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How Liberty Dies

November 10, 2011 2 comments

If you didn’t catch it you should check out the little ceremony for Obama’s executive order to cut wasteful spending earlier this week.  Notice 3 things.  First, as everyone who is paying attention already knows, his reelection strategy is to run against congress.  He expects us not to notice that congress is half Democrats and that the Republicans in the House have passed twenty-some odd bills that are now stalled in the Democrat-controlled Senate and that Obama is spending all his time traveling around making speeches about how the Congress won’t do anything and none of his time actually trying to work out a deal with congress to do something.  But this is not the thing we should be concerned about.

The real intention of all of this (or at least the effect) is to make congress irrelevant.  Notice that they make this signing of an executive (here are some others) order look just like the signing of a bill.  Also notice (number 3) that Obama actually calls it a bill right before signing it, and after repeating several times that we don’t need to wait for congress to act, we can take actions even if congress won’t act, etc.  It’s about time we asked ourselves “what can’t the president do without congress?”  I guess he can’t pass laws.  He has to call them “regulations.”  He can’t pass a spending bill.  Wait wasn’t this an executive order to cut spending?  (Just wait until the next time congress tries not to raise the debt limit.)  Well he can’t declare wa–wait, nevermind…….

Remember progressives do things progressively.  If they want to make congress irrelevant they don’t just come out and say “hey we think congress should be made irrelevant.”  They just sort of gradually get you used to the idea by making the signing of a bill and an executive order look the same until you don’t really notice the difference.  And of course this is always done at first over issues that nobody would complain about like cutting wasteful spending.  Then later on they say “well we’ve been doing it for a long time and nobody complained before, this is just racism…”  Remember this.  This president who was supposed to usher in a new era of government transparency tried to issue an “executive rule” making it legal for the administration to flat-out lie to Freedom of Information Act requests.  Their justification was that they’ve been lying for a long time, they just want to make it legal, it’s really not a big deal.  This is how liberty dies–progressively.

Categories: Politics Tags: ,

A New Public-Private Partnership

February 4, 2011 3 comments

There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about Obama’s appointment of General Electric President Jeffrey Immelt as head of the White House Council on Jobs and Competitiveness signifying a newfound dedication by Obama to create a more business friendly environment.  Here is an example.  This, however couldn’t be further from the truth.  Immelt is a progressive who has been at Obama’s side all along.  This is exactly how progressives have always operated.  Let’s take a look at the history.

Recall the true story of the robber barons from a previous post.  Most of the “exploitation” that happened in the 19th century was not carried out via free market capitalism it was a result of so-called “capitalists” buying influence in the government and using it to get subsidies, raise prices, restrict competition and form cartels/monopolies.  The market can’t exploit you because it can’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do.  The only thing that can force you to do something against your will is the government. 

Fast forward to the great depression and observe another so-called “capitalist” Herbert Hoover who explained his approach to economic recovery in his memoirs:

With the October-November stock-market crash the primary question at once arose as to whether the President and the Federal government should undertake to mitigate and remedy the evils stemming from it.  No President before had ever believed there was a governmental responsibility in such cases.  no matter what the urging on previous occasions.  Presidents steadfastly had maintained that the Federal government was apart from such eruptions; they had always been left to blow themselves out.  presidents Van Buren, Grant, Cleveland and Theodore Roosevelt had all remained aloof…*

Hoover, however, did not remain aloof.  Instead he formed a vast “public-private partnership”.”  In November 1929, speaking to a group of industrialists Hoover said:

[Your agreement is] an advance in the whole conception of the relationship of business to public welfare.  You represent the business of the United States, undertaking through your own voluntary action to contribute something very definite to the advancement of stability and progress in our economic life.  This is a far cry from the arbitrary and dog-eat-dog attitude of the business world of some thirty or forty years ago.

In January of the following year an editorial in the American Federationist, a labor union publication proclaimed:

The President’s conference has given industrial leaders a new sense of their responsibilities….Never before have they been called upon to act together…[I]n earlier recessions they have acted individually to protect their own interests and…have intensified depressions.”

