Archives for: December 2012

Happy New Year! – and I told you so…

Well, 2012 will go down as the worst year of my life, not just because of Obama and what I see around me, but also because my personal life took a totally unexpected turn for the worse. Live & learn. I will spare you the details of my personal life, but I do want to point out that I am not feeling next year will be anything but more of the same political and economic bad too. And this brings me to my “I told you so” moment.

With both sides on the cusp of a fiscal cliff deal, President Barack Obama vowed Monday to seek additional revenue next year alongside spending cuts. In the process, he also angered several GOP senators who said he demeaned their efforts to reach a deal.

Obama said that a year-end deal to avert tax hikes for the middle class “is within sight, but it’s not done.”

The emerging deal, which sources have pegged at around $600 billion in new revenue, would include permanent extensions of current tax rates on individuals with income up to $400,000 and couples with income up to $450,000. But Obama made clear that he would demand additional revenue as part of any package next year.

Obama has sought a much higher revenue figure — $1.3 trillion — as part of a “grand bargain” in his failed negotiations with Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio.

“My preference would have been to solve all of these problems … in a grand bargain,” Obama said. But “with this Congress, that was obviously a little too much to hope for.”

I doubt this deal happens still. And what I am certain of is that the taxes will be front loaded while there are no cuts. The same stupid people that usually think this sort of schadenfreude, wealth redistribution, soak the rich, politics amount to good fiscal policy, all cheered this crap. But they better rethink their giddiness, because they too will soon be in the line of fire.

Obama has already served notice that this was his first pass. He wants more money for government to spread around. A lot more! That $1.3 trillion – and remember this was to be collected over a decade – was his starting point. I bet he wants at least 10 times as much. The spending isn’t going to stop, and any cuts we ever get told will happen will basically amount to fiction. The rich can not cover what these people want to spend. So we are all going to end up paying more taxes. And that is over and above the massive hike Obamacare promises us will start on Jan 1st, 2013.

Enjoy it while it lasts. May 2013 not be the disaster it is shapping to become. Well wishes to all.

This is why I refuse to “discuss” anything with the gun grabbers

Their brilliant idea? Well, since it stands in the way of the enlightened left’s agenda (that’s tyrannical shit for sane people), dump the constitution! The problems we have today are not the fact that stupid fucking assholes think they can override the laws of economics and human nature with their fantasies, the out of control spending by a political class that buys its power and grows it through that mechanism, and certainly not the fact that our government has become the people’s worst enemy, no it’s that god damned stupid document that is there to limit government from abusing us.

AS the nation teeters at the edge of fiscal chaos, observers are reaching the conclusion that the American system of government is broken. But almost no one blames the culprit: our insistence on obedience to the Constitution, with all its archaic, idiosyncratic and downright evil provisions.

Consider, for example, the assertion by the Senate minority leader last week that the House could not take up a plan by Senate Democrats to extend tax cuts on households making $250,000 or less because the Constitution requires that revenue measures originate in the lower chamber. Why should anyone care? Why should a lame-duck House, 27 members of which were defeated for re-election, have a stranglehold on our economy? Why does a grotesquely malapportioned Senate get to decide the nation’s fate?

Our obsession with the Constitution has saddled us with a dysfunctional political system, kept us from debating the merits of divisive issues and inflamed our public discourse. Instead of arguing about what is to be done, we argue about what James Madison might have wanted done 225 years ago.

Now I get it: our political system is dysfunctional because we put restrictions on what our government can do to us! I wonder if the assholes that are now spouting this nonsense would feel the same way if the guy in the WH pushing his agenda was not this inept collectivist community organizer? What if the brilliant idea their government had come up with was something they didn’t agree with, let’s see eugenics, reeducation camps for dissenters, or maybe some big war to help with population control or to keep the sheep focused?

As someone who has taught constitutional law for almost 40 years, I am ashamed it took me so long to see how bizarre all this is. Imagine that after careful study a government official — say, the president or one of the party leaders in Congress — reaches a considered judgment that a particular course of action is best for the country. Suddenly, someone bursts into the room with new information: a group of white propertied men who have been dead for two centuries, knew nothing of our present situation, acted illegally under existing law and thought it was fine to own slaves might have disagreed with this course of action. Is it even remotely rational that the official should change his or her mind because of this divination?

