June 24, 2018

Western Conservative Summit

The speakers were typically very, very good, if not excellent, and I was only there for Saturday morning & afternoon sessions (missing Candace Owens, Scott Pruitt, Ed Meese, Dana Loesch, etc.).

Biggest splash was the standing ovation granted Jack Philips, and the very solid and inspiring talk given by his counsel; Dr. Michael Farris of ADF. Great line:

what a dream job for a lawyer, defending students (from their college) for handing out the constitution!

Biggest impression (aka, hitting above expectations) was Jeff Myers of Summit Ministries. I followed up with his hour long break out session as he described - and briefly pitched - his "leadership workshops" approach and philosophy designed for 18-25 year olds. Clearly it's a christian ministry, but apart from a quip from II Timothy 2, he didn't mention God or Christ at all. Fascinating presenter... he's on my list for a summer workshop some day my kids decide they don't want or need summer jobs :-)

John Andrews sounded old and tired (sadly, I've always liked him), Jon Caldera only slightly more likeable than when he's on air, George Lopez felt quite scripted, and "Chuck & Julie" did nothing to endear me any more towards their mediocre afternoon radio show - just the opposite, actually, which I didn't think possible.

Frank Gaffney (a frequent Hugh Hewitt guest) was decent in presenting the top issues being considered at the Center for Security Policy but I was unconvinced of his theory about an EMP propbably wiping out a significant percentage of the 2100 very large power transformers running the U.S. electric power grid's main backbone. My professional opinion - very small risk, even with a perfectly executed air burst weapon: Some breaker trips & disruption? Surely... but minuscule chance of significant damage.

John Stonestreet was very powerful for such a young guy presenting on a topic of limited interest to me (Colson Center for Christian Worldview), and John Erwin of "I Can Only Imagine" fame was also excellent. Lastly, Ainsley Earhardt was poised and engaging, even while discounting for her stunning good looks and Fox fame. I didn't buy it, but am much more intrigued by her book than I expected - that is to say: how much strife can a blond bombshell who committed to Christ at 21 really have experienced??? Still, as a father to two girls, I found her story, quietly dignified faith and saga compelling.

Interesting breakout session or two (I mentioned Summit Ministries) that spoke about Millennials, college life (Yay: I got to meet Dr. Hayward!) and the like.

A very exciting takeaway was large crops of young people, a very well staffed and energized group of T.P. USA'ers, and lots of infectious, positive enthusiasm. I'll certainly go next year, perhaps even for more than a day.

Posted by nanobrewer at 3:38 PM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2017

jk vs. Bannon

Steve Bannon to Sean Hannity this week, discussing efforts to recruit primary challengers to incumbent Republican senators: "Nobody's safe. We're coming after all of them." If every Republican senator is going to get a primary challenger backed by Bannon, no matter what, then what's the incentive to vote Bannon’s way between now and Election Day?
From Jim Geraghty's Morning Jolt newsletter (now linkable!), subtitled "Trump Doesn't Need Different GOP Senators, He Needs More of Them."

Perhaps Mr. Bannon has indeed captured the TEA Party essence. But I suggest he has captured the worst parts. He will give us a Slate of Christine O'Donnell and Ken Buck candidates, who will *ahem* lose to Democrats. You can possibly elect a Roy Moore in Alabama, but his is not the ticket to a majority party.

It would be a moral victory to get rid of Susan Collins but the James Conrad PAC would not help repeal Obamacare or complete tax reform.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:13 PM | Comments (0)

TEA Party v. Bannon

What does the TEA Party stand for? What does Steve Bannon stand for? There is not a single answer to either question but I submit that there is one "big idea" for each, and they go hand in glove. Hunter Lewis zeroed in on that idea in his criticism of a Weekly Standard piece on Bannon:

Mr. Caldwell gets to the essence of it when he writes: "Steve Bannon … has … the same idea that tea party activists have: a class of regulators in the government has robbed Americans of their democratic prerogatives. That class now constitutes an 'administrative state' that operates to empower itself and enrich its crony-capitalist allies."

Yep. That's why I marched on my state capitol with my "Enemy of the Statist" sign so beautifully hand-lettered by my dear blog brother.

Mr. Lewis then adds, "He also notes that Bannon thinks that "capitalism ought to rest on a Judeo-Christian foundation."

I can think of worse ideas than this. So, really, where are Bannon and the TEA Party now "debased?" Immigration? Trade? Bath water. The baby Republic is in desperate need of a washing. We'll throw out the dirty water later.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I respectfully suggest that when contemplating anything attributed to Steve Bannon, one should consider the imaginary universe where the protagonist is not this individual white male, so readily villifiable, rather any one of the Forgotten men or women of every race and faith who want merely to not be disadvantaged in the name of "equality" or "compassion." Or "national prosperity" as a result of erasing all distinctions between the nations of the world. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 12:32 PM

October 10, 2017

The "Forgotten Man" declares "war" on Republican Senators

When was the last time we used the "TEA Party" category? I think this fits.

Steve Bannon had a long interview with Sean Hannity last night. I missed most of it but this RCP piece excerpts a host of hard-hitting quotes from the heir to the Andrew Breitbart battlements.

Bannon said that establishment Republican senators exemplified by Tennessee's Bob Corker have committed "economic hate crimes" against working Americans.

When you want to talk about why there's no repeal and replace, why there's no tax cut, why there's no tax reform, why there's no infrastructure bill, you saw it right there. Corker, McConnell that entire clique of -- establishment globalist clique on Capitol Hill have to go. If we need any more proof about what they think, you heard it tonight. It's an absolute disgrace...

They have total contempt for the forgotten man. They have total contempt for the base.

His strategy is to take Mitch McConnell's donors away from him and to use their money against him and his cohorts. Kind of a two-for-one strategy that makes a huge amount of sense.

That's why I left the White House. Remember, I said I'm going after the Republican establishment. And we're going to go after them. We're going to go after them and challenge them.

HANNITY: Give me the states.

BANNON: There's a coalition coming together. It's going to challenge every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz. Whether it's Utah, Wyoming, whether it's in Oregon.

He's not mentioned by name, but that list of "every Republican incumbent except for Ted Cruz" would seem to include our friend Senator Gardner.

And what was that I said about TEA Party?

HANNITY: Does that mean the people that voted in 2010, and 2014, and 2016, now they have to wait to have a victory in 2018? That's a long time for the American people to wait.

BANNON: To take your country back it's not just going to happen in any one election.

This is something you have to grind out day in and day out for the next 5-10-15-20 years. It took us a long time to get here. There's no magic wand we can wave and drain the swamp, there's no magic wand we can wave and blow up this establishment.

I hate to tell people, you're going to have to work but the grit, determination, and courage of the American working men and women, we're going to win.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:45 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Not a fan of Mr. Bannon's. And rather surprised to find such kind words for him from my blog brother.

Yes, I'm sure Bannon would primary Sen. Gardner. And his first pick would be Tom Tancredo.

Bannon's dream is a slate of Judge Roy Moores in the US Senate. Does my brother want that? The man who gave all to keep the Ten Commandments in the Alabama Courthouse? He'll be a constant source of "Do you agree with your colleague, Senator Moore that ... " embarrassing gotchas and a halt to outreach.

Perhaps Bannon does carry the TEA Party mantle; that's how far it has been debased.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2017 6:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I believe I reported this one straight. At least as straight as what passes for "journalism" these days. Where did you find "kind words?"

The success or failure of Mr. Bannon will be determined by a market test: Do traditional GOP big money donors want to continue supporting McConnell and his cohorts, or would they prefer a smaller government approach?

While you consider the possible debasement of the TEA Party, I'm with those who wish to do something productive about the long and deep debasement of the Republican party.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2017 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, kind as compared to my formulation which would be "Known nut-job, dangerous theocrat, and incorrigible economic ignoramus Steve Bannon said..." So, yeah, kind.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2017 7:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You left out doo-doo head.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2017 11:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I did not want to appear unhinged. An active campaign to replace Luther Stranges with Roy Moores does not excite me. Do you really think that represents "a smaller government approach?"

I guess I'll play the goofy libertarian (stretching my roles a bit) but I see this great nation in danger of trading a left-wing authoritarianism for one on the right. President Trump is a significant step up, but the Bannon-faction is likely not.

Posted by: jk at October 12, 2017 11:01 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Roy Moore over Luther Strange is one example for a GOP primary choice. Ted Cruz over David Dewhurst, who was endorsed by Rick Perry, James Inhofe, and Michael Reagan, is another. Does my brother suggest the senate would better serve liberty had voters followed the advice of those proven, respected conservatives instead of the "theocrat"ic, economically ignorant "nut-job" Sarah Palin?

On the matter of theocracy, I see many more examples and dangers from the left than the right - environmentalism and Islamism being just two. Jesus Christ is not a prophet of absolutism, but of cautionary guidance to a man's own free will.

Posted by: johngalt at October 12, 2017 12:20 PM

March 26, 2017

Headline of the Day

TAXPROF ROUNDUP: The IRS Scandal, Day 1417: Satan, Tea Parties, and the IRS.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:19 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2016

Otequay of the Ayday

The real mystery isn't why the neocons would return to the Democratic Party if the GOP were to nominate a skeptic of foreign intervention. Given the profound tensions on the right between the statist neoconservatives, and the small-government movement conservatives, the wonder is that they stayed in the GOP so long.

If the neoconservatives do bolt the GOP, a new conservative foreign policy might congeal around prudence, self-reliance and restraint. And if the neocons seek to fasten themselves once again to the GOP in four or eight years, after having helped elevate Hillary Clinton to the presidency, no one should be surprised if Republicans aren't anxious to let them back in.

-Cato's Christopher Preble in 'Marco Rubio: The Neocon's Last Stand?'

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:16 PM | Comments (0)

March 1, 2016

Whither TEA Party?

Rising with the Inauguration of President Obama, the TEA Party said "We don't want to struggle to get by on our own earnings while some of our tax dollars are given to our neighbors to buy a bigger house." Since then, the message has been co-opted and distorted by various interests to mean "anti-gay marriage" or "anti-welfare" or, most despicable of all, "racist." But as a Slate columnist observes, the rise of "Trumpism" reveals the true nature of the TEA Party uprising -

One of the hallmarks of the Trump campaign has been his support for Social Security and Medicare, and his insistence that he would protect these programs from budget cuts. To many conservatives, Trump's defense of these old-age entitlements is his greatest heresy. What they fail to understand is that conservative voters are very fond of these programs, and their fondness can’t be chalked up to simple hypocrisy.

We saw this dynamic at play during the early days of the Tea Party, the last time elite Republicans faced a serious populist challenge. Many conservative intellectuals viewed the Tea Party movement as the realization of their fondest wishes: a grassroots rebellion demanding fiscal austerity. In fact, as Emily Ekins of the Cato Institute has observed, Tea Party members were chiefly motivated by a theory of economic fairness. They believed, in Ekins' words, that "everyone should be rewarded in strict proportion to their achievements and failings and that government should not shield people from the consequences of their decisions." This is why Tea Party conservatives are more favorably disposed toward programs like Social Security and Medicare -- to which workers contribute over a lifetime in exchange for benefits when they need them -- than they are to programs that lack this contributory element.

I confess that my appreciation for Trump's populist appeal runs counter to my unfettered free-market principles, and it is an unsettling cognitive dissonance. But as my blog brother often reminds me, the world is not Three Sources. Peggy Noonan reminded me that economic dislocations affect and frighten the "unprotected" with greater intensity than those of us with the time and inclination to bloviate on philosophy, politics, and government policy.

Reihan Salam, author of the Slate article linked above, makes many other suggestions for a populist reform of the GOP platform in the "post-Trump era." Some of them are palatable:

- A Pay-Your-Own-Way Immigration Policy Admit new immigrants based on earning ability, not family connections.

- Eat China's Lunch
"On more than one occasion, Donald Trump has said that "China's just eating our lunch," and that we ought to retaliate. He's not wrong."

- Defend the Safety Net
Accept the reality of Obamacare, but make it a safety net program and not a mandate on every American.

- Respect, Not Compassion
Reform the tax code to make refundable tax credits proportional to earnings, and other things to stop disincentivizing work.

I can endorse all of these things. What I can not abide is rent-seeking. Government favoritism for the well-connected. Corporate welfare. Cronyism.

I would rather not see a President Trump. I don't share the assumption that he cannot win a general election with Hillary. And perhaps Senator Cruz' principled opposition to many of these things is so strong that he could never compromise and let them happen, for the good of the country, for the good of the party, and for the good of the American people. But as Trump is so fond of saying, "Everything is negotiable." I can only hope that even that statement itself is also negotiable when it comes to issues like SCOTUS nominees.

UPDATE: Robert Tracinski's endorsement of "Rubio-ism"

Calling Rubio the only leading Republican with an aspirational message, a writer and thinker I admire greatly has just endorsed the "establishment candidate." He doesn't address my concern about routing the cockroaches of the Washington cartel, however.

But one thing I am coming to accept is that Cruz is probably the least electable of the three, due to his lack of positivity.

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

The TEA Party I saw on the Denver Capitol steps was dedicated to constitutional limits on government. One fellow in a Tri-Cornered hat carried a sign upon which was lettered Tenth Amendment. That has always been the Tea Party to me.

I have my faults but am not a fool. The populism frightened me and it was obvious that the bulk of my fellow revelers were far more conservative and far less libertarian than me.

But, at the caucuses, our precinct sent a batch of Ron Paul folk to be delegates, and I thought that this plan was working -- or that it had the chance to win.

Trump is the grave marker for the Tea Party. The scary populist side won and the libertarian-minarchist fringe has been dissipated.

"That didn't work." I don't care that I devoted six years. It was a good time and I took my shot.

But I'll be home for caucus tonight. I no longer believe that my participation matters. The last throws of a dying empire can be quite comfortable. And young people will have unprecedented tools to discover liberty and see its fine examples.

People will be free again somewhere. I hope in America. I hope soon. But the last gasp, Tea Party effort to save it here and now has come a cropper.

Posted by: jk at March 1, 2016 4:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm going to caucus. In the county wide presidential preference poll, I have decided that I must hold my nose and cast by ballot for "little Marco."

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2016 6:54 PM

October 27, 2015

Can we cogitate together?

I've been watching very carefully the news surrounding the 40-member House Freedom Caucus (HFC). Knocking a sitting speaker out is certainly a dramatic move that speaks of a certain power, clearly orchestrated by HFC members, and they one-upped themselves by helping knock off Boehner's best-chosen replacement.

I'm fully aware (and thereby will provide TS'ers with the information necessary to edify themselves) that the HFC certainly strikes a very Buckely-esque pose with its famous "STOP!" motif. But there was something fundamental going on in the people's house that cuts to a deeper theme.

1. HFC's pimples
I was very moved by Tom McClintock's letter describing how HFC was apparently cutting the GOP's nose to spite... an unclear someone's face. Today on the Hugh Hewitt show, John Campell (reasonable and retired -CA) related how the GOP's vision - allowing the Em-Im Bank to persevere but with drastic and far-reaching changes to its structure - was blocked by the HFC members, so the establishment GOP cooperated with Dem's to get an utterly un-reformed bank back on the slate. Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good in a way Reagan would surely have shunned.

I was also rather unnerved during the Benghazi committee's session with HRC by Jim Jordan's (Head of HFC - OH, and laudably willing to go to the matt on the now-fading IRS scandal) pugilistically pontificating and postulating at an un-responsive former Secretary of State.

2. My point.
I don't think the HFC ousted the speaker so they could slam shut the door on immigration, nor to put the gavel in Duncan Hunter's (smart, principled if dull - CA) hand. As relayed very well by Nick "Mick" Mulvaney on the Hugh Hewitt show on Oct. 1st and 14th (and by others at other times), the HFC was really railing against the top-down power structure that was foisted on the House by Speaker Pelosi, and seemingly happily inherited by John (headed for the showers - OH) Boehner.

3. What does the HFC really want?
mostly - to use an interesting phrase that meant a lot to both Campbell and Mulvaney a return to regular order. As near as a direct quote as I could get (the wily Hewitt jealously protects his podcasts) also notes

We always thought the conservatives were underrepresented, for example, on committees. We’ve been retaliated against [by] sitting members [who] have raised money in primaries against conservatives. That kind of stuff has got to change. That was part of that poisonous atmosphere that Boehner allowed to sort of fester

And lastly, how "Members must have the ability to bring amendments into committee and on the floor" to which I said huh? what the _____ has been happening up there?

Certainly there's been some good with the Tea Party (any enemy of Boehner...) inspired members helping the new congress classes of 2010 and 2012 greatly stymie the latter parts of Obama's agenda: (1) sequester, (2) immigration "reform" which appeared to be glorified amnesty with very little fundamental reform (tho' the last being stopped was just as much due to a massive grassroots primal scream).

But now, the "STOP!" movement is losing steam to the inevitable and understandable impulse to legislate, make deals and DO things (criminal sentencing reform, budget "deals"). Here is the deeper theme, which possibly played out in small part during our discussion on immigration last week, whereby I poorly expressed the belief we are poised at a delicate, if not quite desperate point in our nation's history. A constitutional crisis, even.

I agree with Mirengoff (Get off my lawn! - PL) where

the left is bent on radically transforming American values, institutions, and ways of living, and will use almost any tactic, regardless of its legality, to accomplish the transformation.

Certainly Boehner and likely Paul Ryan (good speaker - WI) are of the "other" mindset in viewing:

the current moment as a normal clash of opposing parties and opinions — serious, but not exceptional.

Thus we can explain the difference between my "It's a Crisis!" approach to today's immigration scenario:
- crucial that immigration and spending need to be fully and firmly brought back under control.
vs. JK's which is more in line with the "others"
- the nation of historically recordable immigration should press heartily on
to quote Mirengoff:

Ryan probably yearns to strike a grand budget deal with the Democrats. For him, such work is far more fulfilling that saying “no” to Democrats.
Understandable, as the instinct of officials elected with other ideas than filling their pockets is up the instinct to legislate and to deal.

4. Bad press can kill an otherwise mighty offensive
HFC members should well note this instinct, and all the bad press that is likely coming their way and find a way to work circumstances that require dealing with the Dems (and "other" GOP types) is necessary as a tactical matter. In these cases, the bargains should be minimal, not sweeping or far reaching.

GOP voters seem to be thinking “outside the box.” Another way of looking at it, though, is that they perceive our politics as having moved into a new box in the Age of Obama.

Who was aware there is a house LIBERTY CAUCUS? I wasn't.

Were TS'ers aware of the “Pledge to America” – saying in part In a self governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching* judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values.

* - [I argue massively overreaching in NFIB v. Sebelius yet underreaching, in King v. Burwell]

I'll have to get this:

author - and con law prof mugged by working for in DC for a Dem Congressman - Elizabeth Price Foley, put it best: limited government, Constitutionalism, control the borders.

Posted by nanobrewer at 12:31 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Heh. I went searching for a Review Corner of Ms. Foley's book. I guess I did not review it, but I did find this comment: "I enjoyed Elizabeth Price Foley's book on the TEA Party but feel she erred in including immigration." JG's "I am the Lorax" comment is much more deserving of a click.

Of course there are substantive, liberty minded folks in House Freedom Caucus. What gave me hope for the last five years was the feeling that thy were ascendant in the Republican Party. My present ennui is based on accepting that they have hit their ceiling and that many hold views on immigration that are orthogonal to liberty.

Trump is now second in the polls, which augurs well for eventual demise. But Dr. Carson, whom I respect and admire deeply, is N-O-T an agent for freedom. Conservatism, perhaps, "common sense" if you hope for that in Government. But he is not a deeply philosophical thinker. He will shut down decriminalization in marijuana because "it's bad for you. He's a Doctor." Maybe bacon is next.

When I do agree with the TEA Partiers and HFC, I question their tactics. Jim Geraghty catalogs the excesses today Ann Coulter calls Jim DeMint leader of "the surrender caucus," Rush . . . well, let me let Jim tell you:

Late last week, Rush Limbaugh called Ryan "the new Cantor" and seemed to suggest the Freedom Caucus was acquiescing to the "donor class" agenda.
Then again, maybe nobody is ever good enough. Dave Bossie is now making the argument that Trey Gowdy wasn't the right man for the job of heading up the Benghazi Select Committee.

Throw all our bums out every two years and allow the other side to accumulate Reps. and seniority in the likes of Elijah Cummings and Nancy Pelosi.

I don't feel I have a place in this party anymore. Maybe I can become a Colin Poweel/David Frum media darling type... There's good money in that.

Posted by: jk at October 27, 2015 12:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I only recently learned of the House Liberty Caucus, separate, apart, and quite different from the House Freedom Caucus. The latter votes as a bloc (not very "free" that) and the former does not.

I'll jump past the subject of last week's sparring and go straight for "agent for freedom." I've been pondering this question: If the "donor" or ("political" "establishment" "chamber of commerce" "Council on Foreign Relations" or "other") class in Washington, comprising the federal Leviathan bureaucracy, really calls the shots, what individual man or woman can be an "agent for freedom" that could slay that dragon?

Short answer - none of them.
Longer answer - we have to find a way to take our money back away from them.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2015 2:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Being less fatalistic, I think the ones with the best intestinal fortitude are, in alphabetical order, Cruz, Fiorina, and Trump.

Cruz and Trump, I imagine, might begin to take the windmill tilting personally and revert to the "king of the hill" masculine form that can distract a chief executive from her true goal - shrinking the power and intrusiveness of government.

Posted by: johngalt at October 27, 2015 3:08 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

JK's comment "don't feel I have a place in this party anymore" recalls to me RedState Eric's comment that I quoted here,

The overarching goal [of The Left] will be to convince you that no one agrees with you and there are no voices echoing you

Since I can't offer you my CLiP T-shirt... perhaps I can help focus on similarities? Starting small, I'll say {cough}Sequester! Given the option of being unhappy with "tactics" vs. considering Freedom's future under an HRC administration, I think the clear choice is to make tough choices, that will continue to forward the cause of freedom, inch by stinking inch.

Agreed that the TP and HFC should go sotto voce on immigration (again, focusing on the above). I kind of hope the HFC will disband after helping get a conservative elected to the Leadership post... the committed ones should then join the HLC, and the pugnacious ones can count their scalps and dry their powder...

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 27, 2015 6:50 PM

July 25, 2015

"Pissin' in my yard ain't gonna make yours any greener" - Bumped

The title is a line from the new song by blog favorite Kacey Musgraves. I heard it for the first time today, on the radio. My thought was, "Damn, that is TEA Party Liberation Theology right there." We need to encourage her to record a duet with Snoop Dog. Play it in Baltimore. Chicago. Brooklyn.

"Pourin' salt in my sugar won't make yours any sweeter."

A-dang-men. The chorus is good too but I won't excerpt. You'll have to listen. (Like you don't want to listen anyway.) This video looks like a bootleg from a live show in Florida. And a damn fine bootleg too.

This music blogger was impressed too.

Studio version here.

UPDATE: The linked studio version has been yanked, but here is the official video instead. And what the heck, let's bump it too.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:29 AM | Comments (9)
But jk thinks:

The bootleg is Purdy good, I like the studio -- better audio ( plus one more verse?)

A YouTube commenter named David says "nice song hope she doesnt make a smutty video out of it keep pure"

Huh, we can't all agree on everything I guess...

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2015 12:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yep, see the "blog favorite" hyperlink above. Just prior to the "Liberation Theology" hyperlink, to an academic post without a 'pretty girl with guitar' video.

In fairness, I haven't gotten around to reading this weekend's Review Corner effort either.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2015 3:34 PM
But johngalt thinks:

No extra verse. Played 'em both at the same time to find out. :)

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2015 4:12 PM
But jk thinks:

D'oh! I did not see that one. I will confess that I expected the "This music blogger" to link to ThreeSources.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2015 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

*Obi Wan Kenobi voice* "Hover your mouse, Luke."

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2015 7:31 PM
But jk thinks:

"I'll just do me, honey, you just do you." If that ain't a libertarian manifesto...

Posted by: jk at July 26, 2015 11:47 AM

June 23, 2015


Possible sub-head: 'The modern reprise of Don Quixote.'

Since the wee hours of the TEA Party movement I've been pleading for elected representatives to call shenanigans on the Washington "establishment" that fleeces the citizenry while telling us "we're looking out for you." My representative, Congressman Ken Buck (A Republic - CO) is proving to be such a man.

While he angered my fellow liberty and conservative activists by not walking the plank in a futile effort to oust Speaker Boehner (Washington D.C. - OH) he proved his constitutional bona fides by being one of only 34 courageous Republicans to vote NO on the TPA bill, aka "Obamatrade." And now he is fundraising on it.


Bully, Congressman! I'm in. Don't tell dagny but I put my money where my blogging is.

Join me by visiting Ken's donate page. He suggested $25, which sounded fair to a tightwad like me.

From the "courageous Republicans" link above:

"Americans should be proud that 34 Republicans put their country before their political party today," Americans for Limited Government president Rick Manning tells Breitbart News. "Their vote to stop Obamatrade dead in its tracks is one that sets the stage for tomorrow's defeat of enabling him to fast track the Trans-Pacific Partnership and other treaties. The nation owes these 34 heroes a debt of gratitude."
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:45 AM | Comments (14)
But dagny thinks:

dagny (never been wrong) Poppins would like to know: What does this bill actually do? Anyone? Beuller??

Posted by: dagny at June 23, 2015 3:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Cato's Nine Myths is a good place to start. When the President negotiates a free trade agreement, it says Congress will give him an up-down vote with no amendments. Like the base closure, this helps agreements avoid derailment by hyper-interested parties.

As noted by the CRS, "TPA reflects decades of debate, cooperation, and compromise between Congress and the executive branch in finding a pragmatic accommodation to the exercise of each branch's respective authorities over trade policy.” It represents a "gentleman's agreement" between the legislative branch and the executive branch—with the former promising the latter "fast track" rules for the requisite congressional approval of an FTA, if, and only if, the latter (i) agrees to follow a detailed set of congressional "negotiating objectives" for the agreement's content; and (ii) engages in a series of consultations with Congress on that content. As discussed more fully below, each branch of government retains its constitutional authority to abandon this gentleman's agreement, but doing so will essentially kill any hope of signing and implementing new FTAs. So, with limited exceptions, Congress and the executive toe the line.
Posted by: jk at June 23, 2015 3:58 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

This thread made me go back and read Republicans Should Vote No On Trade Promotion Authority by Hinderocker @ PowerLine.

Some basic quotes for the analysis (much more basic and example driven than CATO's):

the main focus [these days] now is on non-tariff barriers. If we are talking about quotas, fine; free traders will say, get rid of them. But it isn’t that simple. Environmental regulation, or the lack thereof, can also be considered a non-tariff barrier. There is a real risk that a liberal administration may use trade negotiations to commit the United States to domestic policies that Congress would never pass.

TPP also includes provisions on immigration that promote the “mobility of labor.” Will TPP commit the U.S. to allowing even more immigration of low-skill workers, on top of the historically unprecedented levels we are already accommodating? No one seems to know, or be willing to say.

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 24, 2015 1:23 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks for the Hinderacker link, nb. I'll excerpt further...

There are many reasons to oppose TPA, and the TPP it will almost assuredly beget. The one that is of utmost concern to me is the provision that threatens to subjugate the US Constitutional Republic to an international governing body:

Further, TPP would establish a commission that can enter into new agreements so that TPP is a "living document." We know how well that works.

Senator Jeff Sessions, the Republican in Washington who most looks out for American workers, is adamantly opposed to granting President Obama fast track authority:

A vote for fast-track is a vote to erase valuable procedural and substantive powers of Congress concerning a matter of utmost importance involving the very sovereignty of this nation. Without any doubt, the creation of this living commission with all its powers will erode the power of the American people to directly elect—or dismiss from office—the people who impact their lives.

The Democrats want us to be like the European Union, where millions of people are ruled by unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels, and national interests are subordinated to the welfare of the trans-national class of the rich, fashionable and politically connected.

What is so critical about this trade pact that we must risk anything remotely like this? Yes I support trade. But I am also an American exceptionalist. TPP and TPA threaten to relegate the American experiment to the dustbin of history. At least until a new generation of winter soldiers wins back our liberty from an even more sinister crown.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 11:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Re: The call for a Sanders filibuster, it is neither mean nor unfair. Dems traditionally oppose trade agreements because of union influences. Most of them also oppose TPA because of the boost it promises to multinational corporate cronyism - one of the same objections named by the Republican Congressman Buck.

We have a kumbaya moment here, and my blog brother doesn't see it. Let me remind you where we have common cause with 90% of Americans.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2015 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I must renege on something I said yesterday - yes, I do believe that TPA is UNconstitutional in addition to supraconstitutional.

dagny did not believe my assertion that the Constitution requires a two-thirds approval vote by the Senate on international treaties. Article II. Section 2. paragraph 2:

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

[emphasis mine]

TPA undoes this. And with the prohibition of the procedural filibuster, even undoes the 60 vote margin that TPA barely squeaked by with. 51 votes now, to approve any trade related* treaty POTUS desires. James Madison, call your office.

*There is no requirement that the treaty deal exclusively with trade.

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2015 3:12 PM

June 3, 2015

Old Penn Point

Brother jg has been keepin' the flame alive in the Tea Party category, but I have been slacking.

I stumbled upon this great PennPoint from 2010. The commercial at the end for Netflix sounds more like 1910 than 2010. But, as Penn is wont to do, he captures truth, in spite of a painful mischaracterization of the Tea Party.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:01 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I wanted to watch this when it was posted but 11 minutes is just too long, man! Dagny told me about it so I went back and whole thing watched the, so I can tell readers the good stuff starts at 7:30. Wealthy Progressive D-bag Seth McFarland claims that he can support wealth redistribution to benefit the less fortunate, even though it's supposedly counter to his self-interest, but low income folks with moral beliefs who vote for Republicans are "puppets" because they're voting counter to their self-interest. WTF!

An apolitical friend from South Carolina recently told me that southern TEA Party people are basically the old Moral Majority, Bible thumpin' moralizers. I tried to suggest that social morality and private property are two different issues that can, but don't have to, coexist in the same value system. She heard me. Don't think she bought it though. But it opened my eyes to another reason the TEA Party has a bad rep.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2015 7:12 PM

March 14, 2015

Colorado GOP Reboot

Colorado Republicans met in Castle Rock today for the party's bi-annual ritual of electing its leadership team. Chairman, Vice-Chairman and Secretary positions were at stake. I am pleased to report that the sitting Chair, Ryan Call, was displaced by challenger Steve House.

Like Winston Churchill’s 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 Call’s 179.33 votes. House received 57% of the vote, and congratulations across social media.

And a surprising outcome, for its decisiveness if not its conclusion, had Derrick Willburn winning the Vice-Chair race on the first ballot in a crowded field. Derrick received 203 votes compared to 88, 65 and 44 votes for three other formidable candidates, passing the majority threshold of 201.5 by just 1.5 votes. (All county co-chairs each cast half-votes.) So each of us who voted for Derrick can basically consider himself "the deciding vote."

Derrick's message of outreach to urban voters of color resonated with the county party leaders and bonus members who seized on his offer to lead the effort to bring voters of color home to the Republican party from a Democrat party that always promises but never delivers any improvements in their lives. Derrick will be a great partner for Chairman House, who said:

"Denver and Boulder are where the biggest opportunities lie for growing the Republican tent. We must open the doors to new voters who are just waiting to enjoy the prosperity and freedom that only our party can deliver."

Finally, the new party Secretary Brandi Meek represents youth, women and the rural western slope. Together these three new leaders are certain to take Colorado Republicans in a far different - and I think far better - direction than might otherwise have been.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:17 PM | Comments (4)
But Jk thinks:

Great Day for Colorado. Thanks, County Chair!

Posted by: Jk at March 14, 2015 9:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Is it too much an "inside baseball" question to ask what was wrong with the old guard?

Posted by: nanobrewer at March 15, 2015 10:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I wondered the same thing nb, when I got involved with the party and found everyone upset with him. He drew a full-time salary and didn't give money to candidates who could have used it, mostly. He dismissed the liberty wing of the party and maintained an open feud with many of them. He did many things behind closed doors and didn't answer questions forthrightly. He also, now infamously, set us an "Independent Expenditure Committee" for the CO GOP that was supposedly separate from the party and therefore able to spend money like a PAC. But the party pays the IEC's legal bills. And the IEC paid a consultant big bucks, then that same consultant was convicted of fraud or some such in Virginia. Call was accused of back room dealing and spending money to defeat Republicans he didn't like in primaries.

Basically, it's a long list that almost everyone can find something to be mad about.

Posted by: johngalt at March 15, 2015 11:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll be Mister Positive! Without attacking Call for anything specific, I suggest that it was time for a change to allow the liberty wing to spring up and change a somewhat sclerotic state party apparatus.

Okay, that wasn't too positive, but I got to meet House during his gubernatorial campaign and was mightily impressed by his background, integrity, and dedication to liberty principles. I'd've picked House over anybody.

The best defense of Call was his success in 2014, but there were suggestions that he could have helped in a couple House races and chose not to; control of both chambers was within grasp.

I get weary of Tea partiers demanding scalps qua scalps, but this was a good one. I wish Mister Call a long and happy life, but I congratulate House and the assembly that elected him.

Posted by: jk at March 16, 2015 11:20 AM

September 17, 2014

Money Back if Not Completely Satisfied

That's the sort of guarantee we're all accustomed to when doing business with a private concern. Can we ask for, maybe, half our money back from government?


Over 100 million people, about one third of the U.S. population, received aid from at least one welfare program at an average cost of $9,000 per recipient in 2013. If converted into cash, current means-tested spending is five times the amount needed to eliminate all poverty in the U.S.

After all, 80 percent of the almost one triiiiilion dollars spent on Means Tested Welfare Spending each year is wasted.

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:38 PM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2014

Kentucky Woman

"She gets to know you."

And when Kentucky voters get to know her, they may make Kentucky Republicans wish they had nominated "TEA Party favorite" Matt Bevin instead of... ol' Mitch.

Doggone, I really hope the GOP swings enough seats to control the senate without McConnell because, like this CNN commentator says, I'm one of those who sees him as part of the problem.

I'm watching this race real closely because to me it could be the biggest indictment of politics as usual. If Republicans win the senate because Barack Obama hasn't led, but McConnell doesn't return to the senate to lead it because he's part of, a big part of the dysfunction in Washington, this could be a race that really shows how the public is just tired of the way both parties are running this place.

"She goin' to own you."

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:30 PM | Comments (16)
But nanobrewer thinks:

McConnel has been generally unphelpful and most un-leaderlike, IIRC. Boehner doubles down by repeatedly going out of his way to be nasty, and do things (specifically, to try to force an Immigration Reform bill) that really hurt conservatism and the Party. Hurting the GOP may not terribly important 'round here perhaps, but think about the title he ran for just 3 years ago.

He's given the media way too many weapons with which to continue the rhetorical beating (as if they need the help!) of GOP and the Tea Party. This to me says he's more than just a politician, but a rank and low-down DC Insider. Of the 2-3 times I'm aware of these low-down maneuvers, the only explanation I can see -- and I follow the inside-baseball aspect of politics to a certain degree -- is to ingratiate himself to media and the liberal cognoscente.

With friends like this.... McConnel I can stomach, Boehner needs to be crushed. IMHO

Here's what Morning Joe had to say:

Boehner and the leadership don’t talk to their members. A lot of times, I’ll call my buddies and I’ll say hey, what’s going on? What are guys doing? And they go, ‘we wish we knew.’ I say well, when’s the last time Boehner told you what the strategy was, because Newt sometimes talked, as you know, too much. They say well, Boehner doesn’t talk to us. Well, what do you mean he doesn’t talk to you? They say he never tells us what’s coming next. We’re guessing half the time.

Sounds like Obama's style of "leadership", if y'ask me....

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 16, 2014 4:46 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Wow - strong letter to follow, eh? Leave the conversation for an hour and look what happens.

I'm surprised at the visceral reaction to Boehner/McConnell. These guys must continually thread the needle and have done as good a job as anyone could, IMHO. No really egregious legislation has passed since Boehner became speaker. When we only control one half of Congress, the best we can hope for is to block the bad stuff. Asking them to get anything worthwhile past Reid or Obama is unrealistic.

Look - someone is going to hold the Senate seat from Kentucky. Can you name one Kentucky Democrat that you'd prefer over McConnell?

"Better to let Democrats take the blame..." - really? We've been trying that strategy since 2008 and now we have Obamacare, $17 trillion in debt, snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq/Afghanistan, lost all credibility as a world leader, our enemies are stronger and our allies weaker, Sotamayor/Kagen are in SCOTUS and the DC Circuit has been packed with libs (total of 53 Circuit Court appointments overall) and it may take a generation to rebuild our military - not to mention the abuses of imPOTUS power and scandals. Yet, I see no sign of the presumed popular uprising of which y'all speak. Newsflash - the general electorate ain't all that engaged or astute. If the Republican's win the Senate, (and that's a big "if"), it will be a squeaker not a landslide. If we lose Kentucky, we basically have no shot at a majority. Then, Obama will be free to pick whichever Supreme Court nominees he likes in the final two years, as some may retire, because Senate Majority Leader Reid will extend the nuclear option to Supreme Court nominees.

If y'all aren't ready to pull on every oar (and lever) to take back the Senate, then why expect the average citizen to care? And God help our Republic.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2014 6:08 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

BR: And now we have Obamacare (McConnell voted for funding Obamacare), $17 trillion in debt (McConnell voted for the debt hike)... Continually thread the needle?

Here are some of the most egregious McConnell votes: http://bit.ly/1t9h59N

The lack of new bad laws owes more to the House than to McConnell, I think. McConnell's voting history sort of demonstrates he's rowing those oars against us as often as not. This isn't a case of the perfect being the enemy of the good; this is a case of a man who disdains people like us and is bold about proving it, with his votes and his mouth, because he believes that no matter how much he betrays us, we'll keep sending him back to Washington to screw us some more.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 16, 2014 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

I think a couple of my blog brothers might be confusing the constant blogger/Tea Party opposition to GOP leadership as actual misfeasance on McConnel's part.

There were a couple disappointments in your evil ten list, but if you are in the US Senate any amount of time, you will have some bad votes for things you have traded, or taken procedural votes, or made a mistake.

Part D and TARP I were Republican initiatives. Like 'em or not, they were President Bush's deals and he was at best taking one for the team.

Debt limit, funding &c. Yup, he did not do a government shutdown which could have hurt the party. I know there is not 100% agreement, but to present that as proof of prodigality is unfair.

I've come to accept that the "wave" is not on the menu this year, and it is become sadly clear that Colorado will not help with the +6: the Scion will keep his seat with #waronwomen ads.

I'm foursquare with The Refugee -- you guys are willing to give up a GOP seat, enjoy two more years of "Majority Leader Reid."

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 6:52 PM
But jk thinks:

Brother jg inks to CNN (egads!) and "but McConnell doesn't return to the senate to lead it because he's part of, a big part of the dysfunction in Washington..."

I love that part of dysfunction in Washington! I'm ready to give him a medal for that dysfunction in Washington -- he is stopping a lot of Democrat nonsense.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2014 6:55 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But not the important nonsense, as that might be bad for the party.

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2014 12:20 AM

September 11, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

"But the sad thing about this is, even if both Roberts and Perdue lose, expect the establishment to learn nothing from the experience. Despite a lengthy history of long-term incumbent Republicans getting tossed out on their ears in red state general elections due to corruption and disconnection from their home state, they will still insist loudly and publicly that the safest path to more Republican seats is to continue electing the seasoned guy and the incumbent. It's up to voters and donors to stop buying this obviously false argument."

From They Told Me If I Voted for the Establishment, This Would Not Happen by Leon H. Wolf.

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

September 9, 2014

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.

I like Sally Kohn. We're polar opposites, but at least she is principled. And in today's column she compliments... the TEA Party.

This is, of course, what the Tea Party has been impressively adept at doing - choosing uncompromising candidates to run in primaries, deeply threatening the mainstream Republican establishment by not being afraid of losing, and thereby pulling the Republican Party's stance and leadership on issues decisively to the right. This is an even more impressive accomplishment given that, on most every issue, the Tea Party is out of step with mainstream American voters. Meanwhile, the opposite is true for progressives - from protecting reproductive freedom to passing sensible gun safety laws to raising taxes on the rich to strengthening public education, the progressive left represents a majority, and sometimes a strong majority, of the American people. And yet we can’t seem to convert those beliefs into concrete and uncompromising political power.

"These aren't the mainstream American voters you are looking for."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:53 PM | Comments (0)

August 14, 2014

Let's all pay off the national debt, together!

I'm from flyover country, and I'm here to help! Yesterday, President Obama explained to all Americans the basic balance sheet options for making ends meet in the national Leviathan that is the United States federal government.

"We're reviewing all of our options," Obama said. "The lost revenue to Treasury means it has got to be made up somewhere, and that typically is going to be a bunch of hard-working Americans who either pay through higher taxes themselves or through reduced services."

Many of us have selfishly urged, or demanded, that government balance its budget by spending less. Legislators and presidents have come and gone, election after election, never able - for some reason - to bring government spending under control or even, for that matter, reduce it by a single dime. Whatever the causes of this official recalcitrance, I now repent my prior demands and acknowledge the role President Obama reminds me that I play in balancing the federal government budget. I will do my fair share. Nay, I will do my full share. I do firmly pledge and promise, now and forever, to pay every possible penny into the Treasury "through reduced services" from this day forward.

Join me. It'll be easy if we can all stop being so selfish.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:56 PM | Comments (0)

July 14, 2014

Cognitive Dissonance of the Day

Religion here doesn’t mean theology but a distinct belief system which, in totality, provides basic answers regarding how to live one’s life, how society should function, how to deal with social and political issues, what is right and wrong, who should lead us, and who should not. It does so in ways that fulfill deep-seated emotional needs that, at their profoundest level, are devotional. Given the confusions of a secular world being rapidly transformed by technology, demography, and globalization, this movement has assumed a spiritual aspect whose adepts have undergone a religious experience which, if not in name, then in virtually every other aspect, can be considered a faith.

The author most likely, it seems, is writing about the modern environmentalist movement. Nay, in fact, the Tea Party.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:39 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2014


Rather than grandstanding about terrorist atrocities in Iraq or even a flood of undocumented alien children across our southern border, every single Republican congressman or senator should be jointly focused like a period-full-stop laser beam on the most deadly serious threat to US civil society today: The likely use of federal government power to influence the outcome of an election, and the obvious cover up that attempts to obstruct investigation of the original crime. Harry Reid's hometown newspaper says it well:

This is not a partisan witchhunt. It is an inquiry to determine whether a federal agency conspired with elected members of a political party to influence the outcome of an election. And it already screams of a cover-up.

The full editorial is loaded with winks and eye rolling over the "accidents" which befell the evidence requested by congress. On any objective scale, Watergate was a misdemeanor compared to Obamagate. The only thing about the more recent of these two is the news media's curiosity.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:52 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The second article of impeachment was the misuse of the IRS to punish political enemies. And Rose Mary Woods only lost 18-1/2 minutes.

Posted by: jk at June 20, 2014 5:07 PM

June 12, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

And if the 11 million illegals who live here obey the law, pay taxes, learn English, and understand the Constitution, they deserve legal status. Citizenship is an issue way down the road. And yes, we must include border security, where unfortunately Obama's lax policies have contributed to the calamitous surge in illegal-immigrant children. But temporary visas or work permits should be part of a sensible reform package. The E-Verify system can work.

So, Mr. Brat, as a free-market economist, surely you know there's no reason why all this cannot be done.

Hopefully you will come to believe that sensible immigration reform is pro-growth and pro-GOP.

Larry Kudlow, 'David Brat, Right on Free-Market Economics'

(Quoting Kudlow on CIR, so's jk don't have toooooooo.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:20 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Millions pay withholding on fake SSNs for which they can never get refunds or claim any benefits. This is something of a windfall to the treasury which is never computed in opponents' balance sheets. They also pay sales taxes, property taxes through rent, and any local fees. Not to say that zero are not using services for which they do not pay, but the balance is at the very least a lot more nuanced.

The line sounds great, Andy -- the orderly queue is the centerpiece of civilization and order. But in the case of immigration, it is an absolute fantasy. There is no line -- there are some with connections who hope to emigrate and there are a few with family already here that can hope for some unification.

But those who just want to live here, whether a newly minted PhD in Engineering from Stanford or a good worker who would like a shot at the better life -- which my immigrant have friends have received -- have no hope. One can fill out a form, but there is no line, there is no wait list where a name will come up someday. There's an H1-B system that fills its annual quota in a couple days.

These people could be starting exciting new business, providing the labor for others to start or grow one -- or just be legal taxpayers and customers. It strikes me as a pretty good deal.

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2014 5:47 PM
But johngalt thinks:

1.2 million pay witholding on ITIN's, which probably do allow refunds and benefits.


Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2014 10:57 PM
But AndyN thinks:

JK - I'm aware that a lot of criminals, both foreign and domestic, use fake SSNs. I also don't deny that taxes automatically withheld from them may be a net financial gain for the government. However, if part of Kudlow's criteria are that foreigners who entered the country illegally deserve legal status because they pay taxes and obey all our other laws besides the ones they broke entering the country, acknowledging that a lot of them pay taxes by falsifying government documents isn't much of an argument against my original point. People who aren't legally allowed to be in the country can't both obey the law and pay taxes unless they're entirely dependent on someone else for their upkeep.

As for there being no line for immigrants wanting to come here legally - that H1B quota is a line. Is the permitted length of that line too short? Perhaps. I'm more than willing to entertain the possibility that we should be encouraging more legal immigration. That doesn't change my opinion that the criminals who are here now shouldn't be given priority treatment over people who've been waiting to come here legally all along. Those people also could be starting new businesses, providing labor for others to do so, or just be legal taxpayers and customers. And I'm inclined to believe they'll be less likely to violate our other laws than people who have a history of doing so.

Posted by: AndyN at June 14, 2014 8:53 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Any body else had their tax return held up?

isn't helping....

Posted by: nanobrewer at June 15, 2014 1:38 AM
But Terri thinks:

Andy is right.
Increase the amount of visa's available.

That is not only the short term, but the long term solution to this problem.
I don't get why it isn't the 1st thing on the agenda. Perhaps equal to confirming we're going to work on being serious about a border or stop any talk of amnesty which just invites illegal activity.

Posted by: Terri at June 15, 2014 10:01 AM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, my work here is not done. <wink />

I know I go on about immigration, but after Facebook threads it is enriching to discuss with people guided by reason and appreciative of liberty.

The H1-B has elements of a line but no continuity. If there are 300 this year and I am number 301, that gives me no leg up next year; the line forms anew. That is a multi-winner lottery and not a line.

But I accept, to Terri's point and Andy's, that it could be expanded to create a line. I am all for that. But it will not happen.

There are those who oppose any increase in immigration for a variety of reasons. Some see zero-sum economics and believe every immigrant taking a job leaves one fewer job for US citizens (cf., South Park). Unions see a shift away from Union labor. Some have baser motives.

Even with a plurality remaining, neither would legislators on either side "give this away." This most popular chip is held hostage by the right to enact more security and on the left to get a path to citizenship. You can't give the abolitionists Missouri and then discuss Kansas.

If the H1B is fixed, we still have all the same messes. More Doctors around to treat everybody, which is nice, but there is a demand for low wage labor and a supply of it separated by a very narrow river. On that front, I most definitely hold my position that this "line" we keep hearing of is a fiction. There is zero legal path for a Mexican or Central American who would like to come here, work hard, pay his taxes, and establish a better life.

I am a law and order guy. It gets me kicked out of a lot of Libertarian events -- even the ones with a cash bar. If there were a legal path, I'd happily get tough on those who chose not to use it. As there is none, I'm sympathetic to those who make my life better and theirs, at great cost and jeopardy to themselves.

Posted by: jk at June 15, 2014 11:17 AM

February 28, 2014

Otequay of the Ayday

The Tea Party rightly concluded from the battles over Obamacare that what we are seeing in our politics these days is not two clashing interpretations of the same Constitution, but increasingly two different Constitutions in conflict: the old Constitution of 1787 and a “living” Constitution that is not just a different approach to the original, but an alternative to it. The extraordinary fight the Tea Party was willing to put up arose from this fact—that Obamacare amounted to a colossal battle between two different ways of government. And it was the Tea Party and President Obama who shared a clear understanding of the stakes; mainstream Republican leaders understood them with much less clarity and intensity.

From this month's excellent issue of Imprimus, by Hillsdale College.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 30, 2013

The Great Game of Government

December 2009 were heady days for those intent on reining in the "abuses" of "big business." Just ten days prior to the midnight passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act by a straight party line vote of Democrat US Senators, Springfield, MO CEO Jack Stack started a blog page with a topic of 'Open the Books.'

Why would business owners want to open the books to their employees?

Because doing so has the power to change the way the company operates and to change the way employees think about their work. Let me quote former Representative Richard Gephardt, whom I introduced to open-book management and who has dedicated much of his time since leaving office to spreading the word: Open-book management, Mr. Gephardt wrote in his book, "An Even Better Place," represents "an overall approach to corporate governance that treats the employees like co-owners of the business who have to make sacrifices and take on the burdens that any owner assumes."

The idea is to get employees to start approaching their jobs as if they owned the place, which in fact they might.

This may or may not be a great idea for corporations, which must compete with other corporations in a marginally free market. But it sounds to me like a fantastic idea for government.

It's also a great idea according to Chicago's Adam Andrzejewski, who has invested considerable time and money on a project called Open the Books...

which allows users to see spending figures in their areas across multiple levels of government, going back 12 years in some cases. Shining light on such data is the means, but the primary goal of the site and app is to put pressure on governments to reduce wasteful spending, and it's already been downloaded more than 5,000 times in the Google Play store. It's also available in the Apple app store.

"There are no easy conversations in America anymore about spending and debt," Andrzejewski told me, "So everyday people have to start holding local officials accountable."

It is here that I learned that over three thousand Illinois government employees have higher salaries than the state's governor. And on the openthebooks.com page where I ran a search to discover how many federal employees earn over $300,000 per year (and that those at the top of the list all work for the VA or VHA.) In another search I found the names and addresses of Colorado farmers receiving multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in "supplemental farm income" from the federal government!

Our goal was to teach our employees to think and act like owners. We started by trying to improve their financial literacy by turning topics like accounting into a game. We played this game with real money, however, and the game’s pieces were each and every employee’s quality of life. We called it The Great Game of Business.

Visit openthebooks.com. Run some searches. Make a donation. Share results on Facebook. Let's help Adam spread The Great Game of Government, and turn as many as possible of the current winners into the losers they really are.

HT: Last evening's John Stossel show.

UPDATE: [jk here, don't blame jg of I booger this up] Here is a widget (works for me in Chrome but not IE, your mileage may vary...):

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Nice job on the widget! Here's a fun test for everyone: Under Federal click "checkbook" then "zip code" and "farm subsidies" then pick a modest radius and enter your zip code. Find out how many of your neighbors are pulling down 20, 50, $60k per year or more in "Supplemental Assistance Program" or "Biomass Crop Assistance" or "Emergency Assistance Livestock; Honeybee; Fish."

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2014 12:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Direct Payments" is another fun category. The major recipient in my area seems to be housing projects and, Pell Grants. Notably $3.7M from the Education Department in 2010 for Park College in zip code 80229, 2nd Congressional District, a "profit organization", which was paid from, hmmm, the "Appalachian Regional Commission" Program Source? Way to go Representative Polis!! Bacon, bacon, bacon!

This reminds me of the Pell Grants to an Illinois cosmetology college with annual tuition of $20k.

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2014 12:48 PM

November 8, 2013


Dear fellow TEA Partiers,

Please, PLEASE... don't nominate this guy.

Tancredo was caught on camera giving the finger to a Hudak supporter at a rally of signature gatherers who want Hudak kicked out of office.

Tancredo told Denver's CBS4 that the man yelled an expletive at him after following him around with a video camera.

"Look, this guy is a thug, and you have to talk to thugs in a language they understand," he said.

Wrong, Tom. You have to learn to ignore verbal taunts. While it's true that this sort of thing endears you to your acolytes, it also shows poor judgment, character and temperament to the rest of Colorado's voters who would be even less inclined to make you their governor.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

He's a uniter!

Posted by: jk at November 9, 2013 11:21 AM

November 5, 2013

Election Night Colorado

A couple of big issues on the statewide ballot today. A nearly billion dollar annual tax increase, primarily to prop up public employee pensions, and a smaller tax on legalized marijuana.

Here are Six Items to Watch for in Tonight's Election from local pollster Floyd Cirulli.

And the latest, and last before returns begin to come out, voter turnout data statewide, by county. Lookie there, El Paso county turnout exceeds Denver's!

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:42 PM | Comments (8)
But johngalt thinks:

Billion dollar tax hike, introducing progressive rates to CO income tax, shot down by voters 2:1.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 1:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Even more importantly, perhaps, at least three CO school districts (Douglas, Jefferson and Denver) elected a slate of anti-union school board members, including Douglas County where the members were re-elected after implementing sweeping reforms.

This growing statewide trend likely will reverberate nationally.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 1:36 AM
But jk thinks:

The only slightly sour note was that the 51st State Initiative performed weakly, especially in my home county of Weld.

It was a always going to be difficult, but its tepid start effectively kills it. C'est le guerre.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2013 1:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Blog Optimist here! IMO, it was never more than a shot across the bow of state government. For this "crackpot idea" to garner 40-plus percent in every county it was tested is nothing to sneeze at. Secede from the state? That's crazy talk! And yet, more than just the proponents and their relatives voted "Aye." Still enough support to lobby urban pols to straighten up.

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

Fair point. Apres le deluge, even the Facebook page changed from trying out new flag designs to "Send a Message..." You are probably correct that that was accomplished. Staying optimistic, I'd suggest the 2-1 thumping given to Amendment 66 -- which would take money from rural counties to plow into urban school districts -- was more legible.

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2013 2:59 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Speaking of those urban school districts:

3. School Reform Slates Sweep The State: In perhaps the most underreported news of the night, school reform candidates from Northern Colorado to Jefferson County to Denver swept the school board races. The JeffCo school board "sleeper slate" victory surprised even us. Everyone had their eyes on Douglas County, where reformers beat back a union challenge backed by Obama's senior Colorado advisor and bankrolled with big national union money. But school choice supporters racked up victories in nearly every race they ran.

From CO Peak Politics' '7 Lessons Learned from the 2013 Colorado Election'

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2013 3:05 PM

November 1, 2013

"M for Mankind"

Promoted to embed from a comment by brother Keith, offered in response to melancholy references to the archaic and the obsolete, that among these are the idea that every man is an end within himself. And yes, it is today's ACA Horror Story.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (3)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

It has been said, and I would agree, that the best of science fiction grows out of social commentary - a projected future based on the present. Heinlein's "The Moon Is A Harsh Mistress," Bradbury's "The Martian Chronicles," Fritz Lang's "Metropolis" all being fine examples. Rand's "Anthem" could be included here as well. Serling's work in the Twilight Zone often stood in this stream as well.

Thank you for the kind mention, too -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at November 1, 2013 4:48 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

I love the Twilight Zone. If only TV had something so thought provoking today....

Posted by: T. Greer at November 2, 2013 5:12 AM
But jk thinks:

The blog contrarian is warming up... I want to wait until I watch the clip. I don't remember this episode and it sounds superb.

But please good people, go easy on the TV nostalgia in my presence. I will comment on the Twilight Zone episode and try to find a link to Jonah Goldberg's making my point better that I can.

But the point is that, while Twilight Zone was swell, this has filtered to the top out of the tons of nonsense of the time.

What saddens some TheeeSourcers is the expectation of intellectual capacity that we see in Twilight Zone or the Johnny Carson interview of Ayn Rand. It is certainly pitched to a lower common denominator these days.

But take away Rod Serling and you're left with I Love Lucy, Dick van Dyke, Andy Griffith and Hogan's Heroes. All of whom have their charms (well, maybe not Hogan), but compare poorly to Buffy, Firefly, the Miami Vice episode with Willie Nelson playing the Texas Ranger, Castle, Eureka, Defiance, and my new show Sleepy Hollow.

That, and a three-network lock on information that we're just beginning to crack at the edges. I'm less than nostalgic.

Posted by: jk at November 2, 2013 1:58 PM

October 24, 2013

Establishment GOP Got Them No Good Walkin' (Back) Blues

That shutdown that was the worst thing to happen to the GOP since John Wilkes Booth got a TicketHub® account? Kate Bachelder gets some WSJ Ed Page space:

In the midst of the public relations shellacking that Republicans have endured for shutting down the government, the GOP can take heart that at least one prominent red-state Democrat up for re-election next year is suffering in the polls.

A survey released Tuesday by the University of Arkansas shows that a mere 34% of likely voters in the state approve of the job Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor is doing in Washington. Just last year, Mr. Pryor enjoyed a 53% approval rating, and the government shutdown may explain the 19-point drop. In 2014, Democrats must defend seven Senate seats in states that President Obama lost last year, and Arkansas is considered one of the likelier pick-ups for the GOP

Shellack our way to a majority, babies!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2013


Methinks the Establishment Republicans (boo! hiss!) might be walking back the absolutism of their attacks on Senator Ted Cruz (HOSS TX). I offer, as Exhibit A, the following headline:

Fred Barnes: The Upside of the GOP Shutdown Defeat

I love the WSJ Ed Page and I like Fred Barnes, but one must admit that the combination is about as establishment as it gets. Yet the "defeat" suddenly enjoys an "upside."
Now across-the-board cuts go into effect annually without the need for a fresh vote in Congress or the president's signature. Nor are Republicans forced to offer Democrats the sweetener of tax increases. The sequester is cuts and only cuts. As a result, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell noted proudly last week when announcing the end of the shutdown that "government spending has declined for two years in a row [for] the first time in 50 years."

Mr. McConnell negotiated both the 2011 agreement, known as the Budget Control Act, or BCA, and the shutdown deal. He's not about to let go of either, unless Mr. Obama and his Democratic allies offer a serious slate of money-saving entitlement reforms. A special Senate-House conference has been given until Dec. 13 to reach still another budget agreement that theoretically could restrain entitlements and soften the sequester. But Mr. McConnell doesn't expect this to happen. Neither does Mr. Reid.

All we need are a few more defeats, n'est ce pas?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:36 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Oui, c'est bon!

But what about this:

"For Republicans eager to corral federal spending - and that's most of them..."

Some would argue that "most" Republicans deserted the 'wacko birds' who actually attempted to corral federal spending. But I'll not do that - I'd just like to ask if it is acceptable to have, as a goal, a congress wherein ALL Republicans are eager to corral federal spending? Or is that too "extreme?"

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 3:28 PM
But jk thinks:

Barnes (and Strassel and Kudlow) would say that all Republicans wish to cut spending but differ on tactics. Do you risk an unpopular ploy close to important midterms?

I find that argument compelling, but would like to see all three of them discover what Barnes begins to limn. All accept rather generic poll data on "likeability of GOP Congress" as proof of defeat.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2013 3:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Who says the wacko bird tactics are unpopular, generic polling data? I don't for a second believe that McCain or Graham would ever cut any pentagon spending. Ever. And the Dems know they'll sell their souls for DoD, so they never get to cut any other spending in any other department. Ever.

I, for one, am fed up with business-as-usual in Washington D.C. I'm beyond ready to attempt other tactics, even ones that some may malign as "unpopular."

Posted by: johngalt at October 22, 2013 7:20 PM

October 16, 2013

Open for Redistribution!

After a lengthy "government shutdown" in which the greatest public sacrifices were borne by visitors to America's National Parks, Congress appears poised to "re-open" the federal government. One cannot truthfully say "for business" but for whatever it is that the federal government, particularly the "nonessential" portions of Leviathan, normally does.

I support this "surrender." Important points have been made:

1) Fully 43% of federal civilian employees are non-essential, and could likely be let go, gradually and humanely, of course.

2) Republicans, at least a handful of them, have warned Americans loudly and clearly that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will make most of them worse off than they were before. They are on record as having tried to stop it before it did whatever damage is sure to come.

3) By the way, did we mention that federal government spending is out of control and we really can stop it if enough voters send us enough principled house members in '14? Toward this end, every vote between now and then adds to the ideological war chest in coming primary battles.

Now, fellow Lilliputians, it is time to step back and let Leviathan stumble along his predictable path. There are triplines in place, put there not by the Administration's partisan opponents, but by the selfish interests of millions of Americans. "I work for a living, and I vote."

One point of caution I can think of now is to be prepared to deflect calls by the Administration to "fix" or "rework" or "tweek" Obamacare as a cover for its failings. The proper rebuttal will be, this law is flawed in its premise and must be replaced with a system that delivers cost-effective care as demanded by a customer base that is free to make purchasing choices at the point of care. You know, like iTunes.

Best of all, since the "reopening" is only for 2-3 months, we get to do this all over again soon... with myriad Obamacare horror stories betwixt. What a country!


"I am canceling insurance for us and I am not paying any f**king penalty. What the hell kind of reform is this?

Oh, ok, if we qualify, we can get some government assistance. Great. So now I have to jump through another hoop to just chisel some of this off. And we don't qualify, anyway, so what's the point?"

ht: Terri

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (1)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Shorter version: "Let it burn."

The only downside to all this is that when Obamacare - and one fine day not long after that, Leviathan himself - crashes, there are going to be people on the other side saying that it was doomed because we didn't cede enough authority or enough resources to it. That we tried it only halfway, and didn't go big, and it was the fault of the conservatives. Some - true believers of the left and a large posse of voters with room-temperature IQs - will buy that.

All that being said, we are going to see in our lifetimes Carthage salt itself. That's going to be both historic and spectacular.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at October 16, 2013 6:38 PM

October 15, 2013

Quote of the Day

Our Margaret:

The second point I'd wanted to make, I said, is that for all the Republican Party's troubles, for all the fighting and fisticuffs, there is one great thing, and it is that the party is alive with idea and argument and debate. This is good, it speaks of a liveliness and vitality appropriate to a great party. And if I were a Democrat, I said, teasingly but also seriously, I would wish my party were engaged in such spirited debate, and be anxious that it is not. -- Peggy Noonan

Posted by John Kranz at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2013

"Holding them to their word"

The blogosphere responds to the Pragmatism Survey: Namely, Drew M. at Ace of Spades - The GOP Civil War...The Role Of Outside Groups And The Empire Strikes Back

Former Congressman Joe Walsh of Illinois decided that Senator Mark Kirk, also of Illinois, needs to be primaried b/c he called for a clean CR. Now Walsh is a former Congressman because he's, well, an idiot.

Here's where a little discernment would go a long way for conservatives. Kirk is a moderate Republican. He's also holding a Senate seat in ILLINOIS. That's practically theft. Let's not make him the problem, ok?

People like Lindsey Graham, a moderate in a deep red state are a problem. A big spender like Thad Cochran from Mississippi (a conservative but poor state that loves federal money) is a problem.

If Kirk needs to talk liberal on some issues, fine. Did I mention ILLINOIS?

What we can't have is guys like Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, both from Tennessee starting or joining Senate "gangs" that always move things left and cut the legs out from conservatives.

We need our "mavericks" to emulate what "moderate" and red state Democrats do...talk a big game back home but when push comes to shove, shut up and vote the right way.

And NEVER join a "gang". To me, that's open warfare and a primary is a reasonable reaction no matter the state.

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:27 PM | Comments (0)

Otequay of the Ayday

Wobbly Republicans should remember why they got into this fight in the first place: to stop ObamaCare. If they cave now, they'll have given up their best chance to spare the country this monumental disaster. -IBD Editorial: Is GOP Caving With Victory at Hand?
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:59 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2013

Pragmatism Update and Survey

I think we've all enjoyed Dr. Milton Wolf MD, President Obama's cousin and thorn in his side. He has provided great material on these pages. He is a man of passion, intellect, and a rare understanding of liberty qua liberty.

But is liberty served in his primary challenge to Pat Roberts (Old Fuddy Duddy - KS)?

I am sympathetic to the argument that the competition has led the veteran Senator to embrace Tea-Party-friendly positions. But I have little patience for resources' being directed to Kansas and Wyoming when Steve Lonegan is starving for funds in the Garden State just as his invincible opponent appears vinceable. I can live with Roberts and Mike Enzi (Serviceable R - WY); I wish to elect GOP leadership.

UPDATE All Hail Taranto:


Posted by John Kranz at 1:49 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Well, no less a political philosopher than Tip O'Neill said, "All politics is local." I see no reason to let flyover senators off the hook because someone like Bloomberg can get elected as a Republican on one of the coasts.

The events of recent years have taught me that, while "party trumps person" it is still common for the wrong people to become representatives of the party. One must be vigilant in keeping the principles of liberty at the front of the GOP bus. One possible way to do this, that I learned about yesterday and will be investigating, is the Republican Liberty Caucus. It has both a national and a local presence. [rlc-dot-org for the national arm.]

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Incidentally, RLC has endorsed Steve Lonegan.

Posted by: johngalt at October 10, 2013 2:52 PM

October 2, 2013

Keep it Shut

A talk radio caller made a prescient comment this morning. We're not in the midst of a "government shutdown" or even a "partial government shutdown." Instead we're witnessing a "non-essential government shutdown." What a perfect opportunity for Americans to experience life without non-essential government! The longer it goes on, the less it will be missed as individuals take the initiative - much like several Republican congressmen who moved arbitrary barricades closing the WWII Memorial in D.C. yesterday - to solve problems and make things work. You know, that "land of the free" business.

Investors runs an editorial this morning that says not just that the "shutdown" was a good idea, but that Republicans should "own it" and keep it going as long as possible. Read the whole thing, but here is the lede, to whet your appetite:

The Republican Party didn't blink, and as a result non-essential aspects of the federal government are shutting down. Republican politicians and members should cheer, as the "Stupid Party" actually revealed a political and economic savvy that will serve it well in 2014 and beyond.

The Republican Party now has a brand that says it's willing to stand athwart the obnoxious growth of Leviathan. Its decision to allow a shutdown of the federal government, and ideally let it remain shut through the 2014 elections absent substantial concessions from the Democrats, is both good politics and economics.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 PM | Comments (4)
But dagny thinks:

I was listening to the radio this morning and Congressman Perlmutter was on. He stated that the reason that the government shut down was a bad idea was because he had a single mother government employee in his office crying because she had been furloughed and didn't know how she was going to make ends meet. So my question is this: Why is her situation any worse than millions of others who have been laid off or furloughed as non-essential in private industry during the recession?

Posted by: dagny at October 2, 2013 1:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Stop it, dagny! I'm cryin' my eyes out...

Larry Kudlow asked the same thing last night. Cisco just laid off 1300. The fed workers will likely be back to work and will probably get back pay for stuff they did not do. Laid-off Cisco workers? A free pocket-protector with John Chambers's picture on it.

I should not have been flippant. A friend at work just had a baby and her husband is furloughed -- I am wrong to make light of it. But while individual worker's plights are tragic, fed workers qua fed workers have a lot of stability compared to the private sector (or as some call it real life). As a collective, they are pretty incapable of engendering sympathy.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2013 6:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A "recession" is when your neighbor loses his job.

A "depression" is when you lose your job.

The "apocalypse" is when government workers have to be fired. (Or when the Air Force-Navy game is canceled.)

There have been several depressions and many recessions in the history of the American economy, but I'm not aware of even a single apocalypse.

Posted by: johngalt at October 2, 2013 6:22 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

A caller this AM (same day as other post - lots of driving) when from KHOW to KNUS nearly as fast as I could change the channel encouraging Mandy and then Peter Boyles to start cheering the:

...wait for it.....


Obam-uh's worst nightmare. Someone please start tweeting the heck of out this: I love it!!!!!!

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 2, 2013 11:40 PM

September 27, 2013

Senator McCain's "Democratic Response" to Cruz's Filibuster

Did anyone else hear John McCain's weak-kneed floor speech after Ted Cruz finished his filibuster? I was dubstruck by the praise he gave to Obamacare and the Democrats, juxtaposed with his derision of Cruz et al and the principles and ideas of which they spoke for 21 hours. Investors' editorial page shared my disgust.

Cruz wasn't long off the floor before Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a war hero, raised a white flag in one of the most disgraceful Senate speeches ever delivered.

Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., aptly called it "the Democratic response" to Cruz. It can be summed up in two of McCain's own defeatist words: "We lost."

There's more on McCain's fecklessness but the editorial closes with a look at the GOPs future:

Aged elephants like McCain make a Tea Party-based third party likely. That would cinch long-term Democratic dominance in D.C. McCain's 2008 running mate, Sarah Palin, told Fox's Neil Cavuto there already are three parties: the liberal Democrats, the GOP establishment, and Republican "good guys" like Cruz.

But this week, Ted Cruz gave America a look at the GOP future, in all its boldness and common sense. We hear Arizona has many fine retirement homes, Sen. McCain. Time to pass the torch.

Don't let the door hit yer ass.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Sen. McCain wants to hear from you! Your Opinion Matters!


I hope you will also forward it to your family and friends so I can get their input on the issues facing our nation as well. Upon completing your survey, please consider making a contribution of $25, $50, $100 or even $250 to Country First. Your donation will ensure we have the funds necessary to fight back and have our voices heard.
Posted by: jk at September 27, 2013 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

He's pretty bashful about it, but I am sure ThreeSourcers who wanted could give more than $250. The web page seems to allow it.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2013 5:10 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Upon reflection, I was crass and disrespectful to the senior senator from Arizona. I'll rephrase:

Americans respect and appreciate your service to our nation, Senator McCain. Few in our country's history have given faithful service for so long and in so many ways. It is long past time for us to repay your dedication and so, with our most sincere blessings, we invite you to take the rest of your life off, in peace and solitude, far from the chattering and partisan bickering of our nation's capital. Happy retirement, American hero. Go now. Please.

Posted by: johngalt at September 28, 2013 10:44 AM
But jk thinks:

To be continued in Review Corner tomorrow. I, the GOP, and ThreeSources need to come to terms with neoconservatism and national greatness conservatism.

C. Bradley Thompson and Yaron Brook have a book, "Neoconservatism: An Obituary for an Idea" that traces it to its Straussian roots and finds it philosophically dangerous. Brother Bryan recommend this book. I mistakenly purchased the CATO roundtable discussion where several CATO scholars respond to the book and Thompson responds/rebuts.

Very satisfying, but I need -- as a neocon in recovery as it were -- to go back and read the entire book. Those piqued can view a video discussion.

In a life-or-death struggle between modernity and radical Islam, which I am not convinced does not exist, Senator McCain is a good Republican. In a life-or-death struggle with Progressives and Luddites and collectivists at home: Not. So. Much.

Your updated phraseology is spot on.

Posted by: jk at September 28, 2013 12:31 PM

September 24, 2013

Political Heresy

Ted Cruz's "rule breaking" fillibuster begins.

"Each day I learn what a scoundrel I am," Cruz said of reading media reports that quote Republican lawmakers and aides critical of him. "Most Americans could not give a flying flip about politicians in Washington. Who cares? Most of us are in cheap suits with bad haircuts. Who cares?"
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:43 PM | Comments (0)

September 11, 2013

Don't Tread on Us

"I recollected that her eye excelled in brightness, that of any other animal, and that she has no eye-lids -- She may therefore be esteemed an emblem of vigilance. -- She never begins an attack, nor, when once engaged, ever surrenders: She is therefore an emblem of magnanimity and true courage. -- As if anxious to prevent all pretensions of quarreling with her, the weapons with which nature has furnished her, she conceals in the roof of her mouth, so that, to those who are unacquainted with her, she appears to be a most defenseless animal; and even when those weapons are shewn and extended for her defense, they appear weak and contemptible; but their wounds however small, are decisive and fatal: -- Conscious of this, she never wounds till she has generously given notice, even to her enemy, and cautioned him against the danger of stepping on her. -- Was I wrong, Sir, in thinking this a strong picture of the temper and conduct of America?" -American Guesser, aka Benjamin Franklin December, 1775
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:39 PM | Comments (0)

August 6, 2013

Not Nancy Grace

Nancy Mace. According to Hot Air Lindsey Graham is a prime target to be Primaried:

Her opening speech also seemed a bit canned, as if somebody told her to check a few of the basic conservative boxes and get it over with. (“Make sure to say Reagan’s 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 it’s probably too soon to tell, and she may well be prepping a barrage of good, serious policy speeches to use against Graham in the inevitable debates. In any event, it looks like it will be an interesting primary season in South Carolina, and we definitely need to be recruiting more energetic, young candidates everywhere, so welcome to the race, Ms. Mace.
Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)

August 2, 2013

Otequay of the Ayday

We don't question McCain's patriotism or minimize his military service. But his service as a lawmaker has left a lot to be desired, at least for those in his own party. -Investors Ed Page: "Why Does John McCain Keep Running As a Republican?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:20 PM | Comments (0)

July 30, 2013

Romney killed Detroit

...with a little help from all the other taxers and spenders from Washington D.C. to city hall.

We discussed the obvious philosophical causes for Detroit's bankruptcy in the Starnesville post. Today we have the economic causes, as told by my favorite living economist, and some other guy. Investors' - Detroit Is Patient Zero In High-Tax, Sluggish America

Milton Friedman was quick to remind people that government stimulus spending is taxation and a prosperity killer. Governments don't create resources; they redistribute resources.

While tax rates were raised during the Great Recession, they were raised a lot more during the Great Depression, which explains the difference in severity between the Great Depression of the 1930s and the modern Great Recession.

To push this point home, the highest marginal income-tax rate in 1931 was 25% and by 1938 it was 83%. Whoever heard of an economy being taxed into prosperity?


In 1967, under Gov. George Romney's leadership, Michigan initiated a state income tax, initially setting the highest rate at 2.6% using federal adjusted gross income (AGI) as its tax base. The state's income tax rate peaked in 1983 at 6.35% and is now down to 4.25%.

Even though a 4.25% maximum tax rate is a lot better than a 6.35% tax rate, those towering tax rates have surely damaged today's Michigan economy.

The state's corporate tax rate stands at 6%.


Then we come to Detroit itself. In 1962, Motown adopted a 1% net income tax for residents and 0.5% for nonresident income earners. In 1964, the city initiated a 1% corporate tax as well.

Detroit's income tax stands at 2.4% today, and the corporate tax is 2%.

Businesses that can locate outside Detroit do. In 1950, 1.85 million people lived in Detroit.

Today the population of Detroit would be lucky to top 700,000. You can't balance a budget on people who leave or are unemployed.

Imagine a boiler's heat is turned way up, its safety valves are shut off and you tap the boiler every five minutes with a little brass tap hammer.

By turning the boiler's heat way up and shutting off the safety valves, you have guaranteed the boiler will explode.

By tapping the boiler every five minutes with a little brass tap hammer, you're guaranteed you'll be there when the explosion occurs. Such is the case with Detroit.

Is it mere coincidence that, the larger the geographical scope of the taxing authority, the larger the tax rate? After all, it doesn't take as much taxation to drive producers from a city as from a state, or from a state as from a nation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:43 PM | Comments (0)

July 15, 2013

Ink by the bucket

The tiny town of Westcliffe, Colorado (pop. 417) is the county seat of rural Custer County in south central Colorado and, as the county seat, has to have a "paper of record" and apparently does in the form of the Wet Mountain Tribune, "Published every Thursday since 1883."

Now, it seems a dustup ensued when the paper of record criticized, and apparently sought to block, members of a local TEA Party group marching in the town's Independence Day Parade carrying rifles. (I think, perhaps, loaded and, perhaps or probably, those "scary" black rifles so maligned these days.) For its part in the dispute the Wet Mtn. Trib. managed to earn itself some friendly competition. Those wacky TEA Partiers decided to form and publish their own weekly. They call it Sangre de Cristo Sentinel. "A different view from the same mountains." They believe they'll do well with subscriptions in this rural market, where they estimate 80% of readers are conservatives. (And a print subscription costs less than a buck a week!)

The moral of this story is to not behave like you buy your ink by the barrel if you only buy it one bucket at a time.

Hat tip: 850 KOA's Mike Rosen show.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:20 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

$20 For a business card size ad. Should we run a few?

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2013 5:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. I also intend to subscribe, since circulation is more valuable to the "wannabe journalists" than is our 20 bucks.

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2013 6:17 PM

July 13, 2013

The "Producer's Pledge"

"I am proud of my company's product and the profit we make by selling it to others - freely, and to our mutual benefit. Since certain government entities have materially restricted my ability to produce and profit it is no longer beneficial for me to sell my product in the jurisdictions of those government entities. I therefore pledge that I will no longer sell my product through distribution channels that serve the state, county, or local governments that restrict or prohibit my ability to produce my product."

The idea here is that when the voters of, say, Boulder County, Colorado, find their gasoline prices spiking and supplies becoming scarce they will finally make the connection between their voting habits and the supply of daily conveniences that they have come to take for granted.

If you are interested in the supporting "rant" for this idea, read on below.

Ayn Rand said,

"Productive work is the central purpose of a rational man’s life, the central value that integrates and determines the hierarchy of all his other values. Reason is the source, the precondition of his productive work—pride is the result."

Anyone who has ever felt the gratifying sense of an accomplishment after making or building something has a hint that this is true. But the central purpose? The central value? To answer those questions ask this one: What else, other than productiveness, gives man pride?

Just as the passage of the 2009 "Stimulus" Bill precipitated a civil uprising known as the TEA Party, the partisan overreach of Colorado's 2013 legislative session produced a movement advocating that many rural Colorado counties secede from the rest of the state. Practical problems with that idea spawned a call to rearrange Colorado's legislature such that every county is represented by its own state senator, regardless of population, as is the case regarding the several states in the United States Senate. But this too has a practical problem. The same problem that led to both the 2013 Colorado legislature and the 2009 United States legislature being controlled by a single political party. The problem is something Americans have long been taught to hold as a virtue. The problem is democracy.

Democracy is not the same thing as freedom. Democracy is the idea, not that people decide how to live their own lives, but that a large enough group of people can decide how everyone is to live his life. To understand if an idea is virtuous or not imagine its extreme. The extreme of democracy is ochlocracy. (Look it up.) The extreme of freedom is, liberty. And to understand just how mixed up and turned around political philosophy has become, consider the fact that those who once advocated for extreme freedom, whether from a monarch or from a religion, were called "liberals" but those known as liberals today are advocates of "social equality" and/or "environmental protection" via democracy - a decidedly anti-liberty prescription.

The men and women of rural Colorado have many reasons to seek separation from their neighbors in the urban counties but as one county commissioner said, "The mandate that tells us what kind of energy sources we may use was the last straw." And understandably so. In addition to producing food that feeds the urban county populations, many of the rural counties produce another valuable export product that results in billions of dollars in wealth creation and millions of dollars in tax revenues to state and local governments. That product, actually many products, is known as oil and natural gas.

For economic reasons the fastest growing process used today to extract oil and gas in the United States is hydraulic fracturing, or fracing. (Also spelled "fracking.") The only real difference between fracking and conventional drilling is that a water-based solution is pumped into the well after drilling and before pumping to create pathways through which the oil may escape to the well bore. That's it. It's not polluting and it's not sinister, although its detractors do everything possible to convince us, the people who vote, that it is both of those things. And many people are convinced. One such person is Washington County resident Steve Frey who said, "I don't want be [sic] in a 51st state. I don't want any part of their fracking that they're doing in Weld County."

I could not possibly agree more with Mr. Frey's contention that he has a right to be free from every aspect of the oil extraction process called "fracking" that he disagrees with, for whatever reason he chooses to do so. Industry must begin taking immediate steps, doing everything in its power, so that those who oppose its practices must not be forced to accept the severance tax revenues accorded to their local government by fracking. Unfortunately, government holds the reins on virtually every aspect of this unfair treatment of Mr. Frey and others similarly situated. Industry has but one thing it may control. Namely, to whom and to where it chooses to sell its product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:56 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Well said and well thought. But it strikes me as a very tough sale.

Trying to think of a producer who would eschew a sale, it would probably have to be more direct. Maybe I wouldn't sell to the Taliban, but withholding gas from a poor stupid Boulder guy's Subaru? It doesn't take many cycles to rationalize away that.

My employer sells bucketloads to gub'mint. I read your pledge first, as you presented and thought "we're not going to leave that money on the table" while he rest of your post loaded.

NED bless Magpul (though principled stands might be a plus in that industry) but while government seems pretty close to Atlas, I think business is light years away. And for every principled Galt, there are a dozen James Taggarts to patch things over. In fact, we probably make the Progressives' favorite error of conflating business-folk with Capitalists.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2013 12:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes. Your very last point is key. And it is the only way we can convince producers to do this, as a moral issue.

"Do not conflate winning special favors from government with achievement. Cronyism and achievement are each other's mortal enemies."

(I quote because I just said it on Facebook.)

Just as peaceful Muslims lose credibility when they fail to denounce the crimes of Islamofascists perpetrated in the name of their faith, capitalists lose credibility when they fail to denounce and distinguish themselves from crony-capitalists.

I'm not thinking we would encourage individual gas stations to refuse fueling Subarus (while still selling to SUV owners) but for oil producers or refiners to stop selling to retailers who don't agree to temporarily padlock their pumps in those cities and counties. The producers will still have a world market to sell into. The retailers will be under public pressure to make a decision. If one agrees he will be the only one in the region to receive fuel shipments. This applies to all counties, even the ones that allow fracking.

There are details to be worked out, for sure, but to any extent such a plan is executed, especially just before an election, it will bring an important question into the public square: Do producers need consumers, or do consumers (and government) need producers?

Posted by: johngalt at July 13, 2013 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:
"We will rebuild America's system on the moral premise which had been its foundation, but which you treated as a guilty underground, in your frantic evasion of the conflict between that premise and your mystic morality: the premise that man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others, that man's life, his freedom, his happiness are his by inalienable right." | Atlas Shrugged
Posted by: johngalt at July 14, 2013 11:01 AM

July 9, 2013

Neener Neener!

Would I love to share this partisan hackery on Facebook! But I'll settle for y'alls.

So Republicans are more knowledgeable than Democrats, contrary to what many would like to believe.

According to whom? None other than the Pew Research Center, a left-of-center organization. Moreover, Pew’s latest survey only reaffirms previous surveys demonstrating the same result.

In fact, the results weren’t even close.

In a scientific survey of 1,168 adults conducted during September and October of last year, respondents were asked not only multiple-choice questions, but also queries using maps, photographs and symbols. Among other subjects, participants identified international leaders, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, nations on a world map, the current unemployment and poverty rates and war casualty totals.

In a 2010 Pew survey, Republicans outperformed Democrats on 10 of 12 questions, with one tie and Democrats outperforming Republicans on just 1 of the 12. In the latest survey, however, Republicans outperformed Democrats on every single one of 19 questions.

Amusingly, the Pew report attempted to soften the stark partisan knowledge disparity:

"Republicans generally outperformed Democrats on the current quiz. On 13 of the 19 questions, Republicans score significantly higher than Democrats and there are no questions on which Democrats did better than Republicans. In past knowledge quizzes, partisan differences have been more muted, though Republicans often have scored somewhat higher than Democrats."

In a word: "duh."

Posted by John Kranz at 1:02 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

So, Pew is saying that the gap between smart and dumb is getting wider? Something must be done! Harrison Bergeron, call your office, STAT!

As for the political allegiances of the smart and the dumb, that would only matter if poll tests were not forbidden by the Constitution.

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2013 2:26 PM

July 4, 2013

Independence - The Universal Good

Mike Rosen did a very good job deconstructing the "America sucks" diatribe of a Denver Post columnist on his radio show Tuesday, but for those who don't have time or inclination to listen I'll do it again here, hitting just the high points.

First the title: "Beware of zealots this Independence Day." That's right, flag-waving Americans should remind "thoughtful" people of bomb-throwing Islamists. But perhaps I'm just too sensitive.

In recent times, we've seen an uptick in gratuitous, obsequious, false patriotism, rooted in empty slogans and reflexive - not thoughtful - displays of bravado rather than heartfelt allegiance and love of country.

Recent times? I believe this began in earnest on a particular date: September 11, 2001. Didn't something memorable happen that day, Steve?

They proclaim love of country is exhibited in the absolute defense and embrace of the Second Amendment, typically above all other constitutional provisions, as a critical defense against a paranoia-imagined government takeover.

And here the - thoughtful - Mr. Lipsher either denies or ignores history. Take your pick. Why can boy scouts take "Be Prepared" as their motto but the rest of us should, instead, place complete faith in a government that says, "trust us, we'll take care of you?" A government operated by other men, no better nor worse than those whom it serves, but entrusted with the authority to use force. Like all other powers in government, that force must be checked.

They throw around terms such as "liberty" and "tyranny" without any apparent appreciation for their meaning: They are mere buzzwords, dog-whistles to help them identify "us" and "them" in their quixotic quest to "take America back" from implied - but rarely explicitly stated - minorities, liberals, Muslims, Hollywood, welfare recipients and the Kenyan/socialist/America-hating President Obama.

This is mere rant, intended to detract from concrete ideas of liberty and tyranny. While it is true that some Americans are xenophobic this by no means describes the majority of American patriots, much less their motives. They merely seek to maintain what is great about America - individual freedom and the right to create one's own prosperity - without having it "spread around a little" against his will.

Like most Americans, I truly love my country and the unparalleled opportunities it affords me, and I'm proud of our achievements as a nation. But I also see its flaws - often cloaked in our incredible wealth and national arrogance - and I want it to be better.

But are you proud of your achievements as an individual? Or, more importantly, do you believe others have the right to be proud of their own achievements? Achievements like incredible wealth and, not arrogance, but pride in their "heartfelt allegiance and love" of a nation conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal?

I believe you when you say you want America to be better. So do I. But there may be a great divide between what each of us would prescribe as "better." For my part that would be more freedom not less, less regulation and compulsion not more, more charity and volunteerism not more taxation and redistribution. These principles should extend beyond our shores as well: Free trade with other nations not free aid, defense cooperation not replacement of their armed forces with ours. Every nation, like every person, is free to work and achieve and own the fruits of those labors without threat of being pillaged by others, like redistributive governments that employ a Viking morality under the guise of democratic "majority rule." These principles would make not just America better, but the world.

On this day, July 4, 2013, Happy Independence Day people of the earth.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:17 AM | Comments (1)
But Jk thinks:

Well said. Happy Fourth.

Posted by: Jk at July 4, 2013 4:56 PM

June 23, 2013

"This is gonna be so much better than the Tea Party"

The TEA Party provokes a response in consumer advertising.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:


Posted by: jk at June 23, 2013 11:48 AM
But johngalt thinks:

The "children of the revolution" prefer coffee to tea.

Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2013 3:18 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at June 24, 2013 3:20 PM

June 14, 2013

Video Review Corner

Now on DVD and Amazon Instant Video:


While it is about Andrew Breitbart, it captures -- perfectly -- the heady Tea Party days of 2010. I remember every quote, every frame of video, and the excitement that "New Media" was going to break the stranglehold that "Old Media" had on ideas. We're three years older and a little wiser after Candy Crowley and the 2012 elections. But this will rekindle something deep in all you racist teabaggers, I guarantee.

De motuis nil nisi bonum and all. I will confess that sometimes Andrew Breitbart's pugnacity was a bit much for my mild temperament. Yet, he was the perfect man at the perfect time, showing up right when he was needed. He left when he was still was needed, of course, but he left some big goddam cracks in the wall.

Five stars.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

June 5, 2013

What the IRS Scandal is About

Co-founder of the Watumpka, Alabama Tea Party -- and face of the IRS scandal, Becky Gerritson.

I had heard people talking about this and saw a clip. But if you have not watched it coast-to-coast yet, do yourself a favor and spend 7:53 with a great American. (Can't you just imagine a roomful of NYTimes writers hearing the phrase "Watumpka, Alabama Tea Party?" Makes one weep.)

Hat-tip: Robert Tracinski [Subscribe]

Posted by John Kranz at 2:18 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Land of the who, and home of the what? Maybe we should have a national song or something to remind us all, every time we see a sporting event, that we are citizens, not subjects.

Posted by: johngalt at June 5, 2013 5:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Not as good a perfomance as last night's, but: Pia Toscano at the LA Kings game...


Posted by: jk at June 5, 2013 5:57 PM

February 15, 2013

Where is Singapore's Obama When They Need Him?

The chart below comes from an article explaining why Filipino prize fighter Manny Pacquiao's chief adviser told Yahoo Sports that a match in Las Vegas is a "no go" because of the IRS top marginal rate of 39.6% on earnings in the USA.

The other options Pacquiao and his management team have considered are Macau and Singapore: both casino and gaming markets comparable to Las Vegas and ideal to host a grand boxing event.


Singapore's top rate is roughly half of America's, and they are reputed to have a balanced budget. Irrefutable proof that they "don't care about children or the underprivileged." Don't even get me started on Macau.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:08 PM | Comments (0)

January 2, 2013

Republicans: WINNING!

I supported John Boehner's Plan B. I did so because it had so many income tax fixes and made them permanently.* I didn't follow the holiday-lawmaking closely but what I did hear and read was depressing. The "millionaire's tax rate hike" was lowered from $1M to $400,000 ($450,000 for couples [marriage penalty anyone?]) and the ratio of tax revenue increases to spending cuts was forty-three to one. But dagny emails an article that looks at the full portion of the glass.

Yesterday, the government voted to extend almost all of the Bush Tax Cuts permanently.

Not temporarily, as a stimulus measure.


Ever since the Bush Tax Cuts were first enacted in 2001, one goal of the Republican party has been to "make the Bush Tax Cuts permanent."

For most of the last decade, this goal has seemed like an extremist view: Making the Bush Tax Cuts permanent would drastically reduce the federal government's revenue. It would also increase inequality and balloon the national debt and deficit--so how could we possibly justify doing that?

And yet now, suddenly, almost all of the Bush Tax Cuts are permanent.


