Sunday, February 14, 2016

Friday, January 9, 2015

The left has reaped what it has sown. Their mindset since 9/11 has always been - we have to, as Europe has, become accustomed to terrorist attacks here at home. This is also the mindset of this administration with it's inability to call it a war on terror and it's incomprehensible belief that al Qaeda and Osama were the end all of Islamic Terror. The Bush administration and the right had it correct. The only way to end Islamic Terrorism is to end the support in the minds and nations that support it. Their great failure was their inability to communicate that belief, allowing the media and the left to co-opt the narrative. And yet, as Eqypt's President demonstrated recently, Bush's vision has proven correct. In spite of Obama who's actions have actually delayed this awakening. Obama should be embracing this vision, not vacationing and pushing for Community College for all!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

As PJ O’ Rourke once observed, “When buying and selling is going to be regulated, the first things that are bought are the legislators.”

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ready to shop?

Amazon reissued their affiliate program in Illinois following a court decision against the Illinois law taxing online sales. Here is a link if you want to start shopping! Thanks

Monday, April 8, 2013

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

why the gun is civilization. Human beings only have two ways to deal with one another: reason and force. If you want me to do something for you, you have a choice of either convincing me via argument, or force me to do your bidding under threat of force. Every human interaction falls into one of those two categories, without exception. Reason or force, that’s it. In a truly moral and civilized society, people exclusively interact through persuasion. Force has no place as a valid method of social interaction, and the only thing that removes force from the menu is the personal firearm, as paradoxical as it may sound to some. When I carry a gun, you cannot deal with me by force. You have to use reason and try to persuade me, because I have a way to negate your threat or employment of force. The gun is the only personal weapon that puts a 100-pound woman on equal footing with a 220-pound mugger, a 75-year old retiree on equal footing with a 19-year old gangbanger, and a single gay guy on equal footing with a carload of drunk guys with baseball bats. The gun removes the disparity in physical strength, size, or numbers between a potential attacker and a defender. There are plenty of people who consider the gun as the source of bad force equations. These are the people who think that we’d be more civilized if all guns were removed from society, because a firearm makes it easier for a mugger to do his job. That, of course, is only true if the mugger’s potential victims are mostly disarmed either by choice or by legislative fiat–it has no validity when most of a mugger’s potential marks are armed. People who argue for the banning of arms ask for automatic rule by the young, the strong, and the many, and that’s the exact opposite of a civilized society. A mugger, even an armed one, can only make a successful living in a society where the state has granted him a force monopoly. Then there’s the argument that the gun makes confrontations lethal that otherwise would only result in injury. This argument is fallacious in several ways. Without guns involved, confrontations are won by the physically superior party inflicting overwhelming injury on the loser. People who think that fists, bats, sticks, or stones don’t constitute lethal force watch too much TV, where people take beatings and come out of it with a bloody lip at worst. The fact that the gun makes lethal force easier works solely in favor of the weaker defender, not the stronger attacker. If both are armed, the field is level. The gun is the only weapon that’s as lethal in the hands of an octogenarian as it is in the hands of a weightlifter. It simply wouldn’t work as well as a force equalizer if it wasn’t both lethal and easily employable. When I carry a gun, I don’t do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I’m looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don’t carry it because I’m afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn’t limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force. It removes force from the equation…and that’s why carrying a gun is a civilized act. Taken in it's entirety from here:

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Stop The Presses, Wait, Nothing to See Here, It's the One Percent, Damnit

