Saturday, November 27, 2010

$#*! My President Says

Jimmy Carter: North Korean Dictators Deserve Our Respect

No one can completely understand the motivations of the North Koreans, but it is entirely possible that their recent revelation of their uranium enrichment centrifuges and Pyongyang’s shelling of a South Korean island Tuesday are designed to remind the world that they deserve respect in negotiations that will shape their future.

With ObamaCare, I thought President Obama took a commanding lead over President Jimmy Carter in the worst-president-in-America-history-contest. However, with the above quote it is apparent the Carter thinks the race is still on.

North Korea's consistent message to the U.S.

Friday, November 26, 2010

GOP: Don't Be the Party of 'No', Be the the Party of "Hell No"!

I cant recommend this piece by Michael Swartz enough, "Republicans, will Atlas shrug in Maryland?"

And while it may not be popular with Democrats or the media, Republicans in Maryland indeed can't just be the party of "no" -- we must be the party of "hell no." Sometimes there can't be a compromise made; as Rand herself pondered, what is the compromise between food and poison? We must refuse the siren song of budget "fixes" involving new and expanded taxes, and fight tooth and nail against additional regulations and misguided ideas like the "green jobs" boondoggle.

We must be the party of "hell no".

I wrote a similarly themed piece a few weeks ago:
Republicans: I Voted for Gridlock!

Lay Off Federal Workers

Pay Cuts Aren’t Enough: Time to Lay Off Federal Workers
Massive redundancies, dedicated conference room schedulers, and job security that might as well be tenure plague federal agencies.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Lost Lesson of Thanksgiving: Selfishness is Good

JOHN STOSSEL: The Lost Lesson of Thanksgiving

In other words, the people of Plymouth moved from socialism to private farming. The results were dramatic.

"This had very good success," Bradford wrote, "for it made all hands very industrious, so as much more corn was planted than otherwise would have been. By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine, now God gave them plenty, and the face of things was changed, to the rejoicing of the hearts of many."

Because of the change, the first Thanksgiving could be held in November 1623.

What Plymouth suffered under communalism was what economists today call the tragedy of the commons. The problem has been known since ancient Greece. As Aristotle noted, "That which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it."

Tea Party and Religion

This afternoon, I received an email from the Tennessee Tea Party wishing me Happy Thanksgiving. As you can see from my previous posts (1, 2, 3), I am big fan of Thanksgiving as a holiday.

However, this was not a Happy Thanksgiving message from a political group, celebrating all that American's have to be thankful for. But a religious tract:


We pray God’s continued blessing and loving hand over each and every one of you…for it is right that we do this in memory of Him who came to give of himself for our redemption and salvation. This is the greatest gift ever given mankind…compassionate, ever-merciful, and sacrificial. At this particular time one may ask, do we ever give in this way…unconditionally, without expectation, having given out of the abundance of our minds, hearts, soul? Out of what has been extended to us, grace everlasting, though we have fallen short, sitting on this mercy seat, it is right that through this abundance that has been extended to us, that we live in right relationship and the overflow of “streams of living water” is extended to all….we live only out of Him who first gave to us.

It went on like this for some time, before concluding with, "In Humble Gratitude, Allegiance, and …..In Liberty!"

I cannot express just how incensed I was by this. What is it about conservatives...why is that they so strongly need religion, so strongly need to force it on their neighbors? I personally do not care what other people think, how they live their lives, who they pray to, if they pray. My family is religious, I have friends who go to all sorts of different churches. But even though I am an atheist, I enjoy spending time with these people because of the shared values we have, and the respect we show for one another.

But political conservatives seem to live on an entirely different plane. They regularly fail to recognize the very thing they say to be supporting. Conservatives say they are for freedom, but what they push is Christianity. They want the pledge to be to God, they want the Ten Commandments in the courthouse, they want abortions to be illegal, the want marriage to be only between a man and woman. They want freedom for their religion and only for their religion. And nine times out of ten, you are consider a heathen if you disagree.

