In Atlas Shrugged Comes To Detroit Cato Institute Senior Fellow Dan Mitchell comments on a CNBC story from last Wednesday, Detroit to set services by neighborhood condition.
“In a perverse way, I’m glad that there are places such as Greece and Illinois. These profligate jurisdictions are useful examples of the dangers of bloated government and reckless statism.
“There also are some cities that serve as reverse role models. Detroit is a miserable case study of big government run amok, so I enjoyed a moment or two of guilty pleasure as I read this CNBC story about the ongoing decay of the Motor City.
“Fifty years ago, the book [Atlas Shrugged] was viewed as a dystopian fantasy. Today, Greece, Illinois, and Detroit are making Ayn Rand seem like a prophet.”
It is important to note and remember that while Detroit resembles a city ravaged by floods and tornados, what has happened to Detroit was not a natural disaster. Detroit is the result of human beings destroying their city with liberal social and economic policies; in every aspect of the decline of Detroit the people did it to themselves. They have fouled their own nest, and while the blight is now nearly everywhere they show little sign of halting the destruction.
Read all of Dan Mitchell’s column at Cato, which includes a prophetic quote from Atlas Shrugged, which may be the original application of the word “blight” to decaying urban conditions. The 16th Century origin of “blight” referred to an unpleasant skin condition.
This is from yesterday before the latest secret dealmaking but it’s brilliant. I’ve noticed that it’s the Republican women in Congress that have the cojones and aren’t afraid to ride, shoot straight and speak the truth. Republican men either in elected office or in prominent party positions seem gutless and cowardly. How they can be afraid of so weak a president as Obama and so out of touch a Senate leader as Harry Reid is a complete mystery and testifies to just how shallow and insubstantial some of them are. Why can’t (or won’t) they talk? Well, if they can’t or won’t at least there are a few smart women both in and out of Congress who will:
UPDATE @10:00AM Sunday: Harry Reid sidetracked by Obama and McConnell. Heh. That may be the only good thing to come out this “deal” being negotiated in secret. Remember those promises of “transparency”?
UPDATE @9:30PM MDT: A “DEAL’ is in the works between Mitch McConnell and Obama. These deals that sell-out Republicans make with Democrats always mean the same thing: The American people get screwed again. They will raise the debt ceiling by all that Obama wants and there will be “promises” of spending cuts that will never actually occur. I’d say we might hope the 43 Republicans senators that signed the letter to Harry Reid will tell Mitch McConnell to go pound sand. But Mitch McConnell is one of the 43. Will the other 42 cave along with him? It will only take two more to give him his “deal.” No deal is always better than a bad deal. Why can’t Republicans learn that simple lesson?
Harry Reid has made a big show out of telling John Boehner that his debt ceiling bill is dead on arrival in the Senate. So 43 Republican Senators have signed a letter telling Harry Reid his alternative bill is dead — meaning it can’t even arrive anywhere. Since it takes 60 votes in the Senate to bring a bill to a vote, Reid’s threat to Boehner is effectively countered. The usual suspects in the Republican caucus refused to sign the letter, namely RINOs Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, and Lisa Murkowski.
The House voted on the Reid Bill this morning even though it has not even been brought to a vote yet in the Senate, and won’t be until Sunday afternoon. The House defeated it 173-246. Under the procedure used in the House the Reid bill needed a 2/3 majority. I didn’t even get a majority. Every Republican voted no.
The Boehner Plan contains spending reductions over ten years of only $900 Billion. The Reid bill will probably contain tax increases and no spending reductions. Keep that in mind and consider the following:
Standard & Poor’s says it may downgrade the U.S. Credit rating within 3 months if the debt to GDP ratio is not reduced. It is near 75% now and will approach 84% by 2013. [Obama cannot be expected to care about that because it will be after the 2012 election]. But S&P cares about it.
S&P does not believe the U.S. will default on its bond obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised, contrary to the Obama/Reid Scare tactics. To avoid a downgrade, S&P says the U.S. must do the following:
1) reduce the debt by about $4 trillion; 2) agree to a credible plan within three months; and 3) guarantee that this newfound fiscal discipline will actually stick.
