Stephen Moore, WSJ:
If you want to understand better why so many states—from New York to Wisconsin to California—are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, consider this depressing statistic: Today in America there are nearly twice as many people working for the government (22.5 million) than in all of manufacturing (11.5 million). This is an almost exact reversal of the situation in 1960, when there were 15 million workers in manufacturing and 8.7 million collecting a paycheck from the government.
It gets worse. More Americans work for the government than work in construction, farming, fishing, forestry, manufacturing, mining and utilities combined. We have moved decisively from a nation of makers to a nation of takers. Nearly half of the $2.2 trillion cost of state and local governments is the $1 trillion-a-year tab for pay and benefits of state and local employees. Is it any wonder that so many states and cities cannot pay their bills?
“An elective despotism was not the government we fought for; but one in which the powers of government should be so divided and balanced among the several bodies of magistracy as that no one could transcend their legal limits without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 48
One president freed the American people to drive their economy forward and make up for lost ground. The other has shackled them with more government and more debt. The generation that benefited from Reagan’s leadership is not leaving its children the same bequest.
Not to mention Reagan did it with a Democratic majority in Congress.
There were two glimpses of the old Obama — when he slammed “subsidies” for oil companies, which of course do not get any subsidies, but have business deductions the way every other business does, he sounded every bit like the envious skinny Harvard man he once was. When he railed against tax breaks that he considered identical to government spending, that was outright socialism. That concept implies that all the income in the nation belongs to the state, and that if we let working people keep any of it, that is the same as a government expenditure. The opposite is true. The income belongs to the people, and they allow government to have some of it. But, of course, the servant has become the master now.
(Emphasis added. —R)
“If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.” —James Madison, letter to Edmund Pendleton, 1792
“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” —Thomas Paine, The American Crisis, No. 1, 1776
Michael C. Burgess, the Congressional representative for our little sliver of Texas, has responded to the letter I sent him a week and a half ago expressing my displeasure with the TSA’s new imaging and
groping “enhanced” pat-down policies. His response is below, in its entirety. I have added emphasis in the fourth paragraph not present in the original.
Dear Mr. Turner:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern regarding the security policies of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
As you are aware, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently purchased full body scanners that show the outline of the naked human body and allow TSA to detect high-density bomb-making materials. In response to a large number of complaints from both travelers and employees in the airline industry, DHS instituted a new policy that allows travelers to “opt out” of the digital image scanning. This “opt out” procedure allows for the traveler to step aside and receive a full-body pat-down to check for hidden substances or items on the persons. As a result, TSA and DHS implemented a new “pat-down” procedure that serves as an alternative procedure for those travelers who wish to refuse the full-body scan.
Over the past few weeks, I have received hundreds of phone calls from concerned constituents, and seen news reports of people who are outraged by TSA’s invasive full-body scans and “pat-down” procedures that are now used in the name of national security. After recently flying myself and witnessing how invasive these procedures are, as well as the potential for abuse, I am outraged that TSA chose to implement the new rules without consulting with Congress. TSA is charged with protecting our airplanes from the kind of terrorism we saw in the terror attacks on 9/11, but this should not result in an abuse of power and the exploitation of Americans.
Further disconcerting is the fact that Congress voted overwhelmingly to prohibit the TSA’s use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. H.R. 2200, the Transportation Security Administration Authorization Act, contained an amendment to prohibit the TSA’s use of full-body scanners as a primary screening method. House Amendment 172 passed overwhelmingly by a vote of 310 to 118, but TSA has ignored this, and plans to deploy over 1,000 machines in use at airports across the country by the end of next year. Although this legislation is awaiting further action in the Senate, the sense of Congress is clear – these invasive methods are not the best use of TSA resources.
In light of our serious concerns regarding the agency’s use of invasive tactics, I joined several of my colleagues in Congress to request that the House Homeland Security Committee conduct a hearing on the new TSA procedures.
It is unfortunate terrorism from abroad has brought us to this point. Rest assured, I am committed to securing our nations’ airlines and preventing another terrorist attack, as well as to protecting your Constitutional rights. Representing an area with several major airports, I have tried to help protect, control, and monitor changes made for better security, without infringing on the very freedoms for which we are fighting. I will continue to support legislation that will strengthen our borders, protect our ports, and help prepare the nation in case of a terror attack.
Again, thank you for taking the time to contact me. I appreciate having the opportunity to represent you in the U.S. House of Representatives. Please feel free to visit my website (www.house.gov/burgess) or contact me with any future concerns.
Michael C. Burgess, M.D.
Member of Congress
“History by apprising [citizens] of the past will enable them to judge of the future; it will avail them of the experience of other times and other nations; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise it may assume; and knowing it, to defeat its views.” —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781
“There is no worse tyranny than to force a man to pay for what he does not want merely because you think it would be good for him.” —American writer Robert A. Heinlein (1907-1988)
It was JFK who signed an executive order giving public sector unions the right to collective bargaining. We need a president with the guts to revoke that order. Unions – a necessary evil in private life – are just an evil evil in the public sector. Nothing necessary about them at all.
It’s not as bad as it could’ve been. That, as the Labor Day weekend began, was the cold comfort that many in the media took from the still-dismal August jobs report. Can’t we expect something a little better?
True enough, 68,000 new private-sector jobs were created last month, showing that private businesses, though gasping for breath, aren’t dead yet.
But overall, 54,000 jobs disappeared, raising the toll during the “Recovery Summer” Vice President Joe Biden ridiculously hailed two months ago to 238,000. Nor was the uptick in the unemployment rate to 9.6% from 9.5% what you expect in a “recovery.”
This is not “better than expected”; it’s worse than expected. This can be gauged not by market expectations for modest job creation, but by long-term experience watching how jobs are created in a normal recovery. By that gauge, we’re in the worst jobs slump since World War II.
If it wasn’t clear to everyone by now, it should be: All the actions this government has taken — the $700 billion TARP program, the $862 billion “stimulus,” the health care takeover, financial reform — haven’t “saved or created” 3.8 million jobs, as claimed. Instead, they’ve destroyed millions of jobs — and with them, the hopes and dreams of those who’ve lost the jobs.
But the administration remains clueless, hinting that it may seek another “stimulus” costing billions. This bunch is either willfully doing damage to the U.S. economy, or completely incompetent.
[Emphasis added. —R]
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to William Ludlow, 1824
“Let the American youth never forget, that they possess a noble inheritance, bought by the toils, and sufferings, and blood of their ancestors; and capacity, if wisely improved, and faithfully guarded, of transmitting to their latest posterity all the substantial blessings of life, the peaceful enjoyment of liberty, property, religion, and independence.” — Joseph Story (Commentaries on the Constitution, 1833)
“But ambitious encroachments of the federal government, on the authority of the State governments, would not excite the opposition of a single State, or of a few States only. They would be signals of general alarm… But what degree of madness could ever drive the federal government to such an extremity.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 46
I wonder what our fourth president, a strict constitutional constructionist, would think of us now.
“Each State, in ratifying the Constitution, is considered as a sovereign body, independent of all others, and only to be bound by its own voluntary act. In this relation, then, the new Constitution will, if established, be a FEDERAL, and not a NATIONAL constitution.” —James Madison, Federalist No. 39
Oh, what of our history we have forgotten.
The Siena College presidential poll–a ranking of 44 presidents by 200 historians–put Franklin Roosevelt in first place. In other words, the man who, during his first two terms, gave us nonstop double digit unemployment–and 20 percent unemployment toward the end of his second term, is ranked ahead of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and all other American presidents.
And that may not be the worst indiscretion. These historians also ranked Barack Obama ahead of Ronald Reagan. In other words, if you start your presidency with 8 percent unemployment and run it to 10 percent (all the while going further in debt by more than $1,000,000,000,000) you are greater than the president who sharply reduced unemployment and inflation during his first term and then ended the Cold War in his second term.
Some people are dismayed by our historians’ peculiar judging standards. And it’s true that such wildly indefensible rankings are outrageous. But they help inform us that most historians can’t be trusted to make sound judgments about the past. That is useful to know, as parents prepare their 18 year olds to go off to college and be tutored by FDR loyalists.
“The Declaration of Independence [is the] declaratory charter of our rights, and the rights of man.” —Thomas Jefferson
The principle author of our Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson, understood that, though Liberty is “endowed by our Creator,” it is difficult to maintain among men. “The natural progress of things,” he wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.”
Indeed it is. We boldly threw off a monarchy in the American Revolution, but today countless bureaucrats under the command of a pack of hardcore Socialists have assumed the throne.
Jefferson also understood the consequences of Socialism: “Were we directed from Washington when to sow, and when to reap, we should soon want bread.” But 234 years after the signing of our Declaration of Independence, Beltway politicos, most of the “Democrat” variety, insist that we must conduct ourselves, in matters large and small, according to their will — and would have us believe they know better than we. Indeed, they have so effectively institutionalized this deceit that their electoral lemmings fall in behind them in lock step.
That subservience is an affront to our hard-won heritage of Liberty, and an insult to those generations who have defended it.
On July 4th of 1776, our Founders, assembled as representatives to the Second Continental Congress, issued a declaration stating most notably: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. … That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”
In other words, the Founders rightly affirmed that because our rights are inherent by Natural Law as granted from our Creator, as such they can’t be arbitrarily alienated by those who believed that the rights of men are gifts of government.
Our Founders publicly declared their intentions to defend these rights by attaching their signatures to the Declaration between July 4th and August 2nd of 1776. They and their fellow Patriots pledged their lives, fortunes, and sacred honor as they set about to defend the Natural Rights of man.
At the conclusion of the American War for Independence in 1783, our Founders determined that the new nation needed a more suitable alliance among the states than the Articles of Confederation. After much deliberation, they proposed a Constitution, which authorized a very limited central governing authority and reserved all other rights to the states or the people. Our Constitution was adopted in 1787, ratified in 1788, and implemented in 1789 as subordinate guidance to our Declaration of Independence.
Since that time, generations of American Patriots have laid down their lives “to support and defend” the Essential Liberty enshrined in our Constitution. I would note here that their sacred oath, the same one I have taken many times in the service of our country, is not in support and defense of a so-called “living Constitution,” an adulterated version of our authentic Constitution. It is under such perversion that Socialists in the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches have advanced their statist political agenda.
Statism, or Progressivism as promoted by contemporary American Leftists, has as its objective the establishment of an omnipotent central government authorized to be the arbiter of all that is “good” for “the people.” Statism also confers upon the state ultimate control over the most significant social manifestation of individual rights, that of economic enterprise. Witness our current government’s efforts to assert ever-greater control over heretofore private enterprises such as the automotive, health care, financial and energy industries.
Socialists endeavor to undermine our nation’s founding principles in order to achieve their statist objectives, under which all associations between individuals ultimately augment the power and control of the state. The final expression and inevitable terminus of such power and control, if allowed to progress unabated, is tyranny.
