This is not a political site. This is an anti-political site. We agree with the goals of individual liberty, free markets, and peace.

12/31/09

Wishing You the Blessings of Liberty in 2010


I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have read the blog this year. Your kind comments and continued readership have made it fun to write and I hope you have enjoyed it even if you disagreed with some of my opinions or cheeky style.

One of the most rewarding comments I have received was "My sister disagrees with almost everything you write but she reads your blog all the time." Special thanks to that un-named sister, who couldn't be blamed if she finally threw in the towel.

I have striven to present information which may have been missed, along with my original content, in such a way that it would be entertaining as well as informative. I hope a few of you laughed from time to time and although some of the things I write about can cause angst and even anger, my intent is not to depress you. The times we live in and the events of the last few years need no assistance from me in that regard.

Believe it or not, there is a larger concept or idea behind most of the essays. The most important one is my belief that "freedom works." It's not perfect, but since utopia is not an option, it will have to do because it "works" infinitely better than any other arrangement of human society ever tried. (I might add that it would be a goal worth pursuing despite that.)

So thank you again for "playing along with the gag." Writing this blog has given me more happiness than I would have otherwise enjoyed. Not to mention giving us a vehicle for expressing ourselves without shouting across the room or talking over and past each other. While comments are made by you, in private and in the comment section following each short essay, I would encourage more of them next year as you feel led. I named the blog with that hope in mind.

Remember, YOU are the WE in whatwethinkandwhy.

12/30/09

Legislative Breathalyzer


Tests to make sure that people are not intoxicated while performing tasks that might be dangerous to others are common today. I would humbly suggest that one of the tasks to include in that scrutiny might be a test to address "Legislating under the Influence."

I mean, if our own illustrious Mayor Daley doesn't mind his underwear being  monitored, ("I get scrutined every day.") why should Sen. Max Baucus be offended merely by being required to puff into the monitor before taking to the floor of the Senate to change our health-care system? As someone once said, "Political intoxication leads to reality hangover."

Many of you have probably seen this unbelievable video of him "debating" in "the world's greatest deliberative body" as it burns its way around the internet but it would be presumptuous of me to assume that you shouldn't be given an opportunity to "scrutin" it, just in case you missed it so far.

So allow me to douse the fire with gasoline.

12/28/09

We've Joined the Militia

By Grant Davies

You and I have joined the militia. You might not have even known it. And the Christmas holiday this year marked another victory for that militia.

The militia are those folks who are trying to defend us from some insaniacs who are bent on murdering us for no particular reason.

Okay, I admit that they actually do have a purpose. Sometimes  it's just hard to ascertain what it is, at least from a western perspective. Apparently they want to return civilization to an earlier time (centuries ago, give or take) when all was better with the world, at least in their eyes. It seems we westerners are ruining the regression.

I guess it's human nature, that longing for the "good old days." For them it was when women were chattel and there was no information available to their subjects except what they wanted them to have. I can understand the "good old days" thing myself since I long for a return to a time in this country when the constitution meant what was written in it. A time when people were still free to succeed or fail without the "help" of the elite in government. But back to the point of all this, the militia. 

During the founding era of this country, that term was understood to mean the people themselves, at least when they banded together to defend themselves as the need arose. They were armed with whatever weapons they could muster and they asserted their natural right to keep and bear those weapons.

One of the brightest (if not the most well known) of the founders was George Mason. He distilled the definition of that military force down to an understandable concept when he wrote; "what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few public officials."

Our current militia is decidedly the not "well regulated" one hoped for by the founders. By Mason's definition, you and I are already enlisted in this militia, so no formal sign-up is necessary. And it is this type of militia that  has had the most success in the local skirmishes of the "Global War on Terror." (At least that's what it used to be called. Some in today's government have taken to calling it an "Overseas Contingency Operation." Apparently, it's a politically correct attempt to portray it as a non-violent war. But I digress.)

When on 9-11 our government failed at it's most fundamental task - that of defending our right to breathe - the militia succeeded. That success was achieved by people like Rick Rescorla at World Trade center, and Todd Beamer and others on Flt 93 over Pennsylvania. It also included scores of other unnamed citizens who saved thousands of lives on that fateful day.

Rescorla saved thousands (about 2700) of innocent lives with his pre-attack planning and unbelievable courage. He also gave his own life during the attack the government failed to detect or prevent. His name is almost unknown today despite an hour-long documentary, "The Man Who Predicted 9-11" on the History Channel.

Somewhat more well known is Todd Beamer (of "Let's Roll" fame) who along with others gave their lives preventing Islamofacists from blowing up the White House with a United Airlines cruise missile. (I challenge anyone to name one of the other heroes he fought along side of without looking it up on the net. I certainly couldn't when I started to write this piece.)

The actions of those people was another militia victory on that day, particularly when compared to the government failure to detect or prevent the plot.

Then, three days ago, on Christmas, it was a passenger on a Detroit bound jet who engaged yet another Islamic fundamentalist soldier as he tried to blow up the plane. Jasper Schuringa, a Dutch filmmaker has been identified in the media as the passenger who subdued the would be terrorist who was attempting to murder over two hundred in his quest for a date with 72 virgins.

Although the idiot martyr-wannabe is reported to have been previously identified as a terrorist threat, and some reports say had no passport to travel here, the government's effort to defend us from him also failed miserably. The reason for the government failure was political correctness, again.

The only thing that saved the day was a poorly designed detonator and our fellow militia member Schuringa. These members of our militia are battlefield heroes as surely as any in our history. They are our fellow soldiers in the never ending war for our freedom.

There is a lesson in all this. It is just this;  It's up to us, the people, the real militia. And the lesson applies equally to the effort to halt the domestic threats to our freedoms as well. If we leave it up to the politicians we can expect similar results.

In my opinion, the domestic threat is even more dangerous than the threat from abroad.                                                  

12/17/09

Understanding How We Got Here


As promised in an earlier post, Dr. Thomas Sowell, one of the best thinkers in America explains in plain language what caused the Housing Boom and Bust in his book of that name. The links on the right point to articles published in the Investors Business Daily which are actually a chapter from that book.

As always, there is plenty of blame to pass around, but there are always root causes as well. The chapter is titled "The Politics of the Housing Boom" and it takes the mystery out of the question about what some of those causes are. We ignore those causes at our future peril. Of course I suggest you read the book itself, but the chapter referenced should suffice in lieu of that.

Thomas Sowell, a man with no political aspirations, or someone like him, should have been President of the United States. If that had happened, the first black President could have been a triumph instead of the unmitigated disaster it has become. A leader in every sense of the word, his grasp on this issue is only one of many he has a grasp on. A common sense man for uncommon times.

You can read the series on the right. And you won't want to miss listening to a pod-cast of an interview of Dr. Sowell here. It covers several topics and is enlightening as well as entertaining.

