016's young feminist crusaders, it's this: stop fiddling while Rome burns. If you really want to defend the rights of women, stop the navel-gazing and open your eyes to the real abuse of women in the world.

Pick your fight with Islamic State; or the barbarians who publicly caned that young woman in Indonesia this week for being 'caught' near to a male fellow student; or the people who mutilate young girls' genitals in the name of religion; or the Sharia courts spreading across Britain, with their systematic bias against women.

Or with gangs of a thousand Muslim refugees getting sauced (is that Sharia compliant, by the way?) and feeling up (or worse) western women in public.

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

December 31, 2015

2015 - When Lying Jumped the Shark

2015 will soon be Auld Lang Syne and Thomas Sowell says, Good riddance.

Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as "no big deal" by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton's lies by admiring how well she handled herself.

Lies are a wall between us and reality -- and being walled off from reality is the biggest deal of all. Reality does not disappear because we don't see it. It just hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.

But a wise man said, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." So raise your glass, friend:

And thereís a hand my trusty friend!

And give me a hand oí thine!

And weíll take a right good-will draught,

for auld lang syne.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:59 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2015

Buying a clue

Dear fellow occidentalists, Please, whatever you do, do not "reproduce[ed] and reinforce[ed] stereotypes of indigenous people as culturally and racially subordinate..." lest you be singled out for sanction "by the government's anti-discrimination commission." I'm not sure what government - hopefully not ours, but I'm seldom shocked anymore.

Here's the "offensive" advert. What does it show? "The ad shows fair-skinned, attractive, young people turning up at an indigenous town bearing gifts of sugary fizzy drinks and a Christmas tree for the overawed locals." The utter gall.

While it's unclear whether the ad was pulled because of the "controversy" or because its run was through, I would like to rebut with a multi-cultural message of my own:

"I'd like to buy the Left a clue,

And teach it how to think."

From "segregation and isolation is racist" to "engagement and dialog is offensive."


Can we apply the same logic to homeless populations in the west? Any effort to reach out or acknowledge them is offensive and degrading, and suggests that they are "culturally subordinate."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:22 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

How can you put this racist filth on ThreeSources??? I've a mind to unset the database password again...

And yet, and yet, and yet... You are not way off base in your follow up. And there is no need to restrict it to the West. I'm thinking of Angus Deaton's disagreement with Tom's Shoes (Buy a pair and they give a pair away-- doesn't do a lot to prop up the foreign shoe industry...) And it would be a very good thing if affluent Westerners were a little more suspect on the poor's need for us to swoop in and run their life for them. If a few treacle-y TV commercials are casualties, I'm in.

Posted by: jk at December 14, 2015 5:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To me, it calls into question the very existence of the UNHCR, UNRWA, UNICEF, WFP, FAO, WHO...

Let's extend that discussion about implied racial and cultural subordination.

Posted by: johngalt at December 14, 2015 6:44 PM

December 10, 2015

America's Middle Class "Plummets!"

Seriously! That's how Newser's Jenn Gidman presented it. From about 80 million households in 1971 to... about 120 million households today. Must be the "new math."

Pew Research center, where the report originated, wasn't much more objective. By focusing on the share of households that are neither "upper" or "lower" income, they carefully hide the fact that upper income households in America have roughly TRIPLED.

Where I come from, that's called progress.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:50 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Everybody gets rich, they'll pine for "the middle class."

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2015 2:55 PM

December 3, 2015


Columnist Ruben Navarette says that America is "an unserious country in unserious times." Well, perhaps collectively.

Worst of all, Americans tend not to connect the dots. What our enemies envision as a coordinated global assault, many of us see as unrelated attacks. We witness a terrorist assault in France, and some Americans think it is limited to France.

Our worldview is all wrong. We look at the map and see separate countries. Islamic State militants look at the same map, and the only division they see is between believers and infidels. One group gets to live, the other must die.

Americans know the world is complicated. We don't expect our leaders to have all the answers. But we do want to know that they understand the threat, that they can destroy the enemy, and that they're up to the task of keeping us and our families safe.

But we have to do our part as well. And it starts with being serious about confronting this threat.

And it used to be that seriousness could always be found in the White House.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Short, bitter and powerful; who is this guy? I'd take his theory

Obama seems to be one of those peace-loving souls who are reluctant to give war a chance. I think he has never felt at ease with the United States using military power
to a wholly different level to say: Obama doesn't like America, full stop. He'd love to use the military, but only on the press and the GOP! Like too many faculty-lounge brats, he wouldn't know common sense if a 48-page booklet landed in his golf cart, nor a decent country if it elected him president.

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 11:47 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

the comments section is running roughly 7:1 against BHO and his Prog's - if you've lost San Jose... it appears Navarette is a NPR/WaPo/CNN reliable liberal. This is a satisfying crunch!

Posted by: nanobrewer at December 4, 2015 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not sure but I wondered if he is the same guy who blogs as "Sooper Mexican."

His point is not that our predicament is Obama's fault. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. But it's the electorate's fault, because that cohort collectively decided that he would be a good sort of fellow to be the leader of the free world.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2015 12:01 PM

November 25, 2015

A BC, not a SIC


Pew center has a new 23 question Political Typology quiz. I'm ranked a Business Conservative, which is fifth on scale where six is "Steadfast Conservative" and zero is "Solidly Liberal."

Interesting things:
- the only place "Faith" is listed by Pew is on the Left (1 out of 6 on this scale they've created).
- Young "Outsiders" slightly outnumber the NG Left.
- the silent middle are referred to as "Hard Pressed"
- if you look here, you'll see that Pew's respondents (66% white) are mostly isolationist!

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:37 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

BC as well (Prosperitarian, anybody?) I left quite a few blank. I can usually get into the spirit and pick one even if I am not totally on board. This one seemed to have several that were both bad.

Posted by: jk at November 25, 2015 1:24 PM

October 8, 2015

Makeup of the HFC

The HFC or "House Freedom Caucus" of about 40 Republican U.S. Congressmen has been called "The Shutdown Caucus" by detractors.

They say their policy positions -- drastic reductions in the size of government and lower taxes -- are repeatedly undercut by the unwillingness of Republican leaders to contemplate using their ultimate weapon, the power of the purse, to force a government shutdown. Rather than trying to get past the paralysis, Mr. Stutzman and his allies want to use it to maximum effect.

But just who are these "hard-line" people? Who do they represent? Where do they come from? Must be from the deep south, right? Wrong. Or the wild, wild west, right? Wrong. Yes, there seems to be a high density in Arizona - California refugees, no doubt - but the density of known HFC members (there is no official membership list for this "shadowy" group) is much lower west of the Mississippi than to the east, and roughly equal between north and south.

Keep this in mind the next time someone calls them cowboys or hillbillies.

"It's easy to dismiss us as the knuckle-dragging, Cro-Magnon, Tea Party group," Mr. Mulvaney said. "Nothing could be further from the truth."

Several have Ivy League credentials, law degrees or were successful in business before winning elections.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:32 PM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Anybody labeled "Hard Line" by the NYT is a friend of mine! Worth repeating: Ken Buck (CO-4) is our contribution.

Interestingly, P. Mirgenoff of PowerLine does not see Paul Ryan [58%] as being a good candidate for speaker (not even mentioning Boehner's rumored urging):

he appeared at a pro-amnesty rally alongside liberal Democrat Luis Gutierrez, the most strident amnesty monger in the House. In addition, he pitched the alleged economic benefits of amnesty to his House colleagues.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 9, 2015 12:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

2 questions for nb:

What is your definition of "amnesty?"

What is your problem with it?

Posted by: johngalt at October 9, 2015 11:43 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

1. the immediate cessation of any prosecution of the transgressions of illegal immigrants.

2. mainly, that since we don't yet have control on our southern border, that it's a major greasing the skids on the process of wrecking the US of A.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 10, 2015 2:36 AM

September 30, 2015

The Education Plantation

The title is a term I made up, rather than an excerpt from this pointed William McGurn piece in Monday's WSJ. Unapologetic content theft follows:

Good charters offer part of the answer. In New York, Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter schools are arguably the best. Yet the mayor, his schools chancellor and the teachers union all apparently prefer maintaining the present inequality rather than allow Ms. Moskowitz to open more of her charters in poor minority neighborhoods.

The Success Academies are 58% black and about 27% Hispanic. Even so, these children regularly outscore their counterparts in wealthy suburban areas. So while each year the Success Academies prove that black kids can compete as equals with white kids so long as the bar is set high and teachers are held accountable, in the schools run by Mayor de Blasio the achievement gap between black and white has widened.

Welcome to progressive New York. Where black and Latino children in poor neighborhoods are condemned to failed schools with almost no possibility of escape. While the schools where kids are treated equally and black lives really do matter get the back of the mayor's hand.

Whether de Blasio can get away with this for long remains to be seen. And whether he's gotten away with it up to now because of his progressive politics, or because his wife and son are black - really, at this point, what difference does it make?

Bonus: Here is the TV ad that Families for Excellent Schools will run in the NYC market.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:21 PM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2015

Thither Corporatism

This time last year I was learning that more Americans approve of "free enterprise" than "capitalism." Now I'm learning that the modern mixed economy in most of the nations of the world is not "neo-mercantilism" - a term I coined myself in the linked post from last year - but one variant or another of "corporatism."

Corporatism is not, as I previously believed, 'rule by corporations' and their influence over corrupt governments. It's meaning comes from a prioritization of the body, or "corpus", of a population, rather than the individual persons. In essence then, it is a variation of collectivism.

This term--Corporatism--is fraught with perils, mostly because it is now commonly used to label aspects of the current world economic order, almost always incorrectly. Understand that Corporatism proper has nothing to do with modern corporations at all, neither how they function, nor their dependence on or independence from the state. The confusion in this regard--all too common throughout the internet--is largely due to the similarity of the two words: Corporatism and corporation. Both have the same root word, the Latin corpus meaning body, but that's about it.

Corporatism actually refers to an economic (and political) system wherein the people in a society are organized into various groups, based on what they do, on how they make a living. The underlying idea here--and the reason for the name--is that society should be viewed as an organic whole, like a living organism or body, with every person having a distinct role to play in order for society to properly function, to metaphorically live and grow. Thus, one segment of the population should never be--figuratively or literally--under the heel of any other segment. None have primacy in this regard, except of course for the state itself, which is tasked with leadership and control (more or less the head of the body).

And the origin of corporatism dovetails with the objection of bygone commenter Silence Dogood: "He liked Capitalism just fine -- but not "unfettered capitalism." As for corporatism, "They [the doctrine's creators] opposed wide open free trade and free markets because they assumed greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."

What was once old is new again, and humanity continues to repeat past mistakes. Why? I'm not sure. Let's ask Silence Dogood.

H/T: brother nanobrewer [second comment] for inspiring a closer look at Argentine "corporatism."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:55 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

I'll play (per Jonathan Haidt, what distinguishes us is our ability to pass a "Turing Test.")

"I don't want complete collectivist control of the economy, jg, that is a strawman. I agree with you 98% on the wonders and advantages of Capitalism and free markets.

"But I don't share your love of the wild west, lasseiz faire economics of the Guilded Age. Government trust busting, enforcement of worker safety, child-labor, minimum wage, maximum hour, clean water, clean air, ozone protection regulations created a much better world.

"You may be right that there is too much regulation. I don't want more -- I want better. We can have growth and freedom and still protect people and the environment."

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

"Are you going to eat the rest of those fries?"

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

True enough, TG.

And jk, "complete collectivist control of the economy" is a strawman but I didn't raise it, you did. I'm advocating complete free enterprise. I'm advocating, "let people engage in what they want, and not engage in what they don't, freely and voluntarily."

Let me take your points one by one:

Trust busting - Resistant yes, but not impervious to competition.
Worker safety - Why, because employees aren't smart enough to recognize unsafe jobs and conditions when they see them? And demand higher wages or quit?
Child labor - Okay, I'm willing to accede to protecting children from their parents bad choices up to a certain age. You got me on this one.
Minimum wage - Who are you, and what have you done with jk?
Clean water, clean air - We can agree on sensible restrictions here, but the clean air and water acts have become bludgeons of business destruction through environmentalist lawsuits and administrative law restrictions in pursuit of impossibly low contaminant standards.
"Ozone protection regulations created a much better world?" Maybe. Maybe not.

The data shows a lot of variability and no real trends after the Montreal protocol banned CFCs. The models had predicted a partial recovery by now. Later scientists adjusted their models and pronounced the recovery would take decades. It may be just another failed alarmist prediction.

Remember we first found the ozone hole when satellites that measure ozone were first available and processed (1985). It is very likely to have been there forever, varying year to year and decade to decade as solar cycles and volcanic events affected high latitude winter vortex strength.

The reality is, there needs to be limits on these things. The cure is, more and more often, worse than the original problem. But corporism knows know bounds whatsoever.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But again, we digress. I asked about the corporatist fear that "greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."

You have focused on some well known negative externalities that are popularly ascribed to greed, but could as well be explained by ignorance or a breakdown in the market mechanism. But the author I linked did not mention pollution or labor abuse by name - he mentioned greed, which I take synonymously with selfishness. A dictionary definition of greed includes "an excessive, extreme desire for something, often more than one's proper share." But who defines excessive? And who defines proper share?

As motive for corporatism, I identify Tall Poppy Syndrome, or a fear of competition.

Laboratory studies lead to the formation of the competitive exclusion principle (no two species can long occupy the same niche), while field observations suggest that niche differences, while sometimes subtle, are invariably found between co-existing species. Field experiments provide strong evidence of competition in nature. Often, one species is the superior competitor, the other is better able to withstand certain environmental extremes.

I postulate that in the human specie corporatists are the superior competitors, while individualists are better able to withstand certain environmental extremes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 2:42 PM
But jk thinks:

To be clear, I agreed with nothing I said (oh boy, I hope this quote never shows up out of context...) I was answering as I expected Silence would have. But if I did fool you, that proved Haidt right.

Maybe Mister Dogood would have been better focused, but the "fetters" he wants bolted onto capitalism's flanges would be to protect workers, "fair play," and the environment. Each would be needed to counteract greed.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2015 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh yes, you did fool me, or I fooled myself - I completely forgot my own premise!

So Silence would, we surmise, fetter capitalism with measures "to protect workers, 'fair play' and the environment. Each would be needed to counteract greed."

And I would ask Silence, is it to counteract greed, or to counteract competition?

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2015 3:23 PM

September 8, 2015

"Preening pretenders who let us down, again"

My blog brother agrees with Jonah Goldberg that Trump has neither ideas nor principles. Calling it "The Bonfire of Principles" Goldberg writes,

Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to.

To which I'll reply, "How's that working out for you?" Conservative Treehouse's Sundance gives you a fairly detailed accounting of the recent record of "Washington D.C. conservatism" and it isn't pretty - unless you're a Democrat. To tide you over until you have time to read the link, I'll gyp the close:

The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!

That's a strategy?

That's the GOP strategy? Essentially: Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?


Don't tell me it's not, because if it wasn't there'd be something else being done - there isn't.

And don't think we don't know the 2009 "stimulus" became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year. Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?

...And you're worried about what Donald Trump might do?


[no emphasis added]

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:33 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

My and Sundance's point is not to "throw away" the conservative movement because of Boehner and McConnell, but that those two have thrown it away so we must change horses.

Every single candidate, with the possible exception of Rand Paul, has a flawed mixed philosophy. It is filled with contradictions. That is why I can throw them all over the side and go with a non-politician - a businessman. After all, the businessman is a member of America's most persecuted class.

America’s industrial progress, in the short span of a century and a half, has acquired the character of a legend: it has never been equaled anywhere on earth, in any period of history. The American businessmen, as a class, have demonstrated the greatest productive genius and the most spectacular achievements ever recorded in the economic history of mankind. What reward did they receive from our culture and its intellectuals? The position of a hated, persecuted minority. The position of a scapegoat for the evils of the bureaucrats.

"Make America Great Again - Reward Businessmen"

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 12:12 PM
But jk thinks:

As long as the businessman is Carly Fiorina, I suppose we're okay. But I sense a huge disconnect.

I sez: "Ideas and principles is important and Mister Trump has got none."

You sez: "Who cares? People with ideas have failed us, let's put all our chips on a megalomaniacal blowhard and see if things come out better!" (Okay, I'm paraphrasing a bit...)

And a quick factual correction while my typing fingers are warmed up: The 60 year conservative movement you denigrate took us from Rex Tugwell, New Deal, World Communism (or is that Coism?) as a desirable and inevitable to Reagan, the defeat of the Soviet Union, and a solid if too-small foundation of think tanks and scholarship based on liberty. How's that working out for me? pretty good -- thanks for asking.

There's much work to be done victory is by no means certain -- but I'm very certain it will not be moved forward by Mister Trump.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you choose the Silver, Gold, or Platinum health plan? There are only three coverage choices anywhere in the wide, wide world of America now (and Bernie Sanders is smiling.)

Trump's idea is "Make America Great Again." You likely dismiss it because of the ways he's talked about doing so, but any recipe will work as long as it includes 'less regulation.'

Trump's principle is "Don't be a loser." I can think of worse words to live by: "Don't do stupid stuff." "Ain't gonna do it. Wouldn't be prudent." "Don't misunderestimate me."

But for all the value the WSJ opinion page places on the presidency, this preview of President Trump's first hundred days suggests that it doesn't matter who is in the White House - nothing will change. At least, not much, and not quickly. But I suspect the author gives Donald too little credit. The man loves a challenge and loves to win. I can see him, eventually, becoming the most effective capitol hill negotiator in history.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm going to take the cyanide pill now. But a few words first...

I'll start at the end: yes, the best negotiator in history! Okay, but what is he negotiating for? Nobody knows, and increasingly his fans don't even care. Just win baby! Get that universal care you always wanted! Expand eminent domain! Yaay! Us Republicans are riding on top of the bus now!

I'll stop. I don't get it. Jonah doesn't get it. And there does not seem to be a Rosetta stone.

Obamacare is indeed awful. But I see it as a warning of what happens when you give the other side too much power and a good reason for eternal vigilance. If you think things could not be worse had the New Dealers been in control since Truman, I suggest you lack imagination.

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 4:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You may or may not agree with them, but there are quite a number of ideas here. Although we are left to wait for ideas about something besides immigration.

Posted by: johngalt at September 9, 2015 5:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Hahahahaha! That is hilarious. Thanks for sharing. When the web guy gest back, he will change it to "Position."

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2015 5:36 PM

Road Trip Index

We've discussed the "younger/hipper" candidate always winning.

PJ O'Rourke clarifies it a bit. He finds the Democratic establishment at fault for not supporting VP Biden:

You're the Democrats' best choice because you're so far ahead of every other candidate, from either party, in the "Road Trip Poll."

"With which presidential candidate would you rather go on a road trip?"

He goes back to Truman-Dewey and recaps them, PJ O'Rourke style.
George H.W. Bush or "I have to go take a Dukakis"? (A word-for-word off-the-record quote from Bush 41 obtained on deep background.)

George Bush or Bill Clinton? "Toga! Toga!" to quote Bill's Washington colleague, Senator John Blutarski.

The guy in the Viagra ads or the guy getting his food laced with saltpeter by Hillary?

Al Gore--nickname "Albert"--or the frat boy from Yale's DKE Animal House?

Fun, and probably a better voicing of what I've tried to communicate.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, when you put it that way -- if I'm stuck in a car for a four-year road trip with someone that I hope doesn't turn out to be John Candy in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" (did I just give you nightmares?), and I'm not allowed to show them the back of my hand and shout out "don't make me pull this car over and come back there!" then yeah, that's a good way to put it.

I definitely do NOT want to spend four years on a Magical Mystery Tour with Hillary, wandering from Chipotle to Chipotle in search of one with a liquor license.

And I sure as hell do not want to have to play Tom Cruise to Joe Biden's Dustin Hoffman.

Man, I am just full of bad analogies and pop-culture references today.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2015 1:09 PM
But jk thinks:

"I'm a excellent driver."

I really believe this is an actual problem for Sec Clinton either in my formulation or PJ's. I think we are too close to it, I can actually see what people like in Joe Biden. If you don't come from a partisan perspective his goofy bonhomie could be charming. Much better car tripper than Sen. Santorum.

Off topic but funny: I saw a meme on Dr. Ben Carson today -- complaining that "he's a divider!"

Posted by: jk at September 8, 2015 1:53 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, Carson IS a divider - for which Benjamin and Patrick Binder are grateful.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 8, 2015 3:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at September 8, 2015 4:16 PM

August 26, 2015

Lovin' Me some "eevil" Koch Brothers

I found this USA Today article while researching the funding structure of the excellent Generation Opportunity outfit and their free-market alternative news articles arranged by topic group.

From 'Koch Donors Step Into Public View' - USA Today, March 31, 2015:

Chris Rufer, the CEO of a California tomato-processing company, told USA TODAY that he donates between $500,000 and $1 million each year to the Koch network but is not concerned with short-term political gains.

Rufer, a Libertarian, said he's more interested in changing the "culture" through supporting the foundations and think tanks backed by the network "than in trying to win elections today."

"Democrats and Republicans are all the same," said Rufer, who gave $490,000 in 2012 to a super PAC supporting the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico.

Last week, he wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times declaring his support for a top Koch priority: jettisoning the Export-Import Bank. The federally run bank helps U.S. companies by subsidizing loans to foreign customers to help them buy U.S. products. Big-business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, support the bank and want Congress to reauthorize the bank's charter, which expires at the end of June.

Freedom Partners and other Koch-affiliated groups have denounced the bank as corporate welfare. Rufer said he opposes subsidies. "It's resources and property taken from other folks, and I consider that theft."

Rufer and another regular attendee of the Koch gatherings, Minnesota broadcasting magnate Stanley Hubbard, said they disagree sharply with Democrats' portrayal of the Kochs as power-hungry billionaires out to protect their financial interests.

"They aren't evil people trying to feather their own nests," Hubbard said of the Kochs, worth an estimated $42.9 billion each. "They've got it made."

Hubbard, who donated $450,000 to Freedom Partners' super PAC last year, described his fellow donors as largely self-made business people who are concerned about what they view as burdensome government regulations. "We believe it's very important that the little guy has a chance to get ahead, and the best way for that to happen is free enterprise," he said.

In addition to Rufer, more than two dozen other donors have signed op-eds backing the Kochs in the past seven months, including Dallas tycoon and former Texas Rangers owner Thomas Hicks and Tim Busch, the CEO of a California hotel-development and management company.

Others signing from Dallas: Thomas Hicks Jr., Holly and Doug Deason, Elaine Marshall, E. Pierce Marshall Jr., Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Tandy and Lee Roy Mitchell, and Gayla and Jim Von Ehr. Those signing The Desert Sun letter: Mike and Suzy Leprino; John and Carol Saeman; and Bob and Karen Rishwain, all of Indian Wells, Calif.; Mike and Marian Shaugnessy of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Other letter writers: Chris and Liz Wright of Denver and Minnesota executives Dean Spatz and Fritz Corrigan.

Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis said more donors are stepping into the spotlight to make it clear to critics that they are "not just attacking Charles and David Koch, they are attacking hundreds of successful business and philanthropic leaders" who support "free markets and a free society."

[emphases mine]

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Forgot to include: [emphasis mine]

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Generation Opportunity articles are also refreshingly balanced and fair. I highly encourage liking their page, visiting it frequently, reading the articles and sharing them as widely as possible. 'Specially with da youts!

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

The demonization of the Koch's is sad, because it denies the opportunity to show the overlap og libertarians and progressive liberals. Prison reform, drug legaization, gay rights have HUGELY benefited from their eeeevil dollars

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Could the negative image of Messrs. Koch be an active creation of the media? Created by activist "journalists" like Jorge Ramos, who said yesterday, " I think -- as journalists, we have to denounce and espouse the dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump."

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Somebody on the Intertubes has done a great YouTube, stiching together every mention of "Koch Brothers" that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Cool Shades, be a shame if anything bad happened to them - NV) made from the Senate Floor. It's funny, then boring as it goes on forever, and then after one considers it, deeply disturbing: the Second ranking Democrat, routinely denouncing two private citizens from the well of the Senate Floor, for a simple difference in political philosophy. I doubt The Kaiser, Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden fared worse.

But the apogee of Koch Derangement Syndrome is when they asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ben & Jerry's - VT) if he favored more immigration. "Open Borders? No that's a Koch Brothers thing. Absolutely not."

Okay then.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 6:33 PM
But jk thinks:

RE Señor Ramos: If anyone could drive jk into the arms of that megalomaniacal, economic troglodyte populist that currently leads my party by double digits, it would be he.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 6:37 PM

August 13, 2015


Karl Rove gets a nice bon mot in a guest editorial today:

In a June speech [The Dowager Empress of Chappaqua] accused Republicans of orchestrating "a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people." She then called out Govs. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Scott Walker for supporting election-law reforms and for periodically removing dead people and felons from registration rolls.

Oddly, she made these remarks in Texas, which has a relatively lax absentee voting law and nearly two weeks of no-excuse early voting. New York, where Mrs. Clinton was twice elected to the U.S. Senate, does not allow early voting at all and only offers absentee ballots to those physically unable, for one reason or another, to go to the polls. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton thinks New York's sitting Democratic governor is part of the nefarious "sweeping effort" to disenfranchise voters.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 12, 2015

World Socialism, thy name is "Sustainability"

To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which it is claimed curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations.

This is from the executive summary [PDF] of a new report by the National Association of Scholars. Never heard of them? Me either. The report is titled: 'Sustainability - Higher Education's New Fundamentalism.'

They call it "fundamentalism" because examination, investigation, discussion and debate are forbidden. The "science is settled." The doctrine is final. The living must be harmed so that "the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is not compromised. [The sustainability movement makes no mention of how aborting them in the womb compromises the needs of the members of those future generations.]

The sustainability movement began in 1987 with a UN report - "Our Common Future" and has metastasized into 1438 degree programs at 475 colleges and universities worldwide. Interestingly, the majority of them - 1274 or some 95 percent - are in the United States; at least one such program in every one of our 50 united states. So the camp of this ideological enemy of freedom and liberty and, yes, science, is not across the Atlantic, but here on our own soil.

Thank you National Academy of Scholars for exposing the nature and scope of this movement and the professional organization "Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education" (AASHE) that promotes the fully immoral idea that "we" are not as important as some unknown and non-existent "future we."

And they have the nerve to criticize believers in "unknown and non-existent" deities.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2015

Breaking the Rules

This may be President Obama's most positive legacy - his example that the President of the United States doesn't really have to follow any rules. It seems to have made an impression on Americans, at least those who respond to opinion polls. On the way to the ballyhooed reprise of Bush v. Clinton, both are losing ground in their respective primary races. Hillary is virtually tied with self-proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders and Bush trails a non-politician who is as immune to damage from his numerous gaffes as President Obama is from his numerous scandals. Meanwhile, Bush's own gaffes become weighty albatrosses upon his candidacy.

Blog brother jk lovingly[?] dubbed me "Trump fanboy." I admit to reveling in his TEA-Party friendly, "make America great again" stance. Mostly, I like that he is a businessman and not a politician. Ayn Rand wrote that businessmen are America's greatest resource, and that men like Hank Rearden have nothing to apologize for, and government has no legitimate power over them. Trump isn't the only non-politician in the 17-person GOP field. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have a similar professional pedigree. But Trump is unique in that he can fund his own campaign. He answers to no one. He has been a winner in business, and could be a winner in politics. General George Patton purportedly said, "America loves a winner. Americans won't tolerate a loser." But under the present administration, America has been losing at every turn.

Even the professional punditry is beginning to take notice. Jeff Greenfield writes, "What if Trump wins?"

The more telling question is: When do voters actually cast their ballots in ways that upend core premises?

One answer, based not on guesses about what might happen, but on what has happened in America's political past is that when disaffected voters discover a power that they did not realize they had, highly unanticipated consequences may follow.

So like Jesse Ventura before him, Trump may resonate and win.

And, in a comment that resonates powerfully with today's Trump phenomenon, consider what 28-year-old aircraft mechanic Greg Uken told the New York Times about why he was voting for Ventura: "I don't put up with a lot of stuff, and neither does he."

So full-speed ahead, Donald. I can only hope that you are, and will be, more Austen Heller and less Gail Wynand.

UPDATE: Here is the Patton quote:

Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

UPDATE: While I'm busy torturing my dear blog brother, I may as well pile on with this quote from a long-time favorite of his, Rudy Giuliani:

"So we might have a little of a Ronald Reagan here, a guy they underestimate," Giuliani observed.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Best line of the night... Rand Paul to Chris Christie on NSA surveillance of Americans: "I don't trust President Obama with our records. I know you gave him a big hug, and if you want to give him a big hug again go right ahead."

I only heard a couple of shots against Herr Trumpmeister tonight. Rand Paul accused him of wanting to buy and sell politicians when he wouldn't pledge to support the Republican nominee, whomever it may be. But the real hit job came from Governor Huckabee:

It seems like this election has been a whole lot about a person who's very high in the polls, but doesn't have a clue about how to govern. A person who has been filled with scandals and who could not lead. And of course I'm talking about Hillary Clinton.
Posted by: johngalt at August 7, 2015 1:40 AM

So what did pass, anyway?

New thread to dissect this old can'o worms. To which Brother JG said "it passed" [referring to the Transportation bill, with Ex-Im bank funding]

So, what actually did pass was one and a half things. Starting Here: 1st sentence

Congress sent President Barack Obama a three-month bill to keep highway and transit money flowing to states on Thursday
This also was passed by the house; does not include the Ex-Im bank.

The full, $350B (Six year) bill did pass the Senate, and includes the Ex-Im bank, but the House never considered it. So, my point about McConnel passing a bill but not getting the legislation to POTUS still stands. As the dry report from our Fox friends states:

A fight in the House over renewal of the bank is also likely

The full bill also includes this little morsel:

encourages states to impose user fees on electric vehicles because they use roadways but don't contribute to federal gas tax revenues

Not exactly going to knock Common Sense or any clause of the The Federalist Papers out of history's notice, but not the clarion call to a doorma(n)t GOP either.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:13 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Thank you for doing the research to clarify this nb. So there's still hope that the Ex-Im will fade away, but that will require a larger number of House Republicans to stand on their hind legs than did Senate Republicans. Should be interestin'.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2015 12:46 PM

July 31, 2015

Whither GOP?

Ben Domenich asks Why does the Republican Party exist?

It's a damning indictment of Senate Majority Leader McConnell (I just don't know anymore -- KY)'s decision to reauthorize the ex-Ex-Im bank in a highway bill, which Domenich says "is a thousand page tax and pork-laden monstrosity which does not deserve to pass in the first place, and whose failure would be greeted as a positive development for any fiscal conservative."

I have defended leadership on these pages. In fact, I think I deserve a medal or a nice office in the old building or a cookie or something. Yet I'm now ready to pull the plug on my support of McConnell.

Blog-friend TG posted the Rod Dreher column "Fusion Fizzles" to my Facebook timeline and asked "Is Fusionism Dead?" I'm not sure whether he is a Monty Python fan, but my first thought was "it was coughing up blood last night!"

TG describes the Republican coalition as "hawks, preachers, and libertarians:" pejorative but accurate. I suggested that hawks and preachers overlap pretty well, that fusionism was required only to keep peace between preachers in libertarians. He suggests that hawk/libertarian split requires more focus. Is the GOP the party of Sen. Lindsey Graham or Sen. Rand Paul?

Wherever one stands, Domenich points out -- you got totally screwed by your party. Hawks: the President just made a treaty which facilitates Iran's nuclear ambitions without the "Advice and Consent" of the Senate, and rammed it through the UN. That cool with you? Preachers: Planned Parenthood gets almost half its funding from government. They got caught harvesting body parts. Any problem with that? Libertarians: the Ex-Im bank is back. The one victory for the Senate majority you worked to elect had a shelf-life measured in weeks. Problemo?

Yes, they're an antidote to the all out collectivism of the modern Democrats. But Rod Dreher, Ben Domenich, and David Harsanyi all ask "Why is there a party?" "What is its purpose?"

I got nothin'

Posted by John Kranz at 9:59 AM | Comments (12)
But nanobrewer thinks:

He missed it; I think Steve Hayward is much closer to the mark:

McConnell likely knew that the House would kill the Ex-Im Bank, meaning that the vote was mostly symbolic and helpful to a few endangered Republicans

Which I do believe, even as I decry the back-room nature of the shenanigans. And hat's off to Sen. Cruz for exposing this! Since Ex-Im Bank is indeed dead in the real world, where does that leave Mr. Domenech? With a gutted (or to be more charitable, outdated) story if you ask me, but hey, he got published!

Now, to his point

Senate Republicans completely ceded their Constitutional duty regarding the Iran deal

This indeed was a situation where the GOP got outflanked by (a) the reality of a POTUS (and Sec. St.) who won't play ANY part of this game honestly, and (b) a media that will not stop to expose their every peccadillo as if it were a felony. I read a very compelling response (direct response by eMail) from Sen. Gardner that held up the honest, good parts of this play.

I can't really blame them for not coming up with a bill that had 100% mendacity rejection.... but that's why I don't bet published in the big pages, I guess.

Highway Bill.... which does not deserve to pass in the first place
which ... it.... didn't ... am I correct?!?

Shoot, he missed defunding or defanging the ACA, the putting a white tornado thru the IRS and closing NEA!

That all being said, I believe what he said is 75-80% true of the GOP leadership... but it's a bit broad to paint the entire party this way. One look at Tom Cotton or Trey Gaudy put the rest of this specious argument to rest, IMO.

Mr. Domenech needs to cool his jets and play the long, steady game, IMO.

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 1, 2015 12:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Oh no, nb, it passed. 65-34 (Lindsey Graham didn't vote.)

And the disapprobation is directed toward leadership of the party, which does seem to have a firm grasp on the rudder.

I'll look for the Gardner statement.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 2:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I found it. Cory basically said, "I brought home the bacon for Colorado."

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 3:05 PM
But jk thinks:

...and may God Bless the Republican Party!

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2015 3:08 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not positive, but I think Colorado's other Senator, the Democrat one, said something about pork as well.

Posted by: johngalt at August 3, 2015 5:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd hope so -- his supporters sent him there to do "Infrastructure Investment." One might dream of a Republican being guided by other principles (I know, I crack myself up, too!)

Posted by: jk at August 3, 2015 7:18 PM

July 17, 2015

Mister Moderate (Bumped)

Fun test going around Facebook,


Posted by John Kranz at 10:01 PM | Comments (17)
But jk thinks:

My biological brother, Dick, leads the pack on Communitarianism at 22.2%

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2015 10:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

jg's biological father seems to have overtaken him: 100% Right, 66.7% Communitarian. Zowie! Pops is no moderate.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 1:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

While we're waiting for more, consider this:

Obama is 67% left, 33% liberal.
Bill Clinton is 20% left, 14% liberal.

Which means, jk, and bryan, and Milton Friedman (and I) are all more liberal than Bill Clinton.

But I drop out of the club when compared to Barack Hussein Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 3:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

jg's Millenial nephew: 88.9% Right, 69.4% Communitarian

(Am I related to these people?)

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 4:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Another interesting observation:

Of the four presidents scores offered for comparison, the two Republicans (Dubya and Reagan) are both right-communitarians while the two Democrats (Obama and Clinton) are left-liberals. Is there perhaps a reason why a left-communitarian or right-liberal doesn't win the presidency? Need more data points.

If true, everyone on the plot could one day be POTUS except me, jk Bryan and AndyN.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2015 4:21 PM
But dagny thinks:

Sorry I'm slow to the party. I spent the weekend playing with horses. 97.2% right, 33.3% liberal. Not surprised.

Posted by: dagny at July 20, 2015 1:09 PM

Those Republicans Sound Pretty Good

Dr. Bradley Joseph Francis Birzer is the visiting Conservative scholar at CU.("Gorillas in our midst..."). I heard him speak at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons.

Here is his speech to the Broomfield County Republicans and the Boulder County CO Republicans about the philosophical roots of conservatism:

Posted by John Kranz at 2:10 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2015


Possible sub-head: 'The modern reprise of Don Quixote.'

Since the wee hours of the TEA Party movement I've been pleading for elected representatives to call shenanigans on the Washington "establishment" that fleeces the citizenry while telling us "we're looking out for you." My representative, Congressman Ken Buck (A Republic - CO) is proving to be such a man.

While he angered my fellow liberty and conservative activists by not walking the plank in a futile effort to oust Speaker Boehner (Washington D.C. - OH) he proved his constitutional bona fides by being one of only 34 courageous Republicans to vote NO on the TPA bill, aka "Obamatrade." And now he is fundraising on it.


Bully, Congressman! I'm in. Don't tell dagny but I put my money where my blogging is.

Join me by visiting Ken's donate page. He suggested $25, which sounded fair to a tightwad like me.

From the "courageous Republicans" link above:

"Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today," Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. "Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow's defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude."
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:45 AM | Comments (14)
But dagny thinks:

dagny (never been wrong) Poppins would like to know: What does this bill actually do? Anyone? Beuller??

Posted by: dagny at June 23, 2015 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Cato's Nine Myths is a good place to start. When the President negotiates a free trade agreement, it says Congress will give him an up-down vote with no amendments. Like the base closure, this helps agreements avoid derailment by hyper-interested parties.

As noted by the CRS, "TPA reflects decades of debate, cooperation, and compromise between Congress and the executive branch in finding a pragmatic accommodation to the exercise of each branch's respective authorities over trade policy.‚ÄĚ It represents a "gentleman's agreement" between the legislative branch and the executive branch‚ÄĒwith the former promising the latter "fast track" rules for the requisite congressional approval of an FTA, if, and only if, the latter (i) agrees to follow a detailed set of congressional "negotiating objectives" for the agreement's content; and (ii) engages in a series of consultations with Congress on that content. As discussed more fully below, each branch of government retains its constitutional authority to abandon this gentleman's agreement, but doing so will essentially kill any hope of signing and implementing new FTAs. So, with limited exceptions, Congress and the executive toe the line.
Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:58 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This thread made me go back and read Republicans Should Vote No On Trade Promotion Authority by Hinderocker @ PowerLine.

Some basic quotes for the analysis (much more basic and example driven than CATO's):

the main focus [these days] now is on non-tariff barriers. If we are talking about quotas, fine; free traders will say, get rid of them. But it isn’t that simple. Environmental regulation, or the lack thereof, can also be considered a non-tariff barrier. There is a real risk that a liberal administration may use trade negotiations to commit the United States to domestic policies that Congress would never pass.

TPP also includes provisions on immigration that promote the ‚Äúmobility of labor.‚ÄĚ Will TPP commit the U.S. to allowing even more immigration of low-skill workers, on top of the historically unprecedented levels we are already accommodating? No one seems to know, or be willing to say.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 24, 2015 1:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the Hinderacker link, nb. I'll excerpt further...

There are many reasons to oppose TPA, and the TPP it will almost assuredly beget. The one that is of utmost concern to me is the provision that threatens to subjugate the US Constitutional Republic to an international governing body:

Further, TPP would establish a commission that can enter into new agreements so that TPP is a "living document." We know how well that works.

Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican in Washington who most looks out for American workers, is adamantly opposed to granting President Obama fast track authority:

A vote for fast-track is a vote to erase valuable procedural and substantive powers of Congress concerning a matter of utmost importance involving the very sovereignty of this nation. Without any doubt, the creation of this living commission with all its powers will erode the power of the American people to directly elect‚ÄĒor dismiss from office‚ÄĒthe people who impact their lives.

The Democrats want us to be like the European Union, where millions of people are ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, and national interests are subordinated to the welfare of the trans-national class of the rich, fashionable and politically connected.

What is so critical about this trade pact that we must risk anything remotely like this? Yes I support trade. But I am also an American exceptionalist. TPP and TPA threaten to relegate the American experiment to the dustbin of history. At least until a new generation of winter soldiers wins back our liberty from an even more sinister crown.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Re: The call for a Sanders filibuster, it is neither mean nor unfair. Dems traditionally oppose trade agreements because of union influences. Most of them also oppose TPA because of the boost it promises to multinational corporate cronyism - one of the same objections named by the Republican Congressman Buck.

We have a kumbaya moment here, and my blog brother doesn't see it. Let me remind you where we have common cause with 90% of Americans.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I must renege on something I said yesterday - yes, I do believe that TPA is UNconstitutional in addition to supraconstitutional.

dagny did not believe my assertion that the Constitution requires a two-thirds approval vote by the Senate on international treaties. Article II. Section 2. paragraph 2:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

[emphasis mine]

TPA undoes this. And with the prohibition of the procedural filibuster, even undoes the 60 vote margin that TPA barely squeaked by with. 51 votes now, to approve any trade related* treaty POTUS desires. James Madison, call your office.

*There is no requirement that the treaty deal exclusively with trade.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 3:12 PM

May 11, 2015


I've harped on illiberalism for some time now, and the irony that liberals still call themselves that at the same time as they endorse mandatory lifestyle choices from energy to toilets to running one's own business establishment. A respected liberal has now come out of the closet on the issue and criticized her own with How Liberals Ruined College:

Speech codes create a chilling environment where all it takes is one accusation, true or not, to ruin someone's academic career. The intent or reputation or integrity of the accused is of little import. If someone "perceives" you have said or acted in a racist way, then the bar for guilt has been met. If a person claims you caused them "harm" by saying something that offended them, case closed.

It is the Salem Witch Trials, 320-odd years later.

But who decides what's "offensive"? The illiberal left, of course.


Not just "degraded" or "tarnished" but "ruined."

This Orwellian climate of intimidation and fear chills free speech and thought. On college campuses it is particularly insidious. Higher education should provide an environment to test new ideas, debate theories, encounter challenging information, and figure out what one believes. Campuses should be places where students are able to make mistakes without fear of retribution. If there is no margin for error, it is impossible to receive a meaningful education.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

May 6, 2015

"Toto, I don't think we're in Denver anymore!"

Colorado Peak Politics - SHOCK: Qualified Newcomer Defeats Unqualified Political Crony for Denver Auditor

While Nevitt relied on fundraisers, establishment support, and the public backing of high-profile elected officials, O'Brien simply ran a bootstrapped campaign where he explained his qualifications and differences between he and Nevitt to any voter who would listen.

And it is was refreshing to see a well-qualified candidate defeat a well-connected but unqualified candidate.

Just when you thought the advance of world socialism and the self-serving crony government Leviathan is invincible, something like this comes along and ruins your whole dystopian future worldview. What's a tinfoil hat wearer to do?

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:31 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Yes, THAT was a satisfying crunch.... and, no it is NOT appropriate for a sitting mayor to endorse an auditor....

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 6, 2015 11:08 PM

"I'm concerned about the America you would have us live in."

This requires no explanation or embellishment. Megyn is correct, without exception.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:55 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Snyder v. Phelps! Well played, Ms. Kelly!

First Amendment absolutism makes me proudest of my country. Snyder. Skokie. Larry Flynt. Bong Hits for Jesus. Flag burning. SCOTUS has been reliable (give them a Mulligan on McConnell v. FEC) in protecting speech from the "common sense" restrictions offered by Mister O'Reilly and Mister "we'll fight Jihad with Love."

I know I'm a broken record but I still don't hear the anarchist answer for this. The bill of rights (our last rights defended after Carolene) are really remarkable in their escape of democratic "common sense." You're simply not likely to get anything like that from private agency.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2015 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

And, All Hail Taranto:

Today, however, that post-9/11 cliché has real meaning. Some intellectuals are arguing for curtailments of civil liberties that would both fulfill terrorist objectives and damage one of our most cherished values, namely the freedom of speech.

Exhibit A is this Washington Post headline: "Event Organizer Offers No Apology After Thwarted Attack in Texas." The event is the "Texas cartoon contest attacked by two gunmen late Sunday," featuring images of Muhammad, the Muslim prophet; and the organizer is Pamela Geller, a truculent critic of Islam.

Posted by: jk at May 6, 2015 5:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I just heard Geller interviewed on the radio. She corrected this media characterization, stating she is a truculent critic of "jihad and murder in the name of Islam" not of Islam.

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2015 5:48 PM
But Terri thinks:
But johngalt thinks:

Me too, Terri, and thanks for linking it here. It goes right to the heart of the questions, "Why do you provoke them" and "Why do you insult an entire religion?"

If a subset of members of a group that adheres to a specific religion claims a moral right to murder people for violating any one of several tenets of that religion, it is incumbent on everyone else to speak and act in contravention to that claim. Some are brave enough to do that and some are not. (And some oppose doing so for other self-serving reasons.)

Furthermore, the amount of bravery required varies with the particular religion in question. If the folks of a specific religion are intent only on using law to impose their beliefs, rather than the most barbaric forms of highly publicized murder, it is much safer to mock elements of that faith. c.f. "Piss Christ" and the like.

Posted by: johngalt at May 7, 2015 11:49 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I've long been madly in love with Ms. Kelly, now I must accept that I'm simply not worthy.... ahkthpth, who wanted to move to NYC anyway?

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 8, 2015 10:51 AM

April 28, 2015

W.E.B. versus Booker T.

All the world is but a stage. And we are watching theatre of the highest caliber play out. "The play? A tragedy called 'man' and it's hero: the conquerer worm." The actors should know how it ends and never forget that this is a union house and they are not to touch anything with out a member of the local stage hands guild. Just do as you are told and everything will be fine. It is sundown in America tonight. Are we brave enough, smart enough, humble enough and committed enough to renew her promise so the next generation can greet the morning in America once again?

Thus ends today's pointed, potent, and defeatist commentary on the Baltimore "race riots" by Glenn Beck who asks, "When will we stand up against the madness?" At least one Baltimore mother did exactly that on Monday. But before ending the madness like what is now transpiring in Baltimore, and previously occurred in Ferguson and other cities this year and last, more of us need to clearly understand its cause. To paraphrase one tweet of the current news cycle:

"White America needs to understand - until we get justice, we be thuggin."

Months ago we were told by a hip hop activist what "justice" is, when she said that capitalism "is the oppressive force."

"And the police are actually in my opinion - and we have a lot of theory that proves this - are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice."

Today I found the best possible rebuttal to this idea, and it is over 100 years old - in the words of African-American spokesman and leader Booker T. Washington (not to be confused with Booker T. Jones and the MG's, as Rush Limbaugh inexplicably did today.) In 1895, Washington addressed the "Cotton States and International Exposition" in Atlanta. Please read every inspiring word but I will highlight the preamble to his conclusion:

The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.

Before King. Before Rand. Before jk and this blog, Washington's conclusion shows that he was the first Prosperitarian. But instead of building on Booker T's message, the NAACP has taken the alternate path advocated by its founder W.E.B. Du Bois that was less "accomodating to white interests."

W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights. He labeled Washington "the Great Accommodator". Washington's response was that confrontation could lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks. He believed that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome racism in the long run.

More than 100 years later, how is Du Bois' plan working out? Not so well for overcoming racism. Just fine though for career activists.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The comparison rang a bell and (Thanks, Bing!) I found it in Review Corner. (Insert Taranto gag "it's always the last place you look...")

Jason Riley highlighted the tension between Du Bois and Washington:

An interesting and original subordinate point is the tension between W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. Du Bois sought political power to right the wrongs of oppression and Washington sought economic power. Modern leaders chose political power, which is surely defensible after slavery and Jim Crow, but Riley suggests that they should not have abandoned Washington. He highlights minority groups in America that have little or no political power yet do extraordinarily well. Asians, Italians, Scandinavians acquired economic power first, then they entered the political realm. African Americans and Irish turned first to politics and were both poorly served.

This remains true, but I suggest that Riley and my blog brother have a long road ahead to repair racism (though someday, maybe if there were a black President...)

Like Ferguson, without providing a smidgen of quarter to looters and thugs who disrespect their overwhelmingly-minority neighbors' property rights, I call for a reduction in illegality.

I do not have a clue what happened to Freddie Gray, but the dribbling in of his rap sheet is rife with minor drug possession, and he was picked up for having a knife?

The thuggish protesters require the ecosystem of the peaceful protesters in a free speech versus personal and property endangerment calculus I find difficult to reconcile. I suggest that had most of the protesters not been hassled for minor offences, most of the protesters would not be out. Without those legitimate, peaceful protesters, the looters would be manageable.

Not making excuses for lawlessness, but you can't fix people and you cannot easily fix police. You can fix law, and extend liberty and respect to people. I think that is the best path forward.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2015 4:58 PM

April 25, 2015

Colorado Presidential Primary?

Comments anyone? Denver Post:

Democratic and Republican legislators are drafting a measure to create a presidential primary in Colorado, The Denver Post has learned, a significant shift in one of the last dozen or so states that operates on a caucus system.

Most of the legislation's details are still being negotiated, but the tentative plan would put the primary in a prominent spot on the 2016 calendar and make the swing state a top prize in the nominating process.

My chief objection would be if it binds all of Colorado's delegates to vote for the primary winner. I suppose that would be alright if they were only bound on the first ballot but really, at this point, what difference does it make if most of the other states already have primaries instead of caucuses anyway? Our form of government is becoming more democratic, and less republican, and nobody really even notices.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:49 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Maybe I can spark a comment with one of my own. Here is what I opined on the subject on FB this morning:

I have not researched it myself but according to comments above, any straw poll is binding due to bylaws of the state AND the national party - or at least by one or the other. So, to answer your question Steve House, since any straw poll will be binding the answer seems to be, simply don't conduct one at all.

People come to caucus because they have a strong opinion about the primary candidate(s) they want to support early in the process. Voting a preference poll ballot may feel good but it accomplishes little or nothing. The way to support a candidate in a republican system is to vote for delegates who pledge themselves to your candidate. If nobody is pledging yet because there is more than one good candidate, you elect the one that expresses support for your candidate among the others. This is the essence of an electoral college system, which is the keystone of a republican government.

Let's stop promoting the idea that registered Republicans attend caucus to vote in a straw poll (binding or otherwise) that amounts to a de facto "insider's primary." I would like to see the party promote the concept of delegates and educate more of our members that government "by the people" is achieved by selecting a proxy to carry your wishes to the nominating convention - not by marking a piece of paper and going home with a false sense of accomplishment while power brokers in Washington figure out ever more ways to manipulate outcomes of democratic primaries.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2015 12:33 PM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking about it. Don't rush me.

You know I agree wholeheartedly with democracy versus republicanism concerns. I have zero problems with caucusgoers selecting the candidate as opposed to the unwashed.

My problem is that I lack the vision to see Colorado's having an important place in the nomination process. It would be good for the party, and massively entertaining, but it has never happened, the early states were all written in in the Bible or the Declaration or Tocqueville or somewhere. A Colorado Super-Tuesday Primary might be good, but I think it difficult to acquire prominence at this stage of the game.

It also difficult to try to fix one state's being a broken cog in a dysfunctional system. Delegate-schmelegate, I don't suspect a candidate will be selected at the convention in our lifetime. I love the stories of the Dems in 1924 or Republicans in 1880, but those are not coming back. If the RNC were to nominate on the 14th ballot at 3:00 AM and the DNC staged a modern three-day-infomercial they'd be at a distinct disadvantage.

The Straw Poll gets folks to caucus. At caucus, they are exposed to good things. Happened to me. I'd keep it.

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2015 10:32 AM

April 24, 2015

NAGR, RMGO are not gun owners' friends

Most ThreeSourcers are aware of the dynamics that cause politicians to resist actually solving problems that they claim to champion, and that those factors cause the same to happen with social activist groups - think Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. But what never occurred to me until now is that, sometimes, the same thing can happen in gun rights advocacy.

JK dubbed the National Association for Gun Rights the "People's Gun Rights of Judea two weeks ago. He directed ire at the NRA for blacklisting pols who associate with the competing group. Without any opining on the NRA in its own right, it is becoming painfully clear that the NAGR and it's Colorado predecessor, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are not gun owners' friends.

A full-blown public war of words has developed between RMGO and Colorado liberty groups and the Independence Institute. Independence's president, Jon Caldera, held a radio telethon of sorts to lay out the depth and breadth of RMGO malfeasance. In short, it is opposing state legislation that would EXPAND gun rights, in the form of increasing magazine capacity limits, for the express reason that ANY limitation is an infringement on gun rights and gun owners should hold out for full repeal of the law.

"Shut your pie hole and go buy one [magazine of 16 round capacity or more] and ignore the law," said Dudley Brown, president of RMGO. But ignoring the law doesn't make it go away, and the law's existence helps RMGO raise money through political donations by citizens who fear that the law will be expanded, not rolled back. Okay Dudley, will YOU ignore the law? Will you stop fundraising on it?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2015

Regressive Colorado: Murder of Unborn Still Not a Crime

Works for me:

The fetal homicide bill introduced Tuesday by Senate President Bill Cadman includes an unborn child, at every stage of gestation from conception to live birth, as a "person" for the purposes of homicide and assault offenses.

However, it specifically says it does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child or a medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of a mother of
her unborn child or the mother's legal guardian.

But not for Democrats:

Cadman told The Denver Post the bill protect's [sic] a woman's right to choose abortion, but Democrats decried it as an attempt to put "personhood" into law.

I decry the Democrats utter refusal to consider the humanity of unborn people. After all, the feds crossed this reasonable and obvious rubicon eleven years ago.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I called my position on this "reasonable and obvious." The Denver Post agrees.

A 2013 law made it a felony to unlawfully terminate a pregnancy, but it is a Class 3 felony with a sentencing range of 10 to 32 years unless the mother dies - when it becomes a Class 2 felony. The Class 3 felony is utterly inadequate.
Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2015 4:32 PM

April 2, 2015

Life Imitates ThreeSources

Well, at least David Harsanyi. All hail as he decries pachydermal pusillanimity in the Indiana RFRA: Let's Face It, Republicans Are Cowards On Religious Liberty (But Voters Aren't)

Republicans have talent for courting just enough controversy to generate prodigious amounts of negative press but at the same time not doing enough to accomplish anything meaningful. And few things in this world rattle your run-of-the-mill Republican more than some ginned-up outrage over "discrimination" or "bigotry." The media's deliberate distortion of the intention, reach, and history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act--not to mention pressure from corporations like Apple and Walmart--was more than enough to do the trick.

What excuse does Mike Pence have for flubbing a simple question about discrimination on national television last Sunday? What's his excuse for pledging to "fix" a law that's already straightforward, innocuous, and ubiquitous? He's not alone, of course. When Arkansas legislators passed the same bill by a wide margin (what the media calls "controversial"), Gov. Asa Hutchinson threw it back to lawmakers and asked them to rework it to guarantee that the make-believe concerns of his MoveOn.org-mimicking son could be "fixed."

The Stupid Party -- can't be hip or principled.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:31 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Does defending someone's right to be a bigot make you a bigot yourself? Some say yes, but they are wrong. The same way that defending Illinois Nazi's right to be racists does not make you a racist yourself.

"I don't agree with your principled objection to making a gay wedding cake but I'll defend (maybe not to the death but you get the picture) your right to refuse."

I also don't agree with your decision to abort your baby but I'll equally defend your liberty to make that choice.

