Monday, August 29, 2011

The Rehabilitation of Clarence Thomas' Reputation, On the Left

Writing at his American Interest blog, Walter Russell Mead reviews an article by Jeffrey Toobin in The New Yorker. Mead notes that the Toobin article is evidence that the left is beginning to respect, perhaps even fear, the intellect and jurisprudence of Clarence Thomas. It is fashionable on the left to mock him as an intellectual lightweight but in dismissing him in this way for all these years they have failed to pay attention to the fact that he has had quite an influence on the way the Supreme Court has looked at questions such as the meaning of the Second Amendment.

There are few articles of faith as firmly fixed in the liberal canon as the belief that Clarence Thomas is, to put it as bluntly as many liberals do, a dunce and a worm. Twenty years of married life have not erased the conventional liberal view of his character etched by Anita Hill’s testimony at his confirmation hearings. Not only does the liberal mind perceive him as a disgusting lump of ungoverned sexual impulse; he is seen as an intellectual cipher. Thomas’ silence during oral argument before the Supreme Court is taken as obvious evidence that he has nothing to say and is perhaps a bit intimidated by the verbal fireworks exchanged by the high profile lawyers and his more, ahem, ‘qualified’ colleagues.
Read the whole thing.

(via Instapundit)
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

John Allison: The Government Caused the Financial Crisis, Not Greed.

The Instapundit, Glenn Reynolds, talks with former BB&T CEO John Allison about the causes of the financial crisis. The industries that have the most interference from government are the most screwed up and Financial Sevices is the most regulated of them all.........

Well worth the 11 minutes it will take you to watch it.
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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is There An Inalienable Right to Self-Defense?

That is the question Mike McDaniels asks over at Pajamas Media in the context of the British riots and our own Operation Gunwalker/Fast and Furious scandal:

It all comes down to this: Is there an inalienable right to self-defense? If there is, each man has indisputable, inestimable value, value that he may rightly preserve even if the life of another man is forfeit. A man may kill another in lawful self-defense even if the policy preferences of the state would prefer his death. If a right to self-defense actually exists, it is in a very real sense the highest law of the land and all lesser laws must pay it deference. It fundamentally defines the social contract, the nature of the relationship between man and the state.

But if there is no such inalienable right, the entire nature of the social contract is changed. Each man’s worth is measured solely by his utility to the state, and as such the value of his life rides a roller coaster not unlike the stock market: dependent not only upon the preferences of the party in power but upon the whims of its political leaders and the permanent bureaucratic class. The proof of this analysis surrounds us.
Irony abounds in that England, the cradle of the common law and of our doctrine of self-defense, has utterly done away with even a government-condescended privilege to self-preservation. Not only have the English allowed themselves to be virtually stripped of firearms, British politicians have made attempts with varying degrees of success to ban knives. Attempting to protect the self or others from brutal criminal attack can and will lead to lengthy jail sentences in jolly old England — for the victims. Attacking criminals often go free, and often successfully sue their victims for daring to harm them in the process of depriving them of property or their very lives.
Why did the riots in London occur?
England has seen riots because the English allowed those who rule them to place what value they choose on the lives of Englishmen. They chose the indolent, the parasites, the criminals, the barbarians over honest, productive Englishmen and denied them their very right to exist when attacked by members of the parasitical class, the class established by the state and the class which perpetuates the state lest its very nourishment be cut off.
And what value is our own government placing on the lives of individuals such as Brian Terry, a Border Patrol Agent murdered with a gun that our own government knowingly allowed to fall into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels?

And now the Obama administration has revealed its assessment of the value of the life of a Border Patrol officer: Zero. Agent Terry is of no value, for the crime was committed not against him, but the state, which in its wisdom and mercy is far more concerned with protecting feckless bureaucrats and politicians than American citizens.
I happen to believe my right of self defense is inalienable and absolute. The instinct for self defense is hard-wired into the DNA of every creature on the planet and this right may not exist solely at the whim of the state.

Read the whole thing.
(via Instapundit)
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Bill Whittle Explains......

.....Our Progressive Nightmare:

And the conservative Solution:

Plus some Q&A:

Well worth your time to watch, so please do.

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Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Deal - Bill Whittle

Need I say it? Watch.

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Obamacare Conflict of Interest - Major Democrat Donor IT CEO Appointed to Health & Human Services Health Information Technology Policy Committee....

