Monday, April 20, 2015

Why Does Economy Feels So Bad When the Numbers Are So Good?

Apart from the very real possibility that the numbers are rigged and bogus, the answer is that the numbers are meaningless.

Here is why:

Take the case of a young single person, earning, for example, $500 a week and say that his pay a few years later has gone up by 20% or $100 a week.  But if, in addition to paying more taxes on his $600 weekly earnings, he then has and is supporting a wife and three or four children, he obviously is worse, and not better off economically.

That, in a nutshell, is why growth in the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) is meaningless to most Americans.  Their individual shares of the GDP have been shrinking for decades and in recent years they have been and currently are shrinking faster than ever.

American citizens, on average, will be better off financially only if their after-tax shares of the nation's GDP increase -- in other words if dividing the nation's GDP by the number of citizens produces a higher net per capita (or per person) GDP.  That can happen only if the nation's GDP rises at a rate higher than the rate at which its population increases.

Even our inside-the-beltway dullards are awakening to the fact that the U.S. economy is growing too slowly.  But that dawning is unlikely to result in anything other than counterproductive actions.  Understanding this reality requires an understanding of the components of the GDP:

GDP = C + G + I + NX

where C is equal to all private consumption (consumer spending in the private economy), G is the sum of all government spending, I is the sum of all business spending on capital, and NX is all exports minus all imports.  

Decades of growth in government and government spending, and their recent explosive growth have resulted in severly eroding confidence and the curtailment of expanded private consumption.  This is necessarily so because government can only spend what it extracts from private individuals and businesses either through taxes or burdening them with debt.  In either case, the private sector is less willing and able to spend.

A future post will go into the details of the foregoing in greater deal but for now your not-at-all-humble blogger will offer only the following abreviated explanation of the above-stated conclusion that the governement will not act in a way that would have a positive effect on the economy:  Anything the government does almost certainly will result in more government, more government action, and more government spending -- the equivalent of shackling weights to a drowning man -- rather than doing less and thus freeing the man to climb out of the swamp.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Obama's Singular Achievement

While degrading America's military strength to the point that it no longer is adequate to protect that nation's overseas interests or to counter international threats, the current administration, by adopting Jimmy Carter's policy of talking strongly while carrying a feather duster, has created something new in the history of our country:
America today is no longer
trusted by its friends,
feared by its enemies, or 
respected by anyone.

Congratulations and thank you Mr. Obama, Mr. Kerry, and Mrs. Clinton!


Above-the-Law Judges Beneath Contempt


A panel of federal appeals court judges has again ruled that they and their fellow black robe wearers are above the law.  They have anointed themselves as a unique special class exempt from any legal consequences irrespective of how unlawful and reprehensible their official conduct or the harm it inflicts on less favored individuals.

A report on the most recent example of this self-serving  decision and some of its horrific precedents can be found here.

The argument for the exemption from accountability is that judges must be free to act as they deem best without having to fear any personal consequences.  That would be a fair socially benefit argument had the courts not eliminated similar exemptions from liability from others who in their professional capacities act for the benefit of society.

Consider as examples soldiers in combat, law enforcement officers, and physicians and surgeons.  In fact, individuals serving in those capacities have a better case for exemptions from personal legal liability for any transgressions.  Unlike judges, they have to decide how to act, and to implement their decisions on the spur of the moment and on the basis of incomplete and inaccurate information while under great stress in life-or-death situations.

Judges on the other hand have the luxurious benefit of being able to study, reflect on and consider, and decide on matters before them when they choose to do so. Furthermore, the judicial process gives them the obligation and power to demand that they be presented with accurate and complete information before making a decision.   

Bottom line is that the black robed folks are called honorable but they are not.  They make rules for lesser mortals but when it comes to themselves JUSTICE MEANS JUST US!


Tomorrow Is Dependence Day


Thursday, April 9, 2015

It's About Control: the Freedom Curbing Imperative

Following up on the preceding post, the harsh penalties imposed on those who deny goods or services to individuals and events as a matter of personal choice are not motivated by a desire to make the product or service available to the refused potential customer.  In America, alternate suppliers always are available to provide the desired product or service.

