Whenever you feel yourself about to utter the I-word (impeachment), Stop it! Just Stop it!
It makes you look like a fool, much like the President made himself look like a fool when in the space of a single sentence he contradicted himself when he said of the arrest of a black Harvard professor: we don’t yet know the facts of the case, but the police acted stupidly.
We don’t yet know enough of the facts surrounding Benghazi-IRS-AP to really know what happened, certainly not enough to begin saying the I-word.
So when you find yourself about to say the I-word, take Bob Newhart’s advice:
“S-T-O-P . . . new word . . . I-T!”
Da Tech Guy agrees: The Impeachment Trap.
If it gets to the point where what we know is that damning, it will be Democrats who will be screaming the I-word so as to distance themselves from crimes. Until then. Stop it!
Rep Chaffetz and National Review’s Andrew Johnson: Stop it!
Tim Dunkin: Stop it!
Sen Inhofe: Stop it!
Pamela Geller: Stop it!
Two Boston area immigrants who fell under the spell of a radical ideology that espoused the use of bombs against innocents were allegedly behind the violent April 15 multiple murders.
But it’s not who you think it is. The year was 1920 and the two men were Ferdinando Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti. Aside from the date and the location, there are other parallels too. And they speak more about us than they do about either Sacco and Vanzetti or the Tsarnaev Brothers.
The nineteen-teens and twenties was a period of great tumult in the United States. After the First World War, which was widely viewed as disastrous mistake for having gotten involved, Americans rejected all things associated with the outside world. The aftermath of the Great War brought upheaval to Europe. Replacing failing empires and monarchies was Russian communism, German socialism, and varying amounts of anarchy seemingly everywhere else.
Today there is the ongoing collapse of the Euro and the demise of Middle Eastern strongmen, and so we fear radical islamism and economic contagion from Cyprus and Greece.
Eight decades ago the end of the war brought economic troubles too. High unemployment, which was widely and mistakenly thought of as a normal post-war adjustment to a lack of military demand and a surplus of returning soldiers, was actually just a result of the post-war continuation of the ongoing de-agriculturalization of the world economy. Regardless of the cause, greater unemployment turned American workers against more recent immigrants who were looking for work too. In 1917 America passed its first immigration restriction laws barring the entry of “idiots, imbeciles, epileptics, alcoholics . . . ” and Asians. Just a year before, an influential eugenicist wrote The Passing of the Great Race that became widely popular. By 1924 America had its first immigration quotas that attempting to freeze in place the country’s racial composition.
Today unemployment is higher than normal as the world deals with the fallout associated with becoming a post-manufacturing economy. Pat Buchanan hawks The Death of the West: How Dying Populations and Immigrant Invasions Imperil Our Country and Civilization. Politicians from all sides rail against “illegal” immigration but very often demagogue all immigration.
Both periods were characterized by big fights over petty tangential issues that many prudes insisted contributed to unrest and crime. The Volstead Act passed in the wake of the 18th Amendment gave us Prohibition, while today the President and many Democratic leaders want to outlaw guns. Were those laws to pass, more, not less, crime would be the result, just as more crime was the result of Prohibition too.
Certainly I could carry the parallels further, but let me just conclude with a few questions:
- Was it really necessary to quarantine an entire city to capture a couple criminals whose bombing victims numbered one-one-thousandth of those killed on 9/11?
- Does it not speak volumes about the limits of power and the power of people that the police were unsuccessful during their hours of uninhibited manhunt, but as soon as the house arrest was lifted a citizen found the suspect?
- Is it realistic to expect that among millions of immigrants there won’t be a few criminals, when we have millions of native Americans locked up here at home?
- Is not labeling violence as “terrorism” or “an act of war” just another form of “hate” crime, which attempts to characterize criminals by their thoughts instead of their acts?
- If three dead bombing victims is enough to rescind an American citizen’s constitutional rights, is two? Or one? Or none?
As I read this story about Senate Republicans considering giving the President the power to decide which budget cuts to make, I’m reminded of how much this sounds like impoundment. If so, it’s a wonderful idea, as it would restore executive spending power to the nation’s chief executive.
