Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Best of Thomas Sowell

Please stand for this month's reading from The Gospel According To Saint Thomas. 

Economist Thomas Sowell, the smartest man in the world now that Milton Friedman is dead, is now of an age where his quotations are being compiled into "best of" lists.  Just as the collection of books loosely known as "Bible" now come in the "Stock Car Racing Bible" and the "Mossy Oak Camouflage Bible", I suspect that we'll soon see the quotations of Saint Thomas in specialty editions like "Thomas Sowell For Voters Who Just Don't Understand Why The Economy Isn't Better", or "The Complete Quotations of Saint Thomas on Why Cash For Clunkers Was Totally F'ed Up" or even "Thomas Sowell: What The Hell Were You Expecting When You Elected That Chicago Machine Dumbass?" with the really good parts in red letters. 

But Saint Thomas grows old.  His words come more slowly these days.  There was one embarrassing two week period (probably because of problems with his blood pressure medication) where he supported the horrific Newt Gingrich. 

We speak of Saint Thomas with reverence, all the same.  Those of you in the back, stop fidgeting and remain standing.  After the scripture reading, you can sit through the sermon. 


Thomas Sowell, the smartest man in the world now that Milton Friedman is dead, has had his life and work examined by John Hawkins of, and these are reported to be his best quotes.  Please read along from your Order Of Worship:

25) "Since this is an era when many people are concerned about 'fairness' and 'social justice,' what is your 'fair share' of what someone else has worked for?"

24) "Imagine a political system so radical as to promise to move more of the poorest 20% of the population into the richest 20% than remain in the poorest bracket within the decade? You don't need to imagine it. It's called the United States of America."

23) "Four things have almost invariably followed the imposition of controls to keep prices below the level they would reach under supply and demand in a free market: (1) increased use of the product or service whose price is controlled, (2) Reduced supply of the same product or service, (3) quality deterioration, (4) black markets."

22) "What sense would it make to classify a man as handicapped because he is in a wheelchair today, if he is expected to be walking again in a month and competing in track meets before the year is out? Yet Americans are given ‘class’ labels on the basis of their transient location in the income stream. If most Americans do not stay in the same broad income bracket for even a decade, their repeatedly changing 'class' makes class itself a nebulous concept."

21) "There are few talents more richly rewarded with both wealth and power, in countries around the world, than the ability to convince backward people that their problems are caused by other people who are more advanced."

20) "The poverty rate among black married couples has been in single digits ever since 1994. You would never learn that from most of the media. Similarly you look at those blacks that have gone on to college or finished college, the incarceration rate is some tiny fraction of what it is among those blacks who have dropped out of high school. So it’s not being black; it’s a way of life. Unfortunately, the way of life is being celebrated not only in rap music, but among the intelligentsia, is a way of life that leads to a lot of very big problems for most people."

19) "The first lesson of economics is scarcity: there is never enough of anything to fully satisfy all those who want it. The first lesson of politics is to disregard the first lesson of economics."

18) "Each new generation born is in effect an invasion of civilization by little barbarians, who must be civilized before it is too late."

17) "The vision of the anointed is one in which ills as poverty, irresponsible sex, and crime derive primarily from 'society,' rather than from individual choices and behavior. To believe in personal responsibility would be to destroy the whole special role of the anointed, whose vision casts them in the role of rescuers of people treated unfairly by 'society'."

16) "No one will really understand politics until they understand that politicians are not trying to solve our problems. They are trying to solve their own problems — of which getting elected and re-elected are number one and number two. Whatever is number three is far behind."

15) "Life has many good things. The problem is that most of these good things can be gotten only by sacrificing other good things. We all recognize this in our daily lives. It is only in politics that this simple, common sense fact is routinely ignored."

14) "There is usually only a limited amount of damage that can be done by dull or stupid people. For creating a truly monumental disaster, you need people with high IQs."

13) "Civilization has been aptly called a 'thin crust over a volcano.' The anointed are constantly picking at that crust."

12) "We seem to be moving steadily in the direction of a society where no one is responsible for what he himself did, but we are all responsible for what somebody else did, either in the present or in the past."

11)” For the anointed, traditions are likely to be seen as the dead hand of the past, relics of a less enlightened age, and not as the distilled experience of millions who faced similar human vicissitudes before.”

