This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. We agree with the goals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

10/31/11

Who's on the Menu?

Recently I watched a sports analyst respond to a question from a worried looking reporter concerning the NBA labor/management "crisis" that threatens to delay or cancel the professional basketball season. His comment was that he didn't get too worked up about who would prevail in an argument over money between super rich team owners and multimillionaire athletes.

So with all the recent news coverage of the OWS protests/camp outs - and the fussing over them by everyone on every side of every issue who think they can advance themselves or their cause by doing so - I thought it might be time to look at the whole thing from a so far under-explored  perspective. A world wide perspective, if you will.

Leaving aside the drunk, drug addled or otherwise mentally impaired contingent of the progressive/populist "movement", I think it's time to examine the thinking of the so called "99 percenters" who might actually be able to think about why they are there.

From the perspective of most of the world's population, it must be amusing on some level to see these people agitating to "eat the rich", since compared to the vast majority of the world the protesters are themselves relatively rich.

For most of the world, getting the next meal and staying warm and dry are the primary activities even when not engaging in protest movements. The really blessed among them spend the rest of their time trying to figure out how to save whatever piddling amount they might have left over so they can exist if they ever need a day off from those activities. To the extent that they have the time to observe the US follies, they have to be on the same page as the above mentioned sports commentator.

Among those who, via capitalism in even tiny doses, have escaped somewhat from the grinding poverty that is historically typical in the world, it must seem queer that people with i-pods, i-pads and i-phones would sleep in tents and pound drums to try to discredit or dismantle that system.

So in looking at the motives of those who have bought into the progressives' class warfare rhetoric, let's be clear that the "greed" under attack is basically the same as the "envy" of the attackers. The so called rich are greedy to keep what they have and the self proclaimed 99 percenters are greedy to get what others have.

The difference between the Tea Party and the OWS is that the former are opposed to government bailing out anyone, while the latter just want their cut of the action when it comes to student loans and the like.

In my mind, all of us should be angry with anyone who games the system. That includes bankers and brokers and agribusiness and any other businesses who get rich from associations with politicians and government programs. But it also includes favored solar businesses, double dipping union "teacher for a day" pensioners, recipients of government largesse in the form of student loan subsidies, "affordable housing" loans to people who never could or will not repay as well as bailed out auto unionists. But to be angry with those who game the system without being angry at the system itself is ludicrous. 


So when the OWS crowd demands that the not so rich eat the relatively rich they better hope the whole world doesn't show up for the banquet.  They should keep in mind, if the whole world decides to eat the rich, the vast majority of the OWS people are on the menu too.

10/26/11

Why the Cain Ascendancy is Good News for Ron Paul


The manner of coverage of Presidential elections by the so called news media usually focuses on the "horse race" aspects of the campaigns. And for someone who reads as much political crapola as I do, I try to ignore that nonsense as much as is possible. But it is fascinating, even if it should be irrelevant, so I plead guilty to some bottom feeding here. I'm never as far above the fray as I'd like to be, indeed I fail more often than I succeed. So let's descend together and take a look at the horse race for a bit.

The current President seems to have decided on his strategy for trying to be the worst President to ever be re-elected. It's nothing novel in politics, but rather an old tried and true plan. You just give stuff away as fast as you can and see how many of the simple minded or morally corruptible electorate you can attract in an attempt to turn your re-election chuck wagon into a bandwagon.

In the last few days Obama has circumvented the constitutional process once again as he announced that he intends to change the rules for underwater home owners so they can re-finance their mortgages with taxpayer's money if they were fortunate enough to have had their obligations purchased by the fascist* entities Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.

And today it was announced that he would exercise executive authority to jigger the system for student loans so that he buy the student vote that he enjoyed for free the last time out. He figures these younger voters can be bought for a few dollars a month as long as they were dim witted enough to have not learned a thing in college during the time since he was elected and this cynical move was made.

It remains to be seen if it's that easy but he has history on his side since they fell for all that nonsense about hope and change last time. So we shall see, but it didn't work out so well for the Illinois Governor (Blaggo) Obama so enthusiastically endorsed because that guy is on his way to a stretch in the federal pen despite having employed the exact same strategy.

But as long as we're talking about campaign strategy and such instead of addressing concepts and ideas, (which is what I usually at least try to aspire to) let's take a look at what has happened to the early front runners in the Republican primary race as they rise and fall faster than the stock market.

