There is no free in liberty.


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Rockingham Conservative Breakfast This Saturday...


The normal routine has been altered and there will not be a formal breakfast due to Representative Bert Jones's town-hall. The town-hall is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. at the Wentworth Town Hall.

However, Steve Herr will be at the Way Cup Coffee restaurant at 8:30 a.m. if anyone would like to stop by and chat over coffee. Location is 8470 NC Hwy 87, just before the at the intersection of Hwy 87 and 65, on the right.

Again, this Saturday morning 8:30 for breakfast, and at 10:00 Bert Jones cranks up his town-hall.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Bev Perdue Kicking it Local ...


Via BlueRidgeNow:
Studying Gov. Bev Perdue's proposed budget cuts has Gary Pace of Saluda sensing the smell of fear. “The state is trying to put it all back to the counties to pay for things, and you know what that means. It's going to fall back on property owners,” he says. “Homeowners, especially senior citizens, can't bear much more. When you get to a point you can't work much, it's even harder to make ends meet. You have the same bills, but your income doesn't get any better. What needs to be studied is the size of government. It's way too big and costing us dearly.”

I would like to mention to Gary Pace of Saluda that when state funded initiatives are kicked down to the local level the perception of the funding changes from a continuing expense that may be difficult to cut at the state level to a new expense that will require new funding at the local level. It is likely this dynamic would result in the smaller government he seeks in those localities not willing to absorb the new costs.

Considering the party Perdue represents this course of action seems odd.


Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Revolution in Education is Upon Us Via Khan - Flipping...


The long awaited revolution in education is upon us.

Perhaps considering the confluence of the facts that 60% of NC's budget is slated for education, the state budget is not only limited but slated for cuts, that there is a need to find greater efficiency within the educational system, and the advent of true intellectual creativity such as Khan's will result in change.

But it brings me to tears that my children will in all likelihood miss such change within their formal educational career considering the glacial pace of our educational system. I suppose it is incumbent upon me to bring to my children what their state will not.



Saturday, March 26, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

China's Ghost Cities...


"It's not the quantity of GDP that matters, it's the quality."


Seemingly endless stimulus.


War and (Nobel) Peace...



Gov Growth Results in Fewer Supporting Stimulus...


An argument for stimulus through tax cuts paid for through equal cuts on government.

Keynes supporters claim cutting Gov spending will hurt the economy due to those dollars not being injected into the economy. However, they seem perfectly fine with removing ever more dollars from the economy through increased taxing.

Furthermore, Keynesian promoters tout the benefits of Gov spending on the economy except in the case of tax cuts which they deride as "spending".

One would think that stimulating private enterprise through tax cuts funded with a commensurate decrease in government services so as not to increase government debt would stimulate the economy without increasing debt would be "stimulative". This suggestion is roundly ridiculed by Keynesians, though.

What Keynesians refuse to accept is that while funding stimulus through private sector taxes may make some sense when the government accounts for only 10% of economic activity, it makes much less sense when the government accounts for 50% of economic activity.

Look to our experience.

As time has passed the US has had less and less private sector from which stimulus funding could be sourced due to government growth. When at one point stimulus relied on the private 90% of the economy for funding it is now forced to rely on the private 50% of the economy for funding. The gap is absorbed by increasing debt which the private sector pays for later.

The result is that fewer and fewer are shouldering the burden of stimulus funding as government grows.

To a Keynesian the only source for funding stimulus is the private sector despite the size of the private sector relative to the economy as a whole. They refuse to accept that perhaps government with its ever increasing presence in the economy should sacrifice for the sake of stimulus as well. As a result debt grows but according to Keynesians it should be ignored because "its not debt when you owe it to yourself".

At this point the Fed is clearing US debt from the market at the rate of 70% of new US debt issuance. The fat lady is singing.

(Some percentages above are rounded for simplification)


Weakening America's War Making Ablity...


Not since WW2 has congress declared war, however wars have been fought. Wars are now initiated under a single individual, the president. This weakens America's ability to make war.

Wars have become tied to the presidents under which they are initiated and more generally to the party of the president in power. It becomes "Bush's war" or "Obama's war" and more generally a democrat war or republican war. From the outset the roots of division are sown.

Kuwait (First war with Iraq) and the Iraq War (under Bush 2) - The left argued against these wars while the right supported them. Contrast this with Bosnia under Clinton, Libya under Obama in which the right took the mantle of arguing against the war while the left did not.