The anti-impoundment act passed with the 1974 budget. Like so much legislation that came out of the immediate post-Watergate era, this attempt to neuter Nixon left long term negative consequences for the nation. From 1803 to 1974 presidents had the power to spend UP to what was budgeted by Congress. They couldn’t spend more, but if circumstances dictated, the could spend less. Thomas Jefferson was the first president to use the power when he decided not to buy boats that Congress had authorized to patrol the nation’s western frontier on the Mississippi River after his purchase of Louisiana made naval riverine patrols unnecessary. For the next seventeen decades presidents underspent their budgets. Even big spending presidents like Lyndon Johnson routinely spent only 95% of what was authorized.
Since 1974, however, every dime is spent. Anyone who has spent a late September working for the federal government knows the rush to spend wastefully as the waning hours of the fiscal year wind down. That is because Presidents can no longer spend less than what was authorized by Congress. No business would dare operate in such a manner. So why does government?
You might remember that two years ago, I advocated that President Obama seize the opportunity to challenge impoundment. My advice still stands. This is a good thing for the nation if the chief executive has it within his power the ability to properly execute a budget.
Let me first stipulate that the best plan would contemplate cuts across the entire budget: to so-called entitlements as well as to defense and discretionary spending. (BTW, it’s all discretionary spending as no Congress can obligate a subsequent Congress to its laws.)
That being said, for all the sturm and drang over a paltry 2% cut that leaves 2013 budget still greater than was spent in 2012, the secquester isn’t that bad. Yes, the brunt of the cuts falls on defense. So? Quite frankly, it’s not nearly enough. And if there’s that much waste in DoD where I work, I’m sure I could find even more in the other departments.
Here’s the problem for those on both sides of the aisle. Nearly everybody to the right of Paul Krugman acknowledges that federal spending has to come down. But when it comes down to making actual cuts, it’s always going to be easier to find 51% support for any program than there it is to just make across-the-board cuts.In a perfect world, we would target entire agencies and programs for closure. (I propose a LIFO rule: last-in, first-out; first to go Obamacare, Homeland Security, Medicare Part D, then the Departments of Energy and Education . . . ) But we don’t live in a perfect world.
I’ve seen this drama play out in a small way at EUCOM where we tried to trim staff, but in doing so, actually added bodies. Cuts only came when they were mandated across the board. It’s just the nature of bureaucracy that every department, agency, or directorate can argue successfully for more, even while it recognizes the existence of excess across the entire enterprise.
So let sequestration happen. Who cares who gets the blame. If anything, I’m blaming Republicans for not making the sequester cut deeply enough.
Similar thoughts at NRO.
Thom Hartmann argues that the Second Amendment is a vestige of slave-holding days:
The real reason the Second Amendment was ratified, and why it says “State” instead of “Country” (the Framers knew the difference – see the 10th Amendment), was to preserve the slave patrol militias in the southern states
He’s cherry-picking. But, okay, I’ll play his game. Let’s stipulate that Mr. Hartmann is correct and that the Second Amendment was designed by Southerners to prevent the possibility of armed slave insurrections.
Okay, but if that’s going to be your position, then you must recognize that the Constitution also specifically treated slaves as non citizens, and thus, the Second Amendment offered slaves no Second Amendment rights. And who was hurt by that most?
Yes, that’s right, those who were legally prohibited from owning guns were powerless to resist their own government’s laws that were used to oppress them.
Thank you, Thom Hartmann, for so eloquently pointing out that our own nation’s history shows examples of the evil that can befall individuals at the hands of the government when they are denied Second Amendment rights.
For those who advocate a value-added tax . . . beware the unintended consequences.
As an American servicemen stationed overseas, I am exempt from the host-nation’s taxes. (Yes, that makes Germany’s $8 dollar-a-gallon gasoline much more palatable than it is for the Germans.)
This evening I was in an antique shop about to make a purchase and I asked if they would remove the tax from the price, when the proprietor told me that antiques are not subject to a VAT.