Instead, the penalties are draconian as a control measure.  They are to punish anyone who refuses to toe the current politically correct line . . . anyone who insists on exercising his or her rights as a free individual by refusing to meekly submit to the control of society's self righteous elitist overlords.

Freedom might be infectious.  It therefore cannot be tolerated and must be crushed.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Tolerance For Everything But Freedom

 Discrimination, notwithstanding the current mindless onslaught against it, is a bedrock of individual liberty.  It cannot be eliminated.  Every human -- and, in fact, every living thing  -- constantly practices discrimination.

We discriminate when we select foods and drinks to consume (and which to eschew) from a vast array of available choices, when we choose which books to read, which films, television program and plays to see, broadcast programs and music to hear, products to consume, and commercial establishments to patronize.

We discriminate when we choose friends and others with whom to associate as well as whom to date and wed. 

Few of us would find life worth living without the freedom to make these discriminatory choices, and especially the last of the above-listed associational examples.

The freedom of association -- to associate with individuals we choose -- also necessarily includes the freedom to not associate with those we prefer to avoid.

There was a time in the not too distant past that the freedom of not associating was protected by the posting in many commercial establishments of signs proclaiming:
We Reserve the Right
to Refuse Service
to Anyone
Society found it necessary to limit that right because its exercise often made it impossible for members of disfavored minorities to obtain housing, adequate education, and essential public accommodations and services such as rooms, food and drink, and transportation.  And the resulting limits on denials of those things have been laudatory . . . until recently.

Overbearing bureaucrats once again are demonstrating that even good ideas can be pushed to counterproductive and even destructive extremes.  

That, for example, is what has been taking place as public (though unelected) bodies operating as "equal rights" enforcers have been coming down on the proprietors of small bakeries and catering businesses for refusing to provide goods or services to homosexual nuptials.  Such refusals of business are hardly the equivalent of denying essential goods or services to a member of a racial or ethnic minority.  The desired wedding cake or catering service is not an essential of life and is almost always available from competing businesses and alternate sources.

Nonetheless noncompliance with the bureaucratic dictates and edicts have resulted in fines so draconian that they have caused the small businesses to fail or shut down.  In addition, the proprietors and their employees have been compelled to participate in sensitivity training sessions -- forced reeducation programs along the lines envisioned by George Orwell in 1984 and actually put into practice by Stalin in the Soviet Union, Mao Tse-Tung in China, and Pol Pot in Cambodia.

If the proprietor of a business (other than one dealing in the basic essentials of life) chooses, to forgo doing business with anyone, he or she should be left alone to do so.  The reason for making such a choice is not the business of anone else.  It can be based on individual conscience, religious beliefs, personal preference, just feeling cranky, any other reason, or even personal whim or no reason at all.  That's what the freedom of association, the freedom to discriminate, is all about.

In addition, there's that pesky prohibition of involuntary servitude enshrined in and protected by the Constitution's 13th Amendment. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

More Waffling By Our Tower of Jello

Our red-line setting but ignoring POTUS (which used to denote the President of the United States) is at it again.

After more than 18 months of repeated extensions (and numerous concessions to the ayatollahs) in negotiations with Iran to prevent its development of nuclear weapons, no agreement has been reached on even a framework for further negotiations.  Despite prior assurances that there would be no further extensions of the framework talks our POTUS is again extending what he previously represented to be a firm March 31 deadline.

Among the unresolved items, according to The Wall Street Journals, are such details as the pace at which sanctions against Iran would be removed, the scope of Iran's future nuclear work, and the ability of international inspectors to access Iran's nuclear and military sites.

Is it any wonder that there are among us an increasing number of folks who view the POTUS acronym as having come to denote a Piece of Totally Useless S _ _ t?

Stacking the Judicial Deck

Eleven U.S.Ninth  Circuit Court of Appeals judges are going to decide whether ordinary Californians are going to be able to carry guns to defend themselves.

The Circuit's current chief judge will be one the panel's members.  Its other 10 members supposedly will be chosen at random from the Circuits other 25 sitting judges not recusing themselves.

