Thu - January 13, 2011

Memorial or political rally?

I'm angry right now.

No, strike that. I'm pissed.

There is absolutely NO REASON to turn a memorial into pep rally.

Every single time I've commented on a mass killing, I've been flamed. So this time, I thought I would stay out of it.

And then I see the President turn a tragedy into a bloody political event. Complete with slogan. T-shirts. Bumper stickers!

This goes beyond double standards.

So what good does it do to follow the rules of propriety if the "other guys" break every single one?

How is this different from what Bush 43 did? Or for that matter, what that diseased Westboro Baptist Church keeps trying to do?

They've got no shame. And they try to use YOUR SHAME as a weapon against you.

Fuck them.

They have not the right or the power. I'm not going to give it to them anymore. No matter what I say, they'll turn it political. They will demand that I give up my thoughts for the ones they dictate. They try to turn my acts of respect into silent acquiescement to THEIR agenda.

Just like they do now.

I'll say it loud and clear.

Obama has no class. He turned something that should have healed into politics. T-shirts? By all the gods, the man's a coward and an opportunist.

Death is too important for politics.

Posted Thu - January 13, 2011 at 01:09 PM  

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Tue - November 9, 2010

In Which George W. Bush proves he is a gentleman, even if he did do most other things wrong

History will not judge George W. Bush well.

However, in my book he does get some points for class.

The departing Clinton/Gore staffers vandalized their former offices. Word came down from the newly elected President that no one was to mention that to the press. It wasn't until five or six years later when some former Clinton staffers became obnoxious about it that Bush himself said some of what happened.

Bush didn't criticize Clinton's policies directly, even in the aftermath of 9-11. And he's gone out of his way not to criticize Obama's policies. Even in the new book.

Compare that to what Clinton said about George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan. And what Barak Obama has said about George W. Bush himself.

Class act.

Still terribly guilty about many, many things. But he was a gentleman.

Posted Tue - November 9, 2010 at 09:56 PM  

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Tue - November 2, 2010

McCain, AGAIN?

Gods, what does it take to get the traitor out of office?

Posted Tue - November 2, 2010 at 09:53 PM  

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Mon - November 1, 2010

How to annoy two hundred million voters in one easy step

The bane of the campaign season this year has been those automated calling machines.

Today, it's almost two p.m. and I've already deleted sixteen messages from my answering machine. It's gotten to the point where I've told friends and family not to bother calling, but to text or email me instead.

The record for me this year is forty-three messages in one day.

I don't know if it has occurred to the politicos, but these recordings send one message loud and clear.

My time is so unimportant to them that they can't be bothered to have a live person talk to me.

Talking to my friends and family, this election season may have helped destroy the residential phone line.

Posted Mon - November 1, 2010 at 01:46 PM  

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My version of campaign finance reform

Just a reminder, there are some good ideas for fixing campaign finance. Pity none of them are coming from the politicos.

Here's my suggestion.

To contribute to ANY campaign, you have to be a registered voter in the area affected by the election. All donations have to be reported. After the election, all unused funds are returned to the donors in proportion to their contribution.

There it is, three sentences and the problems mostly fix themselves.

That means that if you live in California, you can't contribute to a New York election without moving, establishing residency, and registering to vote in New York.

If you are a company or corporation, you can't contribute.

If you are a union, you can't contribute.

If you are a powerful Senator with a big war chest or a political action committee, you can't shift money outside your state.

That last part is vital though.

All unused funds are returned to the donors in proportion to their contribution.

That keeps the between election war chests at a reasonable level.

And if you hadn't noticed, that pretty much kills the national political parties.

Posted at 01:29 PM  

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Measure your freedom

Here's a quick and easy way to see if you are more free than you were.

Have your taxes gone up since the last election?

Have the rules and regulations governing your life increased since the last election?

Are there more laws since the last election?

If the answer to these questions is yes, then you are less free than you were.

Of course, this only scratches the surface. There are many more ways to measure freedom. But these three questions are probably the most basic.

Now these next questions are absolutely vital.

Did the person you are voting for help make things worse?

What makes you think the "system" can be saved?

Posted at 01:22 PM  

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Mon - September 27, 2010

Colbert was the distraction

Stephen Colbert did a great job, didn't he? He showed Congressional hearings for the farce that they are.

It didn't used to be that way. But even in the heyday of the Truman Committee, most Congressional committees were and are a waste of time. It's the public show to a very messy process.

For a moment, let's pretend that the committees actually serve a purpose other than allowing Congress critters to look concerned and important. So if that were true, what's the purpose of inviting a comedian in character to comment? It did exactly what it was supposed to do. It distracted you from the real questions behind "immigration reform."

You've been played. This time it was the Democrats. Next time it may well be the Republicans.

Posted Mon - September 27, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

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Wed - September 22, 2010

Demand "None Of The Above"

Let's see, Arizona voters have quite a choice for governor this year.

Jan Brewer, she of the flawed Arizona immigration law and claims that people were being beheaded in the desert.

Terry Goddard with a checkered past and recently endorsed by SEIU, the same union who has bused people in to disrupt elections.

Sometimes None of the Above is the only choice you can trust.

Posted Wed - September 22, 2010 at 03:25 PM  

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Mexicans here before America was even an idea?

By now I'm sure you've heard about this video Obama: "Mexicans" Were Here "Long Before America Was Even An Idea."

And yes, Mexico declared it's independence in 1810 while the United States declared it's independence in 1776.

Could this be an example of incompetence? A lousy fact checker at the White House? Or a sly attempt to rewrite history?

It makes no sense.

Unless you are familiar with the spiel of La Raza and affiliated groups.

I think this is a deliberate attempt by the Imperious Leader (may his fingers always flex) to pander to a radical group to get votes when and if "immigration reform" happens.

Posted at 03:22 PM  

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Mon - September 20, 2010

About the O'Donnell witchcraft thing - updated

Gather 'round, friends and neighbors. I'm about to tell you what a Real Live Pagan® thinks about Bill Maher's "witch hunt."

The story is not that Christine O'Donnell dabbled in witchcraft during high school and decided it wasn't for her. Regardless of your personal beliefs, it's still about personal choice and personal responsibility. O'Donnell made her choice.

No, the story is that Bill Maher is okay with witchcraft until he can use it to embarrass someone who doesn't share his politics.

Think very carefully about the implications of that.

Maher exemplifies a certain liberal/progressive mindset. According to the "grand accepted wisdom," minorities are okay as long as they do what they are told and don't get in the way of their betters. In my experience, that extends to minority faiths. We're supposed to be on call for the dog and pony shows, but not to make too much fuss otherwise.

And if you think I'm off base, go watch some more of Maher's show.

For extra credit, see how many other high profile media liberals share the same attitudes.

Oh, Jason Pitzl-Waters of the Wild Hunt Blog gives his opinion here, and does a roundup of Pagan reactions here.

Update - I left out one word and implied that I knew O'Donnell. I don't, and up until this mess I hadn't followed the Delaware race. Blame it on chronic insomnia and limited time. My fingers don't always keep up with my brain, and I overlook typos when I am rushed.

Posted Mon - September 20, 2010 at 02:23 PM  

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The "Tea Party" scares the political leadership

Jesse Walker over at Reason Magazine sums up the Tea Party exactly.

"The issue isn't whether "the" Tea Party will do those things. The Tea Party isn't an actual party; it's an extremely decentralized movement with room for several different points of view. It is not libertarian in itself, but it has opened a space for libertarian ideas; it includes good guys like the Campaign for Liberty, and it includes its share of scamsters and authoritarians as well. And it includes a lot of people who are not pure libertarians but are motivated by a libertarian take on one or more pressing issues."

My take is that the various Tea Parties scare the daylights out of the existing political parties because they are a bottom up movement instead of a top down organization. They don't take their "marching orders" from anyone except themselves. That's exactly opposite of how protests have been organized for the last thirty or forty years.

It's the politics of the everyman, not necessarily tied to election cycles.

The Republican leadership believes it can be subverted because they did it before. You may not remember the "Republican Revolution" in the 1994 midterm elections. When the newly minted members of Congress took their seats, the wheeling and dealing began. There was no way those freshmen Congressmen and Senators would get committee assignments unless they toed the line. The institutions of Congress and the political parties were designed to seduced and subvert anyone who might make change. That is exactly what happened.

This could be different. And I really stress that "could be." If people accept that the real change is only going to happen if they are involved and watching closely, then yes, it could get better.

Otherwise we're waiting for the system to collapse. And when the government starts spending more on debt service than anything else, it won't take long.

They established institutions of both major parties aren't interested in reform, they want power. Even if every candidate elected for the next three national elections was a "Tea Party" candidate, it wouldn't be enough to stem the tide. The only way the party leadership will accept reform is if they are running scared.

Posted at 12:14 PM  

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Mon - September 6, 2010

The AlterNet Tea Party article

In my web wanderings, I ran across this piece on AlterNet.

AlterNet is another one of those sites I don't usually link to here. Like, their bias often gets in the way of their usefulness. But this is one I felt I should respond to. Not because I have anything to do with the Tea Party, but because of several misconceptions that several modern liberals seem to have.

Yep, libertarian here saying that modern liberals (as I defined them here) have several misconceptions. I'll stop saying it as soon as they stop trying to control the economic behavior of others.

"Never mind that free markets are anything but free for ordinary people. "

Except by definition, the free market is more free than anything yet used by humanity. Mutual and voluntary exchange of goods and services. Or if you prefer the poetic, "consenting activities between consenting adults."

Most of this misconception is because the U.S. has had only a partial free market for decades. If the prices are regulated, it's not a free market. If licenses are required, it's not a free market. If a legislature tries to correct "economic disparity," it's not a free market.

But that is how it has been sold to the American people.

The answer is KYFHO. Get government out of the way.

I'm not going to touch the pseudo-psychological-social stuff, it's all highly subjective and open to interpretation. If someone can show an objective way to measure it, then it's worth considering.

I'm not exactly sure exactly what Robert Murdoch and David Koch are supposed to have done that is so wrong, especially when we consider the semi-secret cabal headed by George Soros and it's ongoing influence on the DNC since about 2001. That's not to say that Murdoch and Koch are angels, Murdoch in particular is no friend of the free market or of liberty.

One other thing, the billionaires embraced the Tea Party agenda, not the other way around. Much of the Tea Party is highly decentralized with no recognized national leadership.

Beck's mess wasn't just a travesty, it was a call for a theocracy. Hmm, seems like I said something like that. It wasn't racist though, except that it criticized President Obama. This is something I've seen quite a bit in the last two years, when liberals don't want to address the merits of the argument, they trot out the race card.

I won't address the crooked accounting schemes behind Social Security, but I do want to talk about if Social Security is a Good Thing Courtesy of Your Friends In Government.

*deep breath*

They're lying.

Please don't take my word for it. Find your last paycheck stub from last year. Grab a calculator and figure what the interest on that money would be this year in a standard savings account.

Government doesn't give you interest on your money.

You really want to cry, figure out how much you would have made if you just invested in the top ten of the Dow Jones 40 last year.

I've heard that it's theoretically possible, but I've never found anyone who withdrew from the Social Security system. Since everyone is required to participate and much of the available funds go there, of course the free market alternatives are lacking. Of course it doesn't help that the FedGovs regularly change the laws and rules on retirement income to keep YOUR retirement money firmly under government control.

Same thing with Medicare. And since there is effectively a single payer system for many medical procedures, the Inferior Golden Rule applies. "He who has the gold makes the rules." Literally in this case, since under penalty of law American citizens are forbidden from owning too much gold. In this case though, it means that the insurance companies, the pharmaceutical companies, and health care providers are more beholden to the Federal government than they are individual citizens.

And when all this totters and threatens to collapse, the very government that prevents a free market in health care blames the greedy free market for not taking care of people.

Learn to recognize this pattern.

What no one in government wants to talk about is that government spends too much money. They talk about taxes, but no one talks about spending cuts. They talk about class distinctions, but not government regularly wasting cash. They talk about corporate accountability, but destroy contract law.

If government doesn't take money, it stays in your pocket so you can choose. But the various elites do not think you can be trusted to do the right thing with your money.

Like, a bridge to nowhere. Or a "auto bailout" that goes mainly to unions. Or a closed room deal designed to shut down certain investment firms while propping up others. Get the picture here?

I'll believe in "Net Neutrality" when some of the very same exact people stop proposing regulating blogs. Or what content is "appropriate." Or when the FedGovs shut down their cyberwarfare units, especially the ones focused locally.

I've already called Public Education as I see it, I won't go into more details here. I will say that the very limited voucher programs around the country have shown that competition is one of the best things that could happen to education. That's probably why so many in the public education establishment are so set against education vouchers.

As should be obvious by now, historically whenever government has talked about "reform," it's been to shift money and control to the government out of private hands. You should ask yourself if they have done a good job with that trust, especially when they have to go back every few years and seize more.

There are some Libertarians and some libertarians in the the Tea Party movement. Since the Tea Party started with distrust of government, that is not surprising. But very few modern liberals and progressives want to talk about the ideas themselves, they just find it easier to dismiss the movement.

That is a big reason why I expect the government to collapse. It can't keep it's promises

Posted Mon - September 6, 2010 at 02:46 PM  

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Government insanity

What was that old definition of insanity?

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

Now I could be wrong, but this may fall under that definition.

The Standard Approved Government Solution is to

Spend More Money Now!

Somehow I don't think that is going to help. The FedGovs are still determined to do everything exactly wrong.

And all it will cost is your freedom.

Posted at 12:28 PM  

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Sun - September 5, 2010

Stop me if you've heard this one about the IRS Andover facility

TJICistan linked to this Lew Rockwell article. Usually I don't link to Lew Rockwell articles. When I read them, I take them with a grain of salt. And this particular piece has a definite anti-government bias ("tax subsidized chair-moisteners").

However, here are the facts.

The Andover IRS facility was slated to be closed, under pressure from the New England Congress critters, that is no longer true.

The renovation of the Andover facility focuses on frills,.

Representative Tsongas did suggest that the 1400 IRS employees slated to be laid off be used in make work programs.

So, let's summarize. The IRS was scheduled to shut down a processing facility and lay off the workers. Under political pressure from a few Congress people (not a vote of Congress, but simply a handful of politicos throwing their weight around), the shut down was delayed and the workers were given make work because keeping Federal agents employed is more important than the private free market. Meanwhile, the building is undergoing a lavish refurbishment.

So the FedGovs are renovating a building housing employees doing makework but whose main job is to collect and process taxes so the Federal government can operate…

…spending money keeping unneeded government employees in a newly upgraded facility.

We've crossed a line.

We're now paying government agents to collect money for their own employment in a very fancy building that is being renovated by that same money.

It's hard NOT to be anti-government after reading the stories for all of that.

Posted Sun - September 5, 2010 at 01:09 PM  

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Sat - September 4, 2010

Response to my Ebert entry

First of all folks, I did read the article.

I took exception to Roger Ebert because the only Obama critics he mentioned were the "wingnut" variety, or at least the ones he could cast as nuts.

Just as an example, I think it's been almost a decade since I've seen a prominent liberal accurately quoting Rush Limbaugh. That doesn't mean I agree with most of what Limbaugh says, it just means that he is not quoted correctly.

Regular readers will know that last thing I think is important about a person is their faith. As far as I am concerned, that's between you and the Divine and no one else. Hint: read the title of this blog.

Just because I call myself libertarian, I personally have been called racist since pretty much the day that Obama was elected. It's not a big deal, I've dealt with silly accusations before. I was just expecting the "post racial President" to stop that nonsense.

That's small "L," not affiliated with the party and by all the gods certainly not affiliated with the Tea Party movement in any of it's manifestations.

What I find amazing is that for almost two years, there have been folks like myself who have been criticizing Obama for everything except his "race" and religion, and yet we're getting lumped in with "wingnuts." Meanwhile, no one on the left wants to question Obama about anything.

And just so you know, as far as I am concerned there is exactly one race and that is Human. Cultural and social differences I will grant you, but anyone who cites "race" is stirring up trouble. Period.

I've criticized Obama for his lousy management skills, for his inability to use the PR power of the Presidency, for that incredibly ridiculous "Office of the President Elect," for his flawed view of constitutional law, and most especially for hiding massive power grabs hidden under deliberately chosen economic falsehoods.

Why didn't I spend longer on the Ebert article? Because I get tired of saying the same thing again and again.

It doesn't mater what Obama's religion may or may not be.

What does matter is that this President has a history of fudging the facts for his own convenience. Obama promises one thing and delivers another, and then tells you that you should be thankful that he delivered. Every modern President does that.

People don't know when Obama is telling the truth. That's why they wonder if he is Muslim. Not because Muslims are inherently deceitful, but because the average person doesn't know if they can accept Obama's word if he says the sky is blue.

Post racial. Not even.

Transparency. Hah!

Closing Gitmo. Not yet.

Lowering healthcare costs. You mean the ones that just went up and will go up again at the end of this month?

I could go on, but you get the point.

Now, does any of this make Obama a bad President?

Listen, anyone who makes Bill Clinton look good is certainly not doing their job.

And that brings us to the point of the first post, because there are valid concerns and reasons for questioning Obama that have noting to do with either his skin color or his faith. Yet that is what keeps getting tossed back at us.

I've nothing to do with Glenn Beck, I certainly don't watch him. I hate talking heads on television. You can't blame talk radio for me either, I don't get it in my area.

I do want to know why no one has called Obama to account for destroying contract law.

I want to know why no one seems to notice that the Obama Administration seems to be targeting auto manufacturers who aren't based in the U.S.

I want to know why there are continuing secret meetings between Treasury officials and large international banks.

None of this is exactly a secret.

What I see happening every day is that much of the mainstream press covers for Obama. They breathlessly report the latest jobless numbers, without reporting that those numbers keep getting readjusted a few months later when no one is paying attention.

They keep reporting on the "summer of recovery" when most folks haven't seen any recovery.

The U.S. left 50,000 "military advisors" in Iraq, and this doesn't raise alarm bells in the press?

I have worries about Obama and his statist tendencies. I think "put up or shut up" is wrong.

Posted Sat - September 4, 2010 at 11:52 AM  

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Fri - September 3, 2010

Rogert Ebert wants critics of Obama to "Put up or shut up"

Roger Ebert stepped over the line.

Here's the thing. Just because someone happens to be President doesn't mean that he shouldn't be criticized. He should be. Loudly. Publicly.

But for pity's sake pick the battles.

The fact is that there are those who lambast both Glenn Beck and Barak Obama (all hail the Imperious Leader, may his toenails never shrink!).

If it were a Republican President, Ebert would be at the head of the pack criticizing him. Oh wait, that already happened. Numerous times.

Sometimes I really hate being proven right again and again.

Now that it's "their guy," liberals like Ebert don't want anyone criticizing the President. And they will go out of their way to paint the most public opposition as "nuts."

Just like happened with conservatives and Bush.

Me, I say that the problems start because government tries to control too much of your life.

Yes, elected officials should be criticized. Loudly. Especially if they break their own rules and promises.

And if that doesn't work, just remember that the rule of law works both ways. If the "elite" won't abide by it, there is no reason you have to submit.

Posted Fri - September 3, 2010 at 11:49 AM  

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Mon - August 23, 2010

It's official

After the last election and all the the recorded phone messages, I promised myself that I would not vote for any candidate mentioned in one of those pre-recorded messages left on my answering machine.

As of this morning, there is not one Democrat or Republican running for office in the State of Arizona left. They have all eliminated themselves.

It should make voting easier. Of course, this is meaningless without the ability to vote AGAINST the candidates who are running.

The American system of government desperately needs a None of the Above. As reader watcherinthewind and I discussed, the system is rigged against the voters. Either/Or is not a good choice, and as it stands, one of the two major parties will get almost every office.

Is that really a government of the people, by the people, and for the people?

Posted Mon - August 23, 2010 at 01:34 PM  

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Mon - August 16, 2010

The oldest game

Americans are so used to it that the very name has become a cliché.

Pick any cop drama you'd like. Sooner or later the suspect will be in a darkened room. In comes a raving maniac about two seconds away from ripping the suspects arm off and beating him over the head with it. Then in comes the other guy. "Listen, you'd better give him something he wants. I don't know if I can keep him in line."

Good Cop Bad Cop.

What makes you think that either of these two are on your side? They're both out to mess with your head and put you away.

The two major political parties have been playing this game for so long that they have forgotten it's a game. They change roles depending who is in the hot seat.

Neither can be trusted.

Just keep that in mind.

Posted Mon - August 16, 2010 at 10:36 AM  

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Mon - July 19, 2010

The beginning of the end?

As soon as you have time, you should read this Angelo M. Codevilla piece in the American Spectator. No, I do not agree with everything in it. But by all the gods, it comes closer to truth than most of the methane scented air passing as political analysis.

America's Ruling Class -- And the Perils of Revolution

Here's a taste.

As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors' "toxic assets" was the only alternative to the U.S. economy's "systemic collapse." In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets' nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one.

When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term "political class" came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public's understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the "ruling class." And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to dominate and fewer differences in tastes, habits, opinions, and sources of income among one another than between both and the rest of the country. They think, look, and act as a class.

That's what the so-called elites need to understand. All their little power structures, all their institutions, most of their assumptions rest on the assumption that Americans will do what they're told.

We usually do. It's not often worth making a fuss over.

Unless we're really, really pissed off.

Progress never comes from satisfaction.

Posted Mon - July 19, 2010 at 12:11 PM  

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Mon - July 12, 2010

"Hoover Dam's False Promises"

Great article from the LA Times via the Arizona Daily Sun.

The nearly decade-long drought in the Colorado River Basin, which has lowered Lake Mead by about 120 feet from its high-water mark, reminds us that the promises made for Hoover Dam were always unrealistic. Delegates from the seven state capitals who met in 1922 to apportion the river's bounty (under the supervision of then-Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover) were led to believe that the river, once dammed, would provide all the water their states could conceivably need to fulfill their dreams of irrigation, industrial development and urban growth.

To the federal officials anxious to get the dam project approved, this was a necessary subterfuge, for without it the states would never reach agreement and the dam would not be built. But today we must confront the consequences of that founding fiction. Hoover Dam truly made the West, but it has also confined it in the straitjacket of an ever-intensifying water shortage.

False government promises are nothing new. Those promises are meant to keep you quiet while your liberty is sucked away.

Posted Mon - July 12, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

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Why should you need to see the numbers?

Somebody notice that the figures are being fudged.

Are Overdue Reports Concealing ObamaCare Impact on Medicare? I don't have all the figures, but from what I can tell Medicare is pretty much going to collapse.

Welcome to Hope and Change, Citizen.

Posted at 12:05 PM  

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Mon - July 5, 2010

People conditioned to accept government abuse as compassion

Today I'm feeling a little down. Maybe I'm just tired of making the arguments.

Let me share what I posted to one of my lists.

Oh my, a discussion about libertarians.

I suspect that some here misunderstand what a libertarian is.  Mentioning "right wing" and "left wing" reinforces that.  Remember what Isaac wrote about dualism.

I tell people that libertarians want a government that is smaller than absolutely necessary.  There are two big reasons.  First, a big government is good ONLY if your guys call the shots.  It doesn't take much to imagine what happens when "the other guys" run the show.

The second reason is often overlooked, but in my mind it is bigger.  I call it the Somebody Else's Problem Syndrome (in honor of the late Douglas Adams).  When government is in charge, no one is responsible.  For example, earlier someone mentioned the Civil Rights Act, I assume they meant the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  But there was also the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, the Civil Rights Act of 1960, the Civil Rights Act of 1968, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

If the 1866 act had worked, we wouldn't have needed the others.

Let me put it another way.  If today I could show that the International Doohickies Company was discriminating, would people be willing to take a stand?  Or would they expect the government to Do Something?  Somebody Else's Problem.  Most people never notice it until they're on the short end because there is an Official Solution.