It dawned on me what should have been obvious. Re-sellers of finished products add no value to the item for sale, and hence, there is no value-added tax. Duh. The second thing that dawned on me was that under a VAT regime, used items retain quite a bit of value, while new items have to be that much better to garner a sale. In other words, a VAT is a sure way to reduce the production of new manufactures, because while there is a tax on the new, the used item that it replaces isn’t subject to a tax.
Here in Germany the VAT is 19.5 percent!!! Yes, anything new is marked up by a fifth by the government. Now imagine how much more expensive a car would be in America under such a confiscatory tax arrangement. Do you think that used car sales would spike under such circumstances? And that consequently new car sales might fall? Of course they would. Duh.
Beware the unintended consequences: a VAT may raise tax rates for the government, but it will also reduce the manufacture of new items. And that means fewer American jobs.
“House Republicans abandoned their effort to add spending cuts to the Senate’s budget legislation and . . . Oklahoma Representative Tom Cole said he expects the House to pass the Senate bill unchanged with a ‘substantial’ bipartisan vote.”
If this is true . . . if House Republicans and their leadership support a bill that raises taxes and spending as opposed to the status quo that raises taxes and lowers spending, then it is time for a third party. I don’t care how many Democrats win House seats in 2014. I really don’t. If this is what Republican style fiscal conservatism looks like, then I am done with the GOP.
I’ve received lots of criticism for my post. Let me tell you why you’re wrong to think that this bill was anything less than a complete catastrophe.
1. There were NO spending cuts. None. Not a single dime. In fact, there were spending increases. Massive ones. If the Republican Party believes that spending is the problem–and it is–then this deal is a complete betrayal of that belief. Going over the cliff, as imperfect as that option was, at least sends the strong message that without spending cuts, the GOP will not be on board.
2. Along those lines . . . seeing that, Barack Obama going forward would know that every time he has a wish, he would have to come to the table with something he is willing to cut. Now he knows that when bargaining with the GOP, it’s just a matter of how BIG future spending increases will be.
3. Under the fiscal cliff, the biggest spending cuts would have been to DoD–which is as it should be. The Defense Department is bloated and wasteful as a result of twelve years of unshackled restraint. The GOP, by making defense spending the center piece of its opposition to the cliff says loud and clear that they are exactly the same as the Democrats: we want spending cuts–as long as they aren’t cuts to our spending programs. The cliff was a cut to every program. We need that. Big time.
4. Nickel and dime tax victories over a few tax cuts pale in comparison to what was lost in new taxes. We’re still going into a recession because of this tax increase (I actually think that it will be back-dated to the third quarter of 2012, so we’re probably already there anyway.) So if you thought that this is going to save us from a recession, you should think again.
5. Republicans will be portrayed by the media as having lost. That was going to be the case no matter what happened. The GOP will always get the blame and will always be losers–at least in the eyes of the media. So if you’re always going to get the blame no matter what you do, you might as well do what is right. Any attempt to play nice with the media will not work. So stop trying.
6. Any political victories were tactical in nature. Strategically, the GOP ceded the long game. Spending is the enemy. Politically, spending creates addicts for government dollars. Those addicts will always vote for the party of more spending. By voting for more spending while giving lip service to restraint, the GOP has created more Democratic voters over the long term. Congratulations.
7. Still on the subject of strategic failures, and perhaps most importantly, the GOP has not positioned itself for the time when math finally catches up. The only thing enabling our spending binge is a prolonged period of historically low interest rates. Rates are only that low because of (A) a slutty Fed that’s just giving it away for free, and (B) there are no other investment options because the worldwide economy sucks. (A) is obviously inflationary in the long term. And as for (B), it does not benefit the party in power to maintain a crappy economy so that the government can continue to borrow at low rates. Eventually something gives, and when it does, the party out of power–IF IT HAS BEEN MAKING THE PRINCIPLED CONTRARY CASE–is perfectly poised to make changes of historic magnitudes.
From 1912 until 1930 Democrats were largely out of power. They aligned themselves with progressivism, and in the 1920s especially, national Democrats paid a huge political price for it. But once the collapse came, they were perfectly poised to cement in place progressive rules that are with us to this day. Those very rules are the foundations of the next failure. Last night the GOP decided that it didn’t want to offer the nation a different path. It has become just a Dead Elephant Walking.
