Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obama Pundits and Charlotte's Web

James Taranto in today's WSJ was talking about Obama's one-man echo chamber (good article, and hat tip to Morgan via HKoB for it) where he brough up one of my favorite columnists to avoid (his zealous idiocy makes my head explode) ... Eugene Robinson.
This is a moment for the president to suppress his reflex for preemptive compromise. The unemployment crisis is so deep and self-perpetuating that only a big, surprising, over-the-top jobs initiative could have real impact. Boldness will serve the nation well--and, coincidentally, boost Obama's reelection prospects.
Yeah.  Because hey.  That's what we all really want.  4 more years of Fundamental Transformation.  Hey, wouldn't suppressing his ... [snicker] reflex for preemptive compromise [/snicker] be intransigent?

Seriously, what this really shows is that the left is out of airspeed, out of altitude, and out of ideas.  "It's time to be bold."  They don't really have a plan, but that's not important.  What's important is to be bold.  All they can do is hope that their savior will come up with some magic play that nobody's ever thought of before after a brilliant night of brainstorming (with his shirt sleeves rolled up) and come up with a Sooper Awesome Plan so that they can all say, "look, weren't we all brilliant for backing him?" That's what they're reduced to, and they have nobody to blame for it but themselves. But nobody has a clue what that sooper plan would be. Especially not Obama, as his philosophy is clear and predictible as a broken record.

Sadly, what they're probably doing is coming up with what they hope is the perfect rhetorical flourish to finally (this time for sure!) sell us all on Statist Socialism without using the word "Socialism", thus finally "Fundamentally Trasform"ing America. Remember, with Obama, success is always one [more] "great speech" away.

As if to underscore this point, Eugene continues:
Obama and his advisers know very well that this is the wrong time to cut government spending. They know that using federal money to seed big new initiatives--to upgrade the nation's crumbling infrastructure, jump-start the "clean" energy industry, retrain the unemployed so they can compete in tomorrow's job market--would give the economy a much-needed boost. They know, too, that federal action to buoy the housing market would help revive consumer spending, thus giving corporations a reason to invest the estimated $1 trillion they're sitting on.
And this is different from what the President has been pushing .... how?  This is what Eugene thinks the "new" sooper-dooper plan should be?  Clearly, what Eugene wants is a sooper duper new sales pitch for the same crap sandwich.  And really, Eugene isn't any different from the rest of the Obama lap dogs on this.  He's just an easy target.

You know this just hit me.  It's a little bit like Charlotte's Web (I love that story, but ...).  Think about it.  What was special about Wilbur?  He was a pretty ordinary pig.  Less than ordinary.  Ok, really what made him "special" was that he had friends.  Otherwise he was just another pig.  But I digress.

In order that Wilbur would be able to continue a life hanging out with his friends and they with him, Charlotte came up with a PR campaign.

"Some Pig"
"Terriffic"
"Radiant"
and then finally
"Humble" (Well we wouldn't want all that terrifficness and radiance to go to his head).

Charlotte's plan was to make Wilbur sufficiently famous and popular to keep him from being turned to bacon and ham hocks.  You'll notice she wasn't terribly specific.  "Bold" could easily be thrown in that list.  And that's all it is. 

President "Hope" & "Change" comes up with a new speech to tell us why we all need Socialism, and it's the only fair thing to do and after all, aren't Americans fair, yada yada .... and the left pundit-o-sphere all says  "Terriffic!"   "Radiant!"   "Bold!"

Wing and a [secular] prayer.  That's my prediction.  Here's hoping it doesn't work!

Thuggery Right In M'own Back Yard

Dana Loesch alluded to this on facebook with few details earlier today.  And now we have details.

Good ole ClaireMac, our own Pelosi in training (if she gets re-elected) in the Senate ... held a "Kitchen Table" meeting this morning.  So folksy.  So Fraizier Crain.   "I'm Listening".

Well, she didn't show up.  Turns out they didn't want any video or audio at the public event, either.  But things got out of hand.

A Tea Partier comitted the "violent" offense of taking photographs at this public event held by a public representative in a public building on the taxpayers' dime.  And roll details from CryLiberty.

"Everybody Knows It"

I was talking to a friend today ... good friend, not really a liberal, and I started in on how many founders such as Jefferson actually viewed the "Indians" as independent nations and was fascinated with them.

Next thing she's responding "Yeah, well apparently he was fascinated by some of his female slaves, too."  Nudge, Nudge -- wink, wink.

I told her that was incorrect.  And she brought up the DNA test from 1998, which everybody heard about.   Everybody knows that.

Well ... how did "everybody" "find out"?

This is why Stopping Echoes is such an important job.

Which brings me to basically re-publish this well researched piece by David Barton.  Get familiar with the material.   You may need it.

Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: The Search for Truth
David Barton - 01/2000
Founding Father Thomas Jefferson has had a significant impact on America, American government, and American culture. His words have helped shape policies on everything from the relationship between church and state to the scope and limits of the federal government. Yet, notwithstanding this extensive influence, a cloud hangs over Jefferson's reputation--his alleged affair with Sally Hemings.
Sally Hemings was a young slave girl who served Jefferson's eldest daughter, Martha, at the Jefferson home, Monticello. When Jefferson was sent as an American diplomat to Paris in 1787, he took with him his youngest daughter, nine year-old Polly, and the thirteen year-old Sally Hemings as a companion for Polly. Critics charge that while in Paris, Jefferson began a sexual relationship with Hemings (nearly thirty years his younger) which produced some or all of her children (of which four lived).
These Jefferson-Hemings charges have been repeated for over two centuries and, despite the fact that many Jefferson scholars have long rejected these claims, today much of the nation accepts them as true. The projection of Jefferson's allegedly tainted character is reinforced through media presentations such as CBS's "Sally Hemings" and the feature movie, "Jefferson in Paris." Yet, was Thomas Jefferson really guilty of the sexual misbehavior with which he has been charged? What is the evidence against him?
The evidence against Jefferson stems from three primary sources:
  • The recent DNA testing which was reputed to provide proof that Jefferson fathered at least one of Hemings's children.
  • Oral tradition, the strongest of which comes from Thomas Woodson. Two centuries ago, Woodson claimed (and others repeated) that Sally Hemings was his mother and Jefferson his father, and it was thus speculated that Sally had named the child "Thomas" because he had been fathered by Jefferson.
  • The published newspaper reports from Jefferson's day charging him with fathering Hemings's children.
On its face, such evidence against Jefferson appears almost conclusive. Yet, if the evidence is as unequivocal and overwhelming as the critics make it seem, why, then, have most of the prize-winning Jefferson historians long rejected the charges leveled against him? On what basis do they reach their conclusions in the face of such apparently incriminating evidence? What is the truth?
Three legal principles should guide the search for truth.
  • First, an individual is innocent until proven guilty.
  • Second, there must be opportunity for cross-examination so that the other side of the story may be offered.
  • Third, guilt must be based on a preponderance of the evidence--that is, after hearing all of the evidence, there should be no reasonable doubt that the accused individual is guilty of the charge. If a different view can be presented which raises a legitimate doubt and offers a rational alternative explanation, then the individual cannot be presumed to be guilty of the charges leveled against him.
Using these guidelines, examine the three sources of evidence against Jefferson. Consider first the most recent evidence--the scientific testing.
In late 1998, the prestigious scientific journal Nature announced that it had conducted DNA testings which proved that Thomas Jefferson had fathered a child with Sally Hemings. According to Nature:
Almost two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson was alleged to have fathered children by his slave Sally Hemings. The charges have remained controversial. Now, DNA analysis confirms that Jefferson was indeed the father of at least one of Hemings' children.1
Following the release of this story, writers and columnists across the nation spread the report.2 In fact, within only a few days, Jefferson had become a sexual predator, 3 and several reports made him into a child molester. 4
These authors, however, deliberately ignored the non-paternity results of the DNA testing. In fact, the original Nature article had reported that Thomas Woodson--the child that oral traditions claim was born of Sally when she was fifteen or so--the child born shortly after her return from France--was not sired by Jefferson:
President Jefferson was accused of having fathered a child, Tom, by Sally Hemings. Tom was said to have been born in 1790, soon after Jefferson and Sally Hemings returned from France where he had been minister. Present-day members of the African-American Woodson family believe that Thomas Jefferson was the father of Thomas Woodson, whose name comes from his later owner. No known documents support this view. 5
This finding was significant, for it repudiated the strongest of the oral traditions against Jefferson that many long had accepted as fact. A few--but only a very few--even bothered to report this non-paternity aspect of the DNA findings. 6
Nature, however, after exonerating Jefferson in the birth of Thomas Woodson, claimed that the DNA evidence proved that Eston Hemings--the youngest of Sally's children--was fathered by Thomas Jefferson. It was this story which swept the nation.
Yet, only eight weeks after releasing this story, Nature issued a retraction, admitting, "The title assigned to our study was misleading." 7Why? Because after proving that Jefferson had not fathered Woodson, it was revealed that their paternity conclusions about Jefferson fathering Eston were based on inaccurate and incomplete information, both scientifically and historically.
While the researchers did find Jefferson genes present in the descendants of Eston Hemings, the researchers could not say that they were the genes of Thomas Jefferson, for they had not tested the DNA of any of Thomas' descendants. They tested only the genes of the descendants of Thomas' uncle, Field Jefferson, and of his nephews, Samuel and Peter Carr! Significantly, there were twenty-six Jefferson males living in the central Virginia vicinity at that time. Quite simply, the researchers failed to eliminate the other lines. As one report accurately observed, "Experts have noted the total absence of accurate Jefferson ancestry charts in the study." 8
However, of the twenty-six Jefferson males living around Monticello, eighteen lived over one hundred miles away and seem unlikely suspects, therefore leaving eight remaining. Herbert Barger, the Jefferson family historian and genealogist who assisted in the original DNA study for Nature (and who strenuously objected to the conclusions published in the original story) explained:
My study indicates to me that Thomas Jefferson was not the father of Eston or any other Hemings child. The study indicates that Randolph [Thomas' younger brother] is possibly the father of Eston and the others. Randolph, named for his maternal Randolph family, was a widower and between wives when, shortly after his wife's death, Sally became pregnant with her first child. . . . She continued having children until 1808 when Eston was born. Randolph Jefferson would marry his second wife the next year, 1809. . . . [Significantly, t]hree of Sally Hemings' children, Harriet, Beverly and Eston (the latter two not common names), were given names of the Randolph family. 9
Interestingly, in its retraction even Nature ruefully conceded:
It is true that men of Randolph Jefferson's family could have fathered Sally Hemings' later children. 10
Although Nature's retraction and modification of its initial announcement was far more significant than its release, the retraction received little notice. The result is that the reputation of Jefferson has been permanently tarnished by "scientific evidence" which actually did not prove that Thomas Jefferson fathered any illegitimate child. But, as the Wall Street Journal noted, "Of course, the backtracking comes a little late to change the hundreds of other headlines fingering Jefferson." 11The effect has been unfortunate, for as one reporter who covered the DNA story accurately noted, "Defective scholarship is difficult to recall." 12
Yet, the contemporary "scientific" testing was only investigating the published charges made against Jefferson two centuries ago--the third and remaining source of evidence against Jefferson. Those charges originated in newspaper articles written from 1801-1803 by Scottish emigrant James T. Callender.
James T. Callender (1758-1803) first came to attention in 1792 in Scotland when he authored The Political Progress of Great Britain. That work, highly critical of the British government, led to his indictment for sedition. After being "oftimes called in court, he did not appear and was pronounced a fugitive and an outlaw." 13Following that pronouncement, Callender, with his family of young children, fled to America for refuge and arrived here in 1793, having no prospect of a job or means of support. Many American patriots, learning of Callender's plight, embraced him as a man suffering British persecution; and many, including Jefferson, personally provided charitable contributions to help relieve Callender.
In 1796, after three years in America, Callender found a job with an Anti-Federalist (pro-Jefferson) newspaper in Philadelphia. Promising his readers "a tornado as no government ever got before," 14Callender resumed his defamatory writing style which had landed him in trouble in Great Britain, only this time it was against prominent Federalist Americans like Alexander Hamilton.
Fearing legal punishment as a result of his writings, in 1799 Callender fled Philadelphia and went to Richmond, Virginia. He took a job with another newspaper where he continued his attacks on the Federalists. (By attacking the Federalists, Callender considered himself as the mouthpiece for Jefferson's Anti-Federalist party and believed that he was rendering it a valuable service.) Because of his vicious writings, in 1800, Callender was tried under the federal Sedition Law, fined $200, and imprisoned for nine months. Yet he did not relent; while in prison he authored two more attack pieces.
Throughout this period, Callender wrote Jefferson several letters--most of which Jefferson declined to answer or even acknowledge. In fact, because of Jefferson's lack of response, Callender once told James Madison that he "might as well addressed a letter to Lot's wife." 15 While Jefferson generally avoided direct contact with Callender, he continued his occasional charitable gifts for the support of Callender's young children.
When Jefferson became President in 1801, he declared the Sedition Law to be unconstitutional and pardoned those who had been imprisoned under it--including Callender. Jefferson also ordered the $200 fine to be returned to Callender by the same Federalist sheriff who had collected it. That sheriff, however, refused, and even ignored direct orders from Secretary of State James Madison to refund the fine. Callender, unaware of the difficulty with the sheriff regarding the return of his fine, wrongly thought that Jefferson was personally at fault and became irritated with the delay.
Believing that Jefferson's party owed him something for all of his "service" in their behalf, Callender demanded a presidential appointment as the U. S. Postmaster for Richmond--a post which both President Jefferson and Secretary of State James Madison properly refused him.