Numbers 1 and 3 are not going to happen while Barack Obama is President and/or the Democrats control the Senate. Hell, even the Republicans won’t do either of those things. Looks like a downgrade is in America’s future. Isn’t that going to make it harder for Obama to keep borrowing no matter what the politicians do with the debt ceiling? Well, I guess it will just make the interest rate go up all new bonds, which includes old t-bills that are rolled over. So the debt will go up as Obama continues to borrow to pay it, and the debt ratio to GDP will go up.
There is only one conclusion to be reached here. This country can no longer afford liberalism. Here’s what John Hinderaker says:
Liberalism is a sort of parasite that feeds on the wealth that free enterprise creates. Liberalism exists for two reasons: 1) to stuff the pocketbooks of those who have learned to live at the taxpayers’ expense, and 2) to feed the moral vanity of those who can’t resist meddling in other peoples’ lives. When times are good, the economy can drag a fair amount of liberalism along behind it. But when times are hard, liberalism is a luxury we can’t afford.
Yeah for those 43 Republicans Senators, and the Tea Party House Republicans that made Boehner rework his plan. Shame on the four RINOS who refused to sign the letter to Harry Reid. They should come clean and become Democrats.
This is a great book I read a couple of years ago. The author, who lives in Boulder, Colorado has a most interesting Op-Ed in the NYT today about a 140-pound cougar that was killed when it was hit by a car on Wilbur Cross Parkway near Greenwich, Connecticut. Big surprise since Eastern cougars are officially extinct in Connecticut. According to DNA tests this cougar was not an Eastern cougar but was a Black Hills cougar that apparently wandered to Connecticut, a distance of at least 1,500 miles.
Hiking with a dog is popular and fun, but carries with it a bit of a risk. Dogs are seen as prey by cougars, and might attract one to your hike. That doesn’t necessarily present a danger to the hiker but the loss of a beloved dog in the blink of eye will certainly ruin the pleasure of the hike. A Google search will reveal that cougar attacks on humans are numerous, and often deadly. California, where hunting them is banned, is especially dangerous. There may be a connection.
Even if you hike for years in cougar country without ever seeing one, as the author above says about his daily walks near his home in Colorado, it is a near certainty that you have been seen by cougars many times. You have probably been very close to one and never known it. With the increase in the deer population just about everywhere, cougars are everywhere also. The author makes a point that this may be a good thing because more people, especially motorcyclists, are killed or injured in deer collisions on the highway than in cougar attacks.
About to be engulfed in a gigantic dust cloud is a peaceful little ranch in Boise City, Oklahoma where the topsoil is being dried and blown away during the years of the Dust Bowl. Severe drought, poor farming techniques and devastating storms rendered millions of acres of farmland useless. This photo was taken on April 15, 1935. More photos of the world before WW II here.
The poll consisted of a random sample of Adults. That means his approval number is even lower among Likely Voters.
Gallup is quick to point out that:
Obama’s 40% overall approval rating nearly matches the recent 41% approval Americans gave him for handling the debt ceiling negotiations. Though Americans rate Obama poorly for his handling of the situation, they are less approving of how House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are handling it.
No surprise there, it’s an American tradition to give Congress even lower approval numbers than the President, same thing happened during the Bush years, but the drive-by state-run media just didn’t report it much. They went into a frenzy of joy when Bush’s approval approached 30%, a rating they worked hard to bring about, but seldom mentioned that Congress’ approval was around 9% at the same time.
At least they included Harry Reid along with John Boehner in their comparison this time.
Obama’s low approval is due to his weird accusations against the Republicans for not compromising when he has not even offered a plan of his own (unless demanding tax increases constitutes a plan) so is essentially demanding Republicans compromise with themselves. Looks like Americans get it that he’s not acting in good faith. His absurd claim that Republicans are trying to steal Christmas if they don’t sign on to the Bankruptcy of America is probably not helping his poll numbers either, not be mention his crybaby hissie fits over Republicans’ refusal to go along with tax hikes. If anyone is stealing Christmas it’s the one that wasted all the money on frivolous junk.
On new taxes, Republicans have said they would go along with broadening the tax base and lowering the rates. That would create jobs and increase revenue. [More people working, more people paying taxes — lower rates more business investment creating more jobs] Obama’s not interested, revealing his true intent is not solving the debt problem.
