This last Sunday, September 11, on the same day Hillary Clinton's staff were struggling to erase concerns that Hilary was in poor health after her collapse in New York, PBS Masterpiece aired a nice little movie called "Churchill's Secret". I recorded it but did not watch it last night, so only yesterday saw the connection: the movie was about a major stroke Churchill suffered circa 1953, in the midst of his second stint as Prime Minister of the UK. One subplot, and the reason for the title, was of Churchill's political staff working like crazy to (successfully) hide Churchill's stroke and incapacity from everyone -- media, the public, his own party. I wonder if PBS, likely Clinton supporters to a person, regrets the timing?
Posts tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’
Hillary Clinton, along with many politicians and most of the media, is arguing that the recent large price increase in Epipens is some sort of market failure requiring government intervention to solve.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton jumped into the fray over rapid price increases for the EpiPen, a life-saving injection for people who are having severe allergic reactions.
Mrs. Clinton called the recent price hikes of the EpiPen “outrageous, and just the latest example of a company taking advantage of its consumers.”
In a written statement calling for Mylan to scale back EpiPen prices, Clinton added, “It’s wrong when drug companies put profits ahead of patients, raising prices without justifying the value behind them.”
Why aren't similar government interventions required to curb greed in the pricing of paint, or tacos, or toilet paper? Because the markets are allowed to operate and competitors know that if they raise prices too high, their existing competitors will take sales from them, and new competitors may enter the market. The reason this is not happening with Epipens is that the Federal government blocks other companies from competing with Mylan for the Epipen business with a tortuous and expensive and pointless regulatory process (perhaps given even more teeth because Mylan's CEO has a lot of political pull). The MSNBC article fails to even mention why Mylan has no competition, and in fact essentially assumes that Epipens are a natural monopoly and should be treated as such, despite the fact that there are 3 or 4 different companies that have tried (and failed) to clear the regulatory process over the last several years with competing products. Perhaps these other companies would have been smarter to appoint a Senator's daughter to a senior management position.
Hillary Clinton is proposing a dumb government intervention to try to fix some of the symptoms of a previous dumb government intervention. It would be far better to work the root cause instead.
Postscript: Credit Vox with the stupid argument of the day:
Other countries do this for drugs and medical care – but not other products, like phones or cars – because of something fundamentally unique about medication: If consumers can’t afford the product, they could have worse odds of living. In some cases, they face quite certain odds of dying. So most governments have decided that keeping these products affordable is a good reason to introduce more government regulation.
Hmm, let me pick a slightly different example -- food. I will substitute that into the Vox comment. I think it would be perfectly correct to say that there is not price regulation of food in the US, and that "If consumers can’t afford [food], they could have worse odds of living. In some cases, they face quite certain odds of dying." In fact, the best place today to face high odds of dying due to lack of food is Venezuela, where the government heavily regulates food prices in the way Vox wished to regulate drugs prices.
Of the 16 candidates the Republicans started with, did they nominate the only one who can't beat a weak Hillary Clinton? @instpundit
— Coyoteblog (@Coyoteblog) July 28, 2016
Hillary is hugely unpopular and embroiled in one scandal after another. She is not statist enough for her own party and statist in the wrong ways for Republicans. She is dogged by scandal. But Trump has allowed everyone to stop having to sell Hillary -- they can just bash Trump.
Tonight's speech roundup:
- Michael Bloomberg: Trump is a con man.
- Tim Kaine: Trump is a liar.
- Joe Biden: Trump is a sociopath.
- Barack Obama: Trump is an asshole.
Yesterday, the FBI said that Hillary Clinton should not be prosecuted because, though she clearly violated laws about management of confidential information, she had no "intent" to do so. Two thoughts
- Even if she had no intent to violate secrecy laws, she did - beyond a reasonable doubt - have intent to violate public transparency and FOIA laws. She wanted to make it hard, or impossible, for Conservative groups to see her communications, communications that the public has the right to see. In violating this law with full intent, she also inadvertently violated secrecy laws. I don't consider this any different than being charged for murder when your bank robbery inadvertently led to someone's death.
- If politicians are going to grant each other a strong mens rea (guilty mind or criminal intent) requirements for criminal prosecution, then politicians need to give this to the rest of us as well. Every year, individuals and companies are successfully prosecuted for accidentally falling afoul of some complex and arcane Federal law. Someone needs to ask Hillary where she stands on Federal mens rea reform.