Obtaining neither the postal appointment nor his $200, Callender became enraged against Jefferson. After complaining, "Mr. Jefferson has not returned one shilling of my fine. I now begin to know what ingratitude is," 16he issued an ominous warning--that he was no man "to be oppressed or plundered with impunity." 17 The disgruntled Callender, who had previously written only for Anti-Federalist newspapers, sought a job with a Federalist newspaper in Richmond highly critical of President Jefferson.
Callender there proceeded to launch a series of virulent attacks against Jefferson in articles written throughout 1801, 1802, and 1803. He accused Jefferson, among other things, of "dishonesty, cowardice, and gross personal immorality," 18 and even charged Jefferson with fathering several children by Sally Hemings.
Callender died less than a year after publishing his charges against Jefferson, and during that time Callender was constantly intoxicated. In fact, after threatening suicide on several occasions, he eventually drowned in three feet of water in the James River (a coroner's jury ruled his death accidental, due to intoxication). Significantly, however, before his death, Callender acknowledged that his attacks against Jefferson had been motivated by his belief that Jefferson had refused to repay his $200 fine. 19
Even though Jefferson could have taken the libelous Callender to court, he refused to lower himself to that level. Instead, he turned him over to the Judge of the Universe to whom he would eventually answer. As Jefferson explained:
I know that I might have filled the courts of the United States with actions for these slanders, and have ruined perhaps many persons who are not innocent. But this would be no equivalent to the loss of [my own] character [by retaliating against them]. I leave them, therefore, to the reproof of their own consciences. If these do not condemn them, there will yet come a day when the false witness will meet a Judge who has not slept over his slanders. 20
He later told Abigail Adams that he did not fear a blemish on his reputation from Callender's charges because, as he explained:
I am not afraid to appeal to the nation at large, to posterity, and still less to that Being Who sees Himself our motives, Who will judge us from His own knowledge of them. 21
Confident of his own innocence, and confident that God knew the truth, Jefferson was not afraid to appeal to God as his judge regarding the veracity of Callender's charges.
Not surprisingly, then, given the scurrilous motives behind Callender's publications of his accusations against Jefferson, and with such a proven record of inaccuracies, eminent historians both then and now have dismissed Callender's charges as frivolous. For example, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian James Truslow Adams said that:
Almost every scandalous story about Jefferson which is still whispered or believed can be traced to the lies in Callender's [writings]. 22
Others, including Merrill Peterson, Professor of History at the University of Virginia, hold the same opinion. 23
John C. Miller, a Stanford University historian, describes Callender as "the most unscrupulous scandalmonger of the day . . . a journalist who stopped at nothing and stooped to anything." 24 He explains:
Callender made his charges against Jefferson without fear and without research. He had never visited Monticello; he had never spoken to Sally Hemings; he had never made the slightest effort to verify the "facts" he so stridently proclaimed. It was "journalism" at its most reckless, wildly irresponsible, and scurrilous. Callender was not an investigative journalist; he never bothered to investigate anything. For him, the story, especially if it reeked of scandal, was everything; truth, if it stood in his way, was summarily mowed down. 25
Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Dumas Malone, after describing Callender as "one of the most notorious scandalmongers and character assassins in American history," 26 accurately observed of Callender that "The evil that he did was not buried with him: some of it has lasted through the generations." 27 And even historian Benjamin Ellis Martin--a hardened and ardent nineteenth-century critic of Jefferson who therefore could easily have accepted Callender's charges--found no basis for believing Callender's claims. In fact, Martin described Callender as a writer who did "effective scavenger work" in "scandal, slanders, lies, libels, scurrility" and one who excelled in "blackguardism" (unprincipled, vile writing). 28 Martin concluded:
I am unable to find one good word to speak of this man. . . . He was a journalistic janizary, his pen always for sale on any side, a hardened and habitual liar, a traitorous and truculent scoundrel; and the world went better when he sank out of sight beneath the waters of the James River. 29
Significantly, history has proved many of Callender's charges in his articles against Jefferson to be completely fallacious. In fact, the charges Callender similarly made against George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison were largely ignored by the citizens of that day. And Callender's charges against Jefferson probably would have completely died away had it not been for three feminist writers (Fawn Brodie, Barbara Chase-Riboud, and Annette Gordon-Reed) who in recent years, citing Callender's charges, have written books accusing Jefferson of an affair with Hemings. As eminent Jeffersonian historian Virginius Dabney observed, "Had it not been for Callender, recently revived charges to the same effect probably would never have come to national attention."30
The conclusion of all of this is very simple: neither the movies shown about Jefferson on CBS and in the theaters, nor the recent "scientific" charges of Jefferson's illicit paternity, nor the oral traditions of two centuries ago, nor the tabloid "journalism" of Jefferson's day or of today, in any manner demonstrates--much less proves--that Thomas Jefferson had any illicit relationship with Sally Hemings. If Thomas Jefferson is guilty of the charges against him, it will take much better evidence to prove his guilt than what has been presented to date.
Since this article was written, the Jefferson-Hemings Scholars Commission released a 565 page report on the Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings controversy. The Executive Summary of that report states:
The question of whether Thomas Jefferson fathered one or more children by his slave Sally Hemings is an issue about which honorable people can and do disagree. After a careful review of all of the evidence, the commission agrees unanimously that the allegation is by no means proven; and we find it regrettable that public confusion about the 1998 DNA testing and other evidence has misled many people. With the exception of one member, whose views are set forth both below and in his more detailed appended dissent, our individual conclusions range from serious skepticism about the charge to a conviction that it is almost certainly false.
The Jefferson-Hemings Scholars Commission was made up of eminent historians and scholars; they released their report on April 12, 2001.
Endnotes:
1. Eric S. Lander and Joseph J. Ellis, "Founding Father," Nature, November 5, 1998.
2. Dinitia Smith and Nicholas Wade, "DNA Tests Offer Evidence that Jefferson Fathered A Child With His Slave," New York Times on the Web, November 1, 1998; see also Barbra Murray and Brian Duffy, "Jefferson's Secret Life," U.S. News & World Report, November 9, 1998; see also Dennis Cauchon, "Jefferson Affair No Longer Rumor," USA Today, November 2, 1998; see also Malcolm Ritter, "Was It Thomas Jefferson?" Buffalo News, November 1, 1998; see also Lucian K. Truscott, IV, "Time for Monticello to Open the Gate and Stop Making Excuses," San Jose Mercury News, November 8, 1998; see also Donna Britt, "A Slaveholder's Hypocrisy was Inevitable," Washington Post, November 6, 1998.
3. Christopher Hitchens, "Jefferson-Clinton," Nation, November 30, 1998.
4. Richard Cohen, "Grand Illusion," Washington Post, December 13, 1998; see also Clarence Page, "New Disclosure Shows Two Thomas Jeffersons," Chicago Tribune, November 5, 1998; see also Dinitia Smith and Nicholas Wade, "DNA Tests Offer Evidence that Jefferson Fathered a Child With His Slave," New York Times on the Web, November 1, 1998.
5. Dr. Eugene A Foster, et al, "Jefferson Fathered Slave's Last Child," Nature November 5, 1998.
6. Gene Edward Veith, "Founder's DNA revisited," World, February 20, 1999; see also Dinitia Smith and Nicholas Wade, "DNA Tests Offer Evidence that Jefferson Fathered A Child With His Slave," New York Times on the Web, November 1, 1998.
7. Dr. Eugene A Foster, et al, "The Thomas Jefferson Paternity Case," Nature, January 7, 1999.
8. Press release by Jefferson family historian and genealogist, Herbert Barger, on January 2, 1999.
9. The Truth about the Thomas Jefferson DNA Study as told by Herbert Barger, Jefferson Family Historian, February 12, 1999.
10. Dr. Eugene A. Foster, et al, "The Thomas Jefferson paternity case," Nature, January 7, 1999.
11. "Founding Fatherhood," Wall Street Journal, February 26, 1999, sec. W, p. 15.
12. Gene Edward Veith, "Founder's DNA revisited," World, February 20, 1999.
13. Dictionary of American Biography, s.v. "Callender, James Thomson."
14. Dumas Malone, Jefferson and the Ordeal of Liberty (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1962), p. 469 (Volume III of a six volume series Jefferson and His Time), in a letter from James Callender to Thomas Jefferson on November 19, 1798.
15. Dumas Malone, Jefferson the President, First Term, 1801-1805 (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1970), p. 209 (Volume IV of a six volume series Jefferson and His Time), in a letter from James Callender to James Madison on April 27, 1801 after Jefferson failed to respond to a Callender letter of April 12, 1801.
16. Id.
17. Id.
18. Dictionary of American Biography, s.v. "Callender, James Thomson."
19.Malone, Jefferson the President, First Term, p. 208, quoting the Richmond Recorder, May 28, 1803.
20. Thomas Jefferson, Writings of Thomas Jefferson, Albert Ellery Bergh, editor (Washington, DC: Thomas Jefferson Memorial Association, 1904), Vol. X, p. 171, to Uriah McGregory on August 13, 1800.
21. Jefferson, Writings (1904), Vol. XI, p. 44, to Abigail Adams on July 22, 1804.
22. James Truslow Adams, The Living Jefferson (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1936), p. 315.
23. Virginus Dabney, The Jefferson Scandals: A Rebuttal (New York: Dodd, Mead, and Company, 1981), p. 15.
24. John Chester Miller, The Wolf by the Ears: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery (New York: The Free Press, 1977), p. 153.
25. Miller, p. 154.
26. Malone, Jefferson the President, First Term, p. 212.
27. Id.
28. Benjamin Ellis Martin, "Transition Period of the American Press," Magazine of American History, Vol. XVII, No. 4, April 1887, published in Vol. XVII of Magazine of American History, Martha J. Lamb, editor (New York City: A. S. Barnes & Company, 1887), p. 285.
29. Martin, pp. 285-286.
30. Dabney, p. 6.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Stray Cosmic Rays

