A different take on CSNY’s “Ohio.”
How government wrecked it:
I’m pretty alert to such problems these days. Soap doesn’t work. Toilets don’t flush. Clothes washers don’t clean. Light bulbs don’t illuminate. Refrigerators break too soon. Paint discolors. Lawnmowers have to be hacked. It’s all caused by idiotic government regulations that are wrecking our lives one consumer product at a time, all in ways we hardly notice.
It’s like the barbarian invasions that wrecked Rome, taking away the gains we’ve made in bettering our lives. It’s the bureaucrats’ way of reminding market producers and consumers who is in charge.
At some point, in ways large and small, people will revolt.
We treat technological progress as though it were a natural process, and we speak of Moore’s law — computers’ processing power doubles every two years — as though it were one of the laws of thermodynamics. But it is not an inevitable, natural process. It is the outcome of a particular social order.
Which reminds me of the Heinlein quote:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as “bad luck.”
Kevin’s new book just came out this week.
…to the back of the plane:
Aldrin said tonight in front of a packed house in a National Geographic auditorium in Washington D.C. that he presumed he might have a chance to speak with the President about options for space during the flight to Kennedy.
But it didn’t happen. President Obama had nothing to say to the moonwalker and didn’t seem to want to hear anything from Aldrin on the long flight to Florida. So Aldrin sat in the back of Air Force One and never saw Obama – until it landed.
When it landed, Aldrin said he was summoned to the front of the plane. But he found out it was not to talk about space policy. Instead, President Obama wanted Aldrin to emerge from Air Force One next to Obama for a photo op. The moonwalker was to be a mere prop.
I’m shocked, shocked.
Actually, despite the myth, the president has always struck me as a very intellectually incurious man. And this puts the lie, I think, to his comments about how he supports the space program because he remembers the astronauts coming back as a kid in Hawaii. He doesn’t give a damn about space, which is a good thing, because if he did, he’d screw it up like everything else he’s passionate about.
[Update a few minutes later]
Stand by for one of the usual sycophants of The One to stop by and call Buzz a liar in 3…2…1…
[Update late afternoon]
Anyone who wants to buy Buzz’s (and Leonard’s) new book can help me out as well by buying it through this link.
Oh, and that story about Buzz punching out Bart Sibrel a decade or so ago? It’s a hoax.
My spam filter just caught this comment, from an anonymous someone with a probably made-up gmail address: “Yeah, Rand, f**k you and f**k your affiliate link.”
Note: I added the asterisks, in case anyone was wondering.
I’m not sure to make of that. Why would my trying to make a little money off my website by selling products that my readers might find interesting make someone so angry?
Ron Fournier, in a piece describing his opinion of the danger of Benghazi to Barry and Hillary, writes:
Credibility is Clinton’s vulnerability, dating to the unjustified financial accusations that triggered the Whitewater investigation.
On what basis does he claim they were “unjustified”? They were perfectly justified, as anyone who reads Ray’s report can attest. Contrary to popular myth, he didn’t exonerate either her or her husband. All he said was that he didn’t have sufficient evidence to assure a conviction, particularly given how politicized any trial would have been (he saw what happened to Susan McDougal, and knew that he’d be almost guaranteed a hung jury if he took them to trial).
[Update a while later]
Here’s the AP story at the time. The lede:
Independent Counsel Robert Ray concluded in his final Whitewater report that the Clintons’ land venture benefited from criminal transactions but that there was insufficient evidence to prove the former president or his wife engaged in wrongdoing.
Not “no evidence.” “Insufficient evidence to prove [beyond a reasonable doubt].” David Kendall called it an “exoneration,” but that doesn’t make it one. It’s exactly what you’d expect their lawyer to say. That he didn’t want to waste more time and money on a trial that would likely have hung a jury doesn’t mean that we should consider them innocent. “Innocent until proven guilty” applies to the justice system, not the court of public opinion. They were guilty as sin, but got off because they were popular among the amoral or the ignorant. And that includes the senators who refused to remove him in the impeachment trial.
[Update early afternoon]
And just to remind people of what the accusations were:
Part of the investigation focused on a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan that a Little Rock judge claimed he was pressured by Clinton to make to the McDougals, who operated the failed Madison Guaranty S&L.
“Insufficient evidence also exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Governor Clinton knew of or approved” the loan, Ray’s report said.
“There is some evidence that Governor Clinton knew or should have known that Jim McDougal was not conducting Madison Guaranty’s affairs as required by banking rules,” it said.