12/15/09

Checking the Scorecard


If you are a golfer, you have probably witnessed a familiar scene at the 19th hole of your favorite course. When you look around at the other players enjoying their after-round beverage and commiseration session, you will see them staring at the scorecard almost with the expectation that the score might somehow change for the better if only they look at it long enough. It's part of the fun. (It's almost as much fun as collecting on the small wager from my old friend "Skinny")

It's the same way with writing on a blog. It's interesting to see where the readers come from and how they arrived at your site. Many of those who visit this site do so because I have alerted them with an annoying email. Others stumble upon it while doing google searches or click on the link from other sites who recommend it to their readers. Several have come because the link was forwarded to them in an email. Happily, this blog is starting to make the rounds of some colleges. It's nice to have younger readers, it's their future I usually write about. It would be a terrible waste of the perfectly good mistakes my generation has made if they weren't shared with people who still have time to avoid them.

So after checking the "score card" of my writing effort on Dec. 9th, I was a tad confused by some of the "hits" received. The number was larger than usual, but the two separate visits from the U S House of Representatives was the stat that caught my eye.

I have some theories, but it's still not clear to me how a Lilliputian blogsite like this one came under the watchful eye of someone from what noted humorist and freedom advocate P.J. O'Rourke called the "Parliament of Whores" in his best selling book of that title.

As an aside, I highly suggest you click the link, make note of the titles of all his other books (most of which I have read) and get ready for laughter and enlightenment mixed together into a terrific literary cocktail. P.J. truly is the Will Rogers of our era. They would also make great Christmas gifts.

The blog you are reading has been visited by people in all but a few of the states in this country as well as countries across Europe, Asia, Australia and the Middle East. Although the number of hits is small, I'm still amazed about that. And I thank all those who take the time to read the short essays I write here.

Maybe some House staffer was just running a google search to find out who is mentioning their boss and the context of the citation, but just in case they actually care what I think;

I disapprove of what most of you are doing. I think you were destroying this country step by step, and now by leaps and bounds.  Both Democrats and Republicans. Many of you are just looking for power and money. Some of you are just misguided fools who think they are trying to do the right thing. But the effect on my life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, and that of my offspring is the same as if you are deliberately trying to destroy them. But I forgive you because you are not the problem. We who elected you are the problem, and I'm not sure if we deserve to be forgiven. In any case, I am keeping a different kind of scorecard on you.

PS...Your employee evaluation is coming up in 2010. You're fired.

12/9/09

Let's Get Bombed

About a year ago we were blessed to be able to visit our daughter and some other wonderful people in the great states of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. On that trip we were able to do most of the things which I think make up a great vacation. Spend time with loved ones, see many historical sites, and eat fantastic food.

One of the historical sites was the City Tavern in Philadelphia, near Independence Hall, where Adams and Jefferson often met to enjoy "a feast of reason and a flow of soul".  It was great to have a good meal and a beer (made from Jefferson's own recipe, a tad heavy but, darn, it was good) in the place where the ideas and ale flowed at equal volume. It was there that the founders drank much and argued much on the way to building the greatest country on earth.

Now-a-days, lesser beings such as ourselves gather to feast on pizza while our souls are flowing as we try to hash out ideas in the same way. This time around, the same kind of anger is afoot, but instead of a slightly groggy, self confident group of action figures in attendance, it is a bewildered gathering of citizens who were so busy enjoying the fruits of abundance that they never saw the socialistic blindside coming from those who pretended to love freedom. People like George W Bush, who took about two seconds to throw conceptual free enterprise under the bus at the first sign of difficulty, and Barack H Obama who gleefully put the bus in gear and pressed the accelerator to the floor.

When I find myself in the conversations among us "bewildereds", I repeatedly hear the frustrated complaint that we are powerless as individuals to do anything about the sad state of affairs in all government endeavors, locally as well as nationally. And the frustration is more than understandable. "Who do I see about this?" is the question I hear most often, as if there was a hotline number where someone would actually care what we thought and make all the bad ideas go away.

I write on this blog in part because it gives me the feeling that I'm doing something to make the situation better, no matter how pitifully insignificant. I have had to tell people that I'm not sure what they ought to be doing. To say, "get involved" is a generalization without meaning. To say, "write to your elected representatives " is also meaningless in several ways since many (if not most) people don't even know who their representatives are, or the even more disturbing realization that those elitists could not possibly care less what you think even if you did contact them.

Imagine for a second the possible outcome of calling Dick Durbin's office and telling him you want him to vote against the two thousand plus page "Health Care Reform" monstrosity that he champions or the huge tax increase and job killing bill called "Cap and Trade" that he worships. (The latter based on discredited global warming nonsense)

Maybe it would work better if you called Tombstone Burris or Jan Schakowsky or Bobby Rush or the elder Dan Lipinski's nitwit son? I don't think so.

That leaves us few other alternatives. But you asked for it in those conversations, at least some of you did, so here is my suggestion for anyone who wants to feel a tad more empowered.

Get Bombed with me. Tea Bombed that is.

Goofy?  Maybe, but not goofier than wringing our hands and continuing to co-operate with a truly screwed up political system.

Here's how it works;
Quit being a Republican. Quit being a Democrat. Go ahead, just do it, you will feel better. The first step on the ladder to recovery is to stop doing the things that are causing you the problems. So the next time someone asks about your politics, tell them you have left both political parties behind. In fact, maybe you should announce it even if they don't ask.
Become an Independent. You don't have to join anything, just quit being part of the problem.

Then go to the top of this page, watch the video if you haven't already, and then click on the Tea Bomb banner and learn about some ways to fire the idiots in charge and possibly hire some normal, freedom minded people (as they emerge) so we can start to find our way back to the right path.

The Tea Bomb is named after the "money bomb" method of raising contributions for candidates. The first "bombs" were for Ron Paul in his run against the Republican Party from within. They were designed to raise a large amount in a short burst for maximum media exposure, and they accomplished that goal better than anyone, including the current president. Now it is morphing into something different and is possibly being embraced by the "Tea Partiers", that group of former Democrats and Republicans who have reached the tipping point of disgust with the system that gave America the non-choices between; Obama and McCain, Bush and Kerry, Bush and Gore, Clinton and Dole.... ad-nausem.

So maybe it's time to get "bombed".  It couldn't work less than what we are currently doing.
Don't be afraid to pass this blog post around if you agree. I wouldn't mind if it registered my "greatest hits" in the web-site "unique visitors" stats so I don't feel like I'm mumbling to myself on this blog.

12/5/09

This Is Going on Your Permanent Record


Back when I was screwing up everything in sight on my way through the elementary education process, it seemed I was told after almost every misstep, "Young man, I hope you understand that this is going to go on your permanent record!"
Many of those growing up in the 50s and 60s have that same memory, and none of us could ever figure out where the heck that "permanent record" was kept and who was in charge of it. I mean, maybe we could somehow get a hold of it and do a little creative editing or something. In the end, we kinda figured out that in the same way Santa didn't really know if you were bad or good, it was all nonsense.