We joke about them all of the time in the IT world as the cause of all kinds of unpleasant surprises, so it's easy to forget that they are, in fact, something real and they do have their effects.  And not surprisingly, they have their effects on our atmosphere.

To bring those who don't hang around these parts up to speed, I do have a degree and about 3 years of graduate study in Atmospheric Science.  Weather has been an interest and hobby for me since I was about 12 years old.  I've known about "global warming" since before most of you heard of it.  I've worked the black body equations upon which it is based.  And I follow it.

And if you have been around these parts much you know I am a skeptic as to the impact of any man-made CO2 contribution to the global carbon budget has on the Earth's temperature.   And I know that very well respected figures from the early IPCC conferences complained about the politicization of the science and its impact on what went into the reports and especially what went in to the "IPCC Summary for Policy Makers" and the massive distortions and clearly intentional omissions that went out to the media and world governments.

Since the Climategate scandal, we now have clear evidence outside of hearsay that Lindzen et. al. weren't making it all up.

All this to set this up -- I had read articles on this theory of the relationship between cosmic rays and condensation nuclei and thus cloud cover, which, in fact, would have an impact on Earth's energy budget due to increased albedo.

But enough political roadblocks have been removed (probably thanks to Climategate) for an important experiment (the stuff on which science is based) to go forward.  And the result will upset the followers of The Goracle.

It's nice to see Science making  a play for the front seat again in this debate.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Things I Know #37

Things I Know #37: There are few states of anxiety that cannot be at least temporarily broken, if not completely cured by a baby's laugh.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Economics

Maybe I should just start a majority of my posts, "I was over at Morgan's, havin' a drink and a stogie, and  ...."    (while you're there, read Severian's excellent comment)
As I alluded to over on this EconLog post, economic discussions often reduce to two camps:
•People who think of the economy in a very simplistic (essent[ia]lly cartoonish) way, abstracting away all details and likening it to a machine you can control and tune – tweaking dials, pulling levers, opening valves, priming pumps.
•People who don’t, and who instead think the economy is pretty complicated, and details matter.
Now, fine. Two approaches, to each his own, right? But here’s what I find astonishing:
The former group thinks they are Smart and they look down with sneering contempt on the intelligence of the latter group.
Morgan thought that was inexplicable.

Actually, it’s pretty explicable.

They think economics is a “science”. It really isn’t, for the same kinds of reasons psychology is not a science. If it were, and the “scientists” (economists) were correct, then of course the Economy should be run by “experts” through the State. Anyone who believes otherwise is obviously “unscientific” in their eyes.

It goes further. “Experiments” in economics look like the USSR, Cuba, the New Deal, The Raw Deal (Obama ;-) ) China, North Korea, and to a bit lesser extent … Europe. So what do we have here (theoretically) in America?

The fact of the matter is is that Economics is a part of human behavior. It cannot be dictated any more than our hunger or other drives. Economics is a study in what people value, how much and how much they value it compared with other things. You can’t dictate that. It just is. And when you mess with it, well … how’d that old ad go? It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!

Capitalism is not so much an economic plan, but a recognition that there can be no economic plan that is compatible with Liberty. It’s more like an economic “lack of plan”, or more accurately, millions and millions of micro-economic plans working together in symbiosis on their own, creating and breaking associations as each sees fit in the persuit of happiness. It is an “ism” to economics as nihilism is an “ism” to philosophy.

Of course, they don’t get any of that. It’ s much more reassuring to believe there is, or can be, someone with an Economic Plan™ than will “work” than it is to believe that the best economic plan is to Let It Be. Our plan is to have no plan, or to plan to let everyone plan their own plan.

Now that is a true “collective” plan!

Some Good Wording from Victor Davis Hanson

Here's some excellent wording from Victor Davis Hanson.
Despite nearly $15 trillion in federal debt, the administration apparently wants to defy the rules of logic and do more of what made things worse in the first place, under the euphemism of “investments.” American popular culture has coined all sorts of proverbial warnings about such mindless devotion to destructive rote: “Don’t flog a dead horse,” “If you are in a hole, stop digging,” and “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

No matter: The administration still adheres to the logical fallacy that the toxic medicine cannot be proven to be useless or harmful, because there was supposedly never enough of it given. And the proof is that the worsening patient is still not quite dead.
:
That there is never enough spending is a seductive fallacy because it never requires any empirical proof: If millions of those supported by the state have lost their self-reliance and self-initiative, perhaps it is because millions supported by the state were not supported well enough, and so in response, some resorted to stealing things they could not afford.