The Republicans also got another good deal for America's investor and owner class, making the Bush dividend tax cut permanent. This saves a lot of money in tax bills for America's wealthier investors.


It's true that the Republicans have not yet won much ground on the other front that the party claims to be fighting on--namely spending cuts on programs that primarily benefit low-income and middle-income Americans (food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, and so forth).

But the key word there is "yet."

This is not to say our market economy is in the clear but as far as the legislative action taken yesterday, it could have been much worse.

* "Permanently" only means without an expiration date, but it is still important because significant political capital must be expended before it changes again.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:40 PM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2012

All Hail Taranto

I was thinking it, he wrote it:

Remember when police had to use pepper spray against Tea Party members who had started "scuffles," Tea Partiers tore down a tent erected by Nancy Pelosi fans, Tea Partiers assaulted a black man and shouted racial epithets at him--and the media uncritically relayed a description of the events as "peaceful"?

Neither do we.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:52 PM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2012

George F. Will - TEA Party "Radical"

I think it's fair to say that respected political columnist George F. Will was not in the vanguard of Obama criticism that found its first popular voice with the TEA Parties of February 17, 2009. I could be off base but I remember him being critical and dismissive of our dire warnings about the ideas, goals and dangers of the newly elected president. Nonetheless, yesterday Mr. Will became one of us.

In 1912, Wilson said, “The history of liberty is the history of the limitation of governmental power.” But as Kesler notes, Wilson never said the future of liberty consisted of such limitation.

Instead, he said, “every means . . . by which society may be perfected through the instrumentality of government” should be used so that “individual rights can be fitly adjusted and harmonized with public duties.” Rights “adjusted and harmonized” by government necessarily are defined and apportioned by it. Wilson, the first transformative progressive, called this the “New Freedom.” The old kind was the Founders’ kind — government existing to “secure” natural rights (see the Declaration) that preexist government. Wilson thought this had become an impediment to progress. The pedigree of Obama’s thought runs straight to Wilson.

All we are say-ing, is hear what he says.*
* Yes, that is what he means, literally.

Welcome to the Party George. Have some BBQ and a Bud with us.

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

August 10, 2012

Must be Friday.

a) Terri has a Calf Blog (an awesome twofer today).

b) Kim Strassel hits one out of the park.

My blog brother, jg, suggested that opposition to President Obama was enough to "electrify the conservative base" (the phrase comes from the linked item in the post). That is fair and his point was to push for Senator Rubio instead of Chairman Ryan. So, true to ThreeSources code, we were in a death match over a trivial difference. Both would rock and I don't expect tears for either.

Strassel gets the "lede of the year" award though, opening "Is Mitt Romney the GOP's future, or is he the GOP's past? That's one way to look at his upcoming choice of a running mate."

Bingo. I've no doubt that Sen. Rob Portman is a swell guy and I appreciate his considerable intellect. On the admittedly low bar of the Senatorial scale, the dude is Einstein. But he is a throwback to the Bush filé years. Most are worried that that would allow the President to run against Bush's now fourth term -- and it might.

But to a libertario delenda est warrior, it is even more severe. "Republicans are not gonna cut spending," "Two wings of the same bird of prey!" "Babababababababaaaa -- we won't get fooled again!" Strassel correctly points out that he has to choose a reformer.

Republicans were thrown out of Congress in 2006 for a reason: They'd lost their reform spirit. They twiddled their thumbs on big issues, ran from the entitlement problem, spent, earmarked and were wrapped in scandals. They became more obsessed with power than with solving problems.

The tea party sprang to life as a reaction to Obama overreach. Yet it was equally a response to a wayward GOP. The grass roots gave a voice to a new generation of reformers and rewarded at the polls Republicans who had the courage to join in that movement.

Old GOP or New, Governor? The Veepstakes will decide.
The GOP has for some time been on two different paths. Mr. Romney's choice of a running mate will not be his only opportunity to show which road he is himself on. But it will be a big one.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Is this thing on...

Last in first out: the lovely bride was looking over my shoulder and forced me to order one of the prints at your link.

On our not-quite-everybody's-first-choice nominee: I concur, but while it might be partisanship, I am more quickly liking him better. The Photo-op at Solyndra separated him from that grumpy old guy of whom you spoke. He won "in the Commonwealth" as a moderate, his campaign is clearly looking to repeat, and he may be right. What appeals to me does not always enjoy a plurality.

I reclaim the blog optimist title, however. Once he, Ann, and the ponies have moved into 1600, he might be the first politician ever to surprise on the upside. A strong Tea Party caucus in Congress and the horror of the status quo could push the right direction. And once properly pointed, he is a competent achiever.

If he doesn't give all our spouses Cancer.

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 12:54 PM
But dagny thinks:

jg told me this belonged in a separate post but time constraints don't allow. Regarding the VEEPstakes, I think Marco Rubio OR Paul Ryan would be fine choices for all the reasons mentioned.

However, Rubio gets credit for dumb idea of the week for
this one.

The fact that it has the complete support of Democrats and President Obama should be his first clue.

If our medalists are 20 year olds living in their parents basements and without endorsement deals then their prize money will not be taxed anyway as they are part of the 47% of this country who pay NO income tax.

If our medalists are Kobe Bryant and LeBron James they won't even notice the tax.

In the meantime our already unimaginably complicated, and loophole filled, tax code gets even worse.

On the other hand - it might be fun to have Turbo Tax next year ask me if I won any Olympic Medals...

Posted by: dagny at August 10, 2012 1:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Great in the comments as Senator Rubio is on everybody's shortlist for VP. I agree 100% with your assessment of stupidity.

He is protecting his inestimable future and I have often been surprised at his cautiousness. He is a Tea Party darling but he is not a firebrand by any stretch. May be best considering electoral exigencies, but I do not get the sense he is a Paul Ryan or Rand Paul reformer.

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 2:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

My intended point was far less cerebral than is being assumed. I'm only trying to point out that, IMHO, the area where Mitt needs reinforcement is "likeability." It's a fact that voters don't vote for the number two (well, unless it's a comely independent lass from Alaska) having Rubio around him on the campaign trail will rub off on Romney in a variety of good ways. And his willingness to add Marco to his two-man team will lead to multiple plusses as well.

I'm a great fan of Paul Ryan, but while he has been made the "throw momma from the train" face of the TEA Party his couterpart the Senator from Florida is the "boy scout who walks little old ladies across the street" version of the Spirit of 2010.

And to clarify my remarks on dear dagny's comment, she is right in principle but this is an election year and promoting ideas everyone can support is electoral gold, no pun intended. Don't nitpick the guy because there's a slightly tarnished spot on the back shoulder of his shiny suit of armor.

Posted by: johngalt at August 10, 2012 2:03 PM
But jk thinks:

Clearly, dagny is spoiled with perfection from those in her personal life and expects it from politicians.

Posted by: jk at August 10, 2012 2:12 PM
But johngalt thinks:

But of course, as usual, I could be wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at August 11, 2012 12:45 AM

August 5, 2012

Yes, Let's Emulate China!

Elizabeth Warren has a new campaign commercial in her effort to take back "Ted Kennedy's seat" in the US Senate. In it she looks at the camera and says,

"We’ve got bridges and roads in need of repair and thousands of people in need of work. Why aren’t we rebuilding America? Our competitors are putting people to work, building a future. China invests 9 percent of its GDP in infrastructure. America? We’re at just 2.4 percent. We can do better."

I cannot continue without first asking, "What do you mean 'we' kemosabe?" But there's more to this story than pointing out the difference between a (partially) free state and a communist dictatorship, as the Boston Herald does very well, and than reminding Ms. Warren that the lion's share of infrastructure "investment" in the U.S. is made privately and thus won't show up in her government spending statistic.

Warren wants to compare America to China on spending? Then let's compare them on taxation as well: According to data from the Heritage Foundation that I blogged last month, China's tax revenue as a percentage of GDP is 17 percent. America's is almost ten points higher - 26.9%.

Let's make America more competitive with China. Let's return 9.9 percent of the nation's GDP to those who earned it so that it can once again be invested in prosperity. (And who would ever have believed that America's tax receipts could grow to become a greater share of the economy than that of communist China in the first place?)

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:36 AM | Comments (5)
But AndyN thinks:

How much of that 9% was spent building cities that still stand unoccupied? Likewise, if the US increased federal infrastructure spending, how much of it would be spent on rail lines to nowhere and the like?

Posted by: AndyN at August 5, 2012 5:22 PM
But jk thinks:

At least in China, people listen to their betters!

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 1:41 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In America, we don't HAVE betters.

Of course, try telling that to our elected overlords, their appointed czars and bureaucrats, and the self-appointed special-interest activists...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 6, 2012 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

...and the Haavaahd Professors...

Posted by: jk at August 6, 2012 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It figures, even "our betters" are Made in China.

Posted by: johngalt at August 6, 2012 5:08 PM

August 1, 2012

TEA Party Slays Another GOP Dragon

The women's gymnastics gold medal isn't the only awesome thing that happened yesterday.

"Tonight is a victory for the grassroots. It is a testament to Republican women, to tea party leaders and to grassroots conservatives," Cruz said in his victory speech. "This is how elections are supposed to be decided--by 'we the people.'"

In a Texas GOP primary runoff that effectively selected the next senator from the conservative state Ted Cruz defeated prospective "time-serving Republican placeholder" David Dewhurst, promising to add one more voice of principle over politics to the US Senate.

In the end it wasn't even a close race. Cruz had a victory margin of 13 points.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Was happy the TEA folks triumphed but was concerned that this was more marginal cost than marginal benefit (Dewhurst really does not eat babies).

Now, reading George Will, I am pumped:

Before Cruz, now 41, earned a Harvard law degree magna cum laude, he wrote his Princeton senior thesis on the Constitution's Ninth and 10th Amendments, which if taken seriously would revitalize two bulwarks of liberty -- the ideas that the federal government's powers are limited because they are enumerated, and that the enumeration of certain rights does not "deny or disparage others retained by the people." Both ideas are repudiated by today's progressives, as they were by TR, whose Bull Moose Party, the result of his bolt from the GOP, convened in Chicago 100 years ago Sunday -- Aug. 5, 1912.

Viva Cruz!

Posted by: jk at August 1, 2012 7:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The "time-serving Republican placeholder" link gives many reasons why Dewhurst was a threat to the GOP brand. Our most important task as Republican activists is to make the GOP the party of freedom, and no longer the party of puritanism and slightly lower marginal rates.

Posted by: johngalt at August 2, 2012 12:08 AM

July 27, 2012

What's That Got To Do With The Price of Tape in America?

For five minutes recently, the floor of the US House of Representatives turned into a TEA Party rally. Rep. Mike Kelly (TPD-PA) courtesy of Breitbart.

"But we don't use red tape." "Oh yes we do. It costs one point seven five trillion dollars."

Posted by JohnGalt at 6:42 PM | Comments (4)
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

Note to Mitt: Can you please talk like this once in awhile?

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 30, 2012 12:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Hmmm, yes that sounds good but aren't we in the electoral phase where he needs to "run to the middle" to achieve a plurality? Not that getting government boots off of employers' necks isn't a winning issue but the POTUS' demeanor needs to be more warm, friendly and reassuring. For example, I would have preferred Mitt to congratulate the British people for "what I'm sure will be a fabulous and memorable Olympics" rather than nitpicking - validity notwithstanding - a failing or two of some organizing committee.

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Wow, I lose the ecletic music title yesterday and today brother jg out-pragmatists me. I'm clearly a worthless appendage on this blog -- oh, wait the hosting fees are due!

Posted by: jk at July 30, 2012 1:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

On the contrary brother, one of your responsibilities is to keep me grounded in realpolitik. Your cause is aided by two particular single-white-male individuals now interacting with me on a regular basis. Specific identities are unimportant but they don't make thirty-somethings the way they used to. (Or maybe I just don't remember what it was like to be a single 30-something male.)

Posted by: johngalt at July 30, 2012 4:38 PM

July 18, 2012

The cost of government "help"

I finally made a cogent point out of a post I put up day before yesterday:

Government tax revenues as a percentage of national GDP:

China - 17%
USA - 26.9%
France - 44.6%

Doing much to explain why manufacturing [of Olympic uniforms and other necessities] is less costly in communist China than in "free" America. Also revealing why leftists think Americans are whiny losers for claiming we are Taxed Enough Already.

Even so, wouldn't France be much better off if they didn't waste so much tax money on smart bombs and aircraft carriers?

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:29 PM | Comments (0)

July 16, 2012

International Tax Misery Index

Well aware that I'm risking graphic chart overload here, I couldn't resist posting the graph below showing the combined total, in percentage points, of corporate income tax rate, personal income tax rate, employer SS tax rate, employee SS tax rate, VAT/sales tax rate and wealth tax rate for the countries that have such a thing. Sixty-one countries are listed, including China. Since both corporate and personal taxes are listed I suppose the theoretical maximum index score is 200, or 100 percent of personal income plus 100 percent of corporate income. But this is no justification for US federal government confiscation of 42.65 percent of both personal and corporate income. (61.6% and 53.9% in NYC when state and local taxes are included.)


Of sixty one nations, four have a TMI below 52 points: Qatar, UAE, Hong Kong and Georgia. The rest start at 70 points and go up from there. I find it mind boggling that Americans take to the streets to protest taxes that approach 50 percent, while Frenchmen sit still for tax rates of 79.4% on corporations and 86.7% on individuals. I realize these are top marginal rates, paid only by evil "one percenters" and corporations. Nonetheless...

And despite the second highest Tax Misery Index in the world, China is still better disposed to make American Olympic Team costumes. (Perhaps this is better explained by an average US hourly compensation cost of $34.74.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:57 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

After posting I realized that while this chart is eye-catching it doesn't really give much information. The figures listed are tax rates, not revenues, and top marginal rates at that. The chart shown at this Wikipedia page can be sorted by 2012 Heritage Foundation tax revenue as percent of GDP thus revealing:

China - 17%
USA - 26.9%
France - 44.6%

And thus proving my original thesis, that manufacturing in the USA is more difficult because of government imposed costs.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Take a look at the countries with tax revenue less than 15% of GDP. They include:

Dominican Republic, Philippines, Singapore, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Guatemala. A who's who of country-of-origin tags I've seen on clothing goods.

Posted by: johngalt at July 18, 2012 7:26 PM

July 9, 2012

Election 2012: Barack Obama vs. Potted Plant

Speaker Boehner, in response to a guest at a West Virginia GOP fundraiser, said,

"The American people probably aren’t going to fall in love with Mitt Romney. I’ll tell you this: 95 percent of the people that show up to vote in November are going to show up in that voting booth, and they are going to vote for or against Barack Obama."

"Mitt Romney has some friends, relatives and fellow Mormons ... some people that are going to vote for him. But that’s not what this election is about. This election is going to be a referendum on the president’s failed economic policies."

This could be an effective strategy if nobody else were running. Nobody who, for example, promotes a clear policy of more freedom and less government designed to appeal to the influential Liberty Movement. Someone like that could attract pro-votes away from a GOP potted plant intent on collecting all of the anti-Obama protest vote. This could be especially important in western swing states like, Colorado. For team Obama it is AP to the rescue with a puff piece on the TEA party explaining why they should vote Libertarian.

The unknown, of course, is Johnson, who is working to ensure his name is also on the ballot in all 50 states. Paul supporters may very well desert the GOP for Johnson, especially in Western states where the former two-term New Mexico governor is better known. A June poll in the swing state of Colorado showed Johnson garnering 7 percent support, mostly coming from potential Romney backers.

Brian Doherty, a senior editor at the libertarian magazine Reason and author of a new book about Ron Paul, predicts that most Paul supporters won't vote at all for a presidential candidate, "which doesn't mean they're disengaging but that they won't give their support to someone they don't believe in 100 percent."

He and others take the position of McCobin — that the election itself is far less important than effecting lasting philosophical change over policy and politics.

Sheer and utter madness. With Obamatax and Obamasityourassdownandshutup hanging in the balance of this election, any pro-freedom folks who vote for Johnson or don't vote are risking decades of Euro-socialism in America. If they think their chances are better with a third party in 4, 8 or 12 years than by co-opting the GOP now, a feat that the AP piece shows is already accomplished in Nevada, they are too stupid even for politics.

Dear Gary Johnson - Please take your ego and GET LOST.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:15 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I don't like to criticize my blog brothers, but this post belongs in "Libertario Delenda Est."

If it's not Governor Johnson it will be another. And considering how he lit up the electorate in the GOP Primaries, we're getting off easy.

The problem is Doherty -- and Matt Welch, and Nick Gillespie, and Veronique du Rugy, and ... All of them are way too cool to be pragmatic. And Reason will run a vicious hit piece on Gov. Romney every month until the election. One month will feature a cover story on Johnson with a puff piece.

Then next year, they will wonder how Obama won a second term.

Libertario Delenda Est!

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2012 3:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Mea culpa. Category suggestions always appreciated.

Wondering why you don't use "quote of the day" category?

Posted by: johngalt at July 9, 2012 5:49 PM
But Ellis Wyatt thinks:

I don't want to "fall in love" with the country's leadership. The very notion is New Age gobbledygook. Can you imagine what Ike would have said if his campaign team reported "the voters aren't in love with you, General"?

I want someone to respect for their vision, persistence and mental toughness. If you want to be loved in Washington, talk to God, or your dog. :)

Posted by: Ellis Wyatt at July 9, 2012 6:48 PM

July 4, 2012


"...the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them..."

Courtesy the New York Times, which ran a companion piece yesterday describing their history of printing the Declaration on July 4. Take a close look at the image accompanying that article. (Who knew that "18th-century English extant" read right-to-left?

But they redeem themselves today with this nicely transcribed reprint:

[Hint: Right-click and "save picture as" to open in a viewer allowing magnification.]

Many have publicly encouraged the reading of this foundational document on the holiday celebrating our nation's birth. I was surprised to learn one of them is Bill Moyers, but not surprised to learn why.

Moyers calls it "the pathology of white superiority that attended the birth of our nation." Jefferson, he said, got it right when he wrote about "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness as the core of our human aspirations," but he denied these liberties to others on the basis of their race.

In this way, Jefferson embodies "the oldest and longest battle of all," Moyers asserted, "the battle of the self with the truth, between what we know, and how we live."

Let us hope that future historians have the luxury of a similarly derisive view of Chief Justice Roberts' majority opinion on the 2012 'Obamacare' case, for buttressing an originalist interpretation of the commerce clause but "allowing the prevailing mood of the era to dictate his ruling on questions of taxation." Thomas Jefferson and John Roberts - apparently, a pair of "cowardly clowns."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:54 PM | Comments (0)

June 20, 2012


The progressive left incorrectly claims that the TEA Party Movement is dead. Now, to be fair, they're claiming the Occupy Movement is dead.

[Van] Jones, in his speech to the conferees, pleaded with the activists to be as "courageous and determined" as the Occupy movement was, but he needled the left for being soft, comparing today's activists unfavorably with those of the civil rights era.

"They were beaten fighting for change. Some went to jail fighting for change. Some were murdered," he said. "We'll quit over a really mean tweet."

Jones urged them to use their heads, even if their hearts aren't in it.

"If we just support the president, just vote for Democrats, we don't get what we want," he said. "But if we don't, our opponents get power and decimate us. Can we put our thinking caps on now?"

Surely Jones knows that it's hard to put on a thinking cap when you're in the fetal position.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:05 PM | Comments (0)

June 12, 2012

Quote of the Day

Technically President Reagan, but from a smart piece for Anne Sorock rebutting Gov. Jeb Bush's claim that Reagan's capacity for working with Democrats would have made him an outcast among Tea Partiers:

As Reagan said in his 1981 inaugural address, "From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else?"

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

June 6, 2012

Seen at lunch

The Weld County equivalent of Boulder's Subarus:

Posted by John Kranz at 4:29 PM | Comments (1)
But Bryan thinks:

EL OH EL!!!!!

Posted by: Bryan at June 6, 2012 5:07 PM

May 22, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

While Boulder County and the city of Boulder are developing a Climate Change Preparedness Plan, "we would never waste our money on something like that."

"We respect property rights in Weld County. I wouldn't say the same for the Boulder County commissioners." - Weld County Commissioner Barbara Kirkmeyer

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Excellent. If things get too warm here, I can drive right over the line.

Posted by: jk at May 22, 2012 4:40 PM
But jc thinks:

Hardly worth commenting on but I couldn't resist! ;-)

Denial of the facts (burying your head in the ground) does not justify inaction or mockery. How the human race reacts and responds to change is the crucial element here. We may not agree with any of the actions or responses of Boulder or Weld county in this matter. However, we better get our collective butts in gear and start thinking outside the box if we intend to add another millennium to the clock of human history on planet earth.

Posted by: jc at May 25, 2012 9:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Your comments are always welcome around here.

But it is neither denial nor dismissal. To live long and prosper on this planet will require ingenuity and innovation. Weld sees a future of discovery, Boulder fearfully seeks to preserve an idea of a lost past.

Posted by: jk at May 25, 2012 11:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"We?" What do you mean, we, Kemosabe?

Posted by: johngalt at May 27, 2012 12:08 PM

May 18, 2012

The TEA Party gets a few right

Jim Geraghty was worried that The Cornhusker State was "pulling a Buck/O'Donnell."

After Tuesday's Nebraska GOP Senate primary, I wrote that I hope Nebraska Republicans know what they're doing.

It turns out they do: "State Senator Deb Fischer holds an 18-point lead over Democrat Bob Kerrey in the first Rasmussen Reports survey of the Nebraska U.S. Senate race since her upset win in last week's state Republican primary."

November will tell, but I am more proud of the Gadsden Flag Gang with each passing season. The media, the left, and even my man Larry Kudlow suspect that they have fizzled because they're not marching. If I may change to first person, we are demonstrating a superb mix of idealism and pragmatism. We have less time to march now that so many of us are State Delegates and Precinct Committee Chairs.

And, sometimes you have to overshoot or else you don't know your range. While I admit that I'd be happy with "Senator Jane Norton" from Colorado, I can't say I miss Mike Castle in Delaware. Speaking of witches, I'd like another term for Sen. Snowe in Maine, but replacing Hatch and Luger with TEA Party Republicans -- this is shaping up to be an excellent year.

UPDATE: Blog friend Terri links (thanks!) and reminds fo a great post of hers Ihad read but not linked

What is clear is that the "Tea Party" is not dead. I’m still here.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2012

Tax Day: "This is not about wealth redistribution"

A Sunny take on the fun we all 52 percent of us had yesterday.

Don't know about the rest of you but I have writer's cramp from writing checks.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:28 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I don't say this to gloat, but you righteous and productive members of society need to understand.

While I have been on your side, I am now a schlub. I work for the man; all my income appears on a W-2 these days. I don't write checks. Even itemizing, I do my taxes in three hours at TaxAct.com. I get humongous refunds.

Liberty lovers need be cautioned that projecting their tax worries on the electorate is not the winning strategy they think. Forty-three (Sunny sez 42) percent don't pay at all. Much of the remaining majority likely has a pretty easy time of it.

Yup, that money is gone from your paycheck. But you direct deposit and have to remember your password to look at a stub. You were outraged at FICA when you were 16, but you've inured to it.

Feel free to whine producers and innovators; but don't expect us working stiffs to comprehend.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 10:19 AM
But jk thinks:

Watched a few of Sunny's videos. She has a certain something, but like so many, I think she could benefit from turning it down from 11 to seven or eight. The poor mom clip in this one makes a statement but quickly makes one forget her substantive points. (A description, perhaps, rather than a clip would make the point without the prurience of seeing a tragic and poor woman.)

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2012 12:44 PM

March 6, 2012

What if?

This clip is about much more than just Ron Paul.

Hat tip: M4GW

And then there's this Whittaker Chambers-esque rebuttal.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I wondered where the Judge went, I have not seen him in some time.

Put me in the Occam's razor group: bad ratings. (I don't have much other truck with in your rebuttal link. The Founding Fathers were horrified at the development of "Factions," not proud developers of the first parties. Rep Paul's spending record is better than Senator Santorum...)

I did get itchy fingers because I have seen several lefty Facebook friends post this -- with approbation. I guess half bashes Republicans, it must be 50% okay. But I was still surprised. My favorite comment was "How did they slip this past the FAUX censors???" Umm, he does this about every night, people.

In the end I have to put the Judge -- entertaining as he can be -- in my "Libertario Delenda Est" camp. I may not be overwhelmed with Governor Romney's liberty bone fides, but the idea that he's "just like Obama" will go a long way to giving us a second Obama term.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2012 5:26 PM

March 2, 2012

Santorum Delenda Est

It does seem the theme of the week...

I read this from Robert Tracinski via email last week. Today I found it posted in full with excellent comments.* The major issue I see is the specter of Santorum highjacking the TEA Party Movement:

Santorum's views have zero cross-over appeal; there will be no "Santorum Democrats." They have no appeal to independent voters, who will peg him as a self-righteous prig who wants to impose his religious views on them. And it's worse than that. The resurgence of the right that produced the Tea Party movement and the huge Republican victory in 2010 is based in large part on an alliance between two wings of the right: the more religious wing and the more "libertarian" wing. They have been able to work together because of a de facto truce on the "social issues" while we drop everything else to save the country from a government takeover of the economy. I would add that there has been no need for any kind of truce on birth control or gambling, because those issues haven't even come up. But Santorum insists on bringing them up, and in doing so he breaks the Tea Party alliance and splits the right. He puts the libertarian wing of the right on notice that if they vote against Obama's version of big government, Santorum will use their vote to promote his version of big government.

Someone needs to stand up and speak on behalf of the Tea Party movement to proclaim that we did not come out and march under the banner "Don't Tread on Me" so that we could be hitched once again under the yoke of the "common good" as determined by politicians in Washington.

* The good comments are the first ones, at the bottom of the thread. The recent ones, as is often the case, seem to have degenerated into various tangents.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:18 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Excellent linked article. Might I be indulged another excerpt?

Note how this concedes Obama's basic premise: that it is the job of the state to decide for us what is in our best interests and to impose it. Obama wants to do what he thinks is optimal for the physical health and economic well-being of young women. Santorum wants to manage our spiritual well-being. Or as conservative blogger Conor Friederdorf puts it, while linking to the statement above, "Rick Santorum wants your sex life to be 'special'," which makes this sound as creepy as it really is.

Any ThreeSourcer want a do-over on his/her caucus choice? If Senator Santorum does well on Super Tuesday I might wish to trade in my principled Rep. Paul vote for a more strategic anti-Santorum vote for Gov. Romney. (Hey, stop laughing in the back, Refugee!)

Posted by: jk at March 2, 2012 1:25 PM
But Terri thinks:

Yes, I'd like the do-over.
I'd now choose door number 3, the Ron Paul even though we aren't going to win vote just to make a louder statement and get away from these ridiculous social conservative discussions that have nothing to do with why everyone I know chose Santorum.

Posted by: Terri at March 3, 2012 9:10 AM

February 29, 2012

Stealthflation to hit 15% by 2014?

I've said it a few times since August and been chastened for it, but this time it comes from the pen of an actual economist. UConn's Steven R. Cunningham writes in IBD, The Fed's Anti-Recession Effort May Unleash 15% Inflation

For about a decade before the autumn of 2008, when the U.S. economy tanked, the multiplier stood steady at the 8-to-9 range. That means every new dollar in the monetary base resulted in an $8 to $9 increase in the money supply. After the financial meltdown, bank lending dried up and the multiplier fell roughly to the 3.5-to-4 level.

At the same time, the Fed made a decision to ensure liquidity for transactions in order to encourage the recovery. To do so, it boosted the monetary base through the expansion of bank reserves and currency, at whichever rate was required to keep M2 expanding at around the same rate it had been. Between October 2008 and December 2011, the Fed expanded the base by $1.45 trillion, more than doubling the base to nearly $2.6 trillion.

The problem is that as the recovery progresses, the multiplier will move back toward normal levels, and the money supply will expand. Because of this, inflation could increase significantly beyond the 7.2% projected from 2011 data.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says the Fed is working on methods to drain the excess reserves from the system and lessen the risks of high inflation. But there are reasons to doubt the Fed's ability to do so.

Maybe if some huge national emergency were to materialize, prompting the spending of those reserves "in the national interest." A war, perhaps.

Cunningham's conclusion is less ambiguous:

Despite the many uncertainties, one fact remains: An enormous wall of money has built up in the banking system. If it finds its way into the general economy at pre-recession rates, the United States is in for quite a ride.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:22 PM | Comments (4)
But EE thinks:

What's the standard error on that 2 year forecast? Regardless of what one believes about inflation, there are simply too many variables and too much time between now and then to make any meaningful predictions.

Posted by: EE at February 29, 2012 6:56 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't know which ThreeSourcers are on record saying there will never be inflation; the FOMC is certainly playing with fire. I'm just not sold on stealthflation. In spite of the cool name, I disagree that severe inflation is already here and just not accounted for in the Core PCE defaltor.

Stay stealthy, my friend. Else they'll kick me outta the Ron Paul club.

Posted by: jk at February 29, 2012 7:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

CPI: 3.1 percent

American Institute for Economic Research's EPI: 8 percent.

Causes notwithstanding, the dollar buys less than CPI says it does.

Posted by: johngalt at March 1, 2012 12:38 PM
But EE thinks:


Did you read the article? It says at the bottom of the article that this really isn't a representative sample of what people actually purchase. It is meant to be provocative -- just like the study that will come out next week about lower productivity due to March Madness.

Along with Barry Ritholtz, I used to make fun of "inflation ex inflation" where somebody would dispel fears of rising inflation by saying, "if we remove...then inflation really isn't that bad." I used to make fun of this by saying that "if we remove the rising prices, there is no inflation." However, this isn't one of those times. Inflation is low.

Do excess reserves pose a threat? Perhaps, but not at the present.

By the way, the CPI thinks housing prices have risen. So that means that it overstates inflation.

Posted by: EE at March 2, 2012 1:33 PM

February 23, 2012

Video Review Corner

I enjoyed Tea Party: Three Principles mightily, and Professor Reynolds interviews the author.

I'll agree with Reynolds that it's far above most output from academic presses. And I enjoyed, being the wierdo I am, the precedent-setting Constitutional cases discussed. It's a great book and well worth the read.

I did not agree with her three principles, but that is because she asserts immigration as a Tea Party issue, making an eloquent link to American Sovereignty. I prefer to consider the Tea Party a limited government organization with many members who have strong opinions on sovereignty and immigration. But it's not a crazy thought.

Well worth a read, four stars!

UPDATE: Now with yummy, embeddity goodness!

Posted by John Kranz at 1:09 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2012

Otequay of the Ayday

"What astonishing changes a few years are capable of producing! I am told that even respectable characters speak of a monarchical form of government without horror. From thinking proceeds speaking, thence to acting is often but a single step. But how irrevocable & tremendous! What a triumph for the advocates of despotism to find that we are incapable of governing ourselves, and that systems founded on the basis of equal liberty are merely ideal & falacious! Would to God that wise measures may be taken in time to avert the consequences we have but too much reason to apprehend." --George Washington, Letter to John Jay, 15 August, 1786
Posted by JohnGalt at 1:01 PM | Comments (0)

February 13, 2012

"American Catholicism's Pact with the Devil"

Hillsdale College's Paul Rahe has done it again. Being thrice granted Quote of the Day honors on our humble blog (here, here and most notably here) his posting of last Friday explains in grand detail and with far greater authority the warning I've been sounding for just a few short years of my relatively young life - that Christian altruism enables Marxist-Leninist policies in the west. I called it The Virtue of Selfishness. Rahe calls it American Catholicism's Pact With the Devil and says it goes back to FDR and the New Deal in the 1930's.

In the process, the leaders of the American Catholic Church fell prey to a conceit that had long before ensnared a great many mainstream Protestants in the United States -- the notion that public provision is somehow akin to charity -- and so they fostered state paternalism and undermined what they professed to teach: that charity is an individual responsibility and that it is appropriate that the laity join together under the leadership of the Church to alleviate the suffering of the poor. In its place, they helped establish the Machiavellian principle that underpins modern liberalism -- the notion that it is our Christian duty to confiscate other people's money and redistribute it.


Posted by JohnGalt at 4:35 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

My brother-in-law just signed up for Hillsdale's Constitution 101 10 week online course and suggested I check it out. A new one starts on Feb 20.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2012 6:38 PM

Quote of the Day

A panel at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend took on the question of what differentiates the Tea Party movement from the Occupy protests. While the most common refrain might have been "soap", the real difference is in what the movements do to the individual spirit. One embraces it, nurtures it and strengthens it. The other movement attacks the human spirit and drive to succeed and seeks to control, punish and minimize it. I choose the Tea Party movement because it ultimately asks me to do more for myself, my (future) family and my country. The Occupy movement asks me to admit I can't face this world, as past generations faced and conquered their world. I am too optimistic to give in. -- 22 year-old-and-between-jobs Justin Higgs
Posted by John Kranz at 11:42 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

A W E S O M E.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2012 12:10 PM

GOP Nomination - To be Continued

I have previously highlighted the public statements of Sarah Palin as a sort of Pied Piper for the TEA Party movement [and I remain interested in JK's appraisal of her Stossel appearance.] Yesterday the theme continued. Sarah was on Fox News Sunday telling Chris Wallace that Romney "is a great candidate" but that she isn't hearing a TEA Party message from him.

"He still needs to be able to articulate what his solutions are to the challenges facing America -- but not just Mitt. All four of them," she said.

"What I want to see is that candidate and I believe that most voters in the GOP and independents, we will want to see that candidate whom we can trust will just inherently, instinctively turn right, always err on the side of conservativism, which means smaller, smarter government, more empowerment for the individual, for the private sector," Palin said.

While Palin has previously encouraged a vote for Gingrich she's backed away from that and, as this quote confirms, is waiting for the best small government, pro liberty message from any one of them. If the "Ron Paul is unelectable" meme would somehow die out I think she would even back him. And for his part, Paul said on Face the Nation yesterday:

"I think the problem is that all three of them have represented the same system, the same status quo ... None of them talk about real spending cuts. None of them talk about real changes in monetary policy. So they're not a whole lot different. So I think when it comes down to those three, it's probably going to be management style more than anything else," Paul added.

And Palin encourages the GOP faithful to embrace the extended contest, not fear it.

Palin said each of the candidates has his strengths and they are able to hone them -- and deliver a more concise message -- if the race keeps going.

"Each of them I believe they are getting stronger, they're getting better and that's what competition provides and that's why I want to see the competition continue," she said. "They all have something to offer and that is why it is a good democratic process in our republic."

Love the phrasing there... "democratic process in our republic" i.e. the US government is not a democracy. I'll add my voice to what I sense is a growing chorus: "Ron Paul is electable."

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:20 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

No, I did not bring closure to that. The Governor's performance was good, but the interview was not the philosophical throw down I envisioned. It was short and polite. Every Good Boy Did Fine, but it did not move the needle either way.

I enjoyed her appearance on FOX News Sunday yesterday as well. I just do not yearn for a Palin candidacy like I do for Govs. Christie or Daniels.

I'll agree that she is undersold by many -- and not just her political foes. But I cannot escape that she is frequently oversold by some of her supporters. Perhaps that is not unusual.

Posted by: jk at February 13, 2012 12:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A very fair assessment. I think my personal affection comes more from how she proves her enemies wrong at almost every opportunity. They've set such a low bar for her that I sit down to watch prepared to cringe, and when the things she says are original and insightful instead it leaves me blown away. I also acknowledge with objectivity her very widespread influence. I believe she is wise enough to parlay her influence where it already exists and to work on enlarging it, rather than become a candidate herself - at least for now.

You've said the movement needs a more intellectual leader, which is true, but it also needs an inspirational one. I think she fills those shoes right now.

Posted by: johngalt at February 13, 2012 2:38 PM

January 31, 2012

The gig is up

The historical accounts of the 2012 Presidential election are already being written. From Steve McCann's 'The Republican Establishment's Strategic Blunder' in the American Thinker:

The one major accomplishment of Barack Obama has been to bring a sudden and abrupt end the people's ability to tolerate this tacitly understood game between the two major Parties.


All the other challengers were easily eliminated or made irrelevant, as they did not have the money or experience of knowing how the game is played, but Newt refused to just slink away. Never has the Republican Establishment trained its guns on any one candidate in such an unbridled and unrestrained way.

Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters. While it maybe the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.

The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder. They will, in all likelihood, succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the damage they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible. The public now sees the length to which the Establishment will go to make certain their hand-picked candidate is chosen regardless of the dire circumstances facing the nation.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:28 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

I dunno. This really smacks of conspiracy theory. My assessment of conspiracies is that the theorists give way to much credit for intelligence to the conspirators.

It reminds me of when Gore and RFK Jr. blamed Bush for Katrina. Sure - a guy they claim to be to stupid to read a book somehow has God-like control over the weather.

Similarly here, the "GOP establishment" is too incompetant to organize a campaign, but somehow as the skills to do a Jedi mind-trick on the electorate.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 1, 2012 11:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm confused. What's the "conspiracy theory?" That negative campaign ads work or that "an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings" dominates national party politics?

Posted by: johngalt at February 1, 2012 2:52 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

JG, you're a friend, so I'm happy to un-confuse you. :-)

First of all, the definition of "The Establishment": "an amalgam of like-minded groups with one common interest: control of the government purse-strings." Who in the polical debate does that NOT describe?!? We at Three Sources would love to control the government purse strings, if for no other reason than to tie a knot in them. Indeed, it is the disagreement over government gathering and use of funds that animates most of us.

Second, the idea that dozens or hundreds of prominant politicians - who can rarely agree on lunch - got together and derived a consensus and a grand strategy for electing a particular candidate seems highly implausible. The fact that a number of prominant politicians support a particular candidate does not mean that they got together and decided to do so, though no doubt many of the talk regularly.

Finally, "...it appears that those who are nominally identified as the "Republican Establishment" are doing all they can to alienate the vast majority of the current base of the Party." Seriously?? The party appartchik is sitting around dreaming up ways to piss off the "vast majority" of its base? Again, implausible. Moreover, how can they alienate the "vast majority" of the base and simultaneous convince them to vote for their chosen candidate?

This a sour-grapes theory to explain why Newt is losing to Romney. The truth is that while Romney may be deeply flawed, Newt is deeply, deeply flawed. Finally, just because a bunch of party insiders don't believe that Newt is electable doesn't mean it's not true.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at February 1, 2012 4:26 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

What he said. BR, that is...

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2012 11:43 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

"Republican Establishment trained its guns"
in non-partisan, unelectioneering, bomb-catching plainspeak, people established (aka, whose opinions are sometimes sought) within the republican party exercised their right to free speech and called a Newt... well, whatever they thought he was.

The idea of Ann Coulter colluding with anyone behind a closed door is silly... until ... it becomes oddly disturbing >:-0

I caught a bit of the ads and speech from the FL campaign. I didn't find the selected Romney ad objectionable (and you'd think they'd picked a nasty one). A bit harsh perhaps, but way less harsh than Newt calling anyone else a Washington insider: that takes gall and a forked tongue well-used to the taste of bile.

Gall don't necessarily impress independent voters. I already can't stand listening to His Whineyness anymore.

P.S.: the prohibition on posting comments still afflicts NB; but only with FireFox.

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 1, 2012 11:56 PM

January 26, 2012

Corporations are not people!

After watching a large part of this David Stockman interview with Bill Moyers I'm about ready to adopt the dirty hippies #Occupy meme. When they villified "Wall Street" and "Greedy Corporations" I always had a mental image of Fidelity Investments and WalMart. But if I replace that with Goldman Sachs and General Electric I think we would agree on more than we differ.

This also magnifies my distrust of the GOP establishment and, by association, the Romney candidacy.

David Stockman on Crony Capitalism from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:15 AM | Comments (12)
But jk thinks:

Made it through. Clearly I'm going to have to change brother jg's password. It's one thing to hack somebody's account for personal gain, but this character assassination borders on libel.

Okay, he doesn't like Jeff Immelt -- thus 50% as reliable as a broken clock.

What what what did you like? A constitutional amendment to keep corporate money out of politics -- a $100 limit on contributions? Government dictating the size, structure, and allowed transactions of banks (my largest disagreement with Gov Huntsman)? Or did you just dig the repudiation of Reagan's economic vision?

If I may quote In Living Color's "Men on Film" segement: "hated it!"

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2012 6:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If memory serves, I came in at about 21:30 when I switched on PBS last night. Anything before that I'll defer to a future debate.

I liked the expose of GE's bailout and how it should have been done through a dilution of shareholder value and not by a FED bailout.

I liked the assertion, "Free markets are not free. They've been bought and paid for by large financial institutions."

I liked the identification of the "entitled class" of "Wall Street financiers and corporate CEOs" who "believe the government is there to do whatever is necessary ... whatever it takes to keep the game going and their stock price moving upward."

And most of all, I appreciated Stockman's correction that "it is important to put the word crony capitalism on there, because free-market capitalism is a different thing. True free-market capitalists never go to Washington with their hand out. True free-market capitalists running a bank do not expect that whenever they make a mistake or whenever they get themselves too leveraged, or they end up with too many risky assets that don't work out, they don't expect to be able to go to the Federal Reserve and get some cheap or free money and go on as before. They expect consequences, maybe even failure of their firm. Certainly loss of their bonuses, maybe loss of their jobs. So we don't have free-market capitalism left in this country anymore, we have everyone believing that if they can hire the right lobbyists, raise enough political action committee money, spend enough time prowling the halls of the Senate and the House and the office buildings arguing for the benefit of their narrow parochial interests then that is the way things will work out. That's crony capitalism and it's very dangerous. It seems to be becoming more embedded in our system."

What's not to like with any of this? We can argue about causes and solutions, but can we agree on this particular problem?

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2012 7:40 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee listened to all 34 scintillating minutes and can't quite see what sent JK 'round the bend. Yes, Moyers is an insufferable nincompoop, but we knew that going in. The irony, of course, is that the far left and the fiscal right have finally found common ground in deploring crony capitalism.

The most objectionable part of Stockman's comments was his assertion that we need to change the First Amendment to deny corporations the right to lobby and give political contributions. (Why corporations should be muzzled but not unions or enviros remains a mystery.) Nevertheless, his comments against crony capitalism and in support of pure capitalism seemed to make a lot of sense.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 26, 2012 9:55 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, at least our ratings are up. I got an email from a good friend of the blog who is enjoying this argument very much.

You know, brothers, Governor Howard Dean doesn't like bailouts and crony capitalism either. I'm sure I can find a clip of his discussing it with Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Rachel Maddow. I'll post it and we'll all agree how very swell it is.

I do not trust either of these men. Both have done extreme damage to this great nation and our concept of liberty and personal achievement. Just because we all agree Jeff Immelt is a dickhead, I am not going to embrace them.

When Stockman longs for the Republican Party of his youth, he is longing for Eisenhower and Ford. Moyers, of course, never came to grips with the idea of a Democrat Party without LBJ.

"Free markets aren't really free" does sound like ThreeSources and I'm sure he'd like to sell us each a copy of his book. But when it comes from a guy who wants to dictate banks' size and business practice, propose extreme campaign finance rules, and has an, ahem, history of government expansion -- I do not accept that he is now calling for lasseiz faire.

Posted by: jk at January 27, 2012 10:47 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I must say my first reaction to this recording was one of excitement over the fact that it could lead to a bridge between left and right so wide and so strong as to absolutely overpower the entrenched crony establishment with a popular laissez-faire revolution. After a second viewing I remain hopeful, and as long as my password continues to function I will strive to advance the topic. (Yes, I know yer just joking about yanking it.)

Let me ask that we seek a point of agreement before we debate whether Stockman is the GOP antichrist or Phil Gramm precipitated TARP. I'm sure we're all on board with "crony capitalism is very dangerous" so how about, this:

When the net worth of a collection of six financial services conglomerations and their six boards of directors approaches the annual GDP of the entire United States private sector, and the members of those boards of directors have unprecedented influence throughout the depth and breadth of the federal government, our principled free-speech rules may no longer be sufficient for preventing this "entitled class" from manipulating the government for their own narrow interests to the detriment of individual liberty and property, particularly in a mixed economic system with fiat currency.

In my youth, "Ma Bell" was deemed "too big" and was broken up. Today, "Wall Street" is deemed "too big to fail" and is instead propped up - by devaluing the net worth of every dollar-denominated individual. Cui bono?

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2012 12:44 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

While The Bad Guys and Three Sourcers can agree that crony capitalism is bad, our reasons for believing so are very different. The Bad Guys view capitalism, in toto, as undesireable. Thus, anything that props it up in any form is a bad thing. Three Sourcers, on the other hand, view crony capitalism as a misuse of taxpayer funds, misallocation of resources and questionable ethics. Because The Bad Guys believe that all things good emanate from the government, when crony capitalism falls capitalism will fall with it. Three Sourcers believe the opposite, and that a lack of crony capitalism will lead to better allocation of resources and therefore economic expansion. Thus, we are willing to accept this deal with The Bad Guys (all other things being equal).

