Sunday, November 27, 2016

Oh, No Canada!

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the death of the monster Fidel Castro:
“It is with deep sorrow that I learned today of the death of Cuba’s longest serving President.

“Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century. A legendary revolutionary and orator, Mr. Castro made significant improvements to the education and healthcare of his island nation.

“While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for “el Comandante”.

“I know my father was very proud to call him a friend and I had the opportunity to meet Fidel when my father passed away. It was also a real honour to meet his three sons and his brother President Raúl Castro during my recent visit to Cuba.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and many, many supporters of Mr. Castro. We join the people of Cuba today in mourning the loss of this remarkable leader.”
Mocking follows: #trudeaueulogy

Sunday, November 20, 2016

The Vegetarian Mandate

On October 31st I wrote:
It’s so simple, just find a big 'social problem' with dozens, or hundreds, of different causes and impose a single 2,000 page solution. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this approach to solve the obesity epidemic. We’ll just put nutrition labels on candy machines, ban soft drinks over 16 ounces and move toward taxing calories.
While we've already done the first two of those things, the part about taxing calories was half tongue-in-cheek. I needn't have worried that it was over the top, though I did get the wrong social problem. I should have known "Climate Change" would be the real reason: UK Researchers: Tax Food to Reduce Climate Change
“Emissions pricing of foods would generate a much needed contribution of the food system to reducing the impacts of global climate change,” said Dr Marco Springmann of the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, who led the study. “We hope that’s something policymakers gathering this week at the Marrakech climate conference will take note of.”

Much of the emissions reduction would stem from higher prices and lower consumption of animal products, as their emissions are particularly high. The researchers found that beef would have to be 40% more expensive globally to pay for the climate damage caused by its production. The price of milk and other meats would need to increase by up to 20%, and the price of vegetable oils would also increase significantly.
This is a perfect example of MIT Technology Review editor David Rotman's demand for an updated command-and-control industrial policy:
[There is a] compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions
The 2000 pages needed to implement this will consist of 1) tax credits for pregnant mothers, exemptions for starving third worlders and waivers for Senators and Congressmen and their aides; 2) lobbyist provisions for Archer Daniels Midland; 3) definition of the bureaucratic requirements; 4) determination of the amount of tax for protein content, say tofu vs. hamburger; 5) surtaxes based on greenhouse gas contribution variation due to processing and transportation; 6) all manner of amendments entirely unrelated to the taxing of food and 7) other things you'll have to read the bill to find out.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Lobbyists

Sen. Elizabeth Warren's recent rant about lobbyists in the Trump transition team (just before they were all sent packing) brings me once again to editor David Rotman's MIT Technology Review article Capitalism Behaving Badly. Specifically this:
[W]e should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
If we are to admit that markets are created and shaped by government, we also must admit that lobbying is created by government as a protective reaction to that regulatory manipulation 'market' creation and shaping.

Don Boudreaux puts it well at Cafe Hayek
Sen. Elizabeth Warren is upset that President-elect Trump’s transition team includes many corporate lobbyists (“Elizabeth Warren Criticizes Donald Trump Over Lobbyists in Transition Team,” Nov. 15). Well now. Sen. Warren is second-to-none at empowering Uncle Sam to exercise broad discretionary powers over corporate affairs – powers that, if exercised one way, yield that company hundreds of millions of dollars in additional profits or, if exercised another way, saddle that company with hundreds of millions of dollars of additional costs. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that corporations work diligently to have their voices heard among the din of everyone clamoring for the new emperor’s attention.

For Sen. Warren to be upset that Trump’s transition team is filled with hordes of corporate lobbyists panting for political favors is akin to a Madam being upset that her bawdyhouse is filled with hordes of men panting for female favors.

Sincerely,
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
and
Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Lobbying is protected by the First Amendment. Even absent Constitutional protection, lobbying would continue at a level commensurate with the degree to which government creates and shapes markets, only it would be more nefarious - say like the Clinton Foundation pay-to-play shenanigans.

Meanwhile, the House GOP beat back a plan by some of its own members* to restore internal super-lobbying by reinstating earmarks.

*Who should now be Primaried.

Update 1:15PM: In the interests of naming names, "Reps. John Culberson of Texas, Mike Rogers of Alabama, and Tom Rooney of Florida are listed as sponsors of the amendment."

Friday, November 11, 2016

Veterans Day

In Flanders Fields
Canadian Army Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Congratulations to the President Elect

All the best of luck to Donald Trump. I sincerely hope he turns out to be the President his most fervent voters expect.

My favorite parts so far are the tears, anger, confusion and whining from the Democrats. Best part of the outcome? Clinton Inc. is finished.

