Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

"I have never been able to think of the day as one of mourning; I have never quite been able to feel that half-masted flags were appropriate on Decoration Day (Memorial Day). I have rather felt that the flag should be at the peak, because those whose dying we commemorate rejoiced in seeing it where their valor placed it. We honor them in a joyous, thankful, triumphant commemoration of what they did."
- Benjamin Harrison

Honor what they did by having a great life - "earn this".  Love your family, love your neighbors, cherish the risks and rewards of liberty, and never let yourself get away with a moment of self pity.  

This is the least you can do.

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Great Mystery

"The great mystery of recent elections, including last fall's, isn't why Barack Obama won reelection despite a terrible economy and a feckless foreign policy. It's why the Republicans-ostensibly the party of smaller government and the champion of individual liberty-ever lose elections. According to Gallup, for the last decade, a sizable majority of Americans "think the government is doing too much," and half see themselves as economic conservatives. If the GOP is losing elections, it's precisely because, as Paul put it at CPAC, the party "is encumbered by an inconsistent approach to freedom." Independent voters are generally turned off by a party that seems fixated on yesterday's social mores. Growing majorities of Americans are totally fine with legal pot and gay marriage; fully 80 percent of us believe that abortion should be legal under some circumstances, with 61 percent saying it should be unrestricted in the first trimester of pregnancy. Similarly large chunks of voters are turned off by crony capitalism, industry-specific bailouts, the president's top-down health-care plan, a reckless disregard for civil liberties, and a foreign policy that seems largely indistinguishable from that of George W. Bush."

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IRS A Powerful Terrorism Weapon

"But of all the troubles now dogging the Obama administration-including the Benghazi fiasco and the Justice Department's snooping on the Associated Press-the IRS episode, however alarming, is also the least surprising. As David Burnham noted in "A Law Unto Itself: The IRS and the Abuse of Power" (1990), "In almost every administration since the IRS's inception the information and power of the tax agency have been mobilized for explicitly political purposes."
"President Franklin Roosevelt used the IRS to harass newspaper publishers who were opposed to the New Deal, including William Randolph Hearst and Moses Annenberg, publisher of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Roosevelt also dropped the IRS hammer on political rivals such as the populist firebrand Huey Long and radio agitator Father Coughlin, and prominent Republicans such as former Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon. Perhaps Roosevelt's most pernicious tax skulduggery occurred in 1944. He spiked an IRS audit of illegal campaign contributions made by a government contractor to Congressman Lyndon Johnson, whose career might have been derailed if Texans had learned of the scandal.

"President John F. Kennedy raised the political exploitation of the IRS to an art form. Shortly after capturing the presidency, JFK denounced "the discordant voices of extremism" and derided people who distrust their leaders-President Obama didn't invent that particular rhetorical line. Shortly thereafter, JFK signaled at a news conference that he expected the IRS to be vigilant in policing the tax-exempt status of questionable (read: conservative) organizations.
"Within a few days of Kennedy's remarks, the IRS launched the Ideological Organizations Audit Project. It targeted right-leaning groups, including the Christian Anti-Communist Crusade, the American Enterprise Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education. Kennedy also used the IRS to strong-arm companies into complying with "voluntary" price controls. Steel executives who defied the administration were singled out for audits."

"A 1976 report by the Senate Select Committee on Government Intelligence on the Kennedy program noted: "By directing tax audits at individuals and groups solely because of their political beliefs, the Ideological Organizations Audit Project established a precedent for a far more elaborate program of targeting 'dissidents.'"
"After Richard Nixon took office, his administration quickly created a Special Services Staff to mastermind what a memo called "all IRS activities involving ideological, militant, subversive, radical, and similar type organizations." More than 10,000 individuals and groups were targeted because of their political activism or slant between 1969 and 1973, including Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling (a left-wing critic of the Vietnam War) and the far-right John Birch Society.
"The IRS was also given Nixon's enemies list to, in the words of White House counsel John Dean, "use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.""

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tamny on IRS Non-Scandal

"As James Bovard put it in a Wall Street Journal op-ed earlier this week, a politicized IRS has been the norm since at least the 1930s. To presume otherwise is naïve, so while it's perhaps good politics for President Obama's opponents to be political about the IRS's revolting doings, any righteous indignation seems overdone. Any government entity is going to be political, and because the latter is true, it's hard to assign scandal to what the IRS was doing.

"It seems the better answer is to acknowledge what's more of a certainty, that the IRS itself is the scandal. Not asked enough before and after the news about our tax authority is how a nation uniquely founded on skepticism about politicians and government could have ever created something like the IRS."

Monday, May 20, 2013

Crappy Week for People Who Dislike Conspiracy Theories

"Blogger and professor Daniel Drezner tweeted over the weekend: "So, in all, this has been a pretty crappy week for people who dislike conspiracy theories." Well, yes.

