TeeJaw Blog

ATF Operation Fast and Furious

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Thursday, June 30, 2011, 1: 34 PM

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (BATFE, or more commonly ATF) operation Fast and Furious, also known as Project Gunwalker or Project Gunrunner is a scandal of the Obama administration that will, despite efforts from the old media to cover it up, taint the government for decades to come, IMHO. If you are not familiar with it, here is a “nutshell” explanation:

The Obama administration has always wanted more restrictive Federal gun laws. Twenty thousand laws already on the books, almost all of them felonies carrying long prison terms, just isn’t enough for them. Public opinion is overwhelmingly against more Federal gun control and there are not the votes in Congress for any more. The Administration believed that the Mexican drug cartel violence on the U.S./Mexican border might provide an opportunity to change that and therefore started playing up the notion that the Mexican drug lords were getting there weapons from Americans buying them in the U.S. and smuggling them across the border. [Never let a good crisis go to waste.] Problem was, it’s not true. No data to support it. Other more likely sources were clearly known to exist. So, operation Fast and Furious was conceived as an ATF operation to create the necessary data to support more gun control laws in the U.S. The plan was to allow “Straw purchaser” transactions to go forward and to track the guns by their serial numbers. Thus ATF was able to follow the guns as they moved through illegal commerce. The hope was that they were going to Mexico so that a data set could be established to gin up public support for more U.S. gun control laws. Gun dealers in Phoenix and other cities were often suspicious of certain purchasers and would call the ATF before making the transfer to alert them of a potential illegal transaction. Under Fast and Furious, those gun dealers were told to go ahead with the sale.

One should bear in mind that since 1968 straw purchases, i.e., a legal gun purchaser buying a gun for someone who cannot legally buy a gun, has been a Federal felony carrying a possible ten-year prison term.

Still to be proven, there is suspicion that the ATF actually set up straw purchasers because there were not enough occurring on their own to persuade anyone that lax Federal laws were allowing guns to be smuggled into Mexico.

Twenty-four year veteran ATF special agent Vince Cefalu was appalled by what he saw as official law breaking. Several of the guns the ATF “walked” across the border were subsequently used to murder U.S. Border Patrol agents, DEA agents and Mexican agents as well. Cefalu became a whistle blower and was quickly fired by the ATF.

That’s it in a nutshell. Detailed descriptions of this mess are here and here.

The video below is an interview with fired ATF whistle blower Vince Cefalu. It is an interview that would be done by an independent news organization, but the old media doesn’t have anything of the sort. Actually, I take part of that back. CBS has done a pretty good job of covering this story, as has Fox News. All the other “state run” cable news outlets and the Washington Post have tried to downplay it and cover it up.

In the interview below Vince Cefalu considers whether Attorney General Eric Holder was aware of what the ATF was doing and concludes that “there is no way he didn’t know.”


Talk of Restoring The Right of Self Defence In The U.K.

Posted in Culture, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Thursday, June 30, 2011, 9: 51 AM

Justice Minister Ken Clarke says there is “constant doubt” about the right of British subjects to defend themselves from intruders into their homes and that legislation recently proposed in Parliament will make it “much clearer.” In 2007 former Justice Minister Jack Straw said clarification of self defence laws in England was “long overdue.” Since then British subjects have been burgled in their homes and beaten and robbed on the streets with increasing frequency and those with the temerity to fight back against criminal attack have found themselves in more trouble with the law than their assailants. Despite the talk, to date nothing has been done to restore the historic right to self defence in the realm where America’s modern law of self defense had its origin.

British politicians are fond of saying that the law of self defence in Britain is already clear, that British subjects have the right to use reasonable force to repel an attack, and no legislation is required. That is nonsense. The only thing that is clear is that the English common law of self defence, which had been quite clear for centuries and forms the basis of self defense law in America, has been abolished in Britain without any formal statement by either Parliament or the courts.

On the night of August 20, 1999, two burglars – Brendon Fearon, 29, and Fred Barras, 16 – broke into Tony Martin’s farmhouse. It was the 10th time Martin (born 1944) had been burglarized. The Martin farmhouse is in Norfolk, Shire County in Northeast England. There is no police station nearby and in the past the police had taken up to an hour to respond to calls for assistance in that region. Barras had accumulated a lengthy criminal record at his young age with 29 arrests for burglary, robbery and assault.

