Category Archives: Constitution

Yet another Federal Department to do away with…The Department of The Interior

While the Department of the Interior has been in the news for some fairly ridiculous reasons lately, that does not undermine the fact that it is unquestionably one of the worst uses of government power in D.C. which is actively working every day to keep Americans in poverty and hurt the economy.

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Born of an era before we had executive level offices that were not necessarily under a cabinet department, the Department of the Interior was originally conceived of a place to stick all the internal brick-a-brack that didn’t really belong in other departments but were federal government domestic issues.  Most of the things originally put in this department (like the Patent office) no longer are in the Department of the Interior.  And what is left is utterly useless.

Bureau of Indian Affairs
But of the things originally put into the Department of the Interior, possibly the worst of all of them is regrettably still around: Bureau of Indian Affairs, this long standing national disgrace, no matter what the eventual fate of the Department itself, must be eliminated.  You know all that land the Natives Americans live on, their Reservations?  Guess what they don’t own it.  The federal government through the Bureau of Indian Affairs owns it, even the land houses are built on.  Therefore those living there can never get a loan, never turn their property into capital, never actually enter into the 21st century economy because they don’t actually own their own homes and property. They’re just like a 3rd world country with welfare payments (also provided by BIA).  You have to look no further than a Reservation for proof that the welfare state destroys the people who it attempts to “help” and you can blame the BIA and Dept. of the Interior for being the ones who destroy the lives of these people.

And we need to address this issue first because unlike most of the problems in the Department which boil down to give it to the states or sell it to the private sector and close the offices, this disaster of a longstanding government travesty has more intricacies given how deeply we have screwed over, and more importantly how deeply we are screwing them over this very minute, this one group.

Before you ask, yes we are going to get rid of every bit of this god-awful department, but just closing it isn’t the way to do it.

I propose to the following actions
Every Native American currently getting checks from the government just for existing will get a lump sum check equivalent to ten years worth of payments, this should give them an appropriate buffer to either do things they never were able to do on the dole (like get an education and job skills, which sadly is all to often a story on the Res.) or to invest in their own future even if they are already leading a productive life.  As much as I hate welfare you can’t cut people off cold turkey and expect them to thrive…but given the particular evil of this department I don’t trust a slow step down either—so lump sum payment and we’re done with that.

At the same time everyone living on the reservation will get a half acre of land put in their name.

All other reservation land will be given to a corporation in the name of the tribe. Members of the tribe living on the reservation will get 1000 shares, those not living on the reservation but still recognized as members of the tribe get 500 (numbers are of course up for debate, but I understand tribal benefits for many tribes already follow this or similar models).  So everyone now has land in their own name and the rest of the land is held by a corporation.
Thus they can now get loans, use the land and houses as collateral, invest, develop and generally work to improve their own lives with all the same rights that all other Americans (seriously it is just disgusting how we do not grant basic property rights to this one group).  (And personally I wouldn’t mind giving large plots of other federal land to the reservations to also be included in their corporate holdings, they will almost certainly take care of it and make more money off it than the government ever could).  Every reservation will then be incorporated as its own county and thus will only have to deal with state and federal governments. Finally all the casinos will be granted 100 year grandfather clauses from state government interference (I don’t  like getting involved in state issues like that, but no need to further screw over the tribes, 100 years is more than enough time to find some other source of income or come to some understanding with the states they reside in).  The casinos will of course go to the ownership of the tribe’s corporation.
From there they are free to win or lose based on the laws of free enterprise and capitalism.  That much property should be a good head start, but this way from this point forward they would be treated not differently than any other American (seriously how has the government not stopped treating them as second class citizens yet..how was this never part of any Civil Right’s movement?)  Then you won’t have moments like the government getting to decide if land the tribe considers sacred will be used for mining ) (although my suspicion is that if they were actually making money from a lease of the land personally, like most rational folk profit is very sacred).

Of course the Dept. of the Interior is still a huge mess.

 

Look at all the land they own. This needs to end.

Government land in US.png

National Parks Service

Okay here’s an easy one.  Just give the land and responsibilities of these over to the states.  I’m fairly certain someone in Phoenix has a better idea of how to take care of the Grand Canyon than someone in D.C. So that goes for every federal park. The f

Office of U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Sounds like such a pleasant name for people utterly hell-bent on destroying all progress and quite possibly human civilization.
That line may sound hyperbolic, but these are idiots who enforce the utterly idiotic Endangered Species Act. Let’s ignore that it was private business that brought back the bison and the bees. Now let’s look at what this office does.  For instance they’re involved in saving the Delta Smelt.   A worthless evolutionary dead end that has no ability whatsoever to adapt even to its own environment, and that is about as important to any ecosystem as Obama is to maintaining world peace. To save this worthless excuse of a fish the state of California (originally under orders of the this useless office, but now through efforts of their own idiocy) is dumping over a trillion gallons of water into the ocean to save the smelt.

Yes in California, a place where there is a drought, where serious water rationing is in place, where water is at a premium…the government is forcing people to dump over a trillion gallons of water into the ocean to save a useless fish. I’m sorry but the destruction of billions of dollars in agriculture (and the relating economic benefit) is clearly more important than a damn fish that no one but the US government cares about.

Oh yeah and even for the low low cost of destroying California, once the breadbasket of the world, the smelt is still dying..why because nature is about killing millions of species, the Endangered Species Act is not more intelligent than the simple rule of life since the first single celled lifeforms: adapt or die.

All other decisions made by US Fish and Wildlife are equally disastrous and equally stupid.

The Endangered Species Act needs to be overturned in whole and this department needs to be closed (if you want to charge all the employees with crimes against humanity for the massive economic damage they do on a daily basis, ethically that’s fine by me too.)

 

If you actually care about animals, trust the private sector and charity to handle this, they can.  If you hate animals and people keep the Fish and Wildlife around.

US Geology Survey, Bureau of Land Reclamation, Bureau of Mining Reclamation
If these serve any purpose, which is doubtful, it’s something the states can handle at probably half the price.

Office of Insular Affairs
This office actually does need to be kept around since they’re the management of all those territories we still have (which is a federal issue).  But it can go on as an executive office, you don’t need a whole department for it.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
These are the geniuses who told B.P that drilling close to the shore was dangerous and you have to drill further out in the ocean for it to be safe.
Yeah they’re useless.

And finally we get to the problem we’ve been hearing about so often lately

Bureau of Land Management

247.3 million acres.
That’s how much land BLM has.  One-eighth of the US.
Most of that land isn’t park land, it’s grazing land, it’s land with resources, it’s land that could be sold either to the states or the private sector for a huge profit (didn’t we have a debt we needed to pay off?)

There is no reason for the government to own any of that!  There is barely a reason that states should own this land.
This land needs to be sold off.  Granted many people depend on this land for their livelihood and I have no problem with offering them to buy the land they have been leasing at whatever the market place for such undeveloped land is…but if they don’t want to buy it the land needs to go up for auction—probably over the course of a few years as putting that much land on the market at once would collapse all prices, but the government does not need to own this land.  And not only because there is no reason for the government to own it…but because as with all things, they’re losing money on it. Only the federal government can charge people to use land that just sits there and requires little to no upkeep other than what nature provides or what people will pay you to do and still lose money on it.

 

 

We don’t need to get into how unbelievably corrupt and inept and inept the people at BLM are because they shouldn’t exist in the first place.  Even if they weren’t mentally challenged sociopaths they still shouldn’t exist so their extensive laundry list of moral and intellectual failings is a moot point (unless you want to throw them all in jail, which I’m okay with, but first sell the land and close the office).  As a quick intermediary we can just sell the land to the states, but the federal control has to be ended now.

Energy Management
Finally we have the Office of Energy Management (not to be confused with the same office in the Department of Energy).

I’m simply going to quote you from their own web page:

As the lead Federal agency responsible for the protection and sound development of the nation’s natural resources, the Department of the Interior has a special obligation to be a leader in energy management and conservation. As such, bureaus and offices across the Department are committed to conserving energy and water resources, eliminating waste, increasing renewable energy use, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and environmental impacts by optimizing the use of energy efficient and water conserving technologies. Bureaus and offices are also striving to incorporate energy efficiency, water conservation, and sustainable practices into the decision-making processes during the planning, design, acquisition, renovations, operations and maintenance of buildings. The Office of Acquisition and Property Management (PAM) coordinates these important Department-wide efforts.

And what in the history of the US Government makes you think that they’re in any way competent to do any of that?
Yeah close this boondoggle as well.

So again, we have a terrible organization that needs to have every single one of its responsibilities either privatized, sent to the states or just ended.

 

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Filed under Budget, Conservative, Constitution, Environmentalism, Evils of Liberalism, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Uncategorized

Saving the Union By Means That Might Actually Work

In light of the FCC ruling that turns the internet, one of the most wonderful examples of the free market being able to run and rule itself into another government mismanaged utility it is clear that there are not enough checks and balances.   Obama is issuing executive orders that have no relation to the law or sanity.

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

Did we forget we’re conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

And our options are limited.

Congress can only do so much without a President willing to sign laws. I mean you could argue that the Republicans should do more, but they’re kind of Constitutionally limited by what they can do. So unless you want them to become as unconstitutional in their actions as Barry, you have to accept that the next two years is pretty much just stopping new idiotic laws getting out of Congress and keeping things running until someone with a brain and conscience can get sworn in. Just face it you can have the Republicans follow the Constitution, or can have them get things done by being just as lawless as Obama…but you can’t have both.*

And yes I have hopes that the majority of Obama’s current BS will be stuck in courts for the next few years, but it has become clear that we have let the Presidency accumulate far, far too many powers over the years and this needs to be corrected.

And giving power back to Congress or the courts clearly isn’t going to be an effective answer right now either.

So that leaves us with the states.

Legislative Control

It would be hard to see a more ideal time to get an amendment passed.

But how to get power back to the states

Well, right now:

31 states have Republican Control of both houses of their state legislatures.

8 states have Republicans in control of one house of the state legislature.

That’s 39 states where Republicans have a foothold.

…And only 38 States are needed for a Constitutional Amendment…

So if we word this correctly we could get a Constitutional Amendment.

Now a lot of people have been suggesting a Constitutional Amendment Convention to cover a slew of issues. While there are a few other Amendments I would like, that’s a terrible idea. If you give them enough rope they’re either going to get tied in knots or hang themselves. No, we need something direct and simple. That they’re all going there with a single simple Amendment, to work on the specific language and then send it to the states to ratify. As simply as possible, to get done what we need done, and nothing more to make sure that it doesn’t get bogged down.
And what have the last six years shown us? That there need to be checks on poorly passed laws and Presidents running amok with executive action. So may I suggest the following language:

(1) A two-thirds vote of the states may veto any law passed by Congress and signed by the President. A law vetoed in this way may not have that veto overridden by Congress.

(2) Any executive order issued by the President or a regulation issued by the executive branch can be voided by a simple majority vote of the states.

(3) The Senate by a simple majority vote may void any executive order or regulation issued by the executive branch or any of it’s departments or agencies.

That simple language would actually give the avenue to overturn just about everything Obama has done. The only thing he would continue screwing up would be foreign policy…and that we can’t do much about (because you do not want to weaken future Presidents in that area). And it would be a great check against any future abuse by a President, regulatory agency or weak willed Congress (and it might get people to care more about local elections).  And it should be an easy sale to the state legislatures as it gives them more power.

So how do we actually get this to work?

Well first write a letter to your state legislators (find them here http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/) to call for a convention of the states to put forth this Amendment (or something like it) immediately. I would suggest flooding their email on a daily basis…and then share this article and try and convince everyone you know (no matter what state they live in).

*You could have them making a better case for their position, and I place this blame squarely on the shoulders of John Boehner. But the Republicans for dealing in reality and making the best of a terrible situation as a whole should not be yelled at with ignorant accusations of “traitor” or “RINO.”

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Filed under Constitution, Obama

Conservative Values versus a myriad of extremists

A government professor of mine once stated that all governments were a balance between three different values: Equality, Order, and Liberty. No one value can be pursued without cost to the other two. The ideal society would actually be the one that keeps these three points in balance. However, as we look around modern parties and political movements, the logic of balance seems nowhere to be found.

Four Cardinal Virtues

Individual have the 4 cardinal virtues: Temperance, Moderation, Justice, Fortitude…but these are the basis for the three political virtues: liberty, equality, order. They all have to work together or not at all.

Liberals, socialists and progressives seek equality at the cost of order and liberty finally reaching their ideal society, a Communistic state where everyone is equal but in the end utterly worthless as equality requires none be higher than others, thus all talent, all incentives, and all goals have been destroyed leaving society to collapse before the equally unimpressive slaves that it has created. In a state where all are equal there can be no order because power cannot be vested (even through law) in another thus nothing can keep law and civil society together thus at best everything is merely slave to the whim of the herd (law by the same methods created reality TV)…and there can be no liberty, as liberty leads to exceptionalism, and no one can be better than anyone else

The growing fascist movements of Greece, the tyranny of Vladimir Putin, and the vile wretchedness of Islamofascism value order above all else. But for there to be complete order there can be no liberty because if people can choose for themselves, they will sometimes choose wrong and this inevitably leads to some level of chaos, some crime, some disorder. And in the ordered state there can be no equality, as equality requires that all are subject to rules, and for the ordered state to work no one can watch the watchers because they are the final authority, otherwise there is no way to control and maintain order.

