Archives for October 2011

Sarah Palin will not run for president

During an interview yesterday evening with conservative talk show host Mark Levin, Sarah Palin, former Governor of Alaska, will not run for president in 2012:

Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin announced Wednesday evening that she would not be running for president in 2012.

On the Mark Levin radio show Wednesday evening, Palin said she believed she would have more impact outside of the race. The decision ends over a year of speculation about the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee’s plans.

“Not being a candidate, really you are unshackled and you’re able to be even more active,” she told Levin. “I need to be able to say what I want to say.”

Palin, who made the speculation of a bid unnecessarily dramatic, sent out a full statement shortly after the interview, noting that her efforts in 2012 would be focused on “replacing the President, re-taking the Senate, and maintaining the House”:

Eugenics: The progressive movement’s dirty little secret

Many of today’s so-called progressives try to highlight diversity and civil liberties, but not too long ago many following this philosophy were engaged in the eugenics movement. Art Carden and Steven Horwitz remind us in this month’s issue of The Freeman:

According to the received account of the Progressive Era, an enlightened government swept in and regulated markets for goods, labor, and capital, thereby protecting the hapless masses from the vicissitudes of unrestrained laissez-faire capitalism. The Progressives had faith that experts would rise above self-interest and implement wise plans to create a great society. The resulting state-level workplace safety regulations, restrictions on child labor, and minimum wages restored dignity and safety to the trod-upon and exploited workers.

Despite the widespread acceptance of this narrative, there are many reasons to question whether it accurately portrays the motivations and hopes of some Progressive-Era reformers. In a 2005 article in the Journal of Economic Perspectives, “Eugenics and Economics in the Progressive Era,” the economist Thomas C. Leonard offered a completely new historical account of the sources of Progressive-Era labor legislation and the intentions of its supporters. Leonard’s work, including an important 2009 article coauthored with legal scholar David E. Bernstein for Law and Contemporary Problems, “Excluding Unfit Workers: Social Control Versus Social Justice in the Age of Economic Reform,” indicates that lurking behind what many people see as humanitarian reforms was something much uglier.

Holder lied about his knowledge of Operation Fast and Furious

Remember the botched ATF sting, Operation Fast and Furious? Despite reservations from agents and FFL-licensed dealers, the ATF allowed straw purchasers to buy guns and carry them across the border into Mexico, which had deadly results.

Bob Barr, a former Congressman from Georgia, explained Operation Fast and Furious in detail and its aftermath back in August:

ATF allowed some 2,000 weapons to be sold during the operation, including more than 360 guns to a pair of convicted felons.

The results of Operation Fast and Furious (dubbed by critics, “Operation Gun Walker”) were sadly predictable. The weapons ended up in the hands of some of Mexico’s most violent drug cartels; who use the weapons to gun down rivals, police, government officials, and random citizens.

According to a report released last week by House oversight committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), high-powered guns and other munitions connected to the ATF’s Phoenix office, out of which the operation was run, began turning up at crime scenes in Mexico. ATF officials in Mexico were blindsided by the discoveries.

Carlos Canino, acting ATF Attaché to Mexico, has been particularly outspoken about the operation, calling it a “perfect storm of idiocy.” Canino’s concern is well-founded. In December, Brian Terry, a Border Patrol Agent, was shot and killed during an incident near the Arizona-Mexico border. Two of the guns found at the scene were connected to Operation Fast and Furious.

Thus far, no one in Washington has admitted that the disastrous consequences of this operation were the government’s fault. However, there are steps that President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder can and should take, to assure the American people such problems will not recur.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan has very real problems

Soundbytes are always a way to gain support, and we’re frequently heard Herman Cain mention his 9-9-9 tax plan during debates and news reports from the stump. But is it a serious tax proposal or a gimmick that we can add to the growing list of problems with the Cain? Kevin Williamson, managing editor the conservative National Review and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Socialism, explains why it’s a cheap rhetorical tool, not a serious policy proposal:

[L]et’s take a look at 9-9-9 on its own merits. Mr. Cain says the proposal would be revenue-neutral. I have my doubts. The federal government took in about $2.2 trillion last year. Based on personal-income and business-income figures from the IRS, and consumer-spending figures from the Gallup survey, my English-major math suggests that a 9 percent tax on all of the above produces about $1.7 trillion in revenue, meaning that 2010’s $1.7 trillion deficit would have been more like a $2.2 trillion deficit — from calamity to catastrophe. If Mr. Cain’s team is building in some growth assumptions into the fiscal forecasts, they must be sunny indeed.

Obama knew Solyndra was in trouble

Apparently, President Obama knew that solar company Solyndra was in trouble prior to his now infamous visit to the site.  For those with really short memories, that visit was to brag about how well government intervention into the private sector was working.  Unfortunately, Solyndra is now filing for bankruptcy and the president is feeling the heat.

From the National Journal:

New e-mails released Monday show the White House was warned about Solyndra’s potential problems even before President Obama visited the company’s Fremont, Calif., headquarters and used it as a backdrop for his push for renewable energy investment and green jobs.

“A number of us are concerned that the president is visiting Solyndra,” Steve Westly, managing partner of Westly Group, wrote in an e-mail to Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrett on May 24, 2010, a day before the president’s well publicized trip to Solyndra. “[T]here is an increasing concern about the company because their auditors, Coopers and Lybrand, have issued a ‘going concern’ letter … Many of us believe the company’s cost structure will make it difficult for them to survive long term.”

Westly went on to ask Jarrett if he could check with the Energy Department to make sure its officials were comfortable with Solyndra’s finances.