War has become a hammer in the hands of the opposition with which to beat the administration the administration in power. Witness conservatives beating Obama over a war that couldn't (in the real world) be more similar to Bush's. Bush was attacked for implementing the Bush Doctrine by democrats and now Obama is being attacked for implementing the Bush Doctrine by conservatives.

This dynamic would be reduced if wars were properly initiated through congress as the decision would be closer to "the people" hence increasing the legitimacy of the war in question and negating to some extent the Rep/Dem patina imparted to the missions.

This dynamic, this congressional abdication of power to the executive, reduces our nation's war making ability.

However it appears that the executive too is attempting to abdicate its war making authority ... to the UN.

It should be noted that Obama's approach to prosecuting the war in Libya not only side stepped congress entirely, but his approach has laid the precedent for sourcing legitimacy for conducting a US war through the UN. Obama has effectively derived legitimacy for the war in Libya through the UN rather than congress. This approach, if left unchecked, leaves the use of American military force under the influence of an inter-governmental organization who's interests are often not aligned with America's further weakening America's war making ability.

It is sad to see our spineless congress with whom Constitutional authority to declare war resides allow the weakening of American might.


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Trump, The Birthing of a Birther?


Haiku Guy:
What Trump is doing
Is giving us permission
To ask the question.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bev Perdue's Poor Polling...


And that is according to liberal leaning PPP.


If the governor election were held today, neither Gov. Bev Perdue nor three other top-level Democrats could beat former Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory, Democratic pollster Public Policy Polling said today.

In potential matchups with the former Charlotte mayor, PPP’s numbers:
-- Perdue 36 percent, McCrory 50 percent
-- Blue 28 percent, McCrory 48 percent
-- Cooper 35 percent, McCrory 43 percent
-- Dalton 27 percent, McCrory 47 percent

This is unsurprising considering the fact that she helped to force ObamaCare on North Carolinians with her veto.

According to State Republican Party was Chaiman Robyn Hayes:
“Big government Democrats in the Tar Heel State have become so toxic that even the Democrat pollsters can’t slant numbers favorably for Governor Perdue and her liberal allies,” he said in a written statement. “This poll is proof that the people of North Carolina overwhelmingly object to the big government, big spending policies of Governor Perdue and her liberal allies and are ready to take their state back.”


Monday, March 21, 2011

Considering Alternatives or the Lack Thereof in the Mid East...


Considering alternatives or the lack thereof...

While running interference for those who did not support the Iraq War, the left refused to offer alternatives. Currently I am hearing the right grouse about our incursion into Libya yet they offer no alternative either. Libertarians, however, have been honest in offering the only alternative available ... "Stay out of their business." and this is the choice I would prefer if the US were not in the business of leading the world.

The US does lead the world, though. This leadership role is the unwelcome burden of our nation's unprecedented success. Right or wrong, the US has, as a result of being the world leader, become the donkey on which the fault of misery is pinned throughout much of the world. Some took their frustration out on the US.

For almost 2 decades we ignored them. Then on 9/11 we recognized the failure of this approach. We engaged. We had no choice as the alternative (leaving them to themselves) had been tried and had failed. Had we been an India or a Germany I doubt there would have been a 9/11 ... at least on our soil.

This is where things get interesting, though. What does the long game become? The US is not simply going to invade a nation and leave it to an uncertain future. Look at the twin successes of Germany and Japan. Additionally, consider the failure such an incursion would become if we were to leave a nation in worse shape than before we had arrived. This is the point where Obama finds himself now.

Obama clearly attempted to ignore Libya but he was mugged by the reality that as a hyper-power the US does not have this choice. Consider the accusations of dithering he was subjected to domestically. Consider the appeals of help from those attempting to overthrow Kadaffy. Consider the near waywardness of the rest of the world looking to the US for leadership that was not forthcoming. Obama had no choice but to engage Libya.

Going forward Obama will forced down another predetermined path. He will direct the US to help install a democracy in Libya. If he fails to do so his invasion of Libya will be seen as a failure.

Some presidents engineer events as Bush did through the Bush Doctrine, while others are lead by events. In this case Obama is being lead by the ongoing forces of the Bush Doctrine.

It leaves one to wonder, though, did Bush create the Bush Doctrine or was it simply his only choice?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

NC Conservatives Rep. Walter Jones and Rep. Howard Coble Help Expand ObamaCare Through HR-525...