 Yeah, about Obama's inequality argument -- seems it was never there to begin with:
But it’s just not true, according to a new study in National Tax Journal from researchers at Cornell University. (Here’s an earlier, working-paper version.) The academics, led by economist Richard Burkhauser, don’t say the findings of Piketty and Saez are wrong — just incredibly, massively incomplete. According to the Cornell study, median household income – properly measured – rose 36.7%, not 3.2% like Piketty and Saez argue. That’s a big miss.
And all income levels got richer. Yes, the very rich did exceptionally well, mostly due to technology and globalization. Incomes rose 63% for the top 5%, 56% for the top 10% and 52.6% for the top 20%.  But everyone else made out pretty well, too. Incomes rose 40.4% for households between the 60th and 80th percentiles, 36.9% for the next quintile, 25.0% for the next, and 26.4% for the bottom 20%. There’s the “shared prosperity” Obama says he wants, right in front of his eyes. (Indeed, the study finds, income inequality has actually been shrinking since 1989, with the Gini index falling to 0.362 from 0.372.)
As the Cornell study concludes:
Income inequality increased in the United States not because the rich got richer, the poor got poorer and the middle class stagnated, but because the rich got richer at a faster rate than the middle and poorer quintiles and this mostly occurred in the 1980s. .. the apparent failure of the median American to benefit from economic growth can largely be explained by the use of an income measure for this purpose which does not fully capture what is actually happening to the resources available to middle class individuals.
See, Piketty and Saez made lots of odd choices about what to measure and how to measure it. They chose to measure something called “tax units” rather than households, a move which ignores the statistical impact —  including economies of scale — of couples who cohabitate, kids who move back in with their parents after college, and senior parents who live with their adult children.
They chose to ignore the value of all government transfers — including welfare, Social Security, and other government provided cash assistance — received by the household.
They chose to ignore the role of taxes and tax credits.
They chose to ignore the value of healthcare benefits. In short, Piketty and Saez ignored a lot of stuff. Again, Burkhauser and his team;
 The apparent failure of the median American to benefit from economic growth can largely be explained by the use of an income measure for this purpose which does not fully capture what is actually happening to the resources available to middle class individuals …  When using the most restrictive income definition – pre-tax, pre-transfer tax unit cash (market) income—the resources available to the middle class have stagnated over the past three business cycles. In contrast, once broadening the income definition to post-tax, post-transfer size-adjusted household cash income, middle class Americans are found to have made substantial gains.
So the tax and regulatory polices of the past three decades did not lead to stagnation for the middle class at the hands of the rapacious rich. Claims to the contrary — such as those made by Obama, the Occupy movement, and many liberal economists — never really passed the sniff test of anyone who lived through the past few decades. And now we know why: The inequality and stagnation alarmists were wrong. And so, therefore, is the economic rationale of the president’s class-warfare economic policies. Not that economics ever had much to do with them anyway.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

About that, "Conservatives don't trust science study,":
CONFIDENCE IN SCIENCE BY CONSERVATIVES HAS DECLINED SINCE 1974: “That represents a dramatic shift for conservatives, who in 1974 were more likely than liberals or moderates (all categories based on self-identification) to express confidence in science. While the confidence levels of other groups in science have been relatively stable, the conservative drop now means that group is the least likely to have confidence in science.”
The reason is the use of science as an argument-from-authority for bigger government. If scientists want more trust, perhaps they should try not to be tools.
UPDATE: Reader Mary Ritenour writes:

I tracked back to the original paper ( to see what the exact survey question was.
“The GSS asked respondents the following question: “I am going to name some institutions in this country. As far as the people running these institutions are concerned, would you say you have a great deal of confidence, only some confidence, or hardly any confidence at all in them [the Scientific Community]?”(page 172)
The confidence in “people running these institutions” was being measured, not “Science” itself. Huge difference. HUGE!
Maybe we should be skeptical of science reporting, too.
Taken from Instapundit with emphasis added.  BTW, the study also pointed out that the more educated conservatives were the less likely they were to trust those running the Scientific Community.  Those with less education had greater faith in them.

Perhaps we haven't really forgotten the full warning of Dwight Eisenhower after all.

“The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present — and is gravely to be regarded.
Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.” (emphasis added)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Conservatives Fluent in Values, Liberals Not So Much?

Conservatives may not like liberals, but they seem to understand them. In contrast, many liberals find conservative voters not just wrong but also bewildering.

One academic study asked 2,000 Americans to fill out questionnaires about moral questions. In some cases, they were asked to fill them out as they thought a “typical liberal” or a “typical conservative” would respond.
Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as “very liberal,” were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer.
Now a fascinating new book comes along that, to a liberal like myself, helps demystify the right — and illuminates the kind of messaging that might connect with voters of all stripes. “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, argues that, for liberals, morality is largely a matter of three values: caring for the weak, fairness and liberty. Conservatives share those concerns (although they think of fairness and liberty differently) and add three others: loyalty, respect for authority and sanctity.
Those latter values bind groups together with a shared respect for symbols and institutions such as the flag or the military. They are a reminder that human moral judgments are often about far more than just helping others. Some of Haidt’s most interesting material is his examination of taboos.
His team asked research subjects pesky questions. What would they think of a brother and sister who experimented with incest, while using birth control? Or of a family that, after their pet dog was run over, ate it for dinner?
Most respondents were appalled but often had trouble articulating why; we find these examples instinctively disturbing even if no one is harmed. (One lesson of the book: If you see Haidt approaching with a clipboard, run!)
Of course, political debates aren’t built on the consumption of roadkill. But they do often revolve around this broader moral code. This year’s Republican primaries have been a kaleidoscope of loyalty, authority and sanctity issues — such as whether church-affiliated institutions can refuse to cover birth control in health insurance policies — and that’s perhaps why people like me have found the primaries so crazy.
Another way of putting it is this: Americans speak about values in six languages, from care to sanctity. Conservatives speak all six, but liberals are fluent in only three. And some (me included) mostly use just one, care for victims.

