Monthly Archives: April 2009

Our Tax Day Protest, and Celebration

We’re not going to a tea party; mostly because we have jobs, and also because I think they’re both great, and ineffective.

Great, because it’s amazing that so many people are making it known publicly that they don’t want to have their freedoms abridged, and more of their money stolen from them.

Ineffective because basically all protesting is ineffective; unless the media is actively on your side, and making the protests seem huge, and significant etc….

Let’s face it folks, we could have 5 million people out there on tax day; the media would still report it as “a few right wing whackos, who are racist because they don’t support Obama, and hate poor people because they don’t want to have the government steal all their money”.

The only media reporting on the Tea Parties in any meaningful way (including the supposedly conservative Fox news; who are reporting in their typical populist and shallow manner) are the alternative conservative and libertarian media; like our blogs and other websites, and talk radio.

In effect we are playing to the home crowd with the Tea Parties. It’s a great pep rally and all; and I’m glad they are happening, but I don’t want to participate.

Besides which, there’s a lot of standing around at these things, and I’ve got bad knees.

I prefer more direct action. Lawsuits are a good start. Refusing to pay unlawful and unconstitutional taxes are also good; and generally result in lawsuits or even criminal prosecutions which can be taken to the supreme court etc…

Also, direct contact with your congresscritters tends to have at least some effect… sometimes… Make them understand that their constituents won’t vote for them if they don’t vote for tax cuts, spending cuts, etc…

So instead of standing around and getting all shouty, our tax day celebration and protest will involve pork.

Not the kind that Washington generates; the kind that you eat with sauce, beer, and cornbread. We’re going to be smoking pounds and pounds of pork, and then consuming it; along with other delicious comestibles.

We’re also going to be playing with firearms, and consuming large quantities of alcohol (obviously not simultaneously). We’d throw tobacco in for the full ATF trio, but none of us actually use the stuff.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Nevada Government Turns Down Tax Revenue?

Talk about some strange incentives. A business is clamoring for the state to tax their services, and the budget-constrained state turns them down:

Nevada, suffering from a $3 billion budget crisis, passed on a chance to raise at least $2 million a year. Yesterday, lawmakers said “No Thanks” to a $5, er, service tax, for duties performed by the state’s few legalized brothels.

The tax created an eclectic opposition: Religious conservatives and feminists, Republicans and Democrats. It also made for strange, tip-toed responses. Sen. Terry Care (D-Las Vegas) said, “[t]here is an implication there that the business takes a toll, at least on some women” [Italics added]. Sen. Mike McGinness, (R-Fallon) said he voted “nay” because he doesn’t believe in taxing services. For Sen. Maggie Carlton ( D-Las Vegas) voting for the tax could have sent the wrong message to parents and daughters.

So brothels want legitimacy, and legislators are either moralists, or too afraid to pop their cherry.

Just as tobacco companies would rather pay punitive taxes than see their product made illegal, and the brothel owners are in the same boat. This is an offer of protection money, and for once I’m shocked to see government turn it down.

Astroturfing Republican of the Day Award

Big-government Republican hypocricy knows no limits, it seems.  Here’s the latest tweet from Mike Huckabee:

Pls support HPAC today, my 3 reasons for $3: rising taxes, deficits, massive exp. of govt http://tinyurl.com/cwpy6t Plse RT #tcot

Let’s see if I understand this correctly: Tax Hike Mike wants us to give money to the Huck PAC because of taxes, deficits and expansion of government?

I seem to recall the Club for Growth setting the record straight on just how big Tax Hike Mike would really like the government to be.  Huckabee’s response was to call the organization the Club for Greed.

I also recall Huckabee lambasting libertarians. There’s this sentence from his book.

The real threat to the Republican Party is something we saw a lot of this past election cycle: libertarianism masked as conservatism.

There is also this quote from a HuffPo interview:

The greatest threat to classic Republicanism is not liberalism; it’s this new brand of libertarianism, which is social liberalism and economic conservatism, but it’s a heartless, callous, soulless type of economic conservatism because it says “look, we want to cut taxes and eliminate government. If it means that elderly people don’t get their Medicare drugs, so be it. If it means little kids go without education and healthcare, so be it.”

Huck PAC will be going without my $3, as I certainly don’t want it to be used to expand the size, scope and expense of government.