Well done Mr. Trump.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What has government done to you lately?

...would be a better headline.

What’s Government Done For You Lately?
Here is the core error of the 20th century: the belief that government can accomplish anything with enough intelligence, resources, and power. It afflicted regimes all over the world from Lenin’s 100 years ago to Obama’s today (and this will also be true of any probable successor). This theory built massive bureaucracies, justified vast wars, and drove the creation a legal and regulatory apparatus of unprecedented imperial reach.

The faith survives today, though with ever less conviction. Failure after failure has even sown doubts among ruling-class intellectuals and mainstream politicians. But because so much of the state apparatus – and the strategies that collect money from the public to fund it – are based on this model, a shift away from the paradigm will not come easily.
This, of course, is the central problem with David Rotman's MIT Technology Review article promoting a small tweak to traditional top down economic planning as if it were a wholesale change instead of an exercise in relabeling:
[Dani] Rodrik [an economist at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government] said in an interview that while “unfortunately” we’re stuck with the label “industrial policy,” today’s versions are very different from ones conceived decades ago. Rather than singling out a specific sector—say, aerospace or steel manufacturing—for support with large investments and tax incentives, new thinking suggests working across sectors to achieve a desired goal such as addressing climate change, using tools such as carbon pricing...

Take, for example, the failure of the solar company Solyndra. It is often held up as the kind of thing that occurs when government picks winners. But, writes Rodrik, Solyndra failed largely because competing technologies got much cheaper. Such outcomes are not necessarily an indictment of industrial policies. The real problem, Rodrik argues: the U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program that supported the solar company had a mixed set of goals, from creating jobs to competing with China to helping fund new energy technologies. What’s more, it did not properly define procedures for evaluating the progress of potential loan recipients and, importantly, terminating support to those companies when appropriate. Instead, according to Rodrik, in the absence of such rules, money was lent to Solyndra for political reasons...
The problem with Solyndra, then, was a mixed set of explicitly political goals applied to a specific sector subject to intense competition. The solution to such bad industrial policy is to apply explicitly political impediments to all economic activity. The competition will then be for government favors, like suspending the Obamacare cadillac tax.

No more picking winners and losers, no siree, we’ll just apply general taxes on carbon the government will conjure a 'market' in carbon. Do you believe it will be politically neutral, remain focused on the single problem, and with properly defined procedures for evaluating the continuing necessity for the market? I.e., that the bureaucrats running the scheme will ever even look for reasons to suspend it? If so, you must believe that Obamacare has fulfilled its promises.

It’s so simple, just find a big 'social problem' with dozens, or hundreds, of different causes and impose a single 2,000 page solution. I don’t know why we didn’t think of this approach to solve the obesity epidemic. We’ll just put nutrition labels on candy machines, ban soft drinks over 16 ounces and move toward taxing calories.

That this is still picking winners and losers, such as Warren Buffet’s wind farms versus Peabody Coal’s entire business, seems not to occur to these capos of industry.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Stick to your knitting

I keep thinking about the MIT Technology Review article mentioned in my previous post.

Editor of Technology Review David Rotman strays into territory far removed from his magazine's titular mission by reviewing Rethinking Capitalism:
A series of essays by authors including Joseph Stiglitz, an economist at Columbia University who won a Nobel Prize in 2001, and Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of the economics of innovation at the University of Sussex… Together, the essays provide a compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions…

[The book attempts] to counter the view that free markets inevitably lead to desirable outcomes and that freer markets are always better: the faith that “the ‘invisible hand’ of the market knows best.” In fact, she argues, we should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
What keeps me coming back to it are the straw men, unconscious assumptions and the anti-scientism buried throughout. Economics is neither technology nor science, nor does Mr. Rotman even understand it.

First up, "[T]he essays provide a compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions."

Government intervention never works out to be either coherent or strategic: Obamacare is an example where the government lent its full weight in time, expertise, money, subversion of the political process and publicly repeated big lies. Thank god it was health care and not the "Affordable Energy Act."

Fracking for natural gas has done more to reduce carbon emissions than a dozen Solyndras - despite government opposition.

Second, I know of no one who claims “free markets inevitably lead to desirable outcomes." Free markets lead to better outcomes than manipulated markets, and that includes failure when freely invested private money is lost. This Obamaesque straw-man premise additionally implies that if free markets aren’t perfect we must turn to government for such perfection.

Admitting that “markets are created and shaped by government,” begs a question while assuming a conclusion. It’s true that governments choose to create and shape markets. No natural law says they have to, but if Rotman’s admiring analysis is correct, Mazzucato takes this as a given. However, it is something governments choose to do. As Rotman later grudgingly concedes, this choice is rife with drawbacks.

