Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Government Inquisition

You can disobey your church, but just try disobeying your government...

Many of us conservatives who also happen to be of a libertarian bent are conflicted over the whole gay marriage thing. I would prefer my church stay out of politics and focus on the Gospel, but what are they to do when a street punk who hijacked the state gets in their face and taunts them?

An ignorant woman named Lisa Miller wrote an ignorant, condescending column about America's Catholic bishops and their legal battles with Obama's government.  She presumes to speak for all Catholics, whom she characterizes as children, with the priests and bishops playing mommy and daddy.
Mommy and daddy are fighting, and the anguished children don’t know where to turn. (Lisa Miller)
Her family analogy, complete with arguing parents and frightened children is cloying and tedious
The conservative fathers — whose motto is “Do what I say” — grew ever more enraged at the doubters and ever more punitive. They directed their ire at any and all rule-breakers: pro-choice Catholics who wanted to take Communion (Lisa Miller)
Has she ever read The Acts of the Apostles?  It's full of Peter and Paul telling people, "Do what I say, imitate us, because we are imitating Christ."

Would Peter or Paul grant communion to an open abortion supporter, to avowed homosexuals? Has this unserious Obama girl read the New Testament epistles? There's a whole lot of “Do what I say” in there. That is what Christ commanded them to do!  Teach!

Bishops are teachers and moral guides. It’s their job to sort out right from wrong and lead the flock. You may disagree with the content of their message, and you are free to, but to criticize them for defending Church teaching is like criticizing the president for speaking for the US government.

It's a Liberty Thing...  Progressives Wouldn't Understand

She makes the common error of mixing two unrelated issues: The Bishops are standing for religious liberty, the ability to run their church as they see fit without government telling them what to do, and her response is to say that over 80% of Catholics see nothing wrong with birth control. Apples and oranges.  Churches are free to hold and act on their beliefs, no matter how “out of touch” a hierarchy may be with the flock. It is a matter between the leadership and the congregation, and the state had no standing in such an internal dispute.

Unlike Obama, the bishops can’t make you comply

Go ahead, disobey the bishops, get an abortion, go to Vermont and get married to your gay lover.  Torquemada is not going to drag you out of your house and twist your tits with red hot pincers. For you Protestants out there who disobey your conservative church leadership, stern puritan fathers are not going to whip you in the town square like it's 1648 and put you in the stocks for your sinfulness.

Unlike the bishops, President Obama has the full coercive force of the federal government behind his peremptory commands; you better obey!  Or you'll have a cloud of regulatory gnats swarming you, and the IRS climbing up your wazoo with 1000 watt searchlights.  Comply or die.

The bishops must rely solely on moral suasion. That is the crux of this religious liberty argument, be it gay marriage or birth control. The Church can preach against it and refuse to participate in it, but it can’t stop the state conducting gay marriages and handing out birth control. By the same 1st Amendment token, the state may not compel the church to sanction or participate in such activities.

If you can't see both sides of that constitutional coin, you are one-eye blind.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Obama's Economy is So Bad...

...We Need a Fence to Keep The Illegal Immigrants In!

Yes, many immigrants here illegally have chosen self-deportation, according to Michael Barone's reading of the latest Pew Research results...

from 2005 to 2010 some 1.39 million people came from Mexico to the United States and 1.37 million went from the U.S. to Mexico. "The largest wave of immigration in history from a single country to the United States," they write, "has come to a standstill."
The turning point seems to have come with the collapse of housing prices and the onset of recession in 2007. Annual immigration from Mexico dropped from peaks of 770,000 in 2000 and 670,000 in 2004 to 140,000 in 2010.
As a result, the Mexican-born population in the United States decreased from 12.6 million in 2007 to 12.0 million in 2010. That decrease consisted entirely of Mexican-born illegal immigrants, whose numbers decreased from 7 million in 2007 to 6.1 million in 2010. (RCP - Michael Barone)
Politicans Play Politics...
Many Washington Republicans confuse voter opposition to illegal immigration with opposition to all immigration. Their remarks often contain an ugly tone toward those who want to come to America.
Many Washington Democrats confuse public respect for hardworking immigrants with a belief that borders and immigration laws don't matter. Their remarks often contain an ugly tone toward those who believe the nation's immigration laws should be enforced. (Scott Rasmussen)
We The People are Smarter and More Nuanced...

The Arizona Immigration Law is Persistently Popular:
In national polls, there have consistently been more supporters than opponents of the Arizona law, with the latest polls showing higher support than at any point since its passage. More than two-thirds of registered voters (68 percent) approved of the law in an April Quinnipiac poll, while only about a quarter disapproved (27 percent). (Washington Post)
But Scott Rasmussen sees no hate for immigrants, but rather anger at a government that refuses to enforce the laws it passes:
That's why, among voters who are angry about the immigration issue, 83 percent are angry at the federal government rather than the illegal immigrants themselves.
It's also why two-thirds of voters think those who knowingly hire illegal immigrants are a bigger problem than the people they employ.
Simply put, most Americans are angry at those who would entice others to break the law. They're not angry at people who are willing to work hard to provide for their families.  (Scott Rasmussen
I think that sums it up pretty well.  I like Mexicans, and Guatemalans, and others who come here from south of our border.  They are industrious people, we share the common values of Western Christendom, and Hispanics assimilate easily into our society, even as we adopt some of their culture, like food and music.

Where we find them mooching and gaming the system, it's a sure bet progressive government busybodies are behind it.  There are no safety nets in Central America, and these are resourceful people with a moral foundation.  We worry that they are dragging down our society?  We are dragging them down!

Stricter border and workplace enforcement, cutting off freebees, and having an efficient immigration system that keeps track of visitors would slow illegal immigration to a trickle.  This would allow our Latin American cousins, who don't want citizenship anyway, to get work permits and visitor visas so they can come and go with their heads held high.  This would respect the law as well as the human dignity of all, draining the heat and the pressure from the issue...  

...But then our politicians could no longer exploit it for narrow partisan purposes...

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Obama's Vampire Socialism

Obama's propagandists are making much of Mitt Romney's venture capitalist days, blaming him for something that happened two years after he left the firm.  The press also doesn't like to talk about the fact that the people at Bain Capital who did fire all those workers are Obama campaign contributors!

