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Thursday, January 14, 2010

James Madison on AID to HAITIAN REFUGEES (1794)

No one can deny the overwhelming need of the Haitian refugees who have been affected by the devastating earthquake. May our hearts, prayers and money speedily aid of them.

With that said, it was interesting to note that in 1794, the US Congress was faced with this very same dilemma, as to what exactly the role of the federal government was in instances such as these--specifically with regards to HAITI. The following is from the 1st session of the 3rd Congress when Madison led votes against granting assistance to French refugees from the Haitian revolution in 1794.

Annals of Congress, House of Representatives, 3rd Congress, 1st Session, page 170 (1794-01-10) [3]. The Annals summarize speeches in the third person, with the actual text of Madison's quote as follows:"Mr. Madison wished to relieve the sufferers, but was afraid of establishing a dangerous precedent, which might hereafter be perverted to the countenance of purposes very different from those of charity. He acknowledged, for his own part, that he could not undertake to lay his finger on that article in the Federal Constitution which granted a right of Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
The expense in question was for French refugees from the Haitian Revolution.
This is the instance which gave rise to Madison's famous quote:
"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." --James Madison


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hazlitt Speaks to our Time...

Over fifty years ago (1946), economist Henry Hazlitt commented on the panic bailouts of 2008:
"The lobbies of Congress are crowded with representatives of the X industry. The X industry is sick. The X industry is dying. It must be saved. It can be saved only by a tariff, by higher prices, or by a subsidy. If it is allowed to die, workers will be thrown on the streets. Their landlords, grocers, butchers, clothing stores and local motion pictures will lose business, and depression will spread in ever-widening circles. But if industry X, by prompt action of Congress, is saved--ah then! It will buy equipment from other industries; more men will be employed; they will hive more business to the butchers, bakers and neon-light makers, and then it is prosperity that will spread in ever-widening circles."
In his own time, it was the silver and coal subsidy. The Treasury was forced to "acquire, at ridiculous prices far above the market level, hoards of unnecessary silver, and store it in vaults." Similarly, the fixing of the price of coal, below which it could not fall, accelerated the movement of consumers from coal to oil and natural gas.

What is the end result of a bailout? In Hazlitt's words, any attempt to save the X industry by a direct subsidy out of the public till would:
" nothing more than a transfer of wealth or income to the X industry. The taxpayers would lose precisely as much of the people in the X industry gained...And consumers, because they are taxed to support the X industry, will have that much less income with which to buy other things. The result must be that other industries on the average must be smaller than otherwise in order that the X industry may be larger. But the result of this subsidy is not merely that there has been a transfer of wealth or income, or that other industries have shrunk in aggregate as much as X industry has expanded. The net result is also...that the capital and labor are driven out of industries in which they are more efficiently employed to be diverted to an industry in which they are less efficiently employed. Less wealth is created."


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Working with the Boss's Son

I've been brooding over this topic for some time now, but I've got to make a comment. First let me emphasize how great and generous my employers are. These guys would give the shirt off of their backs to help one of their employees who is down on their luck (with construction workers, that seems more often than not). More than a few employees have left the company heavily in debt to my bosses, so they hardly fit the left's mold of greedy, hard-hearted capitalists titans. In that light, I begin.

I was walking down the hallway today after completing some work on a legal motion. In what has become a common occurrence, I looked into the office of the Boss' Son. I guess my shoes weren't striking the travertine tiles hard enough, because he didn't bother to stir from his slumber. In fact it took some tenacious throat clearing on my part to even get a bob of the guy's head. I could understand dozing off after pulling a late night in order to meet a work deadline, but when filing, even one document per day, becomes too great a burden, his paycheck, no matter how large, mocks the efforts of everyone else in the office.

Maybe I wouldn't mind if he no longer lived in his parents' basement, commonly bathed, shaved, brushed his teeth, or looked in the mirror before arriving at work. Maybe I wouldn't take notice if he didn't singlehandedly clear out the company's soft drink supply room by devouring twelve Coke's per day (not an exaggeration). Maybe I wouldn't be so embarrassed when investors and clients came to the office if he actually tucked in his shirt, rotated his jeans at least quarterly, and tied the shoelaces on his white Reebok high tops.

I ask I expecting too much? After all, none of those things are required in the 'virtual world' in which he lives.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Windmills for Suckers: Pickens' Genocidal Plan

Ouch!!!! This article appears in the Science & Technology section of the August 22, 2008 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.
"Unless you want to kill people by energy starvation, wind is useless for an industrial society. It is intermittent, unreliable, subsidy dependent, with high costs and low energy density, and, for these reasons, wind requires a full-time back-up power source."


"Obstructing Official Business"

Despite all of the China's "progress," their people are still slaves. Read the following excerpt and I will explain below. For over a decade, Ni Yulan, 47, has been a prominent rights activist and lawyer fighting against Kelo (Chinese style) government land grabs in Beijing.

"They stuck the demolition notice on our front door," Dong said, (Ni's Husband)

"Nobody came to talk with us, there were no negotiations for compensation, no public hearings."

As all land belongs to the state in China, local officials enjoy immense powers to determine land-use rights, and critics say residents and farmers are often forcefully evicted in shady deals between the government and developers.

Ni was charged with "obstructing official business", and she has been in custody ever since although she has not appeared in court.

Sound familiar to the creeping property law changes in our own country? First, the Public Use Clause was "reinterpreted." Since that bulwark has been breached, look forward to the time when the Just Compensation Clause will be eviscerated.

It's only a matter of time till we witness American versions of Ni Yulan playing out all across the fruited plain. Why might you ask? Because both the federal government, and the states alike, have moved away from their ultimate and primary purpose--that of preserving private property and personal safety--to seizing the property of one class of citizen for the service of the rest.

One cannot be free when the fruits of their labor can be arbitrarily stripped from him by force. Property rights are inextricably intertwined with human rights. They cannot be separated. Former United States Supreme Court Justice George Sutherland stated it this way:
It is not the right of property which is protected, but the right to property. Property, per se, has no rights; but the individual--the man--has three great rights, equally sacred from arbitrary interference; the RIGHT TO HIS LIFE, the RIGHT TO HIS LIBERTY, and the RIGHT TO HS PROPERTY. These three rights are so bound together as to be essentially ONE right. To give a man his life, but deny him his liberty, is to take from him all that makes his life worth living. To give him liberty but to take from him the property which is the fruit and badge of his liberty, is to still leave him a slave." (From speech to the NY Bar Assn.)


Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama's BC$ Intervention

Having graduated from a "Mid-Major" college, President Elect Obama's threat on 60 Minutes "throw his weight around" (which, even while wearing his empty suit drenched in water, probably doesn't amount to much more than 175 lbs) in order to get the BC$ replaced by an eight team national playoff system, was music to my ears. The problem is that, if the "Wall Street Bailout" is any indicator, Occidental, Columbia and Harvard (Obama's alma mater), despite their lack of merit, will all soon be receiving an "automatic bid" to the playoff. Those greedy politicians just can't seem to resist funneling prizes to their friends.

