February 16, 2017

Exactly the way I see it

In its opinion on the resignation of President Trump's National Security Advisor, General Michael Flynn, Investor's editorial page says that the actions of at least nine current and former officials at multiple agencies "publicly revealing U.S. signals intelligence" committed "one of the most serious felonies involving classified information."

The so-called Deep State, the semi-permanent class of politicians, bureaucrats, lobbyists and contractors who make a grand living off the taxpayers, have a vested interest in taking down Trump. He's the real enemy, not the Russians. And, even if it means breaking the law, that's just what these Swamp People mean to do.

The media establishment is also complicit:

The media have been slobbering at the chance to slip their chains and take a bite out of Trump, who has so far bested them in Twitter battles and, worse, made them irrelevant to a large segment of the population.

Meanwhile, federal bureaucrats, fearing Trump's vow to shrink big government and root out corruption, are digging in as if fighting for their very lives. That's why intelligence "sources," as the media call them, are willing to break the law to subvert Trump's administration. They have too much to lose if he wins.

This is more than just politics. This is a life-or-death struggle between Leviathan and the rights of the American people.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:51 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Deeply concerning. Judge Napolitano delivered some inspiring oratory on this topic as well.

Posted by: jk at February 16, 2017 7:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Some of the "swamp creatures" are raising their heads from the ooze and making themselves known. Bill Kristol for example:

"Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state."

"Strongly prefer normal democratic ... politics" indeed.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2017 8:37 PM
But Jk thinks:

I think Kristol has done himself serious ( and deserved) harm with that.

In other news, Rep. Dennis Kucinich is on the side of angels.

Posted by: Jk at February 16, 2017 9:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. That deserves its own post. "We want to know who is running the United States of America and we sure don't want it to be a cadre of intelligence officials who are trying to use headlines and innuendo to undermine a new administration."

Mind. Blown.

Posted by: johngalt at February 16, 2017 9:58 PM

January 29, 2017

reins act

I found a new free market blog last week when following some inside-baseball information on FERC regulations on the power industry.

This short article, from the heretofore unknown Ashley Baker, brilliantly sums up the case for passing and enforcing the REINS act, and takes a paragraph or two to expose HuffPo's rather unsavory Carl Pope as either mendacious or stupid. Enjoy!

Pope’s assessment could not be less accurate. In fact, the REINS Act would remove the bureaucrat-driven rulemaking process from behind closed doors and hold elected officials accountable for new regulations.

Under the current process, Congress escapes scrutiny when regulatory agencies issue new rules that affect the lives of Americans. Unlike executive bureaucrats, elected officials can be held accountable by their constituents. Regulators, lacking this type of accountability, are free to promulgate rules without much regard for the costs they will impose.



Posted by nanobrewer at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

November 4, 2016

Open Boulder?

Actually, I think Boulder SHOULD be accepting all manor and flavor of ME refugees: speak with your backyard, not your ballot!

Seriously, though, here is a thoughtful piece from Dr. Erler (from KaliFORnia!) who postulates:

a world without borders is a world without citizens, and a world without citizens is a world without the rights and privileges that attach exclusively to citizenship. Rights and liberties exist only in separate and independent nations; they are the exclusive preserve of the nation-state. Constitutional government only succeeds in the nation-state, where the just powers of government are derived from the consent of the governed. By contrast, to see the globalist principle in practice, look at the European Union. The EU is not a constitutional government; it is an administrative state ruled by unelected bureaucrats. It attempts to do away with both borders and citizens, and it replaces rights and liberty with welfare and regulation as the objects of its administrative rule.
and my favorite idea that makes me weirdo in nearly every political discussion:
The idea that every right has a corresponding duty or obligation was essential to the social compact understanding of the American founding.