Here’s the response back to Huckabee from my Twitter account:

@GovMikeHuckabee Astroturfing Tax-Hike-Mike asking for $ to fight taxes & spending http://tinyurl.com/c3wwuo #tcot #tlot

UPDATE: The retweets begin

Homeland Security document targets most conservatives and libertarians in the country

Thousands of racists and terrorists rally at Cincinatti Tea Party

Thousands of racists and terrorists rally at Cincinnati Tea Party

Remember that now-retracted Missouri Information Analysis Center report which stated that small-government types (specifically Ron Paul, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin supporters) were potential terrorist threats? According to this new Homeland Security report, all it takes to fit the terrorist profile is to have general anti-government feelings or prefer local/state government to federal control over everything.

The federal Homeland Security Department document entitled “Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Environment Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment” contains the following definition:

Rightwing extremism in the United States can be broadly divided into those groups, movements, and adherents that are primarily hate-oriented (based on hatred of particular religious, racial or ethnic groups), and those that are mainly antigovernment, rejecting federal authority in favor of state or local authority, or rejecting government authority entirely.  It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration.

Also targeted in the report are veterans, folks anticipating additional restrictions to their Second Amendment rights, and those concerned about the loss of U.S. sovereignty.

This report implies that one harboring these sorts of views is a racist as well as a potential terrorism suspect.

UPDATE: Sorry for the delay in responding to questions about the authenticity of the DHS report.  We had a freakish storm last night which blew down a lot of very large oak trees in my neighborhood.  At the moment, we are cooking on propane and charcoal, are running a 3000 watt generator to keep food from spoiling, etc.  I just rerouted all of the home networking equipment and moved it so it can be powered by the generator, so I finally have Internet access again.

With respect to the report, I have no absolute proof it is legit, but I searched around the Internet and couldn’t find any site debunking it.  It came to me from a reasonably reliable source by e-mail.  It looks authentic and passes the sniff test of someone who has read far more than his share of government reports.

I figure that if this ends up being a hoax, it’s such a clever one that it is newsworthy in and of itself.  It’s probably legit, though.  Sometimes a blogger has to go out on a limb until such things can be absolutely verified.  That’s what’s so great about the Internet — we have an open source forum to investigate matters such as this.

If someone finds anything which verifies the authenticity of this document or indicates that it’s a clever hoax, please let me know.

UPDATE II: The AmSpecBlog has picked this up, as well as RedState, PoliGazette, Homeland Security Watch, The Other McCain, Independent Political Report, Moe Lane and Cold Fury.

UPDATE III: Michelle Malkin verifies the document here.  RedState’s Moe Lane writes in an e-mail: “Heh.  I figured that document was for real after I got shunted to the fourth office at DHS.  If it was fake they would have just said so.”

UPDATE IV: The White House responds:

The White House has distanced itself from the analysis. When asked for comment on its contents, White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said, “The President is focused not on politics but rather taking the steps necessary to protect all Americans from the threat of violence and terrorism regardless of its origins. He also believes those who serve represent the best of this country, and he will continue to ensure that our veterans receive the respect and benefits they have earned.”

UPDATE V: A similar report seems to have been distributed by the Maryland National Guard.  This one specifically mentions Tea Party participants.

UPDATE VI by Brad Warbiany: We were getting quite a bit of hotlinking of the original PDF report (Fox News, Rush Limbaugh, etc), and I have redirected that link to the main post.

Reforming America’s Prison System: The Time Has Come

Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) in his recent article calling for a major reform of America’s prisons in Parade Magazine brought some very disturbing, eye opening, statistics about America’s prison system to light. In summary this is some of what he found:

-Since 1984, America’s prison population has quadrupled from 580,000 to 2.3 million

-Though the U.S. accounts for 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. accounts for 25% of the world’s reported prisoners

-Local, state, and federal spending on corrections costs the U.S. taxpayer about $68 billion annually* (California spent nearly $10 million on corrections last year by itself!)

-16% (350,000) adults in prison or jail are mentally ill

-3/4 of drug offenders in state prisons are non-violent offenders or in prison solely for drug offenses

-47.5% of all drug arrests in the U.S. were fore marijuana offenses

-Despite insignificant statistical differences regarding drug use among races, Blacks (accounting for 12% of the U.S. population) account for 37% of all drug arrests, 59% of which are convicted and account for 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison

Perhaps for the “tough on crime” types, this is all good news but for anyone else who thinks critically of these statistics, I would expect that most would be concerned if not horrified. In response to these statistics, Sen. Webb makes the following observation:

“With so many of our citizens in prison compared with the rest of the world, there are only two possibilities: Either we are home to the most evil people on earth or we are doing something different–and vastly counterproductive.”

