Wednesday, December 28, 2011

An Explanation of the Occupy Movement

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Greatest Statement Ever

Vaclav Havel in part:
The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of information is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

If this doesn't sum up our current situation, I don't know what does.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Climate Change Scientists Forecast to Come True

At least, the ones' from 1975.

According to Watt's Up With That, we are in for a doozy of a La Nina.  You may remember that our especially long and snowy winter from last year was the result of a La Nina.  Check out this chart:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Daisy, Daisy



Things have been slow, primarily due to real life.  But there is also the idea that blogging no longer means as much to me.  Do I persuade anyone who disagrees with me, or simply reinforce those who are like minded?  And does it really matter?

I know that Dave and Greg have gone into hibernation, and I think that I will for awhile as well.  I don't want to kill this blog, but I just don't have the interest to keep going at the moment.  Maybe I will pick it up again if I get really interested in something, but for now - So long, and thanks for all the fish.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Why Won't Jon Talk to Me?

I realize that as a high and mighty US Senator, Jon Tester doesn't have to answer those petty questions from his constituents, but it is also telling that he has not answered an email question I sent out over a week ago.  I just asked him "What is his position on the President's American Jobs Act?"
I wasn't trying to call him out, but I was wondering how he would answer since he is running for re-election.

Apparently, his silence is his answer.

Friday, September 16, 2011

BotchWatch

We all know about AttackWatch, the site where you are to report misinformation to the masters in the White House so that they can quickly quell dissent.  I was inspired by the NY Post's BungleWatch, but I think that what we really need is a BotchWatch site where people can  report all the stupid stuff the Government does. ( I just like BotchWatch better than BungleWatch.)  We could even have it broken down to a FedBotchWatch, with subsets of the respective Department's BotchWatch, such as EnergyBotchWatch, AgBotchWatch, etc.  You could throw in a state version as well, like (Insert name of appropriate state here )BotchWatch, and carry it on down to the local levels.
It's probably going to take one heck of a server farm and more bandwidth than Blogger can host to run it, so anyone with the resources should be encouraged to go for it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our Inept President

If this wasn't real, it would be funny. Remember back in August when Obama said that he had a plan that was going to get the economy going again so people would have jobs, and how he was going to release the plan right after he came back from vacation? And how he wanted a joint session of Congress to announce the plan, and that they were trying to be cute and schedule it over the top of the Republican Debates? And how they tried to make Boehner look like a partisan for pushing it back a day?  A day longer to wait for helping America get out of this economic mess, how dare he!
I missed the speech because I was traveling to Helena at the time, but the snapshot review was all about how many times he said "Pass this bill!" Just one problem: There wasn't a bill. Nothing to be introduced by any member of Congress to be considered. Nothing to be scored by the CBO. Nothing at all. But that didn't stop Obama from hitting the campaign trail to demand that the Republicans pass his bill, the "American Jobs Act of 2011." He headed off to Ohio to campaign in Boehner's back yard, telling everyone to make the Republicans do their job and Pass! The! Bill!  And still there was no bill.
But in an interesting display of bipartisanship, Texas Representative Louie Gohmert, a Republican decided that he needed to introduce the American Jobs Act of 2011 on his own. Now his bill calls for reducing the corporate tax rate to 0%, and do away with the Alternative Minimum Tax. Just imagine Obama having to veto the American Jobs Act of 2011 that he called for the Republicans to pass.
Some may say that this is just a cynical political game, and they would probably be right, but it is no less of a game than what Obama is doing in demanding the passage of a bill that hasn't been introduced yet. And the only reason that Obama hasn't introduced the bill is because it doesn't exist. It is simply a political prop that he thinks is a trap that he set for the Republican Congress. But he has been too clever by half, and too lazy to do anything to follow through. His lack of writing from his college days and his tenure at Harvard Review has carried on to his Presidency, where speechifying is used as a substitute for, well, you know, work. I am sure that someone in the White House had to ask the question about what should be presented. But maybe they fell for the myth about Obama being a genius, and no one would tell him that there was more work to do. If that's the case, we have a White House populated by people who cannot seem to see that the Emperor has no clothes, or ability to do anything but campaign.

Amusing Self Righteousness

The Obama campaign has set up a Twitter account whereby you can rat out your fellow citizens for saying bad things about "The One."  But their linear thinking is being turned on its head by those dastardly people who they were looking to "out" and correct for misinformation.  My favorite is from the comments, (you have to start at the bottom to keep it chronological):
My Tweets so far: #AttackWatch, I'm having way too much fun watching this hashtag, for reasons I suspect you didn't expect. 10 minutes ago #Attackwatch, I'm concerned because I have friends that hopes our country will succeed, but thinks Obama has ALREADY failed. 15 minutes ago Dear #AttackWatch, just had an earthquake nearby, very scary. Please stop it. 20 minutes ago Dear #AttackWatch, I want to report the hashtag #AttackWatch, nothing but truth being told that is embarrasing to our president! 53 minutes ago Dear #AttackWatch, I want to report the ATF for selling guns to undocumented workers that didn't go back to Mexico to use them! 59 minutes ago BY Dave Klaus on 09/14/2011 at 11:23
I think that I should report myself as well.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Best Line of the Debate - Herman Cain

I am probably biased, but I loved when Herman was talking about reforming government, and he was saying that people would tell him "You don't know how government works."  And Herman responded that he knows how government works, "and it doesn't!"

So true.

The Katrina Paradox

One of the things that I find interesting about our Leftist friends, is their continuing belief in the efficacy of government. This in spite of all the examples to the contrary. such as the government's response to Hurricane Katrina. The old joke was that Democrats promised if elected that they will make you taller, stronger, better looking and get rid of the crabgrass in you lawn. Republicans on the other hand promise the government doesn't work, and when elected prove it.
Most of us have had our own experiences with government that leaves a less than satisfactory feeling about our "public servants." I had purchased a new truck and was given the temporary sticker while the processing for a new title took place. I kept checking the mail looking for the notice that the title was in so I could register my vehicle, but it never came. About a week before the expiration of my temp plates, I called to ask if the title was ready, and the worker there said they still hadn't received it from the car dealer. I asked if I could get an extension on the temp plates and was told that was not allowed. So I called the dealer, and he told me that he had sent it, and in fact had made a copy of the fax that he sent, since this had happened before. Once again, I called the DMV and they had suddenly discovered the title (seems it had been misfiled) and I could get my title done when I came in. Upon entering I took a number and watched. There were three workers for the title section, and one seemed to take an extraordinarily long time with one customer. Maybe he was registering a fleet of vehicles, but I was there for an hour, and he never left. One of the workers was cranking through customers, and I was really hopeful that I would get her, but my number came up with the third teller, who announced that she was going on break, and promptly left. I waited for twenty more minutes until she came back from her break and stated that it was so hot out there while she was doing her errands. Not wanting to take any longer by asking why she couldn't do that on her own time, I let it go. But it was a symbol of government and the private citizen's interaction. We are held hostage to the whims of the bureaucrat who holds all the power, rendering us, the source of all sovereign power as impotent as possible.
When you complain about regulations, you always get the bromide, "What are you, against clean water and air?" As that was all that there was to regulation. Sure, I am in favor of clean air and water, who isn't? But the same regulations that supposedly protect us, are used to shut down a seven year old's lemonade stand, and tacked on a $500 fine on top of that. Or how about the whole drug war thing? When the mayor of Baltimore has his house invaded by a SWAT team, holding his family at gunpoint, shooting their dogs, and all because they went to the wrong house, are also instances of government in action. In Montana, my favorite example is the old "Reasonable and Prudent" law that removed the daytime speed limit. Oh, Woe! the pro limit crowd cried, there would be carnage on the highways! But a funny thing happened: Death rates on the highways went down. A lot. In fact, they stayed below the speed limit rate of deaths until the speed limit was reimposed, and then they jumped back up. Dramatically. So if you want to kill people, lower the speed limit seems to be the lesson to be learned. But we don't learn that lesson, do we?
Also in Montana, we have a requirement that if you want to cut hair you have to have 2000 hours of instruction before you can get a license. North Carolina has a requirement that your barber only have 400 hours of classes. Are the haircuts here five times better? Or is this just a guaranteed stream of cash flow to the owners of beauty schools? How about DUIs? We all want to reduce and possibly eliminate DUIS, but we restrict liquor licenses so that you have to drive to go have a beer with your friends. Why can't we relax the licensing requirements and allow neighborhood bars that you could walk to, and then back home? Because the Montana Tavern Owner's Association has a vested interest in restricting the licenses in order to keep the prices high. And with the Liquor Control Board, don't even get me started on their Byzantine rules and regulations.
There are plenty more examples that could be cited, but I am sure that each of you has your own private experience with inefficient and ineffective regulations and government. And if we get the government that we deserve, don't we deserve better? How many regulations keep us from gaining jobs in the Bakken oil fields that North Dakota feels aren't necessary? Why is it so hard to start a business with license fees, inspections, regulations that you know nothing about? when is enough enough? The idea that government works only for good is a false notion, a fairy tale that needs to be shown for the failure that it is. The government needs to get out of our day to day lives and get back to doing that which it is mandated to do and nothing else. Defense of the country, courts to address wrongs, and little else.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