Libertarians and anarchists view liberty as the end all be all of all politics. But where there is perfect freedom there can be no equality, even before the law, because there can be no law if there is nothing but license to do whatever you want. And there can be no order in the fully liberated state as the law who would hold back those who do not recognize the rights of others cannot exist.

And finally populists don’t particularly view any of these as all that important. Yes populists want equality when someone is doing better than them, which is why businesses and businessmen are evil and need to be reined in…but they strangely don’t care about equality when they’re doing better, which is why even Ron Paul brought back millions in pork to his district. They care about liberty, for themselves…but for anyone else, eh, it’s not that important. And order is important, so long as it’s in my general vicinity, enforced by me, and I don’t care if it’s not in my line of sight. (And please understand why I have been hitting the populists posing as conservatives a lot lately, your average Democratic voter has always been a populist. Their activists and politicians maybe progressives, but the voters are populists who just care about their entitlements and what will be given to them).

Meanwhile there is the real conservative viewpoint. That these three virtues of a society must be held in careful balance. That the extreme of any one of these because a dystopian nightmare (Liberty, Order, Equality…Lord of the Flies, 1984, Harrison Bergeron…or for the less well read, Mad Max, Hunger Games, Divergent…or if you prefer history, Somalia, Nazi Germany, Revolutionary France). That a society without these three to guide them is just as bad as one where only one is followed (I’d give an example but modern politics seems to be it and the last few years of Rome seem to be the only places dumb enough to try such an abhorrent idea in practice). Only the society that balances these forces is a prosperous one.

So what is the guiding star of conservatism that makes it so different from these other ideologies? Well, not to sound like a dozen other blogs on this site but the answer is once again, Aristotle.

Aristotle, for all his flawed understanding of politics (give the man a break, there wasn’t much reliable history to work with in the 4th century B.C. and you can’t expect him to have prescience of what was to come) understood that in politics, as with ethics, it is not a question of ends or means, but a question of ends and means. Those who value equality or order only value an end of making everyone equal or making everything peaceful. Those who value liberty only value the means of liberty not the result of what such anarchy brings. Only balancing both ends and means work.

And Aristotle saw the correct end to focus on. The end to all human life is Happiness. And society, family, education must all be structured to ensure Happiness for the greatest number of people. Now because Happiness requires freedom of choice and personal growth, not everyone will reach happiness no matter what a government/family/society does, but it requires liberty and the ability to exercise free will. But because Happiness requires some ability to plan and control your own life, it requires order to some degree. And because the point is to provide Happiness (or the opportunity to pursue Happiness) for the most people as all are equally human and equally deserving at birth of achieving Happiness. None of these on their own can lead to Happiness, and all must work together.

And this is why other belief systems don’t work; they’re not aimed at Happiness.

For instance look at misnamed “social conservatives” (Progressives for Jesus might be a better way to put it). They keep saying that the point of marriage is to have children. As if having children is an end in itself.   And they keep bringing this up as a reason why they opposed gay marriage. Now there are good reasons to get rid of marriage as a legal concept (and replace it with legal civil unions and let religion handle marriage without government interference) but it is not just the Progressive mentality here to have the government take control of everything. It is the missed sense of what the end of things are. They view the family as a means to creating another family. The family, society, everything in the view has no purpose but to serve itself. You have to have marriage to create children. You have to raise children so they lead lives where they get married. They get married to have children…over and over again. There is no point to the individual life (unless you want to get into some bizarre servitude to God, which views God as a master and the individual the slave…but no serious reading of any sane religion even comes close to that.) This is why social conservatives tend to be not only bad at politics but their own religion. Social conservatives should go back and read their Aquinas who makes it clear that “the principal end of matrimony, namely the good of the offspring” and that “the secondary end of matrimony, which is the mutual services which married persons render one another in household matters.” Notice how in the second point it is the betterment of each other (i.e. the individual’s happiness) that is the point of marriage. Just as every social institution is supposed to place the Happiness of the individual as a goal. Parents should be concerned with teaching their children the knowledge, ethics, and character that will allow them to be happy adults. Schools and other societal organizations should be focused on encouraging people to be the best they can be with the goal being individual Happiness. Social conservatives’ problem, like all progressives, is they think society is the end goal, it is not; the good of individual is the goal.

Then you have Libertarians who don’t even consider ends and just, like good Kantian idiots, look at means. And liberty is the only mean they care about. Oh they may say that freedom leads to individual Happiness, but they ignore that just because the exercise of free will is necessary it is not sufficient. (Just as Milton Friedman said that “History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.”) Let’s take a look at what sometimes appears to be the only thing that libertarians think about: The War on Drugs. Okay, I will concede that the War on Drugs has been handled idiotically. I will concede that if a person should be able to use drugs in the privacy of their own home if they’re not hurting anyone. I concede that the power to prosecute the War on Drugs has led to massive costs and an intolerable level of corruption in the name of the War on Drugs. But in all this the libertarians fail to admit some very simple things. They act like the people who take drugs are all just innocent little lambs who are the victims of an unjust police power. prison violent

nonviolent

Oh, look it would appear that as incarceration went up crime went down…shocker.

Let me set the record straight: They’re criminals (whether they get caught and convicted or not, they’re criminals). They have the mentality that the rules of society, their long term well-being, and how their actions may hurt others are of absolutely no concern to them so long as they get a moment of pleasure. At best that is vilely hedonistic, at worst it has a bit of a sociopath in it. Libertarians like to pretend that you have otherwise innocent drug users in one group, and in another you have real criminals. And that the fact that we have a massive prison population proves that this War on Drugs needs to end. The problem is that you don’t have two different groups; you have a Venn diagram where criminals and drug users are often one in the same. Libertarians like to point to the increasing prison population, but they always conveniently forget that as prison populations go up violent and non-violent crime go down. They ignore that often drugs are used to put dangerous criminals away when other more serious charges don’t have as much admissible evidence. So there are benefits to the War on Drugs. But not willing to admit that drops in the murder, rape, theft rates is a good thing, libertarians only care about the liberty to do drugs.   They don’t advocate that we should focus more on the cartels, the gang distributors, and legalize personal home use (all things which would still probably round up the worst real criminals while not hurt the people who can actually handle personal use)…no they have to argue that we should just legalize all drugs. No concern for order, just liberty…and no Happiness for anyone.

The other difference between libertarians, Progressive for Jesus**, and real conservatives. Unlike Libertarians, conservatives understand that laws do need to be structured not just to protect rights but to encourage habits that will typically lead to a healthy society and Happiness in individuals (for instance unless we switch to a flat tax having tax credit for charity; the fact that we can’t just get rid of civil union side of marriage, and that we do need a safety net of some kind***; providing minimum standards for education to make sure all students receive a basic minimum of education) but unlike the Progressive for Jesus we must do so in a way that limits (or at least poses as few limits as possible) to the good that liberty provides (deciding what counts as a marriage and what doesn’t, when gay marriage provides the same benefits; spending money and resources checking on what people do in private that hurts no one; dictating what to include content wise in education; etc.).

Being consistently conservative is difficult. It requires balancing numerous issues of the needs of individuals, the long term good of society, Liberty, Order, Equality. And it’s a constantly shifting point because what creates that balance in one era may be totally unbalanced in another. Proper government needs to be directed toward the Happiness of individuals. It needs to balance our needs for liberty, order, and equality. When it does not do these things it creates bad laws. And it is so easy to get lost in caring only about your own want (populists) or one of the political virtues at the expense of the others. Right now we need a lot more liberty, but we cannot forget that it is the balance and the good of society and the individual that is our true goal—not just liberty for the sake of liberty.

Of course none of this is really new…the people who real conservatives look toward as a guide post made it quite clear that liberty, or order (tranquility, defense), or equality (justice, general welfare) were all equal political virtues that had to be held in balance of each other…

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

*Now I know that I have heard some people have claimed that the FBI is merely shading the numbers—that they’re not counting things the same way to make things look better than they are. I’ve heard that claim from LOTS of people. But you know what I find interesting, I can’t find that claim on any think tank. None. Liberal. Conservative. Libertarian. Nobody. You would think that conservatives would have hit Clinton or Obama for skewing the data, or liberals would have hit Bush. But nobody seems to questions the FBI’s stats…nor is there any jump that you would see if you changed the criteria, it’s a slow progression. So either everybody and I mean everybody, is on a massive conspiracy to slowly skew the crime numbers, or crime really has been dropping.

**You thought I wasn’t serious, but I am. I am using that from now on.

***Libertarians, before you yell at me that we need to get rid of welfare entirely, please remember that Friedman and Hayek both said we need a safety net because having people in real poverty (the kind you see in the third world) creates people who seriously have the choice of steal or die, at which point it becomes a need for them to steal and as we all know from the example of Jean Valjean, utterly unjust to punish them.

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Filed under Aristotle, Capitalism, Conservative, Constitution, Happiness, Long Term Thinking, philosophy, politics

The Rise of Modern Populism

When the Tea Party came onto the scene a few years ago I liked their stated principles…but I had worries, worries that they weren’t the deeply principled conservatives they claimed to be. I worried that as they grew they would sacrifice the principles of conservatism– which when held to will always be good for society as a whole and for the future, but sometimes be hard on the individual in the present—would be sacrificed for the ease of populism.

Time has proven that my worries were correct. I hate it when I’m right about things like this.

So what do I mean by Populism? By Populism I mean a system of political belief that endorses anything that seems to offer a short term benefit to the masses which it attempts to play to. This depends on a lot of us vs. them mentality because it has to attack people who appear to be against the Populist agenda. But unlike liberalism which also has to rely on this us vs. them mentality, at least when compared to Populism, liberalism has at least some ideological consistency. Populism will take any short term solution available so long as it provides immediate benefits to the constituents of the Populist group, damn whatever the long term consequences of that position may be. Populism is the party of “stay out of my life” and “don’t take my money in taxes”…”but feel free to do so to anyone else, in fact feel free to impose my beliefs on everyone else”. It’s cronyism for the people who can’t afford lobbyists…and it is just as vile and destructive as corporate cronyism.

“But the Tea Party isn’t a Populist Party! It’s conservative!” The Tea Partier claims. But in reality it’s not a conservative group…it may have been when it started as anti-Obamacare, anti-tax, anti-regulation, anti-big government group…but as it’s grown it has become something else entirely.

Don’t believe me?

Okay let’s look at the facts.

Now first off I will state up front that part of the problem is that there is no core to Tea Party. It’s a diffuse group of vaguely joined individuals. It has no single head, no single organization, no single direction (this is part of the problem and I’ll get to that later). This is part of what makes it Populist, by remaining as 3000 groups under a general banner, each subsection can play to it’s own little group and doesn’t have to worry about any consistency in philosophy.
Then there is now a pervasive anti-corporation tone in everything the Tea Party says and does. “Common Core was funded by big business” “Congress needs to choose between Big Business and the people” “Big Business only stands for corporatism!” Implicit in all of this is the central core of populism that the government must side either with the people or the corporation. That it must choose those with money or without. That it is the haves or have-nots. Workers of the World, cast off you chains you have…wait a second.   Did that just really, and I mean really quickly, and rather easily devolve into Marxism? You know why I was able to do that in only a couple sentences? Because it’s the same mentality at the root of both populism and every form of liberalism. That government should be for me* and when it is for me it has to be against someone else. Meanwhile if you’re a conservative you realize that there is little difference between a person or a corporation…in both subsets you will find good and bad, ethical and unethical, harmful and helpful…but most of all you will find among both groups a short term thinking that looks only to their own needs disregarding the needs of anyone else. A person will take every government handout they can and end up with a take home pay almost 20 grand more than I make working 50 hours a week—but this is no different than a corporation looking to put up tariffs or rules to help itself from having to deal with competition. Both are full of people and organizations that only look out for their own interest.   And there is no picking between the two, and there is no changing the underlying human nature that causes both excesses. But there is limiting government so that it cannot pick winners or losers. There is limiting the powers of government so that while a needed safety net for individuals (and yes it is needed, even the gods of Capitalism, Friedman and Hayek, would point out that a safety net is needed) and forgiving bankruptcy laws to help corporations be productive feature of capitalism’s creative destruction rather than just an unending source of misery to all associated. Conservatives say that the choice is not pick between the two but to limit government’s ability to pick between the

populism

This picture is a perfect example of populism…You don’t have a right to be heard, you have a right to speak but no one has to listen to you…but the populist view because you speak people should be forced to listen to you.

two. Go listen to any Tea Party spokesperson…do they sound like they’re on the not picking side…or do they make it a choice between the corporations and the people.