For regular consumers of the evening news, it may seem that the first possibility could be true. Without fail, the evening news reports stories of violence, vandalism, kidnapping, rape, child molestation, and murder both locally and nationally. There is also no shortage of true crime programs** detailing the most heinous crimes one could imagine being committed against other human beings; it’s all very disturbing. Our jails and prisons surely must be overflowing from these creeps!

One would think that roving bands of murderous thugs are on every street in America, yet we each almost always make it to and from work, to and from running errands and eating out unmolested. Our odds of being killed in an auto accident*** are many times greater than being victim to this roving band of murderous thugs. How can this be?

While we should each be vigilant and aware of our surroundings and always use common sense, the perception that our prisoners are overflowing with mostly violent criminals just isn’t true. Figure 1 shows the U.S. prison population under the purview of the U.S. Bureau of Prisons. The BOP population accounts for 202,493 of America’s 2.3 million prisoners.

Figure 1

Source: Bureau of Prisons as of February 2009

Source: Bureau of Prisons as of February 2009


» Read more

Andrew Sullivan, astroturfing Republicans and GOP hypocrisy

Andrew Sullivan gets it right, and wrong, at the very same time.  He scribed:

The remarkable thing about today’s partisan Republicans is their capacity to forget instantly and entirely anything that went on for the past eight years. And so suddenly we are rushing toward socialism, even though by far the biggest jumps in state power and debt occurred under a president they worshiped and worked hard to re-elect. There were no tea-parties to protest the $32 trillion Medicare prescription drug benefit. There was no Randian rumbling as Bush took over local schools. There was no defense of the Constitution as Bush and Cheney secretly suspended the fourth and first amendments. But put a moderate Democrat in office tackling a historic collapse in demand – and spending must be frozen! Reading the partisan right blogs, this ability to disappear the past is striking, and it helps explain base GOP loathing of Obama (even if the base is much smaller than it was).

Sullivan has noted what many of us have been complaining about since the Tea Party craze started. At this site (even as late as last night), and many others, we’ve been screaming about hypocritical, astroturfing, big-government Republicans.  So much so that it may be time to coin a new term: RINOturfing.

However, some of us have always been vocally and actively opposed to the very issues Sullivan raises. Ron Paul supporters, Libertarians, libertarians, paleoconservatives and even some (primarily) fiscal conservatives have been hitting the streets as well as the blogs for years.  That we are frequently ignored by publications like The Atlantic (Sullivan did cover Ron Paul fairly well) may have something to do with Sullivan’s apparent forgetfulness on the issue.

Essentially, Sullivan is disregarding publications like Reason and American Spectator, organizations like Cato (and Heritage on some days), candidates like Ron Paul and Bob Barr, personalities like John Stossel and Andrew Napolitano, parties like the Libertarian Party, elected officials like Ron Paul and Jeff Flake, conservative icons like Bruce Fein and Richard Viguerie, pretty much any self-described libertarian, ad infinitum.

A good definition of partisan is “a fervent, sometimes militant supporter or proponent of a party, cause, faction, person, or idea.”  It’s my opinion that all of the individuals and groups listed above indeed qualify.

There was plenty of  “Randian rumbling” and “defense of the Constitution” during the Bush years.  Perhaps Sullivan chose to ignore most of it.

In March, I wrote:

To be clear, I think it is cool that it appears that libertarians have some newfound friends on the small-government team.  However, it’s fair to color us a bit skeptical, as we are still licking our Republican-inflicted wounds.  It may take a bit of time for us to recover from the political PTSD we are suffering after fighting Republicans for the last eight years over government spending issues.

I still stand by these words.  It’s possible that April 15th may be the day that begins the healing process.  It could also be the day that the more cynical of us are proven correct.

UPDATE: I’d like to welcome our The Other McCain and The League of Ordinary Gentlemen readers.  I’d like to send a special medical marijuana smoking and lesbian loving shoutout to Moe Lane and our good friends at RedState.  I’m sort of curious about why the folks at RedState don’t approve of two women getting married to each other.  This sort of stuff is fantasy material for most red-blooded males that I know.

Does Nancy Pelosi have to endure waiting lines when she gets botox treatments?

nancy_pelosiOver at The Daily Beast, the speculation is that Nancy Pelosi is the recipient of multiple facelifts.

