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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Michigan imposes state driving laws on our "learners"

Is the new Michigan teenager driver curfew an example of the State doing the parents' job or is it sound public policy regarding what are largely public roads and state highways (never mind the Interstate).

Starting tomorrow
thousands of teenagers statewide who have a Level 2 intermediate license face new driving restrictions.

They won't be able to have more than one teenage friend as a car passenger unless they are going to or from a school event, and they can't drive past 10 p.m., unless accompanied by a guardian or driving to or from work. Currently, they can drive until midnight.
I understand that this is presumably on the good faith good will public interest basis of public safety.
Sen. Rick Jones, a Grand Ledge Republican, said he supported the bill last year as a state representative because he saw too many fatal accidents involving teenagers while serving as Eaton County sheriff.

"We think this is reasonable," Jones said. "When a young person is driving alone or driving with siblings, they are responsible, but then they get a car full of teens, there are way too many distractions."
I presume also that insurance companies and their lobbyists are proponents of increased restrictions on young drivers because of an increase in premiums, pay-outs, accidents.

On the other hand I can envision a standard party of four in one vehicle suddenly needing two vehicles with teenage drivers to get someplace. I also envision idiot kids driving at unsafe speeds at 9:55 PM desperately to get in under the 10 PM government curfew.

This is another example of the state creating laws treating symptoms of societal problems when the core problem is going unresolved, and probably worsening over time. Our kids are actually getting less mature in comparison to juveniles of the same age two or three generations ago. There are people that say that teenagers' brains are biologically less capable of reason, logic, or judgment and that the laws should anticipate that. I am unconvinced that we should lower our expectations to accommodate that shortcoming.

Monday, March 28, 2011

battle of the Wisconsin Recall Efforts

Everyone is out to make an example of the so-called "other guy".
Fourteen Wisconsin state senators, all Democrats, flee the state for three weeks, bringing government to a halt in an effort to stop Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill. After three weeks, the fugitive Democrats return in failure. And then, when a rich and highly organized effort to punish lawmakers is launched, it's directed not at the Democrats who ran away but at the Republicans who stayed home and did their job.
That is precisely what is now happening in Wisconsin. Local and national labor organizations, enraged by the successful Republican effort to limit the collective bargaining powers of public employees unions, are pouring money and manpower into petitions to recall GOP state senators. At the same time, Republican drives to recall runaway Democrats, while rich in volunteer spirit, are working with far less money and organized support.
On the Democratic side are the AFL-CIO, the big public worker unions, party organizations and activist groups like MoveOn.org, which have already raised millions of dollars online. On the Republican side are a few Tea Party groups, taxpayer organizations and not a lot more.
"They're off to a quicker start," Wisconsin Republican Party executive director Mark Jefferson says. "We have some structural disadvantages because taxpayer groups and volunteer organizations are more loosely put together than a union syndicate."
Officially, there are eight Republicans and eight Democrats facing recall petitions. But it appears the most serious challenges involve three on each side. Democrats are working hard to knock off Republican senators Dan Kapanke, Alberta Darling and Randy Hopper. Republicans are targeting Democratic senators Robert Wirch, Jim Holperin and Dave Hansen.
Wisconsin law requires recall petitioners to gather thousands of signatures before an actual election is held. The specific number, based on voting in the most recent elections, is different for each district but ranges from about 15,000 to 22,000.
That's where the organizing strength of the AFL-CIO and its unions come in. Labor and its Democratic allies realize that Wisconsin is a critical battle and are desperate to make sure other states do not follow Wisconsin's lead. Republicans, meanwhile, seem less aware of the stakes.
"If Republicans do not take this very seriously, they could be in trouble here," says Steve Baas of the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, which supports Walker's budget reforms... Beyond organization, there is a difference in the two recall efforts. The conservative drive to recall Democratic senators began in outrage over the Democrats' flight from the state. How could lawmakers who took an oath of office do that? The liberal drive to recall Republicans began as an effort to pressure those senators to vote against Walker's budget bill. Now that the bill has passed, it's an effort to make examples of the senators who supported it.
For Hunt, it's about principle.
"I'm doing it because my senator didn't represent me in Madison," Hunt says. "He left, and I think that is the worst thing that can happen in a legislative democracy. People who choose to leave their post on purpose, just to avoid a vote on a bill -- that's an egregious act that requires citizen reaction."


What should be about some sort of legality and obligation now simply breaks down to base partisanship.

What Education Week says on the matter of recalls:
Looming on the horizon are attempts to recall state senators through special elections, something both conservative and liberal forces are organizing.
Campaign-finance laws prevent WEAC or its parent union, the NEA, from contributing to, or organizing volunteers for, an effort to recall eight Republican senators until the elections are actually scheduled. But the unions likely will make use of their political action committees—separate funds to which members voluntarily contribute—if and when such elections come to pass, Mr. Carlson said.
Of the eight GOP senators, three won their 2008 races with less than 52 percent of the vote, and could potentially be in danger in a recall election, according to Mr. Franklin of the University of Wisconsin. Any successes, he said, might be more symbolic than practical, given that the legislation has been approved.
It has essentially broken down along party lines and no one should be surprised at that.

It should also come as no surprise that Byron York's Examiner treats the unions as the bad guys and that Education Week treats Conservatives as.... well, horrible people ("Besieged by state proposals to eviscerate collective bargaining, eliminate teacher tenure, and make it harder to collect dues, teachers’ unions are fighting back").

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Republican Party was founded in Jackson and the RNC can sit on a pin

I may have trouble associating myself with the contemporary Republican Party in Michigan, have my conflicts with the formal group, the Executive Committee of the Eaton County Republican Party, and never really thought of the Republican National Committee as necessary but I have always been proud that the Party of Lincoln was formally and officially founded in my state.