9-11 Ten Years On.

There are many emotions with the tenth anniversary of the worst attack on our country. Some want to forget, having seen the horror so many times. I never want to forget, nor forgive, nor excuse, nor try to understand. There is nothing that can ever justify what was done on that day. It wasn't poverty, it wasn't oppression, it wasn't any logical explanation that caused nineteen hijackers who only wanted to kill as many people as they could. That was their goal, and they achieved a majority of their objectives. But the answer to their barbarism is to remember the best of our own humanity. Remember that many of the victims were those who were rushing into the buildings while others were rushing out. Remember that the intended victims of Flight 93 were instead the last line of defense in this attack. Those heroes will never be forgot. But we also need to remember those who exercised the hardest choice of all. Shortly after the attack on the World Trade Center Towers, it became obvious that people were trapped above where the planes struck. Some images of that time include people waving out of the gash in the buildings, seeking help which would never come. But the thing that I remember most of those who were trapped were the ones who when confronted by the choice of burning to death and ten seconds of falling to a horrible death chose the latter. That is a choice that no one should have to make, and the bastards that flew those planes forced that choice onto innocents who had never done them any harm. Afterwards, the pictures are still being scrubbed. Some say that the images of the jumpers is just too horrible, and that it will only inspire rage. And I would agree with them. But to sanitize by removing those images is to deny those who had to make that choice, the respect for their awful choice.
We will never know who that man was, but to pretend that he doesn't exist is almost as serious crime as what caused him to have to choose. Will the image inspire hatred and fear? Probably, but also justifiably. The people who proclaim that their religion authorizes just this sort of thing, are not people worthy of any consideration. They need to be stopped by any means possible from ever doing anything that would force one more innocent to have to make the terrible choice that this man did. Never Forget.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Civility for Thee, But Not For Me

One could be angry, or one could just go ahead and admit that they pulled one over on us. Who? What did they pull over?
The answer is "the Left" at least as far as being considered worthy of consideration. It started with the Holocaust shooter, and everyone said the Right was to blame. Then the guy who flew his Cessna into the IRS building, and once again the Right was to blame. Then we had Loughner deciding to shoot up the Arizona parking lot with Rep. Gabi Giffords in it, almost killing her, and the first call was the Right Wing Rhetoric, and later it was Palin's map with cross hairs on certain legislative districts. Remember them? They were all false. Every last one of them. And the Left doesn't care.
After the Arizona shootings, we had Obama come out and say that we had to raise the level of discourse, and once again we fell for it. But they didn't. Calling people who believe in fiscal responsibility as "terrorists," "barbarians," "teabaggers," people who have to be "taken out." That is the new tone of civility, and that comes from the leadership of the Democrats, never mind the Leftie blogs who go even further in their reprehensible language. But when it happens and the "leadership" refuses to even say that is too much, then you know that we have been scammed.
There is a tactical advantage to playing the rules one way only. Sure, civilized behavior would dictate that it apply to both sides, but the nihilism of the Left means that they don't have to be civilized. In fact, they relish their barbarism. After all, it gives them a juvenile sense of superiority, just like the kid who shot spitwads at the teacher's back in class, they feel they are "standing up to the man." Not that they really are, they're just being jerks, but it makes their immature feelings happy even while it does nothing.
The advantage of being an adult, is that you have already lived through the juvenile stage and moved beyond it. As an adult, we can regress but they can never advance to becoming adult, because it is unknown territory for them. Well, I have a desire to go back and play in the sandbox one more time.
The Left needs to be destroyed. They need to be eliminated from the face of the Earth. They are dangerous traitors who don't even deserve the bullet to the head that is waiting for them. Laws should be passed mandating that they immediately commit suicide, the sick bastards that they are. The Democrat Party needs to be outlawed as a traitorous entity that has no legitimacy, and all Democrat office holders need to be taken out, lined up against the wall and shot for their crimes against humanity.
They are all so stupid, they have been blindly following their orders while working for the destruction of the country that has provided them the tools for them to use against us. No more! Rid the pests, denounce them in the public square. Exterminate them!
Don't tell me to be civil, or that I might hurt their feelings. I don't care, they aren't worthy of the most basic considerations given to dumb animals, who are smarter than they are. But maybe that is too extreme, however pleasurable it might be. Let's just send them to their colonies that they have already established like California, New York, Massachussets and fence them in there. Let them continue their destruction of civilization in their own little fiefdoms, but rid them of having any say over the rest of us. Rant off.

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Incredible Shrinking President

On Thursday, the President is going to give a speech that will be at 5 p.m. our time and 4p.m. on the West Coast. It will be the final explanation of his jobs plan that he promised he had developed, but has been keeping it secret since before he went on vacation. And I am sure that it will be a wonderful and fantastic plan! NOT.
The problem with Obama, is that he doesn't seem to be as smart as his sycophants want to make him out to be. He is trying to use an address from the Capital to make up for an entirely boring rehash of what he has already promoted and had shot down. Oh, I am sure that there will be calls for unity and all that. I really doubt that even he has the chutzpa to call for a "civil" discussion. In fact, that canard has been destroyed if it had any life left with his introduction by Jimmy Hoffa jr. at today's Labor Day picnic and speech.
I know I won't be alone in ignoring the President prattling on. Oh, I might wait for the news shows to see if there is anything there, but the chances of anything useful are about zero. He is caught between his base who demand that he become confrontational and institute even more radical failed policies on an even bigger scale, and the rest of the country that thinks he is clueless or out of his mind.
In retrospect though, there is one thing that he could do that would dramatically improve the economy: Offer his resignation. Now that would be newsworthy.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

