Sunday, January 29

Government mimics Mafia scheme

For a decade or two around 1990, organized crime made boatloads of money with a simple scheme: Someone would open a business in a strip-mall, and a couple of months later they'd apply for and receive a big loan to buy a bunch of inventory.

Then they'd either steal the inventory or sell everything in the store at a discount--obviously losing money. Finally they'd sell all the store fixtures and disappear, leaving an empty (leased) building. The bank that loaned the "business" the money was left with no collateral or assets to offset the loss.

When the mafia did it, it was called a “ bust-out.”

When the federal Department of Energy does it it's called "market conditions."

(h/t Toadold at Belmont Club.)

Saturday, January 28

Obama: "I want an economy where we're making stuff."

Video here of Obozo speaking at a campaign stop in Las Vegas. (Vid takes about ten seconds to load.) Whereupon Obozo sayeth,
On Tuesday at the State of the Union I laid out my vision for how we move forward. I laid out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last, that has a firm foundation. Where we're making stuff and selling stuff and moving it around and UPS drivers are dropping things off everywhere.
Okay there, Sparky. We got it--you want the economy to get busy "making stuff and selling stuff." That's just super.

Jus' one tiny tiny question for Your Worship: Do you plan to make that stuff yourself?

No?

Hokay, do you plan to have gummint "workers" make da stuff?

What? No again?

Wel.l.l.l l l...Jus' who gonna be makin' all this "stuff" you talkin' bout?

Could it be...[voice of Satan]... BUSINESSES???

So whatcha' gon' do, Sparky--you gon' order bidnesses to hire folks??

Tell ya what, Sparky: Why don't you try orderin' bidnesses to hire folks, and let us know how that works out for ya.

Of course you *could* tell your goofy EPA to back off, and stop letting the damn State Department have any say at all in whether a company can build an oil pipeline in the continental U.S.

You could also try not making all small businesses provide health insurance for all their employees. You could try not ramming thru and signing a bill forcing churches to provide health insurance that will pay for abortions. Leave decisions about how to run a business to the people who actually, y'know, own and run the business.

But you think you're sooo smart that you won't do any of that. It just goes against you core philosophy--which is that you community-organizer/social redistributionist types should make all the decisions, and everyone else should just salute smartly.

And who knows? Maybe 50.1 percent of American voters are dumb enough to give you another four years to take us deeper into the abyss.

Or maybe your party will contrive to steal the November election, as they did Franken's Minnesota senate seat and the Washington governorship.

Lies, lies, lies--and all is well

Obozo's brilliant choice for a veep--because it insures he'll never be impeached and removed--believes the Democrats' ramrodding through Obama's desired programs "saved this country." You have to see it to believe it.

Yup. Added over a trillion bucks to the deficit, blew through billions in government-guaranteed "loans" to inept "green" companies that later folded, killed business by the thousands and resulted in a real unemployment rate of close to 18 percent--this is called "saving the country"????

Yet half of voters probably don't see anything dicey in Biden's statement.

And I'm pretty sure Dem representatives are thrilled to hear themselves praised, even by Biden.

Oh yeah, real peaceful religion

Religion of peace, eh?
A leader of the Islamist group Boko Haram, which has killed almost 1,000 people in Nigeria, says the group will continue its campaign of violence until the country is ruled by sharia law.

“We will consider negotiation only when we have brought the government to their knees,” the spokesman, Abu Qaqa, said in the group’s first major interview with a western newspaper. “Once we see that things are being done according to the dictates of Allah, and our members are released [from prison], we will only put aside our arms – but we will not lay them down. You don’t put down your arms in Islam, you only put them aside.”

Obama thinks he can bring peace by negotiating with these people--and Democrats and the MSM praise him to the heavens for this position.

What do you think?

For some vague reason, I think that as long as Abu Qaqa draws breath, he's gonna try to kill any non-muslim in range.

Saturday, January 21

Diane Sawyer kisses Obozo's ass on ABC

ABC's Diane Sawyer recently filmed a long campaign commercial for Obozo, and...

Wait, you mean that long, ass-kissing praisefest was NOT paid for by the campaign?

Click the link--it's safe, since it goes to Ace of Spades rather than the Sawyer fellatio itself. Then read the comments.

The MSM is one of the main reasons this country has gone to hell--because they shamelessly lie to cover for Democrat screwups and shamelessly shill for inept socialist Dems.

Obozo nixes Keystone pipeline, killing 20,000 jobs. MSM yawns.