The joker in the panel is that the chief judge already has voted on the matter.  He was the dissenting vote in the 2--to -1 vote of the three-judge panel upholding the right of citizens to carry arms.  He also voted to require the rehearing of the case by the 11 judge panel that he obviously hopes will vindicate his prior votes in the case.

Thus the right-to-carry starts out with one nay vote.

Does anyone think this is fair?

Keep in mind that individuals who are supposed to be addressed as honorable rarely merit that appellation.  By and large they are not bound by the rules they impose on the rest of us.

Two interesting side points:

*  Any black-robed elitist judge who wishes to do so can get a permit to carry concealed weapons, and many of them do so.  Of course their lives are more important than ours.

*  On his first day as a judge, a former law partner of your not-at-all humble blogger who had been appointed and approved to take the bench was visited by a police officer carrying a large piece of luggage.  The bag contained a collection of firearms from which the newly seated judge was invited to select one or more (at no cost) with which he might wish to defend himself if there should be a perceived need to do so.  He was advised that the collection was made up of weapons that had been seized and confiscated from their owners who were deemed -- though usually not adjudicated -- to be ineligible to possess or carry them.

Those holding a position that carries with it the right to be addressed as honorable (as well as their cronies and supporters), celebrities (even those who have been convicted of felonies), and big political campaign donors constitute one class of citizens . . . and their well being is important and entitled to protection.

As for the rest of us . . . .  Oh well.


Jounalists' Anti-Gun Bias Beats Logic

Lamestream journalists again are demonstrating how their lockstep anti-gun bias leaves them curiously lacking the curiosity and strangely stripped  of the skepticism that used to be a foundation of the fourth estate.

Over the past month the traditional media outlets have been trumpeting the results of a couple of obscure polls that purported to reveal a record decline in the percentage of American homes in which the residents has firearms.

Never mind that the polls had been conducted by telephone and that gun owners might lie because of a reluctance to share information about their guns to a strange who called them.  And ignore the fact that the same outlets chose not to report better recognized polls that showed exactly opposite results.

But even a dim bulb journalouse might be expected to question what happened to all the guns that previously were kept in the nation's homes.  Did all those durable firearms somehow vaporize or otherwise disappear into the atmosphere?  And how did those media outlets reconcile their triumphant reporting with the fact that firearms sales reached record high levels in 2013 and 2014?

The nation's press lords appear not to care about the credibility that they sacrifice by churning out blatantly illogical reports to push their ideological views.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Selma to Ferguson: A Bridge Too Far?

Americans of all hues and stripes last week were justifiably remembering the 1965 police repression of civil rights marchers in Selma at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, named, ironically, for a Confederate general and erstwhile chieftain of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. The confrontation, killing one and injuring many, was the Bloody Sunday that helped trigger the ensuing civil rights legislation providing equal protection for blacks in official America.

But, once the call for "free at last, free at last" was constitutionally registered, is it fair for all Americans now to ask, fifty years later, what black Americans have done with their vociferously and widely welcomed "freedom." Or, more to the point, what has been done to them by a liberal America in the name of "racism?"
    
Simultaneously with the Selma commemorations has been the acrimonious happenings in Ferguson, Missouri, where, following the exoneration of a police officer who shot to death a black teenager, we now see a Department of Justice indictment of the entire Ferguson police department for systematic racial prejudice.
    
The shooting in Ferguson was followed by a similar police shooting of a black youth in Madison, Wisconsin, where various press reports show the victim there to hardly have been a mere innocent, whether "armed" or not. (Associated Press, March 9).
    
What questions do the American public deserve to ask in response to these incidents and in other American cities, where not only have local citizens been killed by police acting presumably in the line of duty, but where police officers themselves have been murdered? What is it that drives the interface between "unarmed black youths" and police forces?
    
Today there is a growing crescendo of authoritative writers and observers who are much more conversant with the condition of black Americans than most of us, including this writer, who are determined to acknowledge the social devastation that generations of government "benevolence" has wrought on black society, a crescendo which take us in a much different direction than "police brutality."  Why, these voices are stridently asking, and answering, have Ferguson and Madison followed the promise of Selma?
    