But now the sickening realization comes that it's actually true in some ways. In the information/internet age, everything you say (or blog about) is impossible to hide from. It's a bad thing if you write or say something really stupid, but it's a two sided sword. It's good when it allows us to hold the politicians accountable. (Even if the most arrogant among them really don't care if we do.)  It also allows us to see that, when someone warned us that the behavior we were engaging in was dangerous, we should have listened.

This brings us to the economic meltdown and the resulting gooey mess of many careers and retirement plans. In upcoming posts, with the help of Thomas Sowell, I plan on doing my small part to help shed some light on the actual reasons for the implosion, but for now we can skip the finger pointing in favor of a look back at what some prescient people thought might happen, before it happened.

So, who Knew? Some did, that's for sure.

While slogging through the blogs recently, I tripped over one with the most amazing U-Tube video I've seen in some time. Which is actually saying a lot considering the volume of amazing video clips found on the web. The blog I'm referring to is called Freedom Keeper, and it has several good videos on it although it doesn't seem to have been updated in a while.

One of those "who knew" was a guy named Peter Schiff. The video below features him while appearing on different occasions on TV before the events he foretold unfolded. There are some others featured in it, some of whom I respect greatly, like Ben Stein, who unfortunately were wrong, particularly if you followed their investment advice.  But there are others who literally laughed in the face of Schiff, and in my mind, they deserve the scorn which should be heaped on them for their rude method of disagreement.
I don't know if Schiff goes around telling people "I told you so", but those who ridiculed him owe him an apology. I rather doubt they will do so.  If you enjoy the clip below, you might check out what this man has been saying lately, this time on the Daily Show in June.

It would be great fun to joke about the stock price predictions toward the end of the video if so many people didn't act upon those predictions and lose huge sums of money in the process. Less fun is the realization that the politicians currently in power not only have refused to admit they erred, but continue to advocate more of the same policies as they attempt to keep the music playing.

In that regard, the band on the Titanic had nothing on them.

12/2/09

Watering the LiberTree

Ever since my fast forwarded, semi-retirement began in 2008, I have found a good deal of pleasure in planting and maintaining the landscaping around the house which we own, but still pay the local government a huge amount for the privilege of living in. And even though planting low maintenance flora is my goal, even that standard requires quite a bit of moisture if you want it to thrive.

And so it is with the propagation and nurture of concepts and ideas as well. To that end, I constantly comb the internet for interesting information, ideas and people about which to write. Recently in an article written for this page, I referenced an interesting person and his blog. His name is Wesley Messamore and his blog-site is called The Humble libertarian. I recently included a link to it among the others I recommend in the right hand column of this page.
My idea of a good blog-site is one where you can learn something you didn't know before and where there is some original, quality content to agree or disagree with. It's what I try to deliver here, and what Wes & Co. succeed in doing over at The Humble libertarian.

Without really knowing much about Wes, I was intrigued by the grasp he seems to have on issues concerning liberty and the talented writing he and his contributing editors publish on the site. The reason for my intrigue was his apparent age. Even with only a good ball park estimate of his age (he has since informed me of his two decade plus presence among us) I had concluded that I have been bloviating about freedom issues for longer than he has graced this earth. In fact, as my old Berghoff lunch-mate “JO” used to say after encountering a whiz-kid trader on the floor, "Hey, I have kids older than him, Hell, I may even have tennis shoes older than him!"

I'm not sure of the path this young man took to his arrive at his beliefs, or how he got there with such eloquence so quickly, but as the saying goes, the fruit always falls close to the tree, so I would guess it has some connection to his parents or family in general.
As I remarked to Wes in an email, "While most people your age have Levis, you seem to be wearing freedom genes".

On a personal level, our own offspring have a fondness for liberty that can probably be traced back to the long love affair my wife and I have had with freedom, (one second only to the one with each other) so the concept of passing your beliefs along to your children isn't peculiar only to Chicago Democrats or others beholden to the machine for their daily bread. (Even Republicans are Democrats in Chicago if they want to eat.)

The left long ago recognized the obvious; that the young people are the ones who matter when planning for the future. So they seeded many of the government schools and universities while the frog was cooking and today we are seeing the fruits of that farming. From my perspective, the fruit is bitter, millions upon millions of “twenty somethings” embracing the politics of personality and swooning at the prospect of big government “solutions” to societal problems. Short on analysis but long on adoration of the anointed, they are at least partially responsible for the latest crop failure of American governance.

But there are always some weeds in the lawn, and the emergence of a growing number of freedom minded folks of that same age demographic gives me some un-Obamesque hope for actual climate change, of the political variety. And if it can change at anything like the rate the dandelions multiply in my lawn, my children and grandchildren still have an outside chance.

Tonight, Wed. Dec. 2, Wesley will be interviewing the former Governor of New Mexico, Gary Johnson on his web-blog radio program. By the time this is posted, it will be concluded but you can replay it anytime afterward from a link at his site. I snitched a few U-Tube clips from his blog and have added them below so you can see what this former Governor accomplished in his eight years using small government principles in the real world instead of merely making speeches and organizing communities to demand more government programs. Maybe we can all learn something about a guy few of us have ever heard of before.

Although probably not delighted to be described as weeds, young freedom spokesmen need to be "watered" to grow, so even though I think Wesley has already been baptized in a much more important ceremony, I'm going to pour some cyber water on his cyber head right here in an effort to irrigate the tree of liberty with something other than the blood of patriots.



11/30/09

A Visit to the Climate Change Garbage Dump

It may just be middle age paranoia, but I seem to be getting more forgetful all the time. I can never seem to find my car keys anymore and the location of the TV remote is as baffling as Jimmy Hoffa's current address.

I could blame ole Buddy for wolfing down the Nissan keys if my old friend hadn't already departed for doggie heaven to dig a hole in my future back yard. But unlike my glasses or keys, my important information, like the title to my home and such is secured in the only place still reliable at most banks, the safe deposit box. Some documents and information are clearly too important to leave to the Swiss cheese memory bank of my mind, a place even riskier than a Fannie Mae mortgage closing. And it certainly is too important to be "dumped" purposely.

So I'd be befuddled concerning the missing data upon which Professor Phil Jones (of pilfered global warming e-mail infamy) bases his assertion that alleged temperature rises are “unequivocally linked to greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans", if of course he didn't already admit that it doesn't exist. At least not anymore, because it was "dumped" in the 1980s.

It's a curious thing to do with the data upon which, as a scientist, you base your entire ideology of man made catastrophic climate change. One might usually imagine a certain chagrin on the part of a scientist who based his work on data which he later discovered had been discarded by others. A fairly inconvenient  circumstance for fact checkers I'd say, but rather fortunate for fact muddlers.

Can you imagine a doctor telling you he could absolutely cure you of a malady he was "unequivocally" certain you had, based on the test results, but that he had pitched those results after gleaning the relevant information from them? I'm guessing you might be somewhat hesitant to go for the unbelievably expensive treatment after discovering that little tidbit. Particularly if he only admitted it after a lawsuit and a thousand or so hacked e-mails surfaced which showed him conferring with other doctors about the best way to fudge the results and keep people from discovering it.
Try another analogy substituting a car repair shop for the doctor or the climatologist and see if a different reaction occurs to you. I'm guessing it won't.

