Here again we see the difference between the US and France. Through our history, for the most part, the American elite has been willing to accede to reasonable demands, if only to stave off revolution. In other words, the system can work.
Jackson ran for president again in 1828; it was the "revolt of the rustics" - a peaceful revolt. The campaign was bitter: It's fair to say that the Eastern elite of that era were as horrified by Jackson as the Eastern elite of our time are horrified by Trump. Indeed, hard as it might be to believe, the elite were more appalled by the insurgent Jackson back then; in the widely circulated coffin handbills, he was accused of everything from adultery to mass murder to cannibalism.
Yet despite all this establishment vitriol, Jackson won in a landslide, and the first political era of America, a time of aristocratic leadership, was ended. Indeed, in many ways, our modern political system - that is, two-party politics, with the winner needing the mass-mobilization of the electorate to win - originates from 1828.
And though the first aristocratic era of America came to an end, a second aristocratic era - that is, two-party politics - ultimately rose to replace it. Now, Trump has executed an unlikely hostile takeover of one of the two parties, and the aristocrats are nervous.
In yesterday's 'Les Deplorables' post the "soundtrack" I linked was one I chose. I hadn't read far enough into the article (the second sentence, as it turned out) to learn that it was the same song the Trump campaign selected.
He took the stage, introduced by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, as the 'Les Mis' anthem 'Do You Hear the People Sing' blasted through loudspeakers.
The article includes a brief video of the introduction, but it only captures the end of the intro and the beginning of the speech. I am so moved by the synergy of the spectacle I am left only to attempt a recreation of it myself.
This moment is reminiscent of Barack Obama's "Hope" poster, created by a supporter and then going viral. The 'Les Deplorables' imagery was created by pro-Trump blogger Keln, whose blog post on its creation and adoption features a commenter writing, "You are a genius......the trump movement has its logo."
And here is a nice version created around the video game 'Assassin's Creed.'
Some see the rebellion being against "the rich." It wasn't. It was against the aristocrats. More specifically, the monarchists.
The June Rebellion or the Paris Uprising of 1832 (French: Insurrection républicaine ŕ Paris en juin 1832), was an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans on 5 and 6 June 1832.
Long live liberty.
Long live republicanism.
Long live the Constitutional Republic of the United States of America.
And like Trump and his "Deplorables" the June Rebellion was largely a movement of the working class:
Subsequent identification of rebels revealed that most (66%) were working-class, a high proportion being construction workers. Most others (34%) were shopkeepers or clerks.
It is a curious discontinuity that the Republican nominee whom party loyalists deride as "not a conservative" or "without guiding principles" is, at the same time, portrayed by the domininat media as an agent of the "alt-right" and as extreme an ideologue as has been seen in presidential politics in our lifetimes. All while the Democratic nominee campaigns on more and bigger leftist government programs than were proposed or delivered by the two-term predecessor from her own party. Which of them then is really the "extremist" and which the centrist or "mainstream" candidate? Conrad Black concludes:
Both nominees did the necessary to keep their parties out of their own end zones, but to capture the center that always decides American elections, Mr. Trump has only to modulate the polemics, not really change course. Mr. Clinton has to walk backwards on her hands toward the center while dragging a cartload of ethical and legal baggage and ardently praying for a Trump relapse into reactionary gaucheries -- exacting acrobatics, even for a lady in a neon pantsuit.
Black then proceeds to paint the Clinton campaign as Humpty Dumpty, which all the left's horses and men can't put back together again.
Mr. Trump has no further need of the tactics the Democrats assumed would drive the moderate majority into their arms.
There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton yet realizes that she can't rely on her opponent to discharge a verbal blunderbuss into his own cloven feet. Her vast train of bearers and beaters and cheerleaders and silent helpers, Bushies, Cruzites, the Sanders Left, the Hollywood claque, the largely leprous press corps, President Obama (in one of the most hilariously cynical professions of affectionate continuity in American political history) - all have only eight weeks to escape oblivion. It certainly could happen, but it is not now likely.
Not me though. I know better. There's no such thing as someone who calls himself Republican, works as a campaign professional on behalf of Republican candidates, but who actually prefers when Democrats are elected if the Republican alternative doesn't have truly Democratic tendencies at heart.
"I've heard a lot of conservatives voicing frustration, like, 'How fucking hard is this, Hillary?'" said Ben Howe, a conservative ad-maker and an outspoken Trump detractor. "That's the only reason I'm panicked these days I'm losing faith in Hillary's ability to win this easy-ass election."
Many more quotes along these lines here, mostly unattributed.
The good professor believes that the Democratic alternative - Hillary and the record of President Obama - is so bad that "almost any Republican could take at least 45 percent of the vote, regardless of the shortcomings of the candidate or campaign." But, he says, Donald may be the "almost."
So is character really fate? Or is there any chance that the outer Trump's business savvy and heralded self-interest might half tame his inner Trump to avoid subterranean mines, to keep him on message, and to relax and ride the wave of the disastrous daily news fare to the White House?
If there is, it will be largely because in summer 2016 enough voters see the current reality of polished lying and corruption in the White House and at the head of the Democratic ticket as more dangerous than the potential of a crude counterpart on the 2017 horizon.
I suppose some may dismiss his perspective since he doesn't even bother to mention that "there are other candidates in the race." Perhaps that's because, for every practical purpose, there aren't.
Because without help from others, they can't achieve their goals. Worse yet - they vilify those who can achieve their goals individually, whether it be from superior talent and ambition or merely, different goals. But when one's goal is turning history's greatest republic into a socialist democracy, that's a goal for an "us" rather than a "me."
Slate's William Saletan has drilled down on this distinction - I vs. we; Trump vs. Clinton - and finds Hillary's "togetherness" more to his liking:
The "we" approach suits Clinton's personality. It reflects what she learned from her mother's childhood - that "no one gets through life alone" - and the philosophy of good works Clinton was taught in church. It echoes the message of her book, It Takes a Village, and her collaborations with Republicans on legislation to promote adoption and health insurance. Clinton wants global progress toward controlling climate change. No leader can do that alone.
The "I" approach, conversely, captures what's wrong with Trump. He's a natural antagonist, picking fights with Sen. John McCain, Gov. John Kasich, Megyn Kelly, and others who don't please him. He uses race, ethnicity, and religion to smear people who get in his way. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, Trump ditched investors and contractors to whom he owed money. "Donald Trump has a passion," Kaine observed in his speech to the Democratic convention on Wednesday. "It's himself."
We is also the word that socialists use to justify all manner of abuses, principally against earners and producers. It is the way they promote their ideal equality at the expense of the American ideal liberty.
But readers of Ayn Rands Anthem know that nothing happens without the individual. And one individual meets other individuals. They cooperate. They trade. They fall in love. They say I love you not we love the unspecified. They enter into trade agreements. And when those agreements are no longer beneficial to them, they are free to withdraw from them and enter new ones. Who ever said NAFTA must be immortal?
I agree with Saleton that The fundamental choice in this election is between Trumps I and Hillarys We. Saletan says Shes with us. Trump says, I am your voice. He chooses her, and I choose to have a leader speak for me, not tell me whats best for me. I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death."
For Americans to think that it is progress to move from the Founders' revolutionary achievement - a nation of free citizens, endowed with natural rights, living under laws that they themselves have made, pursuing their own vision of happiness in their own way and free to develop as fully as they can whatever talent or genius lies within them - to a regime in which individuals derive such rights as they have from a government superior to them is contemptible. How is a return to subjection an advance on freedom?
I'm so perplexed by my relative willingness to rally on the "Trump Train" and so many of my friends and relatives unwillingness, I went back to the Political Coordinates Test for possible clues.
I don't know where Donald Trump would fall on the Political Coordinates graph but I would expect it to be "right-liberal." Not as right, and perhaps more liberal, than the ThreeSourcers in that quadrant, but this is admittedly a guess. Interestingly, Trump is positioning as the "law and order candidate." That is a strongly communitarian sentiment, but I doubt that is what turns off jk or dagny, or cements his appeal to jg's dad. It does appeal to moi, jg, however, despite my scoring as a "liberal" and not a communitarian.
I'll not overreach here and attempt too many conclusions. I just thought this line of examination might help explain some things. But I need some help getting there.
UPDATE (jk): I thought I'd try taking the test as I understand Donald Trump's positions.(It might be expanded into some original reporting with snippets of speeches or policy positions to back it up.) But the first question made me laugh so hard, I'm not certain I can continue:
My mad-lefty, biological brother posted this on Facebook. Me, and his mad lefty buddy with whom I did the book exchange, and a couple others posted wildly approbational comments. It's a good and short piece.
The "Other Side" Is Not Dumb
Theres a fun game I like to play in a group of trusted friends called "Controversial Opinion." The rules are simple: Don't talk about what was shared during Controversial Opinion afterward and you arent allowed to "argue"-- only to ask questions about why that person feels that way. Opinions can range from "I think James Bond movies are overrated" to "I think Donald Trump would make a excellent president."
Last time I played that game, I -- of course -- talked about "Fight Club." But . . . oh, maybe I should not have mentioned that.
I went searching for a Megan McArdle piece which said similar things and influenced me deeply. My Google-Fu® chops were not up to the challenge, but she also asked how many of your posts are virtue-signalling and tribal to the point where they undermine persuasion.
It's a good piece. McArdle's was, of course, better. But she's not a stupid lefty.
In the fantasyland of modern progressive politics, if a boy identifies as a girl, then he's a girl. But if a gay Muslim registered Democrat identifies as a martyr for the Islamic State, he's still a Republican.
For many weeks during the primary I defended Donald Trump's (choose one: lame-brained, idiotic, myopic, stupid, or maybe just misunderstood, distorted, poorly explained) statements because a) I respected the passion and sincerity of the blue-collar movement that propelled him and b) I believed I could see a respectable (read: rational self-interest) point of view in most everything he said. I have largely been quiet since he achieved presumptive nominee status. "My blog brothers are tired of my excuse-making" thought I.
This morning I read Steven Moore's "The Stupid Party Keeps Getting Stupider." It explains exactly why I believe Republican "thought" leaders - Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush - the crowd we, or at least I, hoped to see defeated and discredited and lose in the primary - which they were, and did - have been backing the bus over their standard bearer at every opportunity. Why? Because, as Moore opens, "The Republican braintrust knows only how to appease the left."
They seemed to be saying: see how racially progressive I am. I just denounced Donald Trump. He's the Republican racist, not me. That's statesmanship for you.
Question: Does anyone believe this strategy will bring a stampede of black and Latino voters into the party? Do they think this will get the media off their back?
All of this is self-defeating on a thousand levels. First, don't these lame-brained Republicans get it that they hang together or they hang separately? Tearing down Trump will mean thousands of political casualties down ticket. Democrats do get this.
Second, since when do we judge our candidates based on the left's warped criteria? Republicans seem to suffer from the Stockholm Syndrome of seeking the affection of their captors.
And this is I think the single biggest reason for the Trump phenomenon. American voters, be they Republicans, Democrats, or unaffiliateds, are sick and tired of watching politicians from both parties slavishly serve the politically correct version of racial ettiquette. Trump talks about race in a way that no other politician does - the same way that most voters talk about it, or at least think about it. Without varnish. Without blinders. Recognizing that it is used as a political tool to disadvantage whites so that others can be "lifted up" but - hasn't anybody noticed - there is no lifting up!
Moore offers a playbook for Republicans to blitz up the middle to the goal line:
Instead, why don't Republicans ever try to seize the offensive on the race card? Want to divide and conquer the left? Take a school choice agenda into the inner city and tell poor minority parents that the GOP is offering their kids better schools? Promise to bring safety, jobs, and development to their neighborhoods. Promise to stop putting young inner city blacks in jail for drug use.
The greatest victims of Barack Obama's littany of economic failures have been blacks and Hispanics. Obama's no racist, but the impact of his policies is. Does it really matter that he means well?"
Apparently it does, if your name is Romney, McConnell or Paul.
This. A Barton Hinkle makes an important point by marrying conservative distrust of disorder with libertarian distrust for the state monopoly on force.
[Sen. Bernie Sanders:] "Our campaign of course believes in nonviolent change and it goes without saying that I condemn any and all forms of violence, including the personal harassment of individuals."
Which, to be blunt about it, is a crock. Sanders' entire campaign is premised on the idea of violent change--lots of it. His supporters just want someone else to do the dirty work.
Sanders proposes hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour, which is another way of saying he wants to make it illegal for employers to pay workers less than $15 an hour--even when there are workers who are willing to take less. He also proposes to make employers provide 12 weeks paid family and medical leave, two weeks of paid vacation, and seven paid sick days.
How is he going to achieve all that? By changing the law and then enforcing it. Note the root of the word "enforce." If a company chooses not to comply the consequences will, eventually, entail the use of armed officers of the law.
Since the Indiana primary, I have been squinting my eyes in search of silver linings in the dark cloud of Trump. I think I see faint outlines, and have attempted to sow optimism both on these pages [3rd and 4th comments] and privately.
One of those faint outlines is fairly well drawn out by Washington Times' Charles Hurt. It is not fair to cherry pick but I think his close is most enticing:
Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.
But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.
By Charles Hurt - - Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Unruly voters have elected an opportunistic showman as their presidential nominee. They were aided by infiltrators in the primary who were not even Republicans.
The nominee, Donald Trump, is a reality star billionaire real estate developer who has a history of vacillating political allegiances. He even made campaign donations to the most evil countess of the Democratic Party, Hillary Clinton, who is designed to be her partys nominee against Mr. Trump.
Into the breach steps Speaker of the House Paul D. Ryan, the highest elected Republican in the land. He declares he is not ready in good conscience to support his own partys nominee for president because Mr. Trump has not demonstrated he is a good and principled conservative.