The Obozo administration issued a rulemaking denying permission to proceed with the Keystone pipeline--prompting a guy at Forbes to write this analysis:
President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, a private infrastructure project meant to bring Canadian oil to Gulf Coast refineries. In doing so, he was not quibbling over the pipeline’s route, but pandering to a group of his supporters who want nothing so much as to roll back modern industrial society.
***
Some would argue that these opponents aren’t anti-energy, they just want to shift energy use from fossil fuels to “green” energy like wind and solar. This is either disingenuous or unbelievably naive. The Keystone XL pipeline would have single-handedly carried more energy to the United States than the sum of all the green energy projects funded by the Obama Administration. And it would have done so entirely with private funds rather than the Administrations increasingly ill-fated and ham-handed attempts at venture capitalism with taxpayer funds.
***
The Keystone decision only makes sense in the context of a general push to limit energy supply and roll back our industrial economy and all its amazing gifts.
***
Does anyone doubt that had this exact same route been for high speed rail, rather than a pipeline, it would already have been approved...and that President Obama likely would have been proposing to throw a pile of taxpayer money at it to boot? This despite the fact that high-speed rail almost certainly has more environmental negatives than an underground pipeline.

[Blaming the denial of permission to build it on] the route has always been a red herring — the real goal is reducing energy supply.
Um...wow. I think he nailed it. Click on the link and read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 18

Why do most of the poor stay poor?

Monty at Ace of Spades posted a piece that explains most of why the poor in the U.S. stay that way:
The biggest difference between the wealthy and the poor in this country is not (purely) economic. [Rather,] it lies in the adherence to what Bryan Caplan calls “the founding virtues.” Much of America’s “poor” have pretty much [abandoned] those institutions and habits that lead to personal fulfillment as well as wealth creation: marriage, religious faith, entrepreneurship, and a strong work ethic. The reason for this collapse in social and cultural ability can be laid directly at the door of the modern welfare state and the ascendance of post-modernist schools of thought like feminism and ... Marxism.
The thrust of the philosophy of the Democratic party over the past several decades can be summarized as an effort to replace the traditional family--and the values that make it a successful engine--with government, especially for the poor. As Monty puts it,
The social contract... has been... fatally weakened. And not just in America, but the entire “enlightened” western world.
I suspect most working Americans would say the welfare state hasn't worked very well--or works about as well as most huge government programs. But Democrats are able to duck any criticism of these programs by simply claiming that life would be so much worse without them. And certainly it's impossible to prove one way or the other.

Interesting.

Monday, January 16

The cost of zealous regulation

Those of us on the right keep saying that excessive regulation hurts consumers and economies, but of course no one on the Left takes that to heart.

Problem is, the time from "bad regulation" to consequence of the same can be pretty long, and for those who don't follow politics and economics pretty closely it's very hard to prove cause-and-effect.

Well, y'all are about to get a more direct demonstration.

For decades the FDA has been making it increasingly expensive for drug companies to bring new drugs to market. The bureaucrats pitch a fit that a company never bothered to test their new drug to assure its safety on pregnant albinos or similar.

As a result, there's now a lack of new antibiotics. This is a problem because many bacteria eventually manage to develop resistance to widely-used drugs. For example, they've found a new strain of TB in India that is resistant to every drug known.

No problem, say leftists. "I just won't go to India." Well Sparky, that's all well and good, but what makes you think other bugs won't eventually develop the same resistance? And what makes you think the bugs will stay in India, or wherever?

But don't you socialist bastards worry: Just like the Islamist fanatics who cut off heads wouldn't think about hurting you (because you're on their side, and believe in peaceful coexistence), the deadly bugs will ignore you too.

Because you're so politically-correct and all.

It's funny: The research on drug resistance is open, published, well-known. And the bureaucrats/overzealous regulators ignore it. By contrast, the data claimed by the Left to support anthropogenic global warming is kept secret, as are the algorithms used by key researchers to *modify* raw temperature data to arrive at what's claimed to be the "right" answer. Yet the Left expects everyone to accept its data without a word of disagreement.

Funny people. Just as funny as the folks who watch all this and don't laugh the Left out of town.

Pissing away $6.5 Billion isn't a bad thing if you're a Democrat

Remember Solyndra--the super-smaht solar-panel maker favored by Democrats and Obama, and thus showered with half a Billion in government loan guarantees (paid with your tax dollars if the company defaults)?

You may recall that about five days after getting the last guarantee, the company did indeed declare bankruptcy, wiping out the government's entire stake.

You may not have known that the clever Nobel-winning head of the Energy Department approved the second loan guarantee that was deliberately arranged to allow private lenders priority of position over the taxpayers for recovery from any company assets sold during the bankruptcy. This was highly unusual, yet no one in the Lying Mainstream Media said a word against it.

With that as background: If the government pissing away half a Billion of your tax dollars didn't bother you, you should know that one reporter has found 11 other companies *like* Solyndra that are either bankrupt or on the brink.

Total of loan guarantees by the gummint: $6.5 BILLION.

But hey, all that money "created or saved", uh, 157 jobs.