One last thought before I drift off to the shadows again.  If it's "morally right" for government to prohibit discrimination, then is it "morally right" for government to prohibit non-Christian religions?   Use government against someone today and don't be surprised if government forces another's morality on you tomorrow.


Believe it or not, one response basically said that was all well and good, at least until the next crisis came along. And they specifically used Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Oil spill as two examples.

These two instances illustrate government failure before, during, and after the fact.

The levees in New Orleans were supposed to be built and reinforced decades before Katrina hit. Supplies and aid were turned away by government agents. Eventually the government ended up destroying tons of contaminated ice and thousands of uninhabitable (and never occupied) trailers ordered at taxpayer expense.

In the case of the oil spill, law required oil companies to use maps provided by the government, even though those maps were considerably out of date. The "inspections" weren't completed correctly. After the spill, aid was turned away because it didn't meet strict environmental standards or safety standards.

Are you spotting a pattern here?

Government promises that everything will be perfect, but fails to deliver. When something bad does happen, government can't act to prevent it or repair it. And it's never the fault of the government!

Here's one to really think about. That twenty billion dollars seems like a lot to the average citizen. But what if it's something like the tobacco settlement? Big bucks paid now, government defends your interests down the road.

It reminds me of nothing as much as an abusive relationship. And some citizens come back to ask for more abuse.

Government is not your friend.

Posted Mon - July 5, 2010 at 01:20 PM  

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Sun - June 27, 2010

All I'm sayin'…

I'm still going through my secondary emails. I just got another ripping into me for Arizona's immigration mess.

I agree, the law is stupid and our governor continues to make an ass of herself. Not to mention a certain sheriff.


If you're an American citizen and you don't live in Arizona, worry about the Federal law first.

The fact that it's only selectively enforced should scare you.

The fact that the Federal government has strong armed American businesses into watching for illegal immigrants should anger you.

This is stuff that happened long before the Arizona law existed.

Posted Sun - June 27, 2010 at 09:52 PM  

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Sat - May 22, 2010

Head of ICE admits that immigration law is only selectively enforced

Here is exactly why the Federal immigration law is such a mess.

Morton said his agency will not necessarily process illegal immigrants referred to them by Arizona officials. The best way to reduce illegal immigration is through a comprehensive federal approach, not a patchwork of state laws, he said.

Think about that.

A Federal official says that his agency will only selectively enforce the Federal law.

Now I will say that both the Arizona law and the Federal law are flawed and should be repealed.

But the Federal law is incredibly harsh and only selectively enforced. That's been true for decades. Meanwhile the law makes employers into the unpaid spies and first enforcers of the immigration laws.

Imagine if other Federal laws were only selectively enforced.

Like the income tax.

Or the War on Drugs.

Or that blasted seatbelt law.

Or health insurance reform.

You know what I think. A law should be uniformly applied or it should be automatically repealed.

But ask yourself why the immigration laws are only enforced when the politicos need to get elected.

Posted Sat - May 22, 2010 at 07:03 AM  

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Wed - April 28, 2010

The latest Congressional craze - Oops! - Update

I thought it was illegal to name naval vessels after living people.

Guess I was wrong.

Even if it wasn't illegal to name ships after living people, it should be illegal to name ships after serving Congressmen.

I can just see the can of worms that will open up.

Five hundred and thirty-five members of Congress.

Can you just see the jostling to get the biggest and best named after them?

I guess that is one way to get the Navy funded.

Update - Regular reader BTHO informed me that I got my facts wrong. Congressman Murtha died. I missed it, I skimmed the article and I missed it entirely. I've no excuse except I'm tired. Sorry about that. This is one rant where I went off the handle.

Posted Wed - April 28, 2010 at 01:04 PM  

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NOW they're noticing

If only someone had told people before the legislation was signed that the government health care reform was going cost much more, reduce the number of doctors, ration medical care, and generally make things worse.

Oh wait. They did. Me included.

Now the mainstream press is paying attention.

Too late.

If more of the mainstream press could have been bothered to notice before it "passed," the monstrosity could have been aborted. Congress critters would have been called on their unethical shortcuts to get the bill through both houses. The President would have been shamed.

And someone would have sold a hell of a lot more papers.

Pity the crusader bit fails when it comes to reporting on progressive issues while there is still time to stop the mess,

Posted at 12:57 PM  

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Fri - April 23, 2010

Revising history

Here's one you should definitely keep in mind.

Progressive History 101 (Minus All that Uncomfortable Racism, Sexism, and Support for Eugenics)

Yeah, I know, I am late in putting it up. But this way you get reminded again.

Or maybe I should mention Orwell's 1984.

Either way, it's not good when history gets edited.

Posted Fri - April 23, 2010 at 01:38 PM  

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Mon - April 19, 2010

Exceptions undermine the rule of law

Here's one I know slipped off your radar (pun intended).

How Elites Keep Their Private Planes Off the Radar.

It seems like a blatant but minor exercise of privilege. So why am I bringing it up?

Because exceptions undermine the uniform rule of law.

The law is supposed to apply to everyone. But when a minority gets an exception for whatever reason, that means that the rest of the law is enforced more strictly.

Now, you may think that I am attacking the powerful, but these days all sorts of people have all sorts of exceptions to all sorts of laws. It ranges from "too big to fail" to certain people being excused for racism because their skin happens to be a darker shade than the ones they attack.

Why respect the law if you are going to be excused from it's consequences?

What keeps an oppressive law off the books if there are exceptions made?

It takes almost nothing to turn an exception into special privilege. It's almost impossible to rescind a special privilege once it is accepted.

I have a simple solution, one that I wish would become law of the land. Whenever a legislature makes an exception to an existing law, that automatically voids the existing law. Think about it, we already know that if an exception is needed, it's a bad law. So why keep any of it on the books?

Just think about the fun we could have with all the existing laws a regulations. All we'd have to do is find the exceptions and the whole law goes "poof!"

Posted Mon - April 19, 2010 at 12:54 PM  

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Mon - April 12, 2010

Census shenanigans

Here's one I know has happened in rural areas of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah, but doesn't seem to be getting anymore than limited local coverage.

No one in my town got their census forms.

The official excuse is that the census workers hung them on the mailboxes. That is an extremely interesting excuse considering there is nothing approaching home delivery or even end of the street delivery. You go to the post office or you don't get your mail. And there is nothing on those post office boxes to hang anything on.

Now there are several towns that had the strange things happen. Flagstaff got duplicate forms.

I have no idea if this is because of bureaucratic incompetence and political featherbedding or if there are darker, more sinister forces at work.

I wish I was far enough removed from my paranoid conspiracy days to ignore that last possibility. Unfortunately, try as I might, it's still a significant possibility. Especially considering some of the number games this administration has already played.

Even if the fix wasn't in, if this was a Republican administration you'd better believe this would making national headlines.

Posted Mon - April 12, 2010 at 07:12 AM  

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Mon - April 5, 2010

The truth behind progressive tax plans

"Divide and conquer."

People will overlook some high taxes if they think that a highly visible target group is paying more than they are.

The way to keep taxes low is to keep them uniform. No exemptions. No deductions. No mixing higher and lower rates.

That way there is no way to change taxes without angering people.

Which is precisely why the politicos will always argue against it. Politicos like playing one group of people against the others.

Posted Mon - April 5, 2010 at 02:47 PM  

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Mon - March 8, 2010

The first question that hardly anyone is asking about health care reform

What EXISTING laws and regulations prevent competition, innovation, and lower costs?

If Congress can do no wrong, then shouldn't the first move be to unshackle the American people?

Competition is the one factor that we know makes things better and cheaper.

We know politicos can't set prices. We know that "official" standards will be superseded very quickly.

Traditionally, the industries that are the least regulated manage to deliver the cheapest products at the highest quality.

Isn't that EXACTLY what health care reform is supposed to be about?

Posted Mon - March 8, 2010 at 12:38 PM  

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The second question that hardly anyone is asking about health care reform

What are the tradeoffs?

In the immortal words of Robert Heinlein, There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

Every single benefit costs something. It's true in engineering. It's true in photography. And it's true in economics.

If someone promises free health care, that's going to cost someone something. Chances are that it is you, only the costs will be disguised.

And you can bet that there will be strings attached. Certain conditions won't be covered. Certain people will be judged to not be worthy.

Think I don't know what I am talking about? Take a good look at medical care in Canada and the U.K.

Posted at 12:31 PM  

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The third question that hardly anyone is asking about health care reform

Why should you trust Congress to fix ANYTHING?

This is a group that can't balance the Federal checkbook.

This is a group of individuals who will gladly sell out the rest of the country to bring home some small benefit to their constituents.

This is a group of people that routinely lies.

This is a group whose efforts to "regulate" usually have consequences far worse than if they did nothing.

This is a group who has sold your freedom to keep getting elected.

Posted at 12:26 PM  

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The fourth question that hardly anyone is asking about health care reform

How do we measure success?

It's the basis of any continuous improvement process, and yet it's the place where Congress is playing the biggest game.

It's called "health care reform," but the measurement is how many people are insured.

Just because everyone may be insured doesn't mean that care is available.

Just because everyone may be insured doesn't mean that every condition is covered.

Just because everyone may be insured doesn't mean that there are medical professionals to provide the service.

Insurance doesn't equal health care reform.

Posted at 12:19 PM  

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The fifth question that hardly anyone is asking about health care reform

What do we do if it doesn't work?

No matter what happens, this "reform" is designed to shatter the existing system beyond repair so that no one can use it. There is no safety net, no alternative. It's all or nothing.

Pretty ironic when you consider that American society and government were both founded on choice.

Posted at 12:10 PM  

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The sixth and most important question that hardly anyone is asking about health care reform

Who benefits?

Yep, there it is. The killer question. And you should pay careful attention to the answer. Mark Steyn has one of the best versions I've seen. Emphasis added.

…I’ve been saying in this space for two years that the governmentalization of health care is the fastest way to a permanent left-of-center political culture. It redefines the relationship between the citizen and the state in fundamental ways that make limited government all but impossible. In most of the rest of the Western world, there are still nominally “conservative” parties, and they even win elections occasionally, but not to any great effect (let’s not forget that Jacques Chirac was, in French terms, a “conservative”). The result is a kind of two-party one-party state: Right-of-center parties will once in a while be in office, but never in power, merely presiding over vast left-wing bureaucracies that cruise on regardless.

And if you think that can't happen, have you taken a close look at the U.S. Department of State lately?

Posted at 12:00 PM  

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Mon - February 22, 2010

The Liberty Amendment

I have my doubts that there is time to to work "within" the system, but this is a great attempt.

The Liberty Amendment.

Section 1. The Government of the United States shall not engage in any business, professional, commercial, financial or industrial enterprise except as specified in the Constitution.

Section 2. The constitution or laws of any State, or the laws of the United States shall not be subject to the terms of any foreign or domestic agreement which would abrogate this amendment.

Section 3. The activities of the United States Government which violate the intent and purpose of this amendment shall, within a period of three years from the date of the ratification of this amendment, be liquidated and the properties and facilities affected shall be sold.

Section 4. Three years after the ratification of this amendment the sixteenth article of amendments to the Constitution of the United States shall stand repealed and thereafter Congress shall not levy taxes on personal incomes, estates, and/or gifts.

Read the whole thing for an explanation of how it could work.

I'm honestly not sure if "the system" can be saved, much less if it should be saved. We're still in the "me first" stage. Everyone is willing to give up everything else if only their piece of the government pie can be preserved.

HT Becky Chandler (one of the very very few Twitter feeds I bother to read).

Posted Mon - February 22, 2010 at 12:09 PM  

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Fri - January 29, 2010

Nine words of advice

If Obama & Company were really interested in jobs, this is all they would have to do.

Lower taxes.

Reduce regulation.

And get out of the way.

But they don't want to give up that control. They want to control where the jobs come from, who gets the jobs, what the jobs pay, and when the jobs happen.

The politicos want control.

I say you should choose freedom.

If nothing else, it keeps them from skimming their cut off the top.

KYFHO now and forever.

Posted Fri - January 29, 2010 at 03:22 PM  

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Mon - January 25, 2010

Shattering "reform"

I love this headline!

McCain says campaign finance reform is dead.

There's something that might make it better. Now what was it?

Oh yes. Arresting and prosecuting John McCain for treason. That was it.

Now that would be nice, but this makes a good first step.

Oh, and of course those who supported "campaign finance reform" say that now the elections will be controlled by those with the biggest bankroll.

You mean they haven't been?

This is what I would do.

No artificial persons could contribute to campaigns. This includes unions, guilds, corporations, political parties, and non-profits. No bundling.

A contribution would ONLY be legal if it came from a voter registered in that area. No one in Maine could contribute to a campaign in Montana. Someone registered in Arizona's first Congressional district couldn't legally contribute to a campaign in the second Congressional district.

All unused funds should be proportionately refunded to the donors no later than seven days after the election.

Oh, and one more little detail. It wouldn't be enforced against the donors. It would be enforced against the candidates. Anyone who accepted contributions that violated these rules would be barred from serving as either an elected official or an appointed agent for a time not less than the conclusion of the next term of office. So if you ran for the U.S. Senate and accepted a campaign contribution from out of state, you couldn't hold ANY government job for at least six years. Possibly twelve.

And yes, that would effectively outlaw political parties. Imagine that.

Posted Mon - January 25, 2010 at 07:18 AM  

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Mon - January 4, 2010

Mix and match law

If every state got their own goodies in the Senate bill like Senator Charles Schumer said, let's share the bounty a bit.

I think Rhode Island should get what Nebraska got.

I think Colorado should get what California got.

I think Arizona should get what Louisiana got.

In fact, I insist on it.

Now before you think I have gone crazy, hear me out.

The power of Congress rests on the promise of a uniform rule of law.

Federal law is supposed to be applied equally in ALL states no matter what the circumstances. Montana doesn't get special exemptions that don't apply in Nevada. A Federal crime in Arkansas is also a Federal crime in New Jersey.

I'll tell you now, it's a sure sign of bad law if there are exemptions.

Posted Mon - January 4, 2010 at 01:37 PM  

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Mon - December 21, 2009

Bribing the Senators

I don't usually agree with Michelle Malkin, but her "nose for news" is one of the best around.

Want to know who got what to get the Senate health care bill passed? She's got it.

And I really loved the take from Coyote Blog.

Not only had few people been able to slog through the old 2000+ page bill, but Harry Reid threw the whole thing out and substituted a double secret replacement bill on Saturday the NO ONE has read, Obama included.

So now that the Senate has stopped even pretending that the uniform rule of law still applies, what next?

I can promise you that health care will be rationed, especially for older citizens.

I can promise you that you won't be able to control who sees your medical records or for what reasons.

I can promise you that you won't be able to pick your doctor.

But on the good news side, no one knows how much more it will cost you yet.

Posted Mon - December 21, 2009 at 03:00 PM  

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Tue - December 15, 2009

Party pooper

I've been asked my opinion of the Tea Party movement.

I was very excited at first. The Tea Parties represented promise. Unlike most of the carefully orchestrated of the last two decades, these were "bottom up" rather than "top down." Most of the political establishment wasn't part of the organizing, instead, they were the targets.

Unfortunately, the Republican leaders and some fringe groups quickly capitalized on the Tea Parties, offering themselves as the only "reasonable" alternatives to the "Democrat agenda."

Here's the thing. Both parties have conspired to keep anyone who challenges their power out. The real reform has to come from the bottom up. It can't be handed down from on high by Wise Leaders Who Know What's Best.

In the wake of the protests of the 50s, 60s, and 70s, protest was co-opted. Only certain groups were allowed to protest, and it never was to get out of hand. Certain leaders trotted out the threat of protests just to get their way. Real protest comes from outside the political establishment. Most of the American protests from the 80s on were a part of the political establishment. Protest became organized like a tailgate party, something to do on the weekend provided you weren't too busy. You didn't have to make a real commitment. Just like the old "polyester poncho hippies," you could do it for kicks and go back to your real life none the worse for wear. Even if you were arrested, it was a badge of honor for standing up against the Man. The appearance was more important than the results.

Contrast that with the civil rights marches of the 50s and 60s. Those people were putting their lives and property on the line to make their stand. Arrests were not a minor thing. People risked violence. Some were killed.

Hmm, sounds familiar. It's an American tradition. No wonder it resonated. "…we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor." They were willing to sacrifice everything to see justice done.

Government won't hand anyone liberty. It has to be torn from the clutches of tyranny.

I think that before real change can happen, we need seven million effectives. I think the Free Market Rebellion can happen, people have to choose freedom for themselves. Remember, we don't know who those effectives will be. All we know is that not everyone has what it takes. Still, people have to choose. I estimate using the 80/20 rule that seven million effectives means thirty-five million people willing to put everything on the line.

Lives. Fortunes. Sacred honor. Everything that is worth anything.

And it's the only way to freedom.

Posted Tue - December 15, 2009 at 01:18 PM  

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Mon - November 23, 2009

Did your Senator hold out for a 300 million dollar blackmail?

I wonder what would happen if every state pulled something like this.

On the eve of Saturday's showdown in the Senate over health-care reform, Democratic leaders still hadn't secured the support of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the 60 votes needed to keep the legislation alive. The wavering lawmaker was offered a sweetener: at least $100 million in extra federal money for her home state.

And so it came to pass that Landrieu walked onto the Senate floor midafternoon Saturday to announce her aye vote -- and to trumpet the financial "fix" she had arranged for Louisiana. "I am not going to be defensive," she declared. "And it's not a $100 million fix. It's a $300 million fix."

It's not about reform. It was never about reform. It's about power and control and looting the Treasury.

And the Republicans wouldn't be any better.

Posted Mon - November 23, 2009 at 01:22 PM  

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Mon - November 9, 2009

And the other guy is better how?

Now that we've seen the fiasco health care bill pass the House and hopefully stall in the Senate, it's time to take stock.

Yes, the Democrats authored the bill. Yes, the Democrats did everything they could to shut out the Republican minority.

But the Republican alternative plans were still pretty bad!

I can't stress that enough. It may have been a "choice" of having your left arm sliced off or your right hand hacked off, but SOMEBODY was still cutting out freedom. Maybe the Ron Paul version was having all your fingers chomped off by a half-starved rabid bear.

The best choice was to walk away. And that was the choice that every single member of Congress specifically prevented you from doing.

Where were the choices to REDUCE taxes? Who talked about cutting regulation? What member of Congress said that more than half of medicine in this nation was already socialized and firmly under government control? At least, as long as the money holds out…

I've used this Daniel Webster quote before.

"In every generation there are those who want to rule well - but they mean to rule. They promise to be good masters - but they mean to be masters."

I certainly can't say it clearer than Mr. Webster. Regardless of your desire, they mean to rule. The politicos are not shy about showing it either.

We need to include this H.L. Mencken quote too.

"The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule."

Your freedom is at stake.

For decades the two major parties conspired to keep anyone else out of power. Often it's impossible to get on the ballot without one or the other. No matter what the voters want, without overwhelming effort, one or the other parties will probably win. The default state is that the major party candidates get elected.

But it goes much further than that. In the Federal budget, the new budget is bigger than the old one, even if no Congressperson does anything. Many state and local governments are exactly the same.

And what happens when there is a recession or a depression? Why, government spending must increase for the common good.

This is the default setting of our government.

And this is why it is going to fall.

It's not Democrats.

It's not Republicans.

It's not even (gods help us) Libertarians or other "third party" spoilers.

It's government. Institutions that are designed to exclude your choice, Closed syndicates that devour your freedom and liberty.

This latest batch of half-baked politicos is just doing what their predecessors did. It's the natural progression.

The unnatural progression is that people get angry and rip apart the institutions. We're perilously close now.

There's not going to be a Hero on a White Horse that rides in and saves the day. It's not going to happen. What will happen is that a bunch of "everyday, average" folks will say "Enough!"

Just that.

"Enough!" A bunch of little folks who the politicos and technocrats and community organizers have long thought it safe to ignore. But if enough people say it, at the same time, it gets louder.


And more shrill.

Then they say what they really mean. It will start as a whisper.


It will grow louder.


And louder still.


It will rattle the halls of power.


And those parasitic swine will fear the rumbling whisper.


Slowly it will grow louder and stronger.


Even as they try bury it, it will squeeze their hearts.


Until it rips through their power leaving only ruins.


Take back your freedom, neighbors. Guard it with your lives.

Posted Mon - November 9, 2009 at 02:02 PM  

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Sun - November 8, 2009

Senate bill censors drug debate

It says something when the politicos don't want the enforcers disputing the obviously failed policies.

Just not what the politicos wish it did.

U.S. Senate to vote on censoring drug legalization debate

No dissent allowed, Citizen.

Posted Sun - November 8, 2009 at 01:45 PM  

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Wed - November 4, 2009

Battle of the paper stacks

Ron Paul's heath care plan will never pass.

I don't like Ron Paul, he's a populist and not a libertarian. This particular plan would further embed the IRS into American law.

But by Lady Liberty, 12 pages versus 1990. That sure sounds like more freedom to me.

Posted Wed - November 4, 2009 at 12:36 PM  

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"Don't Copy Europe's Mistakes"

Hat tip Cato @ Liberty.

I love watching smart ladies. Especially when they speak the truth so eloquently.

Posted at 11:58 AM  

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Mon - November 2, 2009

"Narcissistic Rage"

One thing that has slowed me down since Obama's election is wading through the noise on "both" sides. It's getting harder and harder to separate the stories from the propaganda and the press releases. Did Obama say that? Did the Republicans say that? Who did that? Did it really happen?

Even so, I think James Lewis nailed it here.

One thing that sets Obama apart is his inability to work with others. Say what you want about Bill Clinton (and by all the gods I have a lot to say), at the end of the day he was able to schmooze with the best of them. He may not have quite been in LBJ's class, but he was in shooting distance. For someone who learned his politics in the Kingfish tradition, that's only expected.

But the Chicago way we're seeing from Obama owes more to Al Capone and Richard J. Daley. It's hardball and take no prisoners. Ultimately, it doesn't play well with others. It demands.

Politics makes people self-centered and egotistical. It's how you get heard above the noise. But the best American politicians can seduce people to their point of view.

If Obama doesn't deal with that, he's going to top George "Read my lips: no new taxes!" for the longest lame duck presidency ever.

Posted Mon - November 2, 2009 at 12:33 PM  

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Mon - October 26, 2009

We can't have election results we don't approve of

Here's one that was just too silly.

Small North Carolina city votes to remove party affiliations from the ballots.

The United States Justice Department overruled the election and declared that black voters can't have equal rights without the Democrat Party.

I kid you not.

Posted Mon - October 26, 2009 at 12:25 PM  

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Command economy and venture capital

Behold the new model for venture capital success in America.

Rent-seeking is the new venture capital model, Kleiner Perkins managing partner Ray Lane explained to an electric car-conference here Wednesday.

In an extraordinary speech, Lane laid out how market socialism can guarantee profits for politically connected VC firms like Kleiner — far more preferable to the old model of “throwing a dart at a dart board,” as Lane has put it. While Silicon Valley–based Kleiner made its reputation as a financier of tech startups like Netscape, Lane confided that they are inherently risky ventures in uncertain, fast-moving markets.

Do you understand what's happened? It's no longer about picking the company that has the best chances in the market place. Now it's about profits guaranteed by political patronage.

Suck up to the Congressman or bribe the bureaucrat.

Sometimes I really wish I hadn't seen it. They want to destroy your freedom with a command economy. And it took one year.

Posted at 12:20 PM  

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Flu season means politics

In a real way, the current immunization efforts pretty much sum up government managed health care.

We won't talk about the checkered history of immunization programs in the U.S., instead let's look at what is happening now.

On the one hand, there isn't enough vaccine. On the other hand, the number of cases has been overestimated.

Which set of government experts is right?

It may be too late.

Do you get the feeling that someone is not telling you everything you need to know?

Do you get the feeling that there are competing political agendas?

Do you get the feeling that you personally will be left out in the cold?

Welcome to government health care.

This isn't a one time thing. This happens every single time government "takes control" of one aspect of medicine.