Politics, Odors and Soap - NY Times

Some other bits of trivia that are quite interesting, people are more moral when they have just washed or someone releases a fart odor into a the whole thing.

 Oh, and the author of the book went from being a liberal to a moderate in the course of completing the study/book.


The results were striking.  As Kristof puts it: “Moderates and conservatives were adept at guessing how liberals would answer questions. Liberals, especially those who described themselves as ‘very liberal,’ were least able to put themselves in the minds of their adversaries and guess how conservatives would answer.”  Tom Chivers at the Telegraph goes on to say that the “very liberal” were “especially bad at guessing what conservatives would say about issues of care or fairness. For example, most thought that conservatives would disagree with statements like ‘One of the worst things a person could do is hurt a defenceless animal’ or ‘Justice is the most important requirement for a society.’”
Updated: 03/31/2012 15:52

NY Times credits Bush, Cheney with US energy surge

I’m getting ready to start any number of conspiracy theories here. Was the New York Times website hacked by Anonymous? Did someone accidentally click on a redirect to The Onion? Did some editor at the Gray Lady suddenly suffer from a stroke and go rogue on us? In any event, as Walter Russell Mead discovers, the Paper of Record unleashed some good news on the energy front this week.
Not only has the United States reduced oil imports from members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries by more than 20 percent in the last three years, it has become a net exporter of refined petroleum products like gasoline for the first time since the Truman presidency. The natural gasindustry, which less than a decade ago feared running out of domestic gas, is suddenly dealing with a glut so vast that import facilities are applying for licenses to export gas to Europe and Asia.
National oil production, which declined steadily to 4.95 million barrels a day in 2008 from 9.6 million in 1970, has risen over the last four years to nearly 5.7 million barrels a day. The Energy Department projects that daily output could reach nearly seven million barrels by 2020. Some experts think it could eventually hit 10 million barrels — which would put the United States in the same league as Saudi Arabia.
That’s not the amazing part. (Well, OK… it’s somewhat amazing because you’d hardly expect this particular paper to act happy about any oil exploration. But it’s not the most amazing part.) The real, spill your martini in shock and awesome bit comes in the next graph.
The Bush administration worked from the start on finding ways to unlock the nation’s energy reserves and reverse decades of declining output, with Mr. Cheney leading a White House energy task force that met in secret with top oil executives. [...]
The Bush administration also opened large swaths of the Gulf of Mexico and the waters off Alaska to exploration, granting lease deals that required companies to pay only a tiny share of their profits to the government.

Taken from HotAir:

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Thoughts Exactly

I have been telling anyone who would listen that all of the issues we are debating as a nation are really just a symptom of a government that has shifted too much power to the federal level.  Now those Jonah Goldberg has put those thoughts into National Review:

But what if the real compromise isn’t in forcing the Left and the Right to heel? What if instead the solution is to disempower the national elites who think they’ve got the answers to everything?
Federalism — the process whereby you push most political questions to the lowest democratic level possible — has been ripe on the right for years now. It even had a champion in Texas governor Rick Perry, and Ron Paul still carries that torch.
The main advantage of federalism is more fundamental than the “laboratories of democracy” idea. Federalism is simply the best political system ever conceived of for maximizing human happiness. A one-size-fits-all policy imposed at the national level has the potential to make very large numbers of citizens unhappy, even if it was arrived at democratically. In a pure democracy, I always say, 51 percent of the people can vote to pee in the cornflakes of 49 percent of the people.
Pushing government decisions down to the lowest democratic level possible — while protecting basic civil rights — guarantees that more people will have a say in how they live their lives. Not only does that mean more people will be happy, but the moral legitimacy of political decisions will be greater.
As a nation we should be more worried about who is mayor or governor then we are President or member of congress because those should impact our daily lives to a far greater extent.  Somewhere someone along the line decided they were the end all to cure all our ills, and that can only be done from a central government so no one has to suffer that freedom of choice, yes, even to be stupid, again.