But D.C. cosmetic surgeon Barry J. Cohen ventured where no other M.D. would: “I would guess she had a neck lift some time ago, although is certainly ready for another,” he wrote to me by email. “It would appear that she had the fat removed from around her eyes, but has a substantial amount of excess skin on the lower lids. She has not a line on her forehead, likely indicating a date with a vial of Botox, yet has remaining lines at her crow’s feet (it wore off or was untreated). Her nasolabial folds could benefit from a filler, to soften her creases, and she would likely benefit from a peel or laser abrasion…She has her share of lines and wrinkles. Likely from all the time spent at high altitudes in her (our) private jet.”

Good point about our private jet.

Not that I care about what she does to her body, on her time, with her dollars — but I’d like to know if any of these procedures were performed using my money. If so, I’d like to know why “vanity” cosmetic procedures are covered by the congressional healthcare plan.  As they don’t provide adequate medical care for veterans injured in the line of duty, they shouldn’t pay for procedures such as this for people doing their best not to uphold, but to desecrate, the Constitution of the United States.

Even if she paid for the procedure out of pocket, the following still applies: Despite having no medical license, Pelosi wishes to perform the colonostic procedure of shoving socialized healthcare up our butts.  I’m really curious about whether she had to endure the long waiting lines she wishes to impose upon us.

UPDATE: From my wife: Which face did they lift? Don’t politicians normally have two?

Another Republican pot calls kettle black

bachusfrank

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and ranking member Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL) on left

Speaking of astroturfing Republicans, Alabama Congressman Spencer Bachus told folks in Trussville, Alabama that there are exactly 17 socialists” in the House of Representatives.  The  National Taxpayers Union just gave Bachus a failing grade of 56% (which they upgraded to a C+ on their liberally-curved grading scale) on spending issues.  Perhaps Bachus should realize that while his index finger points at 17 congresscritters with worse spending records than his own, the rest of his fingers are pointing back at himself.

Just to ensure his conservative bona fides, the Birmingham News also reports this gem:

Bachus did not support small city officials who asked if he would oppose all gun bans. Instead, he said, it may be necessary to support some assault weapon bans in order to keep all guns from being outlawed.

He also likes bailouts.  From the Birmingham Regional Chamber of Commerce newsletter:

Rep. Spencer Bachus recently provided an in-depth analysis of the nation’s economic struggles to more than 250 members at the Chamber’s Fall Congressional Forum. Bachus explained his role in the passage of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (EESA), a $700 billion bill that will, among other things, provide the federal government the power to purchase distressed loans and guarantee troubled assets held by financial institutions. Bachus said supporting the bailout bill was one of the most difficult decisions he has ever in Congress. Despite his reservations, Bachus said the EESA was necessary due to the intensity of the financial crisis.

In other words,  the slick S.O.B. had second thoughts about taking money from my children and grandchildren to give to his cronies, but he did it anyway! I certainly hope Bachus shows at the Birmingham Tea Party event where I’ll be on the 15th.  I’m sure I’d have to stand in a very long line to give him a piece of my mind.

Responding to Piracy on the Somali Coast

Somali pirates have been in the news a great deal lately, and there is a great deal of controversy as to how to deal with them.  To date, the proposed solutions seem to be a simplistic calls for a) intervention to build a stable state in Somalia, b) send in various national navies to engage and destroy the pirates, c) arm merchant ships for self defense.

The reality is, though, far more complex, and much of the proposed interventions are actually counterproductive.  To understand the scope of the problem, we must understand first why there is so much piracy in and around the gulf of Aden.

Piracy and lawlessness go hand in hand.  Piracy arises pretty spontaneously wherever relatively unprotected and valuable cargos are being transported through an impoverished area, and the inhabitants have the weapons to pull off the raid and a reasonable chance of  getting away with it.

In the case of the Gulf of Aden, piracy has long been an issue.  But, the number of people taking up piracy spiked as a result of the recent U.S. backed invasion of Somalia by Ethiopia.  Many people have been driven off their land, or have lost their ability to earn a living due to the economic collapse that followed the invasion and the rise of an anti-Ethiopian resistance.  Moreover, the plundering of Somali fishing grounds by foreign fishing fleets has resulted in a large pool of desperate fishermen who no longer can feed their families through honest labor.