Which is to say, whatever justifiably bad things I have to say about "the Republicans", in the broad spectrum what the group purports to stand for is worth praise. The Party, nationally and relevantly, was founded in Jackson, Michigan. Later a candidate for President was nominated.

The Republican National Committee and its Wisconsinite chieftain has ignored and erased genuine history from its website and has turned to Fremont as the bullet point of history. They rewrote history, as should be expected by faux Conservatives.
Jackson is the birthplace of the Republican Party, but you wouldn’t know that if it were up to the Republican National Committee.
While for decades, there has been a dispute between Jackson and the town of Ripon, Wisc., over where the party was formed, the RNC’s website had always previously mentioned that both cities had a part in the formation of the party.
The site used to state that, “The first informal meeting of the party took place in Ripon, Wisconsin, a small town northwest of Milwaukee. The first official Republican meeting took place on July 6th, 1854 in Jackson, Michigan.”
Now that history has been wiped from the site.
It skips over both meetings and says the Republicans became a national party in 1856 by nominating John C. Fremont for president.
Now Jerry Roe speaks the truth.

Jerry Roe, a former executive director of the Michigan Republican Party, who once owned the property in Jackson where that first meeting took place, said the RNC can’t just erase that piece of history.
“Do they have some blessed authority that lets them do that? The birth of the party is the birth of the party,” said Roe who has promoted Jackson’s claim on a national level for much of his life. “We started our history on July 6, 1854. You can’t start in 1856.”
A spokeswoman for the RNC stated the history page on the party’s website has not been altered since Reince Priebus, who is from Wisconsin, became party chairman...
That first official meeting of the GOP in Jackson took place “under the oaks,” as more than 1,000 people met to denounce slavery after being outraged over the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which had opened new territories to slavery.
The Under the Oaks park is located at what is now Second and Franklin streets in Jackson and is a park recognized by the Michigan Historical Center, where an historical marker was erected in 1972....
Roe said there has always been a dispute between Jackson and Ripon, but said Jackson had the first meeting that culminated in the nominations of candidates for office.
He said the removal of the history from the party’s site could lead to further discussion about the true birthplace and settle it once and for all.
“Maybe it’s time to have the great debate,” Roe said.
Jerry Roe knows the real truth. 

The Wisconsites are really quick to assert their pathetic claim, especially with the Ripon Society and Rince Priebus.   I suppose that is fitting.
On Thursday, Priebus was the keynote speaker at the Ripon Society in D.C. The public policy organization takes “its name from Ripon, Wisconsin, the birthplace of the Republican Party,” according to its website.
After his speech, Priebus was presented with a framed map of the town of Ripon, from Ripon Society President Jim Conzelman.
Inscribed on a metal plate below the map are the words;
"Birthplace of the GOP
Presented to Reince Priebus
Chairman of the Republican National Committee
In appreciation of his speech to The Ripon Society
March 24, 2011"
Former Michigan Republican Party chairman Saul Anuzis, who campaigned against Priebus to become chairman of the RNC tweeted his reaction to the story this morning; "Really?!? Republican National Committee no longer lists Jackson as birthplace of Republican Party."
The Ripon Society is another one of those Republican groups which does not work for a big tent including Moderates, which a Reaganite would fight for, but actually belittles Conservatives and Conservatism as a backbone of the Party and demands Moderate leadership (which has served us real well from January 2001 to present day).  Naturally if the community of Ripon lost its significance in reputation then the group would need to change its name to "We Don't Like Conservatives Much" or something else less memorable.  Let's look to DC-based individuals and organizations for the truth, I guess.

The Politico tried to weigh in but made it clear that Karin Tanabe doesn't know much about either Michigan or Wisconsin.

In the meantime I question what good comes from Wisconsin.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Sheen's Korner Episode 1

Nobody should watch this. It is profane, obtuse, pointless, NOT SAFE FOR WORK, inappropriate for children, and despite that Charlie Sheen's contemporary antics can be very entertaining and commercial genius I say this: this is not commercial genius and he draws it out too long.

Of course I know this because I was warned. I don't recall ever watching this nor will I admit to doing so.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

American Foreign Policy and Domestic Consequences (Birthright citizenship. remaking the Red Dawn remake and the mixed-up "Obama Doctrine")

Actually "American Foreign Policy and Domestic Consequences" would be a good title for an essay or a magazine article and my most fervent wish is that someone would pay me to research and write about it.

Really this is just a link dump to some posts on National Review Online's The Corner.

Friday, March 18, 2011

what is a "work stoppage"?