Citizens United Haters, Is This Really What You Want? John Oliver Brexit Segment Forced to Air After Vote
A lot of folks, particularly on the Left, despise the Citizens United decision that said it was unconstitutional to limit third party political speech, particularly prior to an election (even if that speech was made by nasty old corporations). The case was specifically about whether the government could prevent the airing of a third-party produced and funded documentary about one of the candidates just before an election. The Supreme Court said that the government could not put in place such limits (ie "Congress shall make no law...") but Britain has no such restrictions so we can see exactly what we would get in such a regime. Is this what you want?
As Britain gears up to vote in the EU referendum later this week, broadcasters are constantly working to ensure their coverage remains impartial. One such company is Sky, which has this week been forced to delay the latest instalment of John Oliver's Last Week Tonight HBO show. Why? Because it contains a 15-minute diatribe on why the UK should remain part of Europe.
Instead of airing the programme after Game of Thrones on Sky Atlantic on Monday night, like it does usually, Sky has pushed it back until 10:10pm on Thursday, just after the polls close. Social media users are up in arms about the decision, but in reality, Sky appears to be playing everything by the book.
Sky's decision allows it to adhere to Ofcom rules that come into effect during elections and referendums. "Sky have complied with the Ofcom broadcasting restrictions at times of elections and referendums that prohibit us showing this section of the programme at this moment in time. We will be able to show it once the polls close have closed on Thursday," a Sky spokesperson told Engadget.
In March, the regulator warned broadcasters that they'd need to take care when covering May's local elections and the subsequent Brexit vote. Section Five (which focuses on Due Impartiality) and Section Six (covering Elections and Referendums) of Ofcom's Code contain guidelines that are designed stop companies like Sky from influencing the public vote. Satirical content is allowed on UK TV networks during these times, but Oliver's delivery is very much political opinion based on facts, rather than straight humour.
By the way, the fact vs. satire distinction strikes me as particularly bizarre and arbitrary.
When will folks realize that such speech limitations are crafted by politicians to cravenly protect themselves from criticism. Take that Citizens United decision. Hillary Clinton has perhaps been most vociferous in her opposition to it, saying that if President she will appoint Supreme Court judges that will overturn it. But note the specific Citizens United case was about whether a documentary critical of .... Hillary Clinton could be aired. So Clinton is campaigning that when she takes power, she will change the Constitution so that she personally cannot be criticized. And the sheeple on the Left nod and cheer as if shielding politicians from accountability is somehow "progressive."
Why Don't Progressives Use Their Power as Hedge Fund Customers to Challenge Hedge Fund Compensation?
Kevin Drum observes that the top 25 hedge fund managers earned $13 billion in total, including one hapless dude who made $250 million despite losing money and shutting down the fund.
I will say that I have always scratched my head over asset manager compensation. The tradition is that they get paid as a percentage of assets managed, sometimes with a percentage of the profits as well but never taking a percentage of the losses. Perhaps this made some sense with smaller pools of money, but today with huge pools of money, the same old percentages yield ludicrous compensation results. I certainly understand why the managers would defend this compensation scheme, but why do customers accept it?
This reminds me of real estate broker compensation. The tradition when I grew up is that the seller paid 6%, about half of which went to the seller's broker and half to the buyer's broker. For years that 6% was etched in stone and no one broke ranks -- the agents were pretty good at maintaining the cartel, and the government helped by putting the force of law behind broker licensing that helped keep the agent supply down. But as home prices kept increasing, people started noticing that while 6% of $100,000 may have made some sense as reasonable compensation, 6% of $2 million was absurd, especially since a $2 million home was not even close to 20x harder to sell. So people, initially savvy high net worth folks, and later everyone, began negotiating the 6%. I have negotiated this number on every home I have sold since the mid-1990s.
I am not really knowledgeable about the asset management business -- in some sense I have negotiated my commission by choosing to put all my money in low-fee Vanguard funds. How does the asset management business hold the line on fees, particularly when they are in a business where it is so easy to measure their relative performance, and presumably pay them based on this performance?
Which got me to thinking about the customers of hedge funds. Aren't many of these customers progressive or controlled by progressives? Hedge funds have been very successful marketing to university endowments, non-profit foundations, and public pension funds -- aren't these institutions often controlled by progressives, or at least left-liberals? Aren't a disproportionate share of the very high net worth Hollywood and billionaire types who invest in hedge funds also progressive or liberal? Heck, Hillary Clinton's son-in-law ran a hedge fund until recently. So why don't these folks get together and instead of worrying about whether their portfolios are invested in Israel or Exxon or some other progressive bette noir, why don't they agree to a set of principles as to how they are going to pay for their asset management services in the future, and stick to these? I say that progressives should get together, because they are politically passionate about this, but I can't think of any good reason why good libertarians or conservatives wouldn't happily join in to reduce their fees.
