#MTsen: Who does John Walsh think he is? Joe Biden?

July 23, 2014
Cheater?

Cheater?

Well, this is embarrassing. The Democratic nominee for the seat once held by Max Baucus (D – Train Wreck), who is now Ambassador to China, has been called out by no less than that arch-conservative rag The New York Times for plagiarizing his Army War College master’s thesis:

Democrats were thrilled when John Walsh of Montana was appointed to the United States Senate in February. A decorated veteran of the Iraq war and former adjutant general of his state’s National Guard, Mr. Walsh offered the Democratic Party something it frequently lacks: a seasoned military man.

On the campaign trail this year, Mr. Walsh, 53, has made his military service a main selling point. Still wearing his hair close-cropped, he notes he was targeted for killing by Iraqi militants and says his time in uniform informs his views on a range of issues.

But one of the highest-profile credentials of Mr. Walsh’s 33-year military career appears to have been improperly attained. An examination of the final paper required for Mr. Walsh’s master’s degree from the United States Army War College indicates the senator appropriated at least a quarter of his thesis on American Middle East policy from other authors’ works, with no attribution.

Mr. Walsh completed the paper, what the War College calls a “strategy research project,” to earn his degree in 2007, when he was 46. The sources of the material he presents as his own include academic papers, policy journal essays and books that are almost all available online.

Read the rest; it’s pretty damning stuff, as in wholesale cutting-and-pasting from publicly available think-tank reports. For example:

Mr. Walsh writes: “Democracy promoters need to engage as much as possible in a dialogue with a wide cross section of influential elites: mainstream academics, journalists, moderate Islamists, and members of the professional associations who play a political role in some Arab countries, rather than only the narrow world of westernized democracy and human rights advocates.”

The same exact sentence appears on the sixth page of a 2002 Carnegie paper written by four scholars at the research institute. In all, Mr. Walsh’s recommendations section runs to more than 800 words, nearly all of it taken verbatim from the Carnegie paper, without any footnote or reference to it.

As we used to say in school, “bus-TED!”

Naturally, the Democrats will immediately call on Senator Walsh to withdraw from the race, if not resign, so… Wait. I’m sorry, I’m mixing that up with what the Democrats would do if a Republican were the miscreant. In Walsh’s case, he fits right in with the party’s leaders.

Walsh is fighting to keep this seat for the Democrats against Republican challenger Rep. Steve Daines. Daines has been doing well in the polls, and this scandal isn’t likely to help Senator Walsh, but this is no time to get comfortable. You’ll find Steve Daines’ web site here. If you can, send him some money.

Because every seat counts.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Scientific proof: Socialism makes you more likely to lie and cheat

July 21, 2014
"Liar"

“Liar”

This is amusing. Researchers from the University of Munich and ST’s beloved Duke University conducted a joint study that examined a person’s willingness to lie, if he could profit from that lie. The subjects were Berliners who were asked to play a game in which they could win a small amount of money. Each person would roll a die and record the results: higher numbers meant you won more money. This is what they found:

Honest participants would be expected to roll ones, twos and threes as often as fours, fives and sixes. But that did not happen: the sheets handed in had a suspiciously large share of high numbers, suggesting many players had cheated.

After finishing the game, the players had to fill in a form that asked their age and the part of Germany where they had lived in different decades. The authors found that, on average, those who had East German roots cheated twice as much as those who had grown up in West Germany under capitalism. They also looked at how much time people had spent in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. The longer the participants had been exposed to socialism, the greater the likelihood that they would claim improbable numbers of high rolls.

The article carefully points out that this disparity might also be due to the relative poverty of the old East Germany (and the region does continue to lag the rest of the country to this day), but, come on. A Socialist society, in which the State controls the money you’re allowed to make gives you every incentive to cheat, just as the incidence of tax cheating goes up here when tax rates rise beyond a certain point. These people are doing what the system encouraged them to do.

What makes this amusing is that it’s directly contrary to the Socialist claim of being able to “perfect’ society, culminating in the USSR’s “New Man.” Instead, it’s apparently the capitalist societies, with their bourgeois notions of personal accountability, limited government, free enterprise, the Rule of Law, and property rights that produce more honest citizens.

Maybe they should survey conservatives vs. progressives, next. smiley wink

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why Obama will do nothing about the border crisis

July 15, 2014
"Y'all come!"

“Y’all come!”

Per Bryon York:

First, because Republicans want him to do something:

Who is pushing Obama to get tough? Mostly, it’s the Republicans whose wishes Obama has ignored for years. And now, since his well-publicized decision to abandon hopes of making a deal with GOP lawmakers on immigration, Obama needs them even less. It’s to his political benefit to oppose them, not to do their bidding.