In fact, placing the average bureaucrat as market arbiter is only better than the free market if that bureaucrat’s decisions are consistently better: More informed, more enlightened, more efficient, than free choice market decisions. This never happens. Assuming command-and-control industrial policy as an immutable consequence of having government indicates such endeavors aren’t market-based at all.

Finally, “government support of innovation,” can be accomplished passively. Ask John Cowperthwaite.

Mazzucato and Rotman only see government support as beneficial when it is active market intervention. A fair look at this question would also include examination of the ways in which government stifles innovation with command-and-control industrial policies, not the least of which is the misdirection of resources and prevention of new ways of doing business. Examples are growing corn for ethanol and taxing Uber to protect existing taxi businesses.

To summarize, Mr. Rotman proposes that government should do a better job when it actively creates and shapes markets. No one would disagree government should do better. The question begged is whether government should be actively involved at all. It would "do better" if it weren't.

Free markets are not perfect nor ever claimed to be. They are better than any alternative, and, as repeatedly demonstrated, vastly better than command-and-control industrial policies.

I think I’ll be doing more detailed fisking of other bits of this horrendous MIT article in future posts.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Corporatism behaving predictably

You would be disappointed if you expected a publication called MIT Technology Review would eschew half baked, agenda driven articles about economics.

The MIT School of Economics needs to give some remedial instruction to David Rotman, Editor of Technology Review. In a recent article, Capitalism Behaving Badly, he reviews Rethinking Capitalism,
A series of essays by authors including Joseph Stiglitz, an economist at Columbia University who won a Nobel Prize in 2001, and Mariana Mazzucato, a professor of the economics of innovation at the University of Sussex… Together, the essays provide a compelling argument that we need more coherent and deliberate strategic planning in tackling our economic problems, especially in finding more effective ways to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions…

[The book attempts] to counter the view that free markets inevitably lead to desirable outcomes and that freer markets are always better: the faith that “the ‘invisible hand’ of the market knows best.” In fact, she argues, we should admit that markets are created and shaped by government policies, including government support of innovation.
Maybe we should admit that markets are distorted by government and result in misallocation of resources. Whatever we admit, we should not pretend that the United States is a capitalist country. It is a corporatist economy where government decides for policy reasons to give money to favored industries. Mr. Rotman apparently favors ‘green’ industry as a major part of a command-and-control industrial policy.

Rotman explains the failures of Solyndra, A123, Fisker, Navistar, Evergreen Solar and others, by arguing the wrong people were in charge, and they spent the money wrongly or stopped supplying it when more was needed, as if the politics were irrelevant and “some people” are not only above such things, but have nearly perfect appreciation of all market forces.

Mr. Rotman specifically addresses Solyndra:
Take, for example, the failure of the solar company Solyndra. It is often held up as the kind of thing that occurs when government picks winners. But, writes Rodrik, Solyndra failed largely because competing technologies got much cheaper. Such outcomes are not necessarily an indictment of industrial policies. The real problem, Rodrik argues: the U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee program that supported the solar company had a mixed set of goals, from creating jobs to competing with China to helping fund new energy technologies. What’s more, it did not properly define procedures for evaluating the progress of potential loan recipients and, importantly, terminating support to those companies when appropriate. Instead, according to Rodrik, in the absence of such rules, money was lent to Solyndra for political reasons—President Obama and his administration used the company as a high-profile way to highlight its green-energy initiatives. Having singled out the solar company for praise, the administration was then reluctant to end its commitment…

The stimulus bill was well-­intentioned, and the instinct to use government spending for a specific social goal, supporting the development of green energy, was laudable…
1-Competing technologies got cheaper. Failure to recognize that likelihood is not external to government decisions, it is central to why the government shouldn’t be making them, and most certainly counts as a failure of industrial policy.

2-A mixed set of goals is likewise a failure of government policy. In this case, its execution of the “strategy,” if one should be so generous as to call such a mess strategic. Close enough for government work, I guess.

3-Slack control of money lent is also a clear failure of government execution of its confused and shortsighted planning.

4-Money was lent for political reasons. Duh.

This is not to be laid at the feet of capitalism, since it had no role in the matter.
Creating a rigorous industrial policy to encourage green technologies is no doubt a worthwhile objective. Economists and the lessons from efforts like the stimulus bill can teach us how to design such policies to be robust and effective…
No, they have demonstrated again and again and again that they cannot. We do not learn from experience. We do not learn from Smith, Hayek, Bastiat, Sowell and Ricardo, et. al..