So we can now plainly see that the "pro-choice" party is not really so much pro-choice as it is pro-abortion. And pro-Christian shaming.

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 1:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg hits this out of the park in his G-File newsletter:

Megalothymia is a term coined by Francis Fukuyama. It's a common mistake to think Fukuyama simply took Plato's concept of "thumos" or "thymos" and put a "mega" in front of it because we all know from the Transformers and Toho Productions that "mega" makes everything more cool.

But that's not the case. Megalothymia is a neologism of megalomania (an obsession with power and the ability to dominate others) and thymos, which Plato defined as the part of the soul concerned with spiritedness, passion, and a desire for recognition and respect.

Fukuyama defined megalothymia as a compulsive need to feel superior to others.

And boy howdy, do we have a problem with megalothymia in America today. Everywhere you look there are moral bullies utterly uninterested in conversation, introspection, or persuasion who are instead hell-bent on grinding down people they don't like to make themselves feel good. If you took the megalothymia out of Twitter, millions of trolls would throw their smartphones into the ocean.

Posted by: jk at April 3, 2015 2:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:


You are right - that's awesome.

This "thymos" sounds a lot like "ego." If you know the difference please tell me, but both probably have a role to play in the narcissism for which the temporary White House resident is so renowned.


Posted by: johngalt at April 3, 2015 7:02 PM

March 27, 2015

Boulder DA - Life Begins at Inhalation

District Attorney Stan Garnett (D-People's Republic of Boulder) will not pursue murder charges against a woman who forcibly removed a 7 month fetus from her mother, killing the child.

"Colorado law defines homicide as the killing of a person by another," Garnett said.

Fine so far, except that this terse definition doesn't make any allowance for self-defense.

"A person does not include a fetus, even if the child is born following the injury that ultimately leads to its death. It's on this point of law that Colorado is absolutely unambiguous." [emphasis mine]

Garnett continued:

"A prosecutor cannot file murder charges when a baby that is killed has not lived outside the womb," he said. "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."

As much as I disagree with the law as written, I can't disagree here. But a decision was made in this case:

"At this time, neither the autopsy or the investigation have provided any evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth," [County Coroner Emma] Hall [D-People's Republic of Boulder] wrote. [emphasis mine]

I'm left wondering what Ms. Hall might consider "evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside the womb." Her first report card, perhaps?

Garnett said it had been widely reported that witness David Ridley told Longmont police immediately after the incident that he had seen the baby, named Aurora, take a gasping breath.

"Upon a more thorough examination of this witness by the Longmont Police Department, the witness clarified that Aurora was still and her mouth was open, but she was not breathing," Garnett said.

The ol' "didn't inhale" defense. Well, with every measure of respect Mr. District Attorney, bullshit. This juror believes the witness' initial statement, not the one obtained by police officers in your county "upon a more thorough examination" and after he realized or was informed that a breathing baby is a murder victim. And the witness did not even see the baby until the suspect had transported her across town. If she was still taking a "gasping breath" at that time, she was clearly breathing in some manner or other before then.

So the child/baby/fetus that was ripped from her mother will receive only as much justice as a charge of "first-degree attempted murder" and some assault charges. And the suspect will walk on that charge because she didn't injure any of the mother's vital organs, so couldn't have been attempting her murder and, as the DA so has so speciously explained, "a person does not include a fetus."

If a child takes a breath in a bathtub and there is no medical examiner there to hear it, does it really make a sound?

How can these people sleep at night?

UPDATE: [8:38 am MDT 3/28] I gave more thought to the legal fig leaf Garnett is standing behind in this case. Namely, "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."

I thought he may have weighed in on last year's gay marriage controversy, where several counties including Boulder began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in contravention of federal law within days of a 10th Circuit Court ruling the federal law unconstitutional, despite the ruling having been stayed. Apparently he did not. However, he did have something to say on the matter in 2010 during his campaign against incumbent Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, when a Massachusetts judge made a similar ruling:

"This decision is an appropriate endorsement of states' rights and local control, respecting the right of individual states to resolve important and controversial issues for themselves. As Attorney General, I will work to uphold the will of Colorado voters." [emphasis mine]

Despite this pledge to essentially "decide the law" for Coloradoans, Garnett lost the campaign for Attorney General - but should Colorado voters not expect him to live up to his own pledge as the Boulder District Attorney?

This isn't directly comparable, as the "will of Colorado voters" in the present case is expressed by the large number of individuals who made their opinion known to the DA rather than by ballot initiative. But the principle remains - in some cases the law "as written" is unjust.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:24 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I have some very unpopular and contrarian views on this. I thought if anyone I knew might be in my camp, it might be my blog brother jg. As the great philosopher Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac said: "Oh, well."

This is a horrific crime and excruciating tragedy. I rarely quote Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (who -- as far as I know never played for Fleetwood Mac), but his famous dictum applies here:

Great cases like hard cases make bad law. For great cases are called great, not by reason of their importance... but because of some accident of immediate overwhelming interest which appeals to the feelings and distorts the judgment.

DA Garnett is applying the law as written -- a value for which I stand fulsomely. Our Republican legislators will again make a quest to pass "personhood." This has failed badly at the polls, twice, and in the State Legislature. It shall be revived now as "So-and-so's Law" to provide justice.

The alleged perpetrator is deeply disturbed and subject to many serious charges. That one of them is not named "murder" may not seem right, but appreciation for rule of law is right.

Posted by: jk at March 29, 2015 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We discussed this briefly at family potluck last night and I concluded it is a conflict between two important principles: "Innocent until proven guilty" and "alive until proven dead." Which may prevail in a court of law is anyone's guess. But it should not matter. The Unborn Victims of Violence Act, codified in 2004 at the federal level and adopted in some form by 38 states not including Colorado, impresses me as good law. My less than thorough understanding is that Colorado's "Personhood" initiatives overreached and thus sealed their fate. An initiative seeking to "adopt in Colorado law the federal law criminalizing the murder of unborn children with a clear and specific exception for abortion" would, it seems to me, pass with a large majority. The laboratories of democracy seem to agree with your and my conclusion that failing to try this assailant for murder (and instead try her for attempted murder of, whom, the mother?) does "not seem right."

More than jailing this monster for as long as is deserved, I seek to change Colorado law so that it reflects "the will of the people" in protecting individual liberty. And I seek to shame Boulder's Coroner and DA who, it is my firm belief, could have found the needed evidence if they had looked for it. And further shaming the DA for his convenient conversion to "law as written" absolving him from any duty of professional judgment.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I will yield on the charge of "murder" as the suspect did not appear to intend the child's death. To the contrary, she claimed her as her own newborn child. So the proper charges seem to be kidnapping and manslaughter.

But the point of the discussion is whether or not the newborn is a human life in the eyes of the law. That this even requires debate is a ludicrous byproduct of a misguided debate over abortion rights.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2015 12:43 PM

March 14, 2015

Colorado GOP Reboot

Colorado Republicans met in Castle Rock today for the party's bi-annual ritual of electing its leadership team. Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary positions were at stake. I am pleased to report that the sitting Chair, Ryan Call, was displaced by challenger Steve House.

Like Winston Churchillís 1945 loss after winning World War II, Ryan Call lost his re-election bid for State GOP Chairman this morning to former gubernatorial candidate Steve House. While both sides claimed they had the votes to win, it was House who pulled out the victory with 237.66 votes to Callís 179.33 votes. House received 57% of the vote, and congratulations across social media.

And a surprising outcome, for its decisiveness if not its conclusion, had Derrick Willburn winning the Vice-Chair race on the first ballot in a crowded field. Derrick received 203 votes compared to 88, 65 and 44 votes for three other formidable candidates, passing the majority threshold of 201.5 by just 1.5 votes. (All county co-chairs each cast half-votes.) So each of us who voted for Derrick can basically consider himself "the deciding vote."

Derrick's message of outreach to urban voters of color resonated with the county party leaders and bonus members who seized on his offer to lead the effort to bring voters of color home to the Republican party from a Democrat party that always promises but never delivers any improvements in their lives. Derrick will be a great partner for Chairman House, who said:

"Denver and Boulder are where the biggest opportunities lie for growing the Republican tent. We must open the doors to new voters who are just waiting to enjoy the prosperity and freedom that only our party can deliver."

Finally, the new party Secretary Brandi Meek represents youth, women and the rural western slope. Together these three new leaders are certain to take Colorado Republicans in a far different - and I think far better - direction than might otherwise have been.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:17 PM | Comments (4)
But Jk thinks:

Great Day for Colorado. Thanks, County Chair!

Posted by: Jk at March 14, 2015 9:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Is it too much an "inside baseball" question to ask what was wrong with the old guard?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 15, 2015 10:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I wondered the same thing nb, when I got involved with the party and found everyone upset with him. He drew a full-time salary and didn't give money to candidates who could have used it, mostly. He dismissed the liberty wing of the party and maintained an open feud with many of them. He did many things behind closed doors and didn't answer questions forthrightly. He also, now infamously, set us an "Independent Expenditure Committee" for the CO GOP that was supposedly separate from the party and therefore able to spend money like a PAC. But the party pays the IEC's legal bills. And the IEC paid a consultant big bucks, then that same consultant was convicted of fraud or some such in Virginia. Call was accused of back room dealing and spending money to defeat Republicans he didn't like in primaries.

Basically, it's a long list that almost everyone can find something to be mad about.

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2015 11:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll be Mister Positive! Without attacking Call for anything specific, I suggest that it was time for a change to allow the liberty wing to spring up and change a somewhat sclerotic state party apparatus.

Okay, that wasn't too positive, but I got to meet House during his gubernatorial campaign and was mightily impressed by his background, integrity, and dedication to liberty principles. I'd've picked House over anybody.

The best defense of Call was his success in 2014, but there were suggestions that he could have helped in a couple House races and chose not to; control of both chambers was within grasp.

I get weary of Tea partiers demanding scalps qua scalps, but this was a good one. I wish Mister Call a long and happy life, but I congratulate House and the assembly that elected him.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 11:20 AM

March 4, 2015

Nobel Politics

The rise of partisanship is a hot topic these days and now we learn, even the Nobel Committee is not immune

Mr Jagland had attracted criticism after overseeing a number of controversial of awards, including ones made to Barack Obama in 2009 - less than a year after the U.S. president took office - to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and to the European Union in 2012.

No serving chair has ever been ousted since the awards were first made in 1901, even with shifting political majorities.

The committee is appointed in line with the strength of the parties in Norway's parliament.

Perhaps Norwegian voters felt the Nobel awards had become too partisan for their taste.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Not fair to the President. His job was to not be George W. Bush -- and he excels at it.

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 3:29 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'll grant you that, and I stand corrected. Nonetheless, taking a swing at Cordell Hull? Not an opportunity I get every day, and soooooo worth it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2015 3:32 PM
But jk thinks:

A new member of the FDR administration to dislike. Thanks, Keith, you provide a valuable public service.

I can recite the names of all Secretaries of State (big big fun at parties -- everyone laughs when you get to Philanderer C. Knox) and know him as the longest serving in that position. The distasteful items at your link were not known to me.

Serious question: as PM Netanyahu's speech hangs in the air, one is reminded of leadership and foreign policy. I tend to give FDR and by extension Sec. Hull a wide pass for foreign policy because they kicked ass and took names in WWII. Horrible, horrible crew in so many ways -- but they defeated Nazism and Japanese Imperialism.

Am I too kind? It's frequently said...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 4:20 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Cordell Hull bears the brunt of a special animus from me; his refusal to accept refugees from the St. Louis is half of a set of bookends of the FDR Administration's failure in handling WWII, the other half being Manzanar. Are you too kind to the FDR Administration? It depends on how you view prolonging the Great Depression, the government expansion of powers under the pretense of the New Deal, trying to pack the Supreme Court, and the very existence of the United Nations.

Ask a dozen friends of yours when World War Two started, and eleven of them will cite December, 1941. Only one will answer "September 1, 1939." Roosevelt may have kicked some Nazi ass, but don't forget that the war raged for 26 months before Japan bombed us. Hitler and the Germans managed to not provoke us enough for two years, and I picture the tension on the phone line the day after Pearl Harbor, with Hitler phoning Hirohito and Tojo and asking them what they had been thinking. Yes, we eventually got into the war and won it, though I give more credit to the military than to the Roosevelt Administration for that.

I did not know until recently that Cordell Hull can also be thanked for income tax and the inheritance tax. You learn something new every day, I suppose.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 4, 2015 5:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I suggest I have the correct animus for domestic policies and the deep scars inflicted on American liberty.

But the will to mobilize a two-theatre war, maintain alliances, appoint and correctly trust Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, Patton, and lead the public through very uncertain chances of success is difficult to dismiss.

It's as if Justin Bieber discovered the cure to cancer or something...

Posted by: jk at March 4, 2015 6:15 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Manzanar should never be forgotten. In fact, it's one of those episodes that should be painfully recounted by Hollywood every 10 years or so, as is slavery, and the Holocaust.

I'd argue that war really started between 1937 (Marco Polo Bridge, Nanking....) and the annexation of the Sudetenland in 1938, but technically, 12/7/41 is most correct as prior to the Day of Infamy it was only a european war with a new naval skirmishes in the Indian Ocean, one battle near Nomonhan and ever growing "incidents" in China. My Dad who fought in WW2, always argued 1937, but wanting to be a Marine, he always looked east.

Currently reading Churchill's books on WW2 and have to support JK's assertion that FDR's support of Lend-Lease (and other quiet moves) is every bit as huge as Lincoln preserving the Union.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 6, 2015 1:45 PM

February 4, 2015


According to the Free Dictionary there are 196 different meanings for the acronym "PMS." The two most popular, pre-menstrual syndrome and pantone matching system, are not the topic of this post. I refer to a 197th meaning: Politically Motivated Science

State senator Doug Whitsett, in Oregon of all places, named this enemy of the common man in his commencement speech to last year's graduating class of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine:

Politically motivated science and statistically significant science are much like oil and water. First, they are nearly impossible to mix. Second, oil rises to the top like science that is fabricated to support political motives.


Estimated, assumed, surrogate or fabricated data points predictably produce 'counterfeit-science'.

Too often, we are asked to believe that biological systems are just 'too complex' to support science that is statistically significant. Moreover, we are expected to accept the unsubstantiated and often unverifiable assumptions that are used to calibrate the models.

Scientific reports that are not statistically significant are by definition, insignificant. They are irrelevant, immaterial and inconsequential.

Worse, computer models are too often manipulated to fabricate alleged scientific support to justify a political end.

The modelled reports are then employed to mislead those who believe that science is the 'final word'.

There is no such thing as 'the final word in science'.

Moreover, there is no such thing as 'scientific consensus' or 'settled science'. The scientific method requires that we continue to question, continue to probe, and continue to debate the validity of every scientific assumption.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:32 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2015

"Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel

I mentioned Andy Peth in the comments below. He is a master messager for ideas he interchangeably calls conservative and liberty-oriented, possibly a byproduct of his "Basic Evangelism" class in Seminary. Tonight he mentioned his critique of the Joni Ernst SOTU rebuttal. This part struck me as perhaps useful in reaching young folks trying to find some answers. Boulder moms, perhaps.

"From each according to his ability. To each according to his need." This Marxist ideal collapses nations from Russia to South America, and our president has hitched his wagon to it. Avoiding this topic because redistribution initially feels good --is crazy. Itís like Christians avoiding talk of sin because sin initially feels good. We need to start answering why, as in, "Why opportunity? Why not rob the few for the many? Why vote for us? Why not them?" Letís offer reason, as only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Let me say that again: Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Yes, inspirational stories are good too, but these should accent reason, not replace it.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:03 AM | Comments (0)

January 2, 2015

Nobody's top concerns for 2014

The new Gallup survey of "Most Important Problem Facing the U.S." is out and since I'm a glass 9/10 full kinda guy, I'm going to list the things on the list that never exceeded 10% of respondents in even a single month all year. Here goes... "nobody" cares about:

Federal deficit/debt (9%)

Ethics/moral decline (7%)

Focus overseas/foreign aid (7%)

Education (6%)

Lack of money (5%)

Poverty/homelessness (5%)

Terrorism (4%)

Gap between rich/poor (4%)

National security (3%)

War (3%)

Crime/violence (3%)

Judicial system (3%)

Wage issues (2%)

Lack of respect for each other (2%)

This is not for lack of trying to gin up a "crisis" over most of these issues. One such campaign was actually successful - Race relations/racism was, for one month the "most important problem facing the U.S." in the opinion of 13% of Americans. But averaged throughout the year, the un-forced rate of concern was 3% (with at least one month being as low as 1%. Interestingly, Terrorism was the only one of these concerns to every have a monthly reading of 0%.)

Which leaves a "Big Five" of major concerns for Americans last year:


Economy in general




The last, immigration, averages below 10 percent but I included it here for its monthly peak, probably during the juvenile "invasion," of 17%. "Economy" and "Unemployment" seem to me to be the same concern, but each from a different perspective - the first from employers and the second from employees. So this one has a whopping 32% seeing it as their top concern all year long. Add that to the 18% for "Government" and fully half of all Americans are most concerned about government and what it is doing to our economy and jobs.

So tell me again why the GOP is having a civil war about "Immigration?"

Ginned up.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:14 PM | Comments (3)
But Jk thinks:

Interesting. But one's "second most important" problem can still be a concern, nicht wahr? Just because the trapezoid behind the goalie is my second most important problem, I still care.

And I'll bet the price of 100' of fence that almost all the 17% choosing immigration are Republicans.

Posted by: Jk at January 2, 2015 8:52 PM
But dagny thinks:

Something else seems a little off here. Seems like the items at the top are more specific and the ones below are more general. For example, "economy in general," could be considered to include the deficit/debt, lack of money, poverty, gap between rich and poor, and wage issues.

If you put Terrorism, national security, and war together you get over 10%.

Very misleading.

Posted by: dagny at January 5, 2015 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

You people can be led to water... (heh)

The overarching point of this poll, as I have interpreted it for you dear readers, is to observe which issues are "natural" concerns of Americans and which are news-cycle driven "ginned up" concerns. Even if the 17% of Americans who cited Immigration as their "most important problem" are all Republicans, at some point in the year there was something even more important for most of them. This makes the Immigration issue an "unnatural" concern for most people.

At the same time, a natural concern of half of Americans, again possibly all of whom are Republicans, is "government." And the lowest level of concern for those three "government" issues in any given month still totals to 36%.

And only one of the three components of my "government" category is subject to partisan rancor. Economy and Unemployment are pragmatic concerns.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2015 5:08 PM

December 8, 2014

"A Lifestyle Choice"

That's the way "a leader of Boulder's Ferguson Movement" described the actions of "hundreds" of protesters who marched and staged die-ins over the past two Saturdays. Word is, they're going to try to close down the major highway leading in and out of Boulder this evening. Curiously, although perhaps not so much to anyone who ever visited Boulder, Colorado, they are almost exclusively white folks.


Ever the intrepid blogger, I may have found the explanation for this:

Today race is industrialized -- a spectator sport driven by divisional politics, entitlement, false prophets, social media and white pundits with intellectually superior opinions who rarely have had a meaningful relationship with a person outside of their white inner circle.

Zito continues:

We all impact each other's lives, usually most profoundly when no one is looking; we do it not for profit, for attention or a pat on the back, but because it is the right thing to do.

These days, both blacks and whites feel abandoned by Washington. So the solution to our nation's racial discourse should be handled by us individually, one person at a time -- and not by exploiting bad deeds done by both sides that only further the hatred.

Yep. We are all the TEA Party now, except the race industry is working overtime to keep us pitted against our neighbors so we don't have a spare moment to consider "What's Washington done for you lately?" Either that or maybe being ignorant of "Federal Privilege" really is just a lifestyle choice.

UPDATE: [Dec. 9, 2:55 pm EST] - An estimated 150-225 protesters blocked traffic on CO Highway 36 for 4.5 minutes Monday night, signifying the 4.5 hours that Michael Brown's body laid in the street while the investigation was completed.

The goal of the major highway disruption, as outlined in a flyer distributed by protesters, was to hammer home that "institutional racism and police brutality are no longer acceptable."

You know what? That is fine with me. "Institutional racism" and "police brutality" are not acceptable to me either, and I've felt that way my entire adult life. But I'm a practical guy. I can only suggest fixes to actual problems. If the two highly publicized "examples" of those supposedly ongoing injustices are the best examples to be had then, well, I'm not outraged. I'm certainly not going to adopt a new anti-police "lifestyle choice."

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:37 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

The solidarity is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2014 7:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Personally, I'd use a chipper-shredder instead of a knife, but that's just a lifestyle choice too.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 8, 2014 9:40 PM

December 3, 2014

Corporate Welfare

The President threatened a veto of a "$450 billion package of special-interest tax provisions that the GOP leadership had negotiated with Harry Reid." The WSJ Ed Page suggests that could be a gift, but...

Alas, we're probably hoping for too much. The GOP-Reid package would have made many of the provisions permanent, but that has happily died with Mr. Obama's veto threat. But rather than let the tax favors die, the House GOP is moving this week to vote on another one-year extension of about 50 "temporary" tax subsidies.

Washington has been reauthorizing these temporary tax breaks since the 1980s, pausing to occasionally stuff more special-interest payoffs into the broader package. This latest House vote would cost taxpayers $44.7 billion over 10 years, and it includes tax perks for, among other national priorities, Hollywood films, wind turbines, Nascar owners and race horses.

I have been complaining on a couple comment threads that these tax expenditures are in many more pernicious than giveaways to the poor. My blog brothers have a gooberload of philosophical and efficacy objections to poverty expenditures, but I want to offer an olive branch and proposal.

Let's tackle corporate welfare first. Say nothing as billions are fraudulently shoveled to SNAP, EBT, and TANF users. Obamaphones? Well, we worry about the program but we want to do further investigation before offering specific proposals...

Meanwhile, let's cut special gifts to NASCAR (a great customer of my employer -- if this post mysteriously gets airbrushed...) Most of the race horse owners I see on TV look like they're eating pretty well. Hollywood, Wind Turbines -- well you get my drift.

Phase II is to tighten the thresholds. Still not cutting benefits to the poor, just ensuring that the most needy are getting served by more rigorous means testing.

Phase III -- after demonstrating success -- is to reform these programs to something more transparent to the funding taxpayers and more empowering to the recipients. This will need to be signed into law by a Republican President. But that is made more likely by blunting the portrayal of the GOP as attacking the poor. We're just protecting the taxes of the middle class.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | Comments (9)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Now, see what happens? I tried to be a grown-up about this and not make reference to the limp economy or our dickless legislators (the politically-correct term, of course, is "testicularly challenged"), and someone has to go and write that (and the Federalist, no less).

My original question remains. And for that matter, how much do each of these cost, and how many did we buy? $444 million? How many Medicare recipients are there who need this? Who's prescribing them?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 3, 2014 5:05 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In re: means and asset testing, I'm going to have to join in your objection. Are we talking about length or girth here? How do they evaluate if you're needy enough in this regard to qualify?

Or do you mean that sentence more generally?

Anyhoo, there's a Bob Dole joke in there just waiting to be told, and now a Jose Canseco joke to go along with it.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 3, 2014 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

I was really proud of both of us.

It's an actual medical benefit. The suppliers profit from the subsidies no doubt. But I'll throw this into the bucket of "I'm not cutting benefits until we cut corporate welfare."

I'll take a f-f-f- principled stand. (Damn, almost!)

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2014 5:13 PM
But jk thinks:

The new circumcision guidelines have been released.

Just sayin'...

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2014 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. I am SO glad I was replacing brakes on the truck last night instead of watching this thread play out. I'll just sum up by asking, Is this the best way to save $444M in Medicare spending that Republican congressmen can come up with? Over, what, 10 years or something? Peanuts!

The payments were "grossly excessive," the deputy inspector general, Gloria Jarmon, said at the time, because Medicare paid more than twice retail prices for the pumps.

Thank you Ms. Deputy Inspector General, now please prepare a list of ALL the things for which Medicare paid more than twice retail prices. Gotta be one or two others.

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2014 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

("Reach around the aisle" is pretty funny though.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 4, 2014 2:55 PM

November 26, 2014

Democrats - The new "Party of the Rich"

I could write an eloquent flowing post, where I lay out a premise and support it with pull quotes, but that would take too long. Besides, this one almost writes itself, given the pull quotes.

From Thomas B. Edsall's NYT editorial - Who Will Save the Democratic Party From Itself?


Webb is one answer to the weaknesses of today's center-left, the so-called "upstairs-downstairs" coalition described by Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University. Kotkin argues in his recently published book, "The New Class Conflict," that the Democratic Party has been taken over by what he calls "gentry liberals," an elite that has undermined the historic purpose of the Democratic Party.

Kotkin contends that

The great raison d'étre for left-wing politics - advocating for the middle and working classes - has been refocused to attend more closely to the policy imperatives and interests of small, highly affluent classes, as well as the powerful public sector.

I asked Kotkin what he thought of the themes Webb intends to raise, and he wrote back "I think he's onto something."


As much as such a shift to a class-based strategy might result in economic policies more beneficial to less affluent Democratic constituencies, and therefore to more votes in the long haul, so far there has been insufficient intraparty pressure to force a change in strategic orientation.


The current approach depends on a Republican Party that refuses to adjust to the transforming composition of the electorate. The 2014 elections demonstrated, however, that the Republican Party and its candidates are not immune to feedback and will change if they have to in order to win.

Insofar as the Republican Party tempers its retrograde stance on social-sexual and moral-racial issues, Democratic campaigns stressing alleged threats from conservatives-- the threat to freedom and privacy posed by the Christian right; the threat to Hispanic family unity posed by anti-immigrant activists; the threat to programs serving the poor posed by deficit hawks -- will run out of gas.


The Democrats' lack of credibility on economic issues will hobble, if not extinguish, the party's prospects. Unless the Democrats develop a coherent, comprehensive strategy for the have-nots, it won't matter whether the party's nominee is Clinton, Webb or anyone else.

Okay, a smart man once said, "If you have something important to say, don't be subtle about it."

I contend the Republican Party is in a perfect position to not only temper its stance on retrograde moral and social issues, but also to develop a coherent, comprehensive strategy for the have-nots. One that cuts across white, black and Hispanic "identity" boundaries and undermines the entire "demography is destiny" strategy of the Democrats.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:03 PM | Comments (4)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Uh-huh, and I have to wonder what or who will be arbiter of what is "retrograde" ? In today's pop-culture climate, which sadly is little different than when I went to college (though the slippage of NewsTime and other Media dinosaurs gives hope), I assume that "progress" on moral/racial/social/sexual matters will be judged by the same yardstick whereby the definition of "bipartisan" is in practice "whatever Ted Kennedy would have done."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 26, 2014 7:00 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

And now for a moment to try to move this ball forward: agreeing with JK that the GOP is now primed for a primary thrust of how free markets and reasonable regulation benefit the poor & middle class.

I suspect that it will be easier for the party to assert the failure of over-regulation/taxation and in general the gov't picking winners & losers (of course always picking the loser, even in the best case falling just short of picking the plucky underdog). Easier partly b/c of the environment whereby the Mass Media still mostly drives the common gestalt, and easier b/c making the case for "blood, sweat, toil" is always harder than "let Senator Asskiss fight The Man for you."

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 27, 2014 1:14 AM
But Jk thinks:

Quick point of order: while I like this post, I cannot in good conscience take credit for Brother jg's work.

Didn't you notice that all the words were spelled correctly? That's usually a giveaway.

Posted by: Jk at November 27, 2014 8:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Discussions on how to make the case for "we'll create a better life for the 'have-nots'" will wait for another day. As for "who will decide" what is retrograde in moral and social issues, the correct answer is the same as who will rightly decide what kind of health insurance to buy or whether to have ham or turkey or tofu for Thanksgiving - each of us, individually. Them's free markets.

Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2014 10:57 AM

November 18, 2014

Two Cheers for Small Politics!

Ron Fournier has made some friends on the right for his rare willingness to criticize the President. Surely they'll seize his mainstream journalist rewards card. I, too, applaud independence.

But my pal, Insty, links and lengthily excerpts his latest "The Extraordinary Smallness of Washington." I like a whack at President Obama as much as most (well, the lovely bride enjoys it more). But let's be careful what we wish for, can we? Fournier shows his lefty stripes:

On immigration, we need durable new rules that give 11 million illegal immigrants some form of legalization without punishing those who followed the old rules, and that acknowledge the steep social costs of porous borders. In other words, true reform would be bipartisan, addressing credible concerns of conservatives and liberals alike.

Instead, we're about to get temporary half-measures issued by fiat from Obama.

On energy, we need a national policy that balances the threat of global warming against the hunger for jobs--one that acknowledges the economic and national security benefits of diversifying our energy buffet.

I'd love me some comprehensive immigration reform. And I'd equally hate me some notional energy policy. What Fournier misses is that we have had some pretty sweeping legislation: ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, TARP, The Stimulusticus, Auto Bailouts, Cash for Crunkers...

Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. had a nice cottage industry ranking the Presidents. "Bigness" was his key indicator. Grover Cleveland's firm vetoes, Warren Gamaliel Harding's releasing Eugene Debs and daily meetings with Charles Dawes to trim spending score low. Fournier makes the same mistake.

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

November 4, 2014

Liberalism 101, 201...

Something a bit different from obsessively following a dozen senatorial and gubernatorial races.

A terrific issue of Imprimis, headed by William Voegeli, whose The Pity Party must be on the TS review page soon (hint, hint). To best defeat something, one must first understand it. My BFF and I have gone back and forth on "what liberalism is REALLY about..." Voegeil nails it to the wall, then takes it down!

He sets the stage nicely;

All conservatives are painfully aware that liberal activists and publicists have successfully weaponized compassion... it follows that its adversary, conservatism, is the politics of cruelty, greed, and callousness. Small-d democratic politics is Darwinian: Arguments and rhetoric that workóthat impress voters and intimidate opponentsóare used again and again. Those that prove ineffective are discarded.

Properly noting that conservatives have yet to bottle a sufficient (nay, any!) rejoinder to the uncaring meme.

He cites both sides: first FDR from 1936

ďDivine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales. Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.Ē

then some Mitch Daniels:

disciplining government according to ďmeasured provable performance and effective spendingĒ ought to be a ďcompletely philosophically neutral objective.Ē Skinflint conservatives want government to be thrifty for obvious reasons, but Daniels maintained that liberalsí motivations should be even stronger. ďI argue to my most liberal friends: ĎYou ought to be the most offended of anybody if a dollar that could help a poor person is being squandered in some way.í And,Ē the governor added slyly, ďsome of them actually agree.Ē The clear implicationóthat many liberals are not especially troubled if government dollars that could help poor people are squanderedóstrikes me as true, interesting, and important.

Then gets to the meat:

if youíre trying to prove your heart is in the right place, the failure of government programs to alleviate suffering is not only an acceptable outcome but in many ways the preferred one. Sometimes empathizers, such as those in the ďhelping professions,Ē acquire a vested interest in the study, management, and perpetuationóas opposed to the solution and resulting disappearanceóof sufferersí problems. This is why so many government programs initiated to conquer a problem end up, instead, colonizing it by building sprawling settlements where the helpers and the helped are endlessly, increasingly co-dependent.

The money quote: liberals care about helping much less than they care about caring.

Sprinkled with some awesome quotes:
ďIf youíre trying to prove your heart is in the right place, it isnít.Ē -- Prof. David Schmidtz
as well as Barbara Oakley, and Rousseau and the OED: ďcompassionĒ means, literally, ďsuffering together with anotherĒóitís the ďfeeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it.Ē then Voegeli notes, suffering together does not mean suffering identically.

All in under 3 pages; can't wait to see what he does in his book! It's supposed to feature some wicked humor. He doesn't bottle or provide a response, rejoinder or weapon against the uncaring characterization, but I took these away by (1) quoting one and (2) obverting one Voegeli's sentences:

1. "The problem with liberalism may be that no one knows how to get the government to do the benevolent things liberals want it to do."

2. itís more important to accomplish something rather than to be seen doing something.

Now I'm remembering a phrase, which might indeed be that rejoinder:

I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer.
-- Ben Franklin

Now that the election has taken liberalism down a few notches, I say put the stake in 'em!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:10 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

That's a very very good article. A great companion to Yaron Brook's LOTR-F speech. And a good rejoinder to the "mincome" concept.

Review Corner will take the suggestion under advisement. Or, as I traverse 1800 pages of Catholic theology, I'd happily turn over the keys to your steady hands.

Posted by: jk at November 5, 2014 12:34 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

The author has posted a preview at Power Line. Wow. Money quotes:

> "The perfect liberal is someone so compassionate that he cares profoundly about how you are, but so nonjudgmental that he could not care less about what you do. It is on this basis that liberalism believes it has reconciled the demands of individualism with those of community"

"The liberal view is distinctly hopeful on [human nature]. We can understand this perspective by contrasting it with the American founding, which viewed human nature with suspicion and resignation. In the Federalist Papers, for example, James Madison said the least bad way to avoid both tyranny and anarchy was to arrange for ambition to counteract ambition, and thereby supply the defect of better motives through opposite and rival interests."

I clearly need to reread TFP... The full post - well worth a full reading! - at PowerLine is here:

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 6, 2014 11:28 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I have to say that Voegeli's comment about "caring about you, but not what you do" resonates with me when I view the (admittedly, very successful) mega-churches, which I refer to as "buddy Jesus" houses.

They are so overly solicitous with the 'God Loves You' theme (Jesus, y'know; young, cute, hip & forgiving) that the godly part (expecting one to take the proper steps) gets muted, if not totally lost.

But back to quoting a wiser and harder-working man than I (and themes more important to the bulk of TS'ers):
I submit that American conservatism’s task is to conserve our republican experiment in self-government. Because republics are permanently vulnerable, the work of sustaining them is endlessly daunting but permanently necessary. ... I’ve been a conservative as long as I cared enough about politics to try to make sense of it … and even I wish liberalism were true.


Posted by: nanobrewer at November 6, 2014 11:48 AM

Election Day!

There was one more ballot return count from the SoS office this morning. The next count will be the final one, and will be proceeded by the actual vote tally, so only eggheads like me will even care.


While a far cry from the heady day of October 24, when the R-D differential was 12 points, we're still looking at 7.3 points at the moment - 5 points better than in 2012. And another ray of optimism for Republicans, or everyone who's opposed to redistributionist, authoritarian Progressive Democrats, is that this election has seen significantly fewer young voters and significantly more "seasoned" ones.


UPDATE: RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields talks about Colorado early voters:

"Our work has been focused on getting these voters to the polls early or to vote absentee if possible, so that we build up our vote totals ahead of Election Day and cut into the Democrats' traditional early vote advantage," Shields added. "While we're turning out low propensity voters, our data tell us that Democrats have actually been turning out voters who would vote regardless."
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:38 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"...so only eggheads like me will even care." Unless the Democrats capitalize on their 30% chance to re-elect Udall, when many may be interested in how many votes came in at the last minute. And in what counties. *cough* Boulder *cough*

Posted by: johngalt at November 4, 2014 5:29 PM

November 3, 2014

Colorado Early Vote: Election Day Eve


Some analysis here, including more pretty graphs.

The Unaffiliated sentiment is the biggest factor. It looks like we'll soon know whether or not there's a War on Womyn. *

* It can't be called a war on all women anymore, now that our president has told us that "we" don't want moms to stay at home and raise families. Or at least, not a war on those women by Republicans.

"Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that's not a choice we want Americans to make."

Video at the link.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:45 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

In a radio news interview today, Quinnipiac polling spokesman [somebody] Malloy estimated that unaffiliateds are breaking for OOH-dull, 43/36 percent. Applying those weightings to the early U vote through today results in a Gardner win, 49.9% to 43.6% for Uterus.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2014 4:26 PM

October 31, 2014

Electoral Calculus

Between Wednesday and today, 244,245 more ballots were returned by Colorado voters.
68,557 were unaffiliated with a party
76,542 were registered Democratic
96,427 were registered Republican

The derivative of the R-D margin, which I had projected at -1% per reporting interval, slipped to just -0.3%. The second derivative, i.e. the "momentum" of the Republican vs. the Democratic "ground game" is therefore positive at this point.


Posted by JohnGalt at 12:14 PM | Comments (3)
But dagny thinks:

I dunno JG, it sounds a little like calling a reduction in the rate of increase of spending a, "spending cut."

Posted by: dagny at October 31, 2014 1:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Okay, you remember the rate equation story problems we used to work in school? "How long does it take for the barrel to fill up" and "will it be full before the polls close at 7 pm on November 4?" If the rate doesn't look fast enough to fill the barrel by then, that's a good thing. If that rate then SLOWS even MORE, that's even better.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2014 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

'course I went before Common Core™, but we never had a nefarious union thug standing over said barrel with a large bucket of water and a fire hose. Kinda changes things...

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2014 3:58 PM

October 30, 2014

Live Debate: Is There a War on Women? (Bumped)

Watch below on the Independence Institute.

Starring Kelly Maher, Susan Green and Laura Carno, according to Jon Caldera. Perhaps others as well.

live streaming video on Ustream

UPDATE: Here's the recording

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:27 PM | Comments (15)
But johngalt thinks:

Loved the Laura Carno point that "Our mothers used to say that they don't need a man to tell them what to do but women today are letting a government tell them what to do."

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2014 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I commend the several areas of agreement and the fact that they all wished to celebrate said agreement.

Posted by: johngalt at October 31, 2014 1:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I had a good night's rest and ate a nutritious lunch and can watch the rest in my newly fortified condition.

Laura Carno (maybe we can all agree she's the star?) at 50:25 "Pro Choice on doctors, health plan, and my self defense. I want to be the one to choose how big my magazine is..." Yeah!

Posted by: jk at October 31, 2014 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

If we have time... when the elections are past ...

I'd love to hear if anyone believes there is anything to Laura Chapin's dystopian tales of reproductive rights in the Lone Star State. Just because her style makes me want to gnaw my own arm off to get away, all of us believe in the deleterious effects of regulation. Anything to the charge that Texans have made abortions so difficult that that have basically outlawed them?

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2014 10:16 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I believe she's referring to the "hospital where the physician has admitting privileges within his or an adjacent county" that Abortion Barbie made her name filibustering. If the measure also included "or an emergency room" I'd be fine with it. "Admitting privileges" is a barrier to entry for a great many abortionists.

Posted by: johngalt at November 3, 2014 6:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I thought Ms. Davis's red sneakers filibuster concerned a bill banning the termination of 20+ week pregnancies.

I'm not at all swayed by her suggestion that some go to Mexico. I think if I lived there, I'd go to Mexico for haircuts.

But I want to be charitable, and it is easy to see that regulation could provide a path around Casey.

Posted by: jk at November 3, 2014 7:01 PM

October 29, 2014

Wave Propagation 2

Latest chart:


Did somebody say differentials?

The d(R-D)/dT values are 0.7%, -3.2%, -0.1%, -1.7% and -1.0% over the six data points. Extrapolated curve uses the most recent slope, -1.0% per interval.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:20 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Thanks, feeling a little better. Plus Rasmussen has Cory Gardner above 50% for the first time ever.

I remain worried about the vaunted Democrat turnout/fraud machine. That -- as much as math -- has me looking at the slopes.

Posted by: jk at October 29, 2014 1:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You mean, like "Republican" poll watchers in "Democrat County Clerk Hillary Hall's" * Boulder County Clerk's Office actually being Democrats? And not objecting when ballots with obviously non-matching signatures are counted anyway? That kind of "turnout" and "fraud?"

* In protest of the Boulder Daily Camera describing state election officials as "member[s] of Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler's staff."

Note the call to Boulder County Republicans to go to poll watcher training this Saturday morning and to volunteer in the clerk's office next Mon, Tues or Wed. Alert your righty BoCo friends.

Posted by: johngalt at October 29, 2014 2:25 PM

October 28, 2014

BRIC Loses Another Letter

I received an interesting Facebook invitation yesterday. I have befriended a handful of people who share my last name in Brazil. I test the Portuguese translator in Facebook (it's sketchy) and address them all as "Cousin." After the re-election of überlefty President Dilma Rousseff the other day -- I was invited to a rally to impeach her.

I told "Cousin Luciana" to count me in in spirit and shared a WSJ link critical of Rousseff. The WSJ Ed Page is back suggesting that after the votes, the market voted.

Brazil's currency, the real, fell almost 2% and was trading at about 2.52 against the dollar at the end of Monday, close to its lowest point in a decade. Brazil's main stock market index was down 2.8% to its lowest close in six months. Those markets had rallied some in the last few weeks as challenger Aécio Neves had come close to Ms. Rousseff in the polls. So the Monday selloff was a case of investors pricing in the discount of continuing bad economic policy. A Brazil credit downgrade to "junk" status is likely on present trend.

Brazil is proof that democracy is no guarantee of prosperity. A country rich in resources and people has managed to squander both with an overweening state that buys votes via income redistribution and price controls on gasoline that force losses on producers. Those are Third World policy blunders in a country that fancies itself a First World aspirant. This explains Brazilís consistent economic underperformance (0.5% growth this year, following 2.5% in 2013) and 6.75% inflation rate.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (0)

Wave Propagation

Colorado election return data update from Monday, 10/27:

Republicans down 1 point to 43%.
Democrats steady at 32%.

Margin closer by 1 point at 11%.

(Unaffiliateds up one from 23% to 24%.) So really, I would call this "unchanged."


Back story here.

UPDATE: The graph appears to show a slight rise in the D turnout so I extended the percentages to the first decimal place. Democrat turnout is up, 0.7%. Republicans down 1.0 and U's up 0.3%.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:06 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

We are completely screwed. Well, it was fun.

Posted by: jk at October 28, 2014 1:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:
But johngalt thinks:

The wild card? Denver and Boulder unaffiliateds.


Posted by: johngalt at October 28, 2014 3:05 PM

October 24, 2014

Catch a wave...

and you're sittin' on top of the world!

I just commented on The Three Sources Platform? post that, in Colorado's 2012 general election, less than 1 percent of the ballots returned were by registered Libertarians or American Constitution Party members. That doesn't seem like much until one considers that the turnout amongst registered Democrats was 35% and Republicans 37%, with Unaffiliateds making up 28% of the vote. The narrow 2-point margin between the parties whose candidates might actually win can easily be swamped by an unequal split amongst U's, and the minor party votes may or may not make a difference in any individual race. (Usually, it should be noted, not.)

The 2012 election results were mixed, with Democrats and Republicans winning about equally, Democrats having a slight edge in both legislative houses. So the question now becomes, what does 2014 look like? We won't know for sure until election weeks come to an end on November 4th but because of the Secretary of State's practice that I highlighted last week, early voting returns tabulated by party affiliation are available to the public and are updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. So how do they look? Not good for Democrats.

Republicans are up 7 points to 44%.

Democrats are down 3 to 32%.

The margin is therefore up from 2% to 12%. (That's plus 10 points, boys and girls.)

(Unaffiliateds are down too, from 28% to 23%)

And this breakdown has been fairly consistent since the first of four data dumps, starting last Friday, as shown in the graph below.


Keep up the good ground game, GOP!

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Editor's note: Important text has been emphasized for the reader's convenience. (I would have added color and flashing arrows too, but I'm not that good with HTML.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 5:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for speaking slowly and using very small words. It is appreciated.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2014 5:45 PM
But dagny thinks:

Because so many Democrat operatives that might work on that, "prevent defense," read Three Sources to keep up to speed???

Posted by: dagny at October 24, 2014 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Alright you Grinches, if I am left to be encouraged by this in solitude then so be it. I pledge to keep graphing each new set of data and we can all watch for the vaunted Udall ground-game ballot dump whenever it may come about, together.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 6:17 PM
But jk thinks:

It's a tough room, man, I may have mentioned that before.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2014 6:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Still not as tough as FB. Man, it got brutal over there. I had to say I was w, wr, wro, uh, not right enough this week.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 6:50 PM

October 22, 2014

Welcome to Colorado's "Big Ass Lie" James O'Keefe

And a good companion article by John Fund here.

UPDATE: Todd Shepherd showed us last year how easy it is to find "orphaned ballots" in apartment mail rooms.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Lookit us! Our little. flyover state made it big with vote fraud! We're just like Illinois and California!

Thanks for posting this.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2014 3:33 PM

The Three Sources Platform?

I recall past discussions of a collaborative effort to list the principles that ThreeSourcers could agree upon, and that we thought would gain supporters and promote liberty at the expense of Leviathan. I believe we have a possible starting point with the platform of Libertarian for Colorado Governor Mike Dunafon:

He stands firm on the following issues:

- More Individual Liberty
- Less Government Regulation & Surveillance
- More Support for our Veterans
- An End to the War on Hemp
- Protect the 2nd Amendment
- Private Property, Commercial Liberty
- Marital Equality for ALL
- Women control their bodies
- Local Control of Education
- Release Non-Violent Drug Offenders
- Critical Thinking
- Independent Leadership
- Liberty & Freedom for all Coloradans

And where does this differ from the modern GOP? Drug war and social issues. Period.

What if the GOP released its pit bull bite from those marginal causes? More young voters. More female voters. More minority voters. More liberty and less Leviathan.

Just imagine Wyclef Jean and Snoop Dog with prime time appearances at the GOP convention, and Romney-like GOP candidates arriving at appearances to the rap refrain of Mayor Mike Dunafon!

"It isn't hard to do - It's easy if you try."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:19 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

It seems there is little reason to fear votes siphoned by Dunafon will cost Beauprez the election. In this poll he showed dead last - 2 of 500 respondents (question 28.)

Surely this is a reflection of his inability to publicize his platform, rather than the platform itself.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2014 11:46 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the link -- I had heard highlights of that poll, but I found some jewels in there just flipping through looking for the gubernatorial numbers.

Not letting Hizzoner the mayor and his supporters (most of whom I know by first name) off the hook:
1) The sum of Dunafon and big-L Libertarian Matthew Hess is the difference between Beauprez and Hickenlooper. A statistical oddity but illustrative (Hick must be saying "Libertario Delenda Est! If Only I could get those people to go Democrat....")

2) The unseriousness and lack of vetting of these candidates is overlooked. I've ground the Snoop Dogg incident into the ground, but a serious candidacy for statewide office takes a lot of work and a certain skill set. SecState candidate Wayne Williams drove from Colorado Springs to Ft. Lupton (beautiful place, btw) to talk to a few dozen at the Southern Weld County GOP Breakfast. My Libertoid and Third-Party-Independent friends pretend that their preferred candidates just need a shot or spot in the debates or something, but they overlook that their folks are generally not ready for prime time. Rep. Bob Barr or Gov. Gary Johnson both have resumes too thin for a major party but are hailed as stars in the LP.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2014 12:39 PM
But jk thinks:

You should've never let me see that link. Nobody is talking about the SecState race with all the big ones in Colorado, but I saw a debate on FOX31's #COpolitics from the source. If Democrat Joe Neguse wins, we will never again have a clean election in Colorado.

Democrat Joe Neguse ----------------------------------------- 138 27.60
Republican Wayne Williams ---------------------------------- 175 35.00
American Constitution Party, Amanda Campbell ---------- 12 2.40
Libertarian Dave Schambach ---------------------------------- 19 3.80

It is unconscionable that a Libertarian or American Constitutionalist would risk electing Mr. Neguse. What are you people thinking?

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2014 12:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

They're thinking, "There's not a dime's difference between Republicans and Democratics." Well, except that one party wants big, messy, loosey-goosey elections and the other wants one person one vote elections. Maybe a few other differences too.

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2014 3:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And another thing: As a Constitutionalist I hate democracy and I hate elections. So why do American Constitution Party members and Libertarians, who presumably hate both of those things as much as I do, work so hard to participate in elections when they have zero chance of winning?

Posted by: johngalt at October 23, 2014 3:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let me allay your concerns somewhat. The figures above are from a preference poll. Fortunately, Libertarians and American Constitutionalists seem less inclined to crawl over broken glass, or even walk to the mailbox, to vote.

Tabulated ballot returns by party from 2012 show a statewide total of 0.16% ACN ballots returned and 0.57% Libertarian ballots. Presumably others might vote for those party's candidates but probably not enough to move their combined showing over a full 1 percent.

Denver's combined ACN + LBR participation was the highest of any county over 20,000 total ballots, with 0.87%.

Only 6 of Colorado's 64 counties exceeded 1 percent combined ACN + LBR ballots returned: Clear Creek, Crowley, Gilpin, Park, San Juan and San Miguel, with total ballots cast of 3277, 768, 1845, 6217, 309 and 2552 respectively.

Posted by: johngalt at October 24, 2014 2:48 PM

Women Weary of War on Them

Yahoo news: AP-GfK Poll: Most expect GOP victory in November

Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:02 PM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2014


I couldn't agree more.

"Sen. Rand Paul tells POLITICO that the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 could capture one-third or more of the African-American vote by pushing criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment."


When pressed on his ambitious goal, Paul upped the ante: "I don't want to limit it to that. I don't want to say there's only a third open. Ö The reason I use the number 'a third,' is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential."

"As I travel and I go and meet with African-American leaders -- they may not be ready to embrace a Republican yet," Paul added. "But they say that they're very happy that we're competing for their vote. And they often tell me, 'You know what? I haven't seen my Democrat representative in a while.'"

It's remarkable how much better folks think of you when you TALK to them. And for this particular demographic, Republican candidates don't even need to learn Spanish.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:49 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

When I read "criminal-justice reform" I think "end the drug war."

NOW we'll get some comments goin'!

Yes, I am suggesting that a large share of the black vote is lost by Republicans over their "law and order" stance on drug enforcement. Yet another unintended consequence - electoral welfare for Democrats.

Posted by: johngalt at October 17, 2014 3:59 PM

October 16, 2014

C'mon and Gimme Some Votin'

JK has voted, and so have nearly a million of his fellows.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia allow some form of advance voting other than traditional absentee voting requiring an excuse.


In the 2010 midterms, when Republicans regained control of the House and won sweeping victories in statehouses around the country, advance voting accounted for almost 27 million ballots out of more than 89 million, meaning about 3 out of 10 voters cast early ballots. Almost 129 million people voted in the 2012 presidential election, 35.8 percent of them before Election Day.

So my blog brother is still in the minority, but for how long?

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:11 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Jon Caldera rails against mail-in ballots versus "voting day." I suspect much of it is nostalgic, but there are some valid points.

I enjoy the convenience and think it trumps other concerns. The fraud is facilitated by the no-request provision. Send a ballot to everyone who requested one or voted last time. Not "had a pulse once."

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2014 7:44 PM

October 10, 2014

Wings of the Right, Unite!

Following on BR's 'Christians, Libertarians and Ayn Rand' post yesterday I received '5 Things the Right Can Learn from Ayn Rand' from a friend via email. (Subscriptions are about $75 per year, well worth the price if you can afford it.) But until you can, or he publishes the article elsewhere, you'll have to settle for my paraphrase.

Author Robert Tracinski, one of the best Objectivist authors I know, cites the Wilhelm piece as a "less charitable" (to Rand) response to Hunter Baker's earlier piece in The Federalist: 'The Devil and Ayn Rand: Extending Christian Charity to John Galt's Creator.' Of which Trancinski writes, "I have a few quibbles with this piece, but as an advocate of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, I appreciate its spirit."

RT summarizes Wilhelm as "basically conceding the point: that the various wings of the right need to work together in a common cause, that

"what pushes these two groups together -- the fact that a big, bureaucratized, powerful government will inevitably smother freedom, crush creativity, and bulldoze people's rights -- also might be one of the few things that Ayn Rand got right."

He then accepts that feeble twig of olive branch and suggests that conservatives "examine Ayn Rand's literature a little more closely and less grudgingly and to take her ideas a little more seriously" before offering "the top five things I think the right can learn from Ayn Rand."

I'll just list the item titles, which he explains fully in his piece. Tell me if any of them sound familiar:

1. The crucial importance of reason.

2. The pathology of altruism.

3. The meaning of work.

4. A third alternative in the culture wars.

5. The importance of big ideas.

The strongest disagreement on these pages has regarded item 2. I suggest that is a case of inconsistent terminology, where the grim and gritty reality of altruism as a code of self-sacrifice is confused with what Baker described as "human solidarity" of which he said, "[Rand] was an atheist and clearly had an insufficient appreciation for (and accounting of) human solidarity, but she loved freedom and she understood the importance of work for human flourishing."

So in conclusion: Remove the devil-horns from Rand, consider her ideas of freedom, self-sufficiency and rational self-interest, and of "dignity, joy and love in work rather than in wealth per se." And then ask yourself if you can find common cause with those other wings in order to defeat the champions of "big, bureaucratized, powerful government."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great post, JG. A worthy spirit, goal and discussion. The Refugee's only complaint is that it seems to be a bit unidirectional in its goal of understanding. So, please The Refufee to offer a corollary list of items for Randians to consider about faith. (For the record, The Refugee considers himself to be a Spirtualist.)

1. The crucial importance of faith - a belief in the unseeable is what allows one to believe that tomorrow can be better than today. It is also what allowed our founders to believe that it was possible to found a nation dedicated to Liberty based on certain inalienable rights endowed by our Creator. Reason and faith are by no means incompatible, but reflect the dual nature of spiritual beings in a human endeavor.
2. The value of altruisim - altruism really isn't pathological, but becomes so when it crosses into either enablement or co-dependency. An ability to help others help themselves is the rising tide that raises all boats.
3. Living beyond work - work defines what we do, not who we are. Work is an essential component of the human existence, but by itself leads nowhere. Working with a notion of the benefit of a higher power leads to endeavors that can transcend our transient existence.
4. The culture war must be fought within ourselves.
5. The founding of a nation based on idealistic, faith-based principles is probably the biggest idea in the history of mankind.

Pythagoras, Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and most of the great scientists were also people of faith. Freedom, self-reliance, enlightened self-interest and faith are indeed compatible, and arguably, intrinsically linked.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 11, 2014 11:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

JG thanks the Refugee for his engagement. First remember that this was a response to what was considered a unidirectional point of view from the other side, and represents the Randian point of view that was missing. As for me, I share the Tracinski attitude about "the Judeo-Christian tradition" of which his goal is not to refute or dismiss it, but to understand it. Tracinski, Baker, and I are only asking for the same in return when it comes to Rand.

And in that spirit, I have no disagreement with your eleoquent defense of faith. It reads to me as a secular argument, in fact.

I think we can agree that "helping others help themselves" is good and that to "live my life for the sake of another man" or "ask another man to life his life for mine" is bad, without agreeing on the exact meaning of the term "altruism." Let's just agree that the concept is not desirable as a "pure principle."

The "meaning of work" is not labor, but achievement. Objectivists see the "higher power" in work not in the material product that is created, but in the pride of creation from which man can derive a "higher purpose" than "merely" helping himself.

The culture war is, by definition, a public rather than private issue. If the conflict were confined within ourselves, as you suggest, it would not be a political football. The third alternative Rand promoted is an objective code of morality, concretes of right and wrong, that answers the secular left's subjectivism but without "that old time religion." It is a powerful code for individual life and happiness, and I submit that it is dismissed by the establishment left and right because it threatens their collectivist control over individuals.