The word “tyranny” is derived from the Latin “tyrannus,” which translates to “illegitimate ruler.”
Leftists in all levels of government, who, by definition, have deserted their oaths to support and defend our bona fide Constitution, are thus as illegitimate as the rules they implement.
Thank God there is a strong resurgence of demand for Essential Liberty and the Rule of Law across the Fruited Plain; a rebirth of the understanding that limited government is essential to Liberty; and a resounding call to take control of our national destiny and reset its course for the shores of freedom.
So how should we observe this 4th of July, the 234th celebration of our Declaration of Independence?
On July 3, 1776, Founding Patriot John Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail, on this very topic:
Yesterday, the greatest question was decided, which ever was debated in America, and a greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. You will see in a few days a Declaration setting forth the causes which have impelled us to this mighty revolution, and the reasons which will justify it in the sight of God and man. … It ought to be commemorated as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shews, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one end of this Continent to the other from this time forward forever more. You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will triumph in that Day’s Transaction.
Today, we face ominous threats to our American heritage of Liberty, unfortunately more so from enemies within than without, and I would offer that we should commemorate this Independence Day, first and foremost, with “solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty,” and with a rededication to the principles of Essential Liberty and restoration of the Rule of Law.
On December 19th of 1776, with the American Revolution well underway, Thomas Paine wrote, “Let it be told to the future world, that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive, the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, we came forth to meet and to repulse it. … I call not upon a few, but upon all: not on this state or that state, but on every state; up and help us; lay your shoulders to the wheel; better have too much force than too little, when so great an object is at stake.”
And so it must be, today.
Reflecting on the Declaration shortly before his death on July 4th, 1826, the 50th anniversary of our founding, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “This was the object of the Declaration of Independence. Not to find out new principles, or new arguments, never before thought of, not merely to say things which had never been said before; but to place before mankind the common sense of the subject, in terms so plain and firm as to command their assent, and to justify ourselves in the independent stand we are compelled to take.”
It is entirely fitting that Jefferson’s fellow Patriot and longtime correspondent would also draw his last breath on that very day. But before he passed, John Adams offered these words of reflection: “[W]hat do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations. … This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”
And Adams’s last public words serve as an inspiration to us all, a toast to Liberty: “Independence forever!”
Libertas! And let us all say, Amen.
Reprinted with permission from The Patriot Post.
[L]iberals are raving about Kagan’s “skill at building a consensus … reaching out and building coalitions” — as Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said last week.
It’s as if they’re talking about a governing majority in the Senate. Next thing you know, liberals will be complaining about a “do nothing” Supreme Court.
On MSNBC’s “Hardball” back in May, Sen. Klobuchar said: “We want to get some things done on this court.”
Get some things done? […]
The Supreme Court is not supposed to be “getting things done.” Durbin’s and Klobuchar’s statements reveal a massive misunderstanding of the role of the court.
Congress, as the people’s elected representatives, is supposed to “get things done.” If they don’t, that usually means the people don’t want those things done. It’s not the court’s job to say: “Hey, Congress, you forgot to enact this! Don’t worry, we’ll take care of it.”
You don’t have to like her, but she’s got a point.
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” —John Adams, Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
It’s a good thing, I believe, to remember the dead — especially in a culture that trivializes death. We shunt it aside to the fantastic realms of video games and movies, and call it by other names when we do it to old people and unborn infants, and all of this is a way, I think, of grasping life in the wrong way, in a way that reveals the underlying belief, for many of us, that our lives are about our gratification.
That’s such a big word for an experience that is so very small. Gratification is as far removed from joy as hunger is from a great feast, and yet we forsake the latter in pursuit of the former because joy, like a feast, requires sacrifice.
So it’s a good thing to remember those who gave their lives in sacrifice for others. Think on them, and if you like you can light a candle or mutter a prayer, a prayer that you and I and the rest of the world will, if only for a slender day, give ourselves over to loving someone other than ourselves, which means the great sacrifice of setting down our hurts and lusts and grievances and entitlements, all of which are chains with heavy anchors, but which we gather to us like treasures. But today, if only for today, what say we lay them down?
Once a nation under a Constitution that restricted government intrusion, we now want government to provide for our “needs” by calling them “rights.”
We now ask government to prop up failing businesses, make student loans, guarantee mortgages, build and maintain public housing, financially support state education from preschool though graduate school, fund private research, provide disaster relief and aid, pay “volunteers” and on and on.
Many in our nation happily submit to this bargain. They consider the Big Three entitlements — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — “rights,” their absence unimaginable in a modern “caring” society. It is out of the question to expect people, families and communities to plan for retirement. It is beyond reason to expect medical care, like any other commodity, to follow the laws of supply and demand — for prices and choices to allocate resources and for competition to drive down prices and improve quality. It is simply too much to expect the compassion, morality and spirituality of humankind to aid those unable to care for themselves.
“If it be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of our security in a Republic? The answer would be, An inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws - the first growing out of the last. … A sacred respect for the constitutional law is the vital principle, the sustaining energy of a free government.” —Alexander Hamilton, Essay in the American Daily Advertiser, 1794
“In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” —Thomas Jefferson, fair copy of the drafts of the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798
And about the Na’Vi. Like most fifth graders, Cameron endows them with a nobility and honor that he thinks the Native Americans possessed. Fine, whatever. What is important is that he presents an “idealized” society. A society based on respect for the planet and the creatures that inhabit it. In one scene, Neytiri kills some freaky Doberman looking thing and then cries about it later. She had to kill it because it was attacking Jake. To save one life, that she deemed more important, she took another.
The entire Na’Vi society is based on a code of honor and achievement. The members must “prove” themselves to the tribe by accomplishing things like riding dragons. When Jake tames the big mofo dragon, a great accomplishment, he is rewarded by being made the leader of the tribe despite the fact that Tsu’tey was next in line to be chief.
Cameron’s idealized society is one based on individual achievement. When individuals take great risks, they are often rewarded over people who have seniority. Fairness is determined by accomplishments, not by rules. There are winners and there are losers amongst the Na’Vi and they manage to be a happy society. Oh, and when they are forced, they kill to protect themselves and their loved ones, an action that they don’t take lightly. They have honor and nobility. They have strong traditions.
Sounds good to me. In fact, it sounds a lot like the conservative view of what America stands for. I’m in. Hey, Cameron, beers at my house, I TiVo’ed Glenn Beck for you.
“If the federal government should overpass the just bounds of its authority and make a tyrannical use of its powers, the people … must appeal to the standard they have formed, and take such measures to redress the injury done to the Constitution as the exigency may suggest and prudence justify.” —Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 33
This has been sitting in my NetNewsWire sidebar for two and a half years. So better late than never, I suppose.
The best inoculation, I think, to a wrong perception that Christianity is equivalent to conservatism is the mercy work of many good churches. For every politico a non-Christian sees claiming the Christian label, we want him to see a hundred Christians in his community, quietly, humbly doing the work of our Father. The more we can accomplish that, the harder it will be for people to identify Christianity with whatever happens to be popular among politicians who claim to act on Christ’s behalf. “You will know them,” Christ said of the good and the bad, “by their fruits.” My prayer, in the current political season and the decades to follow, is that more non-Christians will come to know us in that way, by lifechanging encounters with loving Christians.
Does our Constitution allow the Executive and Legislative branches to collaborate to confer authority upon the federal government over, in this case, so-called “health care reform”?
Those who laid the Foundation of our Constitution were crystal clear about its enumeration of both the authority and limits upon the central government.
James Madison, our Constitution’s primary author, wrote, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined [and] will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation and foreign commerce.”
Madison continued, “If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the General Welfare, the Government is no longer a limited one, possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one, subject to particular exceptions.”
To that point, Thomas Jefferson asserted: “[G]iving [Congress] a distinct and independent power to do any act they please which may be good for the Union, would render all the preceding and subsequent enumerations of power completely useless. It would reduce the whole [Constitution] to a single phrase, that of instituting a Congress with power to do whatever would be for the good of the United States; and as sole judges of the good or evil, it would be also a power to do whatever evil they please. Certainly, no such universal power was meant to be given them. [The Constitution] was intended to lace them up straightly within the enumerated powers and those without which, as means, these powers could not be carried into effect.”
Clearly, our Constitution, does not authorize Congress to nationalize health care, anymore than it authorizes Congress to do most of what it does today.
[Bold emphasis added. —R]
“There are those, of course, who claim we must give up freedom in exchange for economic progress. Well, pardon me, but anyone trying to sell you that line is no better than a three-card-trick man. One thing becoming more clear every day is that freedom and progress go hand in hand. Throughout the developing world, people are rejecting socialism because they see that it doesn’t empower people, it impoverishes them.” —Ronald Reagan
“The riddles of God are more satisfying than the solutions of man.” —G.K. Chesterton
Surely it is a sign of Providence that my best friend shares a birthday celebration with our first President.
As friend of The Patriot, Matthew Spalding, a Heritage Foundation scholar, reminds: “Although it was celebrated as early as 1778, and by the early 19th Century was second only to the Fourth of July as a patriotic holiday, Congress did not officially recognize Washington’s Birthday as a national holiday until 1870. The Monday Holiday Law in 1968 — applied to executive branch departments and agencies by Richard Nixon’s Executive Order 11582 in 1971 — moved the holiday from February 22 to the third Monday in February. Section 6103 of Title 5, United States Code, currently designates that legal federal holiday as ‘Washington’s Birthday.’ Contrary to popular opinion, no action by Congress or order by any President has changed ‘Washington’s Birthday’ to ‘Presidents’ Day.’”
In honor of and with due respect for our first and (we believe) greatest president, arguably our nation’s most outstanding Patriot, we include two quotes from George Washington which best embody his dedication to liberty and God. The first from his First Inaugural Address, April 30, 1789, and the second from his Farewell Address, September 19, 1796.
“The preservation of the sacred fire of liberty, and the destiny of the republican model of government, are justly considered as deeply, perhaps as finally, staked on the experiment entrusted to the hands of the American People.”
“Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, Religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great Pillars of human happiness — these firmest props of the duties of Men and citizens.”
[Emphasis added. —R]
“There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” —James Madison, speech to the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
I would posit the encroachments have been not-so-silent these past 80 years.
“It does not take a majority to prevail … but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brushfires of freedom in the minds of men.” —Samuel Adams
“[A] rigid economy of the public contributions and absolute interdiction of all useless expenses will go far towards keeping the government honest and unoppressive.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Marquis de Lafayette, 1823
“The multiplication of public offices, increase of expense beyond income, growth and entailment of a public debt, are indications soliciting the employment of the pruning knife.” —Thomas Jefferson, letter to Spencer Roane, 1821
“[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, — who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia.” —George Mason, speech in the Virginia Ratifying Convention, 1788
The idea that anti-Americanism exists or increased just because of Bush springs from an immature, self-centered view of the universe and international politics. We saw this in the weeks after 9/11 from the “Why do they hate us” crowd that attempted to blame the victim for the terrorism. It’s safer to think that we control everything in the world, and that therefore we have the power to change anything in the world. That’s nothing more than a fairy tale, and a dangerous one when taken seriously.
