Tuesday, July 31, 2012

- You Didn't Built That Bumper Sticker

Remember this?

Well cafepress now has one for sale:

Just imagine the look on the face of the driver behind you on the Garden State Parkway when they see that!

- Remembering Milton "Freedom"

Here is a link to NRO's remembrance of the great man, which also has some of his greater quotes. And it's occurred to me how common "missing Dr. Friedman" is.

Every day when I watch people making the same old mistakes that the left always seems to make, I wish (both to myself and here in writing) that Dr. Friedman were still here to correct them. It's even worse when I see young people being trained to think like Paul Krugman. I didn't know Dr. Friedman - never met him. But I really miss him all the same. I miss his influence.

He was a light in a world of politically imposed shadows.


When I read Mark Steyn I find myself wishing that I could write like that. When I read Kevin Williamson I find myself thinking that I do write like that - or rather - I would write like that if I were as good at it as Kevin is. He and I (in many ways) think the same way and argue the same way. The President get's angry when someone lands a verbal punch. He has a desperately thin skin, and it shows. When someone lands a punch on Kevin (a rare event in itself), he laughs. He's far too smart to be insecure about it.

Anyway, he's written a reflection on Dr. Friedman that I enjoyed a lot and I think is also worthy of your time. It's not too far off from what I might write myself if I wasn't also trying to juggle my 'on the road' issues.

- If You Can't Ban The Gun...

Try to ban the bullet.

Call it Disco Frank's revenge. Once again, Americas most misguided 19th century politician has decided that we have more than enough liberty. This time he's trying to restrict the sale of ammunition over the internet.

I buy ammo online - usually in 1,000 round lots. In NJ, the law reads that I have to submit a photo ID, but I can usually Fax it to the dealer and they keep it on file. The upshot of all this though is that it's MUCH cheaper than buying retail. Ammo is heavy and takes up space. It's not something that lends itself to a classic retail model. It works better as a online produst, and the efficiency translates into lower prices.

So just think of what it nuisance it will be for all those online retailers to have to take 1 round out of the 1,000 round case and sell it as 999 to get away from Frank's new regs.

I wish the man would go back to napping int he afternoons and quit making trouble for the rest of us.

A Mature Tea Party

People have asked me whether I am part of the Tea Party. I tell them I was the Tea Party before there was such a thing. I ran for office in one of the biggest towns in this state almost 10 years ago. An old friend asked me to join his slate of candidates who were running on an anti corruption theme. I was idealistic, motivated and looking to change the status quo.

I have always been blessed with good friends. After I signed on to the campaign, I talked to several people about how successful campaigns have been run. Successful campaigns have money. Our campaign had none. Successful campaigns used polls. We had no money for polls. Successful campaigns used existing organizations. Our campaign alienated the establishment because we threw lightning bolts at them. Successful campaigns employ a disciplined poll tested positive message and then use the October surprise. We went ugly early. By the middle of the campaign, the only way we could get our message out was to appeal to the press. I am proud to say we managed to get above the fold on the Sunday paper. We got hit by an October surprise.

We got beat like a used mule. In the following years though, Chris Christie announced indictment after indictment for political corruption in town after town. There were no indictments in my town. I like to think I made a difference on an issue that was important to me.

Sometimes I felt pangs of nostalgia as I watched the Tea Party make mistake after mistake. I know that I learned, so I know that Tea Party activists have learned. The business of running successful campaigns is no longer the sacred fire of the political establishment.

I have argued here, on little more than intuition, that with Obamacare and the rising regulatory state, our nation will see future growth on a par with France. Some of the most brilliant economists and trading strategists disagree, reasoning that growth returns five years after a severe financial shock. I believe this reasoning to be a backward looking error.

Politics can be extraordinarily backward looking. The keepers of the political sacred fire make strategy decisions based on what worked in the past. I believe the political chattering class completely underestimates the Tea Party. Solid conservatives have learned about message control. They have learned how to dance the dance with the press. The Tea Party has matured.

Today I will be looking to Texas, to see whether the holders of the sacred fire backing Dewhurst will win out over the Tea Party that backs Cruz. I am hoping for more intuitive evidence that the old model that predicts a close presidential election no longer applies. It would kill me to think we are becoming France.

- Requiescat In Pace Dr. Friedman

It's Milton Friedman's 100th Birthday today.

Stephen Moore on The Man Who Saved Capitalism.

No understatement, and a don't miss piece in it's own right.

Monday, July 30, 2012

- The Liberal "Plastic Gun" Fantasy

There has been much mis-reporting about this event. Some guy used a 3D printer to make a lower receiver for an AR15. The 3D printer technology has been around in various forms since the 1990’s but I guess it’s getting much cheaper now, and this is the first time it’s been used for a firearm in a way that’s gotten national attention.

Let me tell you what the press is getting wrong about this.

For starters, modern firearms use some fairly sophisticated metallurgy. It does this mainly because it has to. The temperatures and pressures in modern firearms require it. In those key parts of the firearm that do the most work, the surface of the steel must be hard to avoid being deformed over time. And at the same time, the structure itself must be supple to avoid being too brittle and cracking. Being both of those things while also being thin and light, is no easy trick. It’s much more than any polymer or ceramic can handle, and those (along with wood) are the only materials which can be 3D printed.

There has been a recurring journalistic legend of a ‘plastic’ firearm which the evil gun owner would use to circumvent airport security etc. But no one who knows anything about the construction of firearms has ever believed it. It’s simply not possible. Glock makes a pistol which comes pretty close by using a material called Nylon 6 for many of its parts which are not subject to pressures or temperatures that are too extreme. But even in a Glock, the inner works are all still made of what starts out as plain old ordinary steel.

Some firearms have non critical parts made from Aluminum or titanium, but neither of those materials can be used for the chamber or barrel of a firearm. Those parts, along with a few other key internals like the firing pin, are all still made from steel on every single firearm designed for modern cartridges. That’s the fact and it isn’t subject to change - even with the technology of 3D printing.

Because even if you could find a way to ‘print’ those pieces out of steel, that ‘printing’ would not be able to impart the hardening techniques required to make the parts act as they should. In order to do that they it must be heated and cooled over a very specific time frame in a highly controlled environment, and in some cases even subjected to specific electromagnetic fields while in process. That’s far beyond the ability of any 3D printer, and no one is planning on adding those options.

So rest easy liberal journalists. No one will be printing themselves an arsenal any time soon. It's just simple physics that's preventing it. Of course, if you had bothered to find out even the tiniest bit about how firearms actually work, you'd already know that.

The Courage You Need to Deal with NeoLib Statists

Variations: Members of the elite military team have questioned the White House's version of the events surrounding Bin Laden's death

Mitt intuitively knew the potential for "You didn't build that." He showed us how comfortably he could walk around a workplace, just talking the language of business. He trusted Brian Maloney with the microphone, who I think performed remarkably well as a public speaker.

What followed for Maloney was, in his words, "crude, abusive, mindless garbage.” Roxbury Trucking received anonymous email and voice mail threats, as well as special attention from Rachel Maddow (I had to look her up on those internets because I didn't know who she was). She published research that Mr. Maloney secured a low interest government loan to start his business.

So what? Mr. Malone got these loans because sited his business in the retrograde Boston Newmarket section, where “You could hear gunfire at night.”

The only thing that matters for today's Neolib Statist is what can you do for me in today's news cycle. It should be not surprise to any RFNJ reader that it got personal. The attack machine also published that Mr. Maolney lives in a 1.3 million dollar home in Brookline. Obviously, he is a 1%-er. It did not matter that he bought in 1972 for $60,000. So for Brian Maloney, the greater the effort the heavier the world bore down on his shoulders.