Where you see the founding on "idealistic, faith-based principles" I see it on idealistic, liberty based principles. We will agree that good and necessary changes have been made since the founding, i.e. women's suffrage and abolition of slavery. These are more closely aligned with the principles of liberty than the doctrines of faith, are they not?

All we are saying is give Rand a chance.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2014 3:49 PM

October 7, 2014

Organizing the Other Side

In the Washington Examiner, Byron York chronicles the desperate effort to "save Democrats from Barack Obama" this election cycle.

So now Bill Clinton is leading what is, in effect, an effort to rescue the Democratic Party from Barack Obama. In Conway, Clinton pronounced himself "sick and tired of people trying to stir people up, make them foam at the mouth and vote for what they're against instead of what they're for. How many times have we seen people do something they knew better than to do just because they were in a snit?"

But Mister President, isn't that just another example of "community organizing?"

This is necessary because "A president's job approval rating is a pretty reliable predictor of midterm voting, and Obama's ratings are down in several states in which Democrats are in danger of losing Senate seats. In addition to Obama's 31 percent approval in Arkansas, the president is at 39 percent in Louisiana, 40 percent in Iowa, and 42 percent in North Carolina, according to PPP."

And, on (RCP) average, 41 percent in Colorado. More devastating, perhaps, is the spread between approval and disapproval in these states. Arkansas, -27%; Louisiana, -20%, Iowa, -12%; North Carolina, -12%; and Colorado, -13%. These compare to -23% in red-meat Montana and -30% in "my favorite" coal-miner's daughter's state of Kentucky. Even in Oregon, where the president's popularity is among the highest at 46.5 percent, the spread is negative at -2.3 percent. (And -14 percent in one poll.)

No wonder Republicans are so gleeful, and Democrats "winced" when the president recently said, "Make no mistake," during an economic speech in Evanston, Illinois. "These policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

The SCOAMF has an approval rating lower than the average of the last six Raiders head coaches (and almost as low as their previous owner), and he wonders why his party's candidates are trying with all their might to distance themselves from him.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 7, 2014 1:21 PM

October 1, 2014

Jeffco Teacher Promotes Closing Young Minds

I need to get out more. This video dates to 2012, during the Romney-Obama campaign season, but Breitbart and I are just discovering it now. Why? Because it was, and apparently still is, on the Facebook page of a Jeffco 8th grade government studies teacher. Yee Haw! Where were the cool teachers when I was in 8th grade!

It's a very catchy tune with talented vocals but it does have me waxing nostalgic for the day when lyrics were unintelligible. And by the way, if one is "sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor" should she refrain from saying "You say you think we need to go to war well you're already in one, 'cause it's people like you that need to get slew..." and writing a chorus of "F*** you, F*** you, F*** you?"

And yet I do agree with Ms. Allen on one thing: It's not me, it's you.

HT- Friend Jen Raiffie for posting the vid.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I saw some of this on FB (I still have not braved through to the end -- missing anything?)

This is a Jon Stewart thing isn't it? Doesn't he have a song like this? I think this is the high-level debate we miss not watching The Daily Show or being in the Eighth Grade.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2014 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

According to the info tab, the song dates to 2008 and the video was "created by a JeffCo R1 Public School Teacher - 8th grade government teacher."

You saw it on Jon Stewart? I wonder if teach' is collecting residuals?

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2014 3:03 PM
But jk thinks:

He has a song with the same charming lyrics in the chorus. When they run out of other arguments, they play it and the crowd goes wild. I thought it was a regular feature but I am no authority.

Would love to see Stewart & Teach'r in a protracted legal action -- kind of an Iraq-Iran war for the rest of us.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2014 5:33 PM

September 25, 2014

Gallup: Free Enterprise, Small Business, Viewed Positively by 90% of Americans

Ayn Rand summarized her system of morality this way:

"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."

And I have learned this week that, were she alive today, she would be required to replace the word "capitalism" with "free enterprise." At least until our misguided electorate learns what actual capitalism is.

Perhaps I missed the 2012 Reason Magazine article, that I outlined here and we discussed later here, when it first appeared. But I distinctly remember reading the 2010 Gallup poll that blog brother jk reprised yesterday. And yet the real lesson of its findings eluded me just as it eluded Gallup at the time, as they concluded:

It is apparent that "free enterprise" evokes more positive responses than "capitalism," despite the apparent similarity between the two terms.

Thus concluded their curiosity on the subject. I suppose then that I may be excused for taking so long to see it.

Gallup again:

"Americans were asked to indicate whether their top-of-mind reactions to each were positive or negative. Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms."


"Capitalism," the word typically used to describe the United States' prevailing economic system, generates positive ratings from a majority of Americans, with a third saying their reaction is negative."

Egads, if the over-taxed, over-regulated, dysfunctionally central-managed economy we now labor under is what most Americans think is "capitalism," it's a minor miracle it scored as positively as it did! But my grandmother's capitalism - defined by Rand as "a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism -- with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church" - has not only an "apparent similarity" with free enterprise, it is exactly free enterprise. Or did nobody notice the word "free?"

My wise blog brother observes that libertarians are wrong to insist on pure principles and instead, we liberty and freedom lovers had better, "in our Madisonian system -- form coalitions and use our strengths wisely."

So if Libertarians are the party of liberty uber alles, Republicans the party of big business corporatism and Democrats the party of federal government corporatism where and how do we organize the party of free-market, free-enterprise, small business entrepreneurs? It would seem an easy thing to do inasmuch as it's membership includes over four-fifths of the entire electorate. And yet, we are brought to heel by the established, entrenched, neo-mercantilist statists. Where is the friggin' light switch?

I have advocated a takeover of the GOP. A replacement of all things "establishment" by either "Tea Party Darlings" or "Liberty Activists." We seem to be losing battles in that war at least as often as we win them, perhaps because the battle lines are so convoluted. So this may be a plan for the next primary season rather than any general election but the question for every voter needs to be: Are you with the backroom dealers in both parties who have brought us crisis after crisis, and riches to the well-connected, or are you with we entrepreneurs - the advocates of free enterprise, and the renewal of the American Dream we promise to bring to you?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:22 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Intriguing, to be sure. On the negative, I wonder to what extent the term "Capitalism" has been polluted and the advantage of "Free Enterprise" is that they have not bother to smite it -- yet.

By the time we change our machines to use it, will the other guys just run it down? I'm thinking of a mutual friend who blogged here in bygone days as "Silence Dogood." He liked Capitalism just fine -- but not "unfettered capitalism." If we swap a term, they will just attach their modifiers and decry "unfettered free markets," Non?

Mister Kudlow had both covered. Every night, the Kudlow Creed: "I believe free market capitalism is the best path to prosperity."

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2014 5:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Regarding "unfettered free markets" - unfettered basically means "free"... right?

Posted by: johngalt at April 2, 2015 3:01 PM

September 24, 2014

Marginalized Again, Naturally.

My pragmatic politics are based on a Pew poll from way back when which showed libertarians' comprising 9-19% of the electorate. Without diving into the exact accuracy of the poll, I always ask my Judean Peoples Front pals if they think that number wrong. My Facebook feed suggests it to be fair (perhaps closer to nine).

Therefore we must -- in our Madisonian system -- form coalitions and use our strengths wisely.

You guys have heard it a thousand times. I post today because of another poll. The good folks at Gallup point out that "Socialism" is viewed favorably by 36%. The worst news is not even that twice as many people like socialism as liberty -- the really bad news is that 20% of conservatives have a positive view of socialism.

So, your bad news for the day is that libertarianism in the general population polls below socialism's number among self-identified conservatives. Have a nice day!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:10 AM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I expected the body of your post to start with:

(Apologies to Gilbert O'Sullivan.)

This is going to look like I'm critiquing your post, so I'm going to apologize in advance and aver that I'm critiquing society - specifically, American political society. Your post has three points as givens:

- Libertarians comprise 9-19% of the electorate.
- "Socialism" is viewed favorably by 36%.
- 20% of conservatives have a positive view of socialism.

I submit for your consideration that the third given is false, and the first is most likely to be true, but all three premises are questionable for the same reason: they depend on labels which are not clearly defined. My perception is that most people have fuzzy understandings at best of all three of those terms, whether those terms apply to themselves or others.

The third given is impossible, if we have any reasonable understanding of the words "conservatism" and "socialism." The problem is, we don't, as evidenced by the number of please I receive for votes, dollars, and support for Republican candidates, all identifying their candidate as the one legitimate conservative in their prospective race. All the denizens of this blog would probably agree that Calvin Coolidge and Ronald Reagan were sound conservatives. Is Mitch McConnell? Is John Boehner? Is Newt Gingrich? Is Haley Barbour? Is Karl Rove? Is anyone named Bush a conservative? We could have some lively debates, and each of us would have to whip out his personal purity test to apply them to each subject.

I can think of no flavor of "conservative" who can have a favorable opinion of "socialism," so long as we all agree on a definition of socialism as a political and economic system in which the State or the collective has primary ownership of all wealth and property, the individual has no innate rights of ownership, and all power devolves to the central government. The problem is that we have people self-identifying as conservatives who don't understand what that word means, and saying they like socialism when they don't know what that means either.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 24, 2014 1:17 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll never apologize to Gilbert -- he got all the hair.

My post deserves a logical critique: I have conflated some real data and some "boy some people are really really stupid aren't they?" The 9-19% was based on response to "the worlds smallest political quiz" which I think is a good proxy. The other two are self-identification and prove, conclusively, that somewhere between 20 and 36 percent haven't a clue.

On the main point, though, I cling to proof by verisimilitude. 81-91% of people are pretty quick to say "there oughtta be a law."

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2014 1:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I think your 20 to 36 percent figure is, pardon the pun, a conservative estimate. Heh.

Now I'm going to play a little with your first premise, the one I said was probably the most likely to be true: "Libertarians comprise 9-19% of the electorate." You use a lower-case "l" which makes it easier to agree, of course. Anecdotally, I'm finding increasing numbers of people who not only believe in individual responsibility and limited government, but are willing to speak out about it.

I would be willing to venture a theory. It seems to me that the numbers for both the individual liberty camp and the statist camp are on the increase, and what's shrinking is the people in the middle with no opinion, leaving an uncrossable chasm - sort of a reverse Bell curve, with the low part in the middle and peaks on both sides. Would that match with your observations?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 24, 2014 5:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm not sure. I am a great believer in rising polarization. Yet, when I look out my window, I see the great unwashed teeming of low-information voters more than I see a left that mirrors the TEA Party or ThreeSourcers. Your premise posits that's existence like particle physics posits a tachyon. Not saying either does not exist -- but I ain't seen it.

Are the Stewart/Colbert/Oliver watchers (and yes, there are now three) harder left? I'd suspect more they are general moderates who have been prejudiced against conservatives and libertarians.

I had to go hunting for sourcing on the 9%. I quote it all the time and found a few links. None with a better title than: Hot Tub Libertarians

The 9 percent figure comes by way of a recent analysis done by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Last month, Pew released an analysis, based on a survey of 2,000 people, which was aimed at finding the ideologues among the American voting public -- those voters who held consistent ideological views on a sampling of subjects, such as health care, gay marriage and Social Security reform.

Libertarians were the smallest group, as defined by Pew, followed by conservatives (15 percent), populists (16 percent) and liberals (18 percent). A full 42 percent of voters held no identifiable ideology (these are presumably the people who vote for whomever's tallest).
Posted by: jk at September 24, 2014 6:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"...somewhere between 20 and 36 percent haven't a clue."

"...when I look out my window, I see the great unwashed teeming of low information voters more than I see a left that mirrors the TEA Party..."

"A full 42 percent of voters held no identifiable ideology."

Just one question - Are you the same jk who thinks "But I have het to meet an "uncommitted?" Maybe you should get out more.

According to the linked Gallup poll, "Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms." So my premise is intact, wherein said 20-36 percent believe that "socialism" means "the opposite of capitalism" which means "the opposite of the current, neo-mercantilist system."

And I bolster my position with the next paragraph from the poll article:

Americans are almost uniformly positive in their reactions to three terms: small business, free enterprise, and entrepreneurs. They are divided on big business and the federal government, with roughly as many Americans saying their view is positive as say it is negative.

The conventional wisdom, for most of my life, has been that Republicans are the party of "big business" and Democrats the party of "the federal government." And those two classes are as evenly divided as is our politics. Is the yellow brick road to freedom and prosperity not staring us in the face? Is it political malpractice for the GOP not to embrace messaging around "free-enterprise" and "small business" and "entrepreneurs?"


Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2014 1:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

JEEZUS! Reading further in the Gallup poll breakdown:

"Capitalism," the word typically used to describe the United States' prevailing economic system...
Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2014 2:10 PM

September 23, 2014

"Hello... Is there anybody OUT there?"

(Apologies to Pink Floyd.)

Perhaps I was too tepid in the introduction for 'Listening Across the Aisle.' Allow me to start again.

I have discovered the secret to abolishing political partisanship once and for all. Simply read the linked articles by Sheldon Richman and Roderick Long and everything will be revealed!

Okay, perhaps instead I just didn't give a compelling enough summary.

America's contemporary political economy is a system of neo-mercantilism, replete with corporate excesses and government favoritism that enables and promotes them, which thus benefits a well-connected few at the expense of almost everyone else.

Champions of capitalism are heard by others to be defending and celebrating the contemporary system. Meanwhile, champions of socialism are really advocating nothing more than the opposite of this false-capitalism, the contemporary neo-mercantilist system.

So when I say, "free markets are the best solution" others hear, "I believe WalMart should pay slave wages and sell cheap crap at the lowest price so that they and their buddies can grow even richer." And when others say, "everyone should be paid a living wage" I hear "government should make every company hire people for more than they are worth" when instead we should both recognize that, "If government didn't meddle in the economy, thus making it "free", there would be more jobs and more choices and higher wages."

This still needs work but, see where I'm going?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:30 PM | Comments (15)
But jk thinks:

That would be interesting but my burning desire is not what they think but what they know. I'd far rather hear them define Brother jg's seven-words-you-can't-say-in-a-blog-post than react to them. I want to know if the idea of Tenth Amendment rings a bell -- not "What's the 10th say" but have they ever encountered the idea that the Constitution exists to limit government? Have they ever encountered The Federalist Papers? Do they know who John Locke, and David Hume are? What is the Enlightenment? What label signed Muddy Waters?

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2014 5:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

John Locke? They can't even name Obama's veep, can they?

Seriously, those topics are for your 3rd or 4th conversation. If you get that far. Before you start asking what they know, try to find a place where you agree. That is the secret sauce. With that you're an okay guy; without it you're a Martian. Or worse.

Then you take small enough steps that they agree or disagree, backtracking when necessary for agreement, and proceed until their head explodes with cognitive dissonance and they a) leave the building or b) unfriend you. Then you have to wait for them to put themselves back together and see where they are at that point.

But I'm seriously interested in the family poll. To be fair, I'll poll mine too.

Posted by: johngalt at September 25, 2014 6:47 PM
But dagny thinks:

Does this sound to anyone like what we tried to do on FB to the tune of nearly 190 comments? And the person on FB was interested and persistent. Did we get anywhere? Maybe in the area of wealth creation.

Posted by: dagny at September 26, 2014 11:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Not sure the antecedent of "this," dagny. Yes, our recent thread shows the difficulty (I say futility but my blog brothers think me melodramatic) of really reaching another human being.

Perhaps your interlocutor entered the arena with too many hardened positions, but I suspect that's the rule and not the exception.

The niece and nephew daydream is really more about education. I do not expect nor would I try in this context to bring them over to the dark side of liberty (There is much poweh, Luke...) The group I'm thinking (not my old nieces with college kids of they own) were B+ to A public school students, are very bright (and attractive!)

I wish to know what liberty theory points they have ever encountered -- I suspect few to none. And what their knowledge of history and Constitutional theory is. I expected zero politics per se, just an oral exam.

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2014 12:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, I just invited immediate, extended and adopted family members to take my poll, in return for getting a copy of the family and the commercial poll results in return. Data to follow, such as it may be.

As for our 190 comment thread, that's a big part of what informs this subject. We argued to tears and boredom about "capitalism" and "socialism" when we probably agreed all along about free enterprise, small business and entrepreneurs!

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2014 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I was thinking of an open, Facebook, comment-if-you-want-to thread. If you'd kindly send me yours, I will make it match.

RE: 190 comment thread: wow. I could not disagree more. There were a few brave attempts to collect that which we both believed and shade that Venn diagram of common ground no matter how small, but I never saw them as really establishing ground. A guy who does not accept ex nihilo wealth creation is not going to get behind Free Enterprise unless you describe it in a way t cannot be understood. I accuse my blog brother of wishcasting common ground that was not there.

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2014 7:17 PM

September 20, 2014

Pragmatism with a Side of Hash Browns

I attended the Southern Weld County GOP Breakfast today in the shadow of Blog Brother Johngalt's Barony of Ft. Lupton. I have made the crack that this is the opposite wing of the party than our pals at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons. The attendees are rural-to-bucolic, and the meeting starts with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think we're in Boulder County anymore, Toto...

Yet my friends, these people are devoted to limited government. My State House Representative was speaking on water rights and said "as Christians and Republicans, we recognize this regulation as plunder -- as theft." Shades of Bastiat with the assumption that we're all saved. Fusionism at its apogee!

Politics is about winning and building coalitions. I have great respect for both groups, though I lean toward my libertoid buddies. The tent-shrinking effort to chase these people out that I see concerns me. Can't we all get along?

And the food is good. Every third Saturday.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

You have met the best of my salt of the earth neighbors. There are some others, probably less involved, who continue to "cling" tightly and reject anything they haven't been taught on a Sunday morning. But as you can now attest, those are not the norm. I haven't witnessed it but it seems there has been a - pardon the expression - evolution of political thought in the religious wing of the party. I tend to attribute it to electoral defeat, which has sown a healthy libertarian component in the hearts and minds of the righteous.

And yet many in libertarian circles still hold that, as a FB friend wrote, "If you don't believe in complete government management of saving souls, [then, in the eyes of Republicans] your [sic] a satanist and an anarchist!"

An interesting question: Having now visited both gatherings, which do you think more would be more open to visiting the other? Or stated differently, which would have less apprehension?

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2014 11:24 AM
But jk thinks:

I almost said that in my post. It is pure conjecture, but I think the libertarians would be better welcomed by the conservatives. Their apostasies would be met with an eye roll. "Now, now, dear, you really believe that do you..."

The previous speaker at LOTR-F, by contrast, received some rather harsh questioning on some less-libertarian portions of the Ryan roadmap. In one sense the venue is more open to discovery and dissent, but I felt leaving the Weld breakfast that they would be more welcoming.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2014 11:36 AM

September 17, 2014

Money Back if Not Completely Satisfied

That's the sort of guarantee we're all accustomed to when doing business with a private concern. Can we ask for, maybe, half our money back from government?


Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.

After all, 80 percent of the almost one triiiiilion dollars spent on Means Tested Welfare Spending each year is wasted.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:38 PM | Comments (0)

Listening Across the Aisle

I must caution myself against regarding this the key to a prosperous future of joyous non-partisanship, but it does seem to have that potential.

Somehow we seem to have missed this February, 2012 Reason article: Corporatism is Not the Free Market by Sheldon Richman. It's value is not so much embodied in the title subject, although that is necessary background. It's novelty is the way it explains the rise of hyper-partisanship in the 21st century. He quotes heavily from this article by the Libertarian theorist Roderick Long:

Long sees capitalism in its common usage as similar.
By "capitalism" most people mean neither the free market simpliciter nor the prevailing neomercantilist system simpliciter. Rather, what most people mean by "capitalism" is this free-market system that currently prevails in the western world. In short, the term "capitalism" as generally used conceals an assumption that the prevailing system is a free market. And since the prevailing system is in fact one of government favoritism toward business, the ordinary use of the term carries with it the assumption that the free market is government favoritism toward business.

Similarly for socialism, Long writes. He thinks most people mean nothing more specific than "the opposite of capitalism."

Then if "capitalism" is a package-deal term, so is "socialism" -- it conveys opposition to the free market, and opposition to neomercantilism, as though these were one and the same.

And that, I suggest, is the function of these terms: to blur the distinction between the free market and neomercantilism. Such confusion prevails because it works to the advantage of the statist establishment: those who want to defend the free market can more easily be seduced into defending neomercantilism, and those who want to combat neomercantilism can more easily be seduced into combating the free market. Either way, the state remains secure.

Other than to say the present neomercantilist system favors politically connected business, not business as a whole, I will leave further discussion to the comments. And for reference, I will include both a dictionary definition of capitalism and a more precise definition by Rand.

And I will plead guilty to having fallen into the trap of defending neomercantilism, unwittingly. If nothing else, by not explicitly stating up front that this is NOT what I am defending.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2014

Kentucky Woman

"She gets to know you."

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

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

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

"She goin' to own you."

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

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

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

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

Here's what Morning Joe had to say:

Boehner and the leadership don‚Äôt talk to their members. A lot of times, I‚Äôll call my buddies and I‚Äôll say hey, what‚Äôs going on? What are guys doing? And they go, ‚Äėwe wish we knew.‚Äô I say well, when‚Äôs the last time Boehner told you what the strategy was, because Newt sometimes talked, as you know, too much. They say well, Boehner doesn‚Äôt talk to us. Well, what do you mean he doesn‚Äôt talk to you? They say he never tells us what‚Äôs coming next. We‚Äôre guessing half the time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are some of the most egregious McConnell votes: http://bit.ly/1t9h59N

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 11, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"But the sad thing about this is, even if both Roberts and Perdue lose, expect the establishment to learn nothing from the experience. Despite a lengthy history of long-term incumbent Republicans getting tossed out on their ears in red state general elections due to corruption and disconnection from their home state, they will still insist loudly and publicly that the safest path to more Republican seats is to continue electing the seasoned guy and the incumbent. It's up to voters and donors to stop buying this obviously false argument."

From They Told Me If I Voted for the Establishment, This Would Not Happen by Leon H. Wolf.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2014

Democracy, Capitalism, Limits Therewith

Some time back we considered a variation on the "pick one" voting scheme that was dubbed "approval voting." I mention this as evidence that democracy is broken. It has many flaws as a system of governing free peoples.

Yesterday I asked on Facebook, Why are so many so quick to condemn "unlimited capitalism" while at the same time advocating for unlimited democracy? Obviously neither does, has, or possibly even can exist, so my point was whether one should have more limits at the same time as the other has its limits diminished.

An interlocutor suggested that "everyone puts limits on democracy too" thus indicating, I suppose, he has no quibble with limits on capitalism. So I searched for any organized group that advocates for "unlimited democracy." The highest search engine result was Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (California.) Natch.

The most dangerous threat to democracy is the mistaken belief that the US is a democracy. People and communities need assistance and support to believe we have a right to resist corporate rule and to see that a democratic world is not only possible Ė but necessary for the survival of life on earth. Our education work provides an historical and analytic framework for understanding the mechanisms ruling elites have used to manipulate our laws, our government and our culture in order to maintain their power.

Replace the word "corporate" with "private" for a clearer understanding. So the United States is not a democracy, but "a democratic world is possible - and necessary - for the survival of life on earth."

These folks certainly don't seem to place any limits on democracy.

Okay, fringe leftists from Cali. I get it. How about the national Democratic Party? How is the tension between Constitutional limits and their namesake principle holding up?

From democrats.org:

"We're leading the charge to expand the vote, because it's not enough anymore for us to simply protect against voting restrictions."

Q: Not enough, for what?
A: Manufacturing a bigger majority with which to impose their will... on everyone.

Genghis Khan wishes he thought of this.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (0)

August 22, 2014

"I wanna control my own life, not yours"

Mondo cool.

From www.thepartyofchoice.com, where conservative ideals are [hopefully] presented in a non-threatening way to the liberals who, as one co-founder writes, "I despise Liberalism, but I love Liberals."

HT: Kris Cook's 'Grassroots Radio Colorado' program, 560 KLZ 6:00 hour today, 8/21.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:43 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to encourage viewing of this by not just unaffiliateds, but by conservatives who could use a refresher course in "that's her call, not mine."

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2014 1:19 PM

August 21, 2014


A new kind of politics is being born in the discussion over race and militarized policing in Ferguson. -- Nick Gillespie
Writing about Ferguson, object #1 is to write nothing I'll have to retract or apologize for. Object #2 is to contribute something to the discussion.

Arnold Kling wrote a goober-load of great books. The one that comes to mind in Ferguson is "The Three Languages of Politics" [Review Corner]. The Three Languages were L, C, and P (to fit Libertarians, Conservatives, and Progressives) and building on Jonathan Haidt, he created an axis for each. We cannot see the point of our othered-philosophied friends because they are measuring events on a different axis.

The Libertarian sees the coercive-freedom axis. My sister votes with me 99% of the time but cannot accept that smoking bans are a bad idea. I'm looking L-wise and seeing a property owner coerced, she enjoys (as I do) the ability to go out in Colorado and not choke to death. L person Nick Gillespie sees "The Libertarian Moment" as the world accepts long advanced Libertarian concerns on police militarization.

The C axis is order-barbarianism and I am not L enough to discount it. There is zero social justice element to stealing a flat-screen TV or breaking windows. This community -- with any other problems -- will have to outlive this image and re-attract investment frightened away.

The P axis is harm-care: a lot of residents likely have had terrible experiences with police. I don't want to outrun available facts but stealing cigars is not a capital offense. Without faulting the police, we can all agree that it is too bad it resulted in death.

Putting on these three lenses, looking at these three axes, I think the fundamental truth of Kling (and Haidt) is underscored.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:56 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Well stated. But, the officer-citizen interaction did not concern the theft of cigars. I agree that it is too bad it resulted in the citizen's death, but every citizen needs to recognize the cardinal rule that states, never threaten an armed policeman with physical harm. If this citizen did that, as credible reports have described, then the deadly force used against the citizen by the policeman is - justified.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2014 12:56 AM
But jk thinks:

Facts seem to dribble out that "question the narrative" but I think I am correct to synopsize the P view as "young, unarmed, African-American shot six times."

I was attempting to be fair though I generally subscribe to your view. This morning's read of Cato's blog turned up some interesting observations I had not seen. The short version is that Ferguson and some neighboring communities finance their government through small fines for petty offenses -- and Jovert-esque collection and prosecution methods. This poisons an already tense mood between the cops and citizenry.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2014 11:12 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair point, but on the harm-care axis is there not visibility of "don't threaten cops with harm?" I'm saying that the "he's unarmed, so nothing else matters" crowd is missing more than just coercive-freedom or order-barbarism data points. They have a clinical case of yeahbutitis.

I agree that cops getting to keep the fines for tickets they write is a perverse incentive. It's not hard to see how inner city folks may dislike police as much as the TEA Party dislikes tax collectors.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2014 12:21 PM
But jk thinks:

I still love David Mamet's Rabbi's admonition that you should be able to make your adversary's case to a level that he or she agrees that you have captured it. I'm not prepared to take their side in a full-on debate but I want to see where they are coming form. Said policeman is armed, badged, has a radio for backup, and will be given the benefit of the doubt in any future proceedings. There is an asymmetry between him and the young man walking down the street.

I'm not complementing them on rationality or consistence but if you find the "victim" and think "poor Treyvon|Michael|Gaza Gus|Sandra Fluke" you have taken a step into their world.

On a good day, go even farther than the good Rabbi and "do a Karl Popper" viz., strengthen your opponent's argument so that you attack it at its strongest point. Were I do that, I'd suggest that institutional racism in the service of the War on Drugs is the strongest reason to support the protesters. But I'm just looking at the L axis...

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2014 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. Everything except, "will be given the benefit of the doubt in any future proceedings." That may happen in some jury trials but if the judge does his job, evidence reigns.

But double agreed on the War on Drugs angle. Welfare benefit perverse incentives aren't the only things taking fathers out of homes.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2014 1:15 PM

August 6, 2014

Libertarianism's fatal flaw

I have, of late, been at a loss to explain my philosophical differences with the Libertarian Party. Its siren song of "because: freedom" has a sweet, sweet sound, after all, and the threat of an all-encompassing government constitutes a desperate time, possibly justifying desperate measures like, say, voting Libertarian. But Craig Biddle's 2013 article in The Objective Standard is both thorough and precise in explaining the folly of libertarianism, with a big or small L. Essentially, Biddle explains, libertarianism is a political philosophy without a moral philosophy, thus making it "compatible" with multiple moral philosophies. Or so they claim.

Libertarianism is an effort to establish a big tent under which everyone who advocates "rights" or the "nonaggression axiom" can gather and get along and fight for "liberty" -- regardless of any moral or philosophic differences they may have. As Alexander McCobin, executive director of Students for Liberty, explains, "libertarianism is a political philosophy that prioritizes the principle of liberty":
[Y]ou can be a libertarian and be a Hindu, a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Deist, an agnostic, an atheist, or a follower of any other religion, so long as you respect the equal rights of others. . . . Libertarianism is not a philosophy of life . . . or metaphysics or religion . . . or value, though it's certainly compatible with an infinite variety of such philosophies.16

McCobin is correct. You can be a libertarian regardless of any deeper philosophic ideas you might have. Libertarianism is precisely a big-tent ideology that is not concerned with deeper moral or philosophic issues. But this is not a favorable feature of libertarianism; it is a fatal flaw.

People cannot credibly, coherently, or effectively defend liberty if their more fundamental moral and philosophic ideas are in conflict with rights. And the fundamental tenets of most people's philosophies and religions flatly contradict the idea that rights should be respected -- or that they even exist.

I highly encourage reading the entire article here. It is long but, as I said, thorough. (If you're into that kind of thing.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:02 PM | Comments (18)
But johngalt thinks:

I agree they are heartwarming stories. They even warm my cold, cruel, secret-decoder-ring heart. And on top of that, I WANT TO KNOW WHY. I give a flip as to the causes of joyful emotions, because I really want to avoid sorrow.

What SC calls a "secret-decoder-ring" definition, Plato described as an extra dimension. Rand explained emotions as "print-outs, daily and hourly" generated by your subconscious mind, calculated according to your values - values which are consciously chosen or "programmed by chance - and you deliver yourself into the power of ideas you do not know you have accepted." Morpheus offered Neo a choice - "believe what you want to believe" or "stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I'm offering is the truth - nothing more."

I am unaware of any ThreeSourcer who has taken the blue pill so I'll continue.

The idea that altruism is equivalent to love and compassion, with no nasty side effects, is programmed into us by all of the philosophies named by Biddle, each in its own unique way. But that idea is wrong.

The dictionary definition of altruism as "the principle or practice of unselfish concern for or devotion to the welfare of others" is incomplete. But the same dictionary offers the not-so-secret key, in the form of an opposite definition: egoism.

egoism (n) 1. the habit of valuing everything only in reference to one's personal interest; selfishness (opposed to altruism.)

So you may easily see that the complete definition of altruism, i.e. the opposite to egoism, is as follows:

the principle or practice of valuing everything only in reference to the welfare of others

At this point it is important to understand that the habit of valuing everything only in reference to one's personal interest leaves an open door to valuing the interests of others. But valuing everything only in reference to the welfare of others makes no reciprocal allowance for the welfare of, yourself.

"Oh you're just being overly literal, jg." True. But this is the complete principle of altruism, in opposition to the "evil" and "self-centered" egoism, and its accolytes are judged relative to the purity of their adherence to it. No matter how selfless you are, you are told to give more. But at some point, most men turn around and tell the looter, "No. That is enough. The rest is for me and the ones I love." The remainder are monks.

Tell me now - if you have made it this far without an emotional response that caused you to dismiss everything I have said - doesn't the true evil and self-centeredness dwell in the minds of men who keep telling you, "Give more?"

We think we like the stories where people learn the joy of helping others instead of achieving their selfish goals but what they are really doing is, choosing different selfish goals.

Posted by: johngalt at August 8, 2014 12:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Emotional? Nope "Now we're really havin' fun!"

I must defend the Secret Decoder Ring (SDR) as I brought it up. It was used against me and I have to admit its legitimacy. Even you, I'm going to point out, discard the dictionary definition for one of your creation. That's SDR.

"Altruism Bad" and "Selfishness Good" are purposefully provocative statements. Ayn Rand has whole books and preternatural expository skills to defend these points. When the poor acolyte (in this instance me) is called upon, it doesn't always go so well.

I wonder that it would not have been better to make up words. Provocative conversation-starters are swell, but you end up asking someone to discard their definitions of words and accept not only a new philosophy but also accept its terminology. Rand and Biddle are welcome to define and explain what "Objectivism" is. When they redefine words in frequent use, then they are fiddling with the SDR.

The only accusation is entomological (I hope that's words and not bugs, I often confuse them), not philosophical. You say altruism is bad -- but then every thing I say is altruism you say is not.

That is why I go to George Bailey. If that is not altruism, I am packing my bags and heading for Cleveland. He subsumes his prodigious talents and desires to live a life which frustrates him, working with dimwitted relatives in a trade he hates instead of joining his intelligent and ambitious friends. But at the end, we're told "it's all okay, because a lot of people really like him. And isn't that what really matters?" And then they give him their money.

I chose that as an unmistakable example and think Mister Dickens's close behind. I can provide about 654,391 more of these against about five of self-reliance (maybe six, Nick Gillespie's recommendation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Blithedale Romance" is shaping up very well).

That's just art and artists. I'm also reading Bob Margolin's superb "Steady Rollin' Man" and you'll be shocked to hear that the great blues guitarist is not a closet Hayekian. He's just played a Republican fundraiser and is stupefied that they do not have three heads and that they like, know and appreciate blues. He is more happily surprised that they buy out the cases of CDs he and Pinetop Perkins have brought -- even after paying the astronomical $75 to attend!

Pretty funny, but only a slight digression. I accept that art tends more Dionysian than Apollonian, but think that Objectivists need infer from this the existence of innate communitarianism and altruism.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2014 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

That is a fair criticism, if redefining words is really what I am doing. This is the first time I've taken this new explanation out for a spin and it may not work right. Let's look under the hood.

I linked a specific dictionary definition. I find it self-contradictory. It gives a "definition" and an antonym, or as they expressed it an "opposite," of egoism. But the definition is not precisely opposite. The culturally accepted definition is purposely vague. Why? If a man's fate hangs in the balance of a judgment based on this definition, how is it to be fairly decided? So is egoism its opposite, or not? And if egoism is not altruism's opposite, what is? Name that word that for centuries has been allowed to hide behind the "evil" word egoism.

Since the dominant western morality is founded on the principle of altruism, shouldn't it have a more precise definition than does pornography?

And is completing a definition really changing it? I added the missing words "everything" and "only." If more altruism is always better than less, is pure altruism not the ideal?

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2014 12:03 PM
But jk thinks:

All is exacerbated by starting with the generally accepted meaning of altruism which comes pretty close to "be nice." You have to move them to a more precise usage -- and then nudge it to the side which contains the disturbing implications.

I'm more interested in George Bailey. You and Nathaniel Branden rightly ask people to understand Rand and point out areas where you disagree (instead of just saying that she's wicked...) I think she is wrong to claim altruism is learned and egoism is innate.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2014 12:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not trying to explain this to "them" but to you. You mentioned your not buying in, but several of your answers refer to "we" and "them." I'm not inquiring whether you believe some group of people might understand this, but whether you do as an individual. And I encourage a cleave between understand and agree. Perhaps it is I who needs change his conclusion, if you can help me see the inconsistency through reason.

What does it mean to credibly, coherently, or effectively defend liberty?

Can it be done if your more fundamental moral and philosophic ideas are in conflict with rights?

I am saying that unless the proponent of liberty is prepared to place the principle of rights above the conflicting principles in whatever deeper moral philosophy he holds, he cannot expect others to do so when he attempts to defend liberty from their opposing principle. In fact, a libertarian will not even ask that question. Perhaps libertarianism is a stepping stone to a political philosophy that arranges liberty as the deeper principle, but it does not do that itself. Adherents seem to think that would be too confrontational and a barrier to entry in the movement. And they're probably right. But the more explicit philosphies continue to have greater appeal, even when they are flawed.


By the way, I believe I erred earlier when I implied that all of the "joy of helping others" stories embodied individuals changing their selfish goals to ones that also benefit others. The two examples you chose are excellent because I think that dynamic fits in the Scrooge story but not George Bailey. He clearly sacrificed his future goals because he thought that others needed him. He allowed the needs of others to place a claim on his life, and most of those who cheered did not ask why - nor did Bailey. But viewers were happy that the story took that turn, even if Bailey was not. If altruism is not learned, why are there so many lessons in it? You see ubiquitous stories as celebration of genuine human nature and I see it as a self-reinforcing perversion of human nature. If altruism is innate, why did Bailey struggle with the question, even for a moment?

I hesistate to ask another question here in comment #17 but maybe we'll reach a mutual understanding on one of them, without a secret decoder ring between us, so here goes: Why are there so many books and programs and debates about the origin of the universe, and so few about the origin of altruism? We could just as well accept the existence of the universe as innate, couldn't we? But a fair number of people do seem to ask some questions that, on their face, seem unanswerable. And I might add, have much less impact on their daily lives.

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2014 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair cop on pronouns. I'd like to explain to "them" the importance of individual rights without really being a "we" in accepting Rand's derivation of the source of these rights. Clearly Kimosabe should declare his antecedents.

Where we differ, it is more on your second question, "Can [defending liberty] be done if your more fundamental moral and philosophic ideas are in conflict with rights?"

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes! That's where I part with Biddle. I could look to my personal friends, or ThreeSourcers, or even the brilliant founders of this great Republic. I see a great disparity in "fundamental moral and philosophic ideas" and yet a great commonality in their belief and capacity to defend rights.

Only a little flippancy causes me to ask whether philosophies "with greater appeal" are in-spite-of or actually because-of their underlying flaws and inconsistencies.

The victory of altruism in "It's a Wonderful Life," for the same reason I'm not ready to concede "A Christmas Carol," is that of course we want to be selfish (you've succeeded beyond your wildest dreams at establishing innate egoism). What is heroic is to want to travel the world and build dams and revolutionize industry -- but to overcome that and accept your duty to others. If it was not hard, it wouldn't be heroic. Liking ice cream is rarely the climax of fine literature.

I suggest the plotline resonates with an innate altruism in the reader/viewer. Yes there have been a thousand PBS cartoons on the joys and wonders of recycling, but this story transcends cultures centuries, and languages.

Not sure I get the final question (or I am frightened). I consider the universe innate but still enjoy books about its structure, workings and history. There is insufficient entropy around altruism to warrant too many books.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2014 5:21 PM

July 22, 2014

Gov Walker's #WarOnOutsourcing

Jim Geraghty, whom I admire greatly, expands on the Trek-Outsourcing contretemps I discussed yesterday. Unlike Alyssa Finley, Geraghty gives the Walker campaign a pass on philosophy (or lack thereof) and wonders if it will be effective:

Keep in mind, Mary Burke is running on . . . raising the minimum wage, and also said the minimum wage hike "wouldn't affect" her family's business.

Well, we know it wouldn't affect those Chinese workers.

Of course, we know how this all ends. Every Madison progressive, every union member, every liberal beating the drum for protecting American jobs who sneered about Mitt Romney's greed will shrug their shoulders and vote for her . . . just because she's the Democrat.

But I expect the other guys to be hypocritical. The rest of a superb "Morning Jolt" newsletter [subscribe] suggests Chappaquiddick as the start of Progressives' issuing get out of jail free cards.

I even expect -- but will not condone -- that politicians I support will occasionally display a bit of hypocrisy; I can roll my eyes and move on. But, Geraghty invoked Governor Romney, this is Romney again -- does the Republican party stand for Capitalism?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

July 21, 2014

Kids these days

They aren't Obama-loving socialists because they believe in egalitarian redistribution but because, perhaps, they believe socialism means "protecting the vulnerable from the vicissitudes of capitalism" and capitalism means "government favoritism instead of a free market."

In fact, millennial support for a government-managed economy (32%) mirrors national favorability toward the word socialism (31%). Millennial preferences may not be so different from older generations once terms are defined.

Millennialsí preferred economic system becomes more pronounced when it is described precisely. Fully 64 percent favor a free market economy over an economy managed by the government (32%), whereas 52 percent favor capitalism over socialism (42%). Language about capitalism and socialism is vague, and using these terms assumes knowledge millennials may not have acquired.

Hat tip: A very good Stossel show last night.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (0)

You Hit Him with your Gun, Shane...

I really liked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, until about three seconds ago. Really? Et tu, Scotto?

Behold the Walker campaign's new ad targeting the governor's Democratic challenger, Mary Burke: "Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your fortune grow? By making millions of dollars . . . Sending jobs overseas that could have been done in Wisconsin . . . To countries where women and children might work up to 12 hours a day, earning only two dollars an hour." Ms. Burke is a former executive of the Wisconsin-based Trek, which like its competitors Cannondale, Schwinn and Giant manufactures most of its bikes in China or Taiwan.

I argue with the Big-L Libertarians from Liberty on the Rocks-Flatirons and tell them "this time it is going to be different." Behavior like this both makes me a chump and deflates my belief that the GOP could really advance liberty.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:28 AM | Comments (0)

July 6, 2014

Republican Fatalism

"Forty seven percent of Americans pay no federal income tax." These ten words seem to have Republicans convinced that the Republic is lost. No Republican has a chance, they all seem to believe, in any race, against any Democrat stooge. Blog friend AndyN echoed the lament in a Fourth of July comment:

Sadly, I'm fairly certain that between the vote for anybody with a D after his name crowd, the free stuff is more important than freedom crowd, and the make history by voting for a woman crowd, she'll [HRH HRC*] lock down 51% of the people who bother to show up in 2016.

But the most extreme version I heard was from a well respected local columnist, Ari Armstrong, commenting on his own article about "approval voting" and the Colorado Governor's race.

It makes absolutely no difference whether I vote for Beauprez, because he's going to lose anyway (and even if he wins my vote will make no difference to the outcome).

(Ari pondered a vote for small town mayor Mike Dunafon as a principled protest vote.)

I suspect that polling data played a large part in his opinion, as the Real Clear Politics polling had Hickenlooper leading Beauprez by 9 percent before the June 25 primary election, when Armstrong's column was written. But that poll also tested the incumbent against other potential challengers. In a race with no clear favorite, all challengers did poorly. As soon as there was a nominee Rasmussen polled the D and the R head to head and found, a tie.

"It's no surprise this race tightened up as soon as there was a single strong Republican as a counterpoint to Hickenlooper," said Kelly Maher, executive director of Compass Colorado. "John Hickenlooper has never suffered the scrutiny of a one-on-one race, and now he is going to have to answer to Coloradans for his utter inability to lead."
Pessimists will say, yeahbut, despite his "utter inability to lead" he is still tied. To which I reply, he's the incumbent. See: Obama, Barack - 2012.

And on top of public sentiment is the fact that elections only matter when people vote. A high turnout election in this country is still less than half of registered voters. Predicting who becomes the nominee of each party and further, who comes out to vote for him or her, is folly.

* Her Royal Highness, Hillary Rodham Clinton

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2014

I don't think that word means what you think it means

Let's talk about politics and race.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:19 PM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2014

GOP Policy on Energy and Climate

"We will address our energy needs and any externalities with science and innovation; they will use politics."
Maybe it is too late, or the media narrative too established, but I think Republicans could expose the lefties' anti-science predilection and possibly turn the tables.

I know Solyndra was about 11 scandals ago. But the Democrats (read The Mark Udall for Senate Campaign) have designs on playing up "denialism." How can you consider voting for a troglodyte, flat-earther who doesn't even believe in Climate Change?

To combat this, I offer, free of charge (excepting my normal Koch Brothers stipend), a GOP Energy and Climate Plan for 2014 & 2016:

Addressing Energy Needs and Climate Concerns with Science

1. Research
Offer a series of sizable "prizes" for substantive progress in raw R&D. Forgive me libertarians and strict Constitutionalists, but compared to the alternative, $10 Million for each of these is a bargain (and a prize is far less distortionary than subsidies or mandates):

  • Dime-a-watt Photovoltaics
  • CO2 Sequestration/Recovery for coal combustion
  • Flare capture/recovery
  • Direct algae production of usable fuel
  • Kudzu-diesel
  • Some wind metric...

The non-distortionary nature of a prize makes it harmless. The cost for any of these producing significant advancements would be good value. And you're supporting research institutions and American can-do-ism.

2. Defined metrics for regulation.
Why do we have Ethanol mandates, and Solyndra, and not the Keystone XL Pipleline? Some very large campaign contributors have more than a bit to do with it. EPA regs, LNG Exports, Pipelines, Hydraulic Fracturing, and the Designated Hitter will be evaluated -- in a ThreeSources' Administration -- on actual impact and cost/benefit projections: not campaign contributions.

3. Funding for Climate Science
Again, I apologize to Mister Madison, but continued grants to study not only "Global Warming" but ocean acidification, possible mitigation strategies, &c. are small compared to the current, devastating regulations.

We're not denying anything -- except that our opponents schemes have been more about science than rewarding political constituencies.

UPDATE: So, if I include a link, it is not "a Rant?"

The proposed EPA rules would cost approximately $51 billion a year and destroy 224,000 jobs each year through 2030. The poor and people on fixed incomes will be hurt the most. And all this pain will be for absolutely no gain: It will have no impact at all on the global climate, according to reports published by the libertarian Heartland Institute--based on peer-reviewed climate science.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:02 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Chuckle. Yer still good if your rant has a link to the Koch-Brothers (TM) Heartland Institute.

One question: Is there any room for safe, carbonless, nuclear power under the big energy tent?

Okay, two questions: How does this new spending on research prevent further and greater spending on subsidizing bad ideas - you know, the ones that can't sustainably survive in the market without subsidies?

Posted by: johngalt at June 9, 2014 2:38 PM
But jk thinks:

SIDENOTE: As you can imagine, Robert Bryce's Book was pretty keen on noocyuler power from a density perspective -- hard to beat mc2

I'm in a trading mood. Applying rational, methodic, quantitative evaluation likely gets rid of all ethanol mandates and subsidy. Boom, baby! I just paid for my x-prizes ten times over.

The straight grants will fund some nonsense, no doubt. But if we are performing cost-benefit analysis before promoting bad ideas to policy, I'm in.

People lose their minds over "$3 million to give monkey's cocaine!" or "$600,000 to study parakeet flatulence!!" -- or whatever the outrage of the week is. You can bash science grants from a libertarian or Constitutional perspective, but you cannot tell me that's what is breaking us. I shrug pretty vocally at those.

Posted by: jk at June 9, 2014 5:33 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't say it well enough - by "subsidizing bad ideas" I meant, handing out much greater grants, or mandates, or rules, or loans (you can pay us back when you are profitable, wink wink) for cronies to start businesses based on one or more of those bad ideas. Perhaps its unfair to expect you to fix everything, but I think those ventures must be off limits with gub'mint dough.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2014 11:46 AM

April 1, 2014

When Reporting the News, Isn't

Readers may recall a 2012 presidential debate between Messrs. Obama and Romney where the former claimed to have recognized Benghazi 9/11/2012 as a "terrorist attack" and the later challenged that assertion. "Yes, he did call it terrorism" was the ruling of the debate moderator, Ms. Candy Crowley. What he actually said during a Rose Garden speech was "No act of terror shall..." without specifically admitting that is what happened that night in Libya.

The Denver Post printed a report on Colorado's Independent Ethics Commission investigation into Governor Hickenlooper's receipt of food and lodging at a conference in Aspen at the expense of a political campaign group, the Democratic Governor's Association. The Post's Lynn Bartels ended the story on yesterday's hearing this way:

[Compass Colorado attorney] Blue also expressed concern that the commission's own investigator has released drafts of his report to the governor's attorneys but not to Compass Colorado.

"It doesn't seem fair," he said.

Blue believes the commission on April 14 should agree to conduct a full hearing on the complaint.

But from this brief mention one may scarcely recognize the extent of the impropriety at issue. Fortunately for me, I had first read the account of The Colorado Observer.

Lawyers for Compass Colorado, the conservative group that filed the ethics complaint, were surprised to learn that the Democratic governorís legal team had already reviewed two drafts of the IEC investigatorís report that the Compass attorneys had not yet seen.

A detailed account of the back-and-forth is included in the TCO story including a statement by Compass Colorado Executive Director after the hearing, which questioned "the transparency of this process."

Indeed, particularly when one considers the possible reasons for a second, or revised, draft report. Perhaps the governor's counsel suggested a change or two?

But I certainly won't accuse Ms. Bartels of any bias in her coverage of this story. After all, she did report "drafts," plural, had been "released" to one side and not the other. Fair and balanced, yessir.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

March 27, 2014

CFR: Puppeteers behind "the establishment?"

With the presidency of George W. Bush, American constitutionalists and other liberty advocates learned that even Republican policies can promote big-government liberalism, central planning, and other ideals previously thought the exclusive domain of Progressives, Marxists and others of that ilk. With the TEA Party movement of 2010 came the identification of "the establishment" as the source of such anti-capitalist, redistributionist, mercantilist tendencies in the party we all had believed was the only real counterweight to Democratic socialism in America - the GOP.

Such talk has been dismissed as conspiracy theorizing, tut tutting it's speakers with dismissive rejoinders like, "Just who exactly is this great 'establishment' of power brokers who control the Republican party?" I can't answer that question definitively but I will nominate a prime suspect: CFR, or the Council on Foreign Relations. Their fingerprints can be traced to, among many others, Egypt, Benghazi, Cuba, and now, Ukraine.

Employing the indispensible insight and analysis provided by Golitsyn and the detailed information in his books, it is difficult to view the orchestrated chaos that has been unfolding in Ukraine without recognizing unmistakable evidence that it is being directed along a pre-planned path toward EU-U.S.-Ukraine-Russian convergence. Putinís role is to rattle the sabers menacingly enough to frighten reluctant Ukraine to join the EU, while also convincing American and EU taxpayers to be forthcoming with the foreign aid and IMF funding that will ďrescueĒ Ukraine and avert a war.

And, after the hyperventilating CFR policy ďexpertsĒ move on to their next project and things settle down, we will look around to find Putin and his oligarchs carrying on business as usual with the new Ukrainian government and its oligarchs ó as well as with the Obama administration and ďourĒ oligarchs.

What does this have to do with the GOP, you might ask?

During the Bush administration, Nuland was the principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney (CFR), a committed ďRepublicanĒ globalist who boasted at a CFR luncheon that he had successfully kept his CFR membership secret while a congressman so that his conservative constituents in Wyoming wouldnít find out. Cheney has joined John McCain (CFR) and other interventionist Republicans in stirring the Ukrainian pot. Prior to serving under Kerry, Nuland served Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is not herself, formally, a CFR member (although her husband, Bill, and daughter, Chelsea, both are), but who in a speech to the CFR infamously referred to the CFR as the State Departmentís ďmother shipĒ and confessed that the State Department looks to the CFR ďto be told what we should be doing and how we should think.Ē

Which gives substantial support to the popular notion that "there's no significant difference between Democrats and Republicans." On the level of foreign relations and federal government, it seems more true than not.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:59 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

I clearly bit off a very large bite here. I see the outlines of a web that connects many issues that have at times seemed perplexing and I floated it here as a combination early warning, breaking news, and sanity check. The first return appears to be, I'm insane. It deserved much more care than I was able to give at the time so I'll work on developing it into, as Jasper wrote in a pre-9/11 article, "bites of the elephant." Yes, he does have a John Birch air about him. But just because he's paranoid...

I took the "Republican" scare quotes to mean that Cheney believed his party bonafides were threatened by his CFR membership.

It's true that a degree of dot-connecting is required here since CFR has not, to my knowledge, issued a press statement that they are covertly working to establish a world government of hoi oligoi that can manage the lives of the hoi polloi, and conveniently enrich themselves in the process. But let me complete the alternative picture that you find to be a more simple explanation:

CFR is nothing but a social club composed of retired world leaders and high-level bureaucrats with nothing but the purest of intentions and no desire to influence government policy in America or any other nation, nor any desire to inflate their collective individual bank balances. Transitioning from an office of power and influence back to a position of near irrelevance is effortless for every single one of them. And Hillary Clinton didn't actually suggest that CFR tells the State Department what to do and how to think.

I may be lost in the wilderness in this line of inquiry, and honestly hope to find that I am. But too much of it is so imminently plausible to dismiss it out-of-hand.

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2014 3:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Just finished the Weekly Standard piece on the Condi speech and will note that the associations listed for her included NRCC (not the Senate Conservatives Fund) Mitt Romney (not Ron Paul) Mitch McConnell (not Rand Paul) and a Karl Rove GOP primary candidate, although Sarah Palin has not yet made an endorsement and the 2010 primary winner Joe Miller lost his last statewide bid. These are not proof of a CFR plot but they are all establishment figures.

Now, I do agree with Condi that America's defense budget should be large enough to support a strong and well supplied military force but I do wonder what that has to do with Ukraine? When she says, "What are we signaling when we say that America is no longer ready to stand in the defense of freedom" what is she speaking of, exactly? Ukraine? Iraq?

Posted by: johngalt at March 28, 2014 3:26 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd never call you insane. There is indeed a lot going on here.

Were you to replace the nefarious CFR with "State Dept. Striped Pants Bureaucracy," we could probably sing Kumbaya and crack a couple of those German Pilsners. Yes, there is an entrenched apparatus -- I think it goes back to some John Quincy Adams appointees.

And of course Condi is establishment; I suggested her view as a coherent explanation of the CW, Muscular, Establishment, Republican position. Her particular field of expertise was Russia/Soviet policy.

I part with many of liberty friends by being sympathetic to this view, but I think the world needs American leadership and I think the globalization and wealth creation I champion require a bit of "pax Americana" to get those iPad parts between 42 countries.

If my grouchy meter got set off, it was your last paragraph. As a guy who hates war (it interferes with prosperity), I think it invited by weakness. I'm not calling for Slim Pickens to mount up and ride, but I think we could advocate for freedom and respect for sovereignty. I would permit drill sites and LNG export ports. And I would not have pulled missile defense sites out of Poland to begin with.

Posted by: jk at March 28, 2014 6:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for clarifying. And there is much room for clarification all around this subject.

I think we'd agree that CFR can be viewed, at the very least, as the SDSPB - Senior Tour. The extent of their fingerprints on policy is debatably somewhere between "advisory" and "puppet master." We'll not get into where, exactly, on that scale. At least for the moment.

Let me choose just one assertion to discuss further: "I think the world needs American leadership and I think the globalization and wealth creation I champion require a bit of "pax Americana"..." I think there is more than one way to lead. The best American leadership is the example of private industry and free trade on a worldwide basis. The worst American leadership is choosing sides in the affairs of other nations. Like the fifty states, some may choose to become democracies or totalitarian states and provide the world their example. Trying to build democracy from the outside is like trying to teach a pig to sing. I'm all for patrolling the high seas with an American navy, but can we stay on our side of international borders please?