Robert Tracinski, RealClearPolitics:
When you understand what this bill does, you can see why the Democrats would be happy to compromise and drop the public option-for now. This bill so comprehensively wrecks private health insurance that pretty soon a “public option” will seem like the only alternative, and they will already have put into place one of the new taxes needed to pay for it. If the left’s goal is to impose socialized medicine in America, this bill does it in the most callous and destructive way possible. It smashes private health care-then leaves us stranded in the rubble, at which point we will be expected to come crawling back to the same people who caused the disaster and ask them to save us.
That is the final and perhaps most compelling reason to kill this bill: the sheer arrogance of the whole enterprise. It is the arrogance of stampeding an unwilling public toward a monstrous 2,000-page piece of legislation while admitting that it still has huge problems, but promising that it will all somehow be fixed later on. It’s the arrogance of selling us a bill that expands government spending by hundreds of billions of dollars while telling us that it will reduce the deficit. It is the sheer unmitigated gall of appointing a bureaucrat to run a government-controlled insurance market that takes away all of our health choices-and then calling this bureaucrat the Health Choices Commissioner.
That’s the kind of government arrogance that has to be smacked down hard, and that alone is reason to demand that your senator reject this vicious bill in its entirety.
“[A] wise and frugal government … shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government.” —Thomas Jefferson
Frederick Buechner, Wishful Thinking: A Seeker’s ABC:
Unfermented grape juice is a bland and pleasant drink, especially on a warm afternoon mixed half-and-half with ginger ale. It is a ghastly symbol of the life blood of Jesus Christ, especially when served in individual antiseptic, thimble-sized glasses.
Wine is booze, which means it is dangerous and drunk-making. It makes the timid brave and the reserved amorous. It loosens the tongue and breaks the ice, especially when served in a loving cup. It kills germs. As symbols go, it is a rather splendid one.
[Totally ripped off from Michael Hyatt.]
Eric Holder’s move to try the 9/11 masterminds in Manhattan makes it official: This administration has reverted to pre-9/11 “crime” fighting.
Amid all the talk during the attorney general’s surreal press conference of the “crime” committed eight years ago, the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon wasn’t even mentioned.
Lest anyone forget, the military headquarters of the United States was attacked that day along with the Twin Towers.
An entire wedge of the Ring was gutted when the Saudi hijackers slammed American Airlines Flight 77 into it. Nearly 200 military personnel were killed, along with the passengers and crew of the hijacked jet.
The jet was a weapon used to attack the very center of our military. That was not a “crime,” as some say. It was an act of war.
And 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, along with the four other al-Qaida terrorist co-conspirators Holder wants to try, are no mere criminals. They are enemy combatants — and should be treated as such.
Holder clucked that the “trials will be open to the public and the world.” And they will turn into circuses, playing right into the hands of the enemy.
These trials will drag on for years, perhaps even decades, as defense lawyers file endless motions and appeals. Meanwhile, valuable intelligence about interrogation techniques and other methods we’ve used against al-Qaida will be revealed to the enemy during trial discovery.
This move to a civilian court makes no sense at all, except viewed through a political prism.
November 1989 was the most liberating month of arguably the most liberating year in human history, yet two decades later the country that led the Cold War coalition against communism seems less interested than ever in commemorating, let alone processing the lessons from, the collapse of its longtime foe. At a time that fairly cries out for historical perspective about the follies of central planning, Americans are ignoring the fundamental conflict of the postwar world, and instead leapfrogging back to what Steve Forbes describes in this issue as the “Jurassic Park statism” of the 1930s.
The consensus Year of Revolution for most of our lifetimes has been 1968, with its political assassinations, its Parisian protests, and a youth-culture rebellion that the baby boomers will never tire of telling us about. But as the preeminent modern Central European historian Timothy Garton Ash wrote in a 2008 essay, 1989 “ended communism in Europe, the Soviet empire, the division of Germany, and an ideological and geopolitical struggle…that had shaped world politics for half a century. It was, in its geopolitical results, as big as 1945 or 1914. By comparison, ‘68 was a molehill.”
There is no more reliable rule than the 95 percent rule: 95 percent of what you read about economics and finance is either wrong or irrelevant.
[T]he most repeated statement about the cause of the U.S. Great Depression is that it was caused by the October 1929 stock market crash. How could that be? By April 1930, the stock market had recovered to its pre-crash level. What is not taught in history books is the Great Depression was caused by a massive government failure. The most important part of that failure were the actions by the Federal Reserve Bank that led to the contraction of the money supply by 25 percent. Then, in the name of saving jobs, Congress enacted the Smoot-Hawley Act in June 1930, which increased U.S. tariffs by more than 50 percent. Other nations retaliated and world trade collapsed. U.S. unemployment rose from 8 percent in 1930 to 25 percent in 1933. In 1932, the Herbert Hoover administration and a Democratic Congress imposed the largest tax increase in U.S. history, raising the top tax rate on income from 25 percent to 63 percent. The Roosevelt administration followed these destructive policies with New Deal legislation that massively regulated the economy and extended the Great Depression to after World War II.
Have today’s politicians and their economic advisers learned anything from yesteryear’s policy that turned what would have been a short, sharp downturn in the economy into a 16-year affair? The answer is very little.
Not only does the liberal paradigm not even come close to agreeing with the social and economic reality on the ground today, worse, it has largely congealed into a political religion, especially in the nearly 30 years since Ronald Reagan shifted the nation’s political center of gravity, just as FDR had done 48 years earlier. Since liberals care about the sheep, all who disagree with liberalism must not, making them morally inferior if not downright immoral. Thus the nastiness in American politics is largely on the left. Whatever you think of Sarah Palin, her treatment in the liberal press was ugliness personified.
“[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes — rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments.” —Alexander Hamilton
It seems to me that if you’re going to be in the business of making disastrously bad, ridicule-inviting choices, you need to select people with a long track record of feckless, reckless, irrelevant, crowd-pleasing stupidity on an international scale. People like Jimmy Carter, in other words.
Seriously, couldn’t the committee find a murderous thug who, seeing that his bread might be buttered on the side of temporary peace, recently signed some meaningless treaty? And if they wanted an American, couldn’t they find someone with a solid history of lecturing his countrymen about our moral failings?
What’s missing this year, in other words, is outrage. There’s just nothing to be incensed about. Obama certainly shows plenty of promise of becoming Carteresque, what with looming inflation and a seeming inability to make decisions about the military, but he needs time to stumble into that role. Giving him the award now just makes everyone go “Huh?” And I think what the committee is really looking for is “Ack!”
“[W]e ought to deprecate the hazard attending ardent and susceptible minds, from being too strongly, and too early prepossessed in favor of other political systems, before they are capable of appreciating their own.” —George Washington, letter to the Commissioners of the District of Columbia, 1795
“Liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge; I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.” —John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756
Brian “Head” Welch, Save Me From Myself:
All of the man-made religion crap in this world has to die. Whether it’s Christian man-made religion crap or some other man-made religion crap, it all has to die. It must grieve God’s heart when he sees Christians fighting about whose doctrine is right; he doesn’t see denominations, he sees one big glorious bride. When Christians argue about doctrinal issues, all he sees is carnal people acting like children. All that prideful, controlling religious crap is what drives young people away from churches, and it has to go. Much of the world’s population is under the age of eighteen, and we have to bring the love of Christ to them without all this controlling crap going on. Because, where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.”
Will you write on a tablet, or just read from it? Or will you just buy it and put it on your desk and look at it a lot and never use it at all? Or will you maybe carry it around and put on the table in restaurants to show the other humanoids in your tribe that you are more advanced and wealthy than they are, and they should fear you because you have powerful magic that they do not understand? You see what I mean? What is the anthropology here? And what about the ergonomics? Can you mount it on a wall? Will it have a shiny surface so that Macolytes can adore themselves as they use it in public? (Yes. It must.) The tablet must look and feel not like something that was made by man — it must feel otherworldly, as if God himself made it and handed it to you.
I’m so glad Fake Steve came back.
“We lay it down as a fundamental, that laws, to be just, must give a reciprocation of right; that, without this, they are mere arbitrary rules of conduct, founded in force, and not in conscience.” —Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the state of Virginia, 1782
“The house of representatives … can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as the great mass of society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interest, and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.” —Federalist No. 57, February 19, 1788
[Emphasis added. —R]
Keep this in mind during the ongoing “health care reform” debate. Congress already has its own health care and retirement programs, not at all tied to Social Security, et al.
Here is a handy-dandy way to determine whether the failure to order some exam or treatment constitutes rationing: If the patient were the president, would he get it? If he’d get it and you wouldn’t, it’s rationing.
[Wave of the phin to Instapundit.]
I’d like to take a look at the evidence for global warming resulting from increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere: The argument is that more infrared radiation released by the Earth is captured given the higher concentration of CO2 in the air, thereby warming the planet. However, if you’re looking for scientifically rigorous experiments linking CO2 to increased temperatures, I have bad news for you: It doesnt exist.
Can any model accurately capture the complexities of the Earth’s atmosphere? There are certainly many sophisticated ones out there. Happily, most of them use actual physical experiments to verify their underlying assumptions. However, until the “Flux Capacitor” from Back to the Future gets built, any climate model will need decades to verify its assumptions using real data.
Climate simply refers to one day of weather after another. Global-warming true believers, let me ask you the following question: Do you view weather forecast projections for 2 weeks from today with the same certainty that you do a computer model that purports to predict the weather 100 years from now? If not, why not? After all, they’re both based on computer models.
If your neighbor told you he were getting a tent for his daughter’s wedding reception 2 weeks from now, and you told him not to bother, because a computer model predicted sunny weather, do you think he’d take you seriously?
Here’s some science that no one with a vested political or financial interest in climate change would want you to know: The warmest year since 1934 was 1998, at the height of the strongest El Nino on record. The gold standard for CO2 measurement is taken at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. In 1998, the observatory recorded 366 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere; it steadily rose to 386 ppm in 2008. In the meantime, the earth has cooled.
The observed temperature data don’t match what the model predicts. In physics (my field), we’d look at both the experiment and the data to see whether there was something wrong with the experiment’s design, or whether the data were right and the theory wrong. Either way, we’d step back and reevaluate everything.
What we certainly wouldn’t do is cram 300 pages of amendments through Congress at 3:00 a.m. and force a vote the next day.
“Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue; or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens.” —James Madison (likely), Federalist No. 62
When Ronald Reagan took office, America’s top income tax rate was 70 percent; when he left, it was 28 percent. Reagan’s tax cuts were permanent (well, that is, until his successor George Bush broke a campaign pledge). And President Reagan pushed his tax cuts through a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives.