Constitutional disobedience may seem radical, but it is as old as the Republic. In fact, the Constitution itself was born of constitutional disobedience. When George Washington and the other framers went to Philadelphia in 1787, they were instructed to suggest amendments to the Articles of Confederation, which would have had to be ratified by the legislatures of all 13 states. Instead, in violation of their mandate, they abandoned the Articles, wrote a new Constitution and provided that it would take effect after ratification by only nine states, and by conventions in those states rather than the state legislatures.

I had a long laugh at that drivel. After 40 years of “teaching” the constitution, this guy comes clean and admits he simply doesn’t even have a fucking clue what the constitution was about. To him, and other idiots that believe like him, this is just some thing put together by a bunch of long dead rich white shitheads that wore wigs and had slaves! How dare they limit the power of government, especially that of well meaning modern day “progressive” government, with such a stupid piece of paper? They are in the way of progress! Government has done this study, you see, and they now have the answer, and they know hoto fix everything, but then, that stupid constitution gets in the way and screws it all up! Laughable, I tell you. These geniuses in government always get it wrong. We are lucky when they get it just a little bit wrong.

This is exactly the problem we face today. People that suddenly see the one document that made sure citizens understood the agreement between them and the limitations they put on their government’s power, and in turn kept us free and made this country prosperous, as the problem standing in the way of their agenda. It’s not a coincidence or mistake that we are now seeing these leftards all coming out of the woodwork, right as are reaping more and more of the horrible consequences, foreseen or otherwise, of decades of their policies and social engineering, to now tell us we should just toss the constitution and let their enlightened masters do what they want. What the hell could go wrong this time, huh?

The “War on Poverty”, now in its seventh decade and costing over $18 trillion, has failed miserably? Well, it is the fault of the constitution! Every leftard attempt as social engineering has had unintended consequences or has actually resulted in predicted problems? It is the fault of the constitution! Our gigantic out of control government keeps making things worse by ignoring the constitution and taking advantage of the fact decades of indoctrination have produced so many insane and idiotic sheep that are quite content trading their freedoms for the illusion of security and the ability to pass off responsibility for their actions? Let’s roll back the constitution so that government can do even more of that! Gimme my free shitz, and you can do whatever you want!

If we but had examples throughout history of governments knowing what was best, after careful studies, doing just that and costing tens of millions their lives and forcing billions of their own citizens to live in prison states. After all, the progressives are in charge, and they mean well! And anyone that thinks more of the same bigger government is bad, is crazy too!

The deep-seated fear that such disobedience would unravel our social fabric is mere superstition. As we have seen, the country has successfully survived numerous examples of constitutional infidelity. And as we see now, the failure of the Congress and the White House to agree has already destabilized the country. Countries like Britain and New Zealand have systems of parliamentary supremacy and no written constitution, but are held together by longstanding traditions, accepted modes of procedure and engaged citizens. We, too, could draw on these resources.

My advice is you move your fucking “progressive” pro big government ass to Britain or New Zealand and leave the rest of us the fuck alone you collectivist idiot. Have no doubt that the agenda of these people that think the constitution and not the left’s beliefs and failures are the problem, is to turn the US into a two bit shit state. More government to solve the problems caused by too much government is only the answer if you are insane. Fear these people. When this plays out, as history has shown us, it costs millions their lives and imprisons billions in misery. I wonder if this moron was saying the same nonsense he is doing right now when Boosh was president.

Happy New year, indeed. 2013 sure looks like it is going to be one doozy of a year.

If the guy in the WH had an “R” next to his name…

We would be bombarded nonstop with stories how this was his fault:

Nearly two months after homes in Staten Island, NY were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, residents say they’re still struggling with red tape as they try to get the government to help.

FEMA “really hasn’t done much, if anything, and they’re making people go through a whole bunch of bureaucratic tape,” one resident told MRCTV.

‘They need all the help they can get, and the red tape doesn’t help anyone. It only hurts and hinders and grows the problem,” another said.

Victims are shuffled from one desk to another for registration, an identification check, and one-on-one interviews – then referred to something called a “Mitigation Desk,” a FEMA official at a local Disaster Recovery Center explained to MRCTV.

Just remember that these are the same kind of people that have been fighting the “War on poverty” for the past 6 decades, are running Social Security and Medicare into the ground, and soon will be in charge of Obamacare and our life & death decisions. And yet, our social justice class warriors tell us these people are our salvation. We should even give up our freedoms and rights and trust them to protect us.

Fuck that. A bunch of freaking 4H or Boyscout kids could do a better job than these government morons.