Cool, huh? Government efficiency at its best.

NYTimes on Greek crisis

If you haven't guessed, I'm totally unimpressed with the NYTimes. They're utterly clueless not only in their "news" and politics but also in their own business model.

Example is this article from yesterday, about Greece's financial crisis.

In particular, note the third 'graf:
talks broke down Friday between the Greek government and private lenders over a plan to reduce Greece’s debt by $130 billion, a “voluntary” default that the troika has demanded before extending more aid. Those negotiations, aimed at forcing hedge funds and other private holders of Greek debt to accept large losses in order to make the country’s debt load more manageable, will resume Wednesday....
You'd think "...a plan to reduce Greece's debt by X" would mean the government spending $130 Billion less than now.  No such luck:  It's Timesspeak for a plan to ask holders of Greek government debt (bonds) to "voluntarily" just write off their loans.

Wow, pretty slick, huh? Who knew huge debt problems could be solved so easily??

But of course the Times didn't want to use the term "writeoff" because that would reveal what's really being pushed here. They don't want to do that for two reasons: First, it would come too close to showing the world how bankrupt the whole left-wing governing principle of "we'll take money from the productive and give it to everyone else, and there won't be any negative consequences--because we say so" is.

Second, if the masses in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Ireland and the like see that *Greece* got this kind of deal, they're certain to insist that they get the same deal for themselves. And pffffft, there goes the world's economy.

But the Times isn't finished yet:
As recently as November, Greece and its lenders were optimistic that the country’s newly installed prime minister... a well-respected financial technocrat, would stabilize Greece’s soaring debt and help nurse the country back to health.
But since then, his interim government — stocked not with technocrats but with politicians gunning for [re-election] — has been paralyzed. [T]he 2012 national budget...failed to put into effect most of the unpopular changes mandated by the loan agreement that the previous government made back...when the country first admitted it was broke.
Get outta here! Really?  Politicians broke a solemn agreement negotiated by the prior government to cut spending? I'm...shocked! In fact that sounds more like the kind of trick some banana-republic would pull--like the U.S. congress, frinstance, managing to find a whole billion dollars in savings over ten years, even as actual spending *rose* by ten billion.

Greece may yet find a bunch of soft, unaccountable central bank wallahs who're willing to give 'em tens of billions to keep the fiasco going for another few years. And that may well happen with us--since all the nations of the world will probably be so eager to help us out of a financial bind, seeing as how we've been so generous to help *them* in times of need.

Hahahahahahaha! Yeah, good one!



One business out of five gone in a year ??!

Other than by being conquered, how do nations fail?

Suppose a country had 368,000 businesses at the beginning of the year, and a year later 68,000 had closed.

That's almost one out of five businesses, gone in a year.

Ya think that might have some devastating ripples?

How many jobs do you think were lost with those closures?

If those numbers seem small it's because the country in question is Greece. But it's coming here just as sure as the sunrise tomorrow. Because the Democrats are killing businesses as fast as they can--even as Dem senate majority leader Harry Reid proclaims he wants to pass a federal law to *create* jobs.

Just exactly *how you gonna do that, sport?*

You think you'll just stamp your foot and raise your arms and declare it done?

Got a surprise for ya, Sparky: Except for federal jobs--which currently account for about one job out of eight--it doesn't work that way. There are these critters called "businessmen" or "entrepreneurs"--yes, much like the ones who paid you those bribes some years back--that actually start businesses and hire folks.

But you wouldn't know about that, having been feeding at the public trough for most of your life.

Sunday, January 15

Obama dictates how much a business can charge

The Obama administration--and the Democrats who support it--has shown nothing but contempt for businesses. And that attitude is on display again today, as the NYTimes shows here:
The Obama administration said Thursday that rate increases sought by a health insurance company were unreasonable, and it ordered the insurer to rescind them or justify its refusal to do so.
If that lede 'graf seems innocuous to you, you've either never managed a business or else you haven't been paying attention. What they're saying is, "WE will determine what prices each and every private business can charge, and if we don't like what you're charging, we'll order you to charge less."

Does that get your attention yet? If you only have a tenth-grade education, or if you're a Harvard PhD or an economist for the NYTimes (Paul K) it probably won't bother you.

But in fact, that seemingly innocuous statement conceals an iron fist: It's nothing less than the death of private enterprise.

Oh, you think I'm being hyperbolic? How many things are more critical to a business than deciding what price to charge for its goods or services? And if the government has arrogated to itself the power to bar you from making that decision, you might as well give 'em the damn keys and head for the beach.

These *goat-fucking* politicians--mostly Dems but a few RINOs as well--don't know jack-shit about business, and yet they presume to dictate...well, you get it.