10) "It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong."

9) "Intellect is not wisdom."

8)” The charge is often made against the intelligentsia and other members of the anointed that their theories and the policies based on them lack common sense. But the very commonness of common sense makes it unlikely to have any appeal to the anointed. How can they be wiser and nobler than everyone else while agreeing with everyone else?"

7) "Much of the social history of the Western world, over the past three decades, has been a history of replacing what worked with what sounded good."

6) "Experience trumps brilliance."

5) "The problem isn't that Johnny can't read. The problem isn't even that Johnny can't think. The problem is that Johnny doesn't know what thinking is; he confuses it with feeling."

4) "One of the consequences of such notions as ‘entitlements’ is that people who have contributed nothing to society feel that society owes them something, apparently just for being nice enough to grace us with their presence."

3) "Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large."

2) "In short, killing the goose that lays the golden egg is a viable political strategy, so long as the goose does not die before the next election and no one traces the politicians’ fingerprints on the murder weapon."

1) "There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs."

Thus endeth the reading from the Gospel According to Saint Thomas.
The Man hath spoken. 
You may be seated while the Sepulchre's Cathedral Choir performs "Song Of Wisdom". 

You are dismissed. 

Penn Jillette on speaking the truth

Penn Jillette appears in this brilliant video about the difference between libertarian evangelizing vs. merely speaking the truth. 

In Jillette's opinion, speaking the truth as you see it is the superior method for winning converts. 

Those of us who grew up listening to Baptist evangelists have a hard time dealing with this.  We tend to believe that those who disagree with us simply aren't aware of the same facts. 

Perhaps Jillette has a point. 

If you disagree with me on any Libertarian vs. Authoritarian issue, from now on, I promise to simply speak the truth as I see it.  YOU ARE WRONG, WRONG, WRONG !!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Why 4-20 is important

I hope everyone has a great 4-20. 
Here's Wikipedia on the siginificance of the date:

April 20 has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Some events have a political nature to them, advocating for the decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States.

Why is something like this so important?

It's important because of a co-worker I had during high school.  His name was John Addams.  John got caught with a lot of weed. Because of who he was purchasing the stuff from, it became a federal case.
The FBI was putting pressure on John to testify. His suppliers (sons of an Arkansas state legislator) told him that if he testified they would kill members of his family. John did the logical thing and killed himself. John's death was one of the logical, predictable consequences of our drug war.

4-20 is important because of someone named Pablo Ramos of Juarez, Mexico. Pablo was my boss's brother-in-law. By all accounts he was an incredible chef. He was in charge of the food service at three different auto manufacturing plants in Juarez.
As you probably know, our drug war has turned Juarez into a living hell. The drug lords recruit teenage boys to work for them, give them money, drugs, women and palacial homes. When they get a little older, get a little slower, or merely get replaced, these young men are simply thrown out. Three or four of these displaced cocaine cowboys broke into Pablo's home, tied up the whole family, took all their money, and then left without harming anyone.
One of them had second thoughts about leaving Pablo alive, came back in the house a few minutes later, and shot Pablo Ramos in the head. This happened one year ago this week. The family is totally devastated.

4-20 is important because of two of my current employees. I'll call them Susan and Sheila. Susan and Sheila were caught with trifling amounts of marijuana almost a decade ago. They've been to jail. They've spent a fortune paying bullshit government counselors for bullshit government counseling sessions. For the rest of their lives, they'll have to give detailed info about this every time they apply for a job.

4-20 is important because of John Kerry, Al Gore, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama. All of them affirm that they've smoked marijuana, but none of them got caught. Had they been arrested as teenagers, like my friend John Addams, their political careers would've ended at that moment. Their lives would've been ruined. (I don't include Bill Clinton on this list because he didn't inhale.)

We have 6% of the world's population and 20% of its prisoners. A huge number of these are because of drug-related offenses.
If we were to go back to 1970 incarceration percentages, it would mean cutting one million government jobs.
All we are doing is providing a monopoly for the Drug Lords of Mexico and Afghanistan.
40,000 men, women, and children have died in Mexico because of Obama's Drug War.
Yes, it is now Barack Obama's Drug War.
If you vote for him again, it's yours.
Have a good 4-20. Stay safe.
Vote Libertarian.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A modest proposal for the Federal Reserve

I found this over at Cafe Hayek, written by Sheila Baer. 