When George W. Bush took office, the top income tax rate was 39.6 percent; when he left, it was 35 percent. This small tax cut expires next year. And at the time he was promoting his tax cut, President Bush enjoyed a Republican-controlled House (which he continued to do until the Republican betrayal of conservative principles finally bit them in 2006).
Which man should we seek to learn from, to emulate? The one who pushed significant, permanent tax reform through a Democrat-controlled House of Representatives—and ushered in an era of robust economic growth? Or the one who settled for small, temporary tax reform, with a Republican House—and ushered in an era of robust government growth?
In its boundless ambition, the Left understands that the character of a people can be transformed: British, Canadian and European elections are now about which party can deliver “better services,” as if the nation is a hotel, and the government could use some spritelier bellhops. Socialized health care in particular changes the nature of the relationship between citizen and state into something closer to junkie and pusher. On one of the many Obama Web sites the national impresario feels the need to maintain — “Foundation for Change” — the president is certainly laying the foundation for something. Among the many subjects expressing their gratitude to Good King Barack the Hopeychanger is “Phil from Cathedral City, Ca.”:
“I was laid off in mid-January from a job I had for 12 years. It’s really getting hard to make ends meet, but this month I got some great news. This week I received in the mail official notification that my COBRA monthly payments for medical, dental and vision insurance will decrease from $468 to only $163, all due to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This is a $305 in savings a month!
“I can’t tell you how much of a weight off my shoulders this is. I am living proof of how the president’s bold initiatives are beginning to work!”
But just exactly how do these “bold initiatives” work? Well, hey, simple folk like you and I and Phil from Cathedral City don’t need to worry about the details. Once these “bold initiatives” really hit their stride maybe the cost of everything over four hundred bucks can be brought down to $163. Wouldn’t that be great?
The problem in the Western world is that governments are spending money faster than their citizenry or economies can generate it. As Gerald Ford liked to say, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is big enough to take away everything you have.” And that’s true. But there’s an intermediate stage: A government big enough to give Phil from Cathedral City everything he wants isn’t big enough to get Phil to give any of it back. That’s the stage the Europeans are at: Their electorates are hooked on unsustainable levels of “services,” but no longer can conceive of life without them.
“Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands.”
—Thomas Jefferson, letter to James Madison, 1784
“An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”
—John Marshall, McCullough v. Maryland, 1819
“The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny. The wise and correct course to follow in taxation is not to destroy those who have already secured success, but to create conditions under which everyone will have a better chance to be successful.” —President Calvin Coolidge (1873-1933)
Maybe I’m overly cynical, but trusting a politician’s conscience seems a bit like trusting a prostitute’s sense of propriety.
“It is necessary for every American, with becoming energy to endeavor to stop the dissemination of principles evidently destructive of the cause for which they have bled. It must be the combined virtue of the rulers and of the people to do this, and to rescue and save their civil and religious rights from the outstretched arm of tyranny, which may appear under any mode or form of government.”
—Mercy Warren, History of the Rise, Progress, and Termination of the American Revolution, 1805
John Farnam, “Huh?”
Who are these people?
The VCA who murdered four police officers in Oakland, CA last Saturday had been incarcerated since 2002, but had been recently released on parole.
The sentencing report in the 2002 case that put him in prison described this VCA as a “…cold-hearted individual, who has no regard for human life,” and went on to insist that his permanently residing in prison was the “only way to rein-in this man’s proclivity for violence.”
Now there’s a real recommendation for parole!
That report was surely available to the Parole Board who let him out.
Perhaps, between shrieking for the end to the private ownership of guns in America and the need for higher taxes, the media might find the time to ask why such remorseless, violent, unstable sociopaths are paroled in CA!
[“VCA” = Violent Criminal Actor/Attacker. —R]
“Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them if we basely entail hereditary bondage on them.”
—Thomas Jefferson, Declaration of the Causes and Necessities of Taking up Arms, 6 July 1775
“[C]ommercial shackles are generally unjust, oppressive and impolitic. …[I]f industry and labour are left to take their own course, they will generally be directed to those objects which are the most productive, and this in a more certain and direct manner than the wisdom of the most enlightened legislature could point out.”
—James Madison, speech to Congress, 9 April 1789
It never fails to amaze me how prescient the Founders were.
“The economic ills we suffer … will not go away in days, weeks, or months, but they will go away. They will go away because we, as Americans, have the capacity now, as we have had in the past, to do whatever needs to be done to preserve this last and greatest bastion of freedom. In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem.
“Our government has no power except that granted it by the people. It is time to check and reverse the growth of government, which shows signs of having grown beyond the consent of the governed. It is my intention to curb the size and influence of the federal establishment and to demand recognition of the distinction between the powers granted to the federal government and those reserved to the states or to the people. All of us need to be reminded that the federal government did not create the states; the states created the federal government.”
—Ronald Reagan, Inaugural Address, 1981
[Emphasis in second paragraph added. —R]
“What [Obama calls] tax reductions in this bill are really transfer payments, particularly redistribution of income from the rich to the poor. The economy did very well [after the Bush] tax cuts of 2003. Obama has blamed [the Bush tax cuts] for part of the current financial collapse. There’s really no linkage between the tax cuts of 2003 and the financial and housing collapse we’ve seen in recent months. Abolishing the corporate income tax at the federal level I think would be very positive. It’s a very poor form of taxation. I would make permanent the kinds of changes that were in the 2003 tax reform, including the marginal tax rate structure.” —Harvard Economist Robert Barro on Obama’s “terrible piece of legislation”
[Emphasis added. —R]
SUPPORTERS OF ABORTION RIGHTS bristle at the term “partial-birth abortion,” and sympathetic journalists often make a point of setting it off with scare quotes or injecting a phrase meant to dilute the term’s grisly legitimacy — for example, “a controversial procedure that critics call ‘partial-birth abortion’” (as the Los Angeles Times has put it), or “a ban on so-called ‘partial-birth’ abortion” (to quote Reuters).
But what happens to such fastidiousness when it comes to terms coined by liberals? Terms like “Fairness Doctrine” — an Orwellian label for government stifling of untrammeled political speech over the airwaves. Or like “Employee Free Choice Act,” a benign title for legislation that would deny employees the right to a secret ballot in workplace elections. Strange, isn’t it, how the concern with terminological exactitude kicks in at the appearance of a freighted expression from the right, yet fades into the mist when the language comes from the left?
“This is the issue: whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far distant capital can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them for ourselves. … Somewhere a perversion has taken place. Our natural, inalienable rights are now considered to be a dispensation of government, and freedom has never been so fragile, so close to slipping from our grasp as it is at this moment.” —Ronald Reagan, 1980
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms … disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes… Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
—Cesare Beccaria, On Crimes and Punishment, quoted by Thomas Jefferson in Commonplace Book, 1774-1776
“The principle of spending money to be paid by posterity, under the name of funding, is but swindling futurity on a large scale.” —Thomas Jefferson
“The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of the republic; since it offers a strong moral check against usurpation and arbitrary power of the rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.” —Justice Joseph Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, 1833
IN NOMINATING John Holdren to be director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy — the position known informally as White House science adviser — President-elect Barack Obama has enlisted an undisputed Big Name among academic environmentalists, one “with a resume longer than your arm,” as Newsweek’s Sharon Begley exulted when the announcement was made. Holdren is a physicist, a professor of environmental policy at Harvard, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the director of the Woods Hole Research Center, and the author or co-author of many papers and books.
He is also a doom-and-gloomer with a trail of erroneous apocalyptic forecasts dating back nearly 40 years — and a decided lack of tolerance for environmental opinions that conflict with his.
The position of science adviser requires Senate confirmation. Holdren’s nomination is likely to sail through, but conscientious senators might wish to ask him some questions. Here are eight:
Glenn Beck, in the epilogue of The Christmas Sweater:
My mom gave me the sweater, but the greatest gift was given to all of us by a loving Father in Heaven. It is the only true gift ever given to all and yet opened or appreciated by so few. It is the gift of redemption and atonement, and it sits on the top shelf, largely untouched, in the closets of our soul.
At Christmas we celebrate the birth of the Christ child, but by doing so, sometimes we miss the real meaning of the season. It is what that infant, boy, and then perfect man did at the end of His ministry that makes the birth so special.
Without His death, the birth is meaningless.
Expert Macintosh users who see “MacWorld” in an article know you don’t know what you’re talking about, just as most technology-literate readers would laugh at “MicroSoft,” “QualComm,” or “LexMark.” Referring to a famous technology event without the correct name or spelling is a quick way to throw away your credibility. Saying “That’s how I always thought it was spelled, and besides, everyone knew what I meant” is saying “I didn’t bother to get the facts about my subject before I wrote my article.” Don’t be that writer.
If any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Windows is that awkward kid that can’t remember how the trick goes.
“Praying about the future? Take heart! God is already there. He’s standing at the end of our lives looking back on all our days.”
“Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man.” —Rabindranath Tagore
[Via A Child Chosen.]
Every time there’s a new OS release from MSFT they talk about the shortfalls of the current OS & how the new version will fix all problems.
Ever hear Apple dis a former version of their OS? Me neither. :)
Those other issues certainly affect a country’s safety, prosperity, and greatness. But I’ve come to believe that a nation that tolerates destruction of innocents deserves neither safety nor prosperity nor greatness. We’ve descended into barbarism, and it poisons how we treat the elderly, the incapacitated, even ourselves. We shouldn’t be surprised, having made life a utilitarian calculation, that more and more humans become inconvenient.
It’s certainly true that there are other issues that ought to concern Christians, like the sanctity of marriage, and how we treat the mentally ill, the elderly, and children who have been born. But abortion is, in my view, the touchstone. Get this one wrong and your moral compass can guide you in nothing else.
Tony Woodlief, with words I need to take heed of:
Cast aside what you think you know is right, the church marquee urges, and consider the God-breathed Word. Give yourself over to it and these seemingly large things—tax rates, economic growth, wars, and rumors of wars—will diminish. Meanwhile, those seemingly small things—the anger in our hearts when we, say, confront someone whose ideology we dislike or the fact that we find it so much easier to spend time with those we like rather than those who need us—will become grievous to our spirits.
This is the Word that cuts through every heart, through the very heart of darkness, illuminating the world as it is and will be. Beside it every politician ever born is remarkably inconsequential. Our business on Election Day is brief, and regardless of who wins our work remains the same—seeking and serving the lost, losing our own lives in the doing, and clinging to the Cross that shatters nations, tribes, and creeds.
Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC was touching. It was a brilliant speech.
Don’t get me wrong, it all sounded wonderful, but I came away from it reminded of the kid who ran for class president when I was in 6th grade based on campaign promises of replacing all of the school’s water fountains with soda fountains. Plenty of kids voted for him because they loved the promise and incorrectly assumed that if he was promising it, he must have a way to make it happen. Those of us who took a minute to think about it realized that it was something that was beyond the power of one person and that it would take one heck of a lot of convincing and a whole lot of spending of money the school didn’t have in order to actually make it happen. Sounded great. Wasn’t realistic.