Okay, we'll admit that at least today, the alleged "authority" to dictate prices is only present in that abortion of a disaster of an unconstitutional clusterfuck called Obamacare (which is one of the 73 reasons that astonishing piece of crap law should never have passed). But if a Democrat-controlled congress could pass *that*, what power would prevent them from controlling *any* business to that extent?

Answer: none.

Now, if--like the vast majority of Americans--you work for someone else rather than owning your own business, this may well seem like much ado about nothing. It's not. Here's an analogy that might help:

Say you want to sell your two-year-old Toyota. You've taken fabulous care of it--it only has 10,000 miles on it and not a scratch or dent. Like it just rolled off the showroom floor. With such great care, naturally you ask top-dollar. Suppose you then got a call from the federal gummint's new "Consumer Protection... bullshit agency" ordering you to cut your asking price by $5000, and threatening to levy a big fine if you didn't.

Got the picture yet?

Saturday, January 14

Ghastly

Are you a typical liberal idiot who believes we can coexist with Islam? If so you really need to read this article in the U.K. Telegraph. It tells the story of Islamic fanatics--whether Taliban or al Qaeda or whatever doesn't make any difference--who wrap pre-teen boys in bomb vests and then tell them that the explosion will only kill Americans, not the boy.

Now, I don't have any problem with adults wanting to be suicide-bombers. I'm not even opposed to teenage males who overtly and knowingly choose to sacrifice their lives for the Cause.

But I sure as hell have a problem with adults telling pre-teens Allah will protect them from the blast of the bomb the adult wants the kid to carry. That's some really sick shit.

Let me put it more clearly: If you believe this tactic is in any way reasonable or justifiable, you're a crazy, twisted, sick son of a bitch.

The mission was as simple as touching two wires together, the little boy was promised. The resulting blast would kill the American infidels – but God would spare him from the flame and shrapnel. He would be unharmed and free to run back to the men who had fitted his bomb vest.

Minutes before he was due to execute the attack, however, he realised the lies of his recruiters seeking to turn him into a human bomb.

"I saw it was a very black thing they wanted me to do," he recalled. "I began to cry and shout. People came out of their houses and asked what was wrong. I showed them my vest. They called the police who took the bombs off me."

Afghan security officials say the boy's story is not unusual. In the past year insurgents have used a wave of child suicide bombers, some as young as 10, since small boys can pass through checkpoints and security cordons more easily than men.

A senior Afghan intelligence official estimated that more than 100 had been intercepted in the past 12 months, including 20 from the Kandahar area in the south. The insurgents seek to exploit the innocence of their recruits and turn it into a weapon.

The largely illiterate boys are fed a diet of anti-Western and anti-Afghan government propaganda until they are prepared to kill, he said. They are also assured that they will miraculously survive the devastation they cause.

"They are often given an amulet containing Koranic verses. Mullahs tell them, 'When this explodes you will survive and God will help you survive the fire. Only the infidels will be killed, you will be saved and your parents will go to paradise'."

The Taliban denies using children as bombers, saying its battlefield code forbids military use of pre-pubescent boys. But Nato and Afghan security officials said the tactic is widespread. Child bombers have been used by the Haqqani network, a group aligned with the Taliban.

Boys are frequently chosen from the madrassas, or Islamic schools, in Pakistan's tribal areas, where poor families send their sons for a free education.

"They send them because they can't feed them sometimes. They have 10 sons and they can't feed them," said the Afghan official.

Gul Khan, who looks no older than 10, said his father had insisted he go to a madrassa in Pakistan.

"Each day they were preaching that we would tie bombs on to our bodies and attack foreigners in Afghanistan," he said after escaping and being arrested at the border.

"They told us the bombs would not kill us, only the Americans would die and you can come back to us."


One of these two is...


Now *this* is funny:

h/t The Peoples' Cube

Tuesday, January 10

Court cases that trashed our Constitution

Over the last century Congress, the courts and the executive branch have slowly but surely trashed the Constitution--a process that continues to this day.

Usually these moves have been small enough that only the most ardent defenders of the Constitution even noticed, but occasionally the thefts of individual rights have been huge (GM and AIG, for example).

One of the biggest thefts of rights came in the case of Wickard v. Filburn (1942).

In 1938 Congress passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act, under which congress seized the power to have the federal government dictate to each and every farmer in the nation the maximum number of acres of wheat he would be allowed to plant. [!]

The stated purpose of this monstrous act was to "stabilize" [i.e. support] the price of wheat by controlling the total amount of wheat produced by all U.S. farmers.

[The Wiki article adds, "The motivation behind the Act was a belief by Congress that international fluctuations in the supply and demand for wheat were leading to wide swings in the price of wheat, which were deemed to be harmful to the U.S. agricultural economy." No idea whether this statement is based on a declaration by congresswhores or is simply supposition on the part of the author, but either way it illustrates a lack of understanding of economics, since a U.S. law limiting production obviously wouldn't limit wheat production in other countries, and thus couldn't eliminate price swings.]

