Wednesday, December 31, 2008
By the way, leftists agreement with Ahmadinejad and Hugo Chavez and other assorted butchers and dictators on economic issues are all you need to know about the direction they wish to take our country.
First, consitutionally, the governor has the power to appoint a replacement senator if the legislature has previously passed enabling legislation. In Illinois, it has. Second, the governor has not been indicted nor impeached. What could the Democrats do? Instead of playing games, they could have repealled the law.
Under what consitutional basis does Harry Reid believe he can deny seating Burris? Reid makes reference to the qualification of the governor to make the appointment, seeming to allude to Article I, Section 5 of the constitution, "Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members..." However, in Powell vs. McCormack,
The Court determined in this case that no Congress could exclude a not-yet member (i.e., a candidate member) from being sworn in and taking their seat in the House. The Court found that if the Congress went beyond a determination that a candidate member had satisfied the Constitution’s qualifications for membership (and had been duly chosen by, and through the laws of their state) it could not (under the Constitution) go further in examining and possibly rejecting a candidate member before administering the oath of office, and seating them.
So Dingy Harry's only real recourse is to expel Burris after he is seated and for that he needs a two-thirds majority. Should Republicans help him? Not if they respect constitutional government. Worst of all, the President-Elect seems to share Reid's lack of respect for constitutional process.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
On the bailouts, while it is true that many are a done deal, opposition to further bailouts would signal a turn around for the Republican party. Further, I sense that the public is weary of the bailouts and rightly senses that they are unaffordable. A principled position against further government debt for private ventures along with a demand for a time line to pay back the current loans would be popular AND in the best interests of the nation.
Socialist health care is also an avoidable outcome. First, there is no money to pay for this with the government piling up debt and unemployment payments growing. Obama promised to pay for this debacle by cutting other programs "that are not working." During the election season I posted about the impossibility of that working. One plank of opposition would be to loudly, vociferously and repeatedly call to attention Obama's promise to pay for universal health care by cutting other programs. As a practical matter, the United States will wreck its health care system, much as Britain has done if such a program passes. Surely we can win when the facts are on our side and shame on us if we don't.
Finally, I can't believe we would punt on the higher taxes issue, when Obama seems ready to surrender himself. He knows that politically, higher taxes during a recession are political suicide. We hardly have to work at all to win this one. If we then focus on balancing the budget, we can make the argument for smaller government.
Larrey then turns to his favorite issues: illegal immigration, education, freedom of religious expression and the "Global Warming Hoax." (Road Dawg likes that last one.)
I admit to some confliction over illegal immigration. I believe strongly in the rule of law and it is being flaunted today by illegal immigration. But the economist in me wants labor to flow like any other economic good to its place of highest utility. My only solution, unlimited immigration if you can prove you are not a criminal, is not today politically viable.
I agree on the education issue, but as I previously stated, this has to be more about choice than a particular agenda for school boards. I already discussed freedom of speech in my previous post.
Finally, as much as I would like to believe that global warming is a hoax, I find the evidence on both sides inconclusive. So while I am willing to do battle on that basis, it would wreck our credibility to argue this point too vehemently.
However, it's great to see serious thought going into setting an agenda and a recognition that it is needed.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Current Cost of War in Iraq The little clock you see is from Zfacts, showing the current estimated cost of the war in Iraq based on congressional appropriations. My experience in that realm tells me that it is an undersestimate.
The current economic mess reminded me of an earlier time in my life when a drawn out war became a drain upon the U.S. Treasury and was financed with deficit spending. That time was Vietnam, and I was convinced then and remain so today, that the cost of that war directly resulted in the ruinous inflation of the 1970's. Coincidentally, that was also a time of fundamental shifts in world economic exchange arrangements. In 1971, the Bretton Woods system which had governed central bank exchanges after World War II, finally came undone due to the deficit spending of the U.S. government on social programs and the Vietnam war. Essentially, the policy of pegging the dollar to $35/ounce came undone and the reality of the dollar's falling value was recognized. Wikipedia article here. However, floating the dollar against gold was a new experience for America's central bank, the Federal Reserve. As a result. they lacked knowledge of the tools needed to combat the ensuing inflation.
Fast forward to our decade. Nowadays, central banks purportedly understand the relationship between deficits and inflation. However, cost inflation was contained because of a new phenomenom, that did not escape the central bank's notice, but was seemingly beyond its power to influence. I am referring to the practice of consumers in China to save at high rates and for their bankers to invest those savings in American assets such as Treasury bonds or commercial bonds. Full article here. This sopped up the extra liquidity in our system and hid the normal effects that would have resulted in price inflation. However, the inflation did show up in asset price inflation, primarily real estate. Meanwhile, both nations seemed to benefit. China strong export growth was fueling those savings and making the citizens feel more prosperous, even though the economy was not really producing benefits to consumers. The United States didn't have to deal with the tough choices that such high deficits would normally require.
