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 (2)
But Jk thinks:

Are you high? (Sorry, somebody used that on me and I've been searching for a victim....)

The spot is really really good, I am sorry to say. But before you send her $2500, peek at her Allison's Priorities.

Raise the minimum wage! Stop Corporations from shipping jobs overseas! Fight to reduce student loan debt!

Workers of the world, unite!

Posted by: Jk at September 15, 2014 9:10 PM
But Jk thinks:

I left out equal pay for equal work. Huh, coal, EPA, and guns did not make her top nine.

On the serious side, I don't get the hate on Speaker Boehner and Leader McConnell. You have to have some establishment guys in leadership, do you not? I think they are necessary evils.

Posted by: Jk at September 15, 2014 9:15 PM

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

Ferguson

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

Veto-proof

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?

UPDATE:

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!"

Heh.

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:

Middle-of-the-roader.

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

Carriage-ghazi

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

Backlash!

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."

Duck-Pajama-e1387465423639.jpg


"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

ISSpoll120413_gif.gif

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

Blueprint

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:

Aye!

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

Recalibration

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

Awesome!

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

Truth

I found Truth on Facebook:

christie_obama.jpg

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."

Fearless:

"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.

President?

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.

or

- 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.

or

- 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

Proximus

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...

KIDDING!

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

Pandering

Or, QOTD II:

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

Clever

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
Gmail
Android phone
Chrome browser
Google Docs

and one I just learned -

YouTube

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:

JK,

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.

or:

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.

Huzzah!

Posted by: johngalt at May 30, 2012 3:31 PM

May 24, 2012

Tweet of the Day

tweet120524.gif

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.

tweet120523.gif

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

OrangeCountyWood?

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.

Reconstruction->Articulation->Disjunction->Reconstruction...

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.

Conclusion
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!

Arrrrrrrwwwwwgghhhhhhhh...

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

HOSS ALERT!

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

STOP TELLING THE TRUTH, DAMMIT!

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

Interstin'

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:

Kumbaya.

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

standupeconomist.com

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

Hoss

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:

Like

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.

wallis-sojourners.jpg

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.

v.

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
225px-Scott_Walker_2010.jpg

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

45th Governor of Wisconsin
Incumbent
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Lieutenant Rebecca Kleefisch
Preceded by Jim Doyle (D)

And the Senate...

Wisc%20Senate%202011.jpg

And the State Assembly...

Wisc%20General%20Assembly%202011.jpg

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:
snow101230.jpg


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:

2010.census.gov/2010census/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: [...]

And:
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!

CATO:

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.

tax_rate_number1.jpg

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

Timing

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:

Jk/Perry-

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.

Love,
jk

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.

http://tinyurl.com/3a8gtw7

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:

Like.

This piece echoes what I said about women in the GOP here. [17th comment ;)]

And...

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:

2012!

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.


Disturbing.

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

EAT THE RICH!!

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.

And:
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 have dialed way back. Mattera would have been effective if he'd simply given Franken time, and space, to answer the question.

The video did highlight that Franken's self-control is almost nonexistent; he has a short fuse, which should be ignited by Mattera's replacement.

As for Franken's aid grabbing Mattera's shoulder, Mattera should have responded to that vigorously, yet peacefully. Is Jason a man or a mouse?

Posted by: Doug Wright at March 29, 2010 6:58 PM
But AtheistConservative thinks:

While I can agree that Mattera was overly combative, it's rather nonsensical to claim that Franken 'has a point'. He had numerous opportunities to answer, but first responded with derisive dismissal, then when the clauses were shown to him he just kept repeating 'let me answer' and then walked away.

Posted by: AtheistConservative at March 29, 2010 8:39 PM
But Charles Collins thinks:

I'm not a big fan of "ambush journalism" in general, and have never understood why we think it is wrong to let officials know what they are going to talk about. As if they should be up to date on every topic, and be prepared to answer any question without notes. Its why I hate 60 Minutes.

Posted by: Charles Collins at March 30, 2010 9:31 AM

March 28, 2010

Missing the Point

Roughly a year after inauguration of America's most radically leftist president in history, in the wake of a year of grassroots outrage popularly monikered TEA Parties, a pair of "documentary filmmakers and political activists" formed "an alternative to the Tea Party Movement" - the "Coffee Party USA."

By failing to notice the capitalization of all three letters in the word TEA the authors of the linked Wikipedia entry, and likely the Coffee Party USA organizers themselves, fail to recognize that the TEA Party phenomenon is not just about dumping tea into a metaphorical government harbor - it's about being Taxed Enough, Already!

But it isn't just the name that Coffee Statists have wrong, it's the philosophy.

Its mission states that it is based on the underlying principle that the government is "not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans."

TEA Partiers participate in the democratic process but since there is no such thing as "collective will" outside the writings of Karl Marx they seek to address the challenges we face as individual Americans. Today, more than ever before, productive Americans are challenged by a government that forcibly confiscates individual earnings in the name of "helping the people." Unfortunately, they do the former much more efficiently than the latter.

So what does COFFEE stand for? While waiting for the founders to enlighten us we can at least offer our own interpretations. Mine is 'Confiscate Ownership Freedom From Every Entrepreneur.'

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:07 PM | Comments (5)
But terri thinks:

Funny how that philosophy is only official when the new coffee party's side is in office.

Posted by: terri at March 29, 2010 9:12 AM
But HB thinks:

I couldn't help but to be reminded of the introduction of Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom:

"In a much quote passage in his inaugural address, President Kennedy said, 'Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask what you can do for your country.' It is a striking sign of the temper of our times that the controversy about this passage centered on it origin and not on its content. Neither half of the statement expresses a relation between the citizen and his government that is worthy of the ideals of free men in a free society. The paternalistic 'what your country can do for you' implies that government is the patron, the citizen the ward, a view that is at odds with the free man's belief in his own responsibility for his own destiny. The organismic, 'what you can do for your country' implies that government is the master or the deity, the citizen, the servant or the votary. To the free man, the country is the collection of individuals who compose it, not something over and above them. He is proud of a common heritage and loyal to common traditions. But he regards government as a means, an instrumentality, neither a grantor of favor and gifts, nor a master or god to be blindly worshipped and served....

...He will ask rather 'What can I and my compatriots do through government' to help us discharge our individual responsibilities, to achieve our several goals and purposes, and above all, to protect our freedom?"

THIS is the issue that divides the two groups.

Posted by: HB at March 29, 2010 1:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, Milton, and excellent segue HB.

A contemporary free-market reprise of the JFK line might be: "Ask not what your country can do for you -- ask how your country can leave you alone."

I repeatedly lament a "progressive" public education establishment shaped by John Dewey and others that gave us the baby boomer do gooders who now claim to run things "for the public good." This Kennedy quote is a reminder that the collectivist ethos has infected all of civil society for a very long time.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 2:59 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

A bit late on this one, but here it goes.

My problem with Friedman's piece is that he makes an assumption I am uncomfortable with - the automatic jump from "country" to "government".

This does not make much sense to me. A country is much, much more than the state that governs it. It is a group of people, a stake of land, a collection of traditions, and the state that tries to govern it all. Thus where Friedman reads, "Ask not what your government can do for you - as what you can do for your government", I read "Ask not what your society can do for you - ask what you can do for your society". Or perhaps "your community". Even "your civilization".

And to be honest, I do not think those latter sentences are half so bad. Then again, I a am bit more on the communitarian side than most you folks...

Posted by: T. Greer at March 31, 2010 8:00 AM
But jk thinks:

We're working tg like a blogging dog today.

Were we France or Germany, I'd agree. Ein Volk and all. But I object to your objection. America is not a race or a people or a piece of dirt, it's an idea and that idea is expressed in *gasp* a free government.

Yup, letters == bad...

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 11:26 AM

March 25, 2010

I Didn't Want to Say It

But I will quote Jonathan V. Last:

For people who like to think of themselves in ideological, rather than party-based, political terms, ObamaCare is a hard lesson. When push comes to shove, political parties matter, quite a bit. Any Republican who, say, voted for Jim Webb as a sensible, hard-nosed Democrat over George Allen, a bumbling, embarrassment of a Republican, is now confronted with the stern truth about the power of parties. To paraphrase the great Midge Decter, at the end of the day you have to join the side you're on.

I hear the pragmatism theme song swelling up in the background...

I'd be unpleasant enough to suggest that Libertarians in Montana gave us Jon Tester. The Organic Farmer beat Incumbent Senator Conrad Burns by less than 4000 votes, and Libertarian Stan Jones got 10,377.

Not that one Senator would have made much of a diff -- no, wait...

Posted by John Kranz at 6:48 PM | Comments (0)

March 2, 2010

Huh?!?

Harold Ford, Jr., who had considered following Hillary Clinton from the South to carpetbag his way into the Senate from New York, has decided not run after all. In an op-ed in yesterday's NYT, Ford explains why. If The Refugee may be so bold as to summarize, his reasoning goes something like this: "The Senate and the Democrats are in big trouble and New Yorkers are clamoring for change. The current Democrat establishment that created the mess needs to be swept out or nothing will change. That's why I'm not running so that the current Democrat establishment can maintain the status quo."

Wow. With courage like that, who needs heroes?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:19 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Huh indeed. Ford has always been one of my favorite Democrats. I agree that he does not get a "Profile in Courage" award for dropping out, but it's hard to phrase that so you do (ask Gov Palin...)

I had heard the news but did not read the editorial until you linked. It's clear that the NY Dem machine -- with a vintage that includes George Clinton, Tammany Hall, Martin Van Buren, Chester Arthur and the Roosevelt's -- said "No!"

I'd add one line to your paraphrase:

"New York Democrats are clueless, corrupt, and completely out-of-touch. Other than writing about it in the NY Times, I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize their electoral success."

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2010 12:01 PM

February 21, 2010

Barnburner

I was going to make this an "Otequay of the Ayday" post but there were too many good quotes. Glenn Beck keynoted this year's CPAC conference. It was brilliant. He told Republicans it's time to say, "I'm sorry."

"It is still morning in America, it just happens to be kind of a head pounding, hung over, vomiting for four hours kind of morning in America."

Why? Progressivism. And it's in both parties.

"I'm so sick of hearing people say, 'Oh, well, Republicans are going to solve it all.' Really? It's just Progressive Lite. (...) Progressivism is the cancer in America and it is eating our Constitution. And it was designed to eat the Constitution. To 'progress past' the Constitution."

(...)

"This is the cancer that is eating at America. It is big government. It's a socialist utopia. And we need to address it as if it is a cancer. It must be cut out of the system because they cannot coexist. And you don't cure cancer by, 'Well, I'm just gonna give you a little bit of cancer.' You must eradicate it.

(...)

"Dick Cheney, a couple of days ago, was here and he says, 'It's gonna be a good year for conservative ideas.' That's true. That's very true. It's gonna be a very good year, but it's not enough just to not suck as much as the other side."

He then played on his own battle with alcohol addiction and mocked the Republican party with the first step of the Twelve Step program: "Hello, my name is the Republican Party and I've got a problem. I'm addicted to spending and big government."

Watch the video to see what he said about the Big Tent concept, and many, many other good points. Like American citizens giving ten times the charitable contributions of France ... per capita. And the depression of 1920 as compared to the "Great Depression." And Calvin Coolidge versus Woodrow Wilson.

Hat tip for the vid link to a critical Ryan Witt at examiner.com.

Some good comments there and he promises to "fact check" Beck's speech "later today."

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

Like a good joke, I enjoyed it the FIRST time (comment on post above).

But this thing kicks off once every hour. No wonder liberals hate Glenn Beck -- he won't shut up!!!

Without objection, tomorrow I will replace the embed with a link.

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 11:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, have you heard that Tiger Woods plans to legally change his name? From now on he'll be known as Cheatah Woods.

(Sorry if it's not the first time for that either. I attempted to fix the vid.)

Posted by: johngalt at February 22, 2010 2:58 PM
But jk thinks:

And my brother in law told me that Michelle Obama is pregnant!

-- of course, they're blaming George W. Bush!

Sad to say that crazy man once again tried taking over my workday. Jeez! No wonder everybody hates him...

Posted by: jk at February 22, 2010 4:51 PM

February 17, 2010

Don Luskin on Kudlow & Co.

The virtues of gridlock! Hard to argue...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:26 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Except that the Republicans will compromise -- again -- and turn up the temperature just a little more. Boiling frog, remember? The GOP is about to have this "health care summit" where they'll cave in to some of the Democrats' demands, and in return the Democrats will...give nothing.

Don't make the mistakes of equating lower deficits with gridlocked government. As I've pointed out before, the federal deficit decreased in the late 1990s while total spending increased, only because tax revenues were increasing faster than Congressional spending increased. The historical data from the CBO shows that federal spending as a percentage of GDP was in fact quite consistent during the 1980s and 1990s. In line with what I said about the late 1990s, the economic recovery and growth of the 1980s gave the federal government more of our money to spend.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 17, 2010 8:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But wait, federal spending as a percentage of GDP actually was going down with GWB and a Republican Congress. How can that be, when supposedly they were such spendthrifts together? Because they were, in absolute dollars. Notice that the outlays, in absolute dollars, kept going up and up -- just like they were going up during Reagan's terms, GHWB's term, and Clinton's terms too.

Bottom line: it's economic growth, from factors beyond the federal government's ability to create, that reduced budget deficits, not this "gridlock" or "divided government" so many cling to.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 17, 2010 8:37 PM

I Guess I AM a Conservative

If all Conservatives think this.

Insty links (and at 11:55 MST the Instalanche seems to have overwhelmed the petition signing process) to the Mount Vernon Statement. Some enjoyed the One Sentence Tea Party manifesto last week, but if you like a little more meat on the bone, I recommend this. Highly.

We recommit ourselves to the ideas of the American Founding. Through the Constitution, the Founders created an enduring framework of limited government based on the rule of law. They sought to secure national independence, provide for economic opportunity, establish true religious liberty and maintain a flourishing society of republican self-government.

These principles define us as a country and inspire us as a people. They are responsible for a prosperous, just nation unlike any other in the world. They are our highest achievements, serving not only as powerful beacons to all who strive for freedom and seek self-government, but as warnings to tyrants and despots everywhere.


And it just gets better...

Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | Comments (15)
But johngalt thinks:

First I'll refine one of Perry's points on "illegal immigration" in a way I'm sure he'd support: Without a welfare state, nowhere near as many freeloaders will want to [immigrate here.] Those who want to work hard for the American dream like the rest of us (in the private sector) are welcome to be our neighbors.

The comments here reflect most, if not all, of my initial impressions with the MVS but I didn't want to poison the thread. Hence my attempt to provoke thought instead. And having thought on it myself I conclude that it is not, nor could there ever be, an iron-clad unmistakable road map to a utopia of individual liberty on earth. To me, the greatest significance of the Mount Vernon Statement is that the establishment GOP has acknowledged the existence and morality of the TEA Party movement. It's an important first step. But there will never be a day that lovers of liberty can rest comfortably with any government anyway, so we may as well just follow BR's awesome analogy and start driving toward the other goal line. And the way I see it we're in a pretty good position to do so. As John Elway once famously said on a cold Cleveland gridiron, "We've got 'em right where we want 'em."

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 3:28 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Some snippets at QandO prompted me to finally read through the statement, not just the opening. These couple of things should bother anyone who believes in liberty:

It supports America’s national interest in advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world and prudently considers what we can and should do to that end.
George Washington is most certainly spinning in his grave. This is what neo-cons want, the license to wage war and call it "national interest."
It informs conservatism’s firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith.
Here's the real proof that the talk of "individual liberty" is mere lip service. It's the same old crap of conservatives voting .

What if I don't like my family? I personally do, but some people want nothing to do with theirs. What if I don't like my "neighborhood" or "community"? My neighbors leave me alone, except when it comes to voting on how to use my property for their own interests. In my local jurisdiction, it's not just elected officials who raise taxes. Locals will vote in actual referendums on whether they approve a new school budget. The new budgets are always more and more, with tax hikes, and they always get approved.

God save us all from these people of "faith."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 19, 2010 1:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Those passages indeed cause shivers up my spine (not my leg) but they aren't the only ones in the MVS with, uh, "versatile" meanings. But that's where it's utility can be found: Let all conservatives find their own pet meaning in each statement so that they'll direct their political antibodies toward the nearest Democrat instead of each other. A little pragmatic for my part but it's better than any alternatives I can imagine actually coming to pass. You?

Random thoughts:

The tradition of family deserves a vigorous defense on anti-statist grounds. It is the individual rights and responsibilities alternative to "it takes a village."

Advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world, as in America, is the work of the local citizenry. I have no compunction against "prudently" aiding others in that work. By and large that aid amounts to official public statements of support, encouragement, and promises of future free trade.

The saving grace of "people of faith" is that they believe in a morality that is at least consistent with individual rights, if not holding it as the highest authority as you and I do. Those we should most vigorously oppose and denounce are they who say there is no such thing as morality.

How to protect individuals from creeping taxation and tyranny of the majority? Still working on that one but an obvious first step is to thoroughly discredit Progressivism.

Posted by: johngalt at February 19, 2010 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Conservatism's darkest day -- relying on a fulsome defense from jk.

Both the segments you excerpted did give me a twitch, Perry; neither would I have written.

But we are seeking to do politics by addition here and I ask whether these are deal breakers -- and they certainly are not. The first is a call to balance national interest and a desire to promote freedom in a Constitutional framework. We talk about it here all the time. If that section has fault, it is that it doesn't really say anything, not what it says. I think it leaves Jefferson versus Jackson unresolved.

The second quote is not at all outside the bounds of liberty: "...firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith." You read that as a license for Pat Robertson, but I suggest all of these institutions need protection from government. I read nothing about establishing a national religion, but the protection of one's beliefs and protection from the many, many government intrusions into matters of family and community.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2010 3:43 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Once again, we must consider the source. If you take those words literally, they're mostly innocuous. However, we know exactly what those points mean.

Conservatives don't approach those two from any perspective of individualism. It's their own brand of collectivism where, damn the individual, he'll be lumped together so his taxes will be used to "advance liberty" elsewhere -- like it or not. Do you really think these conservatives plan to promote freedom passively, i.e. by this country serving as an example to others? It's doubtful they're thinking that more people can come here freely to escape their own oppressive governments.

Consider the source, and you'll know exactly what the fourth point means: waging more wars. What about people like me who no longer support it? On what moral basis can we, should we be compelled to "advance liberty" for others?

The tradition of family deserves a vigorous defense on anti-statist grounds. It is the individual rights and responsibilities alternative to "it takes a village."
But some people don't believe in that tradition, so this "conservatism" is in fact imposing a moral system upon them.
Advancing freedom and opposing tyranny in the world, as in America, is the work of the local citizenry. I have no compunction against "prudently" aiding others in that work. By and large that aid amounts to official public statements of support, encouragement, and promises of future free trade.
But again, you know the fourth point's implication is a military approach. Do we, can we trust modern conservatives to take Washington's advice?
The saving grace of "people of faith" is that they believe in a morality that is at least consistent with individual rights, if not holding it as the highest authority as you and I do. Those we should most vigorously oppose and denounce are they who say there is no such thing as morality.
Actually, I don't trust a whole lot of my fellow Baptists. While I share the same beliefs about salvation and sin, there are too damn many of them who want to use the force of law to make people moral. It's great to love your neighbor, but not force the love upon him, or force him to love others.

Have you ever heard Christians say that the Bible teaches us to submit to authority, i.e. government? But when that conflicts with God, what happens to Acts 5:29? "We ought to obey God rather than men." What this particular type of Christian leaves out is that it's a two-way street. Children are to obey their parents AND parents are not to treat them badly so that the children will become angry. Slaves are to obey their masters AND masters are to treat slaves well. And people were told to submit to authority AND such authorities were expected to treat people justly.

Therefore it's a covenant like we have with God. God is always faithful, of course, so if any side breaks it, it's mankind. But these covenants between men don't give carte blanche to the one with authority, so children are not required to submit to bad parents, and slaves are not required to submit to masters who beat them. Should a people, then, be required to submit to a government that does not treat them justly?

On the flip side, "faith" isn't a prerequisite for morality, as we readily see with Randians. They have the higher morality of leaving me alone to my own conscience.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 20, 2010 10:56 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
But we are seeking to do politics by addition here and I ask whether these are deal breakers -- and they certainly are not. The first is a call to balance national interest and a desire to promote freedom in a Constitutional framework. We talk about it here all the time. If that section has fault, it is that it doesn't really say anything, not what it says. I think it leaves Jefferson versus Jackson unresolved.
"it doesn't really say anything" is exactly the danger. As I was saying to JG, we know exactly what conservatives are saying behind nice-sounding words.
The second quote is not at all outside the bounds of liberty: "...firm defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith." You read that as a license for Pat Robertson, but I suggest all of these institutions need protection from government. I read nothing about establishing a national religion, but the protection of one's beliefs and protection from the many, many government intrusions into matters of family and community.
It's the individual, and his freedom to act without harming others, who alone should be protected. Why should institutions be so specifically enumerated, when to protect the individual is to protect any voluntarily associations of individuals? Why should the institutions have a special protected status over those who want to live in solitude, away from neighbors, and without faith? Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 20, 2010 11:07 PM

February 11, 2010

Hope and Change Update

Democratic strategist Roland Martin writes:


Obama's critics keep blasting him for Chicago-style politics. So, fine. Channel your inner Al Capone and go gangsta against your foes. Let 'em know that if they aren't with you, they are against you, and will pay the price.

Hope. Change.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:10 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

How soon his own party forgets. Doesn't "Don't think we're not keeping score, brother" sound familiar? Or is that the history that will be "forgotten" in the New Obama Order?

I won't excuse Shelby and his rent-seeking friends, but how hypocritical (surprise!) of the Demorats. How soon they want to forget that they did the same "obstruction" for years on Bush's judicial nominees. Does anyone else remember John Bolton? Miguel Estrada? (Estrada was in Phi Beta Kappa and graduated magna cum laude from both Columbia and Harvard Law. Affirmative action, at least at those schools, even at those schools, won't help you graduate near the top of your class.)

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2010 2:00 PM

February 8, 2010

Fat Cat Bankers Cause Depression!

Must read lead editorial in the WSJ today. If you have to subscribe to read it, pony up!

NYAG Andrew Cuomo has filed a fraud lawsuit against Bank of America joining as the WSJ Ed Page declares "the long queue of politicians blaming bankers as the chief culprits in creating the financial panic and recession"

But they click on over to the Housing and Urban Development web site. Take a moment and imagine explaining to the ghost of James Madison that we have a Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, and that it is contained in the Executive Branch... I digress. Here's an item from the HUD accomplishments during AG Cuomo's tenure as HUD Chief under President Clinton.

HUD's Web visitors learn that in 1999 "Secretary Cuomo established new Affordable Housing Goals requiring Fannie Mae and Freddie Macótwo government sponsored enterprises involved in housing financeóto buy $2.4 trillion in mortgages in the next 10 years. This will mean new affordable housing for about 28.1 million low- and moderate-income families. The historic action raised the required percentage of mortgage loans for low- and moderate-income families that the companies must buy from the current 42 percent of their total purchases to a new high of 50 percentóa 19 percent increaseóin the year 2001."

Damned, fat cat bankers!

The good part of this story is that I have been overwhelmed of late with nostalgia for the Clinton days. Spending was down, Buffy was on, NAFTA and GATT were kicking in -- as was China's MFN and WTO status. Yeah, he was boning the interns (Umm, that would depend on what the definition of "boning" is...) but IPOs were happening and life was good.

It is worth remembering that Al-Qaedaís growth was unabated and that these seeds of future economic troubles were being sown. Hey, I still take him any day of the week over the present occupant, but the pleasant, silver-haired magistrate of bonhomie we see helping the Haitians is always pitched as being better than his successor. I'm not buying.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:14 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

To be specific, budget deficits were down during in the Clinton years. But as I've pointed out in the past, it wasn't because spending was down. Federal expenditures were as high as ever. It's just that tax revenues were increasing faster than Congress accelerated its own spending.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 8, 2010 12:01 PM

February 5, 2010

Quote of the Day

But Tancredo, a committed protectionist and anti-immigration crusader, would have been equally disastrous. Itís too bad that the Tea Party would open their first ďofficialĒ convention with a politician who so ferociously opposes one of the key tenets of the capitalism. Fact is, committed socialists and Tancredo have plenty to agree on. -- David Harsanyi
My hope for the TEA Party convention does not match my hopes for the TEA Party movement.

UPDATE: Blog friend Terri and I do not see eye-to-eye on immigration, but she's no happier with Rep. Tancreado's speech:

If Tom Tancredo is the ďfaceĒ of the Tea Party movement, then the tea party movement is dead. Heís pretty certain we should have Jim Crow laws for voting.
ďPeople who could not even spell the word Ďvoteí or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House,Ē he said.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 29, 2010

The Best Part of Politics

jindal_tweet.gif
(The link is to his Facebook page).

Posted by John Kranz at 4:45 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

How about 1.12 billion cubic yards of fill dirt to raise the city of New Orleans to sea level?

Posted by: johngalt at January 31, 2010 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

As the kiddies say, LOL, brother jg, LOL.

Posted by: jk at February 1, 2010 9:58 AM

January 25, 2010

Quote of the Day

Where you getting all this economic freedom all the sudden Canada? Just happen to find it laying around in the snow somewhere? Well it turns out weíve recently misplaced a good deal of it around here. A little suspicious if you ask me. -- Adam Ozimek
Hat-tip: Instapundit
Posted by John Kranz at 1:26 PM | Comments (0)

January 22, 2010

On a TEA Party Platform

What is a RINO? As JK and I agreed, it depends who you ask. I suggested we'd agree with the definition used by the TEA Party movement but that's more than a bit nebulous since it's a movement and not a party organization. For the sake of argument, let's consider the commendable platform of the Boston Tea Party:

Platform of the Boston Tea Party

The Boston Tea Party supports reducing the size, scope and power of government at all levels and on all issues, and opposes increasing the size, scope and power of government at any level, for any purpose.

Being a "black-and-white" type of guy myself I like this concise expression of a consistent policy that is applied to every issue. But where jk would probably see "reduce the scope and power of government to limit illegal immigration" I would instead point to Article I, Sections 8 and 9 and say that establishing and enforcing laws regarding migration and naturalization are Constitutional functions of government. As is the repelling of invasions.

Ultimately though, I don't see this platform standing the test of time. If the scope of the movement is allowed to creep beyond taxes, regulations and government spending it is doomed to fragment and fall through the policy planks of the established GOP and DNC parties. I'll take an impromptu swipe at a better TEA Party Platform:

Platform of the _____ TEA Party

In order to promote a just and sustainable civil society in the United States, the ____ TEA Party supports the requirement of Article I, Section 2 of the United States Constitution that all direct taxes be apportioned among the states according to their representative numbers and, in so keeping, calls upon the state legislatures to ratify a constitutional amendment repealing the 16th amendment.

Furthermore, the Party supports a robust exercise of Judicial power to constrain the Executive and Legislative branches to the letter and spirit of the United States Constitution, most importantly in regard to regulation of commerce and expenditures from the national treasury.

Thoughts?

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:51 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

I don't want to do a lot of either ... either. I also don't want to spend the rest of my life in Washington trying to make sure the right amount of both gets done, and no more. I like our Constitutional Republic and think it was in darn good shape until a few bad amendments slipped through (some without actually being ratified.) And no, I don't think this idea is an overreach for the vast majority of Americans. Why would you think so?

My reading of your proposed platform is an attempt to strengthen adherence to the Constitution but if swearing an oath to uphold it doesn't achieve that then why would these few words in a platform make a difference?

You also mentioned "Tea Party" legislators, executives and candidates, which exposes an area of confusion by the name "Tea Party." I don't propose that it be a political party, but an alliance of patriots that takes its name from the historical party at Boston Harbor. Perhaps a better name would be Platform of the TEA Party Patriots.

My wording may be lacking and it may be too lengthy to gain the desired traction and following. But I do have the sense that this is where most TEA Partiers have been saying they want to go - lower taxes, fairer taxes, less government welfare and meddling with matters of commerce, and much, much more transparency.

I've seen many mentions of border security and some, but fewer, of abortion bans at the rallies I've witnessed. It would be tragic for the anti-tax and spend message to be diluted by those or any other issues. Hence, my suggestion to repeal the 16th amendment. If the Constitution is restored I am hopeful that voters acting in their own interest will refrain from electing representatives who intend to raise taxes. What is so overreaching in that?

[I tried to keep this comment to less than a zillion words. I also hoped the post would attract the views of a variety of regular commenters. Good intentions, by the board.]

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2010 8:33 PM
But jk thinks:

Nope, I had the overnight brainstorm here it is:

All Ten in 2010!

We, the undersigned legislative candidates of either political party do promise to craft and approve all future legislation expressly to restore and protect our rights as granted in the Bill of Rights.

The first ten amendments were crafted by our founders and the original authors of the Constitution. They protect individual freedom from government intrusion and limit the size, scope, and power of government.

Therefore in 2010, the signers pledge to govern as Tea Party Patriot Legislators, protecting the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2010 10:33 AM
But jk thinks:

Hate to duck a direct question, but I wanted to get my All Ten in 2010 platform up (above).

I thought we'd worn through this, but I don't see any interest in rolling back government services to pre-16th Amendment levels. Once I leave the lofty, intellectual heights of ThreeSources I am confronted with the fact that people like Medicare, Social Security, the EPA and the Department of Education. Nobody has been able to shave off 1% from any of those. Even with miles of evidence at their inefficacy and unconstitutionality, they (and the mohair subsidy) live on.

Trying to kill them all in one fell swoop (what is a fell swoop?) would be quixotic at best. Trying to preserve the Bill of Rights would get a little more purchase.

When you start tossing out Amendments that were ratified on shaky procedure, you would have to start with the Civil War Amendments (13-14-15) which were ratified by occupational governments. Worms. Can. Opener.

Give folks time. It is not only a weekend, it is a playoff weekend.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2010 10:46 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Good feedback. My intent in rolling back the 16th is not to eliminate the income tax, but to make the tax on everyone equal. It's the inequity that enables redistribution. Congress would just have to figure out a way to tax every individual equally, and at a rate to get the same revenue. All programs could then remain intact to the extent voters continue to support them. Given this policy I'd be fully willing to allow illegal aliens to not only have amnesty and use government services, but to vote - provided they have social security numbers and pay their taxes.

I've considered the "first 10" approach in the past but see a few that came later we'd all agree should stay: women's suffrage and emancipation, primarily.

It looks like "fell swoop" came from Shakespeare, and hunting birds.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2010 5:48 PM
But jk thinks:

Methinks me wuz misconstrued. I did not want to lop the Constitution off at the end of the Tenth -- I wanted to focus on the Bill of Rights as a cause for the Tea Partiers.

I questioned the 12th and 17th, thinking that popular elections have not increased freedom. But I publicly wavered in the face of Gov Rod Blagojevich's putting a Senate Seat up on eBay last year. Maybe the people should do it.

There are facets of the 14th that disturb me, but I am quite ready to take the whole thing: chicks voting, MTV's solemn right to rock the vote, holding inaugurations on Jan 20, I'm in...

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2010 10:17 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm just sayin' that it would be easy to make the TPer's look bad if they say the first 10 are "the most important" or "our focus" or whatever. But I think we're both thinking too hard. Let's not talk about "10" but about "The Bill of Rights." Who could villify that?

Posted by: johngalt at January 25, 2010 11:47 AM

Everybody Wants a Pony!

I don't think they teach "Civics" anymore, but a young person could learn much about government by reading Scrivenerís awesome Pony Reform

I want a pony. You want a pony. Polls show that everybody wants a pony!

Let's build a New Permanent Majority by enacting Pony Reform!

OK, we're committed. Upon this foundation of popular reform we will build our power base...


Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 21, 2010

The Black Vote and the Party of Lincoln

Thomas Sowell wants to know why Republicans haven't given more thought to winning the black vote. "If they get 20 percent of the black vote, the Democrats are in trouble-- and if they get 30 percent, the Democrats have had it in the general election."

Many of the key constituencies of the Democratic Party-- the teachers' unions, the trial lawyers, and the environmentalists, for example-- have agendas whose net effect is to inflict damage on blacks. Urban Renewal destroys mostly minority neighborhoods and environmentalist restrictions on building homes make housing prices skyrocket, forcing blacks out of many communities. The number of blacks in San Francisco has been cut in half since 1970.

But, unless Republicans connect the dots and lay out the facts in plain English, these facts will be like the tree that fell in an empty forest without being heard.

He has some good practical advice. "The teachers' unions are going to be against the Republicans, whether Republicans hammer them or keep timidly quiet. Why not talk straight to black voters... Blacks have been lied to so much that straight talk can gain their respect, even if they don't agree with everything you say." Come to think of it, that last part applies to voters of any race. Just ask Scott Brown.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:07 PM | Comments (0)

A tale of two RINO's

Until April of last year many considered Senators John McCain and Arlen Specter to be RINOs based on their support for signature Democrat policies in the areas of immigration, global warming and campaign finance among others. Specter's announcement that he was switching back to the Democrat party after 44 years made big news, but John McCain stealthily embarked on another track. First he reversed his support for cap and trade. Then he bumper-hitched the Tea Party movement and started befriending candidates like Scott Brown and voting against the Obamagenda. Now, he's in pretty good shape to hold his own seat in the senate with campaign endorsements and appearances by his former running mate Sarah Palin and even the newly minted junior senator from Massachusetts.

This goes mostly to show that McCain was never as much a RINO as Specter but also that Arlen seriously misread the staying power of the Obama Express. Losing the presidential election and inspiring some primary challengers seem to have rekindled McCain's conservative sensabilities. I'm already willing to predict that McCain's strategy will succeed and he'll be re-elected in November. And I'm even OK with it. He is a war hero, after all. (I just hope he'll remember what he really believes in if he ever again becomes a media darling.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:35 PM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

And this is as good a place as any to point out that if just one of the current 40 Republicans in the senate can be persuaded to follow Specter into the abyss, then the significance of Scott Brown's victory would be nullified. Fortunately, I can't imagine anyone being that stupid - not even a Republican senator.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 4:00 PM
But jk thinks:

I would never call Senator McCain a RINO. I would call him a few other names, but...

Senator McCain has been an unreliable vote in the GOP Senate caucus, but he is usually there when needed. I think of Senators Snowe, Collins, Voinovich as RINOs. Senators McCain and Graham can be irritatingly absent on issues, but I would never call either a RINO.

The distinction is to envision "pulling a Specter." The three I mentioned would fit in the Democratic Caucus, McCain and Graham never!

I clarify because if/when immigration becomes a GOP litmus test, you are going to lose not only McCain, but also Kudlow, the WSJ Ed Page, and umm, meÖ

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2010 6:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Human Events' top 10 RINO's in the senate as of March, 2009, based on an overall analysis of votes in the 110th congress. Specter 6, McCain 7.

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2010 8:49 PM
But jk thinks:

If Human Events is the arbiter of all things Republican, I am certainly a RINO. The next list is Family Research Council's top ten in the House. I'd suggest if they're deciding, you are one too.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2010 10:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If there was such a thing as the "TEA Party Top 10 Big Government Republicans in the Senate" I'd have used that instead. Let's not miss the bigger point though by arguing over what RINO means to the nth degree. McCain has clearly been a leaf in the Capitol Hill wind and that's quietly changed since last April. I call that good news. He and Specter read the same political landscape and saw it exactly opposite from each other.

And for his part, Specter seems none too comfortable with his current predicament.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2010 12:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I agree that RINO-taxonomy does not affect your post nor your excellent point.

But we occasionally digress down a side road around here. And Scott Brown's candidacy has spotlighted the question of who/what defines a Tea-Party RINO?

If it turns out that the Tea Partiers come out full-on against baby-killers, queer-lovers, and (gasp!) open-border types, then you and I are in a spot of trouble, nicht wahr?

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2010 1:55 PM

January 20, 2010

A little more cold H2O

C/O our buddy Donald L Luskin:

Posted by John Kranz at 2:02 PM | Comments (0)

January 19, 2010

Quote of the Century

RE: disposition of Ted Kennedy's seat:

Why would you hand the keys to the car back to the same guys whose policies drove the economy into the ditch and then walked away from the scene of the accident?-- Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) (via Ann Althouse, Jonah Goldberg, FOXNews, Instapundit, &c.)

Ow! That's gotta hurt!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Dr. Freud, please call your office.

Posted by: johngalt at January 19, 2010 12:11 PM

January 18, 2010

Holiday Quote of the Day

"The only person ever prosecuted under the Georgia income tax perjury statute was Martin Luther King." -- Corey R. Chivers, Desuetude, Due Process, and the Scarlet Letter Revisited, 1992 Utah L. Rev. 449, 454 n.27 (Gated paper, HT: TaxProf)
Stunning. This brings the abstract concept of liberty home. I sound black-helicopterish to myself some days. But power given to State can be used as the State chooses.
Posted by John Kranz at 6:49 PM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2010

The GOP's "Negro Problem"

Jason Richwine hits a blog post out of the park.

In a short ThreeSources discussion, jg commented that "If putting the Democrat majority leader of the Senate on the defensive for a few cycles can help keep them from peaking too soon, so be it." It's hard to argue with that, but my concern is that we are adopting the victimologists principles and rhetoric.

Richwine asks how the GOP can govern when it makes short term plays like demanding Reid's resignation and foreswearing Medicare cuts.

Senator Reidís remarks, unremarkable as they were, should have elicited no comment whatsoever from GOP leaders. Instead, party chairman Michael Steele called for Reid to resign his leadership post. Why is this bad? Because for decades the Left has attempted to enforce a strict set of rules regarding what may be publicly stated about race. We are safe if we stick to platitudes like ďdiversity is our strength,Ē but any critique of affirmative action or mention of racial differences is immediately suspected to be insensitive, intolerant, or just plain racist. For conservatives to make progress on racial issues, it is essential that the boundaries of the debate be expanded to allow a more open discussion.

Steeleís extreme over-reaction is a surrender to political correctness, just for the sake of having a talking point to emphasize for a few days. Republicans will never have anything useful to say about racial issues if they allow the Congressional Black Caucus and NAACP to set the terms of the debate. Yet that could easily be the long-term effect of their latest rhetorical misadventure.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:21 PM | Comments (5)
But Lisa M thinks:

Jason Richwine strikes exactly at the heart of the matter. As much as we we love to savor Reid's squirm, it is best to let this slide without GOP comment. That is because it would be best for everyone if politics of this "gotcha" nature were to disappear from our national dialog for good. Only then will we have truly entered the "post-racial" era.

The GOP can never win the day on race for long because the left controls the language and the rules. That much should be evident from the Dem's handling of Reid. Instead of trying to beat the Dems at their game using thier rules, we should be trying to change the game.

Posted by: Lisa M at January 12, 2010 9:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Riddle me this, Bat-bloggers: How does racial gotcha politics come to an end when only one side foreswears it? Isn't that a bit like saying, "The way to stop terrorism is to educate terrorists and their progeny that it would be best for everyone if terrorism were to disappear from the Earth?"

Isn't it more effective to say, "If you attack us we'll attack you seven times over" and then DO IT? And in the case of racial indignation, using it against the Dems has a dual effect of instructing the glass-house-dwelling Democrats to use caution lest they face the same treatment and exposing their hypocrisy to the racial minorities they posture to champion.

So this is not just the pragmatic course that pays short term dividends. Principled me still sees no reason to object.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2010 2:22 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

jg, that strategy hasn't worked out so well for us thus far, has it? I say we stay above this kind of politics--let the Dems do their kabuki theater apology dance of attrition for transgressions--but we stop playing. There are many many reasons for Harry Reid to step down as Senate leader; this is the least of them.

The other part of it is that we stop eating our own. We are trying to play by their rules--which they change to suit themselves. It's a game we can never win. The race baiters and the feminists, professional grievance mongers all, control the game. The game is hopelessly rigged against us. So we stop playing. Then the next time one of our boneheaded Republicans says somethign stupid, we simply point to Harry Reid and we say, "Well, it wasn't as bad as all that, now, was it? We think we'll keep this guy right where he is, just like you guys did."

Harry Reid does enough damage to himself and the democratic party with each apssing day he is in office. Do we really want someone more competent in there before they have been completely destroyed?

Posted by: Lisa M at January 13, 2010 7:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah -- what she said! (Seriously, nicely put.)

Another point to consider is that they own the outrage and aggrievement channels. Astonishing to me is how innocuous this comment is. The "racist outburst" of the dim bulb from Searchlight was his disparagement of Justice Thomas (I remember because it scored me a Taranto link). Leader Reid asserted that Thomas's decisions were "poorly written" and compared his intelligence negatively to Justice Scalia.

This episode was the real deal and it got little attention outside of Taranto's BOTW and ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 7:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You make a great case LisaM. I still don't get why the GOP forced out Lott. But I still see race as a powerful tool to sway elections. I'm not sure we could all endure the Democrat takeover that lasts until the electorate figures out they're being played.

Earlier you said, "...we should be trying to change the game." Agreed, but how? My best suggestion is to replace the race divide with something more appealing to those who think themselves aggrieved. The great difficulty lies in replacing group identity politics with individual identity politics.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2010 2:25 PM

January 11, 2010

Huck-a-whack

Mike Huckabee never looked so good as he has since becoming a regular contributor on Fox News Channel. This flattering exposure has concerned me since he might harbor ambitions for another presidential run. So I'm pleased to see someone I'd actually want to run now following his lead:

NY Daily News: Sarah Palin joins Fox News as a contributor in multi-year deal

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:12 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Jeesh. Dan Quayle? He's a good man if not an inspirational politician but comparing Dan Quayle to Sarah Palin is like comparing The Professor to Mary Ann after a day at the salon (and $50,000 of "GOP wardrobe.")

In parting, please remember to judge Palin by her words and deeds and not by her media caricature.

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2010 3:05 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"judge Palin by her words and deeds"

I have tried that, and I still came to JK's conclusion. And heck, I an't no Palin hater -- the reason I am on your guy's blog role is because I wrote a nice post on why I had been advocating for her place on McCain's ticket long before such a move was announced.

I just cannot get around the fact that she quit. You can give me excuses about how she was tired of being a lame duck Governor, that the Presidential run had ruined politics in Alaska (a sad truth -- I wonder if Palin might have been much more if she had never been chosen for vp running mate at all) -- but none of this changes the fact that she quit.

To be honest, I am not a great fan of quitters.


Sarah Palin is a great tragedy of our times. I believe if she had stuck to it, if she had put her nose to the grind stone and devoted herself to acquiring knowledge, wit, and political expertise, she could have become something truly great. Ten years of work and America could have her own Thatcher. Instead, we America is getting one more politico blow hard to fill her airwaves.

As I said, it is a tragedy.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 13, 2010 6:18 AM
But jk thinks:

And, if I recall correctly, Mary Ann's wardrobe was fine.

I would happily pull the lever for Governor Palin. My point is that I know A LOT of needed votes who won't. I hate to offer anecdotal polling as data, but the moderate to right-leaners I know have all written her off.

Maybe in the same 16 years as Reagan's AuH20 speech to his election she can rehabilitate her image. But it is not going to happen in four. I blame the McCain handlers more than the Gov, but she is badly damaged goods.

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 10:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

JK, are you forgetting about Moore's law? Things happen faster now. It must be that internet thingy.

So you know people who've written her off. Yeah, me too. Just tell them they're wrong, they should take a closer look, and move on. Silence in the face of baseless criticism reinforces it.

As for "quitting" as governor of Alaska, how many Boston patriots quit their jobs to take a leadership role in the revolutionary war? The tree of liberty is parched and Palin knows we're darn desperate for field generals.

Posted by: johngalt at January 13, 2010 4:50 PM
But jk thinks:

You good folks are again too quick for me. I almost ceded the point in advance. The Internets thingy will cut her rehab time down to eight years (likely a good time for a Presidential run).

I do correct folks. But many of them don't buy it. Some of my friends, you'll be surprised to hear, think me a partisan hack. And I suspect there are some people in this country that I don't even know.

Posted by: jk at January 13, 2010 5:36 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Sure thing JG, we are in need of field generals. But you are kinder to our class of political pundits than I. Field generals? All I see them do is dig latrines.

And when you are in that line of business, one quickly gets too covered in muk to transfer out of it.

Posted by: T. Greer at January 14, 2010 1:04 AM

January 10, 2010

Great Idea

ThreeSourcers should enjoy their six weeks of Silence Dogood. Our favorite left-of-center commenter has posted some interesting items today, including this, which I had not heard before:

The real term limits we need - limits on time as a committee chair. Stay in congress as long as you like (and can get elected). But you have to do it on more than your ability to deliver pork through the power of a committee chair.

I like that a lot. I am very torn on term limits. They seem arbitrary and counter to liberty. And yet, the problems of incumbency...

Next March, College basketball will take him away. So like I say, enjoy while you can!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (4)
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Ha, OK I deserved that. I try to keep up really! Surprise I had not mentioned my limits on chairmanships before, I have long thought this was the one fair way to limit terms (of power). Elections are free and open, chairmanships appointments with obscure, questionable motives.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 12:38 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Where Silence wants to limit terms of power, I want to limit the power itself. Remove the governmental power to redistribute wealth - through inflation of the currency and inequitable taxation - and most of the leeches in the congress will lose interest.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 2:14 PM
But Silence Dogood thinks:

Baby steps johngalt. I don't disagree with your proposition, just that I consider even my suggestion a long shot, your's would hardly seem to register on the possibility scale. Or, put it another way, one could help lead to the other, I am just adding a step to the ladder.

Posted by: Silence Dogood at January 10, 2010 6:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've always liked the vertical game.

Posted by: johngalt at January 10, 2010 8:18 PM

January 6, 2010

Not Another Party Party

The Tea Party Patriots (very official spokespeople for the movement as they have Facebook, Ning, and Twitter accounts) renounce the move to create a Judean People's Front Party. Good for them.

There is much talk of the formation of a third political party based on the tea party movement. In Florida, a Democratic operative with absolutely no connection to the tea party movement has filed papers to form a third party called the Florida Tea Party. He has issued legal threats against local tea parties demanding that they cease using the name "Florida Tea Party."

Tea Party Patriots is issuing this statement in order to make it clear that we are not associated with this, or any attempts to form a third party. Additionally, we believe that such efforts are unproductive and unwise at this time. The history of third party movements in this country is one of division and defeat. We believe that it is instead time for all Americans to rise up and demand appropriate reform within their own parties. The mechanisms exist for citizens to participate in their parties, and to drive their parties in the right direction.

The Tea Party Patriots encourage all citizens to get involved in the party process, and to reshape their parties into something in which they may once again believe. This country does not belong to any one party, nor does it belong to the career politicians. This country belongs to the citizens. As Benjamin Franklin once said, "We have given you a republic madam, if you can keep it." The founders knew that it would be our sacred obligation as citizens to get involved, and to work hard to hold on to this great nation. We have much work to do, and future generations will look back in judgment. We hope you will join us in preserving the republic.


Posted by John Kranz at 3:50 PM | Comments (0)

January 5, 2010

The Best Chance to Stop ObamaCare?

Some are calling it the best chance to stop ObamaCare. I gave $50 and follow @ScottBrownMA on Twitter.

And that was before I saw how cute his daughters are! You want to make a difference, I don't think this is a bad place to start. The national GOP has given up but some bloggers are thinking of making it a race, He's nine points down, and the race is in Massachusetts, but...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:33 PM | Comments (0)

December 15, 2009

Extinguish Liberty and Prosperity

An anecdote and a WSJ column add to the same sad conclusion. As the lamp of liberty is extinguished in the US, the lamp of prosperity dims concomitantly (boy if we had an editor around here, sentences like that would be struck or fixed...)

At lunch with two socialists and two dyed-in-the-wool American progressives last Sunday. I kept my mouth shut until the virtues of Michael Moore's "Sicko" came up. This was more than I could bear. "...and you go to the cashier after your doctor's visit and they give YOU money!" I snapped -- I waved my chopsticks in the air (it was dim sum) and said "and the money comes from faeries waving magic wands! They don't tax anybody or anything!"

It was all good natured and I got a little lecture on how socialism has "worked" in France for 60 years. But then my Parisian friend said something which did bug me. "Nobody there wants to come here anymore. My friends and family used to be jealous and they all wanted to come here. Now nobody does."

That line has stuck in my head. At one level it was a debating point, but the sentiment was real. Why would you? In a down economy, the world's highest corporate tax rates and a shining new era of increased regulation, why indeed?

You didn't come to ThreeSources to hear jk bash the USA (Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?) so I will pass the baton. Dana Matioli of the Wall Street Journal careers section says With Fewer U.S. Opportunities, Home Looks Appealing to Expats. Unemployment, Visa issues and more dynamic economies in their home countries are luring ex-pats back. Matioli cites examples from Australia, Germany and Asia.

Posted by John Kranz at 9:37 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

How much worse will it need to get before President Obama decides to return to his home country?

Posted by: johngalt at December 15, 2009 3:47 PM

December 10, 2009

Campaign Finance Reform

I have a goofy idea, but it is a good idea. Here is a new way to raise campaign cash:

Create a "Director's Level" ("Wonk's Level," whatever..) and members who donate a certain $$$ get put on a special list that will receive -- how can I put this -- not-completely-idiotic campaign literature.

I have received a couple copies of an email from Jane Norton. She is running against Senator Bennet in 2010. I want to support her. I want her to win, but I really can't handle these emails. I know we all get 100s electronic and print:

[Two sentences]

Tell Michael Bennet to Stop Playing Politics with Health Care. Sign Up Now, Below and Support Jane Norton. Send a Message that We Need Quality, Affordable Health Care - Not a Government Takeover of America's Health Care System!

[Three bullet points]

Tell Michael Bennet to Stop Playing Politics with Health Care. Sign Up Now, Below and Support Jane Norton. Send a Message that We Need Quality, Affordable Health Care - Not a Government Takeover of America's Health Care System!

&c.


As blog pragmatist, I understand that she cannot win by a 100% pure appeal to higher philosophical virtues (though she could do a little better than this letter). And yet, I am tired of being treated like a child. AND, I am wiling to pony up a certain amount ($250, maybe $500) to get emails that are substantive and targeted at somebody with a knowledge of politics and government that is not third-grade populism.

I'd like to receive her serious thoughts on health care at a level that would be suitable for readers of this blog. And I'd pay for the privilege.

Michael Steele, same offer buddy, I'm not three and your vehicles are causing me to contribute less than I would normally.

UPDATE: I conflated Jane Norton with Gale Norton (since corrected). ThreeSources apologizea for any inconvenience.

UPDATE II: Gale vs Jane

Posted by John Kranz at 1:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 8, 2009

Quote of the Day

As someone who worked inside a White House, I say you really believe government should be small when you see your friends running it. -- Bill McGurn
Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

...and even smaller when you see Bill Ayers' friends running it.

Posted by: johngalt at December 8, 2009 3:44 PM

December 5, 2009

Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally

Having wished out loud here for a conservative candidate like Sarah Palin to advocate limited government in the economic AND the social spheres I was naturally pleased to hear evangelical Christian Kevin Miller talk about his new effort to "reestablish crucial commonality and shared success among social conservatives, fiscal conservatives, libertarians and all freedom-cherishing Americans." (Hey, that got your attention din't it!)

Christians know from the New Testament that virtue is not accomplished even by Biblical law ó so how much more powerless is civil law to create virtue? No national government can achieve both freedom and virtue: neither will be accomplished ...

Hat tip: Mike Rosen's second hour today [audio file].

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:20 AM | Comments (0)

November 10, 2009

Whiteboard

Mister Gillespie is in form today:

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

November 3, 2009

Quote of the Day Dos

Mister Taranto is in rare form today:

Virginia is one of two states that elect statewide officials a year after presidential elections, and in the governor's race, Republican Bob McDonnell looks to win big over Democrat Creigh Deeds. (We're not sure whether Creigh rhymes with "gay" or "brie.")

Posted by John Kranz at 3:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 31, 2009

Tea Partiers Get First Scalp

That will certainly be the spin, and I am not disposed to contradict it. New York Republicans ran a woman for whom RINO seems too kind. The Tea Party crowd came out big for the Conservative Party candidate and was pitted against the GOP establishment in the person of Speaker Gingrich (praise be upon the 104th Congress).

Yesterday, the polls turned toward the Conservative candidate and today:

Republican Dede Scozzafava has suspended her bid in next Tuesdayís NY 23 special election, a huge development that dramatically shakes up the race. She did not endorse either of her two opponents -- Conservative party candidate Doug Hoffman or Democrat Bill Owens.

The decision to suspend her campaign is a boost for Hoffman, who already had the support of 50 percent of GOP voters, according to a newly-released Siena poll, and is now well-positioned to win over the 25 percent of Republicans who had been sticking with Scozzafava.


Instapundit had highlighted a suggestion by blogger Bill Quick for Scozzafava to drop out. I could not understand why she would -- in solidarity for a candidate she didn't agree with? That's like saying "jk, if you'd just shut up, we could pass socialized medicine." "Well, all right then..."

In all the hubbub, I confess that I have not paid a lot of attention to Hoffman's views. Many of his big supporters are a bit more populist than I am, but they say he's the real deal (for example, I cite St. Louis blogger/talk show host Dana Loesch).

If every journey begins with a single step, I would call this one significant.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

Happy as I was, I was going to revisit this issue. FOXNews (not a real news organization, but what you gonna do?) said that Scozzafava was "pro-Choice and pro gay marraige." Are those her crimes?

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2009 12:19 PM
But Keith thinks:

Pro-choice, pro-homosexual marriage, pro-Big-Labor, pro Card Check, pro-ACORN, pro-high-taxes, pro-government-owned healthcare. This wasn't a case of a purge of someone failing a litmus test or two. This was a case of a candidate with an R after her name being farther left than her Democrat opponent.

I, like most people (I hope), understand that I'm never going to get everything I want from a candidate; politics today boils down to getting some or most of what you want instead of none of it. If a candidate agrees with me on 75% of what's important to me and his opponent disagrees with me on 75%, I'm not going to withhold my vote - hell, I held my nose and voted for McCain.

The issue in the NY-23 is that Scozzofava had zero percent in alignment with conservatives. She didn't fail a litmus test; she failed the entrance exam.

Posted by: Keith at November 2, 2009 12:33 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh no, Keith, this was a supposed reporter, not an op-ed columnist. The article was masqueraded as news.

Trust me, if it had been that blowhard Rich, I'd have remembered it with his holier-than-thou, smug smile.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 2, 2009 2:03 PM
But Keith thinks:

Apparently the "journalist" and Frank Rich are both working from the same talking points:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/opinion/01rich.html?_r=1

Posted by: Keith at November 2, 2009 2:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
But nanobrewer thinks:


She was a big Cap'n Tax supporter as well, as I heard it. Barely a Specter of a Republican :-)

[Aftermath computing]: if the 7000 absentee ballots for the Scofflaw had all gone to Hoffman, he'd have won the seat. Bad GOP, easy on the eye of Newt!

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 4, 2009 12:24 PM

October 23, 2009

Some Ammo for Brother JG

Your cousin comes at you with an email, you reply with an IBD editorial, She sends you an AP link, you mail her a copy of Atlas Shrugged. It's the Chicago Way...

I have heard "The Chicago Way" many times (they even had it on the Irish TV series "Ballykissangel"), but I never knew where it was from. Kim Strassel provides a citation, quotes it, and then compares it to the Obama Administration. Great stuff and another Friday jk link to Strassel won't surprise nobody.

But my blog brother was looking for examples of "disingenuousness" from the President. And I feel the biggest bait-and-switch was the promise of "a new kind of politics" that is post-partisan, post-racial, post-political, post-toasties, &c. Candidate/Senator Obama promised Gandhi; President Obama gives us a cross between Nixon and Al Capone.

What makes these efforts notable is that they are not the lashing out of a frustrated political operation. They are calculated campaigns, designed to create bogeymen, to divide the opposition, to frighten players into compliance. The White House sees a once-in-a-generation opportunity on health care and climate. It is obsessed with winning these near-term battles, and will take no prisoners. It knows that CEOs are easily intimidated and (Fox News ratings aside) it is getting some of its way. Besides, roughing up conservatives gives the liberal blogosphere something to write about besides Guantanamo.

The Oval Office might be more concerned with the long term. It is 10 months in; more than three long years to go. The strategy to play dirty now and triangulate later is risky. One day, say when immigration reform comes due, the Chamber might come in handy. That is if the Chamber isn't too far gone.

White House targets also aren't dopes. The corporate community is realizing that playing nice doesn't guarantee safety. The health executives signed up for reform, only to remain the president's political piŮatas. It surely grates that the unionsónow running their own ads against ObamaCareóhaven't been targeted. If the choice is cooperate and get nailed, or oppose and possibly win, some might take that bet.

There's also the little fact that many Americans voted for this president in thrall to his vow to bring the country together. It's hard to do that amid gunfire, and voters might just notice.


It's Kim Strassel -- ya gotta read da whole thing, wheddah you's from Chicago er not.

UPDATE: Not just mean old Republicans complianing: Politico: White House Attacks Worry Moderate Democrats

"Itís a mistake," said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. "I think itís beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations."

Altmire was talking about the Obama administrationís efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.

"Thereís no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies," added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. "The Chamber isnít an opponent."


Posted by John Kranz at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2009

You Have to Love the NYT

From the NYT's coverage of Palin's speech in Asia:


A number of people who heard the speech in a packed hotel ballroom, which was closed to the media, said Mrs. Palin spoke from notes for 90 minutes and that she was articulate, well-prepared and even compelling.

[Emphasis added.]

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:40 PM | Comments (7)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

As an Ex-Governess ... and what candidate for president would NOT rail against the opposition presidency. How many Governor-cum-Presidents cooed over their opposition? Perhaps Reagan ...

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at September 23, 2009 1:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Used to be a point of protocol that "politics stopped at the water's edge" and in Asia, we're all 'merkuns.

It was not that people did not oppose -- it's that they were criticized for it. Don't know that I miss the good old days, but it seems a bit inconsistent.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2009 2:22 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm. Did she call President Obama an "idiot?" Did she say he is "illegitimate?" How about "he's not MY president" or "I apologize to the world" for him?

Not exactly.

Mr. Goode, an African-American who said he did some campaign polling for President Obama, said Mrs. Palin mentioned President Obama three times on Wednesday.

"And there was nothing derogatory in it, no sleight of hand, and believe me, I was listening for that," he said, adding that Mrs. Palin referred to Mr. Obama as "our president," with the emphasis on "our."

She did say that she was against the Obama administration's tariff on Chinese tires.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2009 4:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Personally I liked the excerpts in this report.

Palin, Sounding Like Ron Paul, Takes on the Fed

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2009 4:21 PM
But johngalt thinks:

WSJ has reviewed a recording of the speech. Story here.

"We got into this mess because of government interference in the first place," the former Republican U.S. vice presidential candidate said Wednesday at a conference sponsored by investment firm CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets. "We're not interested in government fixes, we're interested in freedom," she added.

Dunno brother Keith. She's giving you a run for my money and support as president in 2012.

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2009 4:26 PM
But jk thinks:

Good reporting, jg. I guess I misconstrued early reports. I cannot find them to shift blame.

Condi 08, 12, 16, 20 for me. But you might have better patronage position with Brother Keith.

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

September 21, 2009

Reconcile This

Don Surber highlights a Rasmussen poll. Voters provided a Q-Rating (favorable - unfavorable) of occupations:

No. 1 Small Business Owners at +91 (94% favorable/3% unfavorable).

No. 2 People Who Start Own Business at +87

No. 3 Pastors and Religious Leaders at +48

No. 4 Bankers at -1

No. 5 Journalists at -11

No. 6 Lawyers at -12

No. 7 Stockbrokers and Financial Analysts at -13

No. 8 CEOs -42

No. 9 Members of Congress at -47 (25% favorable/72% unfavorable).


Surber says "Iím thinking swine flu could give Congress a run for the money." Good line, but I wonder how? how? how? voters (those polled) continue to elect politicians who steep more money, power, and privilege to Congress (-47) and away from small business owners (+91). Huh?

Posted by John Kranz at 3:35 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I think it boils down to this: Every election there's never a lever to pull (or a chad to dislodge) for "NONE OF THE ABOVE."

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2009 4:30 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Interesting how we elect the people we like the least to congress, isn't?

Posted by: T. Greer at September 21, 2009 8:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Because the people who RUN for congress are the type we like the least - lawyers who couldn't make it as stockbrokers or CEOs - and behave in ways we like even less. See comment #1.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2009 9:57 PM

September 11, 2009

The Policy Equivalent of the Middle Finger

There's a new writer climbing the charts for jk's favorite: Ms. Shikha Dalmia. I really enjoyed her Dear GOP: Choose Liberty piece -- I think that's the first I read -- and she's had several solid columns after that. (Would it be unprofessional to mention that she is rather attractive? Ha! Made you click!)

Today she captures both the substantive flaws of the Presidents speech and the overarching stylistic one. In Put Up And Shut Up! She calls Wednesday's address "the policy equivalent of the middle finger."

I'm still auditioning to be the nice one and the reasonable one around here. "Mutual Forbearance!" is my Van Burenesque toast. I try to give political opponents the benefit of the doubt.

But Wednesday, I was home doing my best Rep. Joe Wilson through the whole speech. I was angry and tortured throughout. Anybody who disagrees with his plan for more government is spreading lies or in the pocket of lobbyists or, when he is feeling charitable, "misinformed." There are no legitimate injections to his magic pony* that will cost nothing, fix every problem, provide more for less, streamline everything and is completely safe for even your most delicate fabrics.

I did feel I was getting flipped off Wednesday, and you could tell the GOP caucus did too.

*"Magic pony" is the perfect description of the ObamaCare plan and it comes from another favorite writer of mine. She who shall not be named, but it rhymes with Beggin' Sack-Card-All."

Posted by John Kranz at 4:10 PM | Comments (0)

September 10, 2009

America's Congressman?

Repeat after me: "Representative Joe Wilson was wrong to point out that a liar was lying last night. It may have been correct, but it was an importune moment."

America agrees. And that is why the website offering these shirts has not crashed from too much traffic. I mean, who'd be caught wearing a shirt like this:

joe_wilson_t.jpg

Hat-tip: Don Surber

Posted by John Kranz at 6:38 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Green shoots" of liberty.

Decorum has generally ruled the day in the halls of Congress but when before now, in the preceeding two centuries of this nation's proud history, has there been ample cause to fear a coup de etat? ["... and that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."]

Desperate times call for desperate measures, such as momentary lapses of protocol.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2009 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Don Luskin asks What If It's True That You Lie?

Posted by: jk at September 11, 2009 1:02 PM

August 29, 2009

No, No, No -- people believed GHWB

Insty links to two Below The Beltway posts today, One asserting that "Yes, Virginia (and the other 49), President Obama will raise taxes on the middle class." I know ThreeSourcers will be stunned at the unexpected news.

The other compares Candidate/Senator Obama's assertions to Candidate/VP GHW Bush's famous "Read my Lips" moments. He's got YouTube clips of both, which is fun.

But he suggests, and Professor Reynolds implicitly endorses, the idea that this will be as big a problem for President Obama. To which I say "Balderdash!" (sorry for the strong language). Nobody in the world actually believed Obama when he said that. The collectivists in his camp enjoyed using it to silence those of us who could add, but they knew their "promises" of more government were likely to be kept and, well, if he had to renege on one, it would be taxes.