Mr. Rotman's actual agenda is clear. He wants more public/pirate partnerships for his pet cause, only better than the last ones. The pirates aren't capitalists, they are robber barons whose victims are taxpayers.
But won’t wise industrial policies also require wise politicians?
No, there is no such thing as a "wise industrial policy" such a thing requires prescient politicians who have the ability to anticipate market changes, develop focused policies and implement them very efficiently. All while avoiding the opportunities for graft and corruption. Can you name such a politician?

Update Oct 25 11:40
How command-and-control industrial policy actually works:
Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman met and corresponded on multiple occasions in his capacity as a top White House adviser with a previous employer seeking energy policies that it described as a potential “gold rush,” hacked emails and public records show.

John Podesta was a top White House energy policy official before joining the Clinton campaign last year. He previously served on the board of renewable energy investment firm Equilibrium Capital. He owned stock in the firm and drew $4,000 in annual “board fees.”

White House ethics rules bar employees from working on issues affecting former clients or employers for two years after taking their jobs. However, internal emails show that Podesta was in contact with Equilibrium within months of joining the White House as the company pursued a new energy efficiency financing model that would steer it significant revenue.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Autarky is where you find it

Originalists Against Trump
Read the whole thing. It's short.

Trump’s 'pen and phone’ executive order machine would be “bigly, bigly yuge.” Sad.

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Exercises in authoritarianism

Donald Trump's unfortunate, if entirely unsurprising recommendation, "Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything you want," has attracted a by now standard defense from his supporters: "Bill and Hillary are worse."

However, Trump's comment must be generalized beyond simply promoting sexual assault: He thinks of women as property.

In that, he is equal to Bill and Mrs. Bill. The difference is that they comfortably understand their ownership extends to everyone, and they should avoid bragging about it. Because Trump is a slow to learn political novice, he hasn't thought about that yet.

But he will.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Do not a wastrel be

I've made - these - same points, but they bear repeating in another voice. I've excerpted a couple of bits, but you should RTWT.

How Not To Waste Your Vote: A Mathematical Analysis
[T]here are many benefits of voting third party, even for president. It makes a political statement to the majority parties. It helps local politicians of that party in elections. It can help change platforms to include third-party elements. And it provides recognition for the party among voters as a viable alternative...

Your vote is, therefore, an expression of yourself and your beliefs. Your vote has power as a statement. People voting out of fear of the worst candidate is a self-perpetuating cycle. If no one ever has the courage to vote outside of the two main parties, it will never be broken. However, if enough people vote and it shows in the total election count, it will give cause for us to reconsider and embolden even more to vote outside of the two parties...

The value of your vote is what you give it. Should you spend it on a candidate you don’t believe in? Should it be an exercise in fear? It’s up to you. It is my hope that these mathematical calculations will bring you freedom from the idea that only majority party votes matter. A vote is a statement, a vote is personal, a vote is an expression of your citizenship in this country. If enough people vote their conscience and vote for what they believe in, things can change.
The purpose of voting is to express your will. If your will is to validate the lesser of two evils, you're purposely supporting the statist quo. That's a wasted vote.

Further reading:
You Are Not Morally Obligated to Vote for the Lesser of Two Evils

Rethinking ‘wasted votes’ and third-party candidates

Voting Third Party Isn’t Just a Serious Choice, It’s the Serious Choice

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Constitution Day

The 2016 Constitution Day Celebration Program Lectures at Hillsdale College. Click the link.

Hillsdale also offers a free course on understanding the Constitution.
The U.S. Constitution is the key to securing liberty for all Americans -- yet very few know exactly what it says, and what freedoms it protects. Hillsdale College is dedicating this year to educating millions of Americans about this critical document. That's why the College is offering its most popular course, "Constitution 101" for free, when you sign up now.

Hillsdale's course, Constitution 101: The Meaning and History of the Constitution, features the same professors who teach this course on Hillsdale College's campus. Hillsdale is one of the only colleges in America -- outside of the military academies -- that requires every student to take a course on the Constitution to graduate.

The course is delivered via email, with one lesson per week for 10 weeks. Each lesson features lively teaching and discussion boards, suggested readings, weekly quizzes, and more.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Profiles in Mendacity

You know, if Hillary wasn't such a well established liar, people would believe pneumonia. As it is, "political crisis" is an apt description.

It would be ironic if she's telling the truth on this, but her history of coverups costs her the election.

She was diagnosed on Friday, but kept it secret. Bet she regrets that decision.

Happy Birthday, H. L. Mencken

If you haven't read Mencken, you should try him. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite.

Number 12 is most relevant to our present voting opportunity.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Starting to appear as if a vote for Hillary is a vote for Kaine

I have avoided comment on Hillary’s supposed health issues because the evidence is very thin she has anything seriously wrong. However, added to her general behavior and other recent reports, this is disturbing.