While I wholeheartedly agree that no sport should ever be decided by a computer, or bunch of balding news desk-bound sports reporters, the idea of seeing the federal government intervene in college football is a little absurd, don't ya think? This is almost as grand as McCain proposing to propose a steroid czar to fix a problem that has already been rectified.

Here's the Quote:
The interview ended on a question about creating a college football playoff system for the national championship, with Obama calling for three rounds and potentially three more weeks to the season.

"I don't know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this," he said. "I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."


Friday, November 14, 2008

Just in Time for Christmas

In the past two days (and just in time for Christmas), two of the nation's most influential editorial pages have weighed in on "public square" controversy brewing in Pleasant Grove, Utah--hardly a hotbed of social activism. All I can say is get ready for the day when your Christian Creche will be "balanced" by the atheists' singing Kansas' All we are is Dust in the Wind right next door.

The crux of the controversy in Pleasant Grove City v. Summum is that some ACLU lawyers, in order to make a name for themselves, dared a few members of some new-aged-Star-Trek-pseudo-religion to file a complaint against Pleasant Grove in order to have its teachings displayed on the grounds of Pioneer Park. Sounds funny, but let there be no doubt. Ultimately, this case is about one thing and one thing only--universal removal of religious monuments from the public square. It's not about "tolerance" or "inclusion." If it were, the attorneys would not have chosen so peculiar a plaintiff. After all, I highly doubt that there is a massive groundswell of support for this group's teachings to be placed in the park. The lawyers are simply trying to make a point. It was not long ago that the Supreme Court began its open hostility to religion (read Christianity) and it is being waged intensely under our noses.

It's interesting (but unsurprising) to note the divergent positions taken by these two papers. The NY Times frames the issue thusly:
The real problem is that Pleasant Grove City elevated one religion, traditional Christianity, over another, Summum...There is no shortage of churches, synagogues and private parcels of land where the Ten Commandments could be displayed without the need to include the credos of alternative faiths. Public property like Pioneer Park must be open to all religions on an equal basis — or open to none at all.
Aha! The last line reveals their true intentions. The WSJ, however, has a different view:
The common-sense argument against Summum's claim, which the U.S. Solicitor General made to the Supreme Court, was that it would cause a clutter of public monuments. If a city let private donors contribute a memorial to local boys who died in the Iraq war, would it have to accept another group's monument to pacifism? As Chief Justice Roberts asked yesterday, "Do we have to put any president who wants to be on Mt. Rushmore?"(As of now, perhaps.)...This is the sort of case that cries out for the judicial wisdom of Solomon, long dead in the U.S. Indeed it was the departure from common-sense wisdom that pitched the country into endless legal thickets
With the election of Barack Obama you can expect that the left wing radicals will be emboldened on every front. It's time to defend our traditions and our culture. It's time to push back the liberal hoards.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

California Cross Stomping

You know the times (and Culture) have changed when the desecration of the Christian cross hardly raises an eyebrow. They always say that what starts in California spreads to the rest of the country. Let's just hope that this trend travels really slow! (See minute 2:20)


Friday, September 26, 2008

Florida's New Bureaucratic Palace

As we note here, Governor Charlie Crist recently socialized Florida's property insurance by creating the Citizens Property Insurance Corporation. Today, from State Senator Don Gaetz we learn that Citizens Property Insurance is planning to either construct or lease back a new bureaucratic palace:
Citizens Property Insurance Corporation is currently planning to lease or have built-to-suit a new 100,000 square foot office facility in Tallahassee. The sheer size, scope and expense of such an undertaking is extraordinary, particularly given the economic conditions facing those who pay Citizens premiums and directly and indirectly support Citizens through surcharges on other policies.

I am further advised that the amenities under consideration for this vast facility include a fitness center, restaurant and concierge services. While I can understand the comfort and convenience which would be available to Citizens executives and employees, I question the wisdom of spending Floridians’ dollars for what would seem to be non-essential luxuries.
There was a time when Florida had a Governor who knew something about fiscal responsibility and whose goal it was to reduce the power and scope of the government. In his second inaugural address Jeb Bush emphasized his intent saying:
"we can make these buildings around us empty of workers; silent monuments to the time when government played a larger role than it deserved or could adequately fill."
Thanks be to Don Gaetz for continuing in Jeb's foot steps.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Beware: McCain Proposes Regulation for Wall Street

If history is any guide, the nation will rue the day that it allows McCain to get his hands on its financial and securities institutions. Speaking in Jacksonville, Florida recently McCain proposed a new set of regulations to replace "the outdated and ineffective patchwork quilt of regulatory oversight in Washington." McCain's 'regulations' are all too often knee-jerk reactions which, because of his reliance upon an unhealthy mix of liberal and populist ideology, only serve to make matters worse. Here are a few examples:
  1. McCain-Feingold (Evisceration of the First Amendment/Incumbent Protection Act)
  2. Cap and Trade legislation (Government takeover of economy)
  3. Comprehensive Immigration Reform (Amnesty)
  4. Sarbanes-Oxley (Onerous business reporting rules now making London the financial capital of the world and preventing IPOs)
Other aspects of McCain's legacy:
  1. Opposition to Bush's Tax Cuts
  2. Gang of Fourteen
  3. Drilling in ANWR
  4. Crusade against tobacco
  5. National compulsory service
Blindly bumbling from one bad idea to another, McCain has blamed the current financial crisis on his fall back populist rhetoric--"Wall Street greed." Next, McCain proposed a slow moving indecisive "bipartisan commission," and demanded the firing of SEC Chairman and Bush appointee Christopher Cox (reminiscent of McCain's demand for Rumsfeld's head). Unfortunately, the latter remark served only to remind McCain's recently energized base of his penchant for throwing Republicans under the bus (with almost as much skill as Obama).

Mr. McCain--shouldn't the managers of these failing companies (ie. Franklin Raines or Dan Mudd), or those who blocked their reformation (Barney Frank D-Mass.) at least receive some of the blame? For some odd reason I fear that your inconsistent and confused ideology would, at best, give us four years watered down liberal policies.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Thoughts on McCain at ServiceNation

Eventually it hit me. I kept asking myself, "what's with the government centric assumption to service that pervades all of these questions posed by both Stengel and Woodruff?" The answer--these moderators are liberals! Most normal people find higher purpose in religion and perform their acts of service through their churches. To these liberals, government (or environmentalism) has become their religion and their higher purpose. They have never been to church!

It's stunning that the fundamental assumption of ServiceNation is that "volunteerism" has to be lead by the federal government. Incredibly, McCain was asked whether working class people have the necessary means and time off work to volunteer as compared to the wealthy (the assumption being that the government ought to mandate time off or supplement the incomes of those who "serve"). For some reason, McCain agreed to triple the size of Americorps, but the assumption continued when McCain was jokingly asked if he would establish a cabinet level of "Service!?!" If I were answering that question I would have said, h$*@% no, we need to be dissolving at least half of those departments! McCain finally got on track saying that the Cabinet is already too large as it is.