How Obama can Win ReElection

If you are going to be intellectually honest, you have to consider what your opponent thinks and believes and why. I do not want Obama to win, because I love my country too much to see it continue on the destructive path he has set for it. But if you want Obama to take that long ride back home to Chicago in January of 2013, you need to think what it would take for him win, so that you can prepare and counter his actions.
The electoral landscape is not looking good for him right now. There is a 50-50 chance that we will enter into a double dip recession and no president has ever won reelection with unemployment above 8.2% for more than 70 years. Of course, no black man has ever won the presidency before either, so that tidbit is not necessarily governing but does provide guidance to be considered. With a poor economy, Obama can continue to blame Bush, but that story is wearing quite thin. The probability of a sudden economic expansion is highly unlikely, unless there is a complete reversal of economic policies. So that aspect is not one that he is likely to emphasize, and would prefer to ignore it if at all possible. It is further unlikely that Obama has the mental agility to even grasp how ineffective his policies are, so the chances of even recognizing that they don't work means that Obama will continue on straight ahead, heedless of the facts.
Obama is striving for a billion dollar campaign goal, and that is not necessarily unreachable, although a lot of the corporate bundlers who supported him before are unlikely to continue to do so this time around because he can't please all the big donors. Obama does have the fullthroated and unquestioning support of the Mains Stream Media, but their influence is also wearing thin as people come to realize that they are not honest brokers, but rather future Press Secretary wannabes. Alternative sources of information and commentary are taking over all but the most unsophisticated voters, and they will remain steadfastly loyal to the President if for no other reason than their unthinking hatred of the Republicans.
Electorally, Obama is still popular with 16 states, and certainly has the unthinking support of the 20% of the population that call themselves liberal, and that of the African American community as well. That base, assuming they don't stay at home out of disappointment, will account for 30% of the vote so he just needs to pull in another 21%. That is going to be difficult, unless the Republicans pull another weak candidate like McCain.
All of this seems rather pessimistic for getting Obama reelected, but there are two possibilities that can allow him to slip back into the Oval Office. First, the aforementioned Republicans pick the absolute worst candidate to run against him. At the moment, the generic Republican is beating him, but once the nomination is made, you can bet that all the political organs of the Democrat party will be mobilized to demonize his opponent. Doesn't have to be fair or accurate in the attacks, but if they are valid that will certainly help.
The other road to electoral success is the same one that Clinton used: A third party candidate that strips voters away from Obamas's opponent. Like 1996's Ross Perot, the third party candidate needs to be independently wealthy, have a certain level of charisma and the organization to get his name on the ballot. Dodnald Trump would certainly fill the bill plus he has the ego to try and make it happen. But I don't think that Trump will pull enough votes away to assure Obama's reelection. There may be a better candidate in Ron Paul. While he doesn't have the money of a trump, he does have the fanatical support of his followers who would vote against Obama if there is no other choice, but will abandon the Republican if Paul runs on the Libertarian ticket.
So in the final analysis, Obama can do little to ensure his reelection. It will almost assuredly come down to a third party candidate that is strong enough to pull more than 20% of the vote. Not that it can't be done, but it sure doesn't look good.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Acknowledging the Right Thing

I have long looked at groups like National Organization for Women and others as tax exempt shills for the Democrats in that they are so blatantly one sided. Remember how NOW came to the aid of Sarah Palin? Neither do I.
But when they do the right thing, you should acknowledge it and in turn, they earn greater respect for doing the right thing.
The example today is Newsweek and their cover showing Michelle Bachmann over the title "Queen of Rage."


This is just playing into the stereotype of women being "hysterical" while men are cool, calm and collected. Just like old Barry Obama who has been having tantrums because no one listens to him anymore.
But good for NOW! (pardon the pun) for doing the right thing.

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Viral Video

from Instapundit:

This Says a Lot


Why the hate by the Left? Could it be that they have run out of ideas?

Killing Zombies

Dave Budge has a post on Electric City that points out that assigning blame does nothing to solve our economic problems. I had posted a comment in that regard which led Rob Kailey of Wulfgar fame to respond. I answered parts of his comment there, but it really requires a more in depth look that would take over the post. For that reason I have moved my response to this post.
So, let's look at Rob's comments. First:
Steve, you keep supporting a zombie lie, one which must be destroyed if we are to avoid “childish reasoning”. Raising taxes on the wealthy does not create more unemployment. It never has. Not once in the nation’s history can this be shown as fact
I am not aware on any basis for his assertion, except for wishful thinking. I am sure that the same old tactic will be invoked, that I should Google the assertion for myself, but since it defies even common sense, I won't bother. Let's apply common sense to the problem though, and see if raising taxes on the rich results in higher unemployment is an invalid assertion. Suppose I own a company with 100 employees and my taxes are raised 5%. I have several options, raise prices, which makes my business less competitive, equally pass the costs onto all the employees or absorb the costs on my own. The first will probably result in less profits for the business as consumers seek other alternatives. The second would require an equal cut for the pay of all of the workers. How many of us are willing to take a pay cut at all? We become accustomed to our pay, and a cut is not acceptable. On the other hand, I could also reduce the workforce by 5%, which is the opposite of Wulfgar's hypothesis. The same applies if I absorb all the costs. If my spending power is reduced by 5%, that means I get to buy 5% less. That results in other businesses getting 5% less, and since they also are hit by the tax increase, it magnifies the impact of the tax raise, and we all lose. So that "zombie lie" is proven to be an actual problem that cannot be dismissed out of hand.
Next, Rob says:
Nor are our economic woes the fault of “entitlements”. That is simply another way to place “blame” while masking the fact that you’re doing it. I work, then I get paid. That’s the agreement between myself and my employer. If my employer finds himself without the money to pay me, that’s not my fault. I’m not “entitled” to my pay. It was an agreement, a contract. It was a deal.
I am not sure of the point of this statement. If Rob is entitled to the pay (as he should be) and there is no money to pay for it, Rob could sue to enforce the contract, but if there is no money in the business, Rob would prevail but to no ultimate end if the employer is bankrupt. If the contract is unenforceable, there is no real contract. But to ignore problem with the growth in entitlement spending is childish at best and wishful at worst. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid along with interest on the debt already occupy more than half the total federal budge. Yes, the workers were promised the entitlements, but if there is no money to pay them, it is an unenforceable contract. The thinking on the Left seems to be "tax the rich" as a solution, but as has already been noted elsewhere, taking all of the money earned by those making a million or more will not even cover the deficit, much less the debt, and who will you tax the next year when all those taxed fail to show up for work? The rest of his comment in this paragraph seems to be a non-sequiter, so it is impossible to respond.
Rob's next point seems to be that the analogy of paying the debt to personal finance justifies raising taxes.
Since it seems to the rage among many on the right to compare governmental finance with a home budget, allow me a generalized anecdote. Every single time in my life I’ve found myself owing what I couldn’t pay, I’ve used a vast array of methods to keep afloat. I’ve done the severe austerity. I’ve not paid one bill so that I could pay another (robbing Peter to pay Paul). I’ve sold assets. I’ve borrowed on assets which only pushes the pain forward. I’ve used legal means to forestall the debt. The one thing that’s been consistent throughout is that my troubles, such as they are, have only been solved by an increase in revenue.
Applying his argument, the government should first cut spending. Hooray, a wonderful idea. No more dinners out, and yes we will need to eat Top Ramen for a long while until we get spending under control. I agree that we need to look at what we are spending money on and whether we can do without it. Cut all subsidies, corn, cotton, sugar, peanuts, milk, crop rotation, and alternative energy as well. Make them function in an open market, and if they can't survive, they don't need to be propped up either. So we are in agreement there. His next point about not paying one bill to pay another is a short term solution but only increases the problem as the bill not paid accrues interest and late fees, not to mention the failure of a moral obligation to pay just debts. So that won't work. Selling assets that you can part with is a good idea as well. For instance, Montanans receive more in federal spending than they pay in. A good part of this is because the feds own about a quarter of the state. Start selling forest service lands and you get the double benefit of cash and reduced costs to maintain it. That also seems like a good idea. He mentions borrowing on assets and correctly acknowledges that only pushes the problem forward. Just like we are doing now with our continued federal borrowing. So again we are in agreement, even though he may not have intended it. Lastly, he reports that the only way to solve the problem is to increase revenue. You can go to your employer for a raise, but if he doesn't have the money to pay for it, what are you going to do, take a second job? Is he suggesting that the US take a second job?
Because I am planning on getting on the boat real soon, I will jump to his last point: That the country needs more revenue, and on that I agree with him, just not the way that he wants to do it. If we reform taxes from being an instrument of social engineering to one of actual collection of revenue, that would be a good start. The fact that the favored GE can pay no taxes is an affront to all citizens. But if you lowered the corporate rate to 20% and removed all deductions, you would have a more cost effective basis to operate in this country which would result in the return of manufacturing and expanded revenue. The fact that keeps being denied is that tax cuts do raise revenue. From the Washington Examiner, Byron York points out the following:
As far as tax cuts are concerned, Bush did indeed cut taxes for the wealthy -- along with everybody else who paid income taxes. But does Brown remember that tax revenues actually increased in the years after the Bush tax cuts took effect?