Following passage of the Agricultural Adjustment Act, the feds declared that every farmer was only permitted to grow a certain number of bushels of wheat, called an "allotment." Roscoe Filburn planted more acres of grain on his land than the allotted number. He had no intention of selling his wheat, but intended to use it to feed his own chickens (which he did). Nevertheless the government fined him and ordered him to burn his crop.

The government claimed congress had the authority to dictate the number of acres of wheat farmers planted [the actual word they used was "regulate" because it sounds nicer than "dictate"] because of the Constitution's "interstate commerce clause." Filburn countered that because he hadn't sold his grain but had used it to feed his own chickens, his wheat had never entered any form of "commerce" at all--much less “interstate commerce.”

Since the "commerce clause" only gives the government the power to regulate interstate commerce, that would seem to dispose of the issue. But astonishingly (unless one is a seasoned student of politics) the U.S. Supreme Court ignored this argument and ruled against him, holding that the farmer's use of grain he grew to feed his own chickens nevertheless “affected interstate commerce"!

The court's reasoning is amazing: It held that Filburn's growing of his own wheat to feed his chickens allowed him to avoid buying wheat he would otherwise have had to buy on the open market. By avoiding buying grain in the market, the court found that Filburn's acts affected interstate commerce, and accordingly, that the government had the power to regulate all under the commerce clause.

Wait, it gets even goofier.

The court unanimously held that the power to "regulate interstate commerce" included the power to "set all prices at which that commerce occurred." It is vital to note that this crucial "finding" is actually simply judicial fiat. Its source is the *assumption* that since prices clearly play a role in commerce, the Founders must have intended to give congress the power to regulate prices.

It doesn't take a philosophy degree to see the flaw in such "reasoning."

As far as I know, there are no words in the Constitution or the writings of the founders that bear on the question of how the Founders defined "interstate commerce." Unless I've overlooked the relevant essay or section, it suggests the court's finding was manufactured out of thin air. Or as it's often phrased, the court "pulled this finding out of its ass."

This absurdity is most nakedly displayed in the opinion of justice Robert H. Jackson, who fretted that purely local activities...
...cannot be regulated under the commerce power because their effects upon interstate commerce are, as matter of law, only 'indirect.' [T]here is no decision of this Court that such activities may be regulated where no part of the product is intended for interstate commerce or intermingled with the subjects thereof. [However,] [w]e believe that a review of the course of decision under the Commerce Clause will [show] that questions of the power of Congress are not to be decided by reference to any formula which would give controlling force to nomenclature such as 'production' and 'indirect' and foreclose consideration of the actual effects of the activity in question upon interstate commerce."

That an activity is of local character may help in a doubtful case to determine whether Congress intended to reach it.... But even if [Filburn's] activity be local **and though it may not be regarded as commerce,** it may still...be reached by Congress if it exerts a *substantial* economic effect on interstate commerce[,]...irrespective of whether such effect...might at some earlier time have been defined as 'direct' or 'indirect.'
In effect, Jackson's convoluted wording re-writes the commerce clause to give the federal government power to regulate anything at all: "Even if activity be local--and although it may not be regarded as commerce, it may still be reached [controlled] by congress if it 'exerts a substantial economic effect' on interstate commerce."

At first this would seem to be a major slip, since no one could claim with a straight face that Filburn's "excess" wheat production had a "substantial economic effect on interstate commerce." To recover, Jackson put the second part of this new weapon elsewhere in his opinion: That even if a specific action by an individual clearly had *no* substantial effect, the court would nevertheless support government regulation of the activity if the aggregate effect of lots of people doing the same thing *would* have an effect.

Pretty neat trick, eh? Here's another look at the overreach, from the opinion:
The stimulation of commerce is a use of the regulatory function [as much as] prohibitions or restrictions thereon. This record leaves us in no doubt that Congress may properly have considered that wheat consumed on the farm where grown, if wholly outside the scheme of regulation, would have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing its purpose to stimulate trade therein at increased prices.
So first the court arbitrarily declares--pulls out of the air--that government "stimulation" of commerce is included in the enumerated power to "regulate" interstate commerce. It then vaults to the equally arbitrary conclusion that "this record leaves us in no doubt" that congress may have considered that growing and consuming wheat on one's own farm was within congress's power to dictate [though the opinion uses the word "regulate" because...well, you know], since if not, it "would have a substantial effect in defeating and obstructing its purpose to stimulate trade therein at increased prices."

One is almost astonished by how many unsupported conclusions can be crammed into a single paragraph.