Second, because Democrats back him:

…the Democrats, who don’t strongly oppose action on the border but want the president to go forward only if Republicans will agree to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Without a grand bargain, these Democrats are not terribly bothered by Obama’s handling of the crisis. While a few border state Democrats like Reps. Henry Cuellar and Ron Barber express reservations about Obama’s performance, most won’t give the president any trouble.

Third, because the progressive media is cheering him on:

Next is the liberal commentariat, which supports Obama so strongly in this matter that it is actually pushing back against the idea that the border crisis is a crisis at all. “The besieged border is a myth,” the New York Times editorial page declared on Sunday. “Republicans are … stoking panic about a border under assault.”

And, finally, because Obama himself is simpatico with immigration “activists:”

Finally, there are the immigration activists who don’t want Obama to do anything that involves returning the immigrants to their home countries. “We’re in the midst of a humanitarian crisis affecting kids fleeing gang violence, extortion and rape,” Frank Sharry, of the immigration group America’s Voice, said recently. It is Obama’s responsibility, Sherry added, to find a way to settle “thousands of child refugees.”

Obama recently met with a group of those advocates. One of them later told the Washington Post that the president said to them, “In another life, I’d be on the other side of the table.” By that Obama meant that in his old days as a community organizer, pressing for the “refugee” rights would be just the sort of thing he would do.

In other words, all the incentives encourage him to ignore national interests and instead be true to his nature. He doesn’t have to worry ever again about reelection, and, if the Democrats are going to take a drubbing in the midterms, anyway, why not make his Leftist base happy?

There are those who argue that Obama’s actions have to be the result of incompetence, that no one would willingly do something so obviously self-destructive to their political fortunes. See, for example, Andrew Klavan’s essay at PJM, “Is Obama just a hapless putz?”, in which he argues that Cloward-Piven is an “idiot’s strategy.”

Perhaps, but one can still be idiotic enough to try it, with all the harmful effects that would follow.

Having read extensively on Obama’s political background, especially Kurtz’s crucial work, “Radical in Chief,” I’m not at all convinced that he cares about the fortunes of the Democratic Party (let alone the nation, or, frankly, those kids on the border), that he isn’t indeed willing to take a political hit in order to achieve what he and his leftist allies hope will be irreversible change. As with Obamacare, so with immigration. Whether Obama and his administration intended for this crisis on the border to occur, they’re quite happy to take advantage of it.

From his point of view, all the incentives work that way.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Remember kiddies, opposition to Obama is racist. Eric Holder says so.

July 13, 2014
"I am not a crook!"

Projecting

Man, this guy makes me ill:

Attorney General Eric Holder said Sunday he and President Obama have been targets of “a racial animus” by some of the administration’s political opponents.

“There’s a certain level of vehemence, it seems to me, that’s directed at me [and] directed at the president,” Holder told ABC. “You know, people talking about taking their country back. … There’s a certain racial component to this for some people. I don’t think this is the thing that is a main driver, but for some there’s a racial animus.”
Holder said the nation is in “a fundamentally better place than we were 50 years ago.”

“We’ve made lots of progress,” he said. “I sit here as the first African-American attorney general, serving the first African-American president of the United States. And that has to show that we have made a great deal of progress.

“But there’s still more we have to travel along this road so we get to the place that is consistent with our founding ideals,” he said.

Eric Holder wouldn’t recognize our “founding ideals” even if they walked up to him and gave him a big wet kiss.

It’s gracious of him to admit we’ve made a lot of progress since the days of slavery and Jim Crow, both of which his party once fought to defend, but it would be nice if he would allow that administration opponents could themselves have good motives. And I’m not letting get away with that weaselly qualification “some,” as if he really believes that “just a few” are racist toward he and the president.

No, to a racialist ideologue like Eric Holder, that we may strongly disapprove of Obama’s policies and actions can’t be due to his and his administration’s leftist philosophy, redistributionist politics, rampant corruption, lack of respect for the American settlement, and overall incompetence. No, it has to be due to the fact that we don’t like a Black man in the White House.

I guess all those years in the late 90s when I backed Colin Powell for president was just a clever disguise on my part.

This, sadly, is what we can expect from the Left, who assume they have the course of History figured out and are therefore both smarter and morally superior to the rest of us. It’s an assumption of self-righteousness, a certainty that, since “we” know the right answers, strong opposition or serious difference of opinion is illegitimate. No principle, no reason, no empirical evidence could be behind it: it has to be racism.

Well, screw you, Mr. Attorney General. Take your racialist condescension and shove it.