Illegal Teacher Strike Rumored After Union’s ‘Job Action’ Letter

The president of the Michigan Education Association, Iris Salters, said Thursday that a letter she sent out asking members to give the MEA the authority to initiate a “job action” was not calling for a strike. The letter states that on March 11, the MEA board of directors voted unanimously in favor of several actions the MEA would be taking to “ratchet up our efforts” around the “ongoing legislative crisis.”
The letter from Salters goes on to state: “Let me be clear on what this vote means. It authorizes MEA to engage in significant activities — up to and including a work stoppage — that will increase the pressure on our legislators.”
“The most pressing of these is the following vote that needs to be taken by each of your locals,” the letter read.
The letter stated that the ballot language for this vote would read as follows: “Do you give MEA the authority to initiate crisis activities up to and including job action?”
Salters said the letter was not a call for a strike but “an authorization of activities.”
When asked what activities, Salters said, “That is for the board and my members to decide.”
Would it include a strike?
“I have no idea,” Salters said. “That’s all I am going to say on it.”
“It sounds to me like they might be prepping for an illegal strike,” said Patrick Wright, senior legal analyst at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “To the extent ‘job action’ is a euphemism for strikes, strikes and ‘sick-outs’ are illegal under Michigan law.”
“‘Up to and including a work stoppage’? That sounds like they are considering a strike to me,” said Paul Kersey, labor policy director at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. “It's hard to imagine what else they could be referring to.”
The Michigan Employment Relations Commission is responsible for determining if a strike takes place. If teachers are found to have participated in an illegal strike, state law states they would lose pay for the day and the local union would be fined $5,000.

~~~~~
See also:
Teacher Union Employee Exagerrates Snyder Budget Cuts and More in Email to Rally Members
MEA Executive Salaries 'Not Based on Merit'
MEA Concedes Large Percentage of 'Conservative' Teachers, Endorses 97% Democrats

Copyright © 2011 Mackinac Center for Public Policy
www.mackinac.org

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

rhetorical partisan divide

There are many protests near the capitol building lately from a variety of folks.  These are not my words, but they sound nice.
To everyone who is saying "this is what democracy looks like" because you are out protesting at the Capitol in Lansing, I ask you one question: why is it democracy when you do it, but racism when the tea party does it?
I love free speech, especially political speech, although using it necessarily is not literally democracy, and of course the tea party folk were not wholly racist. Of course in this instance the "you" refers to unions or leftists and either way I enthusiastically defend their right to do it.
I think its great they are out there today. I just wish they'd have the same respect for people who disagree with them.
That disagreement, unfortunately, is a manifestation of partisanship.  Oddly enough that disagreement allows people to notice true behavior differences.
Ask the people of WI what their beautiful Capital building looked like after the protesters left! They left garbage urine fecal matter and whatever else disgusting pops in your mind, but when the tea party protests they do it in a dignified matter, or as dignified as protesting can be! THEY CLEAN UP AFTER THEMSELVES and KNOW HOW TO ACT RIGHT!;)
There can also be a partisan divide regarding terminology.
Union busting is an interesting term. I prefer "taking away the collective bargaining privileges of public workers because we, as taxpayers, can no longer afford them." (You'll notice I said nothing about your private union)... Except pro-union is, generally speaking, espousing big government and more intrusion into private life while the Tea Party, generally speaking, is doing the opposite.
Partisanship goes part and parcel with coalitions.  That is an actual discussion for April.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Michael Moore versus Michigan

I cannot say that I have ever been a fan of Michigan Governor Rick Snyder nor will I ever enthusiastically defend the man (unless I am paid) but if the "0% decent" Michael Moore is writing against him he is probably doing something correct.

Letter to My Fellow Michiganders

By Michael Moore, Reader Supported News
14 March 11

RSN Special Coverage: GOP's War on American Labor
riends and neighbors,
The call has gone out and I'm asking everyone who can to take Wednesday off and head to the State Capitol in Lansing to protest the cruel and downright frightening legislation currently being jammed down our throats.
What is most shocking to many is that the new governor, who ran against the Tea Party and defeated the right wing of his party in the primaries - and then ran in the general election as "just a nerd from Ann Arbor" who was a moderate, not an ideologue - has pulled off one of the biggest Jekyll and Hyde ruses I've ever seen in electoral politics.
Governor Snyder, once elected, yanked off his nice-guy mask to reveal that he is in fact a multi-millionaire hell-bent on destroying our state and turning it over to his buddies from Wall Street.
In just 8 short weeks he has:
  • Gotten the House and Senate to pass bills giving him "Emergency Management" powers such as the ability to appoint a corporation or a CEO who could literally dissolve town governments or school boards, fire the elected officials, nullify any local law and run your local governmental entity. That company then would have the power to immediately declare all collective bargaining contracts null and void.
  • Proposed giving business a whopping 86% tax cut while raising everyone's personal taxes by 31%! And much of that tax hike he believes should be shouldered by - I kid you not - senior citizens and the poor! He says these two groups have not been "sharing the sacrifice" the rest of us have been burdened with. So his budget proposes a $1.8 billion tax CUT for business and a $1.75 billion tax INCREASE for the rest of us, much of it from the poor, seniors and working people - even though the top 1% in Michigan ALREADY pay a lower state tax rate than everyone else does!
  • Together with the legislature, introduced over 40 anti-labor bills in just the first two months of this session! They have wasted no time and have caught most people off guard. Much of this is being rushed through right now before you have a chance to raise your voice in objection.
These actions are breathtaking when you realize they will drive our already battered state straight into the ground. What we needed right now was an inspiring leader to help us reinvent Michigan and to find creative ways to create new jobs and lift us out of our economic depression. The rest of the country may call what they're experiencing the "Great Recession," but few argue that Michigan is suffering a "one-state Depression."
I know many of you are filled with a great sense of despair and a justifiable loss of hope these days in Michigan. But you must not let things get even worse. You must stand up against these Draconian measures and this outrageous attempt to rip our democratic rights from us by turning our state over to well-paid hacks from Wall Street and corporate America. They see our state as one big fire sale - and they are licking their chops to get their hands on what is still a state rich in natural resources and industrial infrastructure.