ObamaCare has proven to be decidedly damaging legislation to its supporters. In large part this past fall's wave election in which supporters of ObamaCare were swept from power was the result of the unpopularity of ObamaCare. It seems, though, that some conservatives believe that they have ridden that wave of unpopularity, that it has passed, and that their feet are now on firm ground. They now feel confident that they can push against the people's will once again.

Conservatives have allowed ObamaCare to expand through HR-525, The Veterinary Public Health Amendments Act of 2011.

Description below via GovTrack:

Amends the Public Health Service Act to revise a public health workforce grant program designed to increase the number of individuals in the public health workforce to include a health professions school or program of veterinary public health. Defines "veterinary public health" to include veterinarians engaged in one or more of the following areas to the extent such areas have an impact on human health: biodefense and emergency preparedness; emerging and reemerging infection diseases; environmental health; ecosystem health pre- and post-harvest food protection; regulatory medicine; diagnostic laboratory medicine; veterinary pathology; biomedical research; the practice of food animal medicine in rural areas; and government practice. Expands the public health workforce loan repayment program to make such veterinarians eligible for the program.

Renee Ellmers - Nay, Virginia Foxx - Nay, Sue Myrick - Nay, Patrick McHenry - Nay. A short list.

However, North Carolina Republicans Walter Jones and Howard Coble voted with all NC democrats in support of this expansion of ObamaCare at a time when others like Michelle Bachmann have been fighting to defund it.

And what of John Boehner who's leadership allowed this bill to come to the floor in the first place?

Some Conservatives in the House seem to be more enamored with the potential power that would fall their way through ObamaCare than to keep their obligations to their supporters - those who wasted their votes on them.

Who are these supposed Conservatives who are loosing me so quickly? Where are all the Renee Ellmers and Michelle Bachmanns that seemed so vocal five short months ago?

They have become the Howard Cobles and Walter Jones' of the Conservative party, representatives imbued with arrogance in the face of last fall's election and lost to their lust for power through ObamaCare.

All 95 of them.

H/T Pat Caddell via radio


Friday, March 18, 2011

The 20 Percenters and Geithner's


Nearly 20% of Florida Homes Vacant,
On Thursday, the Census Bureau revealed that 18% -- or 1.6 million -- of
the Sunshine State's homes are sitting vacant. That's a rise of more than 63%
over the past 10 years.

While according to Gallup nearly 20% are considered unemployed or underemployed,

The U.S. unemployment rate hit 10.3 percent in February, up from 9.8 percent at the end of January, according to the Gallup polling agency.

The rate of those considered to be underemployed, meanwhile, reached 19.9 percent last month, up from 18.9 percent at the end of January, Gallup says.

Amid this morass Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had this to say,
US Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner confessed on Wednesday that he had not read the plans by China's central bank governor for a "super-sovereign reserve currency" run by the International Monetary Fund, but nevertheless let slip that Washington was "open" to the idea.
And here I thought that the dollar's being a reserve currency was to some extent propping up its value despite massive debt.


Judge Halts Wisconsin Law Curbing Collective Bargaining While ObamaCare plugs Away...



Sumi’s order will prevent Secretary of State Doug La Follette from publishing the law until she can rule on the merits of the case. Dane County Ismael Ozanne is seeking to block the law because he says a legislative committee violated the state’s open meetings law.

Sumi said Ozanne was likely to succeed on the merits.

Contrast the above with the Judge Vinson's ruling on Obamacare,

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” Vinson writes.

The Wisconsin law must be blocked until the judge can rule on the merits of a case that may have violated the state's open meetings law while ObamaCare may continue to be implemented despite having been found to violate the Constitution.

There is a political double standard in the implementation new law if that law is questioned in the courts.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Obama, More Paralytic Than a Bureaucracy...


After a month of American presidential dithering on Libya, the UN OK's military action against Kadaffy (my preferred spelling).

Obama, as a single individual, is more bound by indecision than one of the most indecisive bureaucratic bodies concocted by man, the UN.

Astounding indifference.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nikkei Meltdown -- Bernanke ...


This morning the Nikkei was down around 15%.

But Japan shuffles Trillions (Yen) toward the banks. ($184 Billion dollars plus $98 Billion dollars the next day)

Bouncing back now.

How much US debt will Japan continue to buy? Or will they sell what they have to fund the rebuild?


DOW Futures down 250 approx 2%

The Federal Reserve meets Tuesday.
Threats at home and abroad have the potential to slow the U.S. economy, or heat up inflation. Or both.

Entangling Alliances.


Has Obama Slipped Toward Utter Detachment?


A couple of days ago I read that the President of the United States lamented that he was not the president of China. Does Obama want to be president at all?