"The week started out with President Obama disparaging those who worried about tyranny as conspiracy theorists, and telling college students to reject them:

"Still, you'll hear voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that's the root of all our problems, even as they do their best to gum up the works; or that tyranny always lurks just around the corner. You should reject these voices. Because what they suggest is that our brave, creative, unique experiment in self-rule is just a sham with which we can't be trusted."

"The rest of the week consisted of scandal after scandal, suggesting that maybe our government is . . . a sham with which Obama, at least, can't be trusted."

Glenn Harlan Reynolds is professor of law at the University of Tennessee. He blogs at

Sunday, May 19, 2013

ACA "Unravels"

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"The gravity of this financial hit remains, for there is no place for anyone, young or old, to hide themselves from a tide of red ink. The President misleadingly has said that right now the 85 percent of Americans who have private coverage do not have to trouble themselves with doing a thing, because their protections are already built into the ACA "with a wide array of new benefits, tough new consumer protections, stronger cost control measures than existed before the law passed."

"But this glittering array of benefits does not come cheap. The current statutory definition of essential minimum benefits is so lavish that no one knows whether that coverage can be afforded at reasonable rates through the private sector. Right now, our collective generosity will mean that the cost of individual coverages in the United States on the exchanges could move up by about 32 percent, in light of the new coverage requirements based on best actuarial estimates.

"Unfortunately, what the President neglected to mention is that there is no assurance that employers will decide to keep that coverage once the costs are brought home. It turns out that the penalties for employers will be in the range of $2,000 to $3,000 to dump their coverage, which is far less than the $16,000 or so that it costs them to maintain the existing coverage. It takes little imagination, therefore, for employers to announce to their employees that they will divide the gains from dropping their current coverage through a salary increase of say $7,000, which makes it likely that the public exchanges will be inundated with new applications for coverages even at the higher rates now predicted for the bloated ACA coverage. That cost could be in the hundreds of billions if even 10 percent of the roughly 157 million individuals now covered through employee plans find that their coverage has been terminated. Ordinary people are hurt both ways."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

"Trust" ?

"Leaving aside the seriousness of lawlessness, and the corruption of our civic culture by the professionally pious, this past week has been amusing. There was the spectacle of advocates of an ever-larger regulatory government expressing shock about such government's large capacity for misbehavior. And, entertainingly, the answer to the question "Will Barack Obama's scandals derail his second-term agenda?" was a question: What agenda?

"The scandals are interlocking and overlapping in ways that drain his authority. Everything he advocates requires Americans to lavish on government something that his administration, and big government generally, undermines: trust."

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Economy Carberation

Nicely framed model describing why our economy has failed to bounce out of stagnancy.

"The analogy between our economy and a car engine holds in another important way. The power output of an engine is governed by controlling the airflow into the engine. A well-designed fuel injection system simply reacts to changes in airflow, spraying in the precise amount of gasoline required to match the mass of air moving through the combustion chambers. From the standpoint of power and efficiency, too much gasoline is just as bad as too little.

"In the case of an engine, the idea of an active, ad-hoc, discretionary "fuel policy" would be crazy. The engine would keep stalling, as it alternated between flooding and lean misfiring. Similarly, the very idea of a discretionary monetary policy is insane. Money cannot drive economic growth any more than gasoline input can determine the power output of an engine."

"As the months go by, it is becoming clear that the Federal Reserve's "QE3" program, which is supposed to be "doing something" about unemployment, is having the exact opposite effect. We can only wonder how long it will take Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to realize this.

"Friday's "Employment Situation" report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) was really, really, really bad. The reported 0.1 percentage point decline in the "headline" unemployment rate (from 7.7% to 7.6%) fooled no one. Total employment actually fell by 206,000. The only reason that the reported unemployment rate went down was because 496,000 Americans gave up on looking for jobs.

"The most striking feature of President Obama's so-called "economic recovery" has been the exodus of Americans from the labor force. The unprecedented 2.5 percentage point decline in labor force participation under Obama amounts to 6.2 million Americans being pushed out of the job market."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Gold Standard - History

This article is a must read to start understanding how government's control over money hits your pocketbook.  The BLUF: they aren't smart enough to do what they want to do, and if they were, absolute power still corrupts absolutely.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Classic Quote, Hornberger

"If you are not free to choose wrongly and irresponsibly, you are not free at all."
Jacob Hornberger, 1995

Friday, May 10, 2013

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Global Warming or Cooling?

"So since 2000 the CET shows an annual temperature diminution at the rate of -0.49°C / decade or -0.59°C in 12 years: this negates almost the entire CET temperature rise since 1850. Although this is a very short period, the extent of the climate change that has been observed since the turn of the millennium is remarkable.Using the March 2013 CET value it is possible to show the winter temperature values up until March 2013 with a combination of the four months December – March for the first 13 years of this century. The diminution of the four winter months temperatures is more remarkable at a rate of -1.11°C / decade or -1.41°C in the last 13 years. This compares with a winter temperature increase rate from 1850 to the year 2000 of +0.45°C / century or +0.68°C for the whole 150 year period."