Now that the Supreme Court has ruled with Obamacare that the federal government is limited in what it can mandate that the states legislate, I’d like to see one or more of the states lower the drinking age back to 18 this year. If you are old enough to vote and old enough to serve in the military, you should be old enough to buy a drink.
Still on the subject of alcohol, I’d like to to see more states join Washington’s lead and remove the mandatory second tier of alcohol distributors that serve as legally required monopolies that raise prices and reduce the selection available to the wine-buying public in the other 49 states.
Not that I would like to see continued violence in the Middle East, but since it is a near certainty anyway, I’d like to see it happen in 2013 without any hint that America will get even remotely involved.
I’d like to see no calls this year for any sort of extension to American involvement in Afghanistan.
I’d like to see Congress and the White House continue to be at loggerheads throughout all of 2013. Since every meaningful compromise in recent decades has resulted in higher taxes, greater spending, bigger debt, and diminished freedom, doing nothing is Washington’s best course of action.
I’d like to see the Department of Defense deal seriously with sequestration by eliminating commands, agencies, directorates, and staffs instead of reducing either the number or effectiveness of ships, wings, and brigades.
I’d also like to see DoD kill a few hideously expensive major weapons programs this year–especially the F-35.
I’d like to continue to see the collapse of the legacy broadcast and print media. CNN, NBC, Time, and the New York Times each have brands far larger than their real contemporary influence; it only follows that the economics of that untenable situation will catch up to them–hopefully in 2013.
I’d like to see 2013 produce no viral videos that spark any more line-dancing crazes. The Chicken Dance, the Electric Slide, and the Macarena were each bad enough before Gangnam Style. Please, let’s not do this again. Ever.
And since I will have a college student in 2014, I’d like to see the higher education bubble burst in 2013.
Since I’m on the topic of intellectual consistency . . .
If you are of the belief that gun use should be severely restricted or even banned because some people will use firearms for bad things, then you should also believe that marijuana should be illegal because some people will smoke pot and then drive. You should probably also want to outlaw alcohol for the same reason. Or maybe just outlaw cars.
For those who miss my point, this is call reductio ad absurdum. If your argument is that guns are evil because some people do evil things with them, then on that basis, the list of things that should be banned is infinite.
As a general rule, we should not ban things because of the bad that may occur; instead we should make illegal the bad result.
Oh, but wait, I hear your counter-argument now: if we make illegal only the bad result, then we as a society are limited to reacting after an evil event and are unable to prevent the evil from occurring.
Actually, yes. That is all that the law should do. To do otherwise would require the severest restriction of freedoms. The law cannot prevent you from being murdered. For to do so it would require the confiscation of all possible weapons as well as the imprisonment of those who potentially possess malicious intent. Even were man deprived of all modernity, he would still find a way to kill with rocks.
In short, law cannot keep evil from occurring. But through the proper balance of the prospect of reward and the threat of punishment, it can limit evil’s spread.
Via Glenn, I found this story linking marijuana and gun violence albeit from a different perspective:
. . . legalize recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. The theory behind this policy prescription is that illegal markets breed competition-driven violence among suppliers by offering the prospect of monopoly profits and by denying them lawful means for enforcing commercial obligations.
There is historical precedent for this. Legalizing alcohol after Prohibition’s end brought alcohol distribution and sales out of the illegal shadows and into the light of day. Mob-related violence fell almost immediately.
| Category: Culture
| Posted at: Tuesday, 18 December 2012
From a Telegraph report about a potential lawsuit by a Christian group:
The Encinitas Union School District plans to offer yoga instruction at all of its nine schools from January, despite a protest by parents who say they believe it will indoctrinate their children in Eastern religion.
Really? Really? This parental protest against yoga is absolutely stupid.
But . . .
This “Christian” protest against yoga is the exact same kind of protest as the one perennially made by other parents who say that references to Christmas and Halloween should be removed from classrooms because it might indoctrinate their children in Christianity.
If you mock one you must mock the other. You can’t have it both ways.