Thursday, March 31, 2011

Toronto Globe and Mail: US Spending going from 'excessive' to 'obscene'

The liberal Canadian daily has it right.  Meanwhile, rather than cut 60 billion out of a 3.5 trillion budget the Democrats talk about shutting the government down.  What the Obami have done to our economy isn't liberalism, it's vandalism.

Obscene indeed.

The Koch Brothers: fiends in human forms

Oh does their fiendish deviltry have no bounds?  It turns out that the Koch brothers own Georgia Pacific which is heavily unionized and according to the AFL-CIO :

“While the Koch brothers are credited with advocating an agenda and groups that are clearly hostile to labor and labor’s agenda, the brothers’ company in practice and in general has positive and productive collective bargaining relationships with its unions.”

The Monsters.  Reality is so complicated innit?

Hat tip Contentions

We really do need a Parody union.

In other news, analysts downgraded the parent company of the Onion due to "unprecedented high quality competition from open source, free parody providers".

TRANSPARENCY: Politico: “President Obama finally and quietly accepted his ‘transparency’ award from the open government community this week — in a closed, undisclosed meeting at the White House on Monday. The secret presentation happened almost two weeks after the White House inexplicably postponed the ceremony, which was expected to be open to the press pool.”

Scabs. We are governed by scabs.

Tony Soprano, call your service: Wisconsin cops threaten businesses that don't 'play ball'

Protection rackets are illegal, aren't they.  I mean even if they are run by 'selfless, compassion filled' government employees.  And people get mad at me for calling it fascist.

WISCONSIN UNION BOYCOTT THREATS illegal? What’s more troubling is that the police are involved in making the threats. “I can’t get my head around the concept of police involvement in boycotting businesses. That reads like pure corruption. I can’t believe it’s being done openly. Can someone explain to me how you can even argue that it is acceptable for police to extort political support from citizens?”

I thought Wisconsin was supposed to be 'nice'.  Imagine what the unions will do to people who they disagree with in Illinois?

Of course I have long argued that the police are just bureaucrats with guns.  And they are most definitely NOT on your side.  They're on their side.

Barack Obama - Single handedly killing the parody industry

Parody relies on irony for it's 'punch'.  And there is nothing more ironic that watching BHO govern:  essentially everything this man does is a contradiction or at least a perversion of the positions that he held before he came to office.  Against targeted assassinations in third countries?  BHO has increased them 20 fold!  No blood for Oil?  We bomb Libya!  No health insurance mandates?  Health insurance mandates!  VD Hanson has more.  We parodists need to get a union because scabs like Barack Obama and Joe Biden are killing us.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON: The Genesis Of A Bad Idea. “So the omissions pose the question: how did Obama, the archetype war critic, find himself bombing—in optional and preemptive fashion, and without congressional authority — an Arab Muslim oil-exporting country, and one that posed no immediate threat to American national security, despite being governed by a monster who, nevertheless, had been recently courted by Western intellectuals, academics, universities, and diplomats?”

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What? 50% real increases in real estate taxes to pay public employees 40% more than the proles?

I mean why would people get upset?  I mean the public employees are so selfless, compassionate and caring.  Ask the Wisconsin Union thugs...I mean humanitarians.  I love the left...they are so venal.

COULD DECLINING HOUSE PRICES spark the next taxpayer rebellion? “Something remarkable happened to property taxes in the U.S. while housing lost 31% of its value from 2006 to 2009: they went up by $100 billion (27%). . . . So though U.S. housing continues losing value–U.S. home prices declined in January, continuing a downward trend that began in August, with average U.S. home prices retreating to summer 2003 levels, according to the S&P Case-Shiller home-price indexes–property tax revenues continue their inexorable rise. . . . As their properties continue sliding in value, devastating their net worth, do you reckon the average homeowner might start resenting the rapid rise of the taxes they pay for the privilege of owning real estate?”

Hattip Instapundit

I didn't see this coming! Bank Regulators make sure that bankers benefit from bank bailouts: NYT

James Buchanan won a Nobel for public choice theory.  My prof George Stigler won one for regulatory capture.  But it was left to the Great Obama to illustrate to the New York Times how regulatory apparatus inevitably benefit the wealthy and well connected within the regulated community.  The only effective regulation is a free market:  free markets always ensure that the rich and successful breed as the byproducts of their success the seeds of their demise.  With regulators, all you need to do is bribe a few dozen Ivy league lawyers.  And we all know that they're whores.  Read the whole Sulzberger, NYT thing:

TARP INSPECTOR GENERAL: Bank bailout mostly benefited banks. “Worse, Treasury apparently has chosen to ignore rather than support real efforts at reform, such as those advocated by Sheila Bair, the chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to simplify or shrink the most complex financial institutions. In the final analysis, it has been Treasury’s broken promises that have turned TARP — which was instrumental in saving the financial system at a relatively modest cost to taxpayers — into a program commonly viewed as little more than a giveaway to Wall Street executives.”

Lefties are always shocked when their fantasies turn into frauds.  They never learn because they don't want to know the truth.  Hatttip Instapundit

Important things to remember when you look at research that 'proves' something

From Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution

•All research is provisional
•All research raises as many questions as it answers
•All research is difficult to interpret and to draw clear conclusions from
•Qualitative research may be vital to elaborate experience, suggest narratives for understanding phenomena and generate hypotheses but it can’t be taken to prove anything
•Quantitative research may be able to show hard findings but can rarely (never?) give clear answers to complex questions
And to that I'll add my own 6th rule:  Any given piece of research that confirms a person's world view will be taken as validation, any given research result that contradicts it will be marginalized or ignored.