Martin confronted the two miscreants in the dark with his shotgun. They attempted to flee out a window as Martin fired his shotgun downward towards the floor. Both criminals were hit with buck shot. Fearon made good his escape and later recovered from slight wounds. Barras made it out the window but died of his wounds at the scene.

Martin was charged with murder and convicted by a jury. He was sentenced to life in prison. His conviction was later reduced to manslaughter by an appeals court and his sentence reduced to 5 years. He was released in July, 2003 after serving 3 years. Fearon later instituted a civil suit against Martin which was thrown out when Fearon was shown to have been faking his disability.

In most, if not all, jurisdictions in the United States Martin would not have been charged with any crime at all. Even though the burglars were attempting to flee at the time Martin fired his shotgun, and most firearm trainers would advise letting them go in that case, most U.S. jurisdictions have laws that give a homeowner the benefit of the doubt on the use of force against an intruder into the sanctity of their home. Outside the home a different standard applies, but American law has long followed the original “castle doctrine” which is derived from the ancient dictum that “an Englishman’s home is his castle.” Quietly without so much as a whisper, that doctrine was clearly abolished in England sometime in the last 50 years.

All the talk of the current and former Justice Ministers won’t restore it anytime soon. A change in the mindset of the British public and their elected officials will have to come first. I’m not holding my breath. The former culture and stoic glory of our “mother country” is way too far gone.

Here Is Everything You Need To Know About the United Nations

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 1: 20 PM

North Korea to Lead UN’s Nuclear Disarmament Group

It’s not a parody; it’s not satire; it’s….The United Nations.

Actually no, it’s not the United “Nations.” It’s the United Tyrannical Dictatorships.

No Hope, No Change — Just Lies, Lies, Lies

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 1: 01 PM

The “mediscare” campaign has begun:

Expect a lot more of this over the next 16 months.

Even though everything in that video is a damnable lie, Republicans better not expect people to know that. They better make sure these sorts of ads are answered promptly and effectively. A lie repeated often enough and not answered becomes the truth.

Quote of the Day

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 29, 2011, 11: 46 AM

Former Wyoming Senator Alan Simpson before an audience of 500 recently at the Center for the Arts in Jackson, Wyoming:

“America has become a milked cow with 310 million tits.”

Make that 309,999,999 tits. It ain’t me, Alan Simpson Babe! [That’s Rush Limbaugh’s pet name for Senator Simpson because he refers to Limbaugh as “Rush Babe.”]

Hey Senator, do you think the Milk Cow herself has a bit of blame here? You know, for promising so much free milk to so many people? And isn’t it the political class of liberals and RINOs, the latter of which includes you, that are responsible for the whole thing? Didn’t you vote for every expansion of government that came along when you were a Senator?

Tagged with:

Orlando Man Faces 6 Years in Prison For Video Taping Police

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, June 28, 2011, 9: 18 AM

UPDATE FRIDAY, July 1st. John Kurtz convicted of resisting arrest and sentenced to 30 days in jail. Travesty of justice.

Original post from June 28:

This is not something most people believe happens in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave. Police departments around the country seem to be on a binge of hiring individuals with a violent mindset that makes them wholly unsuitable for the job.

A standard question asked of a new recruit is “Why do you want to be a police officer?” The standard answer that most recruits understand to be what the questioner wants to hear is “Because I want to help people.” A more truthful answer for some would be “Because I want to beat the crap of people with impunity.”

In this case John Kurtz left his home in the middle of the night to observe some police action in his neighborhood. From all factual accounts he stood enough distance away so that he was not interfering or obstructing the officers in any way. He carried a small hand-held video camera. Believing he was witnessing the use of illegal excessive force by the officers against an already handcuffed and restrained man, he began to videotape the scene. That elicited a response from the officers that can be characterized only as the sort of unlawful violence one would expect from a criminal street gang, not officers of the law sworn “to serve and protect.”