Revenues fell in Bush's first two years because of a combination of the tech bust and the start of the tax cuts. But then things took off. After taking in $1.782 trillion in tax revenues in 2003, the government collected $1.88 trillion in 2004; $2.153 trillion in 2005; $2.406 trillion in 2006; and $2.567 trillion in 2007, according to figures compiled by the Office of Management and Budget. That's a 44 percent increase from 2003 to 2007. (Revenues slid downward a bit in 2008, and a lot in 2009, when the financial crisis sent the economy into a tailspin.) "Everybody talks about how much the Bush tax cuts 'cost,'" says one GOP strategist. "We're saying, no, they led to a huge increase in revenue."

And deficits shrank. After beginning with a Clinton-era surplus in 2001, the Bush administration ran up deficits of $158 billion in 2002; $378 billion in 2003; and $413 billion in 2004. Then, with revenues pouring in, the deficits began to fall: $318 billion in 2005; $248 billion in 2006; and $161 billion in 2007. That 2007 deficit, with the tax cuts in effect, was one-tenth of today's $1.6 trillion deficit.
The problem with the tax cuts adding to the debt, was that we cut taxes, and increased spending. Government spending goes up every year, and in the last two years has exploded. Tax cuts allow the private sector to more effectively use the money than the government.
I realize that Wulfgar is not alone in his thinking on economic matters, but the desire to believe that raising taxes is going to solve the problem is itself a "zombie lie" and it's time to kill it once and for all time.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Macho Response

Found this awhile ago, and it does provide somewhat crude but amusing analysis. From his Tuesday bites for today:

So Jonah Goldberg’s got a nice message for the media today:

To Hell with You People

This is called The Macho Response, and we approve.

James Taranto of The Wall Street Journal also saw what’s pissed Jonah off so badly, and he says it’s liberals getting “even angrier and more desperate.”


This means we’re winning, and we approve of that as well.

And finally, Glenn Reynolds has some advice for those of you sick of the president and, presumably, his followers:

Just try to remain as graceful and generous as the Democrats did under the last Administration, if you can.

Oh man, you know – if Reynold’s is talking like that – the gate’s wide open now:


Maintain, people, maintain,…we don’t want nobody going to jail.

 


Go read the rest, it's pretty fun.

Government in Rebellion

Ed Kaitz at the American Thinker has an especially brilliant piece today. He bases the analysis on John Locke and his Second Treatise and is the best explanation for what is going on now. The reason that I picked the title for this post is that Locke was saying that since the power of government comes from the people, the government is the only one that can "rebel." and boy, is our government revolting at the moment.

A few selections from the article:
Those "being the likeliest" to destroy the social contract and deliver society back into a state of war are "they who are in power" (i.e. politicians). The reason, says Locke, is that politicians, much more than the people, will succumb to three weaknesses: "the pretense they have to authority, the temptation of force they have in their hands, and the flattery of those about them." People, in other words, naturally choose to set up a limited, divided government that protects private property in order to give the society the best chance at flourishing. Left alone, says Locke, the people have the best chance at self-preservation. Our politician-servants however who succumb to the authority, power, and flattery characteristic of political life will begin to pollute the original laissez-faire system set up to reward the rational and the industrious.
and
Locke's most famous American protégé and a genuine constitutional scholar, James Madison, argued at the end of his brilliant Federalist #10 that there were three "wicked projects" that -- in the hands an unscrupulous political faction -- could potentially inflame our Republic with a most devastating plague: "a rage for paper money, [an] abolition of debts, [and] an equal division of property."

In other words, deficit spending, bailouts, and welfare state socialism -- the three pillars of the modern Democratic Party -- were, to Madison, the likeliest and most "wicked" threats to America's self-preservation.

For Madison and Locke then, some form of economic and political terrorism would eventually destroy the Enlightenment experiment in constitutional government.
You really do need to read the whole thing.

Monday, August 01, 2011

This small group of terrorists have made it impossible to spend any money.

Biden says that like it's a bad thing. What he should have said, is that they have tried to make it impossible to spend money we don't have.

Sheesh, and people think Sarah Palin shouldn't have been VP. Idiots.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is Crisis Management Better Than No Management?

That seems to be the mantra of the political classes with regards to the debt ceiling extension. But as a citizen, the most aggravating thing has to be the delay in dealing with it. Ever since last year when the debt ceiling was raised $1.9 Trillion, you'd think someone would have noticed that we were spending more money than we were taking in and we would be bumping up against the debt ceiling again. But No! That would take foresight and understanding, both of which seem to exist in zero amounts in Washington.
If the Democrats get their way, they want to extend the cap by $2.4 Trillion just so we can get through the next election. After all, if the electorate is involved in the debate, they just may say "What in the Sam Hell are you thinking?" which would really harsh their mellow about spending, spending, spending.
By extending the debt limit, we aren't saving our financial situation, we are handing junkies their fix, all the while they plead that "This will be the last time, I promise." Maybe it is true that we get the government that we deserve, which makes me ask "Why does God hate us?"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Internecine Strife is Fun!

Apparently, JC of 4&20 and Wulfgar are in a spat as to the direction of the Democrat Party. As an outside observer, I see it as Wulfgar being practical (I know, hard to believe) and JC being the voice of the believers in the "One True Faith."
While I think both are too limited in their thinking, and they are too quick to disregard actual reality, it is an interesting debate. Sort of like that going on with the Tea Party at the moment: Stick with the GOP or consider them out of date and out of touch.
In any event, give them both a read, and enjoy their misery.

Sen. Tester: What's Your Plan?

All fifty-three Democrat senators have sent a letter to the Speaker of the House saying that they will reject the plan under consideration to raise the debt limit. Among them of course, our junior senator, oops, I mean the extra vote that Harry Reid has, who agrees with his party's leadership that just saying no is an effective strategy.
So, Sen. Tester, if there is no plan, or even if it is passed by the House and presented to the Senate, you are going to vote to keep the status quo? In a way, I kind of like that, since the automatic reduction in the size of government in one day will be quite dramatic. But isn't Jon in the least bit worried? About the debt limit, our credit rating, our fiscal future, or even that we could figure out that we can live with a whole lot less government?
And what is the Senate's plan? Harry Reid's smoke and mirrors is the greatest problem for our credit rating, and contains no real cuts. So, Senator Tester, what are you going to do to protect Montana families? Just go along with Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer?
If so, I am sure that you will enjoy returning to your farm in January of 2013, with lots of time to think about it.

The Left Unhinged

It has become impossible to discuss anything with the Left since November of 2010 as they wallow in their buyer's remorse about Obama. Yet somehow, they refuse to acknowledge that they are the minority of the country and have no useful political clout outside of the Mainstream Media and Hollywood. But like any wounded animal, they are still dangerous as they lash out in all directions in order to somehow hurt their tormentors.
For instance, as James Taranto notes in his Best of the Web the Left have taken to attacking Republicans in general and the Tea Party in particular. Nicholas Kristoff of the New York Times who argues that duly elected Representatives of the US House are our own "domestic terrorists and extremists" are a bigger threat to national security than China or Iran. Really? Aren't you questioning their patriotism, and isn't that verboten? And isn't it more than just a little over the top to equate Bachman and other Tea Partiers with terrorism? The hyperbole makes the argument laughably irrelevant. And it wouldn't matter except for the proliferation of what has become known as the "unsophisticated voter."
These voters are easy to identify because they take no interest in the political affairs of the country until such time as they are bused to the ballot box where they can register and vote in accordance with the guy's wishes who gave them a sandwich. They used to be evenly distributed between the two parties until the Democrats figured out that with enough of these uninformed dolts, they could actually take over the country, hence the current version of the Get Out the Vote efforts of that party. Now they are being called upon by the Leader of the Free World to intimidate Congress into spending more than it has the ability to pay.
By itself, the disparaging remarks of those who believe in fiscal discipline and limited government keeps us from having an honest debate. For instance, why is it that those advocating raising the debt limit without serious reductions in spending will still be facing the same problem anywhere from six months to a year from now? Why raise taxes on a few that will fail to close the deficit and ignore the 49% who pay no taxes? Have they no interest in solving the fiscal problem, or do they simply want to institute income redistribution, the country be damned?
Finally, I am amazed at the number of law professors who are advocating that Obama raise the debt limit on his own. As we are often reminded, Obama was a "Professor of Constitutional Law" at Chicago. I am just curious, which Constitution? Certainly not the one that he swore an oath to uphold in January of 2009. And yet these luminaries of the professorate seem to have no problems with arguing for a complete usurpation of the power of the purse by the Presidency.
I remember when Watergate was going on and thinking that it was a constitutional crisis if Nixon tried to hold onto power. If Obama tries a power grab as he is being encouraged, that my friends is a real constitutional crisis.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why the Tax Code is Immoral