President Obama refuses to return the campaign contributions from Bain Capital, and he spent an intimate evening in the black heart of evil, Wall Street, with millionaire investors of the private equity firm Blackstone.
President Obama last night spent time at the Park Avenue apartment of Blackstone Group (BX) president Tony James, to press the Wall Street flesh and collect $35,800 per plate. It came just hours after his campaign launched its first formal attack on Mitt Romney's record running Bain Capital -- a private equity firm not terribly dissimilar from Blackstone. Talk about awkward! (CNN)
Blatant hypocrisy aside (politics runs on BS and hypocrisy, so we shouldn't be shocked by it), Marc Thiessen points out that Obama has a scandalous Public Equity Problem:
Since taking office, Obama has invested billions of taxpayer dollars in private businesses, including as part of his stimulus spending bill. Many of those investments have turned out to be unmitigated disasters — leaving in their wake bankruptcies, layoffs, criminal investigations and taxpayers on the hook for billions. (WaPo)
The author goes on to total up the billions in failed government investments, all on the backs of We The Taxpayers. Were these merit-based loans, as the president says, or were they political payoffs?
But as Hoover Institution scholar Peter Schweizer reported in his book, “Throw Them All Out,” fully 71 percent of the Obama Energy Department’s grants and loans went to “individuals who were bundlers, members of Obama’s National Finance Committee, or large donors to the Democratic Party.” Collectively, these Obama cronies raised $457,834 for his campaign, and they were in turn approved for grants or loans of nearly $11.35 billion. 
Obama said this week it’s not the president’s job “to make a lot of money for investors.” Well, he sure seems to have made a lot of (taxpayer) money for investors in his political machine. (WaPo)

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

It's Memorial Day, when we pause to remember those who have died in service to our nation. Here are three good articles that honor this day and our fallen heroes.

Colonel Tom Manion, USMCR (Retired) wrote a heartfelt article this past Friday, Why They Serve. Please go check it out.

USA Today relates an emotional story of a WW II pilot and POW who would not rest until he found the remains of the rest of his crew: Why the US Military Scours the Earth for its Fallen Soldiers.

Lily Burana writes about a haunting picture that pays tribute to the spouses who wait for the homecoming that sometimes never comes. (H/T to Libertas and Latte)

Please keep comments on-topic. We can talk about America's sins another day. Today belongs to the war dead.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Time for US to Butt Out

It's Memorial Day Weekend.  We can honor our troops by bringing them home

Marc Lynch wrote an excellent article on Yemen awhile back that I wholeheartedly agree with. We've got to stop fighting other people's battles for them, especially when they don't want our help.

No Easy Answers

There are no easy answers to the problems infesting our globe's many intractable hot spots.  Yemen looks like another situation where an oppressive, decrepit regime will invite us in to do its dirty work, while we think we're fighting for freedom.  They paint their enemies as "terrorists" and unleash the awesome American firepower against them.

Lynch warns against both military intervention and development assistance.  The former would be a quagmire.  The latter would be sucked up by greedy, corrupt officials, as it is in Afghanistan by Karzai and his gang of bandits, including the Taliban, who are profiting richly from our largesse.

Lynch posits that no realistic option offers even an outside chance of success, so we should simply manage the situation as it suits our national interests.  He's talking specifically about Yemen, but it could apply equally to any hot spot.

Marc Lynch's Conclusion:
It's never as satisfying as a morally pure call to battle, but the administration shouldn't over-react or under-react.

Be patient, build intelligence and CT assets, strike against clearly AQ targets when available but only where the civilian costs will be minimal and the rewards high, search out local partners... the usual.

But the administration shouldn't fall into the trap of thinking it must "do something" to fend off political harping from the right and end up over-committing... or taking steps which ultimately make the situation worse.
Amen! And ditto for Iran

I pray we are covertly funneling millions to the Iranian opposition, but we should not send one American soldier or bomb. Our immediate objective should be to get out of Afghanistan and assiduously avoid future "big footprint" operations as the money-wasting plagues that they are.

Middle East: The World's Nuthouse

These people have been bombing, shooting and stabbing and stoning one another since time immemorial, what makes us think that we can change them? If we merely stay out of the way, they will set upon one another, fighting centuries-old feuds instead of going after us. Remember the charnel house that was the 10-year Iran-Iraq War?

Europe, Saudi Arabia and the rest of you who no longer share our values, you're on your own!

And while we're at it, we need to fold up the Western European security umbrella as well. Time for our cousins across the pond to man up and learn to live without the bossy hyperpower on their backs all the time.

Sounds isolationist, but I'm not. We just need to pick our battles wisely and partner only with those who share our values and who are willing to shoulder their share of the burden. Too often we've been suckered into petty parochial struggles where the craftiest side was able to demonize the other, wrongly rousing Uncle Sam's sense of righteousness, always with unintended consequences.

No Happy Endings

Everything can't be tied up neatly with a nice bow on top. Poverty and violence abound in most of the world (what Thomas P.M. Barnett calls The Gap). Some societies do not cohere well because of the nature of the people, the terrain, lack of resources, whatever. These fractious conditions spawn congenitally weak governments where, as Thomas Hobbes says 

"... every man is Enemy to every man... And the life of man [is], solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

Washington's Admonition Against Foreign Entanglements

A sadly-forgotten component of traditional conservatism is wariness towards foreign entanglements. That doesn't mean withdraw from the world; it means don't get suckered into the internal affairs of other countries, and don't get sucked into fights between warring factions.

And this isn't a "be nice so the bad people will start liking us" argument. Bad people will always hate us because we stand for good. We should reserve the right to unapologetically smack them at the time and place of our choosing based on our national interests.

We honor those who have fallen by not squandering what they have handed on to us, and we can honor those who now serve by deploying their talents wisely.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Tendentious Liberal Claptrap

President Obama has brought us the worst economic recovery since the great depression. His flaccid “recovery” pales in comparison to the mighty Reagan’s.

And by the way, now that Obama has ended one war and is winding down another, where is the dividend?

Liberals told us the war was costing over 500 billion per year! Where’s the savings?!! Back in the Bush years, a $500 billion drop in savings would have resulted in a surplus!

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

Left Blogistani Shaw Kenaw, bless her articulate soul, featured one of those ridiculous articles where a liberal invents some obscure meaningless statistic to “prove” that Obama isn’t a big spender.
Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s. (Nutting)
I accept the data upon which Nutting based his tendentious article, but the data is meaningless. He is measuring annual increases in spending from one year to the next to come up with the meaningless soundbite that spending is rising slower under Obama than it did under any hated Republican president, Reagan and Bush being the most mentioned.

It's a trick

First, he includes Obama’s White House projection for 2013 (which of course projects no spending increase), to bring Obama's average annual spending increase number down. The other sneaky trick is using averages instead of absolute values. Nutting averages the percentage increases, which hides the magnitude of the actual numbers.

An example...

Which is bigger 5% of 50 or 3% of 100? That is where the mathematical mischief lies. For the mathematically challenged, 5% of 50 is 2.5, and 3% of 100 is 3. Likewise, Obama’s smaller percentage increases work on a much bigger number, but dealing in percentages hides the gargantuan magnitude of his spending. In truth, he has spent more than Bush and Reagan combined.