Joe Sherlock:
... one of the victims of last week's massacre of a Jewish family on the West Bank was a three-month old infant. The Obama Administration responded - not by condemning the knife-wielding Palestinian Arab terrorists and their supporters - but by noting that Israeli settlements "are illegitimate."

Then, in the midst of the horror in Japan (9.0 magnitude earthquake, massive tsunami, aftershocks, thousands of lives lost, multiple nuclear meltdowns, radiation leakage, etc.), the Middle East inferno (Libya, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Bahrain), soaring U.S. gas prices, chronic unemployment, the budget crisis and ever-rising debt, the President filled out his NCAA brackets and played another round of golf, while wishing he were President of China instead.

Stumbling into real work yields detachment in some...


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Obama Politicizes the Arizona Tragedy After All...


I credited Pres. Obama as being presidential for the first time of his presidency for his handling of the Arizona shooting. Clearly, I didn't give him time to respond in his most preferred way.

However, I believe that if common sense prevails, we can get beyond wedge issues and stale political debates to find a sensible, intelligent way to make the United States of America a safer, stronger place.

I'm willing to bet that responsible, law-abiding gun owners agree that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few - dangerous criminals and fugitives, for example - from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.

I'm willing to bet they don't think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas - that we should check someone's criminal record before he can check out at a gun seller; that an unbalanced man shouldn't be able to buy a gun so easily; that there's room for us to have reasonable laws that uphold liberty, ensure citizen safety and are fully compatible with a robust Second Amendment.

That's why our focus right now should be on sound and effective steps that will actually keep those irresponsible, law-breaking few from getting their hands on a gun in the first place.

I was wrong in describing Obama as presidential. There is no issue Obama will not politicize. He is no better than Rep. Brad Miller.


Bill Kristol On Obama's "Coolness"...


Bill Kristol,


Saturday, March 12, 2011

Interesting Quake Video...


This guy strolls through a park on man made island on the way to a train he expects has likely been canceled, but he films his walk. Water appears from the ground, and cracks in the ground open and close before his eyes.


Swaying Skyscrapers,


Friday, March 11, 2011

Moore Debt...


To some theft is a solution.

The current estimate for this years deficit is 1.7 trillion. That is 142 billion/month. (I realize this is only a proxy for Treasury issuance.)

This month the Fed reported holding 1.236 trillion in gov. securities while last month they reported holding 1.138 trillion. The Fed therefore bought 98 billion in Treasuries last month.

That comes out to the Fed buying nearly 70% of our government's debt last month. The argument could be made that the Fed was 7 of 10 buyers.


Mag 8.9 Earthquake in Japan and Tsunami...


Update: USGS confirms 8.9 mag "One of the Greats"

Japan is well equipped to handle quakes, but 7.9 to 8.9 (not sure of the size yet) is extreme. Tsunami warnings of 10 meters. Perhaps largest quake in Japanese history.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Punked NPR Professionally Responds Without Attacking...


Via poynter.com,

Dear Listeners and Supporters,

We, and our colleagues at NPR News, strive every day to bring you the highest quality news programs possible. So, like you, we were appalled by the offensive comments made recently by NPR’s now former Senior Vice President for Development. His words violated the basic principles by which we live and work: accuracy and open-mindedness, fairness and respect.

Those comments have done real damage to NPR. But we’re confident that the culture of professionalism we have built, and the journalistic values we have upheld for the past four decades, will prevail. We are determined to continue bringing you the daily journalism that you’ve come to expect and rely upon: fair, fact-based, in-depth reporting from at home and around the world.

With your support we have no doubt NPR will come out of this difficult period stronger than ever.

Why do I feel pride?

Sure, I have listened to NPR/PBS all my life; they're bias. I know that. But their programming so gently falls to my background noise tolerance level, talk radio muzak.

But pride?

I suppose I respect owning up...


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Resisting Beverly Perdue's Veto of HB-1 - Override Vote Scheduled for March 9..


Update: Failed

Gov. Bev Perdue has vetoed HB2, Protect Health Care Freedom, the bill both exempting North Carolinians from the individual mandate in the federal health care legislation and ordering Attorney General Roy Cooper to join the multistate lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the law.

In order to override the Governor's veto, the votes of three-fifths of House members (72) are needed. The Republicans hold 67 seats. Two Democrats already crossed party lines to vote in favor of the bill. That means three more Democrats will have to cross party lines in order to override Perdue's veto.


More at Randy's Right.


Sclerotic Governance...