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

I can't believe anybody takes this guy seriously

Depak Chopra.  If I didn't know better, I'd say he was making fun of himself here.   If ever there were a more clear illustration of their projection, it is here:
An intolerant faction like the Tea Party cannot be tolerated. They must be stopped with harsh, combative measures. A crazy minority is running rough shod over the executive branch and shows no sign of relenting. Fighting for your principles is more honorable than compromise with immorality and injustice. Reason is a foolish, impotent guide when you are under constant attack. The bad guys should be named in public and opposed with all necessary force. Compromise is a nice word for lack of leadership, and lack of leadership will sink us all.
We must fight with harsh measures for our principles of tolerance and non-combativeness and not tolerate people who are fighting for their principles!   Harsh, combative measures!  Opposed with all necessary force! 

They must cram their morality and sense of justice down our throats because their morals and justice are better than ours, because we want to cram ours down their throats!  Because, you know, it's wrong to think your morality is superior to anothers.

What was the term Douglas Adams used?  Vanish in a puff of logic?

It is no wonder that socialist "utopias" always turn out to be giant, national gulags.

Is This Where We Want to Go?

Hat tip to Morgan.



The very fact that we can't have frank discussions about things like this without being called "racists" and/or "haters" is chilling.

You know, if we talk about behavior, and the Left associates the behavior with a race or a social class ... then who's the bigot?

He Hunted Down and Killed Bin Laden

Wow. Just saw a political ad aimed at Obama, praising him for various things before urging him to do something about AIDS.  The ad states that Obama "hunted down and killed Bin Laden."

One can imagine Barack in Rambo gear, personally covering the terrain -- hiding behind trees and under water with blood streaming from his scrapes and bruises -- tattered camoflage clothes dripping with sweat, and M16 in hand, pointed up, held close to his body ... finally aiming and pulling the trigger for the kill shot...

Hey, at least they know where to go to get to him.  Straight to the ego.

Monday, August 15, 2011

On Collective Salvation, and the Bible

Kinda looks to me like there's this meme going around on the Collective Salvation (Left) side of the street that uses a couple of Bible verses to back it up. 

Morgan had been commenting on a thread over at Mallard Fillmore's Bathtub (for the life of me I don't understand why he wastes his time there, except that he got me to literally waste my time there this morning).   A commenter named Jim posted:
“Yet in Matthew 25, Jesus clearly teaches that NATIONS (the Greek is ethnos which is faithfully rendered as “nations” or “societies”) are saved or damned on the basis of what they did and didn’t do vis a vis the poor and marginalized. ”
First of all, just because there is verbiage in the Bible, the Bible doesn't necessarily "teach" that.  But in this case, the relevant passages can be taken as a teaching.  But they "teach" nothing of the sort.  This post is based (and includes most of) the comment I left over there, but it never got published. It was "awaiting moderation". Never got approval. I wonder why not?

Never mind the clever red herring on the fact that he appears to know the original Greek and that it translates to "Nations".   It's irrelavent.  Let's dive in.

According to Jim, if you follow his logic,  Nations will go to heaven or hell, not people.

OR … everyone in a “good” nation will go to heaven because that nation is “good” … so would that include Timothy McVeigh, or Charles Manson?

And what about “undocumented workers”? Are they in, or out?

Or suppose you believe America is “bad”.

Is Martin Luther King, Jr going to hell? Seriously?

Complete and utter nonsense.  The assertion collapses under its own weight, above.  But perhaps Jim is just posing as a believer (which is actually more likely) and he's just playing a game of "literal gotcha".

Mind you, I haven’t read much of this stuff in 35 years, but I know bullshit when I see it. So I went out and checked Matthew 25. Relevant passages appear to be:
” 32And all nations shall be gathered together before him, and he shall separate them one from another, as the shepherd separateth the sheep from the goats:
33And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on his left.”
"Clearly", he says. It says all of the nations will be gathered before him, true. But it is far from clear that what he is separating is nations. It just means “everyone’s gonna be there”. The separating is much more likely, in light of lots of other Biblical passages, of the individual people.  If Christ came here to instruct Nations on salvation, why the hell didn't he just hang out with Kings and Ceasars?  Jesus didn't seem to have much use for nations except to say to pay to Ceasar what is Ceasar's and to God what is God's.  And he said things like that to throngs of regular folks like us.   He was pretty standoffish with the state.  To Pilate, he said hey, you're the boss down here.  Do whatcha gotta do.

(one might note, as an aside, on which side the sheep are put, and which side the goats are put.  But I mirthily digress).

Now about what St. Paul said …

“[6] And hath raised us up together, and hath made us sit together in the heavenly places, through Christ Jesus. [7] That he might shew in the ages to come the abundant riches of his grace, in his bounty towards us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; [9] Not of works, that no man may glory. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus in good works, which God hath prepared that we should walk in them. ”
I don’t see anything in there that talks about collective salvation. It basically says your good works must come from the grace, the goodness in your heart — not from a desire to do them just to boast of them.

Other passages on the subject:

Saved by grace

(Ephesians 2:8-9) – “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”
(Rom. 3:20, 28) – “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin…For we maintain that a man is justified by faith apart from works of the Law.”
(Galatians 2:16) – “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”
Saved by works

(James 2:24) – “You see that a man is justified by works, and not by faith alone.”

 (Matthew 19:16-17) – “And behold, one came to Him and said, “Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may obtain eternal life?” 17 And He said to him, “Why are you asking Me about what is good? There is only One who is good; but if you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments.”
A lot of talk of individual salvation in there.  Nothin about collective salvation.

See, what we're looking at here is another of those Alinsky rules.  "Whenever possible, go outside of the expertise of your opponent."   This is how they get away with this shit.  If you don't know and your ethics don't allow you to just make shit up on the spot or not speak without being exactly sure of your sources, people just assume that the person speaking confidently, throwing around things like "the original greek" and thinks that make it sound like you know what you're talking about -- like they do on the Jefferson only wanted freedom for white people meme... you're at a disadvantage.  And they know it.  But if you are familiar with the material, you're much more likely to be able to call their bullshit.

And then they got nuthin' but ... "RAAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!!"

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Petulant Declarations of Allegedly Settled Facts

Thanks to Matt Welch at reason Magazine for coming up with that nice turn of a phrase.

 
I like it.   File under "summary of 'arguments' from the left."

 
  • Keynesian economics
  • Anthropogenic Global Warming
  • The Tea Party is racist
  • .
  • .
  • .

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Christian Women Need Not Apply

So the big "gotcha" question for Bachmann.... for the left, it seems, is what does her marriage vow to love, honor, and obey obey her husband mean?