Bush is by no means blameless. He blew $787 billion on the bank bailout, setting Obama a super-high budgeting baseline from which to compare annual spending. Obama didn’t need to dramatically increase spending, he just needed to continue the spending while looking responsible as he points to his modest budget increases (the propaganda Nutting is propagating). An honest president, as opposed to a corrupt Chicago Machine pol, would have reset the baseline to $797 billion less than what Bush spent his last year.

A question I have for the Obamabots is, What did Obama do with the extra $787 billion every year after Bush’s “one time” bailout? Were Obama the paragon of fiscal rectitude, his spending would have went down $787 billion for each subsequent year, since that was a one-time spike.  Since Obama is instead a big spending pol, he brazenly pushed through his dramatic spending programs and rewards to cronies with Bush’s stimulus as cover, allowing him to blow almost an extra trillion per year in progressive pet projects while absurdly claiming he has not increased spending. 

The Official Government Numbers Damn Obama's Record

Nutting does do us one favor: He links to official government data. I recommend you go through it yourself instead of letting partisan screwballs filter it for you.

I particularly recommend to you table 1.3, where you will see how Obama's deficits dwarf those of Reagan and Bush.

Table 2.3 is also useful.  In it you will see that even with their hated tax cuts, Reagan and Bush collected more revenue as a percentage of GDP than Obama.  

How did they do it?  They grew the economy, expanded it, instead of choking the life out of it as Obama is doing.  Look at table 10.1 and you will see that Reagan doubled the size of our economy, Clinton and Bush each expanded it by almost another 50%, with Clinton having the slightly better record on GDP growth and clearly the winner on reducing annual deficits. 

By Obama's own laughably Pollyannish projections, if he were to be reelected, he would barely add a third to our economy.  

The record is Clear.  Obama has been a horrible president, shriveling the economy and ballooning the national debt, while unemployment remains high and government grows.  It's not an opinion, it's a fact.  

Just found this.  James Pethokoukis explains it better than I ever could, with charts:  Actually, the Obama Spending Binge Really Did Happen also does some excellent fisking of shady democrat "statistics."  H/T and muchas gracias to AOW for this most excellent find!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sucker-berg: A Fool’s Game

All the fools who got in on the Facebook IPO got a quick lesson. The stock will continue to fall--the insiders have already cashed out their gains.

The stock market is a sucker’s game. Yes, you can make some money with some wise investing, but it’s the foolish sucker who thinks he can strike it rich, especially on an IPO. The insiders have it wired, and ordinary schlubs don’t have a chance.

Continually devaluing dollar forces the rubes into the stock market

Fellow Right Blogistanis who’ve known me for awhile know I am not a conspiracy theorist. But if I were, I would see a conspiracy to drive stupid money into the stock market so that the sharpies can fleece the rubes. We have Wall Street Banksters and international financiers running the Fed and the Treasury during both dem and repub administrations, and inflation climbs ever upward, sometimes quickly, usually slowly, but ever upward, eroding our savings and our buying power. You haven’t been able to make any money for years by simply putting it in the bank, with inflation overcoming meager interest rates.  This drives ordinary people into the stock market, a rigged game they don’t understand.

Government helps cover up the scam by designing the inflation measurement so that those most important items to our well-being, like food and energy, are not included in the measure.

What cost you only a dollar in 1945 would today cost you anywhere from $12 to $67 depending on the measurement used to gauge the debasement of our currency.

Inflationary monetary policy literally steals money from our pockets, while eroding our autonomy and ability to financially support ourselves. Thanks to slow currency debasement and the diminished wealth and purchasing power it brings us, we are chickens to be plucked at the financial markets. As an added bonus to the big government types, thanks to our ever-shrinking dollar, most of us end up beholden to Big Daddy Government in our old age, many even sooner.

We are all Julias now.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Young People Don't Know Anything

"The fact that young people think socialism is better than capitalism is proof of what social scientist call their stupidity, and their ignorance." -- Jonah Goldberg

Young people don't know anything. Want proof? Look how many graduated with worthless degrees and are now shocked that not only are they not making six figures, but that they can't even find a job.

Look at how many more are on that same path, not learning a thing from what has gone on, other than to protest that others should pay for their four to six year stay at those adolescent club meds disguised as colleges and universities.

Even some of those with useful degrees used them for nefarious purposes, designing exotic perpetual wealth machines like derivatives, and then standing there gape-jawed when the whole shebang went ka-blooie.  No shame.  No remorse, not even an apology to the taxpayers who refilled their pockets.

America's Cult of Youth is out of hand. Take two minutes and listen to the bete noir of progressivism explain.

I agree with Jonah Goldberg. We should not be worshiping youth, we should be educating them because they will be running the place someday.

Some may think such criticisms unfair, but they are not. Youth movements in Latin America were usually celebrated by older adults, and it is legitimate in those cases, because youth there were protesting an entrenched oligarchy, while the suborned adults cowered in fear of losing favor, their jobs, or what little is left of their freedoms. In such an environment, a youth protest movement represents a fearlessness of those who don't yet have anything to lose and their readiness to take charge of the future. It should give heart to the elders.

Our protesting youth (the .0001% who foolishly claim to represent the 99%) are quite a different story. Our esteem-powered youth sit amid piles of electronic luxuries, bountiful food and college for damn near everybody, and their protests smack of so much puerile whining and parroting of anything that repudiates what America was founded upon. Thankfully, they are a minuscule slice.

Even the good kids don't know anything; we're all born uneducated. It's up to us to teach them: To not automatically kowtow to authority, to question government, to learn, to pursue worthwhile goals even when they are really, really hard to attain. An admirable number of youngsters are already taking their place in our society, in academic achievement, on the battlefield and here in our own country making sacrifices to help others.

Our kids have it in them--It's up to us adults to bring it out.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Let’s Get Serious

Peggy Noonan wrote a trenchant article a few weeks back about America’s Crisis of Character. I agree with it wholeheartedly. I also agree with Dana Milbank's assessment that our misbehaving federal government is just a reflection of society. This is not a partisan issue.

We've become a very unserious people. Thousands died on 9/11 and Bush didn't fire a single person. Nobody ever gets fired anymore. We are all perpetual adolescents now. And I say this as a guy who loves clowning around, drinking and cutting loose... On my own time, not my employer's. I get silly with my kids, but I am not their cool pal—I am an authority figure who along with their mom loves them more than anyone else in the world ever could.

A serious president backed by a serious congress would use the latest round of government gone wild to take a machete to government bureaucracy, but we also lack serious politicians. Bush was no better on this front, so please spare me the tu quoques.

Nobody has the balls to stand up and make the government, every last damned corner of it, take a 10% cut. Think about that… Can’t even cut 10%, because the voters would get mad and vote the brave ones out of office, increasing the ranks of congressional mealy-mouthed poltroons. That is the problem, and it will continue until it no longer can, most likely because we’ve crashed and our bonds are worthless so no one will lend us money anymore.