These Neolibs use the old Southern Tenant Farmers Union trick, if you make a persuasive point. Any opponent that adheres to the shut down insult will never be persuaded. It takes courage to weather it. Just ask Brian Maloney. It also takes discipline and cleverness to steer the debate back to the message that brought you the vitriol in the first place. The truth usually wins over the people that hear your debate, if you stay courageous and on message. The audience is who matters, not the STFUers.

It takes courage to make a tough decision when the times call for it. You might not get a second chance. But some people get a third chance or even a fourth, before making a "gutsy call." Sometimes, a fourth chance interrupts your golf game.  Then you can forget the first three and take a picture.

So I though I would post a picture of a giant who holds the world on his shoulders, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength. That's how Brian Maloney looks to me.

So I ask you, who do you think will make a better decision when you need courage. Brian Maloney or Barak Obama?

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The WTF - You Definitely Can't Build THAT

This is the World Thorium Fuel concept car, which GM calls the Cadillac WTF. The idea is a car that lasts for 100 years and would need maintenance to its reactor every five years or so and no refueling. In the meantime, it generates electricity to run your house while it is parked. I can see Kanye driving one. You see, thorium reactors can be very small.

It's OK, let your mind run for a little bit. Sorry for the disruption.  If you have 5 minutes look at the beginning of this:


Now remember what the federal regulatory state says.

"You can't build that."

Saturday, July 28, 2012

- Off To The Lonely Northern Plains

OK ... I'm off once again to the broad and lonely plains. I don't usually have a ton of free time while I'm on the road so don't expect much from me apart from an occasional sarcastic comment. In the meantime I leave you in the guy's capable hands.

See you in a week.

"You Can't Build That" - Regulatory Two BitTorrent

The prevalent nuclear (Please don’t say it noo-kyoo-luhr) power plant design uses Uranium enriched with fissile U-235. Heat producing sustained nuclear fission takes place, when enough fissile material is located in the right physical proximity, like when Gaia ran a 100 kilowatt hour reaction for several hundred thousand years in the Oklo Fossil Reactors.

But for the design we use, the enriched Uranium is chemically processed into ceramic Uranium dioxide, pressed into a pellet and sintered to make it as non-porous as possible. The pellets are then machined to precise tolerances and fitted into zirconium rods filled with helium. In order to achieve the right proximity to support a sustained thermal reaction, the rods are bundled together and lowered by a crane, where they hang in a reaction chamber. The reaction chamber must be filled with cooling water, maintained under pressure. What could possibly go wrong?

So how did we get this wonderful design instead of the one that Gaia made? Our government required a uranium based power plant design, in order to maximize production of weapons grade plutonium. Thereafter, GE worked closely with the NRC to arrive at a design that served national interest and that also happened to make electric power. So our nuclear infrastructure supplies power about as much as an AK-47 is a sniper rifle. Power is an afterthought.

As much as I am suspicious of government public “partnerships,” I believe the genesis out our nuclear power industry was a proper exercise of constitutional national defense powers. At the time the GE atomic power design got the nod, the most successful mass murderer in the history of mankind headed up the U.S.S.R. However, once our regulated nuclear industry supplied our military with its weapons plutonium requirements, and proliferation risks were mediated, the power to regulate nuclear power should have faded into the background. Each state should then decide whether it wants a nuclear power plant, and if so what type. Instead, we now live in a federal nuclear police state.

Thorium is a naturally occurring element that is four times more abundant that uranium. It is safe enough to hold in your hand. It will support a sustained 1,200 degree nuclear reaction, at normal atmospheric pressure, if you put it and a little U-233 in solution with liquid fluoride salts in a cauldron. If the mix gets too hot, the fuel salt expands, increasing the distance between thorium and U-233 atoms and slowing the nuclear reaction. There is no risk of a meltdown of the containment vessel or the release of radioactive stream. In an emergency like an earthquake or tsunami, you can pull a plug at the bottom of the cauldron and let the liquid drain into a neutron absorbing medium, where the reaction slows and stops.  The cauldron contents "freeze" at the lower temperature. The ice cubes can be removed a short time later. A China syndrome is not possible.

A Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) produces 200 times the output of a uranium reactor in terms of the amount of spent fuel, while at the same time producing 1,000 to 10,000 times less nuclear waste. 83% of LFTR byproduct is stable in 10 years, with the rest needing to be stored only 300 years, unlike the 10,000 years required for uranium waste. A LFTR reactor can consume spent uranium fuel. A LFTR can produce byproducts like thorium-229 and bismuth-213, which show promise as a cancer-fighting agent, plutonium-238 for use in radio telescopes, stable xenon, neodymium for high performance magnets, molybdenum and zirconium.

 A factory can manufacture an LFTR reactor and ship it wherever you want power.  It can use seawater as a coolant, which can be condensed into potable water.  An LFTR can be much, much, much smaller than our supremely feared uranium monsters of the 1950's.

I have chosen the words in the title of this piece carefully. Bram Cohen, the creator of BitTorrent serves on the Board of Advisors of Flibe Energy. Filbe Energy, I think though, understands what the 1950's vintage NRC giant behemoth has probably told them and their lawyers.

You can’t build that.

- If The Law Restricts You...

... simply ignore the law!

Here it is. A three point plan for executive order gun control from the National Journal.

So that's the end of that. Anyone want to start a pool on what we name the next Republic?

My broader point is that it's unlikely in the extreme that Republicans retain permanent control of the government, even if they win the next election. If Obama doesn't do this in his next term, it will be a term one priority for the next Democrat President because Obama has already laid the groundwork.

- Why Do We Hate Capitalism All Of A Sudden?

Frequent readers know of my very great admiration for Charles Murray. He's written a brilliant OpEd piece praising the virtues of Capitalism which the WSJ, in it's infinite wisdom, has relegated to the Saturday addition which is read only by insomniacs like me.

This is a real tragedy because it is not only brilliant, it's written with the kind of non-partisan objectivity that always typifies Murray's work, making it accessible to conservative, and liberal alike. An example:

What happened to turn the mood of the country so far from our historic celebration of economic success?

Two important changes in objective conditions have contributed to this change in mood. One is the rise of collusive capitalism. Part of that phenomenon involves crony capitalism, whereby the people on top take care of each other at shareholder expense (search on "golden parachutes").

But the problem of crony capitalism is trivial compared with the collusion engendered by government. In today's world, every business's operations and bottom line are affected by rules set by legislators and bureaucrats. The result has been corruption on a massive scale. Sometimes the corruption is retail, whereby a single corporation creates a competitive advantage through the cooperation of regulators or politicians (search on "earmarks"). Sometimes the corruption is wholesale, creating an industrywide potential for profit that would not exist in the absence of government subsidies or regulations (like ethanol used to fuel cars and low-interest mortgages for people who are unlikely to pay them back). Collusive capitalism has become visible to the public and increasingly defines capitalism in the public mind.

Now you may not hate capitalism, but a great many Liberals do. Virtually everyone in Washington does, and the intellectual leaders of the Democrat party, currently spending their time in the teacher's lounge, certainly do. I've always wondered how they can hold an opinion so detached from all of the evidence around them, and Murray explains it.

Skip this one and you've missed something truly important.

Friday, July 27, 2012

- Democrats "Slip In" Some Gun Control

Obamacare has 2700 pages which absolutely no one had ever read before it was passed. How long do you think it will be before some of the craftier Democrats manage to successfully slip a gun control provision into some law somewhere only to have us "find out what's in it, after they've passed it?"