I want freedom. I want my rights respected. I want to live my life as I choose to live it. I want the freedom to make my own mistakes. I want the freedom to pursue my own happiness. As long as I do not infringe on another's rights, I think I should be free to live my life. God is a non-issue when it comes to politics. Anybody should be able to practice any religion they choose. As they say, if we are wrong about which God we pray to (or don't pray to), then we will have to deal with that when we die. If on the other hand you disagree with this, if you think your personal holy book tells you that no institution personal or public should be free from religion, your personal chosen religion, then who is to say? Who gets to make that decision? If Christianity is to rule, then everything becomes a war. Why shouldn’t Buddhism, or Judaism, or Islam be the one in charge? Look at the Middle East…is this the type of single minded, repressive, place you want to live? A place where you are killed for disagreeing with the state religion.

My biggest fear when it comes to the Tea Party is they will let the Religious Right dictate their positions. The Religious Right destroyed the Republican Party. The Religious Right gave us George W. Bush -- a man who in action, in policy, and in political principle is indistinguishable from Barrack Obama. If the Tea Party is to be a right wing movement, a movement for freedom and limited government, no matter what their individual personal beliefs, supporters of the Tea Party must ruthlessly campaign for keeping religion out of the movement. The platform of reducing spending, cutting taxes, dismantling social programs, shrinking the size of government, and defending American interests at home and abroad must be the only issues.

We need to be mum on our personal ideas about nutrition, health care, child raising, marriage, interior design, transportation, energy, morality, and religion. The government must be thought of as a big, bloody, unwieldy tank. It can have no position save protecting its citizens from attack by its enemies. Any and all other issues must be deferred to its citizens. Its private and free citizens should have the right to make the biggest, most successful economy the world has ever seen, or the poorest most destitute. Whichever its people choose, the tank can do nothing to help. It’s a bloody tank! The government is a big, dumb, slow tank. It can only destroy. It can only force others to submit.

Here is the email I have put together to the Tennessee Tea Party:

I most respectfully wish to share my feelings and thoughts upon receiving your Happy Thanksgiving email.

First, I was appalled. I did not know if this was from a church, the Religious Right, or from the Tea Party organization I recently signed up to join and asked for information about volunteering for.

I want to get the government out of my daily life, and out of my pocketbook. If we get the government out of the business of legislating morality, we will each be free to support whatever personal beliefs we want. If we don't, in the end, like during the Dark Ages or in present day Saudi Arabia, we will not get to decide whose religious ideals are imposed upon us. Please consider that some of your members disagree, and would rather see the Tea Parties go away, then become a vehicle for the Religious Right.

I am an active blogger, and as a recent transplant to Tennessee, I would like to financially support your organization and potentially contribute my time and energy. I am not here to force my philosophic or moral ideals upon you. I am here to let you know as a supporter of limited government that I have moral ideals, moral ideals I won't compromise. We have shared political ideals which I think we, qua political movement, should keep in front of us at all times. If you desire limited government, then support limiting it. Get the government out of education, out of economics, and out of religion. I want political leaders who protect my individual rights, and moral leaders who teach me about right and wrong. But as history shows, these two should not be the same. There should not be an overlap.

A separation of church and state. Religion out of government, government out of religion. It is a two way street. If the government stays out of religion and we can keep our personal religion ideals out of government, we all will be free to grow and support the ideals we believe.

Certainly, you should be free to wish your members the Happiest of Thanksgivings and the Merriest of Christmases. However, please understand that you are a political organization. Your supporters have many beliefs. And even if they didn't, politics is politics. The goal of politicians and political activists should be protecting individuals form the government – not injecting their personal beliefs into the government.

Here are just a few people with different ideas on Thanksgiving than you:

We are all active Tea Party supporters. We all want to fight for a limited government. But that fight needs to be free of religion. God was no more a capitalist or an American, than he was a support of the Inquisition. We support limited government, because that is what human life requires. We all must be free to make our decisions, or own mistakes, and our own successes.

Please keep God out of the Tea Party!

The Producer's Holiday

Thanksgiving: The Producer's Holiday
Sunday, November 12, 2000
By: Gary Hull, Ph.D.

Thanksgiving Is Designed to Celebrate, Not Faith and Charity, But Thought and Production

Thanksgiving celebrates man's ability to produce. The cornucopia filled with exotic flowers and delicious fruits, the savory turkey with aromatic trimmings, the mouth-watering pies, the colorful decorations -- it's all a testament to the creation of wealth.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday, because this country was the first to create and to value material abundance. It is America that has been the beacon for anyone wanting to escape from poverty and misery. It is America that generated the unprecedented flood of goods that washed away centuries of privation. It is America, by establishing the precondition of production--political freedom--that was able to unleash the dynamic, productive energy of its citizens.