I understand that to the extent that there are black swan hedge funds that beat the market year in and year out, these folks will be hard to challenge as they can probably write their own terms. But for the other 99% of hedge funds, why not use the power progressives already have as customers before we start talking about various government hammers.
PS- I will put my two cents in. I think the new Mother Jones site design is awful.
I am not sure that many politicians are good on this score, but Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are likely as bad as it gets on crony capitalism. Forget their policy positions, which are steeped in government interventionism in the economy, but just look at their personal careers. Each have a long history of taking advantage of political power to enrich themselves and their business associates. I am not sure what Cruz meant when he said "New York values", but both Trump and Clinton are steeped in the New York political economy, where one builds a fortune through political connections rather than entrepreneurial vigor. Want to build a new parking lot next to your casino or start up a new energy firm -- you don't bother with private investors or arms length transactions, you go to the government.
With that in mind, I particularly liked Don Buudreaux's quote of the day:
First, we labor under a ubiquitous threat of being shackled by crony capitalists. [Adam] Smith wondered how internally stable a free market could be in the face of a tendency for its political infrastructure to decay into crony capitalism. (The phrase “crony capitalism” is not Smith’s. I use it to refer to various of Smith’s targets: mercantilists who lobby for tariffs and other trade barriers, monopolists who pay kings for a license to be free from competition altogether, and so on.) Partnerships between big business and big government lead to big subsidies, monopolistic licensing practices, and tariffs. These ways of compromising freedom have been and always will be touted as protecting the middle class, but their true purpose is (and almost always will be) to transfer wealth and power from ordinary citizens to well-connected elites
A common thread running through the tens of thousands of emails that landed in Hillary Clinton’s in-box in her time as secretary of state is that aides and assorted advisers believe she is, well, awesome.
With a few exclamation points tacked on.
In notes sent to the private email account Mrs. Clinton used, various advisers routinely heap praise on the person who gave them their jobs or elevated them to her inner circle. Email flattery of this sort is a common tactic in the everyday workplace, but the Clinton emails show how it comes into play at the highest levels of government.
Employees tell Mrs. Clinton she is doing a “spectacular job,” that she has many admirers and that her remarks were “pitch perfect.” They assure her she looks “gorgeous” in photos and commend her clothing choices.
Look, I guess everyone has their own leadership style but from my experience it is a terrible idea to promote this kind of thing in one's organization.
Why? Well, my organization has 350 people in it. We can either think with just one person (me), working to improve our operations, or we can think with 350. Those 349 other people know many of the ways in which we are screwing up and can improve -- the problem is getting them to come forward with those ideas. And getting them to do so is far less likely if we are maintaining some sort of North Korean style personality cult of the CEO.
I have written about this before, but it's why I consider my Ivy League degrees to be a negative in running the company. Many of my employees have only a high school education (at best) and are intimidated in bringing up an idea or telling me I am screwing up because they assume since I have these Ivy League degrees I must be smarter than they are and know what I am doing. But in their particular job, in terms of my knowledge of what they see every day from customers and operationally, I am dumb as a post and completely ignorant.
Anyone who has worked for me for more than a few months can likely quote my favorite line which I use in most of my employee talks -- "If you see something that seems screwed up, don't assume Warren is smarter than you and wants it that way, assume that Warren is screwing up and needs to be told."
Postscript: This sort of flattery also makes me deeply uncomfortable on a personal level, so much so I have a hard time understanding people who revel in it. I once had an employee that could not stop with this sort of personal flattery, and eventually we ended up terminating them. We terminated them for other good reasons, but I must admit to being relieved when they left.
Chicago police's use of a warehouse at Honan Square to detain suspects for secret interrogations just gets worse and worse.
Police “disappeared” more than 7,000 people at an off-the-books interrogation warehouse in Chicago, nearly twice as many detentions as previously disclosed, the Guardian can now reveal....
According to an analysis of data disclosed to the Guardian in late September, police allowed lawyers access to Homan Square for only 0.94% of the 7,185 arrests logged over nearly 11 years. That percentage aligns with Chicago police’s broader practice of providing minimal access to attorneys during the crucial early interrogation stage, when an arrestee’s constitutional rights against self-incrimination are most vulnerable.
But Homan Square is unlike Chicago police precinct houses, according to lawyers who described a “find-your-client game” and experts who reviewed data from the latest tranche of arrestee records obtained by the Guardian.
“Not much shakes me in this business – baby murder, sex assault, I’ve done it all,” said David Gaeger, an attorney whose client was taken to Homan Square in 2011 after being arrested for marijuana. “That place was and is scary. It’s a scary place. There’s nothing about it that resembles a police station. It comes from a Bond movie or something.”