This attitude results, I believe, from the increasing militarization of civilian police forces. A soldier on the battlefield is sent to engage the enemy and kill them. A civilian police officer has a different role. He is supposed to chase criminals and arrest them all the while protecting the rights of all citizens, including those he arrests. Only that force reasonably necessary to arrest the subject and protect the officer’s safety is lawful. All unnecessary force is excessive and is a crime that can and should be prosecuted. As of now it appears the wrong man is going on trial tomorrow. We’ll know soon, maybe.

Full story of John Kurtz’s ordeal with Orlando police can be found here, his Facebook page. [Link no longer works for some reason] Admittedly, we only have one side of the story right now. But his trial commences tomorrow, June 29th, in the Orange County Courthouse in Orlando, Florida. We’ll soon know all sides of this case. No one should be prosecuted for recording the police if they are not obstructing. If the police are not doing anything wrong, why do they care if they are recorded? Because some of them are hoodlums with a badge, is the only answer that makes sense.

Here is a video that was made in support of John Kurtz:

Quote of the Day — George Washington on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms

Posted in Government and Politics, Gun Rights by TeeJaw on Monday, June 27, 2011, 9: 38 PM

Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the American people’s liberty teeth and keystone under independence. … Every corner of this land knows firearms, and more than 99 99/100 percent of them by their silence indicate they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms anywhere and everywhere restrains evil interference; they deserve a place with all that’s good. When firearms go, all goes; we need them every hour.

— George Washington

This quote is believed to be authentic, and comes from a site called Liberty Tree. Other quotes from this cite have been easily verified as authentic, so I tend to trust it. Also, the words sound like other quotes from Washington that are well documented. Teeth are a metaphor that runs through other of Washington’s writings and speeches. It makes sense that teeth would be on his mind, since his were in pretty bad shape and he ended up losing them all. His dentures were not wood as used to be commonly believed. Modern science has examined them and found them to be made from gold, ivory, lead, human and animal teeth (horse and donkey teeth were common components). But were they comfortable? Not likely. No matter, Washington was a man of action and must have gotten used to discomfort and hardship in all its forms.

Countermeasures Against The Police War On Photography

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Monday, June 27, 2011, 11: 56 AM

As an avid supporter of law enforcement it’s disillusioning when cops abuse their power and act like street thugs. The official war on photography in which cops try to prevent bystanders from making audio and/or video recordings of their action is the current manifestation of some egregious incidents of abuse of power by cops. We are not talking about anyone interfering with the police; rather it is the police interfering with citizens who are standing in a place they have a right to be and not obstructing the police in any way, except to make a recording of their actions. Back on June 9th I posted on the recent incident of police shooting a man to death in Miami and then confiscating cell phones and video cameras from bystanders who recorded the action. That post contains an 8-minute video recounting other such incidents. Since then a woman in Rochester, New York was thrown to the ground, hand cuffed and arrested for standing in her own front yard making a video recording of the police arresting a man in the street in front of her house. She was later released since she had committed no crime and there was no basis for holding her. She was clearly the victim of an unlawful arrest, and will probably sue the police. If so, the taxpayers of Rochester will get the bill for one of their civil servants sworn to be a protector and acting more like a predator.

UPDATE: Charges against Emily Good of Rochester have been dropped. “It took less than a minute for a judge to dismiss an obstructing governmental administration charge against Good, saying there was no legal basis to move forward.”  Good  is suing.  Well, good.

The victims of these cases of official abuse are usually charged with obstructing an officer, which seldom sticks because any obstruction that might occur is the result of the officers own misguided mindset or fragile ego and not any action of the citizen. Alternatively, in the minority of states with laws requiring consent from all persons being recorded as opposed to the majority which require only the consent of one party, a criminal charge my be instituted on that basis. These charges are often ridiculous because taken literally these laws would make it illegal to make any sort of video or audio recording in a public place since it would be impossible to obtain consent from everyone who might appear in the recording, however briefly. Much of what is shown on the nightly television news would violate these laws if they were enforced universally in the manner some police and prosecutors are attempting to enforce them against citizens with cell phones and other small recording equipment.

In Massachusetts and Illinois, both states of public corruption as a time-dishonored tradition, it is illegal to use any recording device to document police action. See Police Fight Cell Phone Recordings.