Democratic senators offer gun control amendment for cybersecurity bill

Shortly after the Cybersecurity Act gained Senate approval to proceed to filing proposed amendments and a vote next week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), a sponsor of the gun control amendment, came to the floor to defend the idea of implementing some “reasonable” gun control measures.

Chuck Schumer should be dragged forcibly from the halls of Congress and physically restrained from reentering until the people of New York can find a way to replace him. He's too dangerous to the Republic to act responsibly with such power.

- The BS is Getting Pretty Deep

There has been some invented talk over at CNBC about the virtue of breaking up the big banks. Naturally this would make the left leaning press happy, and it might even make a few regulators and politicians happy as well. But it won't make customers happy. Costs for consumers dropped appreciably when the banks were allowed to grow, and undoing that growth would undo much of the savings which actually came from structural efficiency.

This talk was more or less started by opportunistic tool, Sandy Weill. The man all but invented the form of the modern investment bank, cashed out at the top, and has only recently come back - I guess - so he can profit again from undoing what he originally designed. This isn't just a case of someone learning from their mistake and deciding to fix it. For Sandy Weill of all people to make this argument, it means overturning his entire philosophical applecart. A better way to think of it is that if he couldn't be trusted the last time he gave a bunch of justifications for a business decision, then you really shouldn't trust him now.

Dick Kovacevich from Wells Fargo has been telling tales too. I heard him claim today that the consumer business of banks, that is... lending, is not risky at all. This is a patently ridiculous statement. In fact lending is one of the most risky businesses banks engage in. And what made it even more risky during the financial crisis was that the banks were being ordered to make loans that were unlikely to be paid back, to meet some political agenda for a left leaning congress. Now maybe you don't call being forced to write 'throwaway loans' to non-qualifying candidates in order to keep ACORN from holding a protest and calling you a racist "RISKY", but I do.

The modern investment bank may not be a model of ethical business practices, or a monument to the free market system. but it's problems certainly don't come from a lack of government involvement. It's the most heavily regulated industry in the country. And if you think the regs and mandates of the past made it screw things up, (and I certainly did) then just wait till you see what comes down the pipe after Dodd-Frank.

No one really knows what Dodd-Frank is, because it isn't really anything except a political position. It's the view that whatever it is the banks are doing, it better have some government accountability embedded in it, and if the regulators don't like what they see, then they should be able to penalize, prohibit or mandate whatever it is that they don't like about it. The details have been left vague to provide the maximum flexibility toward that end.

Like Frith has been saying, we need to change the focus here. We need to start thinking of ways to get the government out of business and turn those businesses on each other. That's how you make things better. If the banks decide they'd like to split off a business unit for competitive reasons, then everyone should cheer. If they decide not to, then they should still cheer. It should be entirely up to the headline generators, the pols and their ant-capitalist lackeys in the press.

Freeze Regulation Until Unemployment Hits 6%

I know, HR 4078 is an election year demonstration that has no chance of passing.  But this speech makes me want to give a few bucks to Mike Kelly's campaign.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

- Re: My Cold Dead Hands

I was going to put up a video of Piers Morgan being perplexed at why America can't understand his position on gun control, and talk about the liberal media echo chamber, but this is a much more interesting video that can make the same point. This is SE Cupp on MSNBC talking about microstamping.

First let's discuss (briefly) the issue of microstamping itself. At best it's pointless, but it's made into bad policy in a number of ways:

First, it doesn't usually work. The dream of bullets falling from the chamber with a little name and address of the shooter stamped on them doesn't actually happen - SE explained most of the problems with this. There are technical problems too however. Not the least among them is that a revolver doesn't even leave bullets at the scene. So it's mostly an imaginary process that depends on the hopes of anti-gun lobbyists.

But apart from that, even if it did do everything that the anti-gun dreamers hope it would, it can still be easily gotten around by anyone who has even a passing knowledge of firearms. Ten minutes with a dremel or polishing wheel and there is no more microstamp. This all but guarantees that it will NEVER provide any evidence that 'catches a bad guy'. At the very best, it puts the imaginary line from cartridge to bad guy in serious doubt.

But there is no doubt about the costs it will impose. The far better way to argue it (and I wish SE had thought of this) is that this is a law which may or may not actually help catch anyone, but will absolutely apply a cost to the industry and indirectly, to all gun owners. So while the law says no more than $12 per gun (and who is better at assessing future costs than those brilliant folks who design mandates) in reality it will be potentially billions in costs for each criminal caught - if ever even one is caught at all. Surely there is a better way to spend that money.

And then lastly, not only is there no doubt abut the costs, its a cost imposed upon innocent people, in a futile attempt to catch guilty ones. In that way it works the same way as every other failed gun control law. Impose costs on the innocent, and hope for a link to the guilty. It's no way to design an effective law.

If the gun ban crowd knew anything about guns they'd know that it was already doomed to failure. And in truth, that's being generous. They probably do know what the real odds are, but are looking at the cost as the real goal because it can be jacked up later with tighter and tighter restrictions and more careful standards. That will raise costs marginally and decrease gun purchases marginally overall. And once you have design mandates in place, you can expand and expand and expand.

Whether you believe that more nefarious view or not is purely a reflection of how stupid you believe the gun ban crowd to be.

Now... onto my main issue.

MSNBC's condescension aside, I think it's interesting that the anti-gun liberals in the media are still pushing so hard for some kind of legislative action on this. The political actors have already told them it's not going to happen. Why? Well the liberals will tell you it's because of the NRA and they're right in a sense... but what give the NRA such power?

The answer of course is that it's me. Me and all the other people like me who view any further infringement of our second amendment rights as absolutely unacceptable, are what give the NRA such juice. It's no conspiracy of blood, or desire to see children dead in the streets. That kind of ridiculous characterization only lowers the credibility of the people offering it. We are not monsters, even if the left tries to depict us that way. But we are very much aware of the costs that anti-gun restrictions of any kind impose. And there are more people who think that way these days than ever.

The simple political fact is that we vastly outnumber the anti-gun crowd and are FAR more passionate and determined about it. And since the crime, violence, and accident data is all on our side, we've been the people making the reasonable and persuasive arguments for the folks who could otherwise go either way on it. We hold the political ball on the gun debate because 'reality' supports our view. And now that the internet is out there, it's impossible for the media left to dictate the terms of the discussion.

But I find it very interesting that they're still trying. In fact, they seem unwilling to try anything else, even when their political actors are telling them to do so. In a sense, the media are the very last people to get the message - gun control is a dead issue in America. Americans simply will not allow themselves to be disarmed. This makes the media left, the stupid kids that we have to slow the whole class down for, until they can get the message and get caught up.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Obama: "I Didn't Say That! Someone Else Made That Happen!"

“Those ads taking my words about small business out of context — they’re flat-out wrong,” Obama says.

“Of course Americans build their own businesses. Every day, hardworking people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has.”

Did they really just put that into a TV commercial? I mean Really????????????

- Is That Veal I Smell?

- I'll Have To Ask Mrs. Kravitz About This

I kid my neighbors a bit but they're actually very nice people. They both know that although I'm one of maybe 3 gentiles in the whole neighborhood, I'm actually the biggest supporter of Israel on the block. They have also both told privately that they won't be voting for Obama this time out because of this issue, but would I please not let their spouse know.

I promised not to tell.

I Don't Swim Near Fisherman

That's why.

- Visiting The Soft Right

Robert VerBruggen's "political practicality" has up to now struck me more as an opportunistic lack of political principle than anything else. It's most noticable when he talks about guns (he's mildly pro-gun), but I find I'm seeing that more and more at National Review.