The sleaziness--the crappy, duplicitous, underhanded doublespeak--of the government is clearly shown in this graf from Jackson's opinion:
[Filburn claims] that this [act] is a regulation of production and consumption of wheat. Such activities are, he urges, beyond the reach of Congressional power under the Commerce Clause, since they are local in character, and their effects upon interstate commerce are at most 'indirect.' In answer the Government argues that the statute regulates neither production nor consumption, but only marketing;
Wait...wasn't the whole basis of the case the government's claim that Filburn had "produced" too much wheat? How the hell do they then pivot 180 degrees and claim the statute does NOT regulate "production nor consumption, but only marketing"?

Of course this is exactly what the Obama administration did with the Health Care "Reform" Act: "We absolutely promise it's NOT a tax, ain't gonna raise anyone's taxes." Until they get challenged on the legality of forcing people to buy health insurance. Then suddenly--voila!-- it's legal precisely because it's a tax, and the government has the power to levy taxes.


In any event, the court's decision in Filburn effectively eliminated all Constitutional limits on the powers of the federal government--because if a person growing food *for his own use* is declared to "affect interstate commerce," then everything does.

If congress has the power to "stimulate" interstate commerce, what restraining power remains in the Constitution that would prevent congress from giving billions of dollars to a favored company to "stimulate" production of overpriced electric cars, or solar panels?

And of course, the current Dem congress and present-ent would answer: "Nothing in the Constitution limits our power."

==

'Filburn' is a textbook case of judicial overreach--making crap up to support a desired outcome not supported by the Constitution. But great questions aside, the details of 'Filburn' show how a great nation can be undermined by minutiae:

A government bureaucrat decreed that Filburn's 1941 "allotment" for wheat planting would be 11.1 acres, at a "normal yield" of 20.1 bushels of wheat per acre, thus yielding 223 bushels of wheat. Filburn--who presumably knew something about expected yield per acre for the farming methods he could afford to use--planted 23 acres and harvested 239 bushels.

Ignoring the great Constitutional issues for a moment, let us note for the record that the relatively limitless resources of the federal government were brought to bear on one poor farmer for the *net result* of producing ...*sixteen bushels* of wheat over what the bureaucrats had already planned for.

Shocking, but as we've come to see, hardly surprising.

There is no law more far-reaching or unavoidable than the law of unintended consequences. It may well be that the congresswhores who passed the "Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1938" had good intentions. After all, wild price swings from year to year are certainly terribly hard on farmers, since they make it hard as hell to know what to do *next* season.

But forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical. Because I'm more inclined to believe that 70-odd years ago congress operated pretty much the same way it does today: Rampant corruption, vote-buying, bribery and log-rolling. Plus, I think we've seen enough proof that congresswhores rarely bother reading the crap they pass (and probably didn't even back when bills were a few dozen pages long instead of 2000-plus).

So I'm more inclined to think nobody in congress thought about the unintended consequences of this bill--any more than most of 'em do today.

But congresswhores aren't expected to be brilliant intellects. By contrast, one would hope that the nine justices of the U.S. Supreme Court would be constitutional scholars, and the most incisive minds in the country. Of course this isn't always the case, but...

Mix corrupt, inattentive or easily bribed congresscritters with an inattentive or politicized Supreme Court and--voila!-- an unConstitutional power is conferred on the federal government.

And this highlights three major, recurring flaws in our system: First, voters keep electing a substantial number of corrupt, inattentive, greedy, self-serving people to congress. [Certainly not all, but the good guys are hugely outnumbered.]

Second, congress and the courts keep trying to grab more power over *everything.*

And third, the courts routinely use unconstitutional criteria to interpret laws passed by the corrupt, moronic congresswhores--and always in the direction of grabbing more power for both branches.

Filburn shows us how the Constitution's bedrock idea of limited government was subverted.

Two competing theories of the future

For the past three years the best minds I know have grappled with the question of which of two theories of America's future is most likely.

One theory is that even with all our problems--the world's and our financial systems about to crash, endless government deficits, corrupt politicians, downward-spiraling education system, a preznit who's ordered an EPA reg that will result in scrapping between 20 and 30 percent of America's coal-fired electric plants, et cetera, that there's a quiet majority of Americans who are still hard-working and pretty well educated. And eventually, when the Democrats and handful of corrupt Repubs get the hell out of the way, this quiet, almost invisible group will tighten their chinstraps and save the country.

For brevity's sake I'll call this theory "the optimists."

The second theory is that it's too late for a "soft landing"--that a collapse on the order of that of the Roman empire is now unavoidable, and that it will almost certainly take at least two decades to recover even to reliable electricity and water supplies in many cities, much less to an era where every other driveway in blue-collar neighborhoods had a 50-mph bass boat and a hot new car.