There is a false argument that taxes should be progressive. The idea is that there should be higher rates for higher earners, but no one explains why that is so. Once you question the validity of that premise, you come up with this. The untalked about point in the argument in raising the debt ceiling is that raising rates on the rich will not provide enough revenue to cover the deficit in government spending. In fact, as has been noted often enough, taxing all the billionaires and millionaires 100% of their income will only cover the deficit for one year. How many of the people hit with 100% tax be back to work the next year? And when they do, what happens to the jobs that they used to pay, or the goods they bought, who will buy them now?
No, raising taxes on only one segment of the society is not about "revenue enhancements." It's all about wealth redistribution, pure and simple. If our leaders were serious about the deficit, they would impose a flat tax, but what they really want is to reward their friends and punish their enemies.
But if you do believe in progressive tax rates, could you tell me what the maximum rate could be? And what do you think happens to people when the rate is imposed? How much of their efforts that had gone to creating wealth are now directed at tax avoidance schemes? And why is that better?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Obama Quoting Reagan

Watching the President's address, I was waiting for the balloons and confetti to start falling as soon as his speech ended, just like any other campaign event. But in reviewing his speech, his lies were growing in number to the point that he loses touch with reality in spite of his carefully focus group tested words. But it galls me that he wants to quote Reagan by saying that he would have been in favor or raising taxes. Of course, like everything this President says, it is out of context and false in it's usage. But why didn't Obama use this quote?
In a 1983 debt-ceiling debate, Reagan threatened to veto any measure that contained tax hikes. “I am unalterably opposed to Congress‘ efforts to raise taxes on individuals and businesses,” he said. His administration “did not come to Washington to raise the peoples’ taxes. We came here to restore opportunity and get this economy moving again. We do not face large deficits because Americans aren’t taxed enough. We face those deficits because the Congress still spends too much.”
Words still true as ever, and here we are more than thirty years on. Many on the Left are calling for Defense spending cuts to the point of eliminating the Defense Department all together. The only function of the government that is absolutely necessary, is the only place that they are willing to cut.
In closing, one more quote from the Gipper that seems so appropriate:
“For those who say further responsible spending reductions are not possible,” Reagan said, “they are wrong. For those who say the only choice is undermining our national security … they are wrong. For those who say more taxes will solve our deficit problems, they are wrong.”
Obama is wrong.

The Difference Between a Lie and a Mistake

The Left has always said that "Bush lied!" when it came to WMDs in Iraq. I thought that they were just trying to exploit the confused voter for their tactical advantage. But now we have actual lies coming out of the White House and crickets coming from the Leftocracy and blogosphere. From the article:
“I wanted to give you an update on the current situation around the debt ceiling,” Mr. Obama said at 6:06 p.m. OK, that wasn’t a lie — but just about everything he said after it was, and he knows it.

“I just got a call about a half-hour ago from Speaker [John A.] Boehner, who indicated that he was going to be walking away from the negotiations,” he said.

Not so: “The White House made offers during the negotiations,” said our insider, a person intimately involved in the negotiations, “and then backtracked on those offers after they got heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill. The White House, and its steadfast refusal to follow through on its rhetoric in terms of cutting spending and addressing entitlements, is the real reason that debt talks broke down.”

Mr. Boehner was more blunt in his own news conference: “The discussions we’ve had with the White House have broken down for two reasons. First, they insisted on raising taxes. … Secondly, they refused to get serious about cutting spending and making the tough choices that are facing our country on entitlement reform.”

But back to the lying liar and the lies he told Friday. “You had a bipartisan group of senators, including Republicans who are in leadership in the Senate, calling for what effectively was about $2 trillion above the Republican baseline that theyve been working off of. What we said was give us $1.2 trillion in additional revenues,” Mr. Obama said.

That, too, was a lie. “The White House had already agreed to a lower revenue number — to be generated through economic growth and a more efficient tax code — and then it tried to change the terms of the deal after taking heat from Democrats on Capitol Hill,” our insider said.
and:
But Mr. Obama, with a straight face, continued. “We then offered an additional $650 billion in cuts to entitlement programs — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security.”

The truth: “Actually, the White House was walking back its commitments on entitlement reforms, too. They kept saying they wanted to ‘go big.’ But their actions never matched their rhetoric,” the insider said.

While the article asks if Obama is a pathological liar, I think in fairness to him, that he just doesn't have a clue what the truth looks like. And neither do the Lefties who said that Bush lied.

Extremists?

I just heard Sen. Reid's news conference where he is trying to get the Republicans to give up their listening to concerned citizens, otherwise known as the Tea Party. Reid says that because the Republicans are listening to their constituencies, they are following "extremists" in refusing to give in to Obama's demands for a raise in the spending cap.
Let's see how extremist the Tea Party really is. They believe in fiscal responsibility and limited government. No matter how I look at this, to consider that extremist is either delusional or dishonest, although in Harry Reid's case, both may be applicable. Sen. Reid is sowing what he reaped, when he put together the "deficit reduction plan" that was agreed to last December, and resulted in several millions of dollars in savings, when we had been promised billions.
For Sen. Reid, spending is more important than anything else, and when he threatens Social Security checks, he has pulled out the heavy artillery. But if Sen. Reid and President Obama believe that Social Security checks won't be going out, is that because they are more interested in funding the high speed rail boondoggles that have been proposed? What about National Endowment for the Arts, or Planned Parenthood, or ethanol, cotton, sugar, peanut and milk subsidies? Why are all those more important than getting retirees their checks? That my friends is extremist, to take money away from the elderly to support big donors in order to keep Democrats in power.
One good thing if the debt limit isn't raised - We will instantly have a balanced budget.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

You Are Not as Safe as You Think

Think that the Constitution entitles you to feel secure in your home? Think again. If the police break into your home and you resist this unlawful invasion, you will be charged with resisting arrest, at least in Minnesota. From the article:
In closing arguments Wednesday morning, Sauceda’s defense attorney, Ryan Deaton, chronicled how his client was wronged by Lufkin Police when they entered his home at 111 Finley St. on a report of a black male kicking in the front door, called in by a neighbor. Sauceda, who Deaton described as having the mind of a child, then locked himself in the bathroom and refused to come out despite repeated warnings by the officers on scene.
But at least this time they actually came to the right address.
As a search of Reason's blog for cops breaking in the wrong address yields this.