The Welfare Trap

One thing conservatives constantly worry about is the danger of creating a welfare trap: a situation in which the welfare state is so entrenched that working is actually less profitable than being dependent on the state.

Check out this amazing graph from The Spectator on the UK’s welfare system:

How’s that for a perverse incentive? Lost benefits and increased taxes mean that, for a single mother, increasing her earnings from 0 to 15,000 pounds only increases her net income by 5000 pounds. Would you work for 1/3 of the wages? At certain points, she is losing 95 pence for every new pound she earns.

if I was in a position of a British single mother I have not the slightest doubt that I would choose welfare. Why break your back on the minimum wage for longer than you have to, if it doesn’t pay? Some people do have the resolve to do it. I know I wouldn’t. …So let’s not talk about “lazy” Brits. The problem is a cruel and purblind welfare system which still, to this day, strengthens the welfare trap with budgets passed without the slightest regard for its effect on the work incentives on the poorest. …Meanwhile, the cash-strapped British government is still creating still the most expensive poverty in the world.

Keep in mind that to get out of the welfare trap — to get to income levels where it does pay to work, you generally have to work your way up. You might spend years at low pay building your resume for a higher-paying job. So the real cruelty is not just that this traps people in dependency, but that it puts grease on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder. It pulls back the possibility of rising above minimum wage.

OK, that’s Britain, you say. It could never happen here. Wrong. The CBO just issued a report showing that marginal rates for low-income workers are about 30-35%. And that’s an average. At certain inflection points, the marginal rate is over 100%, once the Obamacare subsidies kick in. And, even now, the marginal rate is over 60% as you cross the poverty line.

As with the UK, these traps in the tax/welfare system are created because politicians are not doing their damned homework. They have created a system so complex that only a bevy of CBO accountants can untangle it all. But look at those numbers and ask yourself: could this maybe be contributing just a tiny little bit to exodus of so many people from the work force?

Dropping Faster than Snooki’s Underpants

Dave Barry has his Year in Review post up again and it’s definitely worth your time. One of my favorite quips:

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, having dealt with all of the city’s other concerns — disaster preparation, for example — turns his attention to the lone remaining problem facing New Yorkers: soft drinks. For far too long, these uncontrolled beverages have roamed the city in vicious large-container packs, forcing innocent people to drink them and become obese. Bloomberg’s plan would prohibit the sale of soft drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces, thereby making it impossible to consume larger quantities, unless, of course, somebody bought two containers, but the mayor is confident that nobody except him would ever be smart enough to think of that.

Also:

the Democrats gather in Charlotte, N.C. for their convention, during which they declare their near-carnal passion for the Middle Class and celebrate the many major achievements of the Obama administration, including the killing of Osama bin Laden, solar energy, the winning of the War on Terror by killing Osama bin Laden, the Chevy Volt, bold presidential leadership in the form of making the difficult decision to order the killing of Osama bin Laden, wind power and many, many other major things that the administration has achieved, such as killing Osama bin Laden. The Democrats acknowledge that the economy is not totally 100 percent “there” yet but promise to continue moving steadfastly forward with their relentless attacks on the root cause of economic stagnation and continued high unemployment, namely, George W. Bush.

Read the whole thing. We need some humor right about now.

The Unserious GOP

Ladies and gentlemen, if you want to know why I voted for Gary Johnson this year, here it is in one tweet:

That’s Marco Rubio, rising star of the GOP, boasting that the GOP is refusing to tackle entitlements and insisting that we blame Barack Obama for one of the few good ideas to emerge from the Fiscal Cliff mess.

I haven’t posted much on the Fiscal Cliff mess since I knew the Congress and the President, like dumb students who have known a paper was due all semester, would wait until the last minute. I will not be surprised at all if we go over the cliff. But keep this in mind: the President and his party are laughable clowns. But a big obstacles here — as boasted by Rubio — is that the GOP doesn’t really want to cut spending.

The French Back Down

When new French Socialist President Francois Holland raised marginal tax rates on the rich to 75%, the response was utterly predictable. Rich people decided to abandon France including national icon Gerard Depardieu (you can read Depardieu’s wonderful letter here).

Well, the French may have gotten the message:

France’s constitutional council has struck down a top income tax rate of 75% introduced by Socialist President Francois Hollande.

Raising taxes for those earning more than 1m euros (£817,400) has been a flagship policy for Mr Hollande.

The policy angered France’s business community and prompted some wealthy citizens to say they would emigrate.