The report related an incident in which the Arkansas banking commissioner told Clinton in 1983 that there were problems at Madison. The report said Clinton told the commissioner to do whatever was necessary and not to worry about politics.
The report also focused extensively on Mrs. Clinton’s legal work on an Arkansas land development called Castle Grande that was being operated by Jim McDougal and partly financed by his failed S&L. The former first lady is now a senator representing New York.
Mrs. Clinton’s legal work on the project wasn’t disclosed until 1996, when her law firm billing records, which had been subpoenaed earlier in the case, were found in the White House family residence.
Prosecutors investigated whether there was an attempt to obstruct justice by hiding the records. The report said, “The evidence gathered could not exclude the possibility that Mrs. Clinton put the billing records in Room 319A.” It noted that she gave sworn testimony “denying placing them in Room 319A or knowing how they got there.”
Much of the evidence about Mrs. Clinton’s activity as a lawyer for McDougal could have been laid out in a trial of her law firm partner, former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell. Hubbell avoided trial by pleading guilty to a felony.
The inspector general’s office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. concluded that Mrs. Clinton helped draft a legal document on Castle Grande, which was later used by the S&L to mislead federal bank examiners.
But other than all that, probably perjury and all, the investigation was “unjustified.”
They should be toppled:
We should respond in scale to violations of international law, whether at our expense or not, and opportunistically move to make an example of such regimes when they so mismanage their affairs as to lose control of their own countries. When these awful governments can be eliminated easily, do it. Instead, we have helped destabilize and bring down the Shah of Iran, President Mubarak of Egypt, and President Musharraf of Pakistan, who were allies, however far removed they may have been from replicating the state of Connecticut or the kingdom of Denmark in their own affairs. And we have given the ayatollahs a pass for a brutally stolen election in Iran and waffled inelegantly for years over Syria. This, of course, summarizes the contrasting errors of the George W. Bush and Obama administrations: Bush stumbled into nation-building and Obama has tried and failed to make deals with Iran and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.
In terms of foreign policy, the Bush administration’s biggest failing was that there seemed to be no strategy once Saddam was removed, when he should have taken the opportunity to pressure the mullahs in Iran. And the Obama administration’s naive approach to Tehran has been worse than feckless.
Seven things we learned. Too bad we couldn’t learn it before the election.
[Update a few minutes later]
And the Pentagon continues to stonewall.
[Update a few more minutes later]
The Benghazi patsy:
A violation of probation, though, usually produces a court summons and doesn’t typically lead to more jail time unless it involves an offense that would be worth prosecuting in its own right under federal standards. Not for Nakoula.
This wasn’t a case of nailing Al Capone on tax evasion. As Nina Shea of the Hudson Institute points out, Al Capone’s underlying offense was racketeering and gangland killings. Nakoula Basseley Nakoula’s underlying offense wasn’t an underlying offense. He exercised his First Amendment rights.
His case has symbolic significance in the ongoing battle over whether the Muslim world will embrace modernity, and the panoply of freedoms associated with it, or whether it will continue to slide backward by adopting blasphemy laws punishing expressions deemed offensive to Islam. The administration has been dismayingly willing to accommodate the latter tendency. Nakoula’s jail time appears indistinguishable from what the 56-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation, devoted to pushing blasphemy laws around the world, calls “deterrent punishment” for “Islamophobia.”
His video, which did spark violent protests in the Muslim world by the kind of people who are looking for an excuse to protest, should have been an object lesson in freedom. Obama should have explained that our culture is full of disreputable film directors and producers. Some of them are even honored by the Academy.
Instead, Nakoula ended up the patsy in a tawdry coverup.
They had to maintain the narrative. As Glenn says, House investigators need to subpoena any communications between Washington and the local law enforcement in LA. Maybe we can find a whistleblower in the sheriff’s office.
You could do more for real cost control by requiring hospitals to publish fixed prices for most procedures than from any amount of bureaucratic fiddling — though such an approach would provide disappointingly few opportunities for graft.
When I got my hernia fixed last year, I didn’t just shop doctors, I shopped surgery facilities and even anesthesiologists. Because I was paying for it.
For something that was old news, we sure learned a lot of new stuff today.
[Update a while later]
So Hicks was demoted because he wouldn’t toe the party line. And now, because he’s been demoted, he’s “got an axe to grind,” so we must not believe him. Funny how that works.
World’s greatest scientist?
Well, I wouldn’t go that far, but he’s certainly head and shoulders above most of the climate crowd:
Texas A&M has a large atmospheric sciences department. On their website there are 22 tenured and tenure track faculty. What is really unusual about the department is that all the regular faculty are seemingly required to sign a global warming loyalty oath called the climate change statement. Every faculty member except one new arrival has signed. None of the lowly adjunct faculty’s names appear.