PS: I really like being lectured by a guy whose underlings ran guns to violent drug cartels in Mexico, who ignores obvious voter intimidation when the victims are White, who refuses to enforce laws he dislikes and encourages state attorney generals to do the same, but does decide to investigate a satirical parade float, free speech be damned.

PPS: If you want to know more about the worst Attorney General since John Mitchell or even A. Mitchell Palmer, let me recommend two books: J. Christian Adams’ “Injustice,” and “Obama’s Enforcer: Eric holder’s Justice Department, by John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky. If these don’t leave steam coming out your ears, there’s something wrong.

via Rick Moran

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) apparently has trouble with the Constitution

July 13, 2014

dunce_cap

So, I’m enjoying a quiet morning and reading an article on the reactions of the various candidates for the US Senate from Alaska to the Hobby Lobby decision, when I come across this howler from the incumbent, Mark Begich:

“I believe people, not corporations, have a right to practice their constitutional right to freedom of religion, but not at the expense of others,” said Begich.

Sigh.

It’s tough to decide whether Senator Begich, whose seat is not secure, is just ignorant of what the Supreme Court decided, the Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or if he’s a desperate hack just reciting DNC talking points. Of course, both could be true. But the key to that quote above is the senator’s odd belief that, upon forming a corporation, individuals somehow give up their natural rights.

Senator Begich, meet the First Amendment. First Amendment, meet Senator Begich:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The right to peaceably assemble has been held to include the right to freely associate. See, for example, NAACP v. Alabama (1958), which held, in effect, that individuals do not give up their rights when they form an association (1). And a corporation is an association of individuals with rights and inherits those rights:

Corporations have rights because natural persons have rights. It is sometimes said that corporations are “creations of the state,” but that’s not really true. Corporations are created by people — they are merely recognized by the state. 

To deny the rights of a “legal person,” such as a corporation, is no different than denying those rights to the individuals who own that corporation. Perhaps the newspaper editors of Senator Begich’s home state would like to ask him if their papers, in his view, lack the rights of free speech and freedom of the press, also recognized by the First Amendment, simply because they’re incorporated businesses. The answer should be interesting.

PS: Democrats sure have a problem with that whole freedom and democracy thing, don’t they? Why, yes. Yes they do.

Footnote:
(1) In short, the state of Alabama demanded the NAACP surrender its membership lists. The NAACP argued –correctly, given the times– that this loss of their members’ privacy would have a chilling affect on their members rights of free speech and free association.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) 1948 cartoon: “Make Mine Freedom!”

July 7, 2014

Here’s a neat animated short from almost 70 years ago that does a darned good job showing the differences between a society based on individual liberty and the free market, on the one hand, and those based on statism (Socialism, Communism, and Fascism) on the other. It makes good use of humor to get its point across:

Nowadays, I think we could add another “-ISM” to that patent medicine’s list of ingredients: the religious totalitarianism of Islamism.

Via Dan Mitchell, this was part of good post on how the Left was wrong about unemployment insurance.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#RaiseTheWage: Seattle businesses push back against minimum wage increase

July 6, 2014
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage!”

Rick Moran at PJMedia has an article up about an effort on the part of Seattle business owners to get a measure on the ballot that would roll back the city’s recently passed $15 per hour minimum wage to a more “reasonable” $12.50. You can go there to get the details (there are accusations of fraud in the petitions to get the measure on the ballot), but here is a portion in which a Seattle business owner describes the very real impact raising the minimum wage has on his and other businesses:

That favorite coffee shop that you go to? That great neighborhood restaurant? That store where you buy your books, pet food, art supplies, or clothes? Each of those businesses survives on around a 5 percent net profit margin. That means that at the end of the year, after all the expenses—the payroll, the supplies, the inventory, insurance, rent, etc.—we all will end up with only about 5 percent income in our pockets if we’re doing a half-decent job. Maybe a bit more, maybe a bit less—but you get the idea. This does not leave a small local business with much room to absorb even a small increase in costs, much less the 60 percent increase demanded by the well-meaning but ill-researched and biased reporters and neighbors involved in this discussion.

Here are some more boring facts:

Payroll is approximately 30 percent of my entire costs at Liberty, the bar I own (the average in this business seems to be 30 to 35 percent). If the minimum wage goes up to $12.50 an hour (a reasonable middle ground some have proposed), that would be an increase of 34 percent, which means just to stay even I’d have to raise prices 10 percent across the board—the labor’s percentage increase in total cost to operate Liberty.