The closest we have today to a Nazi death regime is in North Korea, yet I see nobody advocating an invasion there to "defend freedom."

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2014 5:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The more I find to complain about in our federal government, the more I am sympathetic to foreign nations complaints about same.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2014 5:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Any objection to my "bumping" this post to give it more time? We haven't done foreign policy since that cowboy was in the White House.

I'm thinking my blog brother has gone "Full Rand Paul." And that is a coherent, rational, and defensible belief.

I see Russian incursion into Ukraine as a much closer cousin of "piracy on the high seas" to be opposed than the meddling and nation building which we have both grown to reject. When was the last time a sovereign nation was invaded, occupied and subsumed by into the conqueror's borders? That's not rhetorical -- I do not recall. But I suspect the last time it happened, I was too young to be drafted instead of too old.

You, me, and the Junior Senator from Kentucky agree on the power of freedom. I wish the President had whipped out his pen and approved the 24 LNG exporting stations awaiting certification, then fired up his phone and called Angela Merkel and David Cameron with promises of energy. I like that a lot better than some warships in the Black Sea.

But there is clearly a level where we do not find comity. I'd suggest that Poland redeploys missile defense.

I actually compliment the President (whoaaaa) on the sanctions and the general direction of his rhetoric. Reforming the G-7: well done, sir. I'd suggest not going to the World Cup, but that's 40% because it is boring, and 60% to punish Russia.

We're left with few good options -- I think Sec. Rice's point is that fecklessness and apathy bled the arsenal of options. Going forward, President Paul should trim the military of its obligations on the Korean Peninsula, Germany, and any theatre where we are not in actual hostilities. But -- as to shrinking inside our borders -- I think we invite aggression (cf., Atchison, Dean) and threaten global prosperity (cf. Lal, Deepak).

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2014 4:14 PM

March 20, 2014

The Taxes are Too Damn High

There may finally be a reason for big-government, redistributionist tax-and-spend liberals to stop supporting ever higher tax rates:

Because they can interfere with the campaigns to re-elect big-government, redistributionist tax-and-spend liberals to office.

From Colorado Peak Politics, who informs that the attached image represents a tax lien on the campaign.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2014


Politico's Jake Sherman and Burgess Everett caution against "overanalyz[ing] the results of a special election" but I can't contain my enthusiasm over the way the PPACA debacle has boomeranged on the President and his party.

Republicans seem to think they've struck political gold, but Democrats aren't even sure how to interpret the loss. A veteran Democratic fundraiser called the loss a "double whammy," hurting the party with major donors and energizing Republicans.

Democrats naturally put a positive spin on the health care law, the increasingly unpopular President's signature achievement, but the depth and breadth of its stupidity, economic impossibilities, widespread personal dislocations and unmitigated incompetence combine into a self-inflicted wound so great that even Republicans can't screw up their good fortune. And Democrats, privately, seem to be admitting it.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), for her part, didn't discuss changing health care messaging at a closed party meeting. One Democratic source at the meeting said members were privately "angry and disgruntled."

So veto-proof might be a bridge too far, as 22 seats would have to switch from D to R in the Senate and I'm pretty sure there aren't that many D terms expiring this year. But the House? Who knows?

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:02 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

And I thought I was excited.

It's a great win and one of my favorite aspects is that it will make Democratic legislators distance themselves from the President to self-preserve. I'm not quite looking for supermajority in either chamber but the GOP has a great chance to get a majority in the Senate.

But, help me, brothers & sisters: is there yet an answer to "War on Women?" Or my favorite: "<Candidate> is TOO EXTREME for <state>." That is all we're going to see against Cory Gardner for the next eight months. Sen. Udall has already started it on his Facebook Page with a petition to get Gardner removed from the ballot (don't remember candidates' being allowed to pick their opponents even if Daddy was a Senator, but I might have missed something...)

It sucks rags but it works. I think it works very well in Colorado. The forces of goodness and light will say "Obamacare,Obamacare,Obamacare" and the others will say "personhood,personhood,personhood." The media will be on Sen Udall's side and he will win.

Disabuse me my lacking confidence after a great victory (I worry about the Avs as well).

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2014 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dagny's on your side bro. She thinks I'm way too optimistic to which I can only say, better than being a pessimist, Ira.

How about this-

"My opponent thinks government should give you everything you need, no matter what impact his policies have on the American birthright of liberty, but here's my question: Would you rather starve on your feet, or grow obese on your knees? I'm for more iPhone and less Obamaphone; more job choices and less unemployment insurance; more paycheck and less payola; more health care and less Obamacare. Ya feel me?"
Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2014 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And I wonder if an R would dare say-

Am I anti-abortion? You bet I am. Unborn children should be protected as much as any other child, but the mother has rights too and I will never support forcing mothers to give birth against their will, or deny them the medical care of their choice.
Posted by: johngalt at March 13, 2014 5:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, iiiii like it but I'm not the target demographic...

Starve or fatten? Why, Senator Udall is for "good, wholesome, nutritional food for all children -- with no Palm, Oil!" (Sorry for the digression, but the Palm Oil / orangutan contretemps on Facebook has me despairing of Reason's ever being effective in debate.)

Posted by: jk at March 13, 2014 6:01 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

JK, answer to answer to "War on Women?" is a gentle smile, hinting at a roll of the eyes and to say "do you have a question for me?"

Hugh Hewitt mentioned this a while back: "I'm not a crook" is the worst sort of reply (and Dem's under BHO's clueless tutelage have been saying things like this, too). Barely acknowledge the accuser, just enough to haughtily dismiss the accusation with misdirection.

Same goes for "Too Extreme for CO" is a set of counter-ads showing Udall defending Obamacare, supporting Fracking bans, defining a BLT as an assault weapon, voting to play kiss-kiss with Assad or Morsy, etc....

I'm cautiously optimistic... just recall all the "mean" screams thrown at Reagan. Ken Buck and certainly Tancredo would have shown vulnerability to this tack, Gardner, no way.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 14, 2014 12:07 AM
But jk thinks:

I like it, nb, but you and I are not always there to apply the gentle eye roll. What I have seen -- and the Koch Brothers may rescue us this time -- is that Democrat 527s buy up tons of TV time in the relatively cheap Denver market and blanket coverage. Nothing else gets out.

Agree as well on Gardner's style. There is a personhood amendment in his past. I don't know any details, but that is a tough sell to Colorado moderates.

Posted by: jk at March 14, 2014 10:14 AM

February 28, 2014

Government CEO: "What's in it [Keystone XL] for us?"

That's my new favorite term for 'politician' - Government CEO - because each and every decision seems to be based on how much the government, and consequently he, can profit by it. Take FL9 Representative Alan Grayson who wrote,

Well, the Chinese have figured it out. They're going to get their energy from Canada, a stable country, and pass it through the United States, another stable country. They will pay the Canadians the world price for oil. They will pay us nothing, or next to nothing. So Uncle Sam is Uncle Sucker.

And there at last is the real issue. Since the oil originates outside the country, state and federal governments can't charge confiscatory excise taxes. And whatever is sold outside the country escapes any consumer fuel taxes. Grayson offers a possible solution, however:

All of the oil that passes through the Trans-Alaska Pipeline has to be sold in the United States. Why not the same rule for the Keystone XL Pipeline? But instead, we allow a tax-free zone, to facilitate Chinese energy independence at the expense of our own. Why does Uncle Sam have to be Uncle Sucker?

Because increasing supply will drive down costs, Uncle Douchebag. No, you won't get any revenue to buy votes with but American consumers, whose transportation costs represent 17% of the average household budget, will get some pocketbook relief. Then again, you wouldn't want any of your constituents thinking they could be happy and prosperous without your beneficience, would you?


AP columnist and financial planner Richard Larsen writes in this week's column, 'America's Beleaguered Middle Class:'

Domestic energy prices have likewise increased dramatically. Over the past 10 years, energy prices have more than doubled as government energy policy has become increasingly ideological and counterintuitive. Increasing energy costs adversely affect the middle class disproportionately.

And this informative chart from the "17 percent" link above.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:18 PM | Comments (0)

February 27, 2014

"She Didn't Build That!"


Posted by JohnGalt at 9:13 AM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2014

On Science and Faith in Politics

Think carefully for a moment about the phrase, "The science is settled." That would make the issue in question an "absolute" would it not? And absolutism is what Democrats of all flavors most often criticize Republicans for believing.

This is the topic of an entertaining column by Andrew Quinn at The Federalist. The fun begins with his headline: "The Party of Science Has Absolutely No Clue What It's Talking About."

To an intellectually honest observer, these findings compel more questions. What are reasonable expectations for health insurance? Should we be satisfied if Medicaid helps people sleep easier but makes them no healthier? Even if so, is health insurance the most effective way to convert taxpayer dollars into peace of mind for the poor?

Virtually no prominent progressives join center-right commentators in positing such questions.

Because, like most people, progressives are more comfortable with facts that agree with how their mind is already made up. But there is a difference between progressives and the rest of us: They have so convinced themselves that theirs is an ideology rooted in objective science, and any contradictory ideology is rooted in Revealed Truth, that they don't even recognize when their ideology becomes exactly that - an article of faith.

So the next time a Facebook friend tells you his ideas are scientific be sure to ask him for his Hypothesis, Evidence and Analysis that support his Conclusion. If you are sufficiently skeptical he will eventually balk. Then you can ask him to who's authority he is subservient. After all, "consensus" is just another way of saying "I don't want to know any more than I already know." And isn't that why they like to laugh at the Religious Right?

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:51 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Keen insight. Hear hear.

Seriously, I saw this and wanted to do something. You did it sooner and better. The only thing missing is the photo of Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Now ThreeSourcers will just have to click.

I had called those two out by name in a comment. Blog friend tg claimed that "scientists" were not at fault in overhyping DAWG, that it was "environmentalists" misusing them.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2014 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Inasmuch as it's often impossible to separate the environmentalist from the scientist, you're both right.

Posted by: johngalt at February 12, 2014 7:08 PM
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at February 13, 2014 10:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I prefer to call myself "uniter, not divider."

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2014 5:29 PM

January 31, 2014

'Why Central Planning Sucks' For Dummies

While composing a Facebook comment reply I ran across this excellent, apparently original, essay by one Rollo McFloogle, written last February. Here's a morsel:

This is what happens when there's a lack of competition of putting ideas into action. When one and only one solution is allowed to be enacted, you can never tell how well it actually works because there's nothing to compare it to. This helps to perpetuate the idea that the central planners have the right solutions, but there are things outside of their control that prevent them from accomplishing their goals.

Government can then never relinquish control of the things they take over. Once they allow the free market to work, people will be able to make their own choices for their own lives and will begin to see that it works better than the government. The realization by people that they don't need the government is the beginning of the death sentence for the state.

Read it. Share it. Live it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:00 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Central Planning explained:

A commissar in the Soviet Union went out to one of those state collective farms, spoke to the director of the farm, and said, "Comrade Director, how is the potato crop?"

"Oh," he said, "Comrade Commissar, if we could put the potatoes in one pile, they would reach to the very foot of God."

And the commissar said, "Comrade Director, you forget. This is the Soviet Union. There is no God."

And the director answered, "Comrade Commissar, YOU forget. This is the Soviet Union. There are no potatoes."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 31, 2014 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Very well done. It feeds well into my tiresome yet true appeal for incremental, marginal improvement: if there are zip lock enclosures on government cheese, they came late. A seller improves the product to increase sales.

On the other hand, we have an accidental segue to my environmental argument. Yeah, the five of us can decide how to deal with a squirrel (though I am guessing he does not attend a lot of HOA Board meetings...)

But there are actual externalities. What if the pest is one owner's pet squirrel? A factory wants to pollute the river, cause acid rain, overfish the community pond, or punch a hole in the Ozone with its CheezWiz propellant. Don't know how I drew the environmentalist short straw today. But there are no natural property rights based solutions to these. Purist libertarians like to pretend that there are.

Posted by: jk at January 31, 2014 5:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Tragedy of the commons" is to the environmental regulatory movement what "Interstate Commerce Clause" is to economic regulation and redistribution - a fig leaf of legality.

Multiple attempts have been made to establish a universal environmental protectorate which, in the name of, every manner of rights violation may be justified. Anthropogenic Global Climate Change is by far the most successful effort to date.

A contradictory position is difficult to justify in the face of "you are poisoning every living creature" even when said "poison" is nothing but mammal breath.

The only rational answer I can come up with is that "protection" of the commons from anything and everything is nothing more than another claimed "common good" which Rand dismissed thusly:

It is accepted precisely for its elastic, undefinable, mystical character which serves, not as a moral guide, but as an escape from morality. Since the good is not applicable to the disembodied, it becomes a moral blank check for those who attempt to embody it.

At its core 'the good of the commons' is a code whereby "the good of some men takes precedence over the good of others." It is intended to benefit, not the earth or the animals or the air, but the men who invoke it. The only way to fight it is to ask how a rule can be good for "all men" without being good for "every man?" If some are harmed in the name of helping all - or, at least, the majority - that is what's known as an animal sacrifice. Ritualistic chanting is optional.

I am man. I have a right to breathe. I have a right to burn wood and oil and other fuels. I surrender that right to no other man or group of men.

Posted by: johngalt at February 3, 2014 12:33 PM

January 27, 2014

Progress toward Xenophobia

Before I learned why, I wondered how an entire national population could support a government that murdered millions of its own citizens. Among other places, it happened in Nazi Germany when the populist regime whipped up anger and resentment against the small and distinct set of individuals who were identified by their Jewish heritage. On Saturday Tom Perkins, a co-founder of a successful investment firm, opined, "I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent." His short letter to WSJ ended thusly:

This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent "progressive" radicalism unthinkable now?

Given attitudes like this being spoken out loud, in public, by prominent members of society, is there any wonder why President Obama and Congressional Democrats are sparing no effort to demonize the TEA Party, and anyone who says that everyone has a right to his own liberty and his own opinions, even the "obscenely" rich?

Yet every single commenter to this Fox Denver article on the subject is disapprobative of the "delusional" billionaire. Notably, however, none of them posits that there is not a "rising tide of hatred for the successful one percent." Instead, they just call him names. But apparently that's all it takes to win a philosophical battle in today's world, since even the firm Perkins founded threw him under the bus.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 23, 2014

Quote of the Day

Charlie Crist does have a passionate, uncompromising belief and a deep-rooted principle. The problem is that his passionate, uncompromising belief is the deep-rooted principle that he should be governor. Everything else is negotiable. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Posted by John Kranz at 5:21 PM | Comments (0)

January 15, 2014


Many interesting news items have been drowned by that George Washington Bridge "scandal" in New Jersey last week, including this one.

Mayor Bill de Blasio's promise to ban New York City's iconic horse-drawn carriages could backfire, exposing what the newly-elected mayor's critics suggest is a corruption scandal masquerading as an animal-rights crusade. Defenders of the carriage industry point to a real-estate executive who is one of de Blasio's major campaign donors as the driving force behind the effort to abolish the carriages.

And, it turns out, I'm not the only one to apply the "comrade" sobriquet to the new New York (york) mayor. But the rib tickling portion of the story is how the mayor proposes to replace the soon-to-be-outlawed mode of transportation: 'lectric cars!

De Blasio's plan (promoted by Nislick's NYCLASS, of course) is to replace the horse-drawn carriages with electric replicas of antique cars. After learning of this plan via a pro-carriage Twitter campaign, I remarked last night: "Electric cars. Thatís going to be a real romantic treat for honeymooners, isnít it? 'Oh, we went to New York and rode the electric cars!'Ē

Of course, none of them recognize the irony in modeling the electric cars after antique automobiles.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:31 PM | Comments (0)

January 6, 2014

Presidential Bait-and-Switch, the Sequel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As Henry Morgenthau [Secretary of the Treasury under FDR] reports in his diaries, prices were set by the president personally. FDR took the U.S. off the gold standard in April 1933 and by summer he was setting the gold price every morning from his bed. Morgenthau reports that at one point the president ordered the gold price up 21 cents. Why 21, Morganthau asked. Roosevelt replied, because it's 3√ó7 and three is a lucky number. "If anyone knew how we set the gold price," wrote Morganthau in his diary, "they would be frightened."

Wizard of a different sort...

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

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

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

Kindle version on sale for $2.99 today!

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

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

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

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

I think you'll both dig it.

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

January 1, 2014

"Get in line" my a$$

I appreciated the props from jk for recognizing early on that the Duck Dynasty kerfuffle was a seminal moment in American politics. American Spectator's Jeffrey Lord has a very good article that explains why. Here is but one insightful passage:

The key to GLAADís millions [of tax-exempt profits] ó and the power all these "fascist bands" have exercised over the last several decades ó is guilting Americans into believing that if they don't go along with the latest "non-negotiable" left-wing demand they are somehowÖwellÖ.pick one. Racist, homophobic, pro-war, greedy, sexist and on and on and onÖyada yada yada. In fact, one is doubtless more than safe in suspecting that in those millions of Phil Robertson fans are people with gay family or friends who decidedly could not be considered "anti-gay" -- but refuse to sit by silently and watch an obviously good person be lynched in the name of some left-wing conception of gay rights.

What's happened here with this Phil Robertson episode is more than about Mr. Robertson himself. Much more.

The backlash against A&E and GLAAD says in plain language that Americans are fed up with being routinely confronted by Reagan's "cowardly little fascist bands."

Read it.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:16 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2013

The Great Game of Government

December 2009 were heady days for those intent on reining in the "abuses" of "big business." Just ten days prior to the midnight passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a straight party line vote of Democrat US Senators, Springfield, MO CEO Jack Stack started a blog page with a topic of 'Open the Books.'

Why would business owners want to open the books to their employees?

Because doing so has the power to change the way the company operates and to change the way employees think about their work. Let me quote former Representative Richard Gephardt, whom I introduced to open-book management and who has dedicated much of his time since leaving office to spreading the word: Open-book management, Mr. Gephardt wrote in his book, "An Even Better Place," represents "an overall approach to corporate governance that treats the employees like co-owners of the business who have to make sacrifices and take on the burdens that any owner assumes."

The idea is to get employees to start approaching their jobs as if they owned the place, which in fact they might.

This may or may not be a great idea for corporations, which must compete with other corporations in a marginally free market. But it sounds to me like a fantastic idea for government.

It's also a great idea according to Chicago's Adam Andrzejewski, who has invested considerable time and money on a project called Open the Books...

which allows users to see spending figures in their areas across multiple levels of government, going back 12 years in some cases. Shining light on such data is the means, but the primary goal of the site and app is to put pressure on governments to reduce wasteful spending, and it's already been downloaded more than 5,000 times in the Google Play store. It's also available in the Apple app store.

"There are no easy conversations in America anymore about spending and debt," Andrzejewski told me, "So everyday people have to start holding local officials accountable."

It is here that I learned that over three thousand Illinois government employees have higher salaries than the state's governor. And on the openthebooks.com page where I ran a search to discover how many federal employees earn over $300,000 per year (and that those at the top of the list all work for the VA or VHA.) In another search I found the names and addresses of Colorado farmers receiving multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in "supplemental farm income" from the federal government!

Our goal was to teach our employees to think and act like owners. We started by trying to improve their financial literacy by turning topics like accounting into a game. We played this game with real money, however, and the gameís pieces were each and every employeeís quality of life. We called it The Great Game of Business.

Visit openthebooks.com. Run some searches. Make a donation. Share results on Facebook. Let's help Adam spread The Great Game of Government, and turn as many as possible of the current winners into the losers they really are.

HT: Last evening's John Stossel show.

UPDATE: [jk here, don't blame jg of I booger this up] Here is a widget (works for me in Chrome but not IE, your mileage may vary...):

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Nice job on the widget! Here's a fun test for everyone: Under Federal click "checkbook" then "zip code" and "farm subsidies" then pick a modest radius and enter your zip code. Find out how many of your neighbors are pulling down 20, 50, $60k per year or more in "Supplemental Assistance Program" or "Biomass Crop Assistance" or "Emergency Assistance Livestock; Honeybee; Fish."

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2014 12:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Direct Payments" is another fun category. The major recipient in my area seems to be housing projects and, Pell Grants. Notably $3.7M from the Education Department in 2010 for Park College in zip code 80229, 2nd Congressional District, a "profit organization", which was paid from, hmmm, the "Appalachian Regional Commission" Program Source? Way to go Representative Polis!! Bacon, bacon, bacon!

This reminds me of the Pell Grants to an Illinois cosmetology college with annual tuition of $20k.

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2014 12:48 PM

December 20, 2013


Now we're starting to get somewhere.

"I think that this intolerance by gay activists toward the full spectrum of human beliefs is a sign of immaturity, juvenility," Paglia said. "This is not the mark of a true intellectual life. This is why there is no cultural life now in the U.S. Why nothing is of interest coming from the major media in terms of cultural criticism. Why the graduates of the Ivy League with their A, A, A+ grades are complete cultural illiterates, etc. is because they are not being educated in any way to give respect to opposing view points."

Yes, Camile Paglia. As stipulated in the Daily Caller article from which this was taken, she is gay and was open about it before it was so fashionable. And "while she is an atheist she respects religion and has been frustrated by the intolerance of gay activists."

I see in this the apogee of the growing partisan and cultural divisions in our country that have only accelerated under the feckless leadership of President Obama. A new tolerance and cooperation is near its dawn. I am proud of my country.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:02 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

While dagny shares the sentiment tweeted by jk to @pourmecoffee, I see this as more than just the latest contretemps in the culture wars. This is a watershed moment, IMO. Paglia's brave disapprobation is exhibit A.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2013 12:14 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

This is not a sea change for Camille Paglia, who has long been an outspoken critic of both the left and the right (whatever those labels may or may not mean) - witness this gem, from 1991: http://is.gd/43URfi

People like her and the ineffable Tammy Bruce confound inhabitants of both sides - perhaps one of the reasons they are worthy of a certain respect.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 20, 2013 2:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, I read KA's entire linked piece - not. I read the first couple of screens and the closing paragraph. So I'll conclude that Paglia's disapprobation isn't as brave as first thought because she's made a career of it. And DC probably doesn't enjoy wide circulation amongst LGBT advocates, fascist or otherwise. So perhaps the dawn is still metaphorical hours away, but I do feel it coming.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2013 3:27 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Au contraire, mon frere - my point is that Camille Paglia has been career-level brave.

Backlash often comes not in moments, but in extended time. The Boston Tea Party was in 1773; it took three years for our predecessors to accumulate enough stored backlash to declare independence. The Nullification Crisis was in 1832, nearly three full decades before Fort Sumter.

Legend has it that the Etruscans cheered for Horatius as he pulled himself out of the Tiber and onto the shore. He had earned their respect. I won't claim to agree with everything Camille Paglia says, but I will gladly salute her sustained consistency and integrity.

This is still a watershed in the culture wars. It may take a long time yet, but to quote another small-government spokeman: "I'm thinking we'll rise again."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 20, 2013 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

@pourmecoffee not only has a great twitter handle and avi, she is also the rarest of birds: a lefty with a good sense of humor. I disagree frequently, but her posts are just as frequently ell-oh-ell funny.

That said, I was wrong to let that be my only contribution to the contretemps. I do share dagny's and pourmecoffee's wish it did not happen or would go away soon. But it is worthy of discourse.

My frustration was well expressed by my pal, Jiom Geraghty:

I could live in a world where anything goes; we're all First Amendment absolutists, and the only proper recourse to awful speech is more speech. I could also happily live in an American culture that was politer, calmer, more respectful and less incendiary. But right now we've got a world where the Right is expected to play by the Oxford Debating Society rules while the Left uses Thunderdome rules.

My acquiescence and reticence to push back, of course, contributes to that. I really do not want to join my Facebook friends who will settle for nothing less than canonization, knighthood, and free Starbucks for life for the Bearded Duck Dude.

And yet everything I read showed him to be pretty thoughtful and respectful. The Thought Police have taken his show away. Though nobody but Larry Kudlow has an inalienable right to TV show, that is a raw deal.

I don't know if he has musical gifts. Perhaps he could join ZZ Top?

Posted by: jk at December 20, 2013 4:30 PM

December 19, 2013

A Visage of Red and Blue America

If one is known by the company he keeps then let me just say, "I don't wear pajamas."


"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. Thatís just me. Iím just thinking: There's more there! She's got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I'm saying?"

Does anybody get to have an opinion under the First Amendment to the Constitution, or just those who don't say things that make other people uncomfortable? I don't see any theater here, or any flames. Phil Robertson is free to express his opinion. The rest of us are free to express whether or not we agree with it. That is called Liberty.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:09 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Michael D. "heck of a job Brownie" Brown points out "This is not a First Amendment issue because there is no government involvement." Fair cop. I hereby revise my close to "Stop apologizing for expressing your opinion. And stop stiffling your laughter when other people express theirs."

Posted by: johngalt at December 19, 2013 5:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Looking at the WaXaminer's Meet Ethan Krupp (H/T Insty) I am rethinking my support for the First Amendment.

Posted by: jk at December 19, 2013 6:15 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I imagine that living down his new nickname is going to be a lifelong problem for young Ethan "Beta Male" Krupp.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 20, 2013 2:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't really think so, KA. While it's difficult for us to understand or relate, metrosexuals seem to take pride in the suppression of their masculinity. The cultural messages with which they are bombarded tell them that chicks dig "sensitive" guys. But like healthy, virile young men who choose to dose Viagra, they don't know when they've crossed the line between self-improvement and self-destruction.

Posted by: johngalt at December 20, 2013 3:33 PM

December 4, 2013

Pendulum Swings Right in Partisan Divide


From the IBD Editorial Dems Are The Out-of-Touch Extremists

The only reason Obama and his fellow Democrats aren't constantly tagged as extreme is because the press is so far left that it treats them as reasonable centrists. Meanwhile, by skewing the polls, the increasingly radicalized Democratic Party manages to make the country appear more liberal than it really is.

I would say "more socialist" instead of more liberal. I still believe Americans are quite liberal in the classical sense, i.e. individual liberty.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:21 PM | Comments (0)

November 22, 2013

"Congressmen" Udall and Bennet Vote to Discontinue US Senate

"When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation."

NYT- "Democracy Returns to the Senate"

For five years, Senate Republicans have refused to allow confirmation votes on dozens of perfectly qualified candidates nominated by President Obama for government positions. They tried to nullify entire federal agencies by denying them leaders. They abused Senate rules past the point of tolerance or responsibility. And so they were left enraged and threatening revenge on Thursday when a majority did the only logical thing and stripped away their power to block the presidentís nominees.

Part of the Times' defense of this headlong rush to make the Senate indistinguishable from the House is that it only applies to Presidential appointment nominations, not including the Supreme Court.

But now that the Senate has begun to tear down undemocratic procedures, the precedent set on Thursday will increase the pressure to end those filibusters, too.

"A republic, madam, if you can keep it."

"Keep it? From what?"

"From becoming a democracy."

Yesterday, Colorado's two Democrat Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet joined 50 other Democrats to resolve that the United States Government shall henceforth have two majoritarian chambers with little difference between them. In the process they essentially "demoted" themselves from Senators to Congressmen, and I for one shall refer to them as such.

UPDATE: Investors Business Daily, on the other hand, says this is the furthest thing from democracy.

Appearing as himself in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington," then-CBS radio commentator H.V. Kaltenborn called the filibuster "democracy's finest show: the right to talk your head off, the American privilege of free speech in its most dramatic form."

Of the excitement surrounding Stewart's fictional senator taking a stand against a majority deluded into believing the slanders spread against him, Kaltenborn said: "In the diplomatic gallery are the envoys of two dictator powers. They have come to see what they can't see at home: democracy in action."

Thanks to Reid and his power-hungry liberals, Americans can no longer see it either.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:13 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, look on the bright side. There's no more basis for me to fret about the need to repeal the Seventeenth Amendment anymore. If they're going to be mere Congressmen, there's no point in having them elected as if they were actually Senators - REPRESENTING THE INTERESTS OF STATES.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 22, 2013 10:44 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I actually had something brighter in mind. This anti-constitutional power grab creates the necessity of not only reinstituting the filibuster, but provides a stonger basis for repealing the 17th Amendment.

Posted by: johngalt at November 23, 2013 10:33 AM
But jk thinks:

Dark days, freedom lovers. But I'll run my Blog Optimist Award certificates through the shredder (I've already exercised the accompanying Starbucks gift cards). This will not be walked back and this will not lead to a revival of interest in repealing the 17th. This is a ratchet click toward the majoritarianism that Progressives have seeked for more than 100 years.

Not with a bang but a whimper.

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2013 2:12 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Hey, while we're at it, since the states really are no longer sovereign and have become nothing more that vassal fiefdoms of the Federal leviathan, let's do away with the Tenth as well...

I fear that JK is right, and with every day that passes, I become more persuaded that this will end with a whimper if it doesn't get ended by a bang. We're in Fourth Box territory.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 23, 2013 4:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I hope my blog brother never gets a job on the Suicide Hotline. "Yeah, that's terrible -- and let me tell you something else..."

Posted by: jk at November 24, 2013 11:43 AM

How to Save the Republic

Blog patriarch jk established, almost 6 years ago, Prosperitarianism. Today I read, for the first time in my publicly educated life, the Unspoken Speech that JFK was on his way to give when he was assassinated 50 years ago today. I feel I may offer the last piece of the puzzle for organizing the new American liberty party when I suggest jk's excellent platform be joined with a far better party name than Prosperitarian - The "JFK Party."

It is clear, therefore, that we are strengthening our security as well as our economy by our recent record increases in national income and output -- by surging ahead of most of Western Europe in the rate of business expansion and the margin of corporate profits, by maintaining a more stable level of prices than almost any of our overseas competitors, and by cutting personal and corporate income taxes by some $11 billion, as I have proposed, to assure this Nation of the longest and strongest expansion in our peacetime economic history.

Prosperitarianism can save the American Constitutional Republic by promoting private enterprise and restricting government to its proper sphere. JFKism can actually inspire people to take it seriously.

This Nation's total output -- which 3 years ago was at the $500 billion mark -- will soon pass $600 billion, for a record rise of over $100 billion in 3 years. For the first time in history we have 70 million men and women at work. For the first time in history average factory earnings have exceeded $100 a week. For the first time in history corporation profits after taxes -- which have risen 43 percent in less than 3 years -- have an annual level of $27.4 billion.

My friends and fellow citizens: I cite these facts and figures to make it clear that America today is stronger than ever before. Our adversaries have not abandoned their ambitions, our dangers have not diminished, our vigilance cannot be relaxed. But now we have the military, the scientific, and the economic strength to do whatever must be done for the preservation and promotion of freedom.

That strength will never be used in pursuit of aggressive ambitions -- it will always be used in pursuit of peace. It will never be used to promote provocations -- it will always be used to promote the peaceful settlement of disputes.

We in this country, in this generation, are -- by destiny rather than choice -- the watchmen on the walls of world freedom. We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time and for all time the ancient vision of "peace on earth, good will toward men." That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength. For as was written long ago: "except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain."

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

Hmmmmmm. Thanks for the kind words and props. I had not read that superb speech either.

I am dubious about the new school of Kennedy revisionism. Art Laffer and Larry Kudlow were on the case last night. Ira Stoll was on hawking his new book, "JFK Conservative," and Kudlow is co-authoring a book celebrating #35's embrace of supply-side economics. (I was devastated to hear that erstwhile-hero Sen. Barry Goldwater ran in '64 on a platform opposing the JFK cuts to marginal rates; a hero ain't nothing but a sandwich...) Laffer and Kudlow both talked about Reagan's drawing from Kennedy and the tow as unlikely Irish bookends.

I'll agree beyond peradventure that the Schlesinger embrace of his progressivism was overdone. I fear the right to be committing the same crime.

On Facebook, in a longer thread than managed here, I disagreed sharply with blog friend tg on the tone of Brandon McGinley's piece "Obama Meant to Destroy Solidarity, Not Save It." If you'll permit an odd segue, the speech has a similar tone of collective conformity. "Ayusck Naught what your country can do for you -- Ayusck what you can do for your country" is not a rallying cry for individualists or libertarians. President Kennedy had tax reform correct, but I think he and his AG were devoid of Goldwaterist liberty.

The speech is a great read for the tone of the times. Sputnik was before my time but my brothers had comic books and LP records on setting up and provisioning a bomb shelter. And, yes, there is much to commend in it -- even a Deepak Lalian strain of Prosperitarianism.

But I think that his martyred presidency is as overrated as Kurt Cobain's guitar playing (there goes half the blog readership!) and I am disinclined to include him in my philosophical or political pantheon.

Posted by: jk at November 23, 2013 2:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I will admit to elevating JFK without a thorough vetting but I do so precisely because he is a "footlong sandwich" of American Democrats. "Hey, all you bleeding hearts, your party is leaving you on the left-bound train."

As for "Ask not what your country can do for you..." that is very much in support of self-reliance, an antonym to Progressivism.

Posted by: johngalt at November 25, 2013 3:56 PM

November 5, 2013

Election Night Colorado

A couple of big issues on the statewide ballot today. A nearly billion dollar annual tax increase, primarily to prop up public employee pensions, and a smaller tax on legalized marijuana.

Here are Six Items to Watch for in Tonight's Election from local pollster Floyd Cirulli.

And the latest, and last before returns begin to come out, voter turnout data statewide, by county. Lookie there, El Paso county turnout exceeds Denver's!

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:42 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Billion dollar tax hike, introducing progressive rates to CO income tax, shot down by voters 2:1.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 1:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Even more importantly, perhaps, at least three CO school districts (Douglas, Jefferson and Denver) elected a slate of anti-union school board members, including Douglas County where the members were re-elected after implementing sweeping reforms.

This growing statewide trend likely will reverberate nationally.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 1:36 AM
But jk thinks:

The only slightly sour note was that the 51st State Initiative performed weakly, especially in my home county of Weld.

It was a always going to be difficult, but its tepid start effectively kills it. C'est le guerre.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2013 1:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Blog Optimist here! IMO, it was never more than a shot across the bow of state government. For this "crackpot idea" to garner 40-plus percent in every county it was tested is nothing to sneeze at. Secede from the state? That's crazy talk! And yet, more than just the proponents and their relatives voted "Aye." Still enough support to lobby urban pols to straighten up.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair point. Apres le deluge, even the Facebook page changed from trying out new flag designs to "Send a Message..." You are probably correct that that was accomplished. Staying optimistic, I'd suggest the 2-1 thumping given to Amendment 66 -- which would take money from rural counties to plow into urban school districts -- was more legible.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2013 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of those urban school districts:

3. School Reform Slates Sweep The State: In perhaps the most underreported news of the night, school reform candidates from Northern Colorado to Jefferson County to Denver swept the school board races. The JeffCo school board "sleeper slate"Ě victory surprised even us. Everyone had their eyes on Douglas County, where reformers beat back a union challenge backed by Obama's senior Colorado advisor and bankrolled with big national union money. But school choice supporters racked up victories in nearly every race they ran.

From CO Peak Politics' '7 Lessons Learned from the 2013 Colorado Election'

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 3:05 PM

October 23, 2013

Obamacare Rollout Could Hurt Dems in 2014

Don't take my word for it. Here is the spin from NPR:

For the congressional Democrats whose votes made the Affordable Care Act a reality and who will have to defend their support for the law in the 2014 midterm elections, the problems with the federal website are a political nightmare.

Not only do the website's problems embolden the Republican opposition to the law; they place Democrats on the defensive at a time when the party appears to have the advantage coming out of the shutdown/debt default crises.

Several recent polls suggest that Republicans greatly damaged themselves by forcing the crisis, a self-inflicted wound Democrats are eager to exploit. Some of the more ebullient Democrats even claimed that their chances for retaking the House had improved significantly.

But now there's a chance 2014 could find Democrats conducting their own version of damage control, as a result of the disastrous digital rollout.

We may yet learn which profession is most reviled by the American public: politicians, or insurance salesmen.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:35 PM | Comments (0)

October 1, 2013

If a government shut down in Washington D.C., would it even make a noise?

It's Shutdown Eve and there's a fun meme trending on Twitter: #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

These are pretty awesome. I retain my sense of humor.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2013 11:05 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"I, like, big, cuts and I cannot lie." LOL

Did you see my original one, Monty Python inspired? I was actually humming it on my way home, before I ever discovered #ObamaShutdownHitSongs

"I'm a Democrat and I'm Okay, I Sleep All Night and I Fib All Day."

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2013 6:39 PM

September 29, 2013

I will stop the motor of the redistributionist state

Three Sources favorite Yaron Brook tweeted a reason Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz that was missing from the list compiled by John Dickerson of CBS. Dickerson's reasons include things like "he's fooled the grassroots" and created "false distrust" between members and their constituents. They're also jealous, says Dickerson, that "in a matter of months, Cruz has built a base of support that allowed him to act as the de facto Republican leader of the Senate."

But Brook nailed it, in less than 140 characters:

Why Senate Republicans hate Ted Cruz? Because they are unprincipled power-lusters.

Precisely. While Senate Republicans as a rule are more interested in going along and getting along, Senator Cruz is more interested in doing what he believes is right - acting consistently with his principles. Whatever a senator's principles, Cruz explained during the filibuster, he should be loyal to them and not to the dictates of party leaders. Cruz seeks to dismantle the power structure in the US Senate, where a cabal of senators from both parties effectively decides how every vote will transpire. That's not the way representative government works, it's the way a dictatorship tries to make itself look like representative government.

America's "dictators" employ wealth redistribution through government to maintain political power for themselves and, so far, Ted Cruz has shown he's not going to play that game.

I replied to Yaron Brook's tweet with an observation of my own: "In a very real sense, Ted Cruz has acted as a political John Galt - stopping the motor of redistributionism."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:00 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

The blog pragmatist is displeased. There is a fine and infinitely arguable line between purity and "People's Front of Judea."

My particular problems with this latest go 'round are:

-- It is tactics. To make a bold stand on principle is fine. I offer the example of Sen. Rand Paul's (HOSS - KY) filibuster against NSA snooping. Many in the muscular-defense wing of the party held that the intrusions were necessary; Rand stood boldly on principle. Sen. Cruz, conversely, splits the party into good guys and bad guys over tactics. This is not worth it.

-- The bad guys, the mean ol' establishment republicans (eeeew!) include Tom Colburn? Jim Geraghty:

Senator Tom Coburn (Alleged RINO, Oklahoma) said, "You do not take a hostage you are not going to for sure shoot. And we will not for sure shoot this hostage." But as I read the conservative blogosphere, I increasingly suspect that there are quite a few folks on the right who are perfectly willing to shoot the hostage.

This is not about weeding out the Lincoln Chaffees and Susan Collinses who are principle-deficient. This is more about rending the party in twain.

Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner are Satan and Beelzebub on my Twitter feed. Fair enough that leadership attracts controversy, but because they will not go full-Quixote, they are "unprincipled power lusters?"

They may be, but it helps not the Judean Peoples' Front to call them on it.

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2013 10:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Chaffee and Collins are not the only principle-deficient senators. That list numbers closer to 90.

How many times have the tactics favored by Coburn et al been tried? How many times have they worked?

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2013 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't think Senator Colburn's tactics have ever been tried. The last GOP majority was the Bush-DeLay-Hastert axis. I'll give each a kind word for their service, but not a one of them had a desire for small government or liberty qua liberty.

You're going to stop the world with

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2013 4:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

... with a House majority that no longer signs the checks that pay the bills.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2013 5:20 PM

September 20, 2013


I was not paying huge attention to the gubernatorial election in The Old Dominion. I hoped to see Clintonista snake Terry McAuliffe lose on the basis of his outrageous 'lectriccar crony capitalism, but I was just watching.

Kim Strassel (must be Friday) makes an interesting point. I have wondered since 2010 how we (Colorado Republicans, Kimosabe) could ever win against the tactics that opposed Ken Buck. Strassel nails it:

Virginia so far has been a carbon copy of what Democrats did so successfully in last year's Senate and House races. The approach runs thus: A Democratic candidate, assisted by unions and outside partisan groups, floods the zone with attack ads, painting the GOP opponent as a tea-party nut who is too "extreme" for the state. The left focuses on divisive wedge issues--like abortion--that resonate with women or other important voting constituencies.

As the Republican's unfavorable ratings rise, the Democrat presents himself as a reasonable moderate, in tune with the state's values. A friendly media overlook the Democrat's reliably liberal record, and the lies within the smears against his opponent, and ultimately declares the Democrat unbeatable.

She doesn't say "Ken Buck" but could not be more accurate in describing Colorado's 2010 Senate race. Buck was a tea party guy and an imperfect candidate. He is grouped with Sharron Angle in Nevada and Christine O'Donnell in Delaware as "Tea Party Overreach." It may be true, but nobody compared his actual beliefs with that of Sen. Bennett; they saw a caricature.

That will work every even numbered year in Colorado. The GOP candidate -- not likely to be Pro Life -- will be presented as Todd Akin's more conservative cousin on his mom and his dad's side. Media in Colorado is comparatively cheap and the left's SuperPACs can flood the zone pretty cost-effectively.

Virginia, Strassel says, has come up with a remedy. Just be true to your philosophy and engage your opponent on important local issues and -- oh who am I kidding? It's "don't bring a knife to a gun fight."

Enter a new conservative Super PAC, Fight For Tomorrow, which last week began running a creative TV ad against Mr. McAuliffe in the Washington and Richmond areas. Little is known about FFT (as a national Super PAC, it will be required to disclose its backers in January), but one thing is clear from conversations with those involved: The organization's primary focus is to directly take on the Democratic bare-knuckle strategy--and not just neutralize it, but throw it back at the attackers.

The concept behind FFT's ad is to give Virginia voters a context in which to view the McAuliffe attacks. The group's TV spot notes that there is a "gang" supporting Mr. McAuliffe: the leaders of the Democratic Party; an elitist media; Wall Street liberals; outside partisan groups; Hollywood.

Having specified who is doing the smearing on Mr. McAuliffe's behalf, the spot goes on to explain why the groups want Mr. McAuliffe to win: To impose an agenda that Virginians truly would view as nuts. Employing a potent list of "geography verbs," the ad finishes: "Tell these McAuliffe puppeteers, this is Virginia. We won't let you Detroit us with taxes and debt. You will not California Virginia with regulations that kill jobs, or Hollywood our families and schools. You will not bring District of Columbia tax and spend to our state. Tell them: You can't have Virginia."

I like the geography verbs. And I guess I prefer low-information fodder to losing. But will anybody ever explain to these people that this is a direct result of campaign finance reform? Real live election buying because we could not let rich people fund candidates' campaigns. At least when The Adams Camp accused Andrew Jackson of polygamy everybody knew where it came from.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:45 PM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2013

On Religion in Government

The infamous Internet Segue Machine brought this page to my screen today, offering a hand of friendship to Ralph Benko, who asks the GOPs libertarians to "bend a bit." I read it as the author counseling the faithful to keep Truth and law in their separate and proper stations.

Throughout his work, Lewis infused an interconnected worldview that championed objective truth, moral ethics, natural law, literary excellence, reason, science, individual liberty, personal responsibility and virtue, and Christian theism. In so doing, he critiqued naturalism, reductionism, nihilism, positivism, scientism, historicism, collectivism, atheism, statism, coercive egalitarianism, militarism, welfarism, and dehumanization and tyranny of all forms. Unlike ďprogressiveĒ crusaders for predatory government power over the peaceful pursuits of innocent people, Lewis noted that "I do not like the pretensions of Government - the grounds on which it demands my obedience - to be pitched too high. I donít like the medicine-manís magical pretensions nor the Bourbonís Divine Right. This is not solely because I disbelieve in magic and in Bossuetís Politique. I believe in God, but I detest theocracy. For every Government consists of mere men and is, strictly viewed, a makeshift; if it adds to its commands 'Thus saith the Lord,' it lies, and lies dangerously."

Yes, "Lewis" is indeed C.S. Lewis, a thinker and author I had previously dismissed as an overt religionist. It appears the waters of his writing run deeper that that, and I am eager to go for a swim. I have made glacial progress in the winning of hearts and minds with the teachings of Rand. Perhaps I can have more success, in a practical endeavor, quoting Lewis and others who admire him. A good starting place may well be the founder and president of the C.S. Lewis Society of California, David J. Theroux.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

American progressives keep promising Denmark, a true socialist workers paradise and the happiest country in the world, and delivering Detroit: now entering the Ninth Circle of Hell. -- Ralph Benko
The pull quote made me laugh but the whole column is well worth a read. Benko calls for a new Fusionism (without using the term) based on the Constitution. He asks the libertarians in the GOP to bend a bit, remember that the Constitution guarantees religious freedom, and get along better with Conservatives who deliver a lot of votes.
Posted by John Kranz at 9:30 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

You've already read it and I haven't - does he also ask Conservatives to bend a bit and stop taxing, spending and regulating like Democrats?

And, while they're at it, stop trying to regulate who and how people love each other through statute?

[I won't mention the "a" word this cycle, since libertarian hero Rand Paul has already bent the Conservatives' way on that. Apparently still a bridge too far in this Objectivist's crusade to modernize the GOP.]

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2013 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

No. He's not out to be fair and balanced. But he is respectful in tone and I think it is implied that "can't we all get along?"

I make this argument to conservatives a lot and felt I should sit still and listen to my mirror image (albeit superior writer) delivereth the lesson.

The heart -- and difficult for me -- is to accept some populist positions that seem declassé. The part I really liked was that we were uniting around the Constitution. Your conservative friends have not only a First Amendment right to worship but also a right to petition government.

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2013 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Besides, Benko won my trust with the superb headline: If Paul Krugman Didn't Exist, Republicans Would Have To Invent Him

Posted by: jk at August 13, 2013 12:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

All that is said in the article is indeed laudable and inspiring. My concern comes from the unsaid - Does the Bill of Rights guarantee the "right to life" of an unborn baby, or the "right to liberty" of his mother? It is for good reason that when the chips are down, Democrats always resort to this issue if all else fails. And, thusfar, only Democrats are allowed to campaign one way in a primary and the opposite way in a general.

Posted by: johngalt at August 13, 2013 3:44 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

It is also worth remembering that this article was written for Forbes. I supspect their readership is sig. more urban, libertarian, and wealthy than average social conservative in the hinterlands. Perhaps if he were on Fox News his focus would be different.

(For what it is worth, I have found myself very, very impressed with Forbes in recent weeks. They are one of the few publications that is serious about having a real, intellectually rigorous debate about the future of the GOP. Very impressed with many of their columns. I can't find it now - stupid Chinese internet - but there was a neat piece on "reform conservatism" with some pretty specific policy proposals the Three Sources readership might find interesting. I meant to forward it to JK and solicit opinions, but I forgot. Never too late, aye?)

Posted by: T. Greer at August 16, 2013 12:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at August 19, 2013 3:32 PM

August 8, 2013

"Liberal" vs. "Conservative" is worthless

It's actually worse that worthless, it's misleading: Conservative isn't always good and liberal always bad.

The National Journal ranks Todd Akin the "most conservative" representative but as br'er JK notes, "he has much to answer for." Far more than just canceling Firefly.

And then we have "most liberal" which, amongst Republicans, is hung by the old guard [thought of something besides "establishment" to use there] around the necks of the so-called libertarians like Justin Amash, Rand Paul, and probably even Ted Cruz. From where I sit being "liberal," as in preferring liberty of individuals from coercion, is a compliment. That's why it irked me when Louisiana's Elbert Guillory said that "liberalism has nearly destroyed the black community, and it's time for the black community to return the favor."

In this otherwise excellent announcement of the Free at Last PAC, which observes that,

"Our communities are just as poor as they have always been. Our schools continue to fail children. Our prisons are filled with young black men who should be at home being fathers."

Guillory also said that "Democrat leadership has failed the black community." This is closer to the mark. I understand that "liberalism" is a modern euphemism for socialist, redistributionist, egalitarian policies but while those labels are, to some, too judgmental or extreme, liberalism is too vague and nebulous. I will suggest to Guillory, and to Free at Last PAC, that instead they name the precise cause - Progressivism. And yes, Democrats.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:05 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Those two words are completely worthless unless you know your audience. I'll never call anybody but myself a liberal: leftists do not deserve the appellation.

As we've discussed frequently, there is no scalar quantity, though everybody wants it reduced to one. Me, I still love The Nolan Chart.

Posted by: jk at August 9, 2013 10:11 AM

August 6, 2013

Not Nancy Grace

Nancy Mace. According to Hot Air Lindsey Graham is a prime target to be Primaried:

Her opening speech also seemed a bit canned, as if somebody told her to check a few of the basic conservative boxes and get it over with. (ďMake sure to say Reaganís name a few times, mention the constitution and get the heck out of there!Ē) But I also found a few previous comments she released on immigration, gun control and other important current topics, so itís probably too soon to tell, and she may well be prepping a barrage of good, serious policy speeches to use against Graham in the inevitable debates. In any event, it looks like it will be an interesting primary season in South Carolina, and we definitely need to be recruiting more energetic, young candidates everywhere, so welcome to the race, Ms. Mace.
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2013

Human Ichneumonidae

I'm quite sure blog brother jk linked the George Will piece on Detroit already, but I just got around to reading it today via a still prominent position on the IBD Ed page. It contains an analogy just as apt as Starnesville.

The ichneumon insect inserts an egg in a caterpillar, and the larva hatched from the egg, he said, "gnaws the inside of the caterpillar, and though at last it has devoured almost every part of it except the skin and intestines, carefully all this time avoids injuring the vital organs, as if aware that its own existence depends on that of the insect on which it preys!"

Detroit's union bosses and "auto industry executives, who often were invertebrate mediocrities" were not, however, quite as intelligent as the lowly ichneumonidae. They knawed right through the alimentary canal. Why did the executives go along? Did they not know the lavish compensations were unsustainable? This matters little, for government followed the private-sector lead:

Then city officials gave their employees - who have 47 unions, including one for crossing guards - pay scales comparable to those of autoworkers.

Thus did private-sector decadence drive public-sector dysfunction - government negotiating with government-employees' unions that are government organized as an interest group to lobby itself to do what it wants to do: Grow.

And grow it did, in Detroit and in cities and states as far and wide as union influence stretched.

Detroit, which boomed during World War II when industrial America was "the arsenal of democracy," died of democracy.

Yet democracy lives on, an unnoticed and unindicted threat to the life of all American cities, states, and nation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The Ichneumonidae Appreciation Society is suing Will for this scurrilous comparison...

Posted by: jk at August 5, 2013 5:06 PM

August 2, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

We don't question McCain's patriotism or minimize his military service. But his service as a lawmaker has left a lot to be desired, at least for those in his own party. -Investors Ed Page: "Why Does John McCain Keep Running As a Republican?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 1, 2013

Detroit: Death by Democracy

I've a few disagreements with George Will. But when he is on, it's a thing of magnificent beauty. (Even when I disagree, it's pretty.) Will calls it like it is today.

This bedraggled city's decay poses no theological conundrum of the sort that troubled Darwin, but it does pose worrisome questions about the viability of democracy in jurisdictions where big government and its unionized employees collaborate in pillaging taxpayers. Self-government has failed in what once was America's fourth-largest city and now is smaller than Charlotte.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 3:41 PM | Comments (0)

July 26, 2013

Chris Christie: libertarianism "very dangerous"

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

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

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

Rand Paul tweeted a response:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I am reading this slightly differently.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The libertarians have due reason to be upset.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

OOOOOOhh. "Dangerous."

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

July 2, 2013

Reform Proposal: GAAP Accounting

Many things are divisive and I have little hope of great legislation coming out of the 113th Congress. I'm rooting for the world's crappiest immigration bill: as bad as ObamaCare® for transparency and legislative process -- but this time I think it is a net gain.

Looking for something that could be done, I suggest reforming the CBO and forcing the government to use real live would-not-get-you-thrown-in-Sing-Sing-if-you-were-a-business accounting, or Generally Applied Accounting Practices (GAAP). I am quite tepid on GAAP for business and find many of its recommendations wrong. But compared to this:

Here's the scam: Lawmakers peddle what is a massive subsidy for universities while claiming that student loans generate a windfall for the taxpayer. This phony windfall is conjured by creative accounting that politicians mandated via the Federal Credit Reform Act of 1990. Specifically, the law requires a deliberate under-counting of the cost of defaults.

This is partly how a Democratic Congress and President Obama managed to enact ObamaCare in 2010 while claiming that their big entitlement expansion would reduce costs. The health plan was paired with legislation that made the U.S. Department of Education the originator of roughly 90% of all student loans, which in turn generated billions in imaginary budget "savings."

To its credit, the Congressional Budget Office has noted on various occasions that while the law forces it to use this Beltway math, CBO knows it's not accurate under fair-value accounting. And in a new report on the costs of student loans made in the decade ending in 2023, CBO quantifies the size of this discrepancy at $279 billion. CBO adds with its typically wry understatement that Washington's mandated accounting method "does not consider some costs borne by the government."

Not gonna get a flat tax, not gonna get competing currencies, not gonna outlaw the DH. But a bill (amendment?) to force accurate accounting could do as much good long term. It would be hard to pass, as bad accounting serves the spending contingent well. But at least they would have to vote for shady accounting -- wouldn't that would be a kick in the head?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:02 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I don't understand - even without any defaults, how does the business of making subsidized loans "generate a windfall?" Is it the interest margin between the new 6.8% APR and the FED discount rate of 0.75%? Why, those heartless politicians are funding health care for old people on the backs of young college students!! Oh wait, we already knew that.

Posted by: johngalt at July 3, 2013 11:17 AM

June 20, 2013

Fusionism: Today's Reading

I can't say I agree with everything in Henry Olsen's NR piece, Rand Paul's Party. But:

a) he gets bonus points for opening with a LOTR reference (that's Tolkien's magnum opus, not our basement beer klatch).

b) he pours a little cold water where it needs be poured.

The story then comes to the present day. Look around you, they say. You all know people just like yourselves: educated; hard workers; makers, not takers. They like low taxes and smaller government. But your friends think conservatives are weird. Why? Because they are turned off by the GOP's fondness for foreign military adventure and disagreements on gay marriage. Remove those barriers and -- voilá! -- an instant new voting bloc appears, just as it did for the blue-state GOP governors.

I hear that every day on some level. My libertarianish buddies wonder why we can't throw these old fuddy-duddies into the creek and go out there and win us some elections!

I'll raise his Tolkien reference with a Buffy quote. Like Spike: "I may be Love's bitch, but at least I am man enough to admit it!" I'd love a coherent liberty party that I'd be proud to associate with, that I wouldn't have embarrassing quotes from low level offices or unvetted candidates thrown in my face. That would be really swell.

But we would never win any elections. Yes, my young and sophisticated friends are turned off by the GOPs position on abortion. But if I wave my magic policy wand and make the Republicans pro-choice, do we get their votes? Hell no -- they're voting "free contraception" thank you very much. In the meantime, we chase away a most dedicated voting block who will crawl over broken glass on election day and vote for the guy who fired their brother and stole his car -- if he is the pro-life candidate.