Quo custodiet ipso custodes?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dishonest Debt Debate

As we come nearer and nearer to the supposed economic Armageddon of not raising the debt ceiling, everyone is being stirred to action in support of their side. Letters to the editor are flying, but I am becoming particularly annoyed by those whose only solution is to raise the taxes on "the rich." This is the favorite topic of those on the Left and Democrats in general as a solution to the problem because it fits in with their narrative of class warfare. Even if you confiscated all the wealth of millionaires and billionaires, you would only be able to pay the deficit for one year, and the next year they would have all quit and the Treasury will receive $0 from them, and still have the deficit. Since this makes no sense at all for generating revenue, why is it that our “leaders” are proposing such a thing. My answer is that this is not about raising revenue, but social engineering. And we have sufficient evidence in support of this proposition.
For instance, the tax code is more than 70,000 pages of rules and regulations which set forth not only tax rates but exceptions. That is how General Electric was able to make $6 Billion in profits and pay no income tax. And they did it legally, because their lobbyists were able to get the government to subsidize activity for them that you and I can never get.
The progressive rate of taxation is another example of social engineering. I am always amazed and amused at people who take the notion of progressive taxes as a given. President Obama wants all of us to pay “our fair share, even millionaires and billionaires.” Now, I may not be that good at math, but the fact that he wants to raise taxes on those making $250,000 a year in addition makes me wonder what he thinks a million really is. But the idea is that people making more than you should contribute more. Well, they already do.
In 2011, Federal income tax rates were set to increase to pre-2001 levels, but the renewal of the Bush Tax Cuts left the existing tax brackets in place through 2012. Below are the resulting tax rates and income ranges for 2011:
Filing Status and Income Tax Rates 2011
Caution: Do not use these tax rate schedules to figure 2010 taxes. Use only to figure 2011 estimates.
Tax rate Married filing jointly
or qualified widow(er) Single Head of household Married filing separately
10% $0 - 17,000 $0 - 8,500 $0 - $12,150 $0 - 8,500
15% $17,000 - 69,000 $8,500 - 34,500 $12,150 - 46,250 $8,500 - 34,500
25% $69,000 - 139,350 $34,500 - 83,600 $46,250 - 119,400 $34,500 - 69,675
28% $139,350 - 212,300 $83,600 - 174,400 $119,400 - 193,350 $69,675 - 106,150
33% $212,300 - 379,150 $174,400 - 379,150 $193,350 - 379,150 $106,150 - 189,575
35% over $379,150 over $379,150 over $379,150 over $189,575
Source: http://www.irs.gov

Looking at the lowest rate, one could argue that $17,000 for a couple is pretty low for being taxed, and you would be right, unless you remember that this number considers taxable income after deductions. So say the married couple have only one earner and a child. If I remember correctly, you get a $3700 deduction per person plus an additional $1,000 for the kid. And if they are buying a house, they get to deduct the mortgage interest. Suppose that they are smart and put money into a 401k and a flex plan and give to charitable organizations, all of which is not considered to be income for the purposes of computing taxes, and pretty soon you could be looking at some real coin before deductions. Throw in the Earned Income Tax Credit and a family like the one above could easily end up paying no taxes on their income.

For the higher earners, a lot of those exceptions of the family above are not available, and the richer ones have to cope with the Alternative Minimum Tax in addition, and that’s not even taking into account that their base rates are three and a half times higher than the lower earners. Do the rich drive on roads that are three and a half times better, or are they defended by the military three and a half times as much? Why no, they’re not. So the rich are already paying more than their “fair share.”

Why then is there such a hue and cry from Obama on down for what is effectively redistribution? Well, it seems that they have arbitrarily decided that the rich have too much, and can part with it more easily. There is a certain logic to it, for example, the family that lives on $45,000 could argue that if they can make it on that, so can anyone else. But let’s just hope that that family doesn’t work in any kind of industry which produces goods that the rich would buy, since they would no longer be able to do so, and the $45K family will then be out of a job. Even if they don’t work in that industry, whatever work that they do will be affected by all the ones that are engaged in producing products that the rich buy, since when they are laid off, those people will no longer be able to purchase goods or services either. The cascading effect of unemployment will be ameliorated somewhat in that the increased tax collections will be used for the most part as unemployment insurance for all those that lost their jobs.

Maybe, that is too extreme of an example. Let’s say that someone who is working and bringing home $450,000 dollars a year is our subject next. People who earn that kind of money are doing something right, since the general rule is that you provide more in value than you cost. Let’s say that the $450K earner only produces $400K in value for the company. There is a net loss of more than $50K (don’t forget all of the supplemental costs beyond salary) and eventually the business will either have to lay them off or go bankrupt, in which case there is no longer that amount of income for the household. But if the worker is meriting their higher salary, they usually have some incentive to keep working at that job. Making them pay more in taxes, will have an impact on their incentives to keep working at that level, and if they should decide that enough is enough, and live off their investments at the level of the $45K family, the government has been shortchanged all that income when they were working for a net loss to the Treasury.

So, soaking the rich doesn’t solve our debt problems. Then what do we do? My suggestion is to return the tax code to an instrument of collecting revenue and do away with trying to use it to coerce or reward behavior. If we went to a two step flat tax, with everyone making less than $50,000 paying 10% and everyone above that paying 20%, with absolutely no deductions or tax havens or anything else, we would have a solid and steady source of income, greater employment because business will finally feel that investing is not the same as gambling.

The problem with this solution is that it doesn’t allow the government to reward or punish people, and that is why the Democrats oppose such a common sense approach and are only interested in soaking the rich. And that is why Obama will never give up on his irrational need to raise taxes in the middle of a recession.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Racists Don't Always Wear Sheets

I realize that this is the proverbial shooting fish in a barrel, but really, how stupid is Sheila Jackson-Lee? She thinks that the only reason that there is opposition to raising the debt limit is because Obama is black. Some of her quotes are especially ironic:
"I do not understand what I think is the maligning and maliciousness [toward] this president,” said Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Black Caucus. “Why is he different? . . . .Why is this president being treated so disrespectfully? Why has the debt limit been raised 60 times?
and
"I am particularly sensitive to the fact that only this president — only this one, only this one — has received the kind of attacks and disagreement and inability to work, only this one," said Jackson Lee from the House floor.
If it was just about the debt limit, I would point out that everyone protesting now did so too when the debt exceeded $14.5 TRILLION. I wonder if she understands that that is a lot of money?
But worst treatment of a President? Remember that the ever so concerned about the dignity of the President, was always in the forefront of trying to impeach Bush for following the Congressional Resolution for going to war. I mean, when did anyone call Obama McChimpy, or Adolf Obama? And those are just the less inflammatory names.
To say that opposition to raising the debt limit to an extraordinarily large sum is only racism, is racist itself. She can't seem to separate that people could have logical and fiscal objections to that action, but she only sees racism.
I don't want to spend the time to look for it, but this kind of racism is not unique. A while ago, I drifted over to Left in the West where they were saying that everyone who isn't a liberal has to be a racist. In support of that proposition, someone told Rob Kailey that they met a black man who had been to Montana and said that Missoula was the most racist city he had ever been in.
I'm sure it's all of the "coloreds only" drinking fountains and restrooms that we have, or the fact that people of color are not allowed to sit at the counter at the Oxford and eat. Missoula? The most racist city he had ever been in? Has he been in any other city than San Francisco? But what was really interesting, is the willingness to accept the allegation by the writer and the readers at LITW. And unthinkingly assigning specific traits to a group based on the color of their skin is racist, even if you say everyone in Missoula is a racist because they aren't of color.
I am beginning to realize that the good Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee is really a pillar of moral and intellectual thought for the Left.
It sure is a good thing that only 20% of the country identify as liberals. Of course they are all in either politics or "journalism."

As an Example

Jonah Goldberg puts out a weekly missive that is not linked, but in this case, I think that I need to include the entire thesis on how government is screwed up because it's run by people.
Dear Reader (and those of you who, according to the McConnell plan, will read this "News"letter only after 3/5ths of it has been approved by the president),

I was listening to the "This American Life" podcast the other day and heard a story. I will summarize.

A man is returning from vacation with his wife and kids and some neighbors' kids. They went camping in Texas. Towards the end of the long drive home in the family van, a Texas highway patrol car comes right up on the van, following like an "angry hornet," lights and siren blazing, forcing the driver to pull over. The man can tell from watching Cops that these guys are serious. From behind their car doors, the police yell through their loudspeaker, to turn off the enginge "using your left hand!" When the flustered driver uses his right hand, the cops shout louder. They make the driver get out of the car and get down on his knees on the gravelly shoulder of the Texas interstate. Some of the kids are already crying. The driver is terrified, confused, freaking out. One of the cops approaches with his rifle pointed at the man's head. The other cop, his gun drawn, is talking to the wife.