If the minimum wage goes to $15 an hour, I’d have to raise my contribution to payroll by 18 percent. So my costs would have to rise by no less than 18 percent, just for payroll—and that’s before my vendors’ increases in costs have to be considered, which I believe will be around another 5 percent, and that’s before Liberty adds any profit.

So it’s not impossible to imagine that costs for business like mine in Seattle will go up by no less than 20 percent.

Those increases are way more than my income. Again, my profit is around 5 percent. And it’s not just me, that’s across the board—for restaurants, for bars, for clothing stores, for pet stores, for art supply stores—many of whom have set costs and are competing with online retail. This makes it very difficult for them to adjust their purchasing.

So, what are this business owner’s options? That’s his problem, not the Seattle city council’s.

Thomas Sowell has often observed that politicians almost never feel the economic consequences of the decisions they force on the rest of us. While they’re buying their way to reelection by handing out goodies and making themselves feel good by supposedly “fighting for the people,” someone else has to pay the cost — in this case, the businessman who takes less profit, the worker who gets fewer hours, or the consumer who pays higher prices.

I left a comment to Moran’s post and I want to share part of it here. It’s anecdotal, but I think it illustrates the very real effects of politicians thinking they can ignore the laws of economics:

A friend supervises minimum wage, hourly employees in an educational setting. Our minimum wage [in California] has just gone up to $9 per hour. She has told me that she knows for a fact her budget for hiring will not increase, so she has to cut employee hours and, perhaps, eliminate a couple of jobs. Now, someone explain to me again how this increase actually helped these workers? But it sure made the pols in Sacramento feel good about themselves.

Those employees are student workers, often from minority groups, who work to help pay their way through school. And they are very real victims of progressives’ “good intentions.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Day, post-July 4th zinger edition

July 5, 2014

Bullseye!

From a Ukrainian journalist meditating on his country and ours:

Why don’t we use the American Constitution? It was written by really smart guys, it has worked for over 200 years, and they’re not using it anymore.

Ouch! It stings because it’s so close to the truth.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Left’s obsession with the Redskins

July 1, 2014
Everything is political

Everything is political

Amidst all the other outrageous outrages that outrage the outraged Left these days, you may have noticed a controversy (well, controversial to the Left) over the team name of the Washington Redskins, a name the team has used for over 80 years with no one complaining (1).

Well, no one until Harry Reid, the national Democrats, and the Left (but I repeat myself) decided they needed something, anything, to distract people from the failures of Obamacare and the lousy economy (and the crashing foreign policy and… Well, you get the idea.). Hence, in the last year or so, the professional Left has turned on the Redskins, decrying their name as offensive, hateful, and …brace yourselves… “racist” against American Indians. (2) The way they carry on, you’d think they were fighting the civil rights battles of the 50s and 60s all over again.

And, in fact, according to Dennis Prager, that is indeed one of the reasons the Left has gone bonkers over the team name: it makes them feel good, as if they’re reliving the battles of their fathers and grandfathers. Call it a self-esteem booster shot. Writing at Real Clear Politics, he give four additional reasons for the Left’s mania. It’s a good article, so click through for the rest, but I want to highlight one that I think cuts to the root of the matter:

Fifth, and finally, the left is totalitarian at heart. Whenever possible, they seek control of others; and they love to throw their considerable weight around. The left-wing president does it so often that the Supreme Court has unanimously shot down his attempts on a dozen occasions. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, under huge pressure from leftists, just dropped conservative Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist George Will. Under pressure from left-wing professors and students, Brandeis and other universities dropped the few conservative speakers they had invited to this year’s commencement exercises. Forcing the Redskins to do their will is just the left’s latest attempt to force its views on the vast majority of its fellow citizens. That’s why it’s worth fighting for the Redskins. Today it’s the Redskins, tomorrow it’s you.

Emphasis added. Ever hear the expression “the personal is the political?” It was a rallying cry of the student movement and leftist feminists in the 60s that argued there was no separation between daily life (work, play, family, sports, &c.) and what we think of as traditional politics (elections, legislation, and so on). Every aspect of your personal life, including your recreation, is as much open to politics as is your choice of party to support. Support a team the name of which some faction finds politically incorrect, and you’ll be subject to political action to make you change your ways and the way you think. Our Betters on the Left know what’s best for us all and they have a driving urge to make sure we all conform.

Even if all you want to do is watch your favorite team and forget about the world for a while.