He states "tolerance" has displaced morality in the modern Prog's world, and claims that they must also throw reason out the door.
Over the past century and more, this morality grounded in the American founding has been successfully eroded by Progressivism. This erosion is manifested today in the morality of value-free relativism. According to this new morality, all value judgments are equal. Reason cannot prove that one value is superior to or more beneficial than another, because values are not capable of rational analysis; they are merely idiosyncratic preferences. In this value-free universe, the only value that is “objectively” of higher rank is tolerance. Equal toleration of all values—what is called today a commitment to diversity—is the only “reasonable” position. And note that it is always called a commitment to diversity. It is a commitment because it cannot be rational in any strict sense—it exists in a value-free world from which reason has been expelled.
and he answers one that has riddled me for a while:
Note that these leaders [Obama, Merkel] show no such enthusiasm for admitting Christian refugees from Middle Eastern violence, or even Yazidis, who have suffered horribly from the ravages of Islamic terror. These refugees, of course, represent no danger to America. Only by admitting those who do represent a danger can we display to the world “who we are as a people”—a people willing to sacrifice ourselves to vouchsafe our commitment to tolerance.

Lastly, he proposes a simple and effective rule to replace the vetting, which all agree is nigh impossible:
One condition for claiming refugee status in the Refugee Act of 1980 is religious persecution. This necessarily means that any applicant for religious asylum would have to submit to questioning about his religious beliefs and (presumably) the sincerity of those beliefs. Should asylum be extended to the adherents of religions that do not recognize the free exercise rights of other religions?

Good down to earth read, for such a heady start!

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:17 AM | Comments (4)
But dagny thinks:

Not sure if I'm misinterpreting but I think I disagree with your first pull quote. Rights do not come from citizenship. As so eloquently stated in our founding documents, we are endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.

The rights do not attach to citizenship, they attach to human beings. Then you can live in a country that either protects and defends those rights or infringes them.

I would have no problem with a world government provided that government was set up to defend individual rights.

Posted by: dagny at November 4, 2016 6:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Voting is an example of a right (or privilege) of citizenship. Of course, in a just system, voting would be more for amusement than for protecting against infringement of your rights. Unfortunately, nobody lives in a just system anymore.

Posted by: johngalt at November 5, 2016 10:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I have huge respect for Hillsdale, but I am going with swing-and-a-miss here.

Continuing your right and privilege excerpt:

The idea that every right has a corresponding duty or obligation was essential to the social compact understanding of the American founding. Thus whatever was destructive of the public good or public happiness, however much it might have contributed to an individual's private pleasures or imagined pleasures, was not a part of the "pursuit of happiness" and could be proscribed by society. Liberty was understood to be rational liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was understood to be the rational pursuit of happiness--that is to say, not only a natural right but a moral obligation as well.

I don't think that paragraph is going to engender much affection 'round these parts.

The comparisons with Germany are specious. One could fairly could claim Germany to be a reduction ad absurdam to question my belief but it is not a model of what is proposed. Germany is smaller in area, population and GDP and is accepting overwhelming numbers without any opportunities for vetting or tracing.

Erler suggests refugee camps but we have experience with those in Palestine/Israel which make the German example look like paradise.

I think a nation of 300,000,000 can accept 10,000 human beings who have been displaced from their home by war. And I believe those 10,000 will cause the exact same amount of trouble as the next 10,000 babies born in Colorado.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2016 10:09 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@ Dagny:

rights do not attach to citizenship, they attach to human beings
As a practical matter, they are only upheld in pluralistic democracies. They may attach to humans, but they do not stick around for long in Venezuela, or the old USSR.

Posted by: nanobrewer at November 7, 2016 11:35 PM

July 26, 2016

Review Corner - City Journal

It's hard for me to judge this article (and forgive my usurpation of the TS style guide by posting an article), as it hits too close to home... and also is damn near a novella that this single-dad-with-long-commute has still failed to finish! Like so many sparkling articles in the past, Myron Magnet's offering on the growth of the administrative state (or what I've long called "the unelected government"), interestingly titled "Why are Voters so Angry?" is a tome.