Boehner has reworked his plan to include a requirement that Congress send a balanced budget amendment to the States. It includes $900 Billion of borrowing authorization and $917 of
imaginary spending cuts. Formerly reluctant conservatives are now getting on board. Harry Reid says he working on his own plan. Yeah, it’ll be a beaut, you can count on it.
If the Senate immediately kills the Boehner plan, what should House Republicans do? My answer is simple: The should do Nothing, except go to every microphone they can find and tell the American people they have done their part and Harry Reid and Barack Obama now own this debt crisis.
I passed the Colorado Bar Exam in 1976 on the first try. Not too gutsy, but good. So then in 2007 at age 62 I took and passed the Wyoming Bar Exam on the first try. A bit more gutsy that one. Especially since I couldn’t keep my mouth shut about it and was facing major embarrassment among friends if I flunked. After blabbing that I was taking it, I set myself to have to disclose the results later.
But that was no comparison to this:
It’ll be a couple of months before she finds out if she passed. The Bar Exam, that is.
Armed citizens should think clearly about encounters with law enforcement when they are legally armed. It’s been a bad experience for some, but a positive one for others. The former is pointedly illustrated by the recent contact made by Officer Daniel Harless of the Canton, Ohio police with citizen William Bartlett. A sickening 17-minute video of that incident can be seen here. Internet rumor is that Officer Harless may lose his badge over this. He deserves to have that happen because as you will see if you watch the video, he is not fit to be a sworn police officer.
A more professional approach was taken by Oceanside, CA police officer Matthew Lyons when he contacted a citizen openly carrying an unloaded firearm. California allows open carry so long as the gun is unloaded (so why carry it?). The citizen would only identify himself as “Jeremy,” refusing to give his last name. He made a video of the encounter that he posted on Youtube, but may best be watched here where an excellent accompanying story is included. Refusing to show identification or at least giving a police officer your full and correct name would itself be a criminal act everywhere I have ever lived, but apparently that is not required in California, at least for now. Even if not legally required refusing such minimal cooperation with police is simply asshole behavior, in my view.
“Jeremy” said the video was to “make a statement.” Officer Lyons was not offended, in fact hammed it up for the camera. There’s irony here; the video makes officer Lyons look good, and “Jeremy” looks like a bit of a jerk.
Officer Lyons remained calm and cool throughout the encounter and is to be commended for his professionalism. In fact, I was so impressed I went to Amazon and bought Officer’s Lyon’s book that he wrote about the Oceanside police department. It’s not that I’m particularly interested in the Oceanside police department. It just made me feel good to offer some small support for a cop doing a dangerous job and keeping his humanity about him. Unless one is an automaton, emotional survival in law enforcement is a constant challenge.
Advice to lawfully armed citizens upon contact with police: Keep hands in view, don’t touch the gun, tell the officer where it is and where your ID is, and above all, be polite.
“Jeremy” the jerk probably doesn’t realize how lucky he was to have met Matthew J. Lyons and not Daniel Harless.
House Speaker John Boehner’s plan provides some spending cuts and raises the debt ceiling enough to allow things to go on for a while but not through the next election. Those italicized words are the most important part of Boehner’s plan. The plan has been criticized for not going far enough with spending cuts, especially by Erick Erickson at Redstate.
I think there is a larger picture to see here. It’s true that Boehner’s plan is no where near a long-term solution to the Nation’s debt crisis. But how could it be? Erickson is forgetting that Barack Obama is still president and no long-term solution is remotely possible so long as he remains in office. As Mitch McConnell has said, “After years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this president is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable.”
This chart prepared by the Heritage Foundation shows just how irresponsibly radical the Democrats have been since taking control of Congress in 2006, and how Obama has doubled down with out-of-control spending since he took the oval office in 2008:
That record, taken together with the proposed budget Obama submitted to Congress a few weeks ago with sky-high deficits for another decade, and which was rejected in the Senate with 97 Senators voting against it, should be enough to convince anyone that Obama simply is never going to agree to any meaningful cuts in Federal spending.