Footnote:
(1) There’s a survey by the Annenberg Public Policy Center showing that less than ten percent of American Indians find the name “Redskins” offensive. It’s from 2004, however, so it might be interesting to resurvey that.
(2) No disrespect intended to members of the various tribal nations, but I’ve never liked the term “Native American” when referring to the descendants of the people who were here before the European colonization. I was born here, my parents were born here, my grandparents were born here, and so were most of my great-grandparents. I’m native to America, too, and I refuse to use a term that in any way slights my right to be here.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Herbert Hoover’s Anti-Market Policies Helped Turn an Economic Downturn into a Great Depression

June 30, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

One of the things that opened my eyes to how badly History is taught in our schools was the realization that, far from being the laissez-faire conservative progressives made him out to be, Herbert Hoover was himself a statist whose policies helped turn a sharp recession into the Great Depression. Mitchell provides a good overview, including a must-see video from Prager University.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

There have been many truly awful presidents elected in the United States, but if I had to pick my least favorite, I might choose Herbert Hoover.

I obviously have disdain for Hoover’s big-government policies, but I also am extremely irritated that – as Jonah Goldberg explained – he allowed the left to create an utterly bogus narrative that the Great Depression was caused by capitalism and free markets.

Indeed, the Center for Freedom and Prosperity produced a video demonstrating that the statist policies of both Hoover and Roosevelt helped trigger, deepen, and lengthen the economic slump.

Building on that theme, here’s a new video from Prager University that looks specifically at the misguided policies of Herbert Hoover.

Amen. Great job unmasking Hoover’s terrible record.

As I explained when correcting a glaring error by Andrew Sullivan, Hoover was a big-government interventionist. Heck, even FDR’s inner circle understood that the New Deal…

View original 289 more words


Hillary Clinton does not want to be compared to Mitt Romney

June 26, 2014

800px-Hillary_Clinton_official_Secretary_of_State_portrait_crop

Lady Macbeth sure stuck her foot in it when she claimed she and Bill were “broke” when they left the White House — just before moving into a multi-million dollar home in Chappaqua, New York, that is. Now even liberal PBS is giving her a Spockian raised eyebrow at her claims to know what it’s like to struggle financially, to be one with the middle class. Hot Air has the video, but I want to call your attention to this bit:

“I shouldn’t have said the five or so words that I said, but my inartful use of those few words doesn’t change who I am,” Clinton told PBS NewsHour’s Gwen Ifill on Wednesday, referring to comments she made that she and her husband Bill were “dead broke” when they left the White House. She later tried to clarify her comments by saying the couple was different from others who are “truly well off” and don’t pay “ordinary income tax.”

In the interview, Clinton accused others of taking her comments out of context or trying to “create some caricature.” When Ifill noted that such a strategy “sticks sometimes—ask Mitt Romney,” Clinton emphatically rebuked the connection.

“That’s a false equivalency,” Clinton said. “People can judge me for what I’ve done. And I think when somebody’s out in the public eye, that’s what they do. So I’m fully comfortable with who I am, what I stand for and what I’ve always stood for.”

She’s right, it is a false equivalency. Mitt Romney, after all, made his wealth the Evil Way(tm)(1): he earned it by starting his own business, working long hours, taking risks until he found himself a multi-millionaire, at which point he turned himself toward public service.

Hillary, on the other hand, earned her money the Good Way(tm)(2): by marrying herself to a rising star of a politician, perhaps the most skillful of his age, and sticking with him through thick and thin — ignoring that he was a randy old goat of a serial philanderer who humiliated her publicly and, per Christopher Hitchens, may be a rapist — until she reached the White House. After some nondescript years in the Senate, she got her next big break, becoming Secretary of State… by the grace of the man who beat her in the 2008 primaries. Over all these years, from wife of a governor to wife of a president to chief diplomat for another president, any fortune she’s made and power she’s accumulated has been based on her dependence on men.

Yep, it is wrong to draw an equivalency between Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

And unfair to Mitt.

PS: Yes, this was mean of me, but her faux-feminism, her hypocrisy about wealth, and her ludicrous “woman of the people” act makes me ill.

Footnote:
(1) If you’re a progressive.
(2) See above.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) #Benghazi — why it matters

June 19, 2014

Aside from owing a true accounting to the memories of the dead lost there and their survivors, the truth about the Benghazi massacre matters because of two words: “competence” and “character.”  Bill Whittle explains:

Remember, one of the two top American officials mentioned in the video plainly desires to be President of the United States. Ignore the faux-outrage of her supporters; questions about Hillary Clinton’s conduct, competence, and character before, during, and after the attack are absolutely appropriate.

And the answers should disqualify her from office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Efficient as ever, Hillary Clinton attacks 1st and 2nd amendments in one sentence

June 18, 2014

liberal tolerance

Hey, why only gut one amendment in the Bill of Rights when you can trash two at the same time? It’s a progressive win-win!