Candidate Bush -- on the other hand -- was a Reagan heir, and he was reassuring the GOP faithful that he had been baptized in the Lafferian Waters and could be trusted. Stephen Moore documented the failure in 1987. Some folks had actually believed his pledge.

Too cynical? Surely the GOP will try to make the comparison -- but without the underlying sell out, I don't think they'll get much traction

Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

No, but when we pointed out them that "yes, he will raise taxes".... they said, "no! no he wont!"

These individuals will not be held to account (see fall of Communism), but "they" will.

Posted by: AlexC at August 29, 2009 10:26 PM

August 27, 2009

MEP David Hannan

On bringing the NHS to Americ'r: "When you see a friend making a mistake, you tell him."

Good stuff! Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 26, 2009

Hope Republicans Are Listening

Jennifer Rubin has an awesome column, hoping that the GOP can take advantage of the libertarian interest that the Obama Administration has perhaps rekindled.

The contrast between the parties is especially great for young voters who were swayed to vote for the hip, young guy over the grumpy senior citizen in 2008. It turns out the hip guy wants to force them to buy health insurance, load debt and an enormous future tax burden on their backs, and raise energy prices. Itís not very 21st century. As Michael Barone observed after ticking off the list of statist policies at the core of the Obama agenda, ďThe larger point is this: You want policies that will enable you to choose your future. Obama backs policies that would let centralized authorities choose much of your future for you. Is this the hope and change you want?Ē

Great piece. Read it in full, especially if you are Michael Steele or are a Republican office holder.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | Comments (0)

August 24, 2009

Fair Cop, Guv!

Chris Edwards at CATO, gives RNC Chief Michael Steele, a well deserved whack. Steele goes straight for the Medicare demagoguery vote. Do not pass first principles, do not collect $200:

Steele uses the mushy statist phrasing ďour seniorsĒ repeatedly, as if the government owns this group of people, and that they should have no responsibility for their own lives.

Fiscal conservatives, who have come out in droves to tea party protests and health care meetings this year, are angry at both parties for the governmentís massive spending and debt binge in recent years. Mr. Steele has now informed these folks loud and clear that the Republican Party is not interested in restraining government; it is not interested in cutting the program that creates the single biggest threat to taxpayers in coming years. For apparently crass political reasons, Steele defends ďour seniors,Ē but at the expense of massive tax hikes on ďour childrenĒ if entitlement programs are not cut.


Hat-tip: @ariarmstrong whom I've recommended a couple times this week as a great Twitter follow.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2009

Un-American

Steny Hoyer and Nancy Pelosi have written an op-ed in the USA Today calling those who have spoken out at the townhall meetings in opposition of the health care bill "un-American."

Where is John Kerry incorrectly referring to Thomas Jefferson about dissent when you need him?!

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:47 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

"And I'm proud to be un-american, where at least I know I'm free..."

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2009 12:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Me too. I've been looking for "Proudly Un-American" t-shirts. All I can find are on anti-Bush sites. (They're so proud they put the "un" part in the fine print.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2009 2:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There's some funny up-to-date stuff here. Like "With Obamacare Seniors will be Shovel-Ready a lot sooner..."

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2009 2:19 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

So, according the Democrats you are patriotic if:

- You hold anti-war riots that trash college campuses that cost millions of dollars
- You don't permit Conservative speakers on campus
- You send Code Pink demonstrators to disrupt countless Congressional and other official meetings
- You intimidate and disrupt legitimate military recruiting activities
- You ban military recruiters from campus
- You skip the country to avoid military service
- You camp outside the President's summer residence to ruin his vacation
- You use paid union members to protest in front of corporate offices with whom they have no connection
- You beat up your opponents
- You label anyone who disagrees with you a "racist"

But if you peacefully, albeit vociferously, protest higher taxes and the socialization of America, why, that's just going too damn far and has to be stopped! That's un-American! There outta be a law!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 11, 2009 12:39 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I have said it before but never enough:

Welcome to Zimbabwe.

1. A charismatic leader who isn't just a socialist, but an African Marxist: he decries economic gaps, then wins by promising to give his supporters what is taken from non-supporters. Check.

2. Branding of opponents as racist capitalists. Check.

3. A central bank that prints money as needed, when the government can't tax enough. Check.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 11, 2009 10:44 AM
But johngalt thinks:

All true, PE, and I for one welcome it. When a tin-pot dictator does these things the world ignores it. When the most powerful nation on earth does it, inflating the most important currency in the world, few nations can afford to ignore it. And America's citizens can no longer afford to ignore it. You say you want a revolution? The non-violent coup is really winding up. If it takes a "Marxist Brother" to do it, very well then.

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2009 11:14 AM

August 3, 2009

Enough Said

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:54 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Bill O'Reilly is jealous. This must have been a hidden camera, in his eyeglasses or something.

But imagine the horror of leaving "some people who need help unhelped." Doesn't the house bill do just that, leaving some 16 million still uninsured? (Not to mention the harm done to all those who ARE insured. Mister Hippocrates, call your office.)

Posted by: johngalt at August 4, 2009 10:20 AM

July 31, 2009

A Little Pragmatism

My Yahoo/AP Headlines this afternoon at 2:34 MDT:

ap_headl090731.gif

We'd all like to rise above partisan hackery, but I think that some "pure" libertarians have to witness what happens when you give the Democratic Party both houses and the Presidency. Any of those initiatives would be in serious jeopardy were any of the three under GOP control.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Yes, Bush's greatest victory was stopping the Democrats from wasting hundreds of billions of dollars on "stimulus," and the Republicans were so fiscally responsible when they controlled both houses of Congress.

Oh, wait...

Your "pragmatism" at best means "Not quite as bad but still bad." We were still on the road to hell under Bush, just at half the speed we are now, but still in the same direction.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 4:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I've gotta agree with Perry - maybe they'd be in some but not serious jeopardy with GOPers like them that just lost the reins. Don't you take solace in the growing popular backlash against the full-speed gallop toward hell that mister "we won the election" has been spurring? [Got horses on the brain for some reason.] That wouldn't be happening under President McCain. The public would still be sleeping like they did when Bush was prez. Look where that got us.

Posted by: johngalt at July 31, 2009 6:31 PM
But jk thinks:

President Bush vetoed the Schip expansion; President Oabam signed it. The 109th Congress was a sad affair that I cannot defend -- but things did not get any better when the gavels were handed over.

Posted by: jk at July 31, 2009 6:33 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

That reminds me -- Bush also pushed for Part D and NCLB. Thanks trillions, George.

Oh, and the restrictions on Wall Street pay will be affecting my employer, even though we aren't a bank and sure as hell didn't get federal money.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 1, 2009 1:44 PM

D O O M E D

This cannot be interpreted as heathly:

073009taxes.jpg

Hat-tip: Jimmy P:

Posted by John Kranz at 1:54 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The only question is: when will Atlas shrug?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 31, 2009 4:46 PM

Reason TV Interviews Instapundit

I enjoyed this clip and recommend it if you've got nine minutes to spare.

Reynolds is as close to my pragmatism as any figure I can name and makes good points about the Republican Party (hope Mr. Gillespie was listening) and the libertarian versus social conservative contretemps we enjoy around here.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2009

Pragmatic

The Grand Old Party has taken some well deserved whacks on this blog. All have looked for ways to return the Republicans' devotion to limited government.

But I watch the Democrats on Sunday shows and I simply cannot see the Democratic party as a serious option for those who value liberty. I always want to ask those who voted for so-called Blue Dogs "how's that working out for you?" Well, Merrill Matthews does it for me in a guest editorial in today's WSJ. He examines the caucusís votes on four big spending bills and finds few that bucked Speaker Pelosi and leadership.

Republicans have long called themselves fiscal conservatives. But after their spending spree in the first six years of the Bush administration, they are widely perceived to have tarnished their brand.

Are the Blue Dogs tarnishing their brand, too? If 80% of them voted for the stimulus bill and nearly 75% voted for the 2010 federal budget, can the group rightfully claim to be fiscally conservative?

The health-care bill will be the final test. The House legislation will cost at least $1 trillion over 10 years, including around $550 billion to $600 billion in new taxes. That doesnít count the employer mandate that will force employers to provide coverage or pay a penalty.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2009

GOP Purity, Volume XCIV

Still some good comments trickling in on our follow up post to JG's "On a New Conservatism" post.

In addition to this's being my favorite topic, I wanted to clarify my position on social conservatives. Blog friend Sugarchuck called this blog hostile to social conservatives and I suppose it is a fair cop.

SC: A copy of Hayek's "Constitution of Liberty" is on its way. Read the last chapter, "Why I am Not a Conservative" and then give the book to your daughter to read the rest of it. (I'm a Hayek fan and even I gotta admit parts are pretty turgid.) The good news is that you can read sections and don't have to go coast-to-coast.

I'll buy you a new set of Telecaster strings if you can show me a paragraph that would offend a social conservative. It's a discussion of the classical liberal and the conservatism he opposes is european monarchical conservatism, plus the Buckleyesque "standing athwart history yelling stop!"

I loved Bill Buckley and I loved National Review, but I always squirmed when I heard that phrase. I would not object to 19th Century freedoms -- but I don't want to live in the 19th Century. This essay is older than I am but it holds up well today.

My war is not with social conservatives, but with those who would use statist means to achieve their objectives. I'm the Frank Meyers of ThreeSources! We have a natural affiliation, mister social conservative -- limited, Constitutional government will allow you to pursue your religion and will allow me to pursue things which are important to me. Where we cross swords, let's agree to do it at the State level and using methods which support rule of law.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

"Hostile to social conservatives?" Not exactly.

Hostile to the imposition of social conservative values on others by force of government? Yes.

Hostile to the harm done to free market capitalism by association as partners in the GOP? Yes.

Before this comment leads into another abortion debate let me say that my heart sank when I offended brother SC. Particularly since the case I tried to make was not that the morality of social conservatives is contradictory to liberty and electoral success, but rather their willingness to increase government power in service to that morality.

So how does one say this without causing offense?

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:45 PM

Who Were the Rubes?

Professor Reynolds has had of nice run of "Who Were The Rubes," in which he reports on Obama supporters who have not been well served by his policies.

He links to Reason a lot and certainly has much philosophical overlap with them. But he has yet to give them a WWTR? They trashed Senator McCain in every issue, and Matt Welch had full page house ads for his anti-McCain book. As I've mentioned, that might be fair.

But it was certainly not fair to give then-Senator Obama a free pass. It was obvious that he sought an expanded role for government and a huge arrogation of power to the Executive Branch. They weren't sycofantish like some media outlets, but they were not at all tough on an obvious statist.

I think in the back of their minds they thought "this guy will suck at property rights and economics, but he'll end the Iraq War and will likely ease up on the War on Drugs." Rubes? Reason? Mirror:

Hey, remember all the speculation that Barack Obama might be, you know, better on pot issues than his various awful predecessors, partly because he, you know, bragged at times about inhaling ("that was the whole point")? As the liberals like to say, He won, get over it. And for those of us who value individual rights and a sane (not hysterical) drug policy, get over that too. Here's Obama's drug czar Gil Kerlikowske talking in Fresno, California yesterday:
"Legalization is not in the president's vocabulary, and it's not in mine," he said.

Hat-tip: Insty (but with no WWTR?)

Posted by John Kranz at 10:16 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Libertarians like Radley Balko have bluntly stated that they hoped for big GOP losses, because of the GOP's record on things like Iraq and the War on Drugs.

Well, uh, it's not as if liberals are any better, are they? Voters have cast out one devil by inviting in a worse one.

Here's a repost of my comment on a friend's blog last night, on the subject of people supporting Obama only to get burned later:

Many in the financial industry, even ultra-rich who should have known better, supported Obama because they figured their support would temper his socialism into "regulations" they could tolerate.

Doctors supported him for the same reason, and even Wal-Mart is now supporting "reform" at the employer level. Maybe, they think, just maybe if they can influence Obama, it won't be as bad as it could have been with full-blown federal control.

This is like a rape victim thinking that since something bad is going to happen anyway, maybe if she does a little foreplay, it won't hurt as much.

The problem is that people are willing to compromise on their freedom. "Maybe if we feed the beast, he won't eat us." That never works. As long as you're willing to feed the beast called Government whatever it wants, it'll eventually run out of everyone else and turn to you for its next supper.

"Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people's money." - Margaret Thatcher

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 24, 2009 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

PE: The analogy of unlimited government to a rapist is brilliant. I'll credit you whenever I repeat it.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2009 3:22 PM

July 20, 2009

Republican Purity

My On a New Conservatism post elicited concern from JK that kicking the big government conservatives out of the Republican Party would be an electoral mistake. I think we've discussed that quite a bit around here with no consensus opinion, but consider this historic quote that Hayek placed at the very top of his 'Why I am Not a Conservative' essay:

"At all times sincere friends of freedom have been rare, and its triumphs have been due to minorities, that have prevailed by associating themselves with auxiliaries whose objects often differed from their own; and this association, which is always dangerous, has sometimes been disastrous, by giving to opponents just grounds of opposition." - Lord Acton

Is this not an accurate description of what happens when big government conservatives are running the party?

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:32 PM | Comments (11)
But johngalt thinks:

I'd like to offer a few quick points:

- Kasich is a good man. Palin is a good woman. Neither is a savior. The focus needs to be on the principle of limited government power and not on any particular individual.

- Grassroots involvement is important but remember to advocate for limited government first, particular candidates second.

- With all due respect to the "People's Front of Judea" I believe they are the ones with some decidin' to do: Resign to leaving their moral priorities in the private sphere where they belong or watch the Progressives/socialists run wild in the public sphere for lack of sufficient opposition.

- How is it possible to teach more Americans that they really are better off when government is less involved? An excellent start would be to teach more of them how many millions are in a trillion. (See the comments there.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2009 12:18 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Huzzah, everybody is right. It could only happen here at Three Sources. Let's purge the party, though being the simpleton that I am, I didn't get who exactly is going to be purged. The Three Sources hostility towards social conservatives and bible thumpers leads me to believe that we'll toss them under the bus, or as our friend JG suggests, perhaps they will leave their moral priorities in the private sphere and this won't be necessary. I'll bet that's what they'll do. Starting with Sarah Palin, they'll take abortion, gay issues and border security off of the table so we can all come together in a secular tsunami and wipe Progressive/socialists off of the playing field before they commence with any more of their wild rumpus.
But what if they don't... what if they decide they are not going to let any minority fringe of the Republican party tell them what to do and further more, what if they decide that minority fringe better check their morals at the door if they want to defeat Obama and the Democrats. Just asking.

Posted by: sugarchuck at July 21, 2009 12:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I almost get the feelin' that pointy headed guy in the suitcoat is makin' fun o' me... I can't speak for the vast confederacy of ThreeSourcers, but I'll happily identify my prospective purgees.

I remain the pragmatist and fusionist 'round these parts. I am happy to share a big successful political party with social conservatives. I think the animating idea of the party, however, needs to be "limited government/enumerated powers." Live and share the Ten Commandments. Donate a plaque or a poster to a school through your Lion's Club or church, I'm in.

But when you say, in a presidential debate, that you want to have the Federal Government purchase and distribute (and force to display?) them. I am not too far off in thinking you have misread your Madison.

Still not purgeworthy, though it does disqualify my support.

My only purge is what I hope to be a small group that uses social issues as a campaign tactic to get elected and then to promote more government. I think that Rep. Tom DeLay and Senator Trent Lott are examples of this breed. "Vote for me to stop gay marriage," they say. And then in office they do not champion any limits on government power.

I think those people are counter-productive because they undermine a robust and attractive message of limited government.

Once again, my appreciation of Governor Palin was her veto (first as guv, I b'lieve) of a bill proscribing benefits for same sex partners of Alaska state workers. Her belief in enumerated powers -- she felt it violated the AK Constitution -- superseded what I imagine to be her personal beliefs about a social issue.

I don't think we have a Palin purger in our midst. Now that bass player guy from Arkansaw...

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2009 2:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, yes and yes, jk. You said it well. I don't advocate purging any "folks" from the party, just the ideas that keep it from succeeding in the modern world. Some of those ideas cause electoral failure and some cause faulty governance. People can learn and grow and I fully believe they'll embrace the ideals of liberty with just a little help to recognize what they are. (Would immigration limits really be necessary without the welfare state?)

I'm still waiting for Keith to chime in on why, if, or how the ol' "moral majority" will play along as we suggest. Brother Keith, where art thou?

["Wild rumpus." Awesome!]

Posted by: johngalt at July 21, 2009 3:18 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I must take minor issue with JG on one point. That is, I subscribe to the Rosen philosophy that party trumps person. The ability of a party to control the legislative agenda via committee heads is an enormous advantage. Even when Republicans are on one of their "big" sprees, it's still smaller than any vision of the Dems. I will vote for almost any Republican before almost any Democrat.

Beyond that, it is as the grass roots level where you can influence the selection of the candidate. I can't remember which leftist dictator said, "I don't care who gets to vote as long as I get to pick the candidates," but it applies in a democracy as well.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 21, 2009 5:00 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Y'all are on the wrong track; no purging is necessary. It's only necessary to stand for what we know is right (even Huckabee has noted this), firmly resolutely, and let the weak-minded follow this newest (and very old) strong horse.

Posted by: nanobrewer at July 24, 2009 12:52 AM

July 2, 2009

Oy Vey!

Sorry, Children of David, you've been had. Alan Dershowitz writes in the WSJ Ed Page:

Many American supporters of Israel who voted for Barack Obama now suspect they may have been victims of a bait and switch. Jewish Americans voted overwhelmingly for Mr. Obama over John McCain in part because the Obama campaign went to great lengths to assure these voters that a President Obama would be supportive of Israel. This despite his friendships with rabidly anti-Israel characters like Rev. Jeremiah Wright and historian Rashid Khalidi.

At the suggestion of Mr. Obama's Jewish supporters -- including me -- the candidate visited the beleaguered town of Sderot, which had borne the brunt of thousands of rocket attacks by Hamas. Standing in front of the rocket shells, Mr. Obama declared: "If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing." This heartfelt statement sealed the deal for many supporters of Israel.


Dershowitz's IQ is probably three times mine. I've enjoyed several of his books and even though he has gone pretty far left in recent years, I always appreciated his commitment to personal civil liberties (if not property rights). But do they never listen to The Who? They get fooled again. Every Time.

Who (not, The Who, I have moved on from that) seriously thought that Obama would be a friend to Israel? I was very happy with his choice of Clinton for SecState because I felt she would balance out an administration that I was sure would be anti-Israel,

But they will get fooled again (back to The Who again). Every time.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:07 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I've often thought there is a Heinlein quote for every occurence in human events. Here's one for this story:

"Human beings hardly ever learn from the experience of others. They learn; when they do, which isn't often, on their own, the hard way."

-Robert A. Heinlein

Posted by: johngalt at July 2, 2009 1:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Isn't it ironic: Dershowitz is quite far left, except he supports freedom of speech and freedom of property far more than pro-Israel-but-you'd-better-live-by-God's-law Republicans.

He supports freedom of speech more than these "tolerant" liberals who want anyone silenced who they don't like. The same liberals who, of course, don't support property rights at all, or Israelis' right to defend themselves.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 3, 2009 10:14 AM

June 21, 2009

jk defends wasteful government spending

About as fulsomely as I defended David Letterman, I'll give an eye-roll to an amusing example of your government's squandering almost half a million dollars. A good friend of this blog sends a link:

NIH Funds $423,500 Study of Why Men Donít Like to Use Condoms
In what government watchdogs are calling a waste of taxpayer money, the National Institutes of Health is spending nearly half a million dollars to determine why men donít like to wear condoms during sex.

Thatís only the start. You can be certain that once the researchers find out that men donít like condoms because a. they have to first think ahead and buy them b. actually put them on, and c. condoms donít feel the same as bare skin, which any conversation with any guy at the local bar could have told you, then weíll have to fund the billion-$ project to change behavior so everybody will be using condoms, whether they want to or not.


We'll not ask President Madison to lay any fingers on this post. Of course it is unconstitutional and of course I would get them to stop if I could.

But in the bigger picture of freedom's demise, this concerns me a lot less than expenses or regulation that destroy liberty. This represents a bit of research that should be done by the private(s) sector if it is done at all. But, beyond the theft of $423,500 it strikes me as a small threat.

We're socializing medicine and putting the Fed in charge of credit card interest and home mortgage options. The EPA will dictate energy usage, the FDA now controls the composition of cigarettes and seethes that it cannot design the Cheerios® box. If they want to waste a half million on this, or cow flatulence, or whatever the outrage du jour -- I'm happy to see them staying out of bigger trouble.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:25 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

The very definition of faint praise...

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2009 10:08 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Unfortunately this is not the extent of their statism. This isn't even the tip of the iceberg: it's a flake chipping off.

My state's legislature has supposedly been doing nothing for two weeks, but the government spending still continues at breakneck speed.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 22, 2009 4:06 PM

June 18, 2009

Now Here's a Guy We Should Destroy

We've had a good run at the Letterman contrtemps and I think everybody knows where everybody stands.

Blog friend SugarChuck has this great riff he does and I hope he won't mind my paraphrasing. When somebody is discredited, sc says "Oh, he|she will go cry on Oprah and be back in a year." It is a little cynical but damned if it is not a universal law. (It applies only to the left-of-center, don't look for a reemergence of Senator Trent Lott or Senator Ensign.)

But I will bet the price of my depreciating condominium that we'll see both Senator John Edwards and Gov. Eliot Spitzer back. The corpses will still be warm. Mickey Kaus is doing his best to stop an Edwards rapprochement, but I fear he'll fail:

ohn Edwards thinks he can come back. And somehow in theoretically humble disgrace comes off as smugger and phonier than ever! (Sample: "The two things I'm on the planet for now are to take care of the people I love and to take care of people who cannot take care of themselves.") ...
[...]
MacGillis also buries a solid lede: The last web page of her piece features an impressive, reported survey of broken Edwards promises to various actual impoverished Americans--scholarship programs cancelled, Katrina foreclosure cases unaided--complete with victim quotes. ("I just thought he was trying to cover his tracks while he was a candidate. ... It was probably all for show in the end." ).

We have not seen the rest of this vile man.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM | Comments (4)
But sugarchuck thinks:

Actually, you need to cry on Sixty Minutes, preferably in the Fall, after a great football game. Had Pete Rose done this he would be throwing out the first pitch on opening day for the rest of his life.

Posted by: sugarchuck at June 18, 2009 11:03 AM
But jk thinks:

Heh. I stand corrected -- 60 Minutes it is!

BTW, sc was in town for some guest appearances at the Virtual Coffeehouse. I have one posted on the Tuesday guest slot and there are more on the way.

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2009 11:16 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great cut, JK! But somehow, I don't think that was coffee in Brooke's hand - unless they're serving it in brown bottles these days.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at June 18, 2009 2:27 PM
But jk thinks:

Just as long as I can keep her off the heroin, br...

Posted by: jk at June 18, 2009 3:32 PM

June 14, 2009

Ayn Rand's Revenge

With a timely look at the question of what defines conservatism here is another revealing link from brother Russ - 'William F. Buckley vs. Ayn Rand: Ayn Rand's Revenge.'

And unfortunately, Buckleyīs insecure rants against Rand retarded the intellectual progress of the right for decades.

The important point here involves Buckley, but it involves a lot more. The issue with Buckley is that he truly had nothing to contribute intellectually. And when faced with a true intellectual like Rand, all he could do was guttersnipe. Yet the wider point pertains to conservatism today.

Until it begins to intellectually justify itself in a logical way, conservatism will remain lost, and statism will continue its march. Rand provided the intellectual justification for capitalism and liberty and she did so by reference to the fundamental metaphysical facts of reality and human existence. She did not appeal to tradition or the supernatural. She appealed to the rational. And the public has been responding to her ever since.

Buckley and his cohorts brag about their electoral successes-"we elected Reagan" they chime. But what permanent changes have been made? The procession of the welfare state goes on. And who can stop it, people who say God went "poof" and then there were rights?

Rand made the case against the welfare state root and branch. She was the first to make a secular case against Communism and Socialism, and the first to make a fully secular defense of American values. The fact that her ideas were shut out by Buckley hurt the entire cause of Americanism.

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

Start with something positive, to bring the poster around to your side and establish your reasonableness. Well, I agree that the Conservative movement would have done better to adopt more of Ayn Rand's ideas.

And I approve of the word "gutttersniping." It describes McHugh's column pretty well.

Beyond that, you might put me down as a "no."

For a follower of Ayn Rand to denigrate another author for personal peccadilloes is a little rich. Even her most sympathetic biographers admit to her "insensitivities." Buckley's kid has written a Daddy Dearest book, but he and Pat were pretty well loved by the staff of National Review and even by many of his ideological opponents.

If Buckley's movement has failed because we have Socialism in the US, didn't Rand fail? And Hayek, Mises, Milton Friedman? All a bunch of big losers?

Buckley wrote about 600,000 books, hosted what was the longest running show on PBS, started one of the most important political magazines of out time, and shepherded a movement that, yes, did get President Reagan elected. Freed tens of millions from Communism. Launched the greatest peacetime expansion of the economy in the 20th Century.

I really don't see a tell-all book as Ms. Rand's revenge. I do, sadly (and maybe the little Objectivist kiddies should leave the room for this bit) see this as emblematic of Rand's followers' addition by subtraction: start with 20 people who value individual freedom and property rights -- then kick out 11 who aren't pure enough and enjoy nine devout followers. That's where "Revenge" against ideological allies gets you.

You might sell some books with that but you will not get people elected and you will not impede the loss of freedom.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2009 10:42 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We can't help but read under the influence of our preconceptions, can we? I wondered why the author even broached the "personal peccadilloes" subject except that was a major element of the younger Buckley's book. Upon re-reading it seems it was the reverse of what you suggest. Buckley apparently "would ridicule Rand on a personal basis for alleged personal shortcomings" and now gets his comeuppance at the hand of his own son.

Before reading this piece I had no real sense of a rift between Buckley and Rand, nor any clear explanation for the limited GOP adoption of Rand's economic ideas other than her atheism. Mr. McHugh's article gives a brief insight into both of these. And the title refers to the revenge of Rand's ideas as millions flock to read her magnum opus Atlas Shrugged (Amazon sales rank #84 in paperback) and thousands wave "Don't Tread On Me" flags at TEA Party rallies following the electoral return of unapologetic statism a mere 2 decades after Reagan left office.

The author claimed that a government rooted in Rand's objective justification for capitalism and liberty would be more enduring than one based on the idea that "God went 'poof' and then there were rights." Until this is tested it remains only a hypothesis, but the latter tactic has been dismantled by the Secular Progressive left in less than a generation.

I don't read the author as suggesting that anyone be "kicked out" of the popular party of capitalism and liberty (whenever that party actually emerges). The criticism is that Buckley used his considerable influence to "shut out" the ideas of Ayn Rand from mainstream Republican politics. Why he did this is academic. Far more important is undoing his damage. You said that the conservative movement would have done better to adopt more of Ayn Rand's ideas and Joseph McHugh and I say, "Better late than never, and no time like the present." Defend capitalism and liberty in secular terms and watch the healthy growth of a new political movement: Americanism.

Posted by: johngalt at June 15, 2009 7:47 PM

May 26, 2009

13-1

I have an ongoing (~9 years now) argument with blog brother and token ThreeSources Democrat "Silence Dogood." He concedes that the left has socialists who threaten our economic freedom, but is surprised that I can sit still while some on the right are so deleterious to personal liberties. He is a bright guy and the arguments reach much higher subtlety, but he laughs that "he can handle the commies in his party better than the religious wackos in mine."

I try to be fair and have ceded a certain amount of relativism to Silence and other friends on the left who make the same argument. I don't see an equivalence, but I shrug my shoulders and stress my little-l beliefs.

Shannon Love, on da Chicago Boyz blog, offers this chart, and the suggestion that they are using sex to sell the loss of freedom. Here is Love's scorecard:

Freedom Left Right
Speech
Work
Business
Food
Housing
Consumer Goods
Transportation
Medical Care
Education
Free Trade
Self-Defense
Property Rights
Parental Rights
National Security
Police Powers
Recreational Drugs
Sexuality

Being Mister Fair, I'd add a line for "Privacy" and give it to the left as well. But I find the other llines difficult to argue with, and that still gives the right wing wingnut wacko nutjobs a 13-2 freedom advantage over the left wing moonbats.

Yay team! Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

Thanks, Keith, 'ppreciate it!

I thought that that was odd as well. I would hope that libertarians would be assumed to be "blue" on all (and I would've used checkmarks instead of blue and red).

But while we've all had our nits to pick, I don't think anybody can say that the Democratic Party or the broad left of today has a superior position on freedom on many categories of contested liberties.

That may be a little "duh-worthy" around here, but I don't think it is accepted by many on the left. I would like to have a copy of this at the bar during an argument and ask a reasonable interlocutor to dispute the scoring.

Posted by: jk at May 26, 2009 7:16 PM
But jk thinks:

UPDATE II: Overnight, Mister Magnanimity (is that a .44 Magnuminity?) has come to agree with tg: remembering the Bush FCC and the Wardrobe malfunction contretemps, my homies cannot claim a clear win on speech. 12-2.

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2009 11:14 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

12-3 if we include privacy rights.

However I am not sure if I am prepared to cede that to the left. I left a comment similar to the one here over at Chicago Boyz, and this was the response Shannon Love (creator of the graph) left me:

"Not really. As a practical matter, the Obama administration and Democratic congressional leaders have signed off and continued almost all the Bush era invasions of privacy. The Clinton administration created the NSA’s Echelon system which is the heart of our modern communications surveillance. It was Democrats who inserted many of the banking provisions into the PATIOT act so they could track down tax evaders. The Department of Homeland Security was envisioned by Gary Hart. Clearly when they fear being blamed for a terrorist attack, the real-world leftist politicians suddenly discover the virtues of a strong intelligence system.

More importantly, leftist only show concern for privacy in matters of national security. For example, they favor a hyper detailed tax code which requires that people report their economic affairs in minute detail. For people who itemize, you can reconstruct their movements and activities in detail from their tax records. Leftist also support the state having full access to people’s medical records, work records etc all in the interest of managing social welfare programs. I could go on.

I think it safe to say that leftist think of privacy for most people only in terms of sexuality. They also value the economic privacy of articulate intellectuals such as lawyers, journalist and academics. Anything else is fair game. They don’t believe you have right to economic privacy or privacy relating to any assistance the government might force you take.

As by others above, leftists tend support freedoms until such freedoms become inconvenient for them. I think the Democrats apparent sea change on anti-terrorist methods is part of this pattern."

So privacy can be filed under "wash" as well, methinks.

Posted by: T. Greer at May 27, 2009 12:03 PM
But jk thinks:

To paraphrase Senator Moynahan, you can have your own opinions but not your own score. I get to 12-2 by calling speech a wash and giving them privacy. Love's arguments are compelling but I consider the leftified ACLU's defense of privacy of communication and library records, &c. as a win in their column. President Obama's performance does not nullify their work in this area any more than President Bush's steel and soft wood tariffs nullify the Right's edge on free trade.

Posted by: jk at May 27, 2009 12:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If the ACLU applied their privacy ideal equally to all defendants you'd have a better argument, but they don't. Further, the privacy invasion by congressional Democrats in general and the Obama administration in particular reveal a clear pattern of infringement on individual privacy (gun registration? serial numbered bullets?) except in cases of sexual behavior, which was your own original point.

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2009 12:45 PM
But Keith thinks:

Privacy? When the Prezznit appoints his "Internet Czar" later this week, we can revisit this issue of which camp wins on privacy.

Assuming our overlords allow this blog to continue its existence, I mean.