Posted at 12:10 PM  

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Mon - October 19, 2009

Some right observations but wrong conclusions

Sorry, but life is demanding my attention today.

I did want to draw your attention to this one though. The conclusions are way off (says the guy situated in flyover country), but at least someone notices what is happening.

One thing that the firm makes clear, though, is that this is not about racism, but about ideology: "Instead of focusing on these intense ideological divisions, the press and elites continue to look for a racial element that drives these voters' beliefs - but they need to get over it. Conducted on the heels of Joe Wilson's incendiary comments at the president's joint session address, we gave these groups of older, white Republican base voters in Georgia full opportunity to bring race into their discussion - but it did not ever become a central element, and indeed, was almost beside the point."


Conservatives see themselves as an oppressed minority, holding on to knowledge that isn't represented in the wider media and culture: "Conservative Republicans passionately believe that they represent a group of people who have been targeted by a popular culture and set of liberal elites - embodied in the liberal mainstream media - that mock their values and are actively working to advance the downfall of the things that matter most to them in their lives - their faith, their families, their country, and their freedom."

Now I'm not here to wave the conservative banner. I want personal and economic freedom. For the last few years, it seems that most conservatives are willing to bend on personal freedoms, but most liberals aren't willing to bend on economic freedoms even as they demand further compromise on their approved version of personal freedoms.

Now I am not talking about the self-appointed "elites" or the ones who grab the headlines.

I think that the "blowback" against personal freedoms happens because because conservatives and even libertarians like myself have no where to retreat to. If we say we're okay with homosexual marriage, anti-war movements, or electing "minorities" (don't get me started), we're also supposed to give way on gun rights, global warming, and our freedom of non-liberal speech..

People are making a stand because they see their freedom and their property carved away.

Posted Mon - October 19, 2009 at 03:02 PM  

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Wed - October 14, 2009

Keillor and the double standard of criticizing Presidents

Garrison Keillor wrote a New York Times editorial recently.

The wailing and gnashing of teeth that you hear among Republicans is 68 percent envy and 32 percent sour grapes. Here is an idealistic, articulate young president who is enormously popular everywhere in the world except in the states of the Confederacy, and here sit the 28 percent of the American people who still thought Mr. Bush was doing a heckuva job at the end, gnashing their teeth, hoping and praying for something horrible to happen such as an infestation of locusts or the disappearance of the sun, something to make the president look bad, which is not a good place for a political party to be, hoping for the country to slide into chaos. When you bet against America, you are choosing long odds.

A person can run down the list of all that’s wrong with this country, including the lobbyists who cross back and forth from public service to influence-peddling like alligators on the golf course, or the bankers who lost their minds in the great mortgage mania, but the country has a history of rising to challenges and turning away from demagogues and doing what needs to be done. Because we are a passionately patriotic people, infused with a love of our history and our land, and so we have limited patience for fools, such as the ones who now dominate the right.

Mr. Keillor overestimates the Imperious Leader's domestic popularity. He certainly underestimates the patience of the American people.

Look, I'm not a Republican, but I'm getting dammed tired of being called a Confederate because I don't like what Obama is doing. And you know something, my folks are from the South. I'm not racist because I criticize Obama. Freedom of speech is a proud part of the American tradition. Perhaps Mr. Keillor has forgotten.

Or perhaps not. This is an editorial from March of 2006.

And then you read the paper and realize America is led by a man who isn't paying attention, and you hope that somebody will poke him. Or put a sign on his desk that says, "Try Much Harder."

Do we need to impeach him to bring some focus to this man's life? The man was lost and then he was found and now he's more lost than ever, plus being blind.

Perhaps Mr. Keillor is just selective about who he criticizes. This is from August of 2004.

The party of Lincoln and Liberty was transmogrified into the party of hairy-backed swamp developers and corporate shills, faith-based economists, fundamentalist bullies with Bibles, Christians of convenience, freelance racists, misanthropic frat boys, shrieking midgets of AM radio, tax cheats, nihilists in golf pants, brownshirts in pinstripes, sweatshop tycoons, hacks, fakirs, aggressive dorks, Lamborghini libertarians, people who believe Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk was filmed in Roswell, New Mexico, little honkers out to diminish the rest of us, Newt’s evil spawn and their Etch-A-Sketch president, a dull and rigid man suspicious of the free flow of information and of secular institutions, whose philosophy is a jumble of badly sutured body parts trying to walk. Republicans: The No.1 reason the rest of the world thinks we’re deaf, dumb and dangerous.

Rich ironies abound! Lies pop up like toadstools in the forest! Wild swine crowd round the public trough! Outrageous gerrymandering! Pocket lining on a massive scale! Paid lobbyists sit in committee rooms and write legislation to alleviate the suffering of billionaires! Hypocrisies shine like cat turds in the moonlight! O Mark Twain, where art thou at this hour? Arise and behold the Gilded Age reincarnated gaudier than ever, upholding great wealth as the sure sign of Divine Grace.

Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedy—the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the president’s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.

The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this. The election of 2004 will say something about what happens to ours. The omens are not good.

Our beloved land has been fogged with fear—fear, the greatest political strategy ever. An ominous silence, distant sirens, a drumbeat of whispered warnings and alarms to keep the public uneasy and silence the opposition. And in a time of vague fear, you can appoint bullet-brained judges, strip the bark off the Constitution, eviscerate federal regulatory agencies, bring public education to a standstill, stupefy the press, lavish gorgeous tax breaks on the rich.

There are ironies aplenty there.

Mr. Keillor, remember that Americans have a limited patience for fools, such as the ones who dominate the leadership of both the left and the right. When you bet against the American people, you are choosing long odds.

Posted Wed - October 14, 2009 at 03:31 PM  

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Mon - October 12, 2009

Obama's piece

I stopped paying serious attention to the Nobel Peace Prize years ago when Yassar Arafat won. After all, it was an "open secret" that the man had ordered the assassination of an United States Ambassador. That is not exactly a rousing endorsement, even if it was overlooked for "diplomatic" reasons.

And then Al Gore won for a piece of film propaganda so biased that even if you accepted it's central premise, the film routinely exaggerated it's warnings by a factor of ten or more. Ocean levels rising by ten or twelve feet? That's just alarmist even if the rest of his "facts" could be verified.

So it didn't exactly surprise me when the grand and glorious Imperious Leader won. Although as nearly as I can tell, he hasn't actually done anything.

Then I remembered this bit I wrote some time back.

Since intentions matter often matter more than results, solving the problem isn't as important as either defining your victimhood or showing the proper concern and sympathy. Whenever possible, the problem shouldn't be solved (and should be prolonged) just so people can stay victims or show compassion.

This introduces yet another politically elite class who derive their social worth by defining the victimhood of others.

Under that classification, Barack Obama "deserves" the Nobel Peace Prize. Not because of anything he has done or is going to do, but because of the noises he makes and the "concern" he shows.

Obama's Peace Prize says more about the prize than it does him.

I agree that he should have shown some class and declined the prize because he hasn't actually done anything yet to deserve it. The first person I read who suggested that isn't exactly part of the "vast right wing conspiracy."

Posted Mon - October 12, 2009 at 12:49 PM  

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Sun - October 4, 2009

"Big Government Health Care PSA"

Hey, it's even in this site's color scheme.

Posted Sun - October 4, 2009 at 01:49 PM  

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Mon - September 28, 2009

Very social but not secure

This article is another example of politicos playing fast and loose with the facts.

There is no "Social Security trust fund" set aside.

All "Social Security" money deducted from millions of paychecks goes into the general fund. Congress then decides how the general fund gets spent.

If Social Security was really about providing for seniors, the money would be invested and benefits would be paid out of part of the earnings. Even a straight savings account would generate some income other than what is extorted from Americans.

But no, the money goes straight into the OVERDRAWN no-interest-paid checking account. Some of that money is then paid back to the beneficiaries.

Don't believe me? Then ask your not-so-honest Congresscritter what happened to all that Social Security "surplus" from the the last thirty years.

Posted Mon - September 28, 2009 at 11:35 AM  

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Politicos prove their ignorance about the internet

Stories like this always amaze me. It proves again and again that politicos do not know their history and do not understand the internet.

So in the public interest, let's have a history lesson.

The internet which carries the world wide web, started as ARPANET. The whole idea was to construct a network that could withstand massive disruption and still move information from place to place. The network was designed to be decentralized so that losing nodes would not stop the data, the network would just route around the disruption.

We take packet switching for granted now, but that wasn't always so. Not all that long ago, if a computer controlled something remotely, it needed a dedicated circuit.

For a government agency to "protect" the internet, there would have to be government "central nodes" that all data would have to pass through, much as happens in China today. Not only would "central nodes" introduce a weakness (and slow down the network), "central nodes" would also allow government to monitor ALL internet traffic and potentially censor/change information on the fly.

The internet in the United States would go from being a decentralized network to a highly centralized one. Which ironically would undermine the goal of "protecting" the network.

Right now if something took out every internet connection in Los Angeles, I could still get news from Denver, Chicago, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and almost anywhere else where the internet connections still worked. My emails to Toronto would still go through. I could still check out that webcam in Sydney.

But if we had government "protecting" the internet, losing internet connections in L.A. could mean that all of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico could go out.

Don't laugh, between things like the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and WAPA, we know that the Federal government loves to combine things that really don't fit together well.

The brilliant thing about packet data on a decentralized network is that it's extremely fault-tolerant. There is redundancy and self-correction built into the system. Since all the data doesn't travel in a "straight line" in one uninterrupted stream, it moves around places where the network fails and the users on either end never notice.

That is just not possible with a centralized network.

Posted at 11:21 AM  

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Wed - September 16, 2009

Enough - no one else gets a free shot with the race card

In the wake of Jimmy Carter's outburst, I'm instituting a new policy.

The next time anyone accuses me of racism because I "dared" to criticize the Imperious Leader, I'm going to assume that they are racist and projecting their feelings on me. I'll treat them accordingly. What's more, I'll tell them that.

The next time any government politico or technocrat or paper shuffler accuses anyone else of racism because that accused didn't agree with Barack Obama, I'll assume that the accuser is racist and treat all their actions and statements appropriately.

No one else gets a free shot with the race card.

Posted Wed - September 16, 2009 at 02:00 PM  

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Wed - September 9, 2009

All you really need to know about the Imperious Leader's Grand & Glorious speech tonight

Watch who is calling for an end to debate, IMMEDIATELY!

Watch who doesn't want to listen to at least half the population.

Watch who doesn't trust half the population to make the "right" choice.

Watch who wants to punish those who do not agree.

And ask yourself why government HAS to be involved.

Yes, Citizen, there are important choices to be made.

Posted Wed - September 9, 2009 at 04:43 PM  

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Tue - September 1, 2009

Privilege and abusing the law

At least someone is honest enough to admit it. Emphasis added.

The death of Senator Edward M. Kennedy is raising concerns about the future of programs he championed that benefited the state’s major employers, particularly in the fields of health care, higher education, and technology.

Hospitals, universities, life sciences companies, and research centers - which together provide hundreds of thousands of jobs in the state - all were accustomed to turning to Kennedy for help.

As chairman of the Senate committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions, he was in an ideal position to deliver on their requests for assistance. And as a powerful member of the Armed Services Committee, he defended and promoted the state’s technology-based defense sector.

“He kind of protected us in a sense,’’ said Thomas Glynn, chief operating officer of Partners HealthCare, which includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “The question is five years from now will [hospitals] be getting as much money as they would if he were alive. I doubt it.’’

This is political patronage about one step removed from the mob and about three steps removed from feudalism. Pay protection money or campaign funds and get special benefits under the law.

Of course, the Kennedy's aren't the only one to play this game. Obama's auto maker "bailout" was an example of the same thing. Or Mattel getting exemptions from the newly required thrid-party safety tests for toys.

All this undermines the uniform rule of law.

Good law exists to protect individual choice and the free exchange of goods and services, so long as that choice and exchange do not interfere with another.

Anything else takes away freedom from someone to grant privilege to someone else, enforced at the point of a gun.

You know, that is so important, I probably should have said something before. After all, if someone should be exempted from the law, that's a sign that the law itself is bad and shouldn't apply to anyone. Law can be corrupted pretty easily, especially without a uniform system of law to protect individual rights from the actions of government. It's a "devil's bargain" when government can play one group against another and it always comes with strings. There is no doubt that the only thing worse than exemptions to the law are selective exemptions to the law. Give government an inch and it will shatter the uniform rule of law before you can draw your next breath, then blame someone else. Yep, the uniform rule of law is so important I can't believe I forgot to mention it. You shouldn't either.

For now, just remember this. Every single time the government intervenes to give special privilege or exemptions, it costs in you and me freedom.

Posted Tue - September 1, 2009 at 03:35 PM  

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Thu - August 27, 2009

Smoke & Mirrors

So now the White House says the deficit will be much higher than they expected.


Raise your hand if you believe it.

Not the amount.

But that the deficit will be "higher than expected."

And remember just how many times the Imperious Leader has told you the complete truth.

Posted Thu - August 27, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

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Mon - August 3, 2009

The WSJ calls it Clunkfare

Let's see.

Government promises to spend billions to buy old cars and rushes through legislation.

As the program starts, the FedGovs are still rewriting the rules to define which cars are eligible.

The program burns through a billion dollars in record time.

People demand their free cash.

Congress tinkers with the program, pouring more cash in and rewriting rules. Again.

Does anyone spot a pattern here?

Like the bank bailouts?

Like the auto manufacturer bailouts?

Like medical reform?

Do you really think we can trust them to get it right?

Posted Mon - August 3, 2009 at 01:57 PM  

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Sun - August 2, 2009

Revealing assumptions

This article is more important than it seems.

Pelosi lashes out against insurance companies

This article is important not because of what it says, but because of the assumptions it reveals.

First, Democrats need a well-heeled enemy to blame.

Second, the Democrat leaders know best, no matter what you think.

Third, no matter what the past history of government involvement, the only POSSIBLE solution is more government control.

And then there is another assumption, unique to the "health care reform." The only answer worth considering is giving everyone the same insurance.

One of the things that I've seen time and time again is that the side that doesn't want dissent is the side that has the shakiest moral position. I'm pretty sure that applies here.

Posted Sun - August 2, 2009 at 02:12 PM  

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Mon - July 27, 2009

Rating the President after his probationary period

Since the election, I've been watching Obama and drawing certain conclusions.

Obama is not sure of himself, either as a manager or an American symbol.
This was pretty evident from the start with the multiple American flags and the business with the "Office of the President-Elect." Time after time, Obama has tried to replace the existing symbol-set with one that he defines and controls. More than once, he's dropped one new symbol-set for another just so the "context" changes.

The fact is that the American President is iconic by the nature of the office and has been since the very first. George Washington. Andrew Jackson. Abraham Lincoln. Teddy Roosevelt. John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Ronald Reagan. Even Bill Clinton. It takes a lot to screw that up. Herbert Hoover did. Gerald Ford did. Jimmy Carter did. Bush the first did.

Arguably, the U.S. Civil War and it's aftermath shaped American human rights more than any other events. Drawing on that AND the various civil rights movements should have made the first black President an amazing symbol in and of himself. He would have been too, if he hadn't pushed for "racial advantages" at every opportunity.

You have rights because you are human, period. Not because you are black, white, spotted, striped, straight, gay, bisexual, Christian, Buddhist, Pagan, man, woman, child, or any other category. There are human rights, there are no other rights.

Watch Obama. It's not enough that he's President, he has to redefine it. That speaks to insecurity.

The numbers don't match
Bill Clinton was famous for fudging. As far as I can tell, Obama doesn't bother fudging, he just throws out proclamations and expects them to become facts because he, President Obama, said so.

That's a big part of the reason I call him the Imperious Leader.

The color of his language
Here's one I hesitate even to bring up, which of course is what Team Obama wants.

During the 70's and 80's as part of the affirmative action movement, there were people promoted because of skin color without reference to their skills. Sometimes this meant that they were awarded degrees. Sometimes it meant that they were given figurehead positions.

The "job" was only to be highly visible.

In the normal give and take of the politics that make up almost any group, skin color is a poor match for ability. Dealing with people on their own terms is a sign of an adult. But if you never had to work for it, if you never had to compromise, if you never had to deal with people who disagreed because "race" trumped practical productivity, well then, of course you can't tolerate dissent.

Notice that nearly every time someone questions Obama's policies, it turns into a "racial" question to crush any opposition.

What's worse, Obama picks "minorities" and "compassion" over equality.

Roughly speaking, all other things being equal, he'll trash the "white" guy just because he's "white."

He's perpetuating racism.

Obama can't prioritize
He'll seize any domestic issue he thinks he can capitalize on even if he doesn't have all the facts. It doesn't matter if it's someone losing the home they couldn't afford in the first place, or putting one union in front of a state pension fund, or stepping into a minor arrest and giving it national headlines.

Any manager worth his salt knows that he has to choose his words with care, especially when he will be quoted. Obama seems to flub two or three times a week.

My grade for Obama so far is D minus. And that is before we get into things like 35 domestic policy czars, destabilizing the currency, trashing the free market, or overturning the rule of law.

What's yours?

Posted Mon - July 27, 2009 at 01:44 PM  

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Sat - July 25, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Dissent

Now I am not really fond of the Congressional franking privilege anyway. But I have been around long enough to know that the side that tries to outlaw disagreement is definitely the side to worry about, irrespective of their positions.

GOP Not Allowed to Say 'Government-Run Healthcare'

As Orwell warned so long ago, when the State-controlling Party controls the language, they control the debate.

Posted Sat - July 25, 2009 at 12:57 PM  

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Mon - May 25, 2009

More proof that "Government Is Not Your Friend"

Another where the headline almost says it all.

Man Gets Flat Tire, State Threatens Foreclosure

This is what happens when humans let "the system" do all their thinking for them.

Posted Mon - May 25, 2009 at 12:14 PM  

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Mon - May 18, 2009

How is this not political favoritism?

Please think and think hard about this.

Chrysler is still going to go through bankruptcy.

Chrysler won't be repaying the bailout "loans."

The President overturned existing law to make sure the UAW got control of the company.

To put the unions first, the President may have singlehandedly destroyed the long term bond market and most methods of financing.

And it cost you billions and billions of dollars.

It was never about "saving the company."

Posted Mon - May 18, 2009 at 12:54 PM  

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Mon - May 4, 2009

Investment firm threatened by the White House


An investment firm claims that the White House made threats over the Chrysler bankruptcy.

Of course the White House denies the claims.


It may have happened before.

So either we have the executives and companies risking their reputations to accuse the President, despite all the business and money that might cost them.

Or we have a President who has confused politics with gangster movies, all in the best Chicago tradition.

You pays your money, you takes your choice.

Actually it will cost you either way, and you don't have a choice according to the rules. You must do as the Imperious Leader says.

That's not the change you were promised, and it's certainly not the change you were hoping for, but alas, it is the change you got.

Gods, I couldn't write this Administration any better if I tried.

Obama is destroying the rule of law. He's undermining the institution of government.

Going to be interesting, after the collapse.

Posted Mon - May 4, 2009 at 12:58 PM  

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In which Arlen Specter proves his exact worth (and not because he changed parties)

Okay, this is just tacky.

I'll freely admit I didn't have respect for Arlen Specter, even before he decided to play Red Rover with political parties.

But he could have at least waited a week or so before blaming the "Republican agenda' for Jack Kemp's death.

Seventy-two hours would have been marginally acceptable. Forty-eight hours might have drawn mild criticism.

But less than two days?

The funeral hasn't even happened yet.

Posted at 12:43 PM  

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Fri - April 24, 2009

Thoughts on the torture memos

Let's make it clear, I am not defending torture. Probably the only thing I find more despicable than torture itself is politicos using torture accusations for political advanage.

Here's what you aren't being told by all the smug talking heads.

The Congressional leadership of both parties was being kept in the loop. Congress's own records show this. So if Nancy Pelosi or anyone else says that they weren't told, they were either lying then or lying now.

Why didn't the Congressional Democrats object then?

There are memos and pictures and reports that you aren't being shown and that haven't been declassified. I don't have access to the contents, but even I sitting in Arizona with nothing more than the internet and a few contacts here and there can dig up that much.

Members of the Bush Administration, especially former Vice President Cheney, claim that the unreleased memos show the effectiveness of the policy. I am not defending these claims, but I do find the selective release of documents troubling. As should you. If the public is to judge the true worth of the policies, then we should know it all. Otherwise it's propaganda.

Going after the people who wrote the memos is a mistake. They weren't the ones who set policy. All that will do is tell presidential advisors (INCLUDING the ones in the current Administration) that they will be prosecuted for having unpopular opinions. That's almost guaranteed to produce nothing but yes men, which is the one thing that no chief executive can afford.

Commissions aren't bound by the rules of evidence, those accused can't necessarily produce evidence in their own defense. Great if you want a star chamber, lousy if you want the rule of law.

My political nose tells me that the torture memos are being used as a distraction. Watch the other hand.

Posted Fri - April 24, 2009 at 10:26 AM  

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Wed - April 22, 2009

Blame someone else

Another scare headline from the Sun.

Fatties cause global warming.

Apparently it's THEIR fault that you don't have enough.

Nothing like taking a marginalized group and making full blown scapegoats, just before chasing them out into the wilderness.


Posted Wed - April 22, 2009 at 01:51 PM  

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Mon - April 20, 2009

My absolutely last word on Palin (until she runs for national office again)

I'm tired of hearing how Sarah Palin was not qualified to be Vice-President.

That was never the question for me.

No, my question was if Sarah Palin was more qualified than Joe Biden. Or Barack Obama.

To that question, I'd have to say yes.

Not because I agree with her. But because she is still more qualified than either the current President or Vice President.

Posted Mon - April 20, 2009 at 01:47 PM  

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Wed - April 8, 2009

One will get you (almost) four

Think that those nice people in Congress are looking out for the little guy?

Not today.

House Preparing To Legalize Payday Loans with 391% APRs

No, that's not a typo.

Three hundred and ninety-one percent.

Legalized theft granted sanction by organized gangsters in Congress.

So tell me, why doesn't someone invoke the RICO Act against the House?

Posted Wed - April 8, 2009 at 02:11 PM  

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Playing politics instead of reporting the news

One of those stories that should have been told.

It turns out that the New York Times killed a story showing close links between the Obama campaign, ACORN, and Project Vote.

Remember that even as a candidate, Obama was bending over backwards to make sure that the FBI didn't investigate ACORN for voter fraud.

If this had been a Republican, it would have been front page news for months. This is why the "newspaper of record" keeps losing credibility.

Here's Hoping for a Change. Soon.

Posted at 02:06 PM  

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Community versus private property

I'm really starting to rethink some of my attitudes on the civic role of religion.

Here's a Tennessee mosque that objects to a restaurant next door serving alcohol.

One of the mosque board members suggests a buffer zone.

I'm curious as to what would be a "good" buffer zone. The restaurant and the mosque are separated by 197 feet right now. So obviously 100 feet isn't good enough. 200 feet? One mile? Ten miles?

Assuming that the city makes the buffer zone law (an outside chance I know), why should a religious building have precedence over all other private property?

Why should a religious group have control over zoning?

And if we dare to ask that question, all of the sudden we have to look at those laws and zoning codes that prohibit porn and sex stores in certain areas. By definition, vice laws are all based in one religion or another.

Let's take it to the next step.

Gun free zones? What's the justification except setting up a convenient place where any potential shooter knows that no one there will be legally armed to defend themselves?

Doesn't private property mean that the owner can do what he likes?

All of the sudden I can see a clear relationship between laws that are meant to preserve property values and taxpayer bailouts of banks "too big to fail."

And another of my long cherished assumptions crashes to the ground.

Posted at 01:59 PM  

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Mon - April 6, 2009

Congress and the Imperious Leader don't trust you on the internet (Or anywhere else either)

Another example of out of control Federal power grabbing. Bill Would Grant President Unprecedented Cyber-security Powers.

What part of the Constitution grants the Federal Government power over private computer networks?