We don't have to embrace them, we just have to outmaneuver them.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 27, 2012 12:46 PM

January 24, 2012

But What About His Opponent?

The establishment GOP punditry has been dutifully besmirching Newt Gingrich as "radical" and "erratic." Too much so, they say, to be elected president much less hold the office. But what about the other guy? IBD's editorial page appreciates the way that Newt goes about reminding the media, and the voters, who that guy in the Oval Office really is.

Alinsky's radicalism despises capitalism, entrepreneurship, individualism and, most of all, American exceptionalism. It is the genesis of Obama's demonization of the successful and his passion for the redistribution but not the creation of wealth. It's at the heart of his ongoing apology tour where he tells the world we are sorry for acting like we are mankind's last best hope for mankind, a belief Newt Gingrich shares with President Ronald Reagan.

Obama's is the belief system that Newt Gingrich told NBC's David Gregory, "is fundamentally different from probably 80% of this country." That would be a comfortable electoral majority, would it not? Does Mitt Romney even know how to pronounce "Alinsky?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Exhibit 1: The latest Romney tweet-

Mitt Romney @MittRomney This President's agenda made these troubled times last longer. He made it harder for the economy to recover http://obamaisntworking.com

Memorable, eh? I can smell the formaldehyde from here.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 4:15 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The former governor can certainly turn a phrase.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at January 24, 2012 10:11 PM
But johngalt thinks:

It reads like he took a normal sentence and ran it through a software algorithm designed to lower the grade level of the speech. Maybe he's trying to "connect with the folks."

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2012 11:40 PM

January 23, 2012

Conservatism Won't Sit in the Back of the Bus

The WSJ Ed page analysis of The Gingrich Challenge is 20/20. If Romney can't beat Gingrich he probably can't beat Obama, and if Gingrich doesn't discipline himself, stay on message, and broaden his appeal then he won't succeed either.

The Republican nominee will have to make a sustained and specific case that Mr. Obama's policies made the recovery weaker than it should have been (stimulus, health care), squandered resources on political boondoggles (Solyndra), and how and why GOP policies will do better. Mr. Romney's 59 economic proposals are fine but forgettable little ideas. He needs a big idea.

Gingrich has been talking about these big ideas. However...

Mr. Gingrich will also eventually need a more inclusive message than he is now offering. He made a stab at it in his South Carolina victory remarks by mentioning the strengths of his competitors. His bow to Mr. Paul's "sound money" platform was especially shrewd, but then he kept talking and talking in his familiar undisciplined fashion.


He needs to practice the politics of addition with independents and nonconservatives.

The TEA Party is dead, they say? Not so quick. But remember it's the message, not the messenger, that we will reward.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:50 PM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Listening to a few of Hugh Hewitt's callers tonight led me to the insight that Newt's biggest appeal is to those who want to see someone who can "Sock it to Him" (so to speak). The dramatic reversal from the polls to the result in SC must have quite a bit to do with his retort over Marianne's interview.

I understand this appeal to conservatives and ... well, hell... anyone with working synapses sick of the abominations that emanate from the chattering class in this Obamanation. Besides, a negative campaign is easier to map out.

Yo', I say, to said synapses: how does this get us the independents? I think it a bad idea to engage in sucker punch campaign with a media-backed, immoral, Chicago politician whose got a $B+ war chest and the executive branch ready and willing to lay mines, false trails and trip wires. So much for easy map-making.

I think we need a more positive message than Newt is able to deliver, and let Obama slink into the gutter.

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 23, 2012 11:41 PM

January 8, 2012

Your vision or mine?

The idea for this contrast of visions came to me yesterday, when I searched for a suitable cartoon to highjack and found an excellent cartoon in its own right from the Sarasota Chronicle by way of the (Montana) Missoulian. Being Broncos Playoff Sunday and having chores to do before the game I almost didn't post it, thinking it deserved a good writeup accompaniment. JK's Motor City Madness segue's well: New Orleans says, "Leave us alone" while Detroit still moans, "Take care of us."

Occupy Tea Party

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:50 PM | Comments (2)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Better (perhaps even more accurate) titles for the signs would have been:
"We can do it" vs. "You have to do it for us"

Posted by: nanobrewer at January 10, 2012 9:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"We can do it" vs. "Do it for us." I like it.

So much talk about TEA Party "extremism." A simple contrast here can be devastatingly effective.

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2012 1:45 AM

November 30, 2011

TEA Party Re-Rallies!

As the Occupy madness played out I was a bit nostalgic for the TEA Party rally days of yore. "We need to do that again soon," thought I. People's Press Collective posts:

Many of us in the liberty movement have observed the Occupy Wall Street Movement (“OWS”) and admired their passion even when we often disagree with their tactics. They correctly identify some of the problems our country faces, such as that too many businesses make profit by lobbying the government, not by producing better value. However, instead of proposing solutions that would take our country toward renewed prosperity, OWS instead advocates policies that would make things worse. Heavier regulation, cancellation of all debts, outlawing of private insurance, a $20 minimum wage and “free” education are simply more of the same type of government intrusion that caused the current, and projected future, economic mess. What we need instead are more free markets and more liberty – for history has shown that this is the way for our country’s restored greatness – both as a nation and as individuals.

To that end, we will rally on December 3rd at 11:30 a.m. on the West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol to show support for limited government and economic freedom. Additionally, we will be holding a charity drive for a charity to be determined to help show that voluntary contributions – not forced giving at the hand of government – is the best way to help the less fortunate. If you support not only our country’s restored greatness, but also a freer and more humanitarian world, please consider attending this event. Help us declare freedom is not the problem, freedom is the answer.

I have a scheduling conflict so I hope this posting prompts one or more to attend in my stead.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:27 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I'm otherwise occupied and the weather looks to be bad.

More importantly, I'm not feeling nostalgic. Tea Partiers moved quickly from rallies to town halls to state delegations, elective office, and substantive political advocacy. Also, I cannot think of a good outcome. Yet poor attendance or any disturbance or any "racist" signs will be used to denigrate the Tea party movement.

Let the dirty hippies tantrum, let freedom lovers govern.

Posted by: jk at November 30, 2011 4:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, I remember that you were a little jaundiced by some of the rhetoric coming from the podium, so your reticence is understandable. However...

- TEA Party rallies are NOT "tantrums."
- TEA Party disturbances [have there been any?] would compare quite favorably with those at Occupy (TM).
- Racist signs reflect thems who carries 'em - fringe lunatics or hostile agitators.
- TEA Party rallies were the genesis of all the great things you enumerate, but for some reason it's a bad idea to do it again? Show we're still here?

And I'll close with this awesome new name for the Occupiers, although I link reluctantly for reasons that will be apparent to those who click through.

We are the TEA Party, "Occupy" is the Flea Party.

Posted by: johngalt at December 1, 2011 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

No no no no no no! I have been misconstrued and demand to see an attorney -- or a good copy editor. I come to praise the TEA Party!

I had my concerns with the Tea Party, but the #OWS hippies have made me appreciate even the failings.

My (attempted) point was that the Tea Partiers have indeed moved to a higher level. That the rallies were simply a launching pad to an astonishing level of grassroots political involvement. Accepting that, the potential negatives I enumerated outweigh any real potential gains. One Democratic infiltrator shows up with a racist sign and it will lead the news for days. A small showing in the miserable weather (23F, snowing and windy as I type) will allow your beloved Denver Post Front Page to proclaim that the movement is over.

In defense of the tantrum line: if that's all you ever do, like so many on the left, it is a tantrum. Now that the baggerz have moved up it seems a step back.

Posted by: jk at December 3, 2011 11:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Canceled due to icy roads. Promise to reschedule.

Thanks for the clarification. My desire to go originated with co-organizer and (my) state senator Shawn Mitchell saying on Mike Rosen's show last week, "The Occupy protesters have some of the same complaints as the TEA Party, but offer all the wrong solutions." I think it's a good point to draw attention to.

Posted by: johngalt at December 3, 2011 7:56 PM

October 29, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Shrugs

Robert Tracinski has additional analysis of events such as in the New York Post story JK posted last weekend. In a TIA Daily email he explains how Occupy Wall Street Shrugged.

Over at Occupy Boston, a protester complains, "It's turning into us against them. They come in here and they're looking at it as a way of getting a free meal and a place to crash, which is totally fine, but they don't bring anything to the table at all." Another report concludes with a similar sentiment.
"We have compassion toward everyone. However, we have certain rules and guidelines," said Lauren Digioia, 26, a member of the sanitation committee. "If you're going to come here and get our food, bedding and clothing, have books and medical supplies for no charge, they need to give back," Digioia said. "There's a lot of takers here and they feel entitled."

These people had better watch out. If they start thinking that like this, pretty soon they might find themselves at a Tea Party rally.

"Our" food? What did they do to earn it? Who is it who really feels "entitled?"

Then he refrains a tale he dubs The Spaghetti Bolognese Incident.

The Occupy Wall Street volunteer kitchen staff launched a "counter" revolution yesterday—because they're angry about working 18-hour days to provide food for "professional homeless" people and ex-cons masquerading as protesters.

For three days beginning tomorrow, the cooks will serve only brown rice and other Spartan grub instead of the usual menu of organic chicken and vegetables, spaghetti Bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep's-milk-cheese salad.

They will also provide directions to local soup kitchens for the vagrants, criminals and other freeloaders who have been descending on Zuccotti Park in increasing numbers every day.

To show they mean business, the kitchen staff refused to serve any food for two hours yesterday in order to meet with organizers to air their grievances, sources said.

Behind the hypocrisy, there are real lessons to be learned: lessons about the relationship between productive people and freeloaders. About the need for police to protect decent people from criminals. About how con-men and the power-lusters always take over utopian schemes for their own benefit. About the taxing power and unaccountability of central authorities.

The spaghetti Bolognese incident sums it up. The workers who provide the goods everyone else lives off of are going on strike to protest against their exploitation by freeloaders. Has anyone else noticed that this is the basic plot premise of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged? Yet that is the story line they are unintentionally acting out. Call it Occupy Wall Street Shrugged.

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:03 PM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2011

TEA Party Anthem

It's a natural fit even though the songwriter, Krista's husband Michael Branch, says he wrote it before the TEA Party ever started.

Its new claim to fame is as the official song of the Herman Cain Presidential Campaign.

I think I've also seen what would make a good "Occupy" Anthem somewhere. If I find that I'll post it too.

UPDATE: Not what I was originally thinking of, but better: The Occupy Anthem

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:39 PM | Comments (0)

October 7, 2011

I want out of the Tea Party

Although I think I might order one of these cool Gadsden Flag Shirts.

In the early days, the GOP establishment told the Tea Party folk to grow up and understand political exigencies. And the establishment was clearly wrong. They had internalized limitations on expectations that were clearly false.

The Tea Party is blamed for losing Senate Seats in Colorado, Delaware and Nevada. It might be a fair cop, but I watched Sen. Ron Johnson (HOSS - WI) on Kudlow last night and thought that we would be missing him and Senator Lee in Utah and Senator Rubio in Florida and dozens of great Reps in the House. A huge net positive. They changed the debate as Chairman Ryan would say.

So why do I want out? As the tea party educated the establishment, they must accept some schooling in pragmatism.

Faced with an existential threat to liberty, the Boston Tea Party (what do those guys know about tea parties anyhow?) think they might "sit this one out."

But don't expect tea partiers to be happy about it.

"Scott Brown has disappointed us a few times," Carlos Hernandez, state coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots, told TheDC. "So are we going to go out there and hold signs for him everyday? I don't think so."

"Now, does that mean we're not going to hold our nose and vote for him? No, because the other option is not an option," added Hernandez, referring to the Democrat roster challenging Brown

The challenger is Professor "nobody got rich on his own" Elizabeth Warren. If it were some washed up SNL Comic or trust fund baby grown to Senate age, I could give up the people's seat with a small sting. This woman is poised to be the intellectual leader of the lefties as it were.

Sorry Senator Brown "disappointed" you. Now lift those signs! I can't heeeeear you!

UPDATE: Hmm, this is a little problematic as well...

Posted by John Kranz at 11:03 AM | Comments (6)
But johngalt thinks:

In his state the endorsement of TEA Party "extremists" would be a hindrance. One could argue that this public stance is strategic.

Oh, and your flags? Look at the prices - they're practically giving them away (meaning they aren't very popular.)

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2011 2:02 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

$22.05 for a six-pack of sh*t paper? That must be some TP.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 7, 2011 2:20 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good point. Wonder how many wipes one could get out of 17.1 of them dollar twenty-nine flags. And they look great hangin in the sh*tter too! (Welcome to www.nascarretards.com)

Posted by: johngalt at October 7, 2011 2:47 PM
But jk thinks:

I KNEW I should've cropped the last one out.

As an Amazon fan, I must clarify that that order is for six packages. I don't know that this is the exact offer pictured (there are an amazing number of varieties of packaging and product). But it is six packs of three: 18 rolls for $23.50. With subscribe and save, you could get it for $19.97 (1.11/roll).

Still a little pricey for le condo d'amour but I am reminded of the words of the great comic Richard Pryor, in response to Charmin's "too good to be toilet paper" campaign: "Ain't nothin' in the world too good for me to wipe my ass with."

You guys started it.

Posted by: jk at October 7, 2011 3:13 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:


The C stands for "clean."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 7, 2011 4:52 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

You got an invitation?

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 8, 2011 2:39 AM

September 30, 2011

Gov. Christie: Clean, Articulate White Man...

If you followed the Rick Newman link below you've likely seen this but I couldn't resist promoting it.


... who can also be trusted to not call Republicans socialists?

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:41 PM | Comments (9)
But johngalt thinks:

Now that you mention it, I haven't heard Favre say "no" yet either.

Posted by: johngalt at September 30, 2011 7:13 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I think it accurately portrays the GOP reaching for anything and anyone to get away from the vicissitudes represented by the Tea Party. They arrrr nervous me hearties.

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 1, 2011 1:00 AM
But jk thinks:

I agree 100% nb. My problem is the suggestion that Governor Christie be considered the establishment candidate. I like him because he the clearest and loudest voice for freedom, not because he will appeal to Peggy Noonan and David Brooks.

To be fair, Brother jg's Speaker Newtzilla has been a good and loud voice for liberty. I can't get past the ethanol support (in Iowa, if you can believe it) and Speaker Pelosi global warming commercials (which he has at least recanted). Love a lot of what he says but I cannot get on that train.

Posted by: jk at October 1, 2011 11:49 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Methinks you are right jk. Were I selecting a candidate merely for myself it would be his Newtiness. Yet I can't get any love for him from any of my female relatives. Call it "First Wife Phobia." Fortunately there's another excellent choice, one we all like "if only he could win." And if he's as saavy as I hope he is, he's working Chris Christie and Sarah Palin for endorsements sometime after the next debate. Herman Cain.

Posted by: johngalt at October 1, 2011 5:51 PM
But jk thinks:

The second I get a definitive no from Christie, both my size 11s will be in the Cain Camp.

He did pretty well at TeaCon, they tell me.

Posted by: jk at October 2, 2011 10:30 AM
But nanobrewer thinks:

@JK: My problem is the suggestion that Governor Christie be considered the establishment candidate

Well someone will be and we can best hope that we get one with enough backbone that he (sorry, Michelle) becomes the establishment and not the other way around. Cain does seem to fit that bill better then Mitt, but I think he's too new, as was Romney in 2008. Recall, Reagan had 10+ years in the GOP (many at very low levels) before he jumped into the presidential ring.

Now, the "Bush" GOP that we have these days might need someone new, but there's a reason one doesn't just go around upsetting applecarts. Today's "reasons"? Ryan, Pence, McConnel, Jindal, Haley, Barbour, Kasich and a host of others that keep me believing (but not registered!)

While I have as much respect for Newt's intellect and output as anybody here, we should all admit to his unelectable stature. If we don't admit, let the tomatoes be thrown!

Posted by: nanobrewer at October 3, 2011 1:29 AM

September 23, 2011

Elizabeth Warren Elevator Talk

Blog brother jk appealed for Randian elevator speeches to answer the latest liberal female candidate for Ted Kennedy's senate seat who said, "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own - nobody."

My first temptation was to say, "Please read Craig Biddle's (not Bill Whittle) essay on Ayn Rand's Theory of Rights: The Moral Foundation of a Free Society. It is superb. But it is far more than an elevator ride. And that is the trouble. Americans have been taught for generations that it is unconscionable for "the richest nation in the world" to let any of our neighbors go hungry or be denied the latest medical treatments. How does anyone counter this belief in even the world's longest elevator ride? Perhaps like this...

A human is a living thing that cannot survive without using his or her mind to identify values and act to achieve them. Values begin with those things which a human needs for survival. They begin with food, shelter, clothing. They then progress on a scale from necessities to comforts and then luxuries.

Civilization and prosperity have made luxuries into comforts and comforts into necessities. But civilization also tries to make leisure into work. Our prosperity has convinced many of us that there is enough wealth to go around to everybody, so nobody needs to work any longer. This fiction is extended even beyond the realm of materials and into services, such as medical treatment and disaster assistance. But there is no free lunch. Without production and commerce there is no prosperity, and production is not automatic. No man will work to create something unless he will profit. No man will learn medicine and care for others unless he receives a comparable value in return.

Businessmen, of all people, recognize the value of a polite society. Why do you think they always tried to hire Clint Eastwood to protect their two-bit town from the local gang? This is why most people are happy to pay a nominal tax to support basic government services, or even a higher tax for some extra-special services. But still more taxes to transfer his wealth to the less industrious are another matter. Take away a man's profit without his consent and he will either stop producing things you used to get from him or he'll leave your civilization and start his own somewhere beyond your reach. Either way, you are worse off than when you worked for your own earnings and traded with him fairly.

Of course, all of this presumes that your goal is to be happy and prosperous in your own life. Some men aspire to nothing more than to harm others. Don't be that guy, and don't demand what you haven't earned.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 AM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

I should be clear -- your stuff is quite good. I was suggesting Mister Biddle had gone a little farther into the weeds than the average political moderate can be led.


Posted by: jk at September 23, 2011 3:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. http://i.imgur.com/sHUN2.jpg

Hat-tip Jonah

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2011 4:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Awesome. I'm not worthy!

Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2011 5:17 PM
But Terri thinks:

"Focusing on infrastructure as the crucial support of entrepreneurial activity is like crediting the guy who built young Bill Gates' garage with the start of Microsoft."

The two story rebuttal from Rich Lowry.

Posted by: Terri at September 23, 2011 10:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:


Posted by: johngalt at September 23, 2011 11:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Made my first try today. A Facebook comment makes an elevator ride look long, but my brother got this in response to the picture of her with her remarks;

If given more respect for property rights than Professor Warren showed on the consumer banking project, those successful factory owners will happily fund "the next kid" who comes along.

Nobody gets rich in a vacuum or without property rights -- there is a great weekend editorial on Hayek and The Cloud at WSJ. But it is unconscionable to say that it takes a village to raise a billionaire -- if you remove a Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, TJ Rodgers or Andy Grove, it changes the world. Even though there are still roads for iPods and computers to be delivered on. Those visionaries created their wealth ex nihilo and we all benefitted from it.

I disagree with Warren to the central fibers of my being, but I applaud her for making a rational (if boneheadedly wrong) argument in favor of Progressivism. Individual achievement is the most important thing in the betterment of mankind, and man, as the owner of his person is fully entitled to the fruits of his labor.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2011 7:22 PM

September 20, 2011

An Antidote to "Palinism"

"The Republican Party needs an antidote to Palinism."

So said noted authority on GOP political strategy Dan Gerstein, "a New York-based Democratic strategist who worked on Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign as an independent in 2006" last September.

I just posted a comment that referenced the Conservative New Jersey article that included this quote. It was rebuttal to the notion that Chris Christie is the GOP rock star we should all want in this year's presidential race. But I thought it deserved further and more prominent examination.

Republicans and Liberty Movement folk may differ on the New Jersey governor's bona fides (gun control, Obamacare, cap and trade, more...) but when he is defined as the anti-Palin we Liberty types bristle. That seems to be a fight the governor himself would be wise not to pick. For his part it seems he does not, as the CNJ article chronicles the lengths he takes to keep his distance from her.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:32 PM | Comments (15)
But johngalt thinks:

I'll posit that several of the candidates don't fit your formula. Bachmann, Perry and Palin can be said to have all three of your conservative creds. It's Romney and Christie who are lacking, although I've thusfar failed in the challenge to find any of them with as good an elevator speech as Gov. Chris.

Posted by: johngalt at September 21, 2011 4:46 PM
But jk thinks:

Aye, but 'e's close!

"Conservative, liberty minded, acceptible to the electorate, not a complete kook -- pick any three."


And, and, and. It's not so much the elevator speech; he is quick on his feet. He takes questions from a hostile crowd and answers with Reaganesque replies: non combative, but serious, thoughtful and filled with conviction. I don't think you can learn or fake that. That signifies a man who knows what he believes.

That is moral clarity to me. He speaks out of deeply held principles. I have not seen anybody who was better at that since President Reagan.

Posted by: jk at September 21, 2011 6:09 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Gonna have to quibble with JG a bit here.

Socially conservative doctrine (in the main) is anti-abortion, anti-gay marraige, anti-gay rights, etc. You cannot simultaneously support the codification of morality into law and say that you're all for individuals living the way they want to. We all make those balances and trade-offs both in our lives and how we vote. The trade-off is the essense of the pick-two dilemma.

At this point, I would trade Christie's more liberal positions, figuring he won't try to roll his party on them, in return for his ability to get us back on the right fiscal track.

One clarification for JK, however: Christie can be very bombastic. See his answer to the question about sending his kids to private school instead of public. "None of your damn business!!!" goes into a two minute tirade. Expect to see all those videos get wide coverage if he enters the race.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 22, 2011 11:10 AM
But dagny thinks:

Sorry, I'm a little late to the party here, but I contend that, "socially conservative," and, "liberty minded," are mutually exclusive. This is one of the things that makes politics incredibly frustrating for me. There never seem to ANY politicians that reflect MY values well. When, on occasion, one appears, they are considered unelectable fringe lunatics. I guess that just makes me also a fringe lunatic.

Posted by: dagny at September 22, 2011 2:44 PM
But dagny thinks:

oops! correction! If am going to my kid's school to correct the grammar of the handouts sent home, I better get it right myself. "When, on occasion, THEY appear, they are considered..."

Posted by: dagny at September 22, 2011 2:50 PM
But johngalt thinks:

*ahem* "When, on occasion, one appears he is considered a fringe lunatic."

BR is right, of course. I realized my error and said to dagny last night, "Nobody has called me on it though." In the current climate I read "liberty minded" as pro-property rights and little more.

Now, as "fiscally responsible" is a logical subset of "liberty minded" I suggest its place in the triumverate be taken instead by "terrorism hawk" or something similar. In truth, there are probably more than three categories of conservative principles.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2011 3:54 PM

September 18, 2011

TEA Party "Zombies"

How will we know when the TEA Party becomes an influential force in American politics? When some loser creates a video game, which Allows Players to Slaughter “Tea Party Zombies” Like Sarah Palin and ... Bill O’Reilly??? Yes boys and girls, from the perspective of a Progressive or a World Socialist, the opinionated populist weathervane Bill O'Reilly is a TEA Partier.

Heh. "Big Tent."

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:27 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

The one with Sen Jim DeMint and Rep. Jeff Flake didn't sell so well...

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2011 11:13 AM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

If said game is anything close to realistic, it should be noted that TEA Partiers tend to be Second Amendment supporters. These zombies will shoot back, and spend enough time on the range to be accurate.

Ms. Palin's kill ratio alone, even from a helicopter, is high enough to take down most players, and I figure the Perry zombie would do to the player what its real-life counterpart does to coyotes.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 19, 2011 12:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. And while players believe they are training their sights on the fair ex-gov, her father sneaks up behind them with a hunting knife.

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2011 7:39 PM

September 14, 2011

View from the White House

And every other 'rat in Washington D.C.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

September 6, 2011

Quote of the Day

All Hail Taranto:

Hoffa describes the combatants in his "war" as "workers" on the one hand and "the Tea Party" on the other. But of course he isn't interested in workers in general, only those who belong to unions--a group that, after decades of private-sector union decline, largely consists of employees of government, government contractors and government bailout beneficiaries such as General Motors and Chrysler. "The Tea Party," meanwhile, is a dysphemism for taxpayers. -- James Taranto

UPDATE: All Hail Jake Tapper for trying to hold the Administration accountable.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM | Comments (0)

September 5, 2011

Reagan for kids (especially the 18-year olds)

This post legitimately spans multiple categories. I don't recall it being discussed here when it was first released, last May I believe, so I'll immortalize it in the 3Srcs/EatOurPeas archives now.

For the youth of America who don't remember the economic resurgence that came about under the policies of President Ronald Reagan Mike Huckabee offers a new animated American History series to give them the pro-America version of events they may or may not have ever heard of. Here's a clip from the Reagan Revolution episode.

Mike Huckabee calls it an unbiased telling of history, while those more inclined to a politically-correct worldview see the religion boogeyman as they quote from the video's website: "We recognize and celebrate faith, religion and the role of God in America's founding and making our country the greatest place on Earth," the site reads.

I had attributed this reflexive anti-religion attitude to a majority of the one-third of American voters who are unaffiliated with a party but I'm ready to concede it may be yet another form of extremism that's been made to appear mainstream by the Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media. In defense of his product Huckabee claims that, "Ninety-one percent of liberals who were shown the videos said they not only learned something they would buy them for their kids."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Ooooooooh i dooooooon't knooooooooow maaaaaaaan....

Perhaps I have been whacking at the Gov for too long and need to better "recalculate pros and cons in real-time" but the tone of this is Reefer Madness meets Emmanuel Goldstein meets a PBS Kids' Recycling Special.

I enjoy a positive portrayal of our 40th as much as the next ThreeSourcer but there is little factual information here and the tone tries too hard to persuade to actually be persuasive.

And those Teeth! Millions of young children will grow up having Ronald Reagan nightmares! That can't be good.

Posted by: jk at September 6, 2011 10:55 AM

August 26, 2011

Tea Party Can Go Straight to Hell

Those were the celebrated words of California Democrat U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters during a town-hall style meeting in her district last week. Whether premeditated or extemporaneous, the remarks garnered nationwide publicity for the congresswoman. Presumably she meant that taxes are not too high and government spending should be raised rather than lowered, both sentiments contrary to those of TEA Party advocates.

Well, I'm here to help. A bullet-proof counter argument to people like"some folks in the congress who'd rather see their opponents lose than America win" is this chart of inflation-adjusted monthly government spending showing that real spending is trending down, not up, from a 1993 peak (thank you President Clinton).

Reposted from the National Inflation Association.

And that green line for "US Government Spending, monthly, in millions, CPI adjusted, with additional corrections for real inflation" isn't just some fly-by-night San Francisco lawyer's idea of a more equitable inflation index. It's a fly-by-night San Francisco lawyer's computation of CPI as though the method officially used by the U.S. government 25 years ago had continued to present day. [See third bold heading: Special Consumer Inflation Focus, or click continue reading.]

Go ahead Ms. Waters. Publicize this chart. Throw the TEA Party in that there briar patch.

Excerpted from John Williams' Shadow Government Statistics August 2006 Newsletter:

The key is how you define consumer inflation. I operate on the premise that the post-World War II CPI concept of inflation measured based on a fixed-basket of goods -- a measure of the changes in prices related to maintaining a constant standard of living -- was a reasonable, meaningful and useful approach for most consumers (see the CPI background article on the home page{LINK}).

Some years back, then Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan began making public noises about how the CPI overstated inflation. Where the fixed-basket of goods approach would measure the cost of steak, year after year, Mr. Greenspan argued that if steak went up in price, people would buy more hamburger meat, mitigating the increase in their cost of living. The fact that switching the CPI concept to a substitution-based basket of market goods from a fixed-basket violated the original intent, purpose and concept of the CPI, never seemed to be a concern to those in Washington. Artificially reducing reported CPI inflation would have a variety of benefits, beginning with reduction of the budget deficit due to the cutting of cost-of-living adjustments for Social Security payments.

Accordingly, geometric weighting was introduced to the CPI reporting methodology, which had the effect of mimicking a substitution basis. Since the revised CPI still did not show as low an inflation rate as a fully substitution-based index would, Mr. Greenspan began focusing the Fed's inflation targeting and measurement on the inflation rate used to deflate personal consumption expenditure (PCE) in the GDP. Such was a substitution-based measure.

More recently, the BLS introduced the Chained CPI-U (C-CPI-U) as an experimental substitution-based inflation index, which closes follows PCE inflation.

Yet, as oil prices began their current uptrend, substitution-based inflation reporting still was not low enough for the former Fed Chairman, as he began embracing the concept of "core" inflation, inflation net of food and energy price changes. Eliminating bothersome price increases in energy and food products -- such as seen with oil at present -- would make the Fed's job of containing reported inflation all the easier.

In general, if a government economic measure does match common public experience, it has little use outside of academia or the spin-doctoring rooms of the Fed and Wall Street. The two SGS measures included in the above table have gimmicked methodological changes removed from the reporting so as to reflect more accurately the common public experience as embodied by the post-World War II CPI.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2011

The World Economic Disorder Explained

In a single link. I try to avoid the "read it all" exhortation but this is the one. The sine qua non for understanding the causes and remedies for the international banking crises and related economic maladies we're living through. Hint: Fiat currency.

So what did the presumably most important representatives of the Austrian School — Ludwig von Mises (1881–1973) and Friedrich August von Hayek (1899–1992) — have to say about fiat money?

They found that the injection of fiat money through bank credit expansion[6] lowers the market interest rate to below the natural rate level — as the Swedish economist J.G. Knut Wicksell (1851–1926) called it — that is, the interest rate that would prevail had the credit and money supply not been artificially increased.

The artificially suppressed interest rate makes firms increasingly shift scarce resources into more time-consuming production processes for capital goods at the expense of production processes for consumer goods, causing intertemporal distortions of the economy's production structure, leading to malinvestment.

Fiat-money injection increases consumption out of current income at the expense of savings, and, in addition, leads to higher investment, so that the economy enters an inflationary boom, living beyond its means.

If the injection of fiat money created through bank-circulation credit out of thin air were a one-off affair, it presumably wouldn't take long for the artificial boom to unwind. A recession would restore the economy to equilibrium as people returned to their truly desired consumption-savings-investment relation (as determined by time preference).

In a fiat-money regime, however, increases in credit and money are not a one-off affair. As soon as signs of recession appear on the horizon, public opinion calls for countermeasures, and central banks try their best to "fight the crisis" by increasing the fiat-money supply through bank-circulation-credit expansion, thereby bringing interest rates to even lower levels.

In other words, monetary policy — usually to the great applause of mainstream economists — fights the correction of the problem by recourse to the very action that has caused the debacle in the first place.

Such a strategy cannot be pursued indefinitely, though. When credit expansion comes to a shrieking halt — that is, when banks refrain from lending — the inevitable adjustment unfolds. Borrowers default, and firms liquidate unsound investments and cut jobs.

But there is a cure.

In contrast to these concepts — which are, and unsurprisingly so, interventionist by nature — economists from the Austrian School have been putting forward recommendations and strategies for reforming the monetary system along free-market principles.

Their recommendations are driven by the insight that the great financial and economic crises are not inherent in capitalism, but result from government interventionism in monetary affairs, most importantly by monopolizing money production. Hayek put it succinctly in 1976:

The past instability of the market economy is the consequence of the exclusion of the most important regulator of the market mechanism, money, from itself being regulated by the market process.[11]

Austrian economists are of the opinion — based on elaborate economic-ethical considerations — that curing the current financial and economic crisis would require a return to sound money. By "sound money," they mean money that is compatible with the principles guiding the free-market economy.

Sound money is free-market money, money that is the result of the free supply of and the free demand for money. It is money that is produced in unhampered markets where there are no longer any legal privileges for, for instance, central banks.

While those of us in the Liberty Movement think cutting government spending to sustainable levels is a sisyphean task, dislodging the self-dealing central bankers will be even more difficult, perhaps requiring something on the order of the French Revolution. Maybe that "treason" remark by Governor Perry wasn't as misguided as first believed.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:23 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I have long found ABCT elegant and do not doubt its validity. I put monetary policy at the top of my causes for the housing bust and Panic of '08. I even complained when Gretchen Morgenstern did not in her otherwise excellent "Reckless Endangerment."

I'm on board and have on occasion called myself an Austrian "Ich bin ein Österreicher!" I even have the Aryan features to pull it off. But I get off the train right before Vienna.

My appreciation for Mises is long established, but I cannot accept a gold anchor. Why gold? If we perfect alchemy or find a big mine under Cleveland, we have an expansionary boom? If not we risk deflation?

Hayek seems closer with competing currencies, though it is difficult to wrap one's head around it.

I return to the Constitutional, enumerated power "To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof." An economics professor suggested we made a big error there, but it is there. I don't think going back to Breton Woods is the answer.

The phrase "Sound Money" -- if not "coined" -- popularized by President William McKinley. He did not give a fig about monetary policy, but had to run twice against William Jennings Bryan who wanted to talk about nothing else. "I'm for sound money" allowed the candidate to quickly talk about the tariff, which was his concern, without providing any specifics. I accuse today's rabble of the same offense. Do you mean metalism? I'll ask Well, not necessarily, [and the vowels get longer and the tone falters] but sound money.

I purport that a 2% inflation target fiat currency is sound money. And that QEn were required to keep the target when the FOMC could not inject liquidity using normal methods.

Yes, I worry that it will be overused and I dislike giving the government the option to monetize the debt. But I don't see a gold peg as the answer.

I always think I got off the Austrian Express at Chicago: Milton Friedman's computer Fed, really a set of rules to set rates and supply without human intervention or opinion is the best way to go. In the meantime, Chairmen Bernanke (the greatest villain since Hitler to some) is essentially doing that and doing it pretty well.

The other thing I have noticed, is that when ThreeSources discusses monetary policy, readership asymptotically approaches zero.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2011 12:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.
Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.
Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.
Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.
Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.
Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.
Anna Nicole Smith photos. PLAYMATE.

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2011 6:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

(That oughtta buy us a few more volleys back and forth. I'll just let it soak a while...)

Posted by: johngalt at August 21, 2011 6:30 PM

August 15, 2011

Is the Tea Party Dead?

Harry Reid apparently thinks the Tea Party is dead (or at least dying). Memo to Harry and the Dems: the Tea Party is not an entity. The Tea Party is a forum in which like-minded people come together to express their views on fundamental freedom and liberty. It resembles a party only to the extent that people like to get together and have a good time. As long as there's a First Amendment, there will be a Tea Party by one name or another. The ideas of freedom and liberty will never fade away.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 9:44 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2011

A TEA Party for Britain?

JK linked an excellent article on the UK "riots" [scare-quoted since they're more accurately characterized as looting sprees] that revealed the failures of government as protector of property and liberty. But one expects a Libertarian to recognize these realities. What is remarkable is when a self-proclaimed "left-winger" does so. Brendan O'Neill blogs from Great Britain:

This is not a political rebellion; it is a mollycoddled mob, a riotous expression of carelessness for one's own community. And as a left-winger, I refuse to celebrate nihilistic behaviour that has a profoundly negative impact on working people's lives. Far from being an instance of working-class action, the welfare-state mob has more in common with what Marx described as the lumpenproletariat. Indeed, it is worth recalling Marx’s colourful description in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon of how that French ruler cynically built his power base amongst parts of the bourgeoisie and sections of the lumpenproletariat, so that 'ruined and adventurous offshoots of the bourgeoisie rubbed shoulders with vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, swindlers, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel-keepers, organ-grinders, ragpickers, knife-grinders, tinkers, beggars... and from this kindred element Boneparte formed the core of his [constituency], where all its members felt the need to benefit themselves at the expense of the labouring nation.' In very different circumstances, we have something similar today -- when the decadent commentariat's siding with lumpen rioters represents a weird coming together of sections of the bourgeoisie with sections of the underworked and the over-flattered, as the rest of us, 'the labouring nation', look on with disdain.

This fraction of English society, 'the laboring nation' as O'Neill applies Marx' term, is what I would call the analog to America's TEA Party. Those Americans are fed up with being taxed to support a free ride in food, lodging, healthcare and pensions in our Euro-style welfare state, and in the wake of the latest wave of English hooliganism a comparable share of Britons are fed up when the lumpenproletariat that their taxes support roll through town and "shit on their own doorstep."

Atlas is shrugging on both sides of the pond.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:25 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

If you look up "lumpenproletariat" in the dictionary, there is a second meaning: "British soccer fan."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 10, 2011 4:41 PM

August 8, 2011

They're mad as hell and aren't going to take it anymore

"They" are looters, moochers, Democrats, RINOs.

The recent debt deal was received with "cries of impotent rage by the British Left" according to the UK Telegraph. And I postulated the sentiment was shared by leftists world wide. Yesterday I met that impotent rage face to face.

The grandmother of a riding student visited Atlantis yesterday and after she made a remark about "paying taxes on it" about something I replied, "I was thinking the same thing but didn't want to say it since people have differing opinions on taxes. Some people think we should pay higher taxes and be happy about it."

"Don't tell me you're one of those Tea Partiers," she spit.

"Nope. Not me. Not if you ask me like that I'm not."

That was the end of the conversation as I was loathe to argue with a customer and we went our separate ways but I wished I had also asked, "If your granddaughter earns a blue ribbon in her riding competition should she be happy if the local sheriff cuts off the top half and distributes it to other competitors and non-competitors alike?"

I also considered saying, "Oh no, I can't stand those Tea Party people. They're so darned moderate. They think some taxation is good." But as I said, loathe to argue with a customer.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:47 PM | Comments (7)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee applauds JG for understanding a fundamental of marketing that so many miss: members of both parties buy the same goods and services. The cash from granny, no matter how loony she may be, contributes to JG and Dagny's wealth-creating endeavor just as much as anyone elses. And, by the way, creates more jobs than the Obama administration.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 8, 2011 6:19 PM
But dagny thinks:


As we continued to the house and jg went his way granny said to me, "the super rich can afford to pay more. And it appers to me that YOU are not in that category."

Me not being the marketing expert that jg is, I could not let this go. I stated that it had nothing to do with who could afford what, but that I believed that everyone from super rich on down deserved to keep what they had earned. She replied with the question, "then who is going to pay for the wars?"

I had insufficient time to venture into a philosophical discussion on the appropriate uses of government. Additionally I am loathe to waste my time on those whose minds are made up such that they will not be confused by facts and so the discussion ended there.

Posted by: dagny at August 8, 2011 7:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think the point here is that an apolitical group formed spontaneously to advance a moral cause - that of individual liberty and private property rights - is the target of partisan political attack in otherwise polite company. It's comparable to a waitress saying, "Don't tell me you're one of those Christians." But Christianity has been around for two thousand years and receives a fraction of the invective directed at the two year-old TEA Party.

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2011 2:45 AM
But johngalt thinks:

"Wars will easily be paid for when government stops automatic entitlement program spending increases of 7.5 percent annually."

Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2011 3:00 AM
But AndyN thinks:

At the risk of exposing my utter ignorance by painting with an overly broad brush, I'd never considered equestrian competition to be something that folks struggling to pay their tax bills would indulge in. It's fascinating to me that all leftists, regardless of their personal wealth, seem to believe that the politicians they support are always talking about somebody else when they're talking about raising taxes.

Posted by: AndyN at August 10, 2011 9:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Them and the corporate jet crowd, AndyN!

Posted by: jk at August 11, 2011 10:36 AM

Who Answered the President's Call?

The Tea Party!

No surprise 'round these parts, but the chart is interesting. And it proves, conclusively, that "Moderate Republicans" really are the apathetic slime of the Earth.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

... second only to Iowa primary voters.

The panel pointed out that Gov. Huckabee won the last Iowa straw poll and George W Bush twice behind that. This underscores br's point that it's [zealous evangelism] not bad GOP pollytickin'.
Posted by: johngalt at August 9, 2011 1:20 AM

August 2, 2011

That's the Beauty of It

It would seem that some Tea Partiers lament the lack of a national organization, at least of you believe an article in today's WSJ.

[...] The central question facing the loose-knit tea-party movement today, two years after it sprang into existence, is whether its organization and leadership can grow to match its ideological force.

The movement remains a rough-and-tumble coalition of groups and individuals, without a clear national leader or central organization. [...]

To The Refugee, that's the beauty of it. As soon as there is a national organization, it will begin to seek survival for survival's sake. This will inevitably lead to compromising ideology for existence. With nothing to lose, "it" has no reason to pursue anything other than "its" principles.

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

August 1, 2011

On the Other Hand, "The Hobbits Won"

I commented earlier today that the Progressives in congress and the White House are lamenting the current debt-limit "compromise" bill as a ruse to make conservatives believe it is good for taxpayers (by cutting spending and not raising tax rates.) Then I read Marc Thiessen explain how "the 'hobbits' won."

The fight for a balanced budget amendment must go on. But Tea Partyers should recognize just how much Obama and the Democrats caved: $2 trillion in spending cuts. No tax increases. A new precedent that debt-limit hikes must be accompanied by equal or greater cuts in spending. And the potential for a balanced budget in 10 years. That the Tea Party accomplished all this in just six months — at a time when the GOP controls one-half of one-third of the federal government — is remarkable.

Now, this conclusion is rooted in the assumption that "the package sets an important new precedent that debt-limit increases must be “paid for” with commensurate cuts in spending." And that "according to Sen. Rob Portman, a former White House budget director, if we cut a dollar of spending for every dollar we raise the debt limit, we will balance the budget in 10 years — something that even the Paul Ryan budget would not achieve" is also correct.

Taking those on faith I too would back the compromise. (But y'all know my opinion of faith.) Being both an optimist and a cautious conservative I s'pose I'll have to put away my matches and focus on 2012.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:37 PM | Comments (0)

July 28, 2011

TEA Party Hobbits

While we're waiting for the House to pass the Boehner Bill this evening, thus forcing the Senate and White House to make good on their threats to risk "default" by killing the House compromise, let's have some more fun. Did anyone hear Sen. John McCain read this into the record yesterday?

The idea seems to be that if the House GOP refuses to raise the debt ceiling, a default crisis or gradual government shutdown will ensue, and the public will turn en masse against . . . Barack Obama. The Republican House that failed to raise the debt ceiling would somehow escape all blame. Then Democrats would have no choice but to pass a balanced-budget amendment and reform entitlements, and the tea-party Hobbits could return to Middle Earth having defeated Mordor.

This is the kind of crack political thinking that turned Sharron Angle and Christine O'Donnell into GOP Senate nominees.

I'm sure that Senator nicey nice was attracted to the passage by the shots it took at the TEA Party ladies but the Hobbit line is the one that, as dagny suggested, "might stick" to the TEA Partiers. And why not? The Hobbits were the good guys! And defeating Mordor is a life or death matter. We just need to remind ourselves that it took the Hobbits three books and at least as many movies to get the job done. It ain't gonna happen with one debt-limit vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:59 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

It's been a while since I was so disappointed in the WSJ Ed Page. Having it read into the Congressional record by the Senior Senator from Arizona is, perhaps, punishment enough.

I didn't mind the Hobbit reference. It goes well with the whole paragraph, which criticizes plan opponents for having nothing else.

I was angry with the slap at O'Donnell and Sharron Angle. Do they really wish Mike Castle was in the Senate to smooth things over? I do not know the establishment candidate in Nevada, but I think some Tea Partiers can be proud of standing on principle.

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 3:30 PM

Brer's JK, JG and Rep. Allen West

Boehner backers all.

"In seven months, I think the expectation for Allen West and the rest of us to correct something that has been a disease going on for 30 years Let's be realistic in our expectations. It takes 5 miles to turn an aircraft carrier around. I can tell you this: We have started that motion," West said.

Those TEA Party Republicans are so extreme and unreasonable.

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

My eyes tear up just thinking about it...

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 10:09 AM
But jk thinks:

Terri suggests that if even the grouchy old guys at ThreeSources are in, it must be okay...

And she also found this gem from @McCormackJohn:

Underpants Gnome debt plan:
Phase 1: Defeat Boehner;
Phase 2: ???;
Phase 3: Cut, Cap, Balance!

Posted by: jk at July 28, 2011 4:05 PM

July 27, 2011

Debt Ceiling Chicken

OK, now I'm ready to join my blog brother in saying, "It is time to take what we can get, move on, and make the 2012 elections a serious referendum on the size of government." Much has changed in the week since jk suggested grabbing the Gang-of-Six plan and counting ourselves fortunate. The payoff from the overdue standoff versus the White House and its media minions is the chance to deliver a debt increase bill with actual spending cuts and no tax hikes, either in rates or deduction phase-outs, that the President will have no choice but to sign. Mister "can they say yes to anything" wouldn't say yes to $800 billion in new taxes but insisted on $1.2 trillion. Instead he'll get zero.

But now, despite the success enjoyed through standing firm, it is time to compromise and let our other objectives wait for the next battle. Jennifer Rubin puts it bluntly:

There are very few times when Republicans have a vote that so clearly defines who is a constructive force for conservative governance and who is not. There could be no better device for separating the two than the Boehner vote. If you'd rather burn down the building, you are in one camp. If you want to pocket gains and keep advancing your principles (and setting the agenda for 2012), you are in the other.