Thank God industrial leaders didn’t intensify the depression of 1929 by acting in their own selfish interests, or it might have gotten bad…. Hoover’s treasury secretary Andrew Mellon (who was not really a supporter of Hoover’s interference) characterized the situation as follows:

In this country, there has been a concerted and determined effort on the part of both government and business not only to prevent any reduction in wages but to keep the maximum number of men employed, and thereby to increase consumption.

After several years of  “advancing stability and progress in economic life,” we were, not surprisingly, still in a deep recession.  The public/private partnership continued however under FDR’s National Recovery Administration.  That’s the name progressives gave to big business getting together and setting prices and standards for their industries that would not allow smaller businesses to compete and having government enforce them on everyone.  You may have heard of the dry cleaner who was thrown in jail for setting his prices too low.

Maged had been pressing pants for twenty-two years and his low prices and quality work had kept him competitive with larger tailor shops in the better parts of town.  The NRA Cleaners and Dyers Code demanded that 40 cents be charged to press a suit.  Maged, despite repeated warnings, insisted on charging his customers only 35 cents.  “You can’t tell me how to run my business,” Maged insisted.  When threatened with jail, he said, “If you can send me to jail, go ahead.”

Not only was Maged thrown in jail, he was also slapped with a hundred-dollar fine.  “We think that this is the only way to enforce the NRA,” said Abraham Traube, a director of the NRA code authority for the Cleaners and Dyers Board of Trade.  “If we did the same thing in New York City we would soon get the whole industry in line.”

Carl Pharis, the owner of a tire manufacturing company in Ohio described the act.

The Government deliberately raised our prices up towards the prices at which the big companies wanted to sell, at which they could make a profit… where more easily,  with much less loss, they could come down and ‘get us’ and where, bound by N.R.A. decrees, we could not use lower prices, although we could have lowered them and still made a decent profit.

Similarly the Agricultural Adjustment Act sought to raise prices of agricultural goods by destroying crops while people went hungry.

By the time the [Agricultural Adjustment Act] became law and key people were recruited, corn, cotton, tobacco, and wheat were already planted, and livestock operations were moving along.  The contemplated output restrictions wouldn’t take effect until the following year.  So some of the New Dealers began to think their only option, if they wanted to force up farm prices soon, was to destroy crops already planted… Agriculture Department officials signed up about a million cotton farmers, and they were paid $100 million to plow under some 10 million acres of farmland….Hog farmers were paid to slaughter some 6 million baby pigs.  Economic historian Broadus Mitchell noted that “Most of this pork, under agreement of the government with the packers, became fertilizer; less than a tenth was saved as food and distributed in relief.” Mitchell added, “Over 12,000 acres of tobacco were plowed under.  California cling peaches were permitted to rot in the orchard.

So now we have the White House cozying up to the CEO of GE.  GE the parent company of the “thrill up my leg” network MSNBC which sings the praises of the Obama administration and slanders its critics 24 hours a day.  GE the maker of those stupid “green” lightbulbs that cost ten times as much as an incandescent lightbulb which but which you will be forced to buy soon thanks to the latter being declared illegal.  GE the maker of windmills which cost more to maintain than the energy they produce is worth but which the government is paying to build all over the country. 

The reason we get confused about these things is that we have been trained to see only groups and not individuals.  We see a businessman and we assume that his agenda is to help business.  But that’s almost always not the case.  The business man’s agenda is to help his business.  If you have a different business then that businessman in a position of power might not be so great for you. 

The greatest lie in history is that greedy capitalists screw everyone over through free markets but the reason it has been so successful is that it’s largely correct.  It’s true that people are greedy that’s a fact of nature, you can’t change it.  It’s true that capitalists are screwing us over.  It’s not true that they are doing it through the free market.  They are doing it with the government.  With a free market and rule of law, people’s greed drives them to compete by doing a better job, making a better product, or offering a lower price than their competitors.    It is greed combined with government that breeds destruction and disaster.  The progressive dream is to create a giant government populated by angels and have it control the greed of the less virtuous peasants.  If you can find the angels that plan wouldn’t be so bad.  As it is we need to start focussing on controlling the government.

*The quotes from this post were all taken from Robert Murphy’s excellent book The Politically Incorrec Guide to the Great Depression and the New Deal.  They are all from other sources which I am too lazy to cite.  I can provide them upon request if anybody is interested.