You see populism with the Tea Party in it completely forsaking capitalism in favor protectionism. With the recent TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) agreement you see a very strong Tea Party/Populist move against the trade deal because it doesn’t offer protections for American products. Now any capitalist be they from the Chicago or Austria school will tell you the important thing is that you lower taxes if you have two countries with tariffs on each others products and only one country drops it tariffs and the other doesn’t it doesn’t matter because there will be more trade and everyone will prosper because of that in the long run. It would be better for both nations to drop their tariffs, but to say I’m not going to end mine unless you end yours is not only economically suicidal but pathetically immature. But the Populists are throwing a conniption fit over the fact that in this trade agreement Japan is keeping tariffs to protect their farmers (all this shows is that Japan is still idiotic when it comes to understanding macroeconomics). Who cares. Now I have not been over every line of this trade agreement and there may be many reasons to hate it that I am not aware of, but if the only argument against nations all over the Pacific lowering tariffs and trade barriers is because the politicians of one nation are being particularly daft in playing the Populists for their constituents doesn’t mean we should shoot ourselves in the foot over this. But just watch the Populists drive this one home just like they did with NAFTA.

And I would love for you to show me one Tea Party person in the Midwest who hates ethanol/agriculture subsides. Yes those Tea Party folks hate big government…unless it benefits them and their constituents.

And how can we forget that wonderfully Populist idea of us vs. them when it comes to the idea of the people vs. “the establishment.” “The establishment” a group more shady and secretive than the Illuminati, and possibly with goals more nefarious. Now I can never get a full list of “the establishment”… now it certainly involves Boehner (despite the fact that he keeps getting his hands tied by the Tea Party) and McConnell (despite the fact as Ann Coulter points out you’d have to be absolutely clueless to not think Mitch McConnell is a conservative)…and most likely Eric Cantor, although I can’t think of anything he’s done to undermine conservatism. It may or may not include Paul Ryan depending on whether or not it’s high tide or low tide. It certainly can’t include lifelong RINO John McCain because supreme divine goddess Sarah the infallible endorsed him over a Tea Party candidate in 2010, and Sarah wouldn’t endorse anyone from the establishment, so he and his al-Qaeda supporting ways can’t possibly be part of “The Establishment.” After that I’m a little fuzzy on the roster.** But “The Establishment” is the all powerful force that controls all the strings in the Republican party and they must be taken down…though it’s unclear exactly who must be taken down. But strangely it must be taken down with candidates who make the most insane statement you can find. And Democrats seem to like these challengers…but the fact that our enemies love these people apparently has no bearing on anything.

And finally, Populists like their liberal counterparts are very big on emotion and very poor on logic. Just look at how anyone in the Tea Party reacts to a suggestion that we should use some strategy in how we go about trying to win a campaign. No. No. None of that strategy bullshit. There is no such thing as the moderate or swing voter there is only rallying our base and getting them to vote…because I don’t care what numbers you throw at me, we lose only because our base doesn’t come out to vote. No. No. NONE OF YOUR NUMBERS AND FACTS THAT MIGHT SHOW THIS TO BE UTTER FANTASY. We should never appeal to the middle with the things we agree with the middle on (economics, liberty, small government, pro-entrepreneurial laws and regulations, less red tape, lower taxes, getting out of their lives and taking less of their money), NO! We must only talk about social issues and support candidates who hold to these issues 100% of the time without fail (and I can’t find justification for these social issues in the constitution). There must not be any compromise at any time for any reason (even if that reason were to actually further our cause). THERE MUST BE NO COMPROMISE! BECAUSE WE MUST ONLY ACT ON PRINCIPLE AND EMOTION. THERE MUST NOT BE ANY REASON OR STRATEGY, that way lies RINOS and “The Establishment.”

And this is just the tip of the iceberg.  If we wanted to get into every issue I could show the populist overtones in the Tea Party are more prevalent than the conservative ones.

And I blame the fact that the Tea Party has degenerated so far on a very few in the GOP, certainly Palin, DeMint, Levin, Malkin and Hannity have all done more than their share to fan the fires of idiocy, but more than anyone I blame Michael Steele (see I don’t rely on some mysterious “Establishment” I can tell you exactly who I blame). He got so annoyed at the idiots like DeMint and Palin who started the whole movement going off the rails by endorsing really preposterous candidates that he worked to cut them off from funding entirely in 2010 rather than begrudgingly bringing them into the fold and making the Tea Party just the grassroots part of the GOP, Steele and his subordinates tried to distance the GOP from the Tea Party. Way to go Michael…I see that got you a cushy job over at MSNBC, I see they reward hurting the GOP well over there. Had we cared more about strategy back then we would have embraced the Tea Party (even though they had some populist undertones even back then) which would have prevented this divide, prevented them from going full Populist, and would have actually worked to quash the Populist themes of the Tea Party.

But that is over. And it cannot be changed. The only thing I can say is that for real conservatives we can only make it our goal to appeal to both the Tea Party and the moderates, the conservative beliefs are what needed to prevail. We need to be even more aggressive in our ground game than the Tea Party during the primary season to prevent the craziest candidates form winning and we need to do our best to make sure that they don’t sulk and stay home come October and November. Remember that no matter who get the nominations for all the offices, “Establishment” or Tea Party either is probably BETTER than a Democrat.

*You know a lot of libertarians hate Lincoln for his Constitutional violations and war crimes, a lot of economists hate him for his complete lack of understanding of economics, a lot of principled people hate him for the fact that the had none…but if there is one thing that I loathe Lincoln for it is the phrase “For the people.” You can find “Of the people” and “by the people” in the Declaration and Constitution…you can’t find “For the people.” It is Lincoln who first brought the vile populist idea that government is there for you into general thought. And for that and that alone he should never be listed as one of the good presidents.

** I will just have to ask for a members list next time I’m at the monthly “Establishment Virgin Sacrifice to Ba’al”…listening to the Tea Party I assume we do that sort of thing here in “The Establishment.”

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April Fool’s Day Post: Secret Documents Reveal Democratic Plan to Undermine the Right From Within

Exclusive, The Conservative New Ager has, this April Fool’s Day, been shown recently uncovered documents that show conclusively that the Republican Party has been infiltrated by liberal moles hell-bent on destroying the Republican Party from within.

 

What’s this you say? Liberal infiltrators within the Republican Party? Yes!

 

And no I’m not just referring to the fact that liberals have been heavily funding “libertarian” candidates to divide votes against conservatives. No the plan appears, according to these documents, to go much further (beginning with the open push for open primaries – we now see the underlying liberal reasoning).

 

While the documents do not list exactly who is involved or where money is being funneled to, the plans and tactics for the double agents are laid out clearly. For instance, one document states:

 

Liberal infiltrators are to always bring up abortion.   Polls show that while Americans are not in favor of the Democratic position of abortion on demand at tax payer expense, the natural American tendency toward liberty finds it even more offensive to claim “”If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down”. Gallup studies have shown that despite claims otherwise, 71% of Republicans favor keeping abortion legal in one form or another…yet a vocal minority within the Republican party, which these documents show are on liberal payrolls, are hammering a point that in no way appeals even to the base of the Republican party and certainly not to the majority of voters. Further these documents suggest that DNC forces have also paid off the media to only cover these infiltrators which explain why the media gives these comments so much play and not real fiscal comments from the Republican Party. These liberal infiltrators have started even attacking what the vast majority of Republicans and independents believe is a valid purpose of abortion, aborting children with severe medical challenges to spare them the living hell of a

Dinner?

Hmmm….

life like that. Further these liberal infiltrators are being paid to make Republicans look mentally challenged by suggesting that abortion is the cause of our economic woes with truly brain dead statements like “The reason Social Security is in big trouble is we don’t have enough workers to support the retirees. Well, a third of all the young people in America are not in America today because of abortion, because one in three pregnancies ends in abortion.” Quotes this insane assumes that conservatives believe that children have one purpose – to support the elderly – which if that isn’t the ring of liberal propaganda then what is… there is nothing there about the conservative beliefs in individualism, personal responsibility and freedom of choice – whatever those repercussions are.

 

These documents were obtained in light of the fact that despite being a traitor worthy of hanging for his crimes, Edward Snowden did reveal what liberals consider data security. The field agents of the Conservative New Ager just strolled into the DNC headquarters and asked for access to the computer systems claiming to be tech people called in to repair an unspecified problem. The stoned hippie behind the desk was apparently more than helpful in providing our investigative team with all the documents they needed.

 

As such deep cover agents have been sent into the Republican Party to pose as conservatives, they work tirelessly to offend moderates and even Republicans as liberals are desperate to get votes for themselves or at least deprive Republicans of votes by having those voters veer towards the perpetual waste of a vote known as the Libertarian party.

 

In addition to the abortion issues, similar DNC drafted talking points for these infiltrators include making statements against gay marriage (when the majority of moderate and even conservative voters would rather you just get government out of religion and just have legal civil unions for everyone) or focusing on other issues that any idiot would know would not drive moderates away.

 

It is unclear exactly who in the Democrat Party came up with this plan and who is funding it (or even that anyone at the DNC could possibly have the foresight to think up something this clever)…or who in the Republican Party was too stupid to not notice what was going on. But as insiders begin to comb over the paperwork it becomes clear that this is the only thing keeping the Democratic Party alive as the Republicans would sway the vast majority of independents and libertarians if they were just running on conservative economic values.

 

Documents do not make it clear exactly who these people are but there are clues within the paperwork. For instance one such infiltrator is listed as a former Governor who during their term of office threatened violate contract law (something conservatives hold as sacrosanct) with contracts the state held with private corporations, raised taxes on those corporations, encouraged large federal spending projects to nowhere, advocated that the budget to the Department of Education be expanded, endorses the worst candidates (even liberal scum) whenever possible, and takes government subsidy money for their TV shows. One wonders how moderates could be so dumb to accept such a clearly vile liberal shill as a conservative, but you betcha they are just that dumb.

 

Other infiltrators are suggested to have endorsed arming al-Qaeda in Syria. One even appears to be a massive closet case who never met a government spending program or bribe he didn’t like.

 

To spot these liberal infiltrators according to these documents, the following positions should be noticed:

(1)  They make wild baseless claims about abortion rather than just pushing to end all government funding of it.

(2)  They believe that gay marriage is an abomination rather than the conservative belief that government should get out religion, and only do civil unions for any two consenting adults leaving marriage to religion and religion alone.

(3)  They attack other Republicans.

(4)  They treat conservatism as a belief that can only exist within Christianity despite the fact that the moral basis for conservatism can be found in just about every religion on Earth.

(5)  They attack corporations as something inherently evil or do not hold other basic conservative/capitalist views like the sacrosanct nature of contracts – personal property rights.

(6)  They speak in terms of populism accidentally dropping liberal talking points like “living wage” or feel that competition is a bad thing.

(7)  Having no understanding of the difference between the idiotic federal Race to the Top (Obama’s plan) and the intelligent state led Common Core standards and treating them as if they’re the same thing.

It is almost certain that anyone who traffics in statements like this is clearly on the DNC payroll and following their direction/talking points.

 

When informed of this GOP chair Reince Preibus stated that, “When you think about it this actually makes sense. I mean the only other option would be that the Republican Party was laced with absolutely suicidal morons who don’t understand the principles of real conservatism and have no desire to win….wait what, this is an April Fool’s Day post and none of this ever happened. We actually have a minority of the party that really are that dumb? Well shit. We’re doomed aren’t we?”

 

Well shit indeed. Guess we had better start teaching true conservatives ideals starting with fiscal responsibility.

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Why we need to raise the age of just about everything to 26 (or higher)

Why we need to raise the age of just about everything to 26

 

You know a while back there was a big brouhaha about the fact that Obamacare required that children be allowed to stay on their parents insurance until they were 26. Now there were many multiple valid claims about this–that it was unconstitutional government use of power, that it wastes money, that it would cause a death spiral of insurance coverage, that it was an entitlement giveaway to just buy votes. All accurate and valid objections of idiotic action by the government. But of all the objections the one that wasn’t really that valid was that 26 year olds are adults. Seriously?  I know this is legally a fact, like the idea that corporations are individuals, a pleasant legal fiction that has no relationship to reality. But unlike the legal fiction of corporate personhood which needs to be defended if you want society to properly function, this idea that you legally are an adult when you turn 18 needs to eliminated.

 

I mean have you met most people in their early 20’s?  It would be hard to find a group less like adults if you tried.

 

Let me speak in generalities for just a moment (those to whom this does not apply will find this an all too accurate indictment of their fellow early twenty something’s). The majority of people in their early 20’s are self centered, short sighted, inexperienced and overly emotional with few useful skills. In some ways they are like 2 year olds, but not as cute.  Now certainly they’re not as stupid as Michelle Obama thinks they are claiming they don’t know how to handle knives or cook for themselves (but in her defense look at the mentally challenged dunce she’s married to, so she may have a skewed vision of age and intelligence), but while not the complete idiots liberals think (and hope) they are, they’re not fully ready to accept all of the responsibilities that get thrust on them when they’re 18.  They’re simply not.

 

Let’s be honest, the ages of 18 and 21 are holdovers as rights of passage have more to do with practical issues of previous eras and not anything to do with realities of intelligence and maturity.  And it certainly has nothing to do with science as we are beginning to see that the risk aversion portions of the brain (the part that tells us: It might not be appropriate to engage in immature behavior, like say, voting for a worthless idiot who is promising you free stuff) does not fully develop until late 20’s by 30 at latest. 