The poverty and desperation of the Somalis, their ready access to weapons, and the existence of shipping routes connecting the valuable markets of South and East Asia with the Mediterranean running right off their coastline have predictably encouraged many locals to take up lives of piracy.  There will be no simple solution that ends the threat of piracy.  Rather the problem will persist so long as the root causes are unaddressed, and merchants are prevented from adequately defending themselves.

The first step is to listen to the merchants themselves:

TYPICAL ATTACK PROFILES AND LESSONS LEARNT

1. During 2008 significantly increased pirate attacks on merchant ships occurred throughout the GoA [aka Gulf of Aden] and off the coast of Somalia. The majority were clustered around the northern side of the GoA
but some attacks have occurred further off the east coast of  Somalia.

2. Analysis of successful attacks indicates that the following common vulnerabilities are exploited by the pirates:

a. Low speed

b. Low freeboard

c. Inadequate planning and procedures

d. Visibly low state of alert and/or evident self protective measures

e. Where a slow response by the ship is evident

3. Commonly two or more small high speed (up to 25 knots) open boats/ “skiffs” are used in attacks often approaching from the port quarter and/or stern.

4. The use of a pirate “mother ship”, which is a larger ship carrying personnel, equipment and smaller assault craft, has enabled the attacks to be successfully undertaken at a greater range from the shore.

5. Vigilance should be highest at first light and last light, as the majority of the attacks have taken place during these periods.

6. To date no successful attacks have occurred on ships at 15 knots or more.

7. The majority of attempted hijacks have been repelled by ship’s crew who have planned and trained in advance of the passage and employed passive counter measures to good effect.

Reading discussions by mariners, it is pretty clear that what mariners want are options, and the access to experts who can defend them.     Many sailors complain that when they call for help, national navies are slow to respond.  Many countries limit merchant ships entering their ports from carrying any weapons other than a side-arm locked in the captain’s safe.  Moreover, the navies can be quite destructive, sinking ships that are not engaging in piracy.

There is a nascent security industry dedicated to protecting merchant ships.  The problem appears to be manageable for prepared crews.  If they transit the area quickly, they appear to be relatively safe.

Somali motivations into taking up piracy are quite complex.  Essentially they are the product of the unwillingness of surrounding nation states to accept the existence of a stateless inhabited portion of the world. Somali piracy started out as a response to the loss of access to the rich fishing grounds off the Somali coast.  Korean, European and Yemeni fishing vessels would haul in rich catches in Somali territorial waters, effectively denying the Somali fishermen who had homesteaded those fisheries from access to their property.  Deprived of their livelihood, they turned to opportunistic piracy, using the same system as that of the Barbary Pirates (with the exception that they treat their captives well).  Unfortunately, what started out as an act of desperation has mutated into an institution:  piracy rings have turned into big business.  Pirates supply wealth and weapons to various factions fighting the U.S. backed state. Members of the U.S. backed state are also on the pirate rings’ payroll.  The invasion has disrupted the traditional economy, making people even more dependent on piracy.

“Millions in defense, not one cent in tribute” – Thomas Jefferson

Breaking up these crime rings will require a combination of concessions and steadfast resistance.  Merchant ships should be permitted to arm themselves as they see fit to defend themselves.  A few AK-47’s or .50 cal machine guns on board a maneuvering ship should be sufficient to keep small boats from closing to the point where they can board. Ships must be allowed to do what they need to do able to transit

However, the same should not be said for the large foreign vessels plundering the Somali coastal waters.  The fishing grounds are the property of the Somali fishermen who have, in a Lockean sense, homesteaded them.   Outsiders should respect those property rights.  This would not represent some dramatic special consideration given to the Somalis; under International Law, those fishing grounds are off limits to the foreign fishing fleets since they are Somali territorial waters.

The U.S. government should end interference in Somalia.  While there is nothing wrong with punitive expeditions against professional pirates, the conquest and subjugation of non-pirates who happen to live near pirates and the disruption of their farms and industries are absolutely unjustified and counterproductive.

By geography, Somalia should be a wealthy state.  It is well positioned to be an outlet of African goods being shipped to South and East Asia.  Its poverty is the product of the nearly continuous attempts by outsiders to impose external rule on a people who don’t want it – interventions that started when Mussolini sent Italian troops to conquer the Horn of Africa.