Ah, but they have that covered. Check out this Mother Jones article (h/t Wendy McElroy). Emphasis added. And the REALLY important bits in red.

The Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (PDF) gives the president the ability to "declare a cybersecurity emergency" and shut down or limit Internet traffic in any "critical" information network "in the interest of national security." The bill does not define a critical information network or a cybersecurity emergency. That definition would be left to the president.

The bill does not only add to the power of the president. It also grants the Secretary of Commerce "access to all relevant data concerning [critical] networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access." This means he or she can monitor or access any data on private or public networks without regard to privacy laws.

Behold ladies and gentlemen. It's critical because the FedGovs say it is. They want to control your data. You have no voice. You have no choice. You must accept what the Federal Government does for you because they know best. The President is all wise.

After all, they told you so.

I've called the internet the last, best hope for freedom.

Looks like the Imperious Leader agrees with me. And he's scared by what you may do.

Posted Mon - April 6, 2009 at 01:20 PM  

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Sat - April 4, 2009

Quick thoughts on the G20

For a hard core political junkie, the G20 summit has been fascinating. But it's not something that would appeal to a general audience.

Obama's gaffes with greetings and gifts have been noteworthy though.

The most likely explanation is hubris. This White House and this Administration does not like being told what to do.

The next most likely explanation is deliberate sabotage by the State Department. Considering that from all evidence, the State Department really hasn't answered to a President since the days of Nixon and considering who the current Secretary of State is, that's possible. However, the record also show that the "career" part of the State Department seldom chooses cooperation with the political appointees.

The third most likely explanation (but significantly less than the other two) is incompetence. The problem with this explanation is that there are people in the State Department and on the White House staff who make a career specializing in protocol.

There are of course other explanations, but based on what we know now, I do not consider them significant.

Considering some of the Imperious Leader's domestic actions, hubris seems the likely culprit. Although there is a large part of me that would be satisfied with the sabotage explanation, because if Obama and the Clintons started a grudge match, it would make stopping them easier.

Hubris has it's advantages for our free market rebellion too. Mainly it implies that the President doesn't recognize mistakes until it's too late.

Posted Sat - April 4, 2009 at 02:49 PM  

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Fri - March 20, 2009

The truth just slipped out

Great piece in Bloomberg here. Emphasis added, emphasis on name links removed.

An administration official said staffers pointed out the original language could be legally challenged. The administration didn’t insist on the change, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Several lawmakers said yesterday they were concerned the outrage over AIG would undermine public support for the Obama administration’s response to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The bonus decision “may jeopardize our ability to get the majority of this Congress to support further largess, to provide funds, to prevent a recession, depression or meltdown,” Representative Paul Kanjorski, a Pennsylvania Democrat who heads the capital markets subcommittee, said as AIG Chairman Edward Liddy testified before his panel yesterday.

Hat tip Brad at

All right. Let's recognize a few things.

From tracking where the money went, the emphasis was never on saving the company. Even with Bush, it was about directing money where the two administrations wanted it to go. Something patently illegal under Federal law. And something that the all the FedGovs, from the President to the Congresscritters to the lowly accountants buried in the Treasury building are hoping desperately you won't notice.

That's why there is fuss over the bonuses. That's the distraction.

So as a taxpayer, you need to ask yourself, what was the benefit to you in bailing out AIG?

From there, it's very easy to jump to the next question.

As a taxpayer, what was the benefit to you in bailing out any of the banks and companies?

Why not just let them go under?

It certainly would have been cheaper!

Posted Fri - March 20, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

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Mon - March 16, 2009

Remember to ask "Who profits?"

Officially, this is not yet a part of the Obama administration's plan.


It was part of John McCain's platform though.

Since companies began offering group health insurance on a large scale during World War II, the value of that benefit has never been counted as income, reducing workers' taxable earnings by an average of $9,000 a year for family coverage.

In recent weeks, however, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the tax-writing Finance Committee, has repeatedly advocated changing tax laws to include employer benefits, arguing that it makes sense to fund the health-care changes by sucking cash out of the existing system. Meanwhile, 13 other senators -- from both sides of the aisle -- have signed on to a plan for universal coverage that includes a tax on employer-provided benefits.

"I think it's extremely important from a credibility standpoint to show the American people that you're making savings in the enormous sums now being spent on health care before you go out and ask them for billions of dollars more," said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), one of the sponsors of that proposal. "And I don't think I'm the only senator who feels that way."


"Everybody's got to share together in the solution. And this might be one component to sharing," Baucus said in an interview. But "it's early," he said. All the tax proposals will be analyzed before his committee tackles the funding question in May.

Here's what I think the unofficial goal is. According to the politico elites, nothing you earn is yours.

No matter how hard you work, you won't get wages or any other benefits.

All your needs will be provided by an all compassionate state.

"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need."

Did you know the politicos are binding you to a Marxist plan?

Is this what you chose?

Posted Mon - March 16, 2009 at 12:30 PM  

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Wed - March 11, 2009

Are we hoping to change or changing the hope?

I'm not saying a word about this one either. But I am thinking pretty damn hard. Emphasis added.

President Barack Obama, sounding weary of criticism over federal earmarks, defended Congress' pet projects Wednesday as he signed an "imperfect" $410 billion measure with thousands of examples. But he said the spending does need tighter restraint and listed guidelines to do it. Obama, accused of hypocrisy by Republicans for embracing billions of dollars of earmarks in the legislation, said they can be useful and noted that he has promised to curb, not eliminate them.

On another potentially controversial matter, the president also issued a "signing statement" with the bill, saying several of its provisions raised constitutional concerns and would be taken merely as suggestions. He has criticized President George W. Bush for often using such statements to claim the right to ignore portions of new laws, and on Monday he said his administration wouldn't follow those issued by Bush unless authorized by the new attorney general.

Not seeing much change here.

Posted Wed - March 11, 2009 at 04:32 PM  

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Fri - February 13, 2009

Unions try to shut banks up

Like I told you before, watch what happens to those who dissent. That's a real measure of freedom.

It doesn't look good.

The biggest bailout news this week wasn't the ritual shaming of bank CEOs Wednesday on Capitol Hill. The real political cudgels were wielded in a February 10 letter that Big Labor sent to Wall and K Streets: Any business that takes a bank rescue dollar must give up its rights to free political speech and free association.

Anna Burger, chair of the Change to Win federation, wrote that financial services firms and their trade group should "immediately cease all lobbying and advocacy" against "card check" legislation that would end the secret ballot in union elections. The letter was sent to Steve Bartlett, the head of the Financial Services Roundtable, with helpful copies to Congressman Barney Frank and Senator Christopher Dodd, who happen to have life or death power over the banks.

It seems the Roundtable, a banking lobby, has dared to join the rest of American business in opposing the Employee Free Choice Act. Ms. Burger even took exception to the group's plans to make the bill "a highlighted topic" for discussion at its spring meeting. She also noted that two members of the Roundtable's board "engaged in direct partisan opposition to Employee Free Choice." Someone call the Stasi.

If this works, it won't stop at banks who have taken bailout funds.

Your freedom is on the line.

Posted Fri - February 13, 2009 at 02:49 PM  

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Tue - February 10, 2009

Cabinet tax woes show the flaw in the system

One of the big buzzes has been how many of the Obama nominees have had little income tax issues.

Odd how the Secretary of State keeps getting overlooked.

But there are two things that this situation keeps illustrating.

One, the income tax is a foolish law and one that should be abolished.

Two, that if the nominees were normal people, they would be arrested and imprisoned for their offenses.

You should definitely think about number two there.

If the law is too much trouble for the "elites," it should be too much trouble for everyone.

But then the income tax was never about the uniform rule of law, was it?

Government authority tends to be used against those least likely to resist.

It was always going to about be who could fight back successfully. Not who deserved the tax breaks, but who could keep the government at bay.

And remember, one of them is now running the Treasury Department.

Posted Tue - February 10, 2009 at 02:39 PM  

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Sun - February 8, 2009

The Imperious Leader is a True Believer™ - Updated

Well lookee here, the Imperious Leader is a True Believer™.

Apparently MSNBC doesn't like my code. The video sometimes shows above and sometimes
does not. Here's the site I got the link from, watch it there if it doesn't show above.

Some times it's too easy.

But the one thing that I have found in all True Believers is an absolute belief that their particular book, method, faith, interpretation, or silly hat is The Only Acceptable Choice.  They will ignore anything that anyone else does if it doesn't adhere totally to The True Way.  Worse, they will overlook mistakes and abuses made by the people on the correct side, even as they violate the principles they hold central to their belief.

Or as the old Genesis song goes, "Do as I say, don't do as I do."

I often call True Believers fundies because it gets the point across.  At least, to most people.

Lately I've seen a disturbing trend.  Both the "right" and "left" have their extremists, but it seems that the leadership on the left is made up mostly of extremists.  Most moderates and conservatives seem to be willing to sit down and talk over differences, but that doesn't seem to be true on the "progressive" side.  It's a lousy observation to make, but by golly, that is what I see. The "leadership" of the "left" wants to exclude any other possibilities.
True Believer Rant

It's like global warming all over again. You're not allowed to question the assumptions and dissent is unAmerican. The Crisis is happening right now and we have to ACT to keep things from getting worse.

I've heard this all before. And so have you.

That is what allows an ever expansive government to exist.

Government does not look out for your best interests. It tries to shape you to fit the best interests of government.

Government does not solve problems. It takes credit for solutions started by somebody else.

Government does not create wealth and power. It tries to divert your wealth and power.

Mainly this happens because government is reactive. Leaders are proactive, but they are rare. It's even rarer that they are in a position of power.

Pick the crisis of your choice. Civil rights. The Great Depression. The Korean War.

In every case, government reacted, usually badly. If there were workable solutions, those solutions came from outside government only to be adopted later by "those in charge." Don't expect that to change.

The Medicare Drug Benefit. Social Security. Hurricane Katrina.

I'm not anti-American. I'm pro-American. I'm anti-government. I believe very strongly in the human spirit. I believe in the power of free individuals choosing to embrace their strength and changing the world.
I do not trust in the wisdom of governments

Why doesn't the President want debate?

Could it be that he's afraid you will find a choice that doesn't involve the benevolence of government?

In America today, we don't have a free market. We have a mixture of regulation and opportunistic capitalists who are convinced that the only way to get ahead is to influence government. As it is, the laws and regulations are structured so that almost any company could be found guilty of something if someone just looked hard enough.

The corruption is not because of the free market, but because government couldn't let the market be free.
Free - Updated

We can't let ourselves be stampeded. The free market can fix itself if we can just keep government's tentacles out of it. It's our freedom and our lives that are on the line. The politicos just want more power. We have to ask ourselves which way of life would we prefer?

Not which government is best. Not which system is superior. But which would I rather have? Which system would bring me the most fun?

I knew it wasn't the system we had in the United States. There were too many people arguing too many way to control and not enough freedom.

I won't deny that there were some religious issues too. I knew I couldn't exactly call myself a Christian anymore, but I wasn't sure what I was. I did know that conservatives who weren't Christian weren't exactly welcome in many parts of the country.

When I started reading the essays of Isaac Bonewits, particularly his one on dualism, that is when it all fell into place. I started working from there and discovered the Advocates for Self-Government and the World's Smallest Political Quiz.

That is when I knew I was libertarian. Small "l," not part of the party. The third choice.

That is when I realized that liberty is really all about choices and the responsibility that those choices bring. Anything that increases choices usually means more freedom.

I spend a lot of time explaining what liberty really is and why it demands responsiblity. That manages to piss off both the die-hard conservatives and the die-hard modern liberals. The Quiz is still one of my favorite tools, I keep three versions on hand for various situations. And of course, I keep this blog.

Is any of it effective? I don't know. I do get to talk with some fascinating people. I'd like to think that maybe something that I said or some book I pointed out will explode in their head a few years down the road. I've found that the Internet is a wonderful way to connect and to paint a neon target on your back. I've found that you can't be popular after you dismiss dogma, but sometimes people remember that you were right even as they hate your guts. I've learned some of the value of honor, even if it costs you.

Even with all that, I still believe that my best hope for freedom is to make sure that people have as many choices as possible, understanding that they will be held responsible for those choices.
Dreaming of liberty

That's how you fight a True Believer™. Liberty and the right to make your own choices.

There is no other way to make government smaller than absolutely necessary.

Obama offers a bigger government and less freedom.

The free market rebellion offers you choice. We'll be talking about that more in the days ahead.

Remember that KYFHO is the goal.

UPDATE - Fixed "Free" post and the quote from that entry here on this post.

Posted Sun - February 8, 2009 at 01:12 PM  

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Sat - January 31, 2009

The problem is government

I was looking at some of my old posts, and some of them still apply.

Like part of this one from September 17, 2005.

It's still the All-Knowing Benevolent & Powerful Government swooping in to do That Which People Are Unable to Do for Themselves.

It's STILL statism.

LBJ would recognize it as a successor to the Great Society.

It doesn't matter what trappings it wears. Or what conservative costumes it has dragged from the closet.

It's still S-T-A-T-I-S-M.

"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

Just for a moment, let's step back from the fact that this disaster was a compound case of human incompetence that we only noticed because the hurricane broke the levees.

Let's assume that your neighbor wants you to pay for his privacy fence. Well, that might not be so bad, you don't particularly want to look into his yard anyway.

Except the man is only your neighbor in the most general of terms. He lives across town.

And he wants you to pay for his car insurance too.

Did I mention that he has a seventeen year old son who likes to race the car?

Or the fact that the car is maintained by his fourteen year old niece who looks at it on alternate Tuesdays?

And that every weekend, he wants to switch cars with you?

Somewhere between a privacy fence and a levee and long before Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans ceased to be a local problem and a local responsibility.

And now, your government, without asking you, has decided to stick you with the bill.

Which might be padded just a bit.

Now, will any of the locals be able to decide how those billions will be spent?

Not very likely.

Will the Federal government still be expected to turn on the cash for the next major disaster?

Almost certainly.

How is this NOT statism?

I could change a handful of words and make that about the Imperious Leader Obama today.

Or there is this one from February 20, 2006.

The Democrats are different. It's not that their policy objectives or goals are all that different from the Republicans, it's that Democrats aren't calling the shots. That's enough to make them furious at George W. Bush.

There is no practical difference between the two major parties. Oh, one makes noises about the War on Terror, but that is only because their guy wasn't elected to make the decisions.

Both have abused government power in the past. And given the smidgen of a chance, both would embrace abusing power in the future.

The problem isn't the parties you see. The problem is government power.

Five words changed and it's instantly relevant.

Or this entire post, I do not trust in the wisdom of governments.

Sometimes I swear, I should just set up the site to randomly combine phrases.

I think that's all I have to say today.

Posted Sat - January 31, 2009 at 01:08 PM  

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Mon - January 26, 2009

Sneaking in earmarks

I thought when it happened that Obama's ban on lobbyists in his Administration and his ban on earmarks were more about Grand Theatre than actual reform.

The Imperious Leader already appointed one lobbyist. And it looks like there are plenty of loopholes for earmarks to drip through.

There are thousands of projects like those that once would have been gotten money upfront but now are left to scramble for dollars at the back end of the process as "ready to go" jobs eligible for the stimulus plan.

The result, as The Associated Press learned in interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers, lobbyists and state and local officials, is a shadowy lobbying effort that may make it difficult to discern how hundreds of billions in federal money will be parceled out.

"'No earmarks' isn't a game-ender," said Peter Buffa, former mayor of Costa Mesa, Calif. "It just means there's a different way of going about making sure the funding is there."

It won't be in legislative language that overtly sets aside money for them. That's the infamous practice known as earmarking, which Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have agreed to nix for the massive stimulus package, expected to come up for a House vote this week.

Instead, the money will be doled out according to arcane formulas spelled out in the bill and in some cases based on the decisions of Obama administration officials, governors and state and local agencies that will choose the projects.

I can't figure out if it's deliberate or if it's just a natural step. But it sure looks like that this process will become less transparent and less subject to public scrutiny.

At least until it's too late to do anything about it.

Ladies and gentlemen, behold the Change.

Posted Mon - January 26, 2009 at 01:14 PM  

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Sat - January 24, 2009

The stimulus can't work according to Coyote Blog

Warren Meyer makes a great point.

…But there is an even better reason why the stimulus bill will never work:   it is simply impossible to break ground on any new government construction project in less than a year.

A year from now, any truly new incremental project in the stimulus bill will still be sitting on some planners desk with unfinished environmental impact assessments, the subject of arguments between multiple government agencies, tied up in court with environmental or NIMBY challenges, snarled in zoning fights, subject to conflicts between state, county, and city governments, or all of the above.  Most of the money will have been spent by planners, bureaucrats, and lawyers, with little to show for in actual facilities.

He's absolutely right. Wish I had thought of it.

Posted Sat - January 24, 2009 at 02:48 PM  

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Tue - January 20, 2009

Hollow Man

All kidding aside for the moment, some of the things I have seen from Barack Obama concern me.

I've been watching him since he gave the keynote at the 2004 Democrat National Convention. He didn't really appear on my radar before that. I can't tell what he actually stands for.

The problem may be with me, sometimes I have difficulty reading other people and making their behavior make sense. But it seems to me that the new President doesn't have a story of his own, a song to face the world.

Everything he says, everything he promises, seems to be either lifted from the Standard Democrat Playbook™ or carefully calculated to appeal to the greatest number of people while offending the least. It's like he's a cardboard cutout with a tape loop.

Simply by existing, the American President is arguably the most iconic national leader. His face is spread all over the globe for good or bad. Obama is triply that, just because he's the first "black" President. But it's like he's not really sure he belongs there. He puts on a good show, but his confidence doesn't seem to be there.

Jimmy Carter had confidence. Ronald Reagan had confidence. George H. W. Bush had confidence. Bill Clinton had confidence even as he was pulling his confidence games. George W. Bush had confidence, but he was a little tongue tied.

Obama? I just don't know yet.

I won't kid you. I think his government philosophy is all wrong, and we'll discuss that in detail over the next few years.

But he had better get his voice soon.

Posted Tue - January 20, 2009 at 02:07 PM  

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Sun - January 11, 2009

$1.93 million per resident of tiny town

Edwardsville, Alabama.

Population 194.

Wants $375,000,000 from the stimulus money.

What else can I say?

Posted Sun - January 11, 2009 at 06:57 AM  

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Thu - January 8, 2009

Highway money goes for social spending

Don't you find it odd that when the states are hurting for money, the first things that goes on the chopping block are essential services?

Politcos love playing the shell game with your money. Case in point.

According to the latest figures from the Federal Highway Administration, motorists gave state and local government $40.3 billion in 2005 for the ability to drive and own a vehicle. Gasoline taxes accounted for $20.5 billion in revenue while registration fees and miscellaneous taxes generated $13.5 billion. State and local toll roads also collected $6.4 billion from motorists.

After accounting for administration and overhead, $28.5 billion remained for all fifty states to spend in 2005. Of this amount, only $13 billion was spent on state and local road construction and maintenance.

A total of $8.9 billion of motorists' money was diverted into unrelated uses. A total of $1.4 billion went to mass transit and $7.5 billion was used for social spending. The remaining amount went to related uses such as paying down transportation debt and funding highway law enforcement.

Social spending? I don't remember authorizing that. Do you?

I remember when they proposed an Arizona Lottery. The voters were told that the money would go to roads and schools. What the voters weren't told is that if the Lottery passed, an amount equal to the Lottery contribution would be shifted out of the education and highway budget and shifted back into the general fund. It wasn't extra for roads and schools, it was replacement money for roads and schools.

In other words, a tax.

But that isn't how it was sold.

Posted Thu - January 8, 2009 at 06:29 AM  

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Mon - January 5, 2009

Your mileage may vary

A while back I told you that North Carolina wanted to tax milage.

Now it's Oregon. Also here.

Is there any justification other than they are greedy for revenue?

I can't see any.

Posted Mon - January 5, 2009 at 01:30 PM  

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Sun - December 28, 2008

Another state delivers bailout demands

First California, now Ohio.

I found this bit really telling. Emphasis added.

In Ohio, which has shed 100,000 jobs in the past year, Gov. Ted Strickland (D) and his budget team spend a lot of time delivering bad news to constituents and plotting ways to wring money from the federal government. He announced $640 million in cuts for the budget year ending June 30, for a total of $1.9 billion since the economic crisis began.

It should be obvious to anyone, but I guess it isn't.

Choices mean consequences. Good choices reward, bad choices punish.

If you remove the consequences of bad and marginal choices, then there is less reason for people to rethink their behavior. If the "right" choices mean that you have to work hard for the rewards, then there is even less reason to change.

Yes it seems harsh.

But by removing the consequences of choice, you've just made someone dependent.

Why should Ohio get to pick my pocket and raid my checking account to pay for their mistakes? Because that is what it's really about. That's what this bailout mess has become.

Theft backed with the coercive power of the Federal Government.

Do you want that?

Posted Sun - December 28, 2008 at 02:52 PM  

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Celebrity Psudeoscience - Updated

It may be seem strange for a Pagan and witch to say this, but here goes.

People need more science.

Of course , my pet causes are liberty and fighting the anthropomorphic anthropogenic global warming craze, but even outside those, the emotional arguments get all the attention.

Especially when the rich, famous, and political get involved.

When it comes to science, Barack Obama is no better than many of us. Today he joins the list of shame of those in public life who made scientifically unsupportable statements in 2008.

Closer to home, Nigella Lawson and Delia Smith faltered on the science of food, while Kate Moss, Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore all get roastings for scientific illiteracy.

The Celebrities and Science Review 2008, prepared by the group Sense About Science, identifies some of the worst examples of scientific illiteracy among those who profess to know better – including top politicians.

Read the whole piece, it's very telling.

"Ah," I can hear some of my skeptical atheist critics saying, "but how do you reconcile that with your belief in some sort of divinity and operative magick?"

(And yes, my skeptical atheist critics always speak in purple italics. Don't yours?)

I try very hard to live by a set of simple rules, one of which is "Always remember, KYFHO and MYOB." KYFHO you might already know, especially if you are a regular reader. MYOB is the flip side, Mind Your Own Business. It started for me when I first read a Jack Williamson story called The Equalizer, that was many years before the accounting software (also many years before personal computers, but we won't stress that too much).

If I want to be left alone, then I can't choose for another. Or someone will choose for me.

KYFHO protects me. MYOB protects them. See?

And as long as I don't impose my religion and magick on someone, then it really doesn't matter what my faith is, does it?

But for the record, *ahem*

I experiment, I keep records, I use what's worked in the past. It's rational, even if it is based on another set of assumptions.

It's also usually easier to do it without the esoteric. And that means I need to have a very good idea of how the world works. That's why I pay attention to things like natural cycles. That's why I study history. That's why I watch people.

That's why I live.

I'm going to finish this post with one of my hard-won humantic principles.

"In the absence of understanding, triviality dominates."

Update - Regular reader BTHO pointed out on 24Feb2010 that the correct term is anthropogenic, not anthropomorphic.

Posted at 02:39 PM  

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Sun - December 21, 2008

French government tries to hide report on electric cars

Just in case you had any doubts that political concerns will always trump the reality. Emphasis added.

The French government commissioned a report earlier this year analyzing the best options for building more efficient mass-market cars in the coming decades, but is preventing the public from reading the results. The 129-page report produced by Jean Syrota, a former French energy industry regulator, warns that the cost of all-electric cars—roughly double that of conventional cars—is not economically viable. The report also identifies limited driving range and performance, and unsatisfactory battery technology, as major obstacles.

Why does this sound familiar? Oh wait, I know.

Electric cars have a limited range and speed. To increase both, the cars have been pared down to the absolute minimum. There is some evidence that pure electric cars aren't as safe in an accident. Because the range is typically under a hundred miles and the cars take several hours to recharge, pure electrics are useless outside of city driving.

Hybrids are better, but still rely on gasoline for long trips.