Mrs. Bill leaves the WTC ceremony early and in distress:
MORE ON #HILLARY per witness: "unexpected early departure"; she stumbled off curb, "knees buckled", lost a shoe as she was helped into van
— RickLeventhalFoxNews (@RickLeventhal) September 11, 2016
Transparency, as always:
From NBC Clinton pool report: "We are being kept completely in the dark."
— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) September 11, 2016
Really, Todd, you’re just figuring that out?

Hillsdale College’s choir sings “America the Beautiful.”

`
Remembering what was attacked by Islamic terrorists 15 years ago.

Friday, September 09, 2016

Joe Wilson Day

Before a September 9th, 2009 joint session of Congress, President Obama declared, "Now, there are also those who claim that our [Obamacare] reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false," Obama said. "The reforms I am proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally."

In response, Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina shouted "You lie!" at the president. Joe Wilson was right, so today is "Joe Wilson Day" at TOC:

Wall Street Journal, Mar 2016, Illegal Immigrants Get Public Health Care, Despite Federal Policy.

Since that article is paywalled, I'll direct those of you without a WSJ subscription to Forbes' account of it:
Because Of Obamacare, Illegal Immigrants Get Taxpayer-Financed Care
[N]o honest person can deny that because of Obamacare, more taxpayer resources at the state and local level are being spent on health care of illegal immigrants than would have been spent otherwise...
And they're moving to formalize it:
California Moves Toward Extending Obamacare to Illegal Immigrants

Thursday, September 08, 2016

If Hillary Clinton Wins?

Ron Radosh: Should the Republican Party be Saved if Hillary Clinton Wins? Radosh thinks it's too late.

I think he's right, the real question is "Should the Republican Party be saved if Trump Wins?"

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Take the Quiz

How do your beliefs align with the candidates?

ISideWith has probably the most comprehensive quiz for matching your policy preferences to that of all presidential candidates. You can try it out here.

Note that you aren't simply limited to "Yes/No" or "Agree/ Disagree." You can add your own policy. You can weight your answers. You can optionally answer additional (see bottom of graphic) questions to refine the matching process.


Recommended. You may get a surprise. You'll likely be amused. You will get a review of the major policy questions you'll be voting on.

Monday, September 05, 2016

Anticipating Hillary

"You may know society is doomed when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing; when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors; when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you; [and] when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice."
-Ayn Rand, "Atlas Shrugged", 1957

It's not so much about Mrs. Bill as it is the structures that have been erected to nurture her.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Free to Choose

As I noted on May 30th, posts have been few and far between. I’ve had some serious health issues, which are now under control. I’m still in rehab, but I don’t want to leave August 2016 blank at TOC, and a recent Reason Magazine article on Gary Johnson’s polling prompts me to repeat and expand something I wrote on May 4th, when it became apparent Donald Trump would be the GOP presidential nominee.

If you are frustrated and angry that you’ve been given a choice between Scyllary and Charybdisser don’t feel forced to choose. You don’t have to vote for either of them. Voting third party is not the same as voting Trump or Clinton, though their acolytes will insist failure to pick their brand of evil is a vote for the alternate evil. This demonstrates a moral failure on their part, not on yours.

Donald Trump could have had your vote if you weren’t such a PC fool. Worse, if you actually do vote for Hillary, it’s like voting for Hillary twice! Leave that to the Democrats.

Hillary Clinton could have had your vote if you could simply suppress your gag reflex. Worse, if you vote for Trump he’s going to do pretty much the same things as Mrs. Bill, but you’ll have failed to recognize the cosmic importance of electing the first president to acknowledge having a vagina.

Of course, this rule means not voting at all is simultaneously a vote for Trump and Clinton. It gets confusing.

In fact, your vote is a vote for the person you vote for and any claim to the contrary by RepubliCrats is simply bullshit.

In Trump’s case it’s just preparing the ground for the post-election recrimination. There will be much rending of garments and gnashing of teeth among devoted Trump fans when he crashes and burns, but those who are at fault are those who made Trump the nominee - NO ONE ELSE. Don’t let their pre-disaster buyers’ remorse De-vote you.

I’m told that Hillary is far worse. Well, at least marginally more terrible than The Donald. That’s an assertion that is not demonstrated to me, and I know several sensible people who actually plan to vote for Hillary even though they’d vote GOP if any candidate was running except Trump. These are people we need to convince to vote Libertarian. Trump supporters should help in this endeavor, because it eliminates that second vote for Hillary mentioned above. See, a vote for Gary Johnson is most definitely not a vote for Hillary (nor for Trump, for that matter).