Anatomy of a bankruptcy

Labor economists tell us that compensation should be tied to performance of the job.  It tells us that retirement compensation is useful insofar as it ties employees with strong expertise to the organization during their most  productive years.  Like with so many other elements of economics, public employee unions turn this logic on its head.  Witness California where the average retired public school teacher is pulling down as much as the average active school teacher earns in salary in the rest of the nation.

California is so screwed.  The tragedy is that they screwed themselves.  The farce is that they just reelected all of the screwers.   Short the Golden Bear, buy the Lone Star.

Hat tip Carpe Diem

NLRB: The point of the fascist spear?

A new ruling allows the majority who vote in a union election to determine unionization.  This replaces a rule that required a majority of the workers represented to vote for the union.  It makes it much easier to unionize and incents the union and the pro union staffers at NLRB and the NMB to structure union elections to minimize turnout.  After all, they only want the hard core to vote.

This new reality came about in 2010, when a voting rule enacted through the Railway Labor Act was stripped away by the National Mediation Board (NMB). This resulted in the potential for groups of railroad and airline workers to be unionized without the majority of them being in favor of it. Now, only a majority of those who choose to vote, as opposed to a majority of the total, are needed to unionize. To allow the fate of the majority of workers to be decided by only a small handful is not only undemocratic — it fails to protect private-industry workers at a time when they need it the most.

Hat tip National Review

Andrew Breitbart - Today's Abby Hoffman, sticking it to the new man

Watch this video - Andrew Breitbart explains how a liberal becomes conservative.  Fascinating how the tables have turned.  Watch it here.  I love his description of Sarah Palin:  a hippy dippy hippie chick from Wasilla standing up to the 'Man'.

Socialists Never Catch Up

It's been a long time since anyone credibly argued that socialism or social democracy is better at generating wealth - all they do these days is argue that it is 'fairer' or 'greener' with 'fair' and 'green' always carefully defined to favor the socialists (for example, European cities have dirtier air than American cities, but the measure of 'greeness' chosen is amount of carbon dioxide emitted per person).  Here's a couple of charts from Super Economy that illustrate the truth:

The reality is if you want to be healthier, wealthier, wiser and cleaner, free market economics, not socialism is the answer.  One that our elites - focused only on the acquisition of power - resolutely refuse to see.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lefty means never having to say your sorry


Hey, Arianna! Andrew Breitbart called Van Jones a “punk.” Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a “cunt.” Which one did you ban again?

Read more:

That 'new civility' is awfully right handed, don't you think?

Military metaphors to the left, military metaphors for politics to the.....left.

The moratorium on martial metaphors was brief. The Hill quotes Jennifer Crider of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee: “The DCCC is targeting the 14 districts that were won by both President Obama and Sen. Kerry as well as the 47 additional districts that were won by President Obama.” Carla Marinucci writes in the San Francisco Chronicle: “Gov. Jerry Brown, a battle-scarred survivor in California politics who has vanquished well-armed opponents such as billionaire Meg Whitman, has said his strategic guidebook for decades has been a slim, 2,500-year-old volume: ‘The Art of War’ by Chinese general Sun Tzu.” And at Politico, Ben Smith reports: “The liberal group Media Matters has quietly transformed itself in preparation for what its founder, David Brock, described in an interview as an all-out campaign of ‘guerrilla warfare and sabotage’ aimed at the Fox News Channel.”

Frankly my dear, they don't give a damn

The country's bankrupt and they're playing games for the next election cycle.  It is impossible to govern responsibly when the left doesn't care about anything but power.

Howard Dean, the former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, finally admits what has been plainly obvious to those following the ongoing budget debate in Congress: Democrats are rooting for a government shutdown.
“If I was head of DNC, I would be quietly rooting for it,” said Dean, speaking on a National Journal Insider’s Conference panel Tuesday morning. “I know who’s going to get blamed – we’ve been down this road before.”
The former Vermont governor and presidential candidate was alluding to 1995 and 1996, when two government shutdowns under a Republican Congress helped improve President Clinton’s reelection chances. The scenario could repeat this year as budget negotiations continue to falter, and Dean said he thinks the public will blame Republicans again.
“From a partisan point of view, I think it would be the best thing in the world to have a shutdown,” said Dean. He added that as a statesman, he is not rooting for a shutdown because of its harmful effect on the country.
So which route do you think Democrats will take — the “statesman” route for the good of the country, or the “partisan” route? Sen. Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) has the answer . . .

In other words: no one wants to LEAD

KIRK VICTOR: Senators Toss Budget Ball To Obama, Who Fumbles. “Nobody wants to step out with what might be a controversial position.”

I got paid! sent me a (small) affiliate payment.  The first time anyone has paid me anything (but insults and the occasional compliment) for writing this blog.  I feel tingly all over.

Sweet - Wisconsin unions get a massive pay cut

It will be interesting what percent of Wisconsin government union members continue to pay now that the state doesn't confiscate union dues from its employees.  Hat tip Instapundit

THE STATE OF WISCONSIN HAS stopped withholding union dues from employee paychecks. And despite all the sound-and-fury, this is what the Democrats are really upset about. Plus this: “With the law now in effect and paychecks getting an increase since union dues are not being withheld, Democrats are the party arguing for a reduction in state worker paychecks.”