Obama’s North Star

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

This is the problem with Obama and the ideology of leftism.  Yesterday Obama gave what I think is probably the most defensive and combative presidential press conference of all time.  Here it is if you would like to watch the whole thing but allow me to cut through some of the fluff and highlight the key points.  He begins with this head scratcher.

This isn’t the politics of the moment, this has to do with what can we get done right now.

This actually made me laugh when he first said it until I heard him talk about medicare and social security.

So this notion that somehow we are willing to compromise too much reminds me of the debate that we had during health care. This is the public option debate all over again. So I pass a signature piece of legislation where we finally get health care for all Americans, something that Democrats had been fighting for for a hundred years, but because there was a provision in there that they didn’t get that would have affected maybe a couple of million people, even though we got health insurance for 30 million people and the potential for lower premiums for 100 million people, that somehow that was a sign of weakness and compromise.

Now, if that’s the standard by which we are measuring success or core principles, then let’s face it, we will never get anything done. People will have the satisfaction of having a purist position and no victories for the American people. And we will be able to feel good about ourselves and sanctimonious about how pure our intentions are and how tough we are, and in the meantime, the American people are still seeing themselves not able to get health insurance because of preexisting conditions or not being able to pay their bills because their unemployment insurance ran out.

That can’t be the measure of how we think about our public service. That can’t be the measure of what it means to be a Democrat. This is a big, diverse country. Not everybody agrees with us. I know that shocks people. The New York Times editorial page does not permeate across all of America. Neither does The Wall Street Journal editorial page. Most Americans, they’re just trying to figure out how to go about their lives and how can we make sure that our elected officials are looking out for us. And that means because it’s a big, diverse country and people have a lot of complicated positions, it means that in order to get stuff done, we’re going to compromise. This is why FDR, when he started Social Security, it only affected widows and orphans. You did not qualify. And yet now it is something that really helps a lot of people. When Medicare was started, it was a small program. It grew.

Under the criteria that you just set out, each of those were betrayals of some abstract ideal. This country was founded on compromise. I couldn’t go through the front door at this country’s founding. And if we were really thinking about ideal positions, we wouldn’t have a union.

See this is what they mean by “progressive.”  They are going to gradually compromise us to where they want us to go.  This will keep us from considering what is really down that road.  They just want us to think one step at a time.  And they will make each step as small as they have to in order to get us to go along.  This is an encoded message to the left, it says “look I know you guys want to go faster but you have to understand that this is how we get things done, progressively, and this is as fast as we can go right now.”  It’s not the politics of the moment it’s the politics that the moment require to move us in what he thinks is the proper long-term direction.  And then comes the most important part.  The part where he lays out the moral code which is required if one is going to be led down this path.

So my job is to make sure that we have a North Star out there. What is helping the American people live out their lives? What is giving them more opportunity? What is growing the economy? What is making us more competitive? And at any given juncture, there are going to be times where my preferred option, what I am absolutely positive is right, I can’t get done.

And so then my question is, does it make sense for me to tack a little bit this way or tack a little bit that way, because I’m keeping my eye on the long term and the long fight — not my day-to-day news cycle, but where am I going over the long term?

See Obama has four north stars (and how many more do you think he could come up with if you asked that question again in a couple weeks?).  And what is much more important than the multitude is the fact that these north stars are always moving around.  “What is helping the American people live out their lives?”  What does that mean?  That could be anything.  Whatever you want to do, you can claim that it is helping the people live out their lives.  It doesn’t actually guide you, it’s just a thing to say to make people think you are going somewhere that they want to go.  Imagine the following conversation between a sea-captain and his passenger.

Passenger: It’s so empty out here, how can you possibly tell where you are going?

Captain: Well you see I just use the four north stars.

Passenger: Four north stars?

Captain: Yeah they always point north, so I can use them to tell direction.

Passenger: Where are they?

Captain: Well one of them is over there sometimes and sometimes it’s over there….and other times it’s that way.  The other one is usually in that direction, except occasionally when it’s over there…..