 

 

brosurance

And before you accuse me of having a low opinion of 20 somethings…just remember what the left thinks of them.

So let’s deal in reality a little more and raise the age of full rights as an adult to at least 26 (if not 30, because if your brain only stops developing at 26, logically you might want to have a few years using that brain and get used to it before being thrown into the deep end of the pool).

 

Does this mean that I want people living with their parents until they’re 30?  No.  Hell no.  (Although that does appear to be the goal of Democrats based on the last few years of their economic planning).  But that just because you get to move out doesn’t mean you you’re ready for everything.  Think about it, it’s silly to say, ‘oh you’re 18 and just moved out, here is a long list of things we didn’t trust you with last month and in addition to trying to figure out how to support yourself, we’re going to give you all these other options and responsibilities you have no experience how to deal with  Yes we need to give people at 18 or 21 the legal right to sign contracts so they can sign a lease and get out of their parents immediate circle and learn to live on their own, but we don’t need shove everything on them all at once before they’re prepared for it.

 

Further this needs to be done because of the changing nature of education.  Whether the state led Common Core standards (as opposed to the federal Race to the Top program which very ignorant pundits call Common Core, because there are some very ignorant pundits who probably could have used a more standards based reading curriculum out there) succeed or not in becoming standard practice, the fact is that the day is coming where you will see consistent standards across the board in this nation.  And once you have that you will see more and more students held back.  And this is a good thing; it is one of the dumbest things in world to think that all six year olds are at the same level on the same day.  And holding back students a year (and in some cases two or three) will help a lot of students actually succeed where before they would have failed their entire time in school.  But this will also mean that you will see more people graduating high school at 19 and 20 (and maybe even a few at 21).  Do you really want someone voting who hasn’t even had a government course yet (and let’s think about how little is actually covered in a high school government class…if you don’t even have that, I certainly don’t think you should be deciding what to do with my tax money).  And even more to the point as more students succeed in elementary and secondary education because of these standards holding them back making sure they actually get the information in the first place, you will see more and more students getting through trade schools, and their A.A.’s and B.A.’s, (which will be great for the economy)…but will also mean that people will likely be in the bubble of undergrad education for even long periods of their life (and the last thing we need is those people voting)…which will in turn mean they will get an even later start in life.

 

Let’s just admit that society is changing and change our attitude toward the legal concept of adulthood to match.

 

And when you think about this there are so many wonderful advantages to this.

 

What would I include in this?

 

Well, first, we need to raise the voting age.  It should be raised to 30, but I’ll take 26.  Yes you can make the argument that some 18 year olds are mature enough to vote, but guess what, if they’re mature enough to vote then they’re mature enough to understand that there are anywhere from 2 to 5 of their fellow 18 year olds who are not mature enough to vote and they’ll probably be more thankful to not have 5 idiots cancelling out their vote.  Now some will say that we lowered it to 18 because if you’re old enough to serve in the military then you’re old enough to vote…forgetting that this was an argument about the draft (a program that will never be instituted again because the military prefers an all volunteer force and modern technology has made it possible to fight a war without having to draft). Trust me if we ever get into another war the magnitude of which we have to call a draft, whether 18 year olds can vote or not will be the very least of your worries.  And you know what I’m more than willing to put in some exception for those who wish to serve their nation having the right to vote earlier, hell I’m even willing to put in some kind of rules, like in the description in Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, we will find you something to do if you don’t meet the traditional physical needs of the military if voting before 30 means that much to you (if you’re willing to give 4+ years of your life to your nation, we’ll find you something to do and give you the vote).  But back to voting, before I digress too much, anyone who has studied exit polls knows that without the 18-29 voting block you will get much, much more rational, sane and intelligent representatives.

 

But it just doesn’t end there.

 

Libertarians, what if we raised the age that one could take drugs from 21 to 26 and imposed very heavy punishments to those who sold to anyone under that age. If you made that argument you would be able to deal with almost all the people who very rationally argue “what about the kids” and you would be able to push much more effectively on your legalization arguments (which would in turn reduce much of the waste and corruption that comes from the war on drugs).  No one would really care what someone in their late 20’s or older puts in themselves (so long as they do it in the privacy of their own home).  But please remember this does need to come with near Draconian measures to against those who can’t keep it in private and those who would provide such substance to anyone under 26…think about it Libertarians, it’s a near perfect silver bullet for one of your favorite issues.

 

And social conservatives, you should also embrace this? Why, because I think the existence of Girls Gone Wild and other such videos (not to mention nearly every other week hearing about a woman in this job or that being fired for having done porn briefly in college despite any of her current rational and mature behavior) proves that 18 year olds might not be the best age to allow men and women to decide when to get into this industry.  I’m not getting into the argument here of whether or not there are people who do enjoy being in this industry and can do it without being psychologically scarred…all I’m going to say is that I think we can all agree an 18 year old isn’t qualified to make that important a choice that will haunt them for the rest of their life.  (Liberal feminists you should also be on board with this).

 

And liberals you should also be on board with this as it will require parents to be financially responsible for their children longer, which you think is a good thing.

 

And economic conservatives, before you read that last sentence and throw a hissy fit, let’s also say that you can’t get ANY welfare benefits until you are fully adult, you’re the responsibility of your parents until then.   And consider how many liberal parents will suddenly start teaching some self control to their children if they know at 16 they’ll be responsible for them (and any spawn they have) for another 10 years not 2.  Now think of the dropping welfare roles that could follow.  So conservatives, keep calm, reread the last paragraph and use it convince your liberal friends.

 

Really there is no group that shouldn’t be in support of this.  Except maybe demagogues who only stay in power because of easily fooled adolescents.  Yeah Barry I mean you.

 

 

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Real Change in Education: Part I

 

There is a lot of brouhaha over Common Core right now. Education Personally I am tired of idiots blaming every stupid Obama Administration policy, every idiotic Dept. of Education directive, every factually incorrect statement made by a book publisher, and every dumbass move by an individual state on the Common Core.  The Common Core is minimum standards dealing with math, reading and writing and a nation wide test that comes with those standards.  Is it as high as we really need?  No, but it is higher than what most states used to have. …but guess what, any state that adopts Common Core can put in standards that exceed it.  Also the Common Core standards were a state pushed initiative, not a federal one, so stop saying this is overreach by the federal government—it isn’t.

We are conservatives, we’re supposed to be the informed and educated people…but if we keep stupidly blaming things that have nothing to do with the Common Core on the Common Core then we appear uninformed.

This link above goes to the actual Common Core standard.  Read them before you attack them. 

We don’t blame science because liberals shout their BS religion of global warming.

We don’t blame the Constitution for the fact that liberals violate our rights in the name of the Constitution.

Common Core State Standards.jpg

Common Core Standards are good..the problem is that any idiot publisher can put the words “Common Core aligned”

Then why should we blame the Common Core standards, read them there is nothing wrong in them because some idiot liberal states are doing a lot of things that aren’t in the Common Core (but using its name).

The standards are fine.  Read them and tell me if you find anything objectionable…it’s certain that liberal states and the way they’re implementing them/adding to them that is the problem.

If we don’t attack the right thing, if we don’t understand who the enemy is, then we won’t win.

But since some people need to attack something in education let me suggest 9 other things we could focus on that would actually lead to better schools.

 

1.Get Rid of Useless Professional Development

Tied to a lot of complaints about Common Core is the whining about it will cause teachers to teach to the test.  This (A) assume that one on can only teach the standards and nothing else and (B) that teachers can only teach in one way.  In reality there is a simple truth—Bad teachers will only ever teach to the test, good teachers will always teach what is on the test and go beyond. The reason you have standards is that you’re trying to limit the damage done by bad teachers.  I know everyone likes to point out all the terrible points of No Child Left Behind (and there are many) but the fact is that putting in testing put in a lower bar that even bad teachers had to meet.  This was a great thing because you at least had a standard, any standard, in some parts of the country finally and not just bad teachers skating students without any concern for whether or not they learn anything.  And teaching to the test is teaching the minimum standards which is what we want if the standards are high enough.  Tests are supposed to reflect the items learned – duh!

If you actually want teachers to not teach to the test then get better teachers, don’t get rid of the test.

And how do you get better teachers?  Well the first thing you need to do is get rid of the things that drive good teachers out.

One of those things is professional development.  What is professional development, you ask?  Standards vary from state to state, but professional development is a requirement that to keep your teaching credential you have to take so many hours of professional development or courses so that you can continue to improve as a teacher.  It sounds like a good idea, that teachers should continue to refine their craft.  But while it sounds really nice, it isn’t.  What it turns into is taking state approved courses on teaching strategies that no competent teacher would ever use or lectures on information that has no discernable use in education.

For instance I had to take a two week professional development course last year on “Structured English Immersion” to keep my Arizona teaching credential.  Structured English Immersion is fancy teacher speak for “how to teach English to kids who don’t speak English.”  It cost me several hundred dollars to take this course.  I teach high school and not a single thing discussed in this waste of my time and money could ever even theoretically be used in a high school course. Professional development is supposedly there so we can learn the most up to date research on child development and teaching practices…but strangely enough the most recent study listed in the course material was published during the Bush Administration (no…I don’t mean W.). Yeah real cutting edge right there.  Not to mention the entire tone of the course was that you have to coddle children who don’t speak English and not encourage them to actually learn English, speak in English, read English and use English in every aspect of their life (you know, what actually works).

All other professional development is like this.  For instance I’m also going to have to take a few college courses between now and then (again out of pocket) to keep my credential up.  Now while I’m going to try and pick courses that relate to my field, most teachers pick college courses that relate to Education…Education courses are a lot like the above described Structured English Immersion…outdated bullshit that will never help you reach students.

And we charge teachers for this…because teachers make so much money that they can just easily drop money on things like this without any worry.

Or maybe a lot of good teachers realize they can get jobs in other fields that don’t attempt to fleece them at every turn (you don’t want to see my fees that I also have to pay to keep up my teaching credential).

But, some schools pay for their teacher’s professional development, so it’s not like every teacher is getting fleeced (they’re just losing time).  A lot of public schools have in-service days every year to ensure their teachers get their hours.  On average they’ll hold about 5 of these days a year…now let’s say your school of 700 students has 20 teachers, each teacher making $52,000 a year on average (over the course of about 190 contract days, or about $273.68 a day), so to have those teachers take out 5 days out of the year for this sort of in-service professional development costs the taxpayer $27,368.42 a year for a school of only 20 teachers (plus of course the costs of time it took to set this up, to bring in someone to do the training or have a teacher trained to do the training, and the costs that administrators will also participate in this stuff…so let’s round it up to $30,000).  $30K a year for each school in America paid with taxpayer dollars (2009/2010 – 98,817 total public schools = $2,964,510) wasted on irrelevant information that won’t help you be a better teacher.

How about this, let’s just require every teacher to get a subscription to the Journal of Higher Education and Kaplan which will actually keep them abreast of research in education and save about $29,000 a year by not having this bullshit.

The fact is this is a scam.  It’s a scam for states to make money off approving the courses, off of charging teachers over and over again, for the colleges that make money after forcing teachers to participate.  In all my years teaching I have had nearly a month of my life taken up in professional development…not one iota of it was worth a damn.  Teachers get better by teaching, by observing other teachers, by talking with their colleagues and by self-reflection.  THEY DO NOT LEARN BY SITTING IN STUPID COURSES HEARING OUTDATED MATERIAL THAT IS NOT RELEVANT TO THEM.  This is a scam for states and colleges to make money and nothing more.  It wastes taxpayer money and drives out competent people from the field who have better things to do than deal with this stupidity.*

 

2.  Fire Administration.

Administrators are something that schools tend to pile on.  Superintendents. Assistant Superintendents.  Principals.  Vice Principals. Deans. Counselors.  This list could go on for a very long time.  In fact since 1970 non-teaching staff has grown by 138% while student enrollments have grown only by about 8%.  Any test standard you want to look at for quality of education has remained about the same in that time.  So all those paper pushers seem to do nothing…but they do get paid. And if you think teachers getting paid 52K a year is high, you should see what administrator’s charge.

I think it is safe to say that 90% of school administrators and non-teaching staff are there only to fill out federal/state/local red tape.  Get rid of the red tape and get rid of most of the administrators.  They serve no real purpose.  And the few that do serve a purpose are grossly overpaid.

And more often than not they serve as a hindrance to good teachers rather than help.  The fewer administrators you have I promise you, you will see an improvement in the quality of education.

At the very least the next time your local school tries to pass a bond or tax ask them how many administrators have been axed and how many have taken major pay cuts.  If everyone doesn’t fall into one of those categories then vote anything they want down until they make serious cuts of useless people.  Do it for the children.

 

3.  Hold Back Students Who Aren’t Making the Grade

This year Arizona is making a lot of news by saying they are probably going to hold back a whole 1,500 third graders who aren’t ready to move onto 4th grade. 

Lots of people are whining about how this hurts the poor students who are already struggling…What people should be bitching about is that we’re not holding students back in grades K-2 and 4-11 as well—and in all 50 states and all U.S. territories.  If children don’t understand something they need to be held back in the grade they were having problems in until they get the needed understanding.  I don’t care about complaints of self-esteem…trust me students will feel much better about themselves if they aren’t constantly behind and constantly feeling like they’re too stupid to get it.  And holding them back a grade can help in preventing this.  Not everyone progresses at the same rate mentally and some students (a lot of them in fact) need to be held back.