It all brings to mind this quote from Montesquieu (1689-1755), quintessential man of the Age of Enlightenment:

Political liberty is not present except where there is no abuse of power. It is an eternal experience that every man who has power is drawn to abuse it; he proceeds until he finds the limits.

The war on photography will be won when citizens help police find the limits. Citizens can through public opinion and awareness stop the scurrilous thuggery against innocent bystanders who merely make a record of police action without obstructing it. If police are doing nothing wrong the videos will be of little interest. If they are acting properly they should have no objection and should simply complete their tasks without interference of bystanders who may have wounded their tender egos but are not breaking any law. The way to win this war is to keep recording them and making a record of their abuse. A new and improved way of doing that, a countermeasure to police misconduct, is available now with improvements likely to come soon. Two new Smartphone Apps, CopRecorder and OpenWatch, make it possible to turn your cellphone into an audio recorder without indicating that it is recording. The day of citizen media where every citizen can be a journalist gathering data, is coming if not already here.

More accountability for government and more political liberty for citizens should follow.

America’s New Racists

Posted in Culture, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, June 26, 2011, 9: 10 AM

The photo at far left is 18-year old Carter Strange of Columbia, South Caroline before he was beaten senseless [center photo] by eight Black teenagers. Nineteen year old Thyeem Henrey [right photo] and seven Black juveniles with ages from 13 to 16 have been arrested and charged with second degree assault and battery by mob, common law robbery, and criminal conspiracy. Henrey’s bond has been set at $750,000 and does not allow for his release on posting just 10% of the amount. The story and a video are at WISTV of Columbia, S.C., All eight suspects in brutal Five Points beating in custody.

Trying to get home to meet the curfew his parents set for him, Carter Strange was jogging through a park just after Midnight last Monday morning when he was attacked, for no apparent reason. There is no indication that any of his attackers knew who he was or had any previous contact with him. It was a random attack. The beating was caught on surveillance cameras, which led to the arrests. After the beating the victim staggered away for about a block then collapsed and lay for about 2 hours before anyone found him and summoned medical. The beating was severe, requiring emergency surgery to remove a blood clot in his brain. He had facial reconstruction surgery on Friday and remains in critical condition.

The events in Columbia, S.C. fit a pattern of random attacks by Black youth gangs on Whites and Asians which would certainly be called racism if the race of attackers and victim were reversed. Professor Walter E. Williams of George Mason University, pictured at left, says these brutal beatings represent a new form of racism in America, Black racism directed at Whites, Asians and Hispanics.

Born in 1936, Professor Williams lived through part of the era of Black lynchings by Whites, Jim Crow laws and open racism by Whites against Blacks. He writes a syndicated column and his latest, available here, addresses the subject of “America’s New Racism.” His column recites details of several incidents of Black violence randomly directed at whites, and lays the blame partly on the Black elite who have been content to remain silent. This, says Williams, is a betrayal of the struggle for racial justice and equality that was hard fought and finally won for Blacks in America. The Black elite were once a strong voice against racial violence:

Today all that has changed. Most racist assaults are committed by blacks. What’s worse is there’re blacks, still alive, who lived through the times of lynching, Jim Crow laws and open racism who remain silent in the face of it.

These racist attacks can, at least in part, be attributed to the black elite, who have a vested interest in racial paranoia. And that includes a president who has spent years aligned with people who have promoted racial grievance and polarization and appointed an attorney general who’s accused us of being “a nation of cowards” on matters of race and has refused to prosecute black thugs who gathered at a Philadelphia voting site in blatant violation of federal voter intimidation laws. Tragically, black youngsters — who are seething with resentments, refusing to accept educational and other opportunities unknown to blacks yesteryear — will turn out to be the larger victims in the long run.

Black silence in the face of black racism has to be one of the biggest betrayals of the civil rights struggle that included black and white Americans.

Professor Williams calls his statement “a minority view.” It probably is, and a president who promised “change” is apparently not much interested in changing America’s current race problem.