I am ranting but I am in concert with the linked post. Olsen says the imagined power voting block is projected to be libertarians plus what he calls "Post Moderns." His bad news is that the Post Moderns don't love liberty more than eight inches from their genitalia (my words, not his, this is National Review fer cryin' out loud!)

This leaves us where I have been for years. Before Tea Parties and before (the, ahem, pro-life) Rand Paul's emergence as a GOP Rock Star. We are a 10-19% voting block -- quite powerful, but not on our own. We need to find the least distasteful coalition partners that can get us into office.

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

This is interesting. I never considered it in such detail but thought a marginal appeal to traditional Democrat voters would have a marginal benefit for the GOP. We don't have to move an entire voting bloc, just a point from this group and a couple points from another. Before long we're back in the majority.

I find the comparison to LOTR unfairly perjorative. Paul's approach is not "fast and easy" but the political movement which consistently adopts ever more liberty-based positions will ultimately have the widest, strongest and most enduring appeal. While his positions are not consistently pro-liberty, they are more so than any other mainstream pol short of Ted Cruz. Both are on the right track.

Posted by: johngalt at June 20, 2013 11:45 AM
But jk thinks:

Fair point, Jeffrey, but if you don't mind my saying so, Jeffrey...

Olsen pitched it against Senator Paul and I stand squarely with you in the Kentuckian's defense. Paul pushes the envelope a good deal, but I would say he nods toward fusionism and could establish a serious candidacy.

(Our blog friend LatteSipper posted an item on Facebook yesterday blasting Paul for taking a states' rights position on marijuana -- and offering a clinical admonition. TheRawStory.com, praise be upon you if you are unfamiliar with it, labeled that as hypocrisy.)

I meant this post in a "Libertario Delenda Est" vein, and my keenest point of interest was in Olsen's description of the "Post Moderns" which might not join in our big tent plans.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2013 1:25 PM

June 18, 2013

Edward Snowden: Is he a Winter or an Autumn?

I remain convincible on the NSA program. It is a fine example of Arnold Kling's Three Languages of Politics [Review Corner]. There is a question of civilization/barbarism: we should use tools to keep Miss Alabama safe. OTOH, there is liberty vs. coercion. I am willing to sign off on the program if someone can credibly convince me that it was 100% non-complicit in outing General Petraeus's affair. Ellen Nakashima shows how metadata ("we're not listening in to your calls...") was used. That, my friends, is troublesome; the defense that "I am not doing anything wrong" is greatly expanded in context and scope. (This guy out in Weld County seems to visit a lot of websites with Indian Rosewood guitar components. Better have the Fish & Game SWAT team on alert...)

Richard Epstein provides the conservative case superbly (Hat-tip: Insty)

I donít always agree with Alan Dershowitz, nor does he always agree with me, but I think that he is right on the money when he laments at The Daily Beast that, with the outcry against the NSA program, we are witnessing a return to a form of paranoia that has too often marred American politics. Dershowitz here is not arguing whether we do or do not need a government program; he is describing the level of trust that we put in government.

In making that observation it is imperative to distinguish between cases. Nothing whatsoever should insulate the NSA from political scrutiny and legislative and judicial intervention. But nothing should allow us to equate the so-called NSA standard with the inexcusable IRS scandal that is rife with partisan politics and worse, precisely because of the utter absence of any institutional protections against partisan abuse.

Richard Epstein and Alan Dershowitz: a couple more Jack Bauer Fans.

UPDATE: Epstein and Pilon not speaking for CATO.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

When I speculated, with absolutely no evidence, on a link between PRISM and the Petraeus resignation dear dagny called me "nutty" or some such.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2013 2:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for Snowden, at this point I'd say he's a Spring.

Posted by: johngalt at June 18, 2013 3:11 PM

June 13, 2013


Many point to the IRS Scandal (to our lefty readers I mean, of course, the "so-called scandal") as a reason to abolish the IRS.

I vote yes. Real tax reform, whether a flat tax or consumption tax, or The Herman Cain's NINE, NINE, NINE provide a transparency that instantly eliminates 90-99% of Shenanigans. But my pragmatic side peers cautiously over the current, exegetic political landscape and sees little hope of victory. President Obama is going to sign something that disarms his devoted army of Lois Lerners? It is a great idea and a superb anecdotal data point, but it remains out of reach.

The real live actual lesson from [that thing that those wacky conservatives continue calling] the IRS scandal is the folly of Campaign Finance Reform. It remains -- irrespective of poll data -- the greatest abridgement of our First Amendment Rights. I'm a 1st Amendment absolutist and accept porn, flag burning and Westburo Knuckleheads as the price of freeing speech from government control.

But, as has been said a hundred times on these pages, the real reason we have a First Amendment is to protect political speech so that self-government can operate in a marketplace of ideas. This is so obvious I would suspect even that five Supreme Court Justices could get it (as they did in Citizen's United v FEC but not in McConnell v FEC).

These organizations exist only because of our Nation's long War on Democracy. Freedom to support any candidate or cause however one chooses obviates them and precludes favoritism in their acceptance or rejection. Everything less is a license from the government to speak -- approved by Lois Lerner.

UPDATE: Nowhere is CFR more pernicious than a local level. Run a recall campaign and do not accept more than $800? Small groups pursuing referenda or small matters are shut down with complexity and fearful consequences of arcane CFR regulations. Therefore, only rich people may have a voice in politics -- not quite the intended consequence. IJ:

Posted by John Kranz at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)
But Steve D thinks:

Abolishing the IRS should be attempted at the very least. If nothing else, it will implant the idea in people's minds and provide a teaching moment for those educating them (us).

Posted by: Steve D at June 13, 2013 1:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The only reason anyone is discussing IRS abolition on the national stage is the news of the agency's dirty deeds. Here's hoping they're too big and too stupid to behave themselves and just lay low for a while.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2013 2:41 PM

June 12, 2013


Insty links to a short David Bernstein post that anecdotally summarizes every gorram thing that is wrong with this great nation's government. Eulogizing the dear departed nonagenarian Garden State Senator, his friends praised his using "his pull" to secure plane seats and alter train schedules (Ayn Rand, call your office...Ms. Rand, Line One!)

UPDATE: How much more I would have admired Lautenberg if his friends could relate that "we begged him to use his clout as a former Senator to get us back to our families, but Frank was adamant that his friends and acquaintances were no more important than anyone else trying to get back home, and that he wouldn't abuse his status as former senator on our behalf."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

June 10, 2013

Mick and Keef -- Tea Partiers?

Maybe if you add a bit of Jack Daniels to the tea...

The Stones are famously tax-averse. I broach the subject with Keith in Camp X-Ray, as he calls his backstage lair. There is incense in the air and Ronnie Wood drifts in and out--it is, in other words, a perfect venue for such a discussion. "The whole business thing is predicated a lot on the tax laws," says Keith, Marlboro in one hand, vodka and juice in the other. "It's why we rehearse in Canada and not in the U.S. A lot of our astute moves have been basically keeping up with tax laws, where to go, where not to put it. Whether to sit on it or not. We left England because we'd be paying 98 cents on the dollar. We left, and they lost out. No taxes at all." -- From Andy Serwer's "Inside the Rolling Stones Inc." in Fortune magazine, Sept. 30, 2002. Also, today's "Notable & Quotable"

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

"Here's one for you nineteen for me"
"Tax man"
"If five percent appears too small,
be thankful I don't take it all"
"Tax man"

Credit: Lennon-McCartney

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2013 2:15 PM
But jk thinks:

B'lieve that was George.

Tough. Damn. Room.

Posted by: jk at June 10, 2013 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A guess on my part. Heck, even I can't ALWAYS be right. ;)

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2013 3:06 PM

May 28, 2013


I found Truth on Facebook:


Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

It occurred to me today that President Obama's two terms as President may yet be a success, after all. No, not for Obamacare, but for precipitating the dissolution of the IRS - may it go the way of the Stasi.

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2013 3:47 PM

May 8, 2013

Washington. Coolidge. Cruz.

Articulator of principle:

"I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I've seen in the last 30 years."

Carville accurately described the conservative view: "'If we only got someone who was articulate and was for what we were for, we would win elections. And we get these John McCains and these Mitt Romneys and these squishy guys that can't do anything.'" Carville added: "Well, there's one thing this guy is not -- he ain't squishy, not in the least."


"If defending Americans' constitutional liberties and fighting for policies that will spur job growth and economic recovery is [the] Democrats' definition of 'extreme,' it confirms that their convoluted, misguided priorities do not represent the best interests of New Yorkers," a spokeswoman for Cruz, a Princeton and Harvard Law honors graduate and one of just three Hispanics in the Senate, told The Post.

"They [New York Democrats] clearly have bigger problems to deal with than lobbing useless criticisms at a Republican senator coming to town to speak at an event for Republicans," the spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, continued.


UPDATE (05/09 13:25) Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater

As for Perry, heís old news. Public Policy Polling announced this week itís dropping the GOP governor, who barely registers following his bungled White House bid last year, and replacing him with Cruz in future surveys of potential presidential candidates.
Posted by JohnGalt at 5:44 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

I certainly like him.

Now don't anybody get me wrong, but . . . I hope to see Senators Cruz and Paul being intemperate in the US Senate for many years. That is an important job. As each gets closer to hearing "Hail to the Chief" when they walk into a room, each will get a little more "handled." I submit that this has happened to Senator Marco Rubio.

Posted by: jk at May 8, 2013 6:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeahbut... I never detected the same quality of philosophical self-confidence from Rubio than I do from Paul or, perhaps surprisingly, from Cruz. Perhaps Paul was the trailblazer, having arrived earlier, but Cruz' penchant for speaking his mind can't be underestimated. (Carville didn't say Rubio or Paul were fearless and talented.) I see Cruz being "handled" about as effectively as was our 40th President, i.e. not much.

Posted by: johngalt at May 8, 2013 6:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

As for Rubio, I think he's trapped in the gravity field of one Senator McCain. Did you see Cruz' proposed amendment to the immigration bill?

Posted by: johngalt at May 8, 2013 6:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm actually concerned about Senator Rand Paul (HOSS - KY). I hoep I am wrong.

Posted by: jk at May 8, 2013 7:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Carville's reference was too subtle for my liking. What he meant was, "I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician since Ronald Reagan."

Personally, I have reason to believe he could be an even greater president than 40, and hope that it comes to pass so that we may find out.

Posted by: johngalt at May 9, 2013 12:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Now that's an endorsement! I'm in!

Posted by: jk at May 9, 2013 1:01 PM

April 11, 2013

"Racism, Jim Crow" ... "It was all Democrats"

A decent article about an important story:

Rand Paul's tells majority black Howard University that it was the Democrats, not the Republicans behind 'racism and Jim Crow'

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2307094/Protestor-white-supremecy-sets-tone-Rand-Pauls-gutsy-speech-majority-black-audience-Howard-University.html
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

WOW! I have an assignment. Watch as much of the Rand Paul (HOSS KY) speech as you can possibly find time for. You can scroll down at the link for an embed of the entire speech (52:25)

Then (less fun), read the Talking Points Memo description of the speech.

Yes, the reaction from a probably 95% opposition crowd was tepid. And, yes, the questioners were borderline hostile. Did they watch the same speech?

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2013 4:14 PM

March 26, 2013

A right - to discriminate?

I need a little help here. Someone tell me where I'm going wrong. (I know, I know, "When you opened your mouth.")

As SCOTUS hears oral argument on a gay marriage case, Erick Erickson posts a piece declaring ĎGay Marriageí and Religious Freedom Are Not Compatible. Me being me, I want to prove him wrong.

Here are my premises:

1) Every individual is [morally]* entitled to birthright liberty and ownership of his life, including all of his preferences and actions that do not involve initiation of force against others.

2) In every question, refer back to premise number 1.

Erickson's ultimate conclusion is that, "Libertarians will have to decide which they value more - the ability of a single digit percentage of Americans to get married or the first amendment. The two are not compatible." Why?

Once the world decides that real marriage is something other than natural or Godly, those who would point it out must be silenced and, if not, punished. The state must be used to do this. Consequently, the libertarian pipe dream of getting government out of marriage can never ever be possible.

Here he diverges into the other half of a package deal: That everyone be forced to accept a belief that contradicts his own. This is a key tenet of collectivism rather than liberalism. My counsel would be to ignore the latter and instead wage legal and ideological war on the former.

I made a brief attempt to argue this point with Mike Rosen today. There wasn't enough time for him to say more than, "There is no individual right to gay marriage, any more than there is a right to marriage to animals or to more than one other person." And in rebuttal to my suggestion that in accordance with Loving v. Virginia a STATE may not discriminate against individuals (due to race or, by extension, gender) but an individual SHOULD be able to discriminate against ANY individual for ANY reason, he simply said, "That's a weak argument."

Is it?

UPDATE: * Added the word "morally" to distinguish vis-a-vis "legally." The law still has some distance to travel.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I appreciate interesting dialog. It is a hard day to be jk on Facebook. Y'all know I am predisposed to gay marriage, but the combination of sanctimony and shallow thinking are too much to bear. Change your profile picture to George Takei's red equals sign -- and don't worry your pretty little enlightened head about Federalism, or the basic legal premise of "standing."

But you did not request a rant, you wanted an opinion...

I don't know if Rosen would prefer it, but I would have to lead me with a little "Render under Caesar."

As long as there are still Christians who actually follow Christ and uphold his word, a vast amount of people around the world ‚ÄĒ never mind Islam -- will never ever see gay marriage as anything other than a legal encroachment of God's intent.

With all due respect, we encroach on the poor Supreme Being’s intent all the damn time; not sure He has "standing..." Seriously, the cats and chicks in the robes are discussing marriage as a legal matter, and although he gets huge points for quoting Chesterton, I think Erikson's argument falls on its face when one bifurcates the religious and the secular versions of marriage.

Posted by: jk at March 26, 2013 6:37 PM

March 25, 2013

F = Kx

Brother jg suggests a political pendulum below. And I was dismissive. In fairness, I must share a column from Conn Carroll in the Washington Examiner. What the TEA Party Congress accomplished:

But if you look at the hard numbers -- if you look at the tax-and-spending trajectory that the United States was on before the 112th Congress was sworn into office, and then look at the path the U.S. is on now -- you'd see that Republicans in Congress have made tremendous progress in shrinking the size and scope of the federal government.

Plus they annoyed Ezra Klein! All is not lost.

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

March 24, 2013

The GOP's "Democrat Majority" Act

Otherwise known as Senator Rand Paul's incredibly disappointing 'Life at Conception Act.'

I suggested in a comment on the previous post that Democrats are the most popular at election time, when the possibility that a Republican might be elected exists. The two chief reasons for this are, in my opinion, gay marriage and abortion rights. Here is Ari Armstrong discussing Rand Paul's extremely disappointing position on the latter:

Do Republicans really believe this is a winning political strategy in 21st-century America? If so, we're more likely to see Democrats take back the House in 2014.

But the criticism is not just political, it is also rooted in moral philosophy.

The government properly recognizes each pregnant woman's right to choose whether to seek an abortion or carry her embryo or fetus to term. If the government instead pretended that an embryo is a "person" with full legal rights from the moment of conception, the government would face an immediate and stark contradiction: It would have to outlaw all abortion along with common forms of birth control and fertility treatments, which would clearly violate women's rights to their bodies, their pursuits of happiness, their liberties, their lives. Paul's position is not only logically absurd; it is also patently immoral.

The linked article is short, and worth a read.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:15 PM | Comments (0)

Has the pendulum finally stopped?

My high school history professor used to tell us that American politics is like a pendulum, which swings back and forth between Democrat and Republican control, and therefore, policies. Something completely unexpected happened last week that made me wonder if that pendulum, long on a leftward swing, had finally reached it's apogee: Senate Democrats passed a repeal of the Obamacare medical device tax.

The Democrat-controlled Senate voted last week to repeal the medical device tax in ObamaCare. They voted decisively to repeal it, with 79 senators including 33 Democrats on board. The House has already voted to repeal it with 270 members on board. That's a veto-proof majority in the Senate and very close to one in the House.

I cynically observed to friends last week that perhaps Obamacare was stuffed with many such bad ideas for the main purpose of giving lawmakers something to do to please campaign contributing lobbyists. As plausible as this sounds though it is probably too Machiavellian. The more likely explanation is that the bill's authors, whomever they may be, overreached, and the public backlash is more than even its champions can face up to.

But what we've seen here is that, when the truth comes to light and there's nowhere to hide, even Senate Democrats will vote to do the right thing - if only because they have no choice. Keep the pressure on. They've gone on record in favor of repealing this horrible tax.
Posted by JohnGalt at 10:55 AM | Comments (12)
But AndyN thinks:

I won't dispute that voters prefer Democratic Party views on abortion and gay marriage when confronted with the opportunity to vote for a Republican. Then again, I wasn't the one who proposed that American politics may be swinging back in the Republican Party's favor.

Perhaps what you had originally meant was that economic policy views are beginning to swing back in the Republican direction and had never intended it as a comment on political views as a whole. The problem with that is, when it comes to politics, almost everything has an economic component. At the risk of sounding trite, gays can get married now if they like, all they have to do is find a compliant clergy member. What they can't do is get their relationship recognized for purposes of receiving benefits that the government grants to straight couples. The sensible thing to do would be to say that the government really has no business giving preferential treatment to married citizens regardless of sexual orientation, but we know that's never going to happen. From a starve the beast/let it burn/precipitate a financial collapse and bring on the next revolution perspective, I'd be okay with granting the benefits of marriage to anybody who wants them so the government runs out of money faster and completely breaks the system so we can start over.

As for abortion policy, both sides have their extremists. The GOP extreme demands that abortion be denied even at the risk of the life of the mother, which obviously loses them votes despite the fact that it's not a position that holds much sway. The Democratic extreme - and by extreme I mean the position pushed by the sitting president - is that a woman should be able to have an abortion at any point up to and including delivering a live baby and leaving it unattended to die of neglect. I doubt that many politicians in either party would want to govern according to the views of their most extreme members, it's just unfortunate that only the GOP seems to be judged by its fringe.

Posted by: AndyN at March 24, 2013 3:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Both sides have their extremists" is a fact, but one that is often used to hide the fact that one side is right and the other is wrong. Before examining the two extremes I want to dispute your claim that the president's extreme position includes infanticide. He did support a do-not-resuccitate bill in Illinois, but as I recall that related to babies that had been aborted, not "delivered live."

So which, then, is right:

- No woman ever aborts a pregancy or uses post-conception birth control ever, for any reason.


- Any woman who wants to can abort HER OWN pregnancy at any time prior to birth for any reason that SHE chooses.

The first extreme clearly violates the personal liberty of every woman to control her own body. The second extreme denies an unborn person a chance to be born, and therefore attain the same rights as any other individual, including his mother. I do not see these two public policy descriptions as equal in any way. One is morally right and the other is morally wrong. What say you?

Posted by: johngalt at March 24, 2013 6:40 PM
But AndyN thinks:

He didn't just support a do-not-resuscitate bill, he repeatedly helped sink a born alive infant protection bill. At at least one hospital in Illinois while he served in the state legislature, the procedure for late term abortions was simply to induce preterm labor under the assumption that it would result in a still birth or the newborn would die immediately. Those who lived were left uncared for to die.

Given that, the question you really should have asked is, which is right:

- No woman ever aborts a pregancy or uses post-conception birth control ever, for any reason.


- Any woman who wants to can not only abort HER OWN pregnancy at any time prior to birth for any reason that SHE chooses, but may also deliver pre-term and leave the newborn to die.

Yes, the first is immoral, as it violates personal liberty and puts peoples lives and health at risk. But I'm not God so I don't see all sins as equal. If my two choices are to vote for a candidate who has party members down-ticket who think no woman should ever have an abortion under any circumstances, or vote for a candidate who's party is led by a man who thinks it's okay to wrap a newborn in a blanket and leave it in a closet to die alone, it's not a tough call to make.

Posted by: AndyN at March 24, 2013 9:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It does seem that you have brought infanticide into the debate. Once a HEALTHY baby leaves the mother's body a clear and definite line has been crossed. If the position of the Democrats, or even just their leader, were that infanticide should be legal while the Republican position drew the line on baby killing at the point of birth, this issue would be a nuclear albatross for the D's and not, as it is now, for the R's. Alas.

Posted by: johngalt at March 25, 2013 11:25 AM
But dagny thinks:

Jg and I usually agree on everything but here I have a question. Pre-term (for whatever reason) infants are rarely born, "healthy." Are you proposing infanticide for those with apgar scores less than 6? Sorry I think you have a policy problem here.

Posted by: dagny at March 26, 2013 11:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Dammit Jim, I'm a philosopher not an abortion doctor! ;) No, if an abortionist delivers an intact live baby then he should change the title on his business card. If they're going to induce a live birth anyway then stop calling it "abortion."

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2013 9:23 AM

March 21, 2013

How About Peyton Manning?

Rich Lowry wonders"Where is Today's Jack Kemp?" I cannot tell a lie, I am a Kemp fan as well. Substantive ideas that are rooted in free market principles that help people: these are more valuable than re-branding.

Kemp did his most important work as a backbencher in the House. Where is his equivalent today? Itís too bad John Boehner, Eric Cantor and Kevin McCarthy don't tell some promising member to spend the next three months coming up with 10 ideas for promoting work in America, or for a new welfare reform agenda, or for replacing Obamacare, or for making college affordable. Instead, it's all federal debt, all the time.

UPDATE: Larry chimes in:

Posted by John Kranz at 6:59 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Paul Ryan?

Posted by: johngalt at March 22, 2013 5:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Paul Ryan [Question Mark] ?

Yeah, I'm with Darth Grover on this. Kemp was a wonk and a crafter of legislation. Kemp's enterprise zones and Ryan's premium support plan for Medicare were both pragmatic attempts to use market forces to solve real-world and seemingly intractable problems.

And they both got the VP nod on a losing ticket without holding statewide office.

But, no, I don't think Chairman Ryan can throw a bullet spiral.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2013 10:30 AM

March 20, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

Colorado Republicans have developed a reputation -- largely earned -- for being the anti-gay, anti-immigration, anti-women party, and then Republicans stand around after getting their asses kicked, election after election, scratching their heads and wondering what happened.

Ari Armstrong, on why Republicans Bear Responsibility for Colorado's Anti-Gun Laws

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:42 PM | Comments (0)

March 12, 2013

Colorado is America's Canary

Dear America,

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.

This scenario only further enrages gun rights activists who view such things as the height of hypocrisy -- touting citizen rights to smoke pot while at the same time attacking citizen rights when it comes to guns.

If you want to read about the "civil war" part you'll have to click through. I'll not be accused of incitement.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:31 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government..."

Dude. Been there, done that, lived to tell the tale. http://is.gd/ASoCyG

Posted by: Keith Arnold at March 12, 2013 5:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

See how easily we fail to notice when the pot is warmed gradually? We just glibly refer to the "Californication" of our state without looking to see how much further Kalifornia is trying to go at the same time. I'll share this around in Colorado circles.

My caution was meant for those in swing districts who might choose to replace their Republican congressman with a Democrat in 2014 because some Republican somewhere "frightens" them.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 5:56 PM
But AndyN thinks:

If you care to see what happens when a single political party controls the executive and both houses of the legislative arms of government...
Were you worried that if you didn't appear balanced you'd offend someone? I believe that there are currently 24 states in which the GOP controls both the legislative and executive branches. Is there any evidence that those state governments are attempting to trample on the rights of their citizens?

The GOP has many problems, but this particular problem is specifically a Democratic party problem.

Posted by: AndyN at March 12, 2013 6:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good question! I love good questions.

I wasn't concerned about offending anyone, as yesterday's "On Legislation and Human Rights" post should illustrate, but I was seeking to illustrate a general principle rather than a partisan lament. Now I will try to defend it.

I am less affected by the anti-liberty of Republicans than that of Democrats but I do recognize it when I see it and, as a proponent of consistency in ones principles, oppose it. For example, Arkansas just overrode the veto of its Democrat governor to implement what some call the nation's most restrictive abortion ban. If one accepts the premise that a state prohibition on abortion tramples a right of the mother, namely to control her own bodily functions, then this is an example of Republicans doing exactly what I condemn Colorado Democrats for: A partisan infringment of individual liberties.

Posted by: johngalt at March 12, 2013 7:08 PM

February 22, 2013

Is it Just Me?

It seems this might be a big deal were it done to Democrats. But I suppose "boys will be boys."

RALEIGH A group that sent out a memo with tips on how to attack Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republican leaders exercised "bad judgment" that could jeopardize its funding, the director of a foundation that finances the group said Friday.
Describing the control Republicans hold on North Carolina state government, it gave progressives a list of recommendations. Among them:

-- Crippling their leaders (McCrory, Tillis, Berger etc.).

-- Eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.

-- Pressure McCrory at every public event.

-- Slam him when he contradicts his promises.

-- Private investigators and investigative reporting, especially in the executive branch...

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2013


After the election of President Obama to his first term I thought that his victory was mostly attributable to how much he appealed to America's naive youth. After his re-election I'm blaming it on the transfer payment dependency of the baby boom generation. But after reading the first few pages of Robert Draper's magazine length piece in the New York Times I'm more inclined to direct my ire, still at the baby boomers, but those of my party and not the electorate as a whole.

Draper spent time with a 28 year-old conservative pollster named Kristen Soltis Anderson. She focus grouped 20-something Obama voters with conservative tendencies. Draper summarizes:

Still, to hear her focus-group subjects tell it, the voice of todayís G.O.P. is repellent to young voters. Can that voice, belonging to the partyís most fevered members, still be accommodated even as young Republicans seek to bring their party into the modern era?

This conundrum has been a frequent postelection topic as youthful conservative dissidents huddle in taverns and homes and ó among friends, in the manner of early-20th-century Bolsheviks ó proceed to speak the unspeakable about the ruling elite.

This hit home with me. "Sounds like Liberty on the Rocks" I thought. From here Draper segues to one such group in Midtown Manhattan called Proximus, headed by John Goodwin who said, "This is a long-term play. This isnít going to happen by 2014. But we want to be able to show voters that we have a diversity of opinion. Right now, Republicans have such a small number of vocal messengers. What we want to do is add more microphones and eventually drown out the others." John Goodwin's name is probably not as familiar as that of his fiancee, S.E. Cupp, who added, "If I were training a candidate whoís against gay marriage Iíd say: 'Donít change your beliefs, just say legislatively this is not a priority, and Iím not going to take away someoneís right. And if abortion or gay marriage is your No. 1 issue, Iím not your guy."

This sounds just fine to me, but to the long-time Republicans who are my senior - the "baby-boom GOP" - they're most likely to say of her candidate what one said to me last year: "Well they're wrong!" [2nd comment]

Note: Proximus is Latin for "next."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Thanks for making me relive that post. Yes your comment is germane, but those were dark days.

I have called for realignment and a focus on liberty for some time. I would be much happier in the party you imagine.

And yet, I think all of the liberty minded need be cautious in evaluating the political benefit of realignment. We're not going to be cooler than them even with moderated positions on gay rights, abortion and the infield fly rule. And while I'd enjoy the consistency, I suspect the losses are likely offset. This blog has a good friend whose parents were "New-Dealers" through and through. They subscribed to The Nation and got Holiday Cards from Sen. Paul Wellstone (LeftOfftheMap - MN). Yet they pulled the lever for GOP candidates because of their Pro-Life positions.

The other folks have got Sandra Fluke! No matter how tall we stand on Griswold, asking women to pay $9 for pills is Puritanism!

Long-term, I think the GOP must ameliorate its social positions. But if they took jk-jg positions in 2014, they'd lose 25% of their voters, 40% of their volunteers and 75% of their funding.

Feel better?

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2013 3:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Jay Nordlinger quotes in interesting reader missive:

A few months ago I got a form letter from Planned Parenthood which began, in bold type: "The election results made it crystal clear: The American people don't want politicians to meddle in our personal health care decisions."

Funny -- the results seemed to me to say exactly the opposite.

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2013 5:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Funny but sad. The Affordable Care Act or 'Obamacare' continues to poll under 50% favorability. And yet, the electorate chose its namesake. Why? See above.

I will extrapolate JKs prescription that "the GOP must ameliorate its social positions" into a form that comports with my post: Older Republicans must ameliorate their social positions, at least as matters of governance and law. Those who wish to dissuade these (and any other) behaviors would be better served using Reddit and Twitter rather than the United States Code.

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2013 6:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Taking it a step or two further...

How collectivist must our government become before Older Republicans embrace electable (Proximal?) GOP candidates in primary elections?

Will those voters evolve (or die off) before America is fully transformed into an egalitarian state? It may not be as long as we might hope.

Posted by: johngalt at February 14, 2013 7:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did I just say "electable?" Isn't that why we were supposed to nominate Romney?

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2013 3:19 PM

January 29, 2013

Challenging Republican Orthodoxy

On the heels of today's Pragmatic Republican Politics post I'll excerpt from the latest challenge to GOP orthodoxy, this time from Clifford Asness in The American: The GOP Must Lead (Again) on Civil Rights Clifford makes a well reasoned argument in support of three reform initiatives for the GOP - immigration, education and the failed war on drugs, then concludes:

And then, again, thereís the politics. Political stances should always follow truth not expediency. I do not recommend these things for political advantage. But, when embracing liberty and helping the disadvantaged and the economy happens to be great politics, I say make the most of it! Individually these policies make sense, but together they are more than the sum of their parts. Together they show our partyís avowed belief in equality of opportunity, not outcome, to be part of our true quest for justice and prosperity, not a rhetorical device attempting to preserve unearned privilege.
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

The whole piece is a good read, including a Les Miserables reference in his immigration reform argument.

Posted by: johngalt at January 29, 2013 5:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Thank you. I was going to post, but as he takes a very jk-ish stance on all our internecine debates, I was bashful. This is awesome on stilts, actually!

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2013 5:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well then, we'll see if any of the other Three Sources troglodytes are still unconvinced. As for me, I've seen the light.

Only the paternalistic soft bigotry of the Left's nanny state, claiming that the downtrodden in particular would make poor choices in a freer world, would argue otherwise.

The paternalistic hard bigotry of the Right's morality state has long argued otherwise also, but for a number of reasons, it is time for that to end.

Posted by: johngalt at January 30, 2013 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Can't talk now, I got some email from Ann Coulter. Let me see..."Rubio's amnesty a path to oblivion for GOP"

Posted by: jk at January 30, 2013 6:07 PM

Pragmatic Republican Politics

Took Libertario Delenda Est out for a spin last night at Liberty on the Rocks.

I enjoyed a spirited conversation with Matthew Hess, who is running for Governor and made a passionate case that "guys like me" need to support the LP. I gave him the elevator-talk version of libertario delenda est and he parried politely and rationally.

The speaker was Mark Baisley, who is running for Republican State Party Chairman. He outlined his vision for the infrastructure he believes to be required for the GOP to win in this state. It was a more Republican and a more partisan talk than normal, and he fielded questions from some of the more Libertarian attendees.

But he opened his talk with victories. In Douglas County, the red-blue split is the inverse of Boulder County, and they have chased out the Teachers' Union and instituted a full voucher program that is wending its way through the courts.

So, while yes, the LP is right to cry foul at Republicans with errant principles or lacking strength to follow their better ones, it strikes me that the LP has no victory list (well, except for spoiling the Montana Senate election and sending Jon Tester to be the 60th vote for ObamaCare).

Baisley told the libs to keep their passion but to be delegates in the GOP to keep the party honest.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:55 AM | Comments (0)

December 7, 2012

That Morman Governor Who Ran for President

Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

The Governor had his flaws, but he was a credible voice for truce on social issues. I'd love to hear which part of that 30 second clip angers Mr. Belk or my blog brother jg.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2012 11:16 AM
But jk thinks:

I second the appreciation for the comment. We enjoy respectful engagement 'round here.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2012 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Nothing here not to like, since he didn't say anything controversial. "Fringe issues" is in the eye of the beholder. A democrat, be he Republican or Democrat, may well hear that as an admonition against the TEA Party "extremism" of tax cuts for the rich or some such.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2012 12:30 PM
But Jk thinks:

Perhaps both my new friend and I put it in the context of a campaign where here fulsomely eschewed popular in the primary positions against gay marriage and abortion.

Not like it was close but one wonders how much harder the Sandra Fluke war on women nonsense would be if the GOP candidate were socially moderate.

Posted by: Jk at December 8, 2012 6:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Your new friend called him "marginalized" not just in the GOP but "throughout the political spectrum." Kind of hard to wrap one's mind around the idea that any politician can be outside of the group defined as "all politicians" but for my part I'll point my criticism at Governor Huntsman's penchant for a meandering rhetorical style that leaves most wondering what in the hell he just said. And while I fulsomely welcome a challenge to the social positions that routinely put the GOP at a disadvantage with those younger than dirt, I can't recall a single time that he did so with care and understanding for the sensibilities of the "bitter clingers." Don't they (and we) have feelings too? Only homosexuals get to be mollycoddled? The condescention was restrained, but it was there.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2012 7:35 PM
But jk thinks:

For the record, I'd never take Gov. Huntsman over Sen. Rand Paul. And I did not post this as a "woulda-shoulda" The Governor lost fair and square.

But at the end of the day, I cannot help but feel that we lost because of many of the side roads and alleys he decries.

Posted by: jk at December 9, 2012 11:44 AM

December 5, 2012

Reconsidering 2016

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

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

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

My God that was depressing. And Awesome!

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

The endarkenment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I got me this cabin in the woods...


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

November 27, 2012

Elections Have Consequences

I'm going to say it, chaps (and chapelles): we lost. Et tu, jk? Scoot over Saxby, make some room Billy.

While I think it is morally, philosophically, economically, and aesthetically wrong to raise tax rates on producers and remain 100% against it, that winning message did not take back the Senate nor change the occupants at 1600 Pennsylvania. No, it was not that clear and not half that rational, but underlying the nonsense, limited government did not win.

Many important fights lay ahead on ObamaCare, implementation of Dodd-Frank, SCOTUS picks &c. Obstruction will be important for four years. Let's not die on this hill. Let the Bush rates expire for the top 2%.

The economic harm of another temporary solution or a default will be much worse than a bump in tax rates. Clever folk will quickly find their way around them. And the regime will own the economy as it were.

UPDATE: Bill Wilson emails: Stop the Republican sellout on taxes. Guess I have not convinced everybody yet...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (8)
But Steve D thinks:

I thought the Republicans won the house (parliament) and therefore the election and so therefore they have a mandate to legislate. That's the way a democracy usually works. The president's job is to enforce the laws the Congress decides upon.

Posted by: Steve D at November 27, 2012 4:46 PM
But jk thinks:

I'd surely love to see a reduced role for the Executive, SteveD. And the GOP is within rights to claim victory in the House.

But with the Democrats holding the Senate and White House, we're in for at least two years of brutally divided government. The only thing in the whole wide world that Democrats care about is raising taxes on rich people. Though I hate it, I'd give it to them. Ideally zero Republican votes, but no filibuster.

When the deficit is still a freaking trillion dollars, it won't be because of the eevil Bush tax cuts but rather the eevil Obama spending. Then the GOP would have dry powder for a fight on the Keystone Pipeline.

Posted by: jk at November 27, 2012 5:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't personally know our friend Steve but I suspect he was being sarcastic. For all the wailing about the Virtue of democracy, Democrats don't control the chamber affectionately called "The People's House." But since that majority disagrees with Democrats, never mind.

Point of order: Since there are 47 Republicans in the Senate, and since rules require 60 votes to bring measures to a vote, zero Republican votes is effectively a filibuster (unless the Democrats use the "reconciliation" procedure.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2012 6:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Rilly? It takes 60 to invoke cloture. If the majority is not delaying, I'm not certain that the votes would be required. If it is, let Susan Collins and a few cohorts vote to have a vote if needed.

I was more worried about the parliamentary tactics in the House and wondered about reconciliation. I'd like to keep GOP fingerprints off of it as much as possible. Of course, they are scheduled to expire, so it is not really a vote to raise them.

Posted by: jk at November 27, 2012 7:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Not totally sure since I'm not a parlimentarian but my sense has been that the Senate can't order lunch without 60 votes. It's not worth researching though because if Harry Reid doesn't like the rules he'll change or ignore them.

(Cynical much? Yup.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 28, 2012 3:18 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm extremely concerned; it can happen at any time and will push us one giant step closer to pure democracy. They'll probably trade "the nuclear option" for concessions on appointments just as the GOP did.

Not a parliamentarian myself, but the 60 (was 66 until LBJ) is required for cloture to shut down a filibuster. Knowing this, the leader just assumes he or she needs them. But if the minority caucus telegraphed that they had no intention of delaying a vote, I think it could happen with 51.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2012 3:51 PM

November 26, 2012

What the GOP Needs to Do, Part CMLXVIII

Ralph Reed sez we must embrace the Pro-life cause which will gain minority adherents.

There seems continued movement toward more liberal immigration (Amnesty!)

Rep Ron Paul's followers know we'd win landslides with a Gold Standard.

The truth is that we need to withdraw the concession to "Damonomics" which states that greedy bankers, enabled by the famous Bush deregulation (stop laughing!!! this cost us the election!!) looted the system. And there was predatory lending! And the Republicans want to resuscitate those policies that the Brave Sir Obama and Wise Sir Biden hath smote. Or something like that.

Those assertions are ludicrous. Yet they went un-rebutted and allowed a president with a rotten economic record to win reelection against fear of something worse. Two stories down from Reed's guest ed, the WSJ Editorial Board reports that for all the suspected criminality, there are no successful prosecutions in the panic of '08

A persistent media-liberal lament--make that a cliché--is that too few financiers have been prosecuted for the financial crisis. But maybe that's because when the Obama Administration tries to prosecute a specific individual for a specific crime, it turns out there was no crime.

The government's latest embarrassments came this month, as one high-profile case collapsed and another was downsized by a federal judge.

Like Client #9 NYAG Eliot Spitzer, the charges get a lot of press, the settlements appear to be big news. But no due-process, right to trial, presumption-of-innocence cases ever end up in the prosecutor's W column. Where was all this crime?
The Federal Reserve created negative real interest rates and a net subsidy for credit expansion. Washington programs to encourage every American to own a home ensured that the bubble would be concentrated in residential real estate. Government-approved credit-raters, convinced that the U.S. housing market would never suffer a sharp decline, slapped triple-A ratings on bundles of risky mortgages. Federal rules encouraged banks, money-market funds, stock brokerages and other institutions to buy this junk.

The zeal to prosecute bankers is part of the politically convenient narrative that the financial crisis was all created on Wall Street. Bankers were greedy as ever and their risk management was faulty. But the fact that Washington can't find a real criminal should focus public attention back on the real crime. That was Beltway policy.

President Bush tried to rein in Fannie & Freddie, Chairman Frank went all in to defend them. Yet, by their concessions, Republican policies "own" the crisis.

By all means, we can debate abortion and immigration (though brother Keith points out the infield fly rule to be sacrosanct). But without standing up for economic freedom, I don't think it will make a great difference.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 21, 2012

What the GOP Must Do...

Okay, it's my favorite topic and even I am getting sick of the "what Republicans need to do now" articles.

But I'll make an exception for this one: Republicans must learn to speak 'Jack Kemp' again by John Nolte. He suggests that Democrats learned how to rhetorically address their political soft spots of "Patriotism, support for the troops, and antagonizing the Christian faith. To solve this problem, Democrats not only learned how to stop marginalizing themselves on these issues, they completely changed their language in a way that embraced all three."

It's not about abdicating or abandoning beliefs, but choosing the presentation and preparing for delivery.

As far as religion and Marco Rubio's struggle with being asked the age of Earth, I've been a devout Christian for almost thirty years and have never found my faith in conflict with science or history. If anything, the more I learn about science and history only deepens my faith. This is why it's so frustrating to hear a bright guy like Rubio blow such an easy one. The problem isn't talent or smarts, it's training.

Before every baseball game, a good shortstop is the first one out on the field warming up and practicing. This is why he's a good shortstop; he never falls for his own press or forgets that hard work, drills, training, and the basics are what got him to where he is. And that's our problem. Our side forgets to drill, doesn't train, and suddenly we're losing games because we drop pop ups.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:12 AM | Comments (3)
But nanobrewer thinks:

This is really about packaging, and is long overdue. Nolte notes:
Questions about our faith, abortion, poverty, gay rights, etc. should all be drilled and drilled and drilled until we're able to turn them into what they really are: Opportunities to spread the gospel of success, compassion, liberty, and opportunity that is conservatism.

For years Dems were caught in a cycle where they could not speak openly about their beliefs (think: Hillary), and they have indeed found out the way to "package" their stands, mostly by using Orwellian language twists (aka, that suggesting women could not meet their basic needs and required gov't assistance was somehow "pro-woman" was dodged by asserting the opposite was "anti-woman").

The big challenge will be using these tactics while being honest!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 24, 2012 1:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm going to throw the BS flag on this one.

The problem, of course, is not our faith or our core beliefs; the problem is that too many on our side are rhetorically unprepared and regularly caught off guard when these media moments arrive.

Actually, in too many instances the problem is both of these. Todd Akin and the other troglodytic GOP candidate (NH?) last cycle really believe what they said. Couching them in practiced rhetoric won't advance liberty. That would require advocating, liberty.

Many on the right want government to protect women (among others) from their own bad choices. Sorry boys and girls, that way lies tyranny. The left has made a living by using government to protect voters from certain risks, but the right can't succeed by trying to protect them from certain other risks - particularly since the left has already co-opted all of the fun freedoms and the scariest risks. Ever fewer are interested in leaving Democrat-Disneyland to visit Republican-Responsibilityville instead. As long as DemoDisney's rides keep running, free riders will keep riding. Especially if birth control and abortions are universally "accessible."

Posted by: johngalt at November 27, 2012 3:09 PM
But jk thinks:

Rolling off the page, but two things...

#1: The other one you are looking for is Richard Murdoch of Indiana. And it is as unfair as it is easy to throw him in with "Clodd Achin'" Akin proffered an absurd biological untruth; Murdoch voiced -- badly -- a deeply held and popular belief. Akin can't be fixed; Murdoch can.

Were I a pro-life candidate, I'd have staff ask me 10 abortion questions a day and give a crisp $5 bill to anyone that stumped me or forced a bad answer.

#2: I was surprised no ThreeSourcer commented on the "easy out" in the linked piece. Democrats did abandon gun control, not just practice rhetoric.

Posted by: jk at November 27, 2012 3:46 PM

November 19, 2012

Marco, NWA and Me

I'm pretty sure that my post "Straight Outta Rand" was not quite in line with the Three Sources style book; I am not even sure how many of the brethern and sistern had any idea of the parody's original reference.

However, check it:

GQ: Your three favorite rap songs?
Marco Rubio: "Straight Outta Compton" by N.W.A. "Killuminati" by Tupac. Eminem's "Lose Yourself."

Well, well.

Posted by Ellis Wyatt at 3:12 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

jk - yes, I noted that too; that's the answer of someone who knows his every word is being scrutinized from now 'til the Iowa Caucus 2016...see the nice thing is that Paul Ryan can just say that as a Catholic he accepts that there is no conflict; the Church hasn't insisted on a literal interpretation of Genesis since sometime before Darwin boarded the Beagle.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 19, 2012 8:51 PM
But Jk thinks:

Not to deny the dirty trick: link

Posted by: Jk at November 20, 2012 10:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The more interesting version than what you excerpted was the one with scare quotes:

He said that he is ‚Äúnot sure‚ÄĚ we will ever be able to fully answer the question of how old our planet is.

Heh heh. Heh heh. He like, "doesn't know."

The correct answer to the question, Mr. Rubio, is "Older than you and I are. Next question?"

"I'm not a scientist" was both a good and bad answer. It can be construed as anti-science. Like PJ's Bryan Preston who said, "Too many of us believe that science is the enemy, too, which can lead to incuriousity" such positions are ossifying.

Republicans must never consider science the "enemy." Modern science has been co-opted by actual enemies: Subjectivism, egalitarianism, and yes, altruism. All are misusing the authority of science in the name of statism.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2012 10:54 AM
But Jk thinks:

Very frustrating that he was asked. Dems never. All the same I'm displeased with the answer. It seems neither religious enough nor scientific enough. The freedom opening is good, but your answer is better.

Posted by: Jk at November 20, 2012 11:29 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm also reluctant to place so much hope upon a single possible candidate for a race that is 4 years away. There are other good choices.

Posted by: johngalt at November 20, 2012 1:01 PM
But Jk thinks:

I like him, but he is in no way on the top of my list.

Posted by: Jk at November 20, 2012 1:52 PM



In winning re-election, President Obama carried nearly all the same demographic groups as in 2008, but by smaller margins. The major exception: Hispanics, America's fastest-growing bloc. Having given Mr. Obama 67% of their votes in 2008, they gave him 71% this time.

This has alarmed Republicans. Mr. Obama had offered Hispanics little more than a broken promise to reform immigration in his first term, yet he scored the largest victory among them since Gerald Ford visited Texas in 1976 and tried to eat a tamale without removing its husk. -- Leslie Sanchez

Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM | Comments (0)

November 13, 2012

Chins Back Down!

I needed this more than I needed cheering up. No, things are most definitely not copacetic -- but wound-licking time is over:

Downright Churchillian in spots -- with a bonus LOTR reference at the end!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

Here here!
A life well lived.

Posted by: Terri at November 13, 2012 12:05 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

"The lesser sons of greater fathers." My God, my God, how devastatingly appropriate. Barack Obama, Harry Reid, and yes, a lot of Republican leaders too; can you imagine their roles in 1776? They would have been sweeping out the stables where Washington, Madison and Jefferson kept their horses.

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at November 14, 2012 1:04 PM
But jk thinks:

...and a bunch of 'em woulda been fired for shoddy performance!

The cannibal subcurrent is one I have long thought (without the awesome name). The heroics not just of 1776 but the hundreds who gave their lives to build the Brooklyn Bridge and Panama Canal (have I ever mentioned David McCullough's "Brave Companions?" I didn't think so...) These people lead heroic lives and we can't risk killing a turtle or paying our own goddam doctor bills.

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2012 1:22 PM

Chins up!

George Will, of all people, has an uplifting après le deluge column.

His crack research staff fails to credit Jerome Kern and Dorothy Fields on "Swing Time," but it's a good look at the path forward in a post Citizen's United world.

With much work -- the most painful sort: thinking -- to be done, conservatives should squander no energy on recriminations. Romney ran a gallant campaign. Imitation is the sincerest form of politics, and Republicans should emulate Democrats' tactics for locating and energizing their voters.

Liberals have an inherent but not insuperable advantage: As enthusiasts of government, to which many of them are related as employees or clients, they are more motivated for political activity than are conservatives, who prefer private spaces. Never mind. Conservatives have a commensurate advantage: Americans still find congenial conservatism's vocabulary of skepticism about statism. And events -- ongoing economic anemia; the regulatory state's metabolic urge to bully -- will deepen this vocabulary's resonance.

Hat-tip: my biological brother via email.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:53 AM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2012

Albert Jay Nock: The Masses and the Remnant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"SURVIVOR: US Economic Collapse Edition"

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

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

I remember on election eve 4 years ago thinking that we would probably win because there was no way that 50% of our electorate was stupid enough to vote for such a thinly-veiled, failed socialist ideology. Boy was I wrong! I clearly misjudged our electorate. I still don‚Äôt think they are mostly stupid, na√Įve, uneducated, or lazy. I think they are mostly irrational. I don‚Äôt think they are intentionally or maliciously irrational. I think they are unknowingly trained to be irrational.

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

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

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

As my jg says, ‚ÄúAtlas Shrugged was a cautionary tale, not a blueprint.‚ÄĚ

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

September 10, 2012

Remembering who is the real "anti-science" party

Alex Berezow and Hank Campbell in Real Clear Politics:

A narrative has developed over the past several years that the Republican Party is anti-science. Recently, thanks to the ignorant remarks about rape made by Rep. Todd Akin, the Democrats have seized the opportunity to remind us that they are the true champions of science in America. But is it really true?

No. As we thoroughly detail in our new book, "Science Left Behind," Democrats are willing to throw science under the bus for any number of pet ideological causes Ė including anything from genetic modification to vaccines.


Indeed, the only reason Democrats are considered the ďpro-scienceĒ party is because the media, for whatever reason, has decided to give them a free pass on scientific issues. It is time the free pass be revoked.

You may say, I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)

September 3, 2012

Tweet of the Day

Posted by John Kranz at 7:03 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2012

Campaign Donations

I've learned a few things at Liberty on the Rocks, and I have shared some of those keen insights on these pages.

But the biggest thing I have learned is the valor of a losing candidacy. I have met several great and bright people who are running for RTD board, or a State House seat. Some of them are quite confident and might have good reason. But some of them know they don't have a chance in Boulder. These seats typically show up on Boulder County ballots with only a Democrat.

I have befriended a brilliant disciple of Popper and Bastiat who is running a quixotic campaign he knows he won't win. He eloquently told my (biological) brother about the value of his campaign and his opportunity to promote his ideas. When I first started attending, I considered these hopeless cases a waste of money. But I have seen the light. This is a great way to get our ideas out.

I don't quite enjoy Mitt's balance in my Cayman Islands account (mine is in Phoenix, actually -- but both locales are hot!) but I am lifting the credible victory requirement. I actually think Mia Love has a shot in Utah, and I was proud to join The Love Bomb.

Today, I throw a bit at some hopeless cases, but carriers of great ideas:

Don Bongino $51 for the 51st Seat (Maryland)
Barry Hinckley for US Senate (Rhode Island)

Hat-tip: Prof William Jacobson

Posted by John Kranz at 5:58 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

JK, if you are still looking for places to help out. Someone I greatly respect but won't name without his permission is working to help elect Joe Coors in the Colorado 7th. Looks to me like he might meet that credible victory standard too.

Posted by: dagny at August 31, 2012 6:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Excellent Idea. Unseating Rep Perlmutter would be a good contribution to freedom. Done -- and your friend can remain anonymous.

Now I'm broke.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2012 8:01 PM

August 28, 2012

Jon Voight: "Obama Turns JFK Mantra Upside Down"

Washington Examiner - Jon Voight: Obama turns JFK 'ask not' theme 'upside down'

Worse, he suggested that JFK wouldn't recognize his party. Voight said that the Democrats have turned upside down Kennedy's famous line, "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country."

Obama, he charged, "is saying, 'Ask what your country can do for you. Your government will give you everything. We'll take care of you."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (0)

August 27, 2012

The most telling poll

Forget margin of error, sample sizes, sampling rates and other arcane statistical factors. The most telling poll had a sample size of one: President Obama in a recent AP interview. In the interview, the preznit said that he would be willing to compromise on a whole range of issues, including some that would anger his own party. Yes, compromise from the guy who in 2009 told John McCain, "John, there was an election. I won," when negotiating the stimulus. And the same guy who invited Paul Ryan to a speech about entitlements in order to belittle him. And the same guy who unilaterally did an end-run around Congress about welfare reform, immigration status, education waivers and Obamacare waivers.

The Refugee cannot imagine that Obama would offer to negotiate if he thought he was cruising to victory. No doubt The Refugee is making too much of this, but it reminds him of Saddam Hussein's words when pulled from a spider hole with eight Marines point rifles at his head: "I am Saddam Hussein, the president of Iraq. I am willing to negotiate." A dictatorial leader does not negotiate unless his very existence is in question.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 7:33 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... cannot imagine that Obama would ***offer to negotiate*** if he thought he was cruising to victory..."

You misspelled "lie like a four-year-old caught next to a shattered cookie jar." Unless you're referring to the negotiating style of Bruce Willis in The Fifth Element, I'm not interested in negotiating with the SCOAMF. Allow me to politely point out that Obama is not negotiating from a position of strength.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 27, 2012 10:37 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

...spew, sputter, slurp...

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 27, 2012 10:55 PM
But AndyN thinks:

There have been various points throughout his presidency that Obama has claimed he was willing to compromise with Republicans but they weren't willing to meet him part way. The one that springs to mind is the debt ceiling deal. He was lying then, and he's lying now. Unless you think that he's believed throughout his presidency that he was losing, I don't see how hearing him tell the same lie as he always has is indicative of his belief that he's losing now.

By the way, any time I hear a leftist offer to compromise, I'm reminded of the chorus from the Jonathan Coulton zombie song Re: Your Brains...

All we want to do is eat your brains
We're not unreasonable, I mean, no one's gonna eat your eyes
All we want to do is eat your brains
We're at an impasse here, maybe we should compromise:
If you open up the doors
We'll all come inside and eat your brain

In their world, compromise means giving them everything they want as long as they allow us to claim a partial victory.

Posted by: AndyN at August 27, 2012 11:08 PM
But jk thinks:

@AndyN: Awesome! I can't match your metaphor in perfection, but now that they have moved the entire game on their side, now we're to worship compromise.

Posted by: jk at August 28, 2012 9:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Or to reprise a favorite old BR metaphor, "Let us score the touchdown and then you can come party with us and our cheerleaders."

Very appropos "compromise" metaphor AndyN but I think you missed BR's point on the president's newfound polity. "I'll play nice" is certainly a tactic he's used before but he's counting on enough people to still believe he really means it that it will win him additional votes. What BR adds to this obvious interpretation is that President "ME" wouldn't stoop to the outstretched-hand genuflection if it weren't absolutely necessary. His electoral math must be showing him that the sum of his pandering to narrow interest groups does not yet equal the plurality who want America to be great again.

Great point BR. I hadn't recognized the full desperation this warmed over "new tone" bullcrap represents.

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2012 12:16 PM


Congressman Ryan has been giving numerous interviews with his childhood high school in the background where he "ran track and played soccer." if you examine the scoreboard in the background, you'll note that the time reads 20:12 and indicates that the game in the 2nd half. Now that's someone paying attention to details. Clever.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 6:15 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. They're clearly not the only ones paying attention. Good eye BR. To the rest of us it will be subliminable.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2012 6:30 PM

August 21, 2012

Quotidian Huck-a-whack!

It's been a long time, but :

Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

The deadline has passed. So, ThreeSourcers, for whom do you root in Missouri?

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2012 7:00 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Is there still time to get Cthulhu in as an independent?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at August 21, 2012 8:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Jennifer Rubin was on Kudlow last night suggesting that a well-known GOPer like Talent or Danforth might step in -- Connecticut style -- and run as an Independent.

Jim Geraghty sez:

We all have our lines in the sand. The prospect of a McCaskill-Akin race leaves me glad that I don't live in Missouri. We need to send the Left as thorough and far-reaching a rebuke as possible, and obviously, beating McCaskill is a high priority. She deserves to lose, if for no other reason than her faux-centrist, Obamacare-backing, lifetime ACU rating of 14.6 record.

I want a GOP 113th Senate badly. But I don't know that I want to keep Clod Achein around to embarrass me, nor do I want "Huck's Army" to feel they can get away with this.

Barring an Independent: Go Claire!!! ThreeSourcers for McCaskill!!!