So, are we voting for what sounds great, or what sounds realistic?
“The most dangerous myth is the demagoguery that business can be made to pay a larger share, thus relieving the individual. Politicians preaching this are either deliberately dishonest, or economically illiterate, and either one should scare us. Business doesn’t pay taxes, and who better than business to make this message known?
“Only people pay taxes, and people pay as consumers every tax that is assessed against a business. Begin with the food and fiber raised in the farm, to the ore drilled in a mine, to the oil and gas from out of the ground, whatever it may be—through the processing, through the manufacturing, on out to the retailer’s license. If the tax cannot be included in the price of the product, no one along that line can stay in business.”
[Emphasis added. —R]
“Who is in the White House is not as important as Who is on the White Throne.” —Stewart Briscoe
Editor’s note: Orson Scott Card is a Democrat and a newspaper columnist, and in this opinion piece he takes on both while lamenting the current state of journalism.
This housing crisis didn’t come out of nowhere. It was not a vague emanation of the evil Bush administration.
If you who produce our local daily paper actually had any principles, you would be pounding this story, because the prosperity of all Americans was put at risk by the foolish, short-sighted, politically selfish, and possibly corrupt actions of leading Democrats, including Obama.
If you who produce our local daily paper had any personal honor, you would find it unbearable to let the American people believe that somehow Republicans were to blame for this crisis.
Your job, as journalists, is to tell the truth. That’s what you claim you do, when you accept people’s money to buy or subscribe to your paper.
If you had any personal honor, each reporter and editor would be insisting on telling the truth — even if it hurts the election chances of your favorite candidate.
Because that’s what honorable people do. Honest people tell the truth even when they don’t like the probable consequences. That’s what honesty means. That’s how trust is earned.
Barack Obama is just another politician, and not a very wise one. He has revealed his ignorance and naivete time after time — and you have swept it under the rug, treated it as nothing.
Meanwhile, you have participated in the borking of Sarah Palin, reporting savage attacks on her for the pregnancy of her unmarried daughter — while you ignored the story of John Edwards’s own adultery for many months.
So I ask you now: Do you have any standards at all? Do you even know what honesty means?
Is getting people to vote for Barack Obama so important that you will throw away everything that journalism is supposed to stand for?
Wow. And I didn’t even quote all of the good parts.
An end to employer-based health insurance is exactly what the American healthcare market needs. Far from being a calamity, it would represent a giant step toward ending the current system’s worst distortions: skyrocketing premiums, lack of insurance portability, widespread ignorance of medical prices, and overconsumption of health services.
With more than 90 percent of private healthcare plans in the United States obtained through employers, it might seem unnatural to get health insurance any other way. But what’s unnatural is the link between healthcare and employment. After all, we don’t rely on employers for auto, homeowners, or life insurance. Those policies we buy in an open market, where numerous insurers and agents compete for our business. Health insurance is different only because of an idiosyncrasy in the tax code dating back 60 years - a good example, to quote Milton Friedman, of how one bad government policy leads to another.
Americans who would never think of using auto insurance to cover tune-ups and oil changes grew accustomed to having their medical insurer pay for yearly physicals, prescriptions, and other routine expenses.
When patients think someone else is paying most of their healthcare costs, they feel little pressure to learn what those costs actually are - and providers feel little pressure to compete on price. So prices keep rising, which makes insurance more expensive, which makes Americans ever-more worried about losing their insurance - and ever-more dependent on the benefits provided by their employer.
De-linking medical insurance from employment is the key to reforming healthcare in the United States.
[Emphasis added. —R]
“The cure to cancer might be in the slums of Kenya or Indonesia.”
In other words, you don’t know what the children of today are capable of tomorrow, how God may use someone like me, someone like you, now to change the lives of scores, hundreds, thousands, possibly millions, years from now, just because we help change the life of one child today.
Please consider sponsoring a child.
When asked what the market would do, J. Pierpont Morgan is supposed to have replied, “It will fluctuate.” And so it has always done. For the time being, capital will be tighter than before, restricting credit—which is not always a bad thing—and businessmen will be reminded (as legislators, state and federal, seem never to learn) that neither bull markets nor recessions last indefinitely.
This is a fundamental reality of capitalism that seems never to penetrate the minds of journalists or politicians: Markets expand, contract a bit, and expand again, revenue streams are not always smooth, and for economic enterprise, the cost of overconfidence can be the same as the price of inertia: swift self-immolation. What appears to be huge, venerable, and financially indestructible today can be gone tomorrow.
The financial markets are unsteady at the moment, and Wall Street is undergoing elective surgery. But change, not stasis, is the hallmark of the free market […]
During the April 16 debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, moderator George Stephanopoulos brought up “a gentleman named William Ayers,” who “was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He’s never apologized for that.” Stephanopoulos then asked Obama to explain his relationship with Ayers. Obama’s answer: “The notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was eight years old, somehow reflects on me and my values, doesn’t make much sense, George.” Obama was indeed only eight in early 1970. I was only nine then, the year Ayers’s Weathermen tried to murder me.
Nobody should hold the junior senator from Illinois responsible for his friends’ and supporters’ violent terrorist acts. But it is fair to hold him responsible for a startling lack of judgment in his choice of mentors, associates, and friends, and for showing a callous disregard for the lives they damaged and the hatred they have demonstrated for this country. It is fair, too, to ask what those choices say about Obama’s own beliefs, his philosophy, and the direction he would take our nation.
“For the same reason that the members of the State legislatures will be unlikely to attach themselves sufficiently to national objects, the members of the federal legislature will be likely to attach themselves too much to local objects.” (Federalist No. 46, 1 February 1788)
“Sometimes bipartisanship is grounds for celebration, but more often it is cause for tears. Last week, congressional leaders from both parties went into a room to hammer out a plan that would put taxpayers on the hook for $700 billion. But they assert that the investment is essential to the health of the economy. And they insist that if we make this investment, we’ll get all or most of it back.
“This promise would be more believable if the federal government had a long record of using tax dollars responsibly. In fact, it’s the equivalent of the guy who raids his kid’s piggy bank to feed the slots. The most notable impulse of our leaders is spending money the Treasury doesn’t have, piling up bills that future Americans will have to cover.”
“The last thing Jesus needs is the State. Stupid Christians like James Dobson and Pat Roberton like D.C. more than grace … sad.”
“[I] [w]ish more startups focused on what can we be AWESOME at rather than what can we be FIRST at. “First-mover advantage” can be a trap.”
(Of course, being first AND being awesome is the ideal…)
“[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes — rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments.” — Alexander Hamilton (letter to James Bayard, April 1802)
Reference: Selected Writings and Speeches of Alexander Hamilton, Frisch, ed. (511)
Oh, how far we have fallen…
From my good friend, Brent:
“[T]he only people who bring up the supposed value of IBM/Windows over Mac are people whose livelihoods depend on it. Those PC vs. Mac commercials are correct, and Jerry Seinfeld can’t fix it.”
(It’s worth noting Brent’s livelihood does not, in fact, depend on the Mac. He’s just a satisfied user of one at home, whereas his work computer is Windows-based.)
Tony Woodlief never fails to amuse me in some fashion:
[T]his is what we have come to: a grown man, grooming his eyebrows in traffic, using his rear-view mirror. In Wichita.
Moments like this are reminders for me that the songs and trappings of Christian culture are not the hope of the world—Jesus is! We need to make him known. We need to love and seek to serve the world around us through prayer, through faithful evangelism, and through Christ-like service of those in need. Our goal is not building a more air-tight evangelical bubble. Neither should our goal be hoping that our subculture will burst out into the broader culture to great acclaim.
Instead, our goal should be to proclaim Christ and him crucified to the people we go to the school with, work with, and live next door to. Our goal should be to preach the gospel and live lives worthy of that gospel. Our goal should be to use our gifts in every sector of society so that God is glorified.
Clifford D. May, A Hundred Years of War?:
A hundred years from now, Americans might still be fighting militant Islamists in Iraq and other places. What could be worse than that? A hundred years from now, America and the West could have been defeated by militant Islamists.
Al-Qaeda, Iran’s ruling mullahs, Hezbollah, and others militant jihadis have told us what they are fighting for. The well-known Islamist, Hassan al-Banna, described the movement’s goals succinctly: “to dominate…to impose its laws on all nations and to extend its power to the entire planet.” He said that in 1928. Who would have believed then that his heirs would acquire the wealth, power, and lethality they enjoy today? Who can say where they may be 100 years from now? Who can say where the West will be? Survival is not an entitlement. Freedom must be earned by every generation.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer my candidates to come equipped without the “High Octane Marxist Cant” option.
[Wave of the phin to Dom.]
Tony Woodlief, “The City Where Nobody Smiles”:
Millions of people visit every year, and I wonder, does a one of them find what he is looking for?
Do they even know what they seek?
Which I suppose can be asked of us all, not just the poor souls sitting numbly in front of those cold machines with the pretty, pretty lights. The answer, I think, is that we are seeking something that will fill the great Empty.
It runs right through the middle of you, this emptiness, and though every good writer has tried to describe it, and though we all know it is there, we are most of us terribly afraid to think about it, which is perhaps why a place like Las Vegas can exist at all.
One of the biggest problems with government intervention in the economy is that politicians usually have neither the knowledge nor the incentives to intervene at the right time.
Bruce Bartlett has pointed out that most government intervention in an economic downturn comes too late. That is, the problem it is trying to solve has already worked itself out and the government intervention can create new problems.
More fundamentally, markets readjust themselves for a reason. That reason is that people pay a price for their misjudgments and mistakes.
Government interventions are usually based on trying to stop them from having to pay that price.
People who went way out on a limb to buy a house that they could not afford are now being pictured as victims of a heartless market or deceptive lenders.
Just a few years ago, people who went out on that limb made money big-time in a skyrocketing housing market. But now that they have been caught in the ups and downs that markets have gone through for centuries, the government is supposed to bail them out.
Solving short-run problems, especially in an election year, often means creating long-run problems. Pumping money into the economy can help many problems, but do not be surprised if it also leads to inflationary pressures and financial repercussions around the world.
In other words, people should bear some personal responsibility for their choices and actions. The government should leave well enough alone. Better yet, perhaps the government would like to admit to some responsibility in the matter, and perhaps rather than bailing out people from their own mistakes, rectify it’s own? (Yeah, I know, fat chance of the latter.)
[Emphasis in the quote added. —R]
Booker T. Washington:
“There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs—partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.”
“Engadget & Gizmodo are just two immature little kids attempting to reap the benefits of a journalistic profession neither truly understands.”