UPDATE: Monday, 12:18 PM MST. Incident in Peoria:

Tonight, around 11 p.m., a group of at least 60-70 African American youth marched down one of the side streets (W. Thrush) to the 4 lane main drag (Sheridan). They were yelling threats to white residents. Things such as we need to kill alll the white people around here. They were physically intimidating anyone calling for help from the police. They were surrounding cars. Cars on the main drag had to slam on their brakes to either avoid the youth blocking not only all four lanes, but a large section of the side street as well. fights were breaking out among them. They were rushing residents who looked out their doors, going on to porches, yelling threats to people calling the police for help.

How You Like Me Nawoo?

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Saturday, June 25, 2011, 8: 54 AM

Turn up the volume on your computer and stand up. You’re going to want to mooove, baby.

You can download How You Like Me Now by The Heavy at iTunes for a measely 99¢.  You could make it your daily reminder of the Obama Legacy, as if you needed any reminder.

Will The Ethanol Boondoggle Ever End?

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Saturday, June 25, 2011, 8: 07 AM

You know there was a strong bipartisan vote in the Senate recently to end the ethanol subsidy. That’s a good thing and many think it signals the end of the ethanol boondoggle. Not so fast. Too many of the senators who voted to end the subsidy were quick to point out that the Federal mandate requiring ethanol to be blended into all gasoline sold at the pump will continue, no matter what.

If the government stops paying the annual $6 Billion subsidy that creates the artificial market for ethanol, but continues to force consumers to buy ethanol, what do you suppose will happen? Won’t Iowa farmers will still be selling corn to ethanol plants and won’t those plants will still be selling ethanol to gasoline refiners? Yes, because if the mandate is not abolished the government will continue to require refiners to blend billions of gallons of ethanol into gasoline every year. The only change is that the government won’t be paying for the ethanol any more.

Ending the subsidy and keeping the mandate will merely change who pays for the ethanol. Actually, that’s not right. It’s not “who” pays but “how” we pay. We already pay for the ethanol subsidy through taxes. When the government ends the subsidy consumers will pay it in the form of increased prices at the gas pump. It still won’t be a free market. If a free market for ethanol were ever allowed to exist ethanol would disappear overnight.

It’s even worse. Our taxes are not going to be reduced by the $6 Billion savings to the government from eliminating the subsidy. So when price of gasoline at the pump goes up enough to pay for the ethanol in the gas, consumers will effectively be paying for it twice. They’ll still be paying the same taxes along with the higher price at the pump. That’s the inescapable result from eliminating the subsidy and keeping the mandate.

Ethanol is not good for anything. To say it does more harm than good is wrong because it does only harm without any good whatsoever.

Liberals who claim to care for the poor people of the world might note how the artificial demand for corn that will remain because of the ethanol mandate will keep food prices artificially high around the world. The impact of that falls mainly on people in impoverished regions eking out a subsistence living. That includes beef, a source of protein for humans, because corn is food for cattle.

Ethanol is a defective product in and of itself. Its claimed environmental benefits are highly suspect, not only because it’s 35 percent less energy-efficient than gasoline. Its proponents have little credibility for themselves or their claims because they are also on record as favoring high European style gasoline prices. Ethanol is a convenient subterfuge for that agenda. Ethanol corrodes pipelines and storage tanks. It’s harmful to engines. Small two-cycle carbureted engines in chain saws and grass trimmers literally choke on it. For those engines you are allowed to buy ethanol free gasoline that is sold in cans for about $9 a pint. To my knowledge there is no way to get ethanol free gasoline to use in 4-cycle lawnmower engines which really need it because their engines also run on carburetors. [If you try putting the pre-mixed oil and gasoline fuel sold for chain saws in your 4-cycle lawnmower engine the mistake will become quickly apparent and will damage the engine]

Many will attribute the ethanol boondoggle to well-intentioned government meddling resulting in costly, damaging, unintended consequences. I don’t buy the well-intentioned part. Even if you do, good intentions don’t matter when the results are awful and plain to see.

Whitey Bulger Caught By The FBI In LA

Posted in crime, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 11: 14 PM

Story here. Whitey Bulger has been on the FBI’s ten most wanted list since 1999. For 25 years he was the boss of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston, while his brother Billy Bulger was the most powerful politician in Massachusetts [president of the Senate].