Early this year, the Ethiopian army retreated from Somalia.  The nation state that they left behind is now run by many of the same Islamist political factions that the U.S. government was trying to suppress when it arranged for the Ethiopian invasion and attempted to install a puppet state.  Accepting this ‘defeat’, and switching from a policy of nation-building to  working diplomatically with clan leaders to address and legitimate grievances they may hold against U.S. nationals, while refusing to accept crimes committed against peaceful vessels transiting the area would do much to improve the situation.

I am an anarcho-capitalist living just west of Boston Massachussetts. I am married, have two children, and am trying to start my own computer consulting company.

Yet another blithering idiot reporter calls for a newspaper bailout

Some day I'm expecting a cry from the loony-left to bailout corpulent prostitutes.  After all, they are certainly "too big to fail."

Some day, I'm expecting a cry from the loony left to bail out corpulent prostitutes. After all, they are certainly "too big to fail."

I certainly disagree with former-Washington-Times-Assistant-National-Editor-turned-freelancer-and-new-media-personality-father-and-personal-friend Robert Stacy McCain from time to time.  One thing noteworthy about him is that he’s constantly begging for donations to support his online writing habits.  It’s hard to find a post on his personal blog where he doesn’t directly ask folks to hit his tip jar.

At the same time, the cries from dying newspaper companies for a taxpayer-funded bailout continue to increase both in frequency and shrillness. This time the offending piece of journalistic excrement graces the opinion column of the LA Times.  To be sure, this page of their paper is far too soiled to be used even as toilet paper.

“It’s time for a government bailout of journalism, ” Rosa Brooks writes.

“If we’re willing to use taxpayer money to build roads, pay teachers and maintain a military; if we’re willing to bail out banks and insurance companies and failing automakers, we should be willing to part with some public funds to keep journalism alive too,” Brooks continued, apparently to add insult to injury.

The first thing I want to know is who in the hell is this “we” Ms. Brooks describes.  I’m not willing to bail out banks, insurance companies, automakers, AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac or even fanny packs.  The money is being taken from me, by force, to give to others who did not earn it.

Anyone who has heard the term “Tea Party” lately must be well aware of the fact that millions and millions of Americans are incredibly irate over the recent plethora of federal bailouts.  Being as she’s a journalist and all, surely Ms. Brooks has heard of this by now. If she is so certain that “we” want to bail all of these failing institutions, perhaps she’ll be willing to stand on the stage at some Tea Party event and repeat what she wrote in the Times.

If she will be so kind as to pick her favorite city, I’ll be happy to talk with the event organizer about it.  However, I have no intention of working on her security detail — people wanted to string up the Governor at the last major Tea Party event I attended.

The woman who wants to use government force to steal my hard-earned money concluded:

The problem is that many of these subsidies are currently structured in ways that have actually contributed to the decline of high-quality journalism by enabling monopolies, freezing out smaller and locally controlled media outlets and encouraging large corporations to treat the news as just another product, no different from video games or sports teams.

Years of foolish policies have left us with a choice: We can bail out journalism, using tax dollars and granting licenses in ways that encourage robust and independent reporting and commentary, or we can watch, wringing our hands, as more and more top journalists are laid off or bail out, leaving us with nothing in our newspapers but ads, entertainment features and crossword puzzles.

The news is just another product, like video games or sports teams.  In the real world, consumers decide the viability of a product or service.  Video game producers don’t demand taxpayer dollars.  If their product doesn’t sell, they enhance it or come up with a new one.  Why the hell should we pay for newspapers which aren’t selling?

One wonders if Ms. Brooks has ever stopped to consider that once a newspaper has taken federal dollars, then the federal government will control the policy of the paper.  If they can tell General Motors and Chrysler what sorts of cars to build, then they’ll likely tell newspapers what sorts of articles to publish.  I’m sure this won’t bother Ms. Brooks for the next four years, as she’s heading off to the Pentagon to work her Messiah.  However, I’d like for Ms. Brooks to ponder this one for a minute: Would you wish to be working at a newspaper where George W. Bush (or his newspaper czar Karl Rove) called the shots?

Like a plague, bailout fever has spread from one industry to another to another.  Some day, I’m expecting a cry from the loony left to bail out corpulent prostitutes.  After all, they are certainly “too big to fail.”

In the meantime, mostly in response to this ludicrous LA Times article, I just canceled my last subscription to a print publication and left a few bucks in Robert Stacy McCain’s tip jar.