Given the absolute disregard the current Cap'n Control crowd has for how they are perceived after uttering other preposterous claims, I'm actually kind of surprised that they didn't opt for a "dog ate my homework" explanation for the missing data. With so many people dining on the garbage they have been shoveling out for decades, they could reasonably expect most "non-deniers" to swallow that story along with the rest.

"Hmmm, now where on earth did I leave that warming research? I don't see that darn dog around here either. Ya think maybe? ......Nah."

11/25/09

The American Suicide Bombers

The hardest enemies to fight have always been the suicidal. Those maniacs who are resigned to death in the quest to attain their goals, in the past and now, have something in common with each other, delusional visions of post mortem glory.

The Kamikaze pilots during what may ultimately prove to be a futile war against those who would change our way of life thought they would gain glory with the Emperor and their deceased relatives shortly after their fiery demise. They may have been the most effective weapons employed against us in that struggle.

The delusional Islamo-Facists who were merely copycats of that effort flew our own airliners into American buildings in an attempt to destroy freedom here with the idea that they would be rewarded with sexual adventures with numerous underage girls in some bizarre fantasy "heaven" for their sacrifice.

And now in our own country we have a group of legislators who, like the Bushido Japanese back then, see that they are about to lose their political lives and are willing to go out in a blaze of glory under the also delusional fantasy that their legacy will be the undying future admiration of millions upon millions of grateful recipients of government largesse who are delighted to have turned over the decisions about their own health to government employees. The "leaders" now feel so close to the ultimate goal of control for which they have striven for a century or more, that not even the prospect of political unemployment matters any longer.

Unless they are even crazier than I think, they now know that the orgasmic "twenty-somethings" and the mentally unhealed hippies of the sixties who voted them in while the "thrill was still going up their legs" have returned to less exciting pass-times like mourning Michael Jackson. Most have lost interest in going to the polls in hopes of change. Maybe the thrill has lessened along with their prospects for useful work.
The neo-socialists in congress and the White House are probably about to be "un-elected" in the face of actual 17% unemployment, and 34.5% unemployment among young black males. It's too late to turn back, so they have decided to blow themselves up with the nationalized health insurance bomb instead of merely dropping it on Americans.

With support dropping to 38% for the two thousand page monstrosity that none of them have read, and outright opposition going up faster than the price of gold, no rational person could deduce that Americans want this shoved down their throats. Even those who admire socialism conceptually (due to their belief that everyone must be as stupid as them and thus the government needs to "do something") are getting uncomfortable with the idea that a game-changing shift in national direction should be forced on the citizens with anything close to an even split. This isn't some tax policy or traffic law where a simple majority is sufficient. This is a fundamental change in that quaint old notion of the "American way."  And this one is opposed by more than a majority.

If you are entertaining the notion that everyone will fall in line in support of this after it’s rammed through, try that theory out by forcing a huge new change on your social club or church congregation with the support of 51% of the membership and see what happens the next year. Here’s a hint, it won’t be harmony, and it might be revolt.

The only thing we can do now is what our brave sailors did to the kamikaze crazies at the end of WWII -- help them along in their quest for oblivion, even if it means we have to temporarily re-elect the nitwit Republicans for a term or two in 2010 until a new way to select our representatives emerges.

To do anything else would be to commit national suicide.

11/16/09

A Question for my Generation

Did our parents defeat these foreign threats to our freedom, 










So we could surrender it to these domestic threats?









Government Ownership/Control of Healthcare
Government Ownership/Control of Auto Manufacturers
Government Ownership/Control of Banks
Government Ownership/Control of Insurance Companies (AIG)
Government Devaluation of our Currency
Government Control over Compensation
Government Backed home loans which cannot be repaid
Government Paying people to buy homes
Government Buying cars only to crush them
Trillions upon Trillions in Debt which cannot be repaid except with worthless dollars
Two Political Parties which are really just different branchs of the same one

Osama bin Laden could only dream of doing to us what we are doing to ourselves.

What will our grandchildren say about us if we let this happen?


11/13/09

The Oddity of my Odious Extremism

I have just discovered that many of you, and certainly me, are Odious. And inexplicably, also Jewish extremists. How my jewish-ness got past me I'll never know. But I'm extremely frightened by the direction our country is moving so I plead guilty to being an extremist in that regard.

The above reference is to the description of any of us who even entertain the notion that the murderous army Major Nidal Hassan might have possibly, maybe, potentially been influenced by his interpretation of Islam to commit treason while shouting a jihadist slogan during his homicidal execution of thirteen fellow soldiers and attempt to kill scores more.

The description was given by Joe Klein of  Time Magazine when he wrote about, "odious attempts by Jewish extremists . .. to argue that the massacre perpetrated by Nidal Hasan was somehow a direct consequence of his Islamic beliefs."

I must confess that I think it possibly was "somehow a direct consequence of his Islamic beliefs."

Therefore, the list of things I (and possibly you) have become in the eyes of the leftist literary elite has thus expanded from racists (for opposing the 2000 page unread two trillion dollar healthscare reform recently passed by the U S House in the dead of the night) and "tea bag" people, to these new heights. Or depths, if you prefer.

It would be comforting on some level to merely believe that this demented imbecile went "postal" because, well, just because that sometimes happens. Then we could wait for the new season of "Snapped" on cable TV to find out what made him do it and why he deserves our sympathy in spite of what he has done.
Comfort with uncomfortable events and their consequences, seems to be the national goal in the last few decades, but I never have "been with the program" in that regard, so perhaps I'm just a slow learner.

Regular readers of the columns of Dr. Charles Krauthammer either have read or will soon read his piece concerning the motives/causes of the perpetrator of the attack and that column was the inspiration for this commentary. It is titled "Tales Of Woe No Excuse For Mass Murder"  You may read it here.  I highly recommend it.
In the mean time, you might calculate the happiness/regret ratio on your Time magazine subscription depending upon your tolerance for being insulted by the writers found there.

According to Casey, my personal book reviewer and brewed beverage expert, we live in a time when there is "a lot of awful" out there. And someone just added a heap of it to the pile. Your own perspective on the passing scene will inform you about whether it increased more by the addition of our "odious-ness", or by the quality of the writing and thinking by folks like Klein.

11/10/09

Upside Down Republicanism

When Ben Franklin was once asked a question concerning the type of government we ended up with after all the wrangling was finally done, he famously answered, "A republic, if you can keep it".  Well Ben, it looks like your fear/prediction has at least begun to come true. And I'm guessing the outcome from this point on will be, "not keeping it". It seems enough people would rather adore Obama and his socialism than heed Ben's most famous admonition, "Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both."

In the original version of our republican form of government, we select the people who will represent us, tell them what to do, and they go and do their best to see that the job is done.
In today's version, the perpetually re-elected decide what their agenda is, and then jam it down the throats of the sheeple. They invent the problems, sell us on the need for a solution, and then proceed to their goal of control.  They pit one group against another, vilify a faceless "enemy", use the politics of envy and class warfare, and then brag about their "accomplishments" in righting all the wrongs.