For whatever reason, the story does not seem to be able to generate much national heat, as partially evidenced by the fact that it takes a UK newspapers to show any initiative on the story. The Right fetishizes law enforcement, the Left refuses to take on a powerful public union, and the city is run by a mayor with powerful connections to both the President and Hillary Clinton, so essentially no one is interested.
By the way, most of these folks are being held for hours or days due to drug possession arrests (5386 of the 7000+), yet another indicator of why the war on drugs has become so stupid and counter-productive.
The West Has A Continuous History of Becoming more Liberal Only Because We Have Changed the Definition of "Liberal"
Kevin Drum writes, "the entire Western world has been moving inexorably in a liberal direction for a couple of centuries."
If this is true, it is only because the definition of "liberal" has changed. After becoming increasingly less authoritarian and intrusive and controlling for hundreds of years, government is again becoming far more authoritarian and intrusive. Only with a change in the definition of "liberal" over time can one consider attempting to ban, for example, the eating of certain types of foods as "liberal"
Until a few years ago, I would have said that Drum was right that there is a continuity of liberalization in the social realm. I celebrate the increasing acceptance of differences, from race to sexuality. But even here people who call themselves "liberal" are demanding authoritarian limitations on speech and expression, try to enforce a dictatorship of hurt feelings.
The whole post of his is a really interesting insight into the Progressive mind. Apparently, the (purported) lack of compromise in government is the fault of just one of the two sides. I am not sure how that is possible, but that seems to be the Progressive position (you will find an equal number of folks on the Right who believe the same thing, though they blame the opposite group).
Essentially, you can see in this post the strong Progressive belief that the default mode of government is to constantly generate new prohibitions, rules, strictures, taxes, regulations, and penalties. And that anyone who stands in the way of this volume production of new legal entanglements must be overcome, even if one has to break the law to do it.
A few days ago Matt Yglesisas wrote a #Slatepitch piece arguing that Hillary Clinton "is clearly more comfortable than the average person with violating norms and operating in legal gray areas"—and that's a good thing. In a nutshell, Democrats can't get anything done through Congress, so they need someone willing to do whatever it takes to get things done some other way. And that's Hillary. "More than almost anyone else around, she knows where the levers of power lie, and she is comfortable pulling them, procedural niceties be damned."
Unsurprisingly, conservatives were shocked. Shocked! Liberals are fine with tyranny! Today Matt responded in one of his periodic newsletters:
A system of government based on the idea of compromises between two independently elected bodies will only work if the leaders of both bodies want to compromise. Congressional Republicans have rejected any form of compromise, so an effective Democratic president is going to try to govern through executive unilateralism. I don't think this is a positive development, but it's the only possible development.
So Democrats are within their rights to lie, cheat and steal -- to do whatever it takes -- to break through the gridlock. I wonder: The worst gridlock this country has ever had was in the 1850's, when no compromise could be found on slavery. If Democrats are empowered today to lie, cheat, steal to break the gridlock, should they have been similarly empowered in 1850?
Of course, no one would want that. But it raises an important point. If you define the game as one with nietzsche-ist / Machiavellian rules, no one ever seems to consider that it is just as likely the other side will win as yours will. In fact, if you truly represent liberality, I am not sure this kind of anything-goes game is stacked in favor of the truly liberal players.
For folks who think that the end justifies the means here, and that we need to break the rule of law in order to save it, I would offer this paraphrase to an old saying: you can't sell your soul and have it too.
More than 60 ultra-rich Americans have contributed to both Jeb Bush’s and Hillary Clinton’s federal campaigns, according to an analysis of Federal Election Commission data by Vocativ and The Daily Beast. Seventeen of those contributors have gone one step further and opened their wallets to fund both Bush’s and Clinton’s 2016 ambitions.
After all, why support just Hillary Clinton or just Jeb Bush when you can hedge your bets and donate to both? This seems to be the thinking of a group of powerful men and women—racetrack owners, bankers, media barons, chicken magnates, hedge funders (and their spouses). Some of them have net worths that can eclipse the GDPs of small countries.
Ideology, policy prescriptions, legislative plans -- nothing matters except influence. This will always happen as long as we give politicians so much power. Its why the Coke and Pepsi party look so similar today. At least a few people are noticing:
Is there a single person alive who believes that corporations, trade associations, NGOs, unions, and the like pay the Clintons enormous sums for speeches because they believe their members actually want to hear the Clintons say the same tedious talking points they have been spewing for years? If that were the only value received no profit-minded enterprise would pay the Clintons these vast fees because they would earn, well, a shitty rate of return.