We could fix it now while we still have some leeway and autonomy, but we instead behave like the kid who broke the lamp and irrationally hopes mom never finds out.

We'd have to tighten our belts, but nobody wants that. When you’ve been living high on the hog, way above your means, there must come a reckoning. We will all have to do with less, and we will have to help out our neighbors and family members who are also doing with less. Would you rather do this now, or after we hit bottom and non-Americans are dictating terms to us?

An Axis of Evil:  Government-Banksters-Crony Crapitalists

Also, when the crash happens, we need to remember who caused it. Government. And International bankers. It’s a sick synergy, a spiraling vortex of irresponsibility that pockets the profits and puts all the losses on the backs of citizens until the whole damn thing collapses. That is what the people of Greece are yelling about:  That the EU and international bankers collapsed their economy.  They are partly correct.  Better stated, the Greek people's own profligate irresponsibility put outsiders in the position to dictate terms.  We have put ourselves in the same weak position.

I hate to sound like a liberal, but "endless war" is also a contributing factor. We spend blood and treasure on people who hate us.  That needs to stop.  And ten years of fighting has infected our souls:  Every jackass in town has to run around in camo, and even the smallest of small town cops are now decked out like Navy Seals. We have become so government-centric this past decade it makes me want to puke. Daddy government is patrolling, stay out of the way kids or you might get wanded!

I think another Great Reawakening is due. That will be all that will save us. It doesn't have to be religious like the previous ones, it just needs to be a big collective pop, as all of us, liberals, conservative and the clueless pull our heads out of our asses and looking with shame upon what we have become.  Do we want to control our own destiny?  Then fiscal self-control is the first step.

Decline or Decadence?

Monday, May 21, 2012

Progressivism is Slavery

One fundamental difference between progressive statists (mostly democrats but quite a few repubs as well) and those of us who love liberty, is how we view the state.  Constitutional conservatives and libertarians believe that the state serves the people, safeguarding our natural rights to pursue life, liberty and happiness.

Progressives believe the opposite:  We exist to serve the state.  Armies of bureaucrats, regulators and self-important poobahs are needed at every station of life and human activity to keep us in line and to protect us from ourselves.  They tax the productive class to pay for it, and "fair share" means whatever they say it means, so shut up and cough it up, there are "poor" people out there who can't pay for all the babies they're making.
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has angered two senators with his alleged decision to renounce his U.S. citizenship to save cash on taxes.
Senators Charles Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA) announced today that they'll be holding a special news conference at 8 a.m. PT to unveil a plan designed to stop people from renouncing their U.S. citizenship to avoid paying taxes. In addition, the plan will describe a new law that would bar "individuals like Saverin from reentering the country." (CNET - Saverin)
Progressives, true to their totalitarian predilections, view people as chattle to be milked for the good of the state.
Schumer and Casey aren't happy. And in today's statement, said that his "avoidance scheme" could cost the U.S. up to $67 million in tax revenue. (CNET - Saverin)
It’s called freedom of movement you dictatorial morons!  At what point does such egregious and flagrant  constitutional ignorance become criminal?  Can we prosecute them for swearing a false oath?  How about criminal stupidity?

This is why progressives can never be trusted with power. To them, the individual is always subordinate to the state.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Ten Thousand Commandments

Do our laws serve us, or are we slaves to the law?

Our government is becoming increasingly dictatorial. It started way before President Obama, and republicans are just as much to blame as democrats. A government no longer respects the rights of the people when its legislation goes beyond expressing the will and values of the people and instead turns to dictating commands.

America is mired in a tarpit of accumulated law. Reformers propose new laws to fix health care, schools, and the regulatory system, but almost never suggest cleaning out the legal swamp these institutions operate in. These complex legal tangles not only set goals but allocate resources and dictate the minutest details of how to meet those goals. Most are obsolete in whole or part. (Philip Howard)
Philip Howard advocates a radical concept: Rather than lawmaking, our elected representatives need to be destroying them, untangling them and taking them off the books.

Imagine that! Politicians running for office by promising us not more laws, but less! I would love to see debates where they vied with one another over who could slash more red tape tangle that is strangling the nation.

Howard writes in his book, Life Without Lawyers, that too much law is choking innovation and snuffing our ability to think for ourselves:
Howard's book is a withering critique not of lawyers, but of us: a nation paralyzed by fear, unwilling to assume responsibility, both overly reliant on authority and distrustful of it. Law is wielded as a weapon of intimidation rather than as an instrument of protection.
"To restore our freedom, we have to purge law from most daily activities," writes Howard. But this seething polemic is less about a society buried in paperwork than one that clings to procedure like a crutch — and has lost its capacity for independent thought in the process. (Life Without Lawyers)
I'm waiting for the progressives to chime in, so I'll close with this thought. If our government were as expansive as Australia's or Germany's, but also as efficient, we probably wouldn't be having these arguments.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Hurt Me Bad, In a Real Good Way

Heaven's Just a Sin Away...

... And the childhood fantasy involving Mr. Kendall's beautiful daughter always started with something like "If I could just take out the old man..."

Every now and then, childhood memories come flooding back to me, and I don't like it...

The Kendalls was a father-daughter country act, and they were really good, but it was just so wrong to a 12 year old boy to hear such a pretty girl singing about heaven while harboring thoughts that lead in the opposite direction.

Years later, I picked up with a country band when the singer/rhythm guitar player went on the lam.

Lena was a slender, sexy redhead who played bass and sang really pretty.  She could sing the hell out of Patty Loveless..

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Obama's Presidency in Pictures

A picture is worth a thousand words.  Here's three thousand and some...

Even by European PIIG standards, our spending is out of control...

Weekly Standard

Obama Beats Bush! Racks up same amount of debt as Bush, but in half the time!

CBS News
(CBS News) The National Debt has now increased more during President Obama's three years and two months in office than it did during 8 years of the George W. Bush presidency.

The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

The latest posting from the Bureau of Public Debt at the Treasury Department shows the National Debt now stands at $15.566 trillion. It was $10.626 trillion on President Bush's last day in office, which coincided with President Obama's first day.
Obama's "recovery" is the worst on record.  He is still over a million jobs short of just breaking even...


From the labor market's height in January 2008 to its bottom in February 2010, 8.8 million jobs were cut, and the unemployment rate soared as high as 10% in October 2009.
But only about half of those job losses -- or 4.3 million -- happened under his watch. (CNN)
The only reason unemployment isn't in double digits is because the dismal Obama economy has discouraged over 3.5 million Americans, leading them to completely abandon the job market.
The percentage of Americans 16 and older who are working or looking for work fell to 63.6 percent, the lowest since 1981. For men, the so-called "labor force participation rate" is at 70 percent. That's the lowest since the government started keeping records in 1948. (Yahoo)
And for a bonus, here's a reminder of what a big loser GM was for the taxpayer. Jeffrey Dimon's got nothing on Obama.  The Car Czar in Chief spent $100 billion to save a $34 Billion car company.  And GM still hasn't paid us back.