“I just want to help protect the president from anything that could result in negative or unfair press,” Westly wrote. “If it’s too late to change/postpone the meeting, the president should be careful about unrealistic/optimistic forecasts that could haunt him in the next 18 months if Solyndra hits the wall, files for bankruptcy, etc.”

Well, I guess that part didn’t work out to well for them.

China warns of a trade war as Senate Democrats push protectionist legislation

“When goods don’t cross borders, soldiers will.” - Frédéric Bastiat

As the White House sends much needed free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea to the Congress, Senate Democrats are pushing a bill that China warns may very well spark a trade war:

An angry China warned Washington on Tuesday that passage of a bill aimed at forcing Beijing to let its currency rise could lead to a trade war between the world’s top two economies.

China’s central bank and the ministries of commerce and foreign affairs accused Washington of “politicising” currency issues and putting the global economy at risk after U.S. senators voted on Monday to start a week of debate on the bill.

The response suggested China sees a greater risk from the proposed bill than it has in the past when U.S. lawmakers attempted to put forward similar legislation to speed up the pace of appreciation in the yuan, or renminbi.
Tuesday’s coordinated salvo and the central bank’s warning of a trade war and a slowdown in China’s exchange rate reforms indicated Beijing was taking the latest currency bill more seriously.

“It is very rare for three different ministries of the country to refute something so quickly and strongly, showing how deeply the Chinese government is concerned about the yuan bill,” said Wang Zihong, a researcher at the China Academy of Social Sciences, a top government think tank.

“The strong responses made by the Chinese government may also suggest that the possibility would be quite high this time that the United States will pass the final bill in the end and that Beijing is worried about the possible negative impact on China’s exports resulting from the legislation,” he said.

Senate Democrats block Obama’s jobs bill

Yesterday afternoon, President Barack Obama sent out an e-mail blast encouraging his supporters to urge Republicans to support his latest gimmick, which he calls a “jobs bill.” But in a stroke of irony, Senate Republicans were trying to bring the bill for a vote on the Senate floor only to be blocked by Harry Reid, the leading Democrat in the chamber:

Senate Democrats have admitted in recent days that the bill doesn’t have the votes for passage as it’s currently written. Many vulnerable members in the chamber facing tough re-election bids next year don’t want to come near it, so Democratic leaders acknowledge that they’ll need to change the bill or pass it in pieces.

All jobs aren’t created equal

President Obama wanted to create green jobs.  He did.  Of course, the price tag is particularly staggering when you think about it.  The Department of Energy is forking out the money to create jobs at a price tag of over $20 million per job.   Let’s be honest folks, these jobs will never create enough tax revenue to pay back the government for their creation.  None.

Jason brought this up yesterday:

The merits of green energy may be well founded, but if it can’t stand on its own, why should taxpayers be forced to fund them?

A perfectly valid question.  Why do I say it’s valid?  Because it’s the same blasted question I have.  The thing is, these green jobs are being created in such a way that green energy will probably never stand on it’s own.

Back in March, Reason TV did a piece about green energy that stirred up a bit of discussion on it.  Hot Air took it up as well and and this is what they wrote about it.

Trade Wars: Return of the Protectionists

President Obama is reportedly finally ready to send trade deals with Panama, South Korea, and Columbia to Congress:

President Barack Obama said on Monday that the White House will have an announcement on the long-delayed trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama to Congress “in the next day or so.”

Passage of the South Korea pact before President Lee Myung-bak’s Oct. 13 state visit is a major goal, and a congressional source told the paper it would be “tough, but close.”

Committee hearings could begin as early as Wednesday, and Congress has 90 days to approve the deals.

As many supporters of free trade like to say, I oppose free trade deals because I support free trade. The “deal” in “free trade deal” is nothing more than a set of mutually agreeable government impediments to the free flow of goods and services. The Obama administration is making no secrets about the fact that these pacts do not constitute free trade:

Asked what the “hold up” has been in sending the trade bills to Congress, White House press secretary Jay Carney said in Monday’s press briefing that the administration prioritized ensuring the pacts were “balanced and fair,” and that it wanted to increase trade opportunities for Americans “but do it in a way that protected American workers and made sure that our obligations…were upheld.”

Can Americans quest for greatness in today’s political climate?

Once upon a time, America stood on the idea that anyone could achieve anything.  It wasn’t just allowed, but encouraged.  This nation knew that greatness was a worthy goal, that immortality could be achieved through achievement itself.  We marveled at self-made millionaires and billionaires.  Men like Rockefeller, Morgan, Vanderbilt were encouraged to achieve all that they could.  Do they always do it right?  No.  Humans do stupid things from time to time, so they made missteps along the way.

Fast forward to today.  America will still, to some extent, permit a man to achieve greatness.  However, culturally, we have shifted to where that’s no longer desirable.  Our culture seems to revere people who work for no monetary gain, which has a nobility to be sure, but curses the men who strive to achieve things that will net them wealth.  “I want to be rich,” is now seen in a similar light to “I want to kill someone.”  Instead of it being accepted by many as a different goal, it’s looked at by some as being a form of anti-social disorder.

Far to many people understand that it was those wealthy men who made this country what it is.  A welder may be a wonderful welder, but without someone to employ him, he’s no different than anyone else without a job.  An engineer may have a wonderful idea, but without investors to make it reality, it will stay in the formless void of imagination.

Today, the wealthy are being beaten up.  The protestors on Wall Street aren’t without some valid arguments after all, so some of the beating is warranted.  But not all.  We need to recognize where we’ve come from and understand that without brave men questing for greatness, we will achieve nothing more of note.  So far, we haven’t ruled the whole thing out.  Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook notoriety, for example, may be the most famous modern example.

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