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Jan 30, 2013

Upper Class Inequality

Progressives:  We must break the cycle of privilege where lucky, wealthy businessmen bestow the means of production onto their children.
Mike:  Instead, wealthy politicians and bureaucrats will bestow their connections and access to prestigious schools onto their more worthy children.
  Notice how often the children of politicians enter politics. Just name recognition, I guess.

Upper Class InequalityRead the whole thing
01/30/13 - ChicagoBoyz by David Foster  [edited]

Progressivism is not about equality. It is about shifting the distribution of power and wealth in a way that benefits those with certain educational credentials and connections.

Many progressives graduated from Ivy League universities. How many of them would eliminate alumni preferences and have their children considered for admission on the same basis as everyone else? An alumni preference is an inter-generational asset in the same way as a small businessman’s store or factory.

Power and connections are convertible into wealth.

  • Former president Bill Clinton was paid millions of dollars in speaking fees last year.
  • Former government officials leverage their contacts into executive jobs with green energy companies, despite having minimal knowledge of either energy or business.
  • There are in-kind benefits, like a university president’s mansion. Residents of the old Soviet Union and Eastern Europe know all about those benefits for nominally low-paid officials.
  • Today’s progressivism is almost always about transfering power from individuals to credentialed experts who will coerce or “nudge” people to do what they think is best.

The talk about equality is substantially a smokescreen, possibly unconscious, behind which progressives pursue wealth, status, and ego satisfaction.

T.S. EliotThomas Stearns Eliot was an American-born English poet, dramatist, and literary critic (1888–1965).:  Half of the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves.

Jan 21, 2013

Prudent Spending

Republican:  Your spending is out of control.
Democrat:  We are only continuing the Bush 2009 spending, so stop complaining.
Pub:  You exploded that budget with the $831 billion stimulus.
Dem:  And you agreed.
Pub:  But, that stimulus was supposed to be a one-time thing.
Dem:  Yes, but we are continuing the goodness. We want more stimulation. If you disagree, just vote against that spending.
Pub:  We are trying to, but you won't discuss a budget, or even support Obama's budget.
Dem:  You are trying to wreck the country by dismantling the government. Have you no shame?

Democrats say that Republicans are spinning lies about Democrat spending. Here are the Democrat talking points, and they are mostly true from a distorted perspective:

  • Bush's outrageous FY 2009 spending is causing our huge yearly deficits and exploding debt.
  • Obama has been stingy in increased spending since 2009, every year he has been in office.
  • House Republicans approve of US spending every year, so why are they complaining? First they approved increased spending, and now they are making a fuss about the amount of debt, which their spending must increase.
  • The House and Senate have passed a budget every year as a continuing resolution. Yet, Republicans claim that we have no budget.
  • Republicans want to block the established, default operation of our government.

The Rest of the Story

Approving a federal budget in "normal order" means constructing and approving a budget in each of the House and Senate, then reconciling differences, and presenting that legislation to the the President for signature, if he approves.

The last US budget established in normal order was for the 12 months ending Sep 30, 2009. That is FY 2009 (Budget year, or spending yearFiscal Year 2009). Obama became President in January 2009. No usual budget has been passed under his direction for four years. See below for why.

The 2009 flood

The unusual spending event in 2009 was the Wikipedia$831 billion of stimulus spending proposed by Obama, generally approved by Bush, and signed by Obama in Feb 2009. That was added into the spending limits for government departments in FY 2009, and implicitly into the 2009 budget. It was sold as a one-time kick-start to the economy. It increased the FY 2009 NPR.org - The federal government collected taxes of $2,300 billion, borrowed $1,300 billion, and spent a total of $3,600 billion in 2011debt by $831 billion and did little except reward Democratic government agencies and political groups.

Since that time, Obama takes credit for an historically slow increase in spending in the following years, a model of spending restraint. Democrats point to Bush's 2009 budget as the spending blowout that is creating all of our debt today. They don't mention the $831 billion increase to that budget pushed through by Obama.