You can't outlaw stupid but somehow the feds keep trying!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Vicious Circle

President Obam's Whitehouse recently posted this image:
To which I reply:

You mean the same subsidies that companies like the NY Times and Apple get? Oil companies make huge profits because they sell a lot of product, period, no great mystery. As a matter of fact the oil industry makes just 7% profit whereas many industries (computers/appliance/beverage manufactures to name a few) earn 12 to 22%. The various levels of government make at least 13% off of the price of a gallon of gas. If we gave oil the tax breaks and subsidies that wind energy received oil would only be $50/barrel. The oil and gas companies pay a higher tax rate then nearly every other industry, about 41% effective rate compared to S&P average of 26% (Apple was 25% last year and Obama want's to reduce their rates). (I thought we were all for fairness or is that just a buzz word I keep hearing that doesn't mean what it used to?)

Oh, and where does that 7% "Big Oil" worked to make go? Into the evil hands of retired folks, pension funds worldwide, mutual funds, business owners, oil employees, gas station owners, etc. (all of which is taxed again helping the government take even more oil money). It isn't like it is just sitting there in the company treasure.

In a world that wasn't topsey turvey and rife with envy and politics we would be thanking them for working to provide us with the resources we need to function in our modern society! There is almost nothing you do in a day that is not dependent upon that worker and company that made the dangerous effort to risk their life and money to provide these products. But that isn't our world any longer. We would rather find someone to demonize making it more difficult and expensive for you to do every daily activity in your life.

When you have an administration that believes that resources and human potential are limited you will inevitably end up with limited opportunity and resources/higher prices.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carter Redeux -- The Embassy

And now it's happening all over again. OK, so this time the Embassy in question is Britain's not America's. But the similarities are more significant than the differences. What is happening now is happening for a very particular reason: because the West has lost its authority in the Middle East. By attempting to appease it it has shown the weakness which the Islamic world despises and which it is now exploiting with vicious glee.

The rot set in, of course, with President Obama's infamous Cairo Surrender Monkey speech, in which, inter alia, he apologised for the crusades, pandered to the Islamist notion of the Ummah, referred to the 9/11 killers not as "terrorists" but "violent extremists", and gave the strong impression that it really wasn't any of America's business which crazed Islamist theocracies run by ravening lunatics hell bent on destroying the State of Israel had nuclear weapons and which ones didn't. Gee, thanks for that one, Barack
James Delingpole The Telegraph UK

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More Of The Same -- Debates Update -- Now With More Proof

Above the fold update:

As if we need more proof of my point below we get this from CNN (via Real Clear Politics - Video at link):

CNN Reporter Asks Obama: Are GOP Candidates "Uninformed, Out Of Touch, Or Irresponsible?"

"Last night at the Republican debate, some of the hopefuls, they hope to get your job, they defended the practice of waterboarding which is a practice you banned in 2009. Herman Cain said, quote, 'I don't see that as torture.' Michele Bachmann said that it's, quote, 'very effective.' So I'm wondering if you think that they're uninformed, out of touch, or irresponsible?" CNN's White House correspondent Dan Lothian asked President Obama in Hawaii.

Once again this evening's CNBC debate demonstrated that the media simply do not get it.   They operate and the premise of most of their questions are completely at odds with the voters.

In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. From time to time we've been tempted to believe that society has become too complex to be managed by self-rule, that government by an elite group is superior to government for, by, and of the people. Well, if no one among us is capable of governing himself, then who among us has the capacity to govern someone else? All of us together, in and out of government, must bear the burden. 
Ronald Wilson Reagan

We don't need a new law, we don't need government to stop this or that.  We need government to get out of the way.

Update 11/10/2011 16:07
American thinker puts it like this:

Weak Field" Spanks CNBC Liberals:

On the whole, it was a stunning display of free market and pro-liberty principles versus the nanny state mindset that government must be at the center of all problem solving.  Every one of the eight candidates had strong moments against CNBC's self-anointed experts.  Especially promising was how the field almost unanimously fingered federal regulations as the main problem with our economy and society -- and they did so as the faces of the questioners went into shock.  Moreover there was near unanimity on the idea that the only answer to housing is, well, the economy stupid. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Targeting the Argument -- Is The Right Again Fighting The Wrong Fight? Updated - Now with even more regulation!

Updated and bumped:

Forbes noticed and points out in Flat Tax This: Regulations Are The Boot On Hiring's Neck

Everyone’s talking about spending and flat taxes; but for healthy recovery, the hidden tax of regulation needs flattening too.

The right has a very good point about taxes, but it really isn't the full argument.   The talking heads almost daily discuss the tax rates and compare them to rates of the past with lines like, "the Clinton rates were higher and the economy flourished."

What they fail to note is the sheer mountain of regulations that have been created since Obama took office continuing and expanding on a long history of over regulating.  