The outgoing administration and the Republican party has much to answer for. Spending like drunken sailors on both the war and social programs reminds us of the Democrats of the LBJ era. But I also object to the cost of war. Yes, I supported the invasion of Iraq. However, our nation had a proven and successful blueprint for fighting overseas ground wars called the Powell doctrine. Among its tenets was that war required overwhelming numerical superiority in order to prosecute to a quick conclusion. The doctrine also calls for a well planned exit strategy. Enter Donald Rumsfeld, a patriot, visionary, and a man who turned out to be too smart for the nation's good. I was on active duty when he was sworn in as Secretary of Defense and remember his vision pre-9/11 vision of a much smaller military with much greater emphasis on special forces. The war in Iraq gave him the chance to test that vision. But to my thinking, this was the wrong time to make such a gamble. The war in Iraq was always a gamble, in some ways a hail-mary to change the trend line in the middle east, to show the Muslim world that democracy and prosperity can coexist. To make a side bet on force structure under those circumstances seemed foolhardy to me. Ultimately a force leve was sent that could of course remove Saddam from power, but was insufficient to impose order on a post-Saddam Iraq. In hindsight, the widespread looting was a tipping point that showed the criminal and Islamofascist elements that we were not up to the job of pacifying the countryside. So here we are, over $600 billion later. Only the surge, which is a direct rebuke to Rumsfeld's arguments has saved the day. Ultimately, prolonging the war has had a direct cost to the national treasury that is calculable and has contributed to our current predicament.
Now we will be faced with tough times for many years to come. The war wasn't the only cause of increased deficits, but it hasn't helped. This kind of financial overhang is very difficult to unwind. It wasn't until 1982 that inflation got under control in the United States. The current practice of adding more government debt to go along with all the private debt doesn't seem likely to help in the long run. Might as well bite the bullet now and start focusing on efforts that will encourage saving by U.S. citizens.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
While it is true that the media is again employing a double standard, no way should Republicans elect a chairman so tone deaf. My advice about email and correspondence of all types is this, expect it to be made public. I know that sounds harsh, but it is a reality in these times. This happens so frequently, I am shocked that people are still shocked when it does.
On the media bias bit, David Ehrestein published an article last March titled "Obama the 'Magic Negro'" to little outrage in the liberal press. I assume that Ehrenstein is a liberal because he writes for the LA Times. It turns out that he is also black. So there is an even deeper double-standard at work where blacks can use the N word with each other, even in the presence of whites, but no one else may.
Sure glad to be living in this post-racial world where Obama has healed our racial divide. But I wonder, who is really perpetuating the divide?
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Our gift giving at Christmas is a reflection of God's gift to us in the person of Jesus. Like any gift, it was not earned, but is treasured no less. We are granted a peace and knowledge of the love that God has for us. And that knowledge overcomes the first sin that came into the world, doubting God's goodness. Knowing his goodness, and the plans he has for us, forms the basis for peace in our hearts and ultimately for peace on earth.
God bless you and Merry Christmas.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
The video below was made by Lila Rose, a brave young lady, student at UCLA and the head of the human rights organization, Live Action, who posed as a pregnant 13 yr. old at abortion clinics in Indiana over the summer. Again, you’ll be pleased to see that your tax dollar is funding a completely efficient and horizontally-structured organization that “fast-tracks” its patients past any sticky legal issues and nettlesome ethics to get to what is their own core competency…. eliminating pregnancies.
While I couldn’t even get a bartender to hand me a couple of aspirins over the bar last Friday evening to help me cope with a simple headache, I marveled at the cool detachment regarding the law, medication and medical practices that was being freely dispensed by these “counselors” to the girls.
Monday, December 22, 2008
I will lead America towards that shining city on a hill, because America is "still a beacon, still a magnet for all who must have freedom" whose best years are yet to come.Then he lays out the case that the vision must be economic, political and cultural. The final product is pretty good.
We believe in an America that lives and works together, with limited government, under God.
Sounds simple, doesn't it? In fact, some serious thought has gone into its elements. Please read the whole article. Let me know what you think, or comment on his post as well.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
In case you didn't recognize the artist, that is Margaret Becker singing O Come, O Come Emmanuel from the CD Christmas Music for the Heart. I stumbled across her recording on Rhapsody. I like Rhapsody because it has allowed me to become exposed to music I never would have otherwise ever heard of. Right now Mrs. Daddy and I are listening to Wib Newberry's Gypsy Fire as a result of the strange process of searching on Rhapsody. Maybe a post on long tail economics some other day.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Further, I ask what right I denied gays by voting for Proposition 8? Gays can live together, share households, get insurance coverage for each other, create contractual obligations of mutual support and adopt children. It is an Orwellian twist of vocabulary to argue that they lack fundamental rights.