The end game now is to keep the country solvent for a while longer and to keep the debt issue alive through the next election. Obama says he won’t accept any short-term solution. That is solely because he desperately wants to have this off the table during the 2012 election. It is the Republicans’ responsibility to not cave on that, to make sure this issue remains in the public mind during the 2012 election. That’s not merely playing politics. To the contrary, it’s the serious business of trying to save the country. This country simply can not afford another four years of the fiscal nightmare a continued Obama presidency would bring. If it’s bad now, think would it will be like in 2016 if Obama is not stopped.
To paraphrase a line from a Ronald Reagan speech in 1980: “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job; a depression is when you lose your job; and recovery is when Barack Obama loses his.”
The Boehner plan holds things together for now and prevents Obama from pulling the wool over the eyes of the voters in the 2012 election. That’s it’s main recommendation.
“Laws that forbid the carrying of arms . . . disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes . . . Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants; they serve rather to encourage than to prevent homicides, for an unarmed man may be attacked with greater confidence than an armed man.”
— Thomas Jefferson, from his “Commonplace Book,” a scrapbook of ideas and expressions. Jefferson’s quote is a paraphrase from the English translation of an Italian book written in 1764. The original quote from a 1767 English translation is as follows:
The laws of this nature are those which forbid to wear arms, disarming those only who are not disposed to commit the crime which the laws mean to prevent. Can it be supposed, that those who have the courage to violate the most sacred laws of humanity, and the most important of the code, will respect the less considerable and arbitrary injunctions, the violation of which is so easy, and of so little comparative importance? Does not the execution of this law deprive the subject of that personal liberty, so dear to mankind and to the wise legislator? And does it not subject the innocent to all the disagreeable circumstances that should only fall on the guilty? It certainly makes the situation of the assaulted worse and of the assailants better, and rather encourages than prevents murder, as it requires less courage to attack unarmed than armed persons.
The latter quote appears today in Norway and Gun Controlby Charlie Cooke. Cooke’s article was inspired by the mass shooting on Utøya Island in Norway where Anders Breivik was able to shoot people at will for an hour and a half before police arrived to stop him. If Norway did not have such strict gun laws there might have been others on the island who were armed and could have denied Breivik his monopoly on violence. Notwithstanding this commonplace knowledge, rattlebrains like Dennis Hennigan, president of Handgun Control, Inc. [euphemistically renamed “the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence”], are reflexively calling for more gun control laws. Cooke compares Hennigan’s senseless notion that gun control laws might deter murderers to the likelihood of a truck bomber obeying parking control laws
Moody’s has called for a repeal of the debt-ceiling law. Their reasoning is that it leads to the sorts of political chicken games now being played in Washington that throw world financial markets into turmoil.
Thomas Sowell also calls for its repeal. He says anyone who disagrees should be prepared to show the benefits of the debt-ceiling law. So what are they? Does it make the Washington elite more fiscally responsible? Does the debt-ceiling law put the brakes on rising national debt? The answer to all those questions is a resounding no. It may be a glorious idea but Sowell judges it by what it does rather than what it is supposed to do. It does nothing but allow the big spenders to blame others for the consequences of their own actions. That’s what is going on now as Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are able to lay blame on Republicans for not “compromising” with Obama who has hissie fits over each Republican plan without ever offering a plan of his own, unless one thinks Obama’s idea of paying off the national debt by taxing corporate jets is a plan.
All Obama’s big spending was sanctioned and set in place during his first two years when Republicans were out of power and had no say in anything Democrats wanted to do. Obama had carte blanche and he used it to run up the biggest one-year deficits since WW II. Republicans were not allowed to participate in any of it and now Obama wants to blame them for its failures. Take away the debt-ceiling law and its harder for Obama to distract voters from his failures.
Reactions to Obama’s speech:
John Hinderaker: This was, I think, the key moment in Obama’s speech:
The only reason this balanced approach isn’t on its way to becoming law right now is because a significant number of Republicans in Congress are insisting on a cuts-only approach….
What he apparently didn’t realize is that most of his listeners were saying, Yes! Let’s have a cuts-only approach! We don’t need more taxes, we need the federal government to start living within its means!