True service consists of simple acts like walking across the street and cutting down a tree limb for a neighbor or helping a widow in need. One of the greatest things about real volunteerism is the fact that there is almost no overhead--100% of the revenues going to those in need. That certainly would never happen with a new layer of bureaucracy. Service does not consist of getting paid to attend a government sponsored left wing training camp and do calisthenics in center city Philadelphia for a year (I've seen it first hand). It makes me wonder why McCain would agree to triple the size of Americorps.


Thoughts on Obama at ServiceNation

Obama wants to train and deploy America's youth as "agricultural specialists" to Afghanistan. Does anyone besides me see a problem here? In my opinion, America's national parks have enough "agricultural specialist" running around. Our native cash crop could be devastated if Obama were to teach poppy cultivation to the unbathed and directionless protester class. On second thought, we would certainly have a huge pool of willing applicants.


Roundup of Biden's VP Gaffes...Stay Tuned

Being a City Councilman Harder than being a Senator

Paying Taxes is Patriotic!

"Barack America!":

"Stand up for Chuck!"

Lt. Governor of Alaska:

Hillary would have been a better choice than Me:

Battalions or Brigades?


Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven Years Later, Still little Progress at Ground Zero

Seven years after terrorist destroyed the World Trade Center, construction efforts at Ground Zero still show little evidence of progress. The 26 projects planned for Ground Zero (totaling over $15 billion) are "over budget and behind schedule," said the Port Authority' executive director Christopher Ward. According to Architectural Record:
"Originally scheduled to be to be finished this year, construction of the 1,776-foot-tall (1 World Trade Center) skyscraper has inched along since foundation work began in 2006. Today, steel columns rise a mere 20 feet above street level."
I guess it's not necessarily the triumphant rising of the phoenix that we had hoped for.


The Coming Civil War in America

Phyllis Chesler's points out some stylistic differences between the Republican and Democrat National Conventions which portend and even larger cultural divide to come in America. Can the same thing be said about the "conservative" and "liberal" churches as well? Is it me, or is it strange to walk into a church and see a long-haired reformed hippie jamming on his guitar or banging on a snare drum just prior to taking communion?
The Democratic National Convention had music by the great Stevie Wonder; Jennifer Hudson, like Senator Obama, a sudden and recent star who won an Academy award for her supporting role in Dreamgirls; Melissa Etheridge; Sheryl Crow; the very popular soul singer, John Legend who performed twice, once alone and once with, a member of the funk/hip-hop group, The Black Eyed Peas. Robert Moore, a Rosebud Sioux tribal Council member, sang a traditionally non-traditional version of the national anthem.

The entire convention, especially the last night when Obama spoke, was the equivalent of a rock concert. To many people, especially younger people, this is what moves them, what is real. Only celebrity, “spectacle,” performance, and popular music have authority, are familiar, and command their respect.

The Republican National Convention had very little music. I myself saw and heard only one young Christian rock singer. Maybe there was more music and I missed it. Perhaps the Republicans decided to focus on the speakers and not on the entertainment. The RNC website lists no musical entertainers, probably courtesy of Hurricane Gustav.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Digging for Dirt But Finding Only a Hole

From the moment that Sarah Palin was introduced to America as John McCain's pick to be his Vice Presidential Running mate, Obama dispatched his minions to Alaska to dig up any amount of dirt that could possibly be uncovered about the relatively unknown political newcomer (at least unknown on the national stage). As John Fund from the Wall Street Journal reported just yesterday, the Obama camp has dispatched over 30 lawyers and "opposition researchers" (a euphemism for political hacks or thugs) to try and find something -- ANYTHING -- to knock Sarah Palin off course. They know that she, more than McCain himself, stands as the single biggest barrier to the community organizer's dreams of becoming the most powerful man on earth.

Well, one thing that the radical America-hating hard left (with their help at the National Enquirer) came up with was a phony story about an alleged affair that Palin had with one of her husband's former business partners. The left-wing blogosphere was all in an uproar when an associate of the Palins, Scott Richter, filed a request with an Alaskan court to seal (or treat as confidential) his divorce papers. To the non-thinking, knee-jerk left wingers, that request alone was enough to prove that Sarah Palin must have had an affair and that affair MUST have been with Mr. Richter .... why else would he be trying to hide his divorce papers? A hoped-for home run in the game of gotcha politics. Or so they thought.

As the Smoking Gun now proves, the hype (or was it 'hope') by the Obamamaniacs was all for not. As it turns out, Mr. Richter was trying to seal his records only because the 30+ researchers and their allies in the national media were using the court records to obtain his name, address and phone number in order to hound him with questions about the Palins.

In his petition to the court, Mr. Richter plead for assistance because the media and others are using his name, number and address to obtain unwanted daily contact. Plus, he says, "[m]y cabin life and private life is extremely important to me and my young son who find ourselves and our lives disrupted by such contact."

So, the media and the Obama thugs dig up Mr. Richter's name and number, they pepper him with questions, they harass his 11-year old son and when he files a request with the court for some relief, they use that as proof that Mrs. Palin had an affair with Mr. Richter. Amazing. They cause the problem and when an innocent bystander tries to fix it, he (and Mrs. Palin) becomes guilty as charged.

I undertand the media's need to research Sarah Palin. I don't fault them for that. That's their job. And if they find something credible on an issue that matters, by all means bring that to light. But, if they are going to expend that much time, effort and treasure to researching all of Sarah Palin's dirty laundry, out of fairness and journalistic integrity (can I use those two words in a row or is that a ________?), then they need to fly their researchers to Chicago to study Obama's connections with Jeremiah Wright, Tony Rezko, and William Ayers as well as his involvement in unethical land sale deals and $1 billion in pork earmarks (to name just a few issues that the media has given blind eye to related to Lord Messiah Obama). What's fair is fair. But that concept isn't known to today's media. They carry the water for Obama and the liberal establishment, treat them with kid gloves, all while going after the GOP candidates like sharks.

So my only question is this: if the Democrats in Congress get their way and re-establish the "Fairness Doctrine", will the national media be required to comply or will it only apply to syndicated talk radio shows that have a top 5 nation-wide ranking? Just wondering.


Rice laments lack of black diplomats

When it comes to Iran, North Korea, China, Russia, Venezuela and the rest of the cast of characters, I'm not sure what the color of one's skin has to do with their capabilities to promote your country's interest abroad. On the other hand, with the State Department actively undermining the President's agenda, maybe some new blood isn't such a bad idea after all:
"I want to see a Foreign Service that looks as if black Americans are part of this great country," Rice told a gathering of black colleges and universities in Washington. I have lamented that I can go into a meeting at the Department of State," said Rice, the second black person to become secretary of state after her predecessor Colin Powell. And, as a matter of fact, I can go into a whole day of meetings at the Department of State and actually rarely see somebody who looks like me, and that's just not acceptable," she added.
On the other hand, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas says that the Constitution forbids racial preferences, so I don't know what to think.