Please show up at noon on Wednesday for our first mega-rally against this insanity. Hundreds of groups are already organizing car pools and buses. You can right now just declare yourself an organizer and get your friends and neighbors committed to being in Lansing. If ever there were a day to call in sick, Wednesday is it (because this IS sick). Students, if ever there were a day to cut class and become a participant in your democracy, Wednesday is it. This event needs to be HUGE - and I believe it will be if you will simply be there and take a stand.
Much attention has been paid to Wisconsin in recent weeks. Well, they got nothing on what's going on here in Michigan. Rick Snyder is Scott Walker on steroids. There's never been what even the AARP calls "an all-out attack" like this on us. Trust me, you will rue the day you sat home and did nothing while thieves posing as politicians stole your Great Lakes State from you.
Don't let it happen. Be at the capitol by noon on Wednesday for the largest demonstration the state has ever seen.
Go Spartans! Go Wolverines! Go Everyone Else In Between!

DO SOMETHING:
AFL-CIO Protest Page
Working Families Facebook Event Page
MoveOn Protest Page
Bus Times & Locations
What that correct something is I am loathe to research.

I also take offense at the idea that the New York based Mockumentarian is a Michigander.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Detroit News lays out how Rick Snyder can fail

If Governor Snyder's budget/plan does not attract new jobs to Michigan (as opposed to merely creating jobs out of whole cloth, which the IRS can do without a problem), it fails entirely.

Adding jobs to reduce Michigan's 10.1 percent unemployment rate — that's the official rate; the real number is likely much higher — is as crucial a priority as providing a quality education, maintaining roads, manning prisons or any other function of state government... fixing Michigan's anti-business tax structure is the only way to create jobs. Jobs are the only hope Michigan has of growing itself out of this hole. Every job created means more tax revenue to sustain all those other programs. It's that simple.
Right now, Michigan is creating too few jobs. A major reason is that the business tax burden is too high, and the Michigan Business Tax is too complex.
Michigan ranks 48th in the complexity of its business tax code, and 38th in overall business tax burden, according to the Tax Foundation. None of the state's assets will offset such an unfavorable tax climate.
Snyder's plan would move Michigan to 16th on the list of states with the lowest business taxes.
The current code is particularly harsh on small businesses, which ended up being double taxed because they pay both the MBT and the personal income tax.
The Small Business Association of Michigan ran Snyder's proposal to tax corporations at a rate of 6 percent of income and small business at the individual income tax rate past its members and received an enthusiastic response. Forty-eight percent said they would add more jobs if the plan passes; 52 percent said they would expand their business; and 51 percent said they would buy new equipment.
Half said they would raise the wages and benefits of employees.
Larger companies also believe the new tax rate would stir growth. Business Leaders of Michigan polled its members and one-third say it would encourage more hiring.
What that means is that the plan shouldn't be viewed as a tax break for business as much as a bailout for Michigan's beleaguered workers in the form of more jobs and better pay.
Compliance costs also drop markedly under the simplified tax code, since more than 95,000 businesses will no longer have to file a business tax return. That will free even more money to grow businesses.
Michigan has very little going for it when seeking new jobs and investment, which is why it has had to rely so heavily on tax credits and incentives to lure businesses.

Mind you, the state government's mandate to reduce unemployment is merely an effect of any government's true mandate: to guard and protect the conditions necessary for citizens to create prosperity.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Is Google an evil left collaborator?

Carlos Faught:
the CEO of google is a close supporter and adviser to Obama and his Admin. As a matter of statistical record Google and it's employees contribute by 95% to liberal candidacies and causes.
Manipulating search results for advertising c...lients is one thing but to only allow advertising for those of your own political ideology and manipulate all search result geared toward that ideological base are another.
I am a web developer and understand SEO and SE rankings completely.
Having said this the problems with Google cannot be simply equated to corporate self interests when it is not related to their practices.
Also, your understanding of "manipulating" or "fixing" search returns is extremely poor. To buy up domains does not affect rankings at all no matter how many you have pointed to a site. And duplicate content is not allowed in the google index and they frown on it big time. That is outside the political realm of course as they repeat many left wing articles violating their own duplicate content rules.
Putting up duplicate content will NOT help your rankings at all as the bots will not index the content if they see it as duplicate.
Despite my company selling webdesign, web media and search engine optimization I cannot tell if the new Google search algorithms have a censorious political component.

UPDATE:
Someone challenged Mr. Faught's assertions.  He responds:
while it is true the more "quality" sites that reference and link to another site and/or it's content it "can" give it a higher ranking. This would depend on the ranking and quality of the sites liking it as well. Simply buying up domains and putting up a splash page to link to your main site is a useless endeavor and does nothing for rankings.
I have done many gun related death searches in the past and I have not seen the returns favor conservative pro gun sites or articles at all.
I would hardly call this a pro gun slanted return:
http://www.google.com/search?hl&q=gun+related+deaths&sourceid=navclient-ff&rlz=1B3GGGL_enUS282US282&ie=UTF-8&aq=0&oq=gun+related+
The ads returned on the right were mostly not related at all except for 3 and 2 were not pro gun at all the other actually belongs to a friend of mine here but is most likely a regional return and yours will be different.
Most of the organic returns were against guns with only a few pro gun or neither pro or against.
I am not a big Beck watcher so this was not involving his google rant but separate and based on what i see personally and hear from others including read in articles.
Do some research on it and not on google as they have blocked most if not all of the articles dealing with their practices and any lawsuits or investigations.
Soon we will get a more prepared response from Mr. Faught.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Lew Rockwell and his "problem with American conservatism"

The problem with American conservatism is that it hates the left more than the state, loves the past more than liberty, feels a greater attachment to nationalism than to the idea of self-determination, believes brute force is the answer to all social problems, and thinks it is better to impose truth rather than risk losing one soul to heresy. It has never understood the idea of freedom as a self-ordering principle of society. It has never seen the state as the enemy of what conservatives purport to favor. It has always looked to presidential power as the saving grace of what is right and true about America.