Are you concerned about growing income inequality in America? Are you resentful of all that wealth concentrated in the 1 percent? I’ve got the perfect solution, a modest proposal that involves just a small adjustment in the Federal Reserve’s easy monetary policy. Best of all, it will mean that none of us have to work for a living anymore.

For several years now, the Fed has been making money available to the financial sector at near-zero interest rates. Big banks and hedge funds, among others, have taken this cheap money and invested it in securities with high yields. This type of profit-making, called the “carry trade,” has been enormously profitable for them.

So why not let everyone participate?

Yep.  Bernanke prints the money.  Loans the money to friends at Zero interest.  Friends of Ben invest it at a higher interest rate.  Then profit.  Then repeat, over and over. 

In the meantime, any money that you 99% suckers have saved becomes devalued. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Which candidate would never eat your dog?

David Huckabee, son of Arkansas governor and former Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, once hung a dog and then slit its throat.   The governor had to pull some strings to make the story go away. 

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney once put his dog in a carrier, strapped it to the roof of his car, and drove 12 hours to Canada. 

According to his book "Dreams From My Father", our current Commander-In-Chief, Democrat Barack Obama once ATE a dog.  (Hit the link.  Please.  Then imagine The Teleprompter Jesus sitting down to a meal of Fido and French Fries.) 

Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson, in his last debate appearance as a Republican, quipped that "My next-door neighbor’s two dogs have created more shovel-ready jobs than this president."

So let's be honest here....based on these anecdotes, which candidate would you trust with your dog? 

My vote goes to Gary Johnson !!

He would never, ever eat your dog. 

The picture of Obama's lunch came from here. 

GSA Scandal vs. Stimulus Non-Scandal

The Democrats and Republicans are working themselves into a bipartisan snit over who can express the most outrage over some videos and convention expenses. 
The General Services Administration spent about 800K on a mega-convention in Vegas.  There was a $75,000.00 "team-building" exercise that involved building bicycles.  Lots of great food.  Good times, good times. 
Here's Wikipedia, not always the best source, but usually the most concise:

On April 2, 2012, Martha Johnson, chief of the GSA, resigned after a report by the inspector general identified improper payments for a Public Buildings Service (PBS) Western Regions training conference in Las Vegas. Before turning in her own resignation, Johnson fired two other GSA senior executives, PBS head Robert Peck and senior advisor Stephen Leeds. Four PBS Regional Commissioners, who had been responsible for planning the conference, were placed on administrative leave. The conference was the most recent in a series of similar lavish conferences organized by GSA's Public Buildings Service. In previous years, PBS also held conferences in New Orleans, Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Lake Tahoe, where the Caesars hotel provided lakefront views, a lagoon-style indoor swimming pool and a 24-hour casino. U.S. Representative John Mica, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, called for a congressional investigation into the misuse of federal money by GSA. Mica indicated “The Las Vegas fiasco is just the tip of the iceberg,”

On April 5, 2012, a video was distributed by the House committee on Oversight and Government Reform after being uncovered through the Inspector General investigation. The video included a clip of a spoof video produced by GSA Public Buildings Service (PBS) employees and submitted as part of a contest during the controversial PBS Western Regions Conference. In the video, PBS employee Hank Terlaje jokingly brags about excessive government spending in GSA's Public Buildings Service in a parody of Travie McCoy & Bruno Mars’ “I Wanna Be a Billionaire.” Terlaje raps that if he were PBS Commissioner, he will never "never be under OIG investigation," would be "rollin' on 20s in my GOV," and "would buy everything your field office can’t afford." At the end of the video, uncovered by the GSA IG, it cuts to a clip from the actual PBS Western Regions Conference, in which the video was played at the conference's "Capstone Dinner Event." Following the playing of the video, Hank Terlaje received a standing ovation and applause from the crowd of PBS employees, and PBS Regional Commissioner Jeff Neely joined Terlaje on stage and exclaimed "Hank that was fun, that was amazing. I'm glad you won." PBS Deputy Commissioner David Foley went on to present Terlaje with an award as honorary PBS Commissioner for the day, and Foley joked that the hotel would like to talk to Terlaje about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner's suite during the previous night. Foley also joked about having to respond to congressional oversight and the Obama administration’s efforts to control executive pay.