He blames the birth on Wilson, the growth model on FDR, and the current expansion on the spinlessness of the USSC. It ranges articulately from Lois Lerner's transgressions (and John Koskinen's intransigence) to gritty analogies like

a new kind of government has grown up inside the old structure, like those parasites hatched in another organism that grow by eating up their host from within, until the adult creature bursts out of the host’s carcass. This transformation is not an evolution but a usurpation.

He provides no data I found that the voters' agree with his premise, and I'm too busy cheering him on to see if there are signals cited, but he has many examples

Unease over illegal immigration also has stoked today’s fear that the government no longer belongs to the people, and it’s important to understand the separate but mutually reinforcing ways that it has done so.

submitted for your persual; 4 stars.

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Bingo.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2016 11:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I shared the linked article on a FB thread asking Mr. Trump, rhetorically, what he means by "Making America Great Again?" I replied, "this:"

To become an American in those days meant little more than learning English and subscribing to a broadly shared creed of self-reliance, self-government, self-improvement, and allegiance to a tolerant nation that most people agreed was unique in the freedom and opportunity it afforded—as well as in its readiness to confer citizenship on newcomers who almost universally desired it.

The respected friend who posited the question offered praise for the author, Myron Magnet, whom I had never heard of until our blog brother's posting:

Myron Magnet is a very thoughtful man. Americans would do well to follow him and think through the many questions he raises -- even if they don't always agree with him.

So far, from what I've read, I do agree with Magnet.

Many thanks for the recommendation, nb!

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2016 3:03 PM

March 15, 2016

Stop the administrative state!

I've always feared the un-elected government more than the few who risk the voice-sprain of constant pressers, and the occasional onslaught of overwrought lefties....

Hat tip to KHOW's excellent morning host, Ross Kaminsky, and a speaker from American Commitment (check them out, nicely summarized by SourceWatch.org as "a conservative, right-wing 501(c)(4) non-profit organization founded by right-wing operative Sean Noble and led by Phil Kerpen, former vice president of Americans for Prosperity" I like them already....), is a summary of the REINS* act.

Here's a pretty good summary article (sigh, again, with awful flash-ups) from The Hill, noting

Last Tuesday, by a vote of 243 to 165, the House passed H.R. 427, the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2015, known as the REINS Act. Introduced in the House by Rep. Todd Young (REBEL-Ind.), the bill "would require any executive branch rule or regulation with an annual economic impact of $100 million or more — designated by the White House's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a 'major rule' — to come before Congress for an up-or-down vote before being enacted." Sen. Rand Paul (HOSS-Ky.) has introduced the companion legislation, S. 226, in the Senate.
and
According to The Economist, the Competitive Enterprise Institute reported that in 2013, the compliance cost of federal regulations was $1.86 billion, or $15 billion per household. [ed. my math says $5.23 per household, for population of 319M, now if the cost is $1.86T, then the cost/household is over $5000]

Wow; this is cool; Google "cost of regulation" and you get a lovely, very large banner-ad headline "1.88 TRILLION" leading to an article courtesy of USN&W Report!

The Unauthorized Spending Accountability USA act also appears to be valuable and worthwhile; call your Senator! The article notes

Congress appropriated $310.4 billion to 256 programs and activities that are no longer authorized.

* Heh; If they'd have called it the REIGNS act, I wonder if some clever fixer could have plied the EGO and gotten Obama to sign it on the 19th tee!

Posted by nanobrewer at 11:44 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I think you mean Administrative State, yes?

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2016 2:46 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Why, yes; thank you!

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 15, 2016 6:20 PM
But Stakes thinks:

Ah yes, the unelected government. I recall, hazily from my long-since-past youth, a hard-bitten cynic telling me that "voting doesn't make any difference; if it did, we wouldn't be allowed to do it."

Given the outsized influence of lobbyists, (frequently former congress-critters who know where all the bodies are buried), who are accountable to no one, it seems your concerns are well-founded.

Posted by: Stakes at March 16, 2016 10:13 AM

December 28, 2015

George Washington's Regret

"Our presidents are beginning to act like kings" because "there is always a crown beyond the horizon."