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 9:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Rubin did not mention Cthulhu, but she is mired in that Beltway mentality.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 9:39 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Missouri's Todd Akin is an opportunity for the GOP to show the nation that it won't tolerate misogynistic cretins in its ranks for political expediency. So far, I'm proud of my party. More specifically I'm proud of Sarah Palin who supported Sarah Steelman in the primary and is making noises about her running as an independent.

"It's doable, it's winnable, Missouri is," she continued. "And that leads to winning the Senate."

She also said Akin could be replaced as late as September sometime.

Posted by: johngalt at August 22, 2012 11:59 AM
But jk thinks:

Rubin referred to the September possibility as well. Loved this bit from your link:

"I won't gloat about it, but I was right," the former Alaska governor said, referring to her backing of Steelman over Akin. "And Sarah Steelman's supporters and campaign staff, we were all right in knowing that Sarah Steelman is the right person for the job to represent Missouri and to allow common-sense conservatives to take back the Senate."

She was right and who was wrong again? What's that guy's name? Hickenfinnich? Huckleberry?

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2012 12:20 PM

August 5, 2012

Yes, Let's Emulate China!

Elizabeth Warren has a new campaign commercial in her effort to take back "Ted Kennedy's seat" in the US Senate. In it she looks at the camera and says,

"Weíve got bridges and roads in need of repair and thousands of people in need of work. Why arenít we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America? Weíre at just 2.4 percent. We can do better."

I cannot continue without first asking, "What do you mean 'we' kemosabe?" But there's more to this story than pointing out the difference between a (partially) free state and a communist dictatorship, as the Boston Herald does very well, and than reminding Ms. Warren that the lion's share of infrastructure "investment" in the U.S. is made privately and thus won't show up in her government spending statistic.

Warren wants to compare America to China on spending? Then let's compare them on taxation as well: According to data from the Heritage Foundation that I blogged last month, China's tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is 17 percent. America's is almost ten points higher - 26.9%.

Let's make America more competitive with China. Let's return 9.9 percent of the nation's GDP to those who earned it so that it can once again be invested in prosperity. (And who would ever have believed that America's tax receipts could grow to become a greater share of the economy than that of communist China in the first place?)

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:36 AM | Comments (5)
But AndyN thinks:

How much of that 9% was spent building cities that still stand unoccupied? Likewise, if the US increased federal infrastructure spending, how much of it would be spent on rail lines to nowhere and the like?

Posted by: AndyN at August 5, 2012 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

At least in China, people listen to their betters!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 1:41 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In America, we don't HAVE betters.

Of course, try telling that to our elected overlords, their appointed czars and bureaucrats, and the self-appointed special-interest activists...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 6, 2012 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

...and the Haavaahd Professors...

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It figures, even "our betters" are Made in China.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2012 5:08 PM

None Dare Call Him libertarian

There's an interesting candidate for US Senate in the state of Tennessee this cycle. Mark Clayton:

The Clayton campaign's Facebook page champions three major positions: strict adherence to the U.S. Constitution, family stances that are pro-life, and keeping the country from turning into "AN ORWELLIAN SUPER STATE."

Yet this is not a "TEA Party candidate" proffered by Jim DeMint or Sarah Palin or some small government super PAC trying to take over the GOP. Clayton defeated six others in his state's Democrat primary. Personally I see this as the revenge of the Southern Democrats, but Tennessee's Democratic Party credits another factor for Clayton's success:

"Many Democrats in Tennessee knew nothing about any of the candidates in the race, so they voted for the person at the top of the ticket. Unfortunately, none of the other Democratic candidates were able to run the race needed to gain statewide visibility or support."

"Unfortunately?" The state Democratic party is somehow displeased with the candidate their registered voters selected? Yes, so much so that they have disavowed him as their candidate to oppose Republican Senator Bob Corker.

"Mark Clayton is associated with a known hate group in Washington, D.C., and the Tennessee Democratic Party disavows his candidacy, will not do anything to promote or support him in any way, and urges Democrats to write-in a candidate of their choice in November."

Yet it seems that the Tennessee Democrat "candidate of choice" is Mark Clayton! Who is "out of touch" now? After all, this is the Demo-cratic party.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:43 AM | Comments (0)

July 1, 2012

Google Gun Ban

A Tweet from Doug Giles alerted me to this story posted yesterday at a blog called Freedom Outpost. It includes the original text of a written notice from Google Shopping (Mountain View, CA) to weaponís parts and accessories vendor Hamlund Tactical.

We do not allow the promotion or sale of weapons and any related products such as ammunitions or accessory kits on Google Shopping. In order to comply with our new policies, please remove any weapon-related products from your data feed and then re-submit your feed in the Merchant Center.

So glad I'm already practicing a "boycott Google" policy. For those inclined to join me, just say no to:

Google search
Android phone
Chrome browser
Google Docs

and one I just learned -


Posted by JohnGalt at 10:47 AM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Boycott is a big word: smaller than dirigible, but big.

I remain disturbed by Google, and I use many inferior and less popular platforms, not purposely but just because. I have had a Yahoo portal home page since Clinton was President. I like the photos on Bing® I moved The Virtual Coffeehouse to Vimeo in search of better audio and more control over player parameters (yet these require a "premium" membership which I let lapse).

This is another disappointment, but I cannot call this a boycottable offense. I believe in more trade more trade more trade and need steeper transgressions to stop.

Compounded that all the services you list are free. If I controlled an ad budget, I might ponder some punishment. But one fewer guy on GMail®? I dunno....

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 10:51 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fewer people than that bought a Chevrolet Volt, and that was purportedly to "save the planet."

My disdain for Google is at least as much for their one-party loyalty as for the gun ban. I won't blacklist anyone who uses a Google product - I merely wanted to educate readers what the Google [lefties do know that it is a corporation, right?] is up to and what are the consequences of using their "free" stuff. Red pill/blue pill.

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2012 12:48 PM
But jk thinks:

No. Google, Apple and Target are good corporations. I'll never understand it if I live to be 100. I once watched a visiting sister-in-law cower in revulsion when I suggested Walmart* for something she needed. We drove a few extra miles to go to K-Mart. Ah, yes, K-Mart - the gentle savior of mankind. I internally reasoned that retailing is honorable if you completely suck at it.

My most anti-corporate niece (stiff competition) is the most Google obsessed person in existence. In fairness, she has turned me on to some cool Google stuff (their translation is light years beyond Yahoo or the old Alta Vista babblefish).

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 1:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some years ago I read a piece by Robert Tracinski called "The Tall Poppy Syndrome." The premise is that any individual in a group that outpaces the pack becomes a target to be "cut down to size." This syndrome manifests in human behavior in places like employee unions. Also wherever government is involved such that "opportunity" can be "equalized."

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2012 3:07 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Rand certainly described "The Tall Poppy Syndrome" well. It's practically the whole book...saddest is when Dan Conway gets his railroad seized. Creepiest is when Lillian Rearden talks about how when you have a powerful horse and you pull back on the reins (or something like that). The "Equalization of Opportunity" bill is already drafted in DC...

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 2, 2012 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

No doubt that is a part of it. But Apple? Google?

I laud both of those corporations for innovation, productivity and wealth creation. Yet both have a secretive side and habit of playing a bit loose with customer privacy. And are now #1 and #2 market cap in the world (that's from memory, correct if wrong). Starbucks bad, Target good.

It's almost as if these people are driven more by emotion than reason.

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2012 3:28 PM

June 27, 2012

Croudsourcing Donations.

I see the appeal of government. There ain't nothing better than spending somebody else's money. I love the vicarious thrill of guitar shopping with others. My bank balance remains, yet the endorphins are released.

I promised my productive, taxpaying ThreeSourcers that I would spend half the first year savings on my subsidized ReFi electing those who would not support such nonsense.

Without too fine a point, I feel I have committed to $1250. I've been through about $350 in the primaries and local races. I won't commit to doing the will of ThreeSourcers, but I'd love ideas and may well accept crowdsourced decision: where do you spend $900 to promote liberty?

I have met several local candidates through Liberty on the Rocks. And one might mike a life changing donation to a disciple of Bastiat and Karl Popper for an amount that drops in the ocean of a national campaign. The Senate is important and my pal John Cornyn (R$ - TX) makes a good case. Helping Gov. Romney out-raise the President (Money Panic?) seems worthy. I concluded in 2010 that Club for Growth or AFP, or another issue PAC was the way to go. The NRA is preparing to go after AG Holder in a big way.

Nine hundred bucks -- divide it up for me.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:52 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

...buy a few rounds at the next Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons . . .

Posted by: jk at June 27, 2012 1:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

May I request NO donations to NRA until they admit the error of endorsing Harry Reid (Devil-NV).

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2012 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Noted. But:

The NRA's decision to wade into the Holder contempt fight has intimidated some vulnerable Democrats into backing the measure. These Democrats are more scared of the powerful pro-gun-rights group than they are of the president."

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2012 4:10 PM

June 19, 2012

Jonathan Haidt, Call your office!

I applauded last night's superb "Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons" gathering. Bradley Beck, spoke on "the importance of effective communication within the liberty movement." A recurring theme -- if not his directly -- was the other folks' competence at distilling ideas and appealing to the heart. I have certainly complained several times that I need to trot out 100 year old economics books while my Facebook friends can just show a picture of a poor child.

I will not let go of this smug superiority lightly, bit I must confess one absolute truth. Videlicet, that all of my leftist friends feel exactly the same. Oh those clever right wingers use all their Koch money and hire evil geniuses and package child molestation as a public good! Why oh why can't we have some brilliant people on our side?

Case in point is a link sent by a great friend of this blog. I noticed that Ann Althouse referred to the same article, but sugarch -- I mean our anonymous friend -- was first. It is painful, but I suggest you read it coast to coast.

In conservative politics, democracy is seen as providing the maximal liberty to seek one's self-interest without being responsible for the interests of others. The best people are those who are disciplined enough to be successful. Lack of success implies lack of discipline and character, which means you deserve your poverty. From this perspective, The Public is immoral, taking away incentives for greater discipline and personal success, and even standing in the way of maximizing private success. The truth that The Private depends upon The Public is hidden from this perspective. The Public is to be minimized or eliminated. To conservatives, it's a moral issue.

-- And there are far less appealing sections.

But the topic is how to appeal to these people or those they have influenced, and just saying "that is complete and total b******t!" is not going to work. George Lakoff is the West Coast' s answer to Noam Chomsky and I confess I don't know Elisabeth Wehling. They and their passionate followers are clearly beyond reach. But this is on HuffPo and will be passed around (no doubt I'll see on Facebook any minute now).

Posted by John Kranz at 12:19 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Nobody light a match - strawmen are everywhere!

Not to mention at least a few flat-out lies: "Wealthy progressives have not funded progressive communication in the same way to bring progressive moral values into everyday public discourse." Okay, maybe it's not technically a lie since George Soros is a communist rather than a progressive, and the dozens of progressive charitable foundations are funded by the wealth of long-deceased free market businessmen despite now being directed by progressive "moralists."

That the redefinition spin machine is working this hard is a sure sign of desperation on the progressive left. Rand said that what is moral is what is required for human survival. Rational self-interest is innately human, while the moral foundation of altruism is unearned guilt. But when wage earners have no wages to earn there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Posted by: johngalt at June 19, 2012 3:55 PM
But dagny thinks:


Is Jonathan Haidt the author you once (or maybe multiple times) recommended to us to help explain why so many people, "don't get it?" If so, can you please re-remind me which book to read?

I have very little time for reading but jg and I have a 16 hour drive to CA coming up soon and we might be able to do some reading in the car.

Anybody else with must-read reading suggestions?

Posted by: dagny at June 19, 2012 5:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Guilty -- The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion Amazon

You'd dig Arthur Brooks's The Road to Freedom as well. It rubs some old scabs off of our elevator talk contretemps.

Posted by: jk at June 19, 2012 6:05 PM

June 13, 2012

I Like "Crying Man!"

Yes, I posted it. But let the record show I said:

Now, I get just as emotional during elections and don't mean to belittle this disappointed Wisconsinite. Just to enjoy it. Three times at most. Maybe four.

He went me one better. He called in to a Conservative talk radio show, introduced himself "the crying man" and attempted to engage the host. The host (man I just don't get talk radio) treated him very poorly.

Today he is again trying to reach Conservative talk radio listeners. And he is again facing ridicule.

I am passionate about the things I believe and I seek opportunities to engage with those who don't see things my way. Crying Man, I disagree with about everything I have heard you say, but if you want to talk on ThreeSources we will give you a fair hearing.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:40 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Of course we will, so long as for every question he asks us or every point he makes we, in turn, may ask him why he thinks he deserves to Demand the Unearned.

Posted by: johngalt at June 14, 2012 2:41 PM

June 7, 2012

Smartest Piece Yet on Wisconsin Implications

I like a good gloat as much as the next guy. And I am satisfied beyond measure at the results of the failed recall in the Badger State. And I have considered Wisconsin as part of my GOP electoral map even before Tuesday. BUT!

Suggestions that the +13% Obama margin now constitutes a gimme are a bit overblown. Wisconsin will be in play, forcing the Obama campaign to spend resources there, and it might be turned red. Yet it is not presaged by Walker's survival and I hear some of my favorite right wing pundits being overly effusive.

Russ Douthat, however, places it in a proper perspective -- and one that will not offend ThreeSourcers.

Yesterday's recall vote is not necessarily a bellwether for the general election, not necessarily a sign that Mitt Romney can win a slew of purple states, not necessarily proof that the country is ready to throw in with Walker's fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan on issues of spending and taxation.

But neither is it anything like good news for liberalism. We are entering a political era that will feature many contests like the war over collective bargaining in Wisconsin: grinding struggles in which sweeping legislation is passed by party-line votes and then the politicians responsible hunker down and try to survive the backlash. There will be no total victory in this era, but there will be gains and losses -- and the outcome in the Walker recall is a warning to Democrats that their position may be weaker than many optimistic liberals thought.

Douthat sees (and credits Jay Cost) an end to the moderate go-along-to-get-along politics that gave us a profligate George W. Bush and tax cutting William J. Clinton. The new era will be more philosophical but far more contentious because the easy, bipartisan stuff is no longer on the menu.

I'm paraphrasing poorly and strongly recommend he whole piece.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:57 AM | Comments (0)

June 4, 2012

Libertario Delenda Est

Which post do you prefer?

1) Is this the stupidest thing ever?
Only two Presidential candidates opted for Federal funds: Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson.

Roemer, 68, received $285,479 from U.S. taxpayers. "We assumed no debt and we end this campaign with money in the bank," he said in a statement. "We ran like we intended to serve."

If I had checked a "Yes, I'd like to give $3 to a candidate I don't give a crap for" box on my 1040, I'd suggest that was "our money" in Roemers's bank.


2) Did you say Governor Gary Johnson?
That's right -- this year's brave principled, libertarian LP candidate (Bob Barr is working at Walmart now, and could not get time off) took $100,000 in Federal campaign jack? That is just wrong.

Johnson recently received a $100,000 installment after applying for $146,603 in matching funds, according to the Federal Election Commission.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:25 PM | Comments (2)
But Bryan thinks:

That is disappointing. It is especially so in Gary Johnson's case.

The thing that bothers me the most about Gary Johnson is that he chose to run for president on the LP ticket instead of running as a Republican for the New Mexico Senate seat that is in play this year. He has money, favorable ratings, and name recognition there and could have probably killed it.

Think about what the US Senate would look like with Rand Paul, Mike Lee, and Gary Johnson? Its not perfect, but that is a damn fine start to getting Congress filled with Liberty candidates. Gary Johnson has done a great deal of damage to his name in politics, so much so, he is unlikely to have a political career after this election.

If, which some polls show he will, manages to get a significant amount of votes, he could spoil the election for Romney. If he does, the party will never let him back in. I do not understand his logic in going this route.

Posted by: Bryan at June 4, 2012 5:59 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen on the Senate seat.

I know he is angry that party poohbahs did not make more efforts for him in the debates and primary process, but I cannot abide by a third party run whether he spoils or not.

Sad because Gov. Johnson is a principled defender of liberty. But declaring third party is goodbye for me. He can hang out with Tom Tancredo.

Posted by: jk at June 4, 2012 6:36 PM

May 30, 2012

Welcome Aboard!

I don't know whether to be happy or sad -- my favorite Democrat, Rep. Arthur Davis (D [Ret.] - AL [Ret.]) is becoming a Republican:

While I've gone to great lengths to keep this website a forum for ideas, and not a personal forum, I should say something about the various stories regarding my political future in Virginia, the state that has been my primary home since late December 2010. The short of it is this: I donít know and am nowhere near deciding. If I were to run, it would be as a Republican. And I am in the process of changing my voter registration from Alabama to Virginia, a development which likely does represent a closing of one chapter and perhaps the opening of another.

As to the horse-race question that animated parts of the blogosphere, it is true that people whose judgment I value have asked me to weigh the prospect of running in one of the Northern Virginia congressional districts in 2014 or 2016, or alternatively, for a seat in the Virginia legislature in 2015. If that sounds imprecise, itís a function of how uncertain political opportunities can be--and if that sounds expedient, never lose sight of the fact that politics is not wishfulness, itís the execution of a long, draining process to win votes and help and relationships while your adversaries are working just as hard to tear down the ground you build.

The whole thing is superb -- and not much longer than my excerpt. But I can't stop:
On the specifics, I have regularly criticized an agenda that would punish businesses and job creators with more taxes just as they are trying to thrive again. I have taken issue with an administration that has lapsed into a bloc by bloc appeal to group grievances when the country is already too fractured: frankly, the symbolism of Barack Obama winning has not given us the substance of a united country. You have also seen me write that faith institutions should not be compelled to violate their teachings because faith is a freedom, too. You've read that in my view, the law can't continue to favor one race over another in offering hard-earned slots in colleges: America has changed, and we are now diverse enough that we don't need to accommodate a racial spoils system. And you know from these pages that I still think the way we have gone about mending the flaws in our healthcare system is the wrong way--it goes further than we need and costs more than we can bear.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 9:32 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Zell Miller redux.

Can you provide a link, to a past post perhaps, explaining why Rep. Davis is your favorite Dem? Inquiring minds ...

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2012 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

"Art" is a frequent Kudlow guest where he proves to be not only a responsible interlocutor but also obviously very bright for a member of Congress. I took the liberty of assuming a black, southern Congressman would be a mad lefty (call me names, think poorly of me) yet he never engaged in class warfare or business bashing.

He was one of the first Democrats to come out against the "Bain Bashing" from the Obama campaign.

So -- do we celebrate his conversion or bemoan the loss of a responsible 'D?'

Posted by: jk at May 30, 2012 1:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Celebrate, hands down. There's no such thing as a responsible D. In a two-party system every individual office holder caucuses with the party, which makes the responsible ones outcasts. (cf: Ron Paul) Additionally, Davis' conversion makes the R tent bigger.


Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2012 3:31 PM

May 24, 2012

Tweet of the Day


Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

May 23, 2012

Tweet of the Day

I disagree with Bill Bennett on almost everything, but hold him in high esteem.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2012

Sorry to hear about this

THE FIX: The final public flogging of John Edwards

Already? We were just having fun!

Posted by John Kranz at 2:54 PM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2012

Only Honest People Vote Once

This post is a mixture of "if you're not outraged you're not paying attention" and "Monday morning funnies."

Oh yeah, well, I'll bet he couldn't get away with this if he said he was Barack Obama!

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:47 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

John Fund has been on this beat for many years. He enjoyed this...

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2012 5:10 PM

April 3, 2012

The "Ford is bailout-free" meme

I've heard this both ways since the big Obama-lead union takeover of GM and Chrysler - Ford survived the big recession without a bailout, and Ford received government loans that haven't been repaid. The first point of view seems most popular, as repeated in dear dagny's 'Article of the day' today.

Ford was the only U.S. automaker to save itself without the help of a government lifeline in 2008. As Dan points out in the accompanying video, the story of Ford is perhaps the only successful non-bankruptcy restructuring seen in the U.S. over the last thirty or forty years.

Okay, I give the Mulally team serious props for turning around a huge corporation that was near junk bond status in 2006. The greatest single factor, in my opinion, was the removal of Bill Ford as CEO but that's a separate story. But even if they didn't take federal aid in 2008 their claims of bailout purity are tarnished somewhat by their DOE loans.

If DOE-guaranteed loans aren't repaid, taxpayers foot the bill, but that's not the only downside of federal-government financing of private businesses, as I've written about previously. Companies that don't tow the Administration line, that don't employ favored constituent groups, or are headed by outspoken CEOs (like Steve Wynn) would probably have their loan applications treated differently than was Ford's. And as economist John Tamny writes in his most recent column, "once an institution is the recipient of government largesse" it must serve its "political masters" who will seek "payback in the form of coerced business activity that has nothing to do with profit."
Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

This proud Toyota owner is going to come down fulsomely on the side of Ford Motor Corporation.

Corporations must maximize asset value for their shareholders. In today's world, sadly, part of that is managing and exploiting government loopholes and subsidies. Getting a cherry loan to create "green jobs" is way down the list from what happened to GM and Chrysler.

We're on the hook for this loan if Ford defaults; you're on the hook for my FHA loan if I default. But Ford looks good to keep up (and I'm allright). GM, conversely, is public ownership of the means of production. And the property theft from secured GM and Chrysler bondholders is still mortifying.

I think it would be naive to expect Ford to play by libertarian rules, and yet I think you may have explained why there are not more commercials hyping the firm's chastity. It does take the wind out of that commercial.

Posted by: jk at April 4, 2012 10:25 AM

March 29, 2012


Is editorialist Michael Taube "dreaming in Technicolor?" That's how he describes people who believe Jane Fonda will give a favorable treatment of Nancy Reagan, whom she portrays in her upcoming film. But Taube may be guilty of the same thing in believing that a conservative movie studio could be a commercial success.

Third, actors and actresses would need to get on board. Many Hollywood conservatives and libertarians would initially be frightened to make a leap of faith and join this new studio. But all you need is a small handful of recognizable silver screen veterans, and a decent amount of emerging talent, and a good cast can be created.

There's a risk involved, but the reward could be immense. Meanwhile, if the studio was able to encourage some friendly Hollywood liberals and centrists to sign up (and there's no reason why this can't happen), the task of hiring talent would become much simpler.

The partisan vitriol of the left already borders on a lynchmob in the non-fiction media world. To expect anything less than hatred and blacklisting in the fictional media seems quite naive. Too pessimistic?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:01 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2012

There's No Time like Political Time

While recently attending a county assembly, I found myself in a discussion with a fellow attendee regarding the political views of mainstream libertarian leaning Republicans. While this person agreed with the majority of these views, he argued that the country does not turn on a dime, and that it can take years, if not decades, for any large ideological shift to take place in American politics.

He is exactly right!

During my studies of the American Presidency at the University of Colorado, I had the absolute pleasure of reading a book called "The Politics Presidents Make" by Stephen Skowronek. The central themes of the book are first, to develop a categorical framework in which to analyze the politics of the presidency and the second is to introduce the concept of 'political time' in which to place these categories. Skowronek classifies presidents having one of the four political traits:

1) Politics of Reconstruction - (Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln)
2) Politics of Articulation - (Monroe, Polk, T. Roosevelt)
3) Politics of Disjunction - (J. Q. Adams, Pierce, Hoover)
4) Politics of Preemption - (Eisenhower, Clinton, Nixon)

From these categories, he is able to build a model for expected presidential power and influence depending on where the president falls in political time. Political time being defined as the cyclical order of these four categories.


Notice that the Politics of Preemption are not part of the cycle. These types of presidents represent abnormalities in political time. They are able to remain true to their ideology however, the opposing political views are still alive and well. They do not have the power of a 'Great Repudiator' nor are they weak. Like the 'Great Repudiators', they attempt to transform the constitutional definition of presidential political power, but are unable to do so due to the resiliency of the opposition.

The Politics of Reconstruction
American politics are cyclical in nature. Since the revolution of 1800, there have been presidents that have shaped the political landscape long after they left office.

1800 (Jefferson)
1828 (Jackson)
1860 (Lincoln)
1896 (McKinley)
1932 (F. Roosevelt)
1980 (Reagan)

With the exception of McKinley, each one of these presidents presided over a major shift in the American politics. McKinley represents an odd case for two reasons; first, because instead of a shift in a new direction in 1896, the Republicans gained even more power and continued to be the dominant political party until the end of Hoover's term in 1932, and second, because out of the other presidents listed above, he is relatively unknown and is usually not considered one of the "greats". If we were to look only at their time in office, instead of the years leading up to their presidency, we would miss the slow moving ideological shift taking place that created the environment necessary for their success.

Each of the presidents listed above gained power and popularity by repudiating the failed politics of their ideologically opposed predecessors. The political climate required to do so requires a consensus against the established political paradigm, which can take years to create.

For example:

Consider the time between Jackson's repudiation of the Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans (1828), and Lincoln's repudiation of the Jacksonian Democrats (1860). This time period witnessed both the rise and eventual collapse of the second party system.

Consider the time between F. Roosevelt's repudiation of the Republicans (1932), and Reagan's repudiation of the Democrats (1980). This time period witnessed both the rise and eventual collapse of the New Deal Party System.

In both cases, it took several decades for the dominant ideology to fall out of popularity as its ability to deal with an ever changing political climate was diminished. It also illustrates the similarities in leadership qualities between these presidents despite the wide ideological and chronological difference in their presidencies.

The Politics of Disjunction
The presidents who are unlucky enough to find themselves in the 'politics of disjunction' phase of political time are typically regarded as being failures. They have the impossible task of both dealing with modern day problems, while at the same time trying to be true to an ideology that no longer has the answers to these aforementioned issues.

Adams (1788)
J.Q. Adams (1824)
Pierce (1852)
Hoover (1932)
Carter (1978)

With the exception of Pierce, each of these presidents directly preceded one of the "greats". It is also not a coincidence that each of them witnessed the waning of their ideology while in office, and because of this, were unable to accomplish much of anything to restore confidence in the party they represented. They deserve attention however, because they are, at the very least, partially responsible for creating the 'great repudiators' that follow them.

This brings me to the point of this post and the conversation that inspired it. American politics have been dominated by statist ideology for the better part of the past seventy years. With the exception of arguably the Goldwater movement in the 1960's, the Reagan revolution of the 1980's, and the most recent liberty movements of the past two years, our political leaders have exhibited a cross between the 'politics of disjunction' and the 'politics of preemption' in an attempt to further justify the failed idea of conservative or liberal socialism.

The movement we now see taking hold in American politics does not represent a movement four years in the making, or even thirty years in the making. It represents the waning of failed statist policies and at the same time illustrates the inability of central planning and big government to deal with modern day problems.

When looked at through the lens of political time, it is not that far fetched to think that a true liberty candidate could be on the horizon. A candidate who, like the 'great repudiators' before him, repudiates the failed statist programs of both parties and returns American to its founding principals of life, liberty, and property.

Posted by Bryan at 1:48 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Oh man, no Kindle edition, and they want $25 for a paperback. That good?

I want to criticize but think I should read the book first. On the big-picture side, I'm a devotee of Gene Healy and uncomfortable with over-emphasizing the President's role. This might, of course, be philosophical wishcasting, but can you not make an equally valid argument that these ideas are fostering?

Progressivism builds up with Herbert Croly, TR, Lochner vs. New York, and Woodrow Wilson, interspersed with the Taft, Harding and Coolidge (peace be on the prophet's eternal soul!) administrations. Didn't FDR exploit the opportunity from a "failed" successor?

Likewise, I see Reagan carrying the torch from Barry Goldwater in '64, fighting off the Ford/Dole/Rockefeller wing in the 70s.

On the "small potatoes" side: McKinley repudiating Cleveland? I don't see that as an epochal shift. Also, I lump Jefferson and Jackson into the same ideological group: agrarian, state sovereignty, fight the national bank. I still consider them the forefathers of the Democratic Party, when I am being kind. Was 1828 ideological? I considered it more a reaction to the House election of 1824 and whiffs of a "corrupt bargain" between Clay and JQ Adams.

It sounds interesting -- and it sounds like it may back up my vision of Ron Paul as our Barry Goldwater. But a few things strike me as peculiar.

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2012 6:39 PM
But Bryan thinks:

JK -

I think the book is wonderful. For this particular class, I had to read about 7 books on the American President, and this one was by far my favorite. I would be happy to lend it to you, but one of my cube mates asked to borrow the book after reading my post.

I will admit that I tend to lean towards the philosophy of re-alignment theory and political time. To fully do this topic justice, it would also require a post regarding re-alignment theory which deals with more than just presidential political time.

I would disagree however on the note of progressivism when applied to presidential politics. I would argue that Wilson displayed the politics of preemption. He was able to accomplish a great deal, but in the end his presidency ended in de facto impeachment of the ideas he represented died in 1918 and did not re-emerge in the form of a president until 1932. Wilson did not fundamentally change the office of the presidency in the same way as FDR as he lacked the required consensus to do so.

I will still hold that Republicans held the majority of political power in American from 1860 until 1932, with Wilson representing a "blip" on the radar, not the other way around.

FDR was the progressive president who was finally able to break the power Republicans had held for the previous 70 years by build a consensus against their ideas and solutions.

I agree that Reagan carried the torch from Barry Goldwater. I would take it a step further and say that Reagan doesn't become president if it weren't for Barry Goldwater. But I see Reagan repudiating more than just the "Rockefeller Republicans". I see him repudiating the New Deal Democrats and the politics of disjunction practiced by Carter.

Now, I should have been more specific in my original post, which is why I love writing on Three Sources...it keeps you honest. McKinley didn't repudiate anyone. He is however important when looking at American politics through the re-alignment theory. He represented the strengthening of the Republican party, but was not a 'Great Repudiator' nor did he exhibit the politics of reconstruction.

I view the Jeffersonian system and Jacksonian system as being quite different. While they may have argued for some of the same things, as you point out, I would argue they represent two distinct political systems. They changed the office of the presidency in different ways, while both practicing politics of reconstruction.

The election of 1828 factionalized the Democratic -Republican party of Jefferson into what would become the Democratic party and the Whig party. It formalized the 2 party system of American politics, and for the first time, the president appealed directly to the people for consensus.

I am glad that the overall point of my post came through however. The book was written in 1996, so the ideas expressed in my post regarding post Reagan presidents are more my own and not that of the authors.

If you look at re-alignment theory, one could argue that we are do for a new alignment and that historically these alignments have come with 'Great Repudiators'. If this repudiator is Ron Paul, or if it is another liberty minded candidate is yet to be seen.

One last thing I found interesting. I found the most recent aggregate data for historical presidential ranks. I inverted the rankings so rank #1, the best, became #43 and vice versa #43, became #1. I think grouped the presidents into quartiles based their ranks and graphed the results against the history of the United States.

There were abnormalities, which I would argue represent presidents practicing politics of preemption, but in general the trend was clear. American presidential rankings resembled a sine wave with a trend indicating that we are approaching another 'Great Repudiator'.

Once my cube mate is done with the book, I will gladly let you borrow it if you do not want to buy it yourself.

Thanks for your feedback!

Posted by: Bryan at March 24, 2012 12:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the thoughtful post. Yeah, put me on the list if you don't mind; it sounds quite interesting.

I'm already prepared to cede the point on Jefferson-Jackson. Old Hickory had rather different ideas of Executive Power, for sure (though Constitutional limits did not keep Jefferson from making the Louisiana Purchase).

Maybe our big difference is party rule versus philosophy. Grover Cleveland remains one of my favorites, with his stingy vetoes and repudiation of the spendthrift, Republican "Billion Dollar Congress." TR, conversely, is a Progressive first and a Republican second (cf. 1912). Though he and Wilson had different labels, I see the period as 20-years of Progressive rule with a brief hiatus of sanity for Taft. Taft finished a distant third in 1912 as an incumbent president and Republican nominee.

Posted by: jk at March 24, 2012 12:54 PM
But Bryan thinks:

JK -

You are correct that the disconnect is in party rule versus philosophy. Skowronek deals very little with political philosophy and is more trying to develop a model to explain presidential power.

The blog post was an attempt to take his model and apply philosophy to it in an attempt to forecast a major change in American politics based on the repudiation of socialism.

The secondary point of my post was to show that major ideological shifts in American politics can take decades to create, and when looked at from that point of view, you could argue that we are heading towards the culmination of at least 30 years of slow political change.

Posted by: Bryan at March 26, 2012 12:24 PM

March 20, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

"The vision matters, more than the polls and even more than incumbency in the White House."

--Thomas Sowell, in an IBD editorial that has me, once again, seeking distance from Mitt Romney.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

March 16, 2012

At Last, a GOP Candidate addresses our Real Problem!

I did say that Senator Santorum was better than Governor Huckabee. I'll stick with that, but he is closing the gap:

The Daily Caller flags a little-discussed position paper on Rick Santorum's campaign website--his pledge to aggressively prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography. Santorum avers that "America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography." He pledges to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight that "pandemic," by bringing obscenity prosecutions against pornographers.

Nor will there be any of that hiding behind the First Amendment crap -- we've got families to protect!


Posted by John Kranz at 4:25 PM | Comments (0)

March 9, 2012

I miss "Welfare Queens"

I was thinking this the other day. Before (the insanely successful) welfare reform, the big worry about government spending was people like Ms. Clayton:

Amanda Clayton, the 24-year old Lincoln Park resident who won $1 million in the state lottery but continued to use $200 a month in food stamps, has had her benefits revoked by the Michigan Department of Human Services.

According to Michigan DHS, those receiving food benefits must notify the state of a change in income or assets within 10 days.

Hat-tip: @jtLOL (Jim Treacher) who asks "Why is this woman being denied her rights? Paging @SandraFluke"

With a respectful, heh -- this shows a serious shift in thinking that plays into the Tea Party movement. Politicians used to pledge great efforts to remove "Waste, Fraud, and Abuse (WFA)." Vice President Gore's "Good Government" and a staple on the stump up to and including Speaker Gingrich's "Six Sigma."

But it is all hooey. Sure, I'd like to see government spend better. But there is going to be WFA in an organization the size of the Federal Government. At some point, methods to prevent it cost more than they save. Michigan is passing a law to cross-reference lottery winners and welfare rolls. I suspect they'll hire five bureaucrats at 90-120K a year and maybe find three they can kick off to save 50K each -- but I'm mister negative.

The big problem is that it affords VP Gore and Speaker Gingrich the opportunity to talk tough on spending. Nobody likes WFA! Yeah, I'm on your side America! Yet they never have to tell a mohair farmer that WWI is over and they may have to do without subsidies. Or that corn farmers will have to live with only food subsidies and fierce protectionism -- no more ethanol.

I miss welfare queens. It was a simpler problem for a simpler time. Now they are noise on a chart of leviathan entitlements.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

March 6, 2012

What if?

This clip is about much more than just Ron Paul.

Hat tip: M4GW

And then there's this Whittaker Chambers-esque rebuttal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I wondered where the Judge went, I have not seen him in some time.

Put me in the Occam's razor group: bad ratings. (I don't have much other truck with in your rebuttal link. The Founding Fathers were horrified at the development of "Factions," not proud developers of the first parties. Rep Paul's spending record is better than Senator Santorum...)

I did get itchy fingers because I have seen several lefty Facebook friends post this -- with approbation. I guess half bashes Republicans, it must be 50% okay. But I was still surprised. My favorite comment was "How did they slip this past the FAUX censors???" Umm, he does this about every night, people.

In the end I have to put the Judge -- entertaining as he can be -- in my "Libertario Delenda Est" camp. I may not be overwhelmed with Governor Romney's liberty bone fides, but the idea that he's "just like Obama" will go a long way to giving us a second Obama term.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2012 5:26 PM

February 22, 2012


Thirty-six seconds to start your day (sorry I could not embed): Christie To Warren Buffett: "Just Write A Check And Shut Up"

Woot! Hat-tip: Brother hb.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:17 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

*sarcasm* That guy could never be elected president. He just blurts things out without thinking about their fallout. */sarcasm*

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2012 2:59 PM

February 21, 2012

Sun Rises in East! Astronomers Perplexed!

That intrepid AP has discovered an astonishing fact that seems to reflect poorly on Republicans.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- An unmistakable dynamic is playing out in the money game among Republican presidential candidates: New "super" political action committees are growing more powerful than the campaigns they support.

Just to make sure we're all on the same page, AP/Yahoo: you suggest that unregulated, unlimited, anonymous organizations are collecting and spending more money than campaigns, which are limited to small amounts and have onerous disclosure rules?

Where would we be without serious journalism?

Posted by John Kranz at 2:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 7, 2012

JG's Bi-Annual Exhortation to Resolutions

The non-binding Presidential Preference Poll is getting all the Publicity but for my money, the most important way for individual caucus-goers to be influential in party politics is to help shape what the party stands for. A significant part of this is the party platform. We're familiar with this at its completed stage but it has its origins at the most basic level of self-governance: the individual party member.

The process begins with individual "resolutions" being submitted tonight at each neighborhood precinct caucus meeting. Each and every resolution is accepted and, after a process of aggregation and distillation, voted upon at each county's party convention. Approved resolutions are advanced to the state convention, re-aggregated and re-voted, with the approved resolutions going on to the national convention for their final votes.

If one of your aims in "getting involved" is to help shape the values and positions of the party then this is your most urgent action item: Draw up the ideas that are important to you and hand them to your precinct captain tonight. If your idea is clear and compelling and popular with your fellow party members it could make its way to the national convention and help guide the thinking of current and future office holders. (I'll promise you more influence than possible from your single vote on election day. How much more I shall not promise.)

The formulation is usually, "The _________ county Republican Party resolves (or supports, affirms, opposes, etc.) ...

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:39 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Excellent kickoff. And I add my offerings, borrowing heavily from JK's comments to the TEA Party Platform.

Everyone please borrow from everyone else. These should all be submitted in every one of our precincts. Resolutions appear higher on the list in their rank of precincts submitting them.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that the United States Constitution remains the best example for a self-governing people in the history of mankind.

The Weld County Republican Party affirms that Constitutional limits upon government powers are sacrosanct and if not respected by the various branches and agencies of federal government must, in turn, be protected by the people and the governments of America's individual states.

The Weld County Republican Party will not tolerate political favoritism or "crony capitalism" on the part of any of its elected or appointed members, and exhorts those members to oppose and defeat such favoritism when exerted by members of any other political party.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that The US Constitution and all ratified Amendments must be followed scrupulously by all branches of the Federal Government.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that any federal legislation that exceeds Constitutional purview is to be voted against or vetoed by every elected Republican.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Executive actions that exceed Constitutional purview shall be investigated and censured by Republican legislators in Congress.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Judicial decisions that exceed Constitutional purview will be swiftly met with clarifying and remedial legislation by Republican legislators.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that Judicial nominations will receive Senatorial consent from Republican legislators only after demonstrating a full understanding and willingness to adhere to a strict reading of the Constitution.

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that all elected or appointed Republican officials shall voluntarily swear to craft and approve all future legislation expressly to restore and protect our rights as granted in the Bill of Rights.

The Weld County Republican Party affirms that the term "right" or "rights" does not apply to the involuntary redistribution of the property of one or more Americans from their ownership to others.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2012 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nearly missed this one: COEXIST

The Weld County Republican Party reaffirms, in the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, that peaceful coexistence among free peoples requires a fastidious respect for the religious freedom and the property rights of each and every citizen.
Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2012 4:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow. Blog readers who know me from my big talk may be unaware of the depth of my shyness in person.

Do you really intend to present that many? I can see myself doing two. Three if I have Scotch.

Posted by: jk at February 7, 2012 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sure! They'll all fit on one page. With yours it's an even dozen, or just one per quarter since The Otastrophe began.

Posted by: johngalt at February 7, 2012 4:56 PM
But jk thinks:

One suggest: I would roll your #4 and #5 into a single planque:

The Weld County Republican Party resolves that The US Constitution and all ratified Amendments must be followed scrupulously by all branches of the Federal Government and that any federal legislation that exceeds Constitutional purview is to be voted against or vetoed by every elected Republican.
Posted by: jk at February 7, 2012 5:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Copied from a later post: Our composite resolutions were quite popular in Boulder and Weld counties:

My brother co-opted our 11 3Srcs resolutions for his Boulder County precinct. They voted also - all 11 (and loads more from the Longmont 9/12 and Boulder County TEA Party) passed unanimously.

I showed my preprinted list to a few voters as an example. They wanted to read them. Then their neighbor, and their neighbor. Two copies made it around the entire table. The comments I received were universally favorable. A pastor in my precinct asked if he could keep a copy! "You wrote these," he asked? "You really wrote them?" As I recall, he agreed with every one.

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2012 2:06 AM

January 31, 2012

The gig is up

The historical accounts of the 2012 Presidential election are already being written. From Steve McCann's 'The Republican Establishment's Strategic Blunder' in the American Thinker:

The one major accomplishment of Barack Obama has been to bring a sudden and abrupt end the people's ability to tolerate this tacitly understood game between the two major Parties.


All the other challengers were easily eliminated or made irrelevant, as they did not have the money or experience of knowing how the game is played, but Newt refused to just slink away. Never has the Republican Establishment trained its guns on any one candidate in such an unbridled and unrestrained way.

Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters. While it maybe the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.

The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder. They will, in all likelihood, succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the damage they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible. The public now sees the length to which the Establishment will go to make certain their hand-picked candidate is chosen regardless of the dire circumstances facing the nation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:28 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I dunno. This really smacks of conspiracy theory. My assessment of conspiracies is that the theorists give way to much credit for intelligence to the conspirators.

It reminds me of when Gore and RFK Jr. blamed Bush for Katrina. Sure - a guy they claim to be to stupid to read a book somehow has God-like control over the weather.

Similarly here, the "GOP establishment" is too incompetant to organize a campaign, but somehow as the skills to do a Jedi mind-trick on the electorate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 1, 2012 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm confused. What's the "conspiracy theory?" That negative campaign ads work or that "an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings" dominates national party politics?

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2012 2:52 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, you're a friend, so I'm happy to un-confuse you. :-)

First of all, the definition of "The Establishment": "an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings." Who in the polical debate does that NOT describe?!? We at Three Sources would love to control the government purse strings, if for no other reason than to tie a knot in them. Indeed, it is the disagreement over government gathering and use of funds that animates most of us.

Second, the idea that dozens or hundreds of prominant politicians - who can rarely agree on lunch - got together and derived a consensus and a grand strategy for electing a particular candidate seems highly implausible. The fact that a number of prominant politicians support a particular candidate does not mean that they got together and decided to do so, though no doubt many of the talk regularly.

Finally, "...it appears that those who are nominally identified as the "Republican Establishment" are doing all they can to alienate the vast majority of the current base of the Party." Seriously?? The party appartchik is sitting around dreaming up ways to piss off the "vast majority" of its base? Again, implausible. Moreover, how can they alienate the "vast majority" of the base and simultaneous convince them to vote for their chosen candidate?

This a sour-grapes theory to explain why Newt is losing to Romney. The truth is that while Romney may be deeply flawed, Newt is deeply, deeply flawed. Finally, just because a bunch of party insiders don't believe that Newt is electable doesn't mean it's not true.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 1, 2012 4:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

What he said. BR, that is...

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2012 11:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

"Republican Establishment trained its guns"
in non-partisan, unelectioneering, bomb-catching plainspeak, people established (aka, whose opinions are sometimes sought) within the republican party exercised their right to free speech and called a Newt... well, whatever they thought he was.

The idea of Ann Coulter colluding with anyone behind a closed door is silly... until ... it becomes oddly disturbing >:-0

I caught a bit of the ads and speech from the FL campaign. I didn't find the selected Romney ad objectionable (and you'd think they'd picked a nasty one). A bit harsh perhaps, but way less harsh than Newt calling anyone else a Washington insider: that takes gall and a forked tongue well-used to the taste of bile.

Gall don't necessarily impress independent voters. I already can't stand listening to His Whineyness anymore.

P.S.: the prohibition on posting comments still afflicts NB; but only with FireFox.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2012 11:56 PM

January 30, 2012

All Hail Taranto

Mondo heh.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:51 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Being as testicularly-challenged as Obama is, Mr. Jackson's 2008 statement poses no threat or insult to him. But to a person who's made his legacy out of pointing fingers at the opposition ("eight previous years... stubborn Republicans..."), finger-pointing is a recognized weapon. I understand the rationale.

In a Bizarro-world sort of way...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 30, 2012 11:14 PM

January 26, 2012

Stossel & Palin

Before his account was hacked, brother jg had convinced me to reevaluate my perception of Governor Sarah Palin. I suggested that her populist appeal was swell but that she lacked intellectual heft.

My appraisal is extremely complicated. I still feel that picking her was the best thing Candidate McCain did in 2008. I feel she was undeservedly savaged by the media with zero support from the McCain team. I think the lefty "Palin Derangement Syndrome" is laughable. And I like her. The lovely bride and I watched her Alaska series, and I have followed her political moves with interest.

All this can be true and it does not mean that I wish to see a Palin candidacy (although this year, I've been looking at some three-legged, diabetic dogs...). Nor does it mean that I am comfortable with her having an oversized voice in GOP politics.

Tonight, she is guest on Stossel (Fox Business Network) and I will recalibrate all measurements to zero and start again.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:32 PM | Comments (0)

Corporations are not people!

After watching a large part of this David Stockman interview with Bill Moyers I'm about ready to adopt the dirty hippies #Occupy meme. When they villified "Wall Street" and "Greedy Corporations" I always had a mental image of Fidelity Investments and WalMart. But if I replace that with Goldman Sachs and General Electric I think we would agree on more than we differ.

This also magnifies my distrust of the GOP establishment and, by association, the Romney candidacy.

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:15 AM | Comments (12)
But jk thinks:

Made it through. Clearly I'm going to have to change brother jg's password. It's one thing to hack somebody's account for personal gain, but this character assassination borders on libel.

Okay, he doesn't like Jeff Immelt -- thus 50% as reliable as a broken clock.

What what what did you like? A constitutional amendment to keep corporate money out of politics -- a $100 limit on contributions? Government dictating the size, structure, and allowed transactions of banks (my largest disagreement with Gov Huntsman)? Or did you just dig the repudiation of Reagan's economic vision?

If I may quote In Living Color's "Men on Film" segement: "hated it!"

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2012 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If memory serves, I came in at about 21:30 when I switched on PBS last night. Anything before that I'll defer to a future debate.

I liked the expose of GE's bailout and how it should have been done through a dilution of shareholder value and not by a FED bailout.

I liked the assertion, "Free markets are not free. They've been bought and paid for by large financial institutions."

I liked the identification of the "entitled class" of "Wall Street financiers and corporate CEOs" who "believe the government is there to do whatever is necessary ... whatever it takes to keep the game going and their stock price moving upward."

And most of all, I appreciated Stockman's correction that "it is important to put the word crony capitalism on there, because free-market capitalism is a different thing. True free-market capitalists never go to Washington with their hand out. True free-market capitalists running a bank do not expect that whenever they make a mistake or whenever they get themselves too leveraged, or they end up with too many risky assets that don't work out, they don't expect to be able to go to the Federal Reserve and get some cheap or free money and go on as before. They expect consequences, maybe even failure of their firm. Certainly loss of their bonuses, maybe loss of their jobs. So we don't have free-market capitalism left in this country anymore, we have everyone believing that if they can hire the right lobbyists, raise enough political action committee money, spend enough time prowling the halls of the Senate and the House and the office buildings arguing for the benefit of their narrow parochial interests then that is the way things will work out. That's crony capitalism and it's very dangerous. It seems to be becoming more embedded in our system."

What's not to like with any of this? We can argue about causes and solutions, but can we agree on this particular problem?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2012 7:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee listened to all 34 scintillating minutes and can't quite see what sent JK 'round the bend. Yes, Moyers is an insufferable nincompoop, but we knew that going in. The irony, of course, is that the far left and the fiscal right have finally found common ground in deploring crony capitalism.

The most objectionable part of Stockman's comments was his assertion that we need to change the First Amendment to deny corporations the right to lobby and give political contributions. (Why corporations should be muzzled but not unions or enviros remains a mystery.) Nevertheless, his comments against crony capitalism and in support of pure capitalism seemed to make a lot of sense.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 26, 2012 9:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, at least our ratings are up. I got an email from a good friend of the blog who is enjoying this argument very much.

You know, brothers, Governor Howard Dean doesn't like bailouts and crony capitalism either. I'm sure I can find a clip of his discussing it with Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Rachel Maddow. I'll post it and we'll all agree how very swell it is.

I do not trust either of these men. Both have done extreme damage to this great nation and our concept of liberty and personal achievement. Just because we all agree Jeff Immelt is a dickhead, I am not going to embrace them.

When Stockman longs for the Republican Party of his youth, he is longing for Eisenhower and Ford. Moyers, of course, never came to grips with the idea of a Democrat Party without LBJ.

"Free markets aren't really free" does sound like ThreeSources and I'm sure he'd like to sell us each a copy of his book. But when it comes from a guy who wants to dictate banks' size and business practice, propose extreme campaign finance rules, and has an, ahem, history of government expansion -- I do not accept that he is now calling for lasseiz faire.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2012 10:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I must say my first reaction to this recording was one of excitement over the fact that it could lead to a bridge between left and right so wide and so strong as to absolutely overpower the entrenched crony establishment with a popular laissez-faire revolution. After a second viewing I remain hopeful, and as long as my password continues to function I will strive to advance the topic. (Yes, I know yer just joking about yanking it.)

Let me ask that we seek a point of agreement before we debate whether Stockman is the GOP antichrist or Phil Gramm precipitated TARP. I'm sure we're all on board with "crony capitalism is very dangerous" so how about, this:

When the net worth of a collection of six financial services conglomerations and their six boards of directors approaches the annual GDP of the entire United States private sector, and the members of those boards of directors have unprecedented influence throughout the depth and breadth of the federal government, our principled free-speech rules may no longer be sufficient for preventing this "entitled class" from manipulating the government for their own narrow interests to the detriment of individual liberty and property, particularly in a mixed economic system with fiat currency.

In my youth, "Ma Bell" was deemed "too big" and was broken up. Today, "Wall Street" is deemed "too big to fail" and is instead propped up - by devaluing the net worth of every dollar-denominated individual. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2012 12:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While The Bad Guys and Three Sourcers can agree that crony capitalism is bad, our reasons for believing so are very different. The Bad Guys view capitalism, in toto, as undesireable. Thus, anything that props it up in any form is a bad thing. Three Sourcers, on the other hand, view crony capitalism as a misuse of taxpayer funds, misallocation of resources and questionable ethics. Because The Bad Guys believe that all things good emanate from the government, when crony capitalism falls capitalism will fall with it. Three Sourcers believe the opposite, and that a lack of crony capitalism will lead to better allocation of resources and therefore economic expansion. Thus, we are willing to accept this deal with The Bad Guys (all other things being equal).

We don't have to embrace them, we just have to outmaneuver them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 27, 2012 12:46 PM

January 13, 2012

Greatest Generation

Hat-tip: biological brother via email. [High-rez version]

Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 AM | Comments (0)

November 15, 2011

Great 404s!

I can see how people hate Congress -- but how can you not like politics?

The WSJ finds some amusing custom "page-not-found" (404) error pages on campaign websites.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

September 20, 2011

It's an Outrage!

This graphic from the WSJ Ed Page really caught my eye.

How can it be that hard working people in the $500,000 - $1 Million income category, like Warren Buffet's CFO, are paying 0.8% more than those earning over a million? When will this outrage be repaired?

Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

And how do I get a job as Warren Buffet's secretary, who must be pulling down at least $500K?

Posted by: johngalt at September 20, 2011 3:50 PM

September 14, 2011

& the Good News Keeps Rollin' In...

Brother jg beat me to the punch on the NY-9 special election. A 20 point 9-point [mea culpa!] GOP win in Sen. Chuck Schumer's old district is a victory to savor.

And yet, Professor William Jacobsen (via Insty) brings what is likely even better news for lovers of liberty. In the long run, it is more significant that many full time Democratic operatives lost their publicly funded jobs in Wisconsin:

Last month [Wisconsin Education Association Council] (WEAC) announced that it was laying off 40% of its staff. With little over which to collectively bargain, and with dues no longer withheld from paychecks, the need for and sustainability of a union bureaucracy could not be justified.

Now WEAC is being boycotted by National Staff Organization (NSO), a union representing educational union employees.

Isn't that great, education union employees have their own union? Is there a union for employees of education union employee unions?

Elections and candidates come and go, but the criminal cycle of public unions donating to statist candidates lasts what I thought to be forever.

If they both reify in 2012, a large GOP majority could cripple this vicious circle by forcing members to choose whether to pay dues. Freedom is always a game changer.

UPDATE Allysia Finley in the WSJ Political Diary:

The United Federation of Teachers, Bill Clinton, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Sen. Charles Schumer recorded robocalls for Mr. Weprin. According to Politico, about a thousand Democratic volunteers walked door to door yesterday highlighting the candidate's endorsement by the New York Times. Mr. Weprin also visited several senior centers to warn that Mr. Turner wanted to kill Social Security and Medicare. But even a robust Democratic get-out-the-vote operation couldn't mitigate voters' dissatisfaction. Recent polls showed that frustration with President Obama and the economic recovery had turned voters--including a third of Democrats--against Mr. Weprin.

It seems the two instances of good news might be related.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:18 AM | Comments (0)

September 12, 2011


The true fear is that Governor Perry and Norah O'Donnell are both right.

Yes, Rick, Social Security is something of a Ponzi scheme (many libertarian sites point out that with State coercion, it is much worse). And, yes, Norah, that might make him "unelectable." We don't cotton, as a nation, to our candidates telling the truth. A superb episode of Buffy called "Lie to Me" sums up the mood of the electorate pretty well (and introduces Chanterelle who becomes Lily who becomes Anne).

Buffy: "Does it ever get easy?"
Giles: "You mean life?"
Buffy: "Yeah. Does it get easy?"
Giles: "What do you want me to say?"
Buffy: "Lie to me."
Giles: "Yes, it's terribly simple. The good guys are always stalwart and true, the bad guys are easily distinguished by their pointy horns or black hats, and, uh, we always defeat them and save the day. No one ever dies, and everybody lives happily ever after."
Buffy: "Liar."

The WSJ Ed Page, wishing to see a principled Republican elected in 2012, is peeved at both Governor Romney and Perry after the debate.
Give Mr. Perry credit for addressing one of the third rails of American politics, but that doesn't mean he has to invite electrocution. The problem with his hot rhetoric is that it can turn off many voters before they even get a chance to listen to his reform proposals, assuming he eventually offers some.

And, don't be looking so moisturized and smug in the back, Mitt:
As for Mr. Romney, he seems to be taking Social Security assaults a notch or two beyond even the Democratic playbook. At the debate he implied Mr. Perry was "committed to abolishing Social Security," and he has since made this a major campaign theme.

His press shop followed up with a memo claiming Mr. Perry "Believes Social Security Should Not Exist," and Mr. Romney told a talk radio show that "If we nominate someone who the Democrats can correctly characterize as being opposed to Social Security, we would be obliterated as a party."