The idea is that this is a long term game: Four years of Trump redefining core American principles into a mix of Huey Long populism and crony-capitalist political-insider trading might well do more damage than our declared enemy. There are signs already, and Trump's popularity is one of them (Clinton’s unpunished lawlessness is another), that we've forgotten what made America great in the first place: limited government, free minds and free markets under the Constitution. None of which matter to Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.

With Hillary we’ll see more and more exposure of the utter perversity of far-left Progressive policies. With Trump the lesson is that conservatism is a personally demeaning philosophy, chiefly characterized by small-minded incuriosity and unmoored to any principled theory of governance. You don’t have to grant your approval of this process by voting for either one of them, better to stay home. Best to vote third party.

Either Trump or Clinton WILL BE President in 2017. But what about 2020? Do you want a rerun? It’s a long term game.

You can’t have everything (or maybe anything) you want this year, and if you want a better choice we eventually have to move away from a system that offers us an insecure buffoon or a seasoned criminal as best among us.

Back to the Reason poll story, here’s an excerpt they took from Pew,
Johnson’s supporters are younger on average than voters who back either Clinton or Trump. Nearly a third (32%) of Johnson’s supporters in the four-way contest are younger than 30. This is roughly double the share of Clinton (15%) or Trump supporters (12%) who are younger than 30. Only 29% of Johnson backers are 50 or older, compared with 50% of Clinton supporters and 63% of Trump voters.

Voters of the future are well inclined toward the Libertarian. The game can change if we build on that. If the Libertarian isn’t on the debate stage this time it’s sad. If he or she isn’t on the debate stage in 2020, then you can look to 4 more years of Hillary. Eight years is what a vote for Hillary means in the long term game, even if the Dems have to pickle her.

Not voting for Gary Johnson is a vote for the statist quo (and make no mistake, that includes Trump). If, as I do, you consider Trump unelectable, not voting for Johnson is within spitting distance of being a vote for Hillary. ;)

Friday, July 29, 2016

Constitution Day

Hillsdale College is holding its 7th Annual Constitution Day Celebration at Washington D.C. September 14-15, 2016.

Those interested can ask questions by email at ConstitutionDay@Hillsdale.edu

Friday, July 01, 2016

The best defense?

Charles R. Kesler, professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, writes a defense of Donald Trump for the Washington Post.

Granted, it’s the WaPo, but this is particularly shallow and unpersuasive.
…Trump won the Republican nomination fair and square, against 16 contenders, and the arguments for ignoring or rejecting those results need to be carefully examined.

The “Never Trump” critics have two main arguments. The first is that he is a buffoon, a clown, an overactive third-grader who has gone off his Ritalin, a tawdry egomaniac whose policies are no better than “barstool eruptions” and who by temperament and experience is unworthy of the presidency.
He is all of that, and more: Mr. Kesler's list is incomplete. Mr. Trump is also a lifelong Liberal, master crony-socialist and flip-flopping economic ignoramus.

There are only two reasons one would vote for Donald Trump. Owing lemming-like allegiance to the GOP, or a conviction that he would make a better President than Hillary Clinton. I find the first farcical, since loyalty to the GOP is exactly what fervent Trump supporters reject.

I find the second undemonstrated: I can, and have, pointed out how, fresh off his triumph of destroying the GOP's chance to defeat the Democrat nominee, he might well be a worse President.
The second [argument] is that Trump is a monster, a racist, a wily demagogue, a proto-fascist or full-fledged fascist, a tyrant-in-waiting.
While he is not demonstrably a fascist, he is an authoritarian of the first water, as evidenced by his willingness to eviscerate the Constitution. So let’s add “Constitutionally illiterate” to the list, too, because despite Mr. Kesler's contentions otherwise, Trump has threatened to amend the First Amendment by “broadening the libel laws,” and was the first “Republican” to call on the NRA to approve due process violations of the Second Amendment.

Upon careful examination, I conclude I am neither ignoring nor rejecting arguments about Mr. Trump’s candidacy. It’s simple: I reject the GOP candidate’s policies. I owe the party nothing, and Mr. Trump, like his opponent, is unfit for the office he seeks.

I’ll be voting for Governor Johnson.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Response to solicitation of funds

Mr. Trump,

Please remove me from any and all lists associated with your campaign.

I will not contribute to your campaign, nor to any group associated with you: Including the political party formerly known as the GOP.

If you need money, please ask those “small donors” to whom you are already beholden. Sheldon Adelson, for example.

As you Tweeted last October:
"Sheldon Adelson is looking to give big dollars to Rubio because he feels he can mold him into his perfect little puppet. I agree!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 13, 2015"


Or, beg the hated RNC.