More from Charles C.W. Cooke was (re)printed today, and I find it has a familiar ring.

Once upon a time, Obama insisted that he was "not a king" or an "emperor" or a "dictator," and confirmed that his "job as the head of the executive branch ultimately is to carry out the law." Now he justifies his behavior with talk of necessity and vows that if "Congress won't act," he will.

John Adams characterized the office that Obama holds as enjoying "the whole executive power, after divesting it of those badges of domination called prerogatives." In this assessment he was reflecting what might be regarded as the Founders' central conceit: that when the laws that govern men's fortunes are subject to the whims of the powerful rather than to the consent of the governed, there can be no liberty. Are we at liberty?

No, we aren't. At least not as much as the founders hoped.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:21 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Agreed - we aren't at liberty, at least not in a way that the Founders would approve.

More to the point (or perhaps, in support of the point you're making): it would be interesting to compare the "long train of abuses and usurpations" that led the Founders to "throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security" to the long train of abuses and usurpations we are enduring now at the hands of our elected and appointed betters. Are we approaching the point at which Sam Adams and his fellows rebelled, or have we reached it and already passed it?

My sense is the latter. What does that portend?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at December 28, 2015 8:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, we're certainly cheesed off 'round these parts. I break with a lot of intellectual kin though by saying were anomalous.

I hope everyone had enjoyable holidays and family and friends. And if $15 is deposited in my secret Bitcoin account by Thursday, I will not post the video I saw of brother jg dancing with a friend's six-year-old.

But, was there revolution in the air where you were? Separation of powers is an abstract and little-understood concept in the groups I joined and the last thing on anybody's mind. If there was any political persiflage, it was "Isn't that Trump fellow a crazy man?"

You can decry it as bread and circuses or blame "American Idol" (as I do for most things). But I contend that the bread is fresh, the acrobatics are pretty good, and the clowns are just creepy enough to keep the bulk of Americans content if not satisfied. Usurpations will be borne. Perhaps most frightening is this President's showing just how far the polity can be stretched.

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2015 9:50 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And Germans were fat dumb and happy too, leading up to Kristallnacht.

We may be past the point of abuses and usurpations that inspired the revolution, but it is - to some extent, at least - by our own hand. So the threshold will be higher.

The interesting question is what nature of usurpations would capture the attention of "American Idolatrators?" To date it has been preventing certain marriages or well intentioned efforts to reduce prenatal murder. Outside of that, I wonder if the government can do whatever it wants with impunity?

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 12:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One must admit that even this president's Top Ten Constitutional Violations of 2015 can make all but the wonkiest eyes glaze over.

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2015 2:59 PM

September 11, 2015

what to do vs. a lawless state?

Richard Samuelson starts writing at the Federalist about Kim Davis but moves quickly downfield.

He does bolster her case with one caveat:

the logical reaction is not simply to resign, but to resign and to campaign for re-election

Her name doesn't appear in the second - the more interesting - half, when he pushes forward with the case for Civil Disobedience (say what you want about Mrs. Davis, but she did employ the civil disobedience process), and urges us to fight intelligently.

When [civil disobedience is] applied at the edges it could be, as [Glen] Reynolds suggests, a salutary reminder to those who wish to tell us what to do that we will not pay attention. But it also puts more and more Americans in potential legal jeopardy if the government chooses, selectively, to enforce the law

He cites Volokh, Madison's "Report of 1800" and references Three Felonies a Day before pitching

That is why it is important, as much as possible, to resist the usurpation of our legislative rights and our personal liberties through the regular legal process, as our ancestors did in the age of the American Revolution. They acted similarly in the years leading up to the Civil War.

Also noting Too Much Civil Disobedience Destroys Law. Irish Democracy, anyone?

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:14 AM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Soap box, then ballot box, then jury box. Got it. There IS a fourth box.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 11, 2015 10:03 AM
But jk thinks:

There is a lot to disagree with in Samuelson's piece.