Perhaps my memory is failing faster then the number of the currently employed, but I don't recall having a conversation with anyone in the past about the coming catastrophy of a baked earth before Al Gore and a few other opportunists put that loaf in the oven to see if it would rise, along with their incomes. And I never heard anyone complaining about not having access to hip replacements or MRIs or even hospitalization itself. Or not being able to have sufficient choices in doctors or places to have myriad diagnostic tests performed.

What I did hear was grousing about how much their insurance cost and how quickly the mean old hospital administrators in cahoots with the cheapo insurers kicked them out of bed after surgery or childbirth. And in a disturbing trend of the last several decades, if people think something costs more than they wish to pay, they promise to vote for the first person who promises to intervene.

But back to the elected few who decide on our life choices for us. It would seem that in the system devised by our founders, any legislation that is being proposed would be properly disclosed to everyone, in all it's details, and then after comments by our representitives, they would return to the people who elected them, inform them properly of the contents, state their preference, and return to debate the issue with their opponents and only then vote yea or nay.

Instead, they purposely obfuscate, confer in private, then make the bill so long and unreadable for normal folks that it discourages all but the truly focused from understanding the ramifications or making their preferences known. Then they sneak a vote on it late at night on a weekend immediately after introducing it, without reading it themselves. Somehow, I don't think that is what old Ben Franklin had in mind.

The system has been turned on it's head and if they really wanted to "reform" something which is broken, they would drop the stuff no one asked them to do (except themselves and the socialists) and change the way things are done in Congress.

I propose a new law. (something I almost never do) Here's how it would go;

Congress shall pass no law without its having been presented in writing, in it's final form, for sixty days after the bill has been formally presented to the floor, to allow the people to inform their representative of their preference for or against it.

Think that will get out of committee?  Not even if you stand on your head.

11/6/09

A Little Protest Here and There


Protests by "Tea Party" people who want to be left alone in America as they "storm" the capitol a few days ago. Notice the middle aged radicals and violent behavior of these gangsters who are asking for nothing.








Protests in France by mild mannered peaceful citizens in Paris who opposed the recent election of perceived center/right President Sarkozy. Notice how the peace loving leftists have refrained from using the guillotine this time around and merely burned three hundred and fifty cars, hurled stones and other objects at police and bared their backsides at riot officers. Only a few firebombs were targeted at schools and police stations.
These people were afraid they would get less stuff that was taken from other people.


Just some contrasts to ponder.

11/4/09

Political Indigestion


You can always tell in advance which side thinks they will lose a nearby election by the way they distance themselves from the results before the votes are even cast. The political doctors must have thought the dosage on our gullibility pills was increased recently if they thought we would swallow the reports from the White House that the President wasn't going to watch for the results of the elections in Virginia, New Jersey and New York last night.

The idea that he had only a passing interest in the political climate is as preposterous as Al Madoff Gore's passing interest in the value of his "green" investments in the global climate scam. He (Obama) had no time in the last week or so to decide what he is going to do in Afghanistan because he was in New Jersey campaigning for one of the Goldman Sachs "combine" - not to be confused with the "Illinois combine" of John Kass fame- Jon Corzine. Jon will soon be moving out of Dumbthwacket, where a long list of big government/small achievement politicians have rested their empty heads in the past.

But the point isn't about Corzine or any of the rest of the people who got elected or unelected yesterday, but whether or not we can draw any conclusions about where the country is headed on government run health insurance or trillion dollar deficits or "scrap and trade" buddy list enrichment schemes.

An Op/Ed I perused in my morning paper, penned by a columnist named Ruth Marcus, was titled "Take Election Analyses With A Grain of Salt". I read her stuff from time to time in the "on The Left" section of the Investors Business Daily to make sure I'm not crazy to oppose leftist dogma but I use a slightly higher dosage of sodium when I do, usually a shaker-full. I have concluded that I'm not crazy, at least about that. In her column she cautions not to "over interpret" the results during the "orgy of analysis" that is sure to follow the losses on the left. I am not inclined to participate in orgies, but I guess I'm guilty now that I felt this topic worthy of comment. She goes on to make her case that all might still be well with the leftward lurch, but I'll leave it to you to decide if your salt intake needs adjustment.

In any case, it's my opinion that the Tea Partiers, those rational citizens of both parties and no parties, have decided to visit the polls for their own reasons, and marked an X in the "I have electoral indigestion" box.

It all leads me to conclude that the coming elections in this country will be different than the past now that both parties have shown that they cannot be trusted to run things while we root for political personalities or stay fixated on sports results and the like. The way we select candidates to stand for election and the way we decide who serves will change in the same way that we receive our news did. That is to say, radically. It's an age of instant communications with e-mail, facebook, twitter, web pages and self published columnists like myself. That is, not one columnist with many readers, but many columnists with a few readers, which we share with one another, if and when they make sense.

It is now apparent that the consequences of the status quo in that process have become such a danger to our liberty that they threaten to become a disaster instead of merely a distraction. I have several ideas concerning what that process might look like and I plan on sharing them soon. I bet you can hardly wait.

10/28/09

The Economics of Medical Care

Dr. Thomas Sowell is well known to readers of this blog, but sadly, if you turn to the person next to you where ever you happen to be and ask them who he is, you will get the same look that you get from American teenagers in a Chinese algebra class. I guess that's not terribly shocking in a country where a huge number of those quizzed on the street about the name of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, answer - "none of the above". In fairness, given the prevailing preferences of what passes for the press in this country, they can't be expected to have heard of Sowell.

For those who are new to this site or to Sowell, the link found below contains a biography, but the content of the series of articles is the real attraction. It is a nine part series carried on the Op-Ed page of the Investors Business Daily and as a courtesy to my readers who do not subscribe to that excellent publication, but who do check on this site often, I will be adding a link on the right hand side each day so that we may together follow along on an economics lesson extraordinaire. As with all of his writing, it is perfectly readable.

The series is actually an entire chapter of his new book, "Applied Economics" and will be reprinted in its entirety on the pages of that paper. He has also recently written a book entitled "The Housing Boom and Bust" which will inform its readers of what actually happened during the recent meltdown of government "fixes" and the attendant economic crash.

I hope you enjoy it so you can roll your eyes (in an informed way) whenever someone at your favorite watering hole tells you how great it's going to be when "free" government healthcare finally arrives to save us from those enemies of the people, the insurance companies and drug manufacturers.

10/27/09

What's all the fuss about Internet regulation?

A quick primer about what the government is contemplating while our attention is focused on Fannie-Med and Cap and Trash.


10/16/09

Can Anything You Get For Free, be Worth Having?


Since nothing in our worldly existence is actually free, the question is moot.
Today, the common understanding of "free" is getting something someone else actually paid for.
The government constantly promises free things, and advertisers for companies are always offering free stuff. "Buy one, get one free" sales and free appetizers at restaurants are popular ways to rephrase the obvious truth, that the price is temporarily being lowered to stimulate demand.