Monday, March 28, 2011

The "Routinization of War"?

Mickey Kaus recalls the old Marxist trope that Empires require the routinization of war.  It's interesting that liberal humanitarianism is beginning to look and behave a lot like the traditional liberal Euro-American empire of a century ago.

Pity we no longer have the resources or the will to persevere.  Kaus:

“Humanitarian imperialism.” I think that label will stick. And in a true empire–in this case, the empire of UN approved human rights enforcement–war never really ends. Always someone to protect somewhere. Imagine living in imperial Britain in the mid-19th century. There would almost always be a war or police action–actual shooting and killing–going on.** For a true empire to work– even, or perhaps especially, a humanitarianempire–war has to be routinized. You’ve got two wars going already? No need to change the president’s schedule to start a third. Tour Latin America. Talk about your NCAA brackets. Don’t give a big speech–I mean, you don’t call a press conference every time the police run a sobriety checkpoint do you? The relevant international governing bodies have already determined the appropriate application of force. And “all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.” 
It helps achieve routinization if wars can be conducted by a distinct cast of professionals whom we hire to do the job, as opposed to ordinary citizens who are drafted. That way when soldiers start dying … well, that’s the business they have chosen, right? And they’re largely drawn from a distinct geographic region, the South. Mothers don’t have to worry that their sons will sent to fight against their will, as happened in Vietnam–and if they’re Northern mothers in well-off suburbs they may not even know anyone who has a family member at risk.
Oceania has recognized its duty to protect Eurasia. Carry on with your business.

Read more:

Dave and Charlie Koch: the two horsemen of the social democratic apocalypse

Charlie and Davy Koch grew up with my Dad in Wichita, Kansas.  Their father and my grandfather were both successful oilmen.  Their dad stayed successful, my grand-dad:  not so much, sigh.  Unlike Warren Buffett, George Soros or GE's Jeff Immelt, they have not played the corporatist game of cozying up to those in political power and praising their interventions in return for special deals.  Instead, they have called for limited regulation and lower taxes on all businesses, not just their own.

For this they have become the top devil's in the government subsidized left pantheon.  Which would be hilarious if it weren't so pathetic.  The Weekly Standard has more.

How could this be? Blacks fleeing blue states in droves.

Blacks are fleeing compassionate, egalitarian, diverse blue states for racist, gun loving, 'tea partying' states.  Shocking.  I mean if even African Americans can't stick the left's utopias.....

WALTER RUSSELL MEAD: Footvoting: Blacks Flee Blue States In Droves. “When whites leave failing blue cities and states, the pundits call this racism: all those white Californians fleeing Nancy Pelosi’s utopia for less ambitious jurisdictions where ordinary people can do things like get jobs and buy homes are clearly pathetic trailer trash hicks too dumb, too selfish and above all too racist to understand the gloriously multicultural blue beauty of California today. So what are we going to call the young, educated Blacks making similar choices? Dumb cracker racists? . . . Most Blacks of course still vote blue at the ballot box, but more and more of them are voting red with their feet.”
Punish talent and talent will flee. Skin color is unrelated. Plus this: “The failure of blue social policy to create an environment which works for Blacks is the most devastating possible indictment of the 20th century liberal enterprise in the United States.” It’s all about oligarchy, not egalitarianism.

HATTIP Instapundit

The Census: a laboratory in public policy choices

With 50 states implementing 50 sets of policies, it's not hard to figure out which ones work.  This of course is assuming that one values wealth and growth and a middle class.  Mike Barone explains:

California for the first time in its history grew only microscopically faster than the nation as a whole (10 percent to 9.7 percent). Metro Los Angeles and San Francisco increasingly resemble Mexico City and Sao Paulo, with a large affluent upper class, a vast proletariat and a huge income gap in between.
Public policy plays an important role here -- one that's especially relevant as state governments seek to cut spending and reduce the power of the public employee unions that seek to raise spending and prevent accountability.
The lesson is that high taxes and strong public employee unions tend to stifle growth and produce a two-tier society like coastal California's.
The eight states with no state income tax grew 18 percent in the last decade. The other states (including the District of Columbia) grew just 8 percent.
The 22 states with right-to-work laws grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew just 6 percent.
The 16 states where collective bargaining with public employees is not required grew 15 percent in the last decade. The other states grew 7 percent.

And of course the states that most perfectly characterize lassiez faire, 'red', 'tea party', governance are the ones that have been winning the policy sweepstakes:

The most rapid growth in 2000-10, 21 percent, was in the Rocky Mountain states and in Texas. The Rocky Mountain states tend to have low taxes, weak unions and light regulation. Texas has no state income tax, no public employee union bargaining and light regulation.
Texas' economy has diversified far beyond petroleum, with booming high-tech centers, major corporate headquarters and thriving small businesses. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of Americans and immigrants, high-skill as well as low-skill. Its wide open spaces made for low housing costs, which protected it against the housing bubble and bust that has slowed growth in Phoenix and Las Vegas.
The states, said Justice Brandeis, are laboratories of reform. The 2010 Census tells us whose experiment worked best. It's the state with the same name as the county that's the center of the nation's population: Texas.
Texas.  Damn you George Bush!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I don't care. Obama is awesome.