Posted by: Keith at May 27, 2009 2:10 PM

May 7, 2009

Specter of Bipartisanship

Speaking of the Democrats duplicitous treatment of Senator Specter...

Specter%20of%20bipartisanship.bmp

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2009

Defending (and Counseling) Sarah Palin

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin's comments at an Indiana right-to-life event yesterday are making a lot of news. And naturally most of it is slanted to portray her as an extreme pro-lifer who wants the government to eventually outlaw all abortions. But the comment I found most interesting isn't even being reported. While plenty of left-stream outlets are covering her candid admission that she considered aborting her son Trig when she learned he would likely be a Down's baby, I have yet to find an account that includes her conclusion that she was "happy with the choice she made." [When I find a video clip of this I'll link it here.]

UPDATE: Embedded below are parts 5 and 6 of the seven part account on YouTube, and I must admit that I misinterpreted her remarks. I think the part I paraphrased was this, from 2:47 into part 6-

"So I prayed that my heart would be filled up - what else did I have - I had to call upon my faith and ask that my heart be filled up, and I'll tell ya the moment that he was born I knew for sure that my prayer was answered, and my heart overflowed with joy."

But in making her own case for every pregnant woman to choose life for her unborn child, she did talk about how she enjoyed the freedoms of privacy and choice in the matter of her own pregnancy. Freedoms that some in the pro-life cause would take away.

Part 5, (2:50) On why she didn't tell anyone she was pregnant -

"It was just really though too, at the sweet sacred time, a secret between Todd and God and me. I figured that's all who needs to know."

Later Palin said she considered abortion when she first learned she was pregnant, while out of town "at an oil and gas conference" and again at 13 weeks when she learned that Trig had an extra chromosome and would likely be a Downs baby. She knew this because of the results of amniocentesis, an elective procedure, of which "only my doctor knew the results. Todd didn't even know."

Part 6 (0:28) -

"And friends here tonight, that faith was built on what I hear from you, Vandenburg Right to Life. The seeds that you plant in a heart with your kind and your adamant efforts that can grow into a good decision to choose life."

The significance of this is not what her choice was, but that SHE made the choice.

I expounded on this in a comment [or click on "continue reading"] to a Bonnie Erbe blog on the opportunity that Palin's remarks present to the Republican Party.

And as long as the GOP continues to let itself be dominated by atavist religious conservatives, it will keep its title as minority party for a long, long time.

In a specific way I agreed with this remark, and ended with an exhortation to the Alaska governor- I would like to see Sarah Palin campaign for President on the platform that "abortion is abominable, but government prohibition of it is worse."

My concern is that if she in particular doesn't stake out this position then nobody will be able to defend her as a viable presidential candidate. Any other Republican would do well to take the same approach, but for Palin I view it as essential.

- 3SourcesJG's complete Bonnie Erbe blog comment:

While listening to Governor Palin's live remarks I heard her say that after considering abortion briefly she, and I'm paraphrasing, "is happy with the choice that she made." But if Roe v. Wade is ever reversed and a single state outlaws abortion then women in that state won't have the right to MAKE that choice. Even Governor Palin, who I greatly admire and respect, might feel differently about her child if the state had forced her to give birth under force of law.

Abortion is the thorniest moral issue in contemporary politics, with the grayest of gray areas in dispute. Human life does not mean merely the physical act of breathing - it includes the rational thought process of self-determination. A human being who is not free to make his own choices in life is nothing more than an animal.

The choice to abort DOES result in the death of a human being but the right to life belongs first and foremost to the pregnant woman because she is an independent, self-sufficient individual. An unborn child with a parasitic relationship to that individual has no moral claim upon its host. It is a brutal fact of nature (whether you believe that nature was created by God or not) but without it we are not citizens, but subjects. The line to draw is not between when life begins and when it has not, but between whose rights take precedence.

And to this extent I believe Bonnie Erbe is right: To be a genuine majority party the GOP needs to "get out of people's bedrooms." Advocate for morality, yes, but do not attempt to use the power of government to enforce it. I would like to see Sarah Palin campaign for President on the platform that "abortion is abominable, but government prohibition of it is worse."

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:19 PM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

Other than in philosophy books, that is the most reasoned argument I have heard in years. I'd definitely vote for that position. Are you running?

Posted by: Terri at April 17, 2009 7:14 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm on board as well, jg. But trust me, Terri, the writings on this blog are virtual guarantees against any of us ever getting elected dog catcher. (Though oppo-research could be great publicity...)

Posted by: jk at April 18, 2009 11:26 AM

"Stunned by huge turnouts, GOP leaders seek to channel energy"

That's the sub-head on this Washington Times story following up the 4-15 TEA Parties. The media may not have noticed what happened that day, but at least a few Republican party officials did.

"This is an opportunity for the Republicans or an opportunity lost, depending on how quickly they act," said John Brabender, a Republican Party campaign strategist. "If Republicans don't take advantage of this opportunity, you are looking at the real birth of a third party in this country."

Blog brother T.Greer opined that the TEA Party turnout was "dismal" (comments 2 and 4) though in fairness, he hadn't yet had time to read my late breaking account of the Denver event. This Georgia Republican sees it differently, however:

"This has legs, no question. The sheer number of people who turned out for something like this in Atlanta was astounding," said James Sibold, former Republican Party chairman of Georgia's DeKalb County.

Despite murmurs of a third party growing out of this I personally believe the best outcome would be a retasking of the Republican party. It is "a republic, ma'am" after all that we're trying to keep. This Michigan GOPer seems to understand:

Michigan Republican Party chairman Ronald Weiser said it was critical that the party reach out those who went to Wednesday's rallies. "They will vote for Republicans if they believe we're responding to the change they want and the feelings they have," he said.

But to really appeal to the silent majority of Americans they'll also need to find a way to get the GOP platform out of people's bedrooms. Stand for moral behavior, yes, but don't try to make it the law. (More on this later.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:34 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The pragmatist in me is hoping that the GOP can still hop on this moving train. Some blogger worried that the GOP would try to co-opt this movement; I was hoping that this movement might co-opt the danged Republicans.

I think the GOP has been demoralized by corrupt Republican legislators and divided by the immigration debate. Yet there is a full time job defending this country from collectivism, and I can't see any but the Republican party doing it. The Democrats are too much in hock to collectivist constituencies. While a principled third party always sounds romantic, there will be no liberty left to protect when it's assembled, and if you'll tolerate one moe metaphor, you don't divide your armies on the eve of battle.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2009 3:43 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I think we can all relax. First of all, if the GOP can recover from Nixon and the anti-war 70's, it can recover from anything. Second, the election is 18 months away. That's an eternity in politics. As the movement crystalizes, leaders will emerge around whom the rest of us can rally.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 17, 2009 5:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Relax as in "don't panic and attempt to avoid despair," I'm in.

Relax as in expect the emergence of a viable political movement to oppose collectivism -- I ain't so sure. We cannot get together on immigration or abortion (though we appear to have consensus on the DH and infield fly rule), there is no obvious housecleaning underway in the GOP. The left owns the Commanding Heights of academia and the media is more empowered than ever before to shape an individualist message.


Posted by: jk at April 18, 2009 11:24 AM

March 26, 2009

Twice as many now believe 'U.S. evolving into socialist state'

Before Obama was elected president a good friend disputed our impassioned arguments that America is becoming a socialist country. "I've been to Europe many times and I know what socialism looks like. We're not there and we're not going there anytime soon." Every time I see him I resist the urge to ask him about this again. But TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence has been asking, and compared the answers now to those from last August.

March%202009%20US%20socialism%20poll.gif

A thumbnail summary of the results is that among Republicans and independents, the group who believes America is becoming a socialist country has doubled (from 1/3 to 2/3 of Republicans and from 1/4 to 1/2 of independents). Democrats, more eager to support the ideology than speak its name, were more likely to see socialism in our future under Bush than Obama.

The link is a brief essay and explains the results of the larger poll as representing three groups: Undeclared Socialists, Passionate Capitalists, and Hybrid Deniers. (Worth reading just to see those in the squishy middle called "deniers.")

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:12 PM | Comments (15)
But T. Greer thinks:

JK & JG- You have taken everything I was going to say about the liberty/centralized power scale out of my mouth. Darn.

For the record, I am also a fan of those nice quandrant political scales. The one used by the Republican Liberty Caucus is my favorite of such sorts.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 27, 2009 1:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes, I found it ironic myself that I found so much common ground with the Ozark preacher. (Preachers ain't all bad, right Keith? :) The best parts of Christianity really are just Perry and the founder's 'Natural Law' and Uncle Eric's 'Juris Naturalis.' This is very similar to Rand's "true nature of man as a rational animal" development for an objective morality. As such, I'm on board.

If the "social conservatives" like Huckabee would just "get out of our bedrooms" they would find much less resistance to the balance of their values.

Posted by: johngalt at March 27, 2009 3:29 PM
But Keith thinks:

jg: The best parts of Christianity really are just Perry and the founder's 'Natural Law' and Uncle Eric's 'Juris Naturalis.' Ummmm... not sure I'll go that road; somehow I'm more comfortable saying the best part of Christianity is that it's objectively true in its claims, thereby appealing to the rational animal in me. On the other hand, I'm totally satisfied with Rand's "man as a rational animal" parallel, but as Christianity is not a blind leap of faith into the unknown so much as a well-informed, evidence-based faith.

jg, I find as ironic as you do the fact that you find more common ground with Huckabee than I do! What's clear is that you and I are running on some parallel tracks; the task of sorting people into Conservatives/Non-Conservatives can be as problematic as that of sorting them into Christians/Non-Christians. We've dealt with that more than once on my side; for a teaser, see this:

http://alhbible.wordpress.com/2009/03/15/what-is-a-christian/

One thing that's clear in both discussions is that neither self-identification nor media judgments are definitive. Complicating matters on my side, of course, is that the ultimate decider on who falls into which category have some longer-lasting consequences...

I don't have any children, but I'm going to have to check out the Uncle Eric books.

Posted by: Keith at March 28, 2009 3:19 PM
But dagny thinks:

I realize that this post is almost off the page and this is straying from the topic but I can't let it go. Keith states that Christianity is based on, "a well-informed, evidence-based faith." Please, Keith, can you explain what that means? My understanding is that the main definition of faith in religious terms is, belief WITHOUT evidence. I was raised Catholic BTW. I therefore have an overwhelming philosophical problem with this concept. If I am supposed to believe in God without evidence, who gets to decide what God says and wants? Unless God is speaking directly to me (and he hasn't) do I believe my priest? My Rabbbi? My Mullah? The Bible, which was written by men and re-translated many times?

Now we have a new can of worms. If I take what religion teaches without evidence, what else can I be talked into believing? Global warming? Keynesian economics? Multi-culturalism? Subjectivism in general?

So please tell me, what EVIDENCE am I supposed to base my faith on? This is not a rhetorical or sarcastic question, but one I have been asking for years to a chorus of ridiculous answers.

Finally, and on yet another subject, there has been a lot of traffic lately on the subject of, "Mark to Market," accounting rules not the least of which comes from my beloved. And as Keith says above, "Once again, I'm late to the table on a subject where I'm actually qualified to weigh in." I'm looking forward to a detailed "weigh-in" on this subject from an accounting perspective in the next month or so. But I claim that no one can expect such from someone in public accounting in the last 2 weeks of MARCH. So you can all look forward to a boring, expository filled with TLA's in the future.

Posted by: dagny at March 28, 2009 9:38 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Excellent comments, all. I'll be directing my personal contacts to this discussion. Huckster vs. McCain? C’mon, old news, let’s move along. The Preacher is good at what he is; let him reside there. I'd like to take up the discussion of political classifications, even hoping it gets its own post. I see there’s a Wiki article started on this.

1. I think classifications are useful, as people do want a 'team' to be on, to root for, and feel like they are in the game.

2. The way to get classifications into widespread use, is to get people to adopt them. Labels are assigned from the top down, a social model that nearly never works but that’s so easy, and feeds the egos of those from Rush 2 Obama; thus, their frequency. The easy part, btw, is what makes popularity in the media world, not the real world.

3. To get widespread use, they need to be simple and understandable.

So, I think two-axis (Lib/Cons. R/D, Socialist/Capitalist, etc….) approach is too divisive to get broad appeal. Even the very simple, 4-quadrant approach now adopted by RLC, as noted by TG (for more, see the end) I think is too complex.

I propose a three-axis model.
Economic Freedom
Personal Liberty
Moral(ity) Index

The first two are well known, hopefully well understood, and useful, powerful, pertinent, and rooted in our constitution. The third is where I’m moving into new ground, inspired by JK’s comments on morality and the need for force to back up the rule of law, even to create the peace necessary for it to develop, at times. I used a vague term for the third leg intentionally. I want those who participate to paint their own portrait of just what this implies. The overall thrust must once again be, as The Founders struggled with, how much power over these items must government be granted?

I think I need help from TS‚Äôers. Probably first is how this is described: labels are bad as we all agree. ‚ÄúClassifications‚ÄĚ, ‚Äúcategories‚ÄĚ, etc. are all too pedantic and scream ‚Äútop down‚ÄĚ with all the divide&conquer implications they deserve. ‚ÄúParties‚ÄĚ has been used and abused. I want a new word that evokes the concept of ‚Äėteams‚Äô, much like Tiger Teams in the working world. It implies voluntary association, as well as a direction and progress in a way the term ‚Äėfocus group‚Äô does not. Hmm, caucus is reasonable. What say you?

I grant TS the right to share my eMail address to any who wish to contribute off line.

As an aside, let me take a moment to proselytize on the 4-axis from Nolan‚Äôs ideas, and now adopted by the Rep. Liberty Caucus. It looks identical to the 4-quandrant scale used by the AfSG folks who picked up on Nolan‚Äôs ideas to start the 10-question, ‚ÄúWorld‚Äôs Smallest Political Quiz.‚ÄĚ I was once vastly enamored of the idea, and the implementation. If this had some lasting affect, I missed it. Pity, since I think our 100-year experiment with the current party system has run its course.

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 29, 2009 12:52 AM
But Keith thinks:

Dagny and All: My apologies - as you can probably imagine, Sunday is a a busy workday for me, and I didn't have the opportunity to come back and participate in the conversation.

Out of respect for you, my gracious hosts, I'm going to not postjack ThreeSources and turn this into a theology blog. Instead, I'm going to invite you all to let me shift the venue for the faith part on this topic over to my turf here:

http://alhbible.wordpress.com

I hope y'all will forgive me the presumption, but I have taken the liberty of dedicating the thread to Dagny and JohnGalt, owing to it being their comments on this post and the "Virtue of Selfishness" post that prompted mine. The red carpet has been rolled out...

Posted by: Keith at March 30, 2009 5:35 PM

March 20, 2009

Republic or Oligarchy

Most of us, I'm sure, are familiar with the idea that "left" vs. "right" or "liberal" vs. "conservative" are imprecise definitions of political philosophy. What I've promoted instead is that political structures are organized along a continuum from fully collectivized to complete individual liberty.

This excellent video presentation by YouTube's "notdemocracy" describes the balance as one between "total government" and "no government." Five basic types of government cover the spectrum: monarchy - oligarchy - democracy - republic - anarchy. But only two of these are "stable" forms of government: oligarchy and republic. The other three naturally evolve into one of those two. (Hint: Everything becomes an oligarchy except a republic.)

Readers who watch this will understand why I consider it so important to fight for the integrity of the original Constitution, which means removing antithetical amendments to it such as the 16th.

Hat tip: Dr. Ignatius Piazza via jg's friend Russ.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:34 PM | Comments (6)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Not that excellent. Whoever put this together blindly clings to "law" and does not recognize the concept of peaceful capitalist anarchy, just because it has no "law." So what? We have plenty of "law" today, and what has that done for personal liberty?

When this guy speaks of "law," is he talking about natural law or man-made law? Is he talking about the natural right to defend yourself and your property, which are a priori and need no legislation to enforce or guarantee? No, he speaks of "law" in the sense of rule.

Now, the problem with republics is that they degenerate into democracy. Tytler said, "A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury." From the very start of our "republic," the federal government practiced wealth redistribution. It was a trickle but increased during the days of "internal improvements," then in the 20th century with the welfare state.

As far as "stability," that exists only with slaves who don't rise up against their masters. Everything else about human society will wax and wane.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 21, 2009 4:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't know about this guy, but he refers to America's founders. They attempted to establish a man-made law that codified natural law - and no more. Then they attempted to preserve man's inalienable rights from future man-made laws via the Constitution. The Constitution is the only thing that stood in the way of a natural degeneration to democracy and beyond.

You may be able to cite examples of wealth distribution based on tariffs and fees but I think you'll agree the real heavy lifting wasn't possible until the progressive income tax effectively enacted by the 16th Amendment. That was in 1913. Democracy in America is, therefore, essentially a 20th century phenomenon.

As for anarchy as a desirable political system, I think even Rand would agree with the proposition that "the proper amount of government makes everyone freer." Of course this statement is vague as to quantitization of "proper" but clearly it is more than "none."

Posted by: johngalt at March 21, 2009 7:09 PM
But caritas thinks:

I think that people who watch this video dont realize that the creator pulled a lot from Plato's republic, that book went through these steps in much the same way but what Plato left out was that his republic was in reality not a republic but an oligarchy because the people would be ruled by a guardian class, and that the transitions from republic to democracy usually have to be sparked.

Posted by: caritas at March 22, 2009 1:54 AM
But jk thinks:

I like the video's rejection of absolute democracy. It's a good introduction to those who don't understand why "one man, one vote" is not the ideal.

It does, however, imply the existence of an ideal law. I appreciate rule by law but suggest we have not yet seen the text of that ideal. The original Constitution we all admire permitted slavery and counted people as three-fifths based on their skin color.

You want to keep all the Amendments but the 16th? Then it is a Republic? That seems awfully capricious. You call shenanigans on Wilson, but Lincoln had Federal troops in place to push the 14th. I think the 12th and 17th do more to degenerate republicanism into democracy. (You'll recall I wanted to rescind both until I encountered Governor Blogojevich, now I am not so sure.)

It is damned difficult to structure law; stop by my HOA meeting or get Sugarchuck to tell you a tale or two about township council. My problem with this video is that it papers over this difficulty. Like Perry, I see it championing a Law that does not exist.

Caritas -- great handle but you have to share it with my test server at work. I do wish I had a webcam to watch Johngalt as he reads your accusation of promulgating Platonicy.

Posted by: jk at March 22, 2009 12:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I didn't take caritas as accusing me of promulgating [word] Platonicy [?]. He said Plato's Republic was an oligarchy. That's more than I know on the subject, but it agrees with what I and the video have said.

Which is not that the 16th Amendment is the Constitution's only problem, nor that the Constitution was perfect. I agree with the idea of an "ideal law" analogous with Perry's "natural law." That this law is "a priori and need[s] no legislation to enforce or guarantee" is proven false by the violation of this law all over the world (including, more and more, here in the USA.)

The Constitution sought to guarantee natural law. It did the job fairly well right up to the point where amendments such as (but not limited to) the 16th were adopted by unconstitional processes.

Some (ahem) have suggested the American people would quickly re-ratify the 16th Amendment if so proposed. I say it was more likely in 1913, before the public really understood what it would lead to. And yet it was necessary at the time to falsify the results in the state legislatures. In the full light of day, with a complete airing of the facts, it doesn't even fare as well as the old ERA (equal rights amendment).

Posted by: johngalt at March 23, 2009 2:52 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:
I don't know about this guy, but he refers to America's founders.
Well, that in itself means nothing. Many liberals today refer to the Founding Fathers, like when Democrats proclaim themselves "The party of Jefferson."

Even then, which Founding Fathers? Jefferson believed in real liberty, while Alexander Hamilton was a statist who desired one United State government to rule all (which is what

They attempted to establish a man-made law that codified natural law - and no more. Then they attempted to preserve man's inalienable rights from future man-made laws via the Constitution. The Constitution is the only thing that stood in the way of a natural degeneration to democracy and beyond.
Yes and no. The problem with the Constitution is the consolidation of power, and making it absolute law without any ability to question it. If you don't obey, for example, the 16th or 18th Amendments, no matter how bad the law might be, you're a criminal.

Declaring something "the law" does not necessarily mean it is right or proper. Many bad things have been set forth as legislation, statute, etc. Now you might say, by what standard are we to craft law? It's simple: is a particular "law" doing anything for all persons' lives, liberties and property, or is it a bad law that redistributes and/or targets specific individuals or groups?

"The rule of law" does not mean that law must always be obeyed. It means that whatever law there is, it must apply equally to everyone, else it's merely the rule of men.

You may be able to cite examples of wealth distribution based on tariffs and fees but I think you'll agree the real heavy lifting wasn't possible until the progressive income tax effectively enacted by the 16th Amendment. That was in 1913. Democracy in America is, therefore, essentially a 20th century phenomenon.
It most dramatically increased speed in the 20th century, yes, but "internal improvements" began in the early 19th, as did the first income tax under Lincoln. It became a matter of the federal government getting more money from the states, and borrowing more.

All the money in the world doesn't matter if the government has no desire to spend it, and if the people have no desire to elect officials who will redistribute their neighbors' wealth. The "democratic process" took root in the early 19th century as people began asserting their "right to vote," and by the late 1830s the U.S. national debt necessarily increased. It wasn't as much as the 20th century, but relative to the budget then, it was tremendous. The national debt had nearly been paid off under Andrew Jackson, then started going up under Van Buren.

As for anarchy as a desirable political system, I think even Rand would agree with the proposition that "the proper amount of government makes everyone freer." Of course this statement is vague as to quantitization of "proper" but clearly it is more than "none."
Government must exist only with the consent of the people. Not just "the majority" of the people, but "the whole people" constituting everyone. Thus the "proper" amount is the maximum that any given person is willing to give.

Even so, you're talking about a "political system" rather than a government. That's where corrupt favor-trading and wealth redistribution enter.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 23, 2009 9:41 PM

March 5, 2009

Quote of the Day Deux

Don't you think the Dow would stop dropping if we had a President who would stop signing pork bills? -- Chris Matthews 2:20
Get outta town! HT: Instapundit
Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Your point is taken, Keith, but Matthews's context in the story makes signaling out the president as fair as it is leg-tingle inducing. (Sad really, that's a spark of the old Chris Matthews who was worth watching).

@Keith Calhoun: The block grants, tax payments, credits and generally incestuous interconnectivity would keep lawyers busy longer than splitting up the Beatles -- the Feds would have the 11th Amendment to hide behind. I'd make sure to have plenty of ammunition.

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2009 3:45 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I've probably mentioned it before in comments, and I know I have on my blog, but here's how the original federal model of taxation worked. Most Americans aren't aware that the first income tax wasn't instituted until Lincoln's presidency, let alone the original proportional model.

The census wasn't just for statistical curiosity and to determine Congressional representation. It was also to determine a state's share of the federal budget. If a state had 10.9123% of the population, then its legislature had to pony up 10.9123% of the federal budget. How it raised money was up to the state, but isn't it funny how such a system makes states compete with each other on the basis of tax burdens and tax structure? Additionally, rich and poor states alike would never want pork-filled federal spending. They all had to pay a proportional share. Imagine West Virginia residents actually having to pay for the roads the federal government builds for them! (Which wouldn't have happened originally, anyway, because that was not deemed a proper function of the federal government. It was purely a state matter.)

The Constitution's prohibition against a state paying in anything but gold or silver coin was precisely for the purpose of taxation. Otherwise a state could print up as much worthless paper money to meet its obligations.

As I commented recently, secession was very much viewed by Jefferson and other Founding Fathers as a sacred right. The colonies did, after all, secede from Great Britain. If a state didn't want to be a part of grotesque federal spending, it could then secede and say to its former Union, "Spend whatever the hell you want. We want no part of it."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 5, 2009 4:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry, I don't think you can extrapolate from Jefferson, one of the most radical of the founders, to say "the founders" approved of secession. Jefferson famously wanted to regularly "water the tree of liberty with blood of patriots and tyrants."

Madison and Monroe were rather famously against nullification and feared secession. In the next generation, even the slave-holding Jackson and Tyler spent their Presidencies fighting to keep the Union intact (yes, Tyler changed after).

Posted by: jk at March 5, 2009 5:07 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Monroe was not one of "The Founders" I speak of. He was very much "after the fact" when it came to the colonies' secession from Britain, and the formation of the new government.

Madison, of course, was there from the start of the Constitution's ratification. Though he had a principal part in forming the national government, he still very much prized a state's sovereignty over a federal compact. This was the man who wrote, "The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."

With the Ninth and Tenth Amendments saying what they do, how can a state be denied its right to secede? Or did the states come from the union, as Lincoln tyrannically argued, rather than the other way around? Not until Jackson (who was not perfect) and later presidents was it argued that states didn't have a right to secede. Remember that it was the northeast Federalists, those in favor of a stronger national government, who were threatening that their states would secede if the national government were too oppressive.

You're also confusing the act of secession with the right to secession. Few want the country to break up (that was Madison's fear, NOT the fundamental right of secession) unless there's no better solution. The colonists did not openly rebel until all their remonstrations were proven futile. But in the times that try men's souls, dissolving political associations becomes necessary and just.

You say that Madison opposed nullification, but nullification of what? What he said was that a state cannot nullify the Constitution, i.e. the specific document that the states had ratified. But should a state not be able to nullify something that the federal government does which is unconstitutional or what the Constitution does not give federal jurisdiction over (e.g. left to the states or the people)?

You can regard Jefferson as radical for what he said, but he was correct: liberty cannot be gained or preserved with compromise.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 6, 2009 3:17 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Perry: After the fact? Mr. Monroe was a prominent delegate to the Virginia State Ratification Convention. (And an anti-federalist to boot!) I do not how much more involved you could expect him to be in the formation of the young Republic's new government. (Certainly he did more than Jefferson, who was away in France at the time.)

And to be more on point- Perry, I think you are missing the point. No one here has disputed a state's right to secession. Quite a few have disputed a state's right to nullification.

Now we have talked about this before. My objections to nullification are listed at the bottom of that post, as is your riposte. So that we do not have to cover this ground again, I suggest we skip to where we left off.

Let us start with the proper authority for the nullification of laws: the judiciary. It is with the judiciary the responsibility lies for the determination of the legality of congress’ edicts. You have stated that this concept began with Marbury vs. Madison, and that I am but a sheep for mindlessly accepting Marshall’s power-grabbing decision. This view is in ignorance of history. The framers knew and argued for a judiciary with the powers recognized in Marbury.

Consider the words of Philadelphia Convention heavyweight James Wilson as he argued for the Constitution during the Pennsylvania Ratifying Convention:

‚ÄúI had on occasion, on a former day, to state the power of the Constitution was paramount to the legislature acting under that Constitution; for it is possible that the legislature, when acting in that capacity, may transgress the bounds assigned to it, and an act may pass, in the usual mode, notwithstanding that transgression; but when it comes to be discussed before the judges,--when they consider its principles, and find it to be incompatible with the superior power of the Constitution, --it is their duty to pronounce it void.‚ÄĚ

(Collected Works of James Wilson, pg. 204. Bold Emphasis added.)

And here is Alexander Hamilton, Philadelphia and New York Ratifying Convention delegate, writing as Publius, in Federalist No. 78:

“Some perplexity respecting the rights of the courts to pronounce legislative acts void, because contrary to the Constitution, has arisen from an imagination that the doctrine would imply a superiority of the judiciary to the legislative power...

If it be said that the legislative body are themselves the constitutional judges of their own powers, and that the construction they put upon them is conclusive upon the other departments, it may be answered, that this cannot be the natural presumption, where it is not to be collected from any particular provisions in the Constitution. It is not otherwise to be supposed, that the Constitution could intend to enable the representatives of the people to substitute their WILL to that of their constituents. It is far more rational to suppose, that the courts were designed to be an intermediate body between the people and the legislature, in order, among other things, to keep the latter within the limits assigned to their authority. The interpretation of the laws is the proper and peculiar province of the courts. A constitution is, in fact, and must be regarded by the judges, as a fundamental law. It therefore belongs to them to ascertain its meaning, as well as the meaning of any particular act proceeding from the legislative body. If there should happen to be an irreconcilable variance between the two, that which has the superior obligation and validity ought, of course, to be preferred; or, in other words, the Constitution ought to be preferred to the statute, the intention of the people to the intention of their agents.‚ÄĚ

(The Federalist Papers, 1987 Penguin Books ed., pg. 438. Bolded emphasis added.)

These are but two examples I have marked in books that I own. If you wish me to, I could scour the internet for more such quotations, as I know Ellsworth and more than a few Virginia Federalists (not the least being named Marshall) used similar arguments in the Connecticut and Virginia Ratification Conventions. In all cases, those who voted for the Constitution knew exactly what the role of the judiciary should be. It is clear that by its very nature the judiciary’s role is to interpret the Constitution.

The same cannot be said for the states. I find it funny that you fault a SCOTUS whose primary role is to interpret laws ‚Äúbecause the Constitution does not explicitly say so‚ÄĚ and yet gladly hand that power over to the states, despite the fact that the Constitution is just as silent on this matter. Perhaps you own a special copy of the Constitution that contains an article detailing the manner by which states have the authority to interpret federal laws?

This brings up the central problem with Calhon-style nullification: despite Jefferson’s protests to the contrary, the Constitution was never a compact between the states. Rather, it was a document ratified by WE THE PEOPLE, and gained its authority not by the states of its Union, but by the people residing thereof. James Wilson detailed this excellently in his remarks to the Pennsylvania convention:

‚ÄĚState sovereignty, as it is called, is far from being able to support its own weight. Nothing less than authority of the people could either support it or give it efficacy.... In this country, the supreme, absolute, and uncontrollable power resides in the people at large; that they have vested certain proportions of their power in the state governments; but that the fee-simple continues, resides, and remains, with the body of the people.
...
If we go a little further on this subject, I think it shall be seen that the doctrine of original compact cannot be supported consistently with the best principles of government‚Ķ. Because a contract once entered between the governor and governed becomes obligatory, and cannot be altered without the consent of both parties. The citizens of United America, I presume, do not wish to stand on that footing with those to whom, from convenience, they please to delegate the exercise of general powers for the sustaining and preserving of the Union... The people fetter themselves with no contract.‚ÄĚ

(Collected Works of James Wilson, pg. 255. Bold Emphasis added.)

Wilson spoke of a plain truth: the Constitution is not a compact between states, nor a compact between the states and the federal government. If either of these were true then Lincoln’s war would have been justified. He would be correct in stating that the Southern states had no right to break the compact they made with Union without the Union’s consent.

All of this leaves us with an essential question: what happens when the judiciary errs? Who shall watch the watchmen? If we have decided that the states cannot do this, that leaves one other option- the citizens themselves.

I have one gripe with the way you phrase this concept. You stated, ‚ÄĚIt is the right and duty of anyone, whether a private citizen or government official, to nullify a bad law.‚ÄĚ I have already discussed why the judiciary is the sole branch of government with the authority to nullify laws; I shall now discuss the implications of private citizens with the power of nullification.

The implications of this notion are ‚Äď to be frank ‚Äď dangerous. Indeed, I can think of no quicker way to erode the rule of law than this. In essence, your view of the Constitution is not all that different than those progressives championing their Living Constitution. In your case, no law is binding. Every citizen chooses which laws he does not think to be Constitutional (i.e. every law he dislikes), and ignores it.

Think about what you are advocating here. As with Living Constitution theory, your would have the Constitution cease its role as the legal document governing the conduct of the federal government, it soon degenerating into the mere opinion of those reading it. The only practical difference between the two philosophies is that progressives concern themselves only with the opinion of the nine justices on the SCOTUS, while your viewpoint will have 300 million individual interpretations of what the Constitution should mean.

Does this destruction of nullification mean that citizens have no method of redress when the government begins to approach their rights? Of course not. There are two options on the table for any citizen who feels a law to be unjust and dangerous. (Hint: nullification is not one of them.)