No, the Clintons are not paid to speak. Businesses and other interest groups pay them for the favor of access at a crucial moment or a thumb on the scale in the future, perhaps when it is time to renew the Ex-Im Bank or at a thousand other occasions when a nod might divert millions of dollars from average people in to the pockets of the crony capitalists. The speaking is just a ragged fig leaf, mostly to allow their allies in the media to say they “earned” the money for “speaking,” which is, after all, hard work.
We have such people as the Clintons (and the tens of thousands of smaller bore looters who have turned the counties around Washington, D.C. in to the richest in the country) because they and their ilk in both parties have transformed the federal government of the United States in to a vast favors factory, an invidious place that not only picks winners and losers and decides the economic fates of millions of people, but which has persuaded itself that this is all quite noble. Instead, the opposite is true: This entire class of people, of which the Clintons are a most ugly apotheosis, are destroying the country while claiming it is all in the “public service.” It is disgusting. We need to say that, at least, out loud. . . .
Tear down the aristocracy of pull. This may be our last chance.
My contention is that what drives most progressives, at a very fundamental level, is a deep conservatism. Of course, most “progressives” would freak if they were called conservative, but what I mean by conservative in this context is not donate-to-Jesse-Helms capital-C Conservative but fearful of change and uncomfortable with uncertainty conservative.
Because capitalism is based so completely on individual decision-making, because its operation is inherently chaotic, and because its rewards can’t possibly be divided equally and still be “rewards”, progressives are hugely uncomfortable with it. Ironically, though progressives want to posture at being “dynamic”, it turns out that capitalism is in fact too dynamic for them. Industries rise and fall, jobs are won and lost, recessions give way to booms. Progressives want comfort and certainty. They want to lock things down the way they are. They want to know that such and such job will be there tomorrow and next decade, and will always pay at least X amount. Which is why, in the end, progressives are all statists, because only a government with totalitarian powers can bring the order and certainty and control of individual decision-making that they crave..
Progressive elements in this country have always tried to freeze commerce, to lock this country’s economy down in its then-current patterns. Progressives in the late 19th century were terrified the American economy was shifting from agriculture to industry. They wanted to stop this, to cement in place patterns where 80-90% of Americans worked on farms. I, for one, am glad they failed, since for all of the soft glow we have in this country around our notion of the family farmer, farming was and can still be a brutal, dawn to dusk endeavor that never really rewards the work people put into it....
I am sure, if asked, most progressives would profess to desire iPod’s and cures for cancer. But they want these without the incentives that drive men to invent them, and the disruption to current markets and competitors and employees that their introduction entails. They want to end poverty without wealth creation, they want jobs without employers, they want cars without unemployment for buggy whip makers.
In her first major economic policy address of the 2016 campaign, Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton raised questions about the effect that companies like Uber and Airbnb are having on American workers. . . .
Later in the speech, Clinton vowed to “crack down on bosses who exploit employees by misclassifying them as contractors” — a possible reference to something like the recent California Labor Commission decision that threatens to undermine Uber’s business model.
To be sure, Clinton does not want to destroy the sharing economy. She acknowledged that “these trends are real” and “none is going away.” But she may believe that, with the right application of political muscle, the new economy can be forced to conform with the antiquated blue social model — that is, the midcentury vision of steady, regulated, unionized employment with generous benefits.
As we have argued again and again, this notion is unrealistic. Like it or not, this 1950s model of economic organization is breaking down, and has been for several decades, thanks to globalization, demographic changes, technological innovation, and other trends that simply cannot be reversed. Measures like the California decision are futile and counterproductive. We should treat the emergence of a more entrepreneurial, dynamic landscape as an opportunity to be engaged with productively, not a danger to be henpecked by regulations better suited to the last century.
I think any opposition to free speech, particularly as exercised in an election, is unseemly, but Hillary Clinton's attacks on the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision are particularly so.
Why? Well to understand, we have to remember what the Citizens United case actually was. Over time, the decision has been shorthanded as the one that allows free corporate spending in elections, but this was not actually the situation at hand in the case. I could probably find a better source, but I am lazy and the Wikipedia summary is fine for my purposes:
In the case, the conservative lobbying group Citizens United wanted to air a film critical of Hillary Clinton and to advertise the film during television broadcasts in apparent violation of the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (commonly known as the McCain–Feingold Act or "BCRA"). Section 203 of BCRA defined an "electioneering communication" as a broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that mentioned a candidate within 60 days of a general election or 30 days of a primary, and prohibited such expenditures by corporations and unions.