William Kristol: Baby Talk! It would be nice to have a president who spoke candidly to his fellow citizens as adults.
Tony Katz: After watching the most recent speech from President Obama on the debt and deficit, I can honestly say that there is no depth to which he won’t sink. It is stunning to see the president talk about compromise, when the Administration has yet to put forth its own plan. Stunning when you realize that the Senate, under Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) would not allow Cut, Cap and Balance to have an up or down vote. Stunning when he calls on Americans to call the Senate and House members to demand compromise, but walks out on those same negotiations.
Troy Senik: The president’s just-concluded East Room remarks were notable only for their superfluousness. There was not a single new concept here — not even a clever new way of framing the case he’s already been making. Instead, we got Obama’s greatest hits — an opening shot at the Bush Administration, endless complaints that the rich aren’t paying enough in taxes, and an insistence that he seems to be the only man in Washington capable of rising above the partisan fray.
Boehner is the clear winner here.
Andrew Stiles: In terms of blatant, cynical, political demagoguery, the speech was par for the course.
Charles Krauthammer: “I thought I was cynical until I heard that speech. It was purely partisan. It was meant as a campaign speech. And I think it was a speech from yesterday.”
Speaker John Boehner: I Know the President Is Worried About His Next Election, but isn’t it time to be worried about the country?
If Texas Governor Rick Perry enters the Republican Presidential primary race (announcement within 3 weeks he says) Obama might look back on these salad days when John Boehner was his chief nemesis.
Arthur Brooks is the President of the American Enterprise Institute. He writes in the Wall Street Journal today:
Republicans are nervous…
But before they succumb to too much caution, budget reformers need to remember three things. First, this is not a political fight between Republicans and Democrats; it is a fight against 50-year trends toward statism. Second, it is a moral fight, not an economic one. Third, this is not a fight that anyone can win in the 15 months from now to the presidential election. It will take hard work for at least a decade.
Mr. Brooks notes that an argument based on economics is insufficient, people must understand that this is a moral struggle. Margaret Thatcher’s success in Britain was largely due to her ability to persuade the British people that running the government for the benefit of the Miner’s Union was not merely an economic problem for the country, it was immoral as well.
Mr. Brooks drives the moral point along…
History shows that big moral struggles can be won, but only when they are seen as decade-long fights and not just as a way to prevail in the next election.
No one deserves our political support today unless he or she is willing to work for as long as it takes to win the moral fight to steer our nation back toward enterprise and self-governance. This fight will not be easy or politically safe. But it will be a happy one: to share the values that make us proud to be Americans.
Read the whole thing: The Debt Ceiling and The Pursuit of Happiness
Several thousand young hopefuls will be starting law school in about three weeks. If they’re lucky they are now filled with excitement, rolling over in hope and pride and confidence in their futures. That’s how I felt back in 1974 when I was about to enter the first year of law school. Life was a joy then and the remembrance of it is a joy now.
My law school had sent me a legal case to read before reporting on the first day. It was an old English case about poaching. The legal doctrine to be learned is known by the Latin Ferae Naturae. The issue was whether the animal that had been taken was really an animal ferae naturae or whether is was an animal domitae. If the former it was an animal free in nature that could be reduced to ownership by the one who captured it. If the latter it was already the property of someone, and taking it would be poaching, and trespass as well if taking it was done by entering upon the land of the owner.
Although they now seem archaic to most, I thought the issues were fascinating. Life was going to be soooo gooood! And so interesting! I couldn’t wait to get there.
After that initial exposure the doctrines that apply to wild animals never played much of role either in law school or later in law practice. That is, until my practice came to be focused on the law of oil and gas exploration. There the old doctrine of ferae naturae became relevant once again, only now called the Rule of Capture.
My hope for all the youngsters, as they would seem to me now, is that their hearts are filled with the same sort of joy, hope and pride as mine was back then. I hope current conditions, with recent law graduates facing mountains of debt and meager job prospects, does not stymie them. After all, those conditions existed in the 1970’s when I went to law school, and I never let it hold me back. I believed better times would come. And I was right. In 1980 Ronald Reagan, Renaldus Magnus would be the latin term, was elected president.
Hope and change, 1980 style.