I never fail to be amazed at the inability of the left to carry the logic of their arguments to their inevitable and usually ghastly conclusion.
Friday, December 19, 2008
One of the reasons I started this blog was to advance an agenda that would further the cause of freedom. In my experience, being right on the issues isn't enough, one's coalition must pick issues that are winners and can capture the public imagination. Ron Paul provides the negative example. He was right about the current bubble collapsing, but framed his brief in anti-Federal Reserve, "bring back the gold standard" rhetoric associated with the lunatic fringe.
The Republican party has some great opportunities to advance a popular agenda. So here is my proposed Freedom Coalition agenda and a little about why I think these issues are winners. As with any agenda, it should change with circumstances and I will update it periodically.
- Champion Freedom of Speech. We oppose campaign finance reform that protects incumbents and vested interests. Ultimately, these laws abridge free speech. There are so many examples of small groups harassed by monied opponents when they seek to organize to protect their rights. In Colorado, some neighbors who didn't want to be annexed by another city held some bakes sales to raise money for signs and ended being fined thousands of dollars. See Sampson v. Coffman. We also oppose campus speech codes that are intended to silence any point of view except the prevailing leftist orthodoxy. See FIRE article. This issue is a winner because Americans have long rejected the claim that others can tell us how to think and what we can say, especially when it comes to politics. Although they aren't happy about money in politics, it is easy to demonstrate that opposition to free speech isn't the answer. More on the right answer below.
- Oppose Eminent Domain abuse. Originally, the concept of eminent domain was meant to prevent individual property owners from holding the government hostage when building a road or other public good. Over time, this right of government morphed into the power to seize your land at the behest of the powerful for any reason, however flimsy. This view was challenged in Kelo vs. New London, but our side lost on a 5-4 decision, one of the most unjust outcomes since Dred Scott vs. Sandford. Fortunately, the appalling sight of the powerful and well connected preying on small business owners and individuals is fueling a backlash. But eminent domain abuse continues and this remains a powerful issue for our side. Here is an example of a hard fought victory n Long Branch, NJ, where officials want to replace middle class households with upper class ones. Frequently, the victims of this abuse are poor minorities. In this case a victorious homeowner was also presented an award from the NAACP. This is real outreach on issues that affect minorities that would benefit the GOP.
- Support School Choice. We could continue this outreach by taking on the school choice issue at full tilt. I previously blogged where the Arizona school teachers union wants to take away the ability of special needs kids to get much needed educational help through a voucher program. I think the Democrats are VERY vulnerable on this issue. School choice is the real civil rights issue of our day. Bad schools are wrecking the chances of poor and predominately minority students of being successful in college. Even the liberal University of California agrees with me that minorities are educationally disadvantaged. Interestingly, even though the academic literature on the benefits of choice are somewhat mixed, it seems to be that the greatest beneficiaries of school choice seem to be the urban poor. Further, as we experiment with choice we will find the combination of programs and incentives that really work.
- Oppose Partial-Birth Abortions. Because the practice is as odious and repugnant as the name suggests. Americans can viscerally understand this issue. How can it be legal to kill a baby 8 months into a pregnancy when that same child if delivered, would be afforded full protection of the law? It is illogical, and even though I am a Christian and hold all human life sacred, I don't have to rest my case on theological arguments. One need only talk to an abortion survivor to understand the horror of this procedure. I blogged about the politics of this issue here.
- Advance Economic Freedom. The recent move to bail out everyone, everywhere who is having economic difficulties is just not going to work and will wreck our country. We need to insist that the loans made to banks and industry be paid back as soon as possible and that we take measures to prevent such loans from being made with such poor oversight in the future. Americans are very uncomfortable with mortgaging their children's future as polls still indicate. The next big battle will be around health care. The Democrats will seek a government system that will slowly drive out private alternatives. There will be fines for big business at first, later for small businesses and finally for individuals. But this approach will wreck progress in health care. We need to do a good job of explaining why such an approach inevitably leads to rationing and bureaucratic stupidity on deciding how much health care you can receive. Dean launched an excellent overview of the issue in light of Ted Kennedy's cancer treatment.
- Support Freedom Abroad. Newly liberated peoples the world over have shown a propensity to embrace freedom and markets when the yoke of tyranny has been lifted. The policy of America should be to actively work against dictatorship in allits forms (Islamic, Socialist, Fascist and Communist). We should seek to advance the cause of freedom, not through force of arms, but through steady pressure. Every piece of foreign policy should be weighed against this end. Further, we are also ready to use force of arms in this cause when defense of our national interest requires it. Americans resonate with the concepts of helping to liberate peoples from tyranny, this is a winner.