I couldn’t agree more. And yet I still subscribe to their RSS feeds…
Once again, one of the Founding Fathers sounds rather prescient:
“[D]emocracy will soon degenerate into an anarchy, such an anarchy that every man will do what is right in his own eyes and no man’s life or property or reputation or liberty will be secure, and every one of these will soon mould itself into a system of subordination of all the moral virtues and intellectual abilities, all the powers of wealth, beauty, wit and science, to the wanton pleasures, the capricious will, and the execrable cruelty of one or a very few.” — John Adams (An Essay on Man’s Lust for Power, 29 August 1763)
[A]nother way I’m convinced He exists and loves us — on the most base of levels — is that He hasn’t simply wiped us off the face of the earth. I don’t struggle with the whole “why does God let bad things happen” — that’s simple to dismiss, and maybe I will here one day. What I’m getting at is that He has such enormous self-control — if I were Him, there would only be a scant few humans left on the planet.
It’s one of two things: He loves as much as He says He does, or He doesn’t give a rat’s behind about us. With much thanks I know wholeheartedly that the latter isn’t true, so once again I’m amazed at how patient God is with us, and how He loves us, though we pain Him so.
Traditionally, however, Wall Street defines a recession as two consecutive quarters of falling Gross Domestic Product. By this definition, even the one-quarter “recession” in 2001 was hardly that. The National Bureau of Economic Research says a recession involves “a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months,” and Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, which boasts a 60-year track record of successfully predicting recessions, ranked the probability that the U.S. was in a recession in December at 35.5 percent. In January, a mere six percent.
[Emphasis added. —R]
“It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf.” — Thomas Paine (The American Crisis, No. 1, 19 December 1776)
Reference: Thomas Paine: Collected Writings, Foner ed., Library of America (97)
Just seems like something to keep in mind regarding our jihadist enemies…
I never thought I would have to hold a package of frozen peas on my son’s penis. They don’t tell you this may be a possibility in parenting class. It’s all breathing and learning to count to ten and not freaking out when they get a diaper rash. But penis bruises? Nowhere in the manual.
Another nugget from Sheriff Bell:
Here a year or two back me and Loretta went to a conference in Corpus Christi and I got set next to this woman, she was the wife of somebody or other. And she kept talkin about the right wing this and the right wing that. I aint even sure what she meant by it. The people I know are mostly just common people. Common as dirt, as the sayin goes. I told her that and she looked at me funny. She thought I was sayin somethin bad about em, but of course that’s a high compliment in my part of the world. She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I dont like the way the country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I dont think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I dont have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.
Some keen cultural insight, courtesy of Sheriff Bell in Cormac McCarthry’s No Country For Old Men (complete with McCarthy’s trademark non-punctuation):
I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they’d been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forums that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old. That it’s one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I’ve got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it aint too late.
[Emphasis added. —R]
“September 11, 2001, was a defining moment in American history. On that terrible day, our nation saw the face of evil as 19 men barbarously attacked us and wantonly murdered people of many races, nationalities, and creeds. On Patriot Day, we remember the innocent victims, and we pay tribute to the valiant firefighters, police officers, emergency personnel and ordinary citizens who risked their lives so others might live. After the attacks on 9/11, America resolved that we would go on the offense against our enemies, and we would not distinguish between the terrorists and those who harbor and support them. All Americans honor the selfless men and women of our Armed Forces, the dedicated members of our public safety, law enforcement and intelligence communities, and the thousands of others who work hard each day to protect our country, secure our liberty and prevent future attacks. The spirit of our people is the source of America’s strength, and six years ago, Americans came to the aid of neighbors in need. On Patriot Day, we pray for those who died and for their families. We volunteer to help others and demonstrate the continuing compassion of our citizens. On this solemn occasion, we rededicate ourselves to laying the foundation of peace with confidence in our mission and our free way of life.” —President George W. Bush
“[A]s we approach the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11, there are suggestions that we should begin to forget the worst terrorist incident in America’s history. Recently, a front-page story in The New York Times suggested it is becoming too much of a burden to remember the attack, that nothing new can be said about it and that, perhaps, Sept. 11 ‘fatigue’ may be setting in.
“9/11 forces us to be serious, not only about those who died and why they died at the hands of religious fanatics, but also so that we won’t forget that it could very well happen again and many of today’s living might end up as yesterday’s dead. That is the purpose of remembering 9/11, not to engage in perpetual mourning. The war goes on and to be reminded of 9/11 serves as the ultimate protection against forgetfulness. Terrorists have not forgotten 9/11. Tape of the Twin Towers is used on jihadist Websites for the purpose of recruiting new ‘martyrs.’
“What’s the matter with some people? Does remembering not only 9/11 but the stakes in this world war interfere too much with our pursuit of money, things and pleasure? Serious times require serious thought and serious action. In our frivolous times, full of trivialities and irrelevancies, to be serious is to abandon self-indulgence for survival, entertainment for the stiffened spine.
“Not to remember 9/11, is to forget what brought it about.” —Cal Thomas
“Last week The New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who ‘allowed the events of 9/11 to happen.’ And they mean everybody—American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms—everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
“According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one’s death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they’re after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they’ll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen. But that’s the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he’s retained counsel…[T]hose 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child’s death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth
“On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.” —Mark Steyn
Sometimes as a parent you feel like a wall. One side of you is hard chipped stone. The side facing these little ones is smoothed, its cracks spackled as best you can manage. Sometimes your child will run a finger along one of those cracks, and when he does this you know you can go on standing, no matter the weight, until he is strong and ready to beat back the world with his own muscle and bone and faith.
(And why you should be following my Twitter feed, if you’re not already.)
The best thing about using Twitter for chat is you’re never online, and you’re always online. As far as the world is concerned.
John Farnam had this quote in a recent post on his mailing list, and I thought it significant.
In a state of tranquillity, wealth, and luxury, our descendants will forget the Art of War and the noble zeal which made their ancestors invincible. Every corruption will be employed to loosen the bond of union which renders our resistance formidable. When the spirit of liberty, which now animates our hearts and gives success to our arms, is extinct, our numbers will accelerate our ruin and render us easy victims to tyranny. —Sam Adams
Overheard by Jeff Harrell earlier today:
Wouldn’t it be great if the people who made the iPhone also made a computer?
“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If so, then Microsoft would have great products.” —Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc. shareholders meeting, 2007
“Quemadmoeum gladuis neminem occidit, occidentis telum est.” —Lucius Annaeus Seneca, circa 45 AD
Translation: “A sword is never a killer, it is a tool in the killer’s hands.”
Just thought this might be somewhat relevant to political and cultural debates we’re having two thousand years later.
Stef: In fact, if the weather gets better, Jeff and I were thinking of breaking in our new picnic basket tomorrow.
Jeff: Yeah. We have a secret spot, so if you come with us, we’ll have to blindfold you.
Eddie: Yeeeeaaah, well, unless that’s followed by a gunshot, I wouldn’t count on it.
That is why you should be watching ‘Til Death.
“I’ve got the attention span of a 2 year old on crack today.” —Eric Blair
What’s worse than going to a bachelorette party at a male strip club? Going with your mom.
No political slogan or hand-held sign has ever changed someone’s convictions. Protests, shouting, and political battle will only polarize people on an issue. Regardless of which side wins or loses a political struggle, people will continue to believe what they did before. If you want to change your community, your nation and your world, the most effective action you can take is to introduce people to Jesus, and to demonstrate His love and compassion to them. Through His death and resurrection, all of us can be free from the effects of sin, and enjoy unlimited and joyful relationship with God. This is where changed lives come from.
It is a good thing to participate in politics as God leads. Vote your conscience. Respectfully voice your convictions in the political arena. But don’t expect the election of a politician or passage of a law to change people’s minds and hearts, much less their lives. Political power and law rule only through fear of consequence, not love. Let’s make our focus the same as Jesus’. People are transformed when they experience love in relationship with Him.
“In the annals of American history, only a few events are so well-known and so deeply rooted in national remembrance that the mere mention of their date suffices to describe them. Of these occurrences, none could have had more significance for our Nation than December 7, 1941. On that Sunday morning… the Imperial Japanese Navy launched an unprovoked, surprise attack upon units of the Armed Forces of the United States stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.
“This attack claimed the lives of 2,403 Americans, wounded 1,178 more, and damaged our naval capabilities in the Pacific. Such destruction seared the memory of a generation and galvanized the will of the American people in a fight to maintain our right to freedom without fear. Every honor is appropriate for the courageous Americans who made the supreme sacrifice for our Nation at Pearl Harbor and in the many battles that followed in World War II. Their sacrifice was for a cause, not for conquest; for a world that would be safe for future generations. Their devotion must never be forgotten.” —Ronald Reagan
The average pencil is seven inches long, with just a half-inch eraser—in case you thought optimism was dead. —Robert Brault, software developer, writer (1972- )
[Courtesy of today’s AWAD.]
I don’t need anything else special to remember my wedding anniversary. Circumstances of life dictated that forever shall the day of our wedding be shared with that of the invasion of Normandy, and the enormous sacrifice made there by so many. Yesterday marked the second anniversary of President Reagan’s passing, I can think of no better words to remember D-Day, than those spoken by him on the fortieth anniversary of the invasion:
Forty summers have passed since the battle that you fought here. You were young that day and you took these cliffs; some of you were hardly more than boys, with the deepest joys of life before you. Yet, you risked everything here. Why? Why did you do it? What impelled you to put aside the instinct for self-preservation and risk your lives to take these cliffs? What inspired all the men of the armies that met here?
We look at you, and somehow we know the answer. It was faith and belief; it was loyalty and love. The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge—and pray God we have not lost it—that there is a profound moral difference between the use of force of liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer… You all knew that some things are worth dying for.
This little tale, which appears to be a book for children, is actually a clever evocation of what happens to a corporation when a management consultant is hired by absent, clueless senior management to evaluate its organizational structure and to effect change. Beginning slowly, the Cat proceeds to take everything apart, make a total mess and get everybody in potentially the worst trouble in the world—all at no personal cost to itself. By the time the Cat leaves, it has frightened everybody, and very little has changed except the mind-set of the protagonists, which has been forever disrupted and rattled.
Always be wary of any helpful item that weighs less than its operating manual.
One of things you have to love about Benjamin Franklin was his optimism with regard to those who hold public office.
They are of the People, and return again to mix with the People, having no more durable preeminence than the different Grains of Sand in an Hourglass. Such an Assembly cannot easily become dangerous to Liberty. They are the Servants of the People, sent together to do the People’s Business, and promote the public Welfare; their Powers must be sufficient, or their Duties cannot be performed. They have no profitable Appointments, but a mere Payment of daily Wages, such as are scarcely equivalent to their Expences; so that, having no Chance for great Places, and enormous Salaries or Pensions, as in some Countries, there is no triguing or bribing for Elections.
—letter to George Whatley, 23 May 1785
Reference: Franklin Collected Works, Lemay, ed., 1108.
[Via the Patriot Post.]
“Long-term pessimism is irrational. (Short-term is, too.)”
Please explain to me how our children have had no school yesterday and today so that the Teachers Unions can go out and organize for Democratic candidates — but the schools will be open on Friday when the federal Government and most offices will be closed to commemorate our nation’s war heroes?