Why is it destructive to keep holding out for more?

The Republican hard-liners insist there is still a cut, cap and balance option out there. No. That was some conservatives preference. An aspiration is not a guide to governance. It's not getting through now or until there are a dozen or so fewer Democrats in the Senate. Right now we are nowhere close to 60 votes for cloture or the two-thirds of the Senate needed to approve a constitutional amendment.

Yup. Can't argue.

UPDATE: The title for this post was borrowed from the excellent Thomas Sowell column by the same name (and was in no way meant to imply that jk and I are barnyard fowl.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:49 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Welcome aboard! You can sit in the back there, next to the creepy guy in the raincoat...

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 4:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't let the helmsman hear you call him "creepy looking."

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2011 5:01 PM
But jk thinks:

You called me a debt ceiling chicken.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 5:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair 'nuff.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2011 5:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Ms. Rubin's Ten things that will happen is very good as well.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2011 6:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Agreed. I'm thinking of sending it to my congressman. That link (bill) was quite subtle. Thanks for highlighting.

Posted by: johngalt at July 27, 2011 7:06 PM

July 26, 2011

George Will Goes Off on Emperor Obama

For "imperiously" summoning congressional leaders to his presence last weekend.

Congress Stands its Ground

There are 87 reasons for Obama’s temporary conversion of convenience to the cause of spending restraint — the 87 House Republican freshmen. Their inflexibility astonishes and scandalizes Washington because it reflects the rarity of serene fidelity to campaign promises.

Obama — a demagogue for an age of smooth surfaces; Huey Long with a better tailor — pretended Friday to wonder whether Republicans “can say yes to anything.” Well.

Thank you TEA Party. One can be forgiven for wondering if this power struggle between Congress and the White House will be the point history records as Barack Obama's Waterloo.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (0)

July 24, 2011

"Only Democrats can protect you from GOP extremists"

...or so the press would have us believe.

The internets are buzzing over the bombing and mass shooting in Norway that has now been confessed to by suspect Anders Behring Breivik. In a hysteria that surpasses that which surrounded the Jared Loughner murders, establishment media and left-wing bloggers are pouncing on the "facts" of this case for they appear to finally "prove" that TEA Partiers and other "right-wing extremists" are a threat to polite society.

The first print report I read was from MSNBC.com. "...police say suspect was right-wing Christian fundamentalist" reads the sub-head.

Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.

A 1,500-page manifesto emerged that carried detailed planning for and direct references to an attack on the summer camp where most of the deaths occurred.

The warning to mistrust and beware of peaceful bloggers or anyone else who criticize illegal immigration, identity politics and any aspect of muslim political belief wears no veil whatsoever. Extra credit if said advocate happens to be Christian, or "right-wing."

Think I'm making this up? Think I'm overly sensitive or pointing out bogeymen? The same MSNBC article ends with a one-sentence paragraph:


Home-grown anti-government militants have struck elsewhere in the past, notably in the United States, where Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995. [Boldface in original.]

So, you may be wondering, how do the press conclude that this nutjob is a "right-winger?" Partially from deputy police chief Roger Andresen's heavily modified quote:

"We have no more information than ... what has been found on (his) own websites, which is that is goes toward the right (wing) and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist." [Emphasis mine.]

But there is other evidence. The original MSNBC story hyperlinks a companion piece under the words "A 1,500-page manifesto emerged" wherein further detail is provided on the killer's "right-wing" and "anti-immigration" identity. The "right-wing zealot" "who liked guns and weight-lifting" was reportedly a member of Norway's Progress Party for a short time. While there's nothing cut-and-dry about European multi-party government the Progress Party is clearly not "right-wing Christian fundamentalist" as is being reported. The second largest party in Norway, it is a "conservative liberal" party, not to be confused with a liberal conservative party. My head spun with the various contradictory explanations and descriptions, but the most persuasive evidence to me about what ideas the European "Progress Party" holds came from the list of current conservative liberal parties around the world:

Andorra: Liberal Party of Andorra[2]

Argentina: Recreate for Growth

Austria: Alliance for the Future of Austria[2]

Belgium: Libertarian, Direct, Democratic[2]

Bulgaria: National Movement for Stability and Progress[2]

Colombia: Radical Change Party

Croatia: Croatian Social Liberal Party[2]

Czech Republic: Public Affairs[2]

Denmark: Liberal Party of Denmark[1][3][2]

Estonia: Estonian Reform Party

Faroe Islands: Union Party[2]

France: Civic Alliance for Democracy in Europe

Greenland: Feeling of Community[2]

Iceland: Liberal Party[2]

Japan: Your Party

Lithuania: Liberal and Centre Union[2], Liberals' Movement[2]

Moldova: Liberal Party[2]

Mongolia: Civil Will Party

Netherlands: People's Party for Freedom and Democracy[2]

Peru: Popular Action

Poland: Real Politics Union, Congress of the New Right

Romania: National Liberal Party

Slovakia: Freedom and Solidarity

Spain: Democratic Convergence of Catalonia, Majorcan Union

Thailand: Democrat Party

Uruguay: Liberal Party

[Emphasis mine.]

While not completely judging these folks by their titles they certainly don't carry any suggestion of individual rights or a limited, Republican form of government. Like Loughner and McVeigh before him, Breivik's anti-social extremism appears to emanate not from a profound respect for individual rights and limited government, but from the very cultural-identity politics, pitting the supposed interests of various groups against the others, so masterfully practiced on the left. But then the establishment media in the United States (and elsewhere) has indisputedly become quite cavalier when it comes to factual content in its journalistic product.

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:15 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I will not defend the lazy, incurious, and biased media organizations. But I will defend one of my favorite words.

"Liberal" as used in Ludwig von Mises's "Liberalism" screams individual rights and is most conducive to limited, Republican government. Sadly, the word has been perverted in this nation by lazy, incurious, and biased media organizations.

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2011 10:14 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Indeed. I do my small part to reclaim it by calling myself: Liberal, Classical Liberal.

The idea of "liberal conservative" seemed to describe me as well, until I researched this story.

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2011 12:35 PM
But jk thinks:

How about "Nazi?"

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2011 12:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Nazi could describe this guy. In fact, a friend posted about the story: "Great, the master race is back... I hope the Norweigans can do the right thing and end this idiot!"

Posted by: johngalt at July 25, 2011 2:29 PM

July 18, 2011

TEA Party - Not just for demonstrators anymore

A professor and a grad student from the University of Virginia collaborated on an in-depth review of TEA Party progress (not just for Progressives anymore) and goals. James W. Ceaser and John York wrote:

Without the Tea Party, there would be no debt limit negotiations going on, just as there would have been no budget reduction deal last December. Without the Tea Party, President Obama would not be posing as the judicious statesman, but would be pushing --as in truth he still is--for more stimulus and further investments in high-speed rail. Whatever pressure now exists to treat the debt problem derives directly or indirectly from the explosion of energy that has been generated by the Tea Party.

In lambasting the Tea Party movement for its stubborness, Firsters have silently acknowledged what for two years they had all but denied. Instead of being in fact a front for racism or opposition to abortion, the "baggers," as they have been derisively called, are genuinely insistent on cutting spending and containing the growth of government. Everything is less complicated than it seems. Supporters of the Tea Party are who they said they were.


At the end of the day, the choice the nation faces is pretty clear--even if both sides will at one day face a point of reckoning. One side wishes a more constrained federal government and greater austerity in our welfare programs. (...) The other side wishes a federal government at and beyond the level of 2008 and beyond the current level. (...)

This is the choice the nation faces. As of 2011, it has not been definitively made. Perhaps 2012 will be the year of the Tea Party.

Clickers-through will find a listing of the "seven deadly sins" with which "baggers" have been charged by "Firsters" (and the genesis of that term.) Also, in the third-from-last paragraph, Obama's "phantom of the budget, staged with wondrous smoke and mirrors..."

Hat Tip: RealClearPolitics Monday

UPDATE: Having thought the charge that Obama is still pushing "investment" in high-speed rail was a rhetorical flourish, Michael Barone set me straight.

High-speed rail is not the biggest item in the budget. But it's emblematic of the Obama Democrats' theory that government spending can stimulate the economy.

That theory has been pretty well demolished by the fact of 9.2 percent unemployment. The clear signal from both economic markets and political polls is that we should cut federal spending back from 25 percent of GDP toward 20 percent.

It's not clear how far the Republicans can move toward this goal in the debt limit battle, or whether they can move any distance at all. But it's worth trying if only to clarify the choice before voters next year.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Excellent link. I'll add an excerpt if I may:

What Firsters have instead provided is a grab bag of charges from which they pick the one that best fits the need of the moment. On some days it may be that the Tea Partiers, as Michele Bachmann so colorfully expressed it, are a bunch of "toothless hillbillies coming down out of the hills," on others that they are some country-club Republicans teeing up for a round of golf. One moment the movement is weak and fragile, another it has captured the Republican Party[...]

Posted by: jk at July 18, 2011 3:39 PM

June 27, 2011

A "balanced approach" to the deficit problem

Senator Jon Kyl went on Fox News Sunday yesterday to explain why he withdrew from deficit reduction negotiations over the President's conditional requirement that government revenues be raised as part of a "balanced" solution. "But isn't one dollar of new taxes for every three dollars of spending cuts a fair deal" asked Chris Wallace?

But you don't want to pile taxes on at a time when companies don't have the ability to invest and hire people. That's the primary reason we are opposed to raising taxes right now.

Treasury Secretary Geithner explains the real reason for insisting on tax hikes.

"If you don't touch revenues," Geithner said, "you have to shrink the overall size of government programs, things like education, to levels that we could not accept as a country."

What do you mean "we" Kemosabe? Investor's Business Daily opines:

Some factions just won't accept shrinking the size of government. Most in them run in the same tight circles as Geithner. Never hearing anything other than support for increasing the size of government, they assume that's what Americans want.

But quite a few Americans have been wanting to cut government for decades, and that number is growing as the almost intractable problems created by overspending have become more obvious.

From Social Security and Medicare to housing assistance and farm subsidies to, yes, even education, federal programs need to shrink or be eliminated. There's not a single item in the budget, including defense, that can't use some judicious trimming.

No Tim, America's economy has shrunk. Americans' net worth has shrunk. It's well past time for America's government to shrink.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:28 PM | Comments (0)

June 21, 2011

Bye-Bye E85

I think we've just learned how candidate Romney can afford to take a pass on calling for an end to the ethanol subsidy. Because Congress just took a giant step toward ending it before he might ever take office.

Ethanol subsidies have been a sacred cow in American politics since the late 1980s, and their demise came Friday not with a whimper but with a bang. By a vote of 73 to 27, the Senate declared an end to what Republican Senator John McCain called the "corporate welfare" that had gone on for far too long, and that had become enshrined in presidential politics as a ticket of admission to the Iowa caucuses. Now the legislation moves to the House, where deficit-conscious Tea Party conservatives could provide a similar winning margin.

Read the article to see how Sen. Tom Coburn (HOSS-OK) was the key figure in the watershed vote.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Dude. Out of politeness, you should warn when you link to Eleanor Clift. I suffered a bad batch of McLaughlin Group flashbacks...

I love how she positions it as a rebuke of Grover Norquist.

But I need me some elucidatin'... I heard that this was an amendment on a bill that will never pass and that any interruption to brother br's subsidized truck fuel was completely symbolic -- is this a different amendment or bill?

Posted by: jk at June 21, 2011 3:25 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I thought you would appreciate the effort to shore up our "we read everybody" cred.

However, in reliance on Ms. (if there ever was anyone to whom that salutation applied) Clift's term "demise" I took it as a completed bill on its way to the House. In fact, it was an amendment to S.782, Senator Feinstein's 'Economic Development Revitalization Act.'

But Dr. Senator Coburn hints at the potential fast-track process in his press release:

In light of today’s lopsided vote, I urge my colleagues in the House to eliminate this wasteful earmark and tariff at their earliest opportunity,” Dr. Coburn said.

So those wacky TEA Partiers in the GOP controlled House need to draft a bill on this, pass it, and forward it to the Senate where they will presumably vote in similar fashion.

(Hey, a guy can hope.)

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Oh, by all means link. We should link to and read a variety of sources. I was just thinkling of a little in-line warning like [DANGER! LINK GOES TO ELEANOR CLIFT!] something simple.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2011 3:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I waited impatiently for someone to challenge my title. Maybe E85 won't go away. It has become quite entrenched with vested interests and a modicum of pious consumer's demand. But at the very least I want to see the demise of E10 (the 10 percent ethanol routinely blended with gasoline to create a false demand for ethanol reduce emissions (and corrode the insides of the fuel systems in our cars.)

And at the very, very least - get the crap out of NASCAR!

Posted by: johngalt at June 22, 2011 3:30 PM

June 16, 2011

On Plunder

JK gave me the bountiful gift of a link to Bastiat's "The Law." A principal theme therein is the immorality of plunder, whether by individuals or by the government. Why? Because man, liberty and property existed before law.

What, then, is law? It is the collective organization of the individual right to lawful defense.

He explains how law becomes immoral when it becomes an instrument of plunder, on the part of the group against individuals. So it may be said that Democrats and Progressives are willing to engage in group plunder despite, on the whole, opposing it on principle when exercised by individuals. Many contemporary Republicans have also taken this stance.

The TEA Party is the nation's last, strongest bullwark against that tendency. Quoting from "The Law:"

Man can live and satisfy his wants only by ceaseless labor; by the ceaseless application of his faculties to natural resources. This process is the origin of property.

But it is also true that a man may live and satisfy his wants by seizing and consuming the products of the labor of others. This process is the origin of plunder.

Now since man is naturally inclined to avoid pain -- and since labor is pain in itself -- it follows that men will resort to plunder whenever plunder is easier than work. History shows this quite clearly. And under these conditions, neither religion nor morality can stop it.

When, then, does plunder stop? It stops when it becomes more painful and more dangerous than labor.

"The TEA Party - Making plunder more painful than work since 2010."

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:48 PM | Comments (0)

June 11, 2011

Saturday Tea.

Brother jg pimped (Woah! Best first three words of a blog post ever, wait, let me start again...)

Brother jg pimped his appreciation for the TEA Party movement in a comment this week vis-a-vis the Ron Paul rEVOLution. I'll not pick a winner, but must agree that the Tea Party wing of the liberty movement is enjoying an interesting adolescence.

Insty links to a Daily Caller piece. FreedomWorks, which does not claim to lead the leaderless organization, is adding 500 to 2000 members a day. And CEO Matt Kibbe points out that it has evolved beyond marches and cardboard signs.

These days, Tea Party activists are focused on state and local issues, such as school choice legislation in Pennsylvania, Kibbe said. They're not looking to mount another massive D.C. march, such as the 9/12 protest in 2009, in part because the movement has already proved its influence during the 2010 election[...]

Nobody can deny that the Tea Party Movement will play a huge role in the GOP 2012 nomination and election (a linked article posits that Tea Partiers will stay home if Gov. Romney is nominated).

For myself, I think things have come out as well as could be expected. Most of its members are clear and pragmatic (don't stay home, guys, come out to nominate somebody else) and I am pleased by the sophistication and devotion they have brought. I cannot help but compare them to the antiwar protests. When those end at 3:30, or their members are released from the hoosegow, they go back to their dorm room or parents' basements. The TEA Partiers are serving as delegates, holding office, organizing. &c. I still just blather on, mind you, but I might do better next year.

The dark side has always been there, and I have to decide how well I can live with it. The makeup of the group has instilled a populist conservatism that I abhor. I am in a couple of Tea Party type Facebook groups. The Tea Party Patriots posted positively on the Alabama immigration law that Larry Kudlow lambasted the other night. I read through more than a hundred comments and saw zero that suggested any reservations whatsoever. I know we differ around here, but these were not the intelligent (but still misguided) opinions I hear around here. These were the shouts of an angry mob.

Guessing that a new tea party home for jk will not be conducive to increased gay rights or reduced enforcement of drug laws either. Even good Republicans joke about "the stupid party." I think we will become more stupid, even as we become more devoted to liberty and more effective. Go figure.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:09 AM | Comments (8)
But gd thinks:

The comparison of the Ron Paul rEVOLution vs. the Tea Party is an interesting one (especially given Ron Paul is considered to be the Godfather of the Tea Party). Any movement that has its primary focus on limiting government spending is a positive force in our society. The Tea Party has captured the portion of the Republican Party that is against the historical party actions of “borrow and spend,” but is still basically in line with the old Republican social agenda. This is why you do not see many Liberals who would support the Tea Party movement. Dr. Paul, on the other hand, has many social viewpoints that extend the olive branch to the other side of the fence. He is attempting to make the case that increased freedom from the Federal Government would benefit all of us.

While I think that the Tea Party and Ron Paul are very much linked, I do not see much of a connection between the Tea Party and Liberals. The Tea Party should help reform the Republican Party and that is a good thing and why I support the movement. Dr. Paul’s freedom-based movement will help reform our society as a whole.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 12:09 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So we can agree that the TPM and the rEVOLution both aim to reform the GOP, and that both have something to offer. I still have a question: Is there anyone in the GOP besides Ron Paul carrying the rEVOLution banner? If he loses favor for some reason, is the movement effectively halted?

I ask this because, honestly, I see Paul as party-switching Libertarian. A "RINO" of sorts.

Posted by: johngalt at June 12, 2011 4:27 PM
But gd thinks:

Jg, man may climb over the highest mountain one step at a time. The reason I support Ron Paul is because I agree with more of his ideas than any other candidate and until Paul loses I am going to stay focused on his ideas rather than on political viability.

That said, Jk has made some valid arguments that “Dr. No” would be wise from a political standpoint to alter his behavior and embrace some of the other congressmen in the Republican Party that are moving in the right direction, his son included. This is probably fair criticism, especially if one genuinely wants to see him win.

Finally, in answer to your question about whether the movement will continue on after his time has passed: I believe Ron Paul has a vision for America that will extend his movement long after he is gone. Ideas are more powerful than people. As more people begin to understand what freedom is truly about and how it benefits almost all of us, they will demand another candidate to take the torch from Paul.

Posted by: gd at June 12, 2011 9:27 PM
But jk thinks:

@gd: First off, I hope we have shared our appreciation for your different and articulate view. We needed "one of you" to complete the set and got a superb specimen. Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

Dr. Paul is an excellent advocate for freedom. It borders on amusing how this cranky old Texas Republican can so excite throngs of young people. It is as if freedom were a compelling message or something.

I'm saddened that Governor Johnson will not be in the NH debate tonight (CNN CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH!!!) but the two of them are educating many in the GOP about important ideas.

We also salute philosophical purity 'round here and Rep. Paul has that in spades. But we're a pragmatic lot down deep, and most are looking to unseat Sen. Reid as Majority Leader and hope to elect somebody besides Barack Obama in 2012. If Paul advanced the party's agenda as he seeks to advance his own, we'd be the best of friends.

Posted by: jk at June 13, 2011 10:27 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ditto on all that, 'specially the appreciation part.

Posted by: johngalt at June 13, 2011 2:35 PM
But gd thinks:

Thank you both very much for the kind words. My only request for the website is that we see more postings from dagny (one of my philosophical mentors.) :)

I am eager to watch the debate tonight. I read an article in the National Review Online a couple of days ago and Ron Paul noted that he sees former Governor Johnson as a teammate of sorts in the pursuit of liberty and credited Johnson with making him a better candidate. I thought that Johnson made Paul look less radical in South Carolina. Perhaps that is what CNN is afraid of.

Posted by: gd at June 13, 2011 4:01 PM

May 10, 2011

Renewing my Pragmatist Card for 2011

My inbox is littered with disillusioned tea partiers' lamenting that the dozen folks they sent to Washington last year have not fixed everything yet. I appreciate concern for the status quo ante monster. Put me down as in favor of eternal vigilance and all that.

But this race can be lost by giving up, and the next elections can be lost by dividing forces. (And this post might qualify for one of Taranto's "Metaphor Alert" takedowns, but stick with me...)

Speaker Boehner's demand for spending reductions to meet or exceed any extensions to the debt limit is an exceptionally shrewd move. Larry Kudlow said "Boehner Lays Down the Debt-Ceiling Gauntlet" and the WSJ Ed Page notes an important change in direction.

This is political progress. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner started out this year asking for a "clean" increase in the debt limit without conditions. Treasury officials, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and their allies on Wall Street and in the media have all been predicting economic Armageddon if the debt limit isn't raised promptly.

We've seen this story a few times. The Democrats open the bidding with "nothing, nada, zip." "I've got an idea, let's keep on doing all the things we've already been doing."

Whatever cuts the GOP can get in return are better than nothing. Lovers of liberty will be disappointed in Congress until the end of days. Speaker Boehner and the Ryan wing of the 112th have made a great play here -- I have no intention of pulling the rug out from underneath them.

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

April 27, 2011

Another 'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' Movie Review

Because, if we aren't talking about it every day it isn't often enough.

Via email from Dr. Clifford Asness who produces the excellent Stumbling on Truth website, where he posts periodic original columns on topics in economics and investing. This as much a review of the reviewers as a review of the film. First, the film:

"I am telling you it's good. Particularly if what you're looking for is a rather straight (though adopted for modern times) telling of the story. Does it have its amateurish moments and characteristics? Sure. It was made for a trifle by Hollywood standards. The same critics that, if this tiny amount of money was spent on a poorly produced and acted "Indie" film, that happened to be about a hermaphrodite Palestinian boy who after escaping fascist Israeli persecution moves to Texas to face fascist American persecution (and isn't immediately granted his full "right" to all the healthcare the USA can afford), would sing it's praises and laud it's signs of a tight budget as "authentic."

OK, I guess that was about the reviewers too. Or maybe even mostly about the reviewers. But this is really about the reviewers:

"The book was also savaged by critics of the left and right in 1957, but loved by its giant number of readers beyond almost all others. History is repeating, but that's because sadly little has changed. We have to fix that. On Rotten Tomatoes (wouldn't the left love for me to have left off the "e"?) the critics have been running, wait for it, 6% for the movie, 94% against. The people have been running 85% for the movie. Now, you could argue that the people have tended to be Rand fans so that's biased. That's a bad argument. Rand fans would be the first, the absolute first, to savage it if it wasn't a good movie (have you ever seen Rand fans agree on anything except loving Rand?)."

And his conclusion:

"If you love the book, if you like the book, if you are at all open to the arguments in the book, you will love this movie. If you're a leftist who hates liberty, or a snob who enjoys destroying civilization with your superior-sounding mendacity, you probably won't like it so much.

Go see the movie."

Uncut and unedited version follows, including a link to the LA Times story where Aglioloro hints he might not make Parts 2 or 3 because "he's going on strike."

I've sent to this distribution list essays on limited government, and wonky quant finance papers. Now a movie recommendation (that is itself kind of a mini-essay on limited government).

Go see Atlas Shrugged. I did and loved it.

The critics hate it like socialist cats in the bath. The movie's producer, a hero of mine, is close to shrugging (see link below). It's hard to spend money, time, and blood on something, and have the critics savage it (which sadly matters a lot to success if not at all to truth), and go on.

I am telling you it's good. Particularly if what you're looking for is a rather straight (though adopted for modern times) telling of the story. Does it have its amateurish moments and characteristics? Sure. It was made for a trifle by Hollywood standards. The same critics that, if this tiny amount of money was spent on a poorly produced and acted "Indie" film, that happened to be about a hermaphrodite Palestinian boy who after escaping fascist Israeli persecution moves to Texas to face fascist American persecution (and isn't immediately granted his full "right" to all the healthcare the USA can afford), would sing it's praises and laud it's signs of a tight budget as "authentic."

I'm not sure if we have art imitating life or the other way around, but the critics are themselves Randian characters. They have an agenda - punish those who love liberty and have the temerity to defend it, then go to parties and be lauded by their friends for their heroic progressivism. And if they can make some snobby lies about cinematography along the way, more the better. (note - a small minority of critics have not seemed ideologically motivated, with them I simply disagree thinking they are using the wrong standard)

The book was also savaged by critics of the left and right in 1957, but loved by its giant number of readers beyond almost all others. History is repeating, but that's because sadly little has changed. We have to fix that. On Rotten Tomatoes (wouldn't the left love for me to have left off the "e"?) the critics have been running, wait for it, 6% for the movie, 94% against. The people have been running 85% for the movie. Now, you could argue that the people have tended to be Rand fans so that's biased. That's a bad argument. Rand fans would be the first, the absolute first, to savage it if it wasn't a good movie (have you ever seen Rand fans agree on anything except loving Rand?).

If you love the book, if you like the book, if you are at all open to the arguments in the book, you will love this movie. If you're a leftist who hates liberty, or a snob who enjoys destroying civilization with your superior-sounding mendacity, you probably won't like it so much.

Go see the movie.

-- Cliff

p.s. The movie superbly preserves a message from the book that gives the lie to so much the left says about it. The heroes are not "businessmen" and the villains "government". The book and movie clearly show the heroes are liberty loving creators and the villains totalitarian thieves - and those thieves come in the form of big business crony capitalists (those who don't create but use the state's power to steal to enrich themselves) as often as government apparatchiks (and never the defenseless poor). Look for this. The movie and book are honest, the critics are not.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:23 PM | Comments (6)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Only slightly off-topic - different movie, related theme of issues with a meddling, over-reaching, central-planning government: http://bit.ly/jUjK3W

Doubtless near and dear to the hearts of all the ThreeSources brethren...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 28, 2011 11:33 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Umm, right link? Day by day?

Posted by: johngalt at April 28, 2011 3:14 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Yes, read the word balloons - I won't tell you who Sir Golfsalot thinks is the hero of Joss Whedon's movie and spoil it. I'll just say that you can't stop the signal.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 28, 2011 3:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yes! I came back for a pre-emptive Mea Culpa but you beat me to the click. I was stuck on "movie." For some reason Mal and the kids are first and foremost a teevee phenomenon to me.

Sir Golfsalot. Heh. Trump is trying to make it Sir Hoopsalot.

Posted by: johngalt at April 28, 2011 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Is that Donald Trump, the leader of the Republican party? That Trump?

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2011 4:45 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Well, one sunshiny ray of hope - at least it's looking like Mike Hucksterbee won't be "the leader of the Republican Party." Sources on the ground say he's dissolving his campaign apparatus.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 28, 2011 7:23 PM

April 26, 2011

'Mother of Exiles'

This is the name that Emma Lazarus gave to the Statue of Liberty when it was gifted to America from France in the 19th century. The poem she reluctantly wrote to aid in raising funds for the building of a base to place it upon came to be the statue's meaning put into words:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame, "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

One analysis of the poem published by the University of Virginia errs in its characterization of an irony:

"As political propaganda for France, the Statue of Liberty was first intended to be a path of enlightenment for the countries of Europe still battling tyranny and oppression. Lazarus' words, however, turned that idea on its head: the Statue of Liberty would forever on be considered a beacon of welcome for immigrants leaving their mother countries."

I disagree with this conclusion. The statue and Lazarus' words were, in fact, symbols of enlightenment and freedom and did stand in contrast to European tyranny and oppression. However, the fault for European emmigration was not America's new statue but the fecklessness and intransigence of Old Europe's governments.

Is this germane again, today? Do the words in the great statue's base beckon to a new generation of American Patriots to strive for not just "democracy" but liberty?

It is true that much progress toward liberty has been made in America's 19th and 20th centuries, but in many other ways the once "golden door" of America has become as tarnished as the oppressive societies to whom she once showed the way. From the U of VA's concluding paragraph:

Just as Lazarus' poem gave new meaning to the statue, the statue emitted a new ideal for the United States. Liberty did not only mean freedom from the aristocracy of Britain that led the American colonists to the Revolutionary War. Liberty also meant freedom to come to the United States and create a new life without religious and ethnic persecution.

Yet this means little if economic persecution remains. Let not the New Colossus be transformed from the Mother of Exiles to the Mother of Equals, nor let our "tired" our "poor" our "huddled masses" once able to breathe free, succumb to the persecution of "shared sacrifice." Some lecture us that "cutting programs that help those who need them most is morally wrong" and "when Jesus talked about how God will judge nations, he said that God will focus on what we did or did not do for the neediest among us." And yet, how do government policies which violate the eighth and tenth commandments advance Jesus' word?

God's judgement, and liberty itself, are things reserved only to individuals and not to the abstract form we call "nations." Our government "overlords" would do well to remember this important distinction, as would voters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:06 PM | Comments (2)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Great post, JG!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 26, 2011 6:12 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, what he said!

Posted by: jk at April 26, 2011 6:25 PM

April 21, 2011

Online Education Rocks!

This time, in history and literature.

First JK brought us the Khan Academy for math and science.

My contribution in kind is Shmoop University.

No one will be surprised that I found these guys by searching for something relevant to Atlas Shrugged.

In the brief time I've spent perusing the voluminous content they offer on this controversial and revolutionary novel I have been greatly impressed. The treatment is honest, accurate and thorough. I hope to use it to help explain some of the book's themes to others. (And to refer to other literary titles and, when time permits, move on to history topics.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:44 PM | Comments (0)

Quote of the Day

I can truly say that I am not offended in the least by that man’s comments. He obviously was not saying what he said to my speech (since he wasn’t listening at all to it), nor was he saying it to me. He was saying it to a member of the opposing side and couldn’t even string together an intelligent piece of criticism. -- Tricia Willoughby
There is hope for this great nation. Fourteen year old Willoughby spoke with poise and dignity at a Wisconsin Tea Party, proving her moral and intellectual superiority to the Union Thugs who failed to shout her down.

Today Ann Althouse prints an email from her. Grab a Kleenex® and read the whole thing. If you can judge a group by its enemies, I am starting to get pretty proud of the Tea Party.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2011

Going Galt - The Ayn Rand Factor and the Atlas Shrugged Movie

Robert Tracinski is one of the best Objectivist writers on the scene so I was very interested when I recieved this 'Atlas Shrugged Part 1' movie review from him in my inbox. In short, he is glad the film was made but thought it should have been of higher quality.

I have seen the film, at an advanced screening arranged by the producers, and I am afraid that it is a pale shadow of the book. A friend of mine calls it "a Roman copy of a Greek original," a reference to the Roman empire's penchant for copying Greek sculptures of gods and heroes--but when you compare the copy and the original side by side, you inevitably find that the energy in the limbs has gone slack and the life has gone out of the eyes. The details are reproduced, but the animating spirit has been lost.
But Tracinski does not suggest that all of the story's spirit has been lost.
This same combination--vaporous leftist "idealism" and cynical looting by gangster government, all of it wrapped up in appeals to "sacrifice"--might remind you of an important political leader in today's environment.

The movie's greatest signifance, according to Tracinski, is its relationship with the TEA Party.

The Tea Party movement began, in last 2008 and early 2009, during a huge surge in interest in Ayn Rand's masterwork, when talk of "going Galt"--a reference to one of the novel's heroes--sent Atlas Shrugged back onto the best-seller lists after more than 50 years. The two phenomena are connected. The financial crisis and the giant government bailouts sparked a renewed interest in Ayn Rand's intellectual and literary defense of capitalism, and in turn Atlas Shrugged helped give ideological confidence to the nascent Tea Party movement. Now the Tea Parties and their supporters have repaid the favor by winning a 300-theater opening for the small, unheralded film version of the novel. [emphasis mine]

[For the hopelessly obsessed, such as myself, I've posted the entire article including original hyperlinks below.]

TIA Daily • April 14, 2011


Going Galt

The Ayn Rand Factor and the Atlas Shrugged Movie

by Robert Tracinski

After more than 50 years, a movie version of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's perennially best-selling pro-capitalist epic in finally coming to the big screen—but through the strangest route possible.

That the film hasn't been made long ago, despite being one of world's most successful literary properties, is surprising—but not too surprising. No, it's not because the novel is difficult to adapt to the screen, as you will sometimes hear from both its critics and its admirers. Yes, the book has long, complex exchanges of dialogue that have to be ruthlessly condensed. But Ayn Rand started out her career—in the 1920s through the 1940s—as a Hollywood screenwriter, working for such legends as Cecil B. DeMille and Hal Wallis. She wrote her novels in a very cinematic style, with stark visuals, sharp exchanges of dialogue, and peaks of high drama. She gave a director everything he could ask for to keep the audience in their seats: visually beautiful settings from the skyline of New York City to the mountains of Colorado, large-scale action scenes set on railroad lines and in steel mills, big ideas expressed in sharp-witted exchanges of dialogue—and, of course, passionate love scenes with handsome leading men and beautiful leading ladies.

If you can't figure out how to make a good movie out of all of that, then brother, you don't know your own business.

Hollywood, as many of us have long suspected, does not know its own business. Plenty of big-name directors, writers, producers, and stars expressed interest over the years. But whether it was the pro-free-market politics, the larger-than-life heroic characters, or the big philosophical ideas, the book forced modern Hollywood outside its comfort zone, and no one was able or willing to figure out what to do with it.

So the version that comes to us now is one that was hastily put together at the last minute, with only weeks to go before the film rights lapsed. It has a small budget, no recognizable stars, an inexperienced director, and a script co-written by a producer with no literary or artistic experience whatsoever. The resulting film was unable to find a major distributor, so even though it was scheduled for April 15—a perfect symbolic date for a protest against big government—the movie was originally set to open only in a dozen small "art" theaters in a few big cities.

That was about six weeks ago. Then something remarkable happened.

Atlas Shrugged is set to open tomorrow in 300 theaters across the country. True, that's still a fraction of the opening distribution for a big blockbuster—but it's an awfully big fraction. This means that the film won't just be opening in a few big cities but will play in quite a number of towns across the heartland. Places like Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, and Lakeville, Minnesota. In politics, we ask: but will it play in Peoria? Yes, it will, at the Grand Prairie 18 in Peoria, Illinois.

More remarkable is how this happened: as a result of grass-roots pressure and agitation from fans of the novel. This allowed the producers, who decided to self-distribute the film, to convince many local theater operators to give the movie a chance.

I know from local experience that a lot of this pressure came from Tea Party groups or individual Tea Party members, many of whom have taken inspiration from the novel, so this huge jump in distribution has to be seen as the latest success—and as a show of strength, numerical and ideological—for the Tea Party movement.

I have never seen a film spread through this kind of grassroots groundswell of enthusiasm, with zero support from movie critics, cultural elites, or celebrities. This is all the more remarkable because most of the people clamoring for the film are doing so sight unseen. So we have to interpret this as an enormous demonstration of support for Ayn Rand's novel, which readers hope will be faithfully adapted in the film.

I have seen the film, at an advanced screening arranged by the producers, and I am afraid that it is a pale shadow of the book. A friend of mine calls it "a Roman copy of a Greek original," a reference to the Roman empire's penchant for copying Greek sculptures of gods and heroes—but when you compare the copy and the original side by side, you inevitably find that the energy in the limbs has gone slack and the life has gone out of the eyes. The details are reproduced, but the animating spirit has been lost.

The movie does not adulterate or rewrite the ideological content of the novel. Rather, the script has a tendency to take Ayn Rand's complex and original characters and reduce them to Hollywood clichés. Yes, you read that right. Contrary to the usual literary smears against Rand, it is her characters who are fresh and complex, while it is Hollywood's stock heroes and villains who are two-dimensional cardboard cutouts. The novel's version of Lillian Rearden, for example, is a fascinating study in how the left uses its pose of moral and intellectual superiority to keep the people who do the actual thinking and the actual work—the world's innovators and wealth-creators—intimidated and suppressed. Lillian's goal is to prevent these men from expressing pride in their achievement and to make them eager to demonstrate their subservience to their "progressive" overlords. She does this in high society by using her husband's money and position to support a salon of leftist artists and intellectuals. Much more memorably, she does it at home by subjecting her husband—an innovative, self-made steel tycoon—to a constant drumbeat of emotional abuse intended to make him feel that business, like sex, is not a subject to be mentioned in polite company. (He eventually learns to question both of those assumptions.) Lillian Rearden is a totally original yet instantly recognizable archetype of manipulative power-lust—yet in the film, she is reduced to not much more than a catty trophy wife of the type we've seen many times before. So Hollywood found a way back to its comfort zone, after all.

Unfortunately, this persistent flaw takes a good deal of the ideological and dramatic punch out of the story and may leave some new viewers of the film wondering what all of the fuss is about. I hope they take the time to find out by picking up the original novel, because there is a lot there that will justify the enthusiasm of Ayn Rand's fans and of the Tea Partiers who have picked up her novel in recent years.

The film covers just the first part of the novel. The producers wisely chose to divide Ayn Rand's densely plotted thousand-page epic into three segments, with the plan of presenting them in a trilogy of films. The main story line in Part 1 is the struggle of the protagonist, railroad executive Dagny Taggart, to hold her railroad together and save an American economy dying from suffocating taxes and government regulations. Sound familiar?

But Dagny's story isn't just about economics. It is about her sense of loneliness and isolation in a world where men of enterprise, initiative, and ability seem to be disappearing. And more: we see her loneliness in a culture where clear-eyed rationality and self-assertive ambition are no longer valued. Dagny faces a world that has fully adopted, in all of its ugly actual details, the left's credo of "need, not greed." Everyone has needs—expressed in long, whining complaints about how "sensitive" they are—and no one has the guts to take responsibility for supporting his own life and achieving his own happiness. In short, these guys have taken over.

Dagny finds an ally in the steel tycoon, Hank Rearden, who helps her build a crucially needed rail line to the nation's last remaining industrial boomtown—and I think you can guess that they find, in each other, a solution to their problems.

Dagny's main obstacle is her older brother, Jim, who is no good at running the railroad but knows how to run to Washington. While Dagny tries to keep the railroad alive by supporting the last growing industrial enterprises, Jim is always scheming for short-term profits from political favors and government subsidies. Again, sound familiar? He is the perfect fictional villain for the age of bailouts—the era of Government Motors and banks being turned into "government sponsored entities."

It is Jim's cabal of politicians and politically connected businessmen who begin the action in Part 1 by plunging the nation into an economic crisis, from which Dagny saves them, and they end Part 1 by causing another, worse crisis. Again, sound familiar? But while the film presents Jim as another Hollywood cliché, a soulless young corporate schemer, the novel's portrayal is more complex, interesting, and relevant to today's political environment.

In the novel, Jim has pretentions of being an intellectual and a deep, sensitive, "spiritual" type. Even when his schemes have the obvious ulterior motive of extorting unearned wealth, they are always pitched in terms of altruist bromides. But he really means the bromides, and Ayn Rand's point is that you can't tell where the "idealist" motive leaves off and the cynical one takes over. Jim believes that someone needs to be sacrificed to "the public good"—and he always tries to make sure he is "the public" and not the one being sacrificed.

This is summed up in a scene early in the novel when Taggart concludes the negotiations for one of his corrupt deals by offering a macabre toast: "Let's drink to the sacrifices to historical necessity."

This same combination—vaporous leftist "idealism" and cynical looting by gangster government, all of it wrapped up in appeals to "sacrifice"—might remind you of an important political leader in today's environment.

This is just scratching the surface of an epic novel, and the story widens and deepens as it goes beyond Part 1. But I think you can now see how an obscure, low-budget film has become a grassroots crusade before it even opens in the theaters. The spread of the Atlas Shrugged movie is just part of a wider Atlas Shrugged phenomenon—and part of the Tea Party phenomenon.

The Tea Party movement began, in last 2008 and early 2009, during a huge surge in interest in Ayn Rand's masterwork, when talk of "going Galt"—a reference to one of the novel's heroes—sent Atlas Shrugged back onto the best-seller lists after more than 50 years. The two phenomena are connected. The financial crisis and the giant government bailouts sparked a renewed interest in Ayn Rand's intellectual and literary defense of capitalism, and in turn Atlas Shrugged helped give ideological confidence to the nascent Tea Party movement. Now the Tea Parties and their supporters have repaid the favor by winning a 300-theater opening for the small, unheralded film version of the novel.

The novel has not yet found anything near its fullest and best expression on the screen—nor have we seen anything near the full scope of its impact on American politics.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:05 PM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2011

Sen. Rand Paul Defends the Tea Party


Posted by John Kranz at 1:16 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Lest anyone forget, Jim Bunning being driven from office was the opening that lead to Paul being elected. We were told that the Tea Party was an albatross and that Paul was too extreme - we needed to nominate moderates like Bunning to have any chance to win. Let that be a lesson - talk about an upgrade!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 15, 2011 2:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Liberty, equality, fraternity" or, "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." This is the choice before Americans in our national polity.

I know which I choose. You?

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2011 3:59 PM
But jk thinks:

I had forgotten how well Bastiat destroys that.

Mr. de Lamartine once wrote to me thusly: "Your doctrine is only the half of my program. You have stopped at liberty; I go on to fraternity." I answered him: "The second half of your program will destroy the first."
In fact, it is impossible for me to separate the word fraternity from the word voluntary. I cannot possibly understand how fraternity can be legally enforced without liberty being legally destroyed, and thus justice being legally trampled underfoot
Legal plunder has two roots: One of them, as I have said before, is in human greed; the other is in false philanthropy.

Posted by: jk at April 15, 2011 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This morning I saw a short, soundless, clip of Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Reparations) giving a floor speech in front of a large pie chart with the title "Shared Sacrifice." It got me to thinking about the principle of liberty, and how to go about pointing out to the good congresswoman that she is essentially advocating for a name change, from Statue of Liberty to Statue of Shared Sacrifice.

Posted by: johngalt at April 15, 2011 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

A short, soundless clip of Rep. Lee is the best kind.

Posted by: jk at April 16, 2011 10:41 AM

April 10, 2011

It's not about who won, but who lost

My dear blog brother has accused me of negatively reinforcing good behavior for suggesting that Speaker Boehner's budget compromise with Obama, Reid and the rest of the Socialists might not have been lauditory. My point was that this doesn't necessarily imply he'll do the same thing when negotiating next year's budget. I'm giving him the benefit of a significant doubt. But Dr. Michael Hurd is not:

Throughout this debate, the Republican leadership argued that the deficit should be cut. They made the debate about numbers: First $100 billion in cuts, then $60 billion, and then finally $30 billion. They never argued why anything should be cut in the first place. It just should be cut -- because. That's the essence of principle-by-number.

Principles are qualitative, not quantitative. "Man has a right to live for his own sake, unencumbered by force." That's a principle that will slash budgets. "The budget deficit should be smaller than it is." That's a true statement, but it's not a principle. In fact, the truth of the statement begs for a principle to defend it. From the likes of Republican leaders John Boehner and Eric Cantor -- none were forthcoming.

But Dr. Hurd isn't really throwing Boehner and Cantor overboard personally as much as philosophically.

This is more than a problem of communication. It's an intellectual and moral problem the Republicans have. Boehner and Cantor actually seem to believe they won. Evidently they're not perceptive enough to see that Democrats set them up along. (...) It's hard to believe that newscasters can ask with a straight face, "Well, who won? The Republicans or the Democrats?" Like there's any question?!

Perhaps the real victors in this budget battle are the "moderate Republicans" -- in other words, those who don't stand for anything other than Democrat-lite.

And though he is more critical of the GOP leadership than I, we share the same strategy for long-term success.

It's now up to the Tea Party to go back to the polls and keep repealing and replacing Republicans who mostly agree with Democrats, until America really does become a two-party system. We're clearly not there yet. Democrats and Republicans won the budget battle; but America lost it.
Posted by JohnGalt at 12:23 PM | Comments (0)

April 9, 2011

Gentlemen, Resume Spending

While driving home last night after losing a $20 Texas Hold'em stake to my preternaturally lucky nephew I heard on the radio that the Government Shutdown™ had been averted. "Boehner caved" thought I. But when I looked for reports of the Democrat triumph I couldn't find any, not even on Reason. In fact, FNC's Carl Cameron says Who Won the Shutdown? It Wasn't Even Close.

HR1 was originally to seek spending cuts of $32 billion until Tea Party conservatives insisted on more than $ 60 billion. House Speaker John Boehner won more cuts than he originally sought and got the Senate to agree to votes to defund the health care reform law and groups like the nation's largest abortion provider Planned Parenthood - once votes Senate Majority leader Harry Reid said he'd never allow to come to the floor.

So despite caving on all of the Republican riders at least some of them will be voted on, putting the Dems on record for 2012, but the rider aimed at stopping the EPA energy tax is not among them.

For all of their class-warfare eat-the-rich rhetoric the Democrats appear to be the ones who caved. They had the "extreme" TEA Party backed Republicans right where they wanted them, or did they? Across the nation local officials were standing ready to take over when federal workers took their (read "our") toys and went home. A Colorado sheriff vowed to keep Rocky Mountain National Park open. The governor of South Dakota, when asked by the feds to close the state highway that accesses Mount Rushmore National Monument, refused and instead offered to run the place while the Washington boys were indisposed. Err, umm ... "no thanks." Apparently the Dems in D.C. feared that despite so many of us being on the government payroll, too many Americans might not miss them when they were gone so they "worked hard to make sure the government would keep doing the people's business."