It isn't JUST the taxes, the taxes are a means and they are high.  No one should pay more then 1/3 of their total income to the government.  With the taxes comes more regulations and rules.

(I will probably edit this, it is late but I wanted to get this out there).

Update: July 10, 2011 15:34

This opinion piece on jobs costing Obama his job sums up what I meant very well:
The private sector has regained about 30 percent of the manufacturing jobs it lost in the recession -- jobs created despite regulatory policies detrimental to manufacturing's expansion.
Add the administration's health-care policies (which drive up the cost of employment by increasing medical insurance costs) and environmental policies (which drive up the price of energy, particularly in Western Pennsylvania, where coal is a major source), and you can see why the private sector is skittish about enlarging payrolls.
That means the president has not only a small-business problem, but a blue-collar-worker problem. Both are sources of independent voters so essential to winning elections.
Add, too, the Dodd-Frank bill, which Larry Lindsey, former Federal Reserve governor, says "has made it much more difficult for banks to make business loans, as more of their resources must be devoted to regulatory compliance and (the) building of capital than to granting loans."
Partnerships are the key to economic growth. The great 20th-century economist Joseph Schumpeter described entrepreneurs as "gap-fillers and input-completers," meaning they bring together everything needed to create output and jobs in one place -- basically by partnering with various groups.
It's better that entrepreneurs, not government or academia, be central to this process because they typically know how to get things done, risk their own money and face real consequences if they fail.
"While the president often talks about having 'created' jobs ... he didn't," explained Lindsey. "Such jobs that have been gained have been produced by risk-taking entrepreneurs."
All that "shovel-ready" stimulus money filled many state budgets, but not so many private-sector job openings.
The president's resume includes little that indicates he knows how to create jobs -- which may, in the end, contribute to him losing his job.
Salena Zito

Read more: Issue could cost Obama his job - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Updated August 16, 2011:

If the federal government's regulatory operation were a business, it would be one of the 50 biggest in the country in terms of revenues, and the third largest in terms of employees, with more people working for it than McDonald's, Ford, Disney and Boeing combined.
Under President Obama, while the economy is struggling to grow and create jobs, the federal regulatory business is booming.
Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16% since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual "Regulator's Budget," compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.
That's at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5%.
Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13% since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6%.
The Obama administration imposed 75 new major rules in its first 26 months, costing the private sector more than $40 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation study. "No other president has imposed as high a number or cost in a comparable time period," noted the study's author, James Gattuso.
The number of pages in the Federal Register — where all new rules must be published and which serves as proxy of regulatory activity — jumped 18% in 2010.
This July, regulators imposed a total of 379 new rules that will cost more than $9.5 billion, according to an analysis by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo.
And much more is on the way. The Federal Register notes that more than 4,200 regulations are in the pipeline. That doesn't count impending clean air rules from the EPA, new derivative rules, or the FCC's net neutrality rule. Nor does that include recently announced fuel economy mandates or eventual ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank regulations.

Regulation Business, Jobs Booming Under Obama

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fundamental Flaw In Logic Our Founders Well Understood

Here is an excellent video of Peter Schiff at the Occupy Wall Street Protests:

The fundamental flaw in the logic of these protesters is that Washington/government can ever be brought to heel!

Just one more regulation, one more law, or if we could only eliminate the money from Wall Street then we can control the system.

The assumption that government has to be big and in control is simply wrong and was well understood by our founders when they set up our system.  As Peter points out, if you take away the power to control you take away the ability to influence and thus to be controlled.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Obama History "Fail" Once More

At a fundraiser last night President Obama said:
"We've lost our ambition, our -- our imagination, and -- and -- our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country,"

Interesting fact about the Golden Gate (From California Historian):

"This bridge was the first of such magnitude and controversy to be completely financed by private citizens (Gronquist 128-129). All who did contribute money were promised restitution at four and three-fourths percent interest rate within a maximum of 40 years.

It is amazing how successful this way of financing was, considering the effects of the Great Depression."

More importantly the insurmountable level of regulations required to complete a project such as the Golden Gate Bridge or Hoover Dam would kill either of these projects before they even got to the drafting stage.

As Rush Limbaugh said today:
"The people in this country have their imagination. The people of this country still have their dreams and their willingness to do things. You stand in the way. The federal government stands in the way. Mountainous regulations. We did build the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, the Hoover Dam, and the Empire State Building in ten years -- and we did it in the middle of the Great Depression. You couldn't do it today. Regardless the ambition, imagination, willingness, or desire, you couldn't do it in ten years today. Look at Ground Zero in Manhattan. You couldn't do it. I mean, physically it could be done, but it couldn't be legally done."
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