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Why We Didn't Want This

"A plurality [of adults] (47 percent) describe themselves as either "angry" or "disappointed" about the failure of the gun legislation but 39 percent call themselves "relieved" or "happy" about what happened. That's a far cry from the 90-ish percent support that expanding background checks - the centerpiece of the proposed legislation - enjoyed. And, among those who said they were "very closely" keeping tabs on the vote, the split was even closer; 48 percent said they were angry/disappointed while 47 percent were relieved or happy.

"Liberals like Scarborough, and the whole set of MSNBC's "Morning Joe," had so completely surrounded themselves with like-minded people that the 90 percent poll number they were citing actually sounded accurate. While, in actuality, if they had been in any real contact with real Americans outside the New York-Washington corridor, they would have known that opposition to Toomey-Manchin was very widespread.

"If the White House wants to know why their agenda has stalled, they are not going to find the answers on MSNBC."

Folks like us no longer believe it when politicians say they are taking some symbolic but utter insignificant step to restrict our liberty "for our own good." The pols' paper thin veneer of good intentions is no longer enough for folks to pretend they don't notice.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"A Good Guy With a Gun"

“They are turning their training into reality,” he told me. “Doctor Jim McGee of the FBI calls them Classroom Avengers. What links them? None were involved in sports. None in student body government, none in Boy Scouts, none in volunteer activities. All were obsessed with violent media.”

This is a great read, start to finish.

"Soon after Sandy Hook, Nicholas Kristof wrote in The New York Times that it was time for the country to regulate guns as seriously as we regulate cars or ladders. Grossman argues that we should approach school shootings as we still do the terror of an earlier age: fire.
"“The Department of Education says that in 1998–99, 47 students were killed in school attacks. In 2007 it was 63. Not only is a violent attack the leading cause of death by children in schools, it is more likely than all other factors combined. If there were this many children killed by fires, we’d be moving heaven and earth to stop it. Do you know how many children have been killed in schools by fire in the last 50 years? Zero.”"
"Do we need armored glass and bullet-proof doors as standard furnishings in school, part of the basic building code? Are fire drills applicable to the new threat? Yes, Grossman said, and more.
"“Lockdowns work. Active killer drills work. Hunker down and hide works. But we need to make classrooms an area you can lock down. In Newtown they tried to secure an unsecurable area.”
"Grossman is also an outspoken advocate of the NRA’s second initiative, also widely disparaged in the media: “a good guy with a gun.” Here our conversation returned to sheepdogs, and while Grossman admits that having police at every school is cost prohibitive, he has other ideas.
"“There has never been a multiple homicide in a school where an armed guard was present in the building. In Columbine they waited until the cop was out of the building, on the other side of a parking lot. In Utah concealed carry is allowed in the classroom, and they have never had a multiple homicide in a school. I can’t even find a single homicide in a school. There might be one, but I can’t find it.”"

Monday, May 6, 2013

How Long Until It Dawns On Everyone

"What law-abiding Mexicans see coming from the United States is a seemingly inexhaustible supply of guns and money being exported into the hands of bad hombres, all in the cause of feeding Americans' insatiable appetite for illegal narcotics.

""It is better to die on your feet," Zapata preached to his men, "than to live on your knees."

"A drug addict does neither, however, and the shattering of lives north of the border takes its toll on society, too, albeit in a less dramatic way than kidnappings and shootouts.

"Best of all, of course, is to live on your feet. For this, Americans and Mexicans need each other, whether they always know it or not. Presumably our two presidents realize this interdependence; hence today's bilateral meeting. Viva la negociación!"
From an email by:
Carl M. Cannon
Washington Editor
Twitter: @CarlCannon

Mr. Cannon misses the obvious - were drug transactions not criminalized, the criminals would not be empowered by US demand for drugs that are called "illegal." People pretend that there's no down side to criminalization, while pretending that drug prohibition reduces consumption.  Both assumptions are wrong and in fact - "dead" wrong.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Presidential Legacy - Significant Why and To Whom?

Krauthammer wastes trons and time examining a president's legacy.  I wonder - why does anyone care?  "The ex-President" is some guy you never met, and he's certainly got better things to do than wonder what you think of him.  How he may or may not be viewed by history is even more irrelevant - unless you are a partisan.

If you mistakenly think the Democratic party is looking out for your interest, you have an interest in the Clinton legacy, since that will be used to justify the actions of the Democrats in the future.  Ditto the discussion of Bush.

Were they "good Presidents"?  Who knows, who cares, why waste time on such thoughts.  We have no way of knowing whether their actions, on balance, caused more harm than good.  I suspect more harm than good, but proving such would be a pointless exercise.

Unless you believe all the hype about how important governments are to our well being and the theater of politics that results, it's the equivalent of discussing which baseball players are the best, only political theater is far less fun.