Leftists Shouldn’t Complain about Corporate Rent-seeking when Leftists Encourage Corporate Rent-seeking

A notice in this morning’s Federal Register gives us insight about how regulatory capture begins.

The Department of Energy is looking to create a a regulatory subcommittee of vetted stakeholders to develop energy efficiency standards for electricity distribution transformers:

SUMMARY: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE or the Department) is giving notice that it intends to establish a negotiated rulemaking subcommittee under ERAC in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) and the Negotiated Rulemaking Act (NRA) to negotiate proposed Federal standards for the energy efficiency of low- voltage dry-type distribution transformers. The purpose of the subcommittee will be to discuss and, if possible, reach consensus on a proposed rule for the energy efficiency of distribution transformers, as authorized by the Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975, as amended. The subcommittee will consist of representatives of parties having a defined stake in the outcome of the proposed standards, and will consult as appropriate with a range of experts on technical issues. DATES: Written comments and requests to be appointed as members of the subcommittee are welcome and should be submitted by August 29, 2011.

So the government is looking for parties with “a defined stake” — meaning entities operating in distribution transformer space, from electricity companies and device manufacturers to green groups and (probably) well-heeled and connected Democratic donors — to appoint (not elect) to a committee responsible for promulgating efficiency criteria that will eventually have the force of law.

The Debt Debate, “Cut Cap Balance,” and Bush (Video)

As the debt debate continues with no end in sight (not even Aug. 2nd) some people are getting understandably upset. They want to know who to blame, and if anything that’s come up so far will actually fix the problem. Well, I have good news and bad news.

The good news is that the Cato Institute has come out with another outstanding video on the situation. The bad news is that you have to blame everybody, and no, there isn’t really a good solution coming out yet:

Again, there will be no dismantling of unconstitutional (or just flat out bad) programs and departments, just “trimming” around the edges, which won’t be good for the long term as they’ll a piece of cake to overcome. The “Cut Cap Balance” idea is a good start, but the Democrats will never go for it, and it’s only that—a start.

US Department of D’oh!

Personally, I wouldn’t trust government officials to lock a barn door (unless the horses already got out, that is.) There’s a good reason for that. From the Washington Times front page:

Federal authorities responsible for granting security clearances to government employees and contractors are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars investigating the investigators.

Government inspectors say they have undertaken a broader campaign in recent years to root out fraud in background checks as more national security clearances are being sought than ever before.

Overall, court records reviewed by The Washington Times show at least 170 confirmed falsifications of interviews or record checks and more than 1,000 others that couldn’t be verified. The background investigators, whose work helps determine who gets top-secret security clearance, were submitting forms saying they conducted interviews or verified official documents when they never did.

“The monetary loss sustained by the government does not, nor cannot, represent the cost associated with potential compromise of our nation’s security and the trust of the American people in its government’s workforce,” Kathy L. Dillaman, associate director in charge of investigations at the Office of Personnel Management, wrote in a victim-impact statement for a recent court case involving a convicted investigator.

Why I’m not excited about Herman Cain

As you may have heard, Herman Cain is planning on forming an exploratory committee for a presidential run in 2012. I’m not surprised. Cain has always held ambition to hold elected office. He ran for the United States Senate here in Georgia in 2004; losing to now-Senator Johnny Isakson without a runoff.

Many don’t realize that this isn’t the first time Cain, who once served as chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, has discussed a presidential bid. As Matt Lewis has noted, Cain ran for president in 2000.

Like many conservatives, Cain has used the tea party movement as a platform to build up his name and slam the policies of Barack Obama and Democrats. Unfortunately, the criticism of Obama and friends inside the tea party movement is no longer limited to economic policy.

However, Cain was largely silent during the six years of runaway spending under the Bush Administration and a Republican-controlled Congress. Like most Republicans, he only acknowledged his party’s failings after it was too late to do anything about it.

He backed the Wall Street bailout, or according to Cain, the “recovery plan,” as he called it on his radio show. Cain wrote that nationalizing banks “is not a bad thing.” He even went as far as criticizing opponents of the bailout, calling them “free market purists” and absurdly claiming that no valid criticism had been brought forward.

House adjourns without a vote on tax cuts

Yesterday afternoon, the House of Representatives adopted an adjournment resolution, by a vote of 210 to 209 (Speaker Nancy Pelosi cast the tie-breaking vote), that will send them home without taking a vote on extending tax cuts set to expire at the end of the year.

Republicans claimed to have the votes to extend the tax cuts and the numbers would suggest that is likely. Eight Republicans missed the vote, that’s 217 assuming the caucus is together on this issue and the 39 Democrats that voted against their leadership stick around.

There are a couple of Democrats that voted for the resolution that are on record supporting extension of the tax cuts. However, that is now, whether or not they will hold true to their word in a lame duck session, when the pressure is off, is a completely different story.

To add a new wrinkle for Democrats, the Congressional Budget Office warns that increases in taxes will not help our struggling economy:

The Economic Outlook released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on Tuesday states that coming tax hikes will hinder spending and hurt recovery efforts.

Philadelphia: Rights come in at second place

The City of Brotherly Love may want to rethink their nickname when they get a chance. How about the City of Statist Tyranny. Doesn’t that have a nice ring? Why, you may ask? Because the City has arrested at least eight people over the last two years who’s only “crime” was to carry a legal firearm. That’s it.

Apparently, due to a quirk in local law, Philadelphia residents will get Florida gun licenses since the out of state license allows them to carry in their home state, but is easier to issue. It’s referred to as the “Florida Loophole”. Go Florida!

The “loophole” is unpopular with Philadelphia cops, who say that it allows those denied a permit here or whose permits were revoked to circumvent Philadelphia authorities and obtain it elsewhere.