Obama Pushes False GM Success Story
WSJ - The Other GM Bailout

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Government: No Common Sense & No Compassion

¡Adelante Comandante!
"We can't go back to the same policies that got us into this mess. We've got to move forward," -- President Obama
Amen to that! President Obama is right: We can’t go back to his old, failed way of doing things. Government must stop backstopping crony crapitalists that take our money and blow it. GM still owes us tens of billions and will never pay it back, Solyndra and all those green companies and battery makers going belly-up, all at taxpayer expense, banks writing bad loans because the government promised to underwrite them...

State-sponsored crony crapitalism has failed. Time to try free-market capitalism, and it starts with government getting the hell out of the marketplace.  Picking winners and losers with our tax dollars is a thinly disguised reward for the politically well-connected.

Capitalism made us prosperous, not government. Yes, government provided the infrastructure and the legal framework necessary for free markets to flourish, and we need government for that. But government has not made one poor person rich. Government programs are a palliative at best; a disincentive at worst.

"Standard Procedures"

A TSA victim, describing that agency bravely stamping out a terror threat from her 4 year old granddaughter, summed it up perfectly:
"There was no common sense and there was no compassion" (TSA Defends Patdown of 4-Year-Old)
That describes government: No compassion and no common sense. It is a machine; a clanking soulless beast with claws and hooks where it’s hands should be, and wrecking balls for feet, smashing all in its path. Government statements after the latest rape and grope outrage stating that the incident was reviewed and the agents were following “standard procedure” only indicts our government further.  I'll leave aside the obvious comparisons to Lt Calley and "just following orders."

"Standard Procedure" is stupid procedure and it's legal cover for unthinking government slugs to practice all manner of predations upon us.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Obama: Destroyer of Jobs and Wealth

Obama & Dimon:  Only one knows what he's doing
People are howling over JP Morgan’s Egregious loss, blowing two billion last quarter.  Has anyone thought to check how much the federal government loses every day?  JP Morgan is profitable.  When was the last time government (any government!) made a profit?

JP Morgan's small investment failure was a private enterprise losing private money. I wonder if everyone understands that? Has collectivism so seeped into our consciousness that people see private money as government’s, or as the collective “ours?”

There is a government tie-in. Ben Bernanke encourages this irresponsibility by shoveling free government money to these bigtime gamblers:
Until Uncle Sam’s CEO, President Obama, and its CFO, Ben Bernanke, realize that the policies they have put into place have juiced the financials while doing very, very little for the rest of the economy, no amount of regulation will keep bankers from taking out-size risks in hopes of outsize rewards, with taxpayers as the safety net. (NY Post)
This is what smart people do with cheap money; they play like there’s no downside, because there isn’t. If Dimon, the whiz kid trader who did this, and the leadership of JP Morgan had to make up the loss personally, this kind of recklessness would end immediately.

Obama’s Losses are Much Bigger

Also, at least JP Morgan fired fired somebody over it. When does that happen in government? Obama has lost over $2.5 billion on “green energy” “investments,” and we have nothing to show for all that stimulus money besides better armed Mexican drug gangs.  Instead of focusing on taxpayer money being flushed down the toilet so Obama can reward his crony crapitalist campaign contributors, people instead choose to focus on a private bank losing private money.

To add to the ridiculousness of it all, Obama now attacks Romney for failure to save a steel mill and losing 700 jobs, when Obama threw tens of thousands out of work when he appropriated the auto industry. The pathetic attack on Romney is easily refuted:
According to the US Labor Department, there were almost 17.3 million jobs in manufacturing in December 2000. [...]  When Obama took office in 2009, there were slightly over 13.4 million. As of December 2011, there were about 11.8 million. (Truth Out)
So the liberal bottom line here seems to be that when capitalism causes a loss, it’s an evil, greedy bastardy; but when government does it is just an innocent “oopsy!”

But what do you expect from a party that confers minority status on a rich white Ivy League professor? They also jumped the gun in deeming Bill Clinton the first black president. Since that title was already taken, Obama has to resign himself to being the First Gay President.

Liberalism in action folks! You just can’t make this stuff up…

Byron York – Romney Response
What Jamie Dimon Didn’t Tell You

Monday, May 14, 2012

Let's Play Monopoly!

Talk of Robber Barons and Monopolies is anti-free market rhetoric cooked up by leftists who hate capitalism

Every now and then, someone here will mention Robber Barons, the Gilded Age, or Monopolies while attempting to defend one progressive abomination or another. The left has completely controlled the language and the narrative on this topic, so here's some balance.

Government-Sponsored Monopolies

What history shows is that corporate complacency will eventually lead to a “little guy” popping up with a superior product and a lower price. That is what keeps greedy monopolistic bastards from enslaving us all and forcing us to buy shoddy products and services in their company store.  (Sounds like the federal government, doesn't it?)  The only thing in US history that has prevented this is government protection, bought and paid for by the big guys.  Look around you.  Anywhere you see a monopoly, a government is behind it.

Critics will throw raw numbers around showing how businesses devoured others or formed monopolies during the Gilded Age, but they rarely get into the details. Some businesses were aided by government to form de-facto coercive monopolies, while others got gobbled up because they could not compete, contributing to the statistics showing shrinking numbers of businesses in a given industry.

If only a few efficient businesses are left standing after combat in a free-market arena, near-monopolies can result, but they are monopolies of efficiency, created by the people, not government. And such monopolies are subject to the whims of the marketplace, as John D. Rockefeller found out in the late 1800's as upstarts ate into his market share well before Teddy Roosevelt took his big stick to the job creators of his day.

Communist Propaganda

Much of the criticism is shot through with communist propaganda and pejoratives of the day. Lest someone accuse me of being inflammatory, the contemporary critics of the captains of industry were unapologetic leftists, like Eugene Debs, proud socialist. So we at least need to evaluate the situation with this in mind.

Contrary to popular belief, the government back then was not laissez faire, although the market was freer than it is now. The industrial age was built on bribery, kickbacks, protective tariffs, government aid, land grants and yes, even legal monopoly status, all granted by the federal government. It was not a free market, Uncle Sam was not a disinterested third-party, and the captains of industry, thought hard-working and innovative, were not pristine free-market capitalists.

These "Robber Barons" brought marvelous new goods and services to ordinary people, all the while competing and innovating to keep the prices dropping. What nefarious monopolist clutching a cornered market does that? Sam Walton's got nothing on these guys.