The first is civil disobedience. Dr. Martin Luther King, in writing his ‚ÄúLetter from Birmingham Jail‚ÄĚ outlined the proper way to conduct such a response to an unjust law:

‚ÄúIn no sense do I advocate evading or defying the law, as would the rabid segregationist. That would lead to anarchy. One who breaks an unjust law must do so openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to accept the penalty. I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.‚ÄĚ

(‚ÄúFrequently Requested Documents: Letter From Birmingham Jail.‚ÄĚ Bold emphasis added.)

The second response is rebellion. If rights are being trampled upon and the Constitution no longer serves to check the federal government, every man can work above the Constitution and exercise his right to protect himself from oppression. But make no mistake, this is not nullification. It is the renouncement of a corrupt government entirely. If you shoot a police officer for illegally entering your house, he loses both the ability to infringe on your privacy and the ability to protect you from criminals. So it is with government. You cannot elect to break laws that do not strike your fancy and yet hold true to the rest. You are abandoning the entire system. If and when such action is necessary, the Constitution (and all legal laws who use it as their foundation) no longer has any authority from you at all.

Thus, we have two choices when confronted with an unjust law. You can break it and accept the legal consequences for doing so, or you can withdraw your consent for a government that creates unjust laws all together.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 7, 2009 4:06 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, tg, for beating me to a swift defense of James Monroe. Dude fought at Yorktown and served as a foreign emissary to Presidents Washington and Jefferson. Nobody wou;d seriously ascribe the intellectual heft of a Jefferson his direction, but nor would I disqualify his opinion.

Our own "Era of Good Feelings" may be as short-lived as Monroe's, however. I take a third tack on nullification. I'm a big fan of Lysander Spooner and consider individual jury nullification as a foundation of liberty.

I certainly don't see it as reserved to the judicial branch, though in our history of tripartite government, they have been the most reliable (not unlike being the smartest of the Three Stooges).

Posted by: jk at March 8, 2009 12:19 PM

Quote of the Day

In reaction, Republicans, true to form, set sail for a deserted island to ponder a dispute between Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele. At issue: Who's captain of the GOP Titanic. -- Dan Henninger, in a great column "Has Obama Buried Reagan?"
Well worth a read in full.
Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I agree with Henninger - Rush is on the right track. Republicans tried the GOP version of the "third way" with McCain and only succeeded in garnering the support of Republicans and other conservative types who viewed him as the lesser of two evils. Now that we have the greater evil in the White House it will be even easier for an unapologetic "prosperity conservative" to compete in '12. (And in congress in '10.)

Henninger points to another important dragon to be slain before then - the "saving" of the planet:

There isn't much in his [Obama's] plan to stir the national soul. It's about "sacrifice" now so that we can live for a future of small electric cars and windmills. This may move the Democratic Party's faith communities, but it cannot revive a great nation."

To answer Henninger's title, they haven't buried Reagan yet but they're shoveling dirt as fast as they can because they know his "shining city on the hill" is the greatest enemy of their "carbonless" future.

They stragegized to make Limbaugh the "face" of the GOP for the same reason they paint a vibrant industrial economy as "blast furnaces and factory chimneys" and the Global Warming movement as "save the [cute, cuddly] polar bears:" image-conscious political fashion.

Personally I think giving Limbaugh such prominence will backfire on them - to the extent that Rush hammers the Reagan ideas into the mushy heads of future GOP candidates. (Preferrably cute and cuddly ones. Sarah, are you listening?)

I tell despondent family members to listen to Rush every day. Not because they need to learn the ideas, but for the sense of hope he inspires.

"Knowledge of what is possible is the beginning of happiness." - George Santayana

Posted by: johngalt at March 5, 2009 12:55 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee agrees with JG on this one. Rush is a thought leader in the Republican party generally and the conservative movement specifically. Rush is never on the ballot and is unlikely to ever negatively sway any race.

It's true that the Republicans do not currently have a personification. But just four months removed from the last election, it doesn't matter. Important issues will emerge as Obama/Polosi/Reid socialize the country. As issues crystalize, personalities will emerge. If anything, the Dems are shooting all their ammunition while the enemy is still out of range. Attacking Rush really does nothing to further their current agenda. They have all the votes they need under any circumstances. The result of those votes will be up for referendum in two years.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at March 5, 2009 4:45 PM

February 26, 2009

Democrat Libertarians

I try to keep an open mind when some Democrat friends claim to be "libertarian." You can make a point that Democrats might be a little more open to gay marriage, extended immigration, civil liberties. I question how devoted they are to these purities compared to their devotion to socialism and bigger government. But the 109th Congress GOP wasn't very defensible, so I try to give some benefit of the doubt.

I cannot be so kind or sanguine when they say that Democrats are less likely to pursue the War on Drugs. William Bennett is always held up as a poster boy, but Reason reminds that now-VP Joe Biden created the "Drug Czar" position. And the little-l's dream that enforcement would be reduced by the hipper, younger administration is going -- if I may quote Tommy Chong -- "Up In Smoke:"

Attorney General Eric Holder today announced the arrest of 52 people in a continuation of a Bush Administration drug investigation of the Mexican cartels. The operation began 21 months ago. The total number of arrests (a number of whom are low level traffickers) is 750.

The military may get involved in the effort
[...]
Another Holder plan that should be no surprise: He wants to bring back the assault weapons ban.


Vote Democrat -- no property rights, no civil rights!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:10 PM | Comments (11)
But jk thinks:

You are losing me, tg. You say you don't want bans but you use the language of The Brady Society.

If the grenade ban has not worked, then it is time to discard the whole ATF gameplan. The grenade ban is pretty efficacious on this side of the border -- I've been to a gun show or two and don't remember seeing grenades -- or even a "grenade show loophole."

I'll use the language of the left: look at root causes. We have to look to helping the Mexican government create security and order. And, ahem, if you really want to fix it, end the insane liberty-sucking War On Drugs. When these guys have to compete with Walgreen's, grenades will be of little value.

Posted by: jk at February 27, 2009 12:35 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

@tg: Apologies for the words-in-the-mouth thing; it sounded like you supported that position, so my mistake.

WRT the "guns flowing south," I still don't believe it. ATF has made dubious claims in the past, and ARE NOT the friends of gun owners. But let's assume it's true and that we are successful in magically removing them tomorrow. Would the gangs be disarmed? Not a chance. Chaves/the Chinese/the North Koreans would be happy to sell them arms.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 27, 2009 12:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

TG: I'll try not to put words into your mouth but when you say, "I want to know what is [the answer to keeping U.S. made weapons out of the hands of foreign criminals]" are you expecting to find some sort of law or regulation that would only apply to foreign criminals (or domestic criminals either, for that matter) and not to American citizens? Do you honestly expect any measure could be effective short of actual cessation of manufacture?

I suppose it's possible to prohibit export of military/police grade weapons to gun dealers in Mexico but who doubts they'd find a way to get them anyway through an intermediary? Shall we ban ALL non-governmental export sales?

For some insight about why we're hearing this now [U.S. guns being used by Mexican criminal gangs] see this David Kopel essay: http://www.nraila.org/Issues/Articles/Read.aspx?id=347&issue=015

Posted by: johngalt at February 27, 2009 4:30 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It's also worth noting that Mexico has very strict control of private gun ownership. Doesn't seem to be working, does it? They also have far swifter and harsher punishment of drug dealers that we do. Seems the risk/reward calculation of the bad guys only fosters greater violence.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 27, 2009 5:55 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

Jk, all I have done is cite statistics. Are facts tools only to be used by those on the left?

Now granted, BR might be right and the ATF could be cooking their books. Certainly they would not be the first governmental organization to do so. But personally speaking, I tend to trust the sources used by Generals when they draft strategic assessments on the likelihood our neighbors becoming failed states. This may be foolish of me, but even if the numbers are not quite 90%, I think we can say with confidence that they are very high.

This brings us to the crux of the issue: what should we do to solve this problem? I am very thankful for the link JG posted, and I suggest anybody who has not read it should do so. As the article speculates, the Obama administration's knee-jerk reaction to a Mexican collapse is a crack-down on gun ownership. When the liberal tide comes in favor of such a move, what is the right going to say? Shall we sit lamely by, simply saying "No, that won't work" or shall we be able to stand up and offer up a true solotion, shouting "The right way to end this illegal trade is to..."

Is to what? That is what I am intend to find out. I find it quite silly (and am quite surprised) that members of this site are so eager to hand over the imitative to statists and enemies of liberty. As the situation in Mexico deteriorates, issue will only gain prominence. Hopefully by the time the clogs of government start rolling we in the minority will have a mature enough position to possess a decisive voice in the national debate.

Here is where I suggest we start. Former Secretary Rice said this in response to a plea to reinstate the assault ban: "“I follow arms trafficking across the world, and I’ve never known illegal arms traffickers who cared very much about the law."

I suggest that is how we start thinking about this problem. This is not about of domestic gun ownership but the international arms trade. I know we spend millions trying to ensure that illegal arm shipments do not make it to insurgent groups in the Middle East- would it be so hard to extend that same courtesy to Mexico?

Posted by: T. Greer at March 2, 2009 7:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Got no problem with statistics, though I would join the house in questioning ATF's (the department that should be a convenience store).

You say you're not for a gun ban. Yet you want action; you want American government action. This is my problem. Since government is proscribed from banning domestic weapons, we're going to control the international arms trade? I say that is fraught with the same peril.

We tried this in Kosovo, joining our brave European allies and enforcing strict weapons embargoes into the Balkans. This was like keeping the moms in DC housing projects unarmed. The Serbians had weapons in stock and opportunity for replenishment through Russia. Our embargo kept the Kosovars from defending themselves, and it did not turn out well.

The answer in Mexico, Albania, Kosovo, and the District of Colombia is not disarmament.

Posted by: jk at March 3, 2009 12:11 PM

February 20, 2009

The System That Doesn't Choose Phil Gramm for President is Flawed

Senator Gramm tells the truth so much he can't even be an economic advisor to a presidential campaign. But my first choice for President has a great guest editorial in the WSJ today:

I believe that a strong case can be made that the financial crisis stemmed from a confluence of two factors. The first was the unintended consequences of a monetary policy, developed to combat inventory cycle recessions in the last half of the 20th century, that was not well suited to the speculative bubble recession of 2001. The second was the politicization of mortgage lending.
[...]
As Mr. Greenspan testified last October at a hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, "It's instructive to go back to the early stages of the subprime market, which has essentially emerged out of CRA." It was not just that CRA and federal housing policy pressured lenders to make risky loans -- but that they gave lenders the excuse and the regulatory cover.

Countrywide Financial Corp. cloaked itself in righteousness and silenced any troubled regulator by being the first mortgage lender to sign a HUD "Declaration of Fair Lending Principles and Practices." Given privileged status by Fannie Mae as a reward for "the most flexible underwriting criteria," it became the world's largest mortgage lender -- until it became the first major casualty of the financial crisis.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:40 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I intended to post the latest Thomas Sowell column 'Upside Down Economics' today but this Phil Graham piece goes a bit further, though not explaining in detail how the CRA became so powerful. Yes, congress passed and President Carter signed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 but the law directed federal agencies to "encourage" lenders to make minority and low-income loans "consistent with the safe and sound operation of such institutions." It wasn't until Clinton's HUD imposed data reporting requirements, and quotas to go along with them, that the "safe and sound operation" idea took a back seat to political pressure. So the fault lies with President Clinton as much or more than Carter.

It's also worth noting that these political pressures continued under Bush's HUD, at least according to Sowell.

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2009 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I also greatly appreciated Gramm's treatment of the "deregulation" argument:

"In reality the financial "deregulation" of the last two decades has been greatly exaggerated. As the housing crisis mounted, financial regulators had more power, larger budgets and more personnel than ever. And yet, with the notable exception of Mr. Greenspan's warning about the risk posed by the massive mortgage holdings of Fannie and Freddie, regulators seemed unalarmed as the crisis grew. There is absolutely no evidence that if financial regulators had had more resources or more authority that anything would have been different."

But then, this was only "in reality."

Posted by: johngalt at February 20, 2009 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

The New Obama World Order dictates that Senator Gramm actually caused the meltdown by sponsoring the repeal of Glass-Stegal. Sadly, I think he had to pen the piece to defend himself. Somebody (Newsweek? Slate?) recently listed the people responsible for the current crisis and had Gramm as #1. Some people really still get their news from sources like this.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2009 4:38 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Yup, I thought I was going to make an important and powerful contribution to 3 sources after reading this, but JK beat me to the post by a few minutes at least.

Sen. Gramm again sheds light where there is otherwise so much heat, and a general round of kudos to those here who are trying to do the same to this insanity sweeping our capital (OK, I get to post something called "Das Capital"; everyone else stay away!! as long as you can, at least). Thanks, you are helping me... at the very least my sanity!

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 22, 2009 11:43 PM

February 17, 2009

Quote of the Day

Woman of the people, Alexandra Pelosi, releases a new documentary that shows slack-jawed, inbred, bible-thumpin' conservatives are more partisan that ever. Yet she doesn't quite get her subjects:

Respectfully, I wanted to say to them, I live on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. I am on the winning side of capitalism. I work for HBO, corporate America. The Man has been good to me. You, on the other hand, are driving a truck that says, "Obama is a socialist idiot," and you're in a much lower tax bracket than most of the people in Manhattan that are voting for Obama. So the times I would actually get into it would be like, "OK, explain to me why you think he's an idiot. He's trying to give you a tax cut. You understand you're voting against your own self-interest?"

Glad she said "Respectfully," aren't you?

UPDATE: Changed Andrea to Alexandra, sorry for any confusion. Yes, this is Speaker Pelosi's Daughter.

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

Idiot [censored anatomical reference] like Pelosi are the ultimate form of hypocrisy and arrogance. She has an ostensibly good job (for all we know she's some secretary or lackey, and the male in her life is the real breadwinner), so therefore she thinks it's fine to redistribute everyone else's wealth. Like Soros and Buffett, who cares what Obama does, they can afford it!

I'm on the "winning side of capitalism," if you want to call this garbage of an economy "capitalist," and I oppose Obama and all other socialist idiots.

How about this, to take straight from what Walter Williams said: let her keep what she earns and spend it on whatever she wants, and let the poor proletariat do the same with their own money. But that would destroy the self-anointed "social messiah" roles that Obama, Nancy Pelosi and this Pelosi have set up for themselves.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 17, 2009 1:34 PM

February 16, 2009

Here's Hoping

specter.jpg

From our friends at PA Water Cooler

Posted by John Kranz at 7:57 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2009

80s Nostalgia

Get out the skinny ties, Steven F. Hayward has a great column in the WSJ Editorial Page comparing President Obama's mandate to proceed with his economic agenda with that of President Reagan. Both had economic problems and both had a mandate.

Instead of Yes, We Can Spend a Trillion, "Reagan's team produced a 50-page, detailed blueprint for their first six months in office. The passage of their economic policy was the central objective."

One of the main themes that emerges from the [Initial Actions Project] is that Reagan and his team didn't assume that a landslide victory meant they had a mandate to do whatever they wanted. To the contrary, the report's authors, Richard Wirthlin and David Gergen, wrote: "The election was not a bestowal of political power, but a stewardship opportunity for us to reconsider and restructure the political agenda for the next two decades. The public has sanctioned the search for a new public philosophy to govern America."
[...]
The IAP report understood that the American people "are yet to be convinced that Mr. Reagan's policies will work." Relying on his skills as "the great communicator," the IAP recommended that the president focus on "the outlining of broad strategic policy outlines, and not on narrow programs" and that his explanations be "simple, straightforward and understandable."

Translation for Mr. Obama: Don't go on TV to talk about the stimulative effects of "weatherization." Even Jon Stewart thought that was lame.


Astute ThreeSourcers have commented that 47% of the country did not vote for President Obama. And I've read a few stories about people who voted for him but not for this.

Hayward glosses over the fact that Reagan had to get his proposals past Tip O'Neill and James Wright. But still I can vividly remember President Reagan's taking his case to the people.


Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

I didn't buy but I've got copious remorse!

President Obama has a mandate based less on the popular vote totals and more on engineering a resounding electoral college win and, more importantly, Congressional coattails.

Neither Senator McCain nor the RNC could raise sufficient concerns about a Pelosi-Reid-Obama triumvirate with filibuster-proof majorities. You can cry about it, but I don't think you can fairly say that President Obama does not have a substantial mandate.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2009 1:39 PM
But Keith thinks:

jk: I'll grant you that, but I submit that the current polling numbers on the stimulus bill - accompanied by a side order of good economic sense - might negate that mandate (such as it is).

I'd also submit that had McCain done a better job of reaching across the aisle to Republican voters, and/or the voting public paid attention in their junior-high civics class to some basic economic learnin', we might not be in this fix.

Thank you very kindly for the shout-out on your subsequent post, by the way. Even here in California, there are more than a few people embarrassed by their unremovable Obama bumper stickers...

Posted by: Keith at February 12, 2009 2:12 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Utter claptrap. Doesn't anyone remember what Reagan's stimulus plan was? A sound dollar, and tax cuts. Don't kill people with inflation, and don't kill them with absurdly high marginal tax rates.

It worked well then, and it would work just as well now, but the country's "leaders" are hell-bent on repeating the failed New Deal.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 12, 2009 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry: both of Reagan's foundations were a tough sell in the economic climate. Volcker's tight money wasn't beloved by Phillips Curve devotees who wanted to inflate our way to full employment, and tax cuts had all the usual enemies "Reagan is starving our kids and making them eat Ketchup for school lunches!"

Yet he laid them out and argued -- munificently -- for their enactment. Not sure at whom the claptrap was aimed but Hayward (and I) would like to see President Obama make and defend the case for his ideas -- not just tell us we have to do it right away.

Keith: No question the mandate is slipping away. I'm just being honest that were I on his side I'd feel pretty comfortable claiming a mandate even though the vote totals weren't quite Grant vs. Greeley.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2009 3:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:


Several things seem missing in the New Deal/WW2 references I keep seeing. One is noted here -- wealth transfers out of troubled Europe. Others are:
- arms deals whereby our tanks & planes were sold to others (Britain, USSR, Australia, etc.) during the war;
- more arms deals after the war, in many cases of surplus items.
- postbellum wealth transfer from troubled Europe.
- postbellum loans (some of which were repaid).
- Excess, very efficient, manufacturing capacity.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 13, 2009 5:22 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Reaganomics was hard enough then, but Americans in the last 30 years have been softened up. Even in 1992, Americans may have liked Medicare and Medicaid, but they still didn't believe that government could run health care for everybody. Today, well, Americans think government can give us everything.

But just because people's state-worshipping has grown worse does not change truth.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 15, 2009 5:03 PM

February 10, 2009

Prejudice!

This is a great story! "Hailey Woldt put on the traditional black abaya, expecting the worst."

Ms. Woldt was doing her version of "Muslim Like Me" to document the prejudice of backwoods rednecks in Alabama. Ho, ho, this was going to be good! Sadly the residents of Arab, Alabama (told you it would be good!) did not comply, and treated the young woman with friendliness.

What Woldt discovered was not the prejudices of the small-town southern white American but instead the prejudices and stereotypes of contemporary leftist academia. Woldt expected to find prejudice not because she had already seen it but because her education indoctrinated her to expect it in others. This little incident opens a window on the insular, elitist and bigoted world of leftist in contemporary academia.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 4:31 PM | Comments (0)

February 2, 2009

l'Affaire Daschle

Wow! I really am a partisan hack. Hugh Hewitt considers me one -- and I consider him one. So, you do the math.

Hewitt wants to give Daschle a pass on tax evasion because the confirmation debate is becoming too rancorous and good people will no longer be willing to serve in government. And, the excuse I pulled out for Geithner, he worries that another nominee would be worse.

Errors on tax returns related to unusual circumstances and nanny issues are simply not the sort of character issues for which confirmation should be denied. Fixing the "confirmation mess" requires some restraint when presented with targets. The GOP should stay fixed on the stimulus bill, and not go chasing Daschle.

Take a deep breath. Count to ten. He begins with "My two cents on the latest confirmation dance is sure to disappoint my most partisan listeners" Well, I am a reader and not a listener, but if I can be counted among Hugh Hewitt's most partisan anythings, we have truly entered bizzaro world.

Hewitt sees misfeasance where I see malfeasance. "Errors on a tax return" and a reasonable point that, making $5,000,000 in two years, he would not have risked his political opportunities over a mere 200% of the median income of one of his former constituents in South Dakota.

That is his best point. And I do share the desire to get beyond confirmations being derailed by small transgressions on nannies or gardeners.

But I disagree that it was a small or simple error. This figure represents real money to anybody and it is in an area that is "gray" enough to avoid detection and prove to be a reasonably deniable. Yet, I have had to manage business vs. personal miles on a company car. I don't think it's outside the attention of a Senate Majority leader to consider if for a chauffeured limo.

As far as getting somebody worse, I've no doubt that there are worse ideologues than Senator Daschle. Yet his book about Health Care calls for an American equivalent to the NHS's NICE panel which would provide approval of all treatments and procedures based on government-decided efficacy and cost efficiency. Senator Daschle is radical enough to scare me and is a sophisticated enough player that he seems likely to be able to achieve many of his goals.

I'll take another roll of the dice, Hugh. And I'll take an early defeat to the Obama Health Care Express. If future Government appointees are going to have to start paying their taxes, we'll just have to live with that.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:49 PM | Comments (0)

February 1, 2009

Size Matters

I made some stylistic complaints about President Obama's inaugural address and do not remember a long line of ThreeSources stepping up to say I was too harsh. As far as the content, there were only a few things that bugged me, but by far the largest was his suggestion that all discussion over the size of government was over (hint: small did not win).

Ilya Somin at Volkh takes on this topic:

In his inaugural address, President Obama said that "The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works." This is a commonly heard argument in response to concerns about the growth of government. Who could possibly be against government when it "works"? Why not instead consider each proposed expansion of the state on a case by case basis, supporting those that "work" and opposing any that don't?

Taken seriously, this argument leads to the rejection of any systematic constraints on government power. Why should we have a general presumption against government regulation of speech or religion? Why not instead support censorship when it "works" by improving the marketplace of ideas, and oppose it when it doesn't? Think of all the misleading speech and religious charlatans that government regulation could potentially save us from! The answer, of course, is that government regulation of speech and religion has systematic dangers that are not unique to any one particular regulation. Given those systematic flaws, it makes sense to have a general presumption against it.


Well worth a read in full. Perhaps I am being naive, but supply-side, free-trade, lassiez-faire arguments seem lost for two years at the very least. Perhaps there is some currency to arguing against expansion of government. I like to remind my lefty friends not to give President Obama any power they don't want President Palin to wield.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:39 PM | Comments (0)

January 28, 2009

Woo Hoo! GOP Shut out!

Bad news: Stimulus bill passes House

Good news: No GOP members vote for it! A new bipartisan era has not come to Washington!

WASHINGTON - In a swift victory for President Barack Obama, the Democratic-controlled House approved a historically huge $819 billion stimulus bill Wednesday night with spending increases and tax cuts at the heart of the young administration's plan to revive a badly ailing economy.

The vote was 244-188, with Republicans unanimous in opposition despite Obama's pleas for bipartisan support. Eleven Democrats voted against the measure, while no Republicans supported it.

"We don't have a moment to spare," Obama declared at the White House as congressional allies hastened to do his bidding in the face of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.


MSNBC doesn't push the shut-out angle, but Mister Brutally Honest does. Awesome on stilts!

Hat-tip: Instapundit

UPDATE: Quote of the Day nomination:

Barack Obama promised to end the "politics of division," unite Washington's factions and overcome partisanship. And what do you know -- so far he has: The President's stimulus plan generated bipartisan House opposition, with every Republican and 11 Democrats voting against it on Wednesday. It passed 244-188. -- WSJ Ed Page

Posted by John Kranz at 7:41 PM | Comments (2)
But dagny thinks:

Hey, has anyone found a list of the 11 (or 12 according to some reports) democrats who voted against it? I'm just curious.

Posted by: dagny at January 29, 2009 10:27 AM
But jk thinks:

That MSNBC site is very useful. Between the "Historic Obama Presidency Multimedia Show" and clips from Rachel Maddow questioning a recalcitrant GOP House member, they do provide the roll call:

All Republicans voted against President Barack Obama's spending plan. Of the Democrats, 11 voted against the measure. Among them: Allen Boyd, D-Fla., Bobby Bright, D-Ala., Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., Brad Ellsworth, D-Ind., Parker Griffith, D-Ala., Paul Kanjorski, D-Penn., Frank M. Kratovil, D-Md., Walt Minnick, D-Idaho, John E. Peterson, D-Penn., Heath Shuler, D-N.C., and Gene Taylor, D-Miss.

NED bless the blue dogs!

Posted by: jk at January 29, 2009 11:15 AM

Wit' Republicans Like These...

As blog pragmatist, I try to defend the GOP's slim commitment to liberty as being better than none on the other side. But, then you get Rep. Peter King and some children to protect:

Smile, say cheese and hold that pose till you hear the 'click'. A new bill introduced in the Congress by New York Republican Rep. Peter King requires mobile phones with digital cameras "to make a sound" when a photograph is taken.

The move is part of the 'Camera Phone Predator Alert Act' and the idea is to ensure privacy and safety of the public, especially children, claims the bill.


Hat-tip: Alhouse via Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 1:58 PM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2009

The New Rust Belt

I was surprised to read that outmigration in California has now eclipsed inmigration.

The Chicago Boyz blog has some thoughts. The whole, short post is great, but here is a sad, true paragraph:

It seems that in post-New Deal America, economic and civil success sow their own seeds of destruction. When things are going good, socialist experimentation seems harmless. A booming economy can pay for increased government spending and an ever-increasing scope of government power. Eventually, however, socialism strangles the economic engine and destroys civil society.

I linked favorably to Matt Labash's dark view of Detroit and traded some emails with blog friend Everyday Economist (short version, the article is a little over the top, but the "little" got shaved down as the thread progressed). Could California really go the same sad way of the Great-Lakes-Industrial cities? I've suggested that Duluth and Buffalo, for all their charms, have a tough sell to new industries based on their weather. California still has the sun and the pretty vistas. But they still have the same political class that will fund "Soft America" on the remnants of a long-past Golden State "Hard America" until harder reality is forced upon them.

Many escaping jobs will find their way to Texas, Nevada, and Colorado. But when the Rust Belt moved, it was not as easy to offshore. A lot of those will find their way out of the United States -- not out of Comparative Advantage, but to escape bad government.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 2, 2009

Headline of the Day

Conservatives look to Flake to rescue GOP

Once considered almost a novelty for his relentless one-man attack on House GOP spending practices and push for Cuba policy reform, many conservatives now are looking to the five-term congressman for guidance in rehabilitating the tarnished Republican brand.


They are looking in the right place. Anybody have a Republican they like better than Rep. Jeff Flake (R - AZ)?

Hat-tip: Club for Growth

Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | Comments (0)

Constitutional Conservatism

Peter Berkowitz has a guest editorial in the WSJ today, actually a synopsis of a longer article forthcoming in Policy Review. He echoes a lot of points I hold about a pragmatic call to return principles without discarding Meyers's Fusionism:

But the purists in both camps ignore simple electoral math. Slice and dice citizens' opinions and voting patterns in the 50 states as you like, neither social conservatives nor libertarian conservatives can get to 50% plus one without the aid of the other.

Yet they, and the national security hawks who are also crucial to conservative electoral hopes, do not merely form a coalition of convenience. Theirs can and should be a coalition of principle, and a constitutional conservatism provides the surest ones.

The principles are familiar: individual freedom and individual responsibility, limited but energetic government, economic opportunity and strong national defense. They are embedded in the Constitution and flow out of the political ideas from which it was fashioned. They were central to Frank Meyer's celebrated fusion of traditionalist and libertarian conservatism in the 1960s. And they inspired Ronald Reagan's consolidation of conservatism in the 1980s.


Berkowitz suggests that both social conservatives and libertarians can coalesce around the Constitution. Amen to that. Where GOP legislators and the Bush administration have "wandered off the reservation" were instances where they moved away from Constitutional principles.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:59 AM | Comments (0)

December 22, 2008

On the Mootness of Legislators

Blog friend T. Greer sends a link to George Will's column Making Congress Moot. The column is unsurprisingly well crafted and reminds me why I appreciate Will in spite of his Conventional Wisdomness. Will rubs salt in the wounds opened by Gene Healy's book.

If TARP funds can be put to any use the executive branch fancies because TARP actually is a blank check for that branch, then the only reason no rules are being broken is that there are no rules.

In spite of the dubious merit of bailing out the Detroit Buggy Whip industry and its deeply flawed business model, Will is dead on that the arrogation of power to the Executive is complete. Purse strings for policy are clearly to be controlled by the House of Representatives. Yet, when Congress demurred, the Bush Administration took the money out its AIG Widow's and Orphan's fund.

TG sends the link, an excerpt, an incendiary quote form his CNN interview, and a link to my I [Heart] W post, asking "Why was it again, that you can love this guy?"

Well, the post linked was about personal virtue, which I feel our current President has in spades. I would say the same about President GHW Bush, with whom I had even more policy disagreements. President (GW) Bush's capacity to take the heat and do the right thing are worthy of admiration. And, as my post said, I think will be sorely missed.

Will's point of Executive power expansion is a fair cop. Unlike Healy, and Reason Magazine, I have a difficult time blaming President Bush for this. This is a structural, systemic flaw in the Constitution as we practice it. I don't know how to fix it, but don't expect Bush to be the guy fighting clean on Pro Wrestling. The game is fixed and Rove/Bush had a way to play it.

I'll provide one example. My hero, President Coolidgeís response to the 1927 flood of Louisiana earned him a line in a Randy Newman song.

President Coolidge come down on a railroad train
With a little fat man with a note pad in his hand
President say "Little fat man, ain't it a shame?
What the river has done to this poor cracker's land?"

That was Coolidge's Katrina. President Bush went in with an army of FEMA agents and, well an Army, and -- because he was two days late -- his administration was deemed incompetent. I say that he never recovered. War is always unpopular and he was destined to lose support in Iraq. But Katrina removed the perception of competence and left all policy subject to criticism.

What would Kanye West have thought if Bush had pulled a Coolidge? He would have been impeached! It's well and good for Healy and Will and Reason and even my great friend TG to complain about The Imperial Bush Presidency, but the people demand it. They gave a landslide victory to a successor who promised even more involvement in the markets.

I'm enjoying Jon Meacham's "American Lion" biography of President Jackson. Though we recovered from Jackson and Lincoln, it is interesting to watch early expansion of Executive Power -- and twice as interesting to see how it is considered heroic by the historians.

Individual parts of Bush policy have been debated around here. And I come to the end of the second term less enthused than ever about "big government conservatism." Again, I won't call it treason. It was an experiment: give the people the government they want (look at the polls, they do want it) but build it on market mechanisms like HSAs and private Part D administration.

I'll listen to intelligent criticism from the right or left, but I cannot look back and wish that we had elected President Gore or Kerry.

As I type this, another blog friend sends me ammo. Ed Gillespie's Myths and Facts About the Real Bush Record. Well worth a read in full, though it targets typical left criticism, I find myself drowning in contempt from the right.

I worked pretty hard to elect Governor Bush in 2000 and harder to re-elect President Bush in 2004. There have been disappointments, but I am not regretting those efforts. Yes, he has flaws. No, he does not represent all my beliefs. He was the best electable candidate in 2000 and 2004 and I will not abandon him at the end.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:20 AM | Comments (6)
But T. Greer thinks:

JK, I just don't know if this convinces me.

For one, the problem is much larger than the expansion of the Executive Branch. I will repeat the quote I attached to the letter for those who did not receive it: "I HAVE ABADONED FREE MARKET PRINCIPLES IN ORDER TO SAVE THE FREE MARKET SYSTEM."