I am not down with Reynolds's "Irish Democracy" pitch. I see that it might be the ultimate solution to a loss of liberty but I want very badly to go in the opposite direction. Bastiat warned of too many laws and capricious enforcement. If everything is illegal but nobody is prosecuted, then the policeman or prosecutor has ultimate authority.

My vision is the exact opposite. Almost everything is legal, but Singaporean enforcement on what is not. Irish Democracy is a relief valve, but (jk is being the millenarian today?) I'm not sure that's a good idea. Elites and most middle class folks will ignore laws like they drive over the speed limit. The residents of Ferguson get the $25 jaywalking ticket and the $100 late fee if they can't get off work to go to court and $500 if they can't pay the late fee. Or the guy that blows the whistle on Lois Lerner gets audited.

It's a bad road. The rule of law is a pretty groovy thing.

If Davis is reelected as a queer-free license provider, then Supreme Court decisions are null and void? If a pro-slavery Sherriff is elected in Loudon County, the people have spoken? Sorry Leroy, you belong to Bill now.

The 14th Amendment is a friend and a foe to liberty. Lord Acton saw it as the dissolution of American Federalism and was right to a point. In return, we acquired a regularization of our bill-of-rights liberties (Digression of "The Slaughterhouse Cases" and the Privileges and Immunities clause is an extra $3).

But the best part is that a local group cannot elect a Kim Davis to take rights away. She may decide whether other work suits her.


Posted by: jk at September 11, 2015 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Well said, jk. For my part I will add this - Ms. Davis (I'm sure she would shudder at being called Ms.) is engaging in civil disobedience as "a salutary reminder to those who wish to tell us what to do that we will not pay attention." Instead we, or she, will... go right ahead and tell the citizens of huckleberry county, Kentucky, what to do.

Izzat about right?

Maybe they should also engage in civil disobedience? Oh, wait.

What Davis and her defenders don't get is that disOBEDIENCE is about disOBEYING. Not about retaining some bygone power to rule over others.

Posted by: johngalt at September 11, 2015 12:43 PM

January 28, 2015

Estonian Exceptionalism

"We're number twelve! We're number twelve!"

When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States ranked sixth for economic freedom. Now in 2015, the United States has fallen by six to 12th place.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:10 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

But -- we had a small uptick, thanks to the sequester. Our score had fallen for seven years and it is slightly up.

Yay team.

Posted by: jk at January 28, 2015 4:15 PM

October 28, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

In an article about Ms. Clinton's "gaffe" last week:

The senator has no clue where jobs come from and doesn't pretend to. She's a collection of categories, not a thoughtfully realized human being - a (pseudo) Native-American, feminist, populist, Harvard law professor. She no more knows where jobs come from than first-graders know where babies come from. She only knows that they exist and that something icky happened to make it so.

You guessed it - not Hillary, Elizabeth. But the article, the latest from the "Stimulus That!" blog of Communities Digital News contributor and economics professor Jim Picht, is more than just a single entertaining quote. It goes on to explain how Democrats and Republicans conspire to distract the electorate with one issue while a more important one goes unnoticed:

There are other things more important to making the job-creating activity profitable than the corporate tax rate. The regulatory environment is probably the most important of those. New York is less likely to attract new businesses and new jobs by cutting business taxes than it is by making it easier to start or expand a business, easier to hire new employees if there's a chance of a bigger profit, and not making it hard to get rid of those employees if the hoped-for profit doesn't materialize.

There is a great deal that our elected officials could do to make America a more vibrant business environment and American job markets more robust. The first step is honesty: Recognize where jobs come from, and where they don't. Businesses aren't the grit in our economic engine; they are the engine.

Taxes are the shibboleth that political parties and members of Congress use to identify enemies and avoid doing anything useful. It is impossible to be pro-consumer and pro-worker without being pro-business, yet Hillary wants to beat the horse of tax rates. Republicans are happy to go along. [Italics in original]

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)