And when it comes to freight, well, no one has managed to build the electric equivalent of an 18 wheeler. Without freight services, prices away from seaports would skyrocket.

At this point, an electrical plane is extremely impractical.

The technogeek in me loves the idea of an electric car, almost as much as the idea of a flying car. Four good electric motors would reduce the mechanical complexity of a car, it wouldn't need a transmission, brakes, or most of what is underneath the hood.

But that electricity has to come from somewhere, so it is not as green as you've been led to believe.

And the batteries just aren't there yet.

Posted Sun - December 21, 2008 at 02:54 PM  

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Why aren't you surprised?

Sometimes the stuff writes itself. Like this.

Headline: With economy in shambles, Congress gets a raise.

First and second paragraph:

A crumbling economy, more than 2 million constituents who have lost their jobs this year, and congressional demands of CEOs to work for free did not convince lawmakers to freeze their own pay.

Instead, they will get a $4,700 pay increase, amounting to an additional $2.5 million that taxpayers will spend on congressional salaries, and watchdog groups are not happy about it.

Just another reason why the central state is collapsing. Congress can't even maintain the appearance of responsibility.

Posted at 02:35 PM  

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Tue - December 16, 2008

Midnight regulations

Bush is putting a slew of "midnight regulations" in place.

Apparently Democrats have short memories. Clinton did the same thing (PDF).

That's the problem with big government, there's no guarantee that "your guy" will always be "in charge."

Regulate someone today, and tomorrow someone will regulate you. Take away someone's freedom, and tomorrow someone will take yours.

Better to have a government smaller than absolutely necessary.


Posted Tue - December 16, 2008 at 02:01 PM  

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Wed - December 10, 2008

Not enough to judge

Several folks have emailed me information and links about the Illinois governor. Two or three have asked if I think Obama is involved.

Why are they surprised? It's Chicago, which has practically gone down in American history as a synonym for political corruption, right up there with Tammany Hall and Watergate.

As far as I am concerned, there is not enough information out there to see if Obama has substantial links or not.

That's okay, there's plenty of other questions to examine about the Imperious Leader.

Posted Wed - December 10, 2008 at 07:11 AM  

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Wed - December 3, 2008

A role for Billy-boy

A few days ago I wrote this little piece How Keeping his enemies close will backfire on Obama. In it, I said that by making Hillary Clinton Secretary of State, Obama made Bill Clinton the consigliere, one that isn't beholden to Obama.

Looks like Billy-boy got the memo. Here's another of those infamous trial balloons, just like the ones that used to drift out of the Clinton Administration. Emphasis added.

Former President Bill Clinton says he is open to the possibility of a role in the Obama administration but said he otherwise plans to be deferential to both the president and Clinton's wife, the soon-to-be secretary of state.

Clinton could be named as a sort of super-ambassador on a specific issue like India, or on a broad topic like restoring goodwill for the United States abroad. He was deferential to President George W. Bush, accepting assignments on hurricane and tsunami relief in conjunction with the president’s father, former President George H.W. Bush.

Clinton told CNN International that he’s “just try to be a helpful sounding board” for Hillary Clinton when she becomes the nation’s chief diplomat.

“Unless he asks me to do something specific, which I'm neither looking for nor closed to,” Clinton said.

Clinton spoke in Hong Kong, where the William J. Clinton Foundation convened a Clinton Global Initiative Asia meeting with current and former heads of state from around the region.

"Change" my foot. It's just like 1992 all over again.

Posted Wed - December 3, 2008 at 02:50 PM  

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Tue - December 2, 2008

The President To Be (watch me laughing)

What is it with Obama and all the flags on stage? I can't look at him without laughing. It's another version of wrapping himself in the flag. Not just once but over and over and over...

Or maybe of saying "Mine is bigger than yours." Is he overcompensating?

This business of press conferences from the "Office of the President Elect" is troubling. He's not President until January 20th, and he can't officially do diddley-squat until then.

At least he's not still a Senator.

I'm still going to call him "Imperious Leader". At least until his actions show he's worth something more.

Hey, I called Clinton "Billy-boy" (look closely at the lyrics). I called Bush the first "Shrubbery" ("Shrub" just wasn't pretentious enough). I don't think I ever really developed a nickname for Bush the second.

Posted Tue - December 2, 2008 at 02:01 PM  

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"Bailout" costs 8.5 trillion - SO FAR

Here's the article.

Here's the graphic.

I don't know what else to say.

Posted at 01:18 PM  

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Mon - December 1, 2008

New New Deal could prolong the crash.

George Will looks hard at the mistakes the Obama Presidency could make. Emphasis added.

The assumption is that the New Deal vanquished the Depression. Intelligent, informed people differ about why the Depression lasted so long. But people whose recipe for recovery today is another New Deal should remember that America's biggest industrial collapse occurred in 1937, eight years after the 1929 stock market crash and nearly five years into the New Deal. In 1939, after a decade of frantic federal spending -- President Herbert Hoover increased it more than 50 percent between 1929 and the inauguration of Franklin Roosevelt -- unemployment was 17.2 percent.

"I say after eight years of this administration we have just as much unemployment as when we started," lamented Henry Morgenthau, FDR's Treasury secretary. Unemployment declined when America began selling materials to nations engaged in a war America would soon join.

In "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression," Amity Shlaes of the Council on Foreign Relations and Bloomberg News argues that government policies, beyond the Federal Reserve's tight money, deepened and prolonged the Depression. The policies included encouraging strong unions and higher wages than lagging productivity justified, on the theory that workers' spending would be stimulative. Instead, corporate profits -- prerequisites for job-creating investments -- were excessively drained into labor expenses that left many workers priced out of the market.

You should definitely go read. Go ahead, I'll be here when you get back.

Oh, and just for the record, the mess at the end of the 1970s and in 1982 were both worse than what we have now.

Posted Mon - December 1, 2008 at 01:44 PM  

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Tue - November 25, 2008

Citicorp's donations

Oh my.

This doesn't come from one of my usual sources. That being said, I checked. The numbers are right on.

AND IF EVER THERE was a company that didn't deserve a bailout, it's Citigroup, a Big Government lovers' bank that funds just about every trendy left-wing cause in America.

Long before it started drowning in red ink, the poster child for so-called corporate social responsibility was a longtime donor to left-wing pressure groups such as Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and Henry Paulson's Nature Conservancy. In tax year 2003, Citigroup's foundation gave 20 times more money to groups on the left than to groups on the right, according to Capital Research Center's 2006 study of Fortune 100 foundation giving. (Foundation Watch, August 2006). 

Citigroup's foundation has given a staggering $1.4 million to the alarmist World Resources Institute, as well as $509,000 to ACORN in recent years. The ACORN funding included a $500,000 grant to ACORN's American Institute for Social Justice, which offers Saul Alinsky-style training in community organizing. Other donations to liberal groups include the Aspen Institute ($762,500), Rainbow/PUSH ($750,000), Nature Conservancy ($380,000), Rainforest Alliance ($200,000), and the Council on Foreign Relations ($50,000).

The company's 7th Annual Citizenship Report is a dazzling compendium of all the supposed good works Citigroup claims to be doing -- with its shareholders' money. It includes reports on its commitment to diversity and to "sustainable" economic development, along with friendly greetings from Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, the enviro-leftist investment network, and Janet Murguia, head of the liberal National Council of La Raza.

Now, none of this matters as long as Citicorp remains a private entity. But once it receives bailout money, it effectively becomes a public entity. Considering that ACORN alone is still under FBI investigation for election shenanigans, I would look very carefully at that list.

It raises some interesting questions. Does a company only get bailed out if it has donated to the right political causes?

Somehow the shit just keeps getting deeper.

Posted Tue - November 25, 2008 at 02:16 PM  

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Mon - November 24, 2008

Why do these bailout deals always take place on the weekend late at night?

Because the politicos don't want you to know until it's too late to object.

The latest, Citicorp.

By my math, that makes it around 7.2 trillion dollars of bailout.

Remember, the Gross Domestic Product in 2006 was only 13.3 trillion dollars.

Think about that for just a moment.

In four months time, the government has committed more than half of your annual income to a failing bailout plan that will make things worse. Much, much worse.

With interest rates, there's not enough in the Federal budget to service all that debt. Not to mention all the other things that the FedGov is supposed to provide.

The centralized state is falling apart.

Posted Mon - November 24, 2008 at 04:03 PM  

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Fri - November 21, 2008

How keeping his enemies close will backfire on Obama

I think nominating Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is a mistake.

Hillary comes with a very large bit of luggage named Bill.

By making Hillary the official conduit for foreign policy, Bill becomes the unofficial conduit, An unofficial conduit that is plugged into the Democrat Party Machine, and the remains of his own political machine.

This is going to cost Obama big time, and most of it won't make the headlines.

Bill just became the consigliere, one who isn't all that beholden to Obama. And Bill plays the political game much better than Obama. Since Bill doesn't have to be in the public eye, he's got an advantage.

Or maybe that is what Obama is counting on. Still, I don't think he's got the strength to ride herd on Bill.

It certainly doesn't say a lot that is good about Hillary. She was a power in the Senate, she's going to be a water carrier as Secretary of State.

Posted Fri - November 21, 2008 at 02:03 PM  

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Thu - November 20, 2008

Passing observation

More stuff later today I promise.

But for right now, is it just me or is there an awful lot of former Clinton Administration staff around Obama?

Mighty strange for someone who ran on "Change."

Posted Thu - November 20, 2008 at 08:34 AM  

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Wed - November 19, 2008

Is it REALLY a conspiracy?

I'm getting a little tired of these Obama birth certificate rumors. Here's one of the latest.

I'm a conspiracy guy. Looking at the JFK assassination is one of the things that got me really interested in history.

I'm also a guy who doesn't think Obama would make a very good President. No matter what happens, come January 20th there is still going to be someone in the White House who doesn't really belong there.

But for the birth certificate to be fake, at least two major Hawaii state officials would have to be lying under oath. That's a felony under state law, probably under Federal law as well. Depending on the circumstances, it could also be treason.

Where's the payoff? Obama as President couldn't pardon them of charges under the state law, and there is no way in Hades that anyone would trust them again, especially in public service.

I just don't see it happening. There are too many loose ends.

Posted Wed - November 19, 2008 at 07:20 AM  

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Fri - November 7, 2008

"Office of the President-Elect" speaks. All hail the Imperious Leader!

That phrase in the title is from the podium sign at Obama's press conference. And his spanking new web-site.

The demagoguery is officially beginning. As are the imperious commands.

Obama's service plan is just as troubling.  He wants to mandate 50 hours of community service per year for middle and high school students.  And he's offering a $4,000 federal-funded tuition credit in exchange for 100 hours per year from college students.  For most students, the latter will become a mandatory part of getting a degree, as colleges will merely raise their tuition to compensate for the vouchers.

So who gets to decide what constitutes "community service"?  Who gets to decide which causes and organizations will be credit-worthy, and which ones won't?

And you thought the Faith Based Initiative was bad. Just in case you are wondering where the Imperious Leader stands on faith, he's polite enough to tell you. All hail the Imperious Leader! Emphasis added.

In June of 2006, Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate. In December, 2006, Senator Obama discussed the importance of faith in the global battle against AIDS.

You can't be universal and pluralistic at the same time. But maybe the President-elect is wise enough to find a way. He's not showing it yet though. Do you think you will have to have your concerns approved before you can talk about them? It certainly seems that way from the phrasing, doesn't it? What if there is a religious concern that isn't universal? Will you be allowed to talk about that?

Ladies and gentlemen, the President-elect wants to rule by decree.

Liberals pretend that only President Bush is preventing the U.S. from adopting some global warming "solution." But occasionally their mask slips. As Barack Obama's energy adviser has now made clear, the would-be President intends to blackmail -- or rather, greenmail -- Congress into falling in line with his climate agenda.

Jason Grumet is currently executive director of an outfit called the National Commission on Energy Policy and one of Mr. Obama's key policy aides. In an interview last week with Bloomberg, Mr. Grumet said that come January the Environmental Protection Agency "would initiate those rulemakings" that classify carbon as a dangerous pollutant under current clean air laws. That move would impose new regulation and taxes across the entire economy, something that is usually the purview of Congress. Mr. Grumet warned that "in the absence of Congressional action" 18 months after Mr. Obama's inauguration, the EPA would move ahead with its own unilateral carbon crackdown anyway.

Well, well. For years, Democrats -- including Senator Obama -- have been howling about the "politicization" of the EPA, which has nominally been part of the Bush Administration. The complaint has been that the White House blocked EPA bureaucrats from making the so-called "endangerment finding" on carbon. Now it turns out that a President Obama would himself wield such a finding as a political bludgeon. He plans to issue an ultimatum to Congress: Either impose new taxes and limits on carbon that he finds amenable, or the EPA carbon police will be let loose to ravage the countryside.

I couldn't get through the ethics page without laughing, considering Obama's and Biden's history.

If I had told people about this before the election, they wouldn't have believed me.

The alternative wouldn't have been better though.

Ladies and Gentlemen, your freedom is at stake. Choose liberty or choose to serve.

Posted Fri - November 7, 2008 at 01:49 PM  

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Wed - November 5, 2008

The new day

There are two really good things that came out of this election.

The race card is gone. Individual racism will always exist, but the United States is not a racist nation. That's going to take some adjustment for some. The days of a near automatic trump by collective guilt are over and done with. This election will fulfill the real promises of the civil rights movement stretching back to the Revolution. No barriers because of skin color, but no special benefits either. Dr. King would have been proud, from now on it's about the content of their character.

The second thing is the only reason I supported Palin. The Republicans invoked the Everyman Myth, and neither party has any idea what the long term will bring. But I do. Right now, all over the country there are people thinking that maybe one person can make a difference. In about four or five months, some of those people will look at Congress and other elected officials and think one thing, "I can do better than THAT!" The political parties can't neutralize them all, and some stand a pretty good chance of getting elected all the way up to Congress.

Not a victory for freedom, but not a total defeat either.

The KYFHO gambit continues and the pieces are still in play.

Posted Wed - November 5, 2008 at 03:17 PM  

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Sun - November 2, 2008

About those Obama birth certificate rumors

As much as I would like Obama (and McCain) removed from the Presidential race, the birth certificate challenge doesn't hold water.

"There have been numerous requests for Sen. Barack Hussein Obama’s official birth certificate. State law (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes §338-18) prohibits the release of a certified birth certificate to persons who do not have a tangible interest in the vital record," DOH Director Dr. Chiyome Fukino said.

Fukino said she and the registrar of vital statistics, Alvin Onaka, have personally verified that the health department holds Obama's original birth certificate.

"Therefore, I as Director of Health for the State of Hawai‘i, along with the Registrar of Vital Statistics who has statutory authority to oversee and maintain these type of vital records, have personally seen and verified that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has Sen. Obama’s original birth certificate on record in accordance with state policies and procedures," Fukino said.

Fukino said that no state official, including Gov. Linda Lingle, ever instructed that Obama's certificate be handled differently from any other.

There you go, that's about as official as we're likely to get before the election.

Remember, I don't like either major candidate and I think we need a None of The Above. That makes me reasonably impartial, at least in this circumstance.

Hat tip seshen from my Live Journal friends list.

Posted Sun - November 2, 2008 at 06:49 AM  

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Thu - October 30, 2008

Today's lesson in practical politics

I'm a political junkie and I am ready for this election to be over.

No matter who wins the White House, taxes are going up.

No matter who wins the White House, spending is going up.

No matter who wins the White House, Iraq will still be there.

No matter who wins the White House, the Federal Government will continue it's hostile takeover of Wall Street.

No matter who wins the White House, you can expect the sequel of the Wall Street takeover in about two years. Most of the groundwork will already be laid, and the takeover of Main Street will follow.

No matter who wins the White House, the FedGovs will still take away your freedom.

No matter who wins the White House, things are going to get worse.

No matter who wins the White House, the Democrats and the Republicans will both tell you that they can save the United States.

Any questions?

Posted Thu - October 30, 2008 at 01:11 PM  

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Wed - October 29, 2008

"Like, we would have done it two years ago but those grody-to-the-max Republicans stopped us"

The title of this post isn't exactly what Nancy Pelosi said.

Nope. It was worse.

"Elect us, hold us accountable, and make a judgment and then go from there. But I do tell you that if the Democrats win, and have substantial majorities, Congress of the United States will be more bipartisan," said Pelosi.

Is there anything that the Democrat leadership in Congress has done in the last two years that makes you think they will be more bipartisan?

Do you think that if the Democrats make substantial gains in Congress, they will even deign to speak to the Republicans?

Posted Wed - October 29, 2008 at 01:06 PM  

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Sun - October 26, 2008

The Democrats want you dependent

I've suspected it for years, but this election is making it clear.

The Democrats want you dependent.

Take this.

After the November election, Democrats will push for a second economic stimulus package that includes money for the states' stalled infrastructure projects, along with help paying for healthcare expenses, food stamps and extended unemployment benefits, U.S. Rep. Barney Frank said Thursday.

In a meeting with the editorial board of The Standard-Times, Rep. Frank, D-Mass., also called for a 25 percent cut in military spending, saying the Pentagon has to start choosing from its many weapons programs, and that upper-income taxpayers are going to see an increase in what they are asked to pay.

Notice the one thing that isn't mentioned.

Across the board tax cuts.

What's the one economic stimulus that works every single time it's tried?

Across the board tax cuts.

Of course, Frank isn't the only one.

And it's pretty evident that the Democrats don't want you saving either.

According to the Democrat playbook, it's only good if it comes from government.

They've conditioned entire generations to expect that the government will fix their problems.

Never mind that almost every single government benefit program has failed miserably. Never mind that government social engineering almost always makes things worse. And never mind that those programs are always subject to political whim.

They're stealing your money to buy your votes.

Their stealing your freedom to stay elected.

Why do people believe when government fails so often?

Posted Sun - October 26, 2008 at 01:44 PM  

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Fri - October 24, 2008

The Democrats keep bringing back these zombie ideas...

Senator Jeff Bingaman wants to bring back the Fairness Doctorine. Emphasis added.

The mild-mannered, soft-spoken Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., continues to be in the middle of a conservative firestorm over his remarks to 770 KKOB Radio host Jim Villanucci on Wednesday in which he called for a return to the so-called Fairness Doctrine.

The doctrine, which required broadcasters to balance opposing viewpoints on the air waves, was dumped toward the end of the Reagan years and led the way to unabashedly partisan radio commentators like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage and ... Jim Villanucci.

Limbaugh had fun with the Bingaman comments on his own three-hour radio show Wednesday.
And (founded in 1998 by the right-leaning Media Research Center's L. Brent Bozell III), actually printed a transcript of the exchange between Bingaman and Villanucci.

In an interview Wednesday, Villanucci told that Bingaman was adamant about the need to balance conservative voices with liberals on the airwaves – and that his listeners called for four hours to oppose such a move.

One thing that politicos don't like admitting is that there was less political debate when the Fairness Doctrine was in place, except for local topics.

Think about it.

Do you actually want Congress deciding what is "balanced?" What happened to changing the station?

I don't like the radio. A little country goes a long way, and frankly a song isn't good if you have to see the video with naked women to remember the words. That's why I use an iPod.

Considering how the unofficial quotas the the EEOC keeps pushing, I can just imagine how this will unfold.

Let people decide for themselves. Free speech is free speech. It's not "balanced" or "fair" or even accurate.

The Republicans aren't innocent on this either, McCain-Feingold is just the best known example.

Posted Fri - October 24, 2008 at 11:38 AM  

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Wed - October 22, 2008

Obama fudges the numbers

Never mind that a progressive tax system is socialistic by it.s very nature (read your Marx). Never mind that it undermines the uniform rule of law.

Let's assume for the moment that there might actually be some good that could come out of Obama's tax plan.

So why can't he be honest about it? Emphasis added.

Obama claims that his plan would only hurt 3% of small businesses. But this is highly deceptive. He isn’t lying, but the reports that he cites mean something very specific. They do not mean that 97% of small businesses won’t see higher taxes under Obama’s plan than they see today. Nor do they mean that these businesses would not see higher taxes under Obama’s plan than under McCain’s plan. All the statistic means when is that most businesses would not see higher taxes under Obama’s plan than they would see if the Bush Tax Cuts expire as they are scheduled to do in 2011, absent any new vote on them.

So, the statistic just means Obama’s plan isn’t an even bigger tax hike for most businesses than one which we can choose to introduce in 2011 by not renewing the current tax levels.

But Obama implies that he is extending enough of the Bush Tax Cuts that compared to them, he would not be raising taxes on 97% of business.But this isn’t the case. About 35% of small businesses would likely see a tax hike under Obama’s plan compared to the rates they face today. Comparing the Obama plan with the Bush tax cuts that are currently in place, those small businesses with incomes in the top quintile and especially in the top 5% had higher average marginal rates. A disproportionate number of businesses fall into that category. For those few at the very top, the rates would be even more punitive.

It's a page from the old Democrat playbook. Your money isn't yours until the Democrat politicos have given it to you.

Not that the Republicans are much better these days.

Forget the rebate or the stimulus or whatever it is being called these days. Lower taxes and don't put in a sunset clause.

Posted Wed - October 22, 2008 at 02:08 PM  

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Sat - October 18, 2008

I'd like to know...

...why in 48 hours we know about tax liens that "Joe the Plumber" has, but after two years it took the pressure of a Presidential election and some very vocal people to get most of the media to look at Bill Ayers, ACORN, and Obama's other connections.

Look, I'm not shilling for the Republicans. Regular readers know I think John McCain should be arrested. I just want to know why the major media outlets refuse to give the Democrats more than a fraction of the research that they drag every Republican candidate through.

I can handle advocacy journalism as long as it doesn't promise to be "impartial."

Posted Sat - October 18, 2008 at 01:45 PM  

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Sun - October 12, 2008

Bribe the politicos and they might leave you alone

I thought this was interesting.

Eighteen Libertarian candidates for Congress in California today issued a joint statement opposing the current financial bailout and asking whether the votes for it were openly bought with campaign contributions. The candidates released a table of data (below) from, which shows that the bailout votes of the Libertarian candidates' incumbent opponents correlate with 2008 campaign contributions from PACs in the finance, insurance, and real estate industries to the incumbents.

If campaign contributions DID buy votes for the bailout, then that is another proof that we have crossed from the free market to merchantilism. Crony capitalism. The people who grease the politico palms are the ones who get special treatment from the government.

The question is, what are you going to do about it?

Meanwhile the hostile takeover of Wall Street continues. The Treasury Department is threatening to take over banks, whether they want to be taken over or not. All for the "common good" of course. Officially, the FedGovs aren't seriously considering nationalize banks. Supposedly. But that is the weekend's story, it will probably change by next week.

Here's the truth.

Government can't "manage" the crisis. Every time it tries, things get worse. Economies can't be centrally managed, that just drives cashflow from the official economy to the underground economies.

Cash wants to be flow freely.

Posted Sun - October 12, 2008 at 03:04 PM  

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Mon - October 6, 2008

Why are the Democrats escaping?

This one is going to get misunderstood.

I am NOT defending the Bush Administration OR the Republican Party.

I just want the Democrats to take their share of the blame. And I am not the only one.

Thomas Sowell points out that the Democrats are escaping.

The current financial bailout crisis has propelled Barack Obama back into a substantial lead over John McCain-- which is astonishing in view of which man and which party has had the most to do with bringing on this crisis.
It raises the question: Do facts matter? Or is Obama's rhetoric and the media's spin enough to make facts irrelevant?

Fact Number One: It was liberal Democrats, led by Senator Christopher Dodd and Congressman Barney Frank, who for years-- including the present year-- denied that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were taking big risks that could lead to a financial crisis.

It was Senator Dodd, Congressman Frank and other liberal Democrats who for years refused requests from the Bush administration to set up an agency to regulate Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It was liberal Democrats, again led by Dodd and Frank, who for years pushed for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to go even further in promoting subprime mortgage loans, which are at the heart of today's financial crisis.