America is better off because of the "Robber Barons"

Another standard of judgment is how we stand now. Did these Robber Barons leave the US a denuded land of impoverished people, a continental Haiti? No! They built the industrial base that launched the greatest economic and military powerhouse in the history of the world, while simultaneously fostering the freest, most prosperous citizenry the world had ever known.

As a bonus, they also bequeathed their wealth to the people. Their multi-billion dollar progeny now superintend great philanthropic causes that bear their names: Vanderbilt, Ford, Chase, Mellon, Rockerfeller, Carnegie, Morgan... By the way, those are all modern-day liberal names, with much of the money going to progressive causes.

Get the Facts

Campaign season is upon us, and the Obama-lama-ding-dongs will be trotting out the committee-approved propaganda, and it will prominently feature the evils of capitalism.

For an interesting and detailed refutation of the anti-"Robber Baron" socialist propaganda, I recommend the article Seven Myths about the Great Philanthropists. It's not a self-serving hagiography, but it does bring a lot of information to light that public school progressives excised from the official history we were taught.

For additional line-by-line refutation of the socialist propaganda, I recommend The Robber Barons and the Real Gilded Age and Witch Hunting for Robber Barons.

Even More Reading on monopolies:
Critique of Neoclassical and Austrian School Monopoly Theory
The Myth of Natural Monopoly
Forgotten Critic of Corporatism

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mothers Day

My earliest thoughts of my mom are of her comforting me when I was in the hospital at the age of two.  Yes, I can remember back that far.  I almost died from spinal meningitis, and they tortured me night and day with needles in my spine, but she hugged and comforted me through it all.

I have fond memories of curling up with my mom and reading books together, including The Bible.  She taught me to be charitable to others.  I haven't always lived up to her expectations, but I try.

I have a confession to make:  I love women

I don't like unwarranted snarky slams on any woman's appearance.  I sympathize with women; they have a much higher standard than men. We men have it easy.  We can throw on whatever clothes we want and nobody cares.  Our wrinkles and grey hair make us look experienced and could easily convey to younger women experience, prosperity and calm self-assuredness.  Women don't get off so easily.  We're even forgiven a few extra pounds, while a woman's weight is mercilessly commented upon, and not in a good way.

Society demands they always look perfect.  I appreciate the beauty of the hand that rocks the cradle, whatever state the woman may be in.  Pregnant women are not misshapen in my eyes, they are flowering founts of humanity, blessed by God to share in his creation.  Look at an older woman, and you can always see beauty there, if you look with a sense of humanity.

I detest Hillary Clinton's politics, but I have a grudging admiration for her. She is smart and she is a hard worker.  I have known a few Colonels over the years, all conservative, who had substantive interactions with Ms. Clinton.  Every one said she was personable, warm and in complete command of the facts.

But to get back to the point of this post...  I like the Drudge Report, but I didn't like the way they poked fun at Ms. Clinton's appearance.  I admire Hillary for stepping out without makeup.  I also thought the slams on her for partying in a Colombian nightclub were so much ridiculous sour grapes.  I don't get the criticism.  By all accounts she and her entourage kept their pants on, which can't be said for the Secret Service.  She was mingling and having fun with the locals, which is what our state department personnel should be doing.

So happy Mothers Day, to all mothers out there, including Hillary, and most especially, to my own dear Mom.

Daily Mail - Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton's Au Natural Moment
A Refreshing Image

Friday, May 11, 2012

Gay is Here to Stay

Gay Marriage is Just a Matter of Time

President Obama has finally come out of the closet.  He's always supported gay marriage--you can't be doctrinaire leftist without doing so, but now its all out in the open.

The President had no choice. There's too much gay money out there waiting to be scooped up. Obama’s bald-faced misdirection saying he didn’t want this to be a big campaign issue reveals that he does want it to be.

He sure as hell can't win reelection talking about his economic accomplishments, although progressives are suddenly pro-war now that the commander in Chief is also a Nobel Peace Prize winner who has killed more people than fellow laureate Yassir Arafat.

It’s all political. This is red meat designed to energize his demoralized base and amp up his anemic fundraising. Foreign money and other shady contributions will not put him over the $1 billion mark; he’s got to amp it up here in the US.

I see “gay marriage” as a two-part issue involving both fundamental natural rights and societal norms that include religion. Natural rights are non-negotiable, societal norms are not, although they cannot be easily reshaped by force. Progressives love wielding the hammer, but religious people are fighting back to defend traditional institutions, and that doesn't make them anti-gay bigots, Revrund Phred Phlapp's God Hates Fags church aside.

Societal Norms

Societal norms are changing. America has not yet fully embraced the idea of gay marriage, although the majority tipping point appears to have been reached. 70% of 17-35 year olds support same sex marriage, while only 39% of those 55 and older do, so opposition is literally dying out and gay marriage will be mainstreamed in another generation or two.

Protect the Sanctity of Marriage? Too Late!

The institution of marriage has fallen upon hard times, with out-of-wedlock births at 41% in 2009. Is it any wonder? Heterosexuals have done more damage to the institution of marriage than gay people ever could. How sacred is marriage when it can be dissolved so easily and so often? Adultery, spouse abuse and child abuse, and our world-leading divorce rate all make a mockery of the concept of marriage as a sacred institution. I believe holy matrimony is sacred, but we heterosexuals in America no longer treat it as such. Many marriages are nothing more than Kardashianesque slapped-together shams, and Christians don't stand up and protest those "marriages," so we can cut the crap about “protecting the sanctity of marriage.”

My only objection to gay marriage is definitional. Marriage has always meant one thing, and conferring the term upon a homosexual union abominates a millennia-old  tradition. All legal partnerships, regardless of genders involved, should be just that:  A legal partnership.  Only a church should be able to declare someone husband and wife.  I realize this is a losing battle (especially given the hetero-induced damage I’ve already detailed), so we need to pick other ground to fight on. Homosexuality will be mainstreamed. Get over it.

Natural Rights

In natural law, human being have rights, whether they be man, woman or some in-between sausage and coconuts combo. We all have a fundamental right to partner with whomever we can convince to shack up with us. At the same time, we must equally respect the right of any given church to choose which relationships they recognize, sanction and celebrate.

The state grants a marriage license, the church confers Holy Matrimony. There is nothing in the constitution prohibiting gay marriage, nor should there be. That same constitution also protects the rights of churches and individuals to hold and exercise their fundamental moral beliefs. As long as everyone recognizes the rights of all, we can maintain a harmonious balance.

Straight Americans have shown themselves to be remarkably libertarian on the issue of gay unions, which is admirable. Will gay activists maintain the same magnanimity when it comes to religious freedom?

Thursday, May 10, 2012


Social Mobility is decreasing in America...  But there's more to the story...