Yes, the Supreme Court generalized the decision to all corporations and unions (good for them) but the narrow issue in the case was whether an independent non-profit group could air a negative film about Hillary Clinton in the run-up to an election in which she was a candidate.
So when Hillary Clinton derides the Citizens United decision, she is arguing that the government should have used its powers to suppress a film critical of her personally. She is trying to protect herself from criticism.
This is the personality of the people we are electing to higher office. They have such an urge for control that they will not allow cell phone pictures taken of them in public. By personality, these people have to control everything. Is it really any surprise when they turn around and read our email?
From the article at the fabulous Photography is Not a Crime:
Hillary Clinton’s henchmen snatched a smartphone from a man who had photographed her giving a speech in Miami Thursday, deleting the image before returning the phone.
“That’s American politics,” one of the individuals in charge of preventing the presidential hopeful from being photographed told a Miami Herald reporter covering the meeting.
No, that’s Russian politics. Or Chinese politics. Or Cuban politics.
By the way (and I could be wrong here) Carlos Miller strikes me as much more Occupy than Tea Party in his political preferences. But he obviously doesn't pull any punches on his issue (legality of public photography) when his team is involved.
Many legal academics claimed that courts should serve as fire walls
against the conflagration of fear. When the government locks someone
up, the courts should realize that in many cases either government
officials have panicked or are violating someone's civil liberties
merely to assure frightened citizens that something is being done. For
that reason, courts should treat the government's justifications with
skepticism, and never ever trust the executive branch.
These arguments have not yet surfaced in the current crisis. The
specter of fear is everywhere, not just on Wall Street. And the scale
of the government's reaction is no less than what it was after
9/11"”that is what probably scares ordinary people the most. Yet no one
who believes that the government exploited fears after 9/11 to
strengthen its security powers is now saying that the government is
exploiting financial crisis fears in order to justify taking control of
credit markets. No one who thinks that government would use fear to
curtail civil liberties seems to think that government would use fear
to curtail economic liberties. Why not?
No one, except me of course. From my October 1 discourse with a Democratic friend:
I find it surprising that you take this administration
on faith in its declaration of emergency in the financial sector.
You've lamented for years about the "rush to war" and GWB's scare
tactics that pushed, you felt, the nation into a war it should not be
fighting, all over threats of WMD's that we could never find. You
lamented Democrats like Hillary Clinton "falling for this" in Congress
But now the mantra is the same - rush, rush, hurry, hurry, fear,
fear, emergency, emergency. Another GWB declared crisis in which the
country needs to give the administration unlimited power without
accountability and, of course, stacks of taxpayer dollars to spend. A
decision that has to be made fast, without time for deliberation.
Another $700 billion commitment. And here the Democrats go again.
Jeez, these guys may have the majority in Congress but it is sure easy
for GWB to push their buttons when he wants to. Heck, Pelosi is acting
practically as the Republican Whip to get GWB's party in line.
This is Iraq without the body bags, and without the personal honor
of brave soldiers in the trenches to give the crisis some kind of
Justin Wolfers asks:
You probably recall Hillary Clinton turning anti-economist in the dying days of her campaign:
"Well I'll tell you what, I'm not going to put my lot in with economists."
And more recently John McCain has jumped aboard:
"I trust the people and not the so-called economists to give the American people a little relief."
Honestly, I don't get it.
There is a very simple answer here. Economists are people who say that you can't have your cake and eat it too. As this is the core of the politician's populist message, they don't want anyone calling their bluff.
More on not wanting to hear the science here.
Update: One other thought, vis a vis climate and economics. Obama, I suppose, would be one to argue that the science of catastrophic global warming is "settled." But does he really think it is more settled than, say, the science that free trade leads to general increases in prosperity? The left is all for the sanctity of science, except in economics.
As a libertarian, I don't really have a horse in the race, but what is it with the NY Times editorial page? Apparently, the right doesn't like the conservative writers, and Kevin Drum makes it clear that the left can be embarrassed by the liberal writers there:
I generally try not to read Maureen Dowd's columns because, you
know, they just don't pay me enough for that kind of hazard duty. But
today's column about Hillary Clinton was a train wreck of epic
proportions. I couldn't avert my eyes. Here's the final sentence:
she makes a last frenzied and likely futile attempt to crush the
butterfly [i.e., Barack Obama], it's as though she's crushing the
remnants of her own girlish innocence.
This would be
embarrassing coming from a 12-year-old. Shouldn't Dowd have an obscure
blog, not a biweekly column in the greatest newspaper in the world?
It has already been reprinted around most of the freedom-loving portions of the blogosphere, but in case you have missed this quote from Hillary Clinton:
We need a president who is ready on Day 1 to be commander in chief of our economy.