BBC Poll: World wants Obama as president

Exactly the reason that the United States should vote for anyone other than Obama:

US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama may be struggling to nudge ahead of his Republican rival in polls at home, but people across the world want him in the White House, a BBC poll said. All 22 countries covered in the poll would prefer to see Senator Obama elected US president ahead of Republican John McCain.


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Alabama "Fat Tax"

Although I am hard wired chafe under "Big Brother's" hand, I surprisingly have no problem with this:

Alabama recently ranked as the No. 2 fattest state in a national study looking at obesity. About 30 percent of Alabama residents are considered obese. The Alabama state government has decided it has to do something about that rate. So, in in the way typical of governments everywhere, it came up with an idea to encourage weight loss - and make some dough in the process. A fat tax. If the obese members of the state's 37,527-employee work force don't lighten up in a year, they'll be charged $25 to help pay for their health insurance - unless they get a free health screening. According to Business Week, if the screenings turn up serious problems with blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose or obesity, employees will have a year to see a doctor at no cost, enroll in a wellness program or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won't be charged. But if they don't, they must pay starting in January 2011.
First of all, these employees are "at will" and if they don't want to lose weight in order to save their employers from an already crushing health care cost, then they can always work somewhere else. There is no inherent right to a cushy government job where you can (a) send every single one of your calls to voicemail, and (b) produce next to nothing all day. Having worked for several different branches of government during my time in college (both state and federal) I know this goes on from first hand experience.

Second, because this is a case of employer/employee, it is different than what we will inevitably experience under a future socialized medicine regime. Neither healthcare nor health insurance is a 'right' in the same sense that you have a right to a trial by jury. Where the employer chooses to offer healthcare to his employees, he does so, not out of charity, but to attract and retain more highly skilled employees. On the other hand, if the government were the sole provider of healthcare, your receipt of medical treatment would be dependent upon first, whether you have lived according to the government health mandates (ie. fat intake, smoking, alcohol consumption), and only then will the government proceed to examine the severity of your illness. Because socialized medicine requires rationing, healthcare will be rationed first to those submit to government prescribed way of life. People who are too fat, too old or too young are the first to be rationed. Incredibly as it may sound, prerequisites for government healthcare demand that you stop smoking, restrict your number of child births , or that all of your health information be available to the government, etc.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Supreme Court Ruling Put Marine JAG in Moral Quandary

From the Florida Bar News: The Supreme Court's grant of civil rights to unlawful enemy combatants has placed the U.S. Military and this Marine JAG in a severe moral quandary. The issue--How can a prosecutor criminally try a defendant (a terrorist) with evidence obtained by duress or coercion (of even the slightest degree)? The "exclusionary rule," a penalty created by our courts, prevents the admission of evidence in a criminal prosecution which was collected in violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. If an unlawful enemy combatant is entitled to certain Constitutional rights (as the Supreme Court says they are), how can a prosecutor both uphold the Constitution on one hand, and attempt to admit battlefield evidence that has been obtained in violation of the Constitution? Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch tells of his experiences at GTMO:
In October 2003, Couch first visited Guantanamo to get the lay of the land, and soon learned business was being conducted in a bizarre way. Waiting to watch an interview with another detainee through a two-way mirror, Couch heard what he called “ear-splitting heavy-metal, razor-blade rock” coming from down the hall. Couch ran toward the music, and found a room lit only by a flashing strobe light. A detainee was shackled to the floor, rocking back and forth and praying.

“These two civilian dudes came out and backed me up and pulled the door behind them. I said, ‘What’s going on here?’ They really wouldn’t answer my questions. To the guy who was escorting me around, an Air Force JAG, I said, ‘What the heck is this about?’ And he goes, ‘That’s approved.’”

While watching the treatment of that detainee, Couch said he had a flashback to his stint in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) School, where air crew and special operations people learn how to handle themselves if captured.
He explains that one defendant began "singing like a canary" after interrogators made him believe that his mother was going to be arrested and brought to GTMO as well:
Slahi (the defendant) believe[d] he was going to be taken out and executed and buried at Guantanamo. The detainee Slahi was shown a letter on State Department letterhead that indicated his mother and his brother had been picked up and his mother was going to be brought to Guantanamo. The letter was expressing out loud concerns about what they were going to do, because she was going to be the only female at Guantanamo and they were concerned about her safety. The implication being: ‘Hey, we’re going to bring your mom to Guantanamo, and she’s probably going to get raped,’” he said.

Focused solely on what he saw in government documents about Slahi’s treatment, Couch said, “Enough is enough. Torture of a human being is wrong. It’s a violation of our domestic law.
Whether playing "ear splitting" music or showing a terrorist a piece of paper qualifies as torture is a hard sell for many people, especially when you consider the evil and vindictive means of torture devised over the course of human history, but this is not the purpose of this post. The purpose of this post is to illustrate the moral quandary that the Supreme Court has placed upon our armed forces by attempting to force American rules of criminal procedure on what is, in fact, a legitimate war-time intelligence gathering operation. Criminal procedure and war-time intelligence gathering operations cannot occupy the same space simultaneously. You cannot apprehend someone on a battlefield who knows the enemies' battle plans, interrogate them for military purposes, and, at the same time, attempt to admit the information extracted as evidence in a criminal proceeding (that is if you are forced to use traditional rules of criminal procedure). The military has begun recruiting detectives and police for this purpose, but the whole notion of making a criminal arrest on a battlefield is ridiculous.

Is the U.S. military so mighty that we have no need to know of the enemy's plans? Are our tanks and airplanes so overwhelming that interrogation is now obsolete to our armed forces? By granting unlawful enemy combatants access to our criminal courts, the Supreme Court has implied precisely that. As a result, the military and Lt. Couch have been placed in an completely untenable position. Either the military must choose to interrogate detainees through some form of coercion and release them (for all evidence gained by coercion would be excluded in court), or they must begin building a criminal case against the detainee, thereby forgoing all intelligence that might contribute to the most important objective--VICTORY.

To fight and win wars, detainees must be interrogated. As battles rage back and forth and men spill their blood on one side or the other, intelligence on the enemy's location and strength has-more than once-meant the difference between victory and defeat.


Friday, September 5, 2008

The Bag Tax--a Long Train of Abuses

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels wants to force all shoppers to pay a twenty cent tax whenever they receive disposable bags — paper and plastic — at a grocery store. This is not all. Mayor Nickels has also proposed banning foam food containers and cups at food-service businesses starting Jan. 1, and Non-recyclable plastic food containers and utensils by 2010. Here's how the money would be spent:
"Seattle Public Utilities would collect the bag fee from stores. The utility estimates it would bring in $10 million per year. About $2 million would be used to provide and promote reusable bags. The rest would be spent on waste prevention, recycling and environmental education programs."
What is it with these guys? It's not enough just to tax us coming and going. Now the residents of Seattle (but most likely their grade schoolers) will have to be "re-educated" with the very money that was extracted from them at the grocery store. As with all taxes of this nature, the true purpose is to give the mayor a massive slush fund to promote his radical big government ideology. Is it possible that pulling $10 million out of family's already tight budgets is not a good idea? Is it possible that most of this money will end up being squandered at city hall? If the "tobacco settlement" is any indicator, this money will slowly get lost in the city budget--some of it going to golf courses and pot holes--but most of it being awarded to the mayor's friends (in exchange for campaign contributions, of course).