There are only two possibilities: either this captain has no idea where he is going and he’s just making something up to convince you that he does, or else he does know where he is going and he doesn’t want you to know so he’s making something up that you couldn’t possibly use to figure it out.  Which one do you think we’re dealing with here?

Finally, to address his comments about the founding of the Union, first of all nobody was allowed through the front door, it was locked down tight.  But I get it, the founders were racists and we are a flawed nation that must be fixed progressively through the wise leadership of an enlightened elite who have to trick us into doing what history will eventually confirm is the right thing.  Let’s just get one thing straight though.  The country was founded on compromise, but it wasn’t compromise about values, it was compromise about the best system to further those values.  Every founder (for the most part at least) was led by the same north star.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

The disputes among the founders were over the principles and powers that were most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness, they were not compromises over which parts of your life the government should be able to control and/or sacrifice for the good of someone else and which parts they should not.  This question was ruled out by the common values that they agreed upon.  Their north star was individual liberty.  This star is always in the same place, it’s not moving around.  This star doesn’t lead you to compromise.  It might lead you to somewhere you wish you didn’t have to go sometimes, but it’s always clear where it leads.  That is, at least, if you know how to find it.

Now we compromise on values, and not surprisingly, this has taken us to a place where we have no values.  We are a boat on the open ocean and the captain is telling us “we need to go that way it’s much better over there” and we have no idea where he is taking us because we have lost our north star.    I suggest we brush up on our navigation America.

Categories: Politics Tags: , ,

“Equal Protection”

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment

So you may have heard that the Obama administration is now giving waivers releasing certain companies from the requirements of the healthcare bill because it is forcing them to drop their current healthcare policies and dump their employees into the public “exchange.”  This is exactly the kind of thing I said would happen before the bill was passed but it seems to have caught them by surprise.  Maybe the reason is that they applied the same method of induction when considering the bill as Robert Gibbs today who was asked what they would do when every business ended up asking for an exemption and replied that they don’t think that will happen because it hasn’t happened so far…..

The other explanation of course, is that they did know that this would happen and they want it to because it allows them to micromanage the economy.  They can just pass a law which would put everyone out of business and then give waivers to the people they like.  That sounds fair right?  But don’t worry because democrats hate big corporations like McDonalds I’m sure they will use their power to hurt them and help the family owned restaurant down the street.

You Wouldn’t Want to be Disrespectful Now Would You?

July 27, 2010 2 comments

Ok, this is what I was actually looking for but I think I stumbled on an important point in the previous post.  Remember this: “when they don’t have any relevant facts to bring up they will always bring up irrelevant facts and obscure the argument.”  Then watch Obama’s interview with Bret Baier (part 1 can easily be found as well if you want to see the whole thing).  I am fighting the urge here to go through this interview word for word and point out how Obama never answers a single question but the main point I want to make is actually not about the interview.  What you need to notice about it though are two things. 

First, as I said, Baier asks a number of direct questions about facts and Obama never answers any of them.  Second, every question Baier asks requires him to interrupt the president.  It is not as though he isn’t letting him talk, there are long periods where the president goes on and on about things that are completely unrelated to the question he was asked.  But he never stops talking on his own.  If Bret Baier had never interrupted, Obama would have spent the whole interview “answering” the first question.  The reason for this is obvious.  He doesn’t want to answer the questions and the more time he can spend making vague ideological statements with little meaning, the fewer concrete questions can be asked.  Also, this makes Baier look rude.  Here is Bret Baier describing it in his own words.

Now for the big point, look at this and consider the absurdity of the statement “as this montage will show it was hard going, hard for him to get in a sentence, at least a full one.”  They literally cut out all the sentences that Obama said and then offered the doctored clip with them removed as proof that he was unable to finish a sentence.  And then the argument from intimidation begins.  They refer to Baier as “that character,” they laugh (the laugh is key, they always do this, it implies that it’s so obvious that they are correct that any attempt to argue with them would be a complete joke and therefore no actual argument in their defense is necessary), they trivialize it by comparing him to the White House party crashers, they say it was disrespectful, and they imply that if you even watch Fox, you are probably an imbecile.

Frankly, I think he did score some points, not with loyal Fox viewers but there might have been a few independents who were watching….