Also revealed by Hillary: John Galt has been captured and has been offered Wesley Mouch's job.
This photo (via Maggie's Farm) shows life in the United States during a time when the US emitted more CO2 than Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and other greens want to set as the new emissions cap. In 1940, the US emitted about 33% of 1990 levels of CO2, vs. the green's target of 20%.
For years, protectionists in this country have tried to argue that "oh, I am really for free trade, but to be fair we must impose environmental and labor standards on our trading partners." Well, now Europe is proposing doing exactly the same to us:
The European Commission is considering proposing a
carbon dioxide tariff on imports from states failing to tackle
greenhouse gas emissions, while also considering a toughening-up of the
EU's own emission trading system....
The plan reflects pressure by French president Nicolas Sarkozy who
argued in October that Europe should "examine the option of taxing
products imported from countries that do not respect the Kyoto
Protocol," referring to the 1997 international agreement on fighting
Mr Sarkozy urged Brussels to discuss the implications of "unfair
competition" by firms outside the EU, which do not have to abide by
strict European standards on CO2 emissions.
This letter from Don Boudreaux seems relevant:
Hillary Clinton needs a
language lesson. She favors only trade that is found by government to
"benefit our workers and our economy" and that promotes "rising
standards of living across the world" ("Full Transcript: Hillary Clinton Interview," December 3; my emphasis). She then asserts that "There is nothing
protectionist about this."
exists whenever, wherever, and whyever government artificially raises
its citizens' costs of buying imports. Protectionism has forever
rested on the false notion that government officials know best how
consumers should spend their money. And it attempts today to hide its
ugly face behind the smiling mask of allegedly noble intentions, such
as those mouthed by Sen. Clinton.
The title of his post is "The Moment Somone Must Explain that He or She Isn't a Protectionist, You Can Bank on that Person Being a Protectionist."
A labor dispute which has darkened US light entertainment and chat
shows claimed another victim on Wednesday, forcing the cancellation of
a CBS News debate among Democratic White House hopefuls.
The debate, scheduled for Los Angeles on December 10, was nixed
after candidates including Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama said they
would refuse to cross a picket line that the Writers Guild of America
Union had threatened to set up.
"CBS News regrets not being able to offer the Democratic
presidential debate scheduled for Dec. 10 in Los Angeles," CBS said in
"The possibility of picket lines set up by the Writers Guild of
America and the unwillingness of many candidates to cross them made it
necessary to allow the candidates to make other plans."
Since the writers have nothing to do with the debate (presumably, unless Hillary's question-writing shills are part of the guild) then their picketing the debate makes no more sense than if, say, the meat packers were picketing. Is the winning candidate going to refuse to enter the White House if any union is picketing out front? As Ed Morrissey points out, this does not bode well for any of the candidates being able to stand up to special interests as president.
Update: Next up, Democratic candidates to commit to not hire anyone for their administration who did not attend a government-run, NEA-unionized high school.
Regular readers know that I am a critic of the Bush administration for any number of failings, perhaps most importantly its flaunting of the separation of powers and its attempts to avoid scrutiny by hiding behind the war and calls on patriotism. In this post, aimed mostly at the drift in the Republican party, I threw in this observation:
in response to a Republican President thought to be over-reaching,
secretive, and overly fond of executive power, they seem ready to
nominate Hillary Clinton, who may be one of the few people in the
country more secretive and power-hungry. Anyone remember how she
conducted her infamous health care task force? I seem to remember she
pioneered many of the practices for which Democrats tried to impeach
Dick Cheney this week.
Q&O links an article from the National Review which goes further on Hillary:
If grumbling about a basketball story seems excessive, it's also
typical of the Clinton media machine. Reporters who have covered the
hyper-vigilant campaign say that no detail or editorial spin is too
minor to draw a rebuke. Even seasoned political journalists describe
reporting on Hillary as a torturous experience. Though few dare offer
specifics for the record--"They're too smart," one furtively confides.
"They'll figure out who I am"--privately, they recount excruciating
battles to secure basic facts. Innocent queries are met with deep
suspicion. Only surgically precise questioning yields relevant answers.
Hillary's aides don't hesitate to use access as a blunt instrument, as
when they killed off a negative GQ story on the campaign by
threatening to stop cooperating with a separate Bill Clinton story the
magazine had in the works. Reporters' jabs and errors are long
remembered, and no hour is too odd for an angry phone call. Clinton
aides are especially swift to bypass reporters and complain to top
editors. "They're frightening!" says one reporter who has covered
Clinton. "They don't see [reporting] as a healthy part of the process.