And the added bonus is that teachers in higher grades will now no longer be wasting time going over concepts from previous grades because half the class should have been held back at some point or having to waste half their day on the kid who should have been held back two or three times.  This means all the students will get more out of every single course.

Coming tomorrow suggestions 4-6

 

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Filed under Capitalism, Conservative, Constitution, Education, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics

Why Obamacare is terrible on every level.

Obamacare regs

So those 11 million words are what you have to comply with.

I was recently asked why Obamacare is so bad…

Where to start?

 Let’s start at the Constitutional Level.

Obamacare requires that every person in America buys insurance.  This was done because without doing it every insurance provider in the nation would begin losing almost immediately and rather than lose money they would just go Atlas Shrugged on us and close shop…but by having everyone on insurance they at least still make a small profit, but only because you’ve forced millions of people who don’t need insurance onto insurance (but even then only by making everyone pay increased premiums).

The problem with this is that the Constitution gives the government no power to force people to buy something (in fact forcing people to do something against their will is expressly prohibited in the 5th Amendment’s protection of private property, and 13th Amendment).  They enforce this mandate by penalizing you if you don’t buy insurance.  Again, no Constitutional authority to do this.

Now the Supreme Court and Obamacare got around this by saying this penalty isn’t a fine, it’s a tax (the strangest tax in history, but still a tax). The problem with this is Constitutionally taxes have to originate in House of Representatives and Obamacare originated in the Senate.

So either it’s forcing you to buy something, and is unconstitutional, or it’s a tax in which case the bill was not passed in a constitutional manner.

Either way it’s unconstitutional.

Then let’s go to the idea of rights.  

The entire basis for this law is that you have a right to health care.   

This is silly.  Traditionally rights have been considered things that you are born with or you would have even if there was no civilization around.  If you’re alone on an island you still have the rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.  In society no one has the right to take these away from you, which is why these are called negative rights—you have them and no one can negate them.  Even if someone has the power to do so no one has the ethical, moral, or political basis to take away by force your negative rights.  Ethical government is based on the idea that, being a part of society, you give up a very small amount (not so small these days) of your rights to protect the vast majority of them.  At least in the ideal.

The right to health care is what’s called a positive right.  The idea that you have a right to certain things that you would not have without others, that you have not and cannot provide for yourself, and that others are required to provide for you. Health care is one of these.  The idea that you have a right to living wage, whether you earn it or not. 

Now, personally I don’t think there has ever been a good argument for positive rights, but the bigger problem is that positive rights always infringe upon negative rights.  If you have the right to a living wage, then others must provide, and thus must have their property taken away, to provide your living wage.  Thus you have no right to property if you have the right to a living wage.  If you have a right to health care, then doctors and nurses must treat you or any medical issue (not only life threatening ones, hospitals and doctors were required to treat life threatening issues by law even before Obamacare) whether you can pay or not.  This means a doctor cannot choose to not take you as a patient.  Thus the right to healthcare means doctors do not have freedom of choice and thus do not have the right to liberty…I believe that’s called slavery.  Now you think this may be an extreme example, but whenever positive rights have become laws you see fewer protection of negative rights without exception throughout history.

Then we have the pragmatic problems with Obamacare. 

Obamacare creates massive amounts of regulation (11 million words of regulations ).  This encourages more doctors to leave the system, and more highly qualified potential doctors and other medical professionals to not get into it ().  It slows research, it reduces the amounts of medical equipment that can be used.  It raises prices.

Also when something is free or perceived as free, as in the case of Obamacare, you always get people wanting more of it.

This will cause more people to go to the doctor (remember there will be fewer of them) for more minor issues.  This will cause longer lines and less efficient care, thus treatment quality will go down, and mortality rates will go up.  This can be seen in any country with socialized medicine where you see such things as gout go months without treatment (whereas it is almost always immediately caught here) or where due to the wait, limb amputation as a result a diabetes is vastly more common under systems like Obamacare than it has been in the preObamacare American system. (These are just two examples.  Every disease gets worse under socialized medicine).

Fraud, due to increased bureaucracy, will also increase.  You will end up paying for this through increased premiums and taxes.  

obama-care-chart

Welcome to Obamacare…can you find your way to a doctor…or will you just fall into the pit of Despair?

You will also have the problem of price control boards.   Now, we have always had these in one form or another (but they got really annoying after the government created the dreaded HMO…that’s right the biggest thing people hated in healthcare before Obamacare was also a government created debacle).   You buy a certain level of insurance and the insurance company says that due to the level you have bought we will pay X amount of dollars, but no more.  This becomes an issue with experimental treatment and long-term problems like cancer.  The insurance will pay for your pain meds, as they are required to by your policy, but they will not pay for expensive chemo and radiation (not because they’re heartless but because they would go broke if they paid for everyone who didn’t pay the premiums for that level of care). If you want more coverage, you can always buy more.  The problem with Obamacare is that government price control boards are going into place and will say what you can and can’t have for treatment, if you are in the government exchanges.  The difference here is if an insurance company denied to pay, you could always pay out of pocket, under Obamacare the price control board’s decision is final (if try to pay out of pocket you are again subject to fines, and rationing will have made these procedures already more expensive which makes already expensive procedures astronomically unreachable, so it’s the same thing as making them illegal).  This is why they have earned the moniker “death panels” because if they deny your claim, you die…if the insurance company denied you, you still had other options and it was up to you if you wanted to spend your life savings on buying those extra few months. 

The unfortunate effect will be that as medical prices rise, what is covered by the price control boards will contract drastically.  Thus even more things will become deadly.

Not to mention with the above fact that people are more likely to go to the doctor, which means even if they aren’t sick they’re more likely to go to a waiting room where someone is sick and catch something.  And remember antibiotics are slowly becoming worthless.  Yeah that bodes well. 

There are a lot of other ways it will ruin the medical profession, but I think you get the point.

Finally the economic reasons why it’s bad.

 Ignoring the fact that higher death rates may have some negative economic effects…it’s just bad in every way for the economy.

Obamacare requires businesses with a certain number of employees to buy insurance at a certain level for their employees.

As premiums rise, as I stated above, this means it becomes more and more expensive to hire an employee. If you earn $45,000 plus benefits right now, it actually costs your employer around $60,000 between salary, benefits, and social security to employee you. As premiums rise so does the cost of employing each person.

Whether businesses care about their employees or not, they first have to stay in business.  They are hesitant to hire new people as new hires also cost money for training and you usually aren’t getting the full effect of the employee for a few months until they get into a rhythm with the system of your company.  So you’re taking a loss with each new employee even before Obamacare.  The raised premiums then mean with each new employee will have to provide more for the company to be worth their total cost.  Thus you tend to fire the lower performers because you’re not getting your money’s worth. So fewer people hired, more people fired.  Also since you have to provide fewer benefits for part time workers than full time, you are more likely to hire people only part time.  We have seen all of this over the last few years.

Small businesses are hurt too because a small business can only grow to a certain size before it has to provide benefits.  So when it reaches that point, a business can either not grow, which hurts economic growth, or suddenly provide full medical coverage…and no small business at that size can afford to make that immediate jump in the cost of each employee.  Again we have slowly seen the effects this has on the economy.

This leads to overall negative ripple effects in prosperity, take home pay, innovation, research…it creates a bad economy all around.

And we’re already seeing all of this on a massive scale. 

So to sum up, it’s unconstitutional, it’s unethical, it’s leads to bad medicine, and it leads to a terrible economy.  

What makes it worse is that actually less government (removing the restrictions on research, removing the restrictions on insurance companies crossing state lines, a thousand other small things) could actually improve medicine, medical costs, and the economy.  And Republicans have proposed these numerous times despite the media saying they have no idea of what to replace Obamacare with.

Anything anyone wants clarified?

Obamaapocalypsocareageddongate

And, sadly, this is an understatement of how bad things are going to get under this law.

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Filed under Capitalism, Congress, Conservative, Constitution, Debt, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Health Care, Long Term Thinking, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics, Taxes, Welfare

Some thoughts on term limits

So last night I posted on tumblr my concerns about term limits.

Tumbrl post

My original comments.

 

The fact that after enacting them in California and Colorado seem to have gotten worse.  I admit that there are a lot of factors there and term limits may not be responsible.  But my request was that, surely there had to be some study of states upon adopting term limits and what the effects were.

Did it raise or lower corruption and graft?  Did it improve or worsen the fiscal situation?  Was there an increase or decrease in the severity of gerrymandering?  Things like this.

It doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

All I can say is the last 24 hours have been enlightening, but in a different way.

Some idiot who claims to represent a PAC pushing for term limits started harassing me with talking points but refused to actually show any proof for why his side was something I should adopt.

His argument boiled down to a few points.

1) Term limits are popular.  Great argument. Lots of things have been popular, Socrates drinking hemlock, crucifixion, Nazism, Communism, Obama, Obamacare…all popular at least at one point or another. But there’s this little point, what is popular is not always right.  Granted democracy and looking to what is popular is in many cases the best of bad options (but you’ll notice that our system of government is designed to specifically ignore the tyranny of the majority).

The worst argument a supposed conservative can make is that “well 70% of the people want it.”

 

We’re conservatives, we’re the party of logic and reason and ethics.  We supposed to know that the whims of the people are fickle and what is despised one day is popular the next, and vice versa.  We’re supposed to make the argument that it will work, that evidence shows, that it’s what is right.  If we can’t do that, if all we can appeal to is the whims of the hoi polloi being on your side at the moment, like liberals do, then we admit we have no proof for our argument.

2) There is no proof because looking at how it worked in states is irrelevant.  This one is particularly stupid as that’s what state laws are for.  One of the true virtues of federalism is that we have 50 little legislative laboratories, what works in one state is adopted by a few, what works in a few is adopted by the many, what works for the many might need to be made federal law (not always, something could work for all 50 states and still shouldn’t be a federal issue).  So to just say that what happened in the states doesn’t matter, is either unspeakably naïve, or, as I worry, the evidence actually shows term limits might not be the answer.

3) Career Politicians are bad.

The argument goes that all career politicians are bad, thus we should get rid of career politicians.  The argument that if something is bad, then change is good. And not wanting change is bad because it’s giving into fear, and we should be hopeful…

…and I’m sure we all know what happens when you only care about hope and change and not, you know, will it work, or asking “Yes this is bad, but is there a better way or is this just the best of bad options.”

The worst laws in history are mostly the result of people saying ‘this is bad’ and changing it for the sake of change and not stopping to think will change actually be better.

Here is my problem.  Let’s say you have 100 politicians.

Now you are left with only two logical positions.  Either they’re all bad, or you have a mix of mostly bad and a few good ones (I’m not stupid enough to consider the possibility that they’re all good)*.  Now if they’re all bad then this is just a pointless argument, because then there is no point in caring about how you select them.  Let’s for the sake of argument be very hopeful (and because I like round numbers) and say that in our group of 100 politicians, 90 are bad and 10 are good.

George WIll

This is a nice thought…but it could just as easily mean the corrupt will just be more corrupt to get their payoff in a short amount of time…show me proof whether my thought or Will’s prevails…

Now we have to look if politicians get worse as they stay in office longer.  And when you think about it, it’s hard to find anexample of a great politician who became worse with time.  Think about it, John McCain is a worthless piece of offal, but not because he’s spent his life in politics (I think everyone forgets he got caught taking bribes in his first term as Senator).  He’s always been a corrupt politician.  It just seems that politicians are more corrupt for two reasons (1) because the longer they’re there, the more chances we have to catch them at the corruption that started on day one and (2) the longer they are there the more they learn to work the system and with that comes making deals to get something in return.  Now some politicians make deals to enrich themselves (more than I can name, these are usually the one who were corrupt from day one) or they are making deals to get something they do actually believe is good for the nation but ideologues only look at the compromise and not what they got which makes even the honest attempting to do good seem bad in the eyes of the most knee jerk commentators.  So when you think about it very few politicians become bad the longer they’re there. It’s not that power corrupts, it’s that power attracts the corruptible.  So a good politician, a Bachmann, a Ryan, a Goldwater is not necessarily ruined by their time in the seat.  And even some of the questionable ones are still to the benefit of the public because of what they have learned over time…I may have issues with Newt Gingrich on a lot of points, but you can’t deny he was an effective Speaker who relentlessly pushed for conservative policies and got us a lot of what he promised…and he could do this because of his experience.

So the amount of good turning to bad probably isn’t as high as we think.  Let’s say that over time 2 of the 10 good ones go bad…because politicians are apparently like milk left out overnight (at least in the mind of people pushing for term limits).

But let’s put term limits in.

Now of the 90 bad ones…since their constituents already elected a terrible politician we are almost guaranteed that they’ll be putting another idiot in.  If we’re very lucky we’ll get one good one.  So we have 89-1.