Shelby Steele (National Review, March 9) vividly describes his confrontation with a mostly white American audience whose members refuse to acknowledge the weakening of personal responsibility and work ethic in black communities and the resultant underachievement, preferring instead to concentrate on a "moral relativism" that "disassociates" personal behavior - social, sexual and academic - from the group failure that characterizes so many black communities.  For Steele, it is the "liberal, post-civil rights" era that has exonerated blacks from any culpability for this systemic failure. We "cannot blame the victim," the liberal mantra insists, but must look only at America's historic repression of blacks for both the cause and the answer of this failure.
    
Jason Riley, author of "Please Stop Helping Us," examines the disintegration of the black family - notably the eradication of fatherhood - that is responsible for a black culture that rejects personal achievement and academic and social progress among black youth. (Imprimis, January, 2015). For Riley, Ferguson is the epitome of a "false anti-cop narrative" that refuses to acknowledge the aberrant behavior of black males for the disproportionate black crime statistics, crime that pits mostly black against black rather than an artificial "white racism." It is the liberal Left today, composed of white and black leaders, cashing in on "white guilt" for generating lavish welfare  expenditures that control the very civic and welfare institutions in black communities that insist on replacing traditional notions of responsibility with mantras of "self-expression" and "victimhood."  Riley reaches into distant black history - the histories of Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglas - voices that early on demanded black responsibility and self-help rather than the exaggerated and destructive "government benevolence" of today.
    
Walter Williams has written extensively over the years describing the devastation that low expectations of black Americans has had on black urban culture. "Racial discrimination" has much less to do with the crime, poverty and squalor of black communities than do Democratic and black politicians who drive the civil rights agenda. Being a "35-year old grandmother" and rarely seeing fathers and husbands in the community is a guarantee for school dropout, poverty and crime, none of which has anything to do with "racial discrimination." For Williams, it is the civil rights leaders and the "liberal elite," black or white, who benefit politically and financially by keeping black Americans in a "constant state of grievance" based on alleged racial discrimination.  Add "academics and the news media" to the list of culprits and you have Williams' full retinue of the enemies of black Americans. 
    
Thomas Sowell, a professional economist and perennial éminence noire for liberal America, consistently points to the economic results of a collapsed black minority culture. Comparing the early black leaders, including those at Selma fifty years ago, as the "noble souls" of the civil rights movement to today's "shameless charlatans," he looks at the  reverse discrimination of today as a cynical payback for past injustices. He cites demands such as minimum wages and unqualified loans and mortgages simply as the left's investment in "black failure" which we see today in the breakdown of the family, abolition of fatherhood and academic underachievement. Ferguson, for Sowell, is the epitome of the "disparate impact racket" that has driven so much reverse racism. The Department of Justice's condemnation of the Ferguson police department he condemns as "statistically reckless." When a population anywhere is three-fourths black, it is likely that the number of driving citations will reflect that arithmetic (National Review, March 10). 
    
Dr. Ben Carson is poised to interject "reverse discrimination" directly into presidential politics and seems determined to challenge the narrative of "white guilt." As a potential presidential candidate, he is referring to the social breakdown in black communities and welfare dependency reminiscent of Mitt Romney's "47%" two years ago, perhaps this time more persuasively.
    
Juan Williams on Fox News (March 8) calls for applying the same "moral clarity" that has long enabled us to understand the original civil rights movement and the Bull Connors of yesteryear that triggered it, to an understanding of the role of "black people" today that it ostensibly represents, as nothing more than a "special interest group" on behalf of "Democrats."  For him the onus of "moral clarity" falls on today's black leadership that ignores the family breakdown, crime and bad schools.  "White guilt" no longer carries the civil rights movement to the "next plateau" of equality.
    
The sum of these voices paints a picture of generations of Americans hopelessly locked into a dependency cycle from which they can never escape, generations of American citizens who will never be able to add constructively to society. 
    
Historians one day may acknowledge an "anti-discriminationism" ideology that lies behind it all, an "ism" as destructive of modern societies as were the "isms" of yesteryear that devastated the societies of earlier times.
    