They view this as a ruthless kill-or-be-killed game."...
It's enough to make you suspect that breeding fear and paranoia within
the press corps is itself part of the Clinton campaign's strategy. And,
if that sounds familiar, it may be because the Clinton machine, say
reporters and pro-Hillary Democrats, is emulating nothing less than the
model of the Bush White House, which has treated the press with thinly
veiled contempt and minimal cooperation. "The Bush administration
changed the rules," as one scribe puts it--and the Clintonites like the
way they look. (To be sure, no one accuses the Clinton team of outright
lying to the press, as the Bushies have done, or of crossing other
ethical lines. And reporters say other press shops--notably those of
Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards--are also highly combative.)
The only quibble I have is the distinction that Hillary is not lying, but Bush is. That seems, at least to this libertarian, to be a silly statement. There is no reason to believe Hillary is any more or less mendacious than GWB. Though I will say, with the right audience, Hillary can be surprisingly honest and open about her aims:
10/11/2007: "I have a million ideas. The country can't afford them all."
June, 2004: "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common
good," she told San Franciscans in June 2004. As first lady, she said:
"We must stop thinking of the individual and start thinking about what
is best for society."
I have written a number of times about the growing ranks of RVers who have completely abandoned a permanent address and spend their entire life on the road. I know these folks because I hire about 400 of them every summer to run our campgrounds and recreational facilities. It is a fascinating subculture, that in some ways mirrors the habits of a great nomadic tribe that roams all over the country but comes together in a few camps to meet and interact in the winter (e.g. Colorado River between Yuma and Quartzite). The numbers are large:
The Census says more than 105,000 Americans live full-time in RVs,
boats or vans, though one RV group says the number is more like half a
million. Because of their nomadic ways, pinning down their number with
any certainty is difficult.
The AP has an article about how difficult it is becoming for some of these folks to vote, since a number of states are beginning to require a permanent physical address (most of these folks have PO Boxes run by companies that forward their mail).
A total of 286 people who live full-time in their recreational vehicles
were dropped from the voter rolls in one Tennessee county over the past
two years because they did not have a genuine home address, only a
mailbox. That has left them unable to vote in national or local
But some elections officials say that voters should have a real
connection to the place where they are casting ballots, and that RVers
are registering in certain states simply to avoid taxes. Some of them
rarely, if ever, set foot in those states.
I guess they need a real connection to their state, kind of like, say, Hillary Clinton had to New York when she ran for the Senate there. I know that the immediate reaction from many of you may be that this is
somehow weird and, being weird, it is OK to lock them out of voting.
But I can attest these folks are all quite normal people who are
seduced by the ability to live anywhere they want, on the spur of the
moment, and who revel in being able to simplify their life enough to
fit all their worldly goods into an RV and hit the road.
This part is total BS:
David Ellis, the former Bradley County Election Commission director who
started removing full-time RVers, said they have no connection to the
area and are simply "dodging their responsibility to pay their fair
share" of taxes.
RVers pay taxes in the states in which they work, not in their home state (just like everyone else, by the way). RVers, who rent their living site, pay the same property taxes (ie zero) that any other renter pays.
For the record, none of my folks have reported a problem. However, these problems are just going to get worse. Crackdowns both on illegal immigration and hypothesized terrorism are making more difficult to complete any number of basic tasks, like banking, without a permanent physical address.
I almost never ever post on politics and political races, but I had an interesting conversation the other day. As a secular libertarian, I find no one (beyond Ron Paul) among the Republican candidates even the least bit interesting. I trust none of them to pursue free market and small government principals, and several, including McCain, Giuliani, and Huckabee, have track records of large government intrusiveness.
What I found interesting was a conversation with a friend of mine who self-identifies as a Christian conservative (yes, I know it is out of vogue, but it is perfectly possible to have quality friendships with people of different political stripes, particularly considering that I am married to a New England liberal Democrat). My Christian conservative friend said he found no Republican he was really interested in voting for.
I find it interesting that the Republicans (again with the exception of Ron Paul, who I think they would like to disavow) unable to field a candidate that appeals to either of its traditional constituencies. It strikes me the party is heading back to its roots in the 1970s in the Nixon-Rockefeller days. Yuk.
Update: Which isn't to necessarily say the Democrats have everything figured out. For example, in response to a Republican President thought to be over-reaching, secretive, and overly fond of executive power, they seem ready to nominate Hillary Clinton, who may be one of the few people in the country more secretive and power-hungry. Anyone remember how she conducted her infamous health care task force? I seem to remember she pioneered many of the practices for which Democrats tried to impeach Dick Cheney this week.