A couple of weeks ago I posted a short commentary titled Credential Friction. The post suffered due to my time restraints. That is not to say that I was attempting to write anything remotely as encompassing as the column referenced below. Think of my post as a prescient and exceedingly modest echo of Mead's piece.

Today I found this post at Maggie's Farm referencing this column, Paul Krugman Gets It Half Right, by Walter Russell Mead. In addition to the excellent pull on by Maggie's Farm I would add this one:

We need to reduce the ‘friction’ in American society: the costs of our legal, health, educational and other government services. Some of this will come through the use of exactly those abilities of the computer that Paul Krugman dreads: their ability to replace human beings for much routine office work. Making government (and private sector) bureaucratic payrolls massively smaller is what the general interest requires.

And from the comments EJM says:

Change is never easy.

But a free market receives signals about what’s working and what isn’t, and can react to those signals, in a myriad of ways.

Government systems can only adapt by political change, which involves changing the minds of millions, including those most entrenched and beholden to the status quo. This is generally a much more wrenching process, that can even tear a society apart in violence or civil war.

The central problem with the “blue model” is not higher taxes, or collective bargaining for public service unions, or lack of automation. The central problem of the “progressive” state is that it seeks and has always sought to place more and more decision making power in the hands of the central government, not free individuals in the marketplace. This makes it almost sclerotic in its inability to adapt to broad changes in economic realities.

This is the lesson being driven home now by the budget impasse in Washington, the brawl in Wisconsin, and the looming catastrophes in more than half of our once great states.

Progress in the 21st Century will come only when the “progressive” model goes the way of other variants of the statism–socialism, fascism, communism–which were tried and failed in the 20th Century. The 18th Century founders of a limited government which left all but the most essential federal powers in the hands of smaller, more nimble state and local control, or the smallest unit of all, the free citizen, had it right 230 years ago.

Too bad we have to go through trauma and possible economic collapse only to progress to where we once were.

And the Maggie's Farm pull:

Moving from “time-served” processes of certification (four year BA degrees, three years in law or divinity school) to certification based on achievement can make education dramatically cheaper. It is sheer madness that most students spend 12 years in school, and another four in college. Why exactly should all kids the same age be in the same grade? One size does not fit all; why shouldn’t high school kids go free when they can pass the equivalent of a GED? And for that matter, shouldn’t school districts encourage and reward teachers and schools that are able to graduate students faster? Among other things, this would allow some of the resources not spent on babysitting high-achieving kids to go to kids who really need the help. How “right wing” is that?


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I've Fallen In Love...


With the Bug-Eye Sprite, that is ... wink, wink ... nudge, nudge.


Monday, March 7, 2011

Obama Administration Forces GTMO Detainees to Wait Two Years For Trials....


The Hill:

President Obama on Monday ordered trials by military commission to resume at Guantánamo Bay.

The move signals another defeat for Obama, who pledged to close the terrorist detention facility in Cuba within one year of taking office.

Obama became president in part due to promises to the idiot left that he would close GTMO despite not having an alternative. He effectively added two more years to the detainees wait for trial.

For the left justice takes a back seat to political opportunism.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Depressionary Scars...


My father always told me growing up that no matter what happened, I could always come home. When I was 15, I found out why. When he was a young adult, living on his own, he hit rough times - working only a few days a month at best, putting his entire paycheck towards debts and rent - barely scrapping by on venicen. one day, he heard a knock at the door, where he found his father, my grandfather, waiting for him. He said, "Grab your things, son, I've come to bring you home."
Commented in reference to Solsbury Hill.

My grandfather rode the rails as a teenager during the Great Depression; he had no home to which he could have returned in which he would not have been a burden. When my father left home my grandfather told him he would always have a home to return to. My father made the same clear to me.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Mitt Romney - Carter/Obama Misery Index...


Mitt Romney:

He created a deeper recession, and delayed the recovery. The consequence is soaring numbers of Americans enduring unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies. This is the Obama Misery Index, and it is at a record high. It’s going to take more than new rhetoric to put Americans back to work — it’s going to take a new president.

Keynesian Fail not once, and not just twice, but every time tried. Perhaps one day we will learn that deeper is better than longer.


Weekend Vids and a Funny...


I'm still out but I am taking time for a quick post. No commentary, no analysis.

For those of you who questioned last Friday's government massaged unemployment stats:


Bill Whittle on labor's living in the past (Yea, I was thinking Jethro Tull as I wrote that):

And if your feeling a little financially peaked.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011