But let’s look at the 10 good ones.  You term limited out the 10 good ones and now it’s a crap shoot again if you can even get a good candidate.  In all likelihood your 10 good ones are replaced by the law of averages with 9 bad and one good politician (as I feel the 10 good ones will, by simply statistics have candidates with the 9-1 split running, so I just feel it’s statistically unlikely that they all be replaced by good ones).  So now instead of 10 good politicians to the 100, you have 2.

Delete them all

No, because there are a FEW good ones in there.

And you see this in California, which went from occasionally having Republican control of the house in the legislature to never having control since 1997(term limits passed in 1990).  Granted demographic shifts could be responsible, so I’m in need of studies to show what actually happens for states I’m not as familiar with when term limits are passed.

Now maybe I’m wrong and the statistics hold across the board and we still wind up with a 90-10 split.  Which would mean that we’ve wasted time and money on term limits to have zero effect.  Money and time to get a Constitutional law passed which changes nothing.  Not seeing the upside here.

And I just can’t see a logical situation which makes it more likely that bad politicians will be replaced with good ones. I see term limits replacing bad with bad and good with bad.

So just because its career politicians are bad, doesn’t mean that getting rid of them is good.

Now I could be wrong.  Term limits could lead to better government.  Hence my call for evidence on what happens.  I did a quick search and couldn’t find any.  And the fact that the person who was pushing term limits so hard had nothing but these three bad arguments.

Now, it may simply be that this idiot was not well informed and there is evidence to the contrary, but show it to me.  Otherwise I see actually limiting the power of government (so that whoever is in will have less ability to ruin our lives), and Voter ID and raising the voting age (because it matters more who is electing the politicians than the politicians) as being a more effective avenue to put our time and effort into as any of these would require nothing less than a Constitutional Amendment…and if we’re going to exert that kind of effort it better be for something that will actually work.

 

But again if you have any study or evidence that term limits actually do lead to better government, less corruption, and more fiscally responsible legislatures (or any improvement other than new names) please share it with me and I will trumpet it over every social media avenue I have.

 

*This should really be on a sliding scale of good, okay, eh, bad, horrible, Obama.  But that would get too complicated to calculate, the general rule still holds.

 

 

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Filed under character, Congress, Conservative, Constitution, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Long Term Thinking, People Are Stupid, politics

Health Care is Not A Right

So Republicans in typical fashion are trying to shoot themselves in the foot with their “Defund Obamacare push”  (hint the liberals want the GOP to win on this one so they don’t have to have Obamacare hanging around their necks in 2014 and 2016, so they can keep the White House and take back Congress just long enough to make sure no one can ever take Obamacare out…if you want to get rid of Obamacare, really, really get rid of it, you need to make people see, and unfortunately feel, the misery they voted for. The point here is to get rid of the idea that government is the answer, not just a temporary reprieve on one horrific law.  The Defund Obamacare group is looking to win the battle, possibly at the cost of losing the war).   But while this is going on, Democrats are spending billions just to advertise Obamacare (if a law is so bad you have to advertise it, that should tell you something).  And to top it all off, a couple days ago Obama made his one of his typically brain less statements.  “Because in the United States of America, health insurance isn’t a privilege – it is your right.”

Why do I bring all of these different groups up in the same paragraph? Because they’re all idiots. They are all predicated on the idea that the government has to do something (less idiotic for the Republicans, but they seem to have given up the idea of full repeal, the only real answer, because they seem to acknowledge the lie that government needs to provide something). At best this belief is idiotic. At worst it’s just plain evil. (On another side note evil people are very rare, but evil ideas are all too common, and morons have a long history of latching onto evil ideas with the best of intentions. So please understand I’m not calling the people supporting Obamacare evil–unless their name is Harry/Nancy/Barrack/Michelle–merely their idea is). Why is it stupid/evil? Well, let me be as clear as I can possibly be:

YOU DO NOT HAVE A !@#$%^& RIGHT TO HEALTHCARE!!!!

Like the right to property, and the right to pursue happiness, you have the right to earn a living and to use that money as you see fit, perhaps by buying healthcare or healthcare insurance, but you have no natural right to healthcare.

Sorry, Barry, but just because you want something, it’s not a right.

I know I am about to repeat things that I have said before, but I feel I need to. I feel everyone needs to until this country learns that rights are not entitlements, rights are not things given to you but opportunities to be taken care of, and to exercise your rights does not require the acts, intentions, or contribution of anyone else.

A natural right as conceived of in the theory of natural rights and in the Declaration of Independence is something you would have without the presence of government or even society. It’s what does Robinson Crusoe have when he’s on the island before he decides to violate Friday’s natural right to freedom. Well, if you find yourself trapped in a bad episode of “Lost” you have the right to life, liberty, property, and to pursue happiness. A lot of what the original Bill of Rights includes is also there (speech, religion, assembly, arms, and self-incrimination) but notice that if you’re on an island by yourself you don’t have medical care. You have the right to take care of yourself, but islands in the middle of nowhere are not staffed with hospitals and doctors just waiting for you to get sick. So it’s certainly not a natural right.

But we don’t live on an island in the middle of nowhere. The upside to this is that we don’t have to engage in a philosophical war with a black cloud; the downside to this is that we do have to deal with other people. And while most people are rational and good intentioned, there are the random people who don’t respect your rights and try to take what isn’t theirs. Because of these random few who ruin everything, and because, we want complex things that we can’t do without laws and someone being in charge (like roads) we turn to the necessary evil of government. Now good government is a skill and it took us a while to realize that limits need to be put on it because just following the guy who can kill you or the guy with the best bullshit may not have been the best choice in the beginning, even though it’s what historically happened. So we had to come up with a whole new set of rights (quartering, due process, equality under the law). But notice all these other rights limit what the government does. Nowhere have you been given anything. You were either born with your rights, some of which you gave away to ensure protection against stupid people violating your rights, and other “rights” were restrictions placed on the government on top of which your natural rights were completely off-limits. But still no right has been given to you that you already didn’t have. And again, you didn’t have the right to health care if you were stuck in the state of nature.

The right to healthcare is a ridiculous, idiotic and borderline evil idea called a “positive right.” A negative right means something that no one has the right to take away from you–like your life, your liberty, or your property. Those are things you’re entitled to, thus no one has any right to reduce your rights to them. A positive right on the other hand means something that you have a right to expect to be given to you. If you’re reading that last sentence a few times because it seems to make no sense, good, that means you’re sane. Healthcare is a positive right. It is the idea that just because I showed up you have to give me healthcare. Just because you’re alive other people have to give something to you? Well I know that really egocentric people act like this, but to actually portray this as a theory of government is insane. And while virtues of love and charity say that ethically we should give people more than they may deserve, it doesn’t work in the opposite way where you have the right to demand people give you more than you serve—that’s not ethics it’s also insanity.

But more than insane it’s wrong. You can’t give a piece of property or a service without taking it from someone else–i.e. theft or slavery. Now while I believe the capitalist system isn’t a zero-sum game that always creates more and more, theoretically having no limit to how much wealth it can create, the kind of property transfer that the government deals in is a zero-sum for whatever moment it exists in. The government stealing things and giving it to others, transferring wealth from one person to another, not only harms the ability to create more wealth, but given government inefficiency, it actually creates less wealth (especially given the government’s addiction to spending money it doesn’t have). The government can’t just give people drugs without stealing it from drugs companies…if it pays for those drugs then it can only do that by stealing hard earned wealth from the taxpayers. Either way it’s theft. A person can’t be guaranteed healthcare without doctors being forced to treat them. After all either the doctors are paid (and if the government’s involved it’s paid with stolen taxpayer money) or simply forced to work as a slave. And you’ll find most doctors will not want to work in that system which will cause the greatest healthcare system in the world, the US, to become one of the worst when all the doctors leave or simply retire.

But some idiots (Alan Colmes to name one) say that the government has a right to help the people under the actual Constitution. They quote Article I Section 8:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and
Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general
Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be
uniform throughout the United States;”

And then they point to the part that says “General welfare” , isn’t providing healthcare promoting the general welfare? Well one that would first depend on the government being able to do anything well, which it can’t, but more importantly it is a gross misunderstanding of the meaning of “general welfare.” Even if you took the most liberal meaning of the phrase at the time the Constitution was written the term general welfare does not mean helping people like our current meaning of welfare–it means providing improvements to the whole of the country that affects everyone (roads, bridges, communication systems, in other words – infrastructure). The key is the word general. It needs to be something that can be used by everyone. I can’t take your doctor prescribed drugs after you’ve taken them, so there is nothing general about a system that helps individuals. (And don’t even give me that bullshit about their being able to provide for society if they were healthy…if they were providing for society they would have a job with which they could afford healthcare).

The government isn’t there to protect you from yourself or from nature. It’s there to protect you from other idiots. Your bad living habits and your genetic disposition toward a disease, while unfortunate, is not the government’s responsibility. But given that the government has stolen and inefficiently used the money that people who might have been able to charitably donate to your healthcare, the government is not only destroying their rights it’s destroying their ability to help you.

The government destroys all it touches–it can’t help it, it’s its nature. Especially when it tries to give you things you don’t have a right to. And you don’t have a right to healthcare!

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Filed under Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, GOP, Government is corrupt, Government is useless, Health Care, Obama, People Are Stupid, politics

Constitutional Amendments, The Fact We Are A Republic Not a Democracy, And Short-Sighted Fools Who Get Called Conservatives

So Mark Levin has a new book out and is calling for Constitutional Amendments. How do I know this? Well it certainly wasn’t because I look forward to books by Mark Levin—honestly this man endorsed Rick Santorum (enemy of capitalism and raging psychotic extraordinaire) and never missed a chance to hit Romney. Yeah with conservative and sanity credentials like that in the single most important election that he has ever lived through, can’t imagine why I tend not to take Levin too seriously. But given the amount of press it’s getting in conservative circles I thought I would at least take a look at it and peruse it in Barnes and Noble…and it confirmed all my dislike of Levin, reading just a few pages made me sick…on the surface it has some very conservative principles, but when you only scratch the surface it is not very conservative, not very well thought out, and little more than populist tripe.

So first the good.

He wants to make the commerce clause more limited. Excellent. South Dakota v. Dole, the case that expanded the powers of the government under the commerce clause, was a terrible decision and needs

Did we forget we're conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

Did we forget we’re conservatives and we want to limit the power of the federal government?

to be overturned…I’ll come back to why it was terrible in a moment.

He wants to reaffirm the 5th Amendment’s right to private property in very clear terms. Again this is partly in response to the terrible Kelo ruling. I have no problem with this.

He has an Amendment that would allow two-thirds of states to overturn any law passed by Congress. I think this is an excellent check on federal power.

And he wants to overturn the 17th Amendment and make it so that state legislatures and only state legislatures pick Senators. Which is in line with the republican virtues the Founders intended and will eliminate a lot of problems. Legislatures tend to pick more reserved members for positions like this so hacks and shills for unions like Boxer, Feinstein, Reid, Obama, Clinton, Kerry, “Dances with Bullshit” Warren (okay really just about any Democrat that has been in the Senate in the last 50 years) and treasonous scum like McCain stand little chance. You’ll get reserved people, thoughtful people, who are not beholden to polls because they don’t run for reelection and not beholden to campaign contributors for the same reason. The people still have a voice in the House and in choosing the representatives who will pick Senators. This will also lead to better Supreme and Federal Court Justices as the Senate will no longer be party hacks. So no Kagan, no Sotomayor, but you would get a Bork.

However I think it is a major mistake to only leave the option of the Senator to be chosen by the state legislature. I would be more than happy to allow states to pick some combination of the legislature and governor or just the legislature…it ensures more gridlock, fewer ideologues and less of a chance of bleeding heart idiots getting in.

Also I would think that you might want to allow the people to have the right of recall of any Senator. Quite frankly I would love the ability to fire Senators rather than hire them.

Okay those are the good things he suggested. Now let’s go through the terrible tings he suggests…

He suggests sunset dates for all legislation and that all federal departments have to be reauthorized every few years. That sounds nice…but when you think any deeper than how it sounds (which someone who backed Santorum, like Levin, is clearly incapable of even conceiving of) it becomes terrible. From 1913-2013 liberals and progressives controlled the White House and both branches of government for 38 of those years, conservative for only 18 of those years…so over 1/3 of that time with liberals in absolute control…and you want to have Congress be responsible to constantly reauthorize the Department of Defense? Mark, are you insane or just stupid? The Constitution exists because we know that there will be times when the public takes a complete and total loss of its senses and elects idiots. An amendment like this gives idiots more power to simply not reinstitute good laws and continue making bad laws (as Obamacare has shown, a law doesn’t need to be around for long to cause harm).