And, once again, the Washington political punditry begins another wildly premature funeral dirge for Mr. Trumps campaign, the Republican Partys hold on power in Washington.
Meanwhile, loyal and thoughtful conservative voters who do not care for Mr. Trumps bombast and harbor justifiable concerns about his devotion to Republican principles are despondent.
There goes the White House, they say, the Senate, the House and the Supreme Court. And, with socialist Democrats running amok, there goes the republic and the worlds greatest beacon of hope and freedom.
Or, perhaps we are seeing something entirely different. Maybe this is a rekindling of the finest dreams envisioned by our founders.
In a time of great economic distress with high unemployment and a sluggish economy, a non-ideological businessman is pitted for the presidency against an insufferable and strictly partisan hack who has been an integral cog in the broken political system for three decades.
The businessman will win. And the party hag will be sent off to a long-needed retirement of bitterness and scorn.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans will keep the House and if they dont screw it up keep the Senate.
Yet, with the Supreme Court in the balance, these Republicans in Congress will maintain a skeptical eye down Pennsylvania Avenue at their new leader. They will question his motives and pick apart his proposals.
When his proposals wobble too far from the conservatism they are now vowing to protect, lawmakers can reign him in. If he nominates someone to the Supreme Court who is not worthy to replace the late, great Justice Antonin Scalia, they can reject the nominee.
And the voters will reward them for it! The democratic republic our founders envisioned will be restored!
For too long, both parties have fallen into the deep rut of partisan blindness. On both sides of the aisle, party politics comes before American interests at every turn.
Story Continues →
Continued from page 1
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have unilaterally surrendered vast amounts of power to the presidency. Congress the first branch of government closest to the will of the people as been neutered.
Former President George W. Bush had his Republicans in Congress and President Obama has his Democrats. As a result, Americans have been saddled with a vast expansion of the federal government into every aspect of our personal lives. The debt burden is, literally, unfathomable.
Donald Trump may terrify Democrats and horrify Republicans in Washington. He may be a vulgarian to the professional Beltway punditry that has blithely ignored the devolution of the American dream.
But, looking down from the clouds painted inside the dome of the U.S. Capitol, the founders are smiling and see the first hope in decades for returning power to the people.
Charles Hurt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter via @charleshurt.
This year, small government conservatives discovered they are much more of a minority than they ever thought they were. They learned that their old dream of nominating and electing someone who could clearly articulate the conservative cause is more of a pipe dream fantasy. They discovered that a lot of people who call themselves "conservative" on those surveys have their own idiosyncratic definitions of the word. And they may wish they were back in the Big Tent of yesterday, the one that got blown down and ripped apart and can no longer give them the shelter and nourish the illusion that they are very strong in number and influence. -- Neo-Neocon
I had an unfruitful argument with a moderately-anarchist-public-choice friend on Facebook. This person is a brilliant champion for liberty, but way too cool for a stodgy political party.
It's late and it's desperate, but I shared this Harsanyi piece (all hail!). If nothing else, it's a superb headline:
The GOP Sucks, But Its Not As Bad As Everyone Thinks
the rest is pretty good too. He lists the defenses of the Grand Ol' Party we're both tired of making to Tea Partiers and Libertarians.
As far expectations go, Republicans deserve blame for making promises they couldn't possibly fulfill--including the notion that they could repeal Obamacare. Then again, overpromising is not exactly a new political trend. And it's not as if voters flock to candidates who tell them unvarnished facts about this cruel world of ours.
But did Republicans do nothing but surrender the last eight years?
Spoiler alert: no. Read the whole thing. I mean, if you want to and have time. And if you're not in Venezuela with no power.
Tell me if you've heard this one before: "In America, anyone can become anything he wants to be, even President of the United States, if he is smart and hard-working." This timeless bit of parental advice comes to mind as I read the ending of a Yahoo News interview of veteran [Democratic] party official Elaine Kamarck. When asked, "Why were the Founding Fathers concerned about parties," she answered,
"The founders were concerned about the mischief of factions. (...) No other democracy in the world nominates its candidates in primaries. All the parliamentary democracies have party conferences and they have lists. You can't just go run for Parliament in Devonshire [U.K.]. You have to be placed on a list by the central party committee.
Prior to that, Kamarck agreed with the interviewer, "Exactly. He [Trump] is arguing [for] direct democracy."
And prior to that she explained that parties choose their nominee, not primary voters. Allahpundit cited her explanation and then offered an analogy -
I laughed this morning at the news that "Boaty McBoatface" was the British public's choice for the name of a new polar research ship, just because it's so weirdly in sync with the delegates' dilemma in Cleveland. The Natural Environment Research Council asked for suggestions on what to name its new vessel; the public responded with something that's funny yet, shall we say, sub-optimal for a serious research expedition. So now the NERC, which has final say, has to decide: Should it do the democratic thing and send Boaty McBoatface out onto the high seas or should it do something more befitting the gravitas of its mission and choose a more traditional name? What they'll do, I assume, is compromise by giving it a traditional name while formally recognizing somehow what the people's choice was in the form of a plaque or something onboard. Maybe the GOP's delegates can do that too. Nominate Cruz at the convention, but call Trump up onstage and give him a nice bowling trophy recognizing that he won the most popular votes. He'd like that, no?
But this is exactly what Trump is advocating, and promising to "reform" about the Republican Party "over the coming years." Who knows, he might even succeed. But if he does, parents will no longer be able to tell their children that "You don't have to have special connections, or a family name - in America, anyone can become the President of the United States."
In related news, Ben and Jerry have been arrested.
Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield were among approximately 300 people who were arrested Monday as part of protests by a group called Democracy Awakening.
The Vermont-based ice cream company's website says the purpose of the protests is to make sure everyone's voice is heard "and that power in this country is returned to the people."
What was that word again... that means "all the power is returned to the people?" Oh yeah - anarchy.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump ratcheted up his criticism of the Republican Party and its process for selecting delegates for the GOP nomination, calling it "not democracy at its finest."
In an interview on Tuesday, ABC News' Jonathan Karl asked Trump whether he and his campaign were ready for the delegate-by-delegate fight that is dominating the primary.
"No, I was ready for a democratic race, meaning, you know, democracy," Trump said. "And this is not democracy, this is not democracy at its finest."
Really? Is that your basis for criticizing the Republican Party Mr. Trump, that it isn't democratic?
"I think we're doing very well but despite that, it's a rigged system it's a very unfair system and it's not democracy," he added.
With respect sir, there's another party that practices what you preach, and does it quite well. It's called the Democratic Party. They even have super delegates, which allow them to practice super democracy!
Republicans don't blindly award the party nomination to whatever Tom, Dick or Harry has the most chalk marks next to his name. First, you must earn a majority* of delegates to the national convention, not a mere plurality. Second, party rules are carefully designed to promote a system of reflection and contemplation that leads to a nomination of the best candidate, the one who best understands and promotes a republican form of government, not merely the most popular from among a field of many.
Most of the delegates you earned came from early states where your support was stronger than any other individual candidate, but far less than a majority of state Republican voters. Now that the field has narrowed, delegates are coalescing behind the candidate they believe is best for the party and best for the country - and it isn't Donald Trump.
The system isn't "stealing" the nomination from you sir, it is working just the way it is supposed to, because in the ongoing campaign the Trump appeal has hit a ceiling.
However, if the national convention isn't settled on the first ballot, it looks likely that many of the 50 delegates from the Palmetto State would desert Trump, who came in first in the primary, but with only 33 percent of the vote. The national convention will go to multiple ballots if Trump does not win at least 1,237 delegates out of the 2,472 available from 50 states, six U.S. territories and the District of Columbia. Currently, Trump has 743 delegates to Cruzs 545 and 143 for Kasich.
However, South Carolina is not the only place Trump has failed to organize at the state level. He is facing delegate setbacks in Virginia, Arkansas, Colorado, Indiana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Tennessee, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Wyoming, Washington State, Missouri, and California.
And yet, for the most part, this reality didn't become national news until the Colorado GOP Assembly. Well done, Colorado Republican brothers and sisters.
Bad news for Ted Cruz from the world of science: Many women find him "creepy."
In a new paper published in New Ideas in Psychology, two researchers from Knox College try to outline a more explicit definition with the results of the first-ever empirical study of creepiness. They concluded that a person's "creepiness detector" pings when she encounters something unpredictable or outside the norm, like a person with idiosyncratic behavioral patterns, unusual physical characteristics, or a tendency to over- or under-emote. When someone looks or behaves in a way that appears unstable or violates social norms, we feel uneasy - we think there's a chance they may pose a danger to us, but we can't know for sure.
Fortunately for Ted, he's not the only Republican candidate who's a creep.
These creepiest mannerisms happen to align perfectly with a random sampling of Republicans who've run for president this year. Imagine the creepiness of a chronically dry-mouthed Marco Rubio, the unnerving flat-lipped tic of booger-eater Ted Cruz, and the compulsive sexual remarks of one Donald Trump.
So maybe it's just a matter of Slate columnists thinking all Republicans are creeps. Or maybe, even limited to female Slate columnists.
Three days ago, Craig Biddle, editor of The Objective Standard, endorsed Ted Cruz for president. Craig gives an issue by issue summary of the many ways Ted Cruz stands alone in this political contest, and all of them boil down to his recognition of individual rights and holding ideas as absolutes. Read it in full here, if you like. He cites many of the quotes I've heard Cruz state over the months of this primary campaign. He also cites several of the times that Cruz has quoted the seminal work of Ayn Rand - 'Atlas Shrugged.' One of these was when I first became a stalwart fan of the first-term Senator from Texas. Namely, in a 2013 Senate floor speech urging the defunding of Obamacare:
Cruz also read the passage in which Dagny Taggart poses the question, "What is morality?" - and receives the answer, "Judgment to distinguish right and wrong, vision to see the truth, courage to act upon it, dedication to that which is good, integrity to stand by the good at any price." After pausing to let that sink in, Cruz said:
That's counsel that the United States Senate should listen to. That's counsel that I would encourage every Democratic senator who feels the urge of party loyalty to [listen to] . . . I would encourage my friends on the Democratic side of the aisle: As difficult as it is to cross one's Party leaders, I say, with perhaps a little familiarity of the consequences of so doing, that it's survivable - and that ultimately it is liberating.
Imagine a politician who recognizes the difference between right and wrong, or even acknowledges that the distinction exists. Imagine a politician willing to defend the good at any cost. Imagine the benefit that could abound to all honest and self-respecting people.
Imagine the possibility of a U.S. president speaking from the Oval Office, "I'd like to share a few excerpts from one of my favorite books, Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand . . ." and encouraging Americans, "go tomorrow, buy Atlas Shrugged, and read it."
That is the implication made by this Denver Post story covering the Republican Women of Weld senate candidates forum in Fort Lupton Wednesday night (attended by dagny and me.) "Peg Littleton says God causes earthquakes, not fracking" blares the sub head.
"I say, 'Drill, baby, drill,' " said Littleton, an El Paso County Commissioner and member of Colorado's homeland security and hazards advisory committee.
Later, she took a step further as she attacked scientific reports showing links between hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and earthquakes, suggesting God is the reason they occur.
"There have been earthquakes long before we ever did fracking," she said. "Let's be honest. You know God is kind of in control of those. And not by us drilling down in the ground and doing the fracking."
The implication is clear, and is reflected in comments on the story - that Republicans in general, or at least these seven candidates at the forum, or at least this Sarah Palin wannabe, are anti-science religious nut jobs.
Well what do the "scientific reports" say? That small earthquakes can indeed be induced by high-volume wastewater disposal into wells drilled specifically for that purpose. It is not caused by fracking. So Littleton's claim that the earthquakes are not caused by fracking is accurate.
And who is surprised by that finding? Fracking is done all over the country, and earthquake activity is localized in this area of Oklahoma within 30 kilometers of water disposal wells.
If we were so unfortunate that we had to rely on the Denver Post for all of our information about the world I could only exclaim, God help us.
Six Reasons That Trump Voters are Not Embarrassed by Him
This morning I suggested to dagny that Donald Trump has already told us who his running mate, or mates, will be - Smoot and Hawley. But Trump voters aren't completely ignorant on trade and economics, they've merely been misled. They see (or think they see) job growth and prosperity in China, Mexico, et. al. and wonder why if trade is so great for them, why isn't it great for us too? The answer, of course, is that it is great for both of us. But demagogues like Trump and Sanders tell eager listeners that trade is to blame for the damage done by big government, through tax and regulatory expansion, not to mention mandates to do things less economically.
Red-blooded, patriotic attorney and combat veteran John C. Kluge explains six reasons why he is a Trump voter, and resents those who tell him not to be:
1- Trump isn't a "conservative."
What Republican presidential nominee in the last 25 years has been?
2- What has "conservatism" become today, anyway?
"Conservatives have become some sort of schizophrenic sect of libertarians who love freedom (but hate potheads and abortion) and feel the US should be the policeman of the world. The same people who daily fret over the effects of leaving our society to the mercy of Hollywood and the mass culture have somehow decided leaving it to the mercies of the international markets is required."
Kluge seems to be conflating "conservative" with "establishment" or more precisely, neoconservative. But he has a good point here.
3- Mismanagment of the war on Islamic extremism:
"I fully understand the sad necessity to fight wars and I do not believe in "blow back" or any of the other nonsense that says the world will leave us alone if only we will do the same. At the same time, I cannot for the life of me understand how conservatives of all people convinced themselves that the solution to the 9/11 attacks was to forcibly create democracy in the Islamic world."