We'd give Mr. Romney more credit for his professed political prudence if he were at least proposing some Social Security reforms of his own. But his recent 160-page economic platform avoids anything controversial on the subject.

One of the benefits of the Tea Party has been a lot more seriousness in GOP ranks and willingness to listen to a small amount of only slightly varnished truth. But is the whole country? Are the Bryan Caplan, vote for the tall guy with better hair voters ready for truth?

I doubt it. But I'm awfully tired of the lies.

UPDATE: T-Paw weighs in:

"Governor Romney wants to fix Social Security," Pawlenty said on Fox. "He doesn't believe it should be thrown out. He believes it should be reformed and fixed, and I think that's the right approach."
Miss him yet? Yeah, me neither.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Washington doesn't need a "permanent" solution KA, just a four-year solution. And despite my taste for TEA I don't expect, demand or even want Governor Rick to carry a "full privatization" banner into the general election. Just an incremental improvement, to make it less like a Ponzi, and show voters the sky will not fall.

It's like this, brothers. Some claim the TEA Party will fade, others that the liberty movement has enduring appeal. I'm in the latter camp. For at least a generation the nuveau activists will remain active, and those in the mushy middle will more often gravitate toward our ideal of freedom and realized prosperity than the Progressives ideal of nanny statism and promised prosperity. Our ranks will grow. Our ideas will dominate. The world will learn along the way.

And the Bryan Caplan voters? They'll tune in sometime after Halloween next. Just be sure we're tall and well coiffed by then.

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2011 2:55 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm laughing, Keith. Scrub this post? I think the ThreeSources server will need to be soaked in toluene if any of us ever aspire to be dog catchers. Let's not even think about caching.

It is similar to global warming: will the GOP need to tell the same lies to get elected? Can they count on educating voters? If so, I would say one issue, max. Heterodoxy on DAWG and Social Security will just attract the "extreme" label.

Fraught with Peril.

Posted by: jk at September 12, 2011 3:22 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Washington may not need a permanent solution - if by "Washington" you mean "our elected overlords seeking continued re-election" - but America does. Just changing the band-aids once every four years is insufficient. We do enough accusing the entrenched politicos of kicking the can down the road each cycle, it would be hypocritical of me to do the same.

Social Security has no authority in the Constitution, and should not have ever been enacted. Horatio Bunce would have understood that. If the public cannot be persuaded of that, then the system will crash. We can either make that a controlled crash, or we can have some mild turbulence as we approach the ground and then explode.

Harsh words: if this is truly the untouchable third rail, and the American public expects this to go on forever without costing them more, that perhaps we (collectively, not us individually) deserve for it to crash the hard way. Food for thought...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 12, 2011 4:40 PM
But jk thinks:

The Horatio Bunce reference was a real "sockdolager" as Col. Crockett would say, but I am glad I looked it up. I had read the story before, but it is well worth another time through.

Posted by: jk at September 13, 2011 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The present sad state of the electorate is why I concede to improving SS in stages.

Posted by: johngalt at September 13, 2011 3:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On second thought, perhaps the mood of the electorate is more amenable to wholesale reform after all.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2011 3:23 PM

September 7, 2011


Top All-Time Donors, 1989-2010

Not endorsing OpenSecrets.org, but it looks pretty straight-up at first glance.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:38 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. "Evil" bankers give more to Dems than beer wholesalers do. Progressives should redirect their ire toward "Big Beer."

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2011 12:56 PM
But jk thinks:

That's why I put all my money into beer and not savings. It's the principle of the thing, dammit!

There were several surprises, but not surprising was the crowd of public sector unions at the top with the blue donkeys. "On the fence" for Club for Growth?" Because it was 41% R? Did they support Libertarians? Buy beer?

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2011 1:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

ROFLMAO: ActBlue, the #1 political donor in the country, spends $55 million on 99% Dem, 0% Rep.

From their Open Secrets summary page: "The organization assists Democratic candidates and committees of all ideological persuasion, helping moderates and liberals alike."

Okay, maybe there aren't any conservative Democrats. Maybe they'd be supported if there were. Riiiight.

Posted by: johngalt at September 7, 2011 1:08 PM

August 17, 2011

Hey Good Lookin' What's your PQ?

UCLA's token conservative PoliSci professor Tim GroseClose has a new book out which examines, using objective measures, how a leftist press has distorted the political views of the American body politic. Called 'Left Turn' it includes a do-it-yourself version of the Political Quotient or PQ test they used to rank individual politicians. A PQ of 100 is completely "left" and 0 is completely "right." I'll caution that the 40-question quiz is time consuming.

Here's your PQ: 7.7

Politicians with similar PQs are:

James DeMint (R-S.C. 1999-2009) PQ=5.1
Newt Gingrich (R-Ga., 1979-94) PQ=11.4
Richard Nixon (R-Calif., 1947-52) PQ=12.5
Lindsay Graham (R-S.C., 1995-2009) PQ=14.9
John McCain (R-Az., 1983-2006, 2009) PQ=15.8
Joe Scarborough (R-Fla., 1995-2000) PQ=16.4

Maybe this makes me "O double seven."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:54 PM | Comments (9)
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. Completed the survey clicking "I can't decide" on everything:

Here’s your PQ: 47.8

Politicians with similar PQs are:

Sam Nunn (D-Ga., 1973-96) PQ=39.5
Susan Collins (R-Maine, 1997-2009) PQ=44.2
Olympia Snowe (R-Maine, 1979-2009) PQ=47.9
Arlen Specter (R-Penn., 1981-2008) PQ=50.6
Ben Nelson (D-Neb., 2001-09) PQ=55.6

(Those clowns certainly haven't earned their congressional pensions.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 17, 2011 6:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Maybe we should do it over Skype(r) -- it would be a blast. I think you can easily tell because the application helpfully puts the troglodyte, wingnut loser answer on the bottom. Every click north is the road to serfdom.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2011 6:26 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

"... clicking "I can't decide" on everything..."

Is that the same as "Voting Present," allowing a person who does this repeatedly to claim to be a mainstream moderate?

Yeah, I didn't think so either.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2011 6:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Sam Nunn was a great statesman and one of the last of the Democrats with integrity.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2011 7:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And yet, assuming he never voted "present" four times out of ten Sam Nunn voted for the road to serfdom.

Posted by: johngalt at August 18, 2011 1:31 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The few extended family members who took the quiz all scored more conservative than I did, making me the most liberal member of my family.

I blame Three Sources.

Posted by: johngalt at August 29, 2011 1:16 AM

August 2, 2011

They like it!

Assuming the bill will pass the Senate, I'll offer a post mortem.

The exact language of the bill surely offers much to be desired and, as usual, we will all be disappointed with the final product. And yet, I am starting to believe that a fundamental change -- conducive to liberty -- has actually occurred. Leader McConnell called it "a new template," suggesting that every debt ceiling increase will now be met by stiff opposition. The Democrats love to say "we've increased the limit eleventy-four times with no theatrics." Sen. McConnell says those days are gone. Imagine the kerfuffle from Democrats if President Romney asks for an increase -- we'll see leftist parsimony. A new template indeed.

Chairmin Ryan likes to remind that we have moved from discussing growth in spending to cuts in spending.

And the Telegraph says "The real story of the US debt deal is not the triumph of the Tea Party but the death of the Socialist Left"

For believers in redistributive taxation and egalitarian social programmes like David Miliband, Obama was the last great hope. Here was a centre left politician capable of building the kind of electoral coalition that underpinned the massive expansions of state power in Britain and America, from Attlee's post-war Labour Government to Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. That is, a coalition of the white working class, minorities and middle class liberals. Yet in spite of sweeping to power in 2008 and ensuring the Democrats won in both the House and the Senate, Obama has proved unable to sustain that coalition. Last night's debt deal represents the moment when he acknowledged that trying to maintain the levels of public spending required to fund ambitious welfare programmes is political suicide. Which is why the deal has been greated with cries of impotent rage by the British Left.

It's hard to accept the word of a guy who cannot spell labor, center or programs, but he's got what Rowan Atkinson might call "one wicked bastard of a good point."

Legal fine print: Hat-tip: Instapundit for the Telegraph piece. And, yes, Mister Atkinson would certainly be on the side of the Socialists. And, no, he did not say it but rather it was a Character he played in BBC's "Bernard & the Genie." Professional blogger on a closed website. Do not attempt.

UPDATE: On the other hand...here's gd's link to Rand Paul's letter.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Rand Paul has got to be my favorite person in Congress. How refreshing to see a man of such intellect, grace, and principle in the US Senate (always the last place you look, as Taranto says). I added your link to the post.

He has been heavily on my mind after reading Henry Clay, the Essential American. Paul holds the seat of the man most consider America's greatest Senator -- yet proudly boasts that he feels more kinship with Henry's cousin, Cassius Clay. Paul chooses the non-compromiser -- to the chagrin of his fellow Bluegrass State Senator, Leader McConnell.

It's hard to devise a counterfactual that would have shown Cousin Cassius to be the better choice in 1820 or 1850 when "The Great Compromiser" worked his magic. Guess I am doomed to pragmatism.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2011 12:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Taking Senator DeMint's analogy a bit further, When you realize it's time to stop the car you first have to take your foot off of the accelerator before you can put it on the brake. That's about what this bill will do.

Senator Paul, whom I respect and appreciate greatly, writes that the bill, "adds $7 billion to our deficit over the next ten years." If he and the other Republicans in congress do nothing more than this for 10 years we'll be worse off than it looks even now.

This is step 1. The debate over government spending will loom over every congressional effort for as long as the public sentiment demands it. Not just the British Left, but the American Left, is greeting this bill, which their president will sign, with "cries of impotent rage." A good day's work if you ask me. Now, what is tomorrow's project? How about a budget?

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2011 12:47 PM
But gd thinks:

Jk, I believe that sometimes compromise can be necessary and a great trait. I do not know much about Henry Clay, but I imagine that he had certain ideas he felt he could compromise and some he could not.

I found Rand Paul's letter to be quite insightful. For instance, a compromise on true spending cuts of $2.4 trillion is a lot different than a compromise of proposed cuts of $2.4 trillion on projected increases in spending.

I believe that we have had too much compromise in our Federal government over the past 75 years when it comes to government spending. If anything, we need a few Ron and Rand Paul's to keep us aware of the truth behind the numbers and perhaps more importantly, the principles of social and economic freedom so that we have the ability to decide what principles we choose to adhere to and compromise as individuals in our personal life.

Posted by: gd at August 2, 2011 1:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I agree with every word you say, and every word Sen. Rand Paul says. The best GOP advice came from Bill Kristol on the FOXNews Sunday panel: he advised Conservatives not to claim victory. This does not fix anything and any claims to the contrary are being made by terrorists or something.

But I ain't going to get anything I like out of the 112th Senate -- and our 44th President sure ain't gonna sign it.

We've set up the debate nicely, we avoided tax increases. And we really cheesed of the NYTimes Editorial Page. Pretty good for a tie.

Posted by: jk at August 2, 2011 1:47 PM
But gd thinks:

Jk, you (and Bill Kristol) are absolutely right. This was probably the best deal possible with the current Senate and President, but there should be no claiming victory today by the Tea Party or Republicans. Claiming victory only enhances the perception amongst many that the cuts were too deep, when reality could not possibly be further from the truth (i.e., there were no cuts).

I also agree with jg; this was merely the first step in scaling a large mountain. To celebrate this would be like celebrating arrival at base camp when attempting a summit of Mount Everest. It is a step in the right direction, but all of the hard work still lies ahead.

Posted by: gd at August 2, 2011 4:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Meanwhile, prepare for even greater impotent rage from the World Left. They don't know anything else but to Demand the Unearned.

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2011 4:57 PM

July 15, 2011

The Stand Up Economist


Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Not bad. A pretty good thumbnail sketch of <strike>Threesourcers</strike> Eatourpeasers. I know we represent both kinds of libertarian but I'm not sure who is the Canadian drug-dealing scientist.

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2011 12:24 AM
But jk thinks:

I enjoy Yoram a great deal. I think his continued work on global warming has encouraged his academic instinct to distrust the right more that the left. Or perhaps I am getting pricklier.

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2011 11:33 AM

July 13, 2011

Leftist Democrat cites Laffer; Calls for Tax Cuts to Grow Government Revenue

First-term Democratic Congressman Jared Polis, representing Colorado's second congressional district including the very left-leaning city of Boulder, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal today that among other things suggested lowering tax rates "to more reasonable levels" in order to "make revenues increase." He calls it Raise Revenues, Not Taxes.

In my home state of Colorado, and in 15 other states and the District of Columbia, local revenues have increased by millions of dollars since lawmakers decided to legalize and regulate medical marijuana. By reducing the current 100% confiscatory tax on marijuana to more reasonable levels, we can make revenues increase. If we were to nationally legalize, regulate and reduce federal taxes on marijuana, we could receive as much as $2.4 billion in additional revenue annually, according to a 2005 study conducted by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron.

If true, this could be the tip of a very large iceberg of new government funds. If lowering tax rates on the relatively small market commodity marijuana can bring in upwards of two billion dollars the results would be even more substantial when applied to mainstream commodities such as tobacco, transportation, communications, and even coal, oil and other fuels. And there's no reason to limit this new principle to excise taxes. Income taxes, capital gains taxes and inheritance taxes are all ripe targets for this simple approach to replentish the government's coffers.

Please call or write your congressman today and urge them to give their full support to Representative Polis' plan to pay off the debt and grow the economy buy cutting tax rates wherever they may be found. Congressman Polis is brilliant and his idea could be the bipartisan breakthrough we've been waiting for! And if his plan is implemented he deserves to be re-elected for as long as he remains its champion.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:58 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

At the risk of contravening the gag rule...

I think the point is that the Feds currently have a ridiculous fake tax on marijuana that exists only to provide the enforcement community with an Al Capone prosecution play: "Your honor, Mister Dogg failed to purchase tax stamps for that illegal stuff he was caught with." A bona-fide tax similar to liquor, collected by legal vendors would create an actual revenue source where none exists now.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2011 6:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm not very well versed in marijuana law or taxation, but if Congressman Polis says reducing the tax rate on it will increase tax revenues I'm willing to take him at his word. Let's do it! Reduce the tax rates on marijuana and every other excise, income, capital gains, inheritance and any other tax across-the-board. I'm sure such a bill could easily be written within the 2000-page scope that has become fashionable since January of 2009. Then we can avert a budget crisis and consider omnibus goverment spending reform without fear, uncertainty and doubt.

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2011 9:15 PM

July 7, 2011


Marco Rubio on the debt ceiling (he starts talking at 5 minutes, its starts to get really good at about the 7:50 mark):

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:35 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at July 7, 2011 3:45 PM

July 6, 2011

Extreme Partisan Parody

But if you've seen the original, you'll want to view these outtakes:

Posted by John Kranz at 6:43 PM | Comments (0)

June 23, 2011

The Week in Sports

Dan Henninger fires up the Segue Machine:

On Saturday the planets aligned to give us Rory McIlroy making golf history at Congressional Country Club on the same day Barack Obama and John Boehner were at Andrews Air Force Base, finding some fellow feeling in a round of golf.

Beyond the difference is quality and score, Henninger sees another difference.
The irony is hard to miss. The nation's two most public servants played their golf in private. Rory McIlroy, a private citizen, played his with millions watching.

Maybe we're onto something.

Professional athletes do their best work in public--Rory McIlroy this week, Dirk Nowitzki last week. Public witness, it seems, produces great performances under pressure. Meanwhile, it is taken as truth that politics can't happen unless the politicians can talk in private.

Playing in full view with pressure, Rory McIlroy produced a record U.S. Open score of 16 under par. The politicians, who legislate most of the time in private, have produced record deficits and a national debt of $14.3 trillion. Maybe the Biden debt negotiation should be taking place at a table in front of 20,000 citizens on the floor of the Verizon Center, where the aptly named Washington Wizards play.

Both golf courses Saturday were filled with smiles.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:51 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Cuffy Meigs and Wesley Mouch could not be reached for comment.

Posted by: johngalt at June 23, 2011 3:25 PM
But jk thinks:

One thing I'd love to steal from the Motherland is "Prime Minister's Questions Hour:" brutal, no-holds-barred argument and rhetoric between parties. Teleprompterless fun where leaders must face actual questions about the efficacy and design of their policies. That essentially never happens here.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2011 4:59 PM

June 6, 2011

What About Sarah?

My Facebook Friends enjoyed rapture -- without all the killing and death and gnashing of teeth-- when a certain ex-Governor of our most easternmost state was caught on video explaining that "Paul Revere warned the British." It was all Palin all the time. I don't know how many friends posted the video, and each posting had multiple "this woman is sooooo stupid!" comments attached.

I provided a link to one (our beloved LatteSipper) with Professor Jacobson's insistence that "It seems to be a historical fact that this happened. A lot of the criticism is unfair and made by people who are themselves ignorant of history." But I later regretted both descending into the Palin-discussion-sewer and doubted, upon watching the video yet another time, whether the defense was credible.

Governor Griz stoked the flames on FOX News Sunday yesterday, claiming the "liberal media" served up a "gotcha question" and that "she knew her history." The gotcha question seems to be "How do you like Boston, Ms. Palin?"

I'd love comments. The Boston Herald piles on her side today. If you missed it, you can see the video there. Most of the defense is to quote Jacobson's blog post. But did she get lucky -- or was she playing the adversarial "lamestream media" like a fiddle? I like her well enough but I'm leaning toward lucky.

UPDATE: Andrew Malcolm at the LATimes votes "Fiddle"

UPDATE II: WaPo fact checker votes "present," but backs me up on one point:

The actual "gotcha question" was rather benign: "What have you seen so far today, and what are you going to take away from your visit?"

The link embeds both the original video and a segment from her FOXNews interview.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:21 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

At least her unscripted moment didn't include a mention of America's fifty-seven states. She'd have been pilloried for that, as any politician surely would. Oh, wait...

I'm not sure Mr. Malcolm considers Palin to be that crafty but it seems to me she is making small steps toward the objective she set out for: Improve her image on the east coast. This is not her stated intent mind you, that being to reacquaint Americans with their nation's history. [And doesn't this Revere episode do that in spades!] But it was a necessary task for a political figure with such high negatives. Bring them down enough with the bus tour and the naysayers lose their last, great objection to candidate Palin: She can't win.

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2011 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Y'know, I think it is different than 57 States, or Joe Biden's "the Vice Presidency is Executive Branch as described in Section I" in the VP debates. Straining to be fair (pulling muscles, in fact), those are all short verbal miscues and one cannot imagine the speakers' doubling down on a talk show the day after.

If the governor truly wants to illuminate a rare historical fact, a human person generally prefaces it with "You know, oddly enough..." or "I was interested to read that..."

Risking hernia to be fair (I would love to shut me down some smug FaceBookers) she also has a verbal style where she appears to be completely lost through much of it. Watching this, I want to get out a flashlight and see if her pupils can follow simple movements. Another hu-mannn trend of sharing abstruse data is confident delivery. I don't know.

Does my blog brother vote fiddle?

Posted by: jk at June 6, 2011 3:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No, not fiddle. "Gotcha" squared.

When Gov. Griz answered Chris Wallace's question she talked about how it was a "gotcha" question, which I took to mean she saw it as a test of her trivia knowledge. Whether she meant to say "warn the British" or not, whether she'd seen it written that way somewhere in one of the sites she'd visited, she took such pleasure in her "she's so stoopid" "gaffe" being factually correct that she chose not to help her opponents explain away their ignorance. I say, "Good on ya, Sheila!"

Posted by: johngalt at June 6, 2011 8:37 PM

May 30, 2011

The Day Medicare was Saved!

The residents of NY-26 look back 30 years later on the special election that preserved Medicare as we know it:

As was the practice at the time, Ms. Hochul quickly seized on the notoriety of her race to quit politics and become host of a cable-TV program. Her show was a long-running hit by CNN standards, lasting almost six months. Later, she moved to Asia to help the region meet the needs of its aging populations.

"I will always be grateful to NY-26 voters for their courage in preserving Medicare for today's seniors," Ms. Hochul texted this week from Japan, where she is helping to develop a product called Soylent Green.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 11, 2011

Found: One Righteous Democrat

I always liked Rep. Harold Ford. Scion of a flamboyant Tennessee political family, he represented the liberal 9th district which includes Memphis. And yet, he never joined the (pardon the technical jargon) "kooky" urban caucus of Maxine Waters, Jan Schakowsky, and my hometown's Diana DeGette. He would have made a much better "first African American" President than old whoosits.

Today, he has a smart OpEd in the WSJ. He does not use the words "Drill, baby, drill" but he makes a trenchant claim for Americans to unabashedly develop domestic resources.

One bipartisan policy tradition is to deny Americans the use of our own resources. President George H.W. Bush took aggressive steps to keep off-limits vast supplies of oil and gas along the coasts of California and Florida. Since then, the build-up of restrictions, limitations and bans on drilling (onshore and off) have cost the U.S. economy billions of dollars while increasing our dependence on foreign sources of energy.

In the year since the Deepwater Horizon spill, the Obama administration has put in place what is effectively a permanent moratorium on deep water drilling. It stretched out the approval process for some Gulf-region drilling permits to more than nine months, lengths that former President Bill Clinton has called "ridiculous."

Then there's tax policy. Why, when gas prices are climbing, would any elected official call for new taxes on energy? And characterizing legitimate tax credits as "subsidies" or "loopholes" only distracts from substantive treatment of these issues.

Now, I could find a dozen things on which to disagree with Rep Ford, but I do wish we had a more serious opposition party.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Wish we had a serious opposition party? Let's start it! Better to light a single candle than to curse the Edison Company.

Heck, I've been volunteering segments of a party platform for months now, for free. How much more do I have to do?

ThreeSources 2012!

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2011 11:55 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

By the way: I've long been a fan of Zell Miller, if you're still in the market for righteous Democrats.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 11, 2011 12:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I still get the vapours recalling his stemwinder at the 2004 GOP Convention.

Yet by delivering that, I think he abdicates his inclusion as a Democrat. Rep. Ford could still show up at a Jefferson-Jackson dinner and be served.

Posted by: jk at May 11, 2011 12:14 PM

April 25, 2011

What Would Jesus Pay For?

I've been drawn to do a post on the "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaign by "a coalition of Progressive Christian leaders" for some time now but couldn't quite compose a counter-invective with comparable magnitude to this ode to suicidal selflessness and moral misdirection. I"m still not sure that WWJPF is adequate but the battle must be joined.

Take a good, long, close look at this photo of Reverend Jim Wallis.


This is the face of the man behind the campaign that says, "Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, childrenís health and nutrition for low-income families? If so they should be ashamed of themselves."

Notice any similarity to the way another contemporary redistributionist speaks? They both use a strawman and guilt. But any guilt rightly due to America was assuaged long ago. Only the unearned guilt of success and prosperity remains as the tool for these mystical moochers.

No, Mr. Wallis (I will not call you Reverend) "we" are not saying anything. We cannot speak. I can speak. I say I will provide for the common defense but will not give coerced alms to any who do not deserve them. I have no shame from the likes of men like you, for what are you without the power of other people's money? What have you created, without it? What have you protected, without it? How would you survive, without it? Please sir, read the sign: NO SOLICITORS. Good day.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:49 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

They may talk about the second coming, but this line shows up on Facebook every couple months as soon as a new prog friend "discovers" it.

In an effort to clear the confusion in America: Obama is NOT a brown-skinned, anti-war socialist who gives away free healthcare. You're thinking of Jesus Christ.

When I say something (I stopped several times ago) I am told it's just a joke, lighten up. Yet there is an implicit QED after this, that they have discredited the concept of limited government.

Or maybe it's just a joke and I should lighten up. The "Republican Jesus" stained glass window, in contrast, was pretty funny: sorry I cannot attribute.

Posted by: jk at April 25, 2011 4:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

To an extent they have discredited the concept of limited government; to the extent that one believes Jesus Christ is his Lord and savior.

Posted by: johngalt at April 26, 2011 11:31 AM

April 20, 2011

Quote of the Day

So the Obama position seems to be that a) the rich ought to meet obligations over and above what the current tax code requires; b) the Obamas are rich, and c) the Obamas choose to meet no obligations over and above what the current tax code requires.

It's almost enough to make you begin to doubt his sincerity.

Steven Landsburg

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:31 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2011

Don't Blame Me, I Voted for Phil Gramm!

Now there's a bumper sticker I would besmirch the mister-two with.

The best Presidential Candidate of my lifetime, former Texas Senator, and Econ professor has a guest editorial in the WSJ today describing what the country would look like after a normal recovery. [Spoiler alert!] Without government intrusion we would have per capita GDP "$3,553 higher than it is today, and 11.9 million more Americans would be employed."

A good trial lawyer might argue that the star-struck millions who voted for Mr. Obama knew or should have known that his election would mean a larger, more powerful federal government, a massive increase in social spending, and higher taxes on the most productive members of American society, and that the voters got exactly what they voted for. Elections have consequences.

But it is equally clear that Americans did not realize that the price they might pay for big government would be 15.7 million fewer jobs and $4,154 less in per-capita income. Big government costs more than higher taxes. It is paid for with diminished freedom and less opportunity. You can't have unlimited opportunity and unlimited government.

I accept, as a Frank Meyers fusionist, that the evangelical wing of the party is necessary for any electoral success. But Senator Awesome was leading the field in Hew Hampshire when he answered a "values" question with "I'm not running for National Pastor."

It's a cruel fate that we cannot have Phil Gramm. In return I pledge my life, my fortune and my sacred honor to ensure that they don't get Governor Huckabee.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (3)
But HB thinks:

Does this mean it is time to bring back Huck-a-Whack posts? There is likely a stockpile in reserve.

Posted by: HB at April 15, 2011 11:04 AM
But jk thinks:

I didn't know they were ever out of season!

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2011 11:18 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

"You can't have unlimited opportunity and unlimited government." That's quote of the day/week/month material right there.

The Refugee is proud to have been in the Gramm camp as well, even having volunteered for his campaign and met him in person. Straight shooter and one of the best.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 15, 2011 11:21 AM

April 6, 2011

WAIT! I Think I have seen this one...

Milwaukee Sentinel via Ann Althouse

As of 9:45 this morning, the Associated Press had results for all but 7 of the state's 3,630 precincts and Kloppenburg had taken a 140 vote lead after Prosser had been ahead most of the night by less than 1,000 votes.

Huh. The collectivist overcame a narrow lead when very late votes came out of urban county precincts, just pushing the progressive over the top. You can't script an exciting finish like -- oh, wait...no it appears you can script an exciting finish like that.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

April 5, 2011

The Pitchfork Judiciary

Colorado's state Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, just as United States Supreme Court justices. This explains my surprise that high court judges in many states, including Wisconsin, are actually elected directly by popular vote. Tyranny of the Majority, anyone?

A brief review of the "debatepedia" entry on the election of judges provides two opposing views:

Elected judges are more in tune with public opinion - The system of training through law schools and vocational work is elitist and prolonged, and leaves judges' opinions at risk of being, or appearing, out of date or out of touch. (...) Judges are often seen as lacking knowledge of recent social trends. Elections can help reverse these trends by forcing judges to understand and respect public opinion so they can advance a form of law that is seen as "just" to all citizens, not just to their own conscience.


Elected judges wrongly interpret public opinion over the law - Legal decisions require a strict interpretation of law. It should not be driven by popular opinion. Yet, this is precisely what judicial elections call for. This diverges from basic judicial principles of applying the law objectively and neutrally.

Today's high court election in Wisconsin is as obvious an example of the latter opinion as one may ever see. Wisconsin Election Is Referendum on Governor is a predictably biased NY Times "news" story on today's vote, but the headline tells the story. Namely...

"This has really become a proxy battle for the governor's positions and much less a fight about the court itself," said Charles H. Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The outcome is now in great doubt, which is surprising considering where voter sentiment was 6 weeks ago.

For his part, Justice Prosser contends that Ms. Kloppenburg has become the darling of union leaders, protesters and others who opposed Mr. Walker's collective bargaining cuts. He said he saw protest signs in Madison that read: "Stop the Bill; Vote Kloppenburg."

"I feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting," Justice Prosser, 68, said in an interview in which he described his record on the court as moderate. "Here I am, Iím walking along, I should win this race going away. But I mean, not if people aren't thinking about what they're doing."

In a primary election on Feb. 15, Mr. Prosser won 55 percent of the vote, compared with 25 percent for Ms. Kloppenburg. The balance went to two other candidates.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Hrrrmphhh. Just finished the very unsatisfying "The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic" this weekend. Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule suggest that Madisonian limits were never enough to constrain the executive and that instead of seeking legal remedies, we should just be happy that political pressure does a swell job.

Sorry to do a review corner in a comment, but that book got me thinking of the DNCC commercials against Ken Buck's Senate campaign. The phrase "Seventeenth Amendment" is conspicuously absent from Posner's book, yet it is the elephant in the room in almost every chapter.

But the sadness is that "tyranny of the majority" is completely unrecognized outside of elite circles of people devoted to liberty theory. The blog optimist does not see that toothpaste ever going back in that tube.

More democracy == more freedom. The world accepts that as truth.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2011 3:37 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Color me naive - but when members of the judiciary are elected by the general public based on their stances on the issues and how they will "vote," then how are they different from members of the legislature?

Mayhaps I'm drawing too much on silly, outmoded ideals and a little Schoolhouse Rock, but I was under the impression that it was supposed to be legislators who enact laws that represent the will of the people, and judges who were supposed to interpret that law consistent with overarching Constitutional principles - not render decisions based on their own individual political stances, law-be-damned.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 5, 2011 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And rule not merely on their own individual political stance but also, demonstrating "knowledge of recent social trends" they must "advance a form of law that is seen as 'just' to all citizens."

Or if it can't be 'just' to all citizens, a simple majority will suffice.

Br'ers, our challenge is larger than any of us previously realized.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2011 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Robert Tracinski observes that since Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Progressive movement they've worked hard over the decades to reshape state government in their own image.

Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Progressive movement, and in addition to promoting the power of unions, the Progressives also tried to break down the constitutional structure of government, including the separation of powers and indirect representation, and replace them with "direct democracy," in which every issue is put to an immediate vote by the people. This election is their ideal at work, and we see what it means in practice: giving outsized political power to any faction that is good at mobilizing a mob in defense of its special interests‚ÄĒwhich in this case is the unions.
Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hot Air blog covered the WI supreme election tonight. Latest word was with most precincts reported except for a few in Kloppenburg country, Prosser led by just 1600 votes. "...needless to say, we're headed for a recount" says Allahpundit.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:10 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The recount will give them time to find another 1700 ballots that someone misplaced in a union members car trunk.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 6, 2011 11:21 AM

April 1, 2011

If Only

James Pethokoukis:

If only it were an April Fools' Day prank. With Japan officially cutting its corporate tax rate as of today, America now has the highest rate among advanced economies. Even its effective tax rate is way above average despite the likes of General Electric spending billions to game the labyrinthine code. A smarter approach would be to substitute a business consumption tax.

We're number one!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:34 AM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2011

QOTD: Gov. Christie Version

Dishing out some tough love to a room of big money GOP donors, "he told them they would be judged by their children and grandchildren on how they acted going forward."

"Will we allow ourselves to be assuaged by creature comforts and ignore the problems of this nation," he said. "Will we allow ourselves to think we are too small, and our problems too big for us to solve them?" The governor said that today's tough times demand that a question be asked of everyone of means who worries about the country: "Are you a patriot, or are you a patron? We will be judged at this moment of crisis. We must stand up, tell the truth, do the difficult thing."

Posted by John Kranz at 2:51 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Hoss. 2012.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 31, 2011 3:09 PM

February 17, 2011

The TEA Party State

JK did a great write-up on the Wisconsin revolution against state employee union looting of the treasury. As I thought about covering the same story I had some phrases in mind: Here comes the sun... It's always darkest before the dawn... Finally, hope and change! Stuff like that.

But how can something like this happen in Wisconsin? Home of the U of W in Madison, birthplace of the AFSCME union and a long-time leftist bastion? Check the leadership:

Scott Walker in 2010


45th Governor of Wisconsin
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Lieutenant Rebecca Kleefisch
Preceded by Jim Doyle (D)

And the Senate...


And the State Assembly...


Now that's the kind of flip-flopping one can appreciate! Makes me want to break out in song:

"Movin' to Wisconsin soon,
Gonna be a dental floss tycoon"

Just one * last * question: How in the bloody 'ell did Colorado manage to stay in Democrat hands? Wait - don't answer that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Colorado comparison is apt. Madison makes Boulder look like Fort Worth. Mister Wadhams replacement would do well to try and reproduce their success.

(And Mister McDaniels's replacement could look at some Packers tape as well...)

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2011 4:46 PM

January 27, 2011

Finally! Da Recognition dey Desoive!

Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk!

UPDATE: I am guessing Thomas Edison is spinning in his grave. However, if he is wearing a ferrous belt buckle and there is a magnetic field...

James Pethokoukis ponders crony capitalist links among the soi disant Republican Jeffrey Immelt and his new Democrat boss:

Sure enough, wherever Obama has led, GE has followed. Obama has championed cap and trade in greenhouse gasses, and GE has started a business dedicated to creating and trading greenhouse gas credits. As Obama expanded subsidies on embryonic stem cells, GE opened an embryonic stem-cell business. Obama pushed rail subsidies, and GE hired Linda Daschle -- wife of Obama confidant Tom Daschle -- as a rail lobbyist. GE, with its windmills, its high-tech batteries, its health care equipment, and its smart meters, was the biggest beneficiary of Obama's stimulus.

NOTE: The quote is from Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner, as excerpted in Jimi P's post.

Also via Pethokoukis, Jerry Bowyer:

The fact that Immelt is a Republican is as beside the point as the fact that Daley is a Democrat. Increasingly our nation is divided, not between Rs and Ds, but between TIs and TBs: tribute imposers and tribute bearers. The imposers are gigantic banks, agri-businesses, higher education Colossae, government employees, NGO and QUANGO employees and the myriad others whose living is made chiefly by extracting wealth from other people. The bearers are the rest of us: the people who extract wealth from the earth, not from others.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2011

Some Civil Political Discourse for Y'all

My blog brother has ably and aptly illuminated the folly of those using the Arizona tragedy to curtail gun rights. I am equally (okay, more) concerned about free speech.

My buddies at the WSJ Ed Page shut this down effectively from an intellectual standpoint:

Ponder the implication of this. A deranged soul shoots a public figure and we are supposed to change our political discourse and rule certain people and opinions out of bounds based on whatever incoherent ramblings Mr. Loughner published on his website?

Every two years we hold elections so that sane Americans can make a judgment on the policies of President Obama, John Boehner, tea party candidates and so on. But even though the people have recently had their say, in a typically raucous but entirely nonviolent fashion, we are supposed to put that aside and assess what a murderer with a mental illness has to tell us about the state of American politics, government and our national dialogue.

This line of argument is itself an attack on democratic discourse, and it is amazing that it even needs to be rebutted. Taking such an argument seriously will only encourage more crazy people to believe they can trigger a national soul-searching if they shoot at a political target. We should denounce the murders and the murderer, rather than doing him the honor of suggesting that his violence flows in any explainable fashion from democratic debate.

But I am imputing reason on the other side of this debate, which might be unwise. I received a link last night from a person I barely know to an article on "Return to Civil Discourse."

With apologies to Mister Twain, the truth of a disturbed and irrational assailant is pulling its pants up; the lie spreading around the world is that we need to reform our rhetoric. That is, we need to put the rhetoric police in charge of what we may or may not say. After all, children could be hurt.

Representative Bob Brady of Pennsylvania told The Caucus he plans to introduce a bill that would ban symbols like that now-infamous campaign crosshair map.

"You can't threaten the president with a bullseye or a crosshair," Mr. Brady, a Democrat, said, and his measure would make it a crime to do so to a member of Congress or federal employee, as well.

Asked if he believed the map incited the gunman in Tucson, he replied, "I don't know what's in that nut's head. I would rather be safe than sorry."

And I'd rather be free than not. Thanks, Congressman.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Would that mean I'd have to give up my cardboard pistol targets imprinted with the images of Obama or a TSA agent too?

But seriously, the nascent "return to civil discourse" movement that includes the "No Labels" babblers reminds me of the case of the Jefferson County (CO) school board member who, as the sole conservative on the board, unadvisedly agreed to a rule prohibiting board members from publicly opposing the "consensus" of the board as a whole. When she tried to publicize her reasoning for disagreement with a particular board decision she was censured.

This, and the Rep. Brady story are examples of the fact that free speech is inherently anti-consensus. I, too, choose freedom of speech over civility. Here are a pair of relevant sayings:

"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."

Lastly, the WSJ dismisses the notion that we "rule certain people and opinions out of bounds" based on a murder's incoherent ramblings. Fair enough, but in this case we're being asked to do so regardless, or even in spite of those ramblings - merely because certain politicians were "targeted" by a political action committee (ostensibly for political action) and one of them happened to be the party of interest for a deranged stalker, since at least 2007. Those dots aren't even on the same page, much less connectable.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2011 3:33 PM

December 30, 2010

New York Snow

An early exposure to practical, municipal, politics was seeing the popular and long time Denver Mayor William McNichols turned out of office because of inadequate snow removal. I got snowed in at the lovely girlfriend's parent's house for the Christmas Blizzard of '82. In '83, the lovely girlfriend became the lovely bride, and Federico Peña became Mayor.

Mayor McNichols had sent the garbage trucks out to tamp down the snow, leading to the witticism: "What has four wheels and flies? A McNichols's Snowplow!"

Not sure if Mayor Bloomberg of New York will get the same fate, but the WSJ Ed Page points out that the great metropolis spends a lot more establishing a progressive utopia than making things go:

[The City Council] should look in the mirror of their own priorities. According to figures compiled by the Citizens Budget Commission, in fiscal 2011 the city has 9,419 sanitation workers, who also do snow removal. That's down about 500 employees from three years earlier, though spending is up about $200 million.

Meanwhile, the city has no fewer than 14,530 workers spending $8.4 billion on social services, up about $1 billion and 500 employees from 2007. There are 6,100 public employees working on environmental protection and another 12,100 at the housing authority, plus 6,400 devoted to "health and mental hygiene." Oh, and the city's pension contributions are climbing to $7.49 billion in fiscal 2011, from $4.7 billion in 2007.

This is Tea Partyism writ large, is it not? The established, legal and Constitutional products of government are corrupt and inefficient, while the providers want more resources and more authority for nannyism.

UPDATE: Maybe I am just jealous. While our friends in Minneapolis and Philly are postponing football, we have had no measurable snowfall until today. And it's not exactly '82:

Posted by John Kranz at 1:34 PM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2010

Worse Than You Think

The big news here is the admission (and Jimmy P's descriptive wrapper):

Uncle Sam runs his books like he's operating a hot dog stand rather than a $14 trillion economic superpower. It's cash in (revenues), cash out (spending), forget about the future costs of Social Security and Medicare. But what if government bean counters acted like they worked for USA Inc., instead? The numbers would come out just a bit differently, accordingly to a little noticed Treasury Department report that didn;t escape the notice of my Reuters colleagues:

Not sure Mister Pethokoukis is completely fair to hot dog stands, here -- I'm sure they're less a stranger to GAAP than the Federal Government is. But the point stands -- cash accounting does nothing but hide the perfidy of our fleecers.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:43 PM | Comments (0)

December 21, 2010

Census Data

Very cool access to historical and current census data:


Colorado & California & Minnesota stay even, PA loses a seat, NY down 2. (TX is +4!)

Posted by John Kranz at 5:07 PM | Comments (0)

December 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

George Will compares the mushiness of "No Labels" to the clarity of Judge Henry Hudson's assertion of Constitutional limits in Virginia v Sibelius.

Although the people promising to make No Labels into a national scold are dissatisfied with the tone of politics, they are pleased as punch with themselves. If self-approval were butter, they could spread it across America, if it were bread.

And no less than two honorable mentions:
But [NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, addressing the No Labels confabulation, spoke truth to powerlessness: [...]

No Labels, its earnestness subverting its grammar, says: "We do not ask any political leader to ever give up their label -- merely put it aside."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2010

We're Number One!


Japan has announced that it will cut its corporate tax rate by five percentage points. Japan and the United States had been the global laggards on corporate tax reform, so this leaves America with the highest corporate rate among the 34 wealthy nations of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:28 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

For the US to have any tax rate in excess of the corresponding rate in Sweden seems insane.

Posted by: johngalt at December 16, 2010 2:43 PM

December 15, 2010

All Hail Harsanyi!

No Labels has no chance:

The answer, my friends, is always in the muddled but inspirational middle. And partisanship "is paralyzing our ability to govern" -- because, as you well know, Washington didn't spend trillions and reform a significant sector of the economy in just these past two years.

Was that not sufficiently polite? I hope it was, because if I've learned anything from the civility police at No Labels, it's that there's nothing as vital to the health of democracy as good manners. In conscientious tones, No Labels speaks for the average American. Yes, you only think you're upset with your elected officials for being scoundrels with pliable morals. Actually, you're just pining for more centrism.

If you don't read the whole thing, you're not worthy of broadband.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:58 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"No Labels" reminds me of the name of our little rock 'n roll band back in Junior High: The "No Name Band."

I'll give their little group a name: The "Pay No Attention to Those Men Behind the Curtain" movement. But the dirty little not-so-secret is that there is nothing new about this movement. It is belied by their motto, "Not left, not right, forward." They are Progressives. They just don't want you to notice.

JK has the internet segue machine. I have the Atlas Shrugged Quote of the Day.

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2010 3:52 PM

November 10, 2010

Next Thing, They'll Say We Can't Eat Babies!

I guess it is admirable for the WSJ Ed Page to post content outside its preferred ideological framework. They don't want to be MSNBC.

But I do not miss Thomas Frank (or really even Al Hunt). The occasional responses from an elected Democrat or former statesman are always worth a read, but presenting the other side just to say you did provides unfulfilling content.

Case in point, Zoltan Hajnal, an associate professor of political science at U.C. San Diego. His piece today states that the GOP should be concerned because amid its victories, the party relied on higher concentrations of white voters, And that demographic shifts threaten the party's future. Pretty good stuff so far, huh? Then some facts showing that the partisan percentages of minority votes remain pretty constant. Interesting -- but what's a party to do?

Republicans thus face a real dilemma. They may be able to gain over the short term by continuing their current strategy of ignoring or attacking minorities. But that is short-sighted.

Don't get me wrong (Associate) Professor Hajnal makes a valid if not particularly original point. Surely the GOP will have to make better inroads into the minority community, One hopes that Tea Party principles and high profile minority candidates like Nikki Haley and Marco Rubio will help. But the faculty-lounge wisdom of "ignoring or attacking minorities" adds nada to the debate -- and makes one wonder if any of Hajnal's books go back before 1965.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2010

Denver Mayor's "I don't want to be Governor" Moment

(Or as my brother-in-law suggested, "I'm too sexy for this job.")

Yes, Virginia, there IS a Santa Claus.

I realize that all of you outta-staters must get pretty bored with the detailed coverage we've been giving the Colorado governor's race. I appreciate the effort it must take to have any interest whatsoever. But this time, this story, will be worth it - trust me. Not since candidate Obama was caught on tape telling a sympathetic audience that rural Pennysylvania voters "bitterly cling to their guns and religion" have I seen such a self-inflicted smoking gun of political idiocy. And to make it that much better, this time we have video.

For those who don't have time to watch at the moment (and because I'm such a sadistic bastard I want this Democrat's words repeated as many times as possible) here is the money quote:

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper: "I think a couple things, I mean, you know, the tragic death of Matthew Shepard occurred in Wyoming. Colorado and Wyoming are very similar. We have some of the same, you know, backwards thinking in the kind of rural Western areas you see in, you know, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico."

I can hear his poll numbers crashing in every non-metro precinct in the state. If ours was a 2-party race between fully supported candidates of the 2 major parties I'd be dancing a jig right now. Alas.

[Credit for transcribing the quote to NRO, linked through CompleteColorado.]

UPDATE: I thought the money quote needed more emphasis - MUCH more emphasis.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:30 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I saw that. Curious if that will come up in the debate tonight (TiVoing now).

Cui bono? Tancredo. I had decided to vote for Maes May have to bail out Hick after all.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2010 10:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought of that. My original intro line was going to be "JK might have to vote Hickenlooper after all" but the last minute quip by my B-in-L was funnier.

This race is so insane it's hard to fault the reasoning for just about any vote. I'm just reverting to core principles: Won't vote for a statist; won't reward an insider hack hypocrite's highjacking of an election; this year's Republican nominee is a TPD - I'm votin' for him.

I feel even more strongly that way having watched tonight's debate. Maes ideas and policy goals are just head and shoulders above the other two guys from a free-market perspective.

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2010 11:22 PM
But jk thinks:

The debate was indeed disturbing. I'll agree on Maes's positions (mostly) but he and Rep. Tancredo sniped at each other like three year olds, making Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper look like an elder statesman. I agree with Maes that Tancredo should have honered the party process, but that's not very convincing in a debate. The three guys he had clapping for him was truly sad.

I went from disliking Tancredo to out and out fear. He is not stable enough to run our state.

Then, at the end, he provodes an eloquent assessment of the drug war.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2010 10:54 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Friend. Pragmatist. I think you may want to start thinking about the bright side of "Governor Tancredo." [Maes- 5 points?!?!] I am. (His stance on the drug war seems like a very solid seed kernel.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 25, 2010 2:04 PM


I think Andy Warhol once said "in the future, everybody will be Speaker of the House for 15 minutes." Proving the perspicacity of the pop icon, we have Speaker Robert Livingston. Some of you were not old enough to remember his tenure, but I do. I had a very delicious hot dog, and some Mrs. Fields cookies. Great times.

He's back today showing his gift for timing with a defense of earmarks. Did I mention that he's a lobbyist now?

Tea partiers have adopted a mantra that all earmarks are bad, that they are the sole reason the country is in deep trouble. I love the tea parties, have attended two of them, and believe that they are energizing America. But many in the movement misunderstand the importance and benefits of good earmarks.

Yes, I said "good" earmarks. There are indeed bad earmarks that waste tax dollars and bloat the budget. But many are very much in the public interest.

I'm contrarian enough to admit that he's probably correct on some level about earmarking as a protection of the House's control of the purse against Executive Power. But the tea partiers are proof that people see the backroom deals and sausage-making of the legislative process as corrupt. To get a "Blue Poodle's" vote to nationalize health care, just build a new hospital in his district.

So into this wave of anti-corruption sentiment wades Speaker Livingston, GOP Champion!

"Hey, aren't you John Kranz, the famous comedian?"

"Yes, Timing!"

"To what do you attribute your success?"

Don't forget to tip ypur waitress and bartender...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:45 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Point The First: if the item being earmarked were a "good" earmark, it should be able to stand on its own two feet as an independent spending bill, and shouldn't need to be hidden in a larger enactment.

Point the Second: I defy the legislators' ability to identify the spot in the Constitution giving them the just power for said spending. F'egzample, the hospital. If there's a need, the private sector can invest and build it.

Here endeth the lesson, Mr. Livingston.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 22, 2010 3:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Livingston: "C'mon man, just a little taste of that crack. I kin handle it."

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2010 7:10 PM

October 20, 2010

Money in Politics

George Will does my favorite riff -- and as you can imagine, does it pretty well. Much Strum & Drang about FOUR BILLION DOLLARS spent on politics, not much comparison.

Total spending, by all parties, campaigns and issue-advocacy groups, concerning every office from county clerks to US senators, may reach a record $4.2 billion in this two-year cycle. That is about what Americans spend in one year on yogurt, but less than they spend on candy in two Halloween seasons.

Those who are determined to reduce the quantity of political speech to what they consider the proper amount are the sort of people who know exactly how much water should come through our shower heads (no more than 2.5 gallons per minute, as stipulated by a 1992 law). Is it, however, really worrisome that Americans spend on political advocacy much less than they spend on potato chips ($7.1 billion a year)?

Hat-tip: Terri

Posted by John Kranz at 6:22 PM | Comments (7)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Consider: where do political groups get their money, but from individuals?

The comparison is apt because while not everyone donates money to PACs or whatever, not everyone buys Halloween candy. For example, I haven't had to worry about trick-or-treaters since 1999 (just another virtue of where I've chosen to live). Thus comparing one aggregate with another is a valid way of showing what "Americans" as a whole value more.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 21, 2010 1:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Most fulsomely disagree, tg. If you can afford $20 candy every year, you can afford $50 in the mideterms or $100 in the presidential. (Yeah, I round up; I was in Marketing...)

My distress is those who flatly state $4.2 Billion is too much to choose between the California and Texas models. $14Trillion at stake plus all our liberty.

We could all be happy. If government did not try to run everything, people and businesses would spend a lot less to direct it.

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2010 1:53 PM
But T. Greer thinks:


But how much of the average campaign chest comes from $50-100 donations? While some of the Tea Party candidates seem to be turning the Whale-donor model on its head, most candidates get little money from 'average' Americans. (EX: Only 12% Sen. Harry Reid's war chest comes from donations below $200.)

The majority of donations come from a small subset of the population - namely, those with lots of money and lots more to gain from government intrusion and interference int he private sector. America is not spending that $4 billion - just the fat cats up top trying to game the system. As long as you have groups that stand to profit from the government "running anything" money will be spent to try and get it to do so.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 21, 2010 4:02 PM
But jk thinks:

And that's how I'd really like to attack campaign finance reform. Get gub'mint doing less and we'd see a lot less money.

Where we disagree is your assertion of "false equivalence." The total level of spending is interesting irrespective of the individual amounts. Your difference illuminates but does not contradict.

And, no I don't mind whale donors. I hate the rent-seeking of unions and big corporations, but worry more about Beck v Communication Workers than FEC v Citizen's United. If the evil Chamber of Commerce or a Union (with members' consent) want to push an ideological agenda, that's free speech.

Again, I don't know if $4.2 billion is good or bad. But it is presented with no comparison (1/3 of potato chips) by those who seek to restrict it.

Posted by: jk at October 21, 2010 4:19 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Ah, JK, you misread me. There will always be bigwigs ready to pay for corporatism. We could eliminate every government body and program invented since the New Deal and this would still be a problem. As long as Lockheed Martin and Goldman Sachs exist, paring down government programs cannot be anything more than a stop gap measure.

Limited government is not enough. We need to institutional safeguards to help ensure that the government remains limited. I suggested a few here (and at my place) before (turning the election of the Senate back to the States, enlarging the House, providing more explicit institutional protection to the States, ect.) and do so again. Without such protections it will only be a matter of time before the government stops "doing less."

Posted by: T. Greer at October 22, 2010 12:58 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Another thought-

My problem with Whale donors is not so much the pernicious influence they may or may not have on legislation as it is the pernicious influence they have on legislators. One of the common themes that keeps cropping up in the new "Why is the Senate so Screwed Up" genre is that most legislators spend more time campaigning than anything else. So much time must be spent with the donors (and to a lesser extant, media managers) that statesmanship proper is lost art.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 22, 2010 1:12 AM

October 18, 2010

T for Texas...

At bottom, the struggle between national Republicans and Democrats is over whether the country will adopt a version of the Texas model, or of the Michigan, New York, or California model. Will government allow the private sector to thrive, or stifle growth with its hyperactivity and favoritism for anti-business interests? If migration were a referendum, the Texas model would be winning in a rout -- more than 1,300 people a day moved there between their 2007 and 2008 tax filings, according to Internal Revenue Service data.
That's Rich Lowry wrapping the stunning news that "More than half of the net new jobs in the U.S. during the past 12 months were created in the Lone Star State."

I try to be fair. But why is this not Game, Set, Match for pro-growth policies?

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 10:36 AM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

A big state, but flyover country nonetheless.

Even before this story, this is one of the two reasons I've been rooting for Texas over the Yankees in the ALCS. The other is Clint Hurdle.

Posted by: johngalt at October 18, 2010 11:04 AM
But jk thinks:

Yup. Two more: Barbara and Jenna.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 11:12 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Why does the fed have to adopt any model? Can't we let Texas run with the Texas model and California run the California model? We don't need national policies where state ones will do.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 18, 2010 6:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Then we would have chattel slavery again, tg.

I'm not a big Lowry fan, but I think he makes a good point that - looking to the States as Brandeisian Laboratories -- the Federal government is choosing to emulate the blue state model of high taxes and public employment. I would prefer that they recognize that the more lasseiz faire model is proving itself more effective.

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2010 6:44 PM

October 15, 2010

Bashing Business

Ken Langone, one of the founders of Home Depot, writes in the Wall Street Journal:

Although I was glad that you answered a question of mine at the Sept. 20 town-hall meeting you hosted in Washington, D.C., Mr. President, I must say that the event seemed more like a lecture than a dialogue. For more than two years the country has listened to your sharp rhetoric about how American businesses are short-changing workers, fleecing customers, cheating borrowers, and generally "driving the economy into a ditch," to borrow your oft-repeated phrase.

My question to you was why, during a time when investment and dynamism are so critical to our country, was it necessary to vilify the very people who deliver that growth? Instead of offering a straight answer, you informed me that I was part of a "reckless" group that had made "bad decisions" and now required your guidance, if only I'd stop "resisting" it.

I'm sure that kind of argument draws cheers from the partisan faithful. But to my ears it sounded patronizing. Of course, one of the chief conceits of centralized economic planning is that the planners know better than everybody else.


A little more than 30 years ago, Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Pat Farrah and I got together and founded The Home Depot. Our dream was to create (memo to DNC activists: that's build, not take or coerce) a new kind of home-improvement center catering to do-it-yourselfers. The concept was to have a wide assortment, a high level of service, and the lowest pricing possible.

We opened the front door in 1979, also a time of severe economic slowdown. Yet today, Home Depot is staffed by more than 325,000 dedicated, well-trained, and highly motivated people offering outstanding service and knowledge to millions of consumers.

If we tried to start Home Depot today, under the kind of onerous regulatory controls that you have advocated, it's a stone cold certainty that our business would never get off the ground, much less thrive.

Langone also addresses taxing "the rich":

Meantime, you seem obsessed with repealing tax cuts for "millionaires and billionaires." Contrary to what you might assume, I didn't start with any advantages and neither did most of the successful people I know. I am the grandson of immigrants who came to this country seeking basic economic and personal liberty. My parents worked tirelessly to build on that opportunity. My first job was as a day laborer on the construction of the Long Island Expressway more than 50 years ago. The wealth that was created by my investments wasn't put into a giant swimming pool as so many elected demagogues seem to imagine. Instead it benefitted our employees, their families and our community at large.

(I can't believe I beat jk to this.)

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 3:08 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I just know you have my back, hb.

This guy is great. He was delivering some of this on Kudlow last week.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2010 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good stuff! Thanks for excerpting for we non-subscribers. I like seeing this kind of talk out in the open, publicly, and without shame. Capitalism is becoming "cool" while socialists bristle when you refer to them by that title.