But today, I'm here to offer you something for free. (actually a few things) And they certainly are worth having.  

If you have followed the essays on this blog or read the names of people I have linked to on the side bar, you know the name of Professor Walter E Williams. And if you have ever heard me, during discussions about government policy over Ben Franklin's favorite beverage, parrot his question: "What is the legitimate role of government in a free society?" you will recognize his trademark opening.

The answer will vary depending upon your particular philosophical leanings. A popular one in recent decades was summarized by former President George W Bush when, during a campaign speech in 2004, he uttered  "I think that's a proper role for the federal government, to help people". A statement, which in my view, sums up his misguided and sometimes preposterous presidency. The current President and most, if not all of those in my time on earth have been similarly incorrect or purposefully deceptive.
By contrast, the header of this blog-site reveals the thinking of Thomas Jefferson. It is elegant in its brevity and concise in its transmittal of  his message, which is why it remains my favorite quotation concerning governance and graces the top of this page.

A quaint old document, the contents of which have been largely forgotten (even as many pretend to venerate that declaration) has it this way:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men"

The highlighting is mine of course, to make it read as a sentence. The attending words are more often quoted, and usually with good reason, but the object of the sentence has been been given short shrift, to our lasting detriment.

There still remain some of us silly old fools who took those words the way they were intended, that is to say, literally.

Now, back to my favorite economist. Walter Williams has a doctorate degree in economics and  teaches at George Mason University, but that isn't the only place he teaches. In an article adapted from a lecture he delivered in August for Hillsdale College (while aboard a cruise ship in the Mediterranean)  he taught the people in attendance, and now, through the beneficence of those who contribute to the publication of Imprimus, he will teach right here on this humble blog.

 He is also the author of many important books, a syndicated column and is a frequent speaker at gatherings of smart people and those who are attempting to become smart. Over the years, I have read most of his books and columns and have personally heard him speak on different occasions and the only thing I have to show for it thus far is that I am less ignorant. But I guess it's semi smart to trim back my ignorance whenever possible.

The reason I chose this particular article, Future Prospects for Economic Liberty, to feature on this page is that he seems to have rather concisely put together the most important points of dozens of those lectures and books and folded them into this one. If this is the only article of his you ever read, you will get the "Cliffs Notes" version of his work and save yourself a lot of time and money. Which is not something I recommend, but I don't think it would trouble him a whit to have someone "get it for free". After all, he has already been paid, but in my opinion, the most important thing to him is to educate the largest number of people about the blessings of freedom. It is his passion and his life's work.

And I'm delighted to introduce you to it, for free. I can also offer you a free subscription to Imprimus, a publication which has a circulation of 1,800,000 readers monthly. I am one of those readers, and through my association with Hillsdale and Dr. Williams I am authorized to..........Okay, I fibbed. You don't need me for that and I have no special relationship to either of them except my long time admiration for both and a few donations to the college.

Anyone can get it for free, and it proves that, sometimes many things worth having, are indeed, Free.

10/13/09

Healthcare in the Reich

A few days ago I subscribed to a blog I tripped over while walking all over the web. The name of the Blog is The Humble Libertarian and the piece which inspired me to create this post was about a guy who used to be the Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich.
Yes, the same Robert Reich who advocated a 100% death tax back in the days when he worked for the criminal enterprise now referred to as the Clinton administration. This man, who thinks that all property rightfully belongs to the state and should revert back to it after we are done borrowing it,  is now an adviser to Barak Obama. Why doesn't that surprise me?

The reason he is back in the news, at least the internet version of the news, is that a YOU-TUBE video is now making the rounds which has him telling the truth about the government plan to take over your healthcare decisions. I'm guessing you won't see this video on any of the major networks unless they are forced to address it if it gets passed around enough.

The video was embedded on the above website along with some rational commentary by W. E. Messamore, the site owner, a person who I am unacquainted with, but who has an interesting blog. He posts "Spread this far and wide!" So W. E. , I'm doing my part.




Hearing comrade Reich's presentation to the Berkeley students is chilling for more than just what it reveals about true intentions on government health-scare schemes. It presents a peek into what a "fourth Reich" might look like if Americans go back to sleep. One which could end up being the "big sleep" if they do. Particularly if they are the "old people", who, he suggests, we should "just let die" because they are too expensive.
(Floridians take note)
 
With Halloween peeking around the corner, I wonder if a Robert Reich mask might not be the scariest one at the party.

10/9/09

Hoping for a Prize


I must admit, President Obama has finally delivered on his promise to give me hope.
Ever since this morning when it was announced that he was awarded the Nobel Peace prize, I have become more hopeful than ever.

October 15, 2009 is the final deadline for entry for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize. That only gives you a few days to submit this Web Blog for consideration.

All things are possible today!  YES WE CAN!

10/8/09

The Magic Citizen

Usually an improbable rumor about a national leader, unless it's substantiated quickly,  makes the rounds and then fades away as it becomes apparent that it has no legs. Some are like bad pennies though, and they just keep popping up over and over. Too bad we can’t just do a “Snopes” check and be done with them. But when some "web news" sites claim a Federal Judge has set a trial date for a law suit concerning such a story, it starts to grow toes, if not legs.

The question about President Barak Obama’s citizenship is just such a story. Even though it never occurred to me that it might be true, and it still doesn’t, I find the evolving interest in it to be more intriguing all the time. It’s not the question of whether or not Obama was born in the USA, and is therefore qualified to be its President under the ever more ignored and increasingly irrelevant U S Constitution, but instead, the question of why the one person who can make it disappear forever into the diaper pail of crazy conspiracy theories will not do so, that facinates me. That one person is of course, the Magician in Chief himself, whose power to make things disappear is becoming legendary.

President Mandrake’s opening act was turning two U S car companies, a bevy of the countries largest banks, and a gigantic insurance company into federal subsidiaries. Changing rabbits into birds ain’t got nothin’ on that one.

He then waved his magic wand and created several trillion dollars of “Monopoly” money out of thin air. From a distance it even looked like the real thing. All this while the audience gave standing ovations. Even Penn and Teller haven’t been able to top that.

And now, just a few weeks ago, when confronted with the inconvenient realization that the suddenly observant populace discovered that illegal aliens would be allowed to belly up to the government buffet table of universal health insurance coverage, he made Houdini proud by making sixteen million people disappear in just a few quick speeches.

Right before our eyes, he turned the somewhat dubious 46 million uninsured victims of the greedy, capitalistic health insurance companies into only 30 million by pretending that the previously included sneak-ins and legal aliens never existed by dropping the number without explanation.
Viola!    Simply by changing the number he cites of the already magical, roundly accepted tally of the unfortunate in his speeches, he removed 16 million from the rolls of the wretched.  If he can remove another 35% after each such performance, he should have the “crisis” completely evaporated in no time and can get on to his next trick.