Folks who put stock in this second theory have observed that most cities depend on a constant stream of food from farms and factories, and that if this stream were interrupted for any reason, food would last about 3 days.

Of course we can expect that if this happened everyone would calmly listen to and follow the instructions from government, which would then take over the clearing of highways and elimination of hijacking gangs, and would have things back to normal in about...oh, about...never.

If--again, *if*--one single cog in the incredibly intricate machine that is a modern economy breaks, and the break affects the entire nation, there's virtually no chance the gummint will solve things before the gangs take to the highways.

So the question then becomes, What are the chances of a 'major' break in the system?

Let's see what the 'official experts' have to say.
"Official Expert:" "There is absolutely no significant chance of that happening."

Me: "When the Boeing 747 was introduced, what was the concensus of "official" expert opinion on how long it would be before two loaded ones collided?"

Expert: "Wha--what does that have to do with the analysis of complex failure modes?"

Me: "It's exactly on point. The so-called experts said it couldn't happen, and in fact it happened less than ten years after first flight."

Expert: "You'll have to take that up with the people who said it couldn't happen. I wasn't consulted on that matter."

Me: "But just now you said a major social breakdown couldn't happen, right?"

Expert: "Yes, yes, but that's different."

Me: "Exactly how is it different?"

Expert: "Oh my, look at the time! I have a *really* important meeting in thirty minutes. If you'd like to discuss this further, call my office."
I suspect most of you can see that little encounter as if it were already on tape.

Of course not all "experts" are idiots, but I get the impression that a lot of 'em--and about half those working for the gummint--are, um...suspect at best. It may be that they really know they're just spouting the "government bullshit" line and don't believe what they're telling us. Damned if I know. But reading transcripts of press conferences by, say, Obama press secretary Jay Carney suggests that they're all quite comfortable spouting bullshit, secure in the knowledge that no one in the MFM will call 'em on it.

For a good sample of these two competing theories, go here, and read the comments. There are some very experienced, very smart and literate people there.

Are *all* Democrats leftist socialists? Maybe not...

In reviewing recent posts it occurs to me that I may have been too broad in lambasting "Democrats" as favoring unlimited government and as enemies of freedom, free markets and individual achievement.

I based these conclusions on two things: The known, provable statements of Dem pols; and the adoring comments of Dem/"progressive" bloggers.

It occurs to me that it's at least theoretically possible that there may be a few thousand folks out there who are nominally Democrats but don't agree with the Dem leadership or the idiotic, goofy lefty bloggers. Haven't met any such critters yet but I'm happy to concede the possibility that they may exist.

If so, there may actually be small pieces of common ground between us. I think we can agree that the government shouldn't bail out Wall Street firms--in any way, shape or form; nor banks or bank-like companies. Let the sumbitches fail, let stockholders and depositors over the FDIC insured limits lose the excess, and it'll keep everyone on their toes from then on.

If you believe there's far too much federal welfare--including the legislative and financial abomination known as ObamaCare--and that people should be willing to work for a living, then we have some common ground.

If you believe the EPA is a rogue agency, being used to destroy jobs and businesses under the guise of "protection", and to deprive individuals of the use of their own land on spurious grounds that once every decade it gets wet and is therefore a "protected wetland", we have common ground.

If you believe no level of government should ever give money or loan guarantees to a private company--no matter how large, how unionized or how well connected to the preznit (re: half a Billion taxpayer bucks given to Solyndra, even as it was going bankrupt) --then we have common ground.

If you believe an employer has the right to require those applying for a job to have a highschool diploma--or a masters or PhD if they wish!--without getting sued by the federal government, we have some common ground.

If you believe the "Occupy" movement is mostly composed of spoiled rich kids and drug users looking for more government giveaways (paid for by hard-working taxpayers), we have common ground.

If you believe every person has the right to armed self-defense, and that no government agency has the right to take away that right, then we have common ground.

If you believe no government pension should be more than the average for private-sector employees, we have common ground.

If you believe people shouldn't be allowed to buy "junk food"--cokes, beer, twinkies and such--with food stamps (now euphemized as "EBT"--electronic benefit transfer cards), we have common ground.

During Obama's three years in office, unemployment has risen roughly 50 percent, but the cost of the government's food stamp program has *doubled*. If you think that statistic suggests that there's a hell of a lot of fraud and waste in the food stamp program, and it should be eliminated, we have common ground.

While there's always been waste in military procurement and weapons systems, if you believe cutting back on the number of trained, combat-ready troops and pilots is an invitation to be attacked, we have common ground.

If you've noticed that the federal government is deliberately allowing unrestricted illegal immigration, and that it has even filed suit against states that have enacted policies designed to uphold current federal immigration law, and you believe this will absolutely have utterly devastating consequences on our nation--as we're already seeing in California and Arizona--we have common ground.