Very well. Boehner may or may not have actually buckled on the billions. The real test will be if he stands firm when it comes to the TRILLIONS.

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:36 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Et tu, jg!

You, and Reason, should treat the Speaker like a dog: Praise him when he does good, roll up the newspaper when he's not*. Every victory is couched in reminders of past failures or expectations of future disappointments. An Atta Boy is warranted.

[* I would not and do not advocate smacking a dog. A Speaker of the House, on the other hand...]

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2011 12:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Heh. I thought this was an atta boy!

I said I "thought" (last night) that Boehner must have caved. This belief was borne of my attitude yesterday - "Go ahead, shut it down, and keep it shut down long enough for a plurality to realize where they would be without taxpayer largesse." And yes, I realize that a few billion either way won't make any difference. The key in this negotiation was to show the Dems that we won't blink when the big money negotiations come around. I was simply looking for a clue as to who blinked yesterday and, according to Campaign Carl, it was the Dems.

I won't defend Reason but I don't think I said anything that would make the Speaker feel trod upon.

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2011 4:58 PM
But jk thinks:

"Very well. Spot may or may not have actually piddled on the rug. The real test will be if he stands firm when it comes to the CARPET."

Not exacly out of the Cesar Millan playbook man -- but I am glad your heart is in it!

Posted by: jk at April 10, 2011 10:55 AM

April 7, 2011

They've Done It!

No, not reach agreement on the overdue budget. The Dinosaur Media has finally found something of consequence that will be lost as a result of the looming Government Shutdown™ - Fort Sumter Reenactment Could Face Shutdown Without Budget Deal By all means then, capitulate to Harry Reid's demands!

What bothers me most about stories like this, and Chris Coons' (D-Witch Haters of Dover) lament that "my people will be prevented" from working a job fair in Delaware this weekend, is this idea that anyone who is paid by the government is somehow forbidden from taking the individual initiative to work for free. You know, VOLUNTEER! (Seems I've seen an Ad Council spot or two about that.) And the Fort Sumpter site ... doesn't it belong to us? Where does the federal government get off locking us out of our own historical places? Before you know it they'll be preventing Muslims from building churches at Ground Zero.

UPDATE: Larimer County Sheriff vows to keep Rocky Mountain National Park open for visitors in the event of a government shutdown.

Fort Collins Coloradoan:

"The reality is, we are at the local level sending the message to Washington: We can take care of things," he said.

When Smith issued a news release Thursday afternoon announcing his intent to provide the staff to keep Rocky Mountain National Park open if the government attempts to shut the gates, he had not yet talked with National Park Service officials about his plan.

"The park is federal property, and I don't know that he has the authority, that a state or county agency would have the authority to manage the park," Rocky Mountain National Park spokesman Larry Frederick said.

If federal workers are told to go home Saturday, Rocky Mountain National Park will close and lock the entrance gates, barricade the roads and bar the public from accessing the park per orders from Washington, he said.


Smith said, if the National Park Service follows through with its threat to barricade park entrances, he's not sure what the Sheriff's Office will do.

"We'll deal with them," he said of National Park Service officials.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (6)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The potential loss of cowboy poetry has reduced me to tears. And now this! It's all too much to take.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 7, 2011 3:58 PM
But jk thinks:

My government bailout is being processed by the FHA and I would be discommoded by any delay...

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2011 11:09 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Discommoded?!? Does that mean "get off the pot" or "a mode of dancing under a spinning mirror ball"?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 8, 2011 4:36 PM
But jk thinks:

Excellent update! Methinks Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith is a serious hoss, and more deserving than most of an heroic cowboy ode in his honor.

Justin! Let 'em in.
Congress cannot Sheriff Smith's mountains close. For as the Boehner and the Reid meekly, pens-drawn advanced -- Sheriff Smith knew whence power sprang. Songbirds listening. People ever seeking. The quiet piece, the strength in a man's free will.
This park. My park. The people's park. Shall. Not. Close.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2011 6:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Stirring prose my brother. Djou manage to write all that without a federal grant? Get outta town! Can't be done!

Posted by: johngalt at April 9, 2011 12:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I did apply for a small NIH stipend...I understand the gub'mint's still open.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2011 12:45 PM

April 5, 2011

The Pitchfork Judiciary

Colorado's state Supreme Court justices are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the legislature, just as United States Supreme Court justices. This explains my surprise that high court judges in many states, including Wisconsin, are actually elected directly by popular vote. Tyranny of the Majority, anyone?

A brief review of the "debatepedia" entry on the election of judges provides two opposing views:

Elected judges are more in tune with public opinion - The system of training through law schools and vocational work is elitist and prolonged, and leaves judges' opinions at risk of being, or appearing, out of date or out of touch. (...) Judges are often seen as lacking knowledge of recent social trends. Elections can help reverse these trends by forcing judges to understand and respect public opinion so they can advance a form of law that is seen as "just" to all citizens, not just to their own conscience.


Elected judges wrongly interpret public opinion over the law - Legal decisions require a strict interpretation of law. It should not be driven by popular opinion. Yet, this is precisely what judicial elections call for. This diverges from basic judicial principles of applying the law objectively and neutrally.

Today's high court election in Wisconsin is as obvious an example of the latter opinion as one may ever see. Wisconsin Election Is Referendum on Governor is a predictably biased NY Times "news" story on today's vote, but the headline tells the story. Namely...

"This has really become a proxy battle for the governor's positions and much less a fight about the court itself," said Charles H. Franklin, a political scientist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The outcome is now in great doubt, which is surprising considering where voter sentiment was 6 weeks ago.

For his part, Justice Prosser contends that Ms. Kloppenburg has become the darling of union leaders, protesters and others who opposed Mr. Walker's collective bargaining cuts. He said he saw protest signs in Madison that read: "Stop the Bill; Vote Kloppenburg."

"I feel like the victim of a drive-by shooting," Justice Prosser, 68, said in an interview in which he described his record on the court as moderate. "Here I am, I’m walking along, I should win this race going away. But I mean, not if people aren't thinking about what they're doing."

In a primary election on Feb. 15, Mr. Prosser won 55 percent of the vote, compared with 25 percent for Ms. Kloppenburg. The balance went to two other candidates.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:09 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Hrrrmphhh. Just finished the very unsatisfying "The Executive Unbound: After the Madisonian Republic" this weekend. Eric A. Posner and Adrian Vermeule suggest that Madisonian limits were never enough to constrain the executive and that instead of seeking legal remedies, we should just be happy that political pressure does a swell job.

Sorry to do a review corner in a comment, but that book got me thinking of the DNCC commercials against Ken Buck's Senate campaign. The phrase "Seventeenth Amendment" is conspicuously absent from Posner's book, yet it is the elephant in the room in almost every chapter.

But the sadness is that "tyranny of the majority" is completely unrecognized outside of elite circles of people devoted to liberty theory. The blog optimist does not see that toothpaste ever going back in that tube.

More democracy == more freedom. The world accepts that as truth.

Posted by: jk at April 5, 2011 3:37 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Color me naive - but when members of the judiciary are elected by the general public based on their stances on the issues and how they will "vote," then how are they different from members of the legislature?

Mayhaps I'm drawing too much on silly, outmoded ideals and a little Schoolhouse Rock, but I was under the impression that it was supposed to be legislators who enact laws that represent the will of the people, and judges who were supposed to interpret that law consistent with overarching Constitutional principles - not render decisions based on their own individual political stances, law-be-damned.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at April 5, 2011 7:17 PM
But johngalt thinks:

And rule not merely on their own individual political stance but also, demonstrating "knowledge of recent social trends" they must "advance a form of law that is seen as 'just' to all citizens."

Or if it can't be 'just' to all citizens, a simple majority will suffice.

Br'ers, our challenge is larger than any of us previously realized.

Posted by: johngalt at April 5, 2011 7:40 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Robert Tracinski observes that since Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Progressive movement they've worked hard over the decades to reshape state government in their own image.

Wisconsin is the birthplace of the Progressive movement, and in addition to promoting the power of unions, the Progressives also tried to break down the constitutional structure of government, including the separation of powers and indirect representation, and replace them with "direct democracy," in which every issue is put to an immediate vote by the people. This election is their ideal at work, and we see what it means in practice: giving outsized political power to any faction that is good at mobilizing a mob in defense of its special interests—which in this case is the unions.
Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:06 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Hot Air blog covered the WI supreme election tonight. Latest word was with most precincts reported except for a few in Kloppenburg country, Prosser led by just 1600 votes. "...needless to say, we're headed for a recount" says Allahpundit.

Posted by: johngalt at April 6, 2011 1:10 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The recount will give them time to find another 1700 ballots that someone misplaced in a union members car trunk.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 6, 2011 11:21 AM

April 4, 2011

Budget Cuts with a Purpose

Not only does this recommendation by forecasting expert J. Scott Armstrong of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania hold promise for reducing the federal budget deficit, it could also reduce energy costs across the board nation wide.

The three researchers audited the forecasting procedures used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), whose "procedures violated 81% of the 89 relevant forecasting principles," Armstrong noted.

Armstrong and his colleagues recommend Congress end government funding for climate change research as well as other research, government programs, and regulations that assume the planet is warming. They also recommend Congress cease funding organizations that lobby or campaign for global warming.

"Based on our analyses, especially with respect to the violations of the principles regarding objectivity and full disclosure," Armstrong told members of Congress, "we conclude that the manmade global warming alarm is an anti-scientific political movement."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:26 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2011

Obama's "Stash" of Cash Discovered!

Well, it's actually Congress' stash. Under the cute but misleading headline Government Has $1 Trillion In Untapped 'Piggy Bank' Investor's Business Daily reports on past government spending (appropriations) that have never actually been allocated (doled out.) This amounts to a Congressional slush fund of over a Ta-Ta-Trillion dollars.

Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., recently introduced a bill to eliminate $45 billion in unobligated funds.

"The Senate actually adopted unobligated funds as its way of paying for eliminating the 1099 provision in ObamaCare," he said. "There is no reason why we can't simply cancel unobligated funds to reduce the deficit."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2011

The TEA Party State

JK did a great write-up on the Wisconsin revolution against state employee union looting of the treasury. As I thought about covering the same story I had some phrases in mind: Here comes the sun... It's always darkest before the dawn... Finally, hope and change! Stuff like that.

But how can something like this happen in Wisconsin? Home of the U of W in Madison, birthplace of the AFSCME union and a long-time leftist bastion? Check the leadership:

Scott Walker in 2010


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

And the Senate...


And the State Assembly...


Now that's the kind of flip-flopping one can appreciate! Makes me want to break out in song:

"Movin' to Wisconsin soon,
Gonna be a dental floss tycoon"

Just one * last * question: How in the bloody 'ell did Colorado manage to stay in Democrat hands? Wait - don't answer that.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:18 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Colorado comparison is apt. Madison makes Boulder look like Fort Worth. Mister Wadhams replacement would do well to try and reproduce their success.

(And Mister McDaniels's replacement could look at some Packers tape as well...)

Posted by: jk at February 17, 2011 4:46 PM

January 26, 2011

Whither the Tea Party Resonse

The SOTU is kind of Christmas for political geeks. But we neglected one topic that interested me: Rep Michelle Bachman's "Tea Party Response." I did not watch it. After the President and Rep Ryan's response, I found myself full up on speechifyin' And I was anxious to get John Stossel's response (he did a whole show with David Boaz and Rep. Ron Paul -- awesome).

So maybe she soared. Maybe it was great. But I think it was ill advised. Does Rep. Ryan not represent the Tea Party enough? It sends a message of disunity that disturbs the blog pragmatist.

Anybody see it? Me wrong?

Posted by John Kranz at 5:24 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

I sawr it. It wasn't televised, but was an live web feed from "Tea Party HD" or something like that. I didn't rush to view it live, figuring it would be available on-demand when and if I was ready to demand it. Then FNC's 'Greta' saved me by running the whole thing on her show.

My best guess: She didn't write it. Someone at Tea Party Central Command wrote it and Bachman read it.

My impression: It seemed like a good script with the right message narrating some excellent charts, but she put her emphases in all the wrong places and it came across without much punch. And the teleprompter was off to the side of the camera, making her look cross-eyed to the viewer.

As far as I know it wasn't her idea, she didn't promote it, and it didn't contradict the Ryan response. It was hyped out of proportion by the DLEMM*, perhaps intent on sending a message of disunity in GOP/TEA movement ranks.

* (Dominant Liberal Establishment Mass Media)

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2011 7:56 PM

January 25, 2011

How did they know, before there was any evidence?

...That the Arizona shooting was the TEA party's fault? "I wouldn't want to jump to conclusions by not accusing them."

I'll be a lazy blogger today and just share this pointed and incredibly sarcastic xtranormal vid.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:46 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

This is brilliant. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by: AlexC at January 25, 2011 4:00 PM

January 24, 2011

And the Women Shall Save Them

I'd love to see Sarah Palin as President. I'm not sure I think she's the best nominee from a winnability standpoint but we could and may well do worse in a future Commander-in-Chief. But even if she never achieves that office she has had and continues to have a profound impact on American politics. Why? I liked this extended analysis by City-Journal.com's Kay Hymowitz - 'Sarah Palin and the Battle for Feminism'

However excessive their frothing, feminists had good reason to be in panic mode. Palin may have lost her bid to become vice president; she may have failed to appeal to such prominent conservatives as Peggy Noonan, George Will, and Karl Rove, as well as to lesser right-of-center mortals like this writer; but by leading a wave of new conservative women into the fray, she has changed feminism forever. In fact, this new generation of conservative politicas -- having caught, skinned, and gutted liberal feminism as if it were one of Palin's Alaskan salmon -- is transforming the very meaning of a women's movement.


And the old-fashioned women's movement was ripe for the transforming. Ironically, in large part due to the success of that old-fashined women's movement in making the corporate and governmental realms so accessible to women. But at its core, the difference between progressive feminists and TEA movement gals is philosophical.

But the Palinites have drawn big question marks around language like this. What does "equality" mean? Is it equal opportunity, as the newcomers would probably say? Or equal results, as many feminists appear to believe? Does it mean women's choosing how to run their lives, just as men do? (Grizzlies.) Or does it refer to absolute parity between men and women? (Liberals.) How can both sides claim the feminist mantle with such different understandings of government's function and of women's progress?

Hymowitz closes her piece by citing a "marriage gap" in electoral politics, where "married women were far more likely to vote Republican than single women in 2010." She says this is "more evidence that feminism is up for grabs." I say it's evidence that women who do well in the competition for men in the social marketplace are less likely to want the government to mandate some sort of "absolute parity" with their sisters.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:27 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Enjoyed the article quite a bit, thanks. I like the suggestion that the post war ascendency of women's rights unfortunately coincided with the diminution of libertarian tendencies and the apogee of trust in big government. Professor Bainbridge penned some cogent thoughts on the same piece.

I may start competing with your Atlas Shrugged QOTD franchise as I read Ludwig von Mises's Socialism. Like Atlas Shrugged and Mises's 1927 Liberalism, the prescience and applicability to today astonishes in every chapter.

In this 1922 release, he wrote a chapter on family, sex, and gender roles that holds up today as being well thought, contemporary, and forward looking, A couple reverse-anachronisms give it away, but it would seem pretty up to date had it been written last year.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2011 6:55 PM

January 20, 2011

Bad Idea of the Day

The problem with the TEA party movement, is that they are very susceptible to crackpot alternative ideas, and will likely show enthusiasm for third party candidates as well. On that note, Donald Trump was on Kudlow last night and seems a well coiffed hair's length from becoming our generation's Ross Perot.

I know dozens of people who would go for GOOOH. Most all of them -- look at the issues in the video -- would be pulled away from supporting a Tea-party-limited-government-Republican. One can ask Senator Buck from Colorado or Senator O'Donnell from Delaware about successful "real people, citizen legislator" campaigns against professional political machines.

Secondarily, what will these folks believe? Will they all be as attached to border enforcement as the founder? Will they have a better feel for the Constitution? (No amendments? Binding future Congresses?) Will all 435 want to abolish the D of Ed?

Lastly. Umm, the Senate? Four hundred thirty five naifs (we sent Paul Ryan and Ron Paul home -- yipee!) against Chuck Schumer and Dick Lugar? I think there might be a President around, too.

He seeks to divert 500,000 informed citizens away from other limited government candidates -- I sure hope he does not get half.

Hat-tip (VodkaPundit) Stephen Green, who links approvingly.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:04 PM | Comments (10)
But jk thinks:

I think the real flaw in your Gubernatorial candidacy is that everybody knows you're just using Sacramento as a stepping stone to the Presidency.

With all respect to Ace, I recommend Jimi P for a more serious look at State bankruptcies. It is an interesting -- and unfortunately germane -- legal question.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2011 2:51 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You have a point there - everyone knows that being governor of California is like being captain of the Titanic, and I'm not going down with this ship.

Is California "too big to fail"?

Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 21, 2011 3:08 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, we need you in Washington -- it's all good, but I think you have to be cagier: "It's the best job in the world to be Governor of , and it would be presumptuous of me to think of any other challenges to distract from the real problems right here in "

TBTF? Not in the 112th. Interesting times.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2011 3:23 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think you mean "not in the 111th" don't you? The 112th hasn't bailed anyone/anything out (yet.)

And bankruptcy isn't "failure" it's just a new beginning, full of "hope" and "change." [Gratuitous pun intended.]

I liked this Jimmy P line: "Would bankruptcy mean a radical reorganization of state government? Yes, that's the whole point."

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2011 1:46 PM
But jk thinks:

No. I am frequently in need of editing, but I meant that I exteded the 112th to hold firm. Could have been more artfully worded but I meant what I done sed.

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2011 11:19 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Ah yes, I get it now. I first read it that the 112th wouldn't let it fail.

Posted by: johngalt at January 24, 2011 11:46 AM

Jobs in CO-4 Destroyed by Obamacare ... Already

My new congressman voted to repeal Obamacare yesterday. He also rose to make some remarks on the matter.

Sorry to keep rubbing it in, JK. Maybe the 4th CD will include you after redistricting. Most likely not, however. You could always move a bit further east.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:36 PM | Comments (0)

Honesty and Morality in Taxation

I didn't do so well in yesterday's effort to find a potent list of federal regulatory reforms for our ersatz "pro-business" president. Fortunately, blog brother JK was there to bail me out with the Armey/Kibbey article. But today I think I've done better.

Anyone who's been here more than a week knows that I believe taxation is moral issue, i.e. taking money from people against their will is theft, even if done by our "democratic" government. If I'm right, thinks I, then there's probably a high proportion of taxpayers who do whatever they can to lower their tax burden and consequently, limit how badly they are robbed.

This Freakonomics Quorum from 2009 includes some data related by University of Michigan economics professor Joel Slemrod:

About two-thirds of all underreporting of income happens on the individual income tax. Of that, business income -- as opposed to wages or investment income -- accounts for about two-thirds.


The I.R.S. estimates that the net misreporting rate is 53.9 percent, 8.5 percent, and 4.5 percent for income types subject to "little or no," "some," and "substantial" information reporting, respectively, and is just 1.2 percent for those amounts subject to both withholding and substantial information reporting.

So when taxpayers know they are being watched, they are honest, and when they know they are not, 53.9 percent of them are not. But how can this be? In the next paragraph Slemrod wrote, "In a recent survey, 96 percent of people mostly or completely agreed that 'It is every American’s civic duty to pay their fair share of taxes;'"

So 96 percent of us believe that paying "their fair share" is his duty but only 46 percent report all of the income that isn't traceable. Is there a better case to be made that roughly half of American taxpayers don't consider their tax rate to be representative of "their fair share?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:11 PM | Comments (2)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Thought-provoking article, and an even more thought-provoking post. My contributions:

(1) 96% of people agreed that it is our civic duty to pay our fair share of taxes, but nearly half of Americans pay no income tax. Translation: at least half of America thinks it is everyone else's duty to pay their fair share of taxes, but not theirs.

(2) In light of your observation that "roughly half of American taxpayers don't consider their tax rate to be representative of 'their fair share'" and in tandem with point 1 above, the half that thinks their tax rate is too high is the half that is paying the taxes. Ergo, everyone actually paying taxes believe their taxes to be too high.

(3) We're all familiar with the respective levels of taxation of America, broken down by decile of income. I'd love to see that survey broken down by decile.

(4) Something not addressed is a discussion of how much of that underreporting is taking place in the margins of the shadow economy. This would appear to be more a function of the lower strata of our socioeconomic ladder, rather than the higher.

(5) None of the experts in the article propose as a solution simply doing away with the income tax system entirely, and relying instead on business taxes or a national sales/consumption tax.


Posted by: Keith Arnold at January 20, 2011 4:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Milton Friedman is correct that the real tax rate is the rate of government spending. Looked at that way, I think more would consider their taxes too high.

Yet perhaps Professor Reynolds's words may be more germane than any economist's. Even though Brother Keith's #5 will bring in more revenue, more fairly, with minimal compliance and maximum growth: "there isn't enough chance for graft."

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2011 6:11 PM

January 16, 2011

The "TEA Movement" is More Popular Than a "Big-Tent"

Comity? Who needs comity?

Jared Rhoads of The Lucidicus Project (Helping medical students understand free markets) agrees with me (and Robert Tracinski) that limited government is not merely a practical issue, but a moral one.

I used to think that Republicans did stand for individual rights on principle, but that they shied away from moral arguments because they deemed it better public relations to be "big-tent," inclusive, neutral. Well, over the past two years, the Tea movement has demonstrated that pro-individualist moral sentiments are popular and effective. We are still waiting for the Republicans to catch up.

What is holding them back? As writer Craig Biddle explains in a recent article in The Objective Standard, Republicans face a self-imposed obstacle in their effort to limit government to its proper functions: they still believe that being moral consists of sacrificing oneself for the needs of others.

Imagine approaching your moderate Republican Congressperson and making the case for cutting government based on the morality of individual rights. He may smile and nod in agreement, but as Biddle indicates, there is conflict churning in his head:

•Repeal Obamacare? How can we do that if the right thing to do is to sacrifice for others? People need medical care, and Obamacare will provide it by forcing everyone to sacrifice as he should.

•Phase out Medicare? How can we do that if we are morally obliged to provide for the needy? The elderly need medical care, and Medicare provides it by forcing everyone to pony up.

•Phase out Social Security? How can we do that if, as the bible tells us, we are our brother's keeper? The elderly need money for retirement, and Social Security provides it by forcing everyone to do the right thing.

The only proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights. It is not to oversee our healthcare, help us be charitable, or assist with our retirement planning. There is no way to roll back Obamacare or other government encroachments without recognizing this fact and stating it openly on the floors of the House and Senate.

The next time we circulate a petition, let's tell the supporters of Obamacare that what they have done is not simply impractical, unfair, or too expensive. Let's tell them it is wrong.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:52 PM | Comments (0)

January 9, 2011

"America's Gun Culture," Driven by TEA Partiers, "Claims It's Latest Victims"

It was predictable that frustrated gun-grabbers would leap at the opportunity to villify handguns provided by the tragic shooting of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and numerous bystanders yesterday. But they're making it a two-fer by blaming the TEA Party movement at the same time. The first such conclusive leap I saw was posted on the same day as the shooting - 'Lock and Load and Lost in Tucson Today: What's the Matter with My Arizona?' Wherin Jeff Biggers cites Gregory McNamee-

"What is clear to me, at this chaotic moment, is that no one should be surprised by this turn of events. The bullets that were fired in Tucson this morning are the logical extension of every bit of partisan hatred that came spewing out during the last election, in which Gabrielle Giffords---a centrist, representing well and faithfully a centrist district---was vilified and demonized as a socialist, a communist, a fascist, a job-killer, a traitor, and more.

Anyone who uttered such words or paid for them to be uttered has his or her name etched on those bullets."

And Biggers himself-

Now in Arizona--and the nation--do we have the courage and wisdom to deal with our gun laws? To stop the hatred from finding its all-too-easy expression through the barrel of the gun?

The Huffpo headlines are even more inflammatory today:

'Giffords Shooting Is an American Tragedy We Need to Urgently Address' by Paul Helmke (President, Brady Campaign)-

"While we are all still learning details about this shooting, and particularly the 22-year old responsible for this horrendous act, we should find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence."

'Congress Must Rein in Gun Industry in Response to Giffords Assassination Attempt' by Josh Sugarmann (Exec. Dir., Violence Policy Center)-

"America's gun culture claims its latest victims."


"If the attempted murder of one of their colleagues does not force Congress and President Obama to face the gun issue, what will?"

Perhaps worst of all is this, from former Colorado Senator Gary Hart who I have to believe truly knows better: 'Words Have Consequences'-

"Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. (...) We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.

So long as we all tolerate this kind of irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric (...) so long will we place all those in public life, whom the provocateurs dislike, in the crosshairs of danger.

That this is carried out, and often rewarded, in the name of the Constitution, democratic rights and liberties, and patriotism is a mockery of all this nation claims to believe and almost all of us continue to struggle to preserve. America is better than this."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:03 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

If Gifford is a "centrist" or "moderate," then what does "liberal" mean anymore? I shed no tears.

Leftists decry any availability of guns, but it's their desire for disarmament that made Gifford a sitting duck. If this had been a conservative gathering, the shooter had a 100% risk of leaving in a bodybag after firing just one bullet, and a high probability of getting blown away just for drawing his gun?

Killer's rants on a social network page, check. "Semi-automatic" weapon, check. "Extended clip," bonus! Innocent bystanders were killed, check. But the intended victim survived...

Getting "close" to Gifford, the killer still managed no more than a non-fatal head wound. This couldn't have been better for leftists if they had done it all themselves. And I wouldn't put it past them.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 9, 2011 2:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

If we come to learn that the killer had a liberal political motivation I will be just as completely shocked as if he is proven to be a TEA Partier. The act was the sick manifestation of an incoherent mind.

You make an excellent point about conservative crowds though. If Giffords had attracted any such citizens to her event they might have stopped the shooter before he emptied his first magazine, at the very least. Perhaps she's not as centrist as some want to believe.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2011 4:00 PM
But jk thinks:

Glenn Reynolds nails it in a guest WSJ editorial today:

To be clear, if you're using this event to criticize the "rhetoric" of Mrs. Palin or others with whom you disagree, then you're either: (a) asserting a connection between the "rhetoric" and the shooting, which based on evidence to date would be what we call a vicious lie; or (b) you're not, in which case you're just seizing on a tragedy to try to score unrelated political points, which is contemptible. Which is it?

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2011 10:32 AM

January 3, 2011

When does illegality happen?

In a comment reminiscent of the claim that a tree falling in a forest makes no sound unless someone is there to hear it, Leo Laurence writes in the magazine for the Society of Professional Journalists that the term "illegal immigrant" does not apply to non-citizens. Why? Because of the Constitution, he asserts.

In an appearance on FNC's Fox and Friends this morning Laurence said, that an "undocumented immigrant" is not an illegal immigrant "until a judge says so." This is because of the Constitutional provision of innocence until proven guilty before a jury of one's peers. "No. No. They are not. The only person who can say someone is here illegally is a judge."

So the bank robber hasn't committed a crime until he is found guilty, according to this logic.

Laurence added that, "It's a very conservative issue because we're following our Constitution."

I attribute the smug, self-confidence of Mr. Laurence to a collision between the philosophy of subjective idealism and the TEA Party movement.

For what it's worth, Leo closed the segment by spelling out his telephone number and email address for those who want to discuss the matter with him. Repeated as a public service: 619 757 4909, leopowerhere@msn.com.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

To tie our open threads, that's the Scroëdinger defense: the cat is not guilty until the box is opened...

I don't think I'll call Mister Laurence. His seems an odd defense and unlikely to advance the cause of more legal immigration that I champion.

And yet, I've heard a sister theory that it does not actually violate any statute to be on American soil, providing the same outcome that no one is truly illegal. Back to work but I'll see if I can find a well written exposition of this theory to share with the class.

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2011 10:13 AM

January 2, 2011

The Next Moral Crusade -- Capitalism

Over the New Year's holiday spent here in Seattle with Mr. and Mrs. Macho Duck I re-read an article in a 2008 issue of The Intellectual Activist (Vol. 20, No. 1.) The article's title is 'Fusionism Comes Unfused.' It reopened some internecine disputes in a clearly stated way so I wanted to share. Checking first for posts containing the word "Tracinski" (the author) I found a drought from 2007 until 2010. Shame on me!

The piece reviews the 2008 GOP primary season, where Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee's early leads evaporated, for no apparent reason, to leave the field wide open. Tracinski attributes the cause to a "desperate desire" on the part of GOP voters to avoid the stark choice between a pro-defense, pro-markets and "not particularly religious" Giuliani and a "strongly religious, anti-abortion candidate who has nothing particular to offer on the war and denounces the pro-free-market Club for Growth as the 'Club for Greed."

"But in avoiding the choice between a religious agenda and a secular agenda, Republicans were forced to evade the substantive issues at stake in th election and focus instead on the personal qualities of the candidates. (...)

In short, faced with a big ideological question on the role of religion, Republicans dodged the issue and instead chose a candidate on non-ideological grounds. [McCain, the flip-flip-flopper]

Yet the conflict between the religious and secular wings of the conservative agenda cannot be avoided, even if Republicans declined to resolve it this year.

Republican fusionism is unstable because its basic premise -- that the moral foundation of free markets and Americanism can be left to the religious traditionalists -- is false. For five decades, under the influence of fusionism, conservatives have largely ceded to the religious right the job of providing the moral fire to sustain their movement. But they are discovering that the religionists do not have a strong moral commitment to free markets. In fact, the religious right seems to be working on its own version of 'fusion' -- with the religious left.


The reason for this shift toward the religious left is that religion ultimately cannot support the real basis for capitalism and a strong American national defense: a morality of rational self-interest. Christianity is too deeply committed to a philosophy of self-abnegation, a destructive morality that urges men to renounce any interest in worldly goods and to turn the other cheek in the face of aggression. (...)

Tricked by William F. Buckley and his fusionists into outsourcing moral questions to the guardians of religious tradition, the right has never been able to develop the moral case for rational self-interest -- which means that it never developed the moral case for the profit motive, property rights, and the free market. Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism; they sense its virtues, but thanks to "fusionism," they are unable to articulate them. And this means that they have never been able to turn the defense of free markets into a moral crusade."

To my religious brothers and sisters I urge you not to read this as an indictment of your faith. Religious morality has much to offer in the realm of personal values. But as a universal guide for the conduct of civilizations it is too easily co-opted by the forces of World Socialism.

A defense of capitalism as the means for men to deal with one another is not only not an abandonment of moral values, it is the only moral crusade that can hope to ever have a peaceful end.

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:39 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I guess this post means holiday comity is now officially over. It was fun.

I don't know that Mr. Tracinski has changed his tune since 2008, but I posit that the Tea Party and the 2010 elections have about completely debunked his argument.

I had the good fortune to meet, via one of my most leftist friends, one of Hizzoner's state campaign chairmen, I parroted the media line about how Giuliani erred in waiting for the Florida primaries, yadda, yadda. This person, 25 years my junior looked at me as a naive waif and said "yeah, that's what we said -- we spent piles of money in New Hampshire and couldn't get anywhere." Without dismissing the candidate's faults, the GOP is clearly not ready for a social libertarian of Giuliani's stripes.

But by the same token, they did not pick His Huckness. TIA sees that as some nefarious plot, I see it as recognition of electoral exigencies. Moderates appeal to the American electorate and prosper in the American system.

Yet I return to the Tea Party, which brought a bounty of serious freedom candidates like Marco Rubio, Ron Johnson, Rand Paul. Subtract the evangelicals from the Tea Party and you have a typical libertarian gabfest with some angry bearded guys.

I think this comment still holds: we have to hold our uneasy partnership together to hold back the forces of collectivism. Frank Meyers was right -- it's worth it.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2011 11:03 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And I say the TPM validates his argument.

I read you as focusing on one aspect of the post: why Rudy and Huckabee were rejected. It is a fact that they were, and you passed right on by the new fusion of the religious right with the religious left or the assertion that Republican fusionism is fundamentally unstable.

As for the TEA Party verdict, consider from the last quoted paragraph - "Many on the right are implicitly sympathetic to capitalism; they sense its virtues..." But they don't understand why it is virtuous. The closest they usually come is to quote the Declaration of Independence's "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The World Socialists slay this foe with the ol' "200 year-old dead white guys" argument.

The past quote you linked celebrated that "pro-lifers line up to vote when it's 40 below." They do so because it is a moral cause for them. You couldn't oppose making the profit motive, property rights and the free market an equally or more powerful moral cause, so you must just consider it impossible. "If man were meant to fly then God would have given him wings."

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2011 2:52 PM

December 31, 2010

Quote of the Day

We saw the Reform Party with Ross Perot in '92, and that was kind of John the Baptist to this real genuine arrival [...] the only real sign of hope I have seen in my lifetime in terms of reversing -- not just stopping -- reversing this inevitable, cyclical decline of civilization. -- Bill Whittle, celebrating "the TEA party" as Trifecta's person of the year
Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

On the other hand, some people (see "RIDICULE THEM" post below) believe that Nothing much happened in 2010.

Posted by: johngalt at January 1, 2011 6:21 PM
But jk thinks:

And so believe all Americans who turn to TIME for breaking news and hard hitting political punditry.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2011 10:38 AM

December 1, 2010

TEA Partiers Explained by Pawz

Since the Xtranormal.com 'text to movie' is a free web app there are loads of these vids with varying degrees of veracity and intelligence. Here is a darned good one on the TEA Party. If you don't listen to the whole thing at least give yourself the treat of listening to the last minute and a half [starting at 8:00.]

The close is so perfect I just have to excerpt:

[Refering to President Obama] - "We do not like to be treated like children by a naive, Ivy-League intellectual who does not know what he is talking about. Tell him to move to Greece where they already have the economy he wants."

And just especially for JK I'll include this link to a conversation between a "Libertarian" and a "Tea Partier." I think the caricature of the Tea Partier painted here is more aptly called "Conservative" or "Traditionalist" but to the extent that individuals with these beliefs participate in the TEA Party movement it is a fair comparison.

Posted by JohnGalt at 9:40 PM | Comments (4)
But T. Greer thinks:

Since we are sharing these xtra normal videos, I thought this one on the TSA was nothing short of hilarious:


Posted by: T. Greer at December 2, 2010 3:17 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

But haven't you heard, JG, liberals have told those of us who want a country of individual freedom to get out and make our own. It doesn't matter that we were here first and that they're the perverters of what was.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 2, 2010 1:37 PM
But jk thinks:

You mention variances in quality levels. I'm not certain that "The Goldman Sachs" and "I have to see you naked" aren't the only entertaining ones in the genre.

People need to learn to write for this medium. Current artists are using this to deliver very long monotone harangues.

Posted by: jk at December 2, 2010 2:43 PM
But johngalt thinks:

3:20 is the historic, market-based, prescription for the length of a hit song. It's probably a good starting point for the best length of an Xtranormal vid - at least an upper limit.

Posted by: johngalt at December 2, 2010 2:53 PM

November 8, 2010

Christine O'Donnell

Chris Chillizza joins Senator Jim DeMint (R - SC) in speculating that Christine O'Donnell could have won her Delaware Senate race, "had she not been so 'maligned' by the national GOP."

I'll let the pollsters slice and dice the exit polls. But I must comment on media treatment in the very post discussing her chances. The lead paragraph starts "Over the weekend South Carolina Republican Sen. Jim DeMint suggested that marketing consultant Christine O'Donnell..."

Now. I've worked as a "Marketing Consultant" and hate to come across as maligning that important field of industry BUT, clearly Chillizza is denigrating her achievements. The modifier "political newcomer" could have communicated the idea less pejoratively.

And here is the photo his editors chose to decorate the post. After a lengthy Senatorial campaign, our nation's primary political newspaper does not have a less candid image in its photo files?


I'll answer Chillizza: yes, she could have won but it would have required a moderately balanced press. So, no, she didn't have a chance.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:29 PM | Comments (0)

November 5, 2010

V, Guy Fawkes and the TEA Party

I don't remember what precipitated the choice but I decided to make "V" my halloween costume this year. I watched the movie again and found it much more pleasing than on initial viewing (during the second term of the "atavistic, homophobic, warmongering" President George W. Bush.) Obviously I wasn't so defensive about possible hidden meanings this time around.

I reviewed past reviews and commentary on these pages and was reminded that we all instantly recognized that labeling V as a "terrorist" was false. (He never attacked innocent civilians, only the guilty accomplices of a totalitarian state.) While searching the web for character quotes I found this leftist review which, despite it's anti-conservative bias and failure to grasp the "terrorism" distinction, recognizes the liberty and freedom message of the film.

One of the most progressive aspects of the film is its attempt to inject optimism about political change in a world that is despairing. "Every time I have seen the world change, it was for the worse", Evey tells V, echoing the reality of an entire generation in the First World. V sets out to prove to Evey that "governments should be afraid of their people", and, despite the terrorist trappings, the film's fundamental message is that responsibility for political change lies with the mass of people, not institutions or politicians or stars.

Then why do leftists so despise the TEA Party movement, which seeks to restrict government and champion liberty via popular activism?

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:07 PM | Comments (0)

November 1, 2010

Et Tu, Dalmia?

Not nearly the headline of "Et tu, Tunku?" But I am twice as broken-hearted.

Shikha Dalmia has become one of my favorite writers, and no it is not solely because of her attractive profile picture by her Forbes columns. She is smart, principled, and a clear communicator.

Today she takes to the pages of Reason.com for a snarky, elitist, Tea Party bashing that is completely unworthy of her

Anyone who has not been living under a pumpkin lately knows that the single, biggest threat to this country's economic future is its gimongous (hey, if Sarah Palin gets to invent words, why not me!) entitlement state.

Bash Governor Palin, check -- hey this must be a very smart person!
Geithner has yet to encounter an economic woe anywhere in the world that a good dose of stimulus can't cure, its fiscal side effects be damned. He is to the cause of global stimulus and bailouts what Bush was to the cause of global democracy.

President Bush, check -- girl's on a roll!
[...]although a vast majority of Tea Party supporters favor smaller government, they don't want cuts in their Medicare or Social Security, a contradiction perfectly captured in a sign at a Tea Party rally: "Keep the Guvmint out of my Medicare."

They're so stupid!
In fact, setting aside the lapsed witch of Delaware, Christie O'Donnell[...]One is Joe Miller of Alaska, a man so unfamiliar with the First Amendment[...]

Two candidates who did what you wanted but still get a slap...

I don't know if it's better that she sees the flaw in her position and ignores it or not. Umm, why might some candidates be unprepared to make a bold stand to cut entitlements? Wait...I know this one...

To be sure, much of this backsliding is in response to attacks by Democratic opponents who are undoubtedly worse and shamelessly demagoguing the issue. Still, the fact of the matter is that instead of pulling Democrats in the direction of reform, the Tea Party candidates themselves are moving in the direction of the status quo. This wouldn't happen if these candidates could count on a strong and large constituency for reform within their own movement. Elections are a discovery process through which candidates find out what their base really wants. And what many of the Tea Party candidates have found is that when push comes to shove, their backers want to protect their entitlements as much as the next guy. In fact, much of the fury of the Tea Partiers against government stimulus and bailouts might have less to do with any principled belief in the limits of government and more to do with fear of what this will do to their own entitlements.

To recap: Angle, O'Donnell, and Miller are holding their ground and have turned "cakewalk" GOP victories into two nail-biters and an expected loss. Why won't the rest follow suit?

Breaking up is hard to do. I could have handled the analysis -- especially from Reason -- but to put it in a snarky, smarmy package like this is too much.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:17 PM | Comments (0)

No, YOU'RE the Doo-Doo Head!

The week before last, Denver's David Harsanyi gave us a celebration of the TEA Party's "Stupid Stupidity." Last weekend his antipode, Denver's David Sirota, explains why they're 'stoopid' in "It's the Stupidity, Stupid." He starts out wondering how "red-baiting crusades by the plutocrats" are managing to get such traction with the electorate.

As Wall Street executives make bank off bailouts, as millions of Americans see paychecks slashed and as our economic Darwinism sends more wealth up the income ladder - it's surprising that appeals to capitalist piggery carry more electoral agency than ever.

What could cause this intensifying politics of free-market fundamentalism at the very historical moment that proves the failure of such an ideology? Two new studies suggest all roads lead to ignorance.

But since Sirota is "smarter" than Harsanyi he uses "science" to support his claims.

As Northwestern University's David Gal and Derek Rucker recently documented in a paper titled, "When in Doubt, Shout!", many Americans respond to convention-challenging facts not by re-evaluating their worldview. Instead, they become more adamant in defense of wrongheaded ideas.

So, for instance, we may be aware that our broken economy is creating destructive inequality; we may know the neighbor's opulence is underwritten by loans. We may even see the connection between our personal financial struggles and census figures showing inequality at a record high. But many of us nonetheless react by more passionately insisting our economic system sows equality.

Or we may write opinion columns asserting that free-market economics is a proven failure and that "equality" is somehow the panacea, and if you don't agree with us you are "stupid."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I'm going to hijack your post for a segue. I did not know what to do with this but it has captured my heart: The Rally to Restore Vanity.

It's far from perfect, as blog friend tg admits on Facebook, yet it has some important ideas. The most interesting to me was the Stewart/Colbert crowds' primacy to "not appearing stupid." Amid some generational psychoanalysis and some curious political generalizations, lives a superb point that to stand up at a Tea Party (or a Code Pink rally) is to take a stand and risk appearing stupid. Yes, you will be standing near a stupid person.

Yet to not say anything, not take a stand, and if you must stand up have it be at the gathering of those who are waaaay too hip to take a stand. That's cool, baby!

Posted by: jk at November 1, 2010 4:49 PM

October 27, 2010

Barney Isn't Frank

Does anybody remember when politicians used to at least pretend to tell the truth? Now they just deny there is such a thing as truth.

Fast forward now to 2008, after the risky mortgages had led to huge numbers of defaults, dragging down Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the financial markets in general -- and with them the whole economy.

Barney Frank was all over the media, pointing the finger of blame at everybody else. When financial analyst Maria Bartiromo asked Congressman Frank who was responsible for the financial crisis, he said, "right-wing Republicans." It so happens that conservatives were the loudest critics who had warned for years against the policies that Barney Frank pushed, but why let facts get in the way?

Ms. Bartiromo did not just accept whatever Barney Frank said. She said: "With all due respect, congressman, I saw videotapes of you saying in the past: 'Oh, let's open up the lending. The housing market is fine.'" His reply? "No, you didn't see any such tapes."

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:02 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Clearly, we have always been at war with Eurasia.

Posted by: jk at October 27, 2010 3:28 PM

October 20, 2010

Harsanyi: Three Cheers for TEA Party's "Stupid Stupidity"

Catching JK napping a bit...

Do I wish there were more articulate and intellectual free-market candidates? Sure, I do. But, alas, Americans are in no mood for know-it-alls who think sailing is a sport.

Do I wish that science-challenged believers would resist the urge to raise their hands when asked if they believe the world is 5,000 years old? God, yes. But an election offers limited choices. Take Delaware, where voters can pick a candidate who had a youthful flirtation with witchcraft or one who dabbled in collectivist economic theory.

Only one of these faiths has gained traction in Washington the past few years. And as far as I can tell, there is no pagan lobby.

Plenty more good zingers for those who click through.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Not sleeping; I was just resting my eyes...

Awesome on stilts in high heels, David.

Posted by: jk at October 20, 2010 3:42 PM

October 15, 2010

Et tu, Tunku?

Okay. That's my best headline in seven years of blogging. Dig it before it rolls off the page.

Tunku Varadarajan looks down his elitist, Libertarian nose at the Tea Party candidates. I have expressed concern -- right here on ThreeSources -- that in our moment of extreme zeal, we may have chosen some less than stellar candidates. But never, ever, once, for a moment, did I ever question whether I wanted them to win. Varadarajan has thought it over very carefully, and decided that Sharron Angle may win, but not the witch and the homophobe:

But there is a delicate, almost aesthetic question that remains: Do we back candidates like Carl Paladino and Christine O'Donnell--people we wouldn't ask home to dinner, except in a Dinner for Schmucks sense? Put another way: Is our thirst for a resounding defeat for the statist Democrats so great that some of us would be prepared to swallow a mouthful of "Paladonnell" rotgut along with the premier cru of a GOP victory in the House, the Senate, and elsewhere?

Personally, I would love to see Paladino and O'Donnell lose, since they've distracted attention from the small-government message by adding in their own social conservatism and cultural weirdness. Republican primary voters need to be reminded to be more grownup, and practical. But there are, of course, many libertarians who would tend to think that anything is better--yes, even Paladino and O’Donnell--than Democrats endorsed by public-employee unions.

Cultural weirdness? O'Donnell's great sin is that she is not rich enough to be a Senator. I have donated more to her quixotic candidacy than any other, because I think everybody else is abandoning her.

I suppose she has no chance, but she is not helped by a respected former WSL Ed Page staffer's sudden self-promotion to be the arbiter of Cultural Weirdness.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)
But Lisa M thinks:

One moment please while I dig that headline.