Got one question for ya, o Progressive Left....  Would you vote for a devout Muslim woman for president?

Well, wouldja?  Yes or no?

What's the matter?  Cat got your tongue?

It seems to me that according the progressive left, at least, Christians need not apply.   Unless it's a vague, toothless,  a la carte "spiritual" Christianity.

It's also lauded by the left when strong First Ladies influenced their husbands decisions.  Why would we expect it to be any different with a First Dude?

A couple is a package deal, and if it's a good couple, that is far from a bad thing.  It is a great thing.

Coincidence?

I'm probably not the first to notice this, but I was behind a car with a carbonfund.org bumpersticker yesterday, and noticed a striking similarity.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Booker T.

‎"My experience in raising money for Tuskegee has taught me to have no patience with those people who are always condemning the rich because they are rich.

They do not know how many people would be made poor and how much suffering would result if wealthy people were to part all at once with any large portion of their wealth in a way to disorganize and cripple great business enterprises"
~ Booker T. Washington


Green Onions.   ~  Booker T. and the M.G.'s


Thursday, August 11, 2011

But Bill, then you would have been RAAAAAAAAAACIST!!!!!

Bill McClellan over at the Post Dispatch backed Obama in the primaries. Now he's thinking he should've backed Hillary.

From a political standpoint, maybe that would have been a better move for the Democrats.  But as far as the state of the country is concerned ... tomato, tomahto.   They're both New Left and pals with Cloward & Piven and the Alinsky/ACORN clan for one thing.  Which means they're really not interested in getting the United States on firm financial ground.  They want it off.

Somewhere in the middle of his article, Bill comes up with the following:
Consider the debacle with the debt ceiling. The Democrats wanted to raise taxes on people making more than $250,000. The Republicans wanted to cut spending.  Obama said he'd go along with spending cuts if the Republicans would agree to some tax hikes. He was negotiating from a position of strength. The Republicans controlled only the House. The Democrats had the White House, the Senate and, more importantly, the people. Poll after poll showed that a majority of Americans favored raising taxes on the wealthy.

But it was Obama who backed down.

This was a fight he could have won. Consider hedge fund managers. On their earnings, they pay at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. According to a story last week in the Toronto Star, the top 25 hedge fund managers took home an average of $880 million last year. According to that same story, closing the loophole for hedge fund managers would save the Treasury $20 billion over 10 years.

Obama didn't think he could win that argument?
Oh, maybe he could have with people who weren't paying attention.  But a bunch of us out here aren't looking for who can win an argument like this.

The problem is, though the numbers you just came up with sound impressive to the average joe, you're talking about 2 billion a year ... you're talking about 17 .... ONE HUNDREDTHS (less than two tenths) ... of a percent of our annual budget deficit.


Making the above 99.83% a strawman argument.

WE DO NOT HAVE  A TAX REVENUE PROBLEM.
WE HAVE A SPENDING PROBLEM.
 

Stickin' it to the man ain't gonna cut it.

Take it away, Mr Whittle.


Great answer!

Thanks to tim.  Great answer to these.  Any more ideas?  This could get fun!

Always Proud

Nice.  Gentle but effective contrast to "For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country", and to looking down one's nose at those people "clinging" to their God & Guns.


That looks a lot like Main Street in my hometown. And I know what she's talking about.  I think this lady's going to surprise a lot of people before it's all over. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

That's About the Size of It



Just when you thought...

Just when you thought it couldn't get any more smugly self-righteous ... I actually saw a bumpersticker that made me barf about as much as the ubiquitous COEXIST bumpersticker does.  To make matters worse, there they were, together, one above the other, on the bumper in front of me.



Of course, the first COEXIST bumperstickers probably made early adoptors feel extra special "in-crowdily" wonderful.  But with the extensive proliferation of them, of course, it loses it's exclusivisity, and you have to once again pick something to be on the cutting edge of the narcisstically self-righteous.

The funny thing is, my bet is most of the people displaying these are atheist or agnostic, and it is a command coming from our betters, in their minds.  Our "betters" being them.

There's only one symbol in either that seems to have much of a problem coexisting and tolerating each other associated with it.

But you're not allowed to point that out.

Incidentally, I kind of liked this one.


Ok, this one is pretty good, too:

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Santelli's Still With Us

Rick Santelli, "Father of the Tea Party", weighs in on the so-called "Tea Party Downgrade" -- which I'll call the Obamanomics Downgrade.



Apparently, the Dems are hanging their hats on this bit of the S&P report. this is what the other guy in the video clip is talking about when he says S&P said it's about Republicans and "raising revenues".
Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place. We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the act…
I wonder who works at S&P and what their agenda is?  Because if you ask me, this sounds like Democrats talking.   And here's why I say this.  To Democrats:


Rasing Revenues = Raising Taxes = Raising Revenues


With them, its that reflexive.

Now .... "taxes" haven't gone down in any meaningful way during this recession.  But revenues have.  Given the above, that's counterintuitive.  What gives?
Govt Revenue = f(Tax Rate,Private Sector Revenue)

In general, it is a product.   However, even Obama admitted during the debates that there is a negative feedback factor as your tax rate goes up.   But in the same breath he said he doesn't care if it means sticking it to the guys he thinks it should be stuck to.

When the economy tanks, private sector revenue goes down, ergo government revenue goes down.  When the tax rate goes up, private sector revenue goes down, so the net change isn't necessarily positive.  But holding the tax rate the same, and increasing Private Sector Revenue (which can only be achieved by economic growth), you get more government revenue, and it has further been shown that if taxes have been raised too high, lowering them some will result in more economic growth -- and that has been shown in the past to yield more government revenue ... at a lower tax rate.

Democrats are always willing to see that raising taxes can theoretically, if people do not change their economic behavior in response, raise revenues.   They refuse to see that it often does not.

Combine that with the fact that we have one of the highest corporate tax rates on the planet, and take a wild guess what is likely to happen if we raise them even more?

Republicans know that theoretically if you raise taxes and if people do not change their economic behavior in response, you might raise revenues. They also know that people not responding by changing their economic behavior is about as likely as a snowball passing intact through a jet engine. They can also show that you can lower taxes and still raise revenues.  And they also know that our Republican government was founded on the ideal of limited government, and that bigger, more expensive, more oppressive (taxing) government is antithetical to that ideal.

It's really pretty simple, and I've said it and so have others over and over and over.  We have a spending problem.   We spend way way way way more than we take in.  And every time we agree to let the government "take in" more to "balance the budget", ole Lucy pulls the football away again and they spend that AND more.  And more and more and more. 

Our credit rating should have been downgraded over a year ago, maybe longer ago.  It wasn't.  What the Tea Party is saying is that we know that if we give you more, you will spend it and more.  And the Republicans held the "ceiling deadline" as a bargaining chip no more than the Democrats did.  Hell, Boehner had a plan out there on the table that included $800 billion in "revenue increases" a week or so before the deadline.  That sounds like compromise to me.  But what happened?

President "Almost God" demanded another $400 billion.