4- Donald Trump's vulgarity, combativeness and incivility are virtues, not vices:
The standard Democrat playbook is to lie, slander and mislead voters about their Republican opponents. "And now you tell me that I should reject Trump because he is uncivil and mean to his opponents? Is that some kind of a joke? This is not the time for civility or to worry about it in our candidates."
5- "I do not care that Donald Trump is in favor of big government."
This one is a swing and a miss. "That is certainly not a virtue but it is not a meaningful vice, since the same can be said of every single Republican in the race. I am sorry, but the "We are just one more Republican victory from small government" card is maxed out. We are not getting small government no matter who wins. So Trump being big government is a wash."
"Trump offers at least the chance that he might act in the American interest instead of the worlds interest or in the blind pursuit of some fantasy ideological goals. There is more to economic policy than cutting taxes, sham free-trade agreements and hollow appeals to cutting government and the free market. Trump may not be good, but he at least understands that. In contrast, the rest of the GOP and everyone in Washington or the media who calls themselves a conservative has no understanding of this."
And this is where one might ask, "But what about Ted Cruz? The establishment hates him. The Senate hates him. He constantly harps on Constitutional limits - doesn't he offer at least as much a chance to "act in the American interest" as Trump?"
"Marco Rubio would be nothing but a repeat of the Bush 43 administration with more blood and treasure spent on the fantasy that acting in other peoples interests indirectly helps ours.
Ted Cruz might be somewhat better, but it is unclear whether he could resist the temptations of nation building and wouldnt get bullied into trying it again. And as much as I like Cruz on many areas, he, like all of them except Trump, seems totally unwilling to admit that the government has a responsibility to act in the nations interests on trade policy and do something besides let every country in the world take advantage of us in the name of "free trade."
* Click "continue reading" for a snippet of Cruz' message last night when interviewed by Megyn Kelly.
Now, let's focus on the third area which is where you want to go, which is legislation. Legislation is the hardest lever to use because right now Congress is fundamentally broken. It is dysfunctional. I am campaigning based on two big legislative policy initiatives. Number one repealing every single word of ObamaCare.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
And number two, passing a simple flat tax and abolishing the IRS.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
KELLY: Control of the House and the Senate and the Republican Party if you want to get that done.
CRUZ: Now, listen, you are right. And neither of those are easy. I am not remotely naive or Pollyannaish.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We're behind you, Ted.
(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)
CRUZ: That's actually the key. Listen, could I get either of those done in this current Congress? Not a chance. Because right now the Washington cartel, all of the lobbyists, all of the special interest, they depend on the status quo. The IRS tax code, the reason it's so long is that's where all the carve outs, all the subsidies, all the handouts are buried in that tax code. How do you change it? You know, if you look at the last time we broke the Washington cartel, it was 1981. It was the Reagan revolution where Reagan took it to the people and there was a tidal wave from the people. The way we get that done is I intend to make 2016, the general election against Hillary Clinton they referendum on repealing ObamaCare and abolishing the IRS.
The rise of "sophisticated" craft beers has cut deeply into the market share of the "macro" brews, leaving them to find new ways to appeal to drinkers than "just" bikinis. Millions of dollars of professional advertising research and production later, we have - "Not Ponies", hard working blue collar men, big American brewing [owned by Belgians, I must admit] rock stars, sports champions, "Not Sipped", "Not Soft", "Not Imported", "Not a Fruit Cup", beautiful young women, "Not for Everyone" and ending with, "Not Backing Down."
The guy at the bar, who flicked the lemon off the rim of his beer glass, is NOT voting for a country club member for president - unless that guy OWNS the country club and talks like a Teamster.
Politics is at least as much about message and marketing as it is about ideas, if not more, unfortunately. Whoever wants to beat Trump needs his own version of "America, f*ck yeah!" to compete with this. Just an observation.
Democrats should be, if nothing else, democratic. Good or bad, that's their gig, right? The people should choose our political office holders, and the members of the several parties should choose their nominees for those offices, right?
Well, one major party is doing a better job of adhering to that ideal than the other.
PRIEBUS: Come on. That's not my job. My job is to put forward the fairest process that we can put forward, to not put my hand on the scale, to allow our delegates to make the choices that they want to make and then accept the decision that the delgates make, unlike on the Democratic side where they have superdelegates and could give a darn about what the grassroots are telling the party. That's not how we operate our party on our side.
Did Republicans "define socialism down" by calling every left wing proposal "socialist?" Now, how do they call out Senator Sanders (Socialist - VT)?
So asks Paul Starr in Politico who fears Senator Ice Cream because of his effect on Democrats:
Socialism and Sanders have their heart in a different place--economic equality before all else. Socialism is still the dream of those who don't worry about concentrating power in the state or about the perverse effects of making goods and services available at a zero price. To bring socialism back from the dead wearing New Deal liberalism as a mask is no service to either. Socialists should know the difference, and liberals should too. After feverish right-wing accusations that every liberal proposal is tantamount to socialism, the last thing liberals need is a Democratic presidential candidate blurring that line.
I'll join my blog brother in wishing a respectful Happy Birthday to dear President Washington.
But -- and I am thinking out loud here, I reserve the right to revise and reinterpret my remarks -- I think he is responsible for all that is wrong with this great nation.
Our first President was a Unicorn! Who cares about executive power when it will be handled by a man above avarice and graft? My new favorite economist is Michael Munger. Listen to any of his EconTalk appearances with Russ Roberts -- he's a great wit and gifted thinker.
One of his great riffs is "Unicorns;" everybody loves them, but they don't exactly exist. His FEE article addresses those who view the State as a Unicorn. To be fair, he has argued elsewhere that "the free market" can be the right's unicorn. But enjoy:
But they may not immediately see why "the State" that they can imagine is a unicorn. So, to help them, I propose what I (immodestly) call "the Munger test."
Go ahead, make your argument for what you want the State to do, and what you want the State to be in charge of.
Then, go back and look at your statement. Everywhere you said "the State," delete that phrase and replace it with "politicians I actually know, running in electoral systems with voters and interest groups that actually exist."
If you still believe your statement, then we have something to talk about.
This leads to loads of fun, believe me. When someone says, "The State should be in charge of hundreds of thousands of heavily armed troops, with the authority to use that coercive power," ask them to take out the unicorn ("the State") and replace it with "George W. Bush." How do you like it now?
If someone says, "The State should be able to choose subsidies and taxes to change the incentives people face in deciding what energy sources to use," ask them to remove "the State" and replace it with "senators from states that rely on coal, oil, or corn ethanol for income." Still sound like a good idea?
Events on New Year's Eve in Cologne, Germany, appear to reflect the "license to rape" I wrote about over a year ago.
...Ayaan Hirsi Ali's claim in a WSJ piece that a central part of what the jihadists are about is the oppression of women.
The central issue here, morally justified by the "pure principles of the Prophet" is a profound illiberalism. One which permits one class - devout Muslim men - to do anything his heart desires to every member of any other group. A "license to rape" is a popular selling point to young men.
Police in the western German city of Cologne responded on Monday to outrage over a string of sexual crimes over New Year's Eve. According to police, the series of assaults in one of the city's busiest thoroughfares represented a "completely new dimension of crime."
Some 90 criminal complaints, including one allegation of rape, have been brought to the Cologne police department after women said they were molested by a crowd of men who had gathered in the city's famous square between its central train station and towering Gothic cathedral. Authorities expect more victims to come forward in the next few days.
Fortunately, German authorities are not taking this lying down:
Mayor Henriette Reker, who made international headlines in October when she was stabbed on the campaign trail, has called a crisis meeting, which will include local and federal police, for Tuesday to address the crimes.
Reker told the local press she found the men's actions "monstrous."
"We cannot tolerate this development of lawlessness," Reker told the "Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger" newspaper.
Speaking with local newspaper "Express," Ralf Jäger, the state interior minister for North Rhine-Westphalia, promised swift action.
"We will not accept that groups of North African men gather expressly for the purpose of debasing women by sexually assaulting them," the paper quoted Jäger as saying.
Joking aside, if I have one message for 2016's young feminist crusaders, it's this: stop fiddling while Rome burns. If you really want to defend the rights of women, stop the navel-gazing and open your eyes to the real abuse of women in the world.
Pick your fight with Islamic State; or the barbarians who publicly caned that young woman in Indonesia this week for being 'caught' near to a male fellow student; or the people who mutilate young girls' genitals in the name of religion; or the Sharia courts spreading across Britain, with their systematic bias against women.
Or with gangs of a thousand Muslim refugees getting sauced (is that Sharia compliant, by the way?) and feeling up (or worse) western women in public.
2015 will soon be Auld Lang Syne and Thomas Sowell says, Good riddance.
Lying, by itself, is obviously not new. What is new is the growing acceptance of lying as "no big deal" by smug sophisticates, so long as these are lies that advance their political causes. Many in the media greeted the exposure of Hillary Clinton's lies by admiring how well she handled herself.
Lies are a wall between us and reality -- and being walled off from reality is the biggest deal of all. Reality does not disappear because we don't see it. It just hits us like a ton of bricks when we least expect it.
But a wise man said, "If something cannot go on forever, it will stop." So raise your glass, friend:
Dear fellow occidentalists, Please, whatever you do, do not "reproduce[ed] and reinforce[ed] stereotypes of indigenous people as culturally and racially subordinate..." lest you be singled out for sanction "by the government's anti-discrimination commission." I'm not sure what government - hopefully not ours, but I'm seldom shocked anymore.
Here's the "offensive" advert. What does it show? "The ad shows fair-skinned, attractive, young people turning up at an indigenous town bearing gifts of sugary fizzy drinks and a Christmas tree for the overawed locals." The utter gall.
While it's unclear whether the ad was pulled because of the "controversy" or because its run was through, I would like to rebut with a multi-cultural message of my own:
"I'd like to buy the Left a clue,
And teach it how to think."
From "segregation and isolation is racist" to "engagement and dialog is offensive."
WE ARE ALL FLOWER CHILDREN NOW.
Can we apply the same logic to homeless populations in the west? Any effort to reach out or acknowledge them is offensive and degrading, and suggests that they are "culturally subordinate."
Seriously! That's how Newser's Jenn Gidman presented it. From about 80 million households in 1971 to... about 120 million households today. Must be the "new math."
Pew Research center, where the report originated, wasn't much more objective. By focusing on the share of households that are neither "upper" or "lower" income, they carefully hide the fact that upper income households in America have roughly TRIPLED.
Columnist Ruben Navarette says that America is "an unserious country in unserious times." Well, perhaps collectively.
Worst of all, Americans tend not to connect the dots. What our enemies envision as a coordinated global assault, many of us see as unrelated attacks. We witness a terrorist assault in France, and some Americans think it is limited to France.
Our worldview is all wrong. We look at the map and see separate countries. Islamic State militants look at the same map, and the only division they see is between believers and infidels. One group gets to live, the other must die.
Americans know the world is complicated. We don't expect our leaders to have all the answers. But we do want to know that they understand the threat, that they can destroy the enemy, and that they're up to the task of keeping us and our families safe.
But we have to do our part as well. And it starts with being serious about confronting this threat.
And it used to be that seriousness could always be found in the White House.
Pew center has a new 23 question Political Typology quiz. I'm ranked a Business Conservative, which is fifth on scale where six is "Steadfast Conservative" and zero is "Solidly Liberal."
- the only place "Faith" is listed by Pew is on the Left (1 out of 6 on this scale they've created).
- Young "Outsiders" slightly outnumber the NG Left.
- the silent middle are referred to as "Hard Pressed"
- if you look here, you'll see that Pew's respondents (66% white) are mostly isolationist!
The HFC or "House Freedom Caucus" of about 40 Republican U.S. Congressmen has been called "The Shutdown Caucus" by detractors.
They say their policy positions -- drastic reductions in the size of government and lower taxes -- are repeatedly undercut by the unwillingness of Republican leaders to contemplate using their ultimate weapon, the power of the purse, to force a government shutdown. Rather than trying to get past the paralysis, Mr. Stutzman and his allies want to use it to maximum effect.
But just who are these "hard-line" people? Who do they represent? Where do they come from? Must be from the deep south, right? Wrong. Or the wild, wild west, right? Wrong. Yes, there seems to be a high density in Arizona - California refugees, no doubt - but the density of known HFC members (there is no official membership list for this "shadowy" group) is much lower west of the Mississippi than to the east, and roughly equal between north and south.
Keep this in mind the next time someone calls them cowboys or hillbillies.
"It's easy to dismiss us as the knuckle-dragging, Cro-Magnon, Tea Party group," Mr. Mulvaney said. "Nothing could be further from the truth."
Several have Ivy League credentials, law degrees or were successful in business before winning elections.
The title is a term I made up, rather than an excerpt from this pointed William McGurn piece in Monday's WSJ. Unapologetic content theft follows:
Good charters offer part of the answer. In New York, Eva Moskowitz's Success Academy charter schools are arguably the best. Yet the mayor, his schools chancellor and the teachers union all apparently prefer maintaining the present inequality rather than allow Ms. Moskowitz to open more of her charters in poor minority neighborhoods.
The Success Academies are 58% black and about 27% Hispanic. Even so, these children regularly outscore their counterparts in wealthy suburban areas. So while each year the Success Academies prove that black kids can compete as equals with white kids so long as the bar is set high and teachers are held accountable, in the schools run by Mayor de Blasio the achievement gap between black and white has widened.
Welcome to progressive New York. Where black and Latino children in poor neighborhoods are condemned to failed schools with almost no possibility of escape. While the schools where kids are treated equally and black lives really do matter get the back of the mayor's hand.
Whether de Blasio can get away with this for long remains to be seen. And whether he's gotten away with it up to now because of his progressive politics, or because his wife and son are black - really, at this point, what difference does it make?