                                 -- Lew Rockwell

Dude, Rockwell what is your problem man?

Lew Rockwell is a contemporary figure and I often see the name as a symbol of a caricature of a right-leaning individual with non-viable political beliefs and a foreign policy bordering on the naive.  LewRockwell.com also featured that poor crazed antiwar woman that bought the property adjoining President Bush's Crawford Ranch.

Lew Rockwell is also President of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and I love them.

That is not my point.

The biggest difference between Conservatism and Libertarianism is that I, as a Conservative believe deep down that liberty and freedom are necessary in large doses for the prosperity of individuals and therefore society.  I also believe that liberty is like a tool or even a necessary element and is certainly such that can be mis-used or abused for the benefit of one conscious, deliberate individual at the expense of one or many others.  It is not a "self-ordering principle of society" and principles themselves are not self-ordering anymore than any other idea or abstract concept.  Concepts cannot and do not order themselves.

I also do not see the point in holding antipathy towards "the state" given how the state is an inevitable counterpoint to human nature when religion or spiritual Christian ethos are not in play.  If you desire the cessation of theft of property you define property as a sacrosanct element in your society, as something respectively and formally beholden to a specific set individual and formally define the illicit removal of such as a bad thing in the eyes of the governing authority.  In order to have laws there must be an authority which has approved formal agency to enforce those laws.  As unfortunate as it is that the state  is necessitous in a world full of sinners we need laws and a government.  Determining the role of government and hating the government is counterproductive and counterintuitive.

Working to counter those that would misuse something that by its very nature collects and accrues power is a better use of time and energy than hating the subject of debate.

Mind you some of what Mr Rockwell stated above may simply be hyperbole and some might be out of context.  Much of it seems as a misrepresentation of Conservative philosophy if not mislabeled right-leaning activists although I quetion how much of the misrepresentation is knowing and what is incidental.

Mind you: as I consider myself a Conservative and I know many of my beliefs are libertarian I tend to project my own beliefs into the realm of what I consider "Conservative" ought to be.  What Lew Rockwell considers the state of Conservatism might be closer to reality and my view may be idealism; I doubt it though.  Certainly I doubt Conservatives see "presidential power" and "nationalism" in the same light as Lew Rockwell suggests.

Indeed I would think a reverence for the power of the office is antithetical to Conservatism.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

quotes on Socialism

"Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery."  --- Winston Churchill

"The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money." --- Margaret Thatcher

"Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state lives at the expense of everyone." ---  Frederic Bastiat

"Debt is slavery of the free." -- Publilius Syrus (Rome, 1st Century B. C.)

Russell Kirk - "The Conservative Movement Then And Now" (1980)

Content is always good and content I find, written by dead super-intelligent authorities that I am uncertain to find again is reprinted here under fair use.

If the author's estate and loved ones have a problem with that they can ask me nicely and I'll likely comply.

Russell Kirk is one of the founders of the modern Conservative movement and his works and writings helped motivate and clarify right-thinking political philosophy for the past fifty years. Some of his most prominent works involved the research and historical explanations, clarifications, of the philosophy and movement of the Conservative tradition as a philosophical genealogy.

His lecture, "The Conservative Movement: Then And Now" is below the so-called fold.


Monday, March 07, 2011

"Trickle down economics" challenge from a leftist

I reckon this constitutes some sort of copyright violation in someone's view but I claim fair use. I captured an exchange regarding wealth and political power because it demonstrates very succinctly the left-wing view regarding Reaganomics (aka "Trickle down economics") and a proper response from a Free Market Advocate.

My comments and annotations are throughout; what are in quotes are obviously what I did not write. The links are mine except where they are not.

For the record I do not think the leftists are stupid; they simply proceed with a certain sort of logic from an incorrect set of correct-sounding premises.

Tony Sachs claims
"Trickle-down economics" delivered exactly what it promised. Of the flood of wealth that has cascaded to a tiny sliver of the population over the last 30 years, a mere trickle of that has gone to the poor and middle class. Ronald Reagan broke the plumbing, and now demagogues like Scott Walker want to rip the fixtures out of the wall entirely.
When asked about reversing the situation he replied:
Having folks like Walker overreach is a good start, I think -- but then we need a decisive guy on the left who's not going to play the GOP's game as Obama seems to be doing lately.
Darrin Moore of the New Centurion Program responds:
Tony, our economy has doubled since Reaganomics. If you double a small sum, it an accomplishment. If you take the largest economy the world has ever known and double it, you're talking about an accomplishment so grand that only an intellectual could deny it.

What, pray tell, do YOU think causes wealth creation? The government taking from the rich and giving to the poor? Isn't that like scooping from one of the pool and dumping it into the other and expecting the water level to rise? The only way we lift all boats is through Adam Smith's Invisible Hand: allowing men to keep (and to spend, save, invest or donate it as they see fit) the fruits of their labors.

Why is it greedy for people to want to keep what they earn, but it's not greedy for you liberals to confiscate other people's wealth so you can bribe your voters with it?
Darrin uses the term "intellectual" as Russell Kirk or Bertrand Russell would use it.  Mr. Moore is not engaging in the common use of the word. (I tend not to utilize the Kirkian mode of the word when casting aspersions upon the philosophical practice of leftists to those same individuals, although there is something positive to be said about an inside joke).  The "water level to rise... lift all boats" is a reference to a "motto" that President John F. Kennedy borrowed from a New England Council regional chamber of commerce: "A rising tide lifts all boats."  That phrase is now more of a mantra for Fiscal Conservatives (a term to be defined much, much later) although it is used best with nuanced applications, rather than simply a broad executive policy that could flood an economy with money.  That said the aphorism is a concise and accurate description of how a Free Market economic policy is applied.
 