Mr Hollande’s government said it would rework the tax, due to take effect in 2013, to meet the council’s complaints.

Welcome to the 21st century, comrades. Capital and wealth is mobile, infamy is instant and social rebellions can take place in days. I’m sure Hollande really thought he was going to get this done without any problems. And twenty years ago, he might have. But not today. Today, he had to back down almost immediately.

In fairness, the council is harping on what they see as a legal flaw, not the outright stupidity of it. But it just shows you what a poorly thought-out money grab this was. And, as time goes on, I’m sure more flaws will be found so that the French government can back away from this dreadful policy.

Hey Mr DJ: Reset Button Edition

We’re nearly through with the holidays, at long last. All things considered, 2012 was a good year for me personally. Yes, I think the major electoral outcome was a disaster for America, but life goes on.

Let’s look ahead to 2013, which will be exciting, I believe. Whether or not we want the excitement it will offer is a different question.

Bring on the New Year with:

1. Your Best of 2012. This can be music released in 2012 or even older music that you only discovered and started to appreciate in 2012.

2. Songs about renewal, new beginnings, or starting over

3. Music about making a complete wreck of your life and looking back bitterly (the Ball and Chain option)

4. Something that sums up your feelings about 2012.

5. In honor of the Fake Mayan Apocalypse, songs about the calendar, days of the week, and time

For last week’s survivors of the end:

FPrefect: A Simple Song by The Shins (1)

pfluffy: Psychotic Girl by The Black Keys (1)

Poosh: Save Me by Gotye (1)

Biggie G: Club Foot by Kasabian (1)

Iconoclast: Weatherman by Dead Sara (1)

stogy: Friday I’m in Love by the Cure (5)

Santino: Survival by Muse (1)

Mississippi Yankee: Lover of the Light by Mumford and Sons (1)

CM: Love Interruption by Jack White (1)

NRA In Earth Orbit

Last week, while I was away, the NRA had a press conference about the Connecticut shootings. Actually, it wasn’t a press conference since they took no questions. It was more of a statement.

A statement from the NRA in the wake of Sandy Hook required a degree of tact. I realize that the Left expected the NRA to come out, do a mea culpa and call for a gun ban … you know, the same way they expected pro-choice groups to reverse course after the Gosnell scandal. But those of us who live the real world knew that the NRA would stand for gun freedom. The question was, after a week of thinking about it, how would they stand for gun freedom while respecting the delicate feelings of a wounded nation?

What I expected and hoped for was something along these lines:

It’s important to recognize that there are 300 million weapons in this country and less than one in a thousand is used every year to commit a crime. Less than one in 25,000 will be used to commit a murder. Violent crime has fallen dramatically in the last twenty years — and we’re willing to admit that part of the reason may be measures that the NRA opposed. And mass shootings, contrary to hysterical claims in the media, are not increasing.

Clearly, more needs to be done. We are ready to take whatever steps are needed to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally disturbed; as long as that does not compromise the Second Amendment liberties of law-abiding Americans.

The NRA’s statement, to say the least was not this. In fact, I think it did more to damage the cause of gun liberty than anything the gun grabbers could have said.

Let me back up a moment. The anti-gun lobby has a problem: the public has considered and rejected most of their arguments. There is sympathy for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines, but efforts to recreate gun bans or repeal the Second Amendment are going precisely nowhere.

In the wake of this complete defeat in the arena of ideas, they have been reduced to making absurd suggestions like gun buybacks. Gun buybacks sound good until you consider you’d have to spend $5 million for every gun murder prevented. If I gave you $5 million, I guarantee that you could save more than one life with it. And that’s assuming 100% efficiency. More likely, gun buybacks would take guns away from the law-abiding or allow criminals to dump “hot” weapons.

Another dumb idea that has surfaced is restricting or taxing bullets. HuffPo makes the case that when you buy bullets, you should have to crawl to the local police station and lick their feet until they agree to give you some ammo (I’m exaggerating only slightly). I’m sure this sounds good to someone who doesn’t know one end of a gun to another. To an enthusiast, who typically uses more bullets in a day at the range than a spree shooter will use before putting one in his own brain, it sounds insane. It also simply wouldn’t work. Black market bullets would flood the market, people would start making their own bullets and the Supreme Court would almost certainly reject it as a too clever attempt to get around the Second Amendment.