Most notably they actually betray the true nature of their strategy when they say

Every time they wanna go around telling us that they’re a news channel and not an opinion channel I think somebody should play that montage because that was extraordinary.

Think about what this statement actually means.  Every time Fox claims to be a real news organization someone should counter that by playing a doctored clip of nothing but interruptions.  Do not fight with facts!  Just show something that makes them look “disrespectful.”  Oh and it helps if you laugh a lot while you’re doing it.  All of this is designed to accomplish one simple purpose, to discourage people from asking questions and seeking out the facts.

By the way, there were in fact seven interruptions in that montage not 16 or 17.  Remember that time on Countdown when Keith Olberman made Chris Matthews look like a complete moron for not being able to count?  Me neither.  I guess I missed that one…

The War on Fox

July 26, 2010 2 comments

Here is Howard Dean blaming Fox News for the Shirley Sherrod incident and calling them racist.  When asked the question “are you aware that Fox News never mentioned Sherrod before she was fired” Dean refuses to answer and instead claims that she was “about to be on Glenn Beck” which is a flat-out lie.  Meanwhile, when an MSNBC commentator invites someone on who “disagrees with them completely” you get a lively debate like this one.  (Notice how he says that Obama’s surrogates such as the Democratic National committee should deal with these issues and notice who was the chairman of the Democratic National committee until last year.)

If you haven’t read it, you must read The Argument From Intimidation.  Then notice the language they use–scorpions, liars, sleeze-artists, smear-artists, clowns–and understand that what Maddow is describing in the case of the birther issue and calling for more of is exactly this tactic.  Now I am not a birther, but one can’t help but wonder why the administration doesn’t just release the long-form birth certificate that the guy in that clip was asking for.  I suspect that the reason is that they relish the opportunity to make their opponents look like racists.  In a stunning bit of hypocrisy, here is Maddow in another rant about Fox News causing the Sherrod controversy saying

“Fox News continually crusades on flagrantly bogus stories designed to make white Americans fear black Americans, which Fox News most certainly does for a political purpose, even if it upends the lives of individuals like Shirley Sherrod, even as it frays the fabric of the nation and even as it makes the American dream more of a dream and less of a promise.”

and then following it up by declaring that what really matters is the facts.  But there is not a single fact in the above quote, it’s all hyperbole, and the entire segment is really about making Bill O’reilly look like a jerk for calling her “madame.” In fact, when she talks about Glenn Beck and Van Jones, she never actually says that any of the claims that Beck made were untrue, she just implies that they are.  In fact, she never addresses the simple fact that O’reilly was trying to point out, namely that Fox News never mentioned Shirley Sherrod until after the administration had fired her.  This seems like an important fact in this debate does it not?  In fact I challenge you to find any clip anywhere on MSNBC mentioning this fact (in order to avoid playing the same game as them I will say outwardly that you might be able to, I actually wish you would try.  I don’t watch them that regularly but I haven’t seen it.  Just for fun here is another gem where they revive the old “vast right-wing conspiracy” language).

The response by the White House to the birther issue that Maddow is such a fan of, is not based on fact.  I think that in that case the facts actually are on their side but they didn’t just release the proof and let the facts speak for themselves.  Here is what Hayworth is saying in the clip they show from his radio show:

“Questions continue, and until president Obama signs his name and in fact has the records revealed, the questions will remain.”

Is there an endorsement of “birtherism” in there?  What I see is a request for facts.  For the record, I have no idea whether  Hayworth is a birther or not, but this quote doesn’t make him one, it just makes him someone who wants a direct answer to a question.  But they put his picture next to two nut-jobs and say that they’re the same.  Similarly when the man asks Robert Gibbs for the same thing, he is laughed at and his question ignored. 

Instead of taking a clear stand and relying on the facts, they chose to impeach the character of those who questioned the facts.  They are actually demonizing the act of questioning the facts!  You may think it doesn’t matter because it’s a stupid issue but what happens if someone comes out and accuses the administration of something that actually is true?  They are creating a climate where questioning the facts doesn’t get you simple answers it just gets you called a racist and a wingnut.  They are establishing a pattern of arguing only with the character of their opponent while simultaneously claiming that it’s the facts that matter.