In my mind, nothing else needs to be said to consign Bush to the bowels of the "worst President ever" list historians like to make in their free time.

But, you do bring up an interesting point. Bush is just waltzing past congress by giving the TARP money to the Big Three. I guess this incident encapsulates all of my problems with Jr. Here we have an imperial Presidency, disregard for the rule of law, and faux capitalism all in one happy bundle! Other than the *idiotic* idea of a small-footprint warfare, what is missing?

~T. Greer, fed up with W.

Posted by: T. Greer at December 22, 2008 8:59 PM
But jk thinks:

It may have escaped your otherwise keen attention, tg, that President Bush is sometimes not the most articulate spokesperson for his beliefs and ideas. If you're going to take a single quote and dub dubya the "worst President ever" I suggest you buy one of the popular "Bushism" books and be done with it.

Many gripes against this President from the right are well founded. I cannot think of one that is likely to get any better under President Obama. I had some hope for less Jovertesque drug prosecutions, but with AG Holder, umm, not so much.

Okay, worst President ever. Who is great and would any of the greats have a chance of capturing a single delegate in a modern election? Brother JG said "worst" or "one of the worst" in a recent comment as well. I will admit to being stupefied at that. President Bush has not been a solid advocate of small government. Stack him up against Wilson, Nixon, LBJ, FDR, and *ahem* TR, I think he comes out pretty well. I'd have zero problem putting him ahead of Clinton, GHWB, Carter and Kennedy. Bubbling up close to the top of the 20th Century Presidents.

Lastly, to continue our orthogonal thought: small footprint warfare was an awesome idea; small footprint nation building failed.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2008 11:58 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

Touche. (I probably should buy a Bushism book now that I think of it..)

However, my problem with the quote is that it is not just words -- it truly reflects our President's actions. He has given his whole-hearted approval to what the folks here at Three Source's call "outright socialism." And not only that, but he has trampled across the constitution to do it!

I have trouble accepting the "people of America demand it" argument. To put it lightly, Mr. Obama has received a heavy dose of criticism on these pages. Considerably less vitriol has been thrown at Mr. Bush -- despite the fact that they are doing the same things, for the same reasons. Your acknowledgement that Bush is expanding the executive branch far beyond its bounds and while suffocating the market for the sake of public demand seems at odds of your perception of Bush as a virtuous man. Would a man of virtue bow to the mob as you say he is?

You do hit head on the nail when you note that things will be no better under Obama. Policy wise, things will get quite a bit worse. But there will be a silver lining with the loss of Mr. Bush: the words, terms, and images surrounding free markets, limited governance, and the GOP might just be separated from the sitting President. For in truth, Bush has done more to damn conservative policies than all of the elocutions Obama could dream up. His faux conservatism has been deemed the real thing, and nothing short of a colossal screw up on the other side will bring about a change of heart.

As for the worst Presidents lists- honestly, I think the whole exercise is a bunch of crock. The challenges faced by Presidents, an individual President's power, and the metrics by which we can rate them vary so widely from Presidency to Presidency that drawing up little lists seems kind of childish. With that said, I can hardly call Bush's two terms a success. If we are looking at long term influence, Bush has very likely doomed any chance of true conservative policies to be implemented for quite a while. Either way, I would not say he was a "good" President in any true sense of the term.

Finally, I would suggest that the problem implicit with small foot-print warfare doctrine is that it assumes small foot-print nation building will be able to clean up the messes it makes.

~T. Greer, still not convinced.

Posted by: T. Greer at December 23, 2008 1:31 PM
But jk thinks:

While it does not refute anything you say, read Bill McGurn's piece. When I speak of expecting to miss him, this monstrous amount of personal integrity and decency come to mind.

It is extremely frustrating to hear Bush's policies related as the apogee of small-government and lassiez-faire. I blame the media for that and not the President. They will find sins just as egregious when President Bush is back home in Texas.

I disagree with the President on the automotive bailout as I have disagreed with him many times. But I applaud the Justices he has appointed to SCOTUS, respect his veto of the SCHIP extension and his attempted veto of the farm bill. No he's not the lost love child of Ayn Rand and Lysander Spooner, but when Secretary Daschle is installed in HHS and the government moves to take over 17% of GDP, I'm going to miss the guy who vetoed SCHIP.

I provided a list of worse Presidents to ask you if you stood behind your statement that he was the worst. You don't have to rank Taft against Hayes. But I'd like to hear you say that you really think Bush worse than Wilson, Nixon, FDR, and LBJ.

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2008 7:19 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

You ask a fair question. Is Bush worse than Wilson, Nixon, FDR, and LBJ? Well, I would say that depends on what metric you use.

If we judge our President's by their ability to accomplish what they have sent out to do, then the only one of those fellas worse than Bush is LBJ.

If the we judge our President's by how much better or worse off a country is after they have completed their terms (this is a completely arbitrary metric in my opinion, but it is used) then Bush gets beat out by FDR and Wilson.

If we judge our President's by the long term effect his Presidency has on the country, then it is pretty much impossible to make any accurate judgments for 20 years. Still, from the perspective of 2008, it looks like Mr. Bush has done more to hurt American democracy then anyone else since FDR.

At the same time, I have no trouble placing all of the President's you mentioned before (GHWB, Clinton, Kennedy) ahead of Bush on all three counts.

~T. Greer, wannabe Presidential Historian

And for the record: I think TR beats the snot out of Bush when it comes to a Presidential record. ^_~


Posted by: T. Greer at December 23, 2008 9:15 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

P.S. I should probably clarify this: I do not think 43 is the worst. I just think he belongs on the list of the worst.

Posted by: T. Greer at December 23, 2008 9:18 PM

December 19, 2008

The Lure of New Law

The Everyday Economist has a brief, trenchant post on Madoff and Regulation. Among other virtues, it contains a Wikipedia link to Charles Ponzi, infamy incarnate. One assumes his progeny must change their name or avoid employment in the financial sector. "Herb, this is Harry Ponzi, he has a new idea for a hybrid credit-swap derivative that I think you should look at. Hello? Herb? You There?"

I digress, again. The important point is that there are laws on the books against fraud. Every time there is a high-profile case -- a Gaggle of Legislators introduce new legislation -- at great cost to the business community. Yet, the problem, more frequently, is lax enforcement of existing regs.

1.) Regulation is important and we need rules in place against such schemes. Free enterprise operates best when there are rules (whether enforced by government or private entities).

2.) Regulation is only useful if it is actually enforced. One point that I have made regarding the financial crisis is that it was not merely a failure of regulation, but also of regulators. Decisions within regulatory agencies to relax the regulatory standards renders such standards useless. Thus, even with regulation in place, we need regulators who will actually do their job. The Madoff scandal highlights the fact that the regulatory agencies have become nothing more than a joke in terms of enforcement.


My desire for lassiez-faire too frequently has me cheering for business at all costs. But every time a crook gets away with something, a new law is passed that saddles the next honest innovator. Thusly can little-l libertarians appreciate tough law enforcers like Rudy Giuliani and Charles Evans Hughes. Prosecutors need to follow the rules and use discretion. But more competent enforcement is the best protection against the rapid expansion of new regulation.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US patent office in 1899 famously said, "Everything that can be invented has been invented." If The Refugee might be so bold, he would like to coin a phrase, with apologies to Mr. Duell: "Everything that can be regulated already has been regulated." Unfortunately, our Congressmen like our entreprenuers seem to have endless creativity.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at December 19, 2008 11:31 AM
But Keith thinks:

"The important point is that there are laws on the books against fraud. Every time there is a high-profile case -- a Gaggle of Legislators introduce new legislation -- at great cost to the business community. Yet, the problem, more frequently, is lax enforcement of existing regs."

It's "feel-good" legislation - legislation that makes the legislators feel like they're "doing something" rather than doing nothing, and leaves the voters with the false impression that their legislators are taking the situation seriously and working on their behalf (rather than meddling in the natural course of the economy to its detriment, like the amateurs they are).

We already have the laws on the books necessary to have prevented this situation; they merely need to be enforced.

I once proposed that there should be an article of the Constitution, forbidding the passing of any law unless it was accompanied by the repeal of two others. Silly, perhaps, but if you stop and think about it...

Posted by: Keith at December 19, 2008 12:02 PM

December 17, 2008

Jackson Jr. Sings Like Bird

According to Fox News, Jesse Jackson, Jr. has been singing to the Feds for years about Blago and others. The Refugee wants to know: in politics, is better to be a crook or a squealer? When it comes to Chicago, The Refugee thinks he knows the answer. Jackson's career is done.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 11:52 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

You have got to respect a Chicago squealer. Like many, I was concerned that our President-elect had no record of standing up to corruption. Well done, Rep. Jackson!

Maybe this is the start of a "Chicago Awakening?"

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2008 12:50 PM
But AlexC thinks:

four or six years of singing?

how many arrests?

sounds like he's just keeping his nose "less dirty"

Posted by: AlexC at December 17, 2008 2:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, so the bar's a little lower for Illinois Democrats. I'm just filled with the spirit of the season, ac.

Posted by: jk at December 17, 2008 3:08 PM

December 1, 2008

Justice Brandeis, Call Your Office...

A good friend of this blog sends an interesting link:

Pick our fights and move to the states

My central insight in my recent disagreement with Patrick is that the creativity will take place in the states. While there will be some very important fights in Washington over the next 2-4 years, in particular health care, card check, and bailouts, another equally important fight will happen in 40 or more states over that time period. In the federal fights, our answer is likely to be simply: NO.

But at the states, something else will happen.


The article refers, specifically to upcoming budget crises as states reconcile boomtime spending with busttime revenue. But, generally, it is an awesome idea.

I have often saluted Blog Brother AlexC for his attention to state and local politics. It's much better soil to till -- especially now that national issues are even further out of control. It's also a good way to build a base and elevate future leaders and issues.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:36 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith thinks:

jk: I agree with the strategy, but I'm having a "yes, but..." moment on where it will lead. As an act of full disclosure, I'm going to admit before shooting my mouth off that I'm a strict constructionist on the Enumerated Powers, and a huge fan of the Tenth Amendment - which means that I don't see the Federal government obeying the Tenth Amendment a great deal.

I get a huge kick out of national politicians ducking issues (for example, homosexual marriage) by saying "that should be an issue for the states." Yes, that worked out really well for capital punishment and for abortion, didn't it? When the federal government poked its nose in and trumped all the state laws, they ceased to be merely state issues.

For this strategy to work effectively, restraint at the federal level is mandatory. I'm not seeing it. For example, were more and more states to ban homosexual marriage, I would fully expect to see an increasing demand for federal intervention to guarantee rights for homosexual marriage.

Caveat: I'm not intending to use this to discuss the merits of abortion, capital punishment, or homosexual marriage - they're merely examples to illustrate the blurred distinction between state and federal jurisdiction. For that matter, the article cites "in particular health care, card check, and bailouts." On what basis - on what Constitutional grounds - does the Federal government rightfully poke its nose into any of those three issues (and I roundly reject any answer that includes the Commerce Clause).

Yes, I suppose that makes me a States' Rights guy.

I'll go so far as to say on the record that using distribution of tax dollars to enforce the federal will on states is an illegitimate use of power. The Federal government can, instead of enacting an unconstitutionmal national speed limit, simply withhold revenues for highway repair from states that themselves refuse to enact a speed limit law with which the federales are satisfied - and so we replace legislation with extortion.

Of course, the solution is that levying taxes for highway repair must be done at the state level and not at the federal level. Why should Michiganders pay for Arizona highways?

So yes, the strategy of moving issues from the national level to the state level is one with which I agree, but unless we prevent the Federal government from intervening, we leave the losing side with an end-around.

Posted by: Keith at December 1, 2008 6:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Keith -- Actually, I am thinking of tactics more than philosophy. For what it's worth, the Ninth and Tenth are among my favorite ignored Amendments.

But I saw the piece as a call to engage at the state level. Instead of fighting an overwhelming collectivist majority in Congress and the Executive Branch, lovers of liberty would be advised to focus time/energy/money on more localized politics. This preserves liberty and at the same time might elevate some new ideas and new leaders into the national forefront down the line. Justice Brandeis's "State laboratories of Democracy writ large."

Posted by: jk at December 1, 2008 6:56 PM
But Keith thinks:

Noted and agreed. But the Federal government has this annoying habit of striking down things they don't like.

Nonetheless, if conservatism is going to grow, the state level more fertile (and more rightful) ground than the federal, on that you're right. Here in California, Tom McClintock is probably our last best hope - and given the disaster which is our budget, they may be foreclosing on the whole state if we elect anyone else...

Posted by: Keith at December 1, 2008 7:47 PM

November 17, 2008

The Two Party System, Finally Explained

Prince succinctly nails the two major parties in America. In a profile in The New Yorker, Prince is interviewed by Claire Hoffman who notes "Princeís voice was surprisingly deep, like that of a much larger man." And a much bigger thinker as well:

ďPeople with moneyómoney like thatóare not affected by the stock market, and theyíre not freaking out over anything. Theyíre just watching. So hereís how it is: youíve got the Republicans, and basically they want to live according to this.Ē He pointed to a Bible. ďBut thereís the problem of interpretation, and youíve got some churches, some people, basically doing things and saying it comes from here, but it doesnít. And then on the opposite end of the spectrum youíve got blue, youíve got the Democrats, and theyíre, like, ĎYou can do whatever you want.í Gay marriage, whatever. But neither of them is right.Ē

Whole thing, like, trust me. Hat-tip: The Corner

Posted by John Kranz at 7:14 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

The next paragraph....

When asked about his perspective on social issues‚ÄĒgay marriage, abortion‚ÄĒPrince tapped his Bible and said, ‚ÄúGod came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‚ÄėEnough.‚Äô ‚ÄĚ

For a rockstar, Prince has been quite ambiguous with his politics... kind of like Bob Dylan.

Maybe he's a South Park conservative?

Posted by: AlexC at November 18, 2008 12:04 PM

November 10, 2008

Does the Slippery Slope go up?

Stop him before he tortures this metaphor any further! Slippery slopes go down!

Hear me out. I think every ThreeSourcer will agree with the WSJ Ed Page that a bailout of the big three automakers is counter-productive.

For decades, Congress has never had a second thought as it imposed tighter emissions standards on GM, Ford and Chrysler, denouncing them for making evil SUVs. Yet now that the companies are bleeding cash, and may be heading for bankruptcy, suddenly the shrinking Big Three are the latest candidates for a taxpayer bailout. One $25 billion loan facility has already been signed into law, and Senator Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) wants another $25 billion, this time with no strings attached.

But, and I know this won't be popular 'round these parts, I fear that the "no-bailouts!" brigades have spent all their energy in opposition to the Paulson Plan. I don't want to tell principled people what to think, but I am very comfortable having supported the Paulson rescue and opposing the Stabenow bailout.

In spite of President Jackson and AG Taney's heroic work in the 1830s. the Federal government has a substantive involvement in the financial system. Fiat money rules the world, for better or worse, and I can't see the Fed and Treasury sipping coffee (mmm, coffee) while the global credit markets seize up. The idea of the Paulson plan was to buy assets, thereby injecting liquidity and using the government's singular ability to float bad paper on its balance sheet through the bad times. I know that few -- okay, maybe nobody -- agrees with me on this but it is a legitimate position. The lender of last resort.

The automotive industry is not a casualty of the credit crisis. It is a casualty of Schumpeterian gales of creative destruction and an anachronistic labor model. Bankruptcy seems a far superior option than a bailout. In bankruptcy, the companies will be able to renegotiate union and dealer contracts. The bailout will leave all these structural flaws in place.

So what's this slippery slope up nonsense? I fear the opposition to the defensible Paulson rescue plan has undermined opposition to the indefensible automotive bailout. "Oh those, wacky right wingers, they want everybody to fail." Better to claim that government has an interest in keeping markets operating, but not in preserving outdated industrial models.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:23 AM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

You beat This Refugee to the punch, JK. Any Detroit bailout is a subsidy to the unions. While management and unions may share the blame, there's no disputing that the current business/compensation/work rule model is unsustainable. Left to the market, GM, Chrysler and maybe even Ford would file Chapter 11. Bankruptcy would allow the companies to shed the yoke of union contracts via court order. Using taxpayer funds, the unions can protect their position. Having spent nearly $400 million of their member's dues to elect Democrats, you can bet the unions are calling in all their markers for a little ROI.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 10, 2008 11:44 AM

November 7, 2008

COS Emmanuel

Now that the election's over, we can ignore politics and get back to our lives.

Or, we could discuss President-elect Obama's staff and cabinet appointments. Yeah, that sounds good!

I rolled my eyes when I heard that Rep, Rahm Emmanuel (D - Clintonistan) was picked for Chief of Staff. "Post partisan, indeed," sniggered I. But I have now come around to the view of some teevee pundits and the WSJ Ed Page: A President Obama will need a tough like Emmanuel to protect him from an überliberal Congress. And if trade is one of my largest worries about an Obama Administration, having NAFTA-Man (with his maple-leaf tights) onboard is not a bad idea.

He helped to negotiate the 1997 balanced budget deal that cut the capital gains tax even as it created the children's health-care entitlement. He supports expanded trade and will not want Mr. Obama to govern as a protectionist. The Chicagoan also has experience with financial markets, so he is likely to be a voice against the long-term nationalization of the U.S. banking system.

As for Mr. Emanuel's famously sharp elbows, they are as likely to be wielded against his fellow Democrats as against Republicans. With Democrats now so dominant, the fiercest fights -- and the ones that really matter -- will take place among Democratic factions in the White House and Capitol Hill. Mr. Emanuel can help Mr. Obama understand when he needs to ignore the pleas of the left and govern from the center.


Now, as for his economic team, blog friend Josh at Everyday Economist has shed his non-partisan demeanor to worry about the dubious pick of Gov. Jennifer Granholm. Bringing the "Michigan Miracle" to the whole nation are we?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Balanced budget"? As I commented some weeks back, the only reason the budget became "balanced" was because the tech boom brought in tax revenue faster than they could spend it. It was NOT because of any "fiscal discipline" no matter how much they claim it was.

There's already talk that Obama will have to "delay" his tax cuts (surprised?). Now Granholm. Coincidence? Or would that be confluence? Or both?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 7, 2008 3:12 PM

November 6, 2008

Quote of the day

In a comment to 'I [heart] W' on these very pages, Boulder Refugee wrote:

If the left wants a "new tone" in politics, all they have to do is shut up.

Maybe I just don't get out enough but I've never - ever - heard it said better than that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:26 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

I agree.

Sadly, they don't think so. See:
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/277642.php

Posted by: Terri at November 7, 2008 11:15 AM
But The Heretic thinks:

It would behoove the right to start by looking in the mirror first.

Posted by: The Heretic at November 8, 2008 2:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee will admit that Michael Savage is often over the top and that he lost much respect for Ann Coulter as well. Even so, when considering the words of Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reed, Harry Belafonte, Sean Penn, Barbara Streisand, Danny Glover, Alec "Kill their mothers" Baldwin, Spike Lee, Jane Fonda, The Huffington Post and the Daily Kos, it is clear that the Democrat party has become the undisputed champion of hateful rhetoric.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at November 10, 2008 4:11 PM

Fusionism: Cool Again?

Ilya Somin at Volkh Conspiracy thinks it's time conservatives and libertarians banded together: "Reforging the conservative-libertarian coalition will be very hard. Relations between the two groups have always been tense, and the last eight years have undeniably drawn down the stock of goodwill. But if we can't find a new way to hang together, we are all too likely to hang separately."

Good Post (HT: Instapundit)

Posted by John Kranz at 7:13 PM | Comments (0)

Ringing Endorsement

Lisa Mossie at PA Water Cooler informs that neither Gov. Ed Rendell (D - PA) nor Senator Arlen Specter (RINO - PA) is a big fan of Governor Palin:

Rendell says if the Republicans ever hope to have a chance again, they have to shelve John McCainís choice for the #2 spot:

ďA Republican Party that is dominated by the philosophy of people like Sarah Palin can, in my judgment, never win again in places like the Philadelphia suburbs and the Philadelphia media market.Ē

Asked whether Palin represents the future of the party, Sen. Specter answered succinctly: ďNo.Ē


That's good enough for me: Palin 2012!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:41 PM | Comments (0)

The Nonexistent GOP Youth Vote

Professor Greg Mankiw admits that Harvard undergrads are hardly a random sample of the population, but that his discussions with them have led him to conjecture:

These particular students told me they preferred the lower tax, more limited government, freer trade views of McCain, but they were voting for Obama on the basis of foreign policy and especially social issues like abortion. The choice of a social conservative like Palin as veep really turned them off McCain.

So what does the Republican Party need to do to get the youth vote back? If these Harvard students are typical (and perhaps they are not, as Harvard students are hardly a random sample), the party needs to scale back its social conservatism. Put simply, it needs to become a party for moderate and mainstream libertarians. The actual Libertarian Party is far too extreme in its views to attract these students. And it is too much of a strange fringe group. These students are, after all, part of the establishment. But a reformed Republican Party could, I think, win them back.


The post opens with a startling graph of the paucity of GOP youth vote. I'll concede that the Republicans will never flip that to a 2-1 majority, but it will be hard to win elections if we continue to give away 66% of the youth vote and 90% of African-Americans.

The hard-core social conservative issues are playing with fire. I have no doubt that there will be a call to accentuate them going forward after the "moderate" McCain lost. I still believe in Frank Meyers's fusionism, and disagree with Mankiw's students that Governor Palin does not bridge the Conservative-Libertarian divide. I think that she, like President Reagan, can appeal to both.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:43 AM | Comments (11)
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks dag. I didn't realize the error until now myself.

While were in 'corrections' mode let me also apologize for mischaracterizing JK's 'Roe' position. I only remembered the second half of your argument.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2008 10:22 PM
But jk thinks:

Forget that -- I want to know which evil ThreeSourcer opposes Pumkin Pie -- we may have our first excommunication!

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2008 11:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that it may draw aspersions upon someone I love. (And before you draw any conclusions, I DO love myself!)

Posted by: johngalt at November 7, 2008 5:11 PM
But jk thinks:

It's probably best I don't know.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2008 5:34 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

@Jk: Sorry, I have not replied to you sooner, but I have been a bit busy of late. So anyway, here is the 30 second version of a two page post I had planned on writing before the election was over:

On the face of the matter, McCain and Obama seem to have one of their largest splits on policy with their positions on the United State's relations with the Middle East. However, a quick look between the lines leads one to the conclusion that their positions on Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran are essentially the same.

John McCain has stated that Americans should stay in Iraq until victory is achieved. He has been less willing to place a timeline on when such a victory will happen. However, it is not hard to infer what a McCain administration's troop levels would look like: if current trends in Iraq continue, Iraq will be a fully self-sufficient state able to protect itself from both foreign and domestic enemies by 2012. (I would say 2011, but I am on the optimistic side of the debate.) Likewise, the merging SOFA agreement between the U.S. and Iraq will probably attach a timeline to the U.S. troop presence in Iraq- either way, the majority of our boys will be out of Iraq before the end of 2012.

In contrast, Obama originally pushed for a 16 month withdrawal plan (although in recent times he has backed away from this position), the tactical realities of the situation mean that it is impossible to withdraw our troops at the said pace. Obama simply will not be able to do so.

It is also worth noting that Obama's plan calls for enough troops to be stationed in Iraq to respond to any terrorist threats, and his vice-president has declared that the Obama administration will use American troops to stop genocides across the world. This is pretty much identical to the McCain position, which stated that we should not make any hasty plans for withdrawal lest either terrorist cells or ethnic cleansing becomes widespread in Iraq.

So what will an actual Obama or McCain administration Iraq policy look like? Well, by 2011 the majority of our troops will be rotated out of Iraq, probably with a force of 30,000 or so still in the country. The difference will be in how the President's address the rotation- for McCain, we will have had our "victory." For Obama, we will be "withdrawing from a war we never should have started." While soldiers are being rotated out of Iraq, a similar number will be rotated into Afghanistan. Again, the Obama and McCain strategies are practically the same; the difference being that McCain will call his plan a "surge" while Obama will be “focusing America on the real war on terror."

Their Iran policies are also pretty similar. While Obama talked quite a bit about meeting with Iranian leaders ‚Äúwithout preconditions‚ÄĚ early on in his campaign, it didn‚Äôt take long for Obama to backtrack and provide a list of conditions that would need to be met, or at least addressed, before any summit level meetings between Obama and whoever happened to the President of Iran at the time. In reality, both will use low level diplomats to try and engage in a dialogue with Iran, and if that fails, will push for harder sanctions on the country. Neither is likely to go to war with Iran even if they obtain nuclear weapons, as it is a sad reality that any conflict between Iran and the United States would spell disaster for every American soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq, something niether President would find acceptable.

~T. Greer, originally planning on titling the expanded version of the above comments: ‚ÄúObama, McCain and Iraq: More sound than fury.‚ÄĚ

Posted by: T. Greer at November 8, 2008 9:50 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll look forward to linking to the full post.

But I overwhelmingly disagree.

I'll accept that the actual outcome of a President McCain or a President Obama in Iraq will be about the same but that is a coincidence based both on the success of the surge and counterinsurgency efforts and, as you mention, the logistical difficulties of executing a good cut and run. Because victory and retreat look similar from Pennsylvania, Minnesota and Colorado does not mean it will look the same to our MidEastern allies or our enemies.

On Iran I would suggest that ambiguity has been historically problematic for the US; and that President-elect Obama is willing to use ambiguity to play differences between audiences. Dean Acheson suggested that Korea was "outside our perimeter" and the Bush 41 Administration implied the same about Kuwait. Both China and Iraq thought they had a green light to invade and the US had to project power across the globe to disabuse them.

I'm hoping for the best on domestic and foreign policy from an Obama Administration. I'm probably one of the more sanguine folks 'round these parts. But I feel that Obama and a huge portion of his voters want terrorism to be handled more as a criminal and not military matter. I wish him luck with that but think that like ambiguity, that emboldens our enemies. I'd love to be proven wrong.

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2008 11:27 AM

October 22, 2008

No Representation Without Taxation!

This has concerned me for some time. And it's not going to get better next year.

zero_tax.jpg


The chart comes from a NYTimes Economix blog article "Don't Worry About the Bailout." Don't worry, because you won't be paying. Hat-tip: Professor Mankiw

I worried in 2003 that as much as I loved the Bush tax cuts, the only way to sell any tax cuts is to make the curve more steeply progressive and to remove more people from liability altogether.

Today, Professor Adam Lerrick has a guest editorial in the WSJ that questions "What happens when the voter in the exact middle of the earnings spectrum receives more in benefits from Washington than he pays in taxes?"

In 2006, the latest year for which we have Census data, 220 million Americans were eligible to vote and 89 million -- 40% -- paid no income taxes. According to the Tax Policy Center (a joint venture of the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute), this will jump to 49% when Mr. Obama's cash credits remove 18 million more voters from the tax rolls. What's more, there are an additional 24 million taxpayers (11% of the electorate) who will pay a minimal amount of income taxes -- less than 5% of their income and less than $1,000 annually.

In all, three out of every five voters will pay little or nothing in income taxes under Mr. Obama's plans and gain when taxes rise on the 40% that already pays 95% of income tax revenues.


There is much for a little-l libertarian, big-P Prosperitarian to worry about in 2008, but this "tipping point" represents a structural, irreversible change in Madisonian Democracy. We are no longer going to let the people who are paying the bill choose the restaurant.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

YES! Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.... yes! I've been searching for data to draw this graph for over a week now. I was going to call it the "Say goodbye to fiscal conservatives effect."

Incidentally, this is what led to the downfall of Rome - after instituting democracy the populace voted themselves "bread and circuses" from the state treasury.

One last thing. The first link is broken.

GREAT POST! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

Now let's see if we can get this in print on the NYT pages. (fat chance)

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2008 8:32 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I nearly forgot to mention that I was also going to place the blame for this situation with President Bush (the current one). The numbers I was working with were 40% paying no taxes after the Bush tax cuts and 20% in that category beforehand. According to the graph, Bush increased the non-taxed population from 25% to 33%, perpetuating a trend that began with (gulp) his father. It is noteworthy that this group remained at roughly 25% between the offending Bush administrations despite both a tax hike and a tax cut.

This by itself is enough for me to reverse myself and declare the presidency of George W. Bush the worst in history. If Obama was promising not just tax hikes for the rich but for everyone across the board it might be enough for me to actually vote for him. That's how important I think it is that everyone who votes should also be a taxpayer. 28th Amendment anyone?

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2008 10:10 PM
But jk thinks:

We do aim to please, jg, thanks for the kind words (and the first link is now fixed).

I had an interesting email thread a few years ago with James Robbins of the National Review. He thought it would be easy to remove taxpayers from the bottom 50% and I cried foul.

I'm going to agree with you on the 28th Amendment, but fear we may have to rescind the 24th first. Let's roll in something against stealth withholding -- at least a recognition or statement of what a taxpayer has paid into the system.

Blaming the Bushes...I dunno...Politics is the art of the possible, and the only way to sell the 2K3 cuts was to steepen the curve. I would take that trade any day of the week, even knowing I'll have to endure five years of "tax cuts for the rich" lies and nonsense.

And I think Rome fell when they discovered white flour. I am concerned but still believe in a Touquevillian promise that we are particularly suited for liberty.

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2008 10:57 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee falls somewhere between jg and jk. Allowing only taxpayers to vote sounds good, but is remincent of the days when only the landed gentry could vote. I would not want to see our republic moving toward an aristocracy. On the other hand, the future of our liberty is at risk.

The Refugee would suggest that the best solution is Neal Bortz's "Fair Tax" proposal. That is, a consumption tax. There are too many benefits to enumerate here and The Refugee recommends Bortz's book, "The Fair Tax Book" as required reading for all ThreeSourers. Ultimately, there may be no other way to stop the socialist redistribution of wealth other than a consumption tax.

Interestingly, this is one area in which The Heretic and The Refugee agree.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 23, 2008 12:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm laughing a little, br. There are many fans of consumption-based taxation 'round these parts. And I used to point out that it was one thing Silence Dogood and I agreed on.

I soured on it when Governor Huckabee became its voice -- not entirely fair, but we're only human. If I could roll back the clock and enact this in lieu of the 16th Amendment I would. RE: the art of the possible, I don't think revoking the 16th will come much easier than the 24th. A flat tax -- while less cool on several fronts -- is actual workable in the current system.

As Silence cynically says (and it applies to either) "only 535 reasons why that won't happen."

Posted by: jk at October 23, 2008 4:49 PM

August 18, 2008

Reading Racism Between the Lines

In a year when it is racist to call Senator Obama "skinny," Paul Waldman, writing at The American Prospect, has realized that the Obama Energy Plan Tire Gauge -- much beloved by some ThreeSourcers -- is actually a, um, I think I'll let him say it:

The message couldn't be plainer: See that itty-bitty, little tire gauge? If you vote for Obama, that's how big your penis is. If you vote for McCain, on the other hand, your penis is as big as this [working oil] rig, thrusting its gigantic shaft in and out of the ground! Real men think keeping your tires inflated is for weenies.

Wow. I missed the PoMo, feminist collegiate experience by: a) being old, b) studying math and hard science, and c) dropping out. But I have encountered it because I read a lot of literary criticism of Buffy and Angel (sometimes a sword is just a sword, Doctor).

If every candidate is going to have to justify the double indirection parsing of his or her words, we're going to get even farther away from a serious philosophical election.