Protected by his powerful brother and fed intelligence on law enforcement operations by his childhood school chum who grew up to be an FBI agent, Whitey was able to lead the Irish mafia in Boston and carry on his criminal enterprise with near impunity. The FBI agent was finally exposed, fired from the FBI, arrested, charged, convicted and sent to prison for 10 years.

The Bulger brothers had the midas touch in everything they did, most of it illegal and in Whitey’s case, brutally violent. He is accused of at least 19 murders of enemies and criminal confederates that either crossed him or needed to be gotten rid of to stop them from talking. The unsavory tale is well told in the book at right.

Brother Whitey ran from the FBI for 12 years and will most likely spend what remains of his life (he is now 81) in a Federal prison. Brother Billy was forced out of politics but was rewarded with a $200,000 annual state pension and a sweetheart post as President of the University of Massachusetts from 1996 until 2003 when he resigned under pressure from then-Governor Mitt Romney.

Democrats Claim Voter ID Laws Are “Jim Crow”

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 7: 18 AM

Democrats have never been embarrassed by their regular harangues of audacious chutzpah but their latest invective that voter ID laws are an attempt by Republicans to drag the country back to Jim Crow is too cute, and too asinine. DNC Chairman and Member of Congress Debbie Blabbermouth Shultz has made that claim. The Yiddish word “chutzpah” by itself used to signify a shameless level of audacity and gall, but Democrats have gone so far in their displays of all that this word stands for it now needs its own qualifiers to accurately describe their fanaticism. Democrats are the party that owns all of the history of the Jim Crow era. Those laws were totalitarian in all aspects of life for Black Americans, and the Democrat party was the sole architect and enforcer of everything Jim Crow.

If an ID requirement to vote is discriminatory why isn’t it so for boarding an Amtrak train, an airline or to drive a car? The answer is that no discrimination can be found in voter ID requirements. Blacks and Whites alike must present ID under such laws, and there is no reason to believe it’s any more difficult for Blacks than anyone else. Ms. Shultz’s claim is a subterfuge for what really has her upset. An ID requirement will eliminate at least some voter fraud, upon which Democrats increasingly rely for their future electoral success.

Texas To Feds — Take Your Light Bulb Ban and Shove It

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Monday, June 20, 2011, 10: 28 PM

The Federal light bulb ban is just the sort on niggling interference into every nook and cranny of private life that people find oppressive about bloated government and busybody politicians. Texas is fighting back against the Federal ban on incandescent light bulbs that will go into effect after next December. The Texas legislature has passed a bill that proclaims any light bulb manufactured in Texas to be free of the Federal ban. The new law awaits the signature of Governor Perry. If he signs it into law Americans will have new opportunities for smuggling — light bulbs that is. There are already many reasons to vacation in Texas, such as fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, taking a leisurely cruse on the San Antonio river as it gently winds through the city, visiting the Alamo, getting a hip replacement in one of the finest facilities in the world, taking in the music scene and nightlife of Austin — and now there’s another reason to visit Texas — to stock up on regular light bulbs and smuggle them back home, wherever that may be.

You can say it’s the patriotic thing to do. After all, these blessed United States, the greatest country on God’s green earth, was founded 235 years ago this coming July 4th by freedom loving and low tax demanding patriots who smuggled tobacco, molasses and rum for exactly the same reasons — to avoid the burdensome taxes and regulations of an oppressive government.

Governor Perry might consider the Texas light bulb build up to be a jobs bill. New manufacturing facilities for light bulbs and more jobs for Texans as more jobs are lost in the rest of the country from the stupid economic policies of Obama and the Democrats.

Quote of the Day

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Sunday, June 19, 2011, 10: 36 PM

These are quotes for any day…

Texas Governor Rick Perry to a friendly crowd in New Orleans,

Stop apologizing [for trying to overturn] the entitlement mindset. Stand up and be counted. Our opponents on the left are never going to like us, so let’s stop trying to curry favor with them.