Ok I'm back. What's disappointing about Tunku's analysis is that the very "cultural weirdness" he disdains as "distracting" from the issues are distracting simply because that is the very strategy that the left is using against them. Most of O'Donnell's "cultural weirdness" has been thrown into high relief by lefty hacks like Bill Maher and SNL; shame on Tunku for falling for it. My reservations about O'Donnell stemmed far more from the ethical baggage she carried (lying about college, tax problems, rent problems, etc.) but all of that has fallen to the wayside in favor of a throwawy comment about her practicing witchcraft in high school. I haven't been following Paladino's campaign as closely, but I must say, I'm terribly disappointed that Tunku has swallowed the liberal bait so easily.

Posted by: Lisa M at October 15, 2010 7:46 PM

October 6, 2010

Dusty bookshelves, Dead Writers.

Those wacky tea partiers! Reading Bastiat and Hayek -- what is the matter with them?

The Tea Party is a thoroughly modern movement, organizing on Twitter and Facebook to become the most dynamic force of the midterm elections.

But when it comes to ideology, it has reached back to dusty bookshelves for long-dormant ideas.

It has resurrected once-obscure texts by dead writers — in some cases elevating them to best-seller status — to form a kind of Tea Party canon.

This from a NYTimes piece by Kate Zernike that is raising a bit of a stir.
If their arguments can be out there (like getting rid of the 17th Amendment, which established the direct election of senators by popular vote) or out of date (Bastiat warned that if government taxed wine and tobacco, “beggars and vagabonds will demand the right to vote”), the works have provided intellectual ballast for a segment of the electorate angry or frustrated about the economy and the growing reach of government.

Brother Keith pointed me at this through a NewsBusters piece. Jonah Goldberg takes a nice whack at her dismissal of the rule of law.

But I would suggest reading the NYTimes piece first. It is stunning.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | Comments (0)

September 16, 2010

Quote of the Day

Blame that on George W. Bush, who arrived billing himself as a compassionate conservative, a description that was accurate except for the adjective and the noun. -- Steve Chapman
Reason Cheers the Tea Party.
Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

September 15, 2010

A Great Michael Kinsley Column in the Atlantic

A great friend of this blog is almost apologetic in forwarding a link to this.

Blog friend admits to the article's including "whoey mongering above and beyond the call" but knows we share a visceral distaste for boomers' self-congratulation. Merely hearing Kinsley admit what we all know is well worth the click. (I kid about Kinsley but he's a good writer and this is a good piece).

Nobody actually wants the Boomers dead (or at least nobody has been impolitic enough to say so), but many wouldn't mind if they took early retirement. From the day John F. Kennedy said "The torch has been passed to a new generation" to the day George H. W. Bush headed back to Houston, seven members of the World War II generation occupied the White House, for a total of 32 years. The Boomers had just two presidents, Clinton and Bush the younger, over 16 years, before the citizenry said, "That's enough. Let's move on." Barack Obama, born in 1961, is technically a Boomer, but consciously ran against a version of Boomer values, and got a lot of self-hating Boomer supporters as a result.

Kinsley gets around to a point I have made. Our fathers and grandfathers fought wars all over the world to preserve freedom for posterity. We the boomers won't even pay our damn doctor bills.

When he gets away from bashing his self indulgent generation and gets to remedy, I diverge a bit. But he suggests repaying the national debt as the boomers' D-Day. A grand and difficult sacrifice for freedom.


The medicine he prescribes isn't mine and even he isn't keen or specific on his solutions. If we accelerate taxes enough to pay it off, we would pass along less prosperity and innovation. But if we were to actually get entitlements onto at least a sustainable path, it would be a gift to posterity.

UPDATE: I recommended back Ayn Rand's Apollo and Dionysus (one of her best works).

POINT OF ORDER: "We, kimosabe?" Those who extend the boomers to 1964 don't know many people born in '64. I used to call myself the last baby boomer because I saw the culture through my older siblings. An oldest or only child born in '60 would likely not be a boomer -- no way President Obama is. You had to be born when Truman or Eisenhower was president. If "Christmas Story" looks like home, you might have to own up.

UPDATE II: The blog friend who sent the link thinks I am too charitable toward Kinsley. Tough room.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:35 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

"Accelerate taxes enough to pay it off" [the national debt] and there won't be enough money to do so. In addition to "less prosperity and innovation" we'd also have, a larger national debt.

Posted by: johngalt at September 15, 2010 3:02 PM
But jk thinks:

Curious that I end up being the Michael Kinsley defender. You never know what'll happen...

If you drag yourself to page four, he suggests advancing inheritance taxes. I'm not advocating that, and I have never been a deficit hawk. I'd rather leave a foundation of freedom and prosperity than a clean balance sheet.

But I liked Kinsley's admission that the boomers take while other generations have given so much. If this sentiment could be directed at entitlement reform it would be powerful and positive.

Posted by: jk at September 15, 2010 4:32 PM

September 12, 2010

Happy 9/12

Actually my sister's birthday...

I don't know that this video is great. But isn't it sad that the Obama administration has forced us to learn the plural "stimulas?"

Posted by John Kranz at 10:33 AM | Comments (0)

September 2, 2010

Teabaggies Get One Right

I've expressed perhaps too much concern over the inexperience and lack of slick political skills among the new generation of "Tea Party Candidates." We shall see in November.

But I saw Mama Grizzly's Joe Miller last night on Kudlow. This guy is the real deal: war vet, top of his class at West Point, clean, articulate... No seriously, he would raise the average IQ of the US Senate by 10 points. He has firm philosophical underpinnings and the brainpower to contextualize and express them.

Lee Cary suggests the old guard makes room for some of this new talent:

The current GOP leadership would be wise to heed the lesson of Joe Miller's victory over Senator Lisa Murkowski in the GOP primary in Alaska and announce that they'll step aside if Republicans gain a majority in one or both Houses of Congress. Congressman John Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell do not represent the leadership of a GOP with a longer-term future. They are the generals of the last political war, where they lost. And their party, if it wins, will have done so mostly because the Democrats lost support.

I'm actually a big Mitch fan. Leader McConnell has impressed me with principled stands on flag-burning and his eponymous Supreme Court challenge to McCain-Feingold. His performance as minority leader has been awesome. If he's not an inspiring speaker, he has herded felines pretty well.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:17 PM | Comments (0)

August 23, 2010

Terrorized Enough Already?

Get it? TEA? The offical stance of the TEA party supporting walls and agents and drones &c. Anything but free movement of goods, labor, and capital,


Fair enough, I suppose, but I will henceforth not identify myself with the Tea party movement. I got a couple T-Shirts if anybody wants 'em.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:40 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Fair to a point, but I don't think "our Ku Klux Klan group is totally not racist" is a stirring defense. I have been pretty concerned about this from day one and a trend is clearly underway to roll popular populist programs under the bright yellow Gadsden umbrella.

It started as a very cool shorthand for limited Constitutional government. I think it has become shorthand for "Conservative."

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2010 3:35 PM
But jk thinks:

TO BE CLEAR: I just read my previous comment and did not want anyone to think I was calling Tea Party Illegal Immigration Opponents (TEAPIIOs) racist. I was using the example of the KKK as a group that has a collective identity without a central office controlling it.

Posted by: jk at August 24, 2010 3:40 PM
But Keith Arnold thinks:

(1) No offense taken, as we all know that the Klan was the militant arm of the DEMOCRAT party.

(2) Gasden flag: good. Gonzalez flag: better.

(3) What sizes are the shirts, and how much you want for them?

(4) I've decided that when the revolution comes, I'm going to call it "The War Of Washington Aggression," just to be contrary.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 24, 2010 4:01 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Yours is a warranted fear, jk. I see the TEA Party platform ebbing and flowing to include and then discard issues beside "limited Constitutional government." If the TEA Party movement is discredited by association with indefensible causes and left-liberal ad hominem then it will likely dissolve. But the idea that individual 'mericans can rally together to foment opposition to statism has been born. Maybe next time it'll have a better name.

Posted by: johngalt at August 25, 2010 3:09 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

It's a bad idea; why not express your power by convincing them (in our case, whomever stands for Tea Party in CO). what a bad idea it is, instead of the "I'm taking my vote card home and putting it under my mattress" approach?

Is there such an organization that there's a person or office in CO to call or post? Help a brother out here, who has scant time for PolyTicks.


Posted by: nanobrewer at August 25, 2010 4:25 PM
But jk thinks:

Actually no, nb, The same thing I have always cherished is its Hayekian Spontaneous order. I guess one of the downsides is that there's nobody to call and yell at!

Of course I won't be figuratively "going home" (I am home). I will continue boring people with my thoughts, sending the occasional $50-100 to candidates I like, and looking for a group I can count myself in. I had hoped that I had found it with the Tea Party -- and it has been a gas! I just don't think that describes me anymore.

I completely agree with jg (just this once) that it is great that expectations have been raised and people have been educated. I'd say the same about Glenn Beck's 9-12 thingy, but I would not want people to define me by their stances.

Posted by: jk at August 25, 2010 4:49 PM

August 17, 2010

Tea Party Manifesto

Rep. Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe (president and CEO of Freedomworks) hawk their book in a guest editorial today. It is as good a description of "The Tea Party" as I have seen: The authors (or a clever editor) say "The movement is not seeking a junior partnership with the Republican Party. It is aiming for a hostile takeover."

The criteria for membership are straightforward: Stay true to principle even when it proves inconvenient, be assertive but respectful, add value and don't taking credit for other people's work. Our community is built on the Trader Principle: We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government. These were the principles that enabled the Sept. 12, 2009 taxpayer march on Washington to be one of the largest political protests in the history of our nation's capital.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM | Comments (4)
But Keith Arnold thinks:

You had me at "hostile takeover."

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 17, 2010 1:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"We associate by mutual consent, to further shared goals of restoring fiscal responsibility and constitutionally limited government."

Before the comma is completely contradictory with what follows the comma, but the rest is not bad at all.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 18, 2010 10:43 AM
But jk thinks:

Hmm. No, it does not bug me, Perry. The left thinks that all those people are at the rallies because Glenn Beck told them to be there. At 12:07. In a hat.

I think it captures the spontaneous order that I had seen: individuals, with shared goals. I miss something?

Posted by: jk at August 18, 2010 10:56 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"Mutual consent" is fine. But once they, or anyone else, refer to "constitutionally limited government," they're talking about a system you cannot opt-out of, by definition. Therefore you are obligated to participate in that government, no matter how limited it may be, whether or not you "consent."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 18, 2010 4:22 PM

August 9, 2010

Primaryeve Polling

It all comes down to this.

With Colorado's primary election day tomorrow the left-leaning pollster Public Policy Polling today released a new poll on the senate and governor's races. Bennet's 6-point lead over Romanoff is slightly more than the 4.6% margin of error for the Democratic poll, but the GOP races are both closer than the 3.5% theoretical uncertainty.

Among 767 "likely Republican primary voters" Norton leads Buck 45-43 (12 percent undecided) ((still?)) and McInnis leads Maes 41-40. The only poll that's going to settle these races is the one that starts to be tallied tomorrow at 7pm.

But here's something else I found interesting in the questions asked only of Republicans.

"Do you support or oppose the goals of the 'Tea Party' movement?"

Support - 78%

Oppose - 9%

"Do you personally identify as a member of the 'Tea Party' movement?"

Yes - 35%

No - 47%

So while one-third of us are active anti-tax and spenders, three-quarters of Republicans support our cause. Bully!

(Also curious why they didn't poll those questions of the Dems.)

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

July 19, 2010

Longmont Makes National News

And it's not even a sex offender or anything.

Lesley Hollywood, director of the Northern Colorado Tea Party, is profiled and the popularity of the Tea Party in Colorado is discussed.

ThreeSources Heartthrob Ken Buck gets good coverage and his spectacular polls are documented. But the accompanying picture is not one his mom selected, I'll tell you that.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | Comments (4)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Photo deliberately selected to depict an angry white guy.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 20, 2010 10:18 AM
But jk thinks:

My sentiments exactly. I think the writer wrote a fair assessment and the editor grabbed an AWG (Angry White Guy) photo.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2010 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

To be fair, there are some anti-Norton ads running on TV that use photos even less flattering to the LtGov. There is a cost to insurgency and I hope this one os worth it.

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2010 12:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't think the writer wrote a fair assessment. For example:

"...Tea Party Patriots, leading some of the had-it-up-to-here conservatives..." [TPPs are not all conservatives.]

"...a state like Colorado, not the most natural Tea Party territory." [Colorado has become the swingiest of swing states and has a highly educated population. It's prototypical TEA Party territory.]

"Buck outlines positions he calls more "nuanced" than those attributed to him in the past, when he said his views had been "distilled" and shorthanded by reporters." [Why the scare quotes?]

"...he was hired by then-congressman Dick Cheney..." [You mean, that Dick Cheney?]

"A half-hour later, however, his tone is sharper, his voice louder and his emphasis different when he stands on a makeshift stage to address the crowd. (...) "People are sick and tired of the answer coming out of Washington, D.C., always being more government," Buck shouts into the hand-held microphone.

Posted by: johngalt at July 20, 2010 2:49 PM

The ThreeSources Enemies List

Hey, it worked pretty well for President Nixon!

I love to focus on the positive as much as anybody, but I think some lovers of liberty would do well to enumerate the people and policies that brought us here. Santayana would not want us doomed to repeat Majority Leader Trent Lott.

Senator Helmet Hair is featured in a Washington Examiner Editorial by Mark Tapscott

"We don't need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples. As soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them," Lott told The Washington Post in an incredibly revealing story.

Tea Partiers prove their "street-cred" by lambasting President Bush at every opportunity. I won't say #43 deserves a marble bust in the Cato lobby, but I have long felt that the GOP brand was despoiled more by Lott, Speaker Hastert, Rep. Tom DeLay, Rep Jerry Lewis, and the general trends of the 108th and 109th Congresses.

My blog brother jg calls for the extirpation of "progressive Republicans." And I wouldn't miss them a lot (they always eat all the good appetizers...) but I am far more concerned with Republicans who want to continue corrupt business-as-usual patronage. Better a dozen McCains than a couple Trent Lotts.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:26 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Wow. What a quote. While I rank the Progressives and the patronage pull-peddlers equally evil you are completely right - these guys have got to go too. Since the ones still in office, unlike lobbyist (naturally) Trent Lott, won't make it so easy to ID them it is up to primary voters in the several states to root these parasites out of the federal government.

Speaking for Colorado, we're actively engaged in doing so right now. I've maintained that Jane Norton is of the Progressive stripe, having been "encouraged to run" in a phone call from John McCain. But I've also said she'll become a McCain puppet, meaning she'll willingly allow herself to be co-opted by the strongest of the powers-that-be.

Fortunately, Norton's opponent Ken Buck leads her in the polls by 16 points. Buck actually leads her in every category except, interestingly, the 17% of those polled who have a "neutral" opinion on the TEA Party Movement. (He leads her by 22 points among those Favorable to the TEA Party (79% of the sample) and 25 points among those who are Unfavorable (7%.)) In other words, the TEA Party is NOT a handicap for Buck, at least in the Primary.

Against his likely Dem challenger, Michael Bennet, the numbers are about 80/10 for Buck among TEA Party favorables (37% of sample) and 80/10 against him among unfavorables (27%). In the neutral and no opinion categories however (21% and 15% respectively), Buck trails by 8 and by 24 points. This will be the challenge to overcome, although by most other demographic splits Buck leads or trails narrowly. Bennet's strength appears to be among white moderate-to-conservative females aged 50-64.

Posted by: johngalt at July 19, 2010 3:24 PM
But jk thinks:

I hope you're right. I have only your word on Buck vs. Norton, powerful as it may be.

I think we know who they are. Jerry Lewis (CA 41) is still there. I go back and and forth on Leader Boehner. Mister Pragmatist doesn't really suggest a purge. I'm happy to have Lewis's and McCain's votes for leadership. (I bristle at the juxtaposition, we'd do very well to expel Lewis, but a GOP that cannot find room for Senator McCain is too small.)

What annoys me is the RNC (and House and Senate election committees). In a creep out contest, Michael Steele and Trent Lott would fight to a draw. We need to launch somebody soon into the "civilian leadership" segment of the party who understands a little bit about liberty.

Posted by: jk at July 19, 2010 4:35 PM

July 15, 2010

The crowd burst into applause.

In a recent article linked by JK Matt Kibbe said that TEA Party values represents the majority of Americans, and at the center of the political spectrum.

The Tea Party movement, if sustained, has the potential to take America back from an entrenched establishment of big spenders, political careerists, and rent-seeking corporations. The values that animate us all—lower taxes, less government, and more freedom—is a big philosophical tent set at the very center of American politics.

This reminded me of a sentiment I've expressed, though I couldn't find the instance on these pages, that individualism is Americanism. At the base of the moral code of most Americans is the idea that each of us is entitled to choose our own path, without permission from any master, and to dispose of our earnings as we see fit. All of this is segue to today's 'Atlas Shrugged' QOTD.

Part II, Chapter 4: The Sanction of the Victim- [Henry Reardon at his trial before the judges of the "Bureau of Economic Planning and National Resources."]

It is not your particular policy that I challenge, but your moral premise. If it were true that men could achieve their good by means of turning some men into sacrificial animals, and I were asked to immolate myself for the sake of creatures who wanted to survive at the price of my blood, if I were asked to serve the interests of society apart from, above and against my own—I would refuse. I would reject it as the most contemptible evil, I would fight it with every power I possess, I would fight the whole of mankind, if one minute were all I could last before I were murdered, I would fight in the full confidence of the justice of my battle and of a living being's right to exist. Let there be no misunderstanding about me. If it is now the belief of my fellow men, who call themselves the public, that their good requires victims, then I say: The public good be damned, I will have no part of it!"

The crowd burst into applause.

Rearden whirled around, more startled than his judges. He saw faces that laughed in violent excitement, and faces that pleaded for help; he saw their silent despair breaking out into the open; he saw the same anger and indignation as his own, finding release in the wild defiance of their cheering; he saw the looks of admiration and the looks of hope. There were also the faces of loose-mouthed young men and maliciously unkempt females, the kind who led the booing in newsreel theaters at any appearance of a businessman on the screen; they did not attempt a counter-demonstration; they were silent.

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

July 13, 2010

Quote of the Day

I for one hope we maintain our difference from Europe in continuing to live by the radical principles of individual rights and limits on collective government power. Is that trite? If so, I got my triteness from a guy named Howard Roark: “Our country, the noblest country in the history of men, was based on the principle of individualism, the principle of man’s ‘inalienable rights.’ It was a country where a man was free to seek his own happiness, to gain and produce, not to give up and renounce; to prosper, not to starve; to achieve, not to plunder; to hold as his highest possession a sense of his personal value, and as his highest virtue his self-respect.” -- Matt Kibbe
This is as the end of a very interesting discussion of libertarianism and tea partiers.

UPDATE: Internet Segue Machine is set on 11: Ilya Somin summarizes and expounds on the discussion. Nicely, of course.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:31 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Matt Kibbe expresses my perspective on the TEA Party movement with precision. I didn't bother reading the other two guys. (5 pages?!?)

Posted by: johngalt at July 15, 2010 2:53 PM
But jk thinks:

Jonah Goldberg's (page 3) was brief and worth a read. Most of three pages is for Brink Lindsey's effete, elitist, pointy-head Libertarian thrashing of the TEA partiers. I can't say it is a pleasant read, but it is a good foundation of "Libertario Delenda Est."

Posted by: jk at July 15, 2010 3:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Several good takeaways from Goldberg's two pages:

"Isn’t libertarianism about freedom, including the freedom to live conservatively if that’s what people choose? Secularism in politics is a perfectly admirable and libertarian value, but using the state to impose secularism on society is not." Amen.

"Even if the majority of people who (accurately) describe themselves as libertarians favor legalized abortion, it is quite clearly not the case that most care about the issue very much." This libertarian [I] cares about it first for its repulsive effect on unaffiliated voters and second for its proper place in the sphere of the individual. But I must admit that every one of the TPD Republicans I support is publicly pro-life.

"As for social conservatism, I think the real way to deal with Lindsey’s disdain for it is to pursue a more plausible and principled solution to the problems affecting both libertarianism and the country: federalism. As Thomas Jefferson knew, big cities will always be cosmopolitan. But there’s no reason why one narrow definition of cosmopolitanism needs to be imposed across the land. Social conservatives and libertine libertarians—and some practical progressives—should be able to find common cause in a campaign that allows people to live the way they want to live in communities that reflect their values." This reinforces my assertion "At the base of the moral code of most Americans is the idea that each of us is entitled to choose our own path, without permission from any master, and to dispose of our earnings as we see fit."

Posted by: johngalt at July 16, 2010 2:55 PM

July 1, 2010

JK's Dark Thought of the Day

No doubt I will run out of these items soon. Surely this won't be a daily feature!

Those wild eyed lib-er-alls at the New York Times take some whacks at Tea Party darling Sharron Angle for avoiding unfriendly press:

Ms. Angle, a Nevada Senate candidate and Tea Party darling, has steadfastly refused to talk to reporters here, leading to some unusually aggressive behavior by local television stations. In a segment fit for TMZ, one intrepid reporter chased her on foot outside a restaurant this month, repeatedly asking why she had once said that “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.” She ignored the questioner and tried to outpace him, in a video clip replayed across the state.

My dark thought of the day is that this might be a good strategy. She was weak in the friendly environs of a Larry Kudlow interview last night.

Kudlow started the interview with a softball: what would she do, were she elected, to restore growth. (Hint: lady, this is Larry Kudlow's show, maybe something about lower taxes or less regulation or something...) Ms. Angle gets rabidly partisan: Well, Larry the first thing to do is unseat Harry Reid! He's a job killer, we have 17% unemployment! And...

And Larry breaks in. Yes, but if you win, which might be your first legislative goals?


[Deer in the headlights]


"Repeal ObamaCare!" [Good answer, Would've been better 24 seconds ago, but we can edit that out on YouTube, Show some cute kittens playing with a toy for a while...]

I am being a bit harsh but it was not a good interview. And this was not Katie Couric or Charlie Gibson trying to trip her, this was Larry Kudlow.

I sent her $50 way back when she started. She was a tea party candidate who knocked off a "conventional GOPer" in the primary. Was that a mistake? And how many times did/will this happen this cycle?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:22 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Okay, this one is easy. Not all "TEA Party darlings" will be Mister Smith, and oh by the way, Mister Smith had Frank Capra, a Hollywood script, and as many takes as it ... took ... to get it right. But the plot still works:

"A naive man is appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate. His plans promptly collide with political corruption, but he doesn't back down."

Hopefully Sharon and other TPDs will take a page from Ken Buck who said, "I'm not sure I will win but I am who I am." Voters are looking for more of that these days.

Posted by: johngalt at July 1, 2010 2:51 PM
But T. Greer thinks:


Is it too early for a "told you so"?

Posted by: T. Greer at July 1, 2010 3:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Not a function of time, tg. You said they would be ineffectual and I have been waiting for a "TYS" on efficacy.

If all the Tea Party candidates win their primaries and are so ill fitted to politics that hey lose the generals, then I will serve one up with whipped cream, chocolate chips and a cherry.

Posted by: jk at July 1, 2010 4:07 PM

June 27, 2010

Those Angry Tea Partiers!


The roving band of protesters torched four police cruisers and shattered shop windows with baseball bats and hammers for blocks, including at police headquarters, then shed some of their black clothes, revealing other garments, and continued their rampage.

Police used shields, clubs, tear gas and pepper spray to push back the protesters who tried to head south toward the security fence surrounding the Group of 20 summit site. Some demonstrators hurled rocks and bottles at police.

The vandalism occurred just blocks from where U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders were meeting and staying.

Oh, no. Wait... I guess these "activists" are protesting the G-20 Summit. My Bad.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:42 AM | Comments (3)
But Giggle T thinks:

I don't really care if they were a bunch of Tea Partiers or a clown troupe. These people need to understand that vandalism and/or violent protests will never give them the credibility to actually have their voices heard.

Civil protests and contacting leaders in a polite manner will go so much farther than torching cars.

Posted by: Giggle T at June 27, 2010 6:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm in full agreement with Giggle T of course, but I think the point is that popular news outlets frequently refer to TEA Party goers as "angry protesters" but the word angry never seems to appear in these reports about routine instances of political vandalism. Instead, the "black-clad youths" are apologized for: "Despite the violence, no serious injuries were reported..."

Posted by: johngalt at June 27, 2010 8:07 PM
But jk thinks:

I think our friend gt might be more interested in getting us to click on a malware link than engaging us intellectually.

I have kept both your comments, Giggle T, but have removed the links. If I am wrong, please email me.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2010 10:04 AM

June 22, 2010

Six Stars

That's what I'm giving the new Ridley Scott "Robin Hood" film that JK rated (unseen) at 5 stars. It isn't just "a rousing love letter to the tea party movement" but a must see inspiration.

I also hereby nominate Ridley Scott to direct a film version of Atlas Shrugged, after reading How 'Nottingham' Became 'Robin Hood' and Robin Hood - Whose Fault Was It?

In Hollywood, the director is always considered to be the ultimate author of a movie. The director is always right, and the bigger the director, the less likely anyone will shoot down their crazy whims. So what happens, Martell asks, when the director is wrong? If Universal/Imagine had taken Robin Hood away from Scott when it started to go off the rails and had handed it to a younger, cheaper director -- one interested in actually making the script that Imagine had bought -- then it could have been delivered on schedule, wouldn't have cost a reported $200 million-plus, and might have actually been good.


This might not come as a welcome thought for fans of Loxley and the gang, but it was about half-way through the film that I realized that the 'origin' of Robin really isn't all that interesting. When it comes down to it, the tale of Robin Hood doesn't really get exciting until he's Robin Hood -- you know, robbing from the rich, giving to the poor. But in Hood, so much time is devoted to creating a supposedly 'realistic' setting around the myth that you kind of wish they would just get to the good part.

Yep, that explains why so many of these reviewers thought it was boring and too long and terrible - He never did get around to "robbing from the rich, giving to the poor." Instead, he protected the weak from the strong. (Dang, what a LOOOOOOZERRRR.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:03 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2010

Are You Angry Yet?

Blog Brother LatteSipper recently surfaced on Facebook. I think we chased him away from here with my partisan hackery.

But I am thinking I might use my June quota of FB politics on this one. It's Volume CXLII of "explaining those crazy tea partiers to sensible NYTimes readers." But this one is by a Philosophy professor. He's going to use metaphysics to explain why we're so angry.

I'll warn prospective clickers that it's long for a blog post, but I suggest it. You get bonus Hegel references and get to watch the Professor try to stay professorial as he is so clearly befuddled at what we is and what we be so angry about.

Hegel’s thesis is that all social life is structurally akin to the conditions of love and friendship; we are all bound to one another as firmly as lovers are, with the terrible reminder that the ways of love are harsh, unpredictable and changeable. And here is the source of the great anger: because you are the source of my being, when our love goes bad I am suddenly, absolutely dependent on someone for whom I no longer count and who I no longer know how to count; I am exposed, vulnerable, needy, unanchored and without resource. In fury, I lash out, I deny that you are my end and my satisfaction, in rage I claim that I can manage without you, that I can be a full person, free and self-moving, without you. I am everything and you are nothing.

This is the rage and anger I hear in the Tea Party movement; it is the sound of jilted lovers furious that the other — the anonymous blob called simply “government” — has suddenly let them down, suddenly made clear that they are dependent and limited beings, suddenly revealed them as vulnerable.

To be fair, that's the worst bit but I'll let you decide if that vindicates...

I do respect that he arrives at birthright liberty -- even if it's from the wrong side. And even if he does not recognize it when he finds it.

I am so startled by the attribution of anger. I guess some town halls got more contentious than usual. But I attended a couple of rallies and remember grannies and grandpas waving Gadsden flags. Cops walked their bikes through the crowds in shorts and chatted with the participants. How is this group "angry" and not the riot-gear devastation I see in collectivist marches?

And why can't they take a few of us at our word? Again, the antiwar marches have all sorts of fringe elements, yet they generously attribute the purpose to the central group. The people I saw clearly wanted limited government. Tenth Amendment stuff.

I can't walk into a room and agree with everybody (look at us!) I certainly do not expect that everybody on the West steps of the Capitol agrees with me.

Unsettling. Worthy of a response, I don't know. But if you want to understand those mysterious and angry collectivist lefties, It's worth a read.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:51 AM | Comments (0)

June 9, 2010

Tilting at Windmills and Repeal

This one is for blog friend TGreer. He produced a thoughtful post on a topic once near and dear: repeal of the 17th Amendment.

[New York Magazine's Jessica] Senior seems surprised that the Senate has become a second House of Representatives. She should not be. We have thrown out the institutional checks the framers designed to prevent the Senate from becoming slave to 'popular fluctuations.' It was only a matter of time before the norms that maintained the Senate's dignity were also discarded.

The institutional check I refer to is the original method by which our senators were chosen. While the members of the House of Representatives were chosen directly by the people, the senators were chosen by the legislatures of the states they represented. Senators were not thought of as representatives of the people, but as delegates from the states. Not unlike today's diplomats, the only link between these statesmen and the people they represented were the governments the latter had elected.

One of my present day heroes takes up the banner today and salutes the Tea Partiers who have re-raised the issue. Gene Healy, author of "The Cult of the Presidency" and a vice president at the Cato Institute, joins tg and I in preference for the original:
"Let the state legislatures appoint the Senate," Virginia's George Mason urged at the Philadelphia Convention of 1787, lest a newly empowered federal government "swallow up the state legislatures." The motion carried unanimously after Mason's remarks.

So it's probably fitting that it's a George Mason University law professor, Todd Zywicki, who has done the best work on the 17th Amendment's pernicious effects.

Zywicki shows that selection by state legislatures was a key pillar of the Constitution's architecture, ensuring that the Senate would be a bulwark for decentralized government. It's "inconceivable," Zywicki writes, "that a Senator during the pre-17th Amendment era would vote for an 'unfunded federal mandate.'

Healy shares my pessimism that repeal would be effected and effective. The Progressives -- led by a call from one of tg's heroes, but I hate to rub it in -- established popular election in many states prior to ratification. I don't think we're going to unwind this string cheese.

And, while I'd support repeal, I'll stand by my comments to tg's post: the amount of government influence and control is more problematic than the mechanism. The $20 million that goes to TV ads for a Colorado race would just go to individual legislators and create 100 opportunities for 100 Blagojeviches.

But we can miss it and dream.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:53 AM | Comments (1)
But T. Greer thinks:

Thanks for the shout out.

You might be interested in a NYT op ed that leads with the following passage:

After gaining control of much of the world’s copper supply, the 19th-century robber baron William A. Clark set out to buy a seat in the United States Senate. Openly, he went about bribing Montana legislators, $10,000 a vote, the cash paid in monogrammed envelopes.

Mark Twain called Clark “as rotten a human being as can be found anywhere under the flag,” but the senator did not show any shame. “I never bought a man who wasn’t for sale,” he said.

It was corruption such as this that led to the 17th Amendment, which allows direct election of senators by the people, not state legislators. And it was stone-hearted, Gilded Age titans like Clark who prompted this populist movement in the West.

Corruption and money was just as big a concern before the age of big government as it is now.

The difference, however, is that the type of corruption displayed by Gilded Aged senators is clearly illegal and punishable by law. The influences of lobbyists and out of state money machines is not. (Nor should it be, for liberty's sake.)

We have advanced in some ways over the last 100 years. No longer are we afraid to prosecute public officials. And in this the comparison with Blagovich is apt - he was indicted. I see no reason to think that the same would not happen with the 100 Blogovichs you fear would arise once the 17th came down.

Posted by: T. Greer at June 11, 2010 11:46 PM

May 12, 2010

Reading List Nomination

Mike Rosen's 10 am guest today was author Lee Harris, whose most recent book entitled The Next American Civil War: The Populist Revolt against the Liberal Elite might find a welcome place on the reading list of every ThreeSourcer.

Throughout our history, Americans have always challenged the definition of liberty, and this has allowed us to progress as a society. Harris argues that this debate is good and necessary, and that we must take this new populist uprising seriously if we are to defend our founding principles. A masterly and visionary work that weaves current events with philosophical investigation, The Next American Civil War rethinks Americans' most elemental ideas of freedom in order to enable the people of the United States to face the challenges of our times.

Harris has penned other titles that, were I a more prolific reader, I'd likely have read by now. Civilization and It's Enemies explains that historical amnesia leaves the west unprepared to defend itself from the barbarism of al-Qaida (and the sneeringly dismissive review of the book by Publisher's Weekly is reminiscent of the vitreol once reserved for the likes of Ayn Rand). The Suicide of Reason: Radical Islam's Threat to the West carries the theme further and "offers strategies by which liberal internationalism can defend itself without becoming a mirror of the tribal forces it is trying to defeat."

But The Next American Civil War apparently concerns a different threat to western liberal internationalism namely, liberal internationalists.

Here's a link to the audio interview, wherein he even mentions the Woolworth's' Waitresses jk blogged about back in ought-five.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:38 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Ah, September ought five, happy days! I still had no idear that the Republicans weren't going to usher in some libertarian paradise...

I'm still lumbering through the Presidents but try to give myself one piece of candy per month if I keep up with my medicine. Professor Jeffry Miron's Libertariaism from A - Z is fun. But if there were a quorum who wanted to read this and discuss on these pages, I'm in.

Posted by: jk at May 12, 2010 5:08 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Sounds like a must read. Thanks for the tip, JG!

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at May 12, 2010 6:47 PM

May 9, 2010

Otequay of the Ayday

Anyone remember my mention of the Senate Conservatives Fund? It was just before our little foray into drug legalization so I'll understand if you missed it. Here's part of Jim DeMint's endorsement of Weld County (CO) DA and GOP candidate for the US Senate Ken Buck:

"There are certainly other good Republicans in this race," said Senator DeMint, "but I believe Ken Buck is a conservative standout who will fight the establishment in both parties when he gets to Washington."

Music to my TEA Party ears.

"The purpose of the Senate Conservatives Fund is to help elect strong candidates who are overlooked by the Washington establishment," said Senator DeMint. "Ken Buck is one of those candidates, and I'm confident he will win if he gets his message out. My goal with this race is to partner with freedom-loving Americans in Colorado and across the country to help level playing field and give Ken Buck the support he needs to win the primary in August and defeat the Democrat in November. I am not trying to tell the people of Colorado how to vote; I am asking for their help because we need Ken Buck to save our country."
Posted by JohnGalt at 11:36 AM | Comments (0)

April 27, 2010

Dang Good Advice

From Cato:

Posted by John Kranz at 5:18 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

All hope is lost.

That's your takeaway? He made a (throwaway) line on a call to return to Federalism, so that Tea Partiers do not get mired in social issues, and your single comment is that it's an attack on abortion rights?

Sorry, I was just surprised -- I had to watch it again to see what you were talking about. Yup, you're right, he has my crazy-ass view of Roe. But if that's a dealbreaker for you and a lack of flat out repeal is a dealbreaker for pro-lifers, then we have no plurality, Leviathan-plus wins.

Posted by: jk at April 28, 2010 5:47 PM
But dagny thinks:

1. Republicans aren't always your friends.
c.f. Bush, McCain, Collins, Snowe, Crist.
2. Some tea partiers like big government.
Well, it's not called the TTM Party (although I'd support that one too.)
3. Democrats aren't always your enemies.
That's right. Look at the principled vote of one Ben Nelson. cough, cough.
4. Smaller government demands restraint abroad.
Iraq was a consequence of a feckless U.N. more than anything else. Can we start by just asking them to reform or get the hell out of our country? I hear France is nice.
5. Leave social issues to the states.
OK, it's a pet peeve. Can you blame me for focusing on this one? I suppose I'm guilty of the same thing most readers are. We comment only where we disagree, with rare but notable exceptions.

Posted by: dagny at April 28, 2010 9:30 PM
But jk thinks:

You guys gotta be more careful about setting your name. Identity ambiguity is an unfair advantage [smileyface].

I don't want anybody to abandon their principles. But any success from the Tea Party movement will require a little *cough* pragmatic ability to come together on important issues and leave other things at the door.

Abortion seems almost quaint -- the real danger to the Tea Party is immigration. I think it is still underappreciated how badly that rift hurt the GOP in 2006 and 2008. Am I going to support Scott McInnis if he wins the CO Gubernatorial primary and wants to "sign a law like the Arizona one?"

Tough times lay ahead. But if Jefferson and Hamilton were able to work together...

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 11:12 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Yeah, dagny comments infrequently enough that I never check the "remembered" name entry when I comment from a shared computer.

I hope (and pray?) that abortion is merely a quaint political issue now. I do agree that Republicans and conservatives in general are more bold in standing up to hollow shout-downs like "racist" "nazi" "hater" "homophobe" and continue to press for their beliefs. That's one reason you see the AZ legislature and governor actually growing a pair to "make illegal immigration illegal." The horror! And unlike the 50-50 issue of abortion, the political support for border control is lopsided in favor. (I think 55 pro, 36 con, 9 unsure.)

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 11:31 AM
But jk thinks:

Game On! (See my new post Apr 29) I cede Arizona's right to strict enforcement BUT NOT arbitrary and capricious demands for documentation AND NOT its spreading to Colorado.

Posted by: jk at April 29, 2010 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'll save the back and forth for the new post but for balance let me say...

My understanding of the Arizona law (essentially a duplication of long-standing federal law) is that "arbitrary or capricious" demands for documentation are forbidden.

If Colorado were to follow AZ's lead it's not really "spreading" to our state in the sense that federal law already has standing here too.

Posted by: johngalt at April 29, 2010 3:03 PM

April 20, 2010

Quote of the Day

The voiceover is by US citizen (and spiritual mentor, most recently, to Major Hasan) Ayman al-Awlaki. He is explaining the rationale for killing identified individuals, including the creators of “South Park”.

Mr al-Awlaki says things like, "Harming Allah and his messenger is a reason to encourage Muslims to kill whoever does that."

Maybe he’d get a worse press if he were to stop pussyfooting around and explicitly incite violence by saying something openly hateful like "I'm becoming very concerned about federal spending." -- Mark Steyn

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 7:29 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:


Posted by: AlexC at April 20, 2010 10:17 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Yeah, that second comment about federal spending borders on sedition.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 21, 2010 7:43 AM
But jk thinks:

I fear to have it on the blog. This domain is registered in my name!

Posted by: jk at April 21, 2010 10:38 AM

April 19, 2010

Quote of the Day

I think it was Obama with his usual condescension — except he ratcheted it up to Code Orange into snootiness — where he looks down his nose at the gun-and-god crowd, the lumpenproletariat, as he sees it. And he ridicules them because they're not grateful enough to him.

And look, it's quite obvious what he’s talking about. He thinks that they are stupid because they don't recognize that he hasn't raised their taxes. -- Charles Krauthammer

Posted by John Kranz at 6:45 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

How often did President Bush knock his political opponents?

Posted by: AlexC at April 19, 2010 7:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

You cut the Krauthammer quote short. The last word was supposed to be "... yet."

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 2:44 PM

April 18, 2010

I am the TEA Party

LM's picture with her sign at a recent PA TEA Party was all the excuse I needed to put up this pic of me at the most recent Denver party. Not only am I "wealthier and more well-educated than the general public" and "just another extremist element who thinks he should get to spend his own earnings" I am also an ...

Can't you just tell how absolutely freakin' filthy RICH I must be?? In defense of the NY Times though, I do have a college degree.

The Times also said, "The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45." So what exactly does "tend to be" mean? 50.1% I suppose.

I meet all those requirements, sure enough, and look at all those old white dudes behind me, but then the Times story goes on to quote four TEA Party celebrants. Their names are Elwin, Kathy, Dee and Jodine. If this had been a pro-Obama rally the Times would probably have said "women outnumbered men three to one."

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:21 PM | Comments (2)
But Lisa M thinks:

Love it, jg! I may have to lift that one for the next Tea Party.

A common sight around Independence Mall in Philly is the guy who dresses up as Ben Franklin. I'm not sure who pays this guy to walk around the city pretending he's Ben Franklin, but he was hanging out on the fringes of the rally all day. Finally, just beofe my girlfriend and I were getting ready to leave, he came up and, reading my sign, remarked, "Boy, you two really look like dangerous radicals." We agreed that we were indeed dangerous radicaqls, and Ole Ben began to elaborate about his sympathy witht eh Tea Partiers. My guess is that if he wasn't working, he would have joined in with us.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 18, 2010 9:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I'm thinking I should start working on a Ben Franklin costume for the next TEA Party. My sign will be "A REPUBLIC, MA'AM, IF YOU CAN KEEP IT."

Posted by: johngalt at April 20, 2010 2:53 PM

Quote of the Day

The rally, estimated in the tens of thousands, also displayed a wacky, irreverent spirit that I found endearing. I can't help but smile when paunchy small-business owners aged 50 and older don three-cornered hats and hoist rattlesnake flags in exercising their First Amendment right to peaceably assemble. -- Robert McCartney, WaPo
McCartney "differ[s] strenuously with the protesters on about 95 percent of the issues" but gives a pretty fair assesment of the participants.
Posted by John Kranz at 12:30 PM | Comments (0)


At last, I have the lowdown on these tea parties you have been hearing so much about. A work friend posts this on Facebook:

Teabaggers (OK, the Tea Party), explained: "What's happening here is that you have a few leaders tapping into a very, very old seated racial resentment. . . . It's about 'those other folks' getting something that would otherwise go to you. That's ancient, and it goes back to reconstruction times. That's not about... information." -- Laura Flanders on Real Time with Bill Maher

There were 44 comments. One guy seemed to have not completely bought in, but the rest were how right she was and thank you for telling us this and...

I broke my no-politics-on-Facebook pledge yet again and there are now 45 comments. Perhaps I need a quota. If I could only pipe up once a month, I could save it up for a good cause.

Again, the poster lives near me, has three kids and a mortgage. This is not some poli-sci major at CU. I assume her laudatory commenters are in a similar class and situation.

UPDATE: Okay, I got me first response. I don't know the sender but she chose to personally engage on an intellectual level:

Head in the sand , head in the sand looking like a fool with your heads in the sand.
I just read back through this entire string and am struck by the single generalization that was made: "disagreeing with the left ALWAYS leads to charges of racism".

You go white people - who else would know better about the end of racism or even what it looks like - I guess I was just being a crazy liberal to listen to people of color on the issue -

I am sure the "birthers" are just concerned Americans worried about the political direction of the country - my bad for doubting.

NO ONE said all Tea Party activists are racist and I would imagine that the geographic location of any rally would be a factor in the characteristics of the participants at said rally. Exchanges like this one are sure leading me to the conclusion that, beyond the overt and covert racial elements of the movement, there are a growing number of Tea Party supporters willing to condone racism by their unwillingness to acknowledge it even exists.

Have I thanked ThreeSourcers lately? Even when there is bloodletting like Perry and TG, it is on topic and thoughtful. Thanks.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:58 AM | Comments (8)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"NO ONE said all Tea Party activists are racist"

This is true only when taken literally. The libtards simply say that Tea partiers are acting out of racism -- meaning the movement as a whole, and that racism isn't necessarily the direct motivation.

I don't even need to go into specifics. I'll just provide this and let y'all form your own conclusions.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 18, 2010 7:39 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

"Racist" is just the liberal way of saying "Shut up!" I'm about sick of this method of non-debate too, and tweeked my old managing editor's nose about it as I commented on his column this morning. If you are interested, his phoned-in column, and my response are here.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 18, 2010 9:49 PM
But johngalt thinks:

One heckuva smack-down. Loved it! I'd say Gordon would be better off sticking with roller hockey, where he only lost 10-2.

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2010 10:40 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And it was news to me that Megan McCain joins Herr Olbermann and Janine Garofolo in believing TEA Partiers are "racist redneck hicks." (Toward the bottom of PE's google link.)

Pappa John McCain must be so proud!

Posted by: johngalt at April 19, 2010 10:45 AM
But jk thinks:

I was glad he wasn't on my hockey team.

Posted by: jk at April 19, 2010 10:58 AM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Loved your reply, LM. But I guess that makes me a racist.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 21, 2010 10:18 AM

April 17, 2010

April 15 - "TEA Party Day"

I posted a TEA Party article by one of JK's favorites... now here's one of mine - Robert Tracinski: American Love of Liberty is Not Dead.

The whole idea behind income taxes and runaway government spending is a reversal of the original meaning of America. It is a switch from a system of individual rights, a nation of independent individuals, private enterprise, and private property-to a system of subservience to the state.


I didn't think I'd see anything worse than that article-but wouldn't you know it. On Monday, there was a new article in the Boston Globe by somebody named James Carroll, who argues for "the true patriotism of paying taxes." He says that we should show gratitude for paying taxes, because it is our chance to show our dedication to-and this is a real quote-"the sacred treasure we share as a people." That "sacred treasure" is the state. And, he says, "Taxes are its sacrament."