Bonus: Here is the TV ad that Families for Excellent Schools will run in the NYC market.
This time last year I was learning that more Americans approve of "free enterprise" than "capitalism." Now I'm learning that the modern mixed economy in most of the nations of the world is not "neo-mercantilism" - a term I coined myself in the linked post from last year - but one variant or another of "corporatism."
Corporatism is not, as I previously believed, 'rule by corporations' and their influence over corrupt governments. It's meaning comes from a prioritization of the body, or "corpus", of a population, rather than the individual persons. In essence then, it is a variation of collectivism.
This term--Corporatism--is fraught with perils, mostly because it is now commonly used to label aspects of the current world economic order, almost always incorrectly. Understand that Corporatism proper has nothing to do with modern corporations at all, neither how they function, nor their dependence on or independence from the state. The confusion in this regard--all too common throughout the internet--is largely due to the similarity of the two words: Corporatism and corporation. Both have the same root word, the Latin corpus meaning body, but that's about it.
Corporatism actually refers to an economic (and political) system wherein the people in a society are organized into various groups, based on what they do, on how they make a living. The underlying idea here--and the reason for the name--is that society should be viewed as an organic whole, like a living organism or body, with every person having a distinct role to play in order for society to properly function, to metaphorically live and grow. Thus, one segment of the population should never be--figuratively or literally--under the heel of any other segment. None have primacy in this regard, except of course for the state itself, which is tasked with leadership and control (more or less the head of the body).
And the origin of corporatism dovetails with the objection of bygone commenter Silence Dogood: "He liked Capitalism just fine -- but not "unfettered capitalism." As for corporatism, "They [the doctrine's creators] opposed wide open free trade and free markets because they assumed greed would dictate activity, first and foremost."
What was once old is new again, and humanity continues to repeat past mistakes. Why? I'm not sure. Let's ask Silence Dogood.
H/T: brother nanobrewer [second comment] for inspiring a closer look at Argentine "corporatism."
My blog brother agrees with Jonah Goldberg that Trump has neither ideas nor principles. Calling it "The Bonfire of Principles" Goldberg writes,
Conservatives have spent more than 60 years arguing that ideas and character matter. That is the conservative movement I joined and dedicated my professional life to.
To which I'll reply, "How's that working out for you?" Conservative Treehouse's Sundance gives you a fairly detailed accounting of the recent record of "Washington D.C. conservatism" and it isn't pretty - unless you're a Democrat. To tide you over until you have time to read the link, I'll gyp the close:
The last federal budget was passed in September of 2007, and EVERY FLIPPING INSUFFERABLE YEAR we have to go through the predictable fiasco of a Government Shutdown Standoff and/or a Debt Ceiling increase specifically because there is NO BUDGET!
That's a strategy?
That's the GOP strategy? Essentially: Lets plan for an annual battle against articulate Democrats and Presidential charm, using a creepy guy who cries and another old mumbling fool who dodders, knowing full well the MSM is on the side of the other guy to begin with?
THAT'S YOUR GOP STRATEGY?
Don't tell me it's not, because if it wasn't there'd be something else being done - there isn't.
And don't think we don't know the 2009 "stimulus" became embedded in the baseline of the federal spending, and absent of an actual budget it just gets spent and added to the deficit each year, every year. Yet this is somehow smaller fiscal government?
...And you're worried about what Donald Trump might do?
From 'Koch Donors Step Into Public View' - USA Today, March 31, 2015:
Chris Rufer, the CEO of a California tomato-processing company, told USA TODAY that he donates between $500,000 and $1 million each year to the Koch network but is not concerned with short-term political gains.
Rufer, a Libertarian, said he's more interested in changing the "culture" through supporting the foundations and think tanks backed by the network "than in trying to win elections today."
"Democrats and Republicans are all the same," said Rufer, who gave $490,000 in 2012 to a super PAC supporting the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico.
Last week, he wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times declaring his support for a top Koch priority: jettisoning the Export-Import Bank. The federally run bank helps U.S. companies by subsidizing loans to foreign customers to help them buy U.S. products. Big-business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, support the bank and want Congress to reauthorize the bank's charter, which expires at the end of June.
Freedom Partners and other Koch-affiliated groups have denounced the bank as corporate welfare. Rufer said he opposes subsidies. "It's resources and property taken from other folks, and I consider that theft."
Rufer and another regular attendee of the Koch gatherings, Minnesota broadcasting magnate Stanley Hubbard, said they disagree sharply with Democrats' portrayal of the Kochs as power-hungry billionaires out to protect their financial interests.
"They aren't evil people trying to feather their own nests," Hubbard said of the Kochs, worth an estimated $42.9 billion each. "They've got it made."
Hubbard, who donated $450,000 to Freedom Partners' super PAC last year, described his fellow donors as largely self-made business people who are concerned about what they view as burdensome government regulations. "We believe it's very important that the little guy has a chance to get ahead, and the best way for that to happen is free enterprise," he said.
In addition to Rufer, more than two dozen other donors have signed op-eds backing the Kochs in the past seven months, including Dallas tycoon and former Texas Rangers owner Thomas Hicks and Tim Busch, the CEO of a California hotel-development and management company.
Others signing from Dallas: Thomas Hicks Jr., Holly and Doug Deason, Elaine Marshall, E. Pierce Marshall Jr., Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Tandy and Lee Roy Mitchell, and Gayla and Jim Von Ehr. Those signing The Desert Sun letter: Mike and Suzy Leprino; John and Carol Saeman; and Bob and Karen Rishwain, all of Indian Wells, Calif.; Mike and Marian Shaugnessy of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Other letter writers: Chris and Liz Wright of Denver and Minnesota executives Dean Spatz and Fritz Corrigan.
Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis said more donors are stepping into the spotlight to make it clear to critics that they are "not just attacking Charles and David Koch, they are attacking hundreds of successful business and philanthropic leaders" who support "free markets and a free society."
In a June speech [The Dowager Empress of Chappaqua] accused Republicans of orchestrating "a sweeping effort to disempower and disenfranchise people of color, poor people and young people." She then called out Govs. Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Rick Perry and Scott Walker for supporting election-law reforms and for periodically removing dead people and felons from registration rolls.
Oddly, she made these remarks in Texas, which has a relatively lax absentee voting law and nearly two weeks of no-excuse early voting. New York, where Mrs. Clinton was twice elected to the U.S. Senate, does not allow early voting at all and only offers absentee ballots to those physically unable, for one reason or another, to go to the polls. Perhaps Mrs. Clinton thinks New York's sitting Democratic governor is part of the nefarious "sweeping effort" to disenfranchise voters.
To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which it is claimed curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid to ensure the welfare of future generations.
They call it "fundamentalism" because examination, investigation, discussion and debate are forbidden. The "science is settled." The doctrine is final. The living must be harmed so that "the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" is not compromised. [The sustainability movement makes no mention of how aborting them in the womb compromises the needs of the members of those future generations.]
The sustainability movement began in 1987 with a UN report - "Our Common Future" and has metastasized into 1438 degree programs at 475 colleges and universities worldwide. Interestingly, the majority of them - 1274 or some 95 percent - are in the United States; at least one such program in every one of our 50 united states. So the camp of this ideological enemy of freedom and liberty and, yes, science, is not across the Atlantic, but here on our own soil.
Thank you National Academy of Scholars for exposing the nature and scope of this movement and the professional organization "Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education" (AASHE) that promotes the fully immoral idea that "we" are not as important as some unknown and non-existent "future we."
And they have the nerve to criticize believers in "unknown and non-existent" deities.
This may be President Obama's most positive legacy - his example that the President of the United States doesn't really have to follow any rules. It seems to have made an impression on Americans, at least those who respond to opinion polls. On the way to the ballyhooed reprise of Bush v. Clinton, both are losing ground in their respective primary races. Hillary is virtually tied with self-proclaimed Socialist Bernie Sanders and Bush trails a non-politician who is as immune to damage from his numerous gaffes as President Obama is from his numerous scandals. Meanwhile, Bush's own gaffes become weighty albatrosses upon his candidacy.
Blog brother jk lovingly[?] dubbed me "Trump fanboy." I admit to reveling in his TEA-Party friendly, "make America great again" stance. Mostly, I like that he is a businessman and not a politician. Ayn Rand wrote that businessmen are America's greatest resource, and that men like Hank Rearden have nothing to apologize for, and government has no legitimate power over them. Trump isn't the only non-politician in the 17-person GOP field. Ben Carson and Carly Fiorina have a similar professional pedigree. But Trump is unique in that he can fund his own campaign. He answers to no one. He has been a winner in business, and could be a winner in politics. General George Patton purportedly said, "America loves a winner. Americans won't tolerate a loser." But under the present administration, America has been losing at every turn.
Even the professional punditry is beginning to take notice. Jeff Greenfield writes, "What if Trump wins?"
The more telling question is: When do voters actually cast their ballots in ways that upend core premises?
One answer, based not on guesses about what might happen, but on what has happened in America's political past is that when disaffected voters discover a power that they did not realize they had, highly unanticipated consequences may follow.
So like Jesse Ventura before him, Trump may resonate and win.
And, in a comment that resonates powerfully with today's Trump phenomenon, consider what 28-year-old aircraft mechanic Greg Uken told the New York Times about why he was voting for Ventura: "I don't put up with a lot of stuff, and neither does he."
Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.
UPDATE: While I'm busy torturing my dear blog brother, I may as well pile on with this quote from a long-time favorite of his, Rudy Giuliani:
"So we might have a little of a Ronald Reagan here, a guy they underestimate," Giuliani observed.
New thread to dissect this old can'o worms. To which Brother JG said "it passed" [referring to the Transportation bill, with Ex-Im bank funding]
So, what actually did pass was one and a half things. Starting Here: 1st sentence
Congress sent President Barack Obama a three-month bill to keep highway and transit money flowing to states on Thursday
This also was passed by the house; does not include the Ex-Im bank.
The full, $350B (Six year) bill did pass the Senate, and includes the Ex-Im bank, but the House never considered it. So, my point about McConnel passing a bill but not getting the legislation to POTUS still stands. As the dry report from our Fox friends states:
A fight in the House over renewal of the bank is also likely
The full bill also includes this little morsel:
encourages states to impose user fees on electric vehicles because they use roadways but don't contribute to federal gas tax revenues
Not exactly going to knock Common Sense or any clause of the The Federalist Papers out of history's notice, but not the clarion call to a doorma(n)t GOP either.
Ben Domenich asks Why does the Republican Party exist?
It's a damning indictment of Senate Majority Leader McConnell (I just don't know anymore -- KY)'s decision to reauthorize the ex-Ex-Im bank in a highway bill, which Domenich says "is a thousand page tax and pork-laden monstrosity which does not deserve to pass in the first place, and whose failure would be greeted as a positive development for any fiscal conservative."
I have defended leadership on these pages. In fact, I think I deserve a medal or a nice office in the old building or a cookie or something. Yet I'm now ready to pull the plug on my support of McConnell.
Blog-friend TG posted the Rod Dreher column "Fusion Fizzles" to my Facebook timeline and asked "Is Fusionism Dead?" I'm not sure whether he is a Monty Python fan, but my first thought was "it was coughing up blood last night!"
TG describes the Republican coalition as "hawks, preachers, and libertarians:" pejorative but accurate. I suggested that hawks and preachers overlap pretty well, that fusionism was required only to keep peace between preachers in libertarians. He suggests that hawk/libertarian split requires more focus. Is the GOP the party of Sen. Lindsey Graham or Sen. Rand Paul?
Wherever one stands, Domenich points out -- you got totally screwed by your party. Hawks: the President just made a treaty which facilitates Iran's nuclear ambitions without the "Advice and Consent" of the Senate, and rammed it through the UN. That cool with you? Preachers: Planned Parenthood gets almost half its funding from government. They got caught harvesting body parts. Any problem with that? Libertarians: the Ex-Im bank is back. The one victory for the Senate majority you worked to elect had a shelf-life measured in weeks. Problemo?
Yes, they're an antidote to the all out collectivism of the modern Democrats. But Rod Dreher, Ben Domenich, and David Harsanyi all ask "Why is there a party?" "What is its purpose?"
Possible sub-head: 'The modern reprise of Don Quixote.'
Since the wee hours of the TEA Party movement I've been pleading for elected representatives to call shenanigans on the Washington "establishment" that fleeces the citizenry while telling us "we're looking out for you." My representative, Congressman Ken Buck (A Republic - CO) is proving to be such a man.
While he angered my fellow liberty and conservative activists by not walking the plank in a futile effort to oust Speaker Boehner (Washington D.C. - OH) he proved his constitutional bona fides by being one of only 34 courageous Republicans to vote NO on the TPA bill, aka "Obamatrade." And now he is fundraising on it.
Bully, Congressman! I'm in. Don't tell dagny but I put my money where my blogging is.
Join me by visiting Ken's donate page. He suggested $25, which sounded fair to a tightwad like me.
From the "courageous Republicans" link above:
"Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today," Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. "Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow's defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude."
I've harped on illiberalism for some time now, and the irony that liberals still call themselves that at the same time as they endorse mandatory lifestyle choices from energy to toilets to running one's own business establishment. A respected liberal has now come out of the closet on the issue and criticized her own with How Liberals Ruined College:
Speech codes create a chilling environment where all it takes is one accusation, true or not, to ruin someone's academic career. The intent or reputation or integrity of the accused is of little import. If someone "perceives" you have said or acted in a racist way, then the bar for guilt has been met. If a person claims you caused them "harm" by saying something that offended them, case closed.
But who decides what's "offensive"? The illiberal left, of course.