It would be funny if it weren't so true.  A fascinating Xtra Normal piece on the difference between Libya and Iraq.  No blood for oil!

The impressive and noble Veena Malik

Veena Malik is a Pakistani celebrity that takes on the Mullahs on Pakistani TV.  It is an utterly gripping and courageous performance.  I can tell you from personal experience that Pakistan is filled with honorable, decent men and women like Ms. Malik.  They deserve our support and our prayers.  Because in parts of the Islamic world it can be very dangerous to be truly civilized.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

If anything this understates the true lead America has

Because the US utterly dominates extraction technology (well in conjunction with Canada) and also has (again, along with Canada) most mineral resources in private hands, resulting in the potential for immense entreprenurial activity in the energy sectors.  Except that our Federal government is by far the most insane major government when it comes to utilizing these resources.

In 2009 the CRS upped its 2006 estimate of America’s enormous natural gas deposits by 25 percent to around 2,047 trillion cubic feet, a conservative figure given the expanding shale gas revolution. At current rates of use that’s enough for around 100 years. Then there is still the, as yet largely publicly untold, story of methane hydrates to consider, a resource which the CRS reports alludes to as “immense…possibly exceeding the combined energy content of all other known fossil fuels.” According to the Inhofe’s EPW, “For perspective, if just 3 percent of this resource can be commercialized … at current rates of consumption, that level of supply would be enough to provide America’s natural gas for more than 400 years.”

Hint:  it's not Republicans obstructing....

How could this be? Angelo the corrupt skates while millions of poor and brown Americans go to jail

I thought the era of Democratic hegemony would usher in an era of 'getting tough' on corporate scofflaws.  Yet the man at the center of the great real estate bust is getting off paying less in fines on his ill gotten booty than Warren Buffett's cleaning lady.  How can this be?  Oh, I forgot, the friends of Angelo include many of the Democrat party's power elite.

LAWS, LIKE TAXES, ARE FOR THE LITTLE PEOPLE: Friends Of Angelo — and Angelo — skate while small fry go to jail. “Mr. Mozilo’s company made billions in profit, some of it on liar loans that he acknowledged at the time were likely to be fraudulent and which did untold damage to the economy. And he personally was paid hundreds of millions of dollars. Though he agreed last year to a $67.5 million fine to settle fraud charges brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission, it was a small fraction of what he earned. Otherwise, he walked. Thus does the Justice Department display its priorities in the aftermath of the crisis.”
Never mind.  Compare this to how Kenny Boy Lay was treated by his 'friend' George W. Bush.  Gee, what do they call the form of government where justice depends upon who you are rather than what you do?  I dunno, it escapes me.  Hat tip Instapundit.

Niall Ferguson gives a very depressing but very realistic reading of the US sovereign debt crisis to come

I wish it weren't so, but I it will come to pass.  For the wages of social 'democracy' are economic and fiscal death.  Read the whole presentation.

Stephen Crowder on health care Canada style

JIM TREACHER: Rule of thumb: Liberals want conservatives to shut up, and conservatives want liberals to keep talking.

I know that my best material comes from lefty gaffes - you know, when they accidentally tell the truth.  Here.

Hattip Instapundit

Medicare will destroy America's Social Democracy

Social Democracy counts on being able to take money from the politically weak (aka the young) and give it to the powerful (the old).  This has been a great setup for the older generation at least since 1965 - long, healthy subsidized retirements funded by the current and future earnings of their....children.  The problem with all of this is that the truly epic levels of subsidy built into Medicare and Medicaid and their pernicious "insurance" structure mean that there is no price discipline in health care.  The upshot:  vicious inflation year after year after year.  The result is that the Federal healthcare programs are literally eating the nation up.

But there is a silver lining:  the absolute insanity of the program's design will not be acknowledged by the statists until it is far too late.  Witness the witless design of Obama "care".  And the left cannot afford to pull the rug out from under the most important tax eaters in their coalition:  the entitled elderly.  The result:  in an ever increasingly desperate effort to stave off financial Armageddon, the Congress will cut every other discretionary program from Head Start to the DOEs.  Much of what constitutes programmatic liberalism and most of its foot soldiers will be defunded.  Thus within the design of social democracy lie the seeds of its destruction.  Kinda poetic, really.

Friday, March 25, 2011

You go,......strong conservative woman.

Sarah Palin doesn't care that Bill Maher (mouth sans brain that he is) calls her pornographic names on TV without consequence.  The great thing about being a conservative, particularly a conservative woman or minority, is that by the time you hit the national stage you are tough.  It is unimaginable that The One could take the beating that a Clarence Thomas or Sarah Palin has.  Like the little piggy he would have gone 'wee, wee, wee (or racist, racist, racist)' all the way home.

Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a "dumb twat," launching Presidential campaigner Michel Bachmann into a rage that there is a double-standard when it comes to conservative women.
But how does the former Governor feel?
Eh, she does not seem to be offended.
"I need NOW's defense like a fish needs a bicycle," she told Greta van Susteren. "I don't want them to defend me."

Read more:

To win the future, you need to have kids

And leftists don't.  When taken with scientists' rather robust finding that children's politics correlate highly with those of their birth parents (with an r square of 0.6 - very high) this means that societies demographically trend patriarchal and conservative.