Furthermore, Nickels reveals the single goal of the environmental movement--the growth of government. For the enviro-Marxist, "global warming" is just the latest reason for the government to control more and more of your money and your life. Sometimes it's "for the children," sometimes it's "for the planet," but the solution is always the same--greater taxes and more government regulation.

Now, instead of endless supplies of free trash can liners, the government will force us to drag around some filthy canvas bags in our trunk for the rest of our lives. Is this a huge inconvenience? For those of you living in Europe or in an American 'blue state,' probably not, but a long train of abuses and usurpations such as these can, and will, eventually reduce Americans under a state of absolute despotism. Man cannot remain free so long as the government may, by a million little cuts, arbitrarily rob him of the value of his labor.

Every time the government introduces another program or regulation, its effect is always to increase our costs of living. If you think that regulations like the bag tax are isolated incidents and that they will only increase your budget by a minuscule amount, then think again. If you ever plan on purchasing a home in Seattle you might want to take a stand right now. An intriguing new analysis by a University of Washington economics professor argues that home prices, also, have been driven up $200,000 by such good environmental intentions:
"Between 1989 and 2006, the median inflation-adjusted price of a Seattle house rose from $221,000 to $447,800. Fully $200,000 of that increase was the result of land-use regulations, says Theo Eicher — twice the financial impact that regulation has had on other major U.S. cities. In a nationwide study, it can be shown that Seattle is one of the most regulated cities and a city whose housing prices are profoundly influenced by regulations."
Do you want to buy an affordable house? Don't count on it. Do you want do buy affordable gasoline? Don't count on it. Do you want affordable medical care? Don't count on it. The long train of abuses (costs imposed by the government) slowly add up until you neither have money nor manumission.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Biden and the Advent of Communist Show Trials

Elaborate Soviet-style show trials may soon be coming to a capital near you--that is if Joe Biden and his fellow leftists have their way. It's no coincidence that Democrats have been slowly honing their stagecraft in recent decades--they're simply trying to catch up with their ideological cousins from Kiev to Cambodia, who for decades have been utilizing show trials to eliminate their opponents. At a campaign event in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Biden made the following comment:
"If there has been a basis upon which you can pursue someone for a criminal violation, they will be pursued...[N]ot out of vengeance, not out of retribution, out of the need to preserve the notion that no one, no attorney general, no president -- no one is above the law."
If the Soviet experience is any indicator, the introduction of this practice does not bode well for the future of our Republic. Imagine an America as described by S. P. Kolosov a brigade commander in the Red Army: "I am afraid to open my mouth. Whatever you say, if you say the wrong thing, you're an enemy of the people. Cowardice has become the norm." Imagine the 'home of the brave' turned turned into a quivering mass of cowards--fearing a political witch hunt from the least respected and least accomplished body in our country. Imagine a statesman stifled by indecision--having more fear of the future Democrat inquisition than executing his Constitutional duties against a foreign enemy. Imagine being charged and convicted for acts, which when committed, were not contrary to the law of the nation, but were declared so after they were committed (a violation of the ex post facto clause, by the way). Imagine--after leaving office--being charged criminally for purely political decisions made while in office.

If you can imagine this, you can see the consequences of a future Obama administration.

Watch the Video Here:


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Sarah Palin Handled Corruption

This post brought to us from Cynical Alaskan at The American Thinker:

From an Alaskan who is a very serious cynic about all things political, here is my take on Sarah.

I met and spoke with Sarah Palin about two years ago at our downtown park strip. It is a place for walking, carnivals, political outdoor things and such. She was cooking hotdogs at a fund raiser and introducing herself to the public as a Governor hopeful.

She came by and said the usual "Hi, I'm Sarah Palin and I am running for Governor"...and I expected her to keep on to the next person but she asked me who I was and what I did in Alaska and we ended up talking for 15 minutes about me, Air America (she was all agog!) and my career in the Army and AAM. She is a pilot (Super Cub) I'm told, although all she told me about that was that she loved flying.As I watched her successful run for governor over the next six months, I was really impressed. In fact I already was impressed greatly even before that, after she resigned a good position (Alaska Gas and Oil Regulatory Commission) because a fellow Commission member (Chair of the Alaska Republican Party) misused his office and position. He was using the fax, computers, printing room and all to promote the Republican endeavors while in a state job. That is a huge no-no in any government employment position.

She resigned and made her point, and within weeks Randy Ruderich (the above bad guy) found his butt out on the street and a subsequent investigation found him guilty and he was fined $12,000. Small change actually but a giant point was made.

Next she went after our most horrible Governor ever, Governor Murkowski, and damned if she didn't beat him! All of us here in Alaska, except the Democrats, are sick of our state's corruption. That fact was shouted to the heavens after she was elected with an overwhelming point spread.

After she got into office she started going after corrupt legislators, and with the FBI's help we've put four of them in prison, indicted six more and the "Corrupt Bastard's Club" as they arrogantly called themselves (even had hats made with CBC on the front!) suddenly found it no fun anymore.

The current flap which has cost her a ten point loss of popularity (she's still 82%!) was over firing a popular Commissioner of Public Safety who is responsible for our Alaska State Troopers. She fired him for no stated reason, which was her prerogative as the guv. He served entirely at her option. She and her whole family had a bad, bad experience with a rogue Trooper who was married to Sarah's sister. His name is Trooper Wooten. This dimwit Trooper had threatened Sarah's father (death threat!), threatened Sarah ("I'll get you too"), Tasered his 12 year old stepson, drove drunk in his AST cruiser, got a pass by a fellow Trooper who stopped him for erratic driving a second time while in civvies, and just a host of other things not yet released to the public. He got away with it and got another pass by the Commissioner's appointed AST Trooper Internal Affairs investigator with a tiny slap on the wrist. Five days off without pay to be exact.

This maverick Trooper is still on the payroll but only just. The union's intervention saved his malcontent butt. He'll yet get his, I'm sure. Incredible heat is being heaped on the Troopers. Public heat, not the Governors office.

The Democrats had the audacity to appoint an obviously biased investigator, Rep. "Gunny" French (so called because he lied about being in the USMC while running for the legislature) is a staunch liberal and probably under the orders of Senate President Lyda Green who hates Sarah. She hates Sarah because after being elected Governor Sarah told the whole Legislature in one of her first meetings with them that, quote; "All of you here need some Adult Supervision!"

Sarah was seriously angry and not afraid of anyone there. That played wonderfully well with Alaskans. We are sick of all of our corruption watched her successful battles against a seriously entrenched corrupt government before she took on the legislature. The whole legislature was angry back at her and still are, but also afraid of her because of her popularity.

She reminds me personally of our Alaska wolverine which will fight anything in its path if it sees fit to do so. No respect at all for size or position.