No one of sound mind who actually wants real change from the disastrous course we are on is a true Mitt Romney supporter, but he has a lot of votes from the "anybody who can beat Obama" crowd. So even though he can be found as "Obama lite" on your presidential beer menu, he has seen some amount of steady, if unenthusiastic, support in the polls. He is first choice of the left leaning media for certain.

But among rational people the game plan has been to find an "anybody who can beat Romney" candidate to take Obama on. So let's look at those who have occupied that spot and what has happened to them since they were "scrootened" by the media when they reached the top.

First there was Michelle Bachmann who dropped like a rock in the polls after a few gaffes and a little more scrutiny. She is currently at about 1% support.

Then there was Rick Perry who zoomed to the front of the race as soon as he announced his candidacy but before he was scrootened in the debates. He has dropped to  fifth place as he tries to figure out if he can regain some sparkle with a fresh look at Obama's birth certificate, a strategy meeting with nut job Donald Trump, and a new stab at the flat tax proposal that Steve Forbes championed way back when.

Leaving aside all those who were hopeful they could be the "Anybody but Romney" candidate when their candles flickered out before they could be seen, (Tim Pawlenty, Huntsman , Santorum, etal.) we have next "flame out" candidate Herman Cain as the front runner.

Herman is a nice guy (as I have written about) who is clearly in over his head in his first at bat against political major league pitching. Realistically, his 9-9-9 plan is a non-starter after being scrutinized by both the left and the right and his early gaffes (mostly forgiven so far), bizarre new TV ad, and lack of funding and professional staff even in the early primary states tell me that he will be an easy target and I predict he will not make the final cut when all is said and done and the actual voting starts.

If I am correct and he fades, what will the final four look like? Assuming Romney doesn't totally flop (one can only hope) in New Hampshire and Iowa, that leaves Perry, Paul and old standby Newt Gingrich to oppose him.

Many pundits have dismissed Gingrich and Paul long ago and might have a hard time backtracking, but one thing is for sure, Paul is in it for the long haul because he has tons of money coming in from tens of thousands of small donors in the so called "money bombs", has extensive organisations on the ground in almost all the states, and he has the most enthusiastic supporters of anyone left in that group. He also has the track record of consistency and willingness to take on the media from both sides of political spectrum. Additionally, he is a known quantity. No surprises are coming because everyone already knows who he is, what he stands for and that he won't be flip flopping, because he never has before. So there is no "flash in the pan" dimension to his candidacy that would allow a fade away like the others.

Paul also has the advantage of being the most different from Obama and his ideology of any other candidate. His campaign against Obama will provide America with a choice of directions that will be more stark than any in modern history. A chance to choose between big government socialism or constitutional Americanism. 

Predicting elections and political trends is a fools errand. So even though I have been called a fool on more than one occasion, sometimes correctly, I won't prove it this time by doing that. But I will tell you what I think might happen now that things are starting to get closer to actual elections. My fools errand scenario goes like this;

After Cain proves only to be  the "leader du jour", and the voting starts, Paul will benefit from lower expectations by the media as Romney fades away after disappointing the higher expectations he never deserved. Perry never shows broad enough support in (or at) the polls except from donors and people start to look at Newt as a possible resurrected savior. Could it end up to be Paul vs Gingrich on "Super Tuesday?"

Politics is strange. Maybe not as strange as this scenario, but strange nevertheless. A Paul win would provide clarity in the general election. And clarity is something I think the country is ready for.

Potential employers and the stock market love clarity. But personally, I for one would just love to know whether it's time to rebuild the country or start stocking up on shelter supplies and hoarding precious metals.


*One good definition for the word fascism is ; an economic system where property is privately owned but government controlled.

10/25/11

OK, I Finally Know What the OWS Protesters Want

It had been so unfocused before, but after this lady explained it, I finally understand.



Hat tip to Captain Miller for finding this gem. We are giving him a 50% pay raise.

10/19/11

No Citizen Should be Left Behind on This Education Law

Rand Paul isn't running for President, but in my opinion he should be. We need some straight talk and some rational non-Washington thought before perpetuating this arrogant law. Common sense is becoming a lost art.

Regaining Our Rights by Blacking Out the News Media

News media bias has been debated for a very long time and much of the debate has centered on whether bias exists in the first place. Of course, the people in the media have either denied it or said that only the amount that can be attributed to individual human frailty existed and in any case was balanced out by the sheer numbers of contributors.

Even though they do their best to paint those who claim a left leaning bias as loony conspiracy theorists, many of us are not buying that line. We have seen first hand that it exists in many forms, from the recent crazily slanted coverage of the two separate political movements known as the "Tea Party rallies" and the "Occupy everywhere camp outs" to the way the Republican presidential candidates must debate the "moderators" before they can debate each other. It's so obvious it pains me to watch as some folks twist themselves into pretzels to claim otherwise.