While it is true that the size of our economy does not correlate to the (fiscal/economic) health of the people within that economy it does not hurt the chances for opportunity of citizens for a fiscally healthy economically sound nation.  A genuinely large economy correlates with (and possibly causes) opportunity.  It correlates that a nation with a weak or puny economy cannot provide or protect opportunities for economic mobility for every citizen; in those states the only people that benefit from markets and exchanges are the wealthy, people in higher class or caste positions and there is almost no possibility for a common citizen to earn, innovate, rise up and join this true upper class.  In at least one country that ruling subset has formal codified authority role as part of the politburo.  The lack of that correlation in an effective western free market economy is cause by free will.  That individuals make his or her own choices (and take the families with them, as well as their employees, potentially) offsets simple concepts such as "so goes A, so goes B".

So our economy is large and the size increased thanks to policy executed by President Reagan among others; a leftist will rightly indicate that lack of correlation but he will not realize why the lack exists.  Tony Sachs, for example, follows the accepted leftist track of blaming "the rich" with the direct implication of an existing class system in the United States, complete with a lack of (A) opportunity for mobility for individuals to cross from so-called "lower class" to the "middle class" (whatever that means) to the so-called "upper class"as well (B) a lack of respective complicity a common citizen possesses for his own fortune.
You're making it sound like our standard of living has doubled. First off, if you're earning twice as much as you were 30 years ago, but the price of groceries has also doubled, you're not going to be able to afford to eat steak every nigh...t any more than you would in 1980.

And second, if the economy doubles and the vast majority of that growth goes to the richest 1%, well that might be "lifting all boats" in think-tank speak, but it seems like the yachts are being lifted a lot faster than the sailboats. And let's not even talk about the rowboats and dinghys.

Truly progressive taxation didn't hurt our economy in the quarter century following World War II, and it wasn't until your boy Reagan started bribing HIS voters with money they didn't need that the national budget went completely out of whack. Having wealthy people pay for infrastructure, defense, and hell yes, Medicare isn't "confiscating wealth" as you class warriors put it, it's called the right thing to do.

OK, I'm finished, you may go back to demonizing public school teachers while lionizing investment bankers. Have fun.
Mr Sachs is correct that the price of standards of living increase in rendering increases of respective income less of increase.  That phenomenon is symptomatic of inflation, however, which is a leftist/pseudo-Keynesian attempt to artificially "raise the tide" and grow the economy.  In any case it means that buying power decreases regardless of what amount of currency is possessed; the fact is that inflation is caused by a number of things and the more relevant point is that certain places are bubbles where the prices increase because of local circumstances.  This is why in New York, NY the income and standard living expenses are essentially the same as a person performing the same task in Central Michigan, with some sharp margins for whether one lives in Manhattan, among other points.  A growing economy, as a whole, includes a growing number of fiscally healthy people.  When the economy is grown correctly without heavy-handed guidance that correlation is fact.  When it is grown artificially the prosperity is superficial and temporary at best.  Under those circumstances the growth is temporary and the prosperity of the individual really is a lie as the well-being of the individual is a matter of dependence, not the result of choice and the consequence of well-chosen individual action.  Based on that, inflation is not simply caused by growth.  Growth can be anticipated and accounted for as can inflation.  To an extent inflation is an inevitability because of our fiscal policy, which involve circumstances and history that I am not prepared to explain.  Now inflation, buying power, is not a product of the size of the whole.

Mind you, Mr Sachs is simply jumping to hostile conclusions when he accuses people of demonizing public school teachers and asserting Medicare as a sort of higher calling in and of itself instead of a political weapon.

As it is I simply believe that many people will possess excessive wealth along with the individual (or corporate) responsibility to use that wealth properly; these sorts of people will always exist.  As not a social corollary or an economic corollary there will always exist impoverished people.  These people are impoverished because others are wealthy and these people are not lacking in something because someone else possesses that something.  Usually it is not the decisions of the wealthy or the empowered that caused the poverty of the individual but a combination of many factors, circumstances, and choices.  A lot of these choices were made by the person who would be impoverished is impoverished and the responsibility is ultimately his or hers.  To be fair, of course, sometimes things are just outside are our own control; we play with the hand we are dealt.  Socialism, of course, is the sociopolitical negation of free will, especially in terms of wealth, advancement, markets, and well-being. Winston Churchill said
Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
While economics is a study of individuals' choices all market systems are such where these choices related and actions have consequences.  Objectivists, most theists, and many agnostics believe that when people work towards their own informed best interests, and make proper choices individually it will work out best for the greater whole; that takes an element of faith.  Contrast to socialism, where the assets possessed are sorted and resorted according to what a small circle of planners dictate is social justice and moral imperative.  A free market philosophy implies risk for return.  Socialism promises no risk for a false promise of a safe great return.  (Pardon my over-simplification).


Mind you there is also the matter of "empirical evidence"
You would see that the poor did better with Ronald Reagan than at any other time in the twentieth century. "It's not that our liberal friends are ignorant, it's that they know so much which isn't so."
Mr. Moore implies that the fruits of labor comprise the proof.  Mr. Sachs is dissatisfied.
Show me the empirical evidence, Darrin. And also try to convince me that, if the poor did well under Reagan, it wasn't because he was unable to make a dent in liberal social policy despite reducing revenue, to the point where the country had to borrow more heavily than it ever had despite being in an economic "boom." As my man Lloyd Bentsen said, "Let me write $500 billion of hot checks and I can show you the illusion of prosperity, too."
Mike Shedlock insists these same political weapons, what Mr. Moore referred to as "wealth confiscation" and "bribes" for voters, take a large bite out of what would otherwise be a large and healthy economy; if I interpret the graphs correctly it is a negation of American prosperity on a macroeconomic and possibly microeconomic level.  Left-wing social policy is the care for people of various economic classes without significant regard to individual levels of responsibility or access to opportunity; for the most part it is