During a televised town hall, Hillary Clinton was asked about guns, and said that the viewpoint held by gun-rights advocates “terrorizes” the majority of Americans.

The town hall, broadcast live on CNN on Tuesday, closely resembled a commercial for Clinton’s new memoir, “Hard Choices.”

(…)

“We cannot let a minority of people – and that’s what it is, it is a minority of people – hold a viewpoint that terrorizes the majority of people,” said Clinton.

Get that? Not only are you allowed to own firearms only at the sufferance of the State, but you are not even allowed to hold a point of view that differs from the majority opinion, presumably as long as that majority happens to agree with the progressive statist position.

And “terrorizes?” Really, Hillary? I’m not allowed to hold the opinion that the natural right to self-defense allows me and all other Americans to arm ourselves and that the Bill of Rights recognizes that unalienable right against government power, because said opinion might make your neighbors in Chappaqua get the vapors? How weird. In all my reading about the American Founding and our constitutional settlement, I never ran across the part that talked about how we have free speech as long as it isn’t scary. I don’t recall Voltaire saying “I disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it, as long as it does not offend the majority.”

Hey, Hillary? What about other minorities? Blacks in the 1950s and 1960s were of the opinion that they held the same natural and civil rights as other Americans and loudly demonstrated to demand those rights be honored. That surely scared the majority Whites at the time, so should Blacks have not been allowed to hold those opinions? I’m curious for your thoughts on the matter.

File this away for 2016, folks, should Lady Macbeth decide to run: it is the opinion of a leading candidate for President of the United States, who swears an oath to uphold, protect, and defend the Constitution –including the Bill of Rights– that you are only allowed to express your own opinions as long as most people are comfortable with them.

Comforting, isn’t it?

h/t Bryan Preston

PS: Hillary is no outlier for her party: just the other day, President Obama was praising Australia’s draconian gun confiscation law. The simple truth is that the Left approves of the Constitution only when it is convenient to them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bookshelf update — Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department

June 17, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Obama’s Enforcer: Eric Holder’s Justice Department.”

book cover obamas enforcer fund spakovsky

 

I’m only a couple of chapters into it, but it looks to be a good discussion of Holder’s abuse of power and dereliction of the duties of his office, much of it rooted in his radical racialism. And the authors, John Fund and Hans von Spakovsky, are top-notch. The book is available in both Kindle(1) and hardback formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


Be Thankful for Capitalism and Rich Entrepreneurs

June 3, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Earned vs. unearned wealth, free market vs. statist.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

In previous columns, I’ve explained why a wealth tax is a very bad idea. And I’ve also pontificated on why leftists are wrong to pursue policies of coerced equality.

So it goes without saying that I’m a big fan of a new Wall Street Journal column by John Steele Gordon.

He writes that the anti-wealth ideology animating the political elite is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of how large fortunes are generated.

He starts by pointing out that many of today’s richest people earned their money as a result of the microprocessor, a technological development that has dramatically improved the lives of ordinary people.

The French economist Thomas Piketty, in his new book “Capital in the 21st Century,” calls for an 80% tax on incomes over $250,000 and a 2% annual tax on net worth in order to prevent an excessive concentration of wealth. That is a monumentally…

View original 1,016 more words


Seattle: $15 minimum wage already costing jobs

May 28, 2014
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage!”

And it’s not even in effect, yet.

But, it’s not surprising. Business managers have to plan for the future, and a looming huge increase in their labor cost will force many to rethink how they do business in Seattle, if they continue to do business there at all. Writing for the free-market Washington Policy Center, Erin Shannon reports on how small businesses are planning to cut back on hiring, delaying expansion, or moving out of the city to deal with the new wage law. Most striking, though, is the account of one business owner who supported the law, but now thinks she may have made a mistake:

One of those business owners is a well-known and active supporter of “progressive” labor policies, including a higher minimum wage. Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale, initially supported a $15 minimum wage. But now Hall admits the proposed policy is, “keeping me up at night like nothing ever has.”

While Hall has serious concerns with Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage over seven years with a temporary tip credit, her biggest fear is if voters approve the radical charter amendment sponsored by the group 15Now. The charter amendment would force all large employers to begin paying $15 in 2015, and would give small business owners just three years to acclimate to the high wage. And the 15Now proposal would not allow for any tip credit.

If the charter amendment passes, Hall says she would be forced to close half of her seven locations and lay off 50 of her 100 workers.

But beyond the differences between Mayor Murray’s proposal or the more aggressive 15Now proposal, Hall says she now has “serious second thoughts” about a $15 minimum wage in general, especially since Seattle would be “going it alone” with a wage that is significantly higher than any other minimum wage in the nation.