This must be an East Coast (West, too?) thing, or perhaps confined to Shirley’s home state (Virginia?). The kids were in school yesterday and are today in DFW.
“It is a singular advantage of taxes on articles of consumption that they contain in their own nature a security against excess. They prescribe their own limit, which cannot be exceeded without defeating the end purposed — that is, an extension of the revenue.” — Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 21
(Of course, any talk of instituting a national sales tax has to go hand-in-hand with repealing the Sixteenth Amendment, and the end of the income tax.)
Jack Good, mathematician:
“My Windows 98 computer tells lies and often forces me to shut down improperly. Such behaviour in a human would be called neurotic.”
“Would it not be better to simplify the system of taxation rather than to spread it over such a variety of subjects and pass through so many new hands.”
— Thomas Jefferson (letter to James Madison, 1784)
[I]t was not until Oct. 14, six days after Israel had communicated its willingness to help the earthquake victims “in any way possible,” that it finally received a formal response. Yes, aid from Israel would be welcome, provided it was laundered through a third party. “We have established the president’s relief fund, and everyone is free to contribute to it,” a government spokeswoman coolly acknowledged. “If Israel was to contribute — that’s fine, we would accept it.” Israel could help save Pakistani lives, in other words, as long as it wasn’t too public about doing so. There mustn’t be any embarrassing images of planes with Israeli markings offloading relief supplies at Islamabad’s airport.
Two decades of research produced a consensus among social scientists of both left and right that family structure has a serious impact on children, even when controlling for income, race, and other variables. In other words, we are not talking about a problem of race but about a problem of family formation or, rather, the lack of it. The best outcomes for children—whether in academic performance, avoidance of crime and drugs, or financial and economic success—are almost invariably produced by married biological parents. The worst results are by never-married women.
The upshot of these studies is that America is confronted by a form of poverty that money alone can’t cure. Many of us think social breakdown is a result of racism and poverty. Yes, they are factors, but study after study shows that alterations in norms and values are at the heart of economic and behavioral troubles. That’s why so much research boils down to the old rule: If you want to avoid poverty, finish high school, don’t have kids in your teens, and get married.
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” —Thomas Jefferson
“[T]he present Constitution is the standard to which we are to cling. Under its banners, bona fide must we combat our political foes - rejecting all changes but through the channel itself provides for amendments.” — Alexander Hamilton (letter to James Bayard, April 1802)
“[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore…never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.” —Thomas Jefferson
The term you’re looking for here is “rolling over in his grave.”
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” —Calvin Coolidge (1872 - 1933)
[With thanks to Israel R. for the e-mail.]
I have a new reason to develop a more positive attitude.
“A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.” — Herm Albright, author, quoted in the St. Paul Pioneer Press
“The idea is that crap is crap and we’re not going to distinguish between the degrees.” —ATPM Publisher Michael Tsai, to one of our writers on the subject of review ratings
I love this line.
This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful. It was not aimed at Presidents or Prime Ministers. It was aimed at ordinary, working-class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindu and Jew, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, for class, for religion, or whatever.
That isn’t an ideology, it isn’t even a perverted faith - it is just an indiscriminate attempt at mass murder and we know what the objective is. They seek to divide Londoners. They seek to turn Londoners against each other. I said yesterday to the International Olympic Committee, that the city of London is the greatest in the world, because everybody lives side by side in harmony. Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I’m proud to be the mayor of that city.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those killed and wounded in London.
“You need only reflect that one of the best ways to get yourself a reputation as a dangerous citizen these days is to go about repeating the very phrases which our founding fathers used in the struggle for independence.” —Charles Beard
“In person Mr. Bush is so far removed from the caricature of the dim, war-mongering Texas cowboy of global popular repute that it shakes one’s faith in the reliability of the modern media” — Gerard Baker, U.S. editor of the London Times, after meeting last week in the Oval Office with President Bush. (Via Political Diary.)
“The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.” —John Adams
I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: the prescience exhibited by the Founding Fathers never ceases to amaze me.
Politicians of all stripes, take note:
“Laws are made for men of ordinary understanding and should, therefore, be construed by the ordinary rules of common sense. Their meaning is not to be sought for in metaphysical subtleties which may make anything mean everything or nothing at pleasure.” —Thomas Jefferson
Well, we might as well go for the trifecta:
Yesterday we wondered what David French’s “brilliant answer” was when a Cornell Law School job interviewer asked him, how, in light of his evangelical background, “is it possible for you to effectively teach gay students?” French e-mailed us with the answer:
I was surprised and pleased to see that you quoted from my talk to the American Enterprise Institute regarding intellectual diversity (or the lack thereof) and censorship on campus. I noted that you want to know my “absolutely brilliant answer” to the improper interview question. Before I tell you, I just want to make clear that the “absolutely brilliant” comment was made tongue-in-cheek in the speech and was played for laughs. I’m not really quite so full of myself. The truth is that I was fortunate to get the job perhaps in spite of my answer. I responded to the interviewer with the following statement:
“I believe that all human beings are created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of whether I agree with their personal conduct or beliefs. I will treat all my students well, but I can’t guarantee that they will treat me well when they learn that I’m a dreaded ‘Christian conservative.’”
She responded with a long silence and then said, “I never thought of things from that perspective.”
There are lot of perspectives from which those who run our institutions of higher learning have never thought of things.
As seen on the Laura Ingraham web site this morning:
“At this point I would rather have a right-wing Christian decide my fate than an ACLU member.”
— Eleanor Smith, a disabled, self-described liberal agnostic lesbian
“I think we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious.” —Thomas Jefferson
I figured since so many people out there like to poke fun at George W.’s verbal blunders, turnabout was fair play:
“My vision is to make the most diverse state on earth, and we have people from every planet on the earth in this state.” —Gray Davis, California governor, at a press conference; quoted in Time magazine, Vol. 162, No. 13, September 29, 2003, p. 15
A few minutes later I have a fistful of Bics, including the new nevr-dri-out highlighting pens with a clear reservoir tank. You can see the lovely yellow ink sloshing around. No more wondering how much highlighting you can do - just check your tank. Highlight with confidence, friend. Across the room, a Sharpie salesman who, true to the name of his product, had the manner of Chris Finch from “The Office”, was handing out the new bleedless acid-free silver-ink Sharpie. Got two. At the Uniball table, the new magic pen with invisible ink that turns purple when it hits the page! And it has - drumroll - a clear reservoir tank. All your old pens with their inscrutable interiors are old and busted, and I sneer at you from my position on the clear-tank paradigm verandah, where I have a lounge chair and an umbrella and a drink. It’s clear but it tastes purple.
“I will not read it, I will not buy it, I will not subsidize Hillary Clinton’s retirement… Obviously this is a fictional version of what happened in the White House for eight years.” —Sen. Jim Bunning (R.-Ky.), on Hillary Clinton’s new book, June 11, 2003
Now, if anyone wishes to buy the book for me, I would be happy to review it…
“Following someone’s blog is like doing a TiVo season pass for a person.” —Rael Dornfest
“I’m getting more famouser by the day.” —Avril Lavigne
“I quit flying five years ago. Personally, I don’t want to die with tourists.” —Billy Bob Thornton
As reported in the 5 May 2003 issue of Us Weekly.
“The London Guardian found documents showing Paris fed intelligence to Baghdad before the war. Iraq got diplomatic secrets and military guidance from France. Who else could have taught the Iraqis how to lose their entire country in two weeks?” —Argus Hamilton
“Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.” —Winston Churchill
“This flag…the symbol of the hopes of man. This cloth of dreams for freedom, justice and opportunity. Its stars like beacons guiding us through shoals of adversity. Its red stripes like wounds of struggle.
“The good in it cannot be had for nothing…like any garden, it must be tended…like any loved one it must be held. Hold high this flag and keep its promise bright, for in it lies the best of hope for all of us.” —Mort Walker, Beetle Bailey creator
“Whatever enables us to go to war, secures our peace.” —Thomas Jefferson
“Frankly, when my family’s income goes down, so does our spending as we tighten our belts. Why is it that government believes its spending of our money should always go up, in good times and in bad? Why shouldn’t government have to go on a diet just like the rest of us when hit with a reduction in income?” —Chuck Muth
“After voting in favor of the war with Iraq right before the November elections, Sen. Hillary Clinton never had another kind word to say for the war. Just a few weeks ago, Sen. Clinton gave an interview on Irish TV in which she said she opposed precipitous action against Iraq. She said Bush should give the U.N. weapons inspectors more time. “Hillary did not object to precipitous action against Iraq when her husband bombed it on the day of his scheduled impeachment. President Clinton attacked Saddam Hussein without first asking approval from the United Nations, the U.S. Congress or even France. But now we have a president who wants to attack Iraq for purposes of national security rather than his own personal interests, and Hillary thinks he’s being rash. President Bush has gotten a war resolution from Congress, yet another U.N. Security Council resolution, and we’ve been talking about this war for 14 months. But he’s being precipitous. “When Clinton bombed Iraq to delay his impeachment, Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle was ablaze with war fever. Daschle said: ‘This is a time to send Saddam Hussein as clear a message as we know how to send that we will not tolerate the broken promises and the tremendous acceleration of development of weapons that we’ve seen time and time again in Iraq.’ Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said of the impeachment bombing: ‘Month after month, we have given Iraq chance after chance to move from confrontation to cooperation, and we have explored and exhausted every diplomatic action. We will see now whether force can persuade Iraq’s misguided leaders to reverse course and to accept at long last the need to abide by the rule of law and the will of the world.’ “Now here we are, more than four years later, Saddam still hasn’t complied with U.N. resolutions, and America has been attacked by Islamic crazies—and these same Democrats think Bush is acting impulsively. Democrats are always hawks in the off-season. They’re all for war, provided it has nothing to do with America’s security.”
“If liberals cared about ideas or knew any facts, they would cease being liberals. Even the audience for the left’s government-supported radio network, National Public Radio, has more conservative listeners than liberal listeners. According to a Pew Research Center study released last summer, conservatives consume far more news than liberals—including listening to NPR and watching PBS more than liberals. (As Mickey Kaus said, ‘No wonder conservatives are so pissed off.’) “Liberalism thrives on ignorance. Their media are ‘Lifetime: TV for Women,’ NBC’s ‘The West Wing’ and 4 billion ‘Law and Order’ episodes in which the perp turns out to be a Christian, white male who recites the Second Amendment before disemboweling a poor minority child. “Liberal persuasion consists of the highbrow sneer from self-satisfied snobs ladled out for people with a 40 IQ. This is not an ideology that can withstand several hours a day of caller scrutiny where their goofball notions can be shot down by any truck driver with a cell phone.”I don’t know why my wife watches “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue,” et al, when she spends half the episode complaining how the cops twist citizens’ rights to gather evidence and/or get a confession. No, she’s not a criminal attorney, but yes, she is a lawyer and remembers all of this good constitutional stuff from law school. (Thanks, Rick!)