Better idea: A Constitutional Amendment that Congress must list under what clause or Amendment they are using to have the power to enforce such a bill. That covers the Departments of Defense, Justice, State and Treasury. In this same Amendment it states that any law that uses the necessary and proper clause as justification must have a sunset date and can exist for no longer than 5 years. This variation not only limits the powers of government to its expressly listed powers (and the wiggle room the founders intended the necessary and proper clause to be) without giving free reign to unchecked power grabs

Then Levin says we should change the Amendment process to allow states to amend the constitution with only a two-thirds majority instead of the usual three-fourths. Now take a look at it this way, the three-fourths bar has given us such bad amendments as the 16th (income tax), the 17th (allowing the public to choose Senators), the 18th (prohibition) and the unspeakably stupid 26th Amendment (which gives immature brats the right to vote)*. Yeah let’s lower the bar because we’ve had such great Amendments get through the 3/4ths vote. Levin seems to forget that the terrible worded Equal Rights Amendment (nice in theory, terrible in wording and near carte blanche in the powers it granted because of that really bad wording) got 70% of the states to vote for it. Thanks Mark. Only an idiot thinks that conservatives will always be the majority—the pendulum always swings back and forth and the Constitution needs to be there when progressives who want to give the government more power is a wall against them…not as a tool for them to use! Which is exactly what Levin’s proposed Amendment would eventually be.
Term Limits. Term limits sound so nice…get the idiots out, let fresh blood in. Here’s the problem. Liberals can always find an idiot to vote party line, finding good honest conservatives who are sane to actually run for office is much more difficult (conservatives usually have the good sense to stay away). So all you’ll be doing is for the bad legislators, trading one scoundrel for another and while getting rid of competent people like Issa, Ryan, and Cantor and leaving it open for liberals to take their place. Great idea. It’s even dumber when you consider the revoking of the 17th Amendment makes the entire Senate a check against the kind of corruption and party politics that popular election breeds. Yes term limits on an office where one person holds the entire power of that office makes sense, but not in a body of parliament.

SCOTUSOh and then Levin wants to put term limits on the Court and allow Congress to over rule the Court. Might as well just disband the court. Congress and the President already have the power to choose who goes on the court and determine how many justices we have, and Congress and the states can overrule the court via Amendment. That’s a lot of check and balances already. There are two reasons why we have bad Supreme Court Justices. The first is because we have popularly elected idiots in the Senate making decisions, but revoking the 17th already fixes that. The 2nd is that Congress and the President have already misused the power they have…above I mentioned South Dakota v. Dole which expanded powers under the commerce clause—it’s time to talk about that case now—that ruling came down only because the Supreme Court had been intimidated by FDR who threatened to pack the court if they didn’t vote as he wanted. So the current checks and balances against the court led to it being intimidated and bullied, which has left a lasting effect in terms of precedence and behavior…and you want to give the President and Congress more power over the court. Why have a court? Levin is just unhappy with the decisions they make, so am I, but like any populist child he simply lashes out without thinking, attacking the symptom while making the disease worse.

And then there is the amendment limiting spending to 17.5% of GDP. Again sounds really nice. So long as we never have a major national disaster or have to fight a war. Yes, we have a spending problem, but this doesn’t help. And I love how he tags it to a figure like GDP…like a liberal economist can’t play with how that number is reached. Whatever happened to a simple balanced budget amendment which has triggers for emergency spending?

And then there is my favorite the Amendment requiring that to vote you have to have an ID. Again something I’m in support of…when it’s a state issue. My problem is with too much government power, and an Amendment like this gives the federal government even more power. Just because something is a great idea for a state, even a necessary idea for all 50 states, does not mean it should be a federal issue…conservatives understand this…idiots who support socialist Santorum do not. But yeah, let’s give the federal government the right to say what does and does not count as an ID, who gets an ID, what barriers and cannot be put up (if you make it a federal issue you’ve just given the government all these powers…I’m sure they’ll never abuse them).

Also a fun part of this Amendment is banning all electronic voting. Yes because an Amendment, something that should guide the nation for at least 100’s of years should institutionalize luddite fears because of problems in the early stages of a new technology…I hate to tell Mark this, any form of voting is subject to fraud, electronic voting may get more press because it’s new and cool, but seriously, an amendment banning it for all time.

The fact of the matter is that for all Levin’s claims to be a conservative many of these amendments do not properly view the nation as a republic where law is higher than anything…but rather show him to be a populist who thinks democracy and the will of the people (hence the term limits, the neutering of the courts, the rapid amendment of the Constitution, and the rapid dismissal of all law through sunset dates). These make the system less stable and more volatile, yes while conservatives are in control it would give us the power to quickly enforce our policies which are more in line with the ideals of the Founders and reality…but the Founders had the good sense to know that what is right is not always popular…and these same mechanisms could easily be used against America if the will of the people shifted. Just ask yourself, if these Amendments were in place in 1978 when Jimmy Carter was in the White House, Democrats controlled the House and Senate, and had complete control of just shy of 30 states (governors and legislatures), controlling 60% of all legislatures, and all other states were divided (no Republican control of all branches of state government). What could Carter and his ilk have done in 2 years? Would there have even been a nation left for Reagan to save? A populist wants power to change things the way they think it should be, but a real conservative asks the all important question of what could their enemy do with that same power? And horrifyingly most of Levin’s Amendments would give too much power to liberals in the end.

Now as I said there were some good ones.
Private Property
Revoke the 17th Amendment
Commerce Clause
2/3rd’s check by state on federal law

And I listed two above
Require all laws to list what power granted to Congress the law is being passed under, and anything under the necessary and proper clause has a sunset date.
A Balanced Budget Amendment

I would point out two others that help reaffirm this nation as a Republic not a democracy.

The first would be to replace the 26th Amendment. I’m sorry but of all the 18 year olds I have ever met less than 1% of them were qualified to vote. Most of the people I’ve known in their 20’s aren’t qualified to vote. Science is now telling us the brain doesn’t even stop developing until you’re 25 or 26. The voting age needs to be raised not lowered. If you’re under 30 you do not have the mental capacity or experience to vote. If you want to include a clause that anyone who signs up for military service will be granted the right early, I have no problem with that, but your average 18-29 year old is simply too naïve, too stupid, too immature and too easily persuaded by emotion to be allowed to vote.

The 2nd point I would have is something I don’t think the Founders ever really considered but would agree with if it was put to them. At the signing of the Constitution one of the reasons you had to have 13 states and not just one central government, besides centralized power leads to corruption, is that there was simply too much land and too many people for one government to govern it effectively. You could probably fit the entire population of the U.S. at the signing of the Constitution into modern Los Angeles. And that was too big for one government to control. Now communication and travel have made this somewhat easier…but keep in mind that I think the Founders would have agreed that if there is a minimum population a state needs to have, then there should probably be a maximum number it needs to have before it should break up into two states. I’m thinking around 10 million. I’m sorry but after that point it becomes inefficient to run a state (not to mention that populations this high are usually because of a single large city in the state which siphons welfare money out of the non-city areas to fuel welfare programs and guarantee bought votes). Think of it, two New Yorks, the liberal city we know…but far more reddish upstate New York with red electoral votes, and red Senators. California cut into thirds one state blue, one red, one probably purplish.* Texas which is turning a little blue into two safe red states and a blue one. If you work out the math is this only good news for conservatives in terms of Senate and electoral votes (which is also a strong pro republic idea since it makes it harder to swing as many states). And you wouldn’t have to give the federal government power to split states just state you’re not counting population above 10 million for Congressional seats and electoral college votes…most states would simply choose to split if you put that in place once they went over the 10 million mark. Now I’m more just thinking aloud here, and haven’t worked out the details of how such an amendment would have to be worded, and I’m sure someone out there could even convince me that it’s plain insanity, but it’s just a thought.

Now I admit that my suggestions are even less likely of being adopted than Levin’s but that doesn’t change the fact that his are dangerous to the safety of the union in the long run.

*I realize the current population of California is 38 million and technically that would be cut in 4th’s…but even if the highly unlikely occurred and my suggestions passed, it would be after years of the current population drop in California and I think we’ll see California under 30 million within the next decade.

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Capitalism: The ONLY hope of Mankind

Capitalism is the only system that has been shown to raise people out of poverty. It is the only system that benefits the rich, the middle class, and the poor. It is the only system that can bring a nation out of destitution. It is the only system that works long term. It is the only system compatible with human nature. It is the only system of economics that is ethical. It is the only system of economics that is sustainable because only capitalism creates and encourages the innovation and imagination needs to deal with the constant slew of problems that life brings.

You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts.











Let me say again…You can either be in favor of Capitalism or you can be an idiot who knows nothing about economics, history, psychology, philosophy, ethics, human nature, politics, reason, logic or facts. That is all.

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In Defense of Intellectual Property Rights

So, no matter how annoying RINO’s and the psycho-Santorum social conservative wing is within the GOP, the fact is that our problems are nothing compared to how the libertarians are going out of their goddamn minds. The argument between libertarians and conservatives used to be over the need for social constraints—libertarians believed we didn’t need any and conservatives believed those needs could be handled mostly by church, private charity, community organizations, and local government (with maybe just a touch of state government in special circumstances)*—but not anymore. Now libertarians are becoming a big tent party that has no ideological center, in addition to old school libertarians, the anti-war left, drug addicts, and anarchists seem to all be flocking to the name libertarian under a truly perverse idea of liberty.

For instance I’m now seeing an attack on intellectual property. This seems to come from the a response to the poorly conceived SOPA and PIPA laws, in addition to the continual and idiotic extension of copyright laws (driven a great deal by Disney Corp.)…but to say because there is bad copyright and patent laws we should get rid of the concept of intellectual property is about as logical and ethical as saying that because you can find some innocent people who were convicted of murder then we should simply stop making murder a crime.

First let’s go over the bizarre argument from the libertarian organization Learn Liberty**

So the argument is that intellectual property isn’t like private property.

Well before we get into this argument let’s look at why you have private property rights in the first place.

To do this we go back to John Locke and the Theory of Natural Rights. The theory of natural rights is always best understood in the context of living on a deserted island. So let’s say, like Robinson Crusoe, you get stranded on a deserted island for 10 years. You build a house, you farm the land, you pick fruit. Everything is yours. Why? Because according to the theory of natural rights you have mixed your labor, something that is most certainly yours, with something that no one had any claim to beforehand (the land, the fruit, the materials you used to build your house). Now let’s say someone else gets stranded on the same island. Do they have to bow down to you because you own the entire island? No. You only have right to that which you worked for. You have a right to your house, the land you farmed, and any fruit you picked up yourself, but the new guy has the right to start farming on any land you haven’t, to build a house with any materials you haven’t used, and to pick up any fruit you didn’t. On the deserted island you only have a right to what you worked for and you can consume it yourself or give it to anyone you wish.
Now moving to actual civilization where all the land is owned by someone and you can’t just mix your labor and property that hasn’t been claimed by because pretty much everything has been claims (anyone (and there are actually laws like prescriptive easements and homesteading), Locke and the theory of natural rights points out, that you are compensated either in money or by barter for your labor. And for the sake of ease, I will simply refer to money as property as well. So even though you are no longer mixing your labor with something no one owns, you are being compensated for your labor at a rate that you agree to. You have a right to all the property that is a result of your labor. Why? Because your labor is an extension of you, thus your property is an extension of you. Which is why Locke’s three basic natural rights were Life, Liberty and Property (which Jefferson later tied to the point of life, Happiness).***

Let me say that again: You have a right to all the property that is a result of your labor because your labor is an extension of you, making all the property you have earned an extension of you and your person.

But we don’t live in the state of nature, we live in a society, under a social contract. And under the basic theories of Locke we have given up a portion of our rights to maintain the rest (because all it takes is one jerk to turn the state of nature from paradise into a living hell, and for all of its potential, society certainly has more than one jerk in its midst). One of the rights we give a little on is the right to property—we agree that a government must be funded with taxes, which are an imposition on our right to property, but better to give a little to protect the rest than to have none at all. I would argue anything over 10% of your income is tyranny and anyone who wants to take more than that should meet the end of Julius Caesar, Caligula, Richard III, Charles I, and the redcoats armies, but that’s another debate for another time—we all agree that we give up a little of our right to property under the social contract, to maintain the bulk of our property. This will be important later so keep this in mind.

Now how is intellectual property different from normal private property? Now if you were to buy the argument of the libertarian/anarchist video above they’re not the same at all. The argument seems to be that you are entitled to the property rights that come from your labor but not from your mind. This strikes me as odd because, according to Theory of Natural Rights, property is yours because it has become an extension of you through your labor. I find it hard to believe that the labor of my physical body can make something an extension of me, but the inspiration of my soul and the creativity of my mind and the works thereof are somehow not mine. I have to say that an individual is much more their soul and their mind than they are their body. So why if the work of their body makes something theirs, but the work of their mind isn’t theirs. From the Constitution, to Adam Smith, to arguments of Friedman and Hayek, to the speeches of Atlas Shrugged, well articulated philosophy and understanding of history and human nature to poorly worded intrinsic understanding, people have understood that if you have the right to the results of your body you certainly have a right to the results of your mind. The work of your mind is even more you than the work of your body. And if you have the right to creations from your body you certainly have rights to creations from your mind. In fact before seeing this video, I knew of only one work in history that valued the works of the mind as lower in value than the works of the body: Das Kapital by Karl Marx. Remind me where that philosophic line leads to. To say you don’t have the rights to the works of your mind is actually worse than anarchy; it is among the most vicious foundations of socialism and collectivism. (This is also part of the liberal ideal that those that work physically are equal or greater than those that work with the mind).