Alan Greenspan warned them four years ago. So did the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers to the President. So did Bush's Secretary of the Treasury, five years ago.

Yet, today, what are we hearing? That it was the Bush administration "right-wing ideology" of "de-regulation" that set the stage for the financial crisis. Do facts matter?

We also hear that it is the free market that is to blame. But the facts show that it was the government that pressured financial institutions in general to lend to subprime borrowers, with such things as the Community Reinvestment Act and, later, threats of legal action by then Attorney General Janet Reno if the feds did not like the statistics on who was getting loans and who wasn't.

The Republicans aren't the only guilty ones here. At least they tried to reform things.

The real problem is government and social engineering.

KYFHO now and forever. It's the only way to fix it. As long as government controls it, no one will be responsible.

Ask yourself what you really want.

Posted Mon - October 6, 2008 at 02:40 PM  

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Going to the people

Victor Davis Hanson makes an important point that most of the media is deliberately overlooking.

Sophisticates would rather listen to the six-term Senator Biden suavely and masterfully mislead (on everything from the legislative responsibilities of the Vice President and confusion about Article I of the Constitution to Hezbollah in Lebanon) than to an honest and sincere Palin speak directly to the people. Everyone else would not.

So yes, Biden sounded the more impressive in terms of recall and facts, but it was the transitory experience of a mint that melts almost instantaneously — once you realize that almost all of the sweeping sweet assertions you just heard were, on reflection, simply untrue and so now gone and forgotten. The story today is an embarrassing fact-checking of Biden’s bombast to a far greater degree than is true of Palin’s assertions.

Listening to Biden was like hearing a probate lawyer who pounds you with facts and figures to convince you why his fee is larger than the size of the estate, expecting that you will leave the office reluctantly convinced, depressed, and broke, even as you realize that all his talents were put to no good use.

So the debate had the character of one of those 1940s “champ” fight movies, in which the deft, cocky and more refined puncher beats up — at the beginning — the nervous sweaty challenger with the far greater heart. A man with three decades in the Senate, who reminds us ad nauseam of where he was and what he has done almost every second, in theory should have easily won; but this simply did not happen, in part due to Palin’s charisma and Biden’s pontifications and distortions.

Palin and Biden were playing to different audiences, and I think Palin won.

Sarah Palin is the "everyperson" candidate. I don't agree with her, but the Republicans have invoked the myth that "anyone can be President." She's the one that will wedge the elections wide open. That's why Palin is important.

Me personally, I want "None of the Above."

Or maybe Kent McManigal. He's just as much an "everyperson" candidate as Palin, and he's a libertarian besides. Here's his site, BTW.

Under the present mess, you're only allowed a Republican or a Democrat. When both choices are bad, it's time to walk away.


Posted at 02:26 PM  

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Sun - October 5, 2008

Somebody please tell me

...why Palin's church and McCain's church are dangerous and Obama's church isn't.

Why you are at it, can you tell me why I keep reading about Palin's church but any mention of Obama's former church is buried?

Posted Sun - October 5, 2008 at 01:33 PM  

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Sat - October 4, 2008

Why every election needs a "None Of The Above"

Something to think about.

The Democrats like to think of themselves as the party of the little guy,

The Republicans like to think of themselves as the party of fiscal restraint.

Both conspired to launch a hostile takeover of Wall Street.

It's the voters that are screwed.

Thanks to party machinations stretching back decades, it's virtually impossible for any third party or independent candidate to get on enough ballots to seriously challenge the Big Two.

Voters need a defense while the major parties need competion.

Demand "None Of The Above."

Posted Sat - October 4, 2008 at 06:49 AM  

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Fri - October 3, 2008

"They blew it up"

Yep, they passed it.

Look at the pork buried in the bill. Those are just the top ten according to one watchdog group.

Wooden arrows? Film and television production?

Should we hunt the Congress down and film it?

It's official, low 401k returns now require a useless vote of Congress.

And economic truth has been sacrificed to politics.

Posted Fri - October 3, 2008 at 01:00 PM  

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Mon - September 29, 2008

House tells Paulson "No blank check for you"

Up until Speaker Pelosi's speech, I thought that the bailout was going to pass.

I'm grinning.

We got through that one.

She couldn't stop the Bush bashing even to push the much vaunted bailout plan. Proving once again that a politico's worst enemy is herself. Especially a Democrat politico.

But there are a couple a quick points.

The bailout didn't fail because the House took a stand. The bailout failed because Pelosi angered enough Representatives, including those in her own Party. The attitude that brought this mess is still there. If it weren't for the politics, the bailout could have passed. No one, not even the House Republicans, is willing to let the free market fix itself.

Thus the centralized states stumbles ever closer to it's own demise.

Second, that 777 point drop. It's the biggest going by points, sure, but the Dow average is still very high which means it's not the highest in absolute terms. By my math, that 777 points equals about a 7% drop, which most of the press isn't telling you. The other thing they aren't telling you is that single day fluctuations don't always mean trends. Talk to me on Friday business close and we'll get an idea of the impact. Even that is stock price, not company performance. The two are not the same.

Finally, we're not over this quite yet. The Fed is still pumping money into the economy. Some companies have already gotten their bailout. That will still make things worse.

KYFHO now and forever. It's the only way I know to deal with a power hungry government.

Posted Mon - September 29, 2008 at 04:10 PM  

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Sun - September 28, 2008

Political questions about the bailout

I want to wrap up this bailout coverage.

Now the bailout fallout coverage, that I'll be writing about for years...

Seriously though, there are some political questions that should be asked.

What's the rush?

This is probably the most important one. A big part of the answer is that no politico wants this to be a part of the election debate this season, especially if they are an incumbent. But another part of the answer is that Congress doesn't want you to take too close a look.

Why do the Democrats need the Republicans if they have a majority in both houses of Congress?

I think Rush Limbaugh asked this one first. The Democrats want to spread the blame and shift as much of it as they can to the Republican side of the aisle, especially since it is "social democracy" that is largely responsible for the problems?

Why isn't anyone talking about the third alternative, DOING NOTHING?

Because that would show the American People that the free market can take care of itself as long as government doesn't get involved.

Posted Sun - September 28, 2008 at 04:46 PM  

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Wed - September 24, 2008

Democrats blackmail Jewish non-profit groups

My oh my.

This explains a lot.

Isn't this the sort of censorship that the Democrats accuse the Bush Administration of doing?

If the groups invited Hillary Clinton and she turned them down because she didn't want to share a stage with Sarah Palin, how is that the Jewish groups fault?

Why threaten their tax-exempt status?

To me, that just shows another danger of accepting tax exempt status in the first place. What the government giveth, politicos can taketh away if they don't like what you are doing.

Posted Wed - September 24, 2008 at 01:16 PM  

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Tue - September 23, 2008

Ron Paul and the Christianist - UPDATED

Almost every time I'm told that Ron Paul deserves my support because of libertarian principles, something like this happens. Paul's a populist. Some of his ideas are good, but the whole "Christian America" thing rubs me the wrong way for obvious reasons. I've talked about it before, but it keeps coming up.

Just because I am Pagan doesn't mean that I "hate" Christians. I was raised on the edge of an evangelical tradition, I even studied to be a Methodist minister for a short time. I have friends from many different faiths. The beliefs don't matter. How you treat others does.

I personally don't care what god or what church you choose,

Just don't expect me to live by the "rules" of your choice.

Morals and ethics don't depend on faith. Pardon me, but I said it very well before.

Matters of faith are a personal choice, they should never be public policy. Would you like me to tell you how to worship your god? Why should government have the power to dictate an individual's faith and practices?

So where does that leave us? Without an absolute moral standard revealed in a holy book or proclaimed by someone touched by the Divine, how should we decide which laws are good and which laws are bad?

We're left with a simple idea that has worked so far. If I don't want someone forcing me what to believe, it's in my best interests to make sure that no one forces you what to believe either. People can try to persuade you, but force is a big no-no.

Christians know the idea as the Golden Rule, but various Ethics of Reciprocity predate Christianity by quite a bit. Don't do it if you don't want it done to you.

Faith imposed is no faith at all. If a belief system can't compete without the threat of force, then it doesn't deserve to exist.

Remember that. Faith imposed is no faith at all.

What other religious freedom even exists?

It's one of those things I talk about a lot.

It is that old Ethic of Reciprocity again. Don't do it to anyone else if you don't want it done to you. One of the oldest and truest rules in human history. No matter what your beliefs are, if you want to be free to believe as you choose, you absolutely must let others have the same right. Even if your beliefs demand that everyone else is wrong.

If it doesn't inflict measurable harm, then government has no business prohibiting it. If the law is not about measurable harm, then it probably has a religious basis.

Live free or die.

I knew I wrote this piece this before. I did a better job then too.

Posted Tue - September 23, 2008 at 02:35 PM  

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Spare me the "racial" politics

One thing that is really growing tiresome is this "vote for Obama or you are racist." I know that's being aimed at folks in the American South, but that is where my family is from.

First, there is only one race, HUMAN. By any biological definition, that's pretty much it.

Using the logic that's being tossed around, there is no difference between Jimmy Carter and David Duke.

I beg to differ.

I wouldn't vote for either, but I would go to a BBQ picnic with Jimmy.

As a red-blooded American Pagan, I can say with some authority that while there are (lovely and amazing) INDIVIDUAL differences among human females, skin color makes no difference in a lady's intelligence, personality, passion, or politics.

Or how nice she tastes, for that matter.

You might as well say that all blacks should have supported Clarence Thomas because he's "black." We know that's not what happened. Skin color falls down when it comes to ideology. Going by the liberal talking points, some aren't "really black."

I'm not saying that there aren't tensions. There are.

I am saying that there are many more important reasons than skin color. That's why I'd share a meal with Mr. Carter and would shun Mr. Duke. It has to do with that thing that Dr. King called "the content of their character." Pretending that ONLY skin color makes a difference is insulting.

Posted at 02:07 PM  

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Tue - September 16, 2008

Can't believe their eyes

I wasn't going to say much about the McCain photoshop thing. The man's not my candidate, and frankly I think the photographer is unstable. But this bit caught my eye. Emphasis added.

...Yet what a fool Greenberg is to tempt fate when the contest is indeed so close, and what fools are the substantial numbers of commenters to early reports of the story who supported her action. Do they really not see that when they mock McCain for trusting Greenberg they suggest that people like them are not to be trusted? That when they boast of having manipulated the media they confirm that they do manipulate the media? Do they not see that when they fault McCain or the Atlantic for being so naive as to employ a Democrat as photographer, they give the voters reason to believe that they might be naive to employ a Democrat as President?

Most Americans are nice people and pride themselves on their civility. When they see this kind of slanderous attack again and again without any real justification, they empathize with the target, not the attacker. After a while, they will ignore any further attacks OR criticisms made by the attacker because the attacks are mean spirited and haven't been right so far. So the target comes out looking better and better while the attackers look worse.

It happened with Bush before Katrina.

It's a big part of Sarah Palin's appeal, as I have discussed before.

And now it is happening to McCain.

At this rate, the Democrat fringe will make sure the Republicans win the Presidency.

Posted Tue - September 16, 2008 at 02:32 PM  

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Obama broke U.S. law and tried secret negotiations with Iraq

The New York Post reports some disturbing news.

WHILE campaigning in public for a speedy withdrawal of US troops from Iraq, Sen. Barack Obama has tried in private to persuade Iraqi leaders to delay an agreement on a draw-down of the American military presence.

According to Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Obama made his demand for delay a key theme of his discussions with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad in July.

"He asked why we were not prepared to delay an agreement until after the US elections and the formation of a new administration in Washington," Zebari said in an interview.

Obama insisted that Congress should be involved in negotiations on the status of US troops - and that it was in the interests of both sides not to have an agreement negotiated by the Bush administration in its "state of weakness and political confusion."

First and foremost, this is illegal. Only the President can negotiate with other nations. This makes sense, you can't have 535 Congressmen and Senators, each with their own agenda, at the table. Granted, this law is often honored only in breech, the U.S. Department of State has done end runs around sitting Presidents for decades, and Speaker of the House Pelosi has tried to do the "shadow government" bit and hold her own negotiations.

It also fails the old parity test. There is no way Obama or any of the Democrat leadership would sit quietly by and let this happen to a lame duck Democrat President.

George Bush is President until January 20, Congress can't limit his powers. Remember, Bill Clinton was issuing pardons and Executive Orders up to the last minute.

So here are questions for your consideration. Why should you trust a man who was telling the American public one thing while trying to secretly and illegally negotiate for something else? Even as he attempted to circumvent the chain of command? In wartime, aren't these acts of treason?

Not that McCain is much better.

Why isn't this getting better coverage?

Obama is denying it. But look closer at the wording. Emphasis added.

In fact, Obama had told the Iraqis that they should not rush through a "Strategic Framework Agreement" governing the future of US forces until after President George W. Bush leaves office, she said.

In the face of resistance from Bush, the Democrat has long said that any such agreement must be reviewed by the US Congress as it would tie a future administration's hands on Iraq.

Just so you know, that pesky piece of paper that we call the Constitution says that the President negotiates with the advice and consent of the Senate, not the Congress. By law and by custom, it's the Senate that ratifies treaties and agreements, but it is the President who negotiates.

Can you imagine the can of worms this would open up?

Say that Obama does get elected. Doubtful, I know, but it could happen. Under those circumstances, why couldn't McCain tell anyone that since Obama is only in office for a couple of years, Congress needs to be involved because any treaties would tie the hands of a future administration? After all, if it's true for eight months it's true for four years.

That's the parity test for you.

Posted at 12:34 PM  

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Sun - September 14, 2008

"We're Gonna Frickin' Lose This Thing"

Adam McKay is right here, but not for the reasons he thinks. The Democrats are going to lose the Presidency (again) and I don't think they'll do so well with Congress either. Let's look at his worries.

Something is not right. We have a terrific candidate and a terrific VP candidate. We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history. Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds, yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science? That's not odd as a difference of opinion, that's logically and mathematically queer.

The disconnect between the Democrat elites and the rest of the country is a big part of why they can't sell their message.

"We're coming off the worst eight years in our country's history." - Except we're not. Even with the mortgage meltdown, most Americans are financially better off than they were in 1999. I will add that this is largely in spite of the FedGovs and not because of any grand master plan. In fact, the Democrats have tried to convince the nation it's in a depression since the Bush tax cuts. It's amazing that we don't feel far worse about it. By most other measures, we're far ahead too.

"Six of those eight years the Congress, White House and even the Supreme Court were controlled by the Republicans..." - The Supreme Court wasn't "controlled" by Republicans for the last six years. Roberts wasn't nominated as Chief Justice until 2005. O'Conner didn't retire until 2006.

"...and the last two years the R's have filibustered like tantrum throwing 4-year-olds..." As opposed to the Democrat actions? I remember what happened after the "Republican Revolution" during the Clinton Administration. I also remember all those Bush judicial nominees who never made it out of committee. Neither party is pure here.

"...yet we're going to elect a Republican who voted with that leadership 90% of the time and a former sportscaster who wants to teach Adam and Eve as science?" The only argument that matters in this quote is the bit about wanting to teach Adam and Eve as science. I've yet to see any proof that is what Sarah Palin wants. Lot's of codswallop, plenty of accusations, but no proof.

I don't think that McCain and Palin are going to save America. I do think that Obama is losing the election, but I think the disconnect is the reason why.

Posted Sun - September 14, 2008 at 01:46 PM  

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Tue - September 9, 2008

Barney Frank robbed YOU

I'm quoting twice from the same Wall Street Journal opinion article in this entry. Both illustrate exactly why government can't be trusted with the free market or anything that "controls" the free market.

There you have the Fannie Mae problem in profile. Mr. Frank wants you to pick up the tab for its failures, while he still vows to block a reform that might prevent the same disaster from happening again.

Now in the free market, if there were a problem with the product, the original company would either fix it or their competition would and outsell the first company. While individual companies may lose out, over time the buyers get the best value for their buck because competition insures that today's products are better, cheaper, faster, and stronger.

There's no such incentive in politics.

Emphasis added in this one.

In January of last year, Mr. Frank also noted one reason he liked Fannie and Freddie so much: They were subject to his political direction. Contrasting Fan and Fred with private-sector mortgage financers, he noted, "I can ask Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to show forbearance" in a housing crisis. That is to say, because Fannie and Freddie are political creatures, Mr. Frank believed they would do his bidding.

There it is in black and white. Or at least Tungsten and white, according to my iMac.

The "privately owned, government sponsored" companies responded to political imperatives instead of what made financial sense.

Even worse, these multi-billion dollar firms were at the beck and call of one (count him, ONE) Congressman.

Let's sum up.

The original agency was built expressly to circumvent the mortgage market.

It was partially privatized, which ALWAYS gives the worst features of public AND private.

A secondary agency was created for those "special" needs, also partially privatized.

A group of Congressmen used both agencies as political piggy banks to disperse favors.

The solution is going to be more of the same, and it will mean that the "companies" will be shielded even more from the free market and public scrutiny.

Any questions?

Posted Tue - September 9, 2008 at 12:15 PM  

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Sun - September 7, 2008

Palin rumors - Updated AGAIN

Unless something changes radically, I don't think there is any more to the Sarah Palin story. I've given my reasons that I am going to write her in. Mostly because she could turn the election system on it's ear, but also because she has more character and integrity than McCain, Obama, and Biden combined.

Not that those three unworthies have all that much.

Fortunately, someone has already started tracking down the Palin rumors, so I am not even going to do that.

Now Biden I am going to talk about, but not today. It's a beautiful bright sunshiney day, and if you think I'm going to ignore a certain pretty lady and sit typing on a computer keyboard, you're nuts.

Update - Regular reader (and fellow blogger) Dyre42 doesn't like Palin , but shows character looking hard at the half truths.

Even Newsweek got into the act separating fact from attack.

Again, I personally am not defending Sarah Palin. I think her biggest contribution to American politics is going to be as a monkey wrench in the party machines. I don't agree with her on anything except the need for a smaller government. But I think it's long past the time when we need an "everyone" (as opposed to an "everyman") candidate.

That's why I'm voting for her. I don't expect her to "save us." I expect her to push "the system" twelve steps closer to collapse so we can pick up the pieces.

Second update - The complete transcript of the Gibson interview can be found here.

Posted Sun - September 7, 2008 at 12:42 PM  

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Sat - September 6, 2008

Table stakes, or why Palin changes the game - Updated

Back before the 2000 election, people asked how I could possibly support George Bush. I'd reply that while I would probably vote for Bush, but I didn't support him. He was just the least bad alternative. George Bush wasn't my first choice or my ninety-seventh choice, of the major candidates he was just the one likely to do the least amount of damage. We might even get a tax cut.

Who remembers that Pat Buchanan and Gary Bauer were in the running for the Republican nomination that year?

And of course we all remember that Al Gore was the Destined Democrat Nominee.

Al Gore, who had already written Earth in the Balance. Al Gore, who in the 1988 Presidential election tried to manipulate the system to lock Jesse Jackson out as a candidate. Al Gore, who as Vice President pushed the "Clipper Chip." Al Gore, who pushed for the Kyoto Protocol, a deeply flawed treaty that would have destroyed the economy of any major power that tried to live under it. Al Gore, who conducted illegal fund raising from the Vice President's office. Al Gore, who in the 2000 election, wanted the courts to force selective recounts in carefully chosen Florida counties.

And Al Gore, who in the aftermath of the 2000 election, proclaimed himself the Grand High Priest of Anthropomorphic Anthropogenic Global Warming and proceeded to try to force his social agenda down the throats of everyone on the planet.

Does this mean that Al Gore did no good during his government service? No. It just means that given a choice between the free market and government nudges, Gore would insist on government control every time.

Does this mean that George Bush would be a great President. No. Without 9-11, Bush 43 would have been a mediocre President largely remembering for trying to fill Ronald Reagan's shoes.

Bush was still the least bad choice among the candidates in 2000. Sort of a lowest common denominator.

Since our system doesn't let us vote NONE OF THE ABOVE and eliminate choices we don't like, we're stuck with questionable choices. And as long as the party politics control who gets to be the candidate, the choices become worse and worse over time.

You know what happened in 2004. John Kerry, the Democrat candidate ran on a war record that he refused to make fully public. Bush won again, not because of his virtue, but because he was perceived marginally less worse than his opponent.

Sort of like asking if you would like your right or left knee broken. Both choices are bad, but which could you make work?

And that brings us to 2008.

I've been wrong when it comes to predicting this election. I thought McCain would wash out. I did not count on the mainstream press giving McCain a boost because he would be the "easy candidate" to defeat. I thought Hillary had the Democrat nomination locked up.

Let there be no misunderstandings. I don't like John McCain. I think he's guilty of treason.

I don't like Barack Obama. I consider him a socialist who will adopt any position to get elected no matter what the consequences. I also think that if the system were rational, he never would have gotten this far. However, his machine did derail the Clinton machine.

I prefer Sarah Palin in part because she is marginally better than either McCain or Obama. Let's revisit one of my earlier entries from well before this election cycle. Since it's me, I get the Technopagan Green.

I'd rather someone be honest with me to begin with and not guilt me into doing something that THEY think is right.

I can deal with someone opposing me because of my politics. I can deal with someone who attacks me because of my religious beliefs. I can deal with open hostility. I know where I stand with people like that.

They hate me or my actions for (insert reason here). Fine, that is their choice. Let's move onto the next bit. I'm willing to live and let live if they are.

But I don't like someone buttering me up because they need my support, only to drop me the first chance they get. I don't need sweet talk to distract me from the knife at my back. I don't need someone promising the world just so they can get a boost up.


For people like this, you stop being an enemy only as long as you can deliver something they want. Unless you toe the line, you have no value in their eyes. And since you are not really human, they are not bound by their promises to you. Give them what they want and they will go away for a while. Don't give them anything, and they will try to find a way to take more from you without your consent.

I don't think that Sarah Palin is going to be the answer. I'd be worried if there were ANYONE who was the answer. Looking closer at her record, there's a lot to worry about for a libertarian Pagan who believes in sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. Not to mention the free market. There's something from my email, authenticated by Snopes. I won't post it here (it's bloody long), but I do encourage you to go read it.

So what's the rest of the reason I am voting for Palin?

Because the Republicans are invoking the myth, and there is just enough truth in it to shatter the system. I'm not the only one to think so.

But this latest fight commences on a new and wilder battlefield. The old combatants were old school gentlemen, Eric Sevareid and Walter Cronkite; the new combatants are half-crazy cable anchors, the lower lurkers of the Internet, and the anonymous posters on the comment thread on the radical website.

This new war on new turf is not good, and carries the potential of great harm. Everyone really ought to stop, breathe deep, and think.

I am worried they won't. A friend IM'd the day after Palin's speech, and I told him of an inexplicable sense of foreboding. He surprised me by saying he shared it. "Calling all underworlds reporting for duty!," he wrote. "The bed is about to fly around the room, the puke is about to come out." He meant: this campaign is going to engage unseen powers and forces. He meant: this campaign, this beautiful golden thing with two admirable men at the top and two admirable vice presidential candidates, is going to turn dark.

The author doesn't know how right he is. There hasn't been an "everyone" candidate like this since Harry Truman. Any politico can tell you that the real danger with "everyone" candidates is that well, everyone starts thinking they can run and win. And the system can't hold them ALL back.

I demand liberty. I want the free market. I want government held at bay by KYFHO. And Sarah Palin is a honest-to-gods wedge that is going to rip the case off the system.

It won't be just her issues on the table, it will be all of them. The whole tangled mess will be there for anyone to see. It's inevitable. While the politicos run around propping up that bit, slapping a bit of paint on this bit, and trying to distract you, the collapse moves closer just because of the issues that Palin raises. Gun control. Abortion. Medical care. It's all there.

That is why I am voting for Sarah Palin. Not because I expect her to solve the problems, but because I expect her to expose some of them.

I expect people to get involved in government, if for no other reason than to disable it. I expect the demand for freedom to grow beyond control.

I expect the centralized state to fall.