I’d also appreciate a review of contributions in kind from media like Fox News. Maybe you can release your estimate along with your tax returns.

I am disinterested in bankrolling your threatened anti-Chicago Cubs ads and your "Little Miss Stompy Foot" feud with the Club for Growth. I will have nothing to do with a “finance expert” who so misinterprets the word fungible that he will fund Planned Parenthood, in any way, with taxpayer dollars. As if this accounting gimmick can force separation of dollar one from dollar 500,000.

I’m not attracted to a candidate whose frugality argument is that he can spend my money better than the Democrats have, better than Republicans would, and CERTAINLY better than I could.

As to Crooked Hillary’s “rigged system of crony handouts,” you’ve bragged about having been a recipient of said handouts, and are deeply complicit in that very system.

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter,
Duane Hershberger
#NeverTrump

P.S., You misspelled "Yuuge."

On May 31, 2016, at 2:07 PM, Team TRUMP wrote:

Make American Great Again

Our country doesn’t win anymore, Duane.

We are losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year to China. Mexico is beating us at the border and on trade.

It feels like every day in the news another company is leaving our great nation. We are losing millions of jobs, and it is time for this to STOP.

This will all change when Donald Trump is elected President. We will start winning again.

We are going to start winning so much that you are going to get used to winning!

Donald Trump went the entire primary without asking a single person for a penny, because he was not beholden to anyone but YOU – the American people.

But here’s the problem: Crooked Hillary and her cronies are raising $2 billion to try to stop us.

That’s why we are asking you to contribute $35 and become a Founding Member of our campaign: https://secure.trump2016.com/founding-member/

Crooked Hillary is scared to death of us. Our movement threatens her rigged system of crony handouts and bad deals that have cost the American people millions!

She’s pulling in as many special interests and media elites as she can.

But Donald Trump doesn’t want ANY of them.

You’re the only person we would ever want on our team. Our campaign is a movement of the American people – NO ONE else.

Please contribute $35 right now to activate your Founding Membership with our campaign.

While our Party is ready to unite, Democrats are fighting tooth and nail over a socialist and a serial liar under investigation by the FBI.

We have a HUGE opportunity to win!

We don’t want to just defeat Crooked Hillary, we want to CRUSH the Democrats at every level.

We want to win in a massive landslide. We want our victory to be so great that Crooked Hillary and Obama regret the day they ever turned their backs on the American people.

Together, we will win this election and Make America Great Again!

Please join us today using this special link: [deleted]

Thank you and God bless you,

Team Trump

Monday, May 30, 2016

Click Stawker

If You Care About Innovation, Peter Thiel vs. Gawker Should Worry You
-Rachel Sklar

If you cheer the creative destruction of an unrepentant, vile private entity that truly deserved it, Peter Theil vs. Gawker should fill your heart with joy.. There, fixed that for you.

Kudos to Peter Thiel!

While we're on the subject, Rachel, where can I find your outraged criticism of Dr. Michael "Fraudpants" Mann's baseless, ad-hominem suit against Mark Steyn?



Note: Please note that blogging output is going to be scarce over the next several weeks because of some health issues.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Want my vote for Trump?

Please demonstrate that he will support limited government pursuant to the Constitution of the United States.

Note: "Hillary won't either," is NOT an answer. It's changing the subject.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

I'm a Classical Liberal

If you point out to Trump supporters claiming they’re conservatives that these Trump approved ideas:
  1. Eroding the First Amendment by “broadening the libel laws.”
  2. Crony-capitalist insider bribery.
  3. Government funded healthcare for everyone.
  4. Ordering our troops to kill the families of terrorists.
… have never anywhere been considered conservative ideas, they scream that you’re the one who doesn’t understand conservatism. You have to wonder why they cling to calling themselves conservative, as if it conveyed some sort of legitimacy, since they reject yuuge parts of what has been conservative thinking.

They've been there all along, of course, we deluded ourselves into thinking they actually supported limited government and constitutional law. I guess we can thank Trump for unmasking them. At least we know where we stand. "Conservatism" now means big government, protectionist nativism.

I guess we're all classical liberals again.

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Quo vadis?

OK, what's a #NeverTrumper to do now?

First, acknowledge that every Democrat should be purged from office. Second, admit it has become much less likely that will happen in 2016. Third, take a deep breath. It's a long term game and there are things we can do in spite of Trump.

To put a very simple action plan in front of you:

1- Vote Libertarian for president. More on this below.
2- Vote GOP on the down ballot races to provide as effective an opposition as possible. (Yes, I think Trump has handed the presidency to Hillary.)
3- Fight even harder for state and local politicians who will best resist whichever statist wins the presidency.