Finally, after an eternity, the cop who'd been talking to the wife comes over and says to the driver, "Sir, do you know what your daughter wrote on the car?"

It was actually the neighbor's kid, not his own daughter. But to make a long -- but very entertaining -- story short, what was written in the dust on the back of the van was: "Help. Please God. Call 911. I've been kidnapped."

"Well, son, for about fifteen minutes there, you were the most wanted man in Texas," one of the lawmen informed him.

The driver was so furious that, when the cops told him it was a crime to write that on the car, the driver told them, "Take her in."

But it turns out that the neighbor's daughter didn't write the whole thing. It was a group effort. And that's why I'm taking up your time with this story in the first place.

Apparently what happened is that the mother had written, "Help. Please God," several hours earlier because she so dreaded getting back in the car with all of the kids for even more driving. Then one of the other kids filled in after, "I've been kidnapped." And then the neighbor's daughter wrote, "Call 911."

It seems to me that this is a great little allegory for understanding how really, really, really stupid things happen in life, particularly in Washington. Person A has a harmless idea. Person B doesn't completely understand A's idea, but builds on it anyway. By the time you get to person Z, you're selling hundreds of automatic weapons to Mexican drug cartels.

On both the left and the right there's a tendency to assume the other side -- particularly when it is running the government -- is both really evil and really competent. Most of the time it's closer to the opposite -- again, particularly when we're talking about the government. What appear to be conspiracies from the outside are in fact a series of dumb, innocuous, or even somewhat okay ideas that build on each other into colossally idiotic foul-ups, thanks to imperfect information and mission creep. If there's a human being out there who hasn't had some experience with this sort of thing I can only assume it's because you were raised in a refrigerator box and without human contact. And if there's a reader out there who doesn't think this capacity for screw-ups is an important part of the human condition, well, you're free to read this but you're not a conservative.

This is not -- or at least not entirely -- a road-to-Hell-is-paved-with-good-intentions point. The initial idea that gets the ball rolling can be cynical or crass. Rather, it's to note that the more humans you have in the decision tree, the more you multiply the human factor, and that can lead to some pretty inhuman results.
Which is why I would be fine with government control of my life as long as there are no people in government.

You Have Been Warned

If you load a page on this site and sit on it for awhile, you will start to hear music from the game Angry Birds. Go to the bottom of the site, and there you will find the game, just click on the icon, then click on the pause button, which will allow you to mute the game while you play it.
Or you could just back out of it, but what would be the fun of that?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Am So Proud

One of the misfortunes of not learning history, is that you are apt to repeat the same mistakes that others had. For instance Phidipides, who ran from the battle at Marathon to announce the victory to Athens, died shortly thereafter. But not knowing history, also means that you do things that you don't know can't be done. As an example, my daughter, Annelise Hedahl, just completed the Missoula Marathon, and I am so proud of her.

Why We Need More Taxes

How else are we going to pay for all of the soon to be unemployed once employers start to let them go because they can't afford them anymore?

The most amusing thing to me, is how stupid our elected leaders are, or alternatively, how stupid they think we are. The Democrats need to punish the wealthy as some form of Calvinistic redemption, the economy and workers be damned. And Republicans seem to fear anytime someone calls them "racist, hater" or whatever is the term du jour to make them falter. When Obama wants to claim that busting the debt ceiling means that Granny won't get her Social Security check, and the soldiers won't be paid while serving in a war zone just to keep the wealthiest tax cuts, why don't the Republicans point out that the Democrats want to starve Granny just to keep money going to the National Endowment for the Arts, Planned Parenthood, whatever version ACORN is calling itself now, and subsidies for "green tech" that doesn't even come close to being efficient. We not only have a problem with spending, but we have no priorities when it comes to spending.
Someone please tell me the justifications for either the Department of Education or Energy, both of which have seen a continued slide in their benchmarks since their creation. How much worse off would we be without Pell Grants that encourage universities to keep price pressure higher and higher to the detriment of whoever has to take out a loan to go to school? Or how much money would we save if we quit giving ethanol subsidies and lifted the tariff on imported ethanol, or for that matter, just allowing for the expansion of energy development, even if it means coal or oil.
And the thing that ticks me off the most is the complexity of the tax code. How is it that GE managed to pay less taxes than I did? Oh, that's right, I can't afford to hire a lobbyist like they do, and oh yeah, I am not being nominated for Treasury Secretary, or Chairman of the House Tax Committee, yet those same people will demand that I pay more before they do.
The only solution is a complete rewrite of the tax code. I suggest a 10% Value Added Tax with a 15% income tax for all incomes over the national median. No deductions, (amazingly called "tax expenditures" in the Orwellian language of the Obama Administration) no shelters for investment or business development, nothing. Just a flat tax that would apply to everyone, no matter their station or if they are a corporation or not. Everyone over the median would pay the same and everyone who consumes will also pay the VAT, so we will all be involved in paying for the government we get, deserved or not. It would stand out like a sore thumb when the first politician decides to do the bidding of the person who bought him and pass through a tax break that wouldn't apply to everyone.
But by removing the deductions, we will increase the rate of unemployment as lobbyists, accountants and tax lawyers have to go find something else to do. But I am sure that as creative people they will finally find something of use to do.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Believe It Or Not

But the legal system actually worked in the Casey Anthony trial. Like Dave, I did not follow the case at all, but my family did, including my wife who gave me constant updates on the trial's progress. From what she told me, I did not believe that the prosecutors would get a conviction on the deliberate homicide charge, but because a child was dead, I figured the jury would at least go for whatever version of manslaughter was proffered. And then, my wife called to tell me that she was "Not Guilty."
I must admit that I was surprised, inasmuch as I usually feel that juries go with what they think is fair, then their common sense, and finally will look at the law. But in this case, the jurors actually found that the State had failed in its burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.
In the aftermath of the verdict, I did have a good time watching the talking heads like Nancy Grace have a complete meltdown on air about the jury's verdict. But she was not alone, and as noted here, the court of public opinion feels as if there has been a complete miscarriage of justice.
The reality is that the system worked. The State put on the best case that they could, which really consisted of pseudo science (a device to sniff decomposition? Give me a break!) and character assassination of the defendant, but no evidence of how the child died. And that is where the case failed apparently in the eyes of the jurors.
My wife and daughter both feel that Casey is guilty of something, and I would probably agree with them on that point. But if the State doesn't prove it, how can there be a conviction unless being a bad person is all the proof you need.
Now I say that the system worked because the jury found that the State hadn't proven their case. The reason that the system is set up this way is not to protect the guilty, but to protect the innocent. If mass opinion is enough, there is no real need for evidence or actual proof. Simply take a poll and determine the accused's guilt or innocence. But if you are innocent and charged with a crime, don't you want the highest standard before the State can take your freedom or even your life? And if you are convinced that the State would never wrongly charge you or your loved ones with a crime that you did not commit you are living in a fantasy world, as prosecutors become more attuned to the political winds than they are in their pursuit of justice.
If nothing else, remember the people who have given you the right to make the State prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt and honor their sacrifice.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Knowing When to Win

The so called "kinetic action" in Libya, where it is officially declared that we "lead from behind" has House Republicans saying that the President has violated the War Powers Act. As a result, they are seeking to cut off funding for the Libyan whatever it's called military operation. The fun thing, is how much the sides have flipped on the issue. Although to be fair, Boenher did support a Democrat President (Bill Clinton) when he used military force in Yugoslavia. But the flipping by Obama is to be admired for his deft acrobatics.
I have always felt that the War Powers Act is probably unconstitutional, and the proof of that is that since its passage, many have railed that whichever President of the party opposite of theirs has violated the law, but no one goes to court. Primarily because they aren't sure they will win.
My solution for the problem is to have the Congress repeal the act. When you have Harry Reid saying that the act doesn't apply, you have to wonder why it's on the books. It's time for this law to go, and we have just enough crazy people in Washington to make that happen.
The advantage is that you can remove this partisan tool that has no real value except to claim that whichever president is in office is violating the law. If Congress feels that a future president's actions are illegal, they still have the power of the purse. In the end, win-win for everyone.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The Montana School of Law Makes an Ass of Itself