I wouldn't classify the problem as much more than an annoyance for the most part. After all, there are still enough alternate sources for the news that people (if so inclined) can figure things out without too much trouble. The Internet has broken the monopoly the networks had on national news. Even relatively small blogs like this one have an impact because there are so many of them.

Having said that, the most insidious type of bias is the kind that is used to decide what is and what isn't news and then use that tactic to decide for us things we need to decide for ourselves. The news blackouts are the most dangerous bias the "news" media uses to usurp our liberties.

It's not some grand conspiracy, it's the natural result of the wishes of people who really desire to shape events rather than report on them. And why not just ignore people and events that do not fit our narrative? It's human nature. But whatever the reason, and whether or not you excuse the people who practice the deceit as "absent malice", the effect on your rights is the same.

What liberties am I talking about? The one I have in mind is the right to choose our own candidates for office.

Back in the now defunct USSR, elections for office were held on a regular basis. But since there were only approved and selected candidates on the ballot, (often only one) very few bothered to vote. People knew it was a sham. And in this country, the turnout for elections is abysmal for similar if not exact reasons.

People simply don't turn out for elections when they hold candidates of both parties in equal contempt. The candidates are selected in a process that is so convoluted that the most common practice when casting one's ballot is to select the lesser of two evils. Having to choose between Barack Obama and John McCain in the last Presidential election is all the evidence you need to convict the current system.

But even the crazy order of primaries that give out of proportion power to some states at the expense of the rest of us is becoming less of a hazard than the news media blackout of certain non-approved candidates. We are allowing a few networks and pollsters to dictate to us who our choices will be and we do so at our own peril.

If we continue to allow this to happen we might be dumber than those in the "Occupy Wall Street" protests who cannot explain what their beef is or what they want to be done about it. And that number seems huge.

One well credentialed candidate (Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico) is excluded from the polls and then denied access to the Republican debates because he isn't polling high enough. It's a purposeful blackout. Another candidate who wins most of the straw polls and consistently polls in third place (Ron Paul) is systematically ignored in the vast majority of "news" stories that follow such debates. Also a purposeful blackout.

These tactics are designed to deny us the choices which we are entitled to and turn them over to the kingmakers who would be the target of the OWS protests if they were sober. It's all legal of course, and should be. But that doesn't mean we ought to stand for it. It seems as though the left leaning media has reconciled itself to their chosen one, Barack Obama, losing the White House in 2012 and now is turning it's attention to cutting their losses by choosing his replacement.

Empowering ourselves by blacking out the media itself, at least intellectually, may be what we need to do as a first step toward turning the country around and heading back toward the place it used to be. It was never perfect, but it slowly has become dreadful.

It's our country. No matter whom we choose to lead us, let's choose them ourselves.

10/13/11

A Fair Share of Greed

Having lit the fuse of the class warfare bomb only to see it fizzle out any number of times since he hit the world stage a few years back, President Obama seems to have finally got it to spark up at least a little bit recently.

The incoherent "Occupy" demonstrations that have sprung up among the intellectually challenged and morally bankrupt crowd have given the country's leftists some of  the Obama promised  "hope" they have been pining for since some political slickster came up with that slogan to lure the useful idiots * into electing him in 2008. But it seems their hope will be dashed once again even though the dominant media refuses to interview the demonstrators in (or show the video results of) any depth about what precisely they are trying to accomplish.

Thankfully, now-a-days we have the internet where some semblance of the truth can be sorted out from the nonsense if one gives it some time and thought. It's a darn sight better than letting the main media filter it for us like they used to before they had some good old fashioned competition.

The main theme of the demonstrators, if there is one, is that rich people are greedy because they have more money than some other people and something should be done about it. It's not entirely clear what they think that should be, but since they appear to be supporters of the Democratic party, it's safe to speculate that they think more big government laws and regulations are one answer.

It all brings up some interesting questions about greed. Who is greedy anyway? Milton Friedman summed it up succinctly when he said, "It's only the other fellow who is greedy."

Are the wealthy greedy because they already have enough (however one defines "enough") but want more? Or are those who already get money and benefits provided by the wealthy greedy because what they get is never "enough" and they want more? In a country where the more well to do pay all the taxes and about 50% of the rest of the people pay nothing, what is the the latter's "fair share" as Barack Obama is fond of terming it?