For my personal tastes there is too much Rich Lowry - politically savvy and more concerned with winning than being right; and not enough Kevin Williamson - smart and principled enough to take it on the chin even when it's clear he see's the political punch coming. As a goal oriented guy I know there is merit in keeping your eyes on the prize, and you can't accomplish anything if you always lose. But I think you can take that too far.

However, in this post I think young Robert has something meaningful to add to the discussion. He rightly identifies this as the left trying to eliminate the opposition without actually making any argument at all.

Think about it. They take your tax money by force and then give some of it back to you. When you accept it from them, they then immediately demand that you lose the right to complain about them taking it from you in the first place. It's beyond silly, it's wrong.

As usual, I'd feel a little better if Mr. VerBruggen called it that. But given the state of National Review lately, I guess I should be happy that he noticed it was an issue at all.

This Will Be Our Finest Hour

The presidential campaigns got a chance to breathe while the events in Aurora grabbed our collective attention. I had the feeling both campaigns became uncomfortable in their counter punches because of the lack of poling data. After s short delay, maybe a day or two, Romney picked up on "You didn't build that," and ran with it. I have said before he was a chalk player, but this time he acted intuitively.

As usual, Tom here at RFNJ was way out in front on calling attention to this now defining issue.  We can all be content in knowing that without us, the mainstream media would have spiked and forever buried  "You didn't build that."

The polls now show that only 36% of likely voters believe Obama is doing a good job in handling the economy. Romney likes metrics, but his running with "You didn't build that" shows he has good intuition as well. 

We have also noted that the "When did Romney leave Bain Capital" question originated at the Priorities USA SuperPac. In a political campaign, message control is everything. It is generally a bad idea to "go ugly early." But here, a SuperPac, ostensibly on Obama's side, dictated the dialog. To me this is a poor reflection on the management skills of the campaign and Mr. Obama.

This echoes how Obama has managed, or not managed, his Presidency. He let Congress run hog wild with the "Stimulus" and with Obamacare. In each case, letting like minded run with his tacit authority reveals a different image than what would best benefit his campaign.

Obama now has a favorability rating of 36%, down from 42% in April. Going ugly saps favorability. Going ugly early means you need to repair your favorability.

The Obama campaign has not acted decisively in speaking with swing voters in battleground states about the economy. Yesterday, the campaign continued to argue that Romney has the context of "You didn't build that" wrong. My intuition tells me that is really weak. Anybody can look at the whole speech any time they want.  Arguing context also breathes lasting power into this issue, which is a negative.

Romney, on the other hand, has made moves to make himself look presidential by shifting the dialog to foreign policy. The Olympics will be on a lot of television sets in the living rooms of the swing voters in the battleground states. His name is already closely associated with successfully managing the Olympics. He has taken a dig at Obama's foreign policy by stating he will return Winston Churchill's bust to the White house. 

The Obama campaign will need to think carefully whether they wish to respond. Romney has picked a position of strength and a response must acknowledge to some degree he validity of Romney's criticism. Swing voters will see Obama responding from a weak position.

The let's see how Romney moves next because "When in difficult country, do not encamp. In country where high roads intersect, join hands with your allies. Do not linger in dangerously isolated positions."

I just hope Obama decides to talk during the Olympics about his "successful" foreign policy off the teleprompter.


“[W]hat I know is that Jim’s story, my story, the story of so many of you, our success was made possible in this country because our parents, our grandparents our great grandparents, stretching all the way back to the founders, they had a vision that says, you know what, insists on hard work and individual initiative,” Obama said.

That's a coffee spitter! No wonder he has little patience today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

- Fishing For LIBOR Malfeasance

This is an interesting graphic, but most of it is just cool looking noise.

(You can get a better look at it by following the original link to Zerohedge Below)

The regulators seem to be implying that when a trader speaks to some other trader or executive at the bank where he works, this constitutes 'manipulating' LIBOR. It doesn't. Back in the 90's when I was still working at a bank we called that sort of thing "working at a bank". In fact, the pretend JPMorgan scandal was alleged because there wasn't enough communication between traders and management. Maybe the regulators need to decide if they want people in the big banks to be talking to each other or not.

There is only one reference I can see on this entire chart which even comes close to meeting a standard worthy of questions, let alone an investigation. About two thirds of the way down they claim there was a communication from one bank to another (in 2005) indicating some sort of communication about what the first bank would like to see for a LIBOR fixing. "what's up with ur guys 34.5 3m fix... tell him to get it up!" I can't imagine telling someone you'd prefer a higher rate amounts to collusion, so this fact alone doesn't really prove anything. And absent collusion there is absolutely no crime here. But the inquest grinds on all the same.

It's fair to say that the method used for LIBOR fixing may be worthy of an update. But so far the regulators haven't produced anything that even comes close to meeting the standard of a crime. There is a ton of innuendo, and a lot of propaganda. And all the actual data is certainly presented in as dark a frame as possible to make the banks look bad.

But claims that "we may soon discover that other banks were complicit" should be a signal to the reader that the regulators are on a fishing expedition, and haven't managed to hook anything yet. This is all just politics and anti-bank bias run wildly amok.

I got this graphic from Zerohedge. In that piece, the author claims "The evidence we have collected is quite telling, so I'm pretty sure this investigation will not be closed without results." I couldn't disagree with this conclusion more. I think all they have so far is a bunch of people from Washington learning how international banking works, and not liking what they are discovering.

I have no stake in any of the banks, so it's really no sweat off my back. But I don't like to see the press and the regulators trying to lynch people who, so far at least, don't seem to have done anything wrong. Evidence of the truth of this view is that the rest of the industry who also understand how things work, didn't see this as a problem at all either.

But the regulators seem pretty determined to bring the banks under their thumb. That I think, is the real point of this regulatory farce. Meanwhile, actual crimes like what happened at MF Global, remain unresolved.

The Drone for Regulation

The wordsmiths out there talked about a peace dividend at the end of the cold war. At that time, I naively looked for an overall reduction in federal spending as the dividend proceeds. I failed to see the peace dividend as the old production possibility frontier argument of guns versus butter. I also totally underestimated how the drone for domestic spending and regulation worked upon the collective guilty conscience of baby boomers that unknowingly benefitting from wise tax policy.

I proposed elsewhere, soon after 9-11, that we as a nation we will experience a new sort of peace dividend. The kind of painful growth that 1990’s disruptive technologies "inflicted" upon established interests gave us all sorts of transformative information technology. Rather than the old guns versus butter argument, I argued that government will benefit from private enterprise. Information technology will make transactions more secure, personal property more identifiable and communications planning crime less secure. There will be less crime because of more information.  I called it a security dividend.

Once again, I think, I underestimated the drone for domestic spending and regulation. So I now bring you now the drone for regulation. For the first time in our history, law enforcement used a drone to investigate a crime. In North Dakota, local law enforcement asked for an assist from Air Force base in Grand Forks for a flyover by a Predator B drone, specially adapted for domestic use, because they wanted intelligence whether the suspect was armed.

The response? Groups of all sorts now approach the FAA to seek clarification on their rules, because as it stands now, they must bless a drone flyover, before it occurs. Applying the disgronificator to this situation, “established interests” now move to maintain their present market advantage in the presently existing domestic drone industry. It is a lobbyist billing bonanza.

The inevitable reslt will be rules applied to the nation as a whole, rather than 50 experiments in 50 states about the use of drones for domestic security. Regulation will favor the dominant players because they can afford lobbyists. Competition from less dominant players will be squeezed out, slowing innovation caused by “painful” competition. But this is the way it goes when a Supreme Theft of Liberty allows a federal police power where none existed. Quite the opposite of selling the air.


The Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act of 2012 mandates that the FAA begin allowing the use of small drones, under 4.4 pounds.  The FAA must overhaul its drone regulations by September 30, 2015, including allowing more widespread use of drones by private parties and requirements for drone operator certification. "The new law, part of a broader financing bill for the F.A.A., came after intense lobbying by drone makers and potential customers."  I wonder whose drone weighed 4.5 pounds.

"The market for drones is valued at $5.9 billion and is expected to double in the next decade, according to industry figures."  I bet there is a trade in there somewhere ...

- Bloomberg Recommends A Police Walkout

If ever there were a commercial for liberal tyranny this is it. Mike Bloomberg, Napolean on the Hudson, thinks police should go on strike until Americans submit to his vision of a disarmed populace.

- Ugh ... Not Again...

Do I really have to write ANOTHER piece explaining the logical fallacies, cognitive dissonance and adolescent pipe dreams of this NYTimes editorial?

There really is nothing in the world that will cure stupid people of their stupidity. So can't we less stupid people just ignore them this once? I really don't know if I have it in me to explain all this nonsense to them .... AGAIN.

Come on NYTimes... it's just you, Lautenberg, Bloomberg, the press corps, and a few other power hungry or senile politicians who think any form of gun control would be a good idea. The other roughly 299,999,500 of us already know better. Can't you please get with the program and start treating the issue seriously, instead of constantly reverting back to 1976? It's so exhausting having to explain the cost-benefit principle to you every time something bad happens to someone.

Can't you just please act like adults this once?

Monday, July 23, 2012

- Ice -T Get's It

He was born in Newark NJ. And he has a better understanding of the Second Amendment than half of Washington, and all of Trenton.

- Et Tu National Review

If there is a Democrat out there with dreams of mono-polar totalitarian rule over the internet, the best way to get me to sign on to his plan is to make the coding of either the pop-under or pop-over AD a felony which includes a mandatory 5 years in prison.

I'm just sayin.

Oppression in the Air

I have tried to make the point that the architects of our Constitution understood that the regulatory state favors big interests over people and small business. To prevent the rise of a royal central power, they divided federal power into discreet compartments.  I have examined precisely how our Supreme Court permitted the rise of a federal regulatory state beyond these compartments on January 6, 1936 by acquiescing to then favorably viewed fascist and socialist policies. I have also looked at how resulting agricultural regulatory policy oppressed especially southern tenant farmers, whose organized pleas for better laws and regulation went ignored. There are some striking parallels between STFU and the Occupy movement. Organization and communication did not achieve better regulatory fairness in the 1930's, and it does not seem to be working now. A Constitutional Reboot, however, will work best to again establish fairness between individuals or small business and large established interests by throwing off their advantages entrenched in the regulatory state.

The national will for sweeping changes in how Americans interface with their government does not exist in the present divided political climate. Our political divisive discourse seeks a marginal edge on small issues. I have found myself guilty in this very failing, even in the midst of a series of pieces attempting to bring the Constitutional Reboot idea to RFNJ readers. Yet, as I have considered this topic, I have seen couples walking together doing it, people walking out of church doing it and people at OWS events doing it. So I ask now, do you want to spend less to do it? Spending less for something we do all the time is something we can agree upon. So we need to sell the air.

The regulation of radio spectrum in the United States is a natural monopoly rooted in the notion that spectrum is a limited resource. The FCC grants exclusive licenses to extraordinarily limited spectrum they make available, creating scarcity in a renewable resource. As a result, the FCC receives extraordinary payments from large cellular providers for a manufactured scarcity. Regulation inflates price.  Everybody pays inflated bills every month for a regulatory manufactured scarcity. My solution is to open more spectrum and sell it – permanently.

Americans accepted radio spectrum regulation, which aims to promote security of network operations, maintenance of network integrity, interoperability of services, protection of data and any number of additional concerns. Yet, when you look at it carefully, the most ardent proponents of radio spectrum regulation are highly profitable cellular companies, which are more than capable of providing for such “regulatory” concerns without regulation. Making radio spectrum property, which may be defended against encroachment in special courts with interstate jurisdiction to immediately halt interference, will spectacularly reduce monthly cellphone bills for everybody.

Yet, many who ask us to “open our eyes” to see the wreckage of corporate greed ask for more government crafted solutions. My eyes have been open for a long time. If you really wanted to inflict pain on large corporate interests, you would set them against each other, rather than coddle them with the regulations they want. That kind of pain means growth that will give you something real.

As I see it, "the care of providing for his enjoyments ought to be left almost entirely to each individual: the principal function of government being to protect him from suffering." Regulation of the radio spectrum does little to nothing to promote safety. Should we throw off the cellular regulatory state, perhaps then we collectively may see the value in a Constitutional Reboot.

- Shouldn't That Be Eric Holder On The Right?

Compliments of our friends at "TheLookingSpoon"

"By Every Measure, The Economy is Improving...."

"The Fiscal Cliff is a Good Plan."
....blurted out on CNBC this morning in a manner similar to a junkie in need of a fix tends to vomit-up whatever hits his stomach, Howard Dean is in "fool-on"... I mean Full-On DNC Talking Points Overdrive.
He even got down-right obstinate in his defense of the utterly incomprehensible!
Of course CNBC has yet to "publish" the video since it really makes anyone that marches behind Howard Dean look like a buffoon. (FYI - that would be every Democrat in the USA!)
To think - this maniac could have been president!
My pop always said "Never Trust a Doctor that doesn't practice medicine."
Howard is that Doctor.
Howard also has a fantasy that there are such things as "Gazillionaires".... Yes he's childish enough to use those terms. The Democrat Fantasy is that if they raise the Tax rates, then the money pours-in. It always does... just like during the Clinton Surplus!
The Democrats will always point to the Clinton Surplus just like some Italians used to say "Mussolini made the trains run on time".
The Clinton Surplus was a MYTH. It was creative accounting at best, but I don't expect Democrats to glance a skeptical eye upon one their own, Hell, a vast number of these people believed Howard Dean should have been President!
FYI - Dr. Dean was a rotten governor too. I refuse to visit Vermont until the stench of liberalism has been Eradicated. That may be ... never.

- Back To Business As Usual

Saturday, July 21, 2012

- Preventing Future Mass Killings

While I'm sympathetic to those who would wish to wave a magic wand to prevent tragedies like the one in Aurora Colorado, we all know that no such magic wand exists. I wish it did. I wish it were possible to simply pass a law and with its passing, prevent all future meaningless acts of violence - or all violence for that matter. If only such a thing were possible, I'd happily support it.

But since that isn't possible, we must tragically content ourselves to deal with what is. If we are to draft our laws based exclusively on what we wish for, then we intentionally consign ourselves to cope with the unintended consequences of poorly designed law. Past experience dictates that instead of doing so, it might actually be better to do nothing at all. But what we should really do is focus on the goals of the policy rather than the intent. And the only way to do that effectively, is to take into account both the benefits and costs of anything we consider. Anything else and we likely do ourselves more harm than good.

If it really would save lives and prevent all violence, then no one would be against the banning of all civilian firearm ownership. Regrettably, that isn't the case. Banning guns doesn't prevent violence, it only disarms the victims and empowers those who are still willing to flout the law. In microcosm, the theater in Aurora where the shooting occurred had a strict 'no firearms' policy. It was a 'gun free zone' as these shooting so often turn out to be. The victims of the shooting all obeyed the law and were unable to defend themselves while James Holmes, intent on murder, was totally unrestrained by it. Similarly, Chicago's strict gun control laws have done nothing to stem the constant flow of civilian blood in shooting after shooting after shooting.