Update - Regular reader BTHO pointed out on 24Feb2010 that the correct term is anthropogenic, not anthropomorphic.

Posted Sat - September 6, 2008 at 01:48 PM  

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Thu - September 4, 2008

Think before you go after Palin

Do you remember yesterday in my Fair Game entry when I said that these attacks against Sarah Palin would backfire and she would emerge stronger than before?

Guess what.

Over half of U.S. voters (51%) think reporters are trying to hurt Sarah Palin with their news coverage, and 24% say those stories make them more likely to vote for Republican presidential candidate John McCain in November.

Gee, it's almost as if I knew what I was talking about.

For some reason, I keep flashing on the original Blues Brothers movie and the great Aretha Franklin doing "Think."

Ah, what the heck.

Sarah Palin is not my ideal candidate (more on that later), but these second rate smears will make her look amazing.

And they will make the reporters look like idiots. They are doing the Republican's job for them.

Posted Thu - September 4, 2008 at 10:19 AM  

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Wed - September 3, 2008

Fair game - UPDATED

Every once in a while, the reporting on a story becomes THE Story. That's now the case with Sarah Palin's family.

So let's back up a minute and see how the old standards of decency apply.

A politico's family is supposed to be off limits unless they're campaigning for the candidate. There are exceptions for spouses giving introduction speeches, but this is generally a good rule. It keeps us from paying too much attention to Nixon burgers or Billy Beer.

Now, understanding that, when the adult family member steps over the line and becomes involved in the political process, they should be fair game. After all, the family member wasn't elected, at least not usually. It's why Hillary Clinton was acceptable as First Lady but not as chair of a semi-secret health care reform task force.

If a candidate brings up his military service as part of his qualifications for office, he'd better make sure he makes the full records available and stands ready to answer any questions or discrepancies. This is a big part of what sank John Kerry in 2004.

If a candidate brings up his marital fidelity even as his spouse is fighting cancer, then there shouldn't be any affairs. It doesn't matter if the spouse knows or not. This crushed John Edwards.

If an elected official stands up on national television and says "Read my lips: No new taxes," there had better not be any new taxes in the pipeline. That doomed Bush 41.

Basically if someone takes a public stand, they are fair game.

But last I heard, infants can't take a public stand, and there should be no paternity tests demanded.

A unwed pregnant teenage daughter may not be in strict compliance with evangelical teachings. But forgiveness and redemption are. Guess which most Americans value more.

Before Hurricane Katrina, I used to warn my more *ahem* enthusiastic progressive and libertarian friends about publicly accusing President Bush of things he didn't do. I said that when people found out what really happened, Bush would come out stronger because those same people would remember that the other accusations didn't pan out and they would be less inclined to listen to any criticisms, valid or not.

That is going to be what happens to Sarah Palin. Elected or not, she just became the Republican Heir Apparent. This lady is going to be a major mover in the GOP for at least the next ten years, maybe the next thirty. The more stuff she can weather now, the stronger she will be.

Back off the family and go back to what is fair game, namely the lady herself.

UPDATE: Fixed some minor grammar errors.

Posted Wed - September 3, 2008 at 04:28 PM  

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Tue - September 2, 2008

The "character" thing

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
— Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.

Now I've made no secret about what I think of John McCain. If I had my way, he would be arrested and tried for treason immediately.

But Barack Obama, there we have a character issue aside from his politics. There are the questionable associations. There's the bit about Jeremiah Wright. There's the near draconian demands that his personal life is off limits to the press.

I will give him credit for declaring that speculation about a candidate's family should be forbidden. But a part of me has to wonder, given what little has trickled out so far, is it really a matter of character or is Obama just worried about what the press may find out about him?

Posted Tue - September 2, 2008 at 04:30 PM  

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The "experience" thing

"Foreign policy experience" doesn't match the hype. It depends on if the experts know what they are talking about.

After Yassir Arafat ordered the assassination of a U.S. Ambassador, it meant looking the other way.

It meant overlooking tyranny in Iran until the American Embassy was seized.

It meant playing one dictator against another in the Middle East.

It meant running intelligence operations in Lebanon so when the embassy there was bombed, the U.S. could not retaliate.

It meant "overlooking" terrorist incident after terrorist incident, or trying to shoehorn domestic law to cover acts of war.

No, I am not happy that McCain wants to go more confrontational.

But Obama's "change we can believe in" means that the U.S. goes back to being a doormat for anyone who makes threatening noises.

Neither has the answer.

It's simple really. You're nice until they're not nice to you. Then you are ruthless until they earn your trust back. Meanwhile, you protect your honor as if your life depended on it. No power games to "contain" the rogue states. Live by the same rules you demand.

No other experience is needed.

Posted at 04:15 PM  

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Sun - August 31, 2008

High stakes

Okay, I owe a certain lawyer a dollar.

As much as I am tempted to do it in stamps, the coin will go out in Tuesday's mail.

Remember though, this is just the one I collected from you.

We won't find out who actually gets bragging rights until November.

Posted Sun - August 31, 2008 at 06:45 AM  

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Sat - August 30, 2008

Obvious choice

Up until Friday, I thought this election was going to be THE classic example of none of the above.

Then McCain picked Sarah Palin for his running mate.

You may remember, I was going to write Sarah Palin in on my ballot this year. I still am in fact. While I do not agree with everything Palin is and stands for, she gets points for honor and character. Something that McCain and Obama lack.

I think McCain should be arrested and tried for treason. I thought he'd be washed out by the end of June and I am amazed that he made it this far.

As for Obama, well, I don't buy into that nonsense about supporting him or being racist, and I resent the implication. I have this little thing about the content of character rather than the color of the skin. Obama is another socialist. I mean, c'mon. Compulsory volunteerism? Single payer medical care? Then there are little things like his ties to Bill Ayers.

Still, picking Sarah Palin for the VP slot has to be one of the most single brilliant political moves I've ever seen. It completely displaces any discussion of Obama on the weekend news shows. Unless McCain made a huge mistake, there was never going to be any question of who would win between him and Obama.

That doesn't mean I support McCain. I just think he would win in this showdown.

I like Palin more than either Obama or McCain. I'm still writing her in.

Posted Sat - August 30, 2008 at 01:11 PM  

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Mon - July 28, 2008

Is Barak Obama really what he is made out to be?

This is definitely the year I don't like any of the candidates.

But I don't think Obama deserves the coverage he is getting.

I'm still trying to figure out why he made campaign stops in Europe where they can't vote for him.

Posted Mon - July 28, 2008 at 01:44 PM  

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John McCain is dead wrong. Again.

John McCain blames Wall Street for the mortgage meltdown.

Somehow he overlooks Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Somehow he overlooks Congress for giving those agencies unconstitutional and anti-free market powers.

Somehow he overlooks the Federal Reserve for debasing the currency.

I say he needs a mirror.


KYFHO, now and forever.

Posted at 01:25 PM  

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Tue - July 22, 2008

To help the American taxpayer, we're going to raise the gas tax

Let's see.

Record gas prices.

What does Congress do?

Why, think about raising the tax on gasoline.

Just remember.

Government is not your friend.

Posted Tue - July 22, 2008 at 03:50 PM  

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The Obama they don't talk about

I never have been a fan of savior politics. You know, the whole "if only we elected THE RIGHT MAN, he'd save us from..." I didn't like it when the Lew Rockwell crowd was pushing Ron Paul, and I really don't like it with Barak Obama.

See, when it comes to foreign wars, it's not that Democrats object in principle, it's just that they don't like it when it's not their guy calling the shots.

Don't believe me? Read Robert Dreyfuss in The Nation. Emphasis added.

But in many respects, Obama seems likely to preside over a restoration of the bipartisan consensus that governed foreign policy during the cold war and the 1990s, updated for a post-9/11 world. That conclusion arises from an in-depth examination of the Illinois senator's views as well as dozens of interviews with foreign policy experts, including lengthy exchanges with the core group of Obama's foreign policy team and other participants in his task forces on the military, Iraq and the Middle East. It's also based on a careful review of speeches and position papers, Obama's 2007 article in Foreign Affairs and a key chapter, "The World Beyond Our Borders," in his book The Audacity of Hope. All this suggests there is a gap between Obama's inspirational speeches and the actual policies he supports. "So far, what you're seeing is rhetoric that we can make bold changes in our foreign policy," says John Cavanagh, director of the Institute for Policy Studies. "But when he lays out specifics, it's not as transformational as the rhetoric." Will Marshall, director of the right-leaning Progressive Policy Institute of the Democratic Leadership Council, agrees. "On most of the details, he's aligned with the general Democratic consensus," Marshall says. Says Tom Hayden, the veteran activist and former California state senator, "At best, he will be a gradualist."

Even as he pledges to end the war in Iraq, Obama promises to increase Pentagon spending, boost the size of the Army and Marines, bolster the Special Forces, expand intelligence agencies and maintain the hundreds of US military bases that dot the globe. He supports a muscular multilateralism that includes NATO expansion, and according to the Times of London, his advisers are pushing him to ask Defense Secretary Robert Gates to stay on in an Obama administration. Though he is against the idea of the United States imposing democracy abroad, Obama does propose a sweeping nation-building and democracy-promotion program, including strengthening the controversial National Endowment for Democracy and constructing a civil-military apparatus that would deploy to rescue and rebuild failed and failing states in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

Let's see, return to the foreign policy ideas that brought about 9-11.

That's change all right.

Although I do agree that the Bush Administrations have been a failure, one thing that Bush Number Two did right was recognize that appeasement did more to destabilize the Middle East than anything else. A pity he mostly forgot about it. His father didn't even do that much.

Oh, I don't like McCain either. I still think he should be brought up on treason charges.

And Bob Barr, who subverted what was left of the Libertarian Party? He's not getting my vote.

If ever there was an election year we needed None of the Above, this is it.

Posted at 03:46 PM  

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Tue - January 22, 2008

Obama sucker-punched by Clintons

I don't usually quote a whole entry from another site. But Tammy Bruce is dead on with this analysis.

As long as he decides to deal with Bill Clinton directly he allows pictures and stories like this to dominate the campaign, which is exactly what the Clintons want. When people see a pic like this, and then they see the Clinton name on the ballot, they think they might as well be voting for Bill, handing Hillary another victory. Just like the race argument, which he fell into, which isolates Obama as a single-issue race candidate, Barack Obama has dived right into this new Clinton trap. And if he is going to address Bill directly, he needs to be extremely aggressive. You wouldn't approach a rapid bull with gentility, now would you?

This is the same stuff that the Clintons (and ESPECIALLY Bill) have been pulling for years. I don't particularly like (or trust) Bill Clinton, but there are two areas where he has no equal in modern politics. One is networking, and the other is mudslinging. Obama will have to end this fast and with a knock-out punch if he wants the nomination.

My question remains, why does Hillary Clinton have to run from her husband's coat pocket. Do we really need a president who could only be elected because enough Americans bought the premise that this would be a continuation of Bill Clinton's presidency?

This reminds me of the old joke from 1992 about "Billary." And that was told by Democrats.

Posted Tue - January 22, 2008 at 09:57 PM  

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Once again demonstrating her total lack of practical economics

You know, I've been trying not to pick on Hillary. These days it's too easy a shot. But sometimes, she makes it necessary. I don't know if you saw this one from a few days ago.

"I have a plan - a moratorium on foreclosures for 90 days [and] freezing interest rates for five years, which I think we should do immediately," Clinton announced at what was the last Democratic debate before the Nevada Caucus on Jan. 19. A 90-day moratorium on foreclosures would throw a lifeline to some deserving homeowners, though I suspect it would only delay the inevitable for most. That's not my beef.

Where Clinton goes awry is her proposal to freeze mortgage rates for five years, which is essentially a much broader version of a deal President Bush recently hammered out with lenders to assist some subprime borrowers. If Clinton's only goal were to bail out homeowners facing steep rate resets on adjustable mortgages, her plan would work just fine.

For everyone else though, such a freeze would be disastrous. Interest rates on new mortgages would skyrocket - perhaps past 8 percent, as the mutual funds, pension funds and other investors who typically provide capital to the mortgage market shift their money into other investments where the government isn't impairing returns. With higher mortgage rates eroding buying power, the downward pressure on home prices would only increase. Lower home prices would lead to even more defaults, as more folks who'd lost the equity in their homes choose to walk away from their mortgages.

Government controlling the economy. Golly, where have we heard that one before? Do you really suppose Hillary Clinton knows what's best for a free market?

Of course, she did do well with those cattle futures...

She doesn't stop with defaulted mortgages. The Senator proudly proclaims just how much further she would go. Emphasis added.

Mrs. Clinton, whose campaign initiated the interview, can speak in both fine detail and sweeping historical terms about the economy — almost as would a policy adviser, which she essentially was for a long time. When talking about the middle class, she divides the decades since World War II into two periods, using the same cutoff point that many economists do.

In the first period, from 1946 to 1973, the pay of most workers rose steadily. The income of the median family — the one earning less than half of all other families and more than half of all others — more than doubled during those years, to almost $50,000, in inflation-adjusted terms, according to Census Bureau data analyzed by the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal group in Washington.

Since 1973, the income of the median family has grown only about 25 percent.

During the earlier period, Mrs. Clinton said, the share of workers in labor unions grew, allowing workers to win raises and benefits that they can rarely win on their own. Marginal tax rates on the affluent were “confiscatory” by today’s standards, she said. (In the early 1970s, the top rate, which applied to income above $1 million in today’s terms, was 70 percent; the top rate now is 35 percent.)

Jobs once paid enough that only one parent in many families needed to work, saving them from expenses like day care. And not only did the federal government invest in public goods like the highway system, but companies also invested more in communities than they do today. In Rochester, for example, Kodak helped build hospitals and schools.

“You had a corporate ethos, that, because of the more self-contained American economy, was really focused on community,” Mrs. Clinton said. “There was a sense of multiple obligations. It wasn’t just to one’s shareholders. It was also to one’s employees, to one’s community.”

Mrs. Clinton mentioned technological change, which has eliminated the need for many blue-collar jobs, as well as global trade, which studies suggest may be holding down the wages of some Americans.

But when discussing the causes of the middle-class wage slowdown, she tends to focus not on market-based changes, like technology and trade, but on institutions, like unions and the government.

For someone who is supposedly so qualified, she's missed the obvious. Government's "control" (read mismanagement) of the American economy exploded in the 1970s.

That might have just a tiny bit to do with the shifting economic forces.

Posted at 12:20 PM  

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Mon - January 21, 2008

The new third rail of American politics

Victor Davis Hanson wrote another great piece on The Messy Politics of Illegal Immigration.

Some time ago, supporters of open borders lost the debate. The majority of Americans want them closed -- now! They ignore the tired slurs like "anti-immigrant," "racist," "protectionist" and "nativist." And noisy May Day parades with Mexican flags and heated rhetoric from the National Council of La Raza ("The Race") only turn more people off.

It doesn't do any good, either, for a Mexico City functionary to cry about how mean we are to want a secure border with Mexico. Most Americans also tuned that out long ago.

They know instead that Mexico cares mostly about sending north those it won't or can't feed and house -- so it can skim off from them billions in remittances once they arrive in the United States.
Mexico City, of course, could reform the country's laws and economy whenever it wants. But it changes only enough to draw in tourists or Americans looking to buy vacation homes, not to better the lives of millions of its mestizo poor in the heartland.

The spin masters may think illegal immigration is an issue that pits conservative Republicans against liberal Democrats. But it doesn't always.

Nowadays, worry about illegal immigration is just as likely to mean that African-Americans are terrified of racist alien gangs in Los Angeles. Asian-Americans are frustrated that their relatives with college degrees wait years to emigrate legally, while thousands without high-school diplomas to the south simply break the law to enter the United States.

And many Mexican-Americans are probably tired of being expected to defend the indefensible of foreign nationals breaking immigration laws simply because they may share an ethnic heritage with illegal aliens.

Great article, you should read the whole thing.

My biggest frustration is that the banner of civil rights is used to excuse behavior from illegals that Americans wouldn't tolerate from anyone else. If an illegal commits a violent crime, I want them deported now. I want to be able to debate La Raza without being called a racist.

If someone immigrates here, I don't think it is too much to ask that they respect the rule of law.

Posted Mon - January 21, 2008 at 02:31 PM  

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Mon - December 10, 2007

Just a Girl in short shorts tells us again that "Democrats knew"

I think someone feels the same way I do about the Democrat's political posturing over torture.

I can understand how the Democrats could have gone along with the Patriot Act. It was presented to them just a few weeks after 9-11, while Tom Daschle's office was still under Anthrax quarantine. I can also excuse them for voting for the Iraq invasion, even though it was quite ignorant, and there were a number of us that pointed this out, even though we were essentially ostracized as traitors—even in teacher faculty rooms in good old blue Massachusetts.

But what I can not stand is the manipulative spectacle of Democrats prancing around being outraged by by the policies they helped put in place.

Repeatedly since 2002, leading Congressional Democrats on the Senate and House Intelligence Committees -- including, at various times, Jay Rockefeller, Nancy Pelosi, and Jane Harman – were briefed regarding the CIA's "enhanced interrogation methods."

Go and read. She's right on the money. She even asks the important question.

Why do so many people see salvation in the Democratic Party?

Remember, the Democrats aren't the alternative.

Posted Mon - December 10, 2007 at 02:48 PM  

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Sun - December 9, 2007

Democrats knew

Remember this when you hear the Congressional Democrats protesting about the destroyed CIA tapes.

Yet long before "waterboarding" entered the public discourse, the CIA gave key legislative overseers about 30 private briefings, some of which included descriptions of that technique and other harsh interrogation methods, according to interviews with multiple U.S. officials with firsthand knowledge.

With one known exception, no formal objections were raised by the lawmakers briefed about the harsh methods during the two years in which waterboarding was employed, from 2002 to 2003, said Democrats and Republicans with direct knowledge of the matter. The lawmakers who held oversight roles during the period included Pelosi and Rep. Jane Harman (D-Calif.) and Sens. Bob Graham (D-Fla.) and John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), as well as Rep. Porter J. Goss (R-Fla.) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan).

Individual lawmakers' recollections of the early briefings varied dramatically, but officials present during the meetings described the reaction as mostly quiet acquiescence, if not outright support. "Among those being briefed, there was a pretty full understanding of what the CIA was doing," said Goss, who chaired the House intelligence committee from 1997 to 2004 and then served as CIA director from 2004 to 2006. "And the reaction in the room was not just approval, but encouragement."

Unfortunately this illustrates the Democrat attitude towards the Bush Administration's abuse of power. They aren't outraged about what has happened as much as they are that it's a Republican president doing it. Their objections are carefully timed for the best political impact.

Which doesn't give me reason to trust their objections.

Government is not your friend.

Posted Sun - December 9, 2007 at 07:33 PM  

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Sat - December 8, 2007

Sometimes we guess right, and sometimes we hope for the best

Here are two articles that compliment each other nicely.

The first is a write-up in Wired about how the network-centered approach worked for the war, but not the occupation.

The US military could use battlefield sensors to swiftly identify targets and bomb them. Tens of thousands of warfighters would act as a single, self-aware, coordinated organism. Better communications would let troops act swiftly and with accurate intelligence, skirting creaky hierarchies. It'd be "a revolution in military affairs unlike any seen since the Napoleonic Age," they wrote. And it wouldn't take hundreds of thousands of troops to get a job done — that kind of "massing of forces" would be replaced by information management. "For nearly 200 years, the tools and tactics of how we fight have evolved," the pair wrote. "Now, fundamental changes are affecting the very character of war."

Network-centric wars would be more moral, too. Cebrowski later argued that network-enabled armies kill more of the right people quicker. With fewer civilian casualties, warfare would be more ethical. And as a result, the US could use military might to create free societies without being accused of imperialist arrogance.

It had a certain geek appeal, to which Wired was not immune. Futurist Alvin Toffler talked up similar ideas — before they even had a name — in the magazine's fifth issue, in 1993. And during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, my colleague Joshua Davis welcomed in a "new age of fighting that combined precision weapons, unprecedented surveillance of the enemy, agile ground forces, and — above all — a real-time communications network that kept the far-flung operation connected minute by minute."

As a presidential candidate in 1999, George W. Bush embraced the philosophy, as did his eventual choice for defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. At the Pentagon, Rumsfeld instituted a massive program to "transform" the armed services. Cebrowski was installed as the head of the newly created Office of Force Transformation. When the US went to war in Afghanistan, and then in Iraq, its forces achieved apparent victory with lightning speed. Analysts inside and outside the Pentagon credited the network-centric approach for that success. "The successful campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq took far fewer troops and were executed quicker," Rumsfeld proclaimed, because of "advanced technology and skills." The Army committed more than $230 billion to a network-centric makeover, on top of the billions the military had already spent on surveillance, drone aircraft, spy satellites, and thousands of GPS transceivers. General Tommy Franks, leader of both invasions, was even more effusive than Rumsfeld. All the new tech, he wrote in his 2004 memoir, American Soldier, promised "today's commanders the kind of Olympian perspective that Homer had given his gods."

And yet, here we are. The American military is still mired in Iraq. It's still stuck in Afghanistan, battling a resurgent Taliban. Rumsfeld has been forced out of the Pentagon. Dan Halutz, the Israeli Defense Forces chief of general staff and net-centric advocate who led the largely unsuccessful war in Lebanon in 2006, has been fired, too. In the past six years, the world's most technologically sophisticated militaries have gone up against three seemingly primitive foes — and haven't won once.

How could this be? The network-centric approach had worked pretty much as advertised. Even the theory's many critics admit net-centric combat helped make an already imposing American military even more effective at locating and killing its foes. The regimes of Saddam Hussein and Mullah Omar were broken almost instantly. But network-centric warfare, with its emphasis on fewer, faster-moving troops, turned out to be just about the last thing the US military needed when it came time to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan. A small, wired force leaves generals with too few nodes on the military network to secure the peace. There aren't enough troops to go out and find informants, build barricades, rebuild a sewage treatment plant, and patrol a marketplace.

For the first three years of the Iraq insurgency, American troops largely retreated to their fortified bases, pushed out woefully undertrained local units to do the fighting, and watched the results on feeds from spy drones flying overhead. Retired major general Robert Scales summed up the problem to Congress by way of a complaint from one division commander: "If I know where the enemy is, I can kill it. My problem is I can't connect with the local population." How could he? For far too many units, the war had been turned into a telecommute. Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon were the first conflicts planned, launched, and executed with networked technologies and a networked ideology. They were supposed to be the wars of the future. And the future lost.

It's a long article and worth your time. There are a couple of things that need to be stressed though. The Iraq insurgency is funded from outside of Iraq, mainly from Iran and Syria. And the reconstruction effort ran smack dab into the entrenched bureaucracy at the Pentagon and State Department, most of whom had contributed to the "status quo" strategy that had prevailed for decades.

Admittedly, I was a sucker for the idea of a push button war the first time I really thought about it, back when Clinton was trying to distract attention from his intern frolics. But then I reread things about the American occupation of Japan and Germany after World War II. For the "Texas Ranger" strategy to work, there HAS to be rule of law, something that hasn't quite been established in Iraq.

Those same entrenched FedGov technocrats are still trying to set policy.

In this regard, it's hilarious to see the left and some in the media accuse Mr. Bush once again of distorting intelligence. The truth is the opposite. The White House was presented with this new estimate only weeks ago, and no doubt concluded it had little choice but to accept and release it however much its policy makers disagreed. Had it done otherwise, the finding would have been leaked and the Administration would have been assailed for "politicizing" intelligence.

The result is that we now have NIE judgments substituting for policy in a dangerous way. For one thing, these judgments are never certain, and policy in a dangerous world has to account for those uncertainties. We know from our own sources that not everyone in American intelligence agrees with this NIE "consensus," and the Israelis have already made clear they don't either. The Jerusalem Post reported this week that Israeli defense officials are exercised enough that they will present their Iran evidence to Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, when he visits that country tomorrow.