Roger Kimball on that advice from Governor Perry:

We do not yet know whether Rick Perry will be running for president. I hope he does. He would inject a few red corpuscles into the mix. And his acknowledgment that it is pointless, indeed counterproductive, for conservatives to cater to liberals accords with Dr. Kimball’s first rule of political strategy:

Conservatives do not win elections by pretending to be liberals.

It is a curious fact, well worth pondering, that the converse is not true: conservatives do not win elections by pretending to be liberals, but liberals often win elections by pretending to be conservatives.

God Blessed Texas

Posted in Culture by TeeJaw on Friday, June 17, 2011, 9: 49 PM

Iceland Wins The Bank Bailout Scheme — By Default

Posted in Economic Theory, Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Thursday, June 16, 2011, 10: 07 AM

Trying to convince anyone that the bank bailout was a dumb idea, that it would have been better and wiser to have let the stricken banks fail, is a doubtful undertaking. The accepted wisdom is that they were “too big to fail” or “we could not have let those banks collapse.” Reasoned explanations are seldom offered in support of those conclusions, it being assumed no serious person could disagree. John McCain suspended his campaign and ended his presidential prospects for this nonsense. In late September of 2008 the House Republicans resisted, but gave in mere days later on October 3, 2008 under the heavy weight of what they wrongly perceived to be universal public opinion. The country was fed the ridiculous line that the whole financial system was on the brink of collapse and that passing a massive bank bailout was a dire emergency.

A little history is in order. The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was supposed to solve the subprime mortgage “crisis” [never let a good crisis go to waste] and to start banks lending again. Republicans in the House did what their conservative base of voters elected them to do and refused to approve this $700 Billion giveaway on September 29, 2008. The Senate, with presidential hopeful John McCain hogging all the spotlight he could garner, passed a revised version that added an additional $150 Billion to the original $700 Billion and increased the number of pages to 451, more than anyone could possibly read under the fire-drill frenzy that prevailed, and the House easily passed it on October 3, 2008. George W. Bush signed it into law within hours. Thus, the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) was created to stuff $850 Billion dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money down a rat hole where the greedy rats were anxiously waiting. [To be fair some, such as Wells Fargo, were not greedy at all and tried to refuse the money but were forced to take it. Those are the ones who have paid it back.]

Immediately there were predictions that it would not work. Banks would not start lending again, the subprime mortgage mess would not be fixed, the whole thing was being financed by ever more debt, and any short term gains would be badly offset by long term economic harm. All of that and more has proved true.

Looking at the bank bailout for what it really was makes the case against it. Nationalization of private debt can never lead to anything good. Doing it with even more debt, as here, is worse than ordinary nonsense. It’s nonsense on stilts. The taxpayers that pick up the cost, now and in the future, have their wealth confiscated for folly. The recipients of the bailout escape one of the most important corrective mechanisms of a free market — leaving the ones who acted poorly to suffer the consequences of their own mistakes. Since they cannot be expected to willingly share their profits with us when they succeed they should not believe taxpayers will come to their rescue when they fail. Bailouts beget more bailouts as the players take unreasonable risks believing there will be a safety net to catch them when they fall.

It must be thought that when a bank or a company goes broke something dies and is gone forever, leaving a net loss in the economy. But that’s not at all what happens. The business of the failed enterprise is taken up by others who might run it more wisely and profitably than the old owners did. That new endeavor will create new wealth and new employment for job seekers. This new birth of economic activity and wealth creation is lost when the government confiscates money from those who earned it legitimately and gives to those who squandered their own assets, and will further squandered the loot taken from more productive citizens. Dipping water from one end of a swimming pool and pouring into the other end does not raise the water level. Nor does it remove any impurities.

The beneficiaries of the bailouts are mainly the politicians and bureaucrats who administer vast amounts of public money to be handed out to selected players, make that “cronies”, in the private sector and lesser government entities. These transfers become a sort of money laundering scheme where public money is used to buy votes and favors, with some of the money tracing its way back in the form of political contributions to the political fat cats giving it out.

There is more than money in bailouts for politicians. There is the opportunity to gain control over more segments of the private sector. Control is always a highly sought prize in human nature and can even exceed the drive for money. Money is not desired for its own sake as much as for the control that it bestows on he who controls its flow.