Some are proposing the re-imposition of the Clinton era 'assault weapons' ban, but this is another red herring. Guns which operate identically to the one the shooter used could have been purchased legally under the Clinton era ban - as they are now in NJ, NY, CT and California where state bans are still in place. What's more, even an outright total ban of all guns, wouldn't have stopped this particular killing, which could have been accomplished with Gasoline and a match. The point is that if history has shown us anything, it's that someone intent on murder will always be able to find a way. The only question is, how easy do we intend to make it for them?

If we are going to pass a law which will restrict the rights of 300 million innocent and law abiding Americans, we shouldn't do it haphazardly. At the very least we should be certain that the law will achieve its desired effect. But no gun ban has even been shown to do so. On the contrary, by disarming only those who are willing to obey the law it has often had an opposite effect. Mandatory registration, background checks, psychological profiles and all the other laws which the left wants to pass, would also only effect the innocent and law abiding. Those intent on crime will not register their guns, and those that sell to them will do no background checks from the trunk of their car. These are all laws which punish the wrong people by design.

By all indications so far made public, none of those proposals would have done anything to prevent the Aurora shooting. So the cost to the innocent public would have been very high, and the benefit to the citizens of Aurora would be none whatsoever. That's the real tragedy of laws designed like these. It's simply a reality that passing additional restrictions on the innocent rarely restricts those intent on lawlessness - however much it might make us all feel better to pass such laws.

It's easy to craft policy that's really only designed to sooth our fears or our outrage, or our sense of self satisfaction. But that isn't how effective law is made. An effective law is one which accomplishes the goal it sets out to accomplish at a minimum cost, inconvenience, and reduction in liberty to innocent citizens. That is the world we live in. And it would add deep insult to an already significant injury to pursue the political goal of punishing the innocent, in a vain attempt to eliminate the guilty.

If the left has proposals which they believe are likely to achieve the goal of reducing public violence, I for one would be very interested in hearing them. But since all their past ideas regarding 'gun control' have all failed to accomplish what they set out to, I think it's time for them to begin thinking about new ideas. Punishing the innocent with restrictions has been tried and has failed... so it's time for them to consider something different that at least stands a remote chance of success.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Black Bloc OWS Evidence? - Hate Is On the Rise

Over several days I invited viewers of this thread to make their own conclusion whether an image appearing in a YouTube video titled Occupy Wall Street included an image of James E. Holmes being carried away by the police.  The images on the video were accompanied by a ballad sung by James Willie Holmes.  After some time and effort, I located a Reuters image captured on October 1, 2011 on the Brooklyn Bridge depicting the protester that appears in the YouTube I found so curious.  The clarity of this image lead me to conclude that the protester that appears when James W. Holmes sings "hate is on the rise" is not James E. Holmes.  Once I realized my mistake, I posted the following:

"I apologize to the man being taken by the police for associating him with a mass murderer.  I also apologize for associating OWS with James E. Holmes with images and opinions I posted below.  I sincerely regret my mistakes."    


- Things Fall Apart

While the left ponders the many ways in which the current tragedy in Colorado can be used to strip Americans of their rights, our man Derb has an entirely different 'Gun Problem".

Who among us in gun culture hasn't been in a situation like his?

Meanwhile... Europe is Rapidly Disintegrating

While the consensus has been "Europe will muddle-through" and slog along, I don't see the European Monetary Union surviving in it's current form much longer.
Today, the Eurozone Finance Committee approved the bail-out plan for Spain.
It is a plan that takes a pool of money from solvent nations and uses it to refinance banks that might be better off in bankruptcy than resuscitated. However, some of these banks are far worse than the ECB and the Troika cared to reveal:
The worsening position of many lenders was underlined this week when Spain's central bank disclosed that they had 155.84bn euros of loans on their books in May that are at risk of not being repaid in full.
Currently there is popular belief in common Europe that America is the source of their ills. They blame their shortcomings and inability to fund their debt on our sub-prime crisis.
It's a stretch, but you can't argue economics and accounting with a socialist. The anti-American sentiment has reached a boiling point since we are associated with every new crisis that emerges.
Spanish 10 year yields have reached new highs (7.27% at present) and Credit Default Swaps in Spain, Italy, Portugal and Ireland have "spiked" at the release of the news.
Italy and Spain are in different boats but headed down the same set of rapids and ultimately over the falls.
Mario Monti - the "anti-Berlusconi" technocrat is a lousy politician and this morning has begun to blame the mood in Spain for the symptoms in Italy.
This is bad since he is not blaming "the Banksters" as the anti-capitalists are want to do, but he is blaming the voice of discontent for disrupting his peace. Of course this will lead to mass protests in Rome and Milan...
“It’s difficult to say to what extent the contagion comes or came from Greece or from Portugal or from Ireland or from the situation of the Spanish banks or of the one apparently emerging from the streets and the squares of Madrid,” Monti told reporters in Rome. “Obviously, without the problems in those countries, Italy’s interest rates would be lower.”
Yes, I know that little bit of candor made the coffee erupt from my nose when I first read it!
This is the new European Mood. These are the Green Shoots from the Seeds of Despair and Discontent.
The Telegraph is reporting How the Crisis is Sparking "Civil War in Sicily"
July 20 (Telegraph) -- The misery caused by Italy's financial crisis could spark a "civil war" in the southern island of Sicily, the mayor of regional capital Palermo said on Friday. "Because of an explosive mix of despair felt by many families and the stranglehold of organised crime, a civil war could even break out," mayor Leoluca Orlando told the economic daily Wirtschaftsblatt.
"Sicily is the Greece of Italy," said Orlando, a member of the anti-corruption Italy of Values party and a staunch anti-Mafia champion.
"We've managed to stay afloat only because we're a part of Italy," he added.
"Many businesses are shutting, families on low incomes can no longer pay their electricity bills," said Orlando, who has been mayor since May.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Mario Monti expressed concern that the region ran the risk of bankruptcy.
Sicily is in debt to the tune of five billion euros ($6.1 billion) and in the Sicilian capital Palermo, the deficit stands at 500 million euros.
Orland said he hoped the autumn regional elections would lead to change in the struggling region.
"It should mark the end of the politics that have led Sicily to the brink," he said.
He described the current political system there as corrupt and wasteful of public money.
Sicily was one of 23 Italian sub-sovereign entities that saw their rating downgraded on Monday by the Moody's rating agency.
Oh, and we must mention Greece in the news today:
The European Central Bank on Friday said debt issued or fully guaranteed by the Greek government will become "for the time being ineligible" for use as collateral in monetary policy operations due to the July 25 expiration of a buyback program. The ECB said that, "in line with established procedures," its Governing Council would assess the potential eligibility of Greek bonds at the conclusion of an ongoing review of Greece's compliance with its bailout terms by the European Commission, the ECB and International Monetary Fund. The ECB said liquidity needs may be addressed by the Greek central bank "in line with existing Eurosystem arrangements."

But what about the "solvent" European nations? They are not immune and the people are speaking:
German citizens were polled today and I believe 2-1 are "against the bailouts".
 'Merkel Is Driving Europe Into the Abyss'

What about France? Hollande will certainly lead his country and Europe from darkness?
More like deeper into darkness. French bonds have been resilient during the crisis, however that domino is still down the line...
France has reported this week that it will Tax the Stuffing out of the Bourgeois
France will undoubtedly follow her southern European neighbors down the same set of rapids since it share similar fiscal policy but aggressively seeks to extinguish any growth potential with outrageous taxes.