Meanwhile, we need to respond to the whining from the Trump camp that started weeks ago: “A vote for a third party is a vote for Hillary! We held our noses and voted for Dole, Bush, McCain and Romney, now you cuckservatives have to do the same for Trump. If Hillary wins the Presidency, it'll be because of you, you traitorous assholes. Because GOP!”

Sorry, you broke the GOP, now you own it.

I hadn't much liked it in recent years anyway, and won't greatly mourn its passing. See, I had to hold my nose, too. I've detested how the leadership and the majority of members have conducted themselves, but I didn't go all irrational. I didn't start calling tea party folks "really, really stoopid" after they had made such important contributions. Some of you Trump folks did. And still are.

We were making some small progress in turning around 100 years of Progressive rot (with brief interruptions from Coolidge and Reagan). I wish it had been faster and better, especially in the last 40 years, but now we're not going anywhere until we deal with the Trump Consequence.

And, seriously, how is a vote for a Not Hillary a vote for Hillary? Would a Sanders supporter voting for the Not Hillary be a vote for Hillary? Let me simplify your position for you: Something someone never had, and never had a chance to have, is being stolen from them when it's not given to them. What that means is you think Trump has a binding claim on my vote, but it's not as if you weren't told Trump couldn't have my vote, and it's not as if I care that you read me out of the party formerly known as the GOP because of it.

I publicly laid out many of the reasons I could not morally or ethically vote for Trump. Now you're telling me I can't vote for anyone else, and I must call myself a cuckservative having had the temerity to even think about it. That's what you've been insulting me with for lo these many weeks, as if valuing limited government under strict adherence to the Constitution has become subservient to a withering stream of sleazy innuendo, gross insult and shameless Constitutional ignorance.

I will note that labeling me a “cuckservative” seems to indicate you have some affinity for the term “conservative.” With Trump, however, you're bound and determined to teach others that conservatism is a personally demeaning philosophy, chiefly characterized by small-minded incuriosity.

I can hear the shouting, “Hillary is far, far worse, you fool!” Maybe. I don't care. See, the idea is that this is a long term game: Four years of Trump redefining core American principles into a mix of Huey Long populism and crony capitalist political-insider trading might well do more damage than our enemy. There are signs already, and Trump's popularity is one of them, that we've forgotten what made America great in the first place: limited government, free minds and free markets under the Constitution.

The Dems are already rebranding the GOP with Trump.

The people who are handing the presidency to Hillary Clinton are the people who already voted for Trump, so I damn well don't want to hear any more snide criticisms of my personal voting choice. You can maintain your self respect having voted for Trump. More power to you. I can't do that.

So, I think I stick with my core beliefs. My conservatism was initially informed by Barry Goldwater, who was just barely short of Libertarian. This certainly won't be the first time I've voted Libertarian. And the last time I did, it wasn't counted as a vote for Al Gore.

To those for whom Libertarianism is an exotic or suspect philosophy, do some research if you'd like. I'm not vouching for this, but it gives a flavor.

Certainly visit The Cato Institute, The Mises Institute, Cafe Hayek, Reason Magazine and Libertarianism.org, they're all conveniently located on the left sidebar. Read some Henry Hazlitt, Adam Smith, Friedrich von Hayek, Murray Rothbard, Ayn Rand, Frédéric Bastiat and Milton Friedman. Try to recall some of the things Ron Paul stood for.

Or don't. I'll point out that a Libertarian vote this year really doesn't commit you to anything. The Libertarian candidate is not going to be president, any more than Donald Trump is, so the philosophy doesn't much matter. It does matter that the LP will be on the ballot in all 50 states, so it's easier than a write in. It does matter that Libertarians want major change. It would matter greatly in 2020 if they could get into double digits in 2016. It's a long term game. A little longer now than it was.

I may expand on the reasons you might prefer voting Libertarian to other parties in a future post. It's certainly preferable to not voting, because you do need to vote the down ballot races.

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Choose the Form of Your Destructor*

The Second Coming
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
-William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)


*Gozer the Gozarian

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Picking losers

From National Review:

SunEdison, which billed itself as the “largest global renewable energy development company,” is on the verge of bankruptcy after sucking up $650 million in federal grants and tax credits and $846 million in federal loans, loan guarantees, tax-exempt federal bonds, and federal insurance.

Also in April, Spanish energy company Abengoa SA filed for bankruptcy in Delaware, having disappeared $2.6 billion in federal loans and loan guarantees, as well as $986 million in federal grants and tax credits.

That adds up to about $5 billion taxpayer dollars, 70% of it to a foreign company.

Maybe MIT Technology Review should revisit its story on the limits of "clean coal" for balance.