There are many things that I am proud of, but being a graduate of the Law School is not one of my top ones. And when it goes nationally that the school is so petty, it really diminishes the value of the name of the school even more.
The school has a good philosophy in that it is set up more as a trade school to provide Montana with lawyers than it is with training future law professors. But some of the personalities in the faculty are further proof of my thesis that "liberal" is not the same as Left. The faculty of the school is nearly completely Left, to the exclusion of any other form of thought.
When I went there, there was Rob Natelson, who was obviously conservative, and my hero and mentor, Larry Elison, who first made me aware of libertarianism. Otherwise, the faculty was carefully insulated from any thought that could be found more than 15 minutes away from the school. I am sure that the selection committee rued the day that they selected me, and of my class of 75, maybe 5 of us weren't Left/liberal.
So, I suppose that it was no surprise that they turned down giving Prof. Natelson the honorific of "emeritus." But the loss is not Rob's. It is the petty small mindedness of the faculty that would make that decision. I don't know all of the professors there, but I am sure that many of the ones that I had are still there. The one thing that I am certain of, is that they are proud of their narrow mindedness. And they can always turn to their left and right and find someone who agrees with them. Now, if they travel as far as Lolo, East Missoula, Frenchtown or Evaro, they would be confronted by a reality that they cannot comprehend. But the folks of those towns certainly understand them.
Which is probably why they avoid the faculty of the law school.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Debate Review

I started to watch the debate last night on CNN and the first question went to Herman: In one minute or less, what will you do to fix the economy? At that moment, I knew that there was no point in watching further and headed to the bar to watch baseball and play cribbage. One minute to address all of the issues that make up our complex economy? Only an idiot TV guy would propose to do that. Later, I saw some recaps where the moderator asked stupid questions like Coke or Pepsi. I would instantly have thrown my support to the first candidate who would have said "This is not American Idol, you either start asking serious questions, or get out of the way so I can talk to the American people."
On the same vein, King kept on the idea that tax cuts don't grow the economy. No, remember after six years of the Bush cuts when we had 4% unemployment, no inflation, people had jobs, yeah, that had to be the work of magic economic fairies, not tax cuts. Tax cuts are a part of the whole framework. If you combine tax cuts (although simplification works better) with a regulatory and legal framework conducive to business, you get a growing economy. But when you throw in panic (TARP) and regulatory excess (Dodd-Frank) and cronyism (Chrysler bond holder's jobbing) and you have an environment that no one wants to be in and are only too wiling to take their jobs off shore and you have the economy we have now.


For a more complete take on the debate, I would suggest Michael Barone.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Herman Cain is Making a Mark

Even before tonight's debate on CNN, Conor Friedersdorf of the Atlantic is calling for him to resign from his campaign for supposed anti Muslim bigotry. The fact that this is in the Atlantic shows that the Administration is well aware of how Herman is moving up with Republicans and are trying to preemptively knock him out. If he was inconsequential, you know that the Obama administration would just ignore him.

Good Luck with that.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why Bother?

Peter Parisi, an editor at the Washington Times has this opinion piece which echoes something that I have been thinking about for a while. Why debate with Leftists? Now, Mr. Parisi uses the term "liberal" but I reject that appellation since so many on the Left have misappropriated the term for their own use while being decidedly illiberal. There are a few that I would consider to be true liberals (as opposed to classical liberalism of the Libertarian kind) and they are usually identified when you point out the problems with the Left's talking points, they at least deem those worth considering.
But too many on the Left have simply swallowed the Kool-Aid and repeat what they have been told to think. How many times have you been accused of being a Republican as soon as they find out that you aren't a Democrat? No subtleties, no appreciation for complex experiences and reasoning, you are either with them or against them. And they do defend their own against all crimes that would have been worth of the death penalty if committed by a Republican. See for example, tax cheats, Geithner, Rangle, and a host of others, or sex freaks such as Clinton, Studds and now Weiner. I have always said that you can get away with anything once in America so long as you publicly apologize. But if you are a Democrat, don't even bother with that. Your oblivious jihadis will defend you to their death just because you have a D behind your name. Comical, if you take them seriously.
But why take them seriously anymore? I have been mystified by the strange adherence to failed policies like Keynesianism, even when it has failed to provide any proof in support of its efficacy. In fact, there is even proof that it is a complete sham of an economic theory, but still it remains sacrosanct to the Left. Why pursue such failed policies? Because as someone said we don't believe the lies we fear, we believe the ones we want to believe. And if you want the government to spend money, then Keynesianism is just the right tonic for what ails you. Sort of like when Lewis and Clark would dose their comrades with mercury to treat venereal disease. Seemed like a good idea, but it tended over the long run to kill the patient. So much for the Hippocratic oath.
The economic nostrums put forward by President Obama and his party are the same as L&C's mercury. But the difference is that the President's remedy has been tested and found wanting. Yet still they persist.
Reading the letters to the editor in the Missoulian, we see more demand that nothing be done to change Medicare. Now a rational person would say that Medicare is going to implode in about seven years, and doing nothing is not going to make that problem go away. But that is apparently the position of the Democrat Party, which means of course that the Democrats are not rational.
Although, in a way they are. If you presume to play on people's fear and ignorance in order to maintain your political power, then it is completely rational to demonize Republicans. Besides, when the system fails, who will really remember that it was the Democrat Party that contributed the most to both its inception and its destruction.
So you see, the first point I made in this post is that it is unworkable to deal with these people. You cannot rationally debate and discuss anything with them that they won't try to turn into some sort of partisan advantage at your (and the truth's) expense. To discuss anything with them is to give validity to their positions, positions that do not merit validity.
But those few who are truly "liberal" and not just Leftist, we need to work together to solve some huge problems. Just remember though, if you are not part of the main body of thought of the Democrat Party, you will be called a Republican.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Well, This is Embarrassing

We like to think that Montana is one of the last bastions of freedom, and now we find that is nearly completely false. Montana ranks 29th on the State Freedom Index. You understand that that means that 28 states are freer than we are right? The recommendations for increasing our freedom are easy enough, but our last legislature seems to have completely ignored them. From the article:
Repeal health-insurance coverage mandates to reduce costs.
Reduce occupational licensing for epidemiologists, clinical lab technicians, occupational-therapist assistants, audiologists, private detectives, alarm installers, well-driller helpers, and boiler operators.
Reform civil-asset forfeiture by requiring the government to satisfy a burden of proof and by directing revenues to the general fund.
The last one, civil forfeiture is a byproduct of the war on drugs. I haven't seen it used for awhile, but it is a law still on the books, and if you own anything, you risk losing it if some ambitious prosecutor thinks that they want it. Remember, in those cases, they just have to say that it is related to drug money, and then you have to prove it's not. Good luck with that.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

They Told Me That . . . .

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame has a collection of all of his "They told me if I voted Republican/for McCain we would have . . . ." All of which is to show that the Obama administration is just the Bush third term. The things some politicians will do to reach across the aisle.

You can find them all here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

A New Catchphrase for Herman Cain

Remember James Carville's mantra "It's the economy, stupid."? Herman needs to rework it to "It's the competency, stupid." Obama has become Jimmy Carter's best hope for improving as the worst President ever.

"Obamacare" is No Longer Racist

A prominent Democratic Congressman, John Conyers of Michigan says that Democrats should embrace the term Obamacare. And it wasn't that long ago that if anyone used the term Obamacare, they were told to stop it because it is racist.

These people beclown themselves.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Lying Liars

My wife made me watch part of the Casey Anthony trial over the weekend, and then there was Weiner's admission that he had lied about being hacked.


In both cases, the seemingly effortless ability to lie was truly amazing. Maybe if Casey Anthony gets her case overturned on appeal she can become a politician.

Hat tip to Hot Air.