Plutarch said:
The real destroyer of the liberties of the people is he who spreads among them bounties, donations and benefits.
I believe these unelected bureaucracies and not-so shadow governments that have "made Europe" what it is today are experiencing a backlash from those they wish to dictate. It truly is a dictatorship and if the "subjects" of Europe decide to unify their fiscal houses under one roof, ultimately they will be unifying their parliaments and legislative authority under that same roof.
They have tried to placate the masses with benefits and perks and social welfare and carbon taxes and all sorts of things that makes them appear more advanced than they really are...
Europeans are not distant from Americans when push comes to shove. I don't see this arrangement lasting much longer. 13 months... Tops, and I'm being conservative.
I believe we need to examine what will fill this void in continental Europe.
The painting of Napoleon Returning From Elba... maybe we are doomed to repeat history...


Here It Comes

That was from the conspiracy theorists ...


The young man who is in custody after allegedly gunning down 12 people in a mass shooting spree overnight in Aurora, Colorado has been identified as local resident James Holmes, according to federal authorities.


Stephanolpoulos: I'm going to go to Brian Ross. You've been investigating the background of Jim Holmes here. You found something that might be significant.

Ross: There's a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea party site as well, talking about him joining the Tea Party last year. Now, we don't know if this is the same Jim Holmes. But it's Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.

Stephanolpoulos: Okay, we'll keep looking at that. Brian Ross, thanks very much.


“I mean, there’s so many murders with guns every day,” he [Bloomberg] continued. “It’s just gotta stop. And instead of these two people, President [Barack] Obama and Governor [Mitt] Romney talking in broad things about, they want to make the world a better place. OK. Tell us how. And this is a problem. No matter where you stand on the Second Amendment, no matter where you stand on guns, we have a right to hear from both of them, concretely, not just in generalities, specifically, what are they going to do about guns?”


Cinemark owns the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, scene of last night’s mass shooting. Cinemark doesn’t allow anyone other than law enforcement officers to carry legal firearms in their theaters.

%%%%%%%%% Update

James Holmes could be a registered Democrat, according to documents obtained by Breitbart News.

%%%%%%%% Update 2

Sarasota private investigator Bill Warner told Laura Ingraham that suspect Holmes fits the profile “to a t” of a member of the Black Bloc – a little known group of violent, black-clad and gas mask-wearing anarchists who piggy-back on the non-violent Occupy movement during anti-Wall Street protests.

“There’s no public information available on James Holmes anywhere. No car, no credit card, no nothing. I checked. [OWS] Black Bloc members use cash and don’t buy cars so that they can go underground.

“(Holmes’) age, the black clothes and gas mask he was wearing, the facts he is white and underground, the facts he is a drifter prone to over-the-top violence, it all fits. Batman features an Occupy-type bad guy and this nut job may have taken it personally.”

One federal investigator told CBS this morning that Holmes indeed remained “under the radar.” He dropped out of medical school recently.


No apparent terrorism link to Colorado shooting: White House -  ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters)  9:19 a.m.

- Nanna Smackdown

My father's mother was a tough bird. She was all of 4 feet 11 inches and 90lbs dripping wet, but she was a force to be reckoned with. Her sons were combat veterans and business leaders - physically imposing, forceful commanding men who could dominate any room. But they were all terrified of her.

When I was about 19, I was sitting around in her backyard with a few of my cousins and my uncle Bob - just hanging around and passing the spring afternoon away as was the custom in my family. But I was also on my third beer, and I accidentally let the F word slip.

Nanna was on me like a shot. "I don't know where you think you are but we don't use that word around here!" All the men (not one of them less than 6 feet tall or under 180lbs) all looked at their shoes and began moving slowly away from me so as not to be implicated by proximity. Since it was a first offense, I managed to get away without any physical injury.

This reminds me a lot of that day.

(But just imagine the press reaction if Dick Cheney had said something like this instead of Nanna Pelosi.)

- The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Mrs. RFNJ: "So how did you sleep last night, were you able to nod off finally?"

Me: "Not really. I probably got an hour or two of something resembling sleep but it wasn't exactly a restful night. < Pause to fill coffee cup > Still, at 5:15 this morning I kicked my feet off the bed and got to work."

Mrs. RFNJ: "That wasn't you... you didn't do that."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

You Didn't Build That Optics

You can't tell me that "You didn't build that" doesn't resonate.  Just look at the faces of the guys in the back when Mitt talks about it.  

- Here Is The Whole Election Right Here


For all you young unemployed kids out there trying to figure out why American businessmen aren't doing their patriotic duty and hiring people like the government has commanded them to, this is why. Obama and his team despise achievement. Business people know that, and have reacted rationally in the face of that hostility by not going out of their way to achieve. The whole country is on hold until the anti-business climate in Washington is gotten under control.

Washington is not the solution, it's the problem.

The First Term in Review

Pretty simple...

- The Check Is In The Mail

.. .so in this case it probably won't ever get there.

The Post office is broke, or is at the very least on a trajectory to 'broke'. It's losing money hand over fist for all the same reasons that all the other union dominated defined benefit pension entities are going broke. But in this case we can be certain that no one is going to care. The secret to this is in the otherwise enlightening WSJ editorial describing the problem:

The Postal Service repeated on Wednesday that without congressional action, it will default—a first in its long history, a spokesman said—on a legally required annual $5.5 billion payment, due Aug. 1, into a health-benefits fund for future retirees.

There you have it. The people who aren't getting paid are 'future retirees'. So money they are being promised in their fantastically generous union contract, is not getting paid and when they need it ... it won't be there. This is, ironically, exactly the same position that we private sector people have been in with our federally promised 'future benefits' for a few years now. So in some sense you can think of this as the Postal worker's unions taking on a 'shared burden' or 'paying their fair share'.

Nice to see that they're walking the walk, even if they don't mean to.

The Constitutional Reboot

The law is very unsatisfying to individuals who deal in logical certainty. The unyielding pressure to bring in a win for your side leads advocates to all manner of argument that seeks to redefine language or ignore generally accepted solutions. Cases where the rules are changed, however, are the sensational exception. For the most part, Judges are first public servants who are happy to apply logic and reason to solve problems. So I hope this piece may be a little more satisfying to those who apply logic to solve problems.

The framers of our Constitution, I have argued, foremost understood prosperity and how a central authority that acts for economic good protects established interests while stifling innovation. To protect a prosperity that made their lives appreciably better than Europeans, the framers sharply limited the power of a central authority to regulate on matters of economics.

Poor performance of the economy, it should be no surprise, provides the greatest opportunity to rethink our constitutional system. I have talked about the American fascination with fascism as it appeared to propel Germany to prosperity in 1933. I have also talked about parallels between Great Depression policies and Soviet confiscation of the Ukranian family garden. The Supreme Court acquiescence on January 6, 1936 to central planning, proscribed by the Constitution, which cannot now be thrown off, even in small corners, by some of our most powerful elected officials.

A liberty deflation now threatens the prosperity that the framers of the Constitution understood. In an economic deflation, the value of assets decrease, which degrades institutions that permit individuals to access capital. It grinds slowly, as people rationally defer decisions to engage in commercial activity. The deflation feeds itself, as institutional failure becomes culturally acceptable. The deflation of liberty engenders the same effects. We accept the grinding demise of prosperity, while believing the advance of the central government leviathan is inevitable.

I give you one word that may turn the great liberty deflation – and.

The U.S. v Butler court set aside ordinary rules of statutory interpretation, when it unhitched Article I, Section 8 taxing power from the 17 permissible reasons for federal taxation. For centuries, as James Madison well understood as he penned The Federalist 41, courts applied general statutory language limited by specific language in the same enactment, using the canon expressio unius est exclusio alterius (the express mention of one thing excludes all others).