Hall’s second thoughts about a $15 minimum wage have led to second thoughts about expanding her business. She was set to open a new business in Seattle this year, but has tabled the plan until after voters have their say on the charter amendment in the November election. Hall says if she considers any new locations before then, they will be outside the city limits.

In other words, when progressivism meets economic reality, guess which wins? You would think a successful businesswoman like Hall would have seen this coming. Maybe she thought she’d get a waiver from Obama.

And pay special attention to her comment about “going it alone.” As minimum wage increases are applied and then have the same effect in various places, there will be more and more calls from the fairness crowd to apply these laws statewide and even nationwide, to make sure business owners can’t just move to a friendlier jurisdiction, which would be “unfair.” The minimum wage thus becomes a wedge issue in an attack on local control, federalism, and jurisdictional competition, things progressive just hate, because their favored policies usually fail.

Meanwhile, I want to thank Seattle for volunteering to be a case study on the foolishness of government control of wages.

via Adrian Moore

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The IRS wants to tax your frequent flyer miles and hotel points

May 27, 2014

taxes IRS shakedown

It’s as if the agency was worried it wasn’t hated enough.

Writing at Reason, Ira Stoll reports that the Internal Revenue Service is looking at taxing rewards points offered by airlines and hotel chains:

Just in time for your summer vacation, the IRS is getting ready to toughen the tax treatment on frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty reward programs.

The IRS announced in 2002 that it wouldn’t try to go after individuals for income taxes on frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty points earned on company-paid business trips. Yet the temptation to wring some tax revenue out of the vast non-dollar economy of Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints, Marriott Rewards points, American Airlines AAdvantage miles, Delta Skymiles, and so on is apparently so great that that the government just cannot resist.

Sure enough, the Tax Foundation, a research group that tracks tax issues, flags a recent post on the View From the Wing blog that runs under the provocative headline, “The IRS Looks To Be on the Verge of Imposing a Big Tax Burden on Loyalty Points.”

The IRS’s plans are vague, but they have airlines and hotel owners concerned enough about the issue that they reportedly sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “The IRS’ proposal to alter the tax treatment of loyalty programs will impose a significant new tax on existing and future loyalty points that travel customers enjoy and rely upon,” said the letter, according to a report in Politico. “Any change or clarification of loyalty program accounting should be made through the legislative process, not IRS promulgation.”

Frequent flyer mile fanatics got a wake-up call on the issue back in 2012 when Citibank sent IRS Forms 1099, documenting “miscellaneous income,” at a rate of 2.5 cents a mile, to customers who had signed up for an American Airlines-branded credit card and gotten 40,000 AAdvantage miles as a bonus. It was an unpleasant surprise to cardholders who thought they were getting a free trip, not an unwanted extra tax bill.

I’ll say. I rarely rack up enough points for a free flight or hotel night, but I know plenty of people who fly a lot and who rely on those points to help cover the occasional vacation. Suddenly taxing them not only diminishes their value as a customer-retention tool, but also burdens the consumer by imposing a monetary cost for a non-monetary reward. (Sure, the points have “value,” but it’s not like real income. Just try paying for a meal with airline points…)

Stoll covers several problems with this plan, but I’ll add one of my own: this is another example of the gradual bureaucratic usurpation of legislative power that’s grown to be such a problem since the Progressive Era. Congress writes laws that allow regulatory agencies to create rules for their implementation, but agencies, like bureaucracies everywhere, constantly push the bounds of that authority to accumulate ever-greater power to themselves, to the point whereat they’re no longer writing rules, but actually making law in place of the elected legislature. Which, for progressive ideology, is a feature, not a bug. (1)

Although, perhaps “usurpation” is too strong a word. After all, congresses dominated by both Democrats and Republicans have gone along with this, even if they didn’t agree with progressive ideology, passing vague legislation and letting agencies “fill in the blanks.” It’s a tempting bit of laziness: as Washington accumulated more power to itself, Congress had to deal with more and more, until it became expedient to let someone else deal with the details. And it gives them political cover: It wasn’t your congressman who decided to tax your airline miles, it was the IRS. Left unsaid is how generations of congressmen and senators have enabled this.

Of the many reforms our government needs, congress reclaiming its power to make laws and reining in the bureaucracy –especially the IRS!– is high on the list.

Footnote:
(1) The basic idea is that democratically-elected legislatures are too prone to public passions, too full of unqualified people, to be trusted with governance. Progressives prefer unelected, dispassionate boards of technocrats who would practice scientific management of public affairs. They may be right about the problems of legislatures, but I think the last century has shown their solution is even worse.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Will Chile’s Politicians Ruin the Latin Tiger?