Hat-tip: Attila (who else?), reminding that I have been remiss in not linking to "When CPA Means 'Jew'," even though I have laughed about it every day since I read it. Riffing off the "skinny" contretemps, Attila recalls the 2000 Lieberman-Cheney debate:

. . . and it's really quite obvious that Cheney's reference to CPAs is a not-so-veiled allusion to Lieberman's Jewish background. What Cheney said was, "You have to be a CPA to understand what he just said." A CPA. Get it? He could just as easily have said, "You have to be a Jew to understand what that Jew just said." And then Cheney went on to say, "The fact of the matter is the plan is so complex that the ordinary American is never going to ever figure out what they even qualify for." The "ordinary American," as opposed to the Jew. That's not very subtle, either, painting the Jew as the Other.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:08 PM | Comments (0)

August 5, 2008

Thanks a Million, Oprah

Professor Mankiw links to a paper that examines the value of celebrity endorsements and suggests that Ms. Winfrey's support of Senator Obama brought him an additional 1,000,000 votes.

Craig Garthwaite and Tim Moore of the University of Maryland Economics department admit that there are substantial hurdles to accurately measuring the effect of any endorsement, but they do some reasonable extrapolation of Oprah's clout in book sales and other items featured on her show. Interstin'...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:02 PM | Comments (0)

July 23, 2008

Public-Private Partnership

I was going to give WSJ Ed Page Editor Paul Gigot a quote of the day, for this little bon mot:

My battles with Fan and Fred began with no great expectations. In late 2001, I got a tip that Fannie's derivatives accounting might be suspect. I asked Susan Lee to investigate, and the editorial she wrote in February 2002, "Fannie Mae Enron?", sent Fannie's shares down nearly 4% in a day. In retrospect, my only regret is the question mark.

Reading the rest of the editorial made me realize that this needed a little more coverage. Long time readers of the WSJ Ed Page have followed the battles with Fannie and Freddie -- if you're behind, they have compiled them here.

Gigot takes the unusual step of writing a bylined editorial on his own page, and I strongly suggest that you read the whole thing. He and his staff were on the front lines against this perverse hybrid of government and private power. He has certainly earned a few I-told-ya-sos, but he uses the space to expand and discredit the whole idea of mixing government power with private enterprises.

The abiding lesson here is what happens when you combine private profit with government power. You create political monsters that are protected both by journalists on the left and pseudo-capitalists on Wall Street, by liberal Democrats and country-club Republicans. Even now, after all of their dishonesty and failure, Fannie and Freddie could emerge from this taxpayer rescue more powerful than ever. Campaigning to spare taxpayers from that result would represent genuine "change," not that either presidential candidate seems interested.

It is germane not only because we are bailing out Fannie and Freddie today, but also because Senator Obama, and to a lesser extent, Senator McCain both have a soft spot for this "third-way" model, Public-Private Partnership. It's all Kumbaya all the time, until you realize that you have created an un-reformable, undefeatable monster.


UPDATE: Great article by James Surowecki (other than cartoons, the reason to read New Yorker) on the GSEs. Professor Mankiw links and points out that it is one more thing to thank LBJ for:

It wasnít until 1968 that Fannie was privatized....The main reason for the change was surprisingly mundane: accounting. At the time, Lyndon Johnson was concerned about the effect of the Vietnam War on the federal budget. Making Fannie Mae private moved its liabilities off the governmentís books, even if, as the recent crisis made clear, the U.S. was still responsible for those debts. It was a bit like what Enron did thirty years later, when it used ďspecial-purpose entitiesĒ to move liabilities off its balance sheet.

Jeez, them Enron boys were pikers...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:39 AM | Comments (0)

July 19, 2008

The New Graeme Frosts

I assume many of you saw this, but I think everybody has to.

NPR profiled the plight of this family that has had to cut down on food. The headline on the NPR site is For Some Ohioans, Even Meat Is Out Of Reach. I'm sure the story was quite touching on the radio. I can almost hear the dulcet tones of the NPR announcer du jour, and the well produced transitions with acoustic music in the background.

Low-income families in Ohio say they are particularly hard-hit by the changes in the economy, according to a new poll conducted by NPR, The Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health.

In the blogosphere, however, the story has a different vibe because it includes a picture of Angelica Hernandez and Gloria Nunez, the "starving" family:
Angelica_and_gloria.jpg


Now I hate to be cruel. I have been heavy most of my life and could certainly use to drop 20 pounds right now. But only NPR could present these two as suffering from a lack of food. (Okay, I'll be cruel: the headline "Meat out of reach" is apropos because none of them can lift her arms! -- Sorry.)

Like the Frosts, the family that starred in the Democratic Radio address to support SCIHP, maybe these people have -- I don't know -- made some bad choices, or have perhaps done something slightly wrong that has kept their income from keeping up with inflation?

Nunez and most of her siblings and their spouses are unemployed and rely on government assistance and food stamps. Some have part-time jobs, but working is made more difficult with no car or public transportation.

Yet the high prices have hit them hard as the accompanying graphic shows:
nunez_family.jpg


They're not hit by high gas prices because they don't have a car. They've cut back on food (no more ice cream!) so they are saving money. Their energy costs at home are subsidized and unchanged. Why were they chosen by NPR to support this story premise? Because they were the only family in Ohio that claimed they were eating less because of food prices. And because there are no pictures on radio.

Chain of hat-tips: Instapundit, Gateway Pundit, Moonbattery.

UPDATE: Mean-spirited photoshopping from Snapped Shot: Mondo-Heh!

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

They had to cut down on ice cream! Cry me a river.

Yeah, subsidized housing. Healthcare is unchanged, because these two get it because the rest of us are forced to pay.

Somewhere there's a Third World village that's starving because of these two bitches. Not because these two bitches eat the same food, but because the costs of "public support" means the rest of us have less to spend, including on goods and services that Third Worlders could produce and thereby lift themselves out of poverty.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 19, 2008 1:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Not to mention how much money was wasted by "NPR, The Kaiser Family Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health" to discover whether low-income families are "particularly hard-hit" by the economic downturn.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2008 2:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But without worthless studies and news reports that are easily debunked with the truth, what would these pseudo-economists and "fake but accurate" reporters do? If they didn't have these taxpayer-supported jobs, they'd...they'd weigh 350 pounds each, be on welfare, living in subsidized housing, complaining that they had to cut back on ice cream!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 20, 2008 10:46 PM
But jk thinks:

As the young folk say, LOL. I didn't recognize it as a jobs engine.

I was thinking of James Lileks, who counters such studies with "Dang, I thought the poor were going to come out really well this time."

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2008 10:49 AM

June 10, 2008

Remember When...

...Paul Krugman used to stick to writing those great economics columns on Slate defending things like free trade and cheap labor? Now he writes things like this:


Obama says heís ďpartneringĒ with Elizabeth Edwards on health care. While I donít know exactly what that means, it gives BHO a lot more credibility on the issue, at least in my eyes.

Yes, indeed. As all of you know, Edwards is a respected health economist liberal ideologue.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

As one of my friends said, Krugman's support of Hillary should have told us ages ago that she wouldn't get the nomination -- because as we know, always go with the opposite of what Krugman predicts.

But now that Obama has the nomination, Krugman has to kiss some butt if he has any hope of an economic advisor position.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 10, 2008 2:45 PM

May 19, 2008

O'Rourke

The folks at Samizdata had been discussing a line from the P.J. O'Rourke column in CATO's Letter.

Now, if you're electing Democrats to control government spending, then you're marrying Angelina Jolie for her brains.

Some closet Virginia Postrels came out and suggested that just because Ms. Jolie is attractive does not mean that she is not intelligent. I'm going to duck that question. And not even post a picture. When O'Rourke is on form, as he is in this piece, almost any paragraph can be pulled for a Quote of the Day or a Blog Post. Professor Mankiw likes this one:
I have a 10 year old at home, and she is always saying, ďThatís not fair.Ē When she says that, I say, ďHoney, youíre cute; thatís not fair. Your family is pretty well off; thatís not fair. You were born in America; thatís not fair. Honey, you had better pray to God that things donít start getting fair for you.Ē

I can excerpt too -- how about the intro:
Well, I wish I had better news for you, but the barbarians are at the gates. We are besieged by pagansósavage, brutish worshippers of big government. Theirs is not even a golden calf. Theyíve abandoned the Gold Standard. They worship the taxing and spending of a fiat god, all the more dangerous for being both false and imaginary.

Must. Read. Whole. Thing.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM

May 6, 2008

Taking Libertarianism Mainstream

I just read an amusing (read: leftist) review of Ron Paul's new book. Here is my favorite part:


Often seen as a rich manís political philosophy, devoid of social programs and indifferent to the plight of the poor, libertarianism needs a makeover if it is ever to break through to the mainstream.

By "makeover" does she mean more statism?

The review continues...


Paul understands this, and he thus softens up his views with a vague, benevolent populism. In a passage that condemns all forms of welfare, he is quick to tell us that he is also talking about government aid to rich corporations. ďI do not understand why we take for granted that the net result of all this looting is good for those who are lower on the economic ladder,Ē he writes. True enough, but it doesnít change the fact that Paul still opposes giving federal aid to the disadvantaged.

Allow me to outline the leftist manifesto:

1. One must fail to distinguish between the concepts of total and marginal.
1a. An additional dollar of funding will have the same effect regardless of how much one is already spending.
1b. Taxes are to be defended on the grounds that they are the price one pays for a civilized society.
1c. This concept should only be applied to analysis of government. By contrast, individuals do not need certain levels of income. Although this level of income is not known, it will be subject to the obscenity test by our trusted elected officials.

2. Government is bad and oppressive.

3. Government is the answer to our problems.

4. Believe it or not numbers 2 and 3 do not seem to contradict one another. Number 2 refers to civil liberties and war. Number 3 refers to redistribution of income and government regulation.

5. Intentions rather than results are what matters.

6. Incentives? What incentives?

7. Tax it. Regulate it. Regulate it some more.

8. Those who do not favor an expansion of government should be mocked. No explanation or counter-argument is necessary.

9. Belief in freedom and free markets is naive. Belief in the benevolence of government is ideal.

10. If it fits on a bumper sticker, it fits on the platform.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:29 PM

April 30, 2008

Ron Paul's Book

Perhaps there is hope. CNN reports:


Ron Paulís loyal supporters helped him set campaign fundraising records and capture more delegates during his presidential run than some of his high-profile Republican rivals...

Now theyíve taken his latest book to the top of the Amazon.com bestseller list.

ďThe Revolution: A ManifestoĒ, released earlier this month, is currently No. 1 on the Web siteís list of top sellers, besting even Oprahís latest Book Club selection.


Regardless of how anyone feels out Ron Paul (and certainly ThreeSources has been a place of both praise and criticism), it is encouraging to see a libertarian message reach such a large audience.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Let the record show that I agree wholeheartedly. You can count me among the ThreeSourcers who did not feel he was the right President at the right time, but his ideas on Constitutional purview and the power of liberty deserve a wide audience.

The delegate count is interesting as well. My life's work is to convince the GOP to embrace these ideas. Delegates are the coin of the realm.

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2008 10:05 AM

April 22, 2008

Swapping Stickers

I've regaled you with stories about my political family members [Yawn, is he done yet?] Here's a manifestation.

I own only the nanocar. I love it and it meets all my needs save one: no room for Husband, Wife, and Loyal Family Pet. That's frequently a drag, but in my current situation of showing a house for sale, it is intolerable.

My lovable but Communist sister-in-law has been perhaps the most generous helper as we prepared the house for sale. Words cannot describe her input: inside, outside, and emotionally. Struck by my plight, she has offered to trade cars with me for the month. I hope she enjoys the convertible in the awesome convertible month of May.

She can choose to remove my magnetic "Support the Troops" ribbon in Red, White and Blue if she chooses -- I'm not sure if she will. I have no options on the "Department of Peace" bumper sticker on my new Camry (they're keeping the hybrid).

C'est la guerre!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:39 PM

April 15, 2008

Not Questioning Their Patriotism

Lileks does a nice riff on "bitter-gate:"

Iíve been trying to find the right words for a certain theory, and I canít quite do it yet. It has to do with how a candidate feels about America Ė they have to be fundamentally, dispositionally comfortable with it. Not in a way that glosses over or excuses its flaws, but comfortable in the way a long-term married couple is comfortable. That includes not delighting in its flaws, or crowing them at every opportunity as proof of your love. I mean a simple quiet sense of awe and pride, its challenges and flaws and uniqueness and tragedies considered. You donít win the office by being angry weíre not something else; you win by being enthused we can be something better. You can fake the latter. But people sense the former.

Nice words, but I think the sage from Minneapolis might be pulling his punches a bit. My brother (the mad lefty one) had an interesting coda in a recent email discussion (riff, coda, got something going here...) He said he was upset because "the flag is now a Republican symbol" and a moderate relative agreed.

I didn't respond to that point but I have been thinking about it for quite a while. It is not that my lefty friends lack patriotism per se, but the ones I know are completely uncomfortable with the idea of American exceptionalism. They have ceded the flag as a symbol to those who do believe.

I tell a good friend "we liberated tens of millions from Communism," and he says "yeah, but what about propping up Somoza and Pinochet and Marcos?" I think of the Ken Burns documentary on WWII. I love the guy's work, but he juxtaposes the Bataan Death March with Jim Crow laws and restricted liberties for black soldiers. Yeah, Ken, I guess we're both bad. Another friend loves to bring up Japanese Internment camps. And don't ever ever ever get a liberal started on Indians, Native Americans Indigenous Americans.

They think I'm a jingoist, but I am comfortable appreciating this country's achievements "warts and all." Senator Obama famously refused to wear a flag pin. I don't say that he -- or his Marin County listeners -- don't love this country, but it's not questioning anybody's patriotism to point out how uncomfortable most of them are with displays of patriotism.

Gotta go now, Team America World Police is on cable...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:16 PM | Comments (3)
But Terri thinks:

The flag is only a Republican symbol because Democrats have allowed it to be.
How hard is it to put up a flag? But Dems won't do it because God forbid, someone might think them a rightie.

If a few more flew it, it would no longer be a Republican symbol.

Posted by: Terri at April 15, 2008 1:55 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Terri, to the leftist mind, the US flag is the ultimate symbol of world oppression.

On a side note, as someone who straddles the Pennsylvania line between the State of Philadelphia and the central PA "T," I can tell you from my encounters that Obama has lost the central portion of the state, not to Shrillary, but to McCain.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 15, 2008 10:25 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Obama was wearing a flag on his lapel today!

Phoney!

Posted by: AlexC at April 16, 2008 12:13 AM

April 1, 2008

Thanks Dems

Our Democratic Congress decided to say "no thanks" to an anti-pork measure.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., a former member of the pork-dispensing Appropriations Committee, strongly opposed the moratorium, as did all but a handful of Democrats.

House Democrats such as John Murtha, D-Johnstown, a longtime Pelosi ally who got the "porker of the year" award from Citizens Against Government Waste, a Washington-based watchdog group, weighed in as well. If the Senate won't give up its pork, they argued, why should the House?

Earmarks for road and bridge projects, contracts for local defense companies, and grants to local governments and nonprofits can mean jobs back home. Then there's the political boost that lawmakers running for re-election reap from earmarks, especially endangered freshmen such as Nancy Boyda, D-Kan.


Can we at least pretend they're not trying to bribe us for their jobs?

Or is that too much to ask?

Posted by AlexC at 1:16 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

If the GOP didn't have Sens. Stevens, Cochran, &c, they could take this up as a defining issue. The rallying cry of "we don't suck quite as bad as them!" lacks energy.

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2008 11:10 AM

March 25, 2008

Praise for James Carville

I love this guy. Three cheers for Democratic überoperative James Carville:

First. One of my favorite lines from any debate ever. He was "debating" Bill O'Reilly during the 2000 election and he said [quoting from memory]: "It's important. Whether the US is run by the principles of George Bush or Al Gore is important, My wife thinks it's important that it is George Bush, I think it is important hat it is Al Gore, but we agree that it is important."

Second. He mentioned his wife. If Mary and James can keep it together, none of us has any cause to question our vows. I'm not kidding, it gives me great hope.

Third. (HT Insty) He's not apologizing or revising his "Judas" remarks:

ďI was quoted accurately and in context, and I was glad to give the quote and I was glad I gave it,Ē Mr. Carville said. ďIím not apologizing, Iím not resigning, Iím not doing anything.Ē

We need more Carvilles in our political world.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM

March 19, 2008

A New Deal for the New Economy

Hanging around with Libertarians on the Internet (It's fun, but remember to wash your hands), I am often challenged to reassess my party affiliation. Yup, the GOP has some positions which are not friendly to liberty and a poor track record of success on its good positions.

Reading Reason Magazine, or Ann Althouse, or Megan McArdle, I encounter serious, sane, sentient people who love liberty and look first to the Democratic Party for candidates to pursue it. One tries to be open minded and all -- BUT

But then I watch the Democratic debates, or read something like this. Comprehensive "Fisking" is not my blogging style, but I am tempted to try it here. I think I disagree with every sentence in Rep Rahm Emmanuel's "A New Deal for the New Economy." To be fair, Congressman, I didn't think so highly of the Old New Deal.

He starts with Nafta, the thesis being that the trade deal is not the cause of anxiety so much as the lack of a social contract. Even still, he is not willing to defend Nafta, with which he was closely involved.

In 1993, I was President Clinton's point man in ratifying Nafta. And, I am the first to admit, the fact that our party is still debating this trade agreement 15 years later is proof it hasn't lived up to its hopes. It is true that if we were to negotiate Nafta today, we'd insist on tough labor and environmental standards that never mattered to negotiators in the first Bush administration, who hammered the agreement together before Bill Clinton took office.

Evil, wicked, Republican pact it was -- I always thought so too.

But the problem is not Nafta, the problem is that we are not Sweden. The way to make an anxious middle class feel better is to:

  • Add another year of compulsory education (the first twelve rock!)

  • Expand Schip for all kids (why shouldn't I take care of Warren Buffet's grandchildren?) and those between 55 and 64 years of age.

  • "[C]reate a new institute -- funded at the same level as the National Institutes of Health -- that will support critical research into energy technologies for the future." Millions of green collar jobs, energy independence, yadda. (Because government develops and selects technology so much better than the private sector -- look at Ethanol!)

  • Finally [at last!] Universal Savings Plans,"Like 401(k) plans, these accounts would supplement, not supplant, Social Security. Employers and employees would contribute 1% of their paychecks on a tax-deductible basis, and workers could make additional contributions if they chose."

He learned at the foot of the master, only a Clinton aid could use the word "contribute" in the sense of a forced, coercive mandate.

Rep. Emmanuel is not a crazed lefty or ideological outlier. He's a party centrist in the mold of President Clinton. This is their best plan. Greater regulation of trade pacts abroad and a huge increase in the size, scope and cost of government at home.

Wonder if they still have the green St. Pat's Pachyderms for sale at gop.com...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:50 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Great fisking, and a good call on "contribute." After all, haven't our income taxes been called "voluntary contributions" for decades?

Now, how the hell can I put up 1% of my income starting in 2010, when my taxes are going to go back to the moon?

The wife would like to try having children already, and we could have a couple by the end of 2010...God knows we *already* need all the deductions we can get.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 19, 2008 1:21 PM

March 10, 2008

Hot Schadenfreude On a Stick!

Don Luskin is having waaaaay to much fun with Governor Spitzer's woes.

I consider Spitzer the archetype of government power gone bad. Allahpundit says "Wife and kids, so schadenfreude isnít in order." I will worry about his kids just as long as he worried about Hank Greenberg's family, or Dick Grasso's before he launched unfounded attacks on them from the New York AG's office.

UPDATE: Try this fun blogger-media quiz! Find any story anywhere on this that does not use the word 'schadenfreude." Bet you can't...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:26 PM

February 13, 2008

I Have Seen It All

A blog from the self-proclaimed netroots of the Green Party proclaims:


The business conservatives are screaming for a corporate income tax cut. They claim that the tax rate that US corporations must pay is far higher than their overseas competitors. They are right...kind of. Some are screaming for the rate to be dropped to 25%. We should publicly agree and take it to the extreme by calling for the rate to be cut to 0%.

I say that we act now before they change their minds.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:15 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The same idiotic mindset thinks, "Wow, great, auctioning off broadcast TV airwaves will bring in revenue for the government!"

In the end, they can't see, or refuse to admit, that the consumer must eventually pay the tax. Businesses are merely the tax collector.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 14, 2008 3:40 PM

February 11, 2008

Okay, Senator McCain is Ninth On My List

The Everyday Economist links to a list of the Laissez-fairist U.S. Presidents, and wishes If only one of them were running for President.

ē Grover Cleveland (1885-1889 and 1893-1897)
ē Martin Van Buren (1837-1841)
ē Andrew Jackson (1829-1837)
ē Thomas Jefferson (1801-1809)
ē Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)
ē Ronald Reagan (1981-1989)

Blog friend Perry Eidlebus recently disagreed with my call for 19th Century government. I will point out that the top four inhabited my Century.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:41 PM | Comments (7)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, and as far as Andrew Jackson being laissez-faire, how do you justify his signing and wholehearted support of the Tariffs of Abomination? I'll even put aside the fact that *he* was the one who told South Carolina that it was subject to federal authority, and not that the federal government was a compact between the state governments.

I should also add that four in the 19th century is better than the 20th century, but there were 24 presidential administrations during the 19th century, and 22 if you don't want to count John Adams or William McKinley.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 11, 2008 11:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I was a little surprised to see Jackson on the list, though I'd think you would applaud his (and Taney's) efforts at fighting the National Bank.

I'll tell you what I love about the 19th Century: all those Presidents are an unknown blur of bald heads, moustaches and sideburns. They didn't create the League of Nations or the New Deal or the Great Society. They governed modestly. I am no fan of tariffs, but they also operated the entire Federal government without income tax.

Post-slavery, pre-income tax. Not a bad time for US Government.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2008 11:11 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Fighting the Fed's first incarnation was the best thing Jackson did. He was also an honorable man who had the guts to defend his wife's honor. However, things like the Trail of Tears and his support of the Tariffs of Abomination (not to mention his support of federal superiority over federalism) mar his record.

The Constitution explicitly empowers Congress to place a *uniform* tariff to be placed on imports (which tells us that BS preferential treatment like "MFN" status is unconstitutional). It would be an overstatement to call the original tariff levels "modest." It was a fraction of a percent, and indeed it was enough to fund the federal government until the Civil War. The federal government was so in line with its Constitutional limitations that the tariffs didn't need to be high, until Lincoln set an example for LBJ and drew the U.S. into a bloody mess.

The Tariffs of Abomination were deliberately protectionist, by contrast. They were set very high so that foreign machinery would become artificially more expensive than the North's equivalents, so that the South would be forced to buy from the North. Supposedly this was going to help the North's economy, then "trickle down" to the South. This was true force, because if you refuse to pay tariffs, the government will imprison or kill you. If my neighbors otherwise banded together and said they'd levy a tariff on whatever I buy from Wal-Mart, I'd laugh in their face.

And I shouldn't need to add that, like all tariffs, it completely backfired. A country can't get rich by oppressing one half of its economy.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 12, 2008 2:25 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

BTW, the time was post-slavery, pre-income tax, with massive increases in federal power, such as all the subsidies and charters granted out as political favors, and that the Southern states were forced to ratify an amendment if they wanted the goddamn national army to lift martial law.

Since then, federal power has waned not one bit. It may not have our state legislatures under military rule, but the federal government established itself as higher than the states.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 12, 2008 2:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I would suggest the expansion of government started about 1788 or so, and continued pretty much unabated until today.

I'm as Federalist as the next guy, but you're not getting me to speak against the 13th, a4th and 15th Amendments. I'm in enough trouble celebrating the 19th Century!

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2008 7:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Do you not understand what the 14th Amendment did? There are some good and neutral portions, but for the first time, citizens of the several States were proclaimed citizens of the United States, putting them under federal jurisdiction.

Before, people were "the people of the United States," but unless they were Americans who lived in federal territories or the District of Columbia, they were citizens only of their home state. They were citizens of the United States for purposes of identification when traveling abroad, but until the 14th Amendment, they were not subject to federal authority save in interstate matters. *That* was the natural of our original federalism.

The 14th was the first truly bad amendment. It speaks of "privileges or immunities" when it should be talking about *rights*.

And to boot, as I've already said, Southern states refused to ratify it, so the federal government dissolved their state legislatures and instituted martial law until the Southerners complied.

Oh, and if you want to get technical, the expansion of American government began in 1789 once the Constitution was ratified. Lysander Spooner had an excellent point, and I agree. How do several of the States have the power to approve a compact, thereby forcing the remaining States into it, when the others do not yet approve? Of course, the other states eventually ratified the Constitution themselves, but why should they have been forced to join the new Union before their own ratification?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 13, 2008 3:21 PM

January 27, 2008

I Was Born In the Wrong Country

I'd put up with the NHS to hear speeches like this! Imagine, for one second, Senator Carl Levin or Harry Reid trying something this deft and intelligent.





Samizdat Perry DeHavilland says "William Hague is on the money and bloody hilarious..." Insty just says "Heh"

Posted by John Kranz at 6:46 PM

January 23, 2008

Cal!

Sad proof of how far the GOP has declined in 84 years. President Calvin Coolidge makes quite a bit of sense:




This is said to be the first film of a US President with sound. Hat-tip: Rick Sincere

Posted by John Kranz at 4:48 PM | Comments (1)
But HB thinks:

Second best president of the 20th century!

Posted by: HB at January 23, 2008 9:27 PM

January 16, 2008

Not Me Man, I'm a Prosperitarian

I don't want to pile on the Ron! supporters around here. But things are playing out that reinforce my beliefs about the state of the liberty movement.

In discussing the Ron Paul Newsletters imbroglio on this blog, no one has refuted my central thought that neither big nor little-l libertarians will ever have a chance of influencing our electoral system until they weed out some of their toxic elements. They've got liberty to sell for cryin' out loud -- they don't need to muddy it with racism or millenarianism.

ReasonOnline has an article on the newsletters that makes substantive but unproven accusations that Lew Rockwell wrote them. Again, there is no proof, but there is a good circumstantial case. More telling to me is the recounting of toxic, millenarian sentiments from Rockwell and Murray Rothbard, recalling their history as paleolibs.

I repeat my claim that the liberty movement needs two leaders. They, firstly, need their own William F. Buckley, Jr. Bill chased the John Birchers out of the conservative movement in the fifties, and created the structure that paved the way for Goldwater's quixotic run in '64, and built strength to Reagan's successful run in 1980. Secondly (I gave away the ending), a libertarian Reagan will be needed to communicate ideas beyond the confines of the movement.

One person to create the infrastructure and one to communicate beyond. But the first guy has to chase all the Lew Rockwells, Murray Rothbards, and Leonard Piekoffs out. Then, somebody will have to articulate an incremental vision to rolling back American collectivism.

Rothbard and Rockwell want to rebuild a libertarian utopia out of the ruins of a race war. In Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand had to shut society down. The Buckley-Reagan conservative axis didn't produce utopia (immanentize the eschaton?) but they turned back sizable hunks of the New Deal-Great Society collectivism at home and freed 50 million people from communism abroad.

I'm glad that people have been exposed to some classic liberal ideas through Ron Paul, but fear they will take away some of the wrong ideas and give up on the right ones. Here's the close of the Reason piece:

Yet those new supporters, many of whom are first encountering libertarian ideas through the Ron Paul Revolution, deserve a far more frank explanation than the campaign has as yet provided of how their candidate's name ended up atop so many ugly words. Ron Paul may not be a racist, but he became complicit in a strategy of pandering to racistsóand taking "moral responsibility" for that now means more than just uttering the phrase. It means openly grappling with his own pastóacknowledging who said what, and why. Otherwise he risks damaging not only his own reputation, but that of the philosophy to which he has committed his life.

I have perhaps, in one post, angered every regular reader, writer, and commenter on ThreeSources. All in a day's work.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:29 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Angry? No. Just a couple of fact checks:

1. Ayn Rand, author of 'Atlas Shrugged' referred to Libertarians as "hippies." (AlexC added the modifier "dirty.") And in 'Atlas Shrugged' she didn't "shut society down" to rebuild a libertarian utopia. Instead she showed what happens when creative men eschew unearned guilt and choose not to trade with any man who asks him to sacrifice himself to others. The net *result* was to shut society down, for without creative men there is nothing.

2. Leonard Peikoff is not a Libertarian, nor even a libertarian. He is an Objectivist. See above.

'Nuff said. Someone else will have to defend those other characters.

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2008 11:44 PM
But jk thinks:

I've had the good fortune to have met many reasonable [O|o]bjectivists in my day. I would like to think that a resurgent liberty movement could include them.

I got a little sloppy in my terms, I am talking about a liberty movement that may grow out of current libertarians but will not likely grow out of the current LP.

Your point on Atlas is taken. But I have to say that I have also met some [O|o]bjectivists who look forward more to the train crash than the happy times on Atlantis.

Posted by: jk at January 17, 2008 11:22 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I know you're 'down for the struggle' JK and my clarifications weren't intended for you so much as for unwary readers - "for the record" as they say.

And possibly also for wary readers who've forgotten what Rand's real point was.

Posted by: johngalt at January 17, 2008 2:33 PM

January 15, 2008

The Silver Lining

If we must endure a President Hillary Clinton -- and I very much hope we do not -- at least there will be a few laughs as the last light of western civilization and freedom is extinguished and flushed down the commode. Christopher Hitchens, who wrote The best Clinton Hate Book during Clinton's impeachment (I think I read them all), could really let loose. Every week, we would be treated to prose like this:

What do you have to forget or overlook in order to desire that this dysfunctional clan once more occupies the White House and is again in a position to rent the Lincoln Bedroom to campaign donors and to employ the Oval Office as a massage parlor? You have to be able to forget, first, what happened to those who complained, or who told the truth, last time. It's often said, by people trying to show how grown-up and unshocked they are, that all Clinton did to get himself impeached was lie about sex. That's not really true. What he actually lied about, in the perjury that also got him disbarred, was the women. And what this involved was a steady campaign of defamation, backed up by private dicks (you should excuse the expression) and salaried government employees, against women who I believe were telling the truth. In my opinion, Gennifer Flowers was telling the truth; so was Monica Lewinsky, and so was Kathleen Willey, and so, lest we forget, was Juanita Broaddrick, the woman who says she was raped by Bill Clinton. (For the full background on this, see the chapter "Is There a Rapist in the Oval Office?" in the paperback version of my book No One Left To Lie To. This essay, I may modestly say, has never been challenged by anybody in the fabled Clinton "rapid response" team.) Yet one constantly reads that both Clintons, including the female who helped intensify the slanders against her mistreated sisters, are excellent on women's "issues."

Almost worth it. (Hat-tip: Insty)

Posted by John Kranz at 12:40 PM

January 3, 2008

Rep. Lantos

How about a little elevated debate for the New Year? Celebrate a Democratic Congressional leader in ThreeSources. John Fund writes this superb tribute to Rep. Tom Lantos (D--CA), titled "A One Man History Lesson:"

It's safe to say the next chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee won't have the fascinating biography of California Rep. Tom Lantos. As Mr. Lantos, who disclosed he has been diagnosed with cancer and announced his retirement yesterday at age 80, put it in his press release: "It is only in the United States that a penniless survivor of the Holocaust from Hungary and a fighter in the anti-Nazi underground could have received an education, raised a family, and had the privilege of serving the last three decades of his life as a Member of Congress."

Mr. Lantos has always been a minority voice on foreign policy in his Democratic Party, especially given the fact that he represents part of radical San Francisco in the House. In the 1980s, he founded the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, which criticized both Communist and right-wing dictatorships with equal fervor. He has been a fierce critic of human rights abuses in China, skewering Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and Cisco Systems for agreeing to comply with Internet censorship restrictions there.

Most notably, he led the floor debate in favor of the resolution authorizing war in Iraq in late 2002, a move that prompted an unsuccessful primary challenge against him in 2004.