An “and” inserted into Article I, Section 8 returns tax and spend powers to the way the drafters understood that courts construe statutes:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States, AND;

With this change, the great constitutional virus scan may begin.

As it is now, a court called to examine an enactment need only decide whether Congress used the powers of taxation and appropriation to extend “only to matters of national, as distinguished from local, welfare.” With the “and,” the dutiful public servants in the judiciary would methodically examine whether a challenged tax promotes the general welfare AND fits within the 17 permissible taxation purposes. On a case by case basis, the courts would unwind the now great and growing central regulatory leviathan.

One simple word may reverse the great liberty deflationary spiral that began January 6, 1936.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

- The NRA Vs. The UN

I don't know if you've been following this story, but the UN has gotten all fired up to pass a 'conventional arms' treaty. They want to disarm all the unwashed so the fine people who arr running the UN Human rights council can take ... "better" care of them. The NRA, of which I am a proud member, has responded to this by pulling out all the stops to prevent US ratification of it, if and when it happens.

In the past I never worried about that sort of thing much. Any such treaty would be illegal under US law where a right to keep and bear is a enshrined in our highest law. But the law doesn't mean what it used to around these parts. So now I'm wondering if the whole thing might happen anyway, and there really might be good cause to be concerned.

The good news though is that the NRA is all over it. As you know the NRA is the one totally unrepentant political organization in Washington with the singular goal of ensuring that America's private citizens retain power. Every win for the NRA is a win for the private citizenry of America, even if they're liberal and don't realize it. Because as soon as they take the guns away, they can take away everything else too.

and how long do you imagine that would take with the Democrat party in the state it's in?

- Obama's Jobs Council

The truth about Obama's Jobs council is that for the most part it's a bunch of political hacks trying to ingratiate themselves with the most anti-business President in living memory. It's the heads of all the big businesses that depend on government contracts to make their way in the world so Obama can count on big donations from them. They are the 'good' business leaders to him because they're tame... like a pet poodle. Oh... the council also includes Richard Trumpka.

These people could no more solve America's unemployment problem than they could cure he common cold. That's not how they do things. They solve their own businesses problems by running down to Washington, buying a couple of congressmen and a Senator and getting them to enact legislation to prevent their smaller competitors from competing with them. "You can run a company or you can run to Washington" goes the Atlas Shrugged quote. These are the people who only know how to run to Washington.... and Richard Trumpka... who more waddles than runs.

Of course, it's not entirely their fault they couldn't create any jobs. Obama certainly wasn't leaving them with a ton of options. I could just hear him now. "I'd like to hear all your suggestions for addressing our unemployment issues by bringing those uppity businessmen further under the responsible thumb of government." The business leaders probably all looked around the room uncomfortable and Richard Trumpka giggled like a school girl (or a CBS News reporter).

Anyway, the jobs council wasn't actually designed to solve problems, just to 'look' like it was solving problems. Even so though, you'd think Obama could have skipped the back nine at least once in the last six months to meet with them. You know... just for show.

We all know our politicians lie to us - especially the Democrats who very often also lie to themselves. But we'd like them to put a little effort into it every now and then. This makes it seem like he's not even trying to lie to us believably.

- Hyperinflation Warning From UBS

While I can't sign off on this entire report from UBS (I need to read it a little more carefully), I can support it's central thesis which is that while inflation is a monetary phenomenon, Hyperinflation is a fiscal one. Or to put it even more succinctly in my opinion, it is a political phenomenon. It's a loss of confidence in the ability of a country's political institutions. When those institutions begin applying irrational solutions to problems (imagine secretary of the Treasury Maxine Waters), a loss of confidence in the process being used creates hyperinflation.

To put this in the proper context with the much publicized Chuck Schumer / Ben Bernanke chat from yesterday, if someone is going to be creating hyperinflation, it's Schumer not Bernanke.

- Reward Offered For Fast And Furious Evidence

"If you have verifiable evidence that President Obama or one of his aides knew about Operation Fast & Furious while it was underway, Call 1-888-692-7374 toll free. This is your opportunity to save yourself before Operation Fast & Furious comes crashing down like Watergate. Don't go to jail. Turn states evidence now just like John Dean did. The truth will come out. Will you be caught in the web of Operation Fast & Furious, or will you avoid jail time?"

A Few More Select Items

&#8220;The Internet didn&#8217;t get invented on its own.&#8221; - Barack Obama (7/13/2012)

Take ALL the Credit!

Stay unemployed, my friends.


Note the strangeness of the political rhetoric. Note how the logic is tilted.

The Supreme Theft of Liberty – Pt. 4

I recall seeing movies in grammar school of crops being burned to increase prices under the AAA. I could not find anything graphic like that when I wrote Part 2. Instead I included a link to a song by The Almanac Singers, Plow Under. Dominant interests always survive better under regulation.  Under the AAA tenant farmers lost everything, while being told, in essence, STFU. I have likened U.S. farm policy that regulates your back yard garden to the Stalinist “plowing under“ of Ukrainians. In the weeks following parts 1, 2 and 3, the folks at NRO talked about how Woodie Guthrie and Pete Seeger, both Almanac Singers, admired Stalin. Now there is also this piece, where John Boehner talks about our “Soviet-style dairy program.”

Take a quick look at our present national milk policy:

“If you want help from the government in terms of this margin insurance, then you have to offer to be part of the solution by trimming your production when conditions are really bad to help bring supply and demand back into balance,” Galen said. “If you’re not willing to do that, then why should you be there accepting help from the government?”

Mr. Galen is a proponent of balancing supply and demand through federal regulation that pays farmers not to farm. Who is Mr. Galen? He is a Senior Vice President of Communications at the National Milk Producers Federation. The people who own and invest in milk farms want regulation to protect them from competition.

Now let us now go back to January 6, 1936, the day the Supreme Court stole our liberty. In U.S. v Butler, the court struck down the use of an agricultural processor license tax to bring supply and demand "into balance" by paying farmers not to farm. In response, Congress enacted the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938, which scrapped the license tax and used general funds to pay farmers not to farm. The 1938 AAA is now considered permanent law, so much so that the Speaker of the House has been on a 16 year failed campaign to eliminate milk subsidies. The Great Depression is the national emergency that will never end.  

The rise of the federal regulatory state began when the Supreme Court blessed taxation for general welfare alone, unhitched from the 17 permissible purposes in Article I, Section 8. Just a quick look for “history American regulation 1930's” reveals that in the 1930’s the federal government rushed to regulate railroads, banking, labor, energy, food and drugs, minimum wages, retirement income, motion pictures, radio spectrum, etc. When constitutional concerns arose, federal regulators proudly recall that “I have something up my sleeve.”

We know from NFIB v. Sebelius, we cannot look to the court to restore constitutional federalism. The court is bound by stare decisis to accept its previous decisions as binding. So like with any vertically oriented enterprise, we who believe in federalism can say the king has no clothes, while being forced to tolerate – well, paint your own picture here. The best we can hope for from the court is a sealing off of federal power where it stands now, while regulatory proponents will seek to appoint Justices that view federalism as a quaint idea whose time has come and gone.

To me the rise of the regulatory state has nothing to do with the rule of law. Courts that function properly should fill the gaps that parties did not consider. Gap filling permits an orderly and predictable way to unwind failures. Now, courts are in the enterprise of enforcing the federal regulatory state. 

I do not need to tell RFNJ readers about regulation and the Obama administration.  I believe we have reached the point where our national economy will perform like that of France.  We can change all that with an "and,"  a couple of other words and maybe by selling the air...