They’ve also been reduced, as defeated movements usually are, to saying things that simply aren’t true. I covered before how they manipulated the numbers to make it seem that spree killings are rising. Here I take apart a claim that we have more spree killings than 36 other nations combined. Here is a refutation of the false contention that spree killings are never stopped by armed civilians (a claim that was patently ridiculous when it was made). The ridiculous and insulting “If I Only Had a Gun” piece is also making the rounds despite Gary Kleck’s actual, you know, research on the defensive use of guns.

My point is that the anti-gun lobby has a very limited influence right now. They might be able to get a ban on high-capacity magazines or something but disarming the nation is simply not on; at least not with the gang of clowns and idiots currently comprising the radical anti-Second Amendment wing. Even Diane Feinstein’s newly-proposed gun grab is likely going nowhere.

They realize this, which is why they have stooped to such Orwellian methods as publishing the names and addresses of legal gun owners in New York.

No, I don’t think the anti-gun lobby is a real threat to Second Amendment liberty. The only threat I foresee is that the pro-Second Amendment side manages to turn back the progress made in the last twenty years by playing to every gun-totin’ stereotype the Left can imagine, by turning the vast middle of this country against gun freedom, at least on issues like assault weapons or conceal-carry, where public opinion is more finely balanced. And the NRA’s statement couldn’t have been better crafted to do precisely that.

LaPierre came out and blamed everything except guns. It was the fault of video games, of movies, of Obama, of hurricanes, of everything. He talked about Natural Born Killers for Christ’s sake, a movie that came out 18 years ago and that no one watched. All of this played right into the Left’s “anything but guns” narrative, making the NRA seem desperate to avoid even talking about weapons.

Their specific proposals were even more appalling. They called for Congress to look into violent entertainment and create a national database on mental illness (because nothing says “liberty” liked trampling on the First and Fourth Amendments in defense of the Second). Most notably, they called to have armed guards in every school. Never mind that Columbine had armed guards and most college campuses have police forces. Never mind that this plays into every our kids are in danger! hysteria. Never mind that a child in school is safer than they are anywhere else. (The number of children murdered in school every year is about 20-30. The number of children murdered outside of school is more like a couple of thousand, depending on how you define child.)

Thankfully, sensible people like Chris Christie and Ron Paul recognized this proposal for what it is: a tremendous waste of resources, a hysterical response to a tragedy and appalling encroachment of a literal police state into every school.

Of course, this is just the statement from the NRA, not a politician. So why did it bother me so much? It took me a few days to unpack what really bothered me about it: it’s a pattern that has become endemic to the conservative side of the aisle lately. It sounded like something a caller to a radio talk show would say; not something worthy of the leader of an organization number 4.3 million people. I’m sure it rallied the pro-Second Amendment base. But ardent gun rights supporters are not what we should be worried about. What we should be worried about are the tens of millions of people who are kind of mixed on the gun issue and could easily be persuaded that DiFi’s horrible assault weapons bill is a sensible alternative to the NRA’s bluster.

LaPierre has history, of course. His famous “jack-booted thug” letter caused George H. W. Bush to resign his life membership. But he also came to the front when gun freedom really was under siege, with mainstream politicians openly calling for gun bans. He’s fighting the fight of 30 years ago. This simply does not apply today, when Obama’s response to this tragedy was to … have Biden convene a commission. In fact, Obama has yet to do anything about gun control and has specifically said the Second Amendment protects an individual right. When LaPierre came to lead the NRA, even the NRA was tentative about saying that.

I think it’s clear the LaPierre has outlives his usefulness Someone needs to step up who has come of age in the 2000’s and understands that the main thing the NRA needs to do is hold the line, to maintain the freedoms we have rather than fight against a political opponent that is beaten, defeated and impotent. My fear is that if they keep fighting the political fights of the 1980’s, they will get them back: blow life into an anti-gun movement that is currently moribund.

Stormin’ Norman Gone

Norman Schwarzkopf has died. Schwarzkopf could easily have entered politics after his victory in the Gulf War, but refused to do so, preferring to retire with his wife of 44 years. He also famously refused to kneel before Queen Elizabeth when she knighted him, believing that Americans should not kneel or bow to a foreign sovereign.

RIP, Norman. You earned it.

Update: My favorite Schwarzkopf quote:

As far as Saddam Hussein being a great military strategist, he is neither a strategist, nor is he schooled in the operational art, nor is he a tactician, nor is he a general, nor is he a soldier. Other than that he’s a great military man-I want you to know that.

The general had a way of making the public understand what was going on in the war without disclosing any sensitive information. I wish we’d had someone like him running Gulf War II.