The state as "sacred"? Taxes as a "sacrament"? I've heard it said that the left wants to put the state in the place of God, but I've never heard someone on the left admit it so clearly. Religious folks would view this as sacrilege. I'm secular in my outlook, but I agree-it's a sacrilege against America.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:55 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

There isn't enough profanity in the world to describe an asswipe like Paul Regala.

The real Patriot's Day is Monday, the 235th anniversary.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 9:58 PM

Prosperity depends on Constitutional Limits of Government

Larry Kudlow is on board with the 'Contract from America.'

Harking back to the Founders' principles of constitutional limits to government is a very powerful message. It's a message of freedom, especially economic freedom. The tea partiers have delivered an extremely accurate diagnostic of what ails America right now: Government is growing too fast, too much, too expensively and in too many places -- and in the process it is crowding out our cherished economic freedom.

It's as though the tea partiers are saying this great country will never fulfill its long-run potential to prosper, create jobs and lead the world unless constitutional limits to government are restored.

Posted by JohnGalt at 10:46 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Larry has been talking it up on his show as well. He had the guy who started it on, and he has asked most of his guests about it.

I'd go for all of them but (always gotta be a "but...") I'd reword #9 as reducing government intrusion into the energy sector. It reads "Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, Less government, NATIONAL EBERGY POLICY, Less government,."

But that's small beans. Yes, jk is on board with the output -- and celebrates the Hayekian, crowdsourced creation.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2010 11:25 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'm going to quibble a little with the phrasing, but not the sentiment. To say that "Government is growing too fast, too much, too expensively and in too many places" still implies that there's a proper rate for government to be growing fast, to be growing much, to be growing expensively, and that there are many places where it's proper to expand.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 10:02 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let me put it another way that I heard from someone years ago. Once you say something like, "Taxes are too high," you've just admitted that there's a certain level you find acceptable.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 17, 2010 10:05 PM

TEA Party "Contract From America"

Here's a political platform I can completely support. Comprised from the online votes of over 450,000 Americans are the top ten priorities of those who want to take their country back from the welfare statists. They call it the Contract from America.

1. Protect the Constitution
Require each bill to identify the specific provision of the Constitution that gives Congress the power to do what the bill does. (82.03%)

2. Reject Cap & Trade
Stop costly new regulations that would increase unemployment, raise consumer prices, and weaken the nation’s global competitiveness with virtually no impact on global temperatures. (72.20%)

3. Demand a Balanced Budget
Begin the Constitutional amendment process to require a balanced budget with a two-thirds majority needed for any tax hike. (69.69%)

4. Enact Fundamental Tax Reform
Adopt a simple and fair single-rate tax system by scrapping the internal revenue code and replacing it with one that is no longer than 4,543 words—the length of the original Constitution. (64.90%)

5. Restore Fiscal Responsibility & Constitutionally Limited Government in Washington
Create a Blue Ribbon taskforce that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs, assessing their Constitutionality, and identifying duplication, waste, ineffectiveness, and agencies and programs better left for the states or local authorities, or ripe for wholesale reform or elimination due to our efforts to restore limited government consistent with the US Constitution’s meaning. (63.37%)

6. End Runaway Government Spending
Impose a statutory cap limiting the annual growth in total federal spending to the sum of the inflation rate plus the percentage of population growth. (56.57%)

7. Defund, Repeal, & Replace Government-run Health Care
Defund, repeal and replace the recently passed government-run health care with a system that actually makes health care and insurance more affordable by enabling a competitive, open, and transparent free-market health care and health insurance system that isn’t restricted by state boundaries. (56.39%)

8. Pass an ‘All-of-the-Above” Energy Policy
Authorize the exploration of proven energy reserves to reduce our dependence on foreign energy sources from unstable countries and reduce regulatory barriers to all other forms of energy creation, lowering prices and creating competition and jobs. (55.51%)

9. Stop the Pork
Place a moratorium on all earmarks until the budget is balanced, and then require a 2/3 majority to pass any earmark. (55.47%)

10. Stop the Tax Hikes
Permanently repeal all tax hikes, including those to the income, capital gains, and death taxes, currently scheduled to begin in 2011. (53.38%)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 AM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

Excellent! What he says.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2010 11:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

It's more awesome-er the more I think about it. It would make a great bumper sticker too. Even dagny would put it on her car.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2010 11:33 AM
But Lisa M thinks:

I can't claim it's my original sentiment--I did in fact get it off of a bumpersticker. But it sums up everything I want to say. Heading out now armed with my camera!

Posted by: Lisa M at April 17, 2010 12:10 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Independence Hall Tea Party pics here.

I had a great time, met a lot of great people and I will definitely go again.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 17, 2010 9:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Good pics LM! I share your appreciation of the grandma and "biker dude" conversing. I see plenty of this kind of thing at the TEA Parties I attend too. And a grandmotherly type was the one to told me to "show that one a lot more" about my "What part of 'Enumerated Powers' don't you understand?" sign.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2010 12:26 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

The funnier picture that I didn't post was the one of the group of gay Obama supporters who were hanging out at the edge of the crowd all day watching being intensely engaged by a Ron Paul supporter wearing and "End the Fed" tee shirt. The more I think about everything I saw and heard down there yesterday, the happier I am that I went.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 18, 2010 9:32 PM

The Making of Electoral Landslides

A new book published this month explains how four wealthy progressives transformed Colorado politics from red to blue in a single election cycle. The Blueprint by Rob Witwer and Adam Schrager describes the targeted use of massive amounts of cash in close races to essentially buy Colorado politics for the Democrats. If they're smart, Republicans will adopt much of this winning strategy.

I haven't read the book but one or both authors appeared on two different Denver radio shows today. In the morning Rob Witwer was on the Rosen show and both authors were interviewed by KHOW's Craig Silverman in the afternoon. A critical concession mentioned in both venues was agreement by the monied donors from the very beginning that they would not bicker with each other over policy differences. Instead, they all agreed that their solitary goal was election of Democrat candidates.

I'm not sure it's that simple for Republicans. After all, we have McCain and his merry band of big-government do-gooders to be wary of. But I do think the advice is useful when it comes to the fiscal/social conservative divide.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:45 AM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2010

Where is the other half of Conservative voters?

Yesterday Rush Limbaugh cited opinion poll results that have shown consistently, since the question was initiated in 2002, Americans consider themselves "conservative" by a 2-to-1 margin over those who call themselves "liberal." So why are GOP and Democrat registrations nearly equal in the 30 percent range? I guess it's because Republicans aren't "chic."

David Harsanyi gives a more pointed explanation in his observations on yesterday's Tax Day TEA Party at the Denver capitol:

And though tea party supporters are more conservative than the average voter on social issues, as well -- particularly abortion, according to a separate Gallup Poll -- The New York Times reports that 8 in 10 tea party activists believe the movement should focus on economic issues rather than cultural ones.

How long have we been hearing from moderate, sensible, worldly Republican types that if only -- if only -- the right found God on economic issues and lost God on the social ones, there would be an expansion of appeal and support? Apparently, they were right.

The rest of the column gives some good polling info on TEA Party opinions. For example, would you believe that most TEA Party activists believe the taxes they now pay are "fair?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:34 PM | Comments (8)
But Lisa M thinks:

Yes, jg, I started this post agreeing with your assessment because I do think the abortion issue gets in the way of fiscal conservatism, in that the issue has been so inflated in importance of the minds of the people---it's a RIGHT to kill your unborn child!----that any opposition to it is looked upon as a revocation of rights. (As an aside, I think we've already hashed that out here, and I would say our basic disagreement boils down to when to confer rights on an unborn child.) That all being said if a fiscal conservative is pro-choice, it's not a deal breaker for me.

However, there is such a thing as a pro-life Democrat, PA's own Bob Casey Sr. (Junior is a joke) being the prominent among them. But Bart Stupak, even though his collapse at the end was ridiculously weak, was elected as a Democrat on a pro-life platform. I think there is still a segment of Dems out there--shrinking, to be sure---that still think that this is their father's democratic party and don't understand that their party has been hijacked by the far left. Since the so-called pro-life democrats failed their constituency in the health care vote, it will be interesting to see where this shakes out.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 16, 2010 8:28 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair enough. But for my part I've always believed that Dems claim a pro-life stance only when they think it's required to win election in a given district, while pro-life GOP'ers are more likely to crawl across broken glass for the issue. And why? Because the (yes, religiously motivated) pro-life lobby demands total commitment, or else they take their money and votes and go home.

I just hope that most pro-life voters are able to join you in adopting the TEA Party principles with at least as much intensity and dedication as they've pursued outlawing of abortion and gay marriage. Events of the post-Reagan era have shown that either conservative faction by itself is no match for the welfare eco-statists.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2010 2:44 AM
But Lisa M thinks:

I agree 100% with this assessment: "Because the (yes, religiously motivated) pro-life lobby demands total commitment, or else they take their money and votes and go home." and agree that fiscal conservatism should be everyone's first priority for government, especially in these times.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 17, 2010 9:04 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Kum Bay Ahhhh!

In re-reading the original post to dagny I noted that Harsanyi already observed that TEA Partiers are more socially conservative than the average voter - and yet overwhelmingly support a "focus on economic issues rather than cultural ones."

I hope I don't risk the shared joy of the moment with a fine adjustment to your characterization of our difference on the abortion issue. I think we agree that an unborn child has rights at conception. The disagreement is over the hierarchy of those rights: I say they trump the rights of every other individual except the mother.

Posted by: johngalt at April 17, 2010 11:23 AM
But jk thinks:

As a great philosopher once said "It's a mixed up, muddled and shook up world 'cept for Lola."

Growing up in a Catholic community, there is a significant vote that goes to Republicans from voters who yearn for a progressive agenda but cannot countenance abortion (through-the looking glass Johngalts and Dagnies).

It's an electoral dynamic that cannot be ignored.

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2010 11:30 AM
But johngalt thinks:

We try to ignore them anyway, the same way you try to ignore kids in a public pool who you just know are peeing in it. We (dagny and I) call these types "the worst of both [philosophical] worlds." They want to infringe the social AND economic liberties of others. The ones you speak of are disciples of the social justice movement that Glenn Beck railed against.

Posted by: johngalt at April 18, 2010 12:46 PM

April 11, 2010

"Capitalism is the only truth that keeps the nation healthy and fed."

I happened upon this on FNC's Huckabee show yesterday and have to share it, now and for posterity.

Actor Jon Voight, one year the junior of my 'mad-as-hell over the state of American governance father' uses his interview on the show as a platform for a ranting expose against the sitting President of the United States, except that he isn't ranting - he's sober as a judge and serious as a heart attack.

Hat Tip: Marc Schenker at Associated Content who gives a thorough review of the letter and its presentation. Special recognition for the word "Bailoutpalooza."

UPDATE: [12APR 12:38 MDT] I checked google news to see if any other media outlets were talking about the Voight letter. You can see all four related stories here. But you can't see the original story that I HT'ed anymore. Apparently AssociatedContent.com has blackballed it. And earlier today the original author, Marc Schenker, posted another story revealing the censorship. Of course that posting gets "The content you're looking for has been removed" treatment as well. But google saw it before it was yanked.

Associated Content Censored My Accurate Reporting on Voight's Criticism of Obama Associated Content - Marc Schenker - ‎19 hours ago‎ today. As some of you have read, my article of today ACCURATELY REPORTED on Jon Voight's criticism of Barack Obama, which was delivered on Mike Huckabee's ...

Is this a genuine case of internet censorship? Anyone know how to access the google cache pages?

AssociatedContent.com "is an open content network. AC's platform enables anyone to participate in the new content economy by publishing content on any topic, in any format (text, video, audio and images), and connects that content to consumers, partners and advertisers."

Apparently some content is less equal than others.

Mega hat tip: The patriot who youtubed the Huckabee appearance - "DouggieJ." It may only be a matter of hours before youtube blows him away too.

Note: As of this UPDATE, the video has 18,458 views (compared to 196,251 who viewed 'Obama can't name any ChiSox players?')

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:34 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I dunno man. It's nice to hear a Hollywood cat talk up capitalism, but I think rape and poison are over the top.

Posted by: jk at April 11, 2010 3:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

A more appropriate word may be found than rape but poison is precisely correct: "Giving them the idea that they are entitled to take from the wealthier who have lived and worked in a democracy that understands that capitalism is the only truth that keeps a nation healthy and fed." [pointed glare]

Keep swallowing that and, when you run out of the wealthy, you're dead.

Posted by: johngalt at April 11, 2010 6:00 PM

April 8, 2010

On The One Hand, 100 Video Cameras

On the other hand, the probity of a Union Boss:

As Breitbart spoke, [AFL-CIO chief Richard] Trumka said he himself had seen the events in question. "I watched them spit at people, I watched them call John Lewis the n-word," Trumka said. "I witnessed it, I witnessed it. I saw it in person. That's real evidence."

Your call.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:44 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Then there shouldn't be a problem producing verifiable video and audio, right?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 8, 2010 11:24 PM
But jk thinks:

We don't need proof. We have the word of a long-time union official.

Posted by: jk at April 9, 2010 12:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

To paraphrase Groucho Marx, who are we going to believe, him or our own lying ears?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at April 9, 2010 3:05 PM

America's "Unusual Bargain"

In the 25th comment under JK's "That's Not Me" post lamenting the "God and Values and Country" flavor of the organized TEA Party Express bus tour JK expressed that "giving" a right to individuals which, in turn, takes away the rights of other individuals to "define my own law" is an unusual bargain. Maybe I'm being too cavalier but I believe that's what America has always been about. In the 26th comment I made a layman's case for a supportive Constitutional interpretation:

I contend that our difference of opinion arises from two different interpretations of the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

I submit that these unenumerated rights are those of individual people. I read you as insisting that what is not explicitly prohibited by the Constitution any majority of people may impose upon all individual people. I say the latter interpretation de facto turns the ninth amendment on its head.

It's an interesting topic worthy of its own post. And the original thread rolled off the page today. Something tells me that commenters aren't yet finished.

UPDATE: An extension of the excerpt from my own comment (in response to jk's first comment below).

The ninth amendment is to protect the rights of individuals, of minorities, from all levels of government, not of states from the Feds. By my reading the tenth amendment does not give the states power to abrogate the right of individual people "to be secure in their persons..."

This is the nature of my "parasite" argument. That clinical term does not imply benefit or harm, but the state of being conjoined as one person in the eyes of the Constitution. No, you won't find this in the text. But you will find numerous prohibitions that threaten Obamacare or "the right to receive uncompensated medical care from my neighbor."

(Emphasis added.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:32 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

So there is indeed a right to health care (nowhere does it say there isn't). And any law which allows any provider to refrain from providing any treatment for any reason will be struck down.

This will save us a lot of debate on ObamaCare and I won't have to endure another one of those "God and Values and Country" TEA parties.

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2010 4:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Funny, I haven't seen any legislatures passing such laws ... telling doctors they don't have to treat someone.

I don't understand why it's so hard to recognize that a document acknowledging unenumerated individual liberties doesn't imply unenumerated government powers. Specifically enumerating the latter is the way to protect the former.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2010 7:49 PM

The Raciest Thing Ever on ThreeSources


Nate Beeler

Posted by John Kranz at 10:49 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

TEA Party: "Cut the spending, b-tch!"

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2010 2:28 PM

April 5, 2010

'Leave Us Alone' -

'Getting the government's hands off our money, our guns, our lives.' The 2008 Grover Norquist book by this name posited a future politics driven by the "Leave Us Alone Coalition" on one side and the "Takings Coalition" on the other. This dovetails nicely with our recent discussion and Norquist apparently addresses the social values schizm toward the end of the book [Craig Matteson review]:

If I disagree with Norquist on anything it is his rough dismissal of social conservative issues towards the end of the book. However, I understand his emphasis on economic issues and their rough correlation with social conservative issues. That is, if you look at all economic conservatives in the Republican party, they will also include almost all of the social conservatives and some of those who are more liberal on social issues. So, we get more voters to help us win our issues with economics. This ignores the reality that for social conservatives, some issues are so vital that sitting home or creating a new party would be better alternatives than letting them slip out of the public debate.

If there is anything that religious leaders can do to help save America and the American way of life it is to disabuse their flocks from keeping social issues in the public political debate. Take them back to the public moral debate where they rightly belong.

And "Freedom Nationally, Virtue Locally" is a good place to start.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:47 PM | Comments (0)

April 3, 2010

The Inevitable Backlash

Against myself.

While we Jeffersonian tea-partiers whine about the bus, we should probably admit that the Hamiltonian wing is doing a better job with publicity and organization. I forget the exact context, but brother jg's first response to my first complaint was "you could hear." No musician should ever under-appreciate a quality PA run competently.

And, numbers matter. I don't know how many times I learned of a big TEA party rally in Denver -- that happened the day before I heard about it. The bus tour I decried did get me there, as it did to the good folks in Omaha: hundreds expected, thousands attend..

The big traffic problems in Southwest Omaha Thursday night could be blamed on one thing: a political rally. Some people had to park more than a mile away from the event. It's exactly what Tea Party organizers were hoping for.

The Tea Party Express Bus Tour began last weekend in Saturday. "One person does make a difference," says one of the tour speakers.

Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom helped organize this stop. "I think a lot of people who haven't got too involved in politics before have really gotten angry and frustrated to the point that they want to get involved in politics now," says Doug Kagan who represents the organization.

Lynn Ewing brought her family to boat ramp/picnic area at Lake Zorinsky. "I think they're being taxed to death and it's not fair."

Organizers were expecting a few hundred at the rally but instead there were an estimated 3,000.

I surely would like to impute some more intellectual and ideological values on the group, but I may have been a bit harsh on some allies. Not very pragmatic of me.

Hat-tip: Classical Values via Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 11:13 AM | Comments (4)
But Lisa M thinks:

jk, there's an tea party event at Independence Mall in Philly non April 17 that I am going to try to get to. It's NOT a bus event. Your review of the Tea Party express was very useful, in a very positive way in making my decision to attend this event.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 3, 2010 8:47 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

LM, This is a little off-topic, but fits well with the title "Inevitable backlash." What are Philly fans saying about the McNabb trade? Sounds a bit like if the Broncos had traded Elway to the Raiders.

One can almost understand a trade given McNabb's age and recent injury history. But to a conference rival?? If McNabb rolls into Philly and beats the Eagles, Jeffrey Lurie had better have a reservation in the witness protection program, I would think.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at April 5, 2010 2:03 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Refugee, I don't know if I can quite sum up the Philly mentality having actually experienced it, but I'll try. Almost to a man, Philadelphians are THRILLED that McNabb is gone. His stats mean nothing to the fans here; in fact there is only one thing that does:
Therefore he must go. This happens to every Philadelphia sports superstar eventually, because they never win championships (Fightin' Phils being a recent exception to that) but I heard a local sportscaster talking about it this morning on the radio; he seems to think these guys hang around too long. Mike Schmidt, Charles Barkley, Randall Cunningham. They all lose their luster and Philly fans turn on them.

For some choice entertainment, however, I would highly recommend the Eagles/Redskins matchups this year. Especially if the birds are having a good year. The fans will be ruthless.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 5, 2010 6:19 PM
But dagny thinks:

My parents are transplanted Eagles fans currently living in Seattle but still inordinately dedicated to their, "iggles." They are the exception to the, "thrilled," group in Philly and are sorry to see him go.

Call me a Denver fan but I think Mike Shanahan is VERY smart man.

Posted by: dagny at April 5, 2010 7:07 PM

April 1, 2010

That's Not Me! That's Not Me!

The first TEA party I attended was transformative.

Here were enough people to cover the West lawn of the State Capitol, all of whom believed in limited government and enumerated rights enough to come down to the West lawn of the State Capitol. The people were nice, the signs were clever, the atmosphere festive. Many times since, I have wished I could have shown that to non-believers on the right and left. No, these people are not crazy racists -- and no, these people are not ignorant fools who will let this opportunity slip away. I would have been proud to have brought anyone I know there.

Yesterday, The Tea Party Express bus tour rolled through my hometown. We were again on the West lawn and once again there was a good crowd, bright signage, and general comity. Sadly, this time the event was tarnished by the Tea Party Express. Where I would have longed to share the first experience, this one would have embarrassed me. At times, it felt as if I were watching an SNL portrayal of a Tea Party. What? Tina Fey is not scheduled to appear?

Brother jg and Sister dagny-- after providing most commendable handicapped transportation services -- worked the crowd, politely engaged some counter-protesters, and starred in photos with their clever signage and preternaturally photogenic daughters. My lovely bride and I opted for a secluded opportunity to sit and listen. If you dance every dance, you may not care so much that the band sucks; but if you sit and listen...

The first TEA party had Jon Caldera from the Colorado Independence Institute, a couple State Senators came out of the Capitol and I think Michele Malkin was the "star." The sound was poor and the spontaneousness of the event was apparent. Hayek would have been proud.

While any two or three of yesterday's speakers or performers would have fit in perfectly, the sum total was dispiriting. There was not a single intellectual, philosophical or educational speaker. There was a lengthy series of patriotic songs and poems and speeches supporting the troops. I don't think anyone who has read this blog for more than three days would suggest that I am indifferent to patriotism or to recognition of those who wear the nation's uniform. But we have work to do and what started as sweet (a Gold Star Mom extolling her son's last day with stories and a song she composed) grew kitschy and maudlin. Again, consider the reviewer.

When the theme turned to politics, it was red meat ("Pelosi and Reid and Obama, or as I like to call them 'Lenin, Stalin, and Mao-lite'") and several more novelty songs. Oh-boy. The rap song from the guy from Waco was notable as it was the only time "limited government" was mentioned in the entire rally.

In between, the chatter was condescending and offered no recognition to the more libertarian attendee. It was God and Values and Country. The hand lettered signs were intelligent and bespoke of sophistication and awareness of politics and media. And yet, the speakers talked down "You know, we’re going to have an ee-lec-shun this year…"

To make my experience complete, Rep, Tom Tancredo closed the show. His introduction included a cringe-inducing Strom Thurmond moment of deep regret and sadness that he didn't win the presidency in 2008.

At the end, I asked Brother jg to drop me off at Democratic Party HQ so that I could sign up. I’ve calmed down a little since then but if the bus tour folks successfully co-opt the TEA Party, the last great hope for the last great hope has been extinguished.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:28 PM | Comments (26)
But jk thinks:

Umm, yeah, self-determination. The ability to enact and enforce laws under the auspices of a State Constitution so long as those laws are not superseded by the Federal Constitution.

I would support a ban on D&X procedures (an assertion of the right to life of a viable infant) and would support parental notification with reasonable safeguards.

And yet, the Federal government, though the Judiciary, has removed my voice. They have packaged it with a pretty bow of "rights," but it remains an infringement on my self-determination.

The Constitution can be amended. It is no gift to liberty that it can sometimes be ignored. You cannot run to the Constitution for protection from ObamaCare® and then shrug when another overreach happens to please.

Posted by: jk at April 7, 2010 5:05 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So the state, which sets state law, is a "self?"

I don't understand how you think any of this rebuts my argument that state law is the imposition of majority will upon the minority.

Posted by: johngalt at April 7, 2010 7:41 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

Prior to the Roe decision, many states had their own abortion laws. What Roe did was create a sweeping new "right" that had not existed, the right to privacy, and from there infer that the right to privacy meant the right to kill an unborn child. States can dictate to me whether or not I may carry my .357 concealed, or in certain areas. If they can place restraints on my right to bear arms, which is, in fact, clearly enumerated in the Constitution, why can they not regulate the ability to terminate our young, a far more consequential and heinous practice?

jg, I understand your point that a fetus is essentially a parasitic organism until birth; however, I would argue that to most women who decide to complete their pregnancies, should that pregnancy end in miscarriage, that woman is not going to say, whew! I'm glad I was cured of that parasitic organism. On the contrary, most women will mourn the loss of their "baby." On this point, I can speak from personal experience as well. In this instance, the only thing that changes the equation is whether the mother wants the child or not. A decision, given the ubiquity of birth control and sex education these days, that could have been made before a human life was hanging in the balance.

Additionally, given the advances in modern medicine, a fetus is viable long before the pregancy comes to term at 40 weeks. My cousin gave birth to twins at 26 weeks gestation; they are now active and completely normal seven-year-olds. So the question becomes, at what point would it have been ok to terminate the lives of those twins without it becoming murder? Any time prior to their emergence from the womb? This seems a rather arbitrary way to decide when a human life, already begun, can be snuffed out.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 7, 2010 8:44 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

dagny, forgive me, but I did not originally see your post above and there are a few things that need clarification. You characterize my position as "wanting the government to DO something" which is correct, up to a point: I want the government to UNDO something that they should have never done in the first place. Then put it back to the people to decide. Once the people's voices are heard on the matter, I believe only then can the country have an intelligent, and somewhat less emotional discussion regarding abortion rights.

I agree that your body is your business, however, as I mentioned to jg in the post above, at what point does the human being inside of you gain rights? As a woman you make many choices with regard to birth control and whom you decide to sleep with; the decision to get pregnant in my mind is the same as deciding to have unprotected sex. Irresponsibly starting another human life, then choosing to shrug off that resulting responsibility to another human being by terminating that life cheapens all life. And it makes all life an easy thing to end. It is my belief that the ubiquity of abortion led in a direct line to the starvation death of Terri Shiavo, a woman who was brutally murdered by the state because, like a woman making a choice about her unborn baby, someone else made a choice for her: that her life was not worth living.

As a woman, and a mother of a daughter with a chronic illness, the fact that anyone can make a decision that another's quality of life (or potential quality of life) would not be worth living chills me to the bone. I don't necessarily believe abortion should be outlawed, but neither do I believe it is a right enumerated in the constitution.

Posted by: Lisa M at April 8, 2010 7:37 AM
But jk thinks:

I put this toward the worng post. (What's he going on about...)

I vote in my State. My State has a constitutional process (a pretty wide open one as you know in Colorado) to create laws. I can work through the legislature or referendum process and seek to enact laws. But Article VI gives the Constitution supremacy over the laws I may enact.

Fair enough if the topic deserves Constitutional purview. I'll respect the 13th Amendment and not re-institute slavery. But every time you "give me a right" and take away my power to define my own laws, you've offered an unusual bargain.

Majority rule as tempered by a State and Federal Constitution is certainly not inconsistent with republican government. If you’re concerned that Colorado's referenda process is too close to plebiscite, consider another State.

Speaking of not answering. I haven't heard much on Justice Clinton's defining health care as a right. It's not much more a leap that security->privacy->abortion. You either live in a Constitutional framework or you do not. I think you're being opportunistic in deciding when to be constructionist and when to follow a "living document."

Posted by: jk at April 8, 2010 10:38 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I am arguing that the "unusual bargain" you described is what makes America unique in the world. She is "the land of the free..."

I have not read the majority decision in Roe, at least not recently. I am not defending the reasoning of the decision, but its result. And I do not find its result inconsistent with the Constitution or kicking the door open for ignorance or overreach.

I contend that our difference of opinion arises from two different interpretations of the Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

I submit that these unenumerated rights are those of individual people. I read you as insisting that what is not explicitly prohibited by the Constitution any majority of people may impose upon all individual people. I say the latter interpretation de facto turns the ninth amendment on its head.

The ninth amendment is to protect the rights of individuals, of minorities, from all levels of government, not of states from the Feds. By my reading the tenth amendment does not give the states power to abrogate the right of individual people "to be secure in their persons..."

This is the nature of my "parasite" argument. That clinical term does not imply benefit or harm, but the state of being conjoined as one person in the eyes of the Constitution. No, you won't find this in the text. But you will find numerous prohibitions that threaten Obamacare or "the right to receive uncompensated medical care from my neighbor."

LM: It appears that said parasite argument hasn't persuaded you, unless I can take credit for your not necessarily believing abortion should be illegal. Your arguments have reinforced my belief that abortion is abominable, but I disagree that when individuals choose this it "cheapens" all life. Individual self-determination is the essence of a moral existence. As a three-time witness to the miracle of human birth I am convinced that the matter is rightly decided by the woman, under advisors of her choice, and her Creator.

Posted by: johngalt at April 8, 2010 3:29 PM

TEA Party Pix

Here are some pix from yesterday's TEA party in Denver. Click the links below each for a higher resolution image.

A lengthy (and surprisingly negative) review is on the way after I finish some stupid work stuff.

hi-rez hi-rez
hi-rez hi-rez
hi-rez hi-rez
hi-rez hi-rez
Posted by John Kranz at 11:57 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Hey, doesn't one of those signs say Threesources.com? :)

Thanks for the pics brother, and the soapbox. I missed much of the program including, apparently, all of the local speakers due to mingling in the crowd and keeping two of my small children in sight at all times. Here are my highlights:

Saw gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes walk right past me - wasn't sure it was him 'til it was too late to say hi.

Saw uber-liberal Denver Post columnist Mike Litwin walk right past me. Said, "Hi Mike!" He smiled back and said hello. (See, we're not extremists!!)

Saw one of the teachers from my daughter's preschool. Refreshing!

Saw less than a dozen young *white* people holding small, letter-sized signs alongside Lincoln Blvd. Signs read "I (heart) Pelosi" and "I (heart) Obama." Engaged a few of them in conversation about-
i) Caucuses - Apparently participation in only the last one or two marks us as "out of touch" or "uncaring" or in some other way worthy of derision.
ii) Taxes - We "extremists" think we should get to spend our own earnings. "But we do!" the pleasant 30-something female retorted. "Not really" I said, "since about half of our paychecks go to the government." I ended the back and forth shower of statistics by asking, "Do you know when Tax Freedom Day is?" They didn't know WHAT Tax Freedom Day is.
iii) Public employee unions/wages/retirement plans - I asked if it's really right for us to pay full salaries to gov't employees when they retire, even though they're no longer working for us. "Yes because their pay is so low to start with." They weren't aware of recent statistics showing avg. gov't wages are 145% of comparable private sector employees. "Teachers" they said. "Teachers are very poorly paid." I said that's a shame considering the obscene amount of money we pay for public education.
Around this time a middle-aged (and less pleasant although, also *white*) female chimed in with "How much of your money do you think is in PERA?" [The Public Employees' Retirement Association] I said that since PERA is a defined benefit plan, if its investments don't earn enough to cover obligations then the rest comes out of the state General Fund. She said I was wrong. I said I don't think so, but I'll look into it again. I did. From 'Retirement Benefits' page 5: "If you meet the eligibility requirements for a service retirement, your defined benefit will be 2.5 percent of your HAS [highest average salary] for each year of service credit up to 100 percent."

Was asked by a pleasant older male (circulating a petition to get GOP also-ran Tom Wiens on the primary ballot) what the last word of my "ENEMY OF THE STATIST" sign means. I said it means, "communist, totaltarian any form of collectivist." Still not sure what I meant I said it's someone who employs statism. My jaw dropped when he said he never associated the word statist with communist and ... he teaches government! Sigh.

Posted by: johngalt at April 1, 2010 3:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Yes, now that you mention it, the extremely well lettered sign beside the really super-cute kid does look like it says threesources.com...

Posted by: jk at April 1, 2010 3:16 PM

March 30, 2010

Denver TEA Party III

I don't yet have firm plans to attend tomorrow's Denver TEA Party [4pm at the State Capitol] but if I go, these will be my signs:


Are any of the Colorado brothers interested in going? I have two blank poster boards and need someone to carry the second sign.

UPDATE: 3/31 0850 MDT - According to People's Press Collective the scheduled 4pm start time is unlikely. Travel delays from Grand Junction mean the start time will probably be 5pm instead.

Also, I had assumed that Palin and other headliners were on board for the entire tour. Not so.

In the event that none of us go to the event I invite others to contribute their sign ideas in the comments.

UPDATE II (jk): Blog friend Sugarchuck sends a pic:

Posted by JohnGalt at 8:44 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Not out of line at all. Besides not having to walk from a parking spot we'll also be livin' the green life in the carpool lane!

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 10:58 AM
But jk thinks:

Posted before update -- whatever you decide. I'm not sure Palin's absence isn't a plus. With all respect to the guv, I'd rather attend a freedom rally than a "Sarah Palin rally."

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 10:59 AM
But johngalt thinks:

More signs:



(A couple of these would make good 3Srcs T-shirts!)

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 11:09 AM
But johngalt thinks:

News of Ms. Palin's absence serves mostly to explain the dearth of local advertising for the event.

jk: I emailed you to discuss logistics. [@3srcsdotcom]

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 1:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Got your email, thanks. $50 seems a bit excessive for gas but we're thinking it over...

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 1:51 PM
But johngalt thinks:

What did you expect in the "new energy economy?"

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 2:56 PM

Obama: Health Care Bill is "All Sorts of Republican Ideas"

Did anyone else catch this Matt Lauer interview of Obama this morning?

The president is "frustrated" that Republicans did not support these ideas that they had actually proposed in the past.

Mister president, have you forgotten that the Republicans were VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR THE POLICIES THEY PROPOSED IN THE PAST? Instead of trying to please congressional Republicans, try pleasing the voters.

TEA anyone?

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:41 PM | Comments (6)
But jk thinks:

Clearly he recognizes the unpolularity of ObamaCare® -- he's trying to blame Republicans!

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2010 5:14 PM
But Lisa M thinks:

You mean that interview where he said that the Tea Party's core is a bunch of birthers? The flat out lies in that interview were too many to count, including his claim that his NCAA brackets blew up because he was too busy concentrating on health care.

Posted by: Lisa M at March 30, 2010 6:47 PM
But jk thinks:

If only the President had payed more attention to his NCAA bracket, the country could have saved Trillions!

Posted by: jk at March 30, 2010 7:13 PM
But T. Greer thinks:

"Mister president, have you forgotten that the Republicans were VOTED OUT OF OFFICE FOR THE POLICIES THEY PROPOSED IN THE PAST? Instead of trying to please congressional Republicans, try pleasing the voters."

I do not understand this.

Republicans are in office for eight years. Voters do not like them - perhaps for what they proposed, perhaps for what they (or did not) accomplish. It does not matter really - the voters chose to kick them out.

But they also chose to put someone else in. That someone was a person, described by yourself, as 'the most radical leftist President' in America's history.

Doesn't the election of such a man imply the implicit endorsement of radical leftism by the voting public? Or at least, the rejection of conservatism writ-large?

You say Obama should stop trying to please congressional Republicans and start trying to please voters. Forgive me, but that sounds like an invitation for an even more socialistic set of policies than we have got.

TEA is fine and all, but lets not fool ourselves into thinking we have attained greater heights. We have a long way upwards yet.

Posted by: T. Greer at March 31, 2010 7:49 AM
But jk thinks:

I'll let brother jg defend his own words; I'm guessing that we're all gobsmacked that this single-party cramdown that gathered zero GOP votes is presented as being jam-packed with Republican Ideas®

I will speak up on the suggestion that President Obama's election proves "endorsement of radical leftism." President Obama cleverly ran away from his leftist record. He beat up Senator Clinton for insurance mandates and wasn't going to raise taxes "one dime" on earners below 250K. Post-partisan, post-racial, and Post Toasties, a new era of government bla bla bla.

It worked and I won't blame him for trying it. You're correct that the GOP left the door wide open and he walked through it. But it is unfair to the poor American voter to say that he asked for this.

Posted by: jk at March 31, 2010 10:41 AM
But johngalt thinks:

My best effort at explaining how a center-right country elected the most radical leftist president in history is here.

It took the happy, not-paying-attention public six to eight years to recognize that Republicans were ripping them off. It hasn't taken that long with the Bolshecrats.

Posted by: johngalt at March 31, 2010 10:43 AM

March 28, 2010

Missing the Point

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THIS is the issue that divides the two groups.

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

Well said, Milton, and excellent segue HB.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We're working tg like a blogging dog today.

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

Yup, letters == bad...

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

Dozens, Indeed.

My inner mathematician says "yes, it is accurate to say that this crowd is some finite if not integral multiple of twelve."

But my inner b******* detector says CNN is whacked on steroids to describe the crowd at this Sarah Palin/TEA Party rally in searchlight as "Hundreds of people, at least dozens of people..."


Hat-tip and more at Gateway Pundit (via Instapundit)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:24 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Mainstream news made absolutely NO mention of the anti-big-government D.C. march last Saturday, but the "hundreds" of illegal aliens the next day made headlines.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 28, 2010 3:16 PM
But johngalt thinks:

This TEA Party Express III arrives in Denver on Wednesday, March 31 at 4:00 pm. West steps of the State Capitol.

Posted by: johngalt at March 29, 2010 3:04 PM

March 25, 2010

Balloon Boy, Shark Attacks, Audi/Toyota,...

I'm going to add Congressional threats to the list.

A rational person wants to accept that things are possible and allow them to play out. But in our media world, the truth is hitchin' up her drawers when the lie is being served pretzels on the 218 to Cleveland.

Ergo, I am demanding that a person who claims on TeeVee news to be threatened provide some proof. It's a startling charge to make that somebody is threatening you. And serious charges should be accompanied with evidence.

Brother Johngalt's Congressperson has asked for police protection after receiving two threats. One was not divulged, the other was "hope you don't see me in a dark alley." Is that a threat? Ill-advised certainly, but I would call that a playground taunt.

But not to the political geniuses on FOX31's Good Morning Colorado. The TEA Partiers have gone nuts! Lock up the children! With background footage of anti-Obama signs at the TEA parties, the newsfolk intone that "Politics has become even uglier in Washington, and the violence has now spread to Colorado!" The spitting and racial slurs incident was presented as fact even though there is no corroborating evidence with 100 video cameras rolling.

There was some vandalism that looked real enough. An Arizona Congresswoman's door was shot out and a Democratic headquarters had windows broken. But we had that in Denver for the DNC -- and it ended up being a Democrat. Sure there are some nuts out there, but many are disciples of Saul Alinsky and not Art Laffer. Michael Walsh at BigJournalism smells the same acrid odor. Walsh provides several examples and offers suggestions for his buddies in the MSM:

There are two sides to every story — and it’s your job to find the truth between them. Tempers are already too frayed, the tinder too dry. The country does not need you, my former colleagues at Time and elsewhere, to supply the match. You’re the firemen, not the arsonists.

Unless, of course, you’ve already chosen up sides.

UPDATE: Ann Althouse out-of-thepark hits it.(HT: Insty)
I really want to know the details about this one. Who did it and why? Let me see the photographs. I want to know all about it. I don't like the home addresses being posted on line, and I don't like even peaceful protests at any individual's house. I can see why you'd be upset that your address is known. But anyone could commit an act of vandalism (including dirty tricksters on the Democrat's side). Is the press following up about what, exactly, happened? Or are they complacently passing this story on to be used to propagate the violence meme?

Posted by John Kranz at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

March 20, 2010

CODE RED Rally in D.C. via Cell Phone Vid

This is cool! Tania Gail of PAWaterCooler.com is going to the Capitol rally today and she's posting live video clips to her website via cell phone. If you click on the image it links to her qik.com page which shows a google map of her location when the video was recorded.

11 minutes ago she posted this clip. "Holy cow, people are coming!"

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:48 AM | Comments (0)

March 15, 2010

"I'm Going to Pick a Fight"

Those were the words of William Wallace [1:03] as he set out to meet representatives of English tyranny over Scotland. They're the same words I heard a GOP candidate for CO-4 say to a fellow debate attendee. She had asked him, "How long do you want to keep this job?" Cory's reply was, "I don't want to go to Washington to make friends, I'm going to pick a fight." There were only a few of us standing around him at the time so I don't believe it was a rehearsed line, but it sure made an impression on me: He's going to pick a fight with representatives of federal tyranny over America.

Cory was the only one of the four candidates not wearing cowboy boots so I joked with dagny, "Cross him off the list!" But by the end of the debate the other three had not won me over like Gardner did. I went to meet him afterwards and that's where the quote comes from. My question for him was whether he would have a problem having any of the other three candidates on his "team" to which he said, "Not at all." I had a better question for him this morning, which you can read about below the fold.

I intend to stand for election as a delegate for Cory at tomorrow's GOP caucus.

I called Cory this morning and he called me back. I asked him about his 2010 plan which, for spending reform, only says we need a balanced budget amendment. He said that the 2010 plan is a sort of bare bones summary. He essentially wants to push for a Colorado style TABOR law at the national level, which includes restraints on the growth of spending. He said that neither of these things is required in order to roll back spending. I said, "You're right, if congress wanted to cut spending they could. But what are you going to say when your colleagues say 'You're asking me to vote against something that's popular in my district - what are you going to vote against that's popular in yours?'" He said he's recently gone to the well of the Colorado legislature and proposed a cut in spending by the agriculture department, and that this is a big deal for a representative from a rural district. I agreed and asked if that sentiment would extend to the federal farm bill. He said, "Absolutely." He then explained that the 1996 farm bill was written by Wayne Allard and a senator from Kansas to wean farmers off of subsidies over a 6-year period but subsequent congresses, with Republican complicity, undid the effort.

We also talked briefly about government employee unions and ridiculous pension plans. He said that's a problem at the state and the federal level and it needs to be reformed at multiple levels. I asked if it is as simple as candidate McInnis' pledge to reverse the executive order allowing state employee unions. He said that Gov. Ritter's order gave state employee unions the right to bargain collectively - that's what would be reversed if McInnis or Maes is elected. He said it's an important first step but not the whole solution. (I was impressed by his inclusion of Dan Maes who I'm just learning about since he's getting zero press but is what I suppose you'd call "the TEA Party candidate.")

I told him I know that he has experience resisting the pressures to go along against his principles at the state level but the pressures in Washington will be even stronger. I said that I think Senator Bunning has some regrets about his career in congress. He agreed and said he plans to spend as much time as possible with constituents in his district instead of in Washington.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:34 PM | Comments (0)

March 10, 2010

Walmart* Hippies

Now there's a sobriquet I would not run from -- much better than Teabaggers! I'll give Lee Harris at American.com Quote of the Day for his appraisal of David Brooks's NYTimes column:

According to Brooks, the Tea Party movement is not only similar to hippie movement of the 1960s in terms of its lack of overall historical significance, it is a lowbrow revival of that movement, leading Brooks (or at least his editors) to dub today’s Tea Partiers “The Wal-Mart Hippies”—the title of his article.

The phrase “Wal-Mart Hippies” is certainly attention-getting, as was no doubt intended. After all, who would suspect that there lurked a secret affinity between the carefree flower children of late ’60s and the hard-working folks who shop at Wal-Mart? The two groups would seem a study in antithesis. The flower children of the ’60s put flowers in gun barrels and chanted sweet songs of peace. At Wal-Mart people buy guns to put bullets in and use them to shoot cute and cuddly animals.

Good stuff -- hat tip Insty

UPDATE: Insty also links to They expected 600, but over 2000 showed up at this anti-Obamacare meeting.

Watched Teevee news this morning to catch weather and saw footage of a giant demonstration demanding heath care reform and protesting eeevil insurance companies. Every one had a purple SIEU shirt on and they all had matching professional signs with the SEIU logo. If I thought they had the intelligence to pull it off, I'd call that media bias. But I suspect they just don't see it.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:33 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2010


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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

February 17, 2010

Livin' in the Past

Instapundit celebrates the Denver Tea Party of one year ago today.

Intrepid ThreeSourcer jg was there and posted some awesome pix.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:38 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Ah, those heady days of roaming the streets with hundreds of like minded free-spirits... singing songs, cursing police, smashing windows... oh, wait.

Posted by: johngalt at February 18, 2010 9:27 PM

February 14, 2010

It's Like Democracy -- or American Idol

TeaPartyLogo.gif So, does this logo belong in the ThreeSources sidebar? Is this a Tea Party site?

I am intrigued by the author's distribution page.

First the rules: show this graphic on your site. Write an article every now and then supporting Democracy in Iraq.

Curious that the one rule is not strictly Constitutional izzit? Now, I support Democracy in Iraq and think this site has been particularly dedicated. But I sympathize with Reason readers and Paulites who say our efforts were supraconstitutional.

Text TEA to #666 -- oh, never mind, just leave a comment!

Posted by John Kranz at 10:59 AM | Comments (1)
But nanobrewer thinks:

Hey, it's your site! I won't stop reading or posting if you banner this.

That is an interesting juxtaposition: support our constitution, and Democracy in Iraq!

I do support DiI, and also duly note it's unconstitutional nature. Perhaps a better question for Tea Partiers could be: is opposing Democracies' opponents constitutional?

Posted by: nanobrewer at February 18, 2010 12:13 PM

February 10, 2010

Quote of the Day


There it is. I said it, one simple sentence. -- Ron Futrell

Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I'll settle for this as a TEA Party Platform.

BTW - Broken. Link.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

Third time be charm. ThreeSources apologizes for any inconvenience.

Posted by: jk at February 10, 2010 3:57 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Thanks! The link is well worth a click. It reads powerfully (and humorously) and expresses another point not captured here: The TEA Party movement is not centralized. It is an individualist phenomenon.

And that is why it is counterproductive to consider a Platform for the movement. [Just who was that misguided idealist anyway?] The ALL CAPS agenda shown above is the one part of such a platform that all of us will agree on, now and forever. Amen.

Posted by: johngalt at February 10, 2010 8:11 PM