It’s listed on your program as “making any chance of future prosperity or job growth vanish into the smoke and mirrors of the Cap and Tax legislation.” In the same moment the first part is completed, hundreds of millions of dollars will materialize in the accounts of Goldman Sachs and other slick dealers who are already prepared to implement the scheme in the grand tradition of the "Chicago Way".  Mayor Daley’s pet Chicago Climate Exchange is conveniently ready for the transition from “voluntary” to mandatory trading.

But back to the citizenship fiasco. The question remains, why wouldn’t the President just show his birth certificate to the people who elected him and be forever done with it? All the rest of us have to do so when enrolling in school or getting a passport or any of a plethora of other official government functions. Surely it’s just as important to prove you meet the requirements to be President as it is prove you can travel legally in other countries.

It was only after conferring with my good friend Homer in an e-mail exchange on the subject, that I decided to write about his curious refusal to co-operate on such a mundane matter.

In my electronic correspondence with my fellow wonderer, I speculated on some scenarios which could explain it. I thought perhaps there was some other information on the certificate which could be embarrassing, like perhaps a different fathers name? Or no fathers name at all? But I’m guessing that’s not it. Most politicians today get forgiven for almost anything they do, much less what their parents did, and the today’s most adored man knows he would get a pass.

Following that, I opined that maybe he was being advised by his campaign team, (which is now governing in permanent campaign mode) to drag this out as long as possible while trying (with the help of their media toadies) to link the whole episode to middle of the road conservatives and Republicans instead of the fringe groups where it has found it’s only traction. In this way, when they deem the time to be right, they can show the proof and portray all his opponents as conspiracy kooks. After all, if you are that close to the edge, how can any credence be lent to your opposition to our “progressive” solutions?

But I have finally settled on a combination of the last one and one other. That being the illusionists’ tactic of never stopping a distraction while it can be of any use at diverting attention away from the sleeve which has the card inside it. So for now, I’m sticking with that conclusion because it’s the best one I could make up on short notice.

Seemingly, only a blind showman would ever select Nancy Pelosi as “the pretty assistant from the audience“, nevertheless, she is busy readying his biggest trick thus far, and that ace up his sleeve is the ever morphing health-care nationalization legislation which will set them up for the grand finale.

The President’s citizenship diversion is only one small part of the show, and we get distracted at our own peril. I don't believe the President is ineligible to hold our highest executive office, but if we get sideways on our attention, the final act in this magic show may make our rights disappear in a puff of socialist smoke.

10/6/09

The Best Place to be Poor

Have you ever been approached by a "poor" person on the street begging for help because of their desperate condition, only to notice the $125 Air Jordans they were wearing? To be fair, most beggars aren't dressed that way, but it's certainly not rare in downtown Chicago to see that sight.
That kind of story provides anecdotal evidence, a type that's extremely popular with politicians and other power seekers because it can be reliably used to mislead many people. And although the tales usually have an element of truth, you can't draw broad conclusions based on them because it might be like looking at the Mona Lisa as a profile picture.
Without the other half of her face, she would be about as compelling as the notion that most beggars prefer Nikes to Mad Dog 20/20.

Having said that, consistent observation by interested parties can turn the anecdotes into actual evidence, if not proof. And the evidence shows that a different type of begging is becoming a real problem in our current American situation.

In order to attain the objective of placing more and more of our private institutions under government control, (and even ownership) we are being bombarded by a nonsensical caricature of people without private health insurance. Many of whom, we are told, live in such frightful conditions that they cannot afford food much less healthcare.

A step back from the edge of that rhetorical cliff reveals a different tale, one that most people know intuitively. The actual story reports on the spending behavior of the very people who we are supposed to be saving from calamity by irreversibly changing our entire healthcare system and squashing the attendant rights we currently enjoy. So first, let's have a look at the "poor" people, sans the emotional response the "changers" hope we will have.

In 2007 Robert Rector updated his work on poverty using the most up to date government figures available, (many from the 2005 US census) and what it shows is that to be "poor" in America is the aspiration of the truly poor in the rest of the world. Here are a few facts he gleaned as he admired Mona's whole face:
(I paraphrase his work)

•A little less than half of all poor households actu­ally own their own homes, and that average home has three bedrooms, one-and-a-half baths, a garage, and a porch or patio.
•The vast majority, 80%,  of poor households have air conditioning. He notes that "by contrast, in 1970, only 36 % of the entire U.S. population enjoyed air conditioning."
•Only 6% of poor households are over­crowded. More than two-thirds have more than two rooms per person.
•"Poor" Americans have more living space than average individuals living in Paris, London, Vienna, Athens,  to mention just a few cities. (These comparisons are to the average citizens in foreign countries, not to those classified as poor.)
•Almost 75% of poor households own a car while 31% own two or more..
•97% of poor households have color television; over 50% own two or more.
•78% have a VCR or DVD player; 62 % have cable or satellite TV reception.
•89% own microwave ovens, more than 50%  have a stereo, and more than a third have an automatic dishwasher.
His findings and their presentation, "How Poor Are America's Poor?" can be found here and are worthy of your time.

So as it turns out, the poor aren't as destitute as we have been led to believe, but more importantly, they not only have access to healthcare, and even health insurance (as provided by various failing state insurance plans for the needy), but they, like the rest of us, would rather spend the money they have on other things. And it seems they do just that according to Dr. Linda Halderman, who wrote an article concerning it for the Web magazine American Thinker.  Which brings me to the second thing we should have a look at, courtesy of her commentary.

Her article reveals much about human behavior while giving us a peek at what is in store for us if we allow "progressives" to jam socialized health insurance down our throats to help those who would rather spend their own money on Body tattoos, Botox injections, Boats, BlackBerrys and every other "B" necessity they perceive, while leaving the rest of us to pay for their true essentials.
I strongly urge you to read her first hand account of ABUSE OF SUBSIDIZED HEALTH CARE: THE VIEW FROM ONE EXAM ROOM as published in the Investors Business Daily on Oct. 5th.

As I pointed out in my earlier essay, the problem with health insurance in this country is that we want more from it than we are willing to pay for with our own money. And the "poor", with plenty of money for the above "B"s, are no different, except when being used as anecdotal evidence.

President Obama, who has confessed his preference for, and plan to get to a single payer system, says we need socialized medicine in this country to address the problems of the "anecdotal people", but with all due respect Mr. President, I BEG to differ.

9/30/09

The Story of Chicken Little and the Misbehaving Teenagers


We all remember the story of Chicken Little and her hysterical reports of a falling sky, but it will be fascinating to look back in a decade or so and see if the current incarnation of that bugaboo story is quickly forsaken by the political versions of the panicked poultry, or if it becomes the classic children's tale the earlier version became. The story may have been classic, but the lesson seems to have been forgotten by our contemporary Henny Pennys and Goosey Looseys.

The current version has a few changes as you might image. In this telling, the Chicken Little and Foxy Loxy characters are melded together. If it was a movie that role would be played by that famous actor, none other than the inventor of the Internet, Al Gore. This time the character not only invents the problem, but offers the solution. One which benefits him of course, just like in the original story. And one which utilizes the historically popular "create a crisis out of thin air and then be the one who is conveniently nearby to save everyone" tactic.