In closing I must tell you that she is the best, most moral and most focused leader I've seen since President Reagan. I feel, really strongly that like Alaska, the rest of our country will love her within a few weeks. Put simply, she represents Middle America like no leader we've ever had.

I think McCain made a totally brilliant move in choosing her. She's a maverick who is probably tougher and more focused than McCain himself... and she won't be a total yes man, or more appropriately, yes woman.

McCain will love her.

In 2012 she will be President.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Alinsky's Hand at Democrat Convention

Hillary wasn't the only Alinsky convert to come out of Chicago. Barack Obama mastered his tactics as well. According to Alinsky's own son, Alinsky's tactics could be seen all over last week's DNC:
ALL THE elements were present: the individual stories told by real people of their situations and hardships, the packed-to-the rafters crowd, the crowd's chanting of key phrases and names, the action on the spot of texting and phoning to show instant support and commitment to jump into the political battle, the rallying selections of music, the setting of the agenda by the power people. The Democratic National Convention had all the elements of the perfectly organized event, Saul Alinsky style.

Barack Obama's training in Chicago by the great community organizers is showing its effectiveness. It is an amazingly powerful format, and the method of my late father always works to get the message out and get the supporters on board. When executed meticulously and thoughtfully, it is a powerful strategy for initiating change and making it really happen. Obama learned his lesson well.
Scary stuff.


Obama off the teleprompter...Again

Barack Obama, fearing that he would be viewed for what he is--the least qualified person on either party's ticket--was quick to make the following ridiculous statement:
“My understanding is that Gov. Palin’s town, Wassilla, has I think 50 employees. We've got 2500 in this campaign. I think their budget is maybe 12 million dollars a year – we have a budget of about three times that just for the month,” Obama responded.
So RUNNING for president qualifies you to BE President. I see the logic. I wonder why Microsoft, Boeing or General Motors don't select CEO's by the same criteria. I can envision the Ford family sitting around the director's table right now:
Director #1: "Harry Hardluck has wanted to run the company since first grade when he visited the factory on his summer trip."
Director #2: "Has he ever run another car company?"
Director #1: "No, but he has lots of people campaigning on his behalf."
Director #2: "Sounds like the obvious choice to me!"
This notion is plainly ridiculous. It's interesting to note that like many "hip" celebrities, Obama seems to take great pride in his entourage. With 2,500 paid staff, it sounds like even Obama's entourage has an entourage. Did it ever occur to Obama that employing hoards of sycophants to faint at his rallies or make tie dyed "Che Obama" T-shirts his hardly the same thing as running a city where potholes have to be filled, streets cleaned and a constituency to be appeased? Does it bode well for our country's future finances when a man with absolutely no economic bona fides brags about how much money he blows every month? Obama continues to stuff his empty suit with hollow managerial experience such as this gem:
"Our ability to manage large systems and to execute I think has been made clear over the past couple of years and certainly in terms of the legislation I’ve passed in the past couple of years, post-Katrina.”
So PASSING LAWS qualifies you to be President. I see that logic as well. (If anyone can identify Obama's legislative achievements, you may want inform his supporters)

Update: This from Byron York: “Just for the record, Alaska’s FY2008 operating budget is $11.2 billion, and the state employs approximately 15,000 people. Those certainly aren’t huge numbers in federal terms, but they’re a good bit bigger than the Obama campaign.”


Monday, September 1, 2008

Obama's Daughters vs. Palin's Daughters

By now we've all heard the news that Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin's daughter (who is 17 and unmarried) is pregnant. The Left is in a tizzy hoping and praying (well, maybe not praying, because that would be an implicit admission of the existence of deity) that the bigoted holier-than-thou religious right will dump their support for Palin like a bag of rocks. You see, the Left believes that when conservatives attempt to live by a moral code of conduct (and persuade others to do the same) they are being inherently judgmental of all those who do not. Being judgmental and bigoted by nature, Christian conservatives' first reaction upon learning that Palin's minor daughter is pregnant will be to reject both Palin and her daughter, a sort of Scarlet Letter, if you will.

In fact, reality for Christians is much different. While we all sin and fall short of the glory of God, a moral standard helps to guide society toward an ideal. One reason for Christ's perfect life was to show us how to live. He instructed: "be ye, therefore perfect. " (Matt 5:24) However, when an individual falls short of that ideal, it is not time for judgment, but gentle persuasion, repentance and reformation of ones life back to the ideal.

Liberals, on the other hand, believe that they cannot be held to any standards of ethics since they deny the existence of universal truth. Take Barack Obama for instance. According to USA Today, when asked to define sin, Barack Obama replied:
"sin is "being out of alignment with my values." Statements such as this have caused many people to wonder whether Obama has a God complex or is hopelessly arrogant. For the record, sin isn't being out of alignment with your own values (if it were, Hannibal Lecter wouldn't be a sinner because his values hold that it's OK to eat people) nor is it being out of alignment with Obama's — unless he really is our Savior.
The Left loves to point out the character flaws in conservatives who fail to meet a religious or moral standard, but isn't it better to at least attempt to live a moral and ethical life than to go around preaching that right or wrong is whatever you can conceive of within your head?

The Left would have their daughters compound an initial mistake (pregnancy), that was likely made in the heat of passion, with an infinitely more grievous evil (abortion). While the Christian conservative sees the pregnancy as an opportunity for deep personal reflection and change, the Liberal sees it as punishment which consequences, typical of liberal philosophy, must be avoided at all costs. Thus, we have Obama's statement from a discussion about sex education:
"if [my daughters] make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby."
While I may be accused of taking Barry out of context, the underlying assumption is unavoidable. Barry sees a child (who, by the way, is his own flesh and blood--a grandson or granddaughter) and thinks of termination. The Palins see their children and think of life.

Update: Sarah Palin has issued the following statement regarding her daughter's pregnancy. It reinforces the value they place on children:
"We have been blessed with five wonderful children who we love with all our heart and mean everything to us. Our beautiful daughter Bristol came to us with news that as parents we knew would make her grow up faster than we had ever planned. We're proud of Bristol's decision to have her baby and even prouder to become grandparents. As Bristol faces the responsibilities of adulthood, she knows she has our unconditional love and support.

"Bristol and the young man she will marry are going to realize very quickly the difficulties of raising a child, which is why they will have the love and support of our entire family. We ask the media to respect our daughter and Levi's privacy as has always been the tradition of children of candidates."


McCain, Romney and the Politics of Wealth

When I read this story this weekend, I thought I was having economic deja vous. It leads you to wonder if Cindy McCain was paying attention during the Republican primary debates earlier this year.