- Small Government and Reform. These issues go hand in glove. The public loathes the sight of big business getting handout in the form of bailouts, subsidies and tax code preferences. They see the Congress get gobs of campaign contributions and rightly conclude that the money is buying access that tilts the playing field, at best; or buying Congressman at worst. Smaller government means less goodies to hand out. A reform agenda to end earmarks, end subsidies (even for ethanol) and simplify the tax code removes the incentives for business to try to buy the votes of the Congress. I can't find the original quote, but I remember Steve Forbes saying, "If you have a vermin problem in your kitchen, you can set traps and board up holes, but sooner or later your going to have to remove the cake from under the sink."
Health Care Reform. We have shamelessly taken John Mackey's program and adopted it as our own:
- "Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts."
- "Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits."
- Allow competition across state lines.
- "Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover."
- "Enact tort reform."
- "Make costs transparent."
- "Enact medicare reform."
- Revise tax law to make it easier to donate to those without insurance.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Full story here.
I have spent a lot of time on this story because it goes to the heart of free speech and government tyranny. If ordinary citizens who speak out, especially if their views are unpopular, can be subjected to harassment and warantless investigation by the government bureaucrats, then we might as well not have the first amendment. Hopefully, this ending will send a message to government employees everywhere. As a government employee myself, I believe that I live to a higher standard than was on display in this case. Actions by vengeful bureaucrats tarnish good work by so many others.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
From the 17th amendment:
When vacancies happen in the representation of any State in the Senate, the executive authority of such State shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies: Provided, That the legislature of any State may empower the executive thereof to make temporary appointments until the people fill the vacancies by election as the legislature may direct.
In my humble opinion, rescinding the governor's authority and holding a special election is the fast and constitutional method for the legislature to avoid a bigger mess in Illinois. Our man was asked his opinion about a special election to fill his old seat:
Obama was pulled into the dispute Tuesday when the president-elect refused to say whether he supports a special election.
This is a continuation of Obama's record in the Illinois state senate, where he voted present 130 times in his short tenure there. He continued his trend in the United States Senate, repeatedly not voting, see the official record. (I started to count up the numbers, but got exhausted.) This also continues a trend of partisanship, of never wanting to endorse anything the Democratic establishment is against.
Hopefully, he won't be faced with any decisions as tough as whether to hold a special election after he is sworn in on January 20th.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I am calling for the impeachment of Illinois state officials today. Yes, the guy on the right, Rod Blagojevich is a sleazy, corrupt pol, who should have the good sense to resign. Short of that, the Illinois legislature should move swiftly to impeach him. Also, they should impeach the Attorney General, Lisa Madigan (at left). But that's not going to happen either, and there in lies a tale that could only come from Chicagoland.
But first, why am I calling for Lisa Madigan's impeachment? Because she has petitiioned the Illinois Supreme Court to remove Blagojevich from office using an old law intended to remove an "incapacitated" governor. What the heck? State rep Jack Franks (D-McHenry County) has it exactly right:
“I don’t think the judiciary should be telling the executive branch what to do. We’ve got to make sure we do it right. And no matter how loathsome this governor is, we cannot trample on our constitution.”Thank you and amen.
So why is the Illinois legislature moving so slowly? Turns out that the speaker of the Illinois House is Michael Madigan, father of the aforementioned Attorney General. His daughter has admitted a desire to run for governor in the future, so speculation is that going slow gives the spotlight to his daughter, enhancing her future electability. If true, this is a sad state of affairs in our era, that blatantly trampling the principles of the state constitution, which is modeled on the federal, would help any politician.
But wait, there's more. Turns out that an impeachment hearing might get nasty, with Blago naming names and all. Seems like the legislative leadership isn't down with that. See the video below of Bill O'Reilly interviewing Chicago Sun-Times correspondent John Kass. (H/T Bill Baar's West Side)
On, Wednesday, Dec 17, the Illinois Supreme Court rejected, without comment, the AG's request to remove Blagojevich from office. Thank God someone still believes in constitutional government.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Second, by falsely blaming pretty decent workers, the Republicans send an anti-union message not helpful to their electoral prospects. I am no fan of unions, and I especially loathe the teachers' unions. But the UAW has gotten serious about productivity and it is starting to show. For instance, the most recent labor agreement had stiff penalties (reading firing) for no show absenteeism because the average worker resented picking up the slack when the slugs didn't show up for work. This shows that unions could be forces for good in our country. If unions helped ensure a higher quality workforce in addition to protecting their members you might see higher union membership as employers dropped opposition.
Third, by blaming unions they obscure the role of the incompetent management that is asking for the bail out in the first place. l that said, I am still absolutely opposed to a bailout for the Big Three. They need to declare bankruptcy, reorganize and have new management brought in. A bailout will only leave in place management that has allowed quality to slide, and continued a lazy design approach that makes cars difficult to manufacture. But to couch opposition to this bail out in anti-union rhetoric obscures the real issues and is a recipe for electoral disaster.