“Anyone who has ever been in a government office sees people sitting around doing little if any work. Yet these people are never the first target of government spending cuts. It is the front line police, firemen, teachers, etc.
“Yet there is never talk of eliminating some of the less essential elements of government in response to shortfalls in revenue. The politicians seem to go out of their way to make sure that any proposed cuts in government spending are going to be painful. This amounts to punishment of voters for opposing the will of the politicians.
“Unfortunately this is totally backwards. Government is elected to serve the people. Our Constitution was carefully written to avoid just this type of thing. Monarchs (believe that they) rule by divine right and the people are subservient to their rules. Communist dictators, military dictators, Islamic dictators all believe that power starts with them and only flows to the people in the quantities that they allow. Our system is supposed to be the opposite.
“The politicians need to please the voters not the other way around. If we allow politicians to threaten or punish voters who displease them we are walking straight into the arms of tyranny.” —Philip Safran
“Tony Blair said he and President Bush prefer another UN resolution before a war in Iraq. Their problem is the Security Council. France might command more respect if the French Ambassador didn’t always vote against war with both hands in the air.” —Argus Hamilton
“Meanwhile, the peacenik predisposition of the other Continentals is a useful cover for French ambition. Last year Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish Prime Minister, declared that ‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’ This sounds insane. But, to France, it has a compelling logic. You can’t beat the Americans on the battlefield, but you can tie them down limb by limb in the UN and other supranational bodies.
“In other words, this is the war, this is the real battlefield, not the sands of Mesopotamia. And, on this terrain, Americans always lose. Either they win but get no credit, as in Afghanistan. Or they win a temporary constrained victory to be subverted by subsequent French machinations, as in the last Gulf War. This time round, who knows? But through it all France is admirably upfront in its unilateralism: It reserves the right to treat French Africa as its colonies, Middle Eastern dictators as its clients, the European Union as a Greater France and the UN as a kind of global condom to prevent the spread of Americanization. All this it does shamelessly and relatively effectively.” —Mark Steyn
My friends know that in general I detest Dennis Miller, but he made an excellent point regarding the ACLU on the Tonight Show this week:
“The ACLU spent this entire holiday season protesting public displays of the nativity scene. Yeah, that’s the problem with America right now: Public displays of Christ’s birth, that’s the problem. It’s unbelievable to me. The ACLU will no longer fight for your right to put up a nativity scene, but they’ll fight for the right of the local freak who wants to stumble onto the scene and have sex with one of the sheep.”
Hmmm. Maybe I’ve misunderstood Dennis throughout the ’90s, but I always got the feeling he never took a stand on either side of the political aisle.
“Western values are superior to all others. Why? The indispensable achievement of the West was the concept of individual rights. It’s the idea that individuals have certain inalienable rights and individuals do not exist to serve government but governments exist to protect these inalienable rights. It took until the 17th century for that idea to arrive on the scene and mostly through the works of English philosophers such as John Locke and David Hume.
“While Western values are superior to all others, one need not be a Westerner to hold Western values. A person can be Chinese, Japanese, Jewish, African or Arab and hold Western values. It’s no accident that Western values of reason and individual rights have produced unprecedented health, life expectancy, wealth and comfort for the ordinary person. There’s an indisputable positive relationship between liberty and standards of living.
“Western values are by no means secure. They’re under ruthless attack by the academic elite on college campuses across America. These people want to replace personal liberty with government control; they want to replace equality with entitlement; they want to halt progress in the name of protecting the environment. As such, they pose a much greater threat to our way of life than any terrorist or rogue nation. Multiculturalism and diversity are a cancer on our society, and, ironically, with our tax dollars and charitable donations, we’re feeding it.” —Walter Williams
“There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible evil of evil men.” —Edmund Burke
“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” —John Adams
“A group of people may have rights, but it is their responsibility, and theirs alone, to defend or safeguard such rights.” —Murray N. Rothbard
“A liberal is a man who will give away everything he doesn’t own.” —Frank Dane
“Every day you meet a delegation going to some convention to try and change the way of somebody else’s life.” —Will Rogers
For all of you bleeding-heart lefties who think the federal government doesn’t focus enough on domestic issues:
“[T]he States can best govern our home concerns and the general government our foreign ones. I wish, therefore…never to see all offices transferred to Washington, where, further withdrawn from the eyes of the people, they may more secretly be bought and sold at market.” —Thomas Jefferson
“Michael Jackson horrified German onlookers by dangling a baby over his hotel balcony railing in Berlin. He’s there for a reason. Americans are so annoyed at Germany for insulting President Bush that we sent them a fruitcake for the holidays.” —Argus Hamilton
“Inasmuch as liberals are demanding that Americans ritualistically proclaim, ‘Islam is a religion of peace,’ Muslims might do their part by not killing people all the time.” —Ann Coulter
“Saddam won a 100 percent victory in an uncontested election Tuesday to remain the nation’s leader for another seven years.” —CNN
“Iraq is holding a sham election today, in which citizens ‘vote’ on whether Saddam Hussein should serve another seven years as president. Under the watchful eye of Saddam’s thugs, these ‘voters’ must sign their names to the ‘ballots,’ and any who dare vote ‘no’ can expect to be executed. It’s a mystery why Western news organizations insist on portraying this as if it were an actual election.” —James Taranto (from The Federalist)
“Are liberals incapable of the kind of practical moral reasoning that foreign policy requires? It seems that they are. Most liberals are content with slogans that cannot survive the slightest scrutiny. ‘Violence never solves problems.’ This is manifestly not true.
“Violence helped to end the regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, however controversial their use, did solve the big problem of an unyielding Japan. Violence proved equally effective against the Taliban. ‘But you can’t impose democracy at the point of a bayonet.’ This is another liberal shibboleth.
“In reality, at the end of World War II, America imposed democracy at the point of a bayonet on Japan and Germany, and it has proved a resounding success in both countries. The problem with liberals is that they never give bayonets a chance.” —Dinesh D’Souza
“The Congress of the United States has now given President George W. Bush the authority to enter into preemptive war against Saddam Hussein, which Mr. Bush says is justified. Others have argued strenuously that preemptive war is unjustified and even un-American.
“… It might surprise some that justification for preemptive war is found in the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the Declaration, got his ideas on preemptive war from John Locke’s ‘Second Treatise on Civil Government’ and used them in the Declaration to justify the American Revolution. … In his work, Locke argued against despotic power or ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ because being absolute and arbitrary it can be used to ‘take away’ the lives of those subject to it. This makes despotic power opposed to self-preservation or ‘the preservation of Mankind,’ which Locke maintained was ‘the fundamental Law of Nature.’ Because this Law was the ‘will of God,’ Locke argued that each human being was duty ‘bound to preserve himself, and not to quit his Station willfully.’
“… Therefore everyone has the obligation to avoid subjecting themselves to despotic or ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ since it renders their own limited individual power to preserve themselves ineffective. … Some argue that even if there is a preemptive war against Saddam, it should not be used to install an American-type democracy. Locke and Jefferson would have disagreed, because American democracy does not allow despotic power or the ‘Absolute, Arbitrary Power’ that Saddam enjoys, which makes him a threat to world security. He can do anything he wants.
“Not so with George W. Bush. His executive power is severely limited by the Constitution, under which power is shared with the two other co-equal branches of government — Congress and the Supreme Court. … Therefore, it is time to place Saddam, or his successor, under the same political power limitations in Iraq as Mr. Bush is under in the United States. This will provide greater security for mankind in this era of weapons of mass destruction — provided it happens before Saddam gets the bomb.” —Allen Jayne
“The House of Representatives packed up and went home for elections, and we can’t say we’re sorry to see the Members go. Senators are lingering for a while longer, but it’d be better if they left too and didn’t return until they’re at least prepared to fulfill constitutional duties, like confirming judges. The best that can be said about the 107th Congress is that it managed to do less damage than usual.” —The Wall Street Journal
“Of course, it’s a tragedy that the peace prize was awarded to Carter and not Reagan. I mean, who did more for world peace? Who did a great deal to end the Cold War? Who did a great deal to disarm and dismantle the Soviet Union, that mortal threat to world peace? Who removed the shadow of global annihilation from us, if only temporarily? Who envisioned a shield, not a sword?
“National Review once opined, many years ago, that, every year, the Nobel peace prize should go to the U.S. secretary of defense: The American military is the number-one guarantor of peace in the world. But maybe something like a Nobel freedom prize would be a more appropriate award for Reagan than a peace prize.” —Jay Nordlinger
There has been a lot of gnashing of teeth over Bush admininstration foreign policy, that the United States is “forcing” its will on the rest of the world, and rather we should just go along with what other countries have to say and just forget about our sovereignty and national security (read: Daschle). After all, what has America accomplished with force that successful negotiation could not top?
“Name, in the past hundred years, a single important triumph for peace and for liberal democracy that was purchased by the jaw-jawing the Nobellians so admire. No rush, take your time. Now, look at what American war-war (and the threat of American war-war) won: the defeat of the fascist attempt to rule the world; the defeat of the Communist attempt to rule the world; the consequent rebuilding of a Europe protected by American arms into a democratic and peaceful continent for the first time in history; the rebuilding of an American-protected Japan into a democratic and peaceful nation for the first time in history; the emergence of a world in which, for the first time in history, the peaceful values of liberal democracy are the ascendant norm. No, no, it remains unthinkable. To imagine American force was a force for good, one would have to imagine America was a force for good. And this, the Bourbons of Oslo will never, never do.” —Michael Kelly
“Fathers’ involvement [with their children] seems to be linked to improved verbal and problem-solving skills and higher academic achievement. Several studies found that the presence of the father is one of the determinants of girls’ proficiency in mathematics. And one pioneering study showed that along with paternal strictness, the amount of time fathers spent reading with them was a strong predictor of their daughters’ verbal ability. For sons the results have been equally striking. Studies uncovered a strong relationship between fathers’ involvement and the mathematical abilities of their sons. Other studies found a relationship between paternal nurturing and boys’ verbal intelligence.” —David Popenoe
“Certainly we do not want men to allow their Christianity to flow over into their political life, for the establishment of anything like a really just society would be a major disaster.” —C.S. Lewis (translating the Devil’s words), The Screwtape Letters
Well, not that far past. October 2001, to be exact, but rather timely since there is new gun regulation being discussed in the wake of the DC metro serial sniper attacks:
“There are so many laws concerning the purchase and use of guns, including background checks, that it is hard to understand why any more are needed. Guns will always fall into the wrong hands, and criminals are not going to be governed by any of the gun laws. The gun laws have but one purpose: to discourage honest citizens from purchasing and owning firearms. No amount of laws will ever prevent someone intent on getting a gun from doing so.” —Dick Boland, nationally syndicated columnist
“Nothing so strongly impels a man to regard the interest of his constituents, as the certainty of returning to the general mass of the people, from whence he was taken, where he must participate in their burdens.” —George Mason