And Boehner rightly said "you and the horse you rode in on, bub!"

Democrats always want more, and they'll call it anything in the world to get it.  And if you don't give it to them, you're the one who didn't compromise. 

If it means Congress will start taking the debt seriously from now on, I am glad we were downgraded, because absent that, our real credit risk, no matter what company said what about it, would continue to slide off the cliff.

Sexist? No. Cheap Shot? Yes.

It's probably no secret that I think Michele Bachmann is a beautiful woman (yeah, in more ways than one).   And yes, I did see the flap about the Newsweek cover calling her "Queen of Rage" with the unflattering shot of her, mid expression-change.

I also find it funny that the same people who've constantly counciled us that if we're not outraged, we're not paying attention -- are now outraged at our outrage.

I'm an amateur photographer.  One thing I have learned over the years taking candid shots is that when people are expressing themselves, their faces change to reflect their emotion and passion. Have you ever watched a woman express righteous anger and thought - man, she's beautiful!?   I have.  In real live motion, it can look great -- but any one frame of that "video" looks .... well ... "crazy".  They look horrible.  And even in a studio sitting facial expressions change.  It's when a photo gets snapped during the transition from one facial expression to another that these kinds of shots generally get produced.... and I discard them.

It was refreshing to see NOW in a rare display of not engaging in their standard double-standard of turning the whine up to 11 -- rationalizing why using an unflattering photo of a "liberal" woman is "sexist", but being totally cool with the same treatment being given to a conservative one.

I mean, in my opinion, NOW is just as wrong, but at least they're being consistently wrong... this time :-/.  Perhaps they're afraid she might win and become the first female president and it would be rather embarassing for the National Organization for Women to have a long record of not defending her on her way up from the things they'll defend liberals from.

I don't think it's sexist.  I do think it's a cheap shot. They chose that shot to convey the image they wanted to convey (don't you call them biased, no no.) But the liberal media has done the same thing to Bush, Cheney, Rove, Beck, and a myriad of conservative men, and they've done it forever.

Bottom line is, I hate it when their side whines about stupid stuff, and I actually hate it even more when my side does it.  Because that's not me, and I don't want it promoted.

Assignment: Severian

For any of my modest number of readers who haven't noticed (and even if you're just a random googler dropping by), my good blogger friend Severian has started up a blog himself, much to my joy and general happiness.

He's a very bright guy, as witnessed by his comments on various blogs, and that has carried over to his blog:

I'd like to reccomend to our readers, specifically, this recent post... and not just because I am mentioned in it (although it does give us the warm fuzzies, a bit).  

Maybe that'll get you going on it.

Monday, August 08, 2011

The Blame Game

Once upon a time a country spent decades adding to its debt while creating new government programs to expand later and expanding old government programs to use more and more money.

Many big banks and and companies gambled dangerously with money they never would have gambled if their risk hadn't been basically covered by the government.   And when the walls came tumbling down, the government spent $3/4 trillion it didn't have to bail them out.

In the ensuing economic cratering, another $3/4 trillion it didn't have was spent on a Keynesian "stimulus" package, and to top it all off, a purported $1 trillion new government "health care" system was created, when everybody knows these figures are lowballed and even at that end up costing at least 5 times their predicted cost.

The national debt went from 9 trillion to 14 trillion over a 3 year period, while Congress never passed a budget for over two of those years.

The whole time, everybody knew what the debt ceiling was, and everyone could see we were fast approaching it, and nobody had the guts to do anything to change the habits that was lading them there.

When, not long after the bailout and quite quickly after the "stimulus" was passed, a group of people started jumping up and down saying "What are you doing?  This is Crazy!"

"Fringe idiots!!!!" the government supporters cried.   But they did not go away.

"Racist!!!!!"  the government and its supporters shouted!

But when their public attemtps at race baiting failed, they cried "Astroturf!!!!!"

When the 2010 elections toppled many of the party of the worst offenders out of office, they changed to screaming "Extremist!!!!!"

But as the debt ceiling approached and it was asked what was extreme about averting bankruptcy and living withing something like your means, they exhorted "Terrorists!!!!"

And so it is that the word has gone out in The Party of Spend that this downgrading of the credit of that nation is the fault of those who wanted the country to spend more responsibly.

Up is down.  Left is right.  Freedom is slavery.  Debt is solvency.   It's 1984.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Barackology

Severian points us here, to a lengthy but intriguing article summing up the President's influences in his life from childhood.   It's much of the same stuff others uncovered and that Beck pointed out on his Fox TV show that is completely missing in his two autobiographies (by age 47???) ... but all in one place.

At first I was skeptical at some of the "may haves" and other innuendo, but that's just the setup.  The rest of the article is meatier.

It doesn't directly tell us what Barack believes, but ... judge for yourself if you think his attitudes were shaped by the radical leftists in his family and their network of friends.

Frank.    Marshall Davis.   Indeed.

As Long as They Approve

Remember, the left and their party, the Democrats ... are all about freedom and liberty freedom of speech and press and open exchange of ideas -- as long as they approve of them.

Seriously.  Senator Kerry.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Sigh

I'm a small-l libertarian.  With me, it's an adjective, not a noun.

I love Reason Magazine.  I dont' agree with everybody in it all the time (and if I did, I should worry a bit).  But I was out on their site today and made the mistake of commenting and mentioning I was a "conservative".

I noted that if you have a general Jeffersonian philosophy at all, you're considered a conservative, and I got tired of fighting it.  We're really Classical Liberals, but it's too confusing to too many people.  So I just go with it.  I accept "conservative" if it means conserving classical liberal values and respecting the culture that established them in Republican form.  I'll wear that mantle.

I guess I just momentarily forgot why I stopped hanging out with "L" Libertarians.  Same reason I never hung out at the Zen Center in my Zen Buddhist days.  Bunch of juvenile narcissists looking for validation from other juvenile narcissists.

I have long noted that the comments on their web articles appear to be from adolescents who are obsessed with genitalia "jokes".  One said they come to Reason Magazine to get away from Conservatives and Liberals because, I believe, they said that "they were the ones that f*cked everything up."

I'm sure they did, while y'all sat around and told jokes about Sarah Palin's t*ts.

Not that I don't like them, don't get me wrong ;-)

At any rate, it occurred to me this evening that there are Libertarians out there, whom, if you don't agree that everyone should be free to schtup his sister in public and have the pictures published on the front page of the local newspaper, well you're no good to them.  And twice as no good if you wouldn't approve of it if it were his brother rather than his sister.

The comment I got went something like "one look at your blog and I can tell you're a conservative".  Another went "Blogs 4 Palin.  Go Away".

So I said "Ok".   No problem.  The print edition doesn't suffer from the incessant t*tty and d*ck banter that passes as discourse in the online comments.

Clearly they'd read a post or two and had done an in-depth analysis of just how exactly my opinions differed from theirs.  I frankly doubt they even read most Reason columns if they don't have something to do with pot or sex.

So I've decided to add a corollary to my observation.

