Saturday, December 4, 2010

Not Impressed: Coming soon: the loud thud of a gold bust

Still trying to wrap my head around the idea that "we’re in a deflationary mode".

Friday, December 3, 2010

TSA: Invasive Pat Downs Are Not Fun

TSA: Let's Play the I'm Gonna Touch Your Junk Game!

Now, you may think this new screening by the TSA is perfectly warranted and within acceptable limits and is the best way to screen out terrorists and protect our country. But let's leave whether or not this is a good policy (and whether or not we agree on the issue) aside for the moment, if we can.

We all need to jump through government-imposed hoops to live our lives, even if we vehemently disagree with the legitimacy of those hoops. I conscientiously object loudly sometimes, but the truth of the matter is, I have a driver's license, and file taxes for our businesses and personal income, and have never--no matter how many times I've tried--purchased alcohol at a store on a Sunday in Georgia. And you probably shouldn't get me started about the Sudafed thing.

Obamanomics in 50 Words or Less

Many people complain how facebook and tweeter is dumbing-down our culture. However, in the right hands such limited word counts encourages succinctness:

If I steal $20 from your wallet and spend it on a pizza pie, did I "stimulate the economy" and help to create a pizza-maker's job? What about the person whose wallet is empty, and what that $20 would have otherwise done? Absurd--yet that is our government's entire economic policy.

Here are some great comments from the same thread:

1) It's even worse than that - out of the $20, about $18 of it is subsequently wasted prior to being put in the pocket of the pizza-maker.

2) And there's no pizza in the end.

3) They say the "rich" doesn't need tax breaks and won't spend it anyway. So, we are going to steal their money and spend it for them.

Let the Market, Not the FCC 'Regulate' the Internet

A fabulous editorial at the Washington Times: Wave goodbye to Internet freedom
FCC crosses the Rubicon into online regulation

In some cases, heavy use of this sort slows the Web experience for everyone sharing the same lines. That has prompted some cable Internet providers to consider either charging the heavy users more or limiting access to the "problematic" services. Of course, if cinema buffs find themselves cut off from their favorite service, they're going to be mad. If companies don't act, they're just as likely to find irate customers who don't want their experience bogged down by others.

It's not clear why the FCC thinks it needs to intervene in a situation with obvious market solutions. Companies that impose draconian tolls or block services will lose customers. Existing laws already offer a number of protections against anti-competitive behavior, but it's not clear under what law Mr. Genachowski thinks he can stick his nose into the businesses that comprise the Internet. The FCC regulates broadcast television and radio because the government granted each station exclusive access to a slice of the airwaves. Likewise when Ma Bell accepted a monopoly deal from Uncle Sam, it came with regulatory strings attached.

Abolish the FCC

Facts and Values

Facts from the NY Times for a change: Disappointing Job Growth in U.S. as Jobless Rate Hits 9.8%

If the economy is improving, that is news to Ms. Barone. “It doesn’t seem that way here,” she said.

And over at the Washington Examiner, we've got a accurate evaluation of those facts: Mark Tapscott: Washington is why the economy is not growing

If you want the economy to grow, get the government out of the way!

Cause and Effect

I love me some Instapundit!

OH, GOODY: Delaying Tax Vote Could Crash Stock Market. “Failure by Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts, especially locking in the 15 percent capital gains tax rate, will spark a stock market sell off starting December 15 as investors move to lock in gains at a lower rate than the 20 percent it would jump to next year, warn analysts.”

We’re already seeing some actions taken in anticipation of higher taxes.

GOP: Want to Cut Spending?

Abolish the IRS

IRS Paid $130m in Fraudulent Tax Refunds to 50,000 Prisoners

Tax Cuts Without Spending Cuts Are Meaningless

Obama Seeking Aid for Jobless in Any Deal on Tax Cuts

The Obama administration is holding out for an extension of unemployment assistance and of a variety of expiring tax breaks for low-wage and middle-income workers as part of a deal with Congressional Republicans to extend all the Bush-era tax cuts.

What the hell! Given the size of the government and our level of spending relative to GDP, it is utterly senseless to talk about cutting taxes, without cutting spending. But in true Obama form, much like a consumer who continually shifts balances from one credit card to another, there is never a positive step out of a whole...only more digging.

We must slice spending. We must obliterate it. Only after cutting spending, can tax cuts mean anything.

Capitalism Must Sometimes Be Defended From It's Own Heroes

Peter Foster: Bill Gates, irrational statist

After reading Bill Gates' piece, Africa Needs Aid, Not Flawed Theories, on the Wall Street Journal website, I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Some say ‘gaming the system’ has gone on too long

Coming: Gov't By Regulation Instead Of Law
By Phyllis Schlafly

Woman Strips Down to Her Lingerie, Gets TSA Pat Down Anyway—Twice

Abolish the effing TSA and The Department of Homeland Security already!

Bizarro World: The Simpson-Bowles Plan

The Simpson-Bowles Plan is proof that we are living in Bizarro World.

Social Security is broke now, Not In 25 Years, and most definitely not in 2075!

It won't be easy. The Simpson-Bowles plan aims to shore up Social Security in part by raising the retirement age to 69 by 2075. That makes Democrats cry foul. Wealthy Americans may be living longer and enjoying more affluence in their old age than ever, but poorer ones are lagging behind. Low-income women have actually seen a slight decline in life span. "So you've got some janitor who has to work longer because lawyers or Wall Street tycoons are living longer?" asks Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, a fiscal-commission member.

What does this person mean by, 'it won't be easy'? By 2075 all of the baby boomers will be long dead. Hell, by 2075, I, who am not currently 37, will mostly likely be dead -- childhood dream of living till I'm 120 not withstanding. The baby boomers will be dead, Social Security will be non-existent, and if some plan to phase out Social Security and Medicare is not enacted soon, America will be bankrupt...bankrupt decades before 2075.

We need to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69 within the next year or two. We then need to raise it to 71, then 73, then 75. We need to keep raising the retirement age and lowering payments until Social Security payouts are ZERO!

As much as Social Security is financially bankrupt, it is morally bankrupt. It must be ended.

Social Security: It Can't Be Fixed

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Congress: Hands Off the Internet!

Cantor Statement on FCC, Net Neutrality

There is only one item in this statement that I take issue with: "Rest assured we intend to conduct rigorous oversight and explore all our legislative options to put things back on the proper track."

Like usual when a conservative talks their statements do not always gel into a coherent whole. Every word in Cantor's statement, says 'Hell No' to the government. Every word, every sentence, save for this one. I say, 'Hell No' to any and all government intervention, regulation, oversight, and taxation of the internet. Hands off! The internet, like the free market, can regulate itself.

Protect me from my enemies, foreign and me free to handle the rest!

Art As It Should Be: Motivating and Beautiful

This used to be a blog that focused on art as much as did politics. However, since the mid-term election, I have not posted a single piece on art. I've been contemplating changing the name of the blog because of this oversight. However with this post, I might be able to get my priorities reset again...and, thereby keep my good name.

Over at NoodleFood, Diana Hsieh as a fantastic write-up on her recent art purchase:

This painting was love at first sight for me. When I look at it, I don't feel like I'm looking at a stranger: I feel like I'm seeing myself in some ideal way. I experience that calm ease of preparing myself, mentally and physically, for some important work that I've chosen for myself. I love that feeling, and this painting seems to capture that so perfectly for me, in a very immediate and intimate way. -- Diana Hsieh

As a former art dealer of Bryan Larsen's work, I cannot recommend his work enough.

Rush to GOP: Hell No!

Rush: What Is It About "Hell No" That Republicans Do Not Get?

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

GOP: Standing On Principle Works

In Tax Cuts, the Options Run Short

Because of their strong position -- refusing to compromise with the Left -- it looks like the GOP is going to win another round. At this point, it looks as if the Bush Era Tax Cuts are going to be extended. And if I read the NY Times article correctly, there is an option for additional Tax cuts. Wow!

There is lots in this article to pick apart. But I mainly wanted to respond to it from the positive angle, standing on principle works! However, I can't let the following slide by:

At the same time, the wealthy have received a much bigger tax cut over the last three decades than any other group.
This is true, because the wealthy pay a much higher percentage than any other group. Taxes on the poor and lower-middle class is virtually non-existent. So there is nothing to "cut"!

As Leonhardt goes on to report, "The total federal tax rate on households making more than $1 million — including the income tax, the payroll tax and others — was above 50 percent in 1980. In recent years, it has been about 33 percent." When you are being taxed at 50% there is a lot that can be cut. There is still a ton to be cut, when your tax rate is 33%.

I strongly believe that anyone who makes more than $1 million a year, does more good for the world than all of the charity workers and saints combined. And for this reason they should be praised, not punished. I am against any form of taxation on production, i.e., on income. I want to see the 16th amendment repealed. But if we are going to have an income tax, I'd much rather see everyone taxed the same. Something like 7 percent across the board seems quite just. Then to reward virtue, exempt all monies earned over $1,000,000.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Give Me Gridlock!

Obama Appoints Geithner, Lew to Negotiate on Tax Cuts

“The American people did not vote for gridlock,” Obama said. “They’re demanding cooperation and they’re demanding progress.”

I know I've blogged on this several times already, but since Obama insists on repeating himself, I must do the same. I voted for Gridlock!

Republicans: I Voted for Gridlock!

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

Letter to the Editor

I am appalled by the Obama agenda. I do not want to compromise with the Left. I do not want Obama to do anything for the next 2 years. If I had my way, he would be sent on a two year vacation to Cuba, where Castro can show him that socialism doesn't work.

I think the Bush-era tax cuts should be extended, that spending should be slashed, that there should not be another stimulus bill ever, and that the 16th Amendment should be repealed. No new taxes, only new tax cuts!

Defund, Repeal, Abolish!

Earmarks: A Means to Redistribute Taxpayer Wealth

Senate Rejects GOP Proposal to Ban Earmarks

House Republicans have also given up the practice, but most Democrats say the earmarks are a legitimate way to direct taxpayer money to their constituents.

Translation: Democrats say the earmarks allow congress to redistribute taxpayer wealth however they damn well please.

Drudge Fought The TSA...And Drudge Won

Update: I agree with Jonathan Adler's update on this very story. So instead of typing my own, I will simply post Adler's:

The link is from Prison Planet which, I’ve learned from Stewart [Baker], is a website that occasionally traffics in various conspiracy theories, including birther and 9/11 truther stuff. I’m glad he pointed this out, as I’ll know to be more careful next time I see a link to their site. In this case, however, I don’t think the source discredits the message, nor do I think it’s fair to suggest (as Stewart does) that Drudge (and others?) linked to the story because it “really want[ed] to run a story” but couldn’t “find a respectable source for it.” As I pointed out in the comment thread to Stewart’s post, the Prison Planet story here was largely a collection of links to other, quite reputable, sources, including the Newark Star-Ledger, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Politico. These accounts are also consistent with much anecdotal reporting on what TSA did (or didn’t) do this past week. It may well be, as a general matter, that “the line between using Prison Planet as a source and just plain making things up is too thin for comfort,” but in this case shooting the messenger won’t make the story go away.

Extremism Is No Vice

"Extremism" Redux
by Gus Van Horn

David Limbaugh would have done far better to replace those last two, wishy-washy paragraphs with something like the following:

If an uncompromising stand is to be smeared as "extremism," then that smear is directed at any devotion to values, any loyalty to principles, any profound conviction, any consistency, any steadfastness, any passion, any dedication to an unbreached, inviolate truth -- any man of integrity. (From "'Extremism' or The Art of Smearing", Chapter 17 of Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal)

Abolish the TSA

TSA 2010

"How did this happen and why? I do not pretend to know the answers. I do know that, as the TSA furor reached its Thanksgiving climax, something happened and we lost our rights. Judging by personal experience and observation, Americans did what, unfortunately, (today’s) Americans do. They choked. Rather than take ideas seriously, when faced with imminent and grave threat to their individual rights, they opted for total submission to government control; faith in the state. There were no serious, widespread protests in opposition, no outbursts, no real resistance to the molestation. I think the public’s submission began in earnest with a line that has been improperly interpreted by some as having sparked an uproar."

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Abolish the U.N.

Lorne Gunter: UN outdoes itself on loopiness scale (x3)

As I have said before, the best solution to the UN would be to dismantle its agencies, tear down its buildings and pour salt in the foundations so this kind of contamination can never again infect the world.

Common Ground: Liberty

SoCalTRC Says NO to Social Issues in the Tea Party

Wholeheartedly agree, social issues have no place in the tea party. But I will go even further, social issues have no place in politics.

As I wrote in Tea Party and Religion, the government is a big, dumb, slow tank.

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.

“As a Democrat who has been with this movement since its inception, I want note that the Tea Party is the place where Americans of all backgrounds, parties, social agendas and lifestyles intersect on the need for smaller, more efficient, responsible government,” said Leslie Eastman, Media Director