"Cindy McCain told an interviewer that she was "offended by Barack Obama" and other Democrats who have been hammering her husband John McCain for being unable to immediately answer a question about how many homes he owns. "I'm offended by Barack Obama saying that about my husband...My father had nothing. He and my mother sold everything they had to raise $10,000. I'm proud of what my dad and my mother did and what they built and left me. And I intend to carry their legacy as long as I can."
It wasn't so long ago when John McCain's economic credentials were called into question by Gov. Mitt Romney that he too responded to Romney's assaults by leaning heavily on a bizarre form of economic populism:
"I know how to lead," McCain said at one point, sharpening a distinction between himself and Romney, a longtime businessman who never served in the military. "I led the largest squadron in the United States Navy, and I did it out of patriotism, not for profit."
We can hardly criticize the Democrat party from exploiting McCain's wealth for political advantage. After all, class warfare has been their bread and butter since at least Woodrow Wilson. It's a bitter pill to swallow; however, when the Republican nominee is so poorly schooled in the fundamentals of economic liberty that he spouts the anti-growth, anti-capitalist talking points. Usually, in the primaries nominees run hard to the extremes and then move to the center during the general election. McCain (the Maverick) has done the exact opposite. In fact, for the past six weeks of the general election McCain has been running as a Rush Limbaugh conservative and has actually been receiving praise from his conservative base. Recently, at the Saddleback Church when McCain was asked by Pastor Rick Warren to define rich, McCain was heard to say:
“I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich. I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of wealth. But I can tell you for example there are small businessmen and women who are working sixteen hours a day, seven days a week that some people would classify as, quote, rich, my friends, who want to raise their taxes and raise their payroll taxes. Let’s have—keep taxes low…So—so I think if you’re just talking about income, how about five million. So—but seriously, I don’t think you can…The point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low…It was not taxes that mattered in America in the last several years. It was spending.”
Maybe somebody on McCain's staff finally shook him by the collar and knocked some sense into him. (Thanks!!)


Friday, August 29, 2008

Obama: "I (the government) am my brothers keeper"

Apparently, Obama sees the people of America as helpless sheep who need a strong shepherd (ie. the government) to guide them through the storms and hardships of life. This is frightening to a people who inherently cherish the liberty handed down to them by their forefathers. When the government tells you that you are ineligible for surgery until you lose weight, quit drinking alcohol or do any other such thing, you'll know that your dependence upon the government has morphed into slavery. Last night Obama proudly declared: "I am my brother's keeper," but is Obama going to look after us the same way he looks after his step-brother who lives on one dollar per day in a dirt floored hut in Africa? According to Barry:
"Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves - protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools and new roads and new science and technology. Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us."
Everything after the "but" reveals Obama's governing philosophy--one of big government paternalism. My question to Senator Obama is: which of the following things can American citizens NOT do for themselves?
  1. Protect ourselves from harm: The Democrat's governing philosophy explains why they clamor for the government (George W. Bush) to personally rescue people from hurricanes, and why they expect homeowners to wait patiently (and without a firearm) for the police to arrive while a robber is breaking down their door.
  2. Keep our water clean: Mr. Obama, out here in "fly-over country" we live off of well water, irrigate our yards from canals and go swimming in ponds filled with alligators and we do it all without some government bureaucrat certifying that the water is safe.
  3. Keep our toys safe: Mr. Obama, isn't this what consumers use "name brands" for?--to differentiate between high quality goods and low quality goods? Is Barry going to suck on ever painted toy before our kids play with it?
  4. "Invest" in everything: Mr. Obama, I've commented on this before here, but I'll repeat it again. Every time you hear some politician talking about how they want to "invest" in this or that amount of money for some government boondoggle, just know that every dollar the government "invests" of your tax money, is a dollar which be cannot spent by you or your family on new clothes, tires, computers or other goods and services. The government does not produce capital, it merely sucks up capital from the private market that could have contributed to the expansion of the economy. Additionally, when the government "invests" money, no real wealth has been created, because, undoubtedly, the government will not earn any return on its "investment." You can be assured that a large portion of the "invested" funds will be lost, diverted, squandered and/or end up lining the pockets of crooked politicians across the land.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Will the MSM Discuss Obama (Sr.'s) Legacy of Polygamy?

This from Newsweek:

Born in 1961, [Barack] Obama is the son of a white mother from Kansas; his father was a black man from Kenya. The parents met at the university of Hawaii and married; Obama was born; the father, who, it turned out, already had one family in Africa, left for Harvard and never came back. "I consider myself a serial polygamist," Obama Sr. once told a friend. "That is, one wife at a time." By most accounts Senior had eight children with four women."
I seem to remember a few months ago when the main stream media attempted to railroad another presidential candidate because of his alleged connection or descent from a polygamist ancestor? Examples of this can be seen here, here and here. While Mitt Romney's great-great-grandfather had more than one wife, Barack Hussein Obama's father (note: that's just one generational step above the current Democrat presidential nominee) was, by his own admission a "serial polygammist." In the eyes of the MSM will that disqualify his son for the presidency? I doubt it.


In Denver, the End of Capitalism

David Harsanyi describes perfectly the philosophical underpinnings of the Democrat National Convention:
"buried beneath the idealistic policy talk in Denver is an ugly detail: It's about coercion.

[Gov. Brian] Schweitzer claims "we must invest" in projects he likes, he means government will take it and invest it for you. You see, you must. Then Schweitzer claimed (in a half-truth) that Republican nominee John McCain voted "against" solar energy, biofuels and wind energy.

Which is weird because I could swear my neighbor has solar panels, so they must be legal. I've seen windmills. So I suppose that Schweitzer meant that McCain voted against some federal boondoggle for wind and/or solar energy.

Sen. Hillary Clinton later chimed in that she would force energy companies to invest in the projects deemed worthy of the common good. (Imagine if your business were told how it "must" invest its money.) She claimed Americans "give" windfall profits to oil companies. No, we don't "give" them anything; we pay them for a product.
Here's the point. Every time you hear some politician talking about how they want to "invest" in this or that amount of money for some government boondoggle, just know that every dollar the government "invests" of your tax money, is a dollar which be cannot spent by you or your family on new clothes, tires, computers or other goods and services. The government does not produce capital, it merely sucks up capital from the private market that could have contributed to the expansion of the economy.

Additionally, when the government "invests" money, no real wealth has been created, because, undoubtedly, the government will not earn any return on its "investment." You can be assured that a large portion of the "invested" funds will be lost, diverted, squandered and/or end up lining the pockets of crooked politicians across the land. The reason is simple. As Henry Hazlitt put it:
"there is a difference between the loans supplied by private lenders and the loans supplied by a government agency. Each private lender risks his own funds...If money is lost he must either make good out of his own funds or be forced out of business. When people risk their own funds they are usually careful in their investigations to determine the adequacy of the assets pledged and the business acumen and honesty of the borrower."
"If the government operated by the same strict standards, there would be no good argument for its entering the field at all. Why do precisely what privately agencies already do? But the government almost invariably operates by different standards. The whole argument for its entering the lending business, in fact, is that it will make loans to people who could not get them from private lenders. This is only another way of saying that the government lenders will take risks with the people's money (the taxpayers') that private lenders will not take with their own money."
Is it possible to get Hazlitt's book distributed in Denver before it's too late?


