Sunday, November 30, 2008


Pictured at left is the implacable face of evil in our time. Although he may not be directly responsible for the recent Mumbai attacks, the attackers were certainly his apostles both in ideology and method. I recently left a facetious comment on a Daily Kos article that if we only treated the captured terrorists better, the Arab world would join us in our fight against the terrorists. I was amazed to be praised for my efforts.

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

Thanksgiving Toast

The blogging was light lately, helping Mrs. Daddy get ready to host ravenous Thanksgiving guests. To accommodate really great couple, we had turkey dinner on Friday this year. Thought I would share my toast:

"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

America the Beautiful, San Diego County the wretched

Howdy, Dean here. B-Daddy has been gracious enough to let me do some spot/guest blogging at his outstanding site. I can be found regularly in the first person plural at Beers with Demo.

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

Equal Justice for "Joe the Plumber" and Obama?

Verizon fired employees for accessing the personal phone records of Barack Obama today. I applaud this move. It is important to our confidence in our service providers that they will maintain privacy unless subpoenas are issued.

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

Today is Victory in Iraq Day

What if we won a war but nobody gave a parade to celebrate the victory? Gateway Pundit makes the most compelling case that we have won the war. Zombietime has organized the pro-freedom wing of the blogosphere to recognize an event that the MSM and our government don't want to acknowledge. I am proud to add my voice to this effort, small though it may be.

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.


Friday, November 21, 2008

Socialist Roundup

It's been a busy week in the blogosphere, lampooning the creeping socialism in America.

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

The Pope Analyzes the Market Crash

And he has a point. I have not often agreed with previous Popes' concerns with the lack of morality of free markets, but Pope Benedict, in a 1985 presentation titled "Money, Markets and Ethics" authored when he was Cardinal Ratzinger had the following to say:

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

Release the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

Last July, on BwD, I predicted a large drop in the prices of crude oil and gasoline within three years. My caveat, of course was that the federal government was perfectly capable of screwing this up. KT has a great post, with pretty pictures, showing just how cheap gasoline is today. At the time, there was a lot of hot air about a temporary suspension of gasoline taxes, releasing the strategic petroleum reserve and windfall oil profits tax, because, by gum, SOMETHING had to be done! Fortunately, nobody got around to do anything and look at the result. (I filled up today for about $2.29/gallon and I saw $2.01/gallon gas in Memphis last week.)

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

What Happened to This Guy? UPDATED

Back in February, after John McCain clinched the Republican nomination, I wrote approvingly of his efforts to reach out to conservatives and by extension, libertarians. I was specifically delighted by this rhetorical flourish:

"...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 our Generation

Peter Robinson, in his Man Friday column, on Forbes, recounts a conversation with the late, great Milton Friedman, pictured at left. He offered the great man a compliment on how the battle for individual liberty had been won because no respectable economics department in the country espoused openly collectivist theories any longer. Friedman answered as follows:

"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

Firmly on That Road (You Libertarians Know Which One)

In his famous tome, The Road to Serfdom, Friederich Hayek argued that:

"...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.

Exhibit 1:

Despite committing $290 Billion already, the government has taken no formal action to fill the watchdog committee to oversee the giveaways spending. From the WaPo article:

" 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."

Exhibit 2:

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."

Exhibit 3:

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

The Liberator Today

I started this blog to champion the principles upon which our nation was founded, as informed by my Christian belief. I intend to champion free markets, free trade, and freedom of speech, equal justice for all human beings and a constitutional republic with powers of the government strictly limited. I will propose paths forward for those who believe that expanding government is the chief threat to the freedom and wealth of the world today. Today, government expansion is championed in America primarily by the left, (or liberals/progressives) and in the world in general, by progressives’ cousins, the socialists.

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 America, the left wing advocates positions that are at best, a stone’s throw away from socialism and is imbued with the socialist ethos. They have hijacked many of the symbols, institutions and even the vocabulary of liberty. “Liberal” once defined a movement supportive of free-trade, free-markets, free-speech and industrialization. On its face, “progressive” might seem to describe an individual who favors progress. Yet it is a prominent feature of today’s progressive movement that it is populated by Luddites who openly oppose advances in technology.

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 America. (I have placed a picture of their masthead on this blog.) The publisher and editor, William Lloyd Garrison, took an uncompromising stand against slavery, the leading evil of his day. Unfortunately, slavery is still with the world. After the Civil War and passage of the 15th amendment, Garrison, thinking the work of the abolition movement to be done, shut down The Liberator. His son Wendell was the literary editor of a new magazine, “New York Nation,” founded at the end of the Civil War. Ironically, one of the leading voices of socialism in America, “The Nation,” is it’s direct descendant. However, I believe that small government conservatism, libertarianism, if you will, is the rightful heir of Garrison's ideals.

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.