Not just "degraded" or "tarnished" but "ruined."
This Orwellian climate of intimidation and fear chills free speech and thought. On college campuses it is particularly insidious. Higher education should provide an environment to test new ideas, debate theories, encounter challenging information, and figure out what one believes. Campuses should be places where students are able to make mistakes without fear of retribution. If there is no margin for error, it is impossible to receive a meaningful education.
While Nevitt relied on fundraisers, establishment support, and the public backing of high-profile elected officials, O'Brien simply ran a bootstrapped campaign where he explained his qualifications and differences between he and Nevitt to any voter who would listen.
And it is was refreshing to see a well-qualified candidate defeat a well-connected but unqualified candidate.
Just when you thought the advance of world socialism and the self-serving crony government Leviathan is invincible, something like this comes along and ruins your whole dystopian future worldview. What's a tinfoil hat wearer to do?
All the world is but a stage. And we are watching theatre of the highest caliber play out.
"The play? A tragedy called 'man' and it's hero: the conquerer worm."
The actors should know how it ends and never forget that this is a union house and they are not to touch anything with out a member of the local stage hands guild. Just do as you are told and everything will be fine.
It is sundown in America tonight. Are we brave enough, smart enough, humble enough and committed enough to renew her promise so the next generation can greet the morning in America once again?
Thus ends today's pointed, potent, and defeatist commentary on the Baltimore "race riots" by Glenn Beck who asks, "When will we stand up against the madness?" At least one Baltimore mother did exactly that on Monday. But before ending the madness like what is now transpiring in Baltimore, and previously occurred in Ferguson and other cities this year and last, more of us need to clearly understand its cause. To paraphrase one tweet of the current news cycle:
"White America needs to understand - until we get justice, we be thuggin."
Months ago we were told by a hip hop activist what "justice" is, when she said that capitalism "is the oppressive force."
"And the police are actually in my opinion - and we have a lot of theory that proves this - are that force that are keeping us as particularly working class people from achieving this idea of, you know, economic justice."
Today I found the best possible rebuttal to this idea, and it is over 100 years old - in the words of African-American spokesman and leader Booker T. Washington (not to be confused with Booker T. Jones and the MG's, as Rush Limbaugh inexplicably did today.) In 1895, Washington addressed the "Cotton States and International Exposition" in Atlanta. Please read every inspiring word but I will highlight the preamble to his conclusion:
The wisest among my race understand that the agitation of questions of social equality is the extremest folly, and that progress in the enjoyment of all the privileges that will come to us must be the result of severe and constant struggle rather than of artificial forcing. No race that has anything to contribute to the markets of the world is long in any degree ostracized. It is important and right that all privileges of the law be ours, but it is vastly more important that we be prepared for the exercise of these privileges. The opportunity to earn a dollar in a factory just now is worth infinitely more than the opportunity to spend a dollar in an opera-house.
Before King. Before Rand. Before jk and this blog, Washington's conclusion shows that he was the first Prosperitarian. But instead of building on Booker T's message, the NAACP has taken the alternate path advocated by its founder W.E.B. Du Bois that was less "accomodating to white interests."
W. E. B. Du Bois advocated activism to achieve civil rights. He labeled Washington "the Great Accommodator". Washington's response was that confrontation could lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks. He believed that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome racism in the long run.
More than 100 years later, how is Du Bois' plan working out? Not so well for overcoming racism. Just fine though for career activists.
Democratic and Republican legislators are drafting a measure to create a presidential primary in Colorado, The Denver Post has learned, a significant shift in one of the last dozen or so states that operates on a caucus system.
Most of the legislation's details are still being negotiated, but the tentative plan would put the primary in a prominent spot on the 2016 calendar and make the swing state a top prize in the nominating process.
My chief objection would be if it binds all of Colorado's delegates to vote for the primary winner. I suppose that would be alright if they were only bound on the first ballot but really, at this point, what difference does it make if most of the other states already have primaries instead of caucuses anyway? Our form of government is becoming more democratic, and less republican, and nobody really even notices.
Most ThreeSourcers are aware of the dynamics that cause politicians to resist actually solving problems that they claim to champion, and that those factors cause the same to happen with social activist groups - think Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition. But what never occurred to me until now is that, sometimes, the same thing can happen in gun rights advocacy.
JK dubbed the National Association for Gun Rights the "People's Gun Rights of Judea two weeks ago. He directed ire at the NRA for blacklisting pols who associate with the competing group. Without any opining on the NRA in its own right, it is becoming painfully clear that the NAGR and it's Colorado predecessor, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO) are not gun owners' friends.
A full-blown public war of words has developed between RMGO and Colorado liberty groups and the Independence Institute. Independence's president, Jon Caldera, held a radio telethon of sorts to lay out the depth and breadth of RMGO malfeasance. In short, it is opposing state legislation that would EXPAND gun rights, in the form of increasing magazine capacity limits, for the express reason that ANY limitation is an infringement on gun rights and gun owners should hold out for full repeal of the law.
"Shut your pie hole and go buy one [magazine of 16 round capacity or more] and ignore the law," said Dudley Brown, president of RMGO. But ignoring the law doesn't make it go away, and the law's existence helps RMGO raise money through political donations by citizens who fear that the law will be expanded, not rolled back. Okay Dudley, will YOU ignore the law? Will you stop fundraising on it?
The fetal homicide bill introduced Tuesday by Senate President Bill Cadman includes an unborn child, at every stage of gestation from conception to live birth, as a "person" for the purposes of homicide and assault offenses.
However, it specifically says it does not apply to an act committed by the mother of her unborn child or a medical procedure performed by a physician or other licensed medical professional at the request of a mother of
her unborn child or the mother's legal guardian.
But not for Democrats:
Cadman told The Denver Post the bill protect's [sic] a woman's right to choose abortion, but Democrats decried it as an attempt to put "personhood" into law.
I decry the Democrats utter refusal to consider the humanity of unborn people. After all, the feds crossed this reasonable and obvious rubicon eleven years ago.
Well, at least David Harsanyi. All hail as he decries pachydermal pusillanimity in the Indiana RFRA: Let's Face It, Republicans Are Cowards On Religious Liberty (But Voters Aren't)
Republicans have talent for courting just enough controversy to generate prodigious amounts of negative press but at the same time not doing enough to accomplish anything meaningful. And few things in this world rattle your run-of-the-mill Republican more than some ginned-up outrage over "discrimination" or "bigotry." The media's deliberate distortion of the intention, reach, and history of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act--not to mention pressure from corporations like Apple and Walmart--was more than enough to do the trick.
What excuse does Mike Pence have for flubbing a simple question about discrimination on national television last Sunday? What's his excuse for pledging to "fix" a law that's already straightforward, innocuous, and ubiquitous? He's not alone, of course. When Arkansas legislators passed the same bill by a wide margin (what the media calls "controversial"), Gov. Asa Hutchinson threw it back to lawmakers and asked them to rework it to guarantee that the make-believe concerns of his MoveOn.org-mimicking son could be "fixed."
District Attorney Stan Garnett (D-People's Republic of Boulder) will not pursue murder charges against a woman who forcibly removed a 7 month fetus from her mother, killing the child.
"Colorado law defines homicide as the killing of a person by another," Garnett said.
Fine so far, except that this terse definition doesn't make any allowance for self-defense.
"A person does not include a fetus, even if the child is born following the injury that ultimately leads to its death. It's on this point of law that Colorado is absolutely unambiguous." [emphasis mine]
"A prosecutor cannot file murder charges when a baby that is killed has not lived outside the womb," he said. "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."
As much as I disagree with the law as written, I can't disagree here. But a decision was made in this case:
"At this time, neither the autopsy or the investigation have provided any evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside of the womb, therefore the circumstance is not being considered a live birth," [County Coroner Emma] Hall [D-People's Republic of Boulder] wrote. [emphasis mine]
I'm left wondering what Ms. Hall might consider "evidence that the baby exhibited any signs of life outside the womb." Her first report card, perhaps?
Garnett said it had been widely reported that witness David Ridley told Longmont police immediately after the incident that he had seen the baby, named Aurora, take a gasping breath.
"Upon a more thorough examination of this witness by the Longmont Police Department, the witness clarified that Aurora was still and her mouth was open, but she was not breathing," Garnett said.
The ol' "didn't inhale" defense. Well, with every measure of respect Mr. District Attorney, bullshit. This juror believes the witness' initial statement, not the one obtained by police officers in your county "upon a more thorough examination" and after he realized or was informed that a breathing baby is a murder victim. And the witness did not even see the baby until the suspect had transported her across town. If she was still taking a "gasping breath" at that time, she was clearly breathing in some manner or other before then.
So the child/baby/fetus that was ripped from her mother will receive only as much justice as a charge of "first-degree attempted murder" and some assault charges. And the suspect will walk on that charge because she didn't injure any of the mother's vital organs, so couldn't have been attempting her murder and, as the DA so has so speciously explained, "a person does not include a fetus."
If a child takes a breath in a bathtub and there is no medical examiner there to hear it, does it really make a sound?
How can these people sleep at night?
UPDATE: [8:38 am MDT 3/28] I gave more thought to the legal fig leaf Garnett is standing behind in this case. Namely, "District attorneys do not decide the law. They enforce it as it is written."
I thought he may have weighed in on last year's gay marriage controversy, where several counties including Boulder began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in contravention of federal law within days of a 10th Circuit Court ruling the federal law unconstitutional, despite the ruling having been stayed. Apparently he did not. However, he did have something to say on the matter in 2010 during his campaign against incumbent Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, when a Massachusetts judge made a similar ruling:
"This decision is an appropriate endorsement of states' rights and local control, respecting the right of individual states to resolve important and controversial issues for themselves. As Attorney General, I will work to uphold the will of Colorado voters." [emphasis mine]
Despite this pledge to essentially "decide the law" for Coloradoans, Garnett lost the campaign for Attorney General - but should Colorado voters not expect him to live up to his own pledge as the Boulder District Attorney?
This isn't directly comparable, as the "will of Colorado voters" in the present case is expressed by the large number of individuals who made their opinion known to the DA rather than by ballot initiative. But the principle remains - in some cases the law "as written" is unjust.
Colorado Republicans met in Castle Rock today for the party's bi-annual ritual of electing its leadership team. Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary positions were at stake. I am pleased to report that the sitting Chair, Ryan Call, was displaced by challenger Steve House.
Like Winston Churchills 1945 loss after winning World War II, Ryan Call lost his re-election bid for State GOP Chairman this morning to former gubernatorial candidate Steve House. While both sides claimed they had the votes to win, it was House who pulled out the victory with 237.66 votes to Calls 179.33 votes. House received 57% of the vote, and congratulations across social media.
And a surprising outcome, for its decisiveness if not its conclusion, had Derrick Willburn winning the Vice-Chair race on the first ballot in a crowded field. Derrick received 203 votes compared to 88, 65 and 44 votes for three other formidable candidates, passing the majority threshold of 201.5 by just 1.5 votes. (All county co-chairs each cast half-votes.) So each of us who voted for Derrick can basically consider himself "the deciding vote."
Derrick's message of outreach to urban voters of color resonated with the county party leaders and bonus members who seized on his offer to lead the effort to bring voters of color home to the Republican party from a Democrat party that always promises but never delivers any improvements in their lives. Derrick will be a great partner for Chairman House, who said:
"Denver and Boulder are where the biggest opportunities lie for growing the Republican tent. We must open the doors to new voters who are just waiting to enjoy the prosperity and freedom that only our party can deliver."
Finally, the new party Secretary Brandi Meek represents youth, women and the rural western slope. Together these three new leaders are certain to take Colorado Republicans in a far different - and I think far better - direction than might otherwise have been.
The rise of partisanship is a hot topic these days and now we learn, even the Nobel Committee is not immune
Mr Jagland had attracted criticism after overseeing a number of controversial of awards, including ones made to Barack Obama in 2009 - less than a year after the U.S. president took office - to Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in 2010 and to the European Union in 2012.
No serving chair has ever been ousted since the awards were first made in 1901, even with shifting political majorities.
The committee is appointed in line with the strength of the parties in Norway's parliament.
Perhaps Norwegian voters felt the Nobel awards had become too partisan for their taste.
According to the Free Dictionary there are 196 different meanings for the acronym "PMS." The two most popular, pre-menstrual syndrome and pantone matching system, are not the topic of this post. I refer to a 197th meaning: Politically Motivated Science
State senator Doug Whitsett, in Oregon of all places, named this enemy of the common man in his commencement speech to last year's graduating class of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine:
Politically motivated science and statistically significant science are much like oil and water. First, they are nearly impossible to mix. Second, oil rises to the top like science that is fabricated to support political motives.
Estimated, assumed, surrogate or fabricated data points predictably produce 'counterfeit-science'.
Too often, we are asked to believe that biological systems are just 'too complex' to support science that is statistically significant. Moreover, we are expected to accept the unsubstantiated and often unverifiable assumptions that are used to calibrate the models.
Scientific reports that are not statistically significant are by definition, insignificant. They are irrelevant, immaterial and inconsequential.
Worse, computer models are too often manipulated to fabricate alleged scientific support to justify a political end.
The modelled reports are then employed to mislead those who believe that science is the 'final word'.
There is no such thing as 'the final word in science'.
Moreover, there is no such thing as 'scientific consensus' or 'settled science'. The scientific method requires that we continue to question, continue to probe, and continue to debate the validity of every scientific assumption.
"Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel
I mentioned Andy Peth in the comments below. He is a master messager for ideas he interchangeably calls conservative and liberty-oriented, possibly a byproduct of his "Basic Evangelism" class in Seminary. Tonight he mentioned his critique of the Joni Ernst SOTU rebuttal. This part struck me as perhaps useful in reaching young folks trying to find some answers. Boulder moms, perhaps.