.... And her company stands to benefit from what it recommends. Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment has the story:

The Washington Examiner’s Lachlan Markay broke news this week about the appointment of a major liberal donor, Judith Faulkner, CEO of Epic Systems Corporation, to the Health & Human Services Health Information Technology Policy Committee. Markay reports that Judy Faulkner was appointed to a stimulus-created board that is charged with disbursing billions of taxpayer dollars for health information technology adoption despite her opposition to the administration’s interoperability goals, which require that health records be shareable across platforms.

Faulkner and her company oppose the president’s vision for health IT, but Epic employees are massive Democratic donors. They’ve given nearly $300,000 to Democrats since 2006, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Faulkner is also the sole representative for the health IT industry on the committee, which has the power to set industry standards. Does anyone doubt that any adopted standards will work to the benefit of Epic Systems? This is a serious conflict of interest for Epic Systems and the Department of Health and Human Services. It is, however, a fairly predictable conflict of interest, highlighting one of the myriad objections to central planning known as regulatory capture. Simply put, regulatory capture is when government agencies work in the interest of specific commercial interests instead of their original charter, and is extremely common due to the fact that industry has the strongest incentive to assume control of the regulatory process. Given this, why should Americans trust any decision made by HHS on Health IT policy?
Sadly, this is not terribly surprising. Actually, with this corrupt an administration it's all too predictable.

Read the whole thing.

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mark Steyn on Lessons of the London Riots

Mark Steyn'e weekly column in the Orange County Register is his take on the past week's mob violence in London. The bottom line:
Big Government means small citizens: it corrodes the integrity of a people, catastrophically. Within living memory, the city in flames on our TV screens every night governed a fifth of the Earth's surface and a quarter of its population. When you're imperialists on that scale, there are bound to be a few mishaps along the way. But nothing the British Empire did to its subject peoples has been as total and catastrophic as what a post-great Britain did to its own.

Read the whole thing.

Update: Theodore Dalrymple adds his tuppence worth.
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Saturday, August 06, 2011

When Is a Budget Cut Not a Budget Cut?

It is when you use the (unprincipled) principle of baseline budgeting. I sat down to write something about how the federal government's use of this technique, as it did last week, to simultaneously claim both spending increases and spending cuts but I found that the Intellectual Conservative beat me to it (read the whole thing, of course):

Baseline budgeting says that the budgetary estimate of government spending in any fiscal year is automatically assumed to continue at pre-ordained rates of expansion in all subsequent years. This definition, boiled down to its least common denominator, means that spending never decreases from one year to the next.
P.J. O'Rourke had an amusing illustration of how this works in his 1991 book, Parliament of Whores:

Say the federal government has a program to teach self-esteem, motivation and marketable job skills to debutantes. Call it DebSelf. And say that congress has authorized $100 million in 1990 DebSelf funding. 1991 budgeteers would then factor in 5 percent for inflation, not a 10-percent increase in the population of girls who had coming-out parties in the Standard Metropolitan Statistical Areas' civilian labor force, assume a 10-percent increae in DebSelf program utilization based on Census Bureau surveys of cotillion-ball activity and give DebSelf a $125 million baseline. (Note that using the current services baseline reasoning, DebSelf grows to be a $10 billion program in twenty years.)
Until we abolish the use of this technique we will never see the federal budget cut as ordinary people like ourselves understand a budget cut; actually spending fewer dollars this year than we did last year. In the example above, the government will claim that the DebSelf program spending is flat and if say, a proposal is made to cut the 5% inflation assumption to 4%, the program still grows but the program's defenders will scream that it is being cut by 20%.

If a company in the private sector used baseline budgeting the executive management would end up in prison, and rightly so. Any company that spends more than it brings in in cash is going to actually cut costs if it wants to continue in business. It will lay off employees, close unprofitable lines of business, sell assets, etc. That is reality for any of us that can't print our own money or have a no-limits Visa card.

This should be the next mission for us Tea Partiers: honest budgeting using real dollar cuts. I'd say federal spending should be cut to 2006 levels, useless departments shut down and employees laid off. It's time the federal government lived with the realities the rest of us do.

Update: A minor case of link rot appears to have afflicted this post. The link to the Intellectual Conservative no longer takes you to the post. It can now be found at Philadelphia Speaks.
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