I could go on but you get the point. If you're one of my few readers--maybe friends of Cal and Megan?--feel free to add any other suggestions of possible common ground between conservative Repubs and Dems.

Wednesday, January 4

King Barack violates Constitution--again. MSM cheers.

Need a prime example of Dem double-standards? Go here. It's an AP story about Obama's intent to use a "recess appointment" to install Richard Cordray as head of the newly-created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

For those of you under about 30, a recess appointment is a legitimate procedure that allows a prez to appoint an agency head--someone who would normally have to face confirmation by the senate--while congress isn't in session. The Founders created this power to keep the central government working normally if a cabinet-level vacancy came up while congress wasn't in session.

Virtually all presidents have made recess appointments. But when George W. Bush was prez, Democrats wanted to prevent Bush from making any more recess appointments, so they came up with a clever scheme: They would call the senate into "pro-forma" session every three days. No business was done--indeed, virtually no one was even present--but by technically never being out of session for more than three days in a row, it did what the Dems intended.

Of course King Barack has no intention of respecting such procedural moves, even when devised by members of his own party, and has announced that he doesn't consider himself bound by this precedent.

And hypocritically (but not surprisingly), asshole Dimicrat senate majority leader Harry Reid--who called the senate into such pro-forma sessions when Bush was prez-- today issued a statement saying he supported Obozo's decision to tell the senate to go fuck itself.

I may have mangled a couple of words near the end of Reid's statement, but the gist is clear.

Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy. Hypocrisy. Democrats. Democrats. Democrats. Hopefully when you stupid, hypocritical assholes are starving and freezing in the dark--after Obozo has hiked the price of electrical power by killing coal plants, and food is ten times more expensive due to massive inflation by your boy's massive deficits, you'll realize how cheaply you sold out your country.

UPDATE: Just so you know, the Democrat establishment universally applauded this move. Click here to see a summary of the reactions. And Nancy Pelosi praised the move as "bold" and said Democrats are glad Obama "took the lead."

"Constitution? We don't need no steenkin' Constitution! Cuz' we're Democrats."

Venezuela's murder rate is ten times the world average. Why?

The average murder rate for the whole world is 6.9 per 100,000 people.

In Venezuela it's about ten times higher, at 67 per 100,000. And that's just the murders that are reported; it's alleged that many aren't reported because of fear of reprisal or a belief that the police won't even bother trying to solve them.

In 1999 Venezuela's murder rate was about one-fourth of today's level.

That same year Hugo Chavez was elected president.

Chavez is notorious for his disregard of his country's consitution and other laws.

Say, you don't suppose there could be any connection between Chavez's imperial presidency and the murder rate, do ya?

Lib solution for lawbreaking: Re-name the act so it doesn't!

The "Occupy DC" movement has been doing their camping thing at two locations in D.C. One of those is McPherson Square. It's run by the U.S. Park Service, and overnight camping is prohibited.

At least officially prohibited.

If you're a Dem supporter, you can get around that by simply perverting the language.

Thus the Park Service has deemed the continuous (as in, overnight, for dozens of weeks) occupation merely a "24-hour vigil."

Isn't that precious? If you're a liberal, and something you like violates some law, just rename whatever is causing the conflict, so that it no longer violates the law or reg.

For example, vote fraud would be renamed as "creative expression in ballot arrangement."

Illegal immigration would be renamed "equal opportunity access."

Islamic mobs murdering Christians in numerous African hellholes would be renamed as "protected expressions of religious beliefs."

Hey, this is easy!

King Obozo sayeth: Words mean exactly what I want them to mean--no more and no less.

Tuesday, January 3

Newest EEOC position designed to kill more jobs here

Just saw that the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission has posted an "advisory letter" on its official website notifying employers that adding the line "requires high school diploma" to a job description may bring the hounds of the EEOC down on them.

Yep, really. Of course an employer can offer, in defense, proof that the job in question actually does require that the holder has graduated from high school.

One teeny-tiny problem: How the hell do you *prove* that?

What unique skill or set of skills does one acquire merely from having a HS diploma that they couldn't acquire any other way?

The answer, of course, is that there aren't any.

So as a result, if this "advisory letter" becomes official policy (a mysterious, quiet process that occurs behind closed doors), employers won't be able to require a HS diploma.

Which got me to thinking: What if the reason I want my employees to have a diploma is simply that in my expert opinion as founder and/or owner of my own damn company, *I* have decided I want it to be that way?

And the gummint's response is..."Because we say you can't do that."

I gotta say, under our current government I would not under any circumstances start a company in the U.S.

If government bureaucrats think they're better qualified to run a business, let them do it. But frankly, I think there's *way* more than enough evidence to believe that government screws up almost everything it touches.

You want more jobs in the U.S.? Kill the EEOC. And every agency that acts like it.