Now the speaker in this video claims that intellectual property rights are intellectually incoherent. But only if you use his 3 part system. Absolute rights, rights created by the government, or no rights at all. What he seems to ignore is what we really have: absolute rights tempered by the needs of the social contract. The social contract does not create rights, it infringes on them here or there so that the bulk of those rights may be saved from the chaos of anarchy. Now taking the traditional view of natural rights, the first view, that intellectual property rights would continue on in perpetuity would actually be correct in the state of nature. In the state of nature your intellectual property rights would be eternal and you could will them to any inheritor you wished or to the public. However because of the social contract, something that is not addressed at all in this video, and actually quite conveniently ignored, we understand and enter into a state where there are certain limitations placed on intellectual property through copyright, trademark, and patent law.

The primary restriction on these rights is time. Copyrights, patents expire after time? Now we know the reason why, so people can build off of other ideas, stand on the shoulders of giants, and further society. No one denies that society is made better by building ideas on each other. But why should intellectual property fade where physical property doesn’t? The answer is quite simple, physical property does fade. Houses decay, land that is not worked produces nothing, business mismanaged fails, and all other forms of physical property decay. If a multi-billionaire leaves their entire fortune to their children, that fortune will not last forever. If the children are idiots they will quickly squander even the most vast fortune. Fortunes are only maintained if the next generation continues to work and continues to produce. All physical items will decay if they are not kept up, and up keep costs money which means either money for up keep will have to be earned, the items will have to be sold, or they will just decay. Physical property decays. Limits are placed on intellectual property not because they are special and should be treated differently from other property rights but so they are actually treated like physical property rights. The parchment Homer wrote the Iliad on has long turned to dust, but the idea still shines as brightly as ever, and thus to make both the physical and intellectual property rights equivalent the intellectual property rights must be given a end date. We can debate what that should be (I like life of the artist + 25 years or 75 years after creation, whichever is longer, for copyright, and 20 years for patents…but that is negotiable). So the argument that intellectual property rights are contradictory is simply intellectually dishonest.

Now the second claim that this video makes against property rights is that to enforce intellectual property rights “You have to interfere with people’s other property rights in real physical objects and to stop them from using those objects as they wish to.” This is just patently false and either a bald face lie or the speaker in the video ain’t bright. If I want to buy a computer, hack into Windows and rewrite as much code as I want I can do that. And nothing is going to happen to me. I have the right to buy anything I want, make modifications or changes to my property. And no one is going to stop me and no one is going to care…as long as I keep my property in my house. The kind of enforcement that he is talking about here is when you take something that belonged to someone else and either share it or try to resell your new product. In either case you’re offering competition to the original creator. Your cutting into the profits they worked for and are not enjoying any of the benefits of. In a lot of cases people are more than happy to have their patents used by others, so long as they get paid. Tesla was more than happy that Marconi got credit for inventing the radio, which Tesla invented, because Marconi had to pay him on 13 patents. Youtube and fanfic websites are allowed to operate and have so much copy-written material on them because it’s free advertising. It’s only when you start cutting into the profit share or start making money that patent and copyright holders start objecting. So it’s not that your property rights are violated, its that your hurting their property rights and they get kind of testy about that. Who’d of thought?

Then of course he makes the claim that you can still have creativity and invention without patents and copyrights. Let’s ignore the fact that Venice and Florence offered a version of patents and copyright in the 1400’s (remind me which cities were the center of the Renaissance in the 1400 and 1500’s) or that England and France have the origins of copyright and patent laws since the 1500’s (again centers of the later Renaissance and Industrial Revolution)…remind me again why the Spanish Empire kind of shriveled up and died intellectually and economically without any kind of those laws (might also have something to do with their love of the gold standard, but again another discussion for another time).

But the inherent claim is that free exchange of ideas leads to better creativity and innovation. By that argument fanfic site should have the highest quality literature in the world and Unix and Linux should be the most effective and user friendly systems on earth. Oh wait. The vast, vast, of fan fiction just sucks and Linux, while praised as a more stable system, is absolutely worthless to anyone who isn’t a computer geek. Also by that argument Open Office should be a better product than Microsoft Office. Pardon me while I laugh hysterically. Strangely enough you get what you pay for, and you can’t pay people for ideas when there isn’t protection for intellectual copyright.

Oh but wait they have a rebuttal that shows an artist can make money even without intellectual property rights.

Their example, Verdi. Since Verdi didn’t have intellectual property rights to fall back on, but still made enough to live off of, this shows you don’t need intellectual property rights. This again conveniently ignores little things, like the fact that Verdi was commissioned (i.e. he got paid upfront) to write several of his operas, and that his operas were quite famous in countries with intellectual property rights which he could fall back on if he had to. It also ignores that before intellectual property rights art existed only when the artist was paid by a patron, and that almost all scientific advancement for most of the dark ages was only in military science, because people were actually paid for that. It also ignores the problem for writers. A musician like Verdi could make money as a performance artist. A writer can’t. If there are no intellectual property rights, then when a writer publishes a book a publisher could theoretically just take the book and reprint it without paying the author and the author would have no recourse (see the history of Google Books)…it should come as no shock that as the patronage system died out the only place you found a lot of writers is in nations that had copyright laws.

One final point. If this video is supposed to be from a libertarian group then they should believe in liberty and capitalism (let’s ignore they already have given up on capitalism as capitalism cannot possibly operate without intellectual property rights). And as such they must believe in the sacrosanct nature of contract law (the current administration may not believe it’s sacrosanct, or even vaguely relevant, but any intelligent human understands that a contract is a contract is a contract). As such, many contracts legally include nondisclosure agreements. Without intellectual property rights I can almost guarantee you that every book, every movie, every album will come with a 20 page boiler plate contract that states ‘by buying this product you agree to not share…blah, blah, blah” having basically the same effect as copyright but taking up much more costs in court time as companies will have to exponentially increase prosecutions for contract violation and the fact that there will not be a standard (like copyright law is) so each contract will be slightly different and the merits of each judged individually. Yes, because I want a system that creates more lawsuits, I’m sure that will be wonderful for the economy.

Yes SOPA and PIPA and Disney’s efforts to keep Steamboat Willie under copyright are bad laws. The system needs correction: we need to reduce the length of time for copyright, to make patents more logical, to stop giving special considerations to fields that don’t deserve it and stop regulating the patents in certain fields out of existence. And Tort reform, we need tort reform to get the companies to stop suing everyone for even the slightest unintended infraction of copyright or patent law. But just because the system needs work and we need legal reform is not a reason to just do away with the natural rights of property to the creations of your mind and soul. The argument of these videos are that because the system is broken we should just do away with everything—throw the baby, the crib, and that entire nursery out with the bath water.

Intellectual property is the heart and soul of capitalism and without capitalism there is no liberty. So Learn Liberty should learn what liberty is based on, things like intellectual property rights.

*Yes I will fully admit that the social conservative wing does not understand this part and that government should not be used to implement these social constraints.
**Whom I usually like, but in this case are out of their gourd.
***Now one last caveat that was more applicable in Locke’s time than in ours. Locke stated that there is a limit to how much you could own, that limit being you only had the right to own what you could use. For instance, let’s say a person could only farm 30 acres, then they had a right to only 30 acres unless they were willing to hire people to help them farm anything above that 30. This is a distinction that really only relevant in Locke’s time because with the advent of capitalism very little isn’t used. That land you own but don’t do anything with isn’t wasted, it’s collateral for future projects. That money sitting in the bank isn’t wasted, it is being used by the bank to make loans. With the advent of capitalism and investment nothing really is lies fallow, resources may not be used wisely but next to nothing is deliberately wasted. Yes I guess there could be a case of someone buying up food just to let it rot, but first I don’t think you’ll find many people that insane who have the capital to do that (at least outside of our government), and second any law you could make to prevent people from not wasting resources would be so impossible to justly enforce that it would likely cause more harm than the evil it wished to stop.

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Filed under Art, Capitalism, Civil Liberties, Conservative, Constitution, Economics, Evils of Liberalism, People Are Stupid, politics

The Evil of Obamacare in One Picture

ObamaCareThanks to Mitch McConnell’s staff for taking this picture of the monstrosity that is Obamacare.  There is no way anyone could possibly know all of this, let alone be in compliance with all of it.  There is no way to own a business and not break the law at this point.   This monster must be destroyed. 

“Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?” said Dr. Ferris. “We want them broken. You’d better get it straight that it’s not a bunch of boy scouts you’re up against – then you’ll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We’re after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you’d better get wise to it. There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What’s there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now, that’s the system, Mr. Rearden, that’s the game, and once you understand it, you’ll be much easier to deal with.”

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The Absolute Need for Tort Reform

SCOTUSI’m planning on looking at various problems liberals whine and complain about needing more government and show how each and everyone one of those problems is caused in multiple ways by more government.  And I already know that in in most of the cases it’s going to come back to Tort Reform being needed, so I figured I should put together some evidence for it.

Tort Reform?  Tort law is the law that governs civil lawsuits.  Right now the Democratic Party (and quite a few RINOs) as a wholly owned subsidiary of the American Bar Association (read unethical scum and ambulance chasers) are against tort reform (probably because it would be good for the nation).

However reforms like limiting the amounts you can receive for pain and suffering, limiting lawsuits to negligence or the but-for test (where you can sue unless you can prove but for the plaintiff’s actions the defendant would be fine), creating a loser pays system (where the loser has to pay the winner’s legal fees), penalties for ambulance chasers who bring in one frivolous lawsuit after another, and more power for judges to throw out frivolous cases.  Simple things like that.

This may all sound silly, or even pointless.  But take a look at the warning labels on items when you buy them.  An iron that says “Do not use while wearing clothes.”  A hair dryer that says “Do not use in tub.”  A string of Christmas lights that say “For indoor and outdoor use only” (I’m not making that one up…but I really don’t want to know what the use they’re warning you against is). Or “Warning Coffee is Hot” really? The coffee’s hot?  No kidding.  You have to be a f!@#ing idiot to not know that.  Almost all of these are because stupid people used these items in an inappropriate way…and then they sued.  And when the company they sued loses the costs hurt you either by raised prices or fewer employees being hired.  Even when the company doesn’t win, they’ve still lost because of legal fees.  And you still bear the burden of the cost.  All because stupid people also happen to be litigious people (also because lawyers tend to be somewhere on the evolutionary chain below pond scum).

Every state that has engaged in tort reform has seen lower costs, more employment, fewer court costs and more efficient courts, a stimulated economy and more tax revenue. They’ve even seen fewer deaths because doctors aren’t afraid anymore to actually practice medicine.

Tort reform is primarily a state by state issue, and you should see where your state is in terms of tort laws and if you have time try and get  tort reform in your state.  However there are also a few federal issues (as there are federal civil cases) and thus we need some federal reform as well.

But don’t believe me.  Here is a body of op-eds, reports, studies and opinions by people who have done far more research than I.  It all comes to the same conclusion, we need tort reform.

Torture By Tort
The Ninth Circuit Frosts the Lawyers in a Juvenile Cereal Lawsuit
Do’s and Don’ts of Tort Reform
 Big Tort Means Big Problems for US Health Care
Tort Reform in the States 
Tort reform, the right way
Tort Reform in the States: Protecting Consumers and Enhancing Economic Growth
 Does Tort Reform Reduce Health Care Costs?
Tort Reform Saves Lives
 U.S. Tort Liability Index: 2010 Report
Tort Reform Can Lower Costs Without Harming Health Care. So Why Isn’t It in Obama’s Plan?
Subway’s “Footlong” Accused of Coming Up Short

Now in doing this research I found some typical complaints from liberals. I present these stupid arguments with my responses.

1. Most cases aren’t civil lawsuits so this isn’t a problem.

That’s because most companies will settle because they know juries are unreliable and composed of 12 people too dumb to get out of jury duty.  Thus most things that come under the law governed by tort law are handled out of court.

2. Evil corporations want tort reform.

Any time the whole argument is against corporations, you know it’s a BS argument.  Corporations can be good or bad depending on their behavior.  Corporations will actually behave better when only legitimate lawsuits are brought against them and we don’t knee jerk dismiss every lawsuit as the work of an ambulance chaser.

3. Tort reform limits people from receiving their right to a jury trial.  Juries are one of the most basic defenses of a democracy.

First we live in a republic, a system designed on the premise that people are fickle and can be stupid.  And for anyone who wants to plead the intelligence of juries I have two letters for you: OJ.  Juries are a last ditch effort that no one wants, it’s why so many criminal cases are plead out, and so many civil suits dealt with out of court.  Juries are at best unpredictable and at worst consistently illogical and dumb.  They’re trying to make a pointless emotional argument that has nothing to do with facts.

4.  Tort reform will limit the amount that people have a right to when they are harmed by people and corporations.

Um…the only thing I know we want to limit is “pain and suffering” costs.  If you’re a professional athlete and have your body injured by a corporation you could still sue them for loss of income for millions.  But that doesn’t often happen.  It’s pain and suffering judgments that create the most in awards and it’s these that are often the most ridiculous.

5. Injured people will not be able to file suit if we have tort reform.

Actually since there will be fewer frivolous lawsuits from ambulance chasers throwing everything against a wall to see what sticks, people with real cases (but who don’t have sleazy lawyers who know how to work the field) will have a better chance of getting their case heard.

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