The above cartoon explains that concept better than I could ever do it, but still there are many who don't (or refuse to) "get it."   The Merriam Webster dictionary definition of greed is: a selfish and excessive desire for more of something (as money) than is needed. 

So the question remains, who is greedy? Those who have their own money and desire to keep it? (perish the thought of actually desiring more) Those who have some OPM (other people's money) but want more because it's "fair"? Or politicians at every level of government who are flush with taxpayer money but never have enough to buy even more votes with? One thing is certain, all of those groups will define "needed" in a different way.

The video below was sent to me by one of my unpaid researchers and it shows a young greedy man at one of the demonstrations complaining that other men not in attendance are greedy because they won't forgive his student loans so he can spend his money on other things he wants but no one will give him. (So far you can't buy an i-Pad with food stamps)

The reason I don't pay my researchers is that this blog has no advertising and therefore no one makes any money from it, least of all me. And since I'm not starving, I don't really "need" the revenue, but if I ever put ads on here or ask for donations, you can assume I am greedy. And I'm okay with that.



* Not everyone who voted for Obama was an idiot. But the people who did so because they believed in the political rhetoric of "Hope and Change" and class warfare certainly qualify.

10/5/11

The Passing of a True American Patriot

The word "patriot" gets used a lot nowadays. In my mind it may be overused. But I think I know a real one when I see one. Dave Padden was a real one.

I first met Dave back in the early 80s when I joined the Beverly Country Club and ended up on his team in a four man event. He was our "Captain" and he lived up to it. Even though whatever that team didn't achieve has long since slipped from my memory, I will never forget an incident that happened on the ninth green.

Dave had a putt to tap in which would have kept our team at par for that hole. The putt was literally less than an inch long. One of those that "hung on the lip" for birdie and caused groans as the rest of us turned and left the green while Dave was left the task of pushing the par putt the last few millimeters into the hole as a formality.

But as I slowed down to let Dave catch up so we could walk together through the tunnel under eighty seventh street and past the clubhouse to the tenth tee, I caught a look on his face that seemed odd to me. Dave said, "I missed it." At first I didn't grasp what he meant, thinking he was talking about the birdie putt. Then Dave said, "we made five, I got careless and I whiffed the tap in."

Absolutely no one in the world except Dave knew that. It was then that I knew I had just met a man of true integrity. He wasn't the world's first honest man and he won't be the last, but no matter what the temptation to keep quiet might have been for some people, I could tell it never occurred to Dave for even a millisecond. It just wasn't in his nature.

I later learned that it was his whole philosophy of life to take the consequences of life and move on. He believed in individual liberty and personal responsibility in all things, big and small, everywhere and always. I admired him greatly and even though as the years rolled by and I moved along from that club and only saw him occasionally at events held by the Cato Institute (where he was an original board member) and the Heartland Institute (where he was the founder), I never forgot that incident or his example of leadership.

I don't know much about the rest of his personal life except what I read or what was told to me about him, but that one personal snapshot was all I actually needed to know.

As far as his public life was concerned, I believe that more people have have been converted (or restored) to the ideals of liberty and freedom by his individual efforts than any other person I have been personally acquainted with.  As a true American patriot, the man was a giant. And as a fellow human being, he should be a role model to us all.

A memorial to Dave's life from the Heartland Institute follows.

David H. Padden, Rest in Peace

David H. Padden, founder and chairman emeritus of The Heartland Institute, died of a heart attack while at his Chicago home on Sunday, October 2. He was 84.

Padden was a pioneer of the libertarian movement in the United States, serving as a founding member of the boards of numerous libertarian think tanks and advocacy groups and continuing to serve on Heartland’s board until his death.

Organizations that benefitted from his leadership and financial generosity include the Acton Institute, Bionomics Institute, Cato Institute, Center for Libertarian Studies, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Council for a Competitive Economy, FreedomWorks, Free To Choose Media, Foundation for Economic Education, the Libertarian Party, and Loop Libertarian League.

Padden was a lifelong resident of Chicago. He received his B.A. from Loyola University Chicago in 1949 and an MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1951. After 15 years running businesses that performed heavy construction work for various state, county, and municipal governments, in 1963 he purchased a bond firm specializing in financing local municipal improvements, renamed it Padden & Company, and was president and CEO for many years. He also launched an equipment leasing company, Padco.

Scott Hodge, now president of the Tax Foundation, proposed the creation of The Heartland Institute during a monthly meeting of Padden’s Loop Libertarian League. Hodge soon departed to attend college in Minnesota, but Padden liked the idea, recruited donors and a board of directors, and tapped Joseph Bast to be the new organization’s first executive director. Padden served as chairman of the board from 1984 to 1994, at which time he became director and chairman emeritus.