A flood every year

What about following years?  Senate Democrat majority leader Harry Reid has refused to even hold budget conferences in the Senate since 2009. Instead, the House and Senate pass "continuing resolutions" which allow the President and executive agencies to spend what they did in the previous year, plus some. The $831 billion "kick-start" has become a repeated increase in spending every year. That is why the US is accumulating massive, unprecedented debt.

Why does the majority Republican House agree to these continuing resolutions?  They have proposed and passed budgets for each year 2010 - 2012,  just as they should. These budgets call for less spending. The Senate did not even consider them.

Irresponsible Republicans

If the Republicans forced the issue and did not agree to the continuing resolutions, then there would be no spending authorization, and the government would "shut down".  They don't want to face a politicized press, which would report this action as an irresponsible blocking of vital government services. So, the Democrats get their way on spending.

President Obama has submitted his own budgets for consideration. The Senate has voted unanimously against the outrageous spending contained in them. No Democrat wants it reported that he voted for such spending, or that he voted to reduce spending. So, Sen. Reid won't consider a detailed budget.

The common wisdom

We have the above set of talking points supposedly showing Obama's responsible administration of the government. It would be nice if the mainstream press explained what is really happening.

Jan 12, 2013

American Revolution Against British Gun Control

Fred:  Amazing. Colonial Americans started a shooting war because of high taxes.
Mike:  Not quite. They didn't like the taxes. They really didn't like the British army going town to town taking their rifles and gun powder.
Fred:  They could have negotiated.
Mike:  They didn't like the prospect of negotiating after being disarmed.

American Revolution Against British Gun ControlWhy the American revolution started
01/11/13 - DailyPundit by Bill Quick  [edited]

General Thomas Gage was the Royal Governor of Massachusetts. He had restricted town meetings to once a year.

He dispatched the Redcoats to break up an illegal town meeting in Salem. 3000 armed Americans responded, and the British retreated. Everyone in the area aged 16 years or older owned a gun and plenty of gunpowder.

Military rule would be difficult to impose on an armed populace. Gage had only 2,000 troops in Boston. There were thousands of armed men in Boston and more in the surrounding area. One response was to deprive the Americans of gunpowder.

Government evolves. It can be reasonable one year, and tyrannical ten years later. The government is armed and dangerous. A free people must remain armed and dangerous to preserve a reasonable negotiating position.

President George WashingtonGeneral of the revolutionary army and first president of the United States:

•  Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is force. Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

•  Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance. They are the teeth of the people's liberty.

The Connecticut Gun Ban04/02/13 by Bob Owens
04/02/13 by Bob Owens  [edited]

The second amendment to the US Constitution:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

AMG:  Some people want a powerful government which directs each person's life for his own good and forces community through high taxes and detailed regulation. They usually dismiss the Second Amendment as applying to bands of fighters who haven't been around since the end of the American Revolutionary War. But, there are eloquent people of that time who explained the purpose of the Second Amendment.

Owens:  The men who wrote the Constitution and the Bill of rights were some of the most educated and intelligent men to assemble anywhere at any time. They were all “damned rebels” who had taken up arms against a far-away tyrant. They meant for every American citizen to be armed with weapons of war, to beat back not just frontier raiders or encroaching foreign powers, but to beat back government itself.

Tenche Cox was a Pennsylvania delegate to the Continental Congress. He wrote to his fellow citizens in The Pennsylvania Gazette of Feb. 20, 1788  [edited for modern usage]:

The militia of these free commonwealths are entitled and accustomed to their arms. They must be tremendous and irresistible when compared with any possible army. Who are the militia? Are they not ourselves? Should we fear that we shall turn our arms against ourselves?

Congress has no power to disarm the militia. Their swords and every other terrible implement of the soldier are the birth-right of an American. The unlimited power of the sword is not in the hands of either the federal or state governments. I trust in God that power will always remain in the hands of the people.

[a year later]

Civil rulers may forget their duty to the people and attempt to tyrannize. We must occasionally raise military forces to defend our country, and they may misuse their power to the injury of their fellow citizens. The Second Amendment confirms the right of the people to keep and bear their private arms to oppose these misuses of power.