Recommended reading for new law students: How To Read a Legal Opinion: A Guide For New Law Students
If Jane uses credit card B to pay off the balance on credit card A, then charges more on card A because Jane is still spending more than her income every month, we know that Jane will soon max out both credit cards, she will be broke and headed for Bankruptcy court.
“Jane” is the Federal government. For decades it has been borrowing new money to service old debt, plus borrowing a little more because it consistently spends more than it takes in. Back in May the government maxed out its credit cards, i.e., it hit the debt ceiling. Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are now demanding that their credit limit be increased so they can continue this march of folly. The credit card company, Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans, are saying no to a permanent increase in the debt ceiling and will only grant a temporary increase if current spending is brought under control. The Democrats howl and cry fowl. The want to not only keep spending to their heart’s delight, they want a pay raise from taxpayers and they want to keep borrowing — so they can spend even more. The spending binge is just too much fun to let it ever stop. Even if Republicans are right that this can’t go on forever, Democrats are determined to keep it going until forever comes.
Slate has prepared two simple graphs to show what has happened.
The mainstream media, or old media, will deny that it’s biased to the left until the last journalist in hanged. Most of us know that’s rubbish. CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, WaPo, NYT, AP, Reuters, et al. act as if they are the public information arm of the Democrat party. Many times the questioning of a Republican will start with the words, “How can you say…”. Democrats, on the other hand, are seldom if ever questioned in a confrontational manner. They should be because while many if not most politicians demagogue and lie, only Democrats can get away with it. Thus, they have taken those vices to stratospheric levels. If a politician knows that journalists are friendly and will not bust him for his deception and exaggeration, all manner of machinations and subterfuge will go forth as fact, to become the zeitgeist. That’s why “conventional wisdom” is so often wrong.
Rush speaks of the “drive-by media.” The term fits — they operate much as drive-by shooters, showing up to a news story, doing their best to murder the facts, and moving on to the next story. Lately he refers to the major networks, old print media, and cable news outlets as the “state-run” media, since they behave exactly the same as if they were a division of the government, at least when the government is controlled by Democrats. Rush has never done so, but some people jokingly refer to the New York Times as Pravda and the Washington Post as Izvestia.
In the current climate, unlike the past, those who recognize sycophant journalism for what it is aren’t alone. The American people seem to have caught on to the game that is being played. From The Hill,
Likely voters hold a dismal view of the news media, generally regarding reporters as biased, unethical and too close to the politicians they purport to cover, according to a new poll for The Hill.
A full 68 percent of voters consider the news media biased, the poll found. Most, 46 percent, believe the media generally favor Democrats, while 22 percent said they believe Republicans are favored, with 28 percent saying the media is reasonably balanced.
Who is that 28% that believes the media is reasonably balanced? Well, they can believe that only because the bias is in their direction, and they lack self reflection or what shrinks call an “observing ego.”
UPDATE: William Katz at Urgent Agenda has an answer: “That 28 percent can be found in Chicago cemeteries, though they’re let out to vote on election day.”
Journalism in America believes the customer is always wrong. No other business could survive with so little regard for the consumers of its product. Journalism neglects the duties of a free press while its practitioners brazenly and with unabashed arrogance wallow in professional malpractice. They have no sense of their duty to be a true “fourth estate,” serving as a check on the three branches of government. Instead, they are content as servile flatterers to a particular political party and its agenda.
Sending Their Children To Private Schools Makes Rahm Emanuel a Hypocrite and Chris Christie A Champion
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel both got testy when questioned about their respective decisions to send their children to private schools. Emanuel is fair game for such criticism, but Governor Christie isn’t.
Christie is supportive of legislation that will make it possible for all children to receive a good education whether in public or private schools. Emanuel, on the other hand, is a lackey of the Teachers’ Union and opposes a voucher program that will permit poor children stuck in failing public schools to afford better schools so they can get the same education as his children get.
Christie wants everyone to have the chance his children have, while Emanuel is a typical special interest Democrat who couldn’t care less whether other people’s children get a good education. In fact, as a Democrat politician he would prefer they don’t get a good education, lest they grow up to question the wisdom of voting Democrat.
Democrat policies most hurt the very people they sanctimoniously claim to care about.