If you have a general Jeffersonian philosophy at all, you're considered a conservative,  and I got tired of fighting it, so I just go with it. It does a fairly decent job in helping to identify assholes as well.

Vote now.  Should this be a Thing I Know?

Am I missing something?

So I was listening to National Commie Radio in the car Tuesday morning. I guess I wasn't irate enough, or maybe it was the "know your enemy" thing.

They ran a story in which an economist (Richard Koo) was analyzing our economy. He said that because the economy did not respond to low interest rates, the private sector is sick, so the government needs to borrow and spend the private sector's un-lent money. Let that sink in a little bit.

People who saved their money were unwilling to risk loaning their money at low interest rates (high risk, low reward), so the government should do it for them. Yup. Sick.

The interviewer acknowledges that this policy is necessary (no surprise there), but the neither of them seem to recognize that the government is entirely funded by the private sector! So a sick private sector is supposed to fund the government's "fix".

Then the interviewer brings up the threat of a downgrade in the government's credit rating. The economist responds that the credit rating agencies:

"do not understand this type of recession, where private sector is minimizing debt instead of maximizing profits. All of their models are based on the assumption that private sector is maximizing profits, and if that world is the world we are in now, of course, downgrades are justified. But when we are in this type of recession... government borrowing and spending is actually good, not bad."

And, of course, the interview ends there. The take away is that Moody's and Standard & Poor's don't know what they're talking about. Government borrowing is necessary. If only we had Mr. Koo's knowledge and experience. Did you read his bio? Did you see a real job in there?

Things I Know #36

36. The difference between a wise man and a prideful fool is that both have a strong desire to be right, but one of them must never, ever be wrong.
I want to be right.  I want my map of reality to match the truth as closely as it can.   So when I find out I'm wrong about something, I change my map to accomodate the inconsistency.

Moody's would be the highest, most sensible, obvious authority on economies, debt, and credit ratings (ahem, which is kind of their gig) if they downgraded or threatened to downgrade our credit rating during a Republican administration.
But the Keynesians are in charge right now, and if their results don't match reality, it must be that reality is wrong.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Book Learnin'

Relative to the last 20 years in my life I've read a lot of books in the past year.  I just finished my fourth in two weeks.   Not getting much ELSE done outside of work, mind you.

I finished David Mamet's "The Secret Knowledge", Harry Stein's "I Can't Believe I'm Sitting Next to a Republican" (mostly for fun, but it had some useful stuff in it), Sarah Palin's "America By Heart" -Yup, she and I are on the same page about America, and I would have no qualms about voting for her should she run, and The National Center for Constitutional Studies' "The Real Thomas Jefferson".

I thought I had a lot of respect for Thomas Jefferson before.  Now I want a bust of him on the mantle!  Wow!  I've ordered his Autobiography with a bunch of his writings, to boot.

Speaking of the National Center for Constitutional Studies, they have an excellent day-long seminar, The Making of America -- and we're sponsoring one right here in good ole Columbia, MO on Sept 17.   If you're close enough to come and can spare the time and a  little $$$, I think it's going to be well worth it.  Sign up here.

Calloway County Tea Party sponsored one several months ago, and I missed it.  I got the book for it, which is excellent as a reference book for the Constitution and a sketch of our early history.   That alone made me sad I missed it, but there were also the rave reviews from my fellow Central Mo Tea Partiers.  I want to go this time.

I'm about to start on "The Real George Washington".

After reading (well, even in the MIDDLE of reading) "The Real Thomas Jefferson", it became starkly clear to me (even though I already kinda knew from reading Alinsky) what the enemies of America are doing with our founders.  It's all a part of "Critical Theory" from the Columbia University "Institute for Social Research" ... and it's kind of the leaves and outer branches of it.

When you bring up what a great mind Thomas Jefferson was and how indispensable he was (same with George Washington et. al.)  you get "Dead White Male Slave Owner".   You may have a feeling there's more to it than that, but as a more honorable person who doesn't speak outside of his knowledge ... don't challenge them.   And it's because you don't know.  The founders were men, not saints, and they were simultaneously products of their time and the generation that ultimately planted the flag of liberty, for all, eventually -- on the planet.  Hopefully for good.

Right in the middle of reading it I saw an comment on facebook on a Refounders post the same old "Jefferson only wanted liberty for white males".   See, he owned slaves."   And this was right after my "Jefferson the Slave Owner" post.  And I was able to refute his claim (not about his "supporting" fact of the slaves, but about only wanting liberty for white males) with confidence and ease. (incidentally, this series has awesome references).

By the time I was 1/3 of the way through the book it was clear that Jefferson hated slavery, even though he owned slaves (he inherited them at 14 when his dad died).  And he did, in fact, work to end it in verifiable positive steps he took.  But it was not as simple as a flourish of the pen and voila!    Slavery was a fact of life our founders  had to deal with, and they brought about its end through the principles they espoused and codified.   It just took practice a while to catch up with principle -- and of course, the regrettable bloodshed it took to convince the stragglers (the Republicans sure were "intransigent" about it, weren't they? ;-)   )

My point here is, knowledge is light, out-of context facts and distortions cannot stand its power.  They fade like shadows before it.  But to get it ... you've got to learn it.   And to keep it around for future generations, your kids have to learn it.

And they're probably not going to learn it in school.    It's up to you.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Too Good Not To Share

I know, if I were really hep, I'd say 2 Good Not 2 Share ... but I'm not.


From The St. Louis Tea Party, via Big Government.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Demagoguery

Mona Charen over at NRO writes up a bit on Michele Bachmann's reaction to the President's handling of the economy.
Criticizing President Obama’s statement on the debt deal, Michele Bachmann utilizes an extended wind metaphor.
“Mr. President, it’s time for you to take responsibility for this failed economy and stop blaming the American people, earthquakes, the previous administration and the wind. It’s time to stop the ‘hot air’ in Washington and let the winds of true change, economic growth and job creation spurred by the private market sweep through this country,”
Bachmann also said quite a bit more.


"This statement came across as simple demagoguery to me" I saw in the comments.

*Sigh* Criticizing the opponent's position is not demagoguery. It's what people do when they disagree.

Demagoguery is calling people who don't cave to your demands, and "call your bluff" on principle - demonizing and irrelevant names like "terrorists" or "hostage takers" or " baby kidnappers", or "racist"  in lieu of criticizing their opponents' positions on merits and demerits.

See, what Michele has done here is to say "this is bad, and here's why I think this is bad". "Here's what we've done, and here's what I think we should be doing."  This was once known as having an argument or making your case.

It's not about how the way she put it made you feel. We can sit around and talk all day about whether or not it's "demagoguery" and why nobody should listen to her because of her "demagoguery" ... but it (intentionally) neatly avoids having an open, frank conversation on any subject where a lefty doesn't think he or she can win.

They have more trouble with this "winning" thing when facts are brought up, so they just call us names, and one of them, ironically, is "demagogues".

I think it's because it's a 4-bit word so it makes them feel smart or something.