H/T Carpe Diem. I just discovered Professor Perry's blog yesterday. He is an insightful, even entertaining economist, and that's saying a lot. Full disclosure: He disagrees with me about unions not being the problem in a later post, but he blames work rules, not wages, as the culprit.
Update - The Intellectual Redneck (it's not an oxymoron, trust me) has a picture of the current UAW contract, weighing in at 2215 pages and 20 lbs. His blog has a series of articles on the auto industry that are clearly the product of a keen intellect and personal knowledge. KT at the Scratching Post also, weighs in, stealing material that I stole with a pretty decent analysis as well. Despite some differences of opinion, consensus among conservative/libertarians is trending towards letting the Big 3 file for bankruptcy.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Karl Marx, (not Groucho) said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce. We seem to have evolved to an era where we get both at once.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
American Thinker lays out the long history of the Indian government's hostility towards gun ownership by it's citizens. The end result:
There were armed policemen hiding all around the station but none of them did anything. At one point, I ran up to them and told them to use their weapons. I said, "Shoot them, they're sitting ducks!" but they just didn't shoot back. I told some policemen the gunmen had moved towards the rear of the station but they refused to follow them. What is the point if having policemen with guns if they refuse to use them? I only wish I had a gun rather than a camera.
At the Jewish outreach centre, bystanders pelted the terrorists with stones in a vain attempt to ward off the attack, but had to retreat when the terrorists opened fire with automatic rifles. Our citizens were trying to ward off the terrorists with stones! I cannot think of a more extreme example of how helpless the government has rendered it's own citizens.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
The vouchers for special needs and foster children were approved two years ago, and they have been challenged twice. The lower courts have ruled that the use of vouchers at private schools is unconstitutional.On what grounds you might ask? Because sometimes the funds are used at private schools that are ... gasp... associated with religious (read Christian) entities. Yes, my friends, some Americans are Christians. So if I donated my tax rebate check last summer to my church, has the federal government subsidized United Methodism? Quelle horreur! Someone notify the ACLU!
But the real tragedy is human. Despite assertions to the contrary, the public schools are not meeting the needs of these children (and most children, but one case at a time). Please view the video below to see the effect an adverse ruling would have on one family.
H/T: Institute for Justice
Friday, December 5, 2008
Meanwhile, back in Ohio, the plot just keeps getting better. Vanessa Niekamp, the woman who called up Joe's child support records, is now alleging that her department deputy dictated precisely how she should cover up the activity. I'm no lawyer, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night, so I'm thinking, obstruction of justice, a criminal offense. And what prize do we have for the clueless Ohio bureaucrats? Some jail time, maybe? Regardless, I'm not holding my breath that state employees will get more severe punishments than the private sector firings at Verizon for perusing Obama's cell phone usage.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
a. Mortgage brokers
c. Foreign governments
d. Who knows?
If you answered d., you are correct. Amazingly, telling banks to stop foreclosures is futile because the loans have been sliced between so many different investors, that no one really knows who owns the debt!
From the article:
Who is supposed to take the loss when these debts are reduced? Servicers don’t have any skin in the game, beleaguered lenders who originated the poorly underwritten loans often quickly sold them and the investors who ended up owning many mortgages through sliced and diced securities called collateralized loan obligations would probably be better off with a foreclosure.
Ultimately, the lack of transparency for all parties involved, along with a lack of accountability for bad practices led to the mortgage mess. If an individual homeowner could go back to the holder of the note and re-negotiate, all parties would be better off. But there is no one with whom to negotiate. This mean this mess will be terribly difficult to clean up. I am a firm believer in free markets, but any economist will say that free markets require transparency to operate properly.
The behind the scenes debate over who should take the loss on mortgage workouts is one of the most important issues that U.S. policymakers and lenders are faced with, and one that they are most loath to discuss. This is because unjustly hurting investors would create an alarming precedent that the American government no longer considers a business contract sacrosanct, which runs the grave risk of alienating those abroad who have looked to the U.S. as an investment haven governed by the predictable rule of law.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
However, these attacks show the real intent of the al-Qaeda terrorists, to kill every non-Muslim (indeed every non-Sunni) until all are dead or converted. Their web sites were filled with venomous hatred calling on Allah (the most merciful?) to kill all the Hindu infidels in the worst possible ways. (H/T Weasel Zippers) There can be no negotiating, no treating them better that will cause the rest of the world to be safe from their attacks.
Fortunately, the President-elect seems to be ignoring the advice of the nutroots crowd in his approach to the war on terror and is reportedly going to retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Good for him. Regardless of how he campaigned, I applaud every move he makes that helps the defense of this country.
Friday, November 28, 2008
"To Democracy! Where else, but in a democracy as great as ours, could a humble community organizer, whose greatest achievement was editor of Harvard Law, could rise through the cauldron of Chicago politics to become the President of the United States. To Democracy!"
Monday, November 24, 2008
Given the name and intent of this site I thought this post was a good fit as it deals with freedoms and liberties granted by the Almighty and guaranteed by the Constitution.
You can read our previous posts here on the matter but what this involves is the congregants of the Guatay Christian Fellowship being allowed to return to their house of worship after a Federal judge, this past week, struck down a cease and desist order levied by San Diego County as those paragons of justice at the county discovered that the worshippers were running afoul of the law as they were exercising their 1st amendment rights in a structure that had been originally permitted as a bar some 22 years ago and not a church. Da horrah!
This is the sort of super-sleuthing and fantastic application of the law, if not common sense that makes me proud to be a San Diegan. I mean, if we're not going to pay people to kick citizens out of their house of worship, then what the hell are we paying them to do?
From the original cease and desist handed down back in May of this year, the legal wrangling was on. Offers of pro bono defense of the church came in from around the country and the county offered up lame posturing as to the legality of freedom of assembly and worship. The county realizing it had an absolute P.R. disaster on its hands, simultaneously back-peddled and attempted to save face by playing the code violations card. The dreaded ‘unsafe wiring’ and ‘improperly braced water heater’ were uncovered at subsequent inspections in the interim as the church congregation would occasionally defy the order and exercise their constitutional 1st amendment rights by holding services in the building
In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Miller said the county’s order caused “significant irreparable harm” to the church and members but did also rule that the church must apply for a major use permit to continue worshipping in the building, as county officials have demanded.
According to article here and from his appearance on Hedgecock’s show on Monday, Pastor Stan Peterson will apply for the permit but does not know where the money for permit fees, environmental impact reports and legal fees will come from.
Folks, if you do get a chance, please go through the related posts linked above. We’ve followed this case pretty closely, have gone out to the church to attend services and talked to some of the principles involved back in August and using as fair and clear-minded reasoning as we can be accused of, we’ve come to the conclusion that the church has been getting squeezed and jerked around by an out-of-control bureaucracy. Think about it: Thousands of dollars for permitting and environmental impact reports for an existing structure that has been used by the church for 22 years.
Fortunately, help may be on the way. The attorney representing the Church, Peter Lepiscopo, has said that despite the favorable(?) ruling, he still plans to seek monetary damages against the county for violation of the church members’ civil rights and the judge's “significant irreparable harm” statement would appear to kick that door wide open.
We wish Peter and the Church the best and we hope they own a piece (of the backside) of San Diego County by the time a verdict or settlement is reached.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Meanwhile, back in Ohio, officials who looked up tax records and child support records of Samuel J. (Joe the Plumber) Wurzelbacher received four week suspensions. I would think that such records are far more sensitive than phone calls, but who am I to judge (or be judgmental).
So I am launching a poll to let you, the readers decide if this is just. Look forward to hearing from you.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
I am ill equipped to add to Gateway Pundit's fine analysis of how and why the war was won. I am more concerned about the reasons that the administration won't declare victory. I believe it is a combination of embarassment (remember "Mission Accomplished") and cowing by the MSM. But here is where the weaknesses of the Bush administration become so glaring. This administration has never been temperamentally suited to the traditions of the republic. Too often it is willing to go it alone and take unpopular stances. So far, so good, if they are upholding the best interests of the nation. Unfortunately, our form of government calls for congressional oversight of the executive and counts on a free press to monitor the actions of the federal government. That puts the responsibility for making the case for unpopular actions on the President of these United States. George Bush failed to make his case, an even more glaring crime when one considers that the facts were on his side. Bill Clinton was criticized for being in perpetual campaign mode, but I believe that is necessary to achieve the agenda of the Presidency.
Further, the President failed to involve the Congress in achieving consensus on the means to prosecute the war. The foreign wiretapping issue is perfectly illustrative. When finally put to an up or down vote, Congress approved legislation that allowed the executive to take the required actions. But Bush's unilateral pursuit of this course of action appeared made him appear lawless and unconstitutional, thereby undermining support for the war. Same for the Gitmo tribunals. No way do the terrorists deserve the protections of the U.S. constitution. But the President lacks the constitutional authority to set up tribunals outside of the purview of courts or the congress.
Sorry to rain on the celebration, but this is important to remember as conservatives and libertarians lay out the principles that will rest the moral high ground from the left.
MOST IMPORTANT OF ALL, WE SAY THANK YOU TO THE TROOPS, WHO MADE VICTORY POSSIBLE.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Iowahawk peers in to the future and comes back with ad copy for Congressional Motors new offering, the Pelosi. Iowahawk is the funniest satirist in the blogosphere.
Tom Smith asks if it is too late to become a French socialist, since our Congress seems intent on following the Latin American model. H/T KT Cat.
Mark Cuban has performed another public service (besides firing Don Nelson) by setting up a blog to track the expenditure of YOUR MONEY, that the nation's Treasury Department refuses to publish. His blog is Bailout Sleuth. H/T Dean.
Speaking of Dean, he mocks the notion of Chris Dodd chairing bailout hearings, given his sweetheart loan from Countrywide Mortgage.
And to give credit where due, we applaud Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for asking Neel Kashkari of Treasury if he feels like a "chump" for handing over $50 billion in taxpayer swag to AIG and then seeing them pay fat bonuses to senior executives. Unfortunately, this was not meant to be satire, it just is. Video here.
That video is posted on the E!3 blog site, (Eject! Eject! Eject!, I think it's an AF thing). The author, Proteus, has a post election commentary so poignant, that I feel compelled to quote a large portion. Read the whole post here.
On Tuesday, the Left – armed with the most attractive, eloquent, young, hip and charismatic candidate I have seen with my adult eyes, a candidate shielded by a media so overtly that it can never be such a shield again, who appeared after eight years of an historically unpopular President, in the midst of two undefended wars and at the time of the worst financial crisis since the Depression and whose praises were sung by every movie, television and musical icon without pause or challenge for 20 months… who ran against the oldest nominee in the country’s history, against a campaign rent with internal disarray and determined not to attack in the one area where attack could have succeeded, and who was out-spent no less than seven-to-one in a cycle where not a single debate question was unfavorable to his opponent – that historic victory, that perfect storm of opportunity…
Yielded a result of 53%
There is much to do. That a man with such overt Marxist ideas and such a history of association with virulent anti-Americans can be elected President should make it crystal clear to each of us just how far we have let fall the moral tone of this Republic. The great lesson from Ronald Reagan was simply that we can and must gently educate as well as campaign, and explain our ideas with smiles on our faces and real joy in our hearts.Wow! Couldn't say it better myself, so I'll wrap it up for tonight.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
But the damage caused by the lack of morality of market players could end up being fatal for the system itself. "The decline of such discipline" – the moral discipline which is the product of "strong religious convictions" – "can actually cause the laws of the market to collapse."
How prescient. All market economies are built on trust. We trust that competition causes prices for similar goods to be similar when we shop. Investors trust that published financial information of companies is more or less accurate. Lenders trust that borrowers accurately describe their ability to repay loans. Sometimes trust is aided by regulation. More often it is the product of the free market, where untrustworthy actors suffer through loss of reputation and therefor loss of business.
However, the market discipline tends to break down when transactions are one-off, i.e. not likely to be repeated. This is why garage sales have to deeply discount used goods compared to Ebay. You are probably never returning to that garage sale, but the Ebay seller has a reputation to maintain. Standard game theory tells us that there is far less incentive to be honest in transactions where there is no likelihood of repeat business. This is where a culture of honesty allows commerce to proceed with low transaction costs, because it is likely that both sides are getting fair value. Ethics and honesty have a positive network effect on the economy.
We can look at how failing ethics works in the housing market, filled with many one-off transactions. Many borrowers succumbed to greed and failed to disclose risks in their ability to repay, betting that a rising market would bail them out. Mortgage dealers set up loans without due diligence, knowing they could sell the loans to banks. Banks gave up on due diligence, knowing they could pass the loans to Fannie Mae. Fannie Mae's executives were earning fat bonuses cooking the books, and hiding loan risk while selling securitized loans to Wall Street. Wall Street was just looking at all the fat profits being made with an ever rising housing market. Greed and dishonesty work their way through this entire chain of transactions. Not by everyone, but by enough that eventually the system collapses, just as the Pope predicts.
Morality has consequences for society and nations. Many on the left decry moral judgement as judgemental, but clearly it is necessary for the good outcome of sustainable economic growth. Most Americans don't have to be told and wouldn't even be persuaded that honesty is the best policy just because of a little economics lesson. But the left seems to need object lessons like this, because they instinctively reject tradition. There is a reason for traditional morality, whether you believe it is due to God's will or natural selection, it works for both individuals and society.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
This scenario is perfectly illustrative of the simultaneous difficulty and importance of making the case for less government. In the midst of a hotly contested election, the temptation of politicians to pander seems almost irresistible. But if the public has the awareness of the futility of repealing laws of economics, then such efforts would be laughed off the table.
This is like the failed effort to make pi = 3.2 in the Indiana legislature in the 1890's. Today, no one would think of introducing such legislation for fear of ridicule. One would think that similarly stupid schemes to manipulate the price of oil would be ridiculed as well.
Friday, November 14, 2008
"...I share with you that most basic of conservative principles: that liberty is a right conferred by our Creator, not by governments, and that the proper object of justice and the rule of law in our country is not to aggregate power to the state but to protect the liberty and property of its citizens. And like you, I understand, as Edmund Burke observed, that whenever a separation is made between liberty and justice, neither . . . is safe."
There was more:
"I believe today, as I believed twenty-five years ago, in small government; fiscal discipline; low taxes; a strong defense, judges who enforce, and not make, our laws; the social values that are the true source of our strength; and, generally, the steadfast defense of our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which I have defended my entire career as God-given to the born and unborn."
When the credit crunch, which became a manufactured crisis, hit, John McCain's instincts were dead on. He initially opposed the bail out of AIG. He announced the suspension of the campaign to go to Washington to deal with the crisis. I had real hope that he was going to again out-maneuver Obama and propose a better, less intrusive, less costly solution to the problem at hand. It would have simultaneously played to his strengths, small-government conservative and maverick and would have properly framed the debate. But in the end, he offered nothing different from Bush or Obama and it was game over. I am not sure if it was timidity or lack of confidence in his own judgement on economic issues. Too bad, because the nation is going to suffer for it.
Apparently, Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) read my blog and agrees that McCain's support of the bailout was at least partly responsible for his loss. From CNN:
'And of course, his embrace of the bailout right before the election was probably the nail in our coffin this last election."
Dang, I may have to retract the whole post.
"The challenge for my generation," he said, "was to provide an intellectual defense of liberty. The challenge for your generation is to keep it."
Friedman said that despite the election of free market champions such as Ronald Reagan, the size and intrusiveness of government continued to grow. Robinson initially disagreed, but he now has a long litany of complaints against the Bush administration and Republicans on how they grew the size of government. His list includes increased prescription drug benefits, McCain attacking Wall Street greed and stating that government should ensure affordable mortgages for all, proposed Big 3 auto bailout, proposals to federalize health insurance and the list goes on. Read the whole thing here.
Each generation has its challenges, the restoration of individual liberty and limited government is a challenge for ours. Are you with me?
Thursday, November 13, 2008
"...within a centrally planned economic system, the distribution and allocation of all resources and goods would devolve onto a small group..."
Well, we're there. The wheels of our government are firmly in the rut of the road that Hayek describes.
Despite committing $290 Billion already, the government has taken no formal action to fill the watchdog committee to oversee the
"...no formal action has been taken to fill the independent oversight posts established by Congress when it approved the bailout to prevent corruption and government waste. Nor has the first monitoring report required by lawmakers been completed, though the initial deadline has passed."
Fed won't disclose names of recipients of $2 Trillion in loans. (Hey, it's only TWO trillion, its not like were talking big bucks here.) From the Austin Statesman (puttin' in a TX newspaper for our buddy Justin):
"Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson promised transparency when they asked Congress for the bailout billions. That hasn't happened. Bloomberg News, which sought the identity of the loan recipients under the federal Freedom of Information Act, was turned down and has sued to get the information."
We've already abandoned the original plan, without any change in legislation, mind you. From the WSJ:
"Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson officially abandoned his original plan to buy troubled assets from financial institutions. While the government will continue to invest in those firms, he said, it would also now focus on the nation's struggling consumers."
So what's a poor consumer to do? I suggest you go for some of that Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) loot. As a public service we are posting the link to the form that will get your hands on your neighbors cash. (Officially, it is the Application for TARP Capital Purchase Program (CPP). I love bureaucracy just for the self parody.) Hurry and apply, before your buddy runs out of cash, or goes John Galt on you.
P.S. I remind one and all that this is happening under a Republican administration, despite the hubris displayed by the "Office of the President Elect." Could a more socialist scheme have been devised by Barney Frank? Can you blame the public for electing Democrats under these circumstances. At least they admit they like big government.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
All forms of socialism, whether Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Peronism or more recently, Iranian style Islamic-Socialism have been a blot on human history and the progress of freedom. Today, in
In choosing the title of this blog, I am mindful of history. The Liberator was the premiere newspaper of the abolition movement in pre-Civil War
Unfortunately, the left is not the only enemy of freedom. One of the reasons for the Obama victory was the failure of Republicans under George Bush to champion limited government, see prescriptions for seniors, “No Child Left Behind” and caving on steel tariffs. This failure was the result of ignorance, lust for power, and corruption. Further, the Republicans became identified as the “party of big government.” I believe that voters are rational; given the choice between two big government parties, the people voted for the party more ideologically committed to making big government work. Dean has more on this in an election post-mortem.
The intellectual underpinnings of limited government always face an uphill fight in the war of ideas. Advocates of bigger government point to some problem, and there always is one, and say, "we can solve this if we have the will," not adding "and your tax dollars." That the solutions then cause more problems is only gravy on the turkey for the left, because new problems have been created to "solve." It is a challenge to propose less intrusive solutions or to defend the position that no solution at all is really needed.
Ultimately this is just a blog by a guy whose main talent might be something other than writing. I hope to be entertaining, though it is tough to measure up to the standard set by Dean on BwD, but I'll let you be the judge of that.