When the U.S. embarked on its foolish bailout of private banks most European nations followed suit with their own bank bailouts, proving that “dumb ideas can proliferate” said Jeff Carter at the Points and Figures blog, a site devoted to “an irreverent look at economics, finance, trading and politics.” That subtitle highly recommends Mr. Carter’s writings.

In Iceland: What We Should Have Done Mr. Carter noted:

Iceland didn’t rescue its banks. It couldn’t afford to do it. So, they went bust. Iceland looked like it was going down a path of permanent financial armageddon. However, Iceland is in better financial shape than the rest of Europe today.

It hasn’t ended yet. Further harm is being inflicted on the U.S. economy by the Federal Reserve and its chairman, Ben Bernanke. We have only recently learned where much of the QE2 money has gone. It has been given to foreign banks. Lord help us.

Further Reading:

Finally,The True Story of the Financial Meltdown Breaks Through

Assigning Blame For The 2007-2008 Economic Meltdown

Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon

Earth may be headed into a mini Ice Age within a decade

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Wednesday, June 15, 2011, 11: 26 AM

Physicists say sunspot cycle is “going into hibernation.”

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as heavyweight US solar physicists announce that the Sun appears to be headed into a lengthy spell of low activity, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

Back to the future.

I wonder how thick the ice will have to get across North American before global warming alarmists will give it up. They’ll never give it up because it isn’t global warming or the environment they care about. They want to tell us what kind of light bulbs we can use, what shower heads we can buy, what cars we can drive, and every other sort of authoritarian rules they can impose on us.

In 1974 they were predicting Another Ice Age.

The Conversion of David Mamet

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 10: 38 PM

Rush Limbaugh interviewed David Mamet on his radio show for about 30 minutes. Hugh Hewitt had Mamet on his radio show for 2 hours. Having listened to both interviews with great interest I will certainly read this book. In fact, I already found a quote from it that is priceless. On page 52:

Our politicians, left and right, are, to belabor the metaphor, the wastrel son: they are free to spend, to chase fantasies, and to squander resources, for the resources are not theirs, and there is no penalty for their misuse or loss.

And they have the chutzpah to tell us what kind of light bulb we can use.

Mamet’s new book is a natural progression on a piece he wrote in 2008 for The Village Voice, “Why I Am No Longer a Brain — Dead Liberal.” Mamet says he grew tired of how government wastes every hard-earned cent he pays in taxes, to produce only trauma and misery with idiotic policies that make every citizen poorer.

The book is not going to be the last word from David Mamet. He seems to be on a worldwide tour giving interviews to talk shows and news organizations. This former liberal is providing red meat for conservatives with his plain speaking criticism of the left. Interviewed by the Jerusalem Post he addressed the re-election of Barack Obama, to which he says:

“The question is, can he run on his record in 2012, and the answer is no, because it’s abysmal,” Mamet said. “He took a trillion dollars and where it went, nobody knows. He dismantled healthcare, he weakened America around the world, he sold out the State of Israel. All he’s got to run on is being a Democrat and indicting the other fellow.”

And, here’s one that will drive some in the media to the gin bottle: David Mamet admires Sarah Palin.

This is so delicious to conservatives and so chokingly bitter for liberals, especially Hollywood liberals, because Mamet was a reliable stalwart of the Hollywood left for so long. He was never a loudmouth like Meathead (Rob Reiner). He accepted leftist baloney by simply not questioning it. Once he became curious and starting reading and listening to conservatives, conversion was inevitable. Because Hollywood took for granted that David Mamet was solidly one of them, they are now staggered, surprised and stunned. They’re dumbfounded and flabbergasted. Struck dumb, boggled, stupefied and aghast.


But hey, let’s not get cocky.

Headline of the Week

Posted in Government and Politics by TeeJaw on Tuesday, June 14, 2011, 9: 44 PM

Several years ago in Colorado Carlos Lucero and Nancy Dick were running for lieutenant governor and were vying for the top slot on the ballot. When it was determined that Lucero’s name would be first on the ballot and Nancy Dick’s name would appear below, some newspaper in Southern Colorado wrote a story with the headline, “Lucero Beats Dick for Top Slot.”

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