  1. intended to make people feel good about themselves
  2. intended to compel voters to vote for the proponents of these social policies
under the implication that if the politicians did not shift the capital (money) to provide for the people then these individuals would suffer and die. The purposeful implication is that the people only live because of the government and that no other option is available.

I think at this point my own analysis is slightly less interesting.
Mr. Moore counters:
Look at what you're doing here, Tony. You ask to see the facts but you already have your little ready-made answer to disregard them based on emotion and sentimentality.
Show me the empirical evidence, Darrin. And also try to convince me that, if the poor did well under Reagan, it wasn't because he was unable to make a dent in liberal social policy.
Then you try to play the deficit card:

despite reducing revenue. . .
Tony, tax revenues double during Reagan! -Proving the point that it's better to get a small percentage of taxes on a growing pie than it is to take slovenly large pieces from a stagnant commonwealth.
to the point where the country had to borrow more heavily than it ever had despite being in an economic "boom."
Tony, are you seriously going to try to hate on Reagan for his tiny little deficits compared to those of Obama's? I smell hypocrisy.

Plus, just as soon as the GOP got hold of the purse strings in Congress, the budget was balanced for the first time in forty years!

As my man Lloyd Bentsen said, "Let me write $500 billion of hot checks and I can show you the illusion of prosperity, too."
If that is what caused the greatest economic boom the world has ever known, Tony, the TRILLION DOLLARS worth of Obamabucks should make us rich beyond pale. (ooops, it doesn't work that way)
First I think this demonstrates how certain internet forums make for less effective places for debate than others.  Second it is important to note that President Reagan's accomplishments and failures during  his terms occurred with the Democrats ruling the legislature.  When the Republican gained the Federal Legislature under a Democrat Executive branch things were quite different, especially with Republican Dick Morris being the most important adviser to moderate Democrat President Bill Clinton.


My safest approximation if how a healthy economy works is when various controlling authorities do their best to stay out of the way.  This is not an absolute; we need ordered liberty and we need a fiscal policy to anticipate market shifts and economics as well as to protect the market from larger corporate entities that seek to deliberately obliterate competition in the most literal sense.  Most government fiscal policies interfere with market shifts instead of anticipating them, causing unintended consequences, one of which was mentioned earlier: the diminishing of buying power (on a larger scale).  Darrin Moore claims:
My buying power increases when
  1. I EARN more money (my personal money supply increase)
  2. Businesses vigorously dook it out for my discerning dollar and (supply increases)
  3. the government stops printing new dollars.
when the government prints more dollars, each of our own dollars become worth less. Therefore we need a stable dollar, not constantly printing more dollars which dilute the value of everyone's dollar. But printing more dollars (a hidden form of taxation, to be sure) effects everyone who has dollars equally. Regardless what the Fed does (although every decision they make affects the market), an individual can increase his own wealth by supplying goods or services that are demanded by the free market. -And you can be sure that if he's selling a product that is highly demanded, he'll try to sell his supply at the highest price possible.
Government needs to be present as regulatory agent for the market in terms of protecting our medium of exchange.  In modern times that medium of exchange is currency.


From a theistic standpoint people have what they have because they are supposed to have it and the choices they made with the opportunities thus granted have resulted in a particular set of circumstances, both good and bad.  In a scale with God everything belongs to Him and He distributes wealth and possibility as He sees fit; all we have is temporary stewardship and these mere things belong to God to be taken and given as necessary.  He who stewards well with the mere things that God has given will be given more.  He who stewards poorly, makes poor decisions with the possibilities, mere things, and opportunities granted to him, will have his things taken away and he will thus become a case where life is lived because of the fruits and gifts and love of others.  On that scale everything is up in the air, nothing is permanent and claiming ownership is a silly, frivolous and frighteningly temporary proposition.  That said, God established the concept of property, or at least affirmed the concept of property, because many of us operate with other human beings, sentient creations of God, as equals on an earthly playing field that operates with unalterable rules, such as those of economics.


Most of us must (temporarily) operate as if there is no God (in order to communicate with those that believe there is not).  Most operate as if there is no God regardless of moral imperative.  We treat life as if our short time on earth is all there is and what an individual briefly holds in his hand as a matter of personal responsibility is simply his alone in terms of choice, action, and consequence.  Property is power and for all intents and purposes that power is real.  We are stewards especially because we are compelled to think of others but we own property to remind us of the liberty (and burden) of personal choice.  The seeming paradox is reconciled if one ponder whom is being related to, God or another man.  In either case God regards each individual person as equal in value and equal in responsibility to himself and others.  I will grant you outright that certain people are less accountable to choose certain actions than others.  Sinners are not expected to stop sinning until they believe they must; God does not demand Christian charity from a man whose very nature demands he live only for himself; if a sinner repents and becomes a saint then he is accountable to lover others, be charitable, and sin no more.  Some people have greater responsibilities towards their fellow man and I take that as an axioum.


Yet as citizens our responsibility towards one another renders each of of us as co-equals.  Whatever power and property we hold responsibility for is inherently unequal but that does not increase our responsibility for our fellow citizens.  To that end the expectation that the so-called "poor" have a lesser responsibility than the so-called "wealthy" is very much a leftist one.  That the responsibilities of each individual citizen be a pliable burden, one shifted to other citizens simply because of means is more of socialistic tenant than a belief of free men.  Establishing laws that enforce those tenants actively hurts the pursuit of individual (and willful corporate) prosperity and thus hurts the pursuit of those who would willfully use wealth as instruments of love.  Redistribution of wealth hurts charity by damaging the mechanisms of true growth, true growth enables individuals to be charitable.