The fictional global warming crisis (now being called global climate change to reflect current cooling reality) is just such a rerun of that semi-successful past tactic. If it results in a "Cap-and-Trash the Economy" law as some statist dreamers hope, it will have been proved once again that you can scare people silly, if you have enough help. In this story, the mainstream press and TV "reporters" play Turkey Lurkeys, and so far, they have been sufficient help.
Lots of people without the time or inclination to do their own research, have chosen to believe the helpful "Turkey Lurkey" press reports of  the universal agreement of grave faced scientists that man made C02 emissions will soon cause irreversible damage to the world. As an aside, many of the true believers of this "conjecture as science" are primarily interested in saving the world itself, not the people who live upon it.

So let's take a look at some actual science, instead of politics. Those who advance the theory that warming is caused by C02 levels, based on ice core samples, (the entire lever with which Al Gore lifts his case) have been oddly silent about that study ever since more recent (2003), more detailed data have shown that temperatures over the last half-a-million years have risen before carbon dioxide levels rose. On average, 800 years before.
So perhaps the temperatures drove the C02 levels up (or not), but surely the reverse cause-and-effect Al was selling went up in smoke as fast as his college days doobies did.

Above I have paraphrased the words of Joanne Nova from her website, where you can read more for yourself and decide if she is a serious student and commentator on the science of this issue. Below, her graph of the data is posted with her permission along with a quoted paragraph concerning it. You may download the entire Skeptics Handbook here.





"In the 1990’s the classic Vostok ice core graph showed temperature and carbon in lock step moving at the same time. It made sense to worry that carbon dioxide did influence temperature. But by 2003 new data came in and it was clear that carbon lagged behind temperature. The link was back to front. Temperatures appear to control carbon, and while it’s possible that carbon also influences temperature these ice cores don’t show much evidence of that. After temperatures rise, on average it takes 800 years before carbon starts to move. The extraordinary thing is that the lag is well accepted by climatologists, yet virtually unknown outside these circles. The fact that temperature leads is not controversial. It’s relevance is debated."

There are certainly other points to be made in the debate that hasn't really been held, but from my perspective, they are moot unless the above observations can be somehow be explained away. No C02 villain, no Captain-and-Trade hero.

Last week, the new Energy Secretary, Henry Chu, described American citizens who refuse to play Henny Penny, as "teenage kids, who aren't acting the way we want them to act". He, like so many other government officials, think government is the family, they are the parents and we are the children. He may have forgotten the children's stories, but us rebellious kids haven't. In one version of the story, the wise King gives the previously terrified poult an umbrella in case any more acorns fall on her. It would be nice if the government in our version of the tale offered the same kind of protection her government gave her against fearing nonsense, but sadly, they propagate it.

I don't write this piece merely as sport, but because the stakes are now so high in the poker game over American competitiveness in the global economy, an economy that is cooling instead of warming.
And there are actual consequences for those of us who do not live with Chicken Little and friends in a children's fable.

 So my take is, let's use the debate as the umbrella solution the king offered. The sky isn't falling, but your standard of living will be if these inane ideas become insane laws.

9/23/09

Once You Read This, Your Troubles Will be Over Forever.




As most of you know, I'm a golfist. Since that word isn't in any dictionary I use, it can mean whatever I want it to mean. One thing it sure doesn’t mean is that I'm good at golf. Although "good" in this case can be a relative term, in absolute terms, I'm terrible. (Already, I digress)
As a golfist, I read lots of golf magazines and books. And since my niece has suggested that I write an essay on pet peeves, I'm going to expound on one of my own pet peeves.

Golf magazines always have a "hook" headline on the front cover. Not to be confused with the shape of the ball flight that has caused people to throw their $400 drivers into the trash, the "hook" I'm referring to is the preposterous headline on the cover that infuriates you so much that you feel compelled to read the article inside even when you know it's an outright lie.
One of my favorites is; "Never Slice Again!"  Seemingly, I have read every article written which promised that result, and I've tried everything that was instructed, but after almost a half a century of golf, at least fifty percent of my tee shots still slice. It's gotten to the point that I don't know if I want to be a good golfer or just an ex-slicer.

By now you may have figured out that this piece isn't about golf or slicing. The above title is the same type of "hook" the golf magazines use to peeve me off. Once you read what I want you to read, your troubles will not be over. In fact, they might just be beginning, because it may change the way you think about problems and solutions, particularly the political ones we are currently facing. And almost everyone hates change even if they don't admit it.

So this opinion piece is about economics.         Huh?        Indulge me once again if you can.
I have never heard a trained economist describe it this way, but my definition of economics is; the study of human nature. One branch of it anyway. And as a way to distill it a bit more, it has been described by an actual economics professor as "a way to approach problems". A methodology for thinking things through, if you will.
People make choices all the time even when they do not realize it, and since utopia is not an option, solving problems means making tradeoffs. Everywhere and always. An economist knows that and it shapes the way he views the world.

The seminal event in my intellectual life occurred when, as a young man, I was given a well thumbed, used paperback book as a gift from a man named Walter Ramsey who was a broker on the trading floor where I worked. I don't know if I believe in fate, but I do believe in good fortune because my life has been one example of it right after another. For me, meeting Walter was fortunate for sure and perhaps even fateful.

The book was Economics in One Lesson, written by Henry Hazlitt. Although I certainly recommend that you read it, I know that most of you won't for one valid reason or another so I will copy the essence of it, as he defines it in "The Lesson".

"the whole of economics can be reduced to a single lesson, and that lesson can be reduced to a single sentence. The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups."

That simple sentence may not seem profound to you right now, but it is. And if you take it to heart, I'm guessing you will agree with that assessment after a time.

Here is what that lesson has done for me;
 I still care what other people think and I still seek their opinions, but my own opinions have been less shaped by what friends think, or what they will think of me if I come to a different conclusion than they do. And I think that although polls have their place, I ignore them even more than I did before I took the above lesson to heart. I replaced those things with my own analysis based on asking myself the question in the quoted sentence. Now, why do I write these things about my approach? It's because of the title of this blog. It's the WHY, in the "what we think and why".

So, I "hooked" you in, and although your troubles are not over forever, I promise that if you take the lesson to heart and apply it to your thinking, you will hit fewer "slices" when you ponder most of the nonsense that the political busybodies foist upon us.
The birdies promised by the "I will mind your own business" crowd, almost always get carded as triple bogeys and the above picture of Fidel Castro and his golfing partner Che playing a match in the Caribbean workers paradise seem to be a good illustration of the consequences of not knowing the Lesson.

A Postscript

Walter, if you are out there, I owe you more thanks than I can ever repay, even if it's likely that you have forgotten the gift, and perhaps even me, for that matter. But another lesson I learned from this event is that sometimes we have an impact on young people by what we say or do that outlives our memories. And that is a par worth making.