Known as a prickly and stubborn man, Mr. Lantos found he had to accommodate himself to the liberal tenor of his fellow House Democrats when his party took over control in 2006. Last February, he drafted a resolution opposing the troop surge in Iraq, a move he may well privately regret now. In deference to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, his good friend, he also abandoned his earlier opposition to a resolution that condemned Turkey, a U.S. ally and NATO member, for its killing of Armenians during World War I. Ms. Pelosi was eventually forced to backtrack, embarrassing both her and Mr. Lantos.

While his fidelity to a bipartisan foreign policy waned during his recent tenure as House Foreign Affairs chairman, Mr. Lantos leaves Congress with a distinguished record and the respect of human rights activists the world over regardless of ideology. Here's hoping others in his party are willing to carry forward the torch he held high.


Good luck Congressman.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:08 PM

January 2, 2008

Policy by Plebiscite

Speaker Newt Gingrich sends an email "How You Can Help America in Iowa If You Act Today." I follow the link (anything but work!) to find the American Solutions Platform of the American People -- A Red, White, and Blue Revolution

Gingrich has collected a long list of issues/solutions all of which have substantive majority support across the political spectrum. Each change is followed by the percentage of support it received in their polling. So, how about it, America? Can we roll up our sleeves and forget our differences, and work together?

Umm, no, Mister Speaker. I am not sure we should. I agree with almost all of your suggestions, and could probably live with the ones I do not. But -- is the poll our ultimate guide? To my dismay, it seems to be the case in GOP immigration policy, but what if the people are wrong?

For example, one I would criticize is: "Climate change and global warming are probably happening. (82 to 13)." I bore my friends with references to Karl Popper and insistence that science is not democracy. Should we sign Kyoto because 82% cheered at the end of "An Inconvenient Truth?" Gingrich doesn't suggest this but he does say "We support building more nuclear power plants to cut carbon emissions and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. (65 to 28) ďIím all for more nuke plants, but not if we're building them to cut carbon emissions (plants need to breathe too!) or for "energy independence" (see Huck-a-Whack, Dec 31). If they make economic sense, and the electorate can be convinced of their safe operation and storage, let's go.

He does not list "Pee in the cornflakes of the 49% (51 to 49)" but we all know, deep down, it's in there.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:26 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Brilliant JK. Superb.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2008 3:53 PM

December 31, 2007

Cui Bono?

A good friend of ThreeSources sends a link to this WaPo story and wonders whom it will hurt. My Latin isn't up to that, so I wonder who will benefit.

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a potential independent candidate for president, has scheduled a meeting next week with a dozen leading Democrats and Republicans, who will join him in challenging the major-party contenders to spell out their plans for forming a "government of national unity" to end the gridlock in Washington.

Those who will be at the Jan. 7 session at the University of Oklahoma say that if the likely nominees of the two parties do not pledge to "go beyond tokenism" in building an administration that seeks national consensus, they will be prepared to back Bloomberg or someone else in a third-party campaign for president.

Conveners of the meeting include such prominent Democrats as former senators Sam Nunn (Ga.), Charles S. Robb (Va.) and David L. Boren (Okla.), and former presidential candidate Gary Hart. Republican organizers include Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.), former party chairman Bill Brock, former senator John Danforth (Mo.) and former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman.


I think Bloomberg is running. He seems to be making a lot of noise and inquiries, and if he ever wants to do it, this is certainly the year. I wouldn't be surprised to see Rep. Ron Paul run as a Libertarian, though Reason Magazine points out some legal hurdles.

I guess it depends on the final candidate list, but I think this tends to hurt the Democrats. It's an escape valve for those who do not care for Senator Clinton (just last week I encountered two very liberal Democrats who said they cannot support her), and if Senator Obama gets the nomination, a Bloomberg run would bleed off the "nice guy" vote.

The social conservatives and the economic conservatives are unlikely to find a home in a Bloomberg-Hagel ticket. We'll see how many antiwar Republicans there are, but I am guessing that is not a huge plurality.

Who loses? Those who send money to this doomed enterprise. Who wins? David Harsanyi -- sales of his Nanny State book should soar -- Mayor Bloomberg gets quite a few pages.

UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg links to a David Weigel post that projects a GOP victory if Bloomberg spoils NY for the Democrats and Ohio and Florida for the Republicans. Interstin'...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM

December 19, 2007

Ain't You Glad You Joined the Republicans?

That's an Abraham Lincoln quote, and the title of a funny book.

I thought of it reading John Fund in the Political Diary on the importance of turnout and weather in the Iowa Caucuses:

One reason some Democrats may skip the event is that Democratic caucuses are not the businesslike affairs the GOP caucuses are. At a Republican caucus, voters show up, listen to very short speeches, fill out a slip of paper, drop it in a box and leave. At a Democratic caucus, voters show up at 6:30 pm and vote for delegates for each candidate. But first they must listen to short speeches on behalf of all the candidates. With a half-dozen or more candidates, that takes time. Then everyone breaks into "preference groups," with voters gathering in various corners of the room to express support for a given candidate. If a candidate doesn't receive 15% or more support, his or her supporters must join another candidate's preference group. In most of Iowa, this effectively means only Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards will elect any delegates to the local county convention, which is held later. It also means that a voter's second choice can be highly important in who actually wins. Ominously, while Mrs. Clinton has many supporters, she's not the second choice of many Obama or Edwards backers.

Further complicating matters is that rural areas are given more weight than urban ones in selecting delegates. In a small town, 25 caucus-goers might carry as much impact as 250 who stop by a downtown Des Moines caucus.


Every year I get a little less proud of my party, although when they put Rep Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens in prison, I'll bump up. But reading this, it looks like the GOP gets the better deal.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:18 PM

December 13, 2007

The Road To Serfdom

Correct me if I am wrong, but I think I have heard every Democrat in the Primary Debates speak to making college more affordable -- up to Gov. Richardson's plan for "College for All." At first glance, that's a typical example of good politics, bad economics. Is it perhaps a little more invidious? A WSJ editorial today (free link) points out that the result of government subsidies is not reduced tuition, but rather a larger portion of education paid for by Federal largess:

Ironically, these government handouts are creating the tuition problem. Tuition has risen about three percentage points faster than inflation every year for the past quarter-century. At the same time, the feds have put more and more money behind student loans and other financial aid. The government is slowly becoming a third-party tuition payer, with all the price distortions one would expect. Every time tuition rises, the government makes up the difference; colleges thus cheerfully raise tuition (and budgets), knowing the government will step in.

Already well endowed schools are free to raise tuition, then grant capricious exemptions.Gregory Mankiw says "In the future, Harvard will cost $1 billion a year, and only Bill Gates's children will pay full price. When anyone else walks through the door, the message will be 'Special price, just for you.'"

Compared to terrorism or socialized medicine, one is tempted to let this one slip -- college is swell, right?

Considering the <bold-italic-super-emphasis>EXTREME</bold-italic-super-emphasis> collectivist tilt in academia, and academicsí new importance in financing candidates, this is concerning. We are creating not only expensive tuition, but also a well funded intellectual superclass.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:24 AM

December 6, 2007

Kind Words for Senator Lott

Hey, I am as surprised as you!

Don Luskin admits to giving Lott a hard time, but says we'll miss him when he's gone:

So what would happen if the House sent the Senate back a tax bill with offsets? Lott says, "Theyíre going to have to eat this. Get over it. Now, Nancy can dictate to all the Democrats she wants to. She ainít dictating this. If they want the AMT, there ainít going to be no offsets. Write that in granite. I can guaran-damn-double-dog, you know, guarantee you that."

"Offsets" is just another word for taxes.


Guaran-damn-double-dog! I'll miss that. Lott seems to have philosophically lost his way, but the minority Senate has been impressive. Credit where it's due, Senator Lott knows how to play this game:
In Lottís last weeks as a Senator, he is blocking new AMT taxes, the excessively large S-CHIP bill, billions in energy taxes and a proposal to raise taxes on capital gains by 135%. The sad news is that no one seems ready or able to take up his whack-a-mole duties next year.
ďIíve been through a lot of end-of-sessions, and Iíve been involved in them very closely, and Iíve been the solution and Iíve been the problem,Ē said Senate Minority Whip Trent Lott, R-Miss., who is leaving Congress at the end of the session. ďThis is the most bizarre situation and atmosphere Iíve ever seen. Nobody has any idea how to do anything or how in the world weíre going to get out of here, or when.Ē

UPDATE: Luskin posts that the Double-Damn-Dog Guarantee was honored. Well done Senator Lott!
Baucus legislation will protect 19 million American families from unfair tax increase; minority objections to fiscal responsibility forced elimination of provisions to pay for bill.

Even with the Democratic spin I like it!

Posted by John Kranz at 4:05 PM

November 23, 2007

Reagan, Thatcher, Sarkozy!

Air traffic controllers, mine workers, rail workers. The NY Sun says Collapse of Rail, Subway Strike Is a First Success for Sarkozy

"We think a dynamic of return to work has begun," Julie Vion, a spokeswoman for France's state-owned railroad network, SNCF, said.

Union leaders began to concede defeat yesterday. "We have to face reality. Since yesterday's negotiations, things have changed. The strike is no longer the solution. The strike strategy is no longer winning," a leader of the Sud union representing Paris underground railway workers, Philippe Touzet, said in an interview with Bloomberg News.


A few days ago, it was called a daring move that would make him a five year lame duck if he failed. Audaces fortuna juvat, Monsieur Presidente! Fortune favors the brave.

Hat-tip: Insty.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:33 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

In "Paradise Lost," Satan says, "To reign is worth ambition though in Hell: Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n." Or put another way, it might be Hell, but at least he's the boss.

Sarkozy knows better. One can be captain of a sinking ship, but it's still a sinking ship. Sarkozy knows that despite the modern Gallic proclivity for laziness, something has to be done to revive France's economy. Right now it's in heavy competition with Germany for that dubious title of "the sick man of Europe," as Ireland once was. Ireland grew itself out of economic woes by, surprise surprise, cutting taxes to attract businesses.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 27, 2007 3:36 PM
But jk thinks:

One hundred bonus points for quoting Milton.

Posted by: jk at November 27, 2007 4:31 PM

October 24, 2007

How About That First Amendment Thingy?

Senator Clinton is racking in the donations from Chinatown dishwashers, Senator Obama and Governor Romney are drawing four-digit checks from "the children." The Washington Post notes the trend:

Elrick Williams's toddler niece Carlyn may be one of the youngest contributors to this year's presidential campaign. The 2-year-old gave $2,300 to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

So did her sister and brother, Imara, 13, and Ishmael, 9, and her cousins Chan and Alexis, both 13. Altogether, according to newly released campaign finance reports, the extended family of Williams, a wealthy Chicago financier, handed over nearly a dozen checks in March for the maximum allowed under federal law to Obama.
[...]
A supporter of former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R), Susan Henken of Dover, Mass., wrote her own $2,300 check, and her 13-year-old son, Samuel, and 15-year-old daughter, Julia, each wrote $2,300 checks, for example. Samuel used money from his bar mitzvah and money he earned "dog sitting," and Julia used babysitting money to make the contributions, their mother said. "My children like to donate to a lot of causes. That's just how it is in my house," Henken said.


It's time to cut and run from the quagmire of campaign finance reform. All of it. It lives in opposition to transparency, which would be good. It contributes to establishment candidates and the much-decried dynastic Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton trend.

Here's my campaign finance laws: Everybody can give all they want to anybody they want. Candidates who do not provide a good public accounting of the support they receive should not be voted for. Understandable, enforceable, and Constitutional.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Good Republicans or not, I'm calling Bull***t on the Dover kids: $2300 from dog sitting? For a primary? I'm thinking not.

Posted by: jk at October 24, 2007 12:54 PM

September 20, 2007

POW Habeas Corpus

It really breaks my heart when bills in the Senate can't hit the supra-constitutional 60 vote cut off.

Really, it does.

The Senate on Wednesday rejected legislation that would have allowed terrorism suspects held at GuantŠnamo Bay, Cuba, to petition federal courts claiming that they're being held in error.

The 56-43 vote in favor of the bill fell short of the 60 votes needed to cut off Senate debate, blocking the legislation. Both Washington state senators voted for the measure.

The bill, sponsored by Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., would have given military detainees the right of habeas corpus ó the right to challenge one's detention in court, rooted in English common law dating from before the Magna Carta of 1215 ó which serves as a check on arbitrary government power.

Posted by AlexC at 1:51 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Actually, I would support such a measure: even "enemy combatants" should be allowed to prove, if they can, that they're innocent. There's evidence that some were turned over to U.S. forces by their neighbors, because of family feuds.

But on the flip side, if we prove we captured them for a good reason, we should just execute them summarily.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 21, 2007 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

They deserve some process, which I understand that they get. But the full panoply of the US understanding of habeus corpus is too much.

We cannot allow a captured, foreign terrorist to demand to learn how evidence against him was collected and to see the full evidence. For an American citizen, this would and should be required.

You nail the alternative -- if the hallal rice pilaf at Gitmo is not up to epicurean standards, enemy combatants can always be (quite legally) shot. Wanna reconsider, Ahmed?

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2007 3:41 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

It wouldn't have to be the full process, just a military tribunal where they can present evidence and, if they were seized in a raid, find out what the evidence was. Not all were captured on the battlefield, and I'm troubled because some circumstances were questionable. If a neighbor rats you out as a terrorist, is it true, or the result of a feud? So I think we should give them a good chance to prove their innocence, even if it demands they question how we knew they were terrorists.

On the other hand, I don't think any process should be given to anyone captured in battle -- American citizen or not. John Walker Lindh should have been shot where he was found, and it would have saved us a lot of headaches.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 22, 2007 10:55 AM

September 14, 2007

Not so fast, Senator...

I posted Senator Salazarís response to my letter yesterday. I was pleased that he had indeed come out against the MoveOn.org advertisement and said "Well done." The letter references media reports:

As noted in media reports, I believe the ad was inappropriate and sent the wrong message ("Salazar assails MoveOn over Petraeus attack ad", Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, 9/13/07).

I almost made a joke about being surprised that I had missed that in the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, but I'm not really that amused. The paper's website lists its circulation as:
Daily Circulation: 30,707
Sunday Circulation: 33,733

I think the Senator is being very clever indeed. He can respond to his right wingnut constituency, that "the ad was inappropriate and sent the wrong message" and he can cite the media report. At the same time, he can be certain that most people have only the slightest possibility of encountering his brave moment.

I thought I would test this by doing a Yahoo Search for "Senator Salazar MoveOn Ad." ThreeSources comes up three times in the top ten (this might make four!) I'm glad to be known as the guy who owns this story, but it becomes clear that nobody else is paying attention.

Is my Senator having it both ways?

UPDATE: Gary Harmon of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel emails Professor Glenn Reynolds, who linked to tihs post:

Prof. Reynolds: Here I sit, damned with faint praise re Salazarís Sis Souljah? Did you have to mention the size of the readership? Now I feel like the freshman on the first day in the locker room with the seniors. Again.

Actually, we wonít apologize for the size of our readership. Itís actually growing and not many can say that in this business. What is interesting is that the comments were made in a phone conference involving almost all Colorado media, including the big dailies and AP.

That it made it to our paper might explain why weíre growing and, well, theyíre not.


I certainly didn't mean it as a slight to the paper. If the larger dailies passed on the story, it negates my point, but it still works out well for Senator Salazar. Nice scoop, Gary. You get the "well done."

Posted by John Kranz at 3:45 PM | Comments (5)
But Paul A'Barge thinks:

All well and good, but what if he went to the NYTimes and they said he would have to pay retail for the privilege of refuting them?

Screwed, he would be.

Posted by: Paul A'Barge at September 14, 2007 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

He just wanted to make sure that Norman Hsu knows where he stands.

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2007 4:26 PM
But Steve-o thinks:

As a Colorado resident, I would say this action is completely in character for Ken Salazar. He is a very calculating man. This isn't the first time he has done this type of thing, and it won't be the last. So far, he has pulled off these incidents unscathed. I predict the Colorado media won't call him on it, he is known in local media circles as the Teflon Hispanic.

Posted by: Steve-o at September 14, 2007 5:38 PM
But Portia thinks:

What Steve-o said. Being from Colorado I thought "Why am I not surprised?"

Of course there is an undertone of sliminess to the whole thing but that too is no surprise.

P.

Posted by: Portia at September 14, 2007 6:43 PM
But mrsizer thinks:

I'm not at all surprised the Denver Post didn't print anything: No doubt they agree with the ad and they are only an AP reprinting vehicle anyway.

(We get it at work so I occasionally, and masochistically, read it.)

Posted by: mrsizer at September 15, 2007 2:15 PM

September 11, 2007

Dear Senator Salazar

Senator Salazar

I see that you received $4,000 from MoveOn.org for your campaign in 2006. I don't find much agreement with that organization but would not object to your accepting a modest donation from them.

I strongly object to their "General Betray Us" advertisement. Reasonable people can disagree on the war but there is no justification for this ad hominem attack on a great American patriot.

I write to request that you publicly disavow this smear.

Thank you,
John Kranz
Marie Rivera


How about your Senator?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:11 PM

September 10, 2007

Hsu Fly Pie II

Hillary! has decided to dump $850K (yes, nearly a million) of Hsu-sourced money.

It makes one wonder how much Hsu-sourced money has found it's way into the Pennsylvania political system.

That's hard to tell from the Campaign Finance website, but it does find interesting things like $500 to the Republican National State Elections Committee.

Ahem.

Posted by AlexC at 8:41 PM

September 8, 2007

Hsu Fly Pie

NOTE: I always subscribed to the theory that one of the reasons Sun Microsystems' Java language was so popular was because the trade press could make up clever headlines about it. Senator Clinton may have misfortune in the name of her errant donor for the same reason.

I'm intrigued when campaigns are caught with "smelly money" that they can give it to charity: it's a get out of jail free card for political campaigns. I bought it until I heard that Senator Edwards gave $300,000 of Rupert Murdoch's smelly money to a charity run by his daughter.

It seems that Senator Clinton could enjoy power by directing campaign cash to charity. Does the press follow up? She'll give this money away -- but it will not be to the RNC.

UPDATE: National Journal's Buzz has a collection of Hsu puns (including this one). Click on over. Hsu know Hsu want to...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:35 PM | Comments (2)
But Allan thinks:

The right and morally correct thing for all those who received money from Hsu would be to use that money to reimburse those who were swindled by Hsu. Of course were talking about the Democratic party so something like that will never happen.

Posted by: Allan at September 9, 2007 12:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm thinking she'll give it to the Clinton Presidential Library

Posted by: jk at September 9, 2007 1:23 PM

August 31, 2007

Friday Funnies

Jay Leno, courtesy of Polical Diary:

"Speaking at a forum organized by Lance Armstrong on cancer research, Hillary Clinton told Chris Matthews if she is elected president, she will declare war on cancer, and then she will support the war on cancer for two years, and then she will be against it for a year, and then she will back out of it all together" -- Jay Leno, host of NBC's "Tonight Show."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM

Sen. Craig (R-- EW!)

I fear my beloved Republicans have learned the wrong lessons from recent history. Poor Senator Craig cannot find a friend in the Senate Cloakroom. Well, perhaps, that's for the best. But he cannot find a friend in the GOP leadership, and I am not sure that's right.

Really creepy? Yes. But I'd like to compare the Senior Senator from the last stall to members in the partyís Hall of Shame who enjoy their good standing.

  • Rep. Tom Foley -- he may be out of good standing now, but his is supposed to be the lesson learned. I suggest that Rep, Foley was propositioning minors and was using his position as a Congressman coercively. He should have been shut down early by leadership that suspected/knew of this behavior.

  • Sen. Ted Stevens (R - $$) -- no room in the party for a creepy queer, but crooks may hold leadership positions. Senator Stevens is a crook who stands against everything the party is supposed to embrace.

  • Rep Don Young -- see above, what is with these Alaska guys?

  • Rep. Jerry Lewis -- I will not call him a crook, but he's a poster child for purchasing incumbency with Federal largesse.


Creepy Craig was at least seeking something consensual with a grownup, and I suspect that he was going to pay out of his own pocket.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM

August 30, 2007

It was Only $100 Million

A union shell group raises and spends $100 million illegally, and the punishment is a fine of less than 1% -- I bet they spent more on coffee.

Yet another problem with government regulation of campaign finance -- besides its explicitly contravening the First Amendment -- is that the laws have no teeth. Like the mob, you just budget for some fines in your business plan. John Fund reports on the recent decision against "Americans Coming Together."

The Federal Election Commission has just found that Americans Coming Together, a top union group active in the 2004 presidential election, spent $100 million illegally on federal election activity that year. The agency imposed a fine of just $775,000 -- and not one dime will go back to the union workers who financed ACT's illegal activities with their forced payment of dues.

This is a textbook example of what's wrong with federal election laws. The FEC takes years to catch up with those who break the law, then administers a slap on the wrist on the grounds that ACT disbanded after the 2004 election and won't be engaging in further election activity.

In reality, such groups may disband but their supporters and personnel have every intention of remaining active in politics under another brand name. That perfectly describes the ACT shell game.

Its largest donor was the Service Employees International Union, one of the most politically active labor unions. Its largest non-union donor was billionaire George Soros. And who was the group's president? None other than Harold Ickes, a long-time functionary of the Clinton machine who served as Bill Clinton's deputy White House chief of staff. Mr. Ickes is now a major player in the huge fundraising apparatus of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who unsurprisingly has run into her own campaign finance scandal this week. One of her top donors, Norman Hsu, was revealed to be a fugitive from justice and may have illegally laundered campaign contributions to the Clinton campaign through "straw" or fake donors.

It's clear the FEC can't be relied upon to report on the law-skirting by major political players before voters render their judgment at the polls in 2008. Nor are its sanctions much of a deterrent to those playing for big stakes on the presidential stage. Mrs. Clinton's latest scandal appears to be a near-replica of the 1996 Clinton fundraising scandals, in which 120 people either fled the country to avoid questioning, took the Fifth Amendment or otherwise failed to cooperate with investigators.

The FEC enforcement action against ACT came after a complaint three years ago by the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation. Meanwhile, the news media resolutely ignored the story, insisting that looking into the modus operandi of the Clinton machine represented "old news." Here's hoping the press wakes up and realizes the time for vigilant reporting on the 2008 election excesses of all parties is before Americans vote, not years afterward.


I'm sure they'll start with the GOP, John.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:27 PM

August 21, 2007

The State of the Left

A good friend of this blog sends a pair of links to be enjoyed together.

In An Investment in Failure Thomas Sowell points out that, back to Karl Marx, the left has no interest in those rising out of poverty. Once you cease to be an object for their polity, you are -- if I may borrow a word from Senator Clinton -- invisible.

At one point, Marx wrote to his disciples: "The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing."

Think about that. Millions of human beings mattered to him only in so far as they could serve as cannon fodder in his jihad against the existing society.

If they refused to be pawns in his ideological game, then they were "nothing."

No one on the left would say such things so plainly today, even to themselves. But their actions speak louder than words.


Over at The Nation, their words speak pretty loud as well. Barbara Ehrenreich cannot contain her glee that the subprime crisis is Smashing Capitalism but she is mad that it is not self directed. You really have to read this in full (it's blissfully short), but here's a taste:
The American poor, who are usually tactful enough to remain invisible to the multi-millionaire class, suddenly leaped onto the scene and started smashing the global financial system. Incredibly enough, this may be the first case in history in which the downtrodden manage to bring down an unfair economic system without going to the trouble of a revolution.

First they stopped paying their mortgages, a move in which they were joined by many financially stretched middle class folks, though the poor definitely led the way. All right, these were trick mortgages, many of them designed to be unaffordable within two years of signing the contract.


Like my disappointment at "The Glorious Revolution," however, the serendipity of it annoys her.
Personally, I prefer my revolutions to be a little more pro-active. There should be marches and rallies, banners and sit-ins, possibly a nice color theme like red or orange. Certainly, there should be a vision of what you intend to replace the bad old system with--European-style social democracy, Latin American-style socialism, or how about just American capitalism with some regulation thrown in?

Global capitalism will survive the current credit crisis; already, the government has rushed in to soothe the feverish markets. But in the long term, a system that depends on extracting every last cent from the poor cannot hope for a healthy prognosis. Who would have thought that foreclosures in Stockton and Cleveland would roil the markets of London and Shanghai? The poor have risen up and spoken; only it sounds less like a shout of protest than a low, strangled, cry of pain.


Capitalism will survive? Damn.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:23 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"European-style social democracy, Latin American-style socialism, or how about just American capitalism with some regulation thrown in?"

There's some stuff a bull left in a field. A Frenchman might call it merde, a Spaniard might call it mierda, and an American baby might call it caca. It doesn't matter what you call it: it doesn't change what it really is.

Ehrenreich is truly an idiot. If she thinks defaulting on a mortgage is a revolution, what will "mortage protestors" do when they want to take out a loan? Strike one: credit history. Strike two: higher interest rates, if they get approved. Strike three: banks will stop lending money to anyone below stellar credit. Yeah, that's great. Mortgage yourself to the stars, default intentionally to hurt those evil rich people, then lose your house and never own your own home again. Brilliant!

The poor don't borrow from other poor. They don't even borrow from the middle class. When you take out a $500K loan on a new house, from whom do you think you're borrowing? John Q. types who earn mid-five-figure annual salaries, or a single millionaire? All right, so several middle-class families could save enough between themselves to lend to one family. But in a new subdivision where everybody's a new homeowner, who are they borrowing from? Certainly not from each other.

The rich are actually the ones who are invisible these days. The rest of the people don't see how their very livelihoods and borrowing depend on how wealthy "the rich" are, and that raising taxes won't do a damn bit of good.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 21, 2007 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

How many thousands of column inches do you bet The Nation has devoted to running down banks who would not take a chance on poor or minority borrowers?

Now, giving a loan to a guy who needs it is predatory lending. I hope they never see Jimmy Stewart in "It's A Wonderful Life."

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2007 4:15 PM

August 18, 2007

More Media Nonsense

The media has absolutely nothing to say about anything -- at least not enough to maintain 24-hour news channels. First, Obama wasn't black enough. Then Hillary wasn't woman enough. Now, Fred doesn't know which shoes to wear. All this is apparently considered important information when choosing our next leader.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:53 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

They should just stick to the important things, like how we're losing the war and the devastation of global warming.

Posted by: jk at August 19, 2007 11:45 AM

August 17, 2007

Netroots

Harrison Bergeron's post last week on "Kos" highlighted what a negative impact the Netroots' tactics will have on their own preferred candidates. Today Kim Strassel interviews a moderate Democrat who survived a Kos-inspired primary challenge: Henry Cuellar (free link).

Yet a lively midweek chat with Mr. Cuellar suggests that this campaign of threats isn't necessarily having the intended effect. If anything, it might be backfiring. "They win when they intimidate people," says Mr. Cuellar. "I've taken everything they've thrown, plus their kitchen sink, and I still stand proud as a moderate-conservative Democrat." He says his triumph over blogger fire has only strengthened his conviction that his party will only win elections if it continues to be a "big tent" open to all views. "To make that tent smaller, to force people--not to persuade, but to force, because these are threats--to quiet down, that's destructive in the long term and the short term."

Though we have different limits around here, I think we all agree that politics is a balance of enlarging the tent for electoral victory and maintaining ideas to make it meaningful.

Kos seems to be bent on creating the smallest Democratic tent and, as hb exposed, not bothering to tie it to any ideas or policy of consequence.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM

August 15, 2007

Kos is not a libertarian

We know that Markos Moulitsas is a partisan hack. He believes that Karl Rove is responsible for the bridge collapse in Minnesota, he believes that socialist progressives (my words, not his) are the new "center", and he does not think that Democrats should ever be criticized (although he does believe that the party needs cleaning). Kos also pretends to be a libertarian, abeit in is own words a "modified and twisted around version of libertarianism." In reality, Kos and his followers are a growing threat to individual liberty and freedom from government.

What is disturbing about Kos is that, unlike many activists, he is not really an idealogue. When asked for the three most important issues for the candidates in 2008 on Meet the Press, he did not name a single issue. His sole purpose in life, it seems, is to get Democrats elected (well, only those who oppose the war in Iraq).

The political realm should be one of ideas. Personally, I subscribe to the ideas of individual liberty and free market economics. Kos, however, subscribes to the idea of party loyalty and ridding the party of those who are not loyal to the cause.

Given the fact that the Kossacks are big government socialist progressives, my hope is that the Kossacks are simply a fad within the Democratic Party.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:54 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I have to admit that I do not pay a lot of attention to Kos. He whips up a lot of fury, but they are so outside the mainstream, I don't see their affecting much more than party politics.

It seems you're right, they push the Democrats to purity yet don't push ideas -- that strikes me as anti-pragmatism, the least effective of both worlds.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2007 12:25 PM

August 6, 2007

If Other States Want...

"States shall Choose Electors" but the Constitution provides great latitude. John Fund reports on an interesting bit of Inside Baseball in the Political Diary:

Howard Dean, the Democratic National Committee chairman, knows a trap when he sees one. The Democratic state legislature in North Carolina was on a fast track to pass a bill that would have ended the practice of apportioning all that state's Electoral College votes to the statewide winner. Instead, the winner of each of its 13 Congressional districts would win one electoral vote, while the remaining two (representing the state's two U.S. Senate seats) would go to the statewide winner. In 2004, under the proposed formula, John Kerry would have won three electoral votes from North Carolina rather than zero. Only the small states of Maine and Nebraska currently apportion their electoral votes in such a manner.

The North Carolina Senate had already approved the measure and the State House was within hours of sending the bill to Democratic Gov. Mike Easley's desk when Dr. Dean called and urgently prescribed the patient's death. "He said the party had suddenly learned a similar measure was being proposed by Republicans in California and that could mean over 20 electoral college votes in that state going to the GOP," one Democratic state legislative staffer told me. "That meant [Democrats] would be tagged as hypocrites if we proceeded to do the same idea in North Carolina and then opposed it in California."

Indeed, last month Thomas W. Hiltachk, a Republican attorney in Sacramento who is Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's personal lawyer on election matters, filed a proposed initiative to allocate the state's Electoral College votes precisely as Democrats had planned to do in North Carolina. The difference is that California is such a megastate that even though President Bush lost statewide in 2004 by 10 percentage points, he nonetheless won a majority in 22 Congressional districts. Hendrik Hertzberg, a liberal New Yorker magazine columnist, says that if voters were to approve the initiative in California's June primary next year, it would represent an "unearned, Ohio-size gift of electoral votes" to next year's GOP nominee. Democratic strategist Chris Lehane says that if the rule were adopted, it would "virtually guarantee that a Republican wins the White House in 2008."

No one knows if Republicans will invest the $1 million it would take to qualify such a measure for the California ballot, much less the millions it would take to withstand the Democratic onslaught against it. Democrats worry that the measure has the appearance of creating more fairness than the current winner-take-all formula -- which is precisely why they thought they could get away with the ploy in North Carolina. They also worry that in a low-turnout primary in which only local offices are on the ballot (California's presidential primary has been moved to Feb. 5), the measure just might pass.

If the proposal does appear on the June ballot, expect the mother of all battles. It's not too much to say next year's entire presidential race could be played out in the California ballot battle even before the two parties' candidates are officially nominated at their respective conventions. And you thought the presidential campaign process was already front-loaded?


I fought tooth-and-nail against Colorado's attempt to do this, and was glad to see it go down in flames. Even though we're pretty close to flipping blue, I think it reduces a states importance. Colorado is becoming a swing state and seems likely to pick up a seat in the 2010 census. It seemed crazy.

If other states wish, however, I guess I've no objection. Any strong feelings in ThreeSources land?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:24 PM

August 5, 2007

More of the Same...

More of the same from the "reform-minded" Democrats:


If the idea was to shame lawmakers into restraint, it did not work.

Eight months after Democrats vowed to shine light on the dark art of ďearmarkingĒ mo