In any case, according to leftist economic philosophy there are those set to be dependents and those set to be providers.  According to an aspect of rightist economic philosophy the existence of those with more is part of how one facet of our society works with the other.  I quote Darrin Moore again.
When the rich get richer, or for that matter when anyone accumulates wealth, they have more wealth to buy stuff poor people make, to buy services poor people offer and to invest in companies of poor people start up but don't have the dough for themselves.

I'm not suggesting that there aren't a bunch of really bad capitalists who'll cheat, steal and lie to make a buck, but, are you people really suggesting that Adam Smith was wrong and that the invisible hand is just a pipe dream? Seriously? Where did you learn your economics?
We can excuse children for being afraid of the dark, but it’s inexcusable when an adult is afraid of the light.
We are equals because we interact without a compulsion from the state.  This interaction of the willing benefits us all.  The darkness is leaving the responsibility to the state. Former communist Max Eastman describes it thus:
It seems obvious to me now – though I have been slow, I must say, in coming to the conclusion – that the institution of private property is one of the main things that have given man that limited amount of free-and-equalness that Marx hoped to render infinite by abolishing this institution. Strangely enough Marx was the first to see this. He is the one who informed us, looking backwards, that the evolution of private capitalism with its free market had been a precondition for the evolution of all our democratic freedoms. It never occurred to him, looking forward, that if this was so, these other freedoms might disappear with the abolition of the free market.
I try not to think of the "free market" as something to be revered but something that existed which we can observe.  And try not to break. Like the physical laws we ignore this at our peril.




Now for that "empirical evidence"

I don't reckon you're going to read a book but if you did, I would suggest a book that Obama's senior economic adviser, Paul Volcker said 

takes 'supply side' theory from the realm of the mystical gospel for a few to a thoughtful exposition for the rest of us.
But since liberals avoid learning from history books like narcissists avoid shame, here are some columns full of data and analysis which explain why, when the shackles are taken off the market and it is allowed to flourish, it proves Adams Smith right that the rising tide lifts all boats like an invisible hand.
Nominally I am leery of Reagan worship but every time I read the man or hear the man he does not fail to impress me.

It remains that as much I prefer Supply-Side Economics, that being where we anticipate the flow of choices and such to the point where we simply remove as many burdens as possible to growth the leftists see it as "trickle-down economics" because they resent any sort of prosperity whose origins that they cannot control and that hints at fiscal inequality.  These Progressive types do not make the connection that the alternative has no control for them either and certainly less equality in terms of real power.  Under the logical consequences of ordered liberty everyone has an equal vote and their power in other respects can be increased along with the upward mobility; under the logical consequences of a command economy one's own fiscal powers are determined by a central authority.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

dreaming of Sheen 03



( click the head. )

"I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen."

if the internet is a respitory system and information oxygen

My brain is drowning, asphyxiating because my connection is too slow!

Cloverleaf Fine Wine - Summers Cabernet Sauvignon


 
 

Summers here!

Summers Cabernet Sauvignon, that is…
From the great 2007 Napa Valley vintage
These WILL sell out quickly

“Like” us on our new Business page on Facebook.

2007 Summers “La Petite” Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (375 ml. half-bottles)
Reg. price: $18
Sale price: $10.99
Tom’s note: “A GREAT Napa Cabernet! A steal!”

Remember those tasty little half-bottles of Summers Cab we had on sale last September? Well, the folks lucky enough to have gotten some sure do. And the folks who wanted some and got shut out do too. Well, now the deal is back—and this time it’s even better. This time it’s of the quickly-becoming-legend 2007 vintage in the Napa Valley. “This is just a superb bottle of wine,” exclaims Cloverleaf’s Tom Natoci. “As good as any $40 Cabernet out there. Even at full retail it is a steal and we’re able to sell it at a 35% discount.” We received 20 cases this week, and we will get 20 more next week. And then…that’s all folks!


Last Week’s Malbec: Going, going…but wait!

2008 Trivento Malbec Golden Reserve
Sale price: $18.99 (no further discounts)

Last week we introduced you to an outstanding Malbec for less than twenty bucks, a wine we fully expect to pull a hefty 92 pt rating and prompted a customer to proclaim it a “superstar.” Our supplier offered us their “last 30 cases,” but when they heard how quickly it’s been selling (there were 10 bottles left as of 3 p.m. Wednesday), they promised they could scare up some more and have them here in 2 to 3 weeks. So stay tuned!

Tom’s Tasting Note: “Dark purple black color that stains the glass.  Rich, ripe blackberry and cassis aromas with a hint of vanilla oak tones.  Very full-bodied, chewy and concentrated mid-palate.  Lush texture of mocha, cassis & chocolate with smooth velvety tannins in a long balanced finish. Fantastic Malbec for the price! Tastes like thirty bucks.”

Our Weekly Recommendations…

Aside from our weekly features, there are great bottles everyday throughout our store. Each week we pull a few bottles from the hundreds on our shelves as representative great wines—from all price points on the spectrum—and put them on sale for the week ahead! The Collectible category will feature higher-end wines that make great gifts for wine collectors and can be cellared for many years.  Distinguished wines are those from the middle price range that we feel are eminently lovely and drinkable, truly exceptional in their style, and can be enjoyed now or cellared for several years. And Best Buys will feature! a Cloverleaf specialty—truly excellent wines you can’t find everywhere that often drink better than bottles you can find everywhere sold for twice the price. Here are this week’s selections:

*All noted sale prices are effective through next Sunday, March 13

Collectible

2007 O’Shaugnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Reg. price: $85
Sale price: $69.99
Note: 95 pts from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. Limited supply and VERY age-worthy.

Distinguished

2005 Henry’s Drive Cabernet Sauvignon
Reg. Price: $30
Sale Price: $19.99
Note: From Australia, this is a perfectly mature, great, full, rich Cabernet Sauvignon ready to drink now and for the next six months.

Best Buys

2008 Cuatro Pasos Mencia
Reg. price: $13
Sale price: $9.99
Note: This Wine Advocate 90 pointer is from the up-and-coming Bierzo region of Spain. It possesses bold, dark berry flavors reminiscent of great Barberas from the Piedmont in northwest Italy.

--The Guys at Cloverleaf
 

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Cloverleaf Fine Wine and Spirits
www.cloverleafwine.com

711 South Main Street
Royal Oak, MI 48067
Voice: 248.399.7166 Fax: 248.399.7239
E-Mail: cloverleaf@cloverleafwine.com