If Selma today represents anything, it is a metaphor of opportunity squandered, a false notion of "freedom now" that has stripped Americans of all descriptions of the moral and civic guidelines and sense of personal responsibilities that make any society work.
    
So, just where has the Selma bridge led to, not just for black Americans but for all of us together? And how, the obvious question is, should police departments react when confronted by communities hostile to the very civic and social institutions they are hired to protect?
    
British composers Gilbert and Sullivan, astute observers of the plight of 19th century British policemen facing the urban turmoil of their Victorian England captured the dilemma with their masterly wit by complaining that:
     
              When constabulary duty's to be done,
                              to be done,
                a policeman's lot is not an 'appy one. 
    
To gauge the role of overly-challenged police forces today, one might ask what would happen if every police force in the USA at a given time on a given day went on strike for one hour? What would we learn?


                                                                      . . . Whitney Galbraith
                                                                              Colorado Springs

Its All News to Our Prez

Does Anybody Report Anything to the Guy
Who's Supposedly In Charge?


Is Anybody Responsible for Anything?

Or is the Government Running Amok, Completely Out of Control, and Unaccountable?

How Times Have Changed


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Our Perfidious Press

For a cogent account of how our perfidious press encourages witnesses to lie or to refuse to testify at all and thus distorts reality, see this report.

If I recall correctly Mark Twain said something to the effect that if you don't read the newspapers you will be uninformed and that if you do read them you will be misinformed.
 
He of course had no idea of how truly dangerous the big media -- the nation's major newspapers and broadcast networks -- would and have become today.  The menace that they pose to our society is substantial but offset to some extent by their having forfeited their credibility with their ideologically biased reporting. 

The big media's retention of any meaningful portion of the ability to set the nation's agenda that they formerly enjoyed as the public's sole source of information will depend on the extent to which their increasingly skeptical audience continues to diminish as it turns to the multiple sources of news available on the internet.  In any event though, the shattering of the elite press's corruptly misused monopoly over news is good news indeed.
  

   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

They're Back . . . and So Is Clinton Fatigue With the Scandal Prone Couple's Multitude of Evasions, Excuses, and Lies



After having combed through her e-mails with her minions and destroying an unknown number of them, she cherry picked some 55,000 pages to make public and now is reprising  the constant  Clinton demand:

Trust Me

All but the most lemming-like among us may thank her for the document dump but heed Ronald Reagan's advice:

Trust but Verify

Friday, March 6, 2015

More on Obamacare at the Supreme Court

Advocates urging the Supreme Court to allow the federal bureaucracy to expand health insurance subsidies beyond those authorized by the Obamacare law are desperately resorting to  scare tactics -- citing the supposedly horrific financial impact of not doing what they want.

Irrespective of the validity of their dubious claims that a decision against them would have devastating economic effects,  such an argument is an improper one.  If the law, as enacted by Congress, is flawed, the job of fixing it is one for the Congress.  Fixing faulty legislation is not a judicial function.  Courts exist to uphold laws, not to make or repair them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

High Court Lunacy

At issue in the Obamacare case that today was argued before the U.S. Supreme Court is a very simple question that is far less complex than all the technical rhetoric that was presented to the justices by the oh-so-sophisticated legal geniuses who debated the issues.

The health care law provides for federal subsidies for the costs of insurance purchased through exchanges established by one of America's 50 states.  Proponents of the law insist that subsidies also should go to those purchasing coverage through federal exchanges in states that have refused to establish such exchanges.

Thus the core question is whether the court is going to uphold the law as actually written and enacted or as a majority of the justices might be convinced the law would have been written and passed if the Congress had known what it was doing.

The important thing about the outcome is whether, going forward, the nation is going to be subject to the plain meaning of laws as enacted or by decrees of judges speculatively determining what was intended by those writing and enacting our laws.  In other words, are we going to be governed by laws actually enacted or by fiats issued by judges who are neither elected by nor accountable to anyone freely guessing -- in accordance with their  own personal, political, and social preferences -- what those enacting the laws might have intended.  The latter outcome would invite and encourage ever more and greater legislative irresponsibility and  put the nation well down a very slippery slope to judicial tyranny.