For that matter, not even the diplomats at the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency agree with the NIE. "To be frank, we are more skeptical," a senior official close to the agency told the New York Times this week. "We don't buy the American analysis 100 percent. We are not that generous with Iran." Senator John Ensign, a Nevada Republican, is also skeptical enough that he wants Congress to establish a bipartisan panel to explore the NIE's evidence. We hope he keeps at it.

It's a major weakness in the system. Bureaucrats,even when they are exiled in disgrace, tend to outlast administrations. Information flows through the established agencies and the emphasis can easily be changed along the way.

Do you really think it is an accident that the latest NIE goes against the current administration when the presidential race is kicking into high gear?

Posted Sat - December 8, 2007 at 12:45 PM  

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Timeline against freedom

I stumbled across this one by accident. It's a timeline of how the Bill of Rights has fared under the Bush Administration.

It's accurate as far as it goes, but I would have liked to see context. George Bush didn't invent national security letters, those date to 1978. There were numerous things that happened during the Clinton Administration without the excuse of a war.

This isn't a defense of George Bush or an attack on Bill Clinton. No president operates in a vacuum. Each president builds on what has come before, and, if they are smart, involves Congress in any policy decisions. For all the noise about how Bush has abused his power, it's worth keeping in mind that in most cases, Congress passed the legislation to make it possible.

But what do I know? I''m just the guy who keeps saying that Democrats in Congress aren't opposed to what George Bush has done as much as they are opposed to the fact that it's George Bush who has done it. Put a Democrat there, and the Democrats would be cheering.

Again, it's not a Republican or Democrat problem. Partisan politics are just a symptom. It's a government problem.

If I am wrong, then why hasn't Congress tried to repeal the Patriot Act?

Posted at 12:12 PM  

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Tue - December 4, 2007

Supermarket theory of government

Sunni Maravillosa is part of a growing number of small "l" libertarians who believes that Ron Paul is no libertarian and voting for him sacrifices freedom.

I agree with her, but I don't think that is the whole problem. My answer is in the technopagan green.

Call me old-fashioned, but I still think the one True Answer is None of the Above.

If you HAVE to choose one from Column A OR one from Column B without the ability to walk away, that is not really a choice.

Oh, I may throw in refinements, like barring the losing candidates from serving in that office for the term of that office, or insisting that in order to "win" a candidate has to carry a majority of eligible voters and not just a majority of those who voted or a majority of registered voters. But in the end, it's the same thing.

Rejecting the choices offered is still a valid choice. Otherwise you're playing three-card monty and the red card is never where you think it is.

I call it the supermarket theory of government. I am not required to buy a cola, or even a soft drink, or any beverage at all. Indeed, I don't have to buy anything or even go into the store.

If there HAS to be a choice between 1, 2, or 3, there is no reason for 1, 2, or 3 to be significantly different unless there is a 0. And if it has to be 1, 2, or 3, there is no reason that the 1, 2, or 3 HAVE to appeal to the disaffected because 1, 2, or 3 will win no matter what the unhappy voters do.

I agree that RP is no libertarian. But he is a symptom, not the problem.

Posted Tue - December 4, 2007 at 01:07 PM  

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Wed - November 28, 2007

This one is just too juicy. Team Clinton is attacking one of their own poll sources

Usually I don't post polling data. I'm more interested in the stands that candidates make.

But this looks like Team Clinton tripped up again. Emphasis in original.

Penn mischaracterized this latest online Zogby poll as our first interactive survey ever – a bizarre contention, since we have been developing and perfecting our Internet polling methodology for nearly a decade (Zogby Intreractive Methodology), and since Penn’s company has been quietly requesting the results of such polls from Zogby for years. We always comply as part of our pledge to give public Zogby polling results to any and every candidate and campaign that asks for them. What is interesting is that no other campaign has made as many requests for Zogby polling data over the years than Penn has made on behalf of Clinton.

My oh my. Isn't politics fun?

Posted Wed - November 28, 2007 at 01:51 PM  

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Mon - November 26, 2007

"Sex Toys for Troy King"

I have to admire Loretta Nall. Just watching some of the things she pulled in the 2006 Alabama governor's race was enough to make me laugh. She's taking on politicos again, and for a very good reason.

Now the free-spirited Nall is taking on Alabama's straitlaced attorney general, Troy King.

King is considering asking the Legislature to amend the state's anti-obscenity law. A Jefferson County judge ruled this month that part of the law was too vague to force closure of a sex toys store in Hoover.

In 1998, the Legislature passed a law banning the sale of sex toys in Alabama. Lower courts found it unconstitutional in 1999 and 2002, saying Alabama did not prove a legitimate interest in regulating sale of sex toys to adults. But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the law in 2004, claiming there is no constitutional right to sexual privacy.

The appeals justices did note that Alabama could repeal the ban if residents decide "a prohibition on sex toys is misguided, or ineffective, or just plain silly."

It is all of those things.

"It's absolutely outrageous an attorney general would squander our tax dollars and barge into our bedrooms and tell us what we can and cannot do in Alabama," Nall says. "We have real crime in Alabama."

So she has organized a "Sex Toys for Troy King" drive, in which she encourages people to mail the devices to the AG's office in Montgomery.

If anyone is interested in participating in this bit of social repair, I know a libertarian lady blogger who runs a sex toy business.

Posted Mon - November 26, 2007 at 12:57 PM  

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Mon - November 5, 2007

Edwards pushes censorship

It seems like time after time, it is the Democrats who call for censorship.

The Republicans have their own sins, but at least they back free speech.

So far.

This story lays it out.

A University of North Carolina professor said Friday that John Edwards' campaign demanded that he pull a student reporter's television story that focused on the upscale location of the campaign's headquarters.

C.A. "Charlie" Tuggle, an associate professor at the school, said the Edwards campaign contacted the reporter, second-year master's degree student Carla Babb, asking for a video of her report to be removed from the Internet. When that failed, the campaign demanded in three calls to Tuggle that the TV story be killed, he said.

Now if this had been a Republican candidate who pulled this, you'd better believe the story would have been repeated coast to coast and analyzed for a couple of weeks.

So why hasn't it made the major news?

Posted Mon - November 5, 2007 at 06:09 AM  

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Fri - August 3, 2007

Precious infrastructure

Critics of government like me can't win. On the one hand, if we dare comment on the obvious government failures, we're Big Meanies out to capitalize on tragedy. If we don't comment, then the voices pushing to raise taxes and "rebuild" the infrastructure are unopposed.

The safety problems with bridges did not magically start in 2001, anymore than the New Orleans levee problems did.

We're talking about decades of Federal taxes allocated to repair the roads and bridges that somehow end up being spent on something else.

Why does anyone think it is going to be different this time?

The problem is not that we don't spend enough. It's that we have public projects doing the things that private enterprise can do better, cheaper, faster, and more reliably.

Posted Fri - August 3, 2007 at 01:12 PM  

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Something smells

This one certainly doesn't look good.

House Democrats apologized Friday for wrestling what appeared to be a winning vote tally away from Republicans on Thursday night.

Republicans continued to steam, however, over the episode in which they appeared to be the winners by a 215-213 tally on a procedural motion designed to make sure illegal immigrants would not get certain benefits from an agriculture spending bill.

Instead, with several lawmakers milling in the well of the House registering votes, Rep. Michael McNulty, D-N.Y., quickly gaveled the vote to a close, saying the GOP measure had failed on a 214-214 tie vote.

It's a little early to be pointing fingers. But when the vote hasn't been recorded, it's hard not to.

Posted at 12:21 PM  

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Thu - August 2, 2007

Impeach this!

I'm getting so tired of the constant manufactured offenses that certain leaders in Congress keep trotting out.

I said more than two years ago that every time there is one of these unfounded and unproven accusations that fizzles out, it just leaves President Bush stronger.

Last week and this week, I heard all sorts of noise to impeach Gonzales, Cheny, and Bush. I even saw one misinformed person demanding that Rove be impeached.

So far the reasons I have seen are not sufficient.

Bush has expanded the powers of the Executive? So has every war president in American history, including Washington.

Bush fired some U.S. Attorneys? They serve at the pleasure of the President, he can fire them if he doesn't like the color of their socks, and he doesn't have to justify his decision to anyone.

This is why I don't like throwing words like "impeachment" around. It weakens the meaning.

There are things that Bush has screwed up on, but nothing impeachable yet. Not unless you want to arrest three quarters of the Congress and most of the serving Federal judges on treason charges.

Don't laugh, I can make the case for that.

This isn't about doing "what's right," it's about limiting the power of a Republican President.

No Democrat would stand for those things being done to a Democrat President.

It's political posing, nothing more, nothing less.

Posted Thu - August 2, 2007 at 03:06 PM  

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Fri - July 27, 2007

"Real ID" dead in the water?

We can hope. This looks good.

The votes leave just $50 million in additional Real ID grants for states in the the final bill, which passed by an 89-4 vote late Thursday and is now headed to the president's desk. President Bush has previously vowed to veto the entire measure, but it was not immediately clear whether that was still the case.

The remaining grant figure appears unlikely to satisfy state officials, many of whom have blasted Real ID as an "unfunded mandate." The Department of Homeland Security projects the cost of Real ID for states and taxpayers over the next 10 years at more than $23 billion. Seventeen states have already enacted statutes or resolutions registering their opposition to the new requirements, according to the American Civil Liberties Union's (Not all states, however, feel that way.)

The Real ID Act, which was enacted in 2005 after being glued to an emergency war spending bill, is designed to carry out a proposal suggested by the 9/11 Commission, which reported that some of the Sept. 11 hijackers had fraudulently obtained state driver's licenses. But critics argue the plan is misguided, insufficiently privacy-protective and prohibitively expensive.

It's going to be close. As it stands now, there is barely enough time to implement a national plan before the May 2008 deadline.

Posted Fri - July 27, 2007 at 12:26 PM  

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"Free and universal health care" isn't

This one is from a few days ago, but it is worth remembering as the Presidential campaigns ramp up.

This exercise is especially instructive, because it reveals where the "single-payer," universal coverage folks end up. Democrats who run the Wisconsin Senate have dropped the Washington pretense of incremental health-care reform and moved directly to passing a plan to insure every resident under the age of 65 in the state. And, wow, is "free" health care expensive. The plan would cost an estimated $15.2 billion, or $3 billion more than the state currently collects in all income, sales and corporate income taxes. It represents an average of $510 a month in higher taxes for every Wisconsin worker.

Employees and businesses would pay for the plan by sharing the cost of a new 14.5% employment tax on wages. Wisconsin businesses would have to compete with out-of-state businesses and foreign rivals while shouldering a 29.8% combined federal-state payroll tax, nearly double the 15.3% payroll tax paid by non-Wisconsin firms for Social Security and Medicare combined.

This employment tax is on top of the $1 billion grab bag of other levies that Democratic Governor Jim Doyle proposed and the tax-happy Senate has also approved, including a $1.25 a pack increase in the cigarette tax, a 10% hike in the corporate tax, and new fees on cars, trucks, hospitals, real estate transactions, oil companies and dry cleaners. In all, the tax burden in the Badger State could rise to 20% of family income, which is slightly more than the average federal tax burden. "At least federal taxes pay for an Army and Navy," quips R.J. Pirlot of the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce business lobby.

Who do you think will pay for the Wisconsin plan as more and more businesses leave the state?

Who do you think they will blame?

Posted at 12:16 PM  

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Democrats want to cut funding for union watchdog office

Here is one that got buried in my stack from a couple of weeks ago.

The new Democratic Congress has finally found a government agency whose budget It wants to cut: an obscure Labor Department office that monitors the compliance of unions with federal law.

In the past six years, the Office of Labor Management Standards, or OLMS, has helped secure the convictions of 775 corrupt union officials and court-ordered restitution to union members of over $70 million in dues. The House is set to vote Thursday on a proposal to chop 20% from the OLMS budget. Every other Labor Department enforcement agency is due for a budget increase, and overall the Congress has added $935 million to the Bush administration's budget request for Labor. The only office the Democrats want to cut back is the one engaged in union oversight.

Although Congress has long insisted on copious reporting by corporations, including the burdens of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, lawmakers have been relatively nonchalant about union reporting. Unlike the quarterly filings of corporations, unions must only file once a year with the Labor Department using a free software program. They don't have to get an independent certified audit, are only rarely audited by the government, and don't have to follow standard accounting methods.

I suppose I could also talk about how under the law, labor unions have a protected monopoly, but that is a piece for another time.

Posted at 10:50 AM  

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Wed - July 25, 2007

McCain is finished

It sure looks like McCain is finished. Pardon me if I don't shed a tear.

And to a certain lawyer in San Diego, I believe you owe me a dollar.

Want to go for double or nothing on his chances on getting re-elected to the Senate?

Posted Wed - July 25, 2007 at 04:05 PM  

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Fri - July 13, 2007

Stealing the game

I want to draw your attention to this.

Democrats John Edwards and Hillary Rodham Clinton consider themselves among the top presidential candidates.

They were caught by Fox News microphones discussing their desire to limit future joint appearances to exclude some lower rivals after a forum in Detroit Thursday.

Given time and transparency and both these Senators will hang themselves.

Notice what is happening.

It's no longer about getting the nomination.

It's about gaming the system so no one else can play.

Face it, there is nothing democratic about these Democrats.

Posted Fri - July 13, 2007 at 01:44 PM  

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Mon - July 9, 2007

Clinton's former finance chair indicted

I'd like to have some answers on this one myself.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's former finance director has been indicted on charges of filing fictitious reports that misstated contributions for a Hollywood fund-raising gala for the senator, the Justice Department said Friday.

The indictment, rare for a political campaign, was unsealed in Los Angeles charging David Rosen with four counts of filing false reports with the Federal Election Commission. The charges focus on an Aug. 12, 2000, dinner and concert supported by more than $1.1 million in "in-kind contributions" -- goods and services provided for free or below cost. The event was estimated to cost more than $1.2 million.

The FBI previously said in court papers that it had evidence the former first lady's campaign deliberately understated its fund-raising costs so it would have more money to spend on her campaign.

While the event allegedly cost more than $1.2 million, the indictment said, Rosen reported contributions of about $400,000, knowing the figure to be false.

The indictment charged that he provided some documents to an FEC compliance officer but withheld the true costs of the event and provided false documents to substantiate the lower figure.

This is actually a story I was familiar with because a source dropped into my lap. I didn't touch it then because of the fugitive status of the source and I wasn't sure how truthful he would be.

Interesting though.

Posted Mon - July 9, 2007 at 02:00 PM  

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Tue - July 3, 2007

FOIA backlog

Remember, this is just what they have admitted.

Five agencies have requests for public information that go back 15 years or more, according to a new review from an independent open government group.

Many of the 87 departments and component agencies reviewed face extensive backlogs of requests for documents under the Freedom of Information Act, the report from the National Security Archive at George Washington University stated. Some requests to the State Department, CIA, Air Force, Justice Department criminal division and FBI have been pending more than 15 years, the group said.

The review, released in anticipation of the 1967 FOIA law's 40th anniversary on July 4, found that the oldest pending FOIA request was made to the State Department on May 5, 1987, on behalf of the Church of Scientology. The request asked for all documents related to that church or "cults" from the department's offices responsible for the Vatican and Italy. And at least seven pending FOIA requests were made in the 1980s.

"Forty years after the law went into effect, we're seeing twenty years of delay," said Tom Blanton, the Archive's director. "Sunlight is the best disinfectant, but this kind of inexcusable delay by federal agencies just keeps us in the dark."

The report is the result of a set of January 2007 FOIA requests filed by the Archive asking agencies for copies of their 10 oldest pending FOIA requests. Five months later, a third of the agencies had not responded, despite the fact the law requires responses within 20 days.

And politicos wonder why people don't trust government to be honest.

Posted Tue - July 3, 2007 at 11:17 AM  

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The real grass roots

I ran across this one on Hugh Hewitt.

Markos Moulitsas and I disagree on a lot of things. I even think his taste in baseball teams leaves a lot to be desired. But we do agree on a piece of contrarian wisdom that goes against everything the Beltway establishment holds dear.

In the Beltway’s eyes, Markos leads a movement of progressives in the blogosphere. But this is inaccurate, and Markos would be the first to tell you so. Markos doesn’t lead the movement. He stands in front of it and is symbolic of it, but the movement’s direction and interests flow directly from the people who compose it. The movement is a bottom-up thing, not something that a guy leads from the top.

It’s probably comforting for Democratic politicians to believe that Markos leads the movement in the progressive blogosphere. That being the case, all they have to do is soothe the savage breasts of Markos and other rabble-rousing bloggers and then get back to business as usual. That’s why Democratic politicians are so unfailingly solicitous of the liberal bloggers.

But it doesn’t work like that. If Markos came out tomorrow and said he’s supporting Hillary, the people who read his blog would tell him to pound sand. They would keep reading his blog, but they wouldn’t open their hearts or their wallets for Hillary.

CONSERVATIVE TALK RADIO has the same kind of dynamic. The people who listen to conservative talk have their own views, and they are extremely well informed ones at that. They listen to conservative talk because they hear opinions that are friendly to their political and personal philosophies. Listeners also tune in to conservative talk because, unlike liberal talk, conservative talk shows are fun and entertaining.

Good point. It's a bottom up movement, not top down. I think that is why the national candidates are so disconnected from what their base wants. They are used to issuing orders, not to listening to what people want.

Posted at 05:48 AM  

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Beware the politician that promises "the party of compassion"

A politico never promises to hand out goodies unless they benefit.

Anything government gives you today and more can be taken away tomorrow with the very next vote.

Government is not your friend.

I can't put it any clearer than that.

Posted at 05:42 AM  

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Sun - July 1, 2007

Wringing her hands, Pelosi says it's THEIR fault

Of course, it couldn't be HER fault. Then she would have to accept responsibility.

The problem for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't just President Bush. It's the Senate.

Pelosi sounded more apologetic than celebratory Friday when she announced with her Senate counterpart, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democrats' list of accomplishments six months after they seized control of Capitol Hill and promised "a new direction" in Washington.

"I'm not happy with Congress, either," Pelosi, of San Francisco, conceded.

She pinned the blame on "the obstructionism of the Republicans in the United States Senate."

As the article points out, these are the same tactics that the Democrats used when they were the minority party.

I think a do nothing Congress is a good idea, except they are still spending money.

And I think this is a perfect example of why political parties should be abolished.

Posted Sun - July 1, 2007 at 01:55 PM  

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Thu - June 28, 2007

Definately one to think about with Romney

This does not look good the former governor.

As The Hill noted last week, 133 plaintiffs filed a civil suit against Romney’s Utah finance co-chair, Robert Lichfield, and his various business entities involved in residential treatment programs for adolescents. The umbrella group for his organization is the World Wide Association of Specialty Programs and Schools (WWASPS, sometimes known as WWASP) and Lichfield is its founder and is on its board of directors.

The suit alleges that teens were locked in outdoor dog cages, exercised to exhaustion, deprived of food and sleep, exposed to extreme temperatures without adequate clothing or water, severely beaten, emotionally brutalized, and sexually abused and humiliated. Some were even made to eat their own vomit.

But the link to teen abuse goes far higher up in the Romney campaign. Romney’s national finance co-chair is a man named Mel Sembler. A long time friend of the Bushes, Sembler was campaign finance chair for the Republican party during the first election of George W. Bush, and a major fundraiser for his father.

Like Lichfield, Sembler also founded a nationwide network of treatment programs for troubled youth. Known as Straight Inc., from 1976 to 1993, it variously operated nine programs in seven states. At all of Straight’s facilities, state investigators and/or civil lawsuits documented scores of abuses including teens being beaten, deprived of food and sleep for days, restrained by fellow youth for hours, bound, sexually humiliated, abused and spat upon.

The associations with Sembler caused Bush some problems, but were never widely publicized.

I'm curious to see what Romey's response will be.

Posted Thu - June 28, 2007 at 03:22 PM  

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Wed - June 27, 2007

Taking responsiblity for the immigration mess

Watching some of the immigration debate, it amazes me how many people miss the point.

It's not about "giving people a chance."

It's about undermining the uniform rule of law. And it started decades ago. Emphasis added.

America's modern immigration trend began in 1986 when President Reagan's bill granted amnesty to some three million illegal immigrants yet failed to improve border security. That amnesty sent a message to people across the border: If you slip into America you will be able to work and live here, and nothing negative will happen to you. Almost 20 years went by before any serious effort was undertaken to secure our borders, so that three million 1986 illegal immigrants have turned into 12 million today. About eight million people have entered the U.S. during the current Bush administration, half or more illegally, and according to the Washington Post, undocumented workers now make up "about 5 percent of all employees nationally."

With that act, the law gained more than one tier. And since then, every time Congress sets out to "fix" things, they make more exceptions. It's not that Americans begrudge people the chance to make it in the U.S., it's that we resent the law being used as political capital with people who really have no long term interests except exploiting deliberate loopholes in U.S. law.

As long as Congress circumvented existing law, of course people would take advantage.

That brings us to the mess we have today.

I am hearing promises to enforce the law, but I heard that before.

The Senate immigration bill is more of the same. Add the fact that it's authors and sponsors have deliberately circumvented the normal legislative process, and the bill should fail.

What does it matter if this or that company gets fined? What does it matter if a hundred or so illegals get processed? It's a drop in the bucket compared to what is happening.

I want Congress to own up to their responsibility. And I don't want Congress undermining the uniform rule of law so they can call it "fixed."

Posted Wed - June 27, 2007 at 09:00 PM  

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Mon - June 25, 2007

Return of the Offspring of the Fairness Doctrine, Act II

You have to look for this one, it is buried.

WALLACE: So would you revive the fairness doctrine?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I'm looking at it, as a matter of fact, Chris, because I think there ought to be an opportunity to present the other side. And unfortunately, talk radio is overwhelmingly one way.

WALLACE: But the argument would be it's the marketplace, and if liberals want to put on their own talk radio, they can put it on. At this point, they don't seem to be able to find much of a market.

FEINSTEIN: Well, apparently, there have been problems. It is growing. But I do believe in fairness. I remember when there was a fairness doctrine, and I think there was much more serious correct reporting to people.

Politically correct, maybe.

Odd how no one is all that interested in what television has to say.

Even now, CNN, ABC, CBS, and NBC overwhelmingly run stories with a liberal bias. Yet that is acceptable, It is "serious correct reporting" to people.

The Fairness Doctrine is about suppressing dissent, pure and simple.

Posted Mon - June 25, 2007 at 11:59 AM  

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The gentleman caller

Here's another example of why I don't like Republicans imposing their morality.

IN the battle for the women’s vote, Fred Thompson has a secret weapon against Hillary Clinton - the legions of former girlfriends who still adore him and who want him to be president.

The Hollywood actor and former Tennessee senator racked up an impressive list of conquests during his swinging bachelor days in the 1990s, but he appears to have achieved the impossible and kept their friendship and respect.

Lorrie Morgan, a country singer who dated Thompson and considered marrying him in the mid1990s, told The Sunday Times: “I couldn’t think of a bad word to say about Fred if somebody put a gun to my head.

“Fred is a perfect example of chivalry. He’s the kind of man little girls dream about marrying, who opens doors for you, lights your cigarettes, helps you on with your coat, buys wonderful gifts. It’s every woman’s fantasy.” Thompson, who wooed Baroness Thatcher during a visit to London last week, is expected to announce officially next month that he is running for president. He is already challenging Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York, for first place in polls of likely Republican voters.

Here's the bit that raises my ire. Yep, emphasis added.

In anticipation of a presidential run, a group of potentially supportive Republican congressmen recently questioned him about his private life.

It is none of their business. He was single at the time, therefore he wasn't violating any oaths or promises. It was all consensual. And by all accounts Thompson was a gentlemen who is still friends with the ladies he dated.

Stars above, I can't say that about all of my former relationships.

I may not agree with all his politics, but if he treats the ladies right that tells me about his character.

Almost as much as Bill Clinton's history with the ladies told me about his character.

Posted at 11:51 AM  

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