Telling Tea Party Truth

Here’s some partially-true balderdash regarding upcoming Tea Parties found on Craigslist:

What hasn’t been reported until now is evidence linking Santelli’s “tea party” rant with some very familiar names in the Republican rightwing machine, from PR operatives who specialize in imitation-grassroots PR campaigns (called “astroturfing”) to bigwig politicians and notorious billionaire funders. As veteran Russia reporters, both of us spent years watching the Kremlin use fake grassroots movements to influence and control the political landscape. To us, the uncanny speed and direction the movement took and the players involved in promoting it had a strangely forced quality to it. If it seemed scripted, that’s because it was.

What we discovered is that Santelli’s “rant” was not at all spontaneous as his alleged fans claim, but rather it was a carefully-planned trigger for the anti-Obama campaign. In PR terms, his February 19th call for a “Chicago Tea Party” was the launch event of a carefully organized and sophisticated PR campaign, one in which Santelli served as a frontman, using the CNBC airwaves for publicity, for the some of the craziest and sleaziest rightwing oligarch clans this country has ever produced. Namely, the Koch family, the multibilllionaire owners of the largest private corporation in America, and funders of scores of rightwing thinktanks and advocacy groups, from the Cato Institute and Reason Magazine to FreedomWorks. The scion of the Koch family, Fred Koch, was a co-founder of the notorious extremist-rightwing John Birch Society.

As you read this, Big Business is pouring tens of millions of dollars into their media machines in order to destroy just about every economic campaign promise Obama has made, as reported recently in the Wall Street Journal. At stake isn’t the little guy’s fight against big government, as Santelli and his bot-supporters claim, but rather the “upper 2 percent”’s war to protect their wealth from the Obama Adminstration’s economic plans. When this Santelli “grassroots” campaign is peeled open, what’s revealed is a glimpse of what is ahead and what is bound to be a hallmark of his presidency.

With respect to the Chicago event to be held at the Kluczynski Federal Building Plaza, here’s a bit more accurate version of what happened. According the an e-mail I received from Dave Brady, the Chair of the Libertarian Party of Illinois, the Libertarian Party started the Tea Party plans for the federal building in Chicago — not Santelli nor the Koch brothers.

“The ‘tea party’ concept started with the Libertarian Party of Illinois (LPI) who began organizing a 2009 Tax Day ‘Boston Tea Party’ in Chicago back in December of 2008 and created a Facebook group for it on Feb. 10, 2009, according to the LPI,” wrote Brady on an e-mail list for LP state chairs.  “Nine days later, CNBC’s Rick Santelli, broadcasting from the floor of the Chicago stock exchange, popularized the concept.”

Brady also provided the Facebook link, which is viewable for all.  As there are wall posts going back as far as February 11th, I’m going to call bullshit on the nearly ubiquitous statements being made in the mainstream media that Santelli started the whole thing.

It also seems rather unlikely that Brady flew to DC to sit in some cigar-smoke-filled back room with the Karl Roves of the Tea Party movement to assist the “Republican rightwing machine.”

To be sure, there are all sorts of Republicans and Libertarians and libertarians and conservatives involved.  However, the movement in Chicago and many (most?) other places was started at the grassroots.  As the word got out, things went viral and quite a few bigger fish jumped on board — which provided additional feedback to the system and amplified it even more.

A lot of folks are upset about people like Newt Gingrich joining the bandwagon. Jason Pye writes:

Sean Hannity, who will be attending the Atlanta Tea Party on April 15th, says he has criticized Republicans on spending. He has been more vocal of late about Republicans getting back to the supposed small government roots, but even he was only passive while the gross expansion of government was taking place.

Newt Gingrich and his group, American Solutions, recently announced that they were endorsing and supporting the protests. Gingrich has supported and lobbied for a $9 trillion expansion of Medicare and more recently, the Trouble Asset Relief Program (TARP or Wall Street bailout), which has resulted in trillions of taxpayers dollar being put at risk by a completely incompetent government. This is exactly the sort of spending that these protests are against. An argument can also be made, after reading Buck Wild: How Republicans Broke the Bank and Became the Party of Big Government, that Republicans began to lose whatever principles they claimed to have while Gingrich was Speaker of the House, something can be verified by the table above by looking at the growth in spending in the second term of Bill Clinton.