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Recruiting Men for College

Colleges across the land have begun to wonder: where have all the men gone? According to

Male students made up 52 percent of the U.S. undergraduate population in 1976, but that figure dropped to 43 percent by 2004, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. The difference between male and female participation was found to be particularly stark among black students, where women outnumbered men in college enrollments by 29 percentage points in 2004.
Having recently completed my indoctrination education at one of the nation's center's of higher learning, I have a few thoughts on the subject. Whether anyone really wants to admit it, one of the primary objects of going to college is to select a suitable (attractive) spouse from among the overflowing masses of humanity on this earth. Getting your foot in the door of a lucrative profession is nice byproduct as well, but while going to college allows a man to find a woman who might be more intelligent, attractive or successful than one he might find in his own small home town, going to college may not be what it once was.

Is it possible that young men are now able to have their cake and eat it too? At least since the housing bubble beginning in the early 2000's, it seems that young men have been able to leave high school slap up a few homes and pocket a couple of hundred thousand dollars. That sure looks a lot more attractive to a woman than a piece of parchment on the wall and a huge debt on the books. Additionally, is it possible that young men without college educations are capable of weighing the financial risks/rewards of going to college? Who wants to end up like this:
"For more than two decades, colleges and universities across the country have been jacking up tuition at a faster rate than costs have risen on any other major product or service - four times faster than the overall inflation rate and faster even than increases in the price of gasoline or health care (see the chart to the right). The result: After adjusting for financial aid, the amount families pay for college has skyrocketed 439% since 1982....Mind you, some borrowing can actually be a good thing, giving students a built-in investment in their education. But today many kids leave school with unprecedented amounts of debt - $20,000 on average, up from $9,000 a decade ago - and one in 10 private college students borrows over $40,000...One chilling sign: Among students who graduate from four-year schools with more than $15,000 in debt, the default rate is nearly 20%.
Update: Maybe there's a correlation between the rising number of women on college campus and the rise in prices. While I think it has much more to do with government subsidizing of student loans (ie. subsidies naturally create an artificial demand for a product) John Lott makes a similar argument that the growth of "big government" correlates with the age of women's suffrage:
"If women's right to vote increased government, our analysis should show a few definite indicators. First, suffrage would have a bigger impact on government spending and taxes in states with a greater percentage of women. And secondly, the size of government in western states should steadily expand as women comprise an increasing share of their population. Even after accounting for a range of other factors — such as industrialization, urbanization, education and income — the impact of granting of women's suffrage on per capita state government expenditures and revenue was startling. Per capita state government spending after accounting for inflation had been flat or falling during the 10 years before women began voting. But state governments started expanding the first year after women voted and continued growing until within 11 years real per capita spending had more than doubled. The increase in government spending and revenue started immediately after women started voting."


Obama on the cover Newsweek again!

This is getting embarrassing for Newsweek, but at least there aren't any halos this time:


Obama appeals to FEC to silence political advertisement

The scary thing is that if Obama gets elected, you can bet he and Pelosi will do, by means of the 'fairness doctrine,' the same thing to conservative talk radio.
Sen. Barack Obama has launched an all-out effort to block a Republican billionaire’s efforts to tie him to domestic and foreign terrorists in a wave of negative television ads. Obama’s campaign has written the Department of Justice demanding a criminal investigation of the “American Issues Project,” the vehicle through which Dallas investor Harold Simmons is financing the advertisements. The Obama campaign — and tens of thousands of supporters — also is pressuring television networks and affiliates to reject the ads. The effort has met with some success: CNN and Fox News are not airing the attacks. Obama has also launched his own response ad, directly addressing Simmons' attempt to link him to domestic terror. The project is “a knowing and willful attempt to violate the strictures of federal election law,” Obama general counsel Bob Bauer wrote to Deputy Assistant Attorney General John Keeney last week in a letter provided to Politico. Bauer argued that by advocating Obama’s defeat, the ad should be subject to the contribution limits of federal campaign law, not the anything-goes regime of issue advocacy.
Here's the ad:


Democrat Convention Spending Spree

This week's Democrat National Convention has become a microcosm of the governing philosophy that pervades both parties from top to bottom. Free spending is easy at the DNC (as well as in DC) when those spending the money are not the same as those actually earning the money. Compare this account about the Democrat National Convention to the description about the Wal-Mart Shareholder's Convention:
  1. DNC: "Lobbyists are once again spending millions of dollars here on gourmet food, top-shelf liquor and private lavish parties for Democratic elected officials who seem more than happy to play the role of world-class freeloaders. According to Denver's top chefs and caterers, no expense is being spared. Kevin Taylor, of the Denver restaurant Palette, who says he is the only four-star chef in Denver, says he is booked to prepare delicacies for more than 100 "high end, hush-hush events." "The demand is over the top, you've never seen anything like this," said chef Taylor, especially for his signature King Crab terrine appetizer with white champagne caviar. At the Ritz Carlton Hotel, where rooms for Democratic VIP's are now going for $2,000 a night, the executive chef, Andre Jimenez, says even the room welcome gifts need to be elaborate for the 35 top donors and celebrities, including "the rarest peaches in America." "It's only for the best of the best that we host here," the chef told ABC News. "We're seeing lobbyists gone wild," said Craig Holman of Public Citizen, a non-profit group that lobbied for the new ethics law enacted last year, aimed at curbing lobbying abuses.
  2. Wal-Mart Convention: "Scott and Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe earned a combined $14 million in stock and cash in 2003. But on business trips, the two will share a $49 hotel room. "Sharing rooms is a very symbolic part of what we do," Scott says. "It's also an equalizer. If I'm asking the district managers to share a room, but I won't share a room with Schoewe, then what am I saying? There are two different standards here? The customer is the most important thing for all of you, but for me I think I'll run a different standard."

The differences between the practices of the private sector versus the public sector are astounding. When will one of these parties stop to think about the virtues of thrift, savings, service and sacrifice? Don't hold your breath. Obama recently claimed:
"We will not take another dime from Washington lobbyists," Obama said in a speech June 5, repeating a theme he has main a key to his campaign. "They will not fund my party."
So what is the reality? This from Steve Weisman of the Campaign Finance Institute, affiliated with George Washington University.
"Barack Obama, who says that he doesn't want to have any lobbyist money in his campaign, is having a lobbyist bundle money from large corporations, many of which are clients, for the convention that's going to nominate Obama," said Steve Weisman
It's kind of odd to see Democrats shaking down corporations for cash when they have been demonizing them for years.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Hidden Victories In (The Republic of) Georgia:

A little good news:
A small number of Georgians received special operations training, but not enough of these troops were available to defeat the Russian advance. The Georgians did better in the air and at sea, even though they were greatly outnumbered there as well. Georgian warplanes shot up the Russians pretty badly (killing the commander of Russian ground forces, for example) before the Russians were able to shut down the Georgian air force. But in the process Russia lost at least four aircraft destroyed, and a number of others badly damaged. At sea, Georgian missile boats hit several Russian warships, which had not been equipped with equipment, or crews, that were capable of dealing with this kind of threat. Two Russian warships were damaged sufficiently that they had to withdraw from the area. Within a few days, however, Georgia's miniscule navy and air force were destroyed, largely by the much larger Russian air force.