May 25, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Sigh. The Left never learns. I wonder what “Killing the goose that laid the golden egg” is in Spanish?

Originally posted on International Liberty:

There aren’t any nations with pure libertarian economic policy, but there are a handful of jurisdictions that deserve praise, either because they have comparatively low levels of statism or because they have made big strides in the right direction.

Hong Kong and Singapore are examples of the former, and Switzerland deserves honorable mention.

And if we look at nations that have moved in the right direction, then Chile is definitely a success story.

The free-market revolution in Chile is remarkable. If you look at the Economic Freedom of the Worldrankings, Chile was in last place in 1970 and third from the bottom in 1975. But then reforms began. It climbed to 60th place in 1980, 40th place in 1985, 28th place in 2000, and Chile now has one of the world’s freest economies, hovering around 10th place.

And the results are amazing. Now known as the Latin…

View original 802 more words


Opposition to #Obamacare is racist, and why Democrats love the race card

May 25, 2014

Liberal tolerance racist

Oh, brother. If we needed any more convincing that it was well-past time for Senator Jay Rockfeller (D-WV) to retire and never be heard from again, this clip of him not just playing the race card, but slamming it on the table and dancing around it should do the trick:

(h/t David Freddoso)

Apparently the senator’s “analysis” was aimed at Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who was at the hearing. Naturally, Johnson took offense:

“My opposition to health care has nothing to do with the race of President Obama,” Johnson said. “I objected to this because it’s an assault on our freedom. … I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law.”

“You’re evidently satisfied with a lot of people not having health insurance,” Rockefeller responded.

“I am not. Quit making those assumptions. Quit saying I’m satisfied with that. I’m not. There’s another way of doing this,” Johnson said. “Please, don’t assume, don’t make implications of what I’m thinking and what I would really support. You have no idea.”

“I actually do,” Rockefeller said. “God help you.”

“No senator, God help you for implying I’m a racist,” Johnson replied.

Thankfully, Senator Rockefeller (D-RaceBaiter) will retire in January, hopefully to be replaced by Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

But the senator from West Virginia didn’t just slam his colleague from Wisconsin; he cavalierly insulted all of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act. While I can’t speak for others, let me recapitulate the reasons I oppose it:

Political Philosophy: By placing the State in charge of people’s healthcare, you fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and State, turning free people into dependent wards of a Leviathan-like government and taking away their control over a crucial part of their own lives. To a conservative/classical liberal like me, this is a bad thing.

Constitutionalism: Congress has no authority –none!– to force a citizen to buy a private product under penalty of law. This is an abominable legislative usurpation and a trammeling of individual liberty. It tortures the Commerce Clause until it begs for mercy. It goes against the spirit and intent of our founding documents, and the Supreme Court, in the worst decision since Korematsu, was wrong to uphold the law.

Bad Law: I’ll be more charitable than Senator Rockefeller and stipulate that most voting for this law thought they were doing good and helping people. But that doesn’t justify defending a law that just isn’t working. It’s not even meeting its basic goals: healthcare premiums are still skyrocketing; millions have lost the insurance they liked; millions have lost access to the doctors they liked; and, even when you have insurance, you may not be able to find a physician who will take you. (Really. Watch that one.) When a law performs as poorly as this, is it any wonder people hate it? Are they all racists, Jay?

Somehow, looking over those reasons, I think it’s safe to say the President’s ancestry doesn’t matter to me and my opposition to his miserable law. In fact, I can quite honestly say I couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about President Obama’s race.

But I don’t expect you to get that, Senator.

PS: On a lighter note, I’m happy to say Andrew Klavan is back at last making satirical political videos. Longtime readers will recall my love for his “Klavan on the Culture” series. Now he’s returned, producing them for Truth Revolt. (He also still works with PJMedia and PJTV) In this video, he explains what we’ve all wondered: Just why do Democrats call us racist? Enjoy.

Welcome back, Andrew! smiley dance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Bill Whittle on Boehner and McConnell: “Time to go”

May 16, 2014

In this episode of Afterburner, Whittle talks about the role and nature of the Loyal Opposition and how its leader or leaders should act. After examining great Opposition leaders of the past, Bill looks at Boehner and McConnell and concludes it’s time for them to go and for a younger, more combative leadership to take their places:

I don’t have anything against either man personally, but it’s hard to argue with Bill’s logic. We’re in an era of ideological ferment in America, and we need leaders who can draw bright lines between what we as conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians stand for, and what the (Social) Democrats stand for.

Maybe January, 2015, will be a good time to make that change.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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