The Texas A&M atmospheric sciences department is part of the College of Geosciences. That college also houses the department of Geology and Geophysics that operates practically as a satellite of the Texas energy industry. Texas A&M has a large endowment, heavily invested in energy industries, and of course, the revenue of the state of Texas is heavily dependent on carbon burning energy industries. There are strange bedfellows in the Texas A&M College of Geosciences.
Andrew Dessler wrote his paper attacking Spencer’s paper. It zoomed through peer review in 19 days, a remarkable speed record. It was published in Geophysical Research Letters, a favored journal of the global warming establishment.
It probably didn’t matter what Dessler’s paper said or how objective it was. All that really mattered is that the climate establishment could say to the world of media and politics that Roy Spencer had been refuted. Spencer had a response on his website within 24 hours of receiving a preprint of the paper. One problem for the establishment is that Dessler is prone to go a bit wobbly and lose focus as to the main task. The main task is making skeptics like Roy Spencer look like incompetent idiots. Dessler entered into a dialog with Spencer and accepted suggestions from Spencer to correct errors and otherwise improve the paper attacking Spencer himself. Spencer felt this was a great step forward from establishment figures ignoring him or taking potshots from afar.
The global warming scientific establishment is starting to look like the final days of the Soviet Union. On the surface it appears impregnable and the dissidents are a minor problem. But the huge soviet edifice quickly collapsed when people lost their fear of the system and the functionaries stopped following orders. There came a point when everyone decided to stop living a lie. I can’t believe, for example, that every faculty member at Texas A&M is really happy about signing a climate loyalty oath.
I think the collapse may be nigh.
There are at least five of them.
I have a feeling that the administration would like to see them continue to go unsolved, because the truth will not reflect well on them.
Obama tells students, hey, don’t sweat this tyranny stuff. Big Brother Barack loves you!
As others point out, this experiment in self government was born from a justified fear and rejection of tyranny. Yeah, what would George Washington, John Adams or James Madison know about tyranny? And then there’s this wingnut:
Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and those will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.
Man, that black guy, Fred Douglas, must be one of those crazy militia types.
Jonah has more thoughts:
I like America’s instinctual fear of tyranny. It is single best bulwark against, you know, tyranny. It’s a bipartisan tendency by the way. Conservatives tend to fret most over government exceeding its Constitutional authority to encroach on civil society. The left tends to fret over excesses in the government’s constitutional obligation to protect our citizens from crime and foreign threats. Libertarians have an abundance of both concerns. Not surprisingly, I tend to find the left’s excesses more annoying than the right’s (“Oh no, the state is trying too hard to fight our enemies!”) but both instincts are healthy and shared to one extent or another by all Americans. It is the fundamental dogma of Americanness and I for one would hate to see it erode further.
It’s just another facet of the president’s lack of understanding of the founding principles, and his deep aversion to limited government and Constitutional principles.
A lot of people, including me, have accused the administration (and the Congress, when Democrats were in charge) of waging a war on business, but it’s really a war on small business and startups:
…what’s to blame for this change? A lot of things, probably. One reason, I suspect, for a job market that looks more like Europe is a regulatory and legal environment that looks more like Europe’s. High regulatory loads — the product of ObamaCare and numerous other laws — systematically harm small businesses, which can’t afford the personnel needed for compliance, to the benefit of large corporations, which can.
Likewise, higher taxes reduce the rewards for success, making people less likely to invest their money (or time) into new businesses. And local regulatory bodies, too, make starting new businesses harder.
But I wonder if the biggest problem isn’t cultural. Since 2008, this country hasn’t celebrated achievement or entrepreneurialism. Instead, we’ve heard talk about the evils of the “1%” ” about the rapaciousness of capitalism, and the importance of spreading the wealth around. We’ve even heard that work in the public sector is somehow nobler than work in the private sector.
Countries where those attitudes prevail tend not to produce as much entrepreneurialism, so it’s perhaps no surprise that as those attitudes have gained ascendance among America’s political class and media elite, we’ve seen less entrepreneurialism here.
It doesn’t bode well for the future.
You know it’s getting bad when people like Peter Beinart notice it.
I’ve lost all fear of the accusation, myself. I think it’s losing its political juice, because it’s hard to take it seriously any more, coming from these racist hypocrites.
The Founders would never have imagined such an expansion of federal police powers and crimes. Most of it is probably unconstitutional, under the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Time to resurrect them.
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