I'll take this opportunity to thank JK for sharing "The Case for Legalizing Capitalism" with us. I recommended it to my dad who bought it and is, for the first time, learning about the banking system. Huzzah! I read the chapter on environmentalism, which led me to sing its praises on my Facebook page.

Posted by: johngalt at October 16, 2010 12:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Glad to serve -- I liked the excerpts but must confess I didn't buy it. I did score a classic: Henry Hazlitt's Economics in one Lesson. That would not disappoint.

Posted by: jk at October 16, 2010 7:10 PM

October 14, 2010

Bridging the Partisan Divide

I have had an idea in my head for some time. I hope the wicked evil Democrats don't steal it, but it is a chance I will take.

Kate Grandju blogs her disappointment with DNC email content:

Dear DNC:

Let me get right to the point: you need a better marketing-communications strategist. Whomever you have handling your email marketing campaign is really, really bad at his/her job.

You see, I am a Democrat. I am your base. I am also someone who is very comfortable with email and other types of digital outreach made directly to me. I should be your holy grail target for your email campaigning. Yet, your email outreach is so clumsy and spammy that I find myself increasingly irritated every time one of your missives shows up in my inbox (which is far too often, period, even if the content were more strategic and smart).

Dear Kate:

Life in Michael Steele land is not a whole lot better.


Here's my idea. I pony up -- I don't know -- $500 to be in the GOP "Strategists" Club (or "Strategery Club" if George P runs...) and the benefit is grown up emails (and junk mail) from the party and some participating candidates. No more "do you what those liber-als in Congress and Nancy Pel-oh-si are going to do?" Nope, you get elevated tone that accepts your knowledge of politics and current issues.

It's not going to clean out your box, but If I got something intelligent every once in a while from the party, it would be a big deal.

Shhh, don't tell the other guys...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

jk: I'm not much worried about the other guys finding out. You're not going to get "something intelligent" from them anytime soon. Slow Joe just announced Obama has asked him to be his 2012 running mate.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 14, 2010 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Somewhere, Keith, there has to be some higher grade stuff that what my buddy Michael Steele sends me.

I guess I don't expect "Kubla Khan" from a political party, but they should recognize that some of there supporters would appreciate noty being treated like a three-year-old.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2010 3:36 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

No argument from me on that point, jk - I routinely ignore most of the party-establishment missive in my mail. I was just pointing out that the other party doesn't exactly have the market on intellectual firepower cornered. Absolutely, I'd appreciate the occasional mailing that aims at a higher target audience (I'm assuming you get the same ones I do: "Do you approve of the way Nancy Pelosi is driving the economy off a cliff? Yes - No - Send Money; Do you approve of Chuck Schumer's plan to kick down your door in the dead of night and confiscate your legal firearms? Yes - No - Send Money..."). But, with an eye to the character of the general voting public, let me ask a few free-market questions:

We all know that television advertising time costs serious money, and infomercials really insult our intelligence. Agreed? However, informercials continue to exist. Would not market forces drive them out of existence, if they did not work? Paging Zombie Billy Mays...

The odds are with the house in gambling. We all know this! And yet money flows into Las Vegas. Intelligent people know that Las Vegas grows nothing, produces nothing, builds nothing, exports nothing, and yet all that money flows into Vegas to light the pretty lights and make the fountains flow. If the consumers of their product (such as it is) were convinced of this, market forces would result in the end of casino gambling. And yet, the roulette wheels continue to spin.

Now let's apply these principles to campaign e-mail. If it didn't work, wouldn't market forces cause it to stop? Ergo, it must be working on a sufficient number of somebodies for it to continue.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 14, 2010 5:18 PM
But jk thinks:

No argument, Brother Keith. The idea is that this works parallel with the current mindless pabulum. Everybody else still gets the two-digit IQ messages you capture brilliantly.

But we, the ThreeSourcers, the flower and elite of the intelligencia, get to opt in for some more serious communications that will include policy statements, some polling data, "races to watch," fundraising stats, and other non-proprietary items of greater interest. Possibly some polls among this leadership group.

And, it is at heart an additional fundraising mechanism as pretentious fools like me have to pay to be included in this erzatzly exclusive club.

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2010 6:30 PM

October 11, 2010

Don't Call Her Ma'am...

WOW! While we were wondering about NRA endorsements -- how do you think yer average VFW supporter feels about this?

The VFW has a history of tilting towards liberals, but this seems rather stunning. Barbara Boxer, who dressed down a general in a Senate hearing for calling her "ma'am," won the endorsement of VFW's political-action committee yesterday. The move also comes despite Boxerís votes to curtail military spending -- or perhaps because of them:

Don't know they'll be quiet about that at eleven...

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 6:43 PM | Comments (1)
But Terri thinks:

They aren't happy at all.
Keep watching those membership rolls. There's a lot going on there.

Posted by: Terri at October 12, 2010 9:02 AM

Lonely Lives of Liberty Lovers

Felicia Sonmez on the WaPo blog, The Fix, gives a long and lugubrious recap of efforts to restore Madisonian principles to the upper chamber.

As most candidates who have at floated the idea of repealing the 17th Amendment have acknowledged, the issue is not likely to be at the top of most members of Congress' lists after November. The fact that it has lit up so many campaigns, however, is one of the hallmarks of this cycle's more unusual races, as well as a testament to voters' dissatisfaction with the current state of government and the growing power of the tea party movement.

Readers know I'd prefer repeal. But any situation where it became close would bring out the decades of delay that "The Solid South" used in the Senate, through Rule 22 (the filibuster) to delay civil rights legislation. Like states rights and federalism, it will be always tainted by its use to table emancipation and civil rights.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:01 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

All told, my thinking is that if a repeal is going to come, it will come from the states and not from Congress. States will have to realize that the 17th transmogrified them from being sovereign states of a sovereign nation into being counties of the overarching Federal leviathan. Were I to be in charge of strategy, I'd be recommending to various States' Rights groups to make this a plank of their platform.

Understand, of course, that as a denizen of California, I live in a state where the government is totally happy being a wholly-owned subsidiary of Federal welfare state. Rugged individualism is rarer here than Oakland Raiders touchdowns.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 11, 2010 6:26 PM
But jk thinks:

They beat the Chargers. I hereby take back most of the nasty things I've said about them.

Agree that your way is more plausible, as in "it's more plausible that the Denver Broncos will win the Super Bowl this year than the Oakland Raiders."

I will not give up on my beloved Broncos but think we better give up on repealing the 17th. California is in no way alone enjoying a nice nipple on the federal teat. (The football metaphor is officially over). There are not many states that want the power back -- not 3/4s of them.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2010 6:38 PM

October 2, 2010

No Respect

I've enjoyed a pretty overwhelming supply of presidential biographies. Even some of the lower lights like Buchanan and Pierce had a selection of interesting books. I enjoyed the gilded age by having a few public domain volumes about and frequently by each Chief Executive.

Ordered Mister Ford today. Nothing on Kindle. essentially nothing on Google Books. I went to Amazon and searched for "President Ford." First was the Schlesinger Series (one thin CW book on each), then an 8x10 picture. A Kindle "Facts of" that comes up for any of them, and the fourth item was:

Mr. Gasket 2470S Domestic ThermoCap 13 PSI-SLVR

I lived through the Ford Years, wore a leisure suit to the Freshman dance, and am not lobbying for a revival. But he entered the House in '48 worked his way to Minority Leader and remains the only VP to take office under the 25th Amendment, and the only unelected president.

You'd think some Michigan folks would put out a few favorite son books so that you could go a whole page before seeing Mister Gasket. Harsh.

UPDATE: Saved by Shelfari: a fun site I use as a virtual bookshelf to track eBooks and paper together. It has a rotten user experience, but it is free and useful. If you join let me know so we can share lists and things. I had not used it for searches but it had several better selections. Ended up with the interesting-looking Write It When I'm Gone. Apparently, GRF allowed a press man to collect personal incidents with the agreement that they not be published while our 38th was on the Earthly plane. And it's on Kindle. Life is so awesome.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2010

Apology Accepted

Quel Horreur! Netflix CEO Reed Hastings (if I wrote a novel, I'd name the CEO "Reed Hastings") is a Democrat Supporter and -- natch -- an America hater.

ďHow much has it been your experience that Americans follow what happens in the world? It's something we'll monitor, but Americans are somewhat self-absorbed.Ē

The same Washington Examiner piece alerts that $224,700 out of $255,450 of Hastings's political donations has gone to Democrats.)

Yet it also provides an apology:

My Big American Foot is in my mouth. Yesterday, I made an awkward joke with a reporter in Toronto about Americans (like me) being self-absorbed relative to Netflix pricing in Canada. I was wrong to have made the joke, and I do not believe that one of the most philanthropically-minded nations in the world (America) is self-absorbed or full of self-absorbed people.

Some of the conservablogosphkommentariat seem a bit upset, but it looks like smallball to me.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (6)
But T. Greer thinks:

But we are self absorbed.

Most people in America can't be bothered to pay attention to comings and goings in their cities and states; it only gets worse the farther away the comings and goings are.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 29, 2010 12:20 AM
But jk thinks:

But what's wrong? I think we have a right to ignore government and the great benefit of limited government is it confers that sacred right on more people.

Posted by: jk at September 29, 2010 10:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And if paying attention to an ever larger sphere of comings and goings is such an admirable practice then why do we need to trek to remote, natural areas to "get away from it all?"

Indeed, it is only through the relative prosperity of America that we even have the free time to pay attention to things outside of our personal lives. So we're going to say Americans are bad when they choose not to spend their time on someone else's worries?

Posted by: johngalt at September 29, 2010 2:46 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"Eternal Vigilance", anyone?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 29, 2010 6:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, that's for us. Noblesse Oblige. If the masses want to watch American Idol I don't mind. The problem is the incentive to vote for more free government. If the Tenth Amendment is observed, I think you'll get a more serious if smaller electorate.

Man, I really do think I'm Kipling sometimes...

Posted by: jk at September 30, 2010 9:26 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

I would reverse the cause and effect. You say the tenth amendment will create a more serious electorate; I submit that a more serious electorate allows the Tenth amendment to go by unobserved.

I do not think this is a great deal to demand. the Americans of 1830 - far less prosperous than us, and generally possessing less free time as well - were excellent watchers of the worlds comings and goings. America was the most literate society in the world at the time; Tocqueville was amazed to see a weekly inside every log cabin. Indeed, America was linked up by telegraph long before the rest of the world because their was popular demand for news from across the country. Political associations and religious and social movements that obsessed with "others peoples worries" were widespread. Everybody knew the name of the local Sheriff, County Commissioner, and Rep in the House.

This kind of stuff is not too much to ask for today.

Posted by: T. Greer at October 1, 2010 5:15 PM

September 24, 2010

Losing the Moderate Republicans

Kenneth P Green, in a smart piece in The American, thinks he knows why the left is so worried about the loss of "moderate Republicans:"

Many Republicans have gladly gone along with such boondoggles as corn ethanol and biofuels (Remember George W's switchgrass speech?). They have also promoted what might be one of the most economically foolish thoughts in recent history, which is that "we need all of the above," meaning we need affordable and reliable fossil fuels, but also unaffordable and unreliable wind and solar power and environmentally destructive biofuels. And of course, there can never be enough nuclear power, regardless of the fact that the economics of nuclear power are dubious.

He describes Peggy Noonan's yardstick as a ratchet. This matches what I've always felt: you slow down the growth of government, but click click click the collectivists are always there to ratchet it back.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:03 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

This speaks to whether the liberty cause is better served by RINOs like [whoever that guy who Christine O'Donnell just beat] who win, or shamelessly small-government "extremists" who "can't win." If the "extremists" lose then we get more government and the results are attributed to those in power - Democrats. If the RINOs win then we get more government and, since government policies are "bipartisan," the results are attributed to capitalism.

Posted by: johngalt at September 27, 2010 11:06 PM
But jk thinks:

The blog pragmatist is with you. There's a time to use the big tent to score a majority, but there are times to clean house.

Defeating Rep. Mike Castle may have cost an 'R' but it served notice to the establishment.

I am all in this year. Let's stand for something!

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2010 11:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Right ON! Right ON! Right ON!

The CO governor's race may be a lost cause for any kind of Republican this year but I'm thinking we can salvage something with Ref. 101 and Amendments 60, 61.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2010 2:22 PM

September 16, 2010

The Awesome Amendment

Randy Barnett and William Howell have a guest editorial today on "The Repeal Amendment:"

"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed."

ThreeSourcers will enjoy his whacks at the 16th and 17th Amendments. And all will agree that we focus too little on repeal. The integral of legislation over 222 years is a severe threat to our liberty.

I have posted the complete text under "Continue Reading..." Sorry, Rupert, but it's for a good cause -- the restoration of state powers as a bulwark to Federal encroachment.

On Sept. 17, 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. The celebration of Constitution Day this year takes on renewed significance as millions of Americans are objecting to a federal government that has bailed out or taken over banks, car companies and student loans while it prepares to take charge of the practice of medicine. Unfortunately, because there is no single cause for this growth of federal power, there is no single solution.

One cause is political, with elected officials promising solutions to social problems that are beyond their power to deliver. Another is judicial, with federal judges who have allowed the Congress to exceed its enumerated powers for so long that they no longer entertain even the possibility of enforcing the text of the Constitution.

Also responsible are two "progressive" constitutional amendments adopted in 1913. Both dramatically increased the power of the federal government at the expense of the states, creating a constitutional imbalance that needs to be corrected.

The 16th Amendment gave Congress the power to impose an income tax, allowing it to tax and spend to a degree previously unimaginable. This amendment enabled Congress to evade the constitutional limits placed on its own power by effectively bribing states. Once states are "hooked" on receiving federal funds, they can be coerced to obey federal dictates or lose the revenue.

The 17th Amendment provided for the direct election of U.S. senators by the voters of each state. Under the original Constitution they were selected by state legislatures and could be expected to restrain federal power. Whatever that amendment's democratic benefits, the loss of this check on the federal government has been costly.

In its next session beginning in January, the legislature of Virginia will consider proposing a constitutional "Repeal Amendment." The Repeal Amendment would give two-thirds of the states the power to repeal any federal law or regulation. Its text is simple:

"Any provision of law or regulation of the United States may be repealed by the several states, and such repeal shall be effective when the legislatures of two-thirds of the several states approve resolutions for this purpose that particularly describe the same provision or provisions of law or regulation to be repealed."

At present, the only way for states to contest a federal law or regulation is to bring a constitutional challenge in federal court or seek an amendment to the Constitution. A state repeal power provides a targeted way to reverse particular congressional acts and administrative regulations without relying on federal judges or permanently amending the text of the Constitution to correct a specific abuse.

The Repeal Amendment should not be confused with the power to "nullify" unconstitutional laws possessed by federal courts. Unlike nullification, a repeal power allows two-thirds of the states to reject a federal law for policy reasons that are irrelevant to constitutional concerns. In this sense, a state repeal power is more like the president's veto power.

This amendment reflects confidence in the collective wisdom of the men and women from diverse backgrounds, and elected by diverse constituencies, who comprise the modern legislatures of two-thirds of the states. Put another way, it allows thousands of democratically elected representatives outside the Beltway to check the will of 535 elected representatives in Washington, D.C.

Congress could re-enact a repealed measure if it really feels that two-thirds of state legislatures are out of touch with popular sentiment. And congressional re-enactment would require merely a simple majority. In effect, with repeal power the states could force Congress to take a second look at a controversial law.

Americans revere their Constitution but have also acted politically to improve it. The 13th and 14th Amendments limited the original power of states to violate the fundamental rights of their own citizens, while the 15th and 19th Amendments extended the right to vote to blacks and women. The 21st Amendment repealed another "progressive" reform: the 18th Amendment that empowered Congress to prohibit alcohol.

The Repeal Amendment alone will not cure all the current problems with federal power. Getting two-thirds of state legislatures to agree on overturning a federal law will not be easy and will only happen if a law is highly unpopular.

Perhaps its most important effect will be deterring even further expansions of federal power. Suppose, for example, that Congress decides to nationalize private pension investments. Just as it must now contemplate a presidential veto, so too would Congress need to anticipate how states will react.

The Repeal Amendment would help restore the ability of states to protect the powers "reserved to the states" noted in the 10th Amendment. And it would provide citizens another political avenue to protect the "rights . . . retained by the people" to which the Ninth Amendment refers. In short, the amendment provides a new political check on the threat to American liberties posed by a runaway federal government. And checking abuses of power is what the written Constitution is all about.

Mr. Barnett is a professor at the Georgetown University Law Center and author of "Restoring the Lost Constitution: The Presumption of Liberty" (Princeton 2005). Mr. Howell is the Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:25 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, this IS awesome. Not that I'm not appreciative but I'd still like to see some check on the commerce clause as a companion measure.

Posted by: johngalt at September 16, 2010 10:53 PM

September 15, 2010

Building a Bridge to the 20th Century

CNBC Host and former Reagan aide Larry Kudlow hit an odd agreement last night with Vermont Governor, doctor, and DNC chief Howard Dean.

Gov Dean dusted off that sweet old saw "returning to Clinton levels of taxation" [insert Democratic boilerplate about surpluses here...] Larry, moderating a debate between Dean and CNBC colleague Michelle Caruso Cabrera, asked "how about if we return to Clinton level spending?" Dean -- outwitted or sincerely -- acquiesced.

Take that Rep. Tom Price! You want to roll back to 2008 spending, how about 1998?

We all know the "Clinton-level" is a canard. Alan Viard (who got a link the other day) exposes the flaws superbly in the American today.

In 2010, the top income tax rate bracket for ordinary income is 35 percent. Besides wages and interest income, this income category includes profits from pass-through business firms--sole proprietorships, partnerships, and S-corporations. Under the president's proposal, the top bracket will rise to 39.6 percent. A stealth provision that phases out high-income taxpayers' itemized deductions will also be reinstated, adding another 1.2 percentage points to the effective tax rate, bringing it to 40.8 percent. Wages and some of the pass-through income will also remain subject to a 2.9 percent Medicare tax. These 40.8 and 43.7 percent tax rates, which will apply in 2011 and 2012, match the 1994 to 2000 rates--the same top bracket, stealth provision, and Medicare tax were in place then.

But the picture changes in 2013. Under the healthcare law adopted in March, the Medicare tax will rise that year, from 2.9 to 3.8 percent. Also, a new 3.8 percent tax, called the Unearned Income Medicare Contribution (UIMC), will be imposed on high-income taxpayers' interest income and most of their pass-through business income thatís not subject to Medicare tax. So, under the president's proposal, virtually all of top earners' ordinary income will be taxed at 44.6 percent, starting in 2013. Weíre not just going back to the Clinton-era rates of 40.8 and 43.7 percent.

Wake up! I know that was a lot of percentages, but this is good ammo for the argument we face on the extension of the tax cuts.

But what about doing it for real? The Democrats want to return to the Clinton years and more than a few Republicans yearn for a (pre-meltdown) Gingrich Congress. Let's codify it: we want the 90s back!

Not the grunge music and flannel shirts, but the real Clinton tax rates after he cut cap gains. And return to the 1999 budget, indexed for inflation and population growth. If that is not enough revenue to fund all the new programs we added since then, they'll have to be dropped or offset with other cuts.

Count me in.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:13 PM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2010

Palin Tracker

If the WaPo is going to trouble itself with an online Palin Tracker to follow how her endorsements are performing (which I still find creepy), they could at least update it within 24 hours of a huge win.

If Governor Palin did nothing more than replacing Lisa Murkowski with Joe Miller, she would be a plus to the party.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

And so, dear students, welcome back! Your generation is going to have dig its own way out of the hole my generation has dug for you (thanks for the Medicare, kids, and sorry about the deficit!), but here are a few tips that may help you get the best out of your college years. -- Walter Russell Mead
Hey, br atarted it! HT: Insty
Posted by John Kranz at 7:00 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2010

Cash for Clunkers

Taranto links to have a bit of sport with the headline:

News of the Tautological
"Used Vehicle Demand Up, Supply Down; Prices Soar"--headline, Detroit News, Aug. 30

But the linked article is worth a forward to your favorite leftist:
Used car prices are climbing and the pool of available models is drying up one year after the federal "cash for clunkers" program spurred consumers to scrap old cars for new ones.

Used cars are selling for the highest average price in at least seven years, according to Edmunds.com, an online auto consumer guide. Last month, the average price of a three-year-old vehicle spiked 10.3 percent, to $19,248, compared to July 2009.

Contra Taranto, the article spells out the simple supply-demand manifestations of "Cash for Clunkers." The only question is: "Why does President Obama hate poor people so?"

Posted by John Kranz at 4:51 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

To us it's "change." To Cubans it's nothing new.

This is a good thing. It will make Americans think about where all of their new cars (used to) come from... Japan.

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2010 2:49 PM

August 27, 2010

Happy LBJ's Birthday!

@Historyday The 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson, was born on this day in 1908 in Stonewall, Texas.

Although I disagree with many of them, my Magical Biography Tour through the Presidents has found my becoming quite fond of all of them, appreciating their patriotism, service and integrity if not their ideas.

...and then I came to #36. I have a couple more books on him to complete, but what seems like a pretty sympathetic biographer describes an absolute megalomaniacal son of a bitch. And he gave us Medicare. He even mistreated dogs.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You had me worried until your second paragraph. :)

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 27, 2010 12:59 PM

August 23, 2010

The New Face of Feminism

Something I've believed since NOW folded on President Clinton, but Dana Loesch has a great column about "the rebirth of feminism" with conservative women and tea partiers.

This past month, liberal feminists made more hay made over Palin's "mama grizzlies" talk than the matter of the Food and Drug Administration jerking Avastin off the market. Avastin is a drug used to treat late-stage breast cancer and has been shown to extend the life of some breast cancer patients by five months, but was deemed "cost-prohibitive" by the government.

Emily's List cared enough about women to make a video criticizing Palin, but apparently not enough about breast cancer patients to make a video criticizing the FDA's move.

Whole. Piece. Great.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:09 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:


This piece echoes what I said about women in the GOP here. [17th comment ;)]


Loesch: "It should surprise no one that many conservative women are bucking the notion that liberalism owns the patent on "feminism" and controls whether a woman can or cannot call herself a feminist."

When many racial minorities buck the notion that liberalism owns the patent on "racism" and controls whether a minority person can or cannot call himself self-reliant then more minorities will align themselves with the GOP.

Posted by: johngalt at August 23, 2010 2:53 PM

August 14, 2010

Everything you need to know about politics

Chuck DeVore @ BigGovernment puts the Red-Blue 2008 electoral college map beside a map shaded to show each state's per-capita debt. I can't say the visuals captured me at first: "eah, New York, California..."

But when you get into the text the correlation is striking:

According to Moodyís, the average state per capita debt of the 28 Obama states is $1,728 while the average debt in the 22 McCain states is less than half, at $749. This information alone says a lot about voters and their attitude towards government and debt. Voters with a propensity to elect politicians who burden future generations who canít yet vote with huge debts voted for Obama while fiscally responsible voters generally voted for McCain.

This trend gets starker when you look at the debt in the states that voted overwhelmingly for one candidate. The six states where Obama received the highest percentage of the vote were: Hawaii, Vermont, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maryland. McCain received his highest percentage of votes in Oklahoma, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, Alabama and Alaska. The strongest Obama states had a per capita debt high of $4,606 for Massachusetts and a low of $709 for Vermontóremember, the average per capita debt in the McCain states was only $749, barely above the debt level in Vermont, with its ďless is moreĒ ethic. Per capita debt in the strong McCain states ranged from a high of $1,345 in oil-rich Alaska to a low of $77 in coal-rich Wyoming.

And, of course, what states will be bailed out -- Wyoming?

Hat-tip to blog friend SugarChuck.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2010

Two Americas, Again.

The Wall Street Journal is too august an institution to title an editorial "Duh!" So they call it Of CEOs and Congressmen

As a mere corporate chieftain, Mr. Hurd was summarily ousted by the H-P board on Friday for allegedly fibbing about $20,000 or less in expenses to cover up a nonsexual relationship with someone who was merely a contractor. The contractor, Jodie Fisher, accused Mr. Hurd of sexual harassment, which an investigation by outside counsel found had not taken place. It's the perfect modern sex scandal: Both sides acknowledge it involved no sex, only money, and not much of that.

Company directors nonetheless concluded that Mr. Hurd hadn't followed the ethics code that H-P had imposed after a 2006 scandal involving spying on journalists and board members had forced the resignation of an H-P chairman. The H-P standard of business conduct tells employees that, "Before I make a decision, I consider how it would look in a news story."

So the directors gave the heave-ho to a successful CEO who over five years had more than doubled his company's market capitalization. If CEOs were ever given the benefit of the doubt, the Hurd case shows those days are over. A single misjudgment, personal or strategic, can cost a corporate boss his job.

Contrast that accountability with the U.S. House of Representatives, where Maxine Waters and Charlie Rangel stand accused of ethics violations. [...]

"Government is what we call things we do together," Rep. Barney Frank likes to say. The broken incentive structure, however, always needs to be considered.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:43 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Government is what we call things we do together,"

Bull-bleeping-bleep. Government is what some people call FORCING others to do things "together."

To simplify what I said in the other comment, government exists because some people, no matter how peacefully they live their lives, won't be ruled. Then you have cocksucking, prostitute-bonking bastards like Frank who couldn't possibly live a successful life that depended solely on peaceful trade with others, so they have to help form the political machine to live off others' property and labor.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 11, 2010 3:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, thought you'd enjoy that one, Perry. I'm always reminded of Bill Clinton comparing himself to Bob Dole: "Senator Dole is a good man. The difference is that I want us all to build the bridge to the new millennium together!"

Insert your own, Perryesque response here.

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2010 4:37 PM

July 29, 2010

Mazel Tov, Chelsea!

Quelle horreur ! Chelsea Clinton is reportedly spending $2 Million on her wedding! Shouldn't she give that money to the homeless? Hell no. Her parents have money and her guest list will be large and let's say "high end."

I hope for a lovely day and offer the best of wishes. There is life beyond politics and I'm not churlish enough to begrudge her a nice wedding. I'm also something of a fan because Jenna Bush has said that Chelsea was always nice and helpful to the twins.

So get over it! A nice young lady is going to have a nice wedding.

However, about the song list...

Music: TMZ reported this week that they had a copy of the playlist Clinton and her fiancť gave to the live band playing at the wedding. The songs are a mix of oldies and pop hits, including several Michael Jackson songs (ďBillie JeanĒ "The Way You Make Me Feel," ďDonít Stop ĎTil You Get EnoughĒ and ďRock With YouĒ). Also on the playlist: ďWild WorldĒ by Cat Stevens, ďSitting on the Dock of the BayĒ by Otis Redding, ďThinkĒ by Aretha Franklin, U2ís ďBeautiful Day,Ē and ABBAís ďDancing Queen,Ē others. One of the newer songs: ďI Gotta FeelingĒ by the Black Eyed Peas. (Weíre taking this tidbit with a grain of salt.)

Posted by John Kranz at 3:42 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2010

JK Proposes a New Government Benefit.

I have a suggestion for a Federal Program. Tell me where I am wrong.

Before you roll out the full HellíníMaria, accept my agreement that I wish the Federal government were not on the hook for millions of home mortgages. But, kids, that train left the station, 3:20 minutes ago, heading west at 65 miles per hour.

Why not allow holders of FHA mortgages to refinance based on the original appraisal of their property? Make some reasonable limit on what can come out to cover closing costs, but allow the holder to take advantage of a lower rate, lowering the payment and the risk of default.

There's a certain moral hazard here as it gives the FHA loan a retroactive advantage not likely offered by other loans. But it is a retroactive amnesty that should not counted going forward. In return for this, we get lowered risk of default, lowered blight of foreclosures, and some increased buying power by strapped homeowners who may suddenly have a lower payment.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:35 PM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

I'm not at all convinced this is a good idea. Yet I have yet to hear the reason that it isn't.

Earth to ThreeSources: home prices have indeed depreciated. Quite a bit in some areas. You might have seen it, as it was in all the papers.

Say Joe Jones, a hardworking and honest White, Protestant-American bought a home in 2007. Joe got an FHA mortgage, based on his skin color and credit score and an appraisal of $350,000. Joe borrows 310K at 6.375.

Joe's mortgage banker calls up Joe and says "Joe, buddy, I can get you into a loan at 5.125% -- you could save $400/month!" Joe's credit score is still good, but the appraisal comes back at $260,000.

Obviously on a new loan, this represents risk a responsible lender would not make. BUT, the FHA is already backstopping Joe's first loan. It does not increase their risk to backstop the new loan. In fact, it represents less risk because Joe will have a lower chance of defaulting at the lower payment.

All the FHA has to do is notify lenders that it will insure refis of existing FHA mortgages based on the property appraisal of the first note.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2010 7:24 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Who's this imposter and what did you do with my friend JK?? I'm calling the cops to file a missing blogger report...

Ok, here's another scenario... I buy a new car and drive it for 500 miles. As soon as I do, it is no longer a new car. Thus, it depreciates 20%. Should I be able to refinance it for the appraised value and leave the bank holding the bag for the other 20% (already paid to the dealer)? Hell, I'd just refi every month and follow the depreciation curve down.

Just because Joe's property has dropped in value does not mean that he cannot make the payment and inherently deserves a lower payment. Presumably, Joe has not lost his job and his wages have not been slashed. If they have, and Joe is on the verge of default, then perhaps the bank may find it in their best interest to renegotiate rather than foreclose. But, it's their money and their say-so - not the government and not the taxpayer.

One mistaken notion that mortgagees have is that the house is "theirs." It's not "theirs" until they pay it off. Until then, it belongs to the bank, or best case, has shared ownership. But if the value is less than the principle owed, then the bank owns it lock, stock and barrel - the occupant is in a "rent to own" contract. What business is it of the government to take the bank's property and give to anyone else?

Under this rationale, why not have the FDIC guarantee everyone's 401(k)? If it drops in value, shouldn't I be able to retire anyway?

If I take out a student low and my job out of college doesn't pay as much as I thought it would, should I be allowed to renegotiate the loan balance and leave the gov't to pay the difference?

If you're not finding any of these arguments persuasive, then I'm done. Let's go back to arguing the war on drugs.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 22, 2010 7:59 PM
But jk thinks:

As the kiddies might say, ROFL br. I know deep down that I deserve a few whacks for this. Yet, like you in our War on Drugs imbroglio, I'm not certain my opponents understand my position.

Your examples are persuasive but none fits the situation I describe. I want to limit the amount to what's owed, possibly plus closing costs. Nobody's yanking cash out, nobody's getting further into debt.

Your other examples suggest government's taking on additional risk. I may be out of character here, but it is still me -- those are strawmen that I am not suggesting.

A very good argument against me is that I am denying the holders of the first loan their contracted interest income. Yet I suspect most would applaud a plan that would stir up activity and help potential defaulters.

Of course you're right that the borrower signed a contract and is 100% liable. No argument there. But this plan cannot be used to preempt or mitigate default.

I'd love to shutter the FHA and pull the government put from Fannie and Fred. Outside the IBD Ed Page that is not on the table. This is a plan that could help responsible borrowers (already guaranteed by Uncle Sugar) with little government expense and very little moral hazard.

Posted by: jk at June 23, 2010 10:23 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

After thinking hard (almost hurt myself) I think I can see your point. You're basically asking the lender to accept a lower interest rate on an existing loan. I have to imagine that the lender could do so if they wanted to. Of course, a competitive lender would only lend on the actual value and not the original appraisal which would eliminate them as an option for practical purposes. But again, in a situation where a borrower is not in financial distress, I just don't see where the government should get off fiddling with an arms-lenght commercial transaction.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 23, 2010 6:51 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

One other point: If Joe want so refi at a lower rate dispite the lower appraisal, he can always bring enough cash to make up the difference, assuming he has the much cash at hand. If he'll save more in interest than he'll spend in cash, he should do it, also considering the income he could earn investing the cash. It's a purely economic decision, but when we bring in the government, it's usually out of some sort of aggreived emotion.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 24, 2010 9:54 AM
But jk thinks:

Or he could sell off a Rembrandt or two and write a check to pay off the loan. I’m helping the poor, br! This is jk, the champion of the underprivileged!

Perhaps I am overstating the extent to which the FHA makes the lender whole in the event of default. I am imagining it to be high but I will join you in hoping that it is low. Even though it ruins my new government benefit I have planned.

What does the FHA pay the lender if Joe defaults? I am thinking that, since they are already on the hook, they just agree to indemnify the new lender and the old lender is paid from the new loan. If the FHA guarantee is not worth that much then, no, a new lender won't be interested.

Posted by: jk at June 24, 2010 11:38 AM

On Corpulent Executives

ThreeSources's hero, Governor Chris Christie, won a smashing victory yesterday as the minority Republicans held his veto of "the Millionaire tax." Larry Kudlow mentioned that "the first 115 tax increases over the last eight years did not balance the budget, what made them think the 116th would?"

My man Gene Healy says it's time we looked for somebody who could fill the Oval Office a bit more. Like me he's a big fan of Taft and Cleveland.

America might do better with a fat president. After all, some of our best have been big fellows, and lately the trim and ambitious types haven't served us so well.

"Yon Cassius has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much. Such men are dangerous," Shakespeare's Julius Caesar comments to Marc Antony. "Let me have men about me that are fat ... such as sleep o' nights."

The author of "Cult of the Presidency" reminds -- again -- what's it's all about:
Celebrity culture has infected American politics. Since the advent of television, we've reliably opted for the taller candidate ó those with receding hairlines need not apply. We seem to have forgotten the purpose of the office. We're not casting a chick flick here ó we're picking a constitutional chief executive.

The Framers never saw the president as a glamorous tribune of the people. They wanted someone solid enough to stand firm when Congress and the public demanded things they shouldn't have.

UPDATE: For those keeping score, I have chosen this as my Monthly Facebook Political Post. Think this will anger my thin and lefty friends?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:32 PM | Comments (0)

June 3, 2010

The Libertarian Dilemma

Mike Rosen has a very well articulated column in today's Denver Post regarding Rand Paul's dilemma to espouse his libertarian views or get elected - he probably can't do both.

The problem is that these principles often conflict with one another, at which point compromise is unavoidable. (Freedom vs. security, for example: We allow ourselves to be searched without probable cause at airports because we don't want to be blown up by terrorists.)

Practical libertarians (not always an oxymoron) vote for the lesser of evils between Republicans and Democrats, mostly for Republicans, recognizing that the best they can realistically hope for is to tug public policy marginally in their direction. Impractical libertarians don't care about election outcomes. The philosophical high ground is reward enough. They revel in their self-righteous purity of thought and wear their political martyrdom as a badge of honor. It'll be interesting to see how Rand Paul handles this dilemma.

This is not a new or controversial concept to Three Sourcers, but worth the read because Rosen articulates it so well. It is a good argument for JK's "Prospertarianism" as a better way to package practical libertarianism.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:18 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Nice link! I should call Rosen's show and see if he's on board with "Libertario Delenda Est!"

I was a little disappointed to see Paul fold on private association. I suppose he "had to."

But the box gets smaller every two years...

Posted by: jk at June 3, 2010 11:15 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll have to dig up a letter that Bastiat wrote to the elders of a certain village, explaining why men of principle have a hard time getting elected. It's not online anywhere, that I know of.

"The problem is that these principles often conflict with one another, at which point compromise is unavoidable. (Freedom vs. security, for example: We allow ourselves to be searched without probable cause at airports because we don't want to be blown up by terrorists.)"

This is bullshit. Rosen simply doesn't understand the nature of private property rights, and how government intrusion into markets creates confusion when there needs be none at all. Even now, airplanes are private property. But airports are not. In a free market, you'd be flying out of someone else's private property, meaning the airport owner can set whatever standards he wants. Terrorists would then test various airports and use the ones with poor security, but then those airports (along with the airline) could and should be held partially liable for any terrorist attacks. Thus airports would compete with each other on the most effective safety methods, and such a free market would find the optimal balance between security and passenger happiness.

Instead, we have federal standards imposed on everyone that, nine years ago, we thought were pretty good. But they clearly weren't good enough couldn't stop the murder of 3000 people nine years ago. The tougher post-9/11 standards didn't stop two would-be bombers from boarding the planes and igniting their clothes; it was only other passengers' alertness that averted tragedy. In all of this, it wouldn't have mattered if an airport security chief complained about ineffective measures and tightened things up on his own: that would be violating somebody's rights, and he'd be fired.

Where a government standard is imposed, whether security or safe food handling, you get that standard assuming everybody's doing their job right, and when they are, you get that standard as a minimum, but also as a maximum. There's no competition to do better.

"They revel in their self-righteous purity of thought and wear their political martyrdom as a badge of honor."

I won't be too harsh on Rosen, who's on our side, but I take umbrage here. I'm absolutely purist in that I don't believe in forcing my political views on others, or using the power of government to force others to live my views. That's "self-righteous"? If Rosen wants to look at the "self-righteous", he'd better look at those who wield the weapon of government: voters, recipients of taxpayers' money (generally overlapping with "voters"), and elected/appointed officials of government. Those are the self-righteous people, because they're the ones who claim to know better by taking from us to spend on what we otherwise wouldn't have paid for. The very act of forcing me to give up money, even if it will be spent on me, is self-righteous.

Ask yourselves: do you want some liberty with prosperity, or would you rather have full liberty and take your own chances? This is what Samuel Adams was talking about, "the tranquility of servitude" versus "the animated contest of freedom."

To subscribe to the former is to say that you want to be mostly free, but with a master to ultimately guide you. It is to say you need government to help you beyond your ability to help yourself. To believe in the power of government is to believe it's ok to force your neighbors in certain ways they'd rather not (and for your neighbors to force you in the same manner), though no one is being harmed: bailouts, "regulated" markets, and taxation to spend on things that the taxed implicitly didn't want in the first place.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 3, 2010 1:39 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

To some degree though, Perry, I think you're making Rosen's point. Even if one concedes that you're right on all accounts, a platform based on privatizing airports, roads, police, fire, military, etc. is a non-starter politically. Even the easier-to-swallow libertarian principles of legalizing drugs and prostitution doom a national candidate to .5% of the vote - not even enough to affect the overall outcome. Bottom line, libertarians will be a more effective force by blogging than running for office. [grin]

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 3, 2010 4:19 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Even if one concedes that you're right on all accounts, a platform based on privatizing airports, roads, police, fire, military, etc. is a non-starter politically."

Oh, I don't deny that at all. It's exactly why there is no political solution for this. When your liberty is denied you by force, you won't regain liberty by asking nicely. Jefferson knew that:

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

If the colonials had somehow won concessions, they'd have still been under rule of a tyrant. After a few years of good feelings and allowing anger to subside, George III and Parliament would have returned to their old doings. Perhaps slowly, but surely. Real liberty isn't won by politics, nor can it be. Politics is merely the bloodless mechanism of those who wish to rule others. Why should tyrants, collectivists, whatever you want to call them, bother with shedding actual blood when they can use "compromise" to negate any advances in liberty, and use "debate" to stall?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 4, 2010 1:40 PM

May 27, 2010

On Rand Paul

Having access to ThreeSources, I've become deeply disturbed at the Rand Paul imbroglio.

We allow ourselves to discuss about anything. I may occasionally step over the line by say cussing out a beloved spiritual leader -- but the table is open around here. And (as the DC cops are learning) if you don't step over the line once or twice, you lose sight of where the line is.

David Harsanyi has a great piece in Reason about what childish nonsense this is in a time when we have real problems.

If you were a convention delegate in 1778, would you have voted to ratify the Constitution of the United States?

If the answer is yesóand you don't hate America, do you?!óit's only fair we conclude that you support restricting voting rights to male landowners exclusively. Surely, from your position, we can also deduce that you support slavery.

Now, if the answer is nay on ratification, we will take this to mean that you oppose a document that provided the infrastructure for more long-term liberty and prosperityófor all racesóthan any other in history.

Creating racists is really no problem at all.

The truth about Rand Paul is that the other side has won before the players take the field.

Politicians have succeeded in whittling down the small square of what is permitted to talk about.

Raise the retiring age for Social Security? You can't talk about that! Privatization? Market Solutions? They're too far out of the mainstream for an electable candidate to mention.

And how's that working? We have 536 elected officials who all fit into that teeny little box. None can think that perhaps private companies should be allowed to do very vile things and face market instead of Federal resistance. This country's being run by the folks who fit into that little box. And let me answer my own rhetorical; question -- it ain't working at all.

I'm a Goldwaterite and sympathetic to the pre-refuted Rand Paul position, as is John Stossel.. Likewise, I have heard many thoughtful comments that say he is (was) wrong.

Fine and good. But, Jupiter Savage, why can we not discuss it? All a TV pundit or opponent has to do is to solemnly intone "he doesn't even support the Civil Rights Act" and sadly roll his eyes.

We get the government we deserve, and if we're going to continue staying within the ever shrinking box, we're going to get the same results.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Politicians constrain themselves within the box. Some have no capacity to leave it, but those who do, don't. Why?

Posted by: johngalt at May 28, 2010 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

You cannot leave the box and get elected. You're too extreme.

Posted by: jk at May 28, 2010 3:03 PM

May 23, 2010

Question 32

This is not your father's Republican Party!

I've made it well known around here that I consider the anti-abortion plank of the Republican Platform to be an electoral albatross. I know a vast majority of Republicans disagree with me, but now at least they're being asked the question. Among the 59 Resolutions which delegates were asked to vote on, sandwiched between #31: It is resoved that Colorado Republicans support overturning Roe v. Wade; and #33: It is resolved that Colorado Republicans oppose the use of public funds for destructive embryonic stem-cell research; was this gem:

32) It is resolved by Colorado Republicans that pregnancy, abortion, and birth control are personal private matters not subject to government regulation or interference.

Just ponder that for a minute. Republicans are being asked if Americans are actually capable of taking care of their own lives and decisions without assistance from a nanny-state government. What a concept.

At least one delegate was greatly offended. He fashioned a hand-written sign on a stick that read "VOTE NO ON 32!" and sat in his chair on the floor of the hall and waved it rhythmically. I let slip a wry grin.

But the greater significance of this question, to me, is that some Republican district somewhere in Colorado must have passed this resolution by majority vote for it to appear on the statewide resolution list. Glory be.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:32 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

My previous precinct would have passed that easily. At the 2008 caucus, the rank and file was libertarian or very amenable to small government planks. The problem was an entrenched, establishment party leadership who saw it their right and duty to run things in a top-down manner.

I think the TEA parties have changed the expectations of the rank and file to throw off their Country Club Overlords. This might be the most significant and least discussed result of the movement.

Oh, and would not yes votes on 31, 32, and 33 be consistent?

Posted by: jk at May 24, 2010 10:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Upon reflection, we didn't vote on resolutions until the County Assembly. I can see Boulder County (where your former precinct is located) approving this. My goal in 2012 will be to get the Weld County Assembly to pass it too. (No fair for any of you to warn them. ;)

As for things being run top down, they've got to be run somehow. We followed Roberts Rules of Order and motions were always in order.

Finally, yes. It would be consistent to vote YES on all three resolutions, but including the two adjacent questions was not intended to expose any hypocrisy. I included them to impart the flavor of the environment, which also included resolutions that "life begins at conception and is deserving of legal protection from conception.." and "oppose the use of public funds for abortions" which were #30 and 33 respectively. Taken as a set, "One of these things is not like the others, One of these things just doesn't belong." (Apologies to Children's Television Workshop.)

Posted by: johngalt at May 26, 2010 3:33 PM

May 19, 2010

Now That's a Political Ad!

(Need we add a category for Alabama Agriculture Commissioner 2010?)

Hat-tip: Blog friend tg on Facebook.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:


Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 19, 2010 12:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It's a great day when rifles begin to appear in political ads.

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2010 2:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen. BTW, a freind of tg's takes Mr. Peterson to task for having his finger on the trigger. I was waiting to see if the NRA wing of ThreeSources compained. But I imagine we all just had eyes filled with tears...

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2010 2:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

HA! So he does. I was too busy determining how his rifle compares to my beloved Model 94 Trapper.

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2010 3:05 PM

April 26, 2010

It is Time to Build a Wall!

Or else, taxpaying Americans are going to escape! NYTimes:

WASHINGTON ó Amid mounting frustration over taxation and banking problems, small but growing numbers of overseas Americans are taking the weighty step of renouncing their citizenship.

ďWhat we have seen is a substantial change in mentality among the overseas community in the past two years,Ē said Jackie Bugnion, director of American Citizens Abroad, an advocacy group based in Geneva. ďBefore, no one would dare mention to other Americans that they were even thinking of renouncing their U.S. nationality. Now, it is an openly discussed issue.Ē

The Federal Register, the government publication that records such decisions, shows that 502 expatriates gave up their U.S. citizenship or permanent residency status in the last quarter of 2009. That is a tiny portion of the 5.2 million Americans estimated by the State Department to be living abroad.

Still, 502 was the largest quarterly figure in years, more than twice the total for all of 2008, and it looms larger, given how agonizing the decision can be. There were 235 renunciations in 2008 and 743 last year. Waiting periods to meet with consular officers to formalize renunciations have grown.


Posted by John Kranz at 4:20 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

I'd be curious to know which freedom-loving, market-based independent democracies these expats are choosing as their new homes; I note that, save for the Swiss resident, they don't tell us which destinations are highest on the list - doubtless in hopes of not giving us ideas.

What happens in Costa Rica, stays in Costa Rica...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 26, 2010 7:11 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

... and since the subject was previously raised here, I wonder how many of these expats renouncing their citizenship are MDs. There could conceivably be sufficient docs there now to staff that overseas Mayo Clinic being proposed...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 26, 2010 7:13 PM

April 20, 2010

Our Right to Overseas Travel

I'm guessing y'all have seen this, but I feel compelled to post.

AN overseas holiday used to be thought of as a reward for a yearís hard work. Now Brussels has declared that tourism is a human right and pensioners, youths and those too poor to afford it should have their travel subsidised by the taxpayer.
Under the scheme, British pensioners could be given cut-price trips to Spain, while Greek teenagers could be taken around disused mills in Manchester to experience the cultural diversity of Europe.

And I was worried about carry-on luggage?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:13 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2010


David Leonhardt at the New York Times has looked at the situation carefully. The right wing blogs (huh?) and talk radio are all abuzz that 47% don't pay any Federal Income Tax. Well, that's true but not really important. The important thing is the clear need to raise taxes on the rich.

The answer is that tax rates almost certainly have to rise more on the affluent than on other groups. Over the last 30 years, rates have fallen more for the wealthy, and especially the very wealthy, than for any other group. At the same time, their incomes have soared, and the incomes of most workers have grown only moderately faster than inflation.

So a much greater share of income is now concentrated at the top of distribution, while each dollar there is taxed less than it once was. It's true that raising taxes on the rich alone can't come close to solving the long-term budget problem. The deficit is simply too big. But if taxes are not increased for the wealthy, the country will be left with two options.

It will have to raise taxes even more than it otherwise would on everybody else. Or it will have to find deep cuts in Medicare, Social Security, military spending and the other large (generally popular) federal programs.

We clearly cannot cut spending on a program that is popular. And we clearly cannot make 47% of the country actually pay taxes. Damn, we're out of options.

Professor Mankiw suggests that Leonhardt is dismissive of the effects of tax rates as incentives or disincentives to the wealthy.

Over the past half century, the top marginal tax rate has fallen from 91 percent in the 1950s and early 1960s to 35 percent today. Thus, the amount a person gets to keep at the margin has risen from 9 percent to 65 percent, that is, by a factor of 7.2. If the elasticity of taxable income with respect to 1-t is one, as some studies find for high-income taxpayers, then the incomes of the rich would have risen by a factor of 7.2 as well. If the elasticity is one-half, then their incomes would have risen by a factor of 2.7. In either case, the change in pretax income attributable to the tax cuts is substantial.

By comparison, the incomes of the superrich (top 0.01 percent), as a share of total income, increased by a factor of about 5 over this period. So, it seems that for plausible elasticities, a significant portion of that increase can potentially be explained by the cuts in the top marginal tax rate.

With tea party sentiment in full swing, I'm thinking that the first principles argument is actually stronger than the Laffer curve argument. You can credibly call that bass-ackwards. With our debt scenario, tax reduction would be a powerful aid to growth and the resulting prosperity would be the best chance to fund the debt.

I just believe that ideals of liberty, real fairness, and anti-confiscatory sentiment are ascendant right now. The better answer to Leonhardt is "No, we don't want to be slaves to the state" rather than "the elasticity might be as high as 1:1."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2010

What could four million workers do?

A nice video from Cato on taxes:

Well worth a watch in full, but one statistic in there blew me away. The time spent on tax compliance is equivalent to four million full time workers. How rich would we be with the houses, cars, computers, video games and guitar amplifiers that four million full time workers could produce?

Posted by John Kranz at 6:31 PM | Comments (5)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

And of course, the Administration sees this bass-ackwards - the tax code provides jobs for all these people that reforming the code would put out of work. If you've got a cousin working at H&R Block, how are you going to explain to them why you want to take away their job?

After all, there's a limit to how many people we can make employed by giving them a cushy gig with the Census...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 12, 2010 6:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Dead. Weight. Loss. I won't say that they'd be above trying that, Keith, but this is raw and apparent; there's no cash-for-clunkers or even broken windows obfuscation. If these four million timewasting jobs are doing anything, they are making things worse by reducing transparency and impeding the flow of capital to its best sources.

Four million full time workers.

Posted by: jk at April 12, 2010 7:15 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I have a friend who's a Keynesian and a big believer in government. We met when simultaneously starting out on the legal side of the financial sector (he's now with FINRA, as a matter of fact). One day he told me how this ultra-regulated environment was good because "it creates employment." The idea of broken windows can't get through the thick skulls of people who have such broken thought processes.

One day he said the welfare state is a good thing, because "it fulfills the doctrine of Jesus Christ." Then I slapped him, though accidentally, having meant to do it just in the air. But in hindsight, he deserved it for that blasphemy.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 12, 2010 11:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

'Welfare in Jesus' name' is called "Social Justice" and is what got Glenn Beck accused of hating Christianity. Isn't it odd that whenever one denounces statism he is accused of hating something else - blacks, gays, Christians - but never statism. Hmmm.

P.S. Who says there's any limit on cushy gov't jobs? What're you, KA, a public servant hater??

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Four. Million. Workers.

Imagine how many million-dollar National Park Outhouses those people could build!

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 3:29 PM

Found his Killer Instinct

The Campaign Spot wonders "where was all this twisting of the knife back in 2008?"

I for one was convinced by the Jeff Flake endorsement and will risk tea party disapprobation by coming out fulsomely for Senator John McCain in the primary. Woohoo! Go John!

Posted by John Kranz at 5:09 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Even John McCain thinks only straight white men are fair game for criticism. ...wonder what he says to the mirror every morning.

Posted by: johngalt at April 13, 2010 2:50 PM

April 6, 2010

'94, hell!

If the last great hope is to have a last great hope, we'll need -- not just another 1994 -- but a 1946. Michael Barone explains:

In the off-year election of 1946, Republicans gained 13 seats in the Senate and emerged with a 51Ė45 majority there, the largest majority that they enjoyed between 1930 and 1980. They gained 55 seats in the House, giving them a 246Ė188 majority in that body, the largest majority they have held since 1930.

Of course, the political climate was completely different:
Polls from 1937 to 1940 saw majorities opposing Rooseveltís never-enacted ĎThird New Dealí and supporting cuts in government spending, favoring curbs in the power of labor unions, and opposing welfare programs.

Democrats in 1945Ė1946 were closely allied with labor unions, which were deeply involved in politics and were avidly seeking more members and more bargaining power.

Would an historic GOP landslide be worth anything to liberty lovers? I'd have to say in context, yes. They might booger everything up, but it would be a powerful signal against government expansion.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:50 PM | Comments (0)

March 31, 2010

If Senator McCain Has Lost jk...

I heard this this morning on TeeVee and almost fell out of bed. Senator John McCain is demanding National Guard troops on the border.

We all have a few things about Senator McCain that drive us completely mad. One thing that I always appreciated was his "Profile in Courage" to stand up for what I think to be the right position on immigration. He took an unpopular, minority position and stood up to an extremely vocal wing of his party, because he thought it was right.

He watered his position a bit for the GOP nomination, but that is politics and I remained on-board. Now Stacy McCain accuses him of "Get[ting] in Touch With His Inner Tom Tancredo" in advance of a primary challenge from Rep J.D. Hayworth.

Yeah, and we know that John McCain is sincere about his newfound border-security concerns, right? All that stuff a few years ago calling his critics hatemongering xenophobes Ė just kiddiní guys, hahaha.
I'm the lonesome guy on immigration round these parts, but I invite ThreeSourcers to look at the ability to stand for principle and not the principle itself.

I am truly disgusted and feel, for the first time, that Brother jg is perhaps right that we are better of having had President Obama win the 2008 election.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Over the weekend I was eager to dogpile Senator McCain again but somehow playing around on the tractor took precedence. This opportunity in the comments will have to suffice:

First - On Saturday morning, after being elected a GOP delegate to the State Convention, I had a wonderful one-on-one conversation with Perry Buck, wife of Senate candidate Ken Buck. When the discussion turned to Jane Norton's support by McCain's PAC she asked if I'd heard the story about McCain screaming at Tancredo. John wanted Tom's vote on McCain-Feingold so offered to help with Tom's re-election campaign a week or so prior to asking for support on the bill. "I can't support it - it's a bad bill" was met with heated words that escalated to screaming. "The first time John McCain does that to Jane Norton she'll fold. Not Ken. He'll be right back in his face."

Second - Charlie Crist, during the Chris Wallace interview with Marco Rubio, said that his favorite senators are McCain and Graham. He also said his idea of "public service" is an old-fashioned one [and I'm paraphrasing] that "we are here to do things to serve people."

These aren't examples of the kind of "experienced leadership" the GOP needs, or even, can tolerate. If he is re-elected in 2012 he'll have significant influence over selection of the party's presidential candidate too. I'd rather he followed Tom DeLay out of town instead.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 3:49 PM

March 29, 2010

jk Defends Senator Franken

You live long enough, you see it all.

I just wish some people had a knob on them that you could turn down. I have seen a few videos from this guy, Jason Mattera, and they are close to genius. His MO is to complement a legislator as he/she passes in the hallway. Target immediately shifts to "accept fawning" mode and is completely unprepared for a tough question. It's Brilliant!

And yet, Mattera needs a knob to dial him back from 11 to eight. He is completely out of line to refer to a (sortof) elected member of the US Senate as "Senator Smalley." That is out of line, plus Senator Franken has valid points on both his opportunity to answer the question as well as possible misrepresentation of the bill's contents.

Ouch -- I am scoring this 2-0 for Senator Franken who may not be "Minnesota Nice" but is certainly not "unhinged."

Posted by John Kranz at 6:00 PM | Comments (3)
But Doug Wright thinks:

I agree. Al (Smiley) Franken is a world class jerk of the first order and IMHO quite ignorant on many issues. However, Franken's retort to Mattera is on point and Mattera should h