Liberals love rushing in with bad news that damns America, and social mobility studies provide handy buckets of cold water to throw in the faces of flag-waving conservatives. “Heh heh heh…this ain’t such a great place after all…” they seem to be telling us with a mischievous relish.  Inevitably, this leads to unhinged attacks on Ronald Reagan and irrational calls for higher taxes...

... Which leads to unfavorable comparisons to Europe, and the conversation turns to wealth transfer schemes and more generous handouts, totally ignoring Europe’s parlous financial state and recent cutbacks in their generous welfare programs.

What the progressives leave out

Depending on how you look at it, the comparisons are not nearly as bad as they would have us believe.  One overlooked fact is that overall quality of life has improved for everyone in the US over the last 50 years.  We all live longer and consumer products and gadgets that entertain us and make life easier are available to all.

Here's the other side of the coin:
Research for EMP conducted by my colleagues at the Brookings Institution Julia Isaacs, Isabel Sawhill, and Ron Haskins shows that two-thirds of 40-year-old Americans are in households with larger incomes than their parents had at the same age, even taking into account the fact that the cost of living has risen.
That’s pretty impressive, but it actually understates the improvement between generations. Household size declined over these decades, so incomes now are divided up among fewer family members, leaving them better off than bigger households of the past. Another EMP study shows that when incomes are adjusted for household size, four out of five adults today are better off than their parents were at the same age. (Mobility Impaired)
There is no social mobility problem among the middle 60-80%. The “stickiness” occurs at the top and bottom.

The rich...
Among children with parents in the top fifth, 40 percent will remain there themselves, and nearly two-thirds of them will remain in the top two fifths. Again, the point is not that none or few of them deserve to be there. But practices such as legacy admissions to Ivy League schools clearly allow some advantaged children to coast in ways that sap economic growth.
The poor...
One study compared the United States with Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and the United Kingdom. It found that in each country, whether looking at sons or at daughters, 23 to 30 percent of children whose fathers were in the bottom fifth of earnings remained in the bottom fifth themselves as adults — except in the United States, where 42 percent of sons remained there (Mobility Impaired)
Progressives enjoy damning the rich…
If it were learned that the car driven by the average American is 10 times more likely to burst into flames than the car driven by the richest 1%, what should the policy response be? Should it be to mandate that cars driven by the rich burst into flames more often?(The Inequality Obsession)
Many on the left seem to be advocating for that approach. Redistribution schemes won’t work and they are un-American. On the other hand, we should all be for scraping the rent-seeking leeches from the ship of state and purging the corporate moles from our government. Our federal government serves the rich and mindlessly bribes the rest of us without truly focusing in on those who really need help, and it needs to stop. Beyond that, I see nothing wrong with rich people and their progeny stubbornly clinging to the top so long as they are doing it legally.

Helping the bottom 20% help themselves

Clearly, we need to focus on providing those on the bottom a ladder out.  Data shows that education and family stability are key factors in escaping poverty

Walter E Williams has observed that following these steps leads to success every time:

* Graduate high school
* Get married before you have children
* If you get married, stay married
* Get a job, any job. A minimum wage job is a stepping stone
* Avoid engaging in criminal behavior

As a society, we should throw in the elimination of school districts drawn up by the rich to wall themselves off from the poor.  We should also embrace innovations like a longer school day where homework is done at school since we know many students go home to an environment not conducive to getting your studies done. Let's face that fact and find a way to deal with it.

Putting the pointing fingers away and helping the bottom 20% help themselves is infinitely more productive than engaging in eat the rich rhetoric.
Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another, but let him work diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built. -- Abraham Lincoln

Update:  I've asked Ducky to put up or shut up, so I'll do the same.  Here are three posts where I talk about poverty in America.  In each of the posts are links to authoritative sources that support Dr Williams's Steps to Success.

State-Sponsored Suicide 
Poverty and Immorality go Hand in Hand
Child Poverty and Single Childhood

Here's further food for thought:
Is Social Mobility Overrated?
OECD Study
The Inequality Obsession

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Tale of Two States

Campaign season is upon us, so we’ll be subjected to wild claims and creative rhetoric from the left. Conservative Scott Walker is the prime target, with his recall election looming. Take him down, and the public sector unions can continue strangling state governments and shaking down taxpayers.

Here’s the latest pathetic progressive effort:

Pat Quinn, Governor of the failed state of Illinois is crowing about how Illinois is beating Wisconsin, and that Scott Walker needs to learn a lesson from the Wisconsin Democrats’ hidey-hole to the south. It’s laughable.

Here’s the stat everyone is agape over: Illinois job growth beat Wisconsin’s for the six month time period of September 2011 to February 2012. Business Week reports…
"Republican Whipping Boy Illinois Beats Wisconsin on Jobs" 
As with all progressive propaganda, there's more to the story.  A little Krugmanesque selective slicing and dicing of statistics generated the headline, but here’s the reality:

* Wisconsin’s Over the Year unemployment change (March 2011 to March 2012) of of -0.8 beat Illinois’ change of only -0.5.

* Illinois unemployment is 8.8%, while Wisconsin’s sits two points lower at 6.8%

It gets worse for The State That Liberalism and Unions Destroyed. Illinois is on the brink of fiscal collapse, with a backlog of unpaid bills estimated at around $9 billion. Yes Billion!
Wisconsin’s public-employee pension system, considered among the healthiest in the nation, was funded between 94 percent and 99 percent in 2010. (Lessons of Two States)
Meanwhile, Illinois’ five state-funded pension systems recorded total unfunded liabilities of 53 percent, about $81 billion, as of June, 2011, said Dave Urbanek, public information officer for theTeachers’ Retirement System, or TRS, of the State of Illinois. (Lessons of Two States)
So how does Illinois post any job gains at all? Bribery.
Since 2009, Quinn has spent more than $500 million in corporate welfare to bribe companies not to flee the tax environment he has created. (Illinois Moves Toward State of Insolvency)
Reader Comments from the article capture it better than I ever could…
RestoreUSA: Obama just wasn't satisfied helping Illinois to go insolvent, as president his wasteful spending has the country over $16 trillion in debt, Medicare and Social Security going broke, and no plan to fix anything. How's that for Hope & Change?
Kev2: The gravy train is running out of gravy,...
HD: Big government is insane. Deval Patrick did the same thing here. Raise taxes then bribe companies with corporate welfare , like Hollywood, which has been costly to taxpayers and has only added a small handful of jobs, which all go to the powerful Mobsters,... er.... I meant Teamsters...
Escondido Surfer: Of course the federal government must bail out IL, CA and NY. There is no other solution. The funding for this bailout is obvious as well. An excise tax on government worker pension benefits will restore sanity and fund the reckless pension plans without unions or their lackey politicians approval.
This is just the beginning folks. Progressives will lie, cheat and steal to cling to power. You will be hearing much more red propaganda as we get closer to the election. Don’t fall for it. Go googling to get the other side of the story, because with power-hungry progressives losing their clawhold on America, there’s always another side to the story.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Liberal Blind Spot

Finally, confirmation of something I've always suspected.  Conservatives are better able to understand liberal positions than liberals are able to honestly entertain conservative ideas.  I would chime in here that the ability to entertain other points of view that one does not agree with is a mark of intelligence, but I won't...
We tested how well liberals and con­servatives could understand each other. We asked more than 2,000 American visitors to fill out the Moral Foundations Questionnaire. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out normally, answering as themselves. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as they think a “typical liberal” would respond. One-third of the time they were asked to fill it out as a “typical conservative” would respond. This design allowed us to examine the stereotypes that each side held about the other.