But proponents say that it’s necessary because Philadelphia has unusually strict criteria for obtaining a concealed-carry permit. Philadelphia, according to police and gun owners, relies heavily on a clause that allows denial of a permit based on “character and reputation” alone.

“Character and reputation”? It sounds like a good idea, since it would prevent someone widely known to be a gangster from carrying his weapon legally. However, what provisions like this do in practice is give gun-grabbing local bureaucrats an out. Something bad has been said about almost anyone. The rumors that I know have been said about me alone would make me question my sanity and ability to responsibly handle a firearm…if any of them were true. Character and reputation are weapons used to disarm most of the population, so that population has attempted to find a way around it. With a Florida license.

Why Socialism falls flat on it’s face

Socialism is a scare word. Conservatives, and even libertarians, use it as a buzz word to scare the pants off of folks. However, many people look at it and wonder what’s so wrong? After all, socialist ideas provide food, housing and health care to the poor as well as keep people from being exploited by ruthless corporations. So what’s the big deal?

Honestly, I’ll admit it’s a fair question. To really delve into the problems of socialism would take more than a single post. Truth be told, I could spend the rest of my life just writing about that but on the surface socialism sounds pretty fine. However, the truth also is that socialism never quite works.

To understand why, we have to look at why people do things. The truth of the matter is that some people are just lazy. I know, I’m one of them. I would much rather sit around all day and do nothing than to have to work. All things being equal, a lot of us are the same way. However, we’re also greedy. We want things. Flat screen televisions, DVD players, cars, homes, we want stuff. So, we work hard to accumulate the things we want. Maybe we want stuff for ourselves like the stuff I just listed, or perhaps we want stuff for others. Maybe we want our child to have a better education than we had, or we want our spouse to have whatever they want. Who cares what we want or why, we just do. That is our motivation for working.

Who’s to blame

Denial. It’s not a river in Egypt.

Still, as President Obama and D.C.’s majority legislative leadership strain our belief in a rational governing and representative body, it’s difficult to deny that something has gone terribly awry.

Not to belabor a point so many have made over the last year – and in some cases, decade(s) - but these Democrats don’t seem so concerned with my ability to access affordable, adequate health care as they do their ability to decide without me just what exactly defines adequate, affordable and accessible care.

So I’d like to report that their collective voice raised so stridently on my behalf (declaring as they do my “right” to all the government largesse they propose to provide) no longer has the power to shock my libertarian sensibilities. Yet day after day I find myself wondering how these men and women, whose primary attribute seems to indicate an infinite willingness to pretend two and two equals zero, were ever elected in the first place.

And therein lies the rub.

The Alan Graysons, Nancy Pelosis, John Lewises, Charlie Rangels, Harry Reids and other idealogical heirs to the late Sen. Ted Kennedy were all elected by the people and for the people. We may not like what they’re doing but someone voted for them just as they did Obama.

How did it happen? Good question and one with a plethora of philosophical and political answers. But the most important reason is too close to home for comfort. Thus, we can continue to play the blame game, or we can stop denying the unpalatable truth.

A Hot Cup of TEA

Recently, the TEA Party movement celebrated its first anniversary. At first the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party activists were dismissed as a few grumpy right-wingers upset that America elected a black president. They were given little credence beyond being an amusing political side show. That soon changed. On April 15th hundreds of thousands of average Americans showed up at protest rallies across the nation, outraged at the “stimulus” package of goodies doled out to special interests, liberal activism organizations and Democrat pet projects. CNN reported that a few thousand people showed up at the rally in Atlanta, but I was there and can assure you that it was close to ten-fold that amount. It was shoulder-to-shoulder for about four blocks in one direction, not counting the people on the side streets.

Once they could no longer be dismissed as a fringe element, TEA Party activists were labeled as “Astro-turf” (fake grass roots), accused of being flunkies of Big Corporate America, mindlessly doing the bidding of their masters. They were accused of being a fabrication of FOX News and the Republican Party. They were accused of being everything except what they are…average Americans, generally with traditional conservative values, who were fed up over 20 years of Bush-Clinton-Bush politics, two political parties who paid only lip service to the people they claimed to serve while engaging in a bacchanalian orgy of political perks, who had finally been pushed over the edge by a pork-laden spending bill of almost $800 billion. They were saying “Enough is enough!”, and they were going to make their voices be heard.

Sarah Palin And The Obsession With Minutia, Or Something

I must admit that this is a subject I wanted to stay away from but the continuing “uproar” saddens me. I want to like Sarah Palin but she makes it hard sometimes . At some point she is going to have to stop playing the victim card and act like a big girl.

I heard the Rahm Emanuel “retard” comment before Palin responded to it (I actually agreed with him). But something told me somebody would say something. Somebody would be offended. Somebody would act like a speech Nazi. Somebody would express an opinion that would attack the natural right of free speech.

As a former member of the GOP I can remember getting into debate after debate with “lefty” Statists on the subject of language. I guess because of who I am and how I was brought up I feel like I have a right to speak my mind and if you’re the “political correct” type you can get over it (Being raised in NYC probably contributed a ‘lil as well). I am not offended by anything that comes out of somebody’s pie- hole. Many people say things that alarm me, but being offended is somehow being “hurt” by what is said. Ms. Palin kept referring to her “thick skin” on the campaign trail. Did it somehow disappear?

I’ve already heard other people make the point that Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck use the word “retard” on their shows and Sarah hasn’t criticized them. Blah, blah, that isn’t nearly the issue here. The fact that the “Right” is now acting like the language police leads me to believe I left the GOP at the right time.

Let me create a scenario for dear Sarah and see how she would handle it.

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