Uncanny Prediction

In a state of tranquility, wealth, and luxury, our descendants will  forget the Art of War, and the noble zeal which made their ancestors invincible.
Every corruption will be employed to loosen the bond of Union which renders our  resistance formidable. When the Spirit of Liberty, which now animates our hearts  and gives success to our arms, is extinct, our numbers will
accelerate our ruin  and render us easy victims to tyranny.
                                                                                
 . . . Samuel Adams

Monday, February 23, 2015

Big Media's Manifest Bias

The Washington Post is repeatedly trumpeting details of supposedly excessive spending by the wife of former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, who now is a possible 2016 Republican presidential candidate.

When, pray tell, has this statist propaganda outlet ever published anything about what Mrs. Obama's lavish vacations have cost the nation's taxpayers during her husband's tenure in the White House?

Snarling at Simple Truth

The nation's statist attack puppies are in full cry, snarling and yapping at former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani for stating the obvious truth that the current occupant of the Oval Office does not love America.

All but the dimmest among us know that statement to be correct.  It has been reinforced by Mr. Obama himself repeatedly . . .  almost every time he has used his pie hole to emit some unctuous statement instead of stuffing his foot or something else into it. 

Accordingly there appeared no need or reason to discuss the matter.  The artificial uproar over Mr. Giuliani's having broken the silence makes clear that the formerly silent acceptance of the obvious had to end.  Mr. Giuliani deserves credit for having ended it.




Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fundamental Civics Lesson

Judge administered a sorely needed human rights lesson to misguided member of one of the nation's elite statist dynasties to correct his ivy league acquired misinformation on the source of those rights, according to this report.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Brian Williams Stumble Just a Symptom of Big Media's Decline and Corruption

Brian Williams has been bounced by the Pooh-Bahs at NBC not for lying but for embarrassing them by being publicly exposed as having done so.

Mr. Williams longstanding tendency to engage in self-aggrandizing prevarications had long been obvious to all but those lacking even the most rudimentary critical thinking skills.  They certainly were known to, and called to the attention of the network brass by numerous members of his production team.  Mr. Williams had long been unqualified to report news accurately because he either was a habitual liar or delusional,

That was overlooked because he was a charming individual in whom the network had made a substantial and profitable investment.  Thus when his untruthful utterances were initially exposed, the network's bosses first reaction was to try to protect him (and their advantageous investment), and they continued to do that until the effort became unsustainable.

In the course of that effort, the head of NBC's news division publicly muttered something about the impact that Mr. Williams' conduct had on "this proud organization."

That statement must have harkened back to the glory days of Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.  It surely could not have referred to NBC today -- the network of Michael Moore and Al Sharpton as well as Brian Williams.  After all, in a trio that includes a clod-like profiteering rabble-rousing clown  and a profiteering race-hustling agitator, a mere opportunistic dissembler is but a minor transgressor. 

Anyone inclined to view the NBC-Brian Williams debacle as an isolated occurrence should recall the days when Walter Cronkite was foisted off on the public by CBS as "the most trusted man in America."  Mr. Cronkite deserves to be remembered as the individual who gloried in setting the national agendawith his "reporting."  His reporting resulted in allowing America's foes in the Viet Nam War to snatch victory from the jaws of their defeat in that conflict.  Until Mr. Cronkite persuaded his audience that the Tet Offensive was a Viet Cong victory over the U.S., the Viet Cong viewed the offensive as a disastrous defeat that left them with no alternative other than to seek peace on such terms as the U.S. might accept.  Instead, Mr. Cronkite's totally erroneous assessment led to a hunbling American retreat from a conflict that it had won at an enormous cost in blood and treasure.

The U.S. today gets almost no fair national news reporting.  The nation's big media are led and staffed by idealogues who refuse to strive for any semblance of objectivity, balance, or fairness.  They select what to cover and determine how to present their selections in accordance with their uniform views -- views of the nation's corrupt political and institutional elites.




Two Simple but Challenging Climate Change Questions

Here are two questions to pose to the (incidentally profiteering) climate change geniuses:

    1.  When in the history of our planet has its climate not been changing?


    2.  Do you really want to go back to an ice age during which a large chunks of North America were covered with glacial ice?