Here are some of the video efforts of the GSA employees.  These guys do have some talent:

So why the uproar?  These people were given money to spend, and they spent the money. 
They pumped money into the economy.  In the words of The Teleprompter Jesus, the spending was "timely, temporary, and targeted". 

Here's a list of what some cynics have called the 100 Worst Stimulus Projects.  They include Monkeys On Marijuana studies, attempts to create Joke Machines, African Genital Washing programs and other methods of pumping money into the economy.

There is little or no difference between the parties of the GSA and the Stimulus programs of the last few years.  Both efforts got the job done, and rewarded the proper constituents. 

We should end the political grandstanding over the GSA conventions and videos.  This is the type of spending that pulled us back from the brink during the recent financial crisis. 

Be grateful.  And get back to work.  There are a lot of people in line waiting to spend some stimulus. 

Happy Day After Tax Day !!!

Not if Joe Biden has anything to say about it !!!!

Some blowhard named "Joe Biden" sent me a very aggressive email a few days ago. 
It's been a while since I've been on the receiving end of so much bluster and unbridled testosterone. 

Whited --

We know who our opponent is, and we know what he wants to do:

Knock this president out of the White House, tear down the progress we've made, and take our country backward.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

How about you?

Pitch in $3 or more today, and welcome our opponent to the race:



Just a regular, hard-working, two-fisted guy, that Joe.  He's not going to put up with any crap from someone wanting to tear down the progress (sic) that we've made in the last four years. 
Unemployment below 5%? 
A national debt under 16 trillion dollars? 
Just a couple of undeclared wars at a time? 
Two dollar gasoline?
No way.  Not if Joe has anything to say about it. 

We'll never go back.  If that's what you want for your nation, send Joe some money. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

"Violence is No Way For Civilized People to Get Their Revenue"

From Mark Hinkle, Libertarian Party National Chair:

“While everyone needs revenue, only criminals and politicians insist that they have to get it through violence. The criminals, however, do not pretend they're doing it in order to serve the public, and taxes make politicians public masters rather than public servants.

“Certainly, the present size of government at all levels depends on taxation – not only the explicit kind, but the invisible kind that the Federal Reserve System imposes through inflation of the money supply. People probably wouldn't voluntarily pay to bomb, invade, and occupy other countries, bail out large banks and other corporations, and try to dictate the personal choices of others. Good riddance! Government-monopolized services such as education and health care could be provided for less than half the cost if they could be returned to the voluntary sector of society with cost-raising regulations abolished and incentives restored. Both mutual aid groups and charitable donations filled gaps prior to the rise of the Welfare State for those in need with an efficiency that is impossible when those in charge of aid get more money and power for themselves the worse the job they perform. We’ll have to take some personal responsibility for our own lives and stop using the excuse Ebenezer Scrooge made that his taxes supported institutions for the poor so he could ignore them.

“It is obscene for those claiming to protect life, liberty, and property to obtain their revenue by violating life, liberty, and property. There are plenty of ways to obtain revenue without force: insurance, user fees, advertising, lotteries, and donations are already used by many local and state governments for a good portion of their revenue. Let them be true public servants and live within the means that these sources provide. People might even pay more voluntarily once they're no longer forced to turn over 1/3 to 1/2 of their wealth to governments.

“Ultimately, it is about the type of society we want to have. We can accomplish a lot voluntarily when we mutually respect each other's lives and property. It begins by respecting the right of people to keep the fruits of their labor. A good start would be the abolition of the personal income tax, which only adds insult to the injury of theft by invading every part of the taxpayer's privacy as well as making the second week of April a misery instead of a time to enjoy the early spring.”

P.S. If you have not already done so, please join the Libertarian Party. We are the only political party with a mission to give voters a choice to downsize Big Government, to do so in the most humane way possible, to greatly reduce taxes, and to slash high government spending. You can also renew your membership. Or, you can simply make a contribution.

Monday, April 16, 2012

What do you know about Democrats and Republicans?

I saw a link to this quiz on Denny's site. 
How much do you know about Democrats and Republicans? 
Here's the Pew Research Quiz that'll let you know. 

(I scored a 13 out of 13, BTW.)