Moderates and conservatives were most accurate in their predictions, whether they were pretending to be liberals or conservatives. Liberals were the least accurate, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal.” (Born This Way?)
Most of us shelter ourselves in comfy ideological cocoons, but to my biased eyes, the liberal or progressive cocoon seems stubbornly impenetrable.

Look at how each side approaches the ideas of the other…

Liberals will point at some egregious conservative action or idea, disparage it, and leave it at that, not pausing to explain why it is bad or attempting to at least give a hearing to the other side of the story. Their hysterics over Paul Ryan’s budget, portraying him as an ax murderer when the truth is his budget merely slows the rate of government growth is but one example.

Liberals tend to employ emotion-laden invective, while conservatives analyze a liberal idea and attempt to logically pick it apart. It’s a generality, with exceptions on both sides. Ezra Klein is one of the left’s best analysts and critic of conservative ideas.

How to do it right...

Lee Harris shows how conservatives engage opposing ideas in an intellectually honest way. He gives props to OWS “anti-leader” David Graeber, treats him as the intelligent human being that he is, and seriously considers his intellectual ideas, the most provocative among them, that we are all naturally communists.
One of the central ideas in Graeber’s book is his claim that communism should not be seen as an alternative system to capitalism, or feudalism, or state socialism, but rather as a mode of social life that has always been present and that is a fact of life even in the most advanced capitalist nations, such as the United States. Or, to put it as Graeber likes to: We are all communists already.
When Graeber says that we are already communists, he is referring to those quite familiar situations in which we really do operate by the maxim “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”
People of all cultures, including our own, invariably practice the communism of everyday life when dealing with their family and close friends. A mother does not expect her child to pay her for her baby-sitting services. A brother does not rent out his baseball glove to his brother on an hourly basis. If a friend is sick and needs something from the store, we pick it up for her and would never think of asking for gas money in return. (Communism of Everyday Life)
Lee Harris concedes that given this definition, yes, we are social communists. From there, he explores how freeloaders wreck the whole scheme…
Indeed, anyone who has tried living in a genuine commune has probably come across at least one example of the phenomenon in question. While everyone else is giving to the commune to the best of his ability, the freeloader gives as little as possible, and almost invariably ends up taking a lot more than he needs.
Because freeloaders are unusually shameless, it is pointless to try to shame them into observing the principles underlying the communism of everyday life. Because, by definition, the communism of everyday life is an informal system, freeloaders cannot be sanctioned by law.   (Communism of Everyday Life
Conservatives have grown...

I get Graeber's point, and its a good one as far as it goes.  I also enjoyed Harris's examination of it:  Voluntary "communism" can be good until it is wrecked by shameless freeloaders.  Are there any examples of liberals seriously entertaining conservative ideas without the inevitable denigration?

Ordinary conservatives have largely abandoned George Bush's governmental adventurism and regret his ambitious projects, and have completely thrown over "big government conservatism" as an oxymoron.  Many of us have learned our lessons about war, and don't want to start any more.  We are also waking up on civil liberties, which used to be the exclusive domain of liberals and libertarians.

Can anyone point out similar growth by those on the left?

See Also:
Conservatives understand Liberals...
Why Liberals Can't Understand Conservatives
Chronicle of Higher Education

Monday, May 7, 2012

Free Julia!

Obama's The Life of Julia, is not about one of his composite girlfriends who cries because she can't be black and who receives a narcissistic "thank you," in return for telling young Barry she loves him.  No, this woman is the invention of the Obama "Are You Insane 2012" campaign machine.

This female internet cartoon figure is the archetypal  helpless American, designed to convince liberal young women who are cocooned in daddy government's swaddling embrace to stand by their man.  He gives them free condoms and cut-rate student loans, after all.

Conservative Jokers are already giving this ill-conceived propaganda piece the rich ridicule it deserves:

Sooper Mexican - Life of Julia Parody

Women burned their bras for this?  

To escape slavery to patriarchal husbands and bosses, only to fall into servitude to the state?  Oh, and the Obamunist propagandists forgot one panel, where Julia is given the bill for all this largess:  $15,000,000,000,000, and rising.
This campaign ad damns the progressive state, reminding us all just how dependent we are on government. It could be a beautiful liberal dream were it not racking up such colossal debt, $4 Billion more every day.  The inefficient, money-wasting, dependency-creating beast now infests every last stage and corner of our lives.  We are Cuba with consumer goods; North Korea minus the line of pot bellied pig dictators.
But they inadvertently captured something important about the progressive vision. Julia’s central relationship is to the state. It is her educator, banker, health-care provider, venture capitalist, and retirement fund. And she is, fundamentally, a taker.
Every benefit she gets is cut-rate or free. She apparently doesn’t worry about paying taxes. It doesn’t enter her mind that the programs supporting her might add to the debt or might have unintended consequences. She has no moral qualms about forcing others to pay for her contraception, and her sense of patriotic duty is limited to getting as much government help as she can. (Obama's Vision for Julia: Statism)
Obama's America:  Out of One, Many

Obama and the Democrats have lost their mojo.  They are no longer hip, actually never were, but the nation fell into a mass hypnosis four years ago, and here we are.  Obama is now the stodgy old statist, peddling 100 year old progressive bromides, sorting us into tribes and pitting us against one another, applying one-size-fits-all straight-jackets to a diverse population, and he still hasn't made the oceans recede...

But there is a bright spot!  Obama is rolling back Reaganism!
One of the most troubling aspects [...]is that the shrinkage of the labour force means that just 63.6% of working-age adults are now actively engaged in work or looking for work. That's the lowest participation rate in decades. (Economist)
That's right, mean old Ronnie Raygun created jobs and made all those people go to work, but Obama is changing it back, destroying jobs and freeing us from the capitalist grip...

Ricochet - Four Years of Obama Undoes Eight Years of Reagan

Who the Hell is Julia? And Why am I paying...
The Life of Julia - Yuval Levin
Sooper Mexican - Life of Julia Parody
Julia - Obama's American Woman
James Taranto - The Lonely Life of Julia
Life of Julia - Libertarian Remix
The Party of Julia