I’ll give Hannity a pass on this one, but not Gingrich.  As Pye explains, Gingrich (even recently) has been supporting exactly what Tea Party people are opposing.  While there are certainly many issues where I disagree with Hannity, he’s been fairly critical of Republican spending and is affiliated (according to media reports and Wikipedia) with the Conservative Party of New York.  As I recall the story, he joined the Conservative Party out of disgust over GOP spending.  As the Tea Parties are all about federal spending and taxation issues, Hannity has earned some street cred on these issues.  Gingrich lost whatever cred he had earned in the early nineties quite some time ago.

If the big boys want to jump on board, that’s fine, so long as the grassroots continue to control the message.  However, I’d be the first one protesting Republican spending if Newt Gingrich or John McCain showed up at my local Tea Party.

If your local Tea Party is one where big-government Republicans are given dominant roles or it’s an astroturfed event, my recommendation is to attend anyway, but ensure that your signs and literature target the particular big-government Republican involved.  This isn’t about political parties, and to some degree, it is aimed at them.  It’s about the grassroots telling folks in Washington (of all political flavors) that we ain’t gonna take it anymore.

UPDATE: On a related note, Eric Odom has told GOP Chairman Michael Steele that he more than welcome at the Chicago Tea Party, but not as a speaker.  His rejection letter follows:

As I mentioned on the phone the other day, I very much appreciate the fact that Chairman Steele is now finally starting to reach out to the true grassroots side of the free-market movement in America. Unfortunately, it appears that he has only just decided to reach out after realizing how big the movement has gotten and how much media is now involved.

That said, we’re still excited to know that Chairman Steele will be in Chicago and we hope, after knowing that he’ll be in the city, that he’ll stop by and mingle with the Americans who will be rallying on April 15th. This will also present a fantastic time for Chairman Steele to LISTEN to what we have to say and perhaps gather some thoughts on what the RNC needs to be doing moving forward.

With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steel that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around.

I do hope that Chairman Steele will join us as a regular American in protest of Government spending and extreme taxation.

I look forward to hearing from you!

UPDATE II: Via Glenn Reynolds, Libertarian Party cofounder David Nolan will be speaking at the Tuscon Tea Party.  Also, there is additional conversation about astroturfing on the video.

UPDATE III: “Tax Hike” Mike Huckabee is using Twitter to try to astroturf into the Tea Party movement by popping out Fair Tax messages using the #teaparty tag. I know one person who no  longer supports the Fair Tax simply because he doesn’t want people like Mike Huckabee to use it to raise taxes.

UPDATE IV: Welcome Andrew Sullivan and Mark Thompson readers.  I’ll note that I aimed a special blog posting at Sullivan the other day on this same very topic.  I suggested that “Andrew Sullivan gets it right, and wrong, at the very same time.”

UPDATE V: The Other McCain picked this up, and Robert Stacy McCain (doesn’t that sound like the name of a mass murderer?) asks: “And where’s my wenches? They told me if I showed up wearing an eyepatch with a parrot on my shoulder, there’d be free wenches and grog.”

“Apparently, we’re Right Wing Corporate Neocon Pirates who’ve hijacked a grassroots movement,” McCain explains.

The über-secret attempt by ACORN to tell Obama the names of people attending Tea Parties (and other stories)

UPDATE: Welcome, Washington Independent, The Other McCain and Michigan Blogger readers.  We’ve got more recent Tea Party goodness located here, too.

Electing dead guys

The New York Times is making the point that Missouri citizens have now elected another dead guy.  I fail to see how this local news is so important from a national perspective.  After all, it seems that we’ve just placed Karl Marx in the White House.

Electing live guys

Jason Pye brings our attention to the possible candidacy of Atlanta’s morning radio personality Eric Von Haessler, who is seriously considering a run for U.S. Senate as a Libertarian Party candidate.  I’ve heard Von Haessler described as a “shock jock,” but I recently had a drink with him, Bob Barr and a few other folks and found that he seems to be a well-spoken and responsible family man.  Still funny though, even when wearing his respectability costume.

The Culture War

Via Radley Balko at Reason, it seems that South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker recieved a signed photo of Saddam Hussein. “During his captivity, US marines forced Saddam, who was executed in 2006, to repeatedly watch the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer And Uncut, which shows him as gay, as well as the boyfriend of Satan. He was also regularly depicted in a similar manner during the TV series.”

Kooks, Part I

The other day I ranted about “Good Gun Nuts.  Bad Gun Nuts.”  I’ll make the point again that I made then:  “If you want people to discredit whatever valid political message you have, start talking about Obama’s birth certificate or WTC 7 or a grassy knoll in Dallas.  You can be assured of having your message about bