29 July 2010

Absolute frame of reference

One of the major reasons that the MAL resorts to claims of “racism” and “McCarthyism” is because they have other arguments that will stand up when explicitly stated. This is of a piece with the standard vagueness and insinuating style of MAList rhetoric, derived from the basic problem that MALists have to live a lie. It’s why Tea Party activists strongly recommended bringing cameras, while MALists attack people with cameras.

There’s also the fact that such attacks have become simply reflex, the same way the beliefs and ideology of the previous generations of MALists have degenerated in to slogan clusters. It’s just what they do, it’s always worked before.

But I think this article touches on something that might be just as important, which is the most MALists have a very difficult time understanding other frames of reference. To them, everyone is either part of the cultured elite (like them) or irrational barbarians. Since the publicly proclaimed goals and beliefs of the Tea Party don’t fit in to the MAList reference frame, they must be irrational, an artifact of uneducated bitter clinging. Definitely worth reading.

The knife's already in our back, we might as well twist it

Democratic Party Representatives who are not from the coast are feel “let down” because the POR government isn’t pushing the massive energy tax legislation the House passed a while back.

Of course, the first pass analysis is why were these people so stupid as to trust POR? They made a choice to support POR against the interests of their constituents and are unhappy that the constituents aren’t overly happy about it?

But it seems to me there’s yet another major error going on here, which is that passing the legislation would make a bad situation better. I mean, just like passing the health care nationalization boosted Democratic Party election prospsects? Legislation so toxic that the Obama Administration no longer wants his name associated with it? The legislation that those same Representatives (who also voted for that) don’t dare mention on the campaign trail? They want another legislative accomplishment they dare not mention? How would that help when the primary election sound bite is Republicans are Evil!?

Party of the People Watch

Yet another little gem in the steaming piles of legislation this Democratic Party Congress and White House are spewing out — the SEC will now be effectively immune to Freedom of Information Act requests. That means that future bailouts can be done completely in secret, with no way for anyone but the inside players to know what happened. If the SEC messes up and costs the taxpayers billions, the latter need to just cough it up and not ask any questions. It’s apparently the Democratic Party’s answer to the SEC’s failure with Bernie Madoff — just stop the people from knowing the regulatory agency screwed up. After all, how often could that happen, since appartchiks have no incentive to cut corners like those despicable private sector people?

28 July 2010

Party of the People Watch

The Democratic Party Congressional caucus terminated the Washington D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program despite its success and popularity. Of course, actually helping poor minorities to succeed isn’t a goal of the Democratic Party, only talking about it. But remember, kids, if you ever bring this up, it’s because you hate children and minorities. There’s no other reason to oppose the actions of the Democratic Party, especially if they give their legislation a nice sounding name.

Un-DISCLOSED

Looks like the DISCLOSE legislation didn’t pass the Senate with Senator Scott Brown voting against (so that’s one for him, to balance his vote for the recent “financial bailouts for ever” legislation). The DISCLOSE Act is another bit of legislation that, like the McCain-Feinbold campaign finance “reform”, is basically a message to the American Street to “shut up!”. Party of the People, dude.

26 July 2010

War on Prosperity

Democrats have been running Congress for nearly four years, and President Obama has been at the White House for 18 months, so it’s not too soon to ask: How’s that working out? One devastating scorecard came out Friday from the White House, in the form of its own semi-annual budget review.

The message: Tax revenues are smaller, spending is greater, and the deficits are thus larger than the White House has been saying.

Wall Street Journal

“Unexpectedly”, I’m sure. And I am sure the lack of growth from the currently planned tax increases next year will also be “unexpected”.

23 July 2010

Government of the people

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), upon unveiling the bill, said “the deterrent effect should not be underestimated.” For those who view nonpoliticians as meddlesome “outside entities” and criticism of incumbents as a crime to be deterred, the chilling effect of campaign finance laws is a feature, not a bug.

Jacob Sullum

Once you start letting the government regulate what you can say about it, there’s no end to how silent the people in the government will want you to be.

Of course, the Obama Administration is making a strong effort in that regard as well — it seems that the Department of Homeland Security did investigations of people filing Freedom of Information Act requests and delayed responses to political opponents, including Congress.

War on Prosperity

An inspector general working for the federal government claims, in a report, on the federal government’s management of GM and its dealership

  • [D]ealerships were retained because they were … minority- or woman-owned dealerships
  • Thousands of jobs were lost, unnecessarily, due specifically to Obama’s “mandate for shared sacrifice
  • A disproportionate number of Obama-forced closings were of rural dealerships, in areas unfriendly to Obama, even though such closures could “jeopardize the return to profitability” for GM and Chrysler.

This isn’t surprising. What’s surprising is how many people defend this kind of thing in general, or act surprised at the outcome.

Some argue, some smear

This has sitting around for a while but has become topical again, so here it is, poorly written and badly formatted.

Even for Old Media and the MAL I have found the breadth of the ad hominem attacks on the Tea Party astounding, something others have noticed.

Links

Just a few of the attacks —

Eventually even Cleaver had to disown the story by pretending he never started it. That will suffice, after all if you’re of the right ideological persuasion all you need to to is deny the past and it’s OK.

The fact that various polls show the Tea Party as politically diverse and multi-racial, mostly mainstream, and closer to the American Street than the President, the argument founders for people who pay attention.

The “kooks” attack isn’t holding up any better.

This points to the reason many suspect that the MAL will inject agent provocateurs in to Tea Party events. If someone acts up, Old Media will immediately jump on the story1 and even if shown later to be completely baseless will, like the Cleaver incident, simply pretend it didn’t happen. It’s not a grand, coordinated conspiracy in the normal sense. It is simply that any fringe (or not so fringe) element of the MAL knows how it will play out and so can organize such a thing independently.

Why bother? Partly because the MAL has no actual arguments left, partly out of habit, and partly because if you repeat a lie often and pervasively enough, some of it sticks, even if there’s almost no evidence for it. The standard for those opposed to the MAL is absolute purity — any inappropriate behavior by anyone calling himself a member taints the entire group. Not that any standard of that sort applies to enemies of the MAL’s enemies. I agree that such things shouldn’t be universally tainting, but that’s not a universally held view.


1 Just like this Palin story. Reality not required.

Time to fly

Well, the rocket club’s annual launch was a while back and I just noticed I didn’t post any pictures. It was a horrible time for me, I totaled 2 rockets, one I had just spent a month getting read for the event, and Boy One trashed his rocket on the first flight. But we’re rebuilding.

My faithful wooden rocket, the Jules Verne ‘29 on a G54-S.

My doomed rocket, the Xenographic, an homage to Jack Kirby style alien technology, flying on an H128-S.

22 July 2010

It's good to be in the ruling class

America is struggling with a sputtering economy and high unemployment — but times are booming for Washington’s governing class.

Politico

Yep, it’s why there’s just no sense of urgency at fixing our economic problems, especially if it means any smaller slice of the pie for the public sector.

It's OK when I do it

I was reading this article about Shirley Sherrod and thinking — gosh, did she learn nothing from the whole experience? For someone who was briefly a nationalized despised figure based on charges of racism, she’s quite free with her own accusations. That they’re not fact based (e.g., blaming Fox News) seems irrelevant. After all, Media Matters has its own history with bogus charges of racism so I suppose that’s just they way they roll. They must have learned it from Journolist.

P.S. As others have noted the interaction with Breitbart was quite odd. He went instantly (somehow, somewhen) from faking ACORN related videos to an impeachable authority. Others have noted that Breitbart’s point (the actual text, not the video) was about the audience, not Sherrod, and he noted that the video was incomplete from the start.

21 July 2010

Reactionary details

Remember the hysterical coverage of the suicide of a Kentucky census worker and how it was emblematic of the violence on the right? That makes the coverage of this suspicious death or, rather, the lack of such hyperbole, a rather telling difference in which political factions are interested in facts and which in fear mongering.

Deemable budget!

[…] as part of a procedural vote on the emergency war supplemental bill, House Democrats attached a document that “deemed as passed” a non-existent $1.12 trillion budget. The execution of the “deeming” document allows Democrats to start spending money for Fiscal Year 2011 without the pesky constraints of a budget. [source]

Does this not finally lay to rest which party is the least fiscally responsible? Even with massive majorities they can’t pass or even propose a budget. Of course, we all know the real reason is that they want to spend without any accountablity, the kind that might (just might) occur if they passed an official budget. If the people don’t know, how can they object? Transparency and accountability — that’s the party of the people, dude.

19 July 2010

Frightening quote of the day

So who fears deflation? Debtors fear it. And who is the biggest debtor? The federal government – to an extent never seen before in the history of this country.

Minnesotastan

And who’s going to suffer the most from massive inflation? The “poor” that our government claims to be so concerned about.

14 July 2010

Moving in the right direction

From National Review Online

Private Sector Losses vs. Public Sector Gains   [Veronique de Rugy]

It’s been a while since I reported on private-sector and public-sector job growth since the passage of the stimulus bill. Here is a chart, based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that speaks for itself.

http://biggovernment.com/files/2010/06/image002.png

Since the beginning of the recession (roughly January 2008), some 7.9 million jobs were lost in the private sector while 590,000 jobs were gained in the public one.  And since the passage of the stimulus bill (February 2009), over 2.6 million private jobs were lost, but the government workforce grew by 400,000.

I will leave it up to you to draw conclusions.

Some more movement in the right direction.

Focusing on the real problems

As the financial “reform” bill comes up for a vote it’s important to note that among the provisions in the bill, we have this (via Hot Air) —

In addition to this bill’s well-publicized plans to establish over a dozen new financial regulatory offices, Section 342 sets up at least 20 Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion. This has had no coverage by the news media and has large implications.

The Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, the Board of Governors of the Fed, the National Credit Union Administration, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…all would get their own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.

Each office would have its own director and staff to develop policies promoting equal employment opportunities and racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of not just the agency’s workforce, but also the workforces of its contractors and sub-contractors.

What would be the mission of this new corps of Federal monitors? The Dodd-Frank bill sets it forth succinctly and simply – all too simply. The mission, it says, is to assure “to the maximum extent possible the fair inclusion” of women and minorities, individually and through businesses they own, in the activities of the agencies, including contracting.

[…]

Lest there be any narrow interpretation of Congress’s intent, either by agencies or eventually by the courts, the bill specifies that the “fair” employment test shall apply to “financial institutions, investment banking firms, mortgage banking firms, asset management firms, brokers, dealers, financial services entities, underwriters, accountants, investment consultants and providers of legal services.” That last would appear to rope in law firms working for financial entities.

Contracts are defined expansively as “all contracts for business and activities of an agency, at all levels, including contracts for the issuance or guarantee of any debt, equity, or security, the sale of assets, the management of the assets of the agency, the making of equity investments by the agency, and the implementation by the agency of programs to address economic recovery.”

Yeah, that’ll get to the heart of our recent financial problems. Just the kind of lightly regulating that will prevent the recurrence of future problems, restore health to the financial sector, and improve the efficiency of both regulation and our financial systems.

Legal clearcutting

One thing that surprised me, but shouldn’t have, is the amazing overreach in two significant legal cases, the Chicago gun law and the Arizona immigration law. In both cases the plaintiffs advanced legal theories that, if adopted, would resulted in massive changes with unpredictable. I suppose it’s just a sign of how desperate the MAL is getting to defend their ideological positions.

In the Chicago case, as best I can understand the city administration’s legal position, their view was that the Bill of Rights didn’t apply to states or cities if the latter thought it important to have a law. The legal reasoning used to justify the violation of the 2nd Amendment would just have easily justified disregarding the 1st or 5th.1

In the case of the Arizona law the first thing to note is that the actual filing doesn’t bring up any discrimination claims so apparently all that talk from the White House about such things was just propaganda, throwing out baseless accusations to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt. How Nixonian!

Again, as far as I can tell of the government’s complaint is that states are not permitted to aid in the enforcement of federal law. After all SB1070 re-iterates federal immigration policy, and the enforcement would involve sending such cases to the federal legal system to adjudication. Think of the implications of a federal win — just for a start, it would invalidate state enforcement of laws against recreational pharmaceuticals, or even laws against them, even if those exactly mimicked federal law. I would think the medical marijuana would find that very helpful. Or the enforcement of federal endangered species legislation. Couldn’t say, Wyoming, on the basis of a victory for the federal government, abandon all state level enabling legislation and cooperation on the basis that such was now illegal?

A few other notes on the federal lawsuit against Arizona —

Politically, of course, this looks like a very poor tactic — “it’s the privilege of the federal government to active not enforce its laws and states may not pick up the slack”. Given that President Obama already has a reputation for being rather cavalier about the rule of law, this can only re-enforce that view among a larger set of the American Street.

In the “tone deaf” files we must include the fact that the Obama Administration picked the defender of the “American Taliban” as its lead attorney — yes, there’s the kind of person you want at the front of fighting against enforcement of the law.

Let’s also note that Rhode Island has been engaged in very similar enforcement without any complaint by the federal government. Does the Obama Administration just hate Southwesterners?

And finally, for those of the “how is this different from previous waves of immigration”, I offer this post about how in Utah, the state government changed the law on welfare so that illegal immigrants would be subject to the same checks as actual citizens, rather than having preferential treatment. The illegal immigrants are upset, of course, and wonder if (gasp!) perhaps governments in America are favoring citizens over illegal immigrants. I would love to see any one point out where previous waves of immigration (1) got preferential treatment and (2) the immigrants would have been surprised or upset at favoritism toward citizens. Of course, it is our policies that have lead to this, and the solution is to dismantle the welfare state.


1 I must say, though, I thought the Supreme Courts reasoning was sub-par as well, if not as much. Avoiding the “privileges and immunity” clause of the 14th and using due process strikes me as coming to the right result through bogus means, which is never a good idea. I am becoming more impressed with Justice Thomas’ legal reasoning as he seemed to have the best argument of any of them on the issue.

12 July 2010

A public relations triumph

I wanted to note that the Obama Administration now considers the term “ObamaCare” to be derogatory and inappropriate. The sexual epithet “tea-bagger”, that’s fine, but don’t you dare call the recent health care nationalization “ObamaCare”. As many have noted, one is left wondering which is the offensive part, disparaging President Obama by associating him with such despised legislation, or agitating against the legislation by associating it with the increasing unpopular President?

10 July 2010

Not A Serious Agency

NASA’s administrator (it’s chief executive) announced the other day that President Obama had told him that under his Administration, NASA had three top priorities

  • reach out to the Muslim world and engage much more with predominantly Muslim nations to help them feel good about their historic contribution to science, math, and engineering
  • re-inspire children to achieve in science and mathematics
  • expand our international relationships

Anyone see “space flight”, “exploration”, “research”, or “expanding human frontiers” in that list? Note that these are not projects or goals NASA should have, but its top priorities according to Obama, as reported by the chief Administrator appointed by Obama.

Of course, this doesn’t seem to be getting much press and there are theories about that having to do with Old Media once again protecting Obama from the impact of his own policies. One is left wondering how much a government can be controlled by a populace this is deliberately misinformed about that government by partisan reporting.

The White House response tries to walk the remarks back but doesn’t really succeed.

09 July 2010

Tea Party Violence Watch

It seems that the recent riot in Oakland was hardly spontaneous — it was in fact planned but unexpectedly it wasn’t Tea Party activists. Nevertheless, the clear lesson is to maintain vigilance against those nut cases and not get distracted by unexpected events like this riot.

A video of another citizen concerned about Tea Party violence with plans to combat it.

Let’s not forget about when SEIU thugs attacked a banker’s home (additional information). This is a good essay on why we are seeing a resurgence of violence from the political left, which is naturally (both to distract and because they inevitable project their own failings on their opponents) trying to play up the not nearly as common violence of the ravening right wing hordes.

22 Jul 10 — Not strictly Tea Party related, but I am sure this abuse of citizen journalists was inspired by them.

And, what you’ve been waiting for, Tea Party related racism with a para-military group with people being told “go back to Europe, you’re too white”. If only the Tea Party activists could be shipped off to Camp X-Ray, this wouldn’t happen!

Another videographer attacked!

No incentives to cut corners, eh?

Prevailing wisdom holds that elected officials work for the public good, while private individuals are motivated by their own personal goals—including selfish things like profits. But does this notion hold true in practice?

Apparently not always despite the lack of incentives for public officials to cut corners. I will be updating this post as the other examples of our civic minded public officials in action show up in my reading stream.

Of course, such people can always count on a self described better element to write whatever is needed to justify the policy of the day even if it means disagreeing with yourself without any explanation of the incoherence.

Veterans Administration exposes veterans to infection risk — if only it had been a government agency or even just properly regulated, that kind of thing wouldn’t happen.

Meanwhile, the most transparent White House Administration in history is avoiding having any records of their meetings with lobbiests by meeting at a coffee shop instead of the White House.

Of course, the White House has no problem firing Inspector Generals who get too uppity and suffering no consequences, legal or political. But at least we have the office, even if the occupant dares not actually inspect anything.

06 July 2010

Bringing back voter intimidation

As long as we are commenting on Jim Crow let us not forget the ongoing voter intimidation scandal at the Department of Justice. What’s more important, racial payback or civic principles?

UPDATE: What’s a little encouragement for voter fraud at the same time? It’s hard to see how things like this are part of helping the people control the government, as opposed to which ever gang of thugs gets control of the machinery first. But that’s the Democratic Party, they’re just being more obvious about it now.

05 July 2010

Local Independence Day

War on Prosperity Watch

Another example of something that would be laughed at if done by the private sector, but considered reasonable when done by government — spending $2B to create 1500 permanent jobs and 3600 temporary ones. This is the end game of government intervention and why, even if it seems like a good idea at the time, it should be opposed on general principles. Once a “good” intervention is permitted, there is no argument against wasteful ones like this because its proponents will never admit to the waste.

P.S. Let’s pile on with Planned Parenthood’s missling billions. Planned Parenthood seems to have received $2300M in government funds between 2002 and 2008 and officially spent $657M of that. Where did the rest of the money go? Apparently no one, including Planned Parenthood, knows. Yet it seems likely the funding will go one, just disappearing somewhere. What’s important, after all, is shipping out those taxpayers dollars. Results are for private sector.

P.P.S. President Obama says “we’re heading in the right direction” by which I can only presume that he views the devastating results of his War on Prosperity as the “right direction”. I just didn’t think he would admit that in public.

04 July 2010

Taking the government back from the seed corn eaters

Legal Insurrection has a post about the end game for current political class. It’s the inevitable place where “let’s just worry about feeding people today” ends up, because the future happens day by day too and so eventually arrives. Some argue it is cruel to not spend money when it’s available. I am with those who say it is even crueler to spend too much and create an even greater problem in the future. To live for today is how primitive, brutal societies operate. Our current power and wealth, which has so enormously improved everyone’s lives, down to the poorest, is the result of planning and working for the future, even if it hurts today. We are in such trouble now because so many have forgotten that and take the results of previous generation’s work and sacrifice as facts of nature rather than what they are.

As we celebrate this Independence Day, I think we ought to ponder how independence is not just that of a nation, but of its people as well. I cannot see the greatness in national sovereignty if the citizens have been reduced to clients of that nation. True independence can only start with the people, not with the government.

UPDATE: Yet another write up of how we are creating Two Americas, a privileged public sector and an increasingly serf like private sector.

03 July 2010

Nothing to see here

The federal government is trying to block media access to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill because they are doing such a good job they don’t want too many grateful citizens distracting them with fulsome praise. After all, it’s a government controlled operation, fully regulated — what could go wrong?

"Unexpectedly", I'm sure

In yet another example illustrating that people who think they hate free markets really hate objective reality, POR-care is going to run out of money in its high risk pool and the Obama Administration is considering, as a result, turning away people with pre-existing conditions. Turns out that letting people wait until they are sick to buy insurance is a good way spend huge piles of money. But that’s OK because it’s only evil if done by private interestets

And, oh by the way, POR-care is likely to flood emergency rooms once it takes effect. Don’t you love it when an intervention comes together?

02 July 2010

It would be wrong ...

Let me just quote a bit

The A-Whale bills itself as the largest open-water oil skimmer in the world, and it’s at least very impressive. Originally an oil and ore tanker, the ship’s owners recently refitted the ship to do exactly the kind of work that the US so desperately needs in the Gulf of Mexico, and to do it on a vastly larger scale than current operations can handle. According to the ship’s project manager, the entire American effort in 66 days has skimmed off 600,000 barrels of oil. The ship’s owners claim that A-Whale can skim 500,000 barrels a day.

Why isn’t it skimming oil? Because it doesn’t skim all of the oil so the outflow doesn’t meet EPA regulatory requirements, among other regulatory hurdles. But hey, what matters is making sure private interests don’t cut any corners. Why, that might end up with some oil in the water of the Gulf of Mexico! Can’t have that. Good thing our federal government is keeping those corners in full operation.