"From each according to his ability. To each according to his need." This Marxist ideal collapses nations from Russia to South America, and our president has hitched his wagon to it. Avoiding this topic because redistribution initially feels good --is crazy. Its like Christians avoiding talk of sin because sin initially feels good. We need to start answering why, as in, "Why opportunity? Why not rob the few for the many? Why vote for us? Why not them?" Lets offer reason, as only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Let me say that again: Only reason can help people look beyond what they initially feel. Yes, inspirational stories are good too, but these should accent reason, not replace it.
The new Gallup survey of "Most Important Problem Facing the U.S." is out and since I'm a glass 9/10 full kinda guy, I'm going to list the things on the list that never exceeded 10% of respondents in even a single month all year. Here goes... "nobody" cares about:
Federal deficit/debt (9%)
Ethics/moral decline (7%)
Focus overseas/foreign aid (7%)
Lack of money (5%)
Gap between rich/poor (4%)
National security (3%)
Judicial system (3%)
Wage issues (2%)
Lack of respect for each other (2%)
This is not for lack of trying to gin up a "crisis" over most of these issues. One such campaign was actually successful - Race relations/racism was, for one month the "most important problem facing the U.S." in the opinion of 13% of Americans. But averaged throughout the year, the un-forced rate of concern was 3% (with at least one month being as low as 1%. Interestingly, Terrorism was the only one of these concerns to every have a monthly reading of 0%.)
Which leaves a "Big Five" of major concerns for Americans last year:
Economy in general
The last, immigration, averages below 10 percent but I included it here for its monthly peak, probably during the juvenile "invasion," of 17%. "Economy" and "Unemployment" seem to me to be the same concern, but each from a different perspective - the first from employers and the second from employees. So this one has a whopping 32% seeing it as their top concern all year long. Add that to the 18% for "Government" and fully half of all Americans are most concerned about government and what it is doing to our economy and jobs.
So tell me again why the GOP is having a civil war about "Immigration?"
That's the way "a leader of Boulder's Ferguson Movement" described the actions of "hundreds" of protesters who marched and staged die-ins over the past two Saturdays. Word is, they're going to try to close down the major highway leading in and out of Boulder this evening. Curiously, although perhaps not so much to anyone who ever visited Boulder, Colorado, they are almost exclusively white folks.
Ever the intrepid blogger, I may have found the explanation for this:
Today race is industrialized -- a spectator sport driven by divisional politics, entitlement, false prophets, social media and white pundits with intellectually superior opinions who rarely have had a meaningful relationship with a person outside of their white inner circle.
We all impact each other's lives, usually most profoundly when no one is looking; we do it not for profit, for attention or a pat on the back, but because it is the right thing to do.
These days, both blacks and whites feel abandoned by Washington. So the solution to our nation's racial discourse should be handled by us individually, one person at a time -- and not by exploiting bad deeds done by both sides that only further the hatred.
Yep. We are all the TEA Party now, except the race industry is working overtime to keep us pitted against our neighbors so we don't have a spare moment to consider "What's Washington done for you lately?" Either that or maybe being ignorant of "Federal Privilege" really is just a lifestyle choice.
UPDATE: [Dec. 9, 2:55 pm EST] - An estimated 150-225 protesters blocked traffic on CO Highway 36 for 4.5 minutes Monday night, signifying the 4.5 hours that Michael Brown's body laid in the street while the investigation was completed.
The goal of the major highway disruption, as outlined in a flyer distributed by protesters, was to hammer home that "institutional racism and police brutality are no longer acceptable."
You know what? That is fine with me. "Institutional racism" and "police brutality" are not acceptable to me either, and I've felt that way my entire adult life. But I'm a practical guy. I can only suggest fixes to actual problems. If the two highly publicized "examples" of those supposedly ongoing injustices are the best examples to be had then, well, I'm not outraged. I'm certainly not going to adopt a new anti-police "lifestyle choice."
The President threatened a veto of a "$450 billion package of special-interest tax provisions that the GOP leadership had negotiated with Harry Reid." The WSJ Ed Page suggests that could be a gift, but...
Alas, we're probably hoping for too much. The GOP-Reid package would have made many of the provisions permanent, but that has happily died with Mr. Obama's veto threat. But rather than let the tax favors die, the House GOP is moving this week to vote on another one-year extension of about 50 "temporary" tax subsidies.
Washington has been reauthorizing these temporary tax breaks since the 1980s, pausing to occasionally stuff more special-interest payoffs into the broader package. This latest House vote would cost taxpayers $44.7 billion over 10 years, and it includes tax perks for, among other national priorities, Hollywood films, wind turbines, Nascar owners and race horses.
I have been complaining on a couplecomment threads that these tax expenditures are in many more pernicious than giveaways to the poor. My blog brothers have a gooberload of philosophical and efficacy objections to poverty expenditures, but I want to offer an olive branch and proposal.
Let's tackle corporate welfare first. Say nothing as billions are fraudulently shoveled to SNAP, EBT, and TANF users. Obamaphones? Well, we worry about the program but we want to do further investigation before offering specific proposals...
Meanwhile, let's cut special gifts to NASCAR (a great customer of my employer -- if this post mysteriously gets airbrushed...) Most of the race horse owners I see on TV look like they're eating pretty well. Hollywood, Wind Turbines -- well you get my drift.
Phase II is to tighten the thresholds. Still not cutting benefits to the poor, just ensuring that the most needy are getting served by more rigorous means testing.
Phase III -- after demonstrating success -- is to reform these programs to something more transparent to the funding taxpayers and more empowering to the recipients. This will need to be signed into law by a Republican President. But that is made more likely by blunting the portrayal of the GOP as attacking the poor. We're just protecting the taxes of the middle class.
I could write an eloquent flowing post, where I lay out a premise and support it with pull quotes, but that would take too long. Besides, this one almost writes itself, given the pull quotes.
From Thomas B. Edsall's NYT editorial - Who Will Save the Democratic Party From Itself?
Webb is one answer to the weaknesses of today's center-left, the so-called "upstairs-downstairs" coalition described by Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University. Kotkin argues in his recently published book, "The New Class Conflict," that the Democratic Party has been taken over by what he calls "gentry liberals," an elite that has undermined the historic purpose of the Democratic Party.
Kotkin contends that
The great raison d'étre for left-wing politics - advocating for the middle and working classes - has been refocused to attend more closely to the policy imperatives and interests of small, highly affluent classes, as well as the powerful public sector.
I asked Kotkin what he thought of the themes Webb intends to raise, and he wrote back "I think he's onto something."
As much as such a shift to a class-based strategy might result in economic policies more beneficial to less affluent Democratic constituencies, and therefore to more votes in the long haul, so far there has been insufficient intraparty pressure to force a change in strategic orientation.
The current approach depends on a Republican Party that refuses to adjust to the transforming composition of the electorate. The 2014 elections demonstrated, however, that the Republican Party and its candidates are not immune to feedback and will change if they have to in order to win.
Insofar as the Republican Party tempers its retrograde stance on social-sexual and moral-racial issues, Democratic campaigns stressing alleged threats from conservatives-- the threat to freedom and privacy posed by the Christian right; the threat to Hispanic family unity posed by anti-immigrant activists; the threat to programs serving the poor posed by deficit hawks -- will run out of gas.
The Democrats' lack of credibility on economic issues will hobble, if not extinguish, the party's prospects. Unless the Democrats develop a coherent, comprehensive strategy for the have-nots, it won't matter whether the party's nominee is Clinton, Webb or anyone else.
Okay, a smart man once said, "If you have something important to say, don't be subtle about it."
I contend the Republican Party is in a perfect position to not only temper its stance on retrograde moral and social issues, but also to develop a coherent, comprehensive strategy for the have-nots. One that cuts across white, black and Hispanic "identity" boundaries and undermines the entire "demography is destiny" strategy of the Democrats.
Ron Fournier has made some friends on the right for his rare willingness to criticize the President. Surely they'll seize his mainstream journalist rewards card. I, too, applaud independence.
But my pal, Insty, links and lengthily excerpts his latest "The Extraordinary Smallness of Washington." I like a whack at President Obama as much as most (well, the lovely bride enjoys it more). But let's be careful what we wish for, can we? Fournier shows his lefty stripes:
On immigration, we need durable new rules that give 11 million illegal immigrants some form of legalization without punishing those who followed the old rules, and that acknowledge the steep social costs of porous borders. In other words, true reform would be bipartisan, addressing credible concerns of conservatives and liberals alike.
Instead, we're about to get temporary half-measures issued by fiat from Obama.
On energy, we need a national policy that balances the threat of global warming against the hunger for jobs--one that acknowledges the economic and national security benefits of diversifying our energy buffet.
I'd love me some comprehensive immigration reform. And I'd equally hate me some notional energy policy. What Fournier misses is that we have had some pretty sweeping legislation: ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, TARP, The Stimulusticus, Auto Bailouts, Cash for Crunkers...
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. had a nice cottage industry ranking the Presidents. "Bigness" was his key indicator. Grover Cleveland's firm vetoes, Warren Gamaliel Harding's releasing Eugene Debs and daily meetings with Charles Dawes to trim spending score low. Fournier makes the same mistake.
Something a bit different from obsessively following a dozen senatorial and gubernatorial races.
A terrific issue of Imprimis, headed by William Voegeli, whose The Pity Party must be on the TS review page soon (hint, hint). To best defeat something, one must first understand it. My BFF and I have gone back and forth on "what liberalism is REALLY about..." Voegeil nails it to the wall, then takes it down!
He sets the stage nicely;
All conservatives are painfully aware that liberal activists and publicists have successfully weaponized compassion... it follows that its adversary, conservatism, is the politics of cruelty, greed, and callousness. Small-d democratic politics is Darwinian: Arguments and rhetoric that workthat impress voters and intimidate opponentsare used again and again. Those that prove ineffective are discarded.
Properly noting that conservatives have yet to bottle a sufficient (nay, any!) rejoinder to the uncaring meme.
He cites both sides: first FDR from 1936
Divine justice weighs the sins of the cold-blooded and the sins of the warm-hearted in different scales. Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.
then some Mitch Daniels:
disciplining government according to measured provable performance and effective spending ought to be a completely philosophically neutral objective. Skinflint conservatives want government to be thrifty for obvious reasons, but Daniels maintained that liberals motivations should be even stronger. I argue to my most liberal friends: You ought to be the most offended of anybody if a dollar that could help a poor person is being squandered in some way. And, the governor added slyly, some of them actually agree. The clear implicationthat many liberals are not especially troubled if government dollars that could help poor people are squanderedstrikes me as true, interesting, and important.
Then gets to the meat:
if youre trying to prove your heart is in the right place, the failure of government programs to alleviate suffering is not only an acceptable outcome but in many ways the preferred one. Sometimes empathizers, such as those in the helping professions, acquire a vested interest in the study, management, and perpetuationas opposed to the solution and resulting disappearanceof sufferers problems. This is why so many government programs initiated to conquer a problem end up, instead, colonizing it by building sprawling settlements where the helpers and the helped are endlessly, increasingly co-dependent.
The money quote: liberals care about helping much less than they care about caring.
Sprinkled with some awesome quotes:
If youre trying to prove your heart is in the right place, it isnt. -- Prof. David Schmidtz
as well as Barbara Oakley, and Rousseau and the OED: compassion means, literally, suffering together with anotherits the feeling or emotion, when a person is moved by the suffering or distress of another, and by the desire to relieve it. then Voegeli notes, suffering together does not mean suffering identically.
All in under 3 pages; can't wait to see what he does in his book! It's supposed to feature some wicked humor. He doesn't bottle or provide a response, rejoinder or weapon against the uncaring characterization, but I took these away by (1) quoting one and (2) obverting one Voegeli's sentences:
1. "The problem with liberalism may be that no one knows how to get the government to do the benevolent things liberals want it to do."
2. its more important to accomplish something rather than to be seen doing something.
Now I'm remembering a phrase, which might indeed be that rejoinder:
I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer.
-- Ben Franklin
Now that the election has taken liberalism down a few notches, I say put the stake in 'em!
There was one more ballot return count from the SoS office this morning. The next count will be the final one, and will be proceeded by the actual vote tally, so only eggheads like me will even care.
While a far cry from the heady day of October 24, when the R-D differential was 12 points, we're still looking at 7.3 points at the moment - 5 points better than in 2012. And another ray of optimism for Republicans, or everyone who's opposed to redistributionist, authoritarian Progressive Democrats, is that this election has seen significantly fewer young voters and significantly more "seasoned" ones.
UPDATE: RNC Chief of Staff Mike Shields talks about Colorado early voters:
"Our work has been focused on getting these voters to the polls early or to vote absentee if possible, so that we build up our vote totals ahead of Election Day and cut into the Democrats' traditional early vote advantage," Shields added. "While we're turning out low propensity voters, our data tell us that Democrats have actually been turning out voters who would vote regardless."
The Unaffiliated sentiment is the biggest factor. It looks like we'll soon know whether or not there's a War on Womyn. *
* It can't be called a war on all women anymore, now that our president has told us that "we" don't want moms to stay at home and raise families. Or at least, not a war on those women by Republicans.
"Sometimes, someone, usually mom, leaves the workplace to stay home with the kids, which then leaves her earning a lower wage for the rest of her life as a result. And that's not a choice we want Americans to make."
Between Wednesday and today, 244,245 more ballots were returned by Colorado voters.