Thank You, Michelle Malkin

Giving Thanks for American Ingenuity
Michelle Malkin
Last summer, President Obama opined that the proper role of private entrepreneurs is to fulfill "the core responsibilities of the financial system to help grow our economy" -- and that "at a certain point you've made enough money." Last month, Vice President Joe Biden boasted that "every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive."

Such command-and-control narcissism is completely alien to the unique American culture and marketplace that have bred so many successful inventors. Consider the electric carving knife that so many of you will use without a second thought this Thanksgiving holiday season. Jerome L. Murray, the New York City man who invented the ubiquitous kitchen appliance, was an insatiable tinkerer from his teens until his death in 1998 at the age of 85. He was driven not by a social justice agenda or by the need to "grow the economy" to boost government employment figures, but by a constant desire to solve problems, cut costs, satisfy his own intellectual curiosities and pursue the profit motive.

And I say, thank you Michelle Malkin for recognizing this. Americans have lots to be proud of, lots to be thankful for.

I'm Thankful For America's Founding Fathers

An American Holiday: The Moral Meaning Behind Thanksgiving
by Debi Ghate

We're taught that Thanksgiving came about when pilgrims gave thanks to God for a bountiful harvest. We casually think about how lucky we are and how much better our lives are than, say, those in Bangladesh. But surely there is something more to celebrate, something more sacred about this holiday.


The “Extremist” Smear

As Ayn Rand pointed out long ago, in her article “Extremism” or The Art of Smearing, holding an extreme position is not immoral. It is only the substance of the position one holds that can be good or evil. To be extreme in one’s position merely means one is being consistent – and it is this consistency that is being denounced, whether the people using the label realize it or not. The implication is that only “moderates” (another anti-concept) are good, while the “extremists” are evil. And what does being a “moderate” actually mean? Pragmatism.

The Enemies of “Extremism”

The non-definability of “extremism.” Package-dealing as a means of evading epistemological commitment.

My Vote Was For Gridlock and Extermists, Not Common Ground and Centerists

I read the following in my local newspaper this morning:

It’s time for centrists to take charge

John Rutherford tries to make the case that the recent mid-term elections were a mandate for centrists. I can't speak for Mr. Rutherford anymore than he can speak for me, but I can tell you that I voted for gridlock.

The job of Congress and the White House is to define the common ground that exists on any given issue and then build on it. There is a danger in this toxic and extreme partisan environment that the desired functioning of checks and balances might not work. Some of the newly elected members seem to believe that compromise is collaboration, when compromise is actually the key to governing.

I totally disagree. I don't want to see Congress or the Whitehouse doing anything. I want to see them locked in a bloody stalemate. My rights have been completely trampled upon for the past 100 years (or more), I want this to come to a complete and screeching halt. I don't want compromise, I don't want common ground to lead to more bills, more laws, and more taxes. I want it all to stop.

With Republicans in firm control of the House and the Democrats holding narrow control of the Senate, the real power in Congress now resides in the center, especially if centrists will reach across party lines to build a moderate coalition. From deficit reduction to energy independence and immigration reform, there are many areas where the center can lead in proposing new solutions.

Why would we want centerists in charge of anything? Centerists are by definition people who do not hold any firm position. They do not originate ideas. They are conformists. They go where ever the wind blows them. They are not leaders. They are not thinkers. Compromising on principle is the worst of all possible evils.

Again, I do not know or care what Rutherford voted for, I voted for gridlock.

Moderate voters, independents in particular, believe unified control leads to ideological arrogance and legislative overreach. Checks and balances do not necessarily mean gridlock. Along with the message of divided government is the conscious attempt of the voters to essentially force the two parties to work together on issues of national importance.

The only thing of national importance is our national security. The government has a single job to protect the rights and lives of it's citizens. To protect Americans from all enemies, foreign and domestic. On everything else the government should be silent.

I have written a lot over the past few months on what Republicans should be doing. Programs they should be abolishing, bills they should be repealing, and taxes they should be reducing. All should be tried. But there is little prospect for success until we have more congressmen and a president who understand that individuals are sovereign, that wealth is earned, that property is rightfully-owned, and the government should be limited. Until that time, I want my government to be as stagnate as possible.

I'm a Domestic Extremist And Proud Of It

DHS & TSA: Making a list, checking it twice
By Doug Hagmann

"Department of Homeland Security is not only prepared to enforce the enhanced security procedures at airports, but is involved in gathering intelligence about those who don't."

"The terminology contained within the reported memo is indeed troubling. It labels any person who “interferes” with TSA airport security screening procedure protocol and operations by actively objecting to the established screening process, “including but not limited to the anticipated national opt-out day” as a “domestic extremist.” The label is then broadened to include “any person, group or alternative media source” that actively objects to, causes others to object to, supports and/or elicits support for anyone who engages in such travel disruptions at U.S. airports in response to the enhanced security procedures."

“Gate Rape” of America
By Douglas J. Hagmann

"Under Obama, the nation’s health care industry has essentially been nationalized, and facing financial difficulties, the government became heavily involved in the auto industry to the point of de-facto nationalization. Why not the air travel industry, which in 2007, was responsible for generating just over $1.3 trillion in economic activity, or 5.6% of the total U.S. economy. The airline industry employed over 11 million Americans who earned about $396 billion.

"The enhanced screening at our airports is not helping the airline industry, a vital part of our economy and infrastructure, but hurting it. This nonsense has the capacity to deliver a death blow to the airline industry. Could this be part of the larger agenda? Just look at the history over the last two years, and I believe the answer will become quite evident."

Check out Bosch Fawstin's latest political cartoon: I’m A Domestic Extremist

Abolish the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Defund the FDA

How the FDA Violates Rights and Hinders Health
Stella Daily

Abigail Alliance
In August 2007, the Appeals Court of the District of Columbia struck a blow against the Abigail Alliance, and against individual rights, when it ruled that patients, even the terminally ill, do not have the right to receive treatment that has not been approved by the FDA.

If the Republicans are serious about reducing spending, promoting job growth (by removing the hurdles created by government), I recommend looking at the FDA. Not only does the FDA drive up the cost of healthcare, it makes healthcare less efficient, it reduces incentives for private companies, and it destroys our health.

Repeal 1906 Food and Drugs Act
Repeal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act of 1938
Repeal The Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments
Repeal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act
Repeal The Orphan Drug Act
Repeal The Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984
Repeal The Prescription Drug User Fee Act
Repeal Food and Drug Modernization Act of 1997

The FDA's history, as told by the FDA: Promoting Safe and Effective Drugs for 100 Years

There is no single strategy the new congress should be taking. As the above shows, there are a range of options form Abolishing the FDA outright to defunding it. Also the teeth could be removed from the FDA, by repealing one or more of the above bills.

Update 12/12/10:

The Avastin Travesty
A cancer-fighting drug vs. an out-of-control federal agency.
by Thomas Bowden

Repeal the Oil Pollution Act of 1990

While reading the latest NYTimes Editorial, Energy and the Lame Duck, I was once again reminded how badly the Left needs to be beat, and how badly they need to be removed from any position of power. They are relentless.

It is also worth noting, within the same article, just how bad, confused, and utterly aimless the Republicans have been.

Why are the Republicans supporting a bill that would would ramp up the use of natural gas in heavy-duty trucks? If the Republicans were a bunch of greedy, free-market capitalists, like the Left is found of calling them, why would they be supporting this bill? The problem with America today is that the Republicans are not, and have not been pro-capitalism. They haven't even been consistently pro-America.

There is hope that the next congress will be better, but they will not be any better unless they veto every bill of this kind. The government should not be in the business of creating jobs, producing energy (oil, natural, or "clean"), or regulating any industry.

Renewable energy sources are not yet ready to compete with cheaper and dirtier fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. But there has been real progress in recent years, and past experience shows that when the tax credits are allowed to expire, investors disappear.

This is a red herring, a non sequitur. If the technology, the know-how, was available today, if the technology was possible in the near-term, investors would be flocking. Of course, tax credits will spur investment, but why would we provide that to one industry and not another. Tax credits are being used as a carrot for investing in one industry, and taxes are being used as a stick in others. The government should not be in the business of picking the winners and losers. The government should be making sure that rights are not be infringed, not regulating businesses and the economy.

I would like to see the new congress repealing energy bills, not creating new ones.

Repeal the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.
Repeal the Clean Air Act
Repeal the Clean Water Act
Repeal the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, & Liability Act
Repeal the Superfund Amendments & Reauthorization Act
Repeal the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know
Repeal the Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Relief Act
Repeal the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act

Congressman are no better at regulating the oil industry, than they are at delivering the mail. As FedEx and DHL are much more efficient than the Post Office, Exxon and BP are better at drilling oil than the government could ever hope to be. Get the government out of BP's way. Don't force oil companies to drill hundreds of miles off shore, in mile deep water. Let them decide what the safety standards are. Don't tax Big Oil, because don't like oil, and don't limit their liability when they make a mistake. Allow them to rep Don't attack them for providing a product that people are willing to pay for, don't attack them because they are not providing the product you prefer.

To all the people who think alternative energy is so great, go invest in it. But don't get in our way, because we disagree. In a free society, everyone has a voice. Everyone is free to take their own risks, and make their own decisions.

Investigate Big Congress, Not Big Oil
In Defense of Oil
Analyst speaks In Defense of Oil

Let NPR Live Or Die On Its Own Merits

Time for NPR to cut the taxpayer cord
By Bruce Edward Walker, Boston Herald

I couldn't agree more, Defund NPR. This would be much more than a symbolic gesture. The government needs to be scaled back, and the only way to do that is to start cutting.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Starting to Strongly Dislike Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett agrees: Tax the rich
"The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you," Buffett said. "But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on."

The actual argument is not that the rich will spend and thus it will "trickle down"...what the rich will do is invest and produce, like Buffet has done for his entire career. The wealthy do pass on their wealth via consumption, they produce, i.e., they create new wealth with their money, work, and new ideas. They invest and risk their money on new ventures.

Obama wants to go down with the TSA ship -- time to make him

Repeal Humphrey-Hawkins

Today on HBL, The Harry Binswanger List, I learned something new about the Fed.

In 1978, the Humphrey–Hawkins Full Employment Act was passed. The Act explicitly instructs the nation to strive toward four ultimate goals: full employment, growth in production, price stability, and balance of trade and budget.

As I have stated in recent posts, I think government should not be meddling in the economy. That there should be a separation of economics and state, as there is a separation of church and state. That we should be working to Abolish the Fed. However, as Dr. Binswanger points out, ending the Fed is a long term goal. A more realistic short term goal would be to repeal Humphrey-Hawkins.

Humphrey-Hawkins seeks to create a phony "right to a job." It requires the Fed to set "full employment" as one of its goals. This changed the mission of the Fed, which had been bad enough. The original mission of the Fed was to guarantee the stability of the dollar. How the heck can we guarantee the stability of the dollar, while also guaranteeing full employment, growth in production, and price stability? The only tool the Fed has is it's monetary policy. It can raise and lower interests rates, and print money. Talk about an impossible, contradictory, and asinine mandate to give a an agency that can't do much more than tun the printing presses on or off.

As with most organizations, even government agencies that I despise, the Fed will work better if it has a single, understandable, logical, achievable mandate. That mandate was to guarantee the stability of the dollar. Let's get us back to that, and then we can talk about the next step.

Ghost of Humphrey-Hawkins

Update 12/7/2010:

Repeal Humphrey-Hawkins. It’s a recipe for failure!

The Fed's Bipolar Mandate
Time to repeal the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1978.

Update 12/8/2010:

The Duel Over the FED's Dual Mandate
Peter Schiff

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Principles of a Free Society

The Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights has launched a new website: Principles of a Free Society.

I particularly like this blurb from the sidebar:

A free society is one where the government does not interfere (by penalty or reward) in thought, production or trade. A free society requires a separation of:

Church and State
Science and State
Education and State
Economics and State

Don't Let the Lotters Profit By Taxing the Productive

Outfoxing a Higher Tax on Gains
If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the levy on capital gains will rise. Here are options plays from Oppenheimer to offset the reduction in returns.

Humilating Americans, Does Not Make America Safer

TSA pat-down leaves traveler covered in urine
'I was absolutely humiliated,' said bladder cancer survivor

How much more of this do we have to endure?

Abolish TSA!