“For nearly 30 years, Dave Padden was my teacher, mentor, best critic, strongest backer, and closest friend,” said Bast, who was named president and CEO of Heartland in 1994. “Dave and I had lunch once a week for 10 years, and frequently after that. Everything I know about running a business, about character and dedication to a cause, and about the freedom philosophy I owe to him.

“Dave Padden was one of those rare individuals who truly changed the world,” Bast said. “The organizations he helped create and financed have changed public policies on subjects as diverse as environmental protection, ethics, health care, and taxes, in every case expanding individual liberty and limiting the power of government. Without Dave Padden, America today would be less prosperous and less free.”



“Dave Padden was one
of those rare individuals who truly changed the
world. The organizations he helped create and financed have changed
public policies on subjects as diverse as environmental protection, ethics, health care, and taxes, in every case expanding individual liberty and limiting the power of government. Without Dave Padden, America today would be less prosperous and less free."

- Joseph Bast, president, The Heartland Institute

10/3/11

Did the Capital Punishment Debate Just Take a Strange Twist? Thoughts on Criminal Justice

For as long as I can remember, a debate has raged in America about whether the state should be about the task of executing people who have committed heinous crimes. On this issue, frequently studied in criminal justice degree courses, people from varied political and religious backgrounds have found themselves aligned with other people with whom they normally have little or nothing else to agree upon. Conversely, they have found their position opposed by others who usually agree with them.

People who are aligned with so called liberals on most issues can be found defending the death penalty in large numbers even though liberals are the group usually thought to be opposed to it most adamantly. And conservatives are usually depicted as bloodthirsty knuckle draggers by elitist lefties at tony cocktail parties because they are perceived to be universally in favor of quick and sure execution of certain criminals. Personally, I know large numbers of anti-death penalty people who are usually identified as on the political right.

It's a touchy and emotional issue with political and moral ramifications. Many people avoid the issue altogether when discussing things with their friends. I don't blame them. Rational arguments can made by both sides.

There is fairly universal agreement on an important point however, so let's look at a few different scenarios to see what it is and what seems to have changed in the last few days.

Imagine the most heinous criminal you can think of. One who the authorities and the general public are truly convinced has committed a capital punishment crime. Before he is even formally accused, and before an arrest is made, much less a trial held or other due process pursued, an order is given to assassinate him. And the order is carried out. Let's further assume for the purposes of this scenario that it's a sure thing that the thug is guilty and that people are overwhelmingly joyous (or at least relieved) that he is dead.

In the America where I grew up, this situation would be unacceptable, even given that most people feel that justice has been served. In that time, and hopefully now, people knew that this was not the way we want things done in our country. The missing ingredient is due process, as guaranteed by our constitution.

It's a given that many times in our past due process has been circumvented, but usually it was with a nod and a wink that the thug was killed while being apprehended or while trying to escape. The John Dillinger case comes to mind, as one example. People will swallow that, mostly because they want to. But I think that an overtly planned and executed operation to kill such a person would be rejected by most after a rational, thoughtful and unemotional analysis.

If the fairly recently executed mass murderer John Mohammad - who shot dozens of innocent citizens with a high powered rifle from the safety of his car trunk in a "terrorist for profit" scheme - had escaped to Europe before being caught and was purposely assassinated by government agents without arrest or trial, I hope that people would have immediately recognized that their own rights were being trod upon and that the act was a political game changer. It would have made history for sure.

So now, the largely extra-constitutional government that has emerged since 9-11, and covers two administrations, has done precisely the same thing to an alleged Al Qaeda leader (but US citizen) Anwar al-Awlaki by killing him, not accidentally as part of another operation, but purposely with forethought.

You will not find me mourning the death of this low life anti-American scum. I dare say I'm glad he is gone. I further add that he certainly did not deserve the rights he owned as an American citizen. And I'm aware that by bringing up the uncomfortable questions about his death I risk the derision of many of my peers. But that  goes with the territory when speaking one's mind in a public forum.

But the questions aren't about the terrorist's rights, they are about ours, and nothing is more fundamental to our way of life than the concept of due process. So did our debate over capital punishment just take a strange twist? You can decide for yourself what you think about the issue, just as long as you do think about it.

While I don't mourn his death, I only pray that I won't be mourning the death of our rights and our republic because we didn't speak up. The debate should continue, whatever your side of it is, but this time even louder, because The inference of silence is assent.