68,557 were unaffiliated with a party
76,542 were registered Democratic
96,427 were registered Republican
The derivative of the R-D margin, which I had projected at -1% per reporting interval, slipped to just -0.3%. The second derivative, i.e. the "momentum" of the Republican vs. the Democratic "ground game" is therefore positive at this point.
I received an interesting Facebook invitation yesterday. I have befriended a handful of people who share my last name in Brazil. I test the Portuguese translator in Facebook (it's sketchy) and address them all as "Cousin." After the re-election of überlefty President Dilma Rousseff the other day -- I was invited to a rally to impeach her.
I told "Cousin Luciana" to count me in in spirit and shared a WSJ link critical of Rousseff. The WSJ Ed Page is back suggesting that after the votes, the market voted.
Brazil's currency, the real, fell almost 2% and was trading at about 2.52 against the dollar at the end of Monday, close to its lowest point in a decade. Brazil's main stock market index was down 2.8% to its lowest close in six months. Those markets had rallied some in the last few weeks as challenger Aécio Neves had come close to Ms. Rousseff in the polls. So the Monday selloff was a case of investors pricing in the discount of continuing bad economic policy. A Brazil credit downgrade to "junk" status is likely on present trend.
Brazil is proof that democracy is no guarantee of prosperity. A country rich in resources and people has managed to squander both with an overweening state that buys votes via income redistribution and price controls on gasoline that force losses on producers. Those are Third World policy blunders in a country that fancies itself a First World aspirant. This explains Brazils consistent economic underperformance (0.5% growth this year, following 2.5% in 2013) and 6.75% inflation rate.
I just commented on The Three Sources Platform? post that, in Colorado's 2012 general election, less than 1 percent of the ballots returned were by registered Libertarians or American Constitution Party members. That doesn't seem like much until one considers that the turnout amongst registered Democrats was 35% and Republicans 37%, with Unaffiliateds making up 28% of the vote. The narrow 2-point margin between the parties whose candidates might actually win can easily be swamped by an unequal split amongst U's, and the minor party votes may or may not make a difference in any individual race. (Usually, it should be noted, not.)
The 2012 election results were mixed, with Democrats and Republicans winning about equally, Democrats having a slight edge in both legislative houses. So the question now becomes, what does 2014 look like? We won't know for sure until election weeks come to an end on November 4th but because of the Secretary of State's practice that I highlighted last week, early voting returns tabulated by party affiliation are available to the public and are updated Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week. So how do they look? Not good for Democrats.
Republicans are up 7 points to 44%.
Democrats are down 3 to 32%.
The margin is therefore up from 2% to 12%. (That's plus 10 points, boys and girls.)
(Unaffiliateds are down too, from 28% to 23%)
And this breakdown has been fairly consistent since the first of four data dumps, starting last Friday, as shown in the graph below.
I recall past discussions of a collaborative effort to list the principles that ThreeSourcers could agree upon, and that we thought would gain supporters and promote liberty at the expense of Leviathan. I believe we have a possible starting point with the platform of Libertarian for Colorado Governor Mike Dunafon:
He stands firm on the following issues:
- More Individual Liberty
- Less Government Regulation & Surveillance
- More Support for our Veterans
- An End to the War on Hemp
- Protect the 2nd Amendment
- Private Property, Commercial Liberty
- Marital Equality for ALL
- Women control their bodies
- Local Control of Education
- Release Non-Violent Drug Offenders
- Critical Thinking
- Independent Leadership
- Liberty & Freedom for all Coloradans
And where does this differ from the modern GOP? Drug war and social issues. Period.
What if the GOP released its pit bull bite from those marginal causes? More young voters. More female voters. More minority voters. More liberty and less Leviathan.
Just imagine Wyclef Jean and Snoop Dog with prime time appearances at the GOP convention, and Romney-like GOP candidates arriving at appearances to the rap refrain of Mayor Mike Dunafon!
Women have moved in the GOP's direction since September. In last month's AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.
"Sen. Rand Paul tells POLITICO that the Republican presidential candidate in 2016 could capture one-third or more of the African-American vote by pushing criminal-justice reform, school choice and economic empowerment."
When pressed on his ambitious goal, Paul upped the ante: "I don't want to limit it to that. I don't want to say there's only a third open. The reason I use the number 'a third,' is that when you do surveys of African-American voters, a third of them are conservative on a preponderance of the issues. So, there is upside potential."
"As I travel and I go and meet with African-American leaders -- they may not be ready to embrace a Republican yet," Paul added. "But they say that they're very happy that we're competing for their vote. And they often tell me, 'You know what? I haven't seen my Democrat representative in a while.'"
It's remarkable how much better folks think of you when you TALK to them. And for this particular demographic, Republican candidates don't even need to learn Spanish.
Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia allow some form of advance voting other than traditional absentee voting requiring an excuse.
In the 2010 midterms, when Republicans regained control of the House and won sweeping victories in statehouses around the country, advance voting accounted for almost 27 million ballots out of more than 89 million, meaning about 3 out of 10 voters cast early ballots. Almost 129 million people voted in the 2012 presidential election, 35.8 percent of them before Election Day.
So my blog brother is still in the minority, but for how long?
Author Robert Tracinski, one of the best Objectivist authors I know, cites the Wilhelm piece as a "less charitable" (to Rand) response to Hunter Baker's earlier piece in The Federalist: 'The Devil and Ayn Rand: Extending Christian Charity to John Galt's Creator.' Of which Trancinski writes, "I have a few quibbles with this piece, but as an advocate of Ayn Rand's Objectivist philosophy, I appreciate its spirit."
RT summarizes Wilhelm as "basically conceding the point: that the various wings of the right need to work together in a common cause, that
"what pushes these two groups together -- the fact that a big, bureaucratized, powerful government will inevitably smother freedom, crush creativity, and bulldoze people's rights -- also might be one of the few things that Ayn Rand got right."
He then accepts that feeble twig of olive branch and suggests that conservatives "examine Ayn Rand's literature a little more closely and less grudgingly and to take her ideas a little more seriously" before offering "the top five things I think the right can learn from Ayn Rand."
I'll just list the item titles, which he explains fully in his piece. Tell me if any of them sound familiar:
1. The crucial importance of reason.
2. The pathology of altruism.
3. The meaning of work.
4. A third alternative in the culture wars.
5. The importance of big ideas.
The strongest disagreement on these pages has regarded item 2. I suggest that is a case of inconsistent terminology, where the grim and gritty reality of altruism as a code of self-sacrifice is confused with what Baker described as "human solidarity" of which he said, "[Rand] was an atheist and clearly had an insufficient appreciation for (and accounting of) human solidarity, but she loved freedom and she understood the importance of work for human flourishing."
So in conclusion: Remove the devil-horns from Rand, consider her ideas of freedom, self-sufficiency and rational self-interest, and of "dignity, joy and love in work rather than in wealth per se." And then ask yourself if you can find common cause with those other wings in order to defeat the champions of "big, bureaucratized, powerful government."
In the Washington Examiner, Byron York chronicles the desperate effort to "save Democrats from Barack Obama" this election cycle.
So now Bill Clinton is leading what is, in effect, an effort to rescue the Democratic Party from Barack Obama. In Conway, Clinton pronounced himself "sick and tired of people trying to stir people up, make them foam at the mouth and vote for what they're against instead of what they're for. How many times have we seen people do something they knew better than to do just because they were in a snit?"
But Mister President, isn't that just another example of "community organizing?"
This is necessary because "A president's job approval rating is a pretty reliable predictor of midterm voting, and Obama's ratings are down in several states in which Democrats are in danger of losing Senate seats. In addition to Obama's 31 percent approval in Arkansas, the president is at 39 percent in Louisiana, 40 percent in Iowa, and 42 percent in North Carolina, according to PPP."
And, on (RCP) average, 41 percent in Colorado. More devastating, perhaps, is the spread between approval and disapproval in these states. Arkansas, -27%; Louisiana, -20%, Iowa, -12%; North Carolina, -12%; and Colorado, -13%. These compare to -23% in red-meat Montana and -30% in "my favorite" coal-miner's daughter's state of Kentucky. Even in Oregon, where the president's popularity is among the highest at 46.5 percent, the spread is negative at -2.3 percent. (And -14 percent in one poll.)
No wonder Republicans are so gleeful, and Democrats "winced" when the president recently said, "Make no mistake," during an economic speech in Evanston, Illinois. "These policies are on the ballot -- every single one of them."
I need to get out more. This video dates to 2012, during the Romney-Obama campaign season, but Breitbart and I are just discovering it now. Why? Because it was, and apparently still is, on the Facebook page of a Jeffco 8th grade government studies teacher. Yee Haw! Where were the cool teachers when I was in 8th grade!
It's a very catchy tune with talented vocals but it does have me waxing nostalgic for the day when lyrics were unintelligible. And by the way, if one is "sick and tired of all the hatred you harbor" should she refrain from saying "You say you think we need to go to war well you're already in one, 'cause it's people like you that need to get slew..." and writing a chorus of "F*** you, F*** you, F*** you?"
And yet I do agree with Ms. Allen on one thing: It's not me, it's you.
Gallup: Free Enterprise, Small Business, Viewed Positively by 90% of Americans
Ayn Rand summarized her system of morality this way:
"I am not primarily an advocate of capitalism, but of egoism; and I am not primarily an advocate of egoism, but of reason. If one recognizes the supremacy of reason and applies it consistently, all the rest follows."
And I have learned this week that, were she alive today, she would be required to replace the word "capitalism" with "free enterprise." At least until our misguided electorate learns what actual capitalism is.
Perhaps I missed the 2012 Reason Magazine article, that I outlined here and we discussed later here, when it first appeared. But I distinctly remember reading the 2010 Gallup poll that blog brother jk reprised yesterday. And yet the real lesson of its findings eluded me just as it eluded Gallup at the time, as they concluded:
It is apparent that "free enterprise" evokes more positive responses than "capitalism," despite the apparent similarity between the two terms.
Thus concluded their curiosity on the subject. I suppose then that I may be excused for taking so long to see it.
"Americans were asked to indicate whether their top-of-mind reactions to each were positive or negative. Respondents were not given explanations or descriptions of the terms."
"Capitalism," the word typically used to describe the United States' prevailing economic system, generates positive ratings from a majority of Americans, with a third saying their reaction is negative."
Egads, if the over-taxed, over-regulated, dysfunctionally central-managed economy we now labor under is what most Americans think is "capitalism," it's a minor miracle it scored as positively as it did! But my grandmother's capitalism - defined by Rand as "a full, pure, uncontrolled, unregulated laissez-faire capitalism -- with a separation of state and economics, in the same way and for the same reasons as the separation of state and church" - has not only an "apparent similarity" with free enterprise, it is exactly free enterprise. Or did nobody notice the word "free?"
My wise blog brother observes that libertarians are wrong to insist on pure principles and instead, we liberty and freedom lovers had better, "in our Madisonian system -- form coalitions and use our strengths wisely."
So if Libertarians are the party of liberty uber alles, Republicans the party of big business corporatism and Democrats the party of federal government corporatism where and how do we organize the party of free-market, free-enterprise, small business entrepreneurs? It would seem an easy thing to do inasmuch as it's membership includes over four-fifths of the entire electorate. And yet, we are brought to heel by the established, entrenched, neo-mercantilist statists. Where is the friggin' light switch?
I have advocated a takeover of the GOP. A replacement of all things "establishment" by either "Tea Party Darlings" or "Liberty Activists." We seem to be losing battles in that war at least as often as we win them, perhaps because the battle lines are so convoluted. So this may be a plan for the next primary season rather than any general election but the question for every voter needs to be: Are you with the backroom dealers in both parties who have brought us crisis after crisis, and riches to the well-connected, or are you with we entrepreneurs - the advocates of free enterprise, and the renewal of the American Dream we promise to bring to you?
My pragmatic politics are based on a Pew poll from way back when which showed libertarians' comprising 9-19% of the electorate. Without diving into the exact accuracy of the poll, I always ask my Judean Peoples Front pals if they think that number wrong. My Facebook feed suggests it to be fair (perhaps closer to nine).
Therefore we must -- in our Madisonian system -- form coalitions and use our strengths wisely.
You guys have heard it a thousand times. I post today because of another poll. The good folks at Gallup point out that "Socialism" is viewed favorably by 36%. The worst news is not even that twice as many people like socialism as liberty -- the really bad news is that 20% of conservatives have a positive view of socialism.
So, your bad news for the day is that libertarianism in the general population polls below socialism's number among self-identified conservatives. Have a nice day!
I have discovered the secret to abolishing political partisanship once and for all. Simply read the linked articles by Sheldon Richman and Roderick Long and everything will be revealed!
Okay, perhaps instead I just didn't give a compelling enough summary.
America's contemporary political economy is a system of neo-mercantilism, replete with corporate excesses and government favoritism that enables and promotes them, which thus benefits a well-connected few at the expense of almost everyone else.
Champions of capitalism are heard by others to be defending and celebrating the contemporary system. Meanwhile, champions of socialism are really advocating nothing more than the opposite of this false-capitalism, the contemporary neo-mercantilist system.
So when I say, "free markets are the best solution" others hear, "I believe WalMart should pay slave wages and sell cheap crap at the lowest price so that they and their buddies can grow even richer." And when others say, "everyone should be paid a living wage" I hear "government should make every company hire people for more than they are worth" when instead we should both recognize that, "If government didn't meddle in the economy, thus making it "free", there would be more jobs and more choices and higher wages."
I attended the Southern Weld County GOP Breakfast today in the shadow of Blog Brother Johngalt's Barony of Ft. Lupton. I have made the crack that this is the opposite wing of the party than our pals at Liberty on the Rocks -- Flatirons. The attendees are rural-to-bucolic, and the meeting starts with a prayer and the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't think we're in Boulder County anymore, Toto...
Yet my friends, these people are devoted to limited government. My State House Representative was speaking on water rights and said "as Christians and Republicans, we recognize this regulation as plunder -- as theft." Shades of Bastiat with the assumption that we're all saved. Fusionism at its apogee!
Politics is about winning and building coalitions. I have great respect for both groups, though I lean toward my libertoid buddies. The tent-shrinking effort to chase these people out that I see concerns me. Can't we all get along?
That's the sort of guarantee we're all accustomed to when doing business with a private concern. Can we ask for, maybe, half our money back from government?
Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.
After all, 80 percent of the almost one triiiiilion dollars spent on Means Tested Welfare Spending each year is wasted.
I must caution myself against regarding this the key to a prosperous future of joyous non-partisanship, but it does seem to have that potential.
Somehow we seem to have missed this February, 2012 Reason article: Corporatism is Not the Free Market by Sheldon Richman. It's value is not so much embodied in the title subject, although that is necessary background. It's novelty is the way it explains the rise of hyper-partisanship in the 21st century. He quotes heavily from this article by the Libertarian theorist Roderick Long:
Long sees capitalism in its common usage as similar.
By "capitalism" most people mean neither the free market simpliciter nor the prevailing neomercantilist system simpliciter. Rather, what most people mean by "capitalism" is this free-market system that currently prevails in the western world. In short, the term "capitalism" as generally used conceals an assumption that the prevailing system is a free market. And since the prevailing system is in fact one of government favoritism toward business, the ordinary use of the term carries with it the assumption that the free market is government favoritism toward business.
Similarly for socialism, Long writes. He thinks most people mean nothing more specific than "the opposite of capitalism."
Then if "capitalism" is a package-deal term, so is "socialism" -- it conveys opposition to the free market, and opposition to neomercantilism, as though these were one and the same.
And that, I suggest, is the function of these terms: to blur the distinction between the free market and neomercantilism. Such confusion prevails because it works to the advantage of the statist establishment: those who want to defend the free market can more easily be seduced into defending neomercantilism, and those who want to combat neomercantilism can more easily be seduced into combating the free market. Either way, the state remains secure.
Other than to say the present neomercantilist system favors politically connected business, not business as a whole, I will leave further discussion to the comments. And for reference, I will include both a dictionary definition of capitalism and a more precise definition by Rand.
And I will plead guilty to having fallen into the trap of defending neomercantilism, unwittingly. If nothing else, by not explicitly stating up front that this is NOT what I am defending.
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.
"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."
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 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?
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.
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.)
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?
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.
Millennials 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.
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.
"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.
"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
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):
CO2 Sequestration/Recovery for coal combustion
Direct algae production of usable fuel
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.
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.
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 governors legal team had already reviewed two drafts of the IEC investigators 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.
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. Putins 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 rescue Ukraine and avert a war.
And, after the hyperventilating CFR policy experts 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 as well as with the Obama administration and our 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 Republican 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 wouldnt 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 Departments mother ship and confessed that the State Department looks to the CFR to be told what we should be doing and how we should think.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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]
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. Thats going to be a real romantic treat for honeymooners, isnt it? 'Oh, we went to New York and rode the electric cars!'
Of course, none of them recognize the irony in modeling the electric cars after antique automobiles.
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."
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.
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 GLAADs millions [of tax-exempt profits] and the power all these "fascist bands" have exercised over the last several decades is guilting Americans into believing that if they don't go along with the latest "non-negotiable" left-wing demand they are somehow well .pick one. Racist, homophobic, pro-war, greedy, sexist and on and on and on yada 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."
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 games pieces were each and every employees 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.
"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.
If one is known by the company he keeps then let me just say, "I don't wear pajamas."
"It seems like, to me, a vagina -- as a man -- would be more desirable than a man's anus. Thats just me. Im 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.
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.
"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."
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 presidents 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.
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."
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.
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."
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.
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 progressive 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 dont like the medicine-mans magical pretensions nor the Bourbons Divine Right. This is not solely because I disbelieve in magic and in Bossuets 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.
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.
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.
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. (Make sure to say Reagans name a few times, mention the constitution and get the heck out of there!) But I also found a few previous comments she released on immigration, gun control and other important current topics, so its 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.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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 dont 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.
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:
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."
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"
"I think he is the most talented and fearless Republican politician I've seen in the last 30 years."
Carville accurately described the conservative view: "'If we only got someone who was articulate and was for what we were for, we would win elections. And we get these John McCains and these Mitt Romneys and these squishy guys that can't do anything.'" Carville added: "Well, there's one thing this guy is not -- he ain't squishy, not in the least."
"If defending Americans' constitutional liberties and fighting for policies that will spur job growth and economic recovery is [the] Democrats' definition of 'extreme,' it confirms that their convoluted, misguided priorities do not represent the best interests of New Yorkers," a spokeswoman for Cruz, a Princeton and Harvard Law honors graduate and one of just three Hispanics in the Senate, told The Post.
"They [New York Democrats] clearly have bigger problems to deal with than lobbing useless criticisms at a Republican senator coming to town to speak at an event for Republicans," the spokeswoman, Catherine Frazier, continued.
UPDATE (05/09 13:25) Dallas Morning News columnist Wayne Slater
As for Perry, hes old news. Public Policy Polling announced this week its 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.
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."
UPDATE: * Added the word "morally" to distinguish vis-a-vis "legally." The law still has some distance to travel.
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.
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.
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.
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? Its 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.
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.
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.
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...
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 todays G.O.P. is repellent to young voters. Can that voice, belonging to the partys 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 among friends, in the manner of early-20th-century Bolsheviks 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 isnt 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 whos against gay marriage Id say: 'Dont change your beliefs, just say legislatively this is not a priority, and Im not going to take away someones right. And if abortion or gay marriage is your No. 1 issue, Im 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]
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, theres 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 partys 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.
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.
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...
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...
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.
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.
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.
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
George Will, of all people, has an uplifting après le delugecolumn.
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.
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 like the reign of Marcus Aurelius at Rome, or the administration of Eubulus at Athens, or of Mr. Coolidge at Washington 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 if the enterprise were to be a failure from the start 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.
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 including anything from genetic modification to vaccines.
Indeed, the only reason Democrats are considered the pro-science 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.
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:
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."
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.
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.
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,
"Weve got bridges and roads in need of repair and thousands of people in need of work. Why arent we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America? Were 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?)
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.
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 weapons 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:
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.
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).
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.
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.
1) Is this the stupidest thing ever?
Only two Presidential candidates opted for Federal funds: Buddy Roemer and Gary Johnson.
Roemer, 68, received $285,479 from U.S. taxpayers. "We assumed no debt and we end this campaign with money in the bank," he said in a statement. "We ran like we intended to serve."
If I had checked a "Yes, I'd like to give $3 to a candidate I don't give a crap for" box on my 1040, I'd suggest that was "our money" in Roemers's bank.
2) Did you say Governor Gary Johnson?
That's right -- this year's brave principled, libertarian LP candidate (Bob Barr is working at Walmart now, and could not get time off) took $100,000 in Federal campaign jack? That is just wrong.
Johnson recently received a $100,000 installment after applying for $146,603 in matching funds, according to the Federal Election Commission.
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 dont 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, its 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, its 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.
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."
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?
While recently attending a county assembly, I found myself in a discussion with a fellow attendee regarding the political views of mainstream libertarian leaning Republicans. While this person agreed with the majority of these views, he argued that the country does not turn on a dime, and that it can take years, if not decades, for any large ideological shift to take place in American politics.
He is exactly right!
During my studies of the American Presidency at the University of Colorado, I had the absolute pleasure of reading a book called "The Politics Presidents Make" by Stephen Skowronek. The central themes of the book are first, to develop a categorical framework in which to analyze the politics of the presidency and the second is to introduce the concept of 'political time' in which to place these categories. Skowronek classifies presidents having one of the four political traits:
1) Politics of Reconstruction - (Jefferson, Jackson, Lincoln)
2) Politics of Articulation - (Monroe, Polk, T. Roosevelt)
3) Politics of Disjunction - (J. Q. Adams, Pierce, Hoover)
4) Politics of Preemption - (Eisenhower, Clinton, Nixon)
From these categories, he is able to build a model for expected presidential power and influence depending on where the president falls in political time. Political time being defined as the cyclical order of these four categories.
Notice that the Politics of Preemption are not part of the cycle. These types of presidents represent abnormalities in political time. They are able to remain true to their ideology however, the opposing political views are still alive and well. They do not have the power of a 'Great Repudiator' nor are they weak. Like the 'Great Repudiators', they attempt to transform the constitutional definition of presidential political power, but are unable to do so due to the resiliency of the opposition.
The Politics of Reconstruction
American politics are cyclical in nature. Since the revolution of 1800, there have been presidents that have shaped the political landscape long after they left office.
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.
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.
With the exception of Pierce, each of these presidents directly preceded one of the "greats". It is also not a coincidence that each of them witnessed the waning of their ideology while in office, and because of this, were unable to accomplish much of anything to restore confidence in the party they represented. They deserve attention however, because they are, at the very least, partially responsible for creating the 'great repudiators' that follow them.
This brings me to the point of this post and the conversation that inspired it. American politics have been dominated by statist ideology for the better part of the past seventy years. With the exception of arguably the Goldwater movement in the 1960's, the Reagan revolution of the 1980's, and the most recent liberty movements of the past two years, our political leaders have exhibited a cross between the 'politics of disjunction' and the 'politics of preemption' in an attempt to further justify the failed idea of conservative or liberal socialism.
The movement we now see taking hold in American politics does not represent a movement four years in the making, or even thirty years in the making. It represents the waning of failed statist policies and at the same time illustrates the inability of central planning and big government to deal with modern day problems.
When looked at through the lens of political time, it is not that far fetched to think that a true liberty candidate could be on the horizon. A candidate who, like the 'great repudiators' before him, repudiates the failed statist programs of both parties and returns American to its founding principals of life, liberty, and property.
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!
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.
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?
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.) ...
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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."
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?
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I've been drawn to do a post on the "What Would Jesus Cut?" campaign by "a coalition of Progressive Christian leaders" for some time now but couldn't quite compose a counter-invective with comparable magnitude to this ode to suicidal selflessness and moral misdirection. I"m still not sure that WWJPF is adequate but the battle must be joined.
Take a good, long, close look at this photo of Reverend Jim Wallis.
This is the face of the man behind the campaign that says, "Are we saying that every piece of military equipment is more important than bed nets, childrens 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.
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.
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.
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.
Colorado's state Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, just as United States Supreme Court justices. This explains my surprise that high court judges in many states, including Wisconsin, are actually elected directly by popular vote. Tyranny of the Majority, anyone?
A brief review of the "debatepedia" entry on the election of judges provides two opposing views:
Elected judges are more in tune with public opinion - The system of training through law schools and vocational work is elitist and prolonged, and leaves judges' opinions at risk of being, or appearing, out of date or out of touch. (...) Judges are often seen as lacking knowledge of recent social trends. Elections can help reverse these trends by forcing judges to understand and respect public opinion so they can advance a form of law that is seen as "just" to all citizens, not just to their own conscience.
Elected judges wrongly interpret public opinion over the law - Legal decisions require a strict interpretation of law. It should not be driven by popular opinion. Yet, this is precisely what judicial elections call for. This diverges from basic judicial principles of applying the law objectively and neutrally.
Today's high court election in Wisconsin is as obvious an example of the latter opinion as one may ever see. Wisconsin Election Is Referendum on Governor is a predictably biased NY Times "news" story on today's vote, but the headline tells the story. Namely...
"This has really become a proxy battle for the governor's positions and much less a fight about the court itself," said Charles H. Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
The outcome is now in great doubt, which is surprising considering where voter sentiment was 6 weeks ago.
For his part, Justice Prosser contends that Ms. Kloppenburg has become the darling of union leaders, protesters and others who opposed Mr. Walker's collective bargaining cuts. He said he saw protest signs in Madison that read: "Stop the Bill; Vote Kloppenburg."
"I feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting," Justice Prosser, 68, said in an interview in which he described his record on the court as moderate. "Here I am, Im 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.
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.
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."
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
George Will compares the mushiness of "No Labels" to the clarity of Judge Henry Hudson's assertion of Constitutional limits in Virginia v Sibelius.
Although the people promising to make No Labels into a national scold are dissatisfied with the tone of politics, they are pleased as punch with themselves. If self-approval were butter, they could spread it across America, if it were bread.
And no less than two honorable mentions:
But [NYC Mayor Michael] Bloomberg, addressing the No Labels confabulation, spoke truth to powerlessness: [...]
No Labels, its earnestness subverting its grammar, says: "We do not ask any political leader to ever give up their label -- merely put it aside."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?"
"To what do you attribute your success?"
Don't forget to tip ypur waitress and bartender...
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)?
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?
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 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:
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).
Life in Michael Steele land is not a whole lot better.
Here's my idea. I pony up -- I don't know -- $500 to be in the GOP "Strategists" Club (or "Strategery Club" if George P runs...) and the benefit is grown up emails (and junk mail) from the party and some participating candidates. No more "do you what those liber-als in Congress and Nancy Pel-oh-si are going to do?" Nope, you get elevated tone that accepts your knowledge of politics and current issues.
It's not going to clean out your box, but If I got something intelligent every once in a while from the party, it would be a big deal.
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 Boxers votes to curtail military spending -- or perhaps because of them:
Don't know they'll be quiet about that at eleven...
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.
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:
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.
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.
How 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.
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 conservablogosphkommentariatseem a bit upset, but it looks like smallball to me.
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.
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.
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 thats 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. Were 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.
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.
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