It turns out that leftism is a self refuting philosophy.

LEFTIST ENCLAVES ALWAYS SEEM TO TURN OUT THIS WAY: San Francisco Becoming Child-Free Zone As Youth Population Declines.

Offshore wind farms kill whales?

Oh the irony.  James Delingpole has the story:

So wind farms don’t just despoil countryside, frighten horses, chop up birds, spontaneously combust, drive down property prices, madden those who live nearby with their subsonic humming, drive up electricity prices, promote rentseeking, make rich landowners richer (and everyone else poorer), ruin views, buy more electric sports cars for that dreadful Dale Vince character, require rare earth minerals which cause enormous environmental damage, destroy 3.7 real jobs for every fake “green” job they “create”, blight neighbourhoods, kill off tourism and ruin lives, but they also
According to researchers at the University of St Andrews, the sound of offshore wind farms is likely to mess with the whales’ sensitive sonar systems and drive them ashore, where they get stuck on beaches and die.
Has anyone else noticed the gentle irony here? Well, let me explain with the help of my magic sledgehammer: save possibly the polar bear and the mighty snail darter there is no creature on the planet more totemic of green values than the whale. Saving whales is what greens do. Or rather what they used to do in the days when greens were actually interested in caring for the environment instead of, say, trying to destroy the capitalist system.

Google Fascist and you get: Google?

After ICECAP posted this item, noting Google’s activism and hiring as an adviser an academic whose name and address pop up with some frequency in the ClimateGate emails, Google flagged ICECAP’s website with this warning, discouraging traffic:
This site may be compromised.
ICECAP host Joe D’Aleo who brought this to my attention assures me this was not the case until now. So not only are they global-warming activists, but they fit in with that crowd in every way. One more reason to go elsewhere for your searching.

Hattip NRO

For the record if Obama gets rid of Quaddafi, he deserves congratulations. Period.

Jonah Goldberg cautions against hypocritical and politicized opposition to BHO's Libya warmaking.  And he's right to.  Regardless of how badly it's handled, Americans need to support the President's attempt to settle scores with a man who has schemed and funded the murders of hundreds if not thousands of Americans.  At a minimum it will be a timely reminder that you can be an enemy of America regardless of what political party holds power.  And that being an enemy of America is an extremely unhealthy occupation.

My goal is for 'ol Mummy's last sight to be a Tomahawk coming at him with "Payback:  it's a bitch, innit?" written on the warhead.  Go get him Mr. President.  Only, could you do it a little more competently?  Goldberg:

Yes, yes, Obama has managed to cock-up this war kinetic action "time-limited, scope-limited military action."

In fact, he's such a killjoy, he's actually taken the fun out of trying to get rid of Moammar Qaddafi. Moammar Qaddafi!

He's like a guy trying to seduce a woman while insisting that they partake in "kinetic sexual activity" as per the guidelines of the campus committee on romantic congress. (Actually, I think "Kinetic Military Action" is what Bill Murray got in that chest at General Barnicke's house in Stripes.).

Still, I worry that the Right's reaction may come back to haunt us. First of all, it's quite possible that Qaddafi is gone inside a couple weeks (I'm not saying it's likely, just that it is well within the realm of possibility). All of the protests about the lack of a rationale, the failure to get congressional approval, the subordination of our national security to the U.N., etc., could seem tinny and small if this ends well and relatively quickly.

Obviously, that alone doesn't detract from the merits of many (though not all) criticisms. But does the Right really want to erase the commander-in-chief's prerogative to take out mad dogs like Moammar when the opportunity arises? I mean, this isn't like taking out some African dictator. Qaddafi's crimes against the U.S. are well known. And there should be no statute of limitations for them. Do we really want to forgive and forget all of that?

To listen to some of my friends, the answer seems to be, "Yes."

But I'm not so sure this is all about spiting Obama. I think some of us may be exhibiting a delayed backlash against the Iraq War and exhaustion with the Afghan conflict. The Right tolerated mistakes, misjudgments, and staggering military expenditures under Bush in pursuit of a vastly more ambitious agenda. Now, when Obama undertakes a considerably more modest undertaking -- albeit in a decidedly annoying and incoherent fashion -- many conservatives shout "Enough!"

As I've written many times, I think something similar explains the tea parties. They, too, are a kind of delayed Bush backlash. But there's a key difference. Yes, Bush was a big spender and an expander of government, but he was a piker compared to Obama. To mirror what he has done on the domestic front, Obama would need to be announcing a full-scale invasion of Australia.

Beware the Hypocrisy Trap
There's a natural tendency in politics to adopt your opponents' lowest standards as your own. For example, the Left has spent much of the last decade insisting that conservatives are sleazy, slanderous, dishonest, and mercenary and then -- often in the same breath -- they'll say liberals need to adopt the very same tactics. Recently, many folks on the right have been sounding very similar. We need to use Alinskyite methods to fight the Alinskyites!

This, in a nutshell, is the hypocrisy trap. Yes, liberals are hypocrites for not shouting "Chickenhawk!" at Obama. But conservatives would be just as hypocritical for shouting "Chickenhawk!" at Obama. More to the point, the argument over the proper application of the term "chickenhawk" completely leaves out the question of whether the underlying policy was wrong or right. FDR was a chickenhawk, World War II was good policy. Remember?

Again, it is very difficult to make this point about Obama's policy because it is entirely unclear that he has one. But amidst all of the shouting, it's worth keeping in mind.

The Big If
Now, all of that is completely moot and stupid if the real goal of this enterprise doesn't involve killing or exiling Qaddafi. If we don't get rid of him, it will be a colossal error for which we will pay a terrible price for years to come. On this I am totally with Adam Garfinkle:

As I have said, a Qaddafi left armed and dangerous when the dust settles is an unacceptable outcome. Civilian planes will likely start failing out the sky, as did the one over Lockerbie; assassination attempts will multiply, like the attempted Libyan-backed murder of the Saudi king in 2003; al-Qaeda and affiliates might be aided and abetted to do Lord-knows-what to the Italians, the French, the British and, of course, to us. With nothing to lose, and way beyond the threshold of worrying about sanctions and such, Qaddafi could well become more dangerous than ever. If I were Silvio Berlusconi, in particular, I'd pick my future whorehouses with extreme care.

The only thing I think Garfinkle gets wrong here is the bit about Berlusconi's whorehouses. I'm pretty sure, he gets his whores delivered (and in 30 minutes or less or his first [expletive deleted] is free).

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Social Chaos in one chart

Hypergamy is the desire and tendency of women to 'marry up' for security.  With plummeting male labor participation and education rates and soaring conviction rates, the proportion of women who will never find a suitable mate is soaring.  The result is modern, clinical polygamy, spelling chaos for our society.

We are lions led by donkeys.

On media and ministry

Daryl Madi sent me a link to something Phil Cooke wrote - it's pretty insightful but there is nothing particularly earth shattering about what he says:

Be creative!
Understand that it's what people perceive, not what you say!
Use language that the culture understands!
Branding is a key part of the message!
Narrow cast to niches!

Pretty standard stuff, really - anyone paying attention in ministry knows this.

Yet we also have to admit that most churches probably don't do any of these things very well. And in my humble opinion this has far more to do with the way ministries make decisions and manage risk than it does with any lack of knowledge or capability.

It seems to me that most Churches have two classes of decision-making: those under scriptural authority and the more mundane, administrative or human ones. For the first type we are (thankfully) a bit of a skilled dictatorship - delegating the decisions to trained pastors who's writ is absolute subject to the oversight of the session, Presbytery etc.

Everything else - the 'administrative stuff' we treat as negotiable and therefore subject to committees and consensus because unlike doctrine, there is no capital T truth involved in how we mow the lawn. This has historically applied to a lot of stuff that we now call 'branding', 'media' or 'communications'. This is because these items in the industrial age were physical elements somewhat separated from the preaching of the word. The venue was a building, the newsletter was printing.

What has happened is that as Marshall McLuhan famously said: 'The Medium has (at least in part) become the Message' - preaching is linked to communication media is linked to feedback which initiates subsidiary threads that spread in all directions with little or no mediation by the center. And all online. Telling where the authoritative 'message' leaves off and the non-authoritative 'medium' starts is getting harder and harder.

And this is compounded by shorter and shorter comm. cycles: Tsunami hits? If you want to be relevant you'd better be messaging that night.

This (in my humble, if long winded opinion) has implications:

1. The scope of 'authority' where worship or ministry leaders need to be able to make decisions quickly is expanding from just the spoken and written word to a whole host of communications media and design elements.

2. The scope of things in these areas that can be consigned to administrative processes that demand consensus and committees to get things done is shrinking.

3. The pace and sheer 'strangeness' of change makes it hard to 'focus group' the congregation to reduce innovation risk. The tools and techniques are inexpensive and easy enough to use that the market testing can be done in real time with ‘live ammo' so to speak.

4. This means that many more things can be done and tried but because we have no valid way to test them, each of them carries far more risk of failure. Which we need to learn to accept.

5. Therefore we need to shift the way we govern many of these things so that empowered ministry leaders can act subject to ex post oversight rather than a priori approval. The role of the oversight - much like that for pastors on doctrinal issues - would be to ensure directional correctness, risk management and appropriate resource allocation, not detailed decisions or approvals prior to execution.

And most existing congregations won't be able to do this. Which is why they will stagnate, wither and die. Schumpetarian 'creative destruction' applies to the church just as much as the secular world.

Perhaps more so.

Intellectuals and Abbatiors...

Reminds me of this Neal Stephenson quote: “The twentieth century was one in which limits on state power were removed in order to let the intellectuals run with the ball, and they screwed everything up and turned the century into an abattoir. . . . We Americans are the only ones who didn’t get creamed at some point during all of this. We are free and prosperous because we have inherited political and value systems fabricated by a particular set of eighteenth-century intellectuals who happened to get it right. But we have lost touch with those intellectuals.”
Hat tip Instapundit

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's about the Benjamins. It's always about the Benjamins.

IN FLORIDA, faculty unions go into overdrive. What’s got them upset: a bill that “would bar any public union from automatically deducting dues from members’ paychecks.” That really seems to be the sticking point, doesn’t it?
Hattip, instpaundit.


FLIP, MEET FLOP: Howard Dean: You know what’s sometimes worth doing? Military intervention in the Middle East. Plus, from the comments: “And then we’re going to Bahrain, and Qatar, and Kuwait, and UAE, and Saudi Arabia….YEEEEAARRGH!” Heh.

Lord I love this country!  Hattip Instapundit

Today's real class war

"Many of the protesters [in Michigan and Wisconsin] seem to think the war is between rich and poor," says Michael LaFaive of the Midland, Michigan-based Mackinac Center for Public Policy. "But the real class war today is between government and the people who pay for it. And the government's been winning."

Hat Tip Carpe Diem

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Another day another bankrupt government program

The WSJ on the impending bankruptcy of the Social Security Disability fund.  It seems the states have been looting it...surprise, surprise, surprise.

Relative death rates from different energy sources

Now how many people do you think understand this?  Certainly none of our glorious media do....hat tip Seth Godin.

Holy Engels, Batman: US has the most progressive tax system in the OECD?

The rich in America pay more taxes in relation to their share of national income than in any other rich, developed nation in the world.  The greedy bastards.  Note that the United States, Australia and Canada -among the countries with the highest shares paid by the rich - are also the nations with the most decentralized and classically liberal political institutions that are the least dominated by central elites.  It seems that when the elites get power they use it to reward.....themselves.  Gee, I wonder what one would call that?  Ooh! ooh!  I know!  I know!:  Social 'Democracy'.  Hat Tip Carpe Diem

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Bush doctrine: 8 years old and going strong

James Taranto and Glenn Reynolds make a fascinating discovery:

As bombs started falling on Libya Saturday, blogger Glenn Reynolds noticed something striking: "Hey, it's exactly 8 years to the day since Bush started bombing Iraq!" Eight years--which is to say, Barack Obama ordered the bombing of an Arab dictatorship at precisely the same point in his presidency that George W. Bush did.
Hope and change, indeed.

On Coercion

I was flipping through an old magazine recently.  It had an article about Mao's China during the "Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution" - perhaps the largest exercise in mass indoctrination ever attempted.  For years tens of millions of Chinese were subjected to constant threats and harangues by ideologues in an attempt to create the 'new socialist man'.  You see, the Marxists believe that man is tabula rasa - a blank slate that can be filled with whatever the social engineers deem 'correct'.  The GPCR was an attempt to wipe the slates of 800 million Chinese clean  and fill them with Maoist thought.

Yet within a few short years of this most magnificent of coercions, the same Chinese who lockstep chanted "Mao is the great Helmsman" and rhythmically shook his little red book, had turned into the world's  greatest capitalists - speculating with abandon in Shanghai condo developments and riding in stretch Mercedes limousines.

How could this happen?  How could the most intensive education and behavior modification in the history of the world be overturned simply by the death of one old mass murderer?  How could all of those years of indoctrination turn to nothing?  What had gone wrong?

I didn't really understand the answer until I was required under the terms of my divorce to go to a court mandated class on 'parenting'.  You see, the legislature of the Great State of Missouri, in its infinite wisdom, decreed that anyone divorcing with minor children must submit to reeducation or be punished.

When I made the appointment to go to the class the lady on the phone warned me not to be late.  Ok, I said.  The class was at the Shrewsbury Community Center - I had a hard time finding it but made it with three minutes to spare.  No problem.  Only there were no signs and the center was a rambling facility.  Finally, after five minutes of searching I found the class:  sign-less, on the top floor, in the last classroom at the end of the last corridor.  I ran up:  2 minutes late:  "I'm sorry, sir, you're late, you can't go in...and be sure you bring $100 next time, you'll have to pay for that class and the missed one."

I looked in the class through the window:  the woman in charge was droning on to thirty or so bored adults, virtually none of whom were paying any attention to her.   So why would people suffering the pain of divorce with all of its poverty, chaos, and emotional agony give up their precious time and money only to ignore some mental health 'professional' telling them how to be parents?

Simple:  they were coerced.  Fail to go to the course, fail to pay the woman her money, fail to sit in the class and ignore her barking and the state would punish them.  Why?  For what?  Because.  The State has the gun and we have to take it.  How did such a pointless and cruel result come to pass?  Surely our leaders would not pile burdens that have no point upon people already bowed down by divorce, would they?  But the mental health 'professional' lobby is very strong in our state and they have persuaded both the 'family values' right and the 'therapeutic reeducation' left that what us marital 'losers' really need is to be told how to raise our children.

No doubt many of the participants in my (erstwhile) class had relational problems and could have benefited from coaching on how to be a better parent.  But it was obvious that virtually none of them were paying any attention whatsoever.  Indeed, the ones most in need of the training were the ones most likely to ignore the instructor.  This is when it hit me:  it's the coercion, stupid.  Just like the Chinese who threw off their 'New Socialist Man' personas the second the guns were no longer trained on them, these American divorcees were responding in the time honored manner of the coerced everywhere.  They were in effect saying:  "you can move my body, take my money, even compel my lips to say your lines but you cannot, you will not rule my mind."

And this is the crux of our criminalized 'mental health' state isn't it?  All of the punishment and threats and coercion and 'therapy', all of the guns in people's backs can cause a lot of words to be spoken, a lot of money to change hands.  But it cannot reform men or redeem their souls.

Because we will not be saved at the point of a gun.

The answer: Republican

The question:  "What party will gain a Senate seat from Missouri in 2012"

This is not what happens when  you lie down with fleas.  This is what happens when you elect one.

Ms. McKaskill is the leader of the 'responsible', 'moderate' wing of the Missouri Democratic party. Of course, she and three circus midgets now constitute the entire 'moderate' wing of the party, moderate being defined as either extremely money motivated (Monsieur et Madame McKaskill) or having the ability to be shot more than 100 yards out of a cannon and survive (the midgets).

This is fun, more please.

The most amazing event in world history has happened during our lifetimes

Sometimes with all of the hysteria we forget just how amazing our time is.  In the period roughly coinciding with America's global hegemony (rivaled but never truly challenged by Russia) the world has experienced a spectacular reduction in absolute poverty.  This has coincided with many things that our intelligentsia hate:  capitalism, globalization, free trade, the rise of the multi-national.  To oversimplify:  the world has become far more like the hegemon and the result is a reduction in human misery never before experienced in the history of the world.

And our global 'elites' dream and conspire and rage for the day when the United States is no longer pre-eminent and capitalism is 'humbled' by politics.

I wonder what the world's hungry, disenfranchised poor think?  Hat tip Carpe Diem

The only institution that Obama didn't consult: The US Congress

Diplomad points out the irony of a President so 'internationalist' and 'multi-lateral' that he ignores his own nation's duly constituted government when making a decision to go to war.  Hat tip Jim Geraghty

Anonymous, self-described, long-time foreign-service officer DiploMad returns to blogging with some thoughts on Libya:

Does Obama consult with the US Congress? Bush did that, remember? Does he ask Congress for an expression of support for the use of military power? Bush, did that, and we still hear from the left that he got insufficient authorization. No. Obama and Clinton get permission from the UN, the EU, and the Arab League instead. I guess when you're a liberal, that's all that counts. No need to bother with the Congress or in making a case to the American people.

So, now we are in a war with no clear objective: Is it to establish a "No Fly Zone," or get Qaddafi out? What if we get a NFZ, which our military will establish quickly, but Qaddafi doesn't go or continues his war without aircraft? What then? Are we on the hook to protect Libyans from Libyans? How long before the pictures of dead and dying Libyans, supposedly killed by our missiles and bombs, have the UN, the Euros, and the Arab League backing out? Guess who will get left holding the bag of sand?

I think the Tom Petty classic describes our (permanently, endlessly) rookie administration perfectly:

 "Into the great wide open, out in the sky so blue, into the great wide open, a (leader) without a clue"

This is why I call it fascism - anti-war seems to have been monstly anti-Bush/anti-Republican

Fascism is a philosophy of power:  it places the acquisition and exercise of political power above all other human endeavors.  Thus for the fascist, there is no 'right' or 'true' political position save one that increases the fascist's access to the levers of power.  This is on display today as millions of erstwhile 'anti-war' activists are making like crickets.  Yes, there are protests from the reliable (and principled, non-fascist, albeit deranged) pacifists and hard leftists.  But the power left across the globe is either whooping up the intervention or remaining studiously silent.  Contrast this with the hysteria in Wisconsin over changes to state employee status that would still leave them with more privileges than Federal workers have.  In Wisconsin, the fascists' power was threatened so no effort was too strenuous.  In a leftist led war scenario?  Not so much.  History is a great teacher, isn't she?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

And two more years of this 'leadership'

How's That Hopey-Changey Stuff Workin' Out for Ya?
  • "I will restore our moral standing, so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future."--Barack Obama, Democratic National convention, Aug. 28, 2008
  • "As Crises Unfold Around Him, Obama Seems Curiously Unengaged"--headline, Globe and Mail (Toronto), March 18, 2011
  • "Barak Obama: The Weakest President in History?"--headline, Daily Express (London), March 18, 2011
Hat tip WSJ

True - Sowell Style | Why are so many people who are opposed to development nevertheless in favor of "redevelopment"?
The short answer is that development involves decisions made in the market by large numbers of people in the general population, in their own personal interests, while redevelopment involves taking decisions out of the hands of the population at large and putting the power to make those decisions in the hands of elites.

The gale of creative destruction has turned into a hurricane for these industries

Technology, when allowed to be deployed in competitive markets creates, transforms and destroys at an amazing rate.  As these industries to their chagrin are discovering:

From the Special Report "Dying Industries" from ISISWorld: 

"While the U.S. economy is headed further into recovery, not every industry is performing well. Industries go through life cycles, and largely speaking, these are growth, maturity and decline. Even in a recovery, declining industries continue to underperform, and within IBISWorld’s database of close to 700 industries, about 200 are in their decline phase. Of these 200, IBISWorld has identified10 industries that may be on the verge of extinction in the United States:

1. Wired Telecommunications Carriers 
2. Mills 
3. Newspaper Publishing  
4. Apparel Manufacturing 
5. DVD, Game & Video Rental  
6. Manufactured Home Dealers 
7. Video Postproduction Services 
8. Record Stores 
9. Photofinishing 
10. Formal Wear & Costume Rental 

Just in case anyone wants to step beyond nuclear hysteria and deal with, you know, reality

Now isn't this special

Wisconsin Dems are stalling on implementation of the law restricting union bargaining so politicians in Dem controlled counties and towns can rush through generous deals for their favorite constituency:  themselves.  Ann Althouse has much more here.

On Monday the Associated Press reported that "La Follette said Monday he decided to delay publication of the law until the latest day possible, March 25, to give those local governments as much time as possible to reach agreements" locking in generous contract terms. That is, he is using his discretion to benefit a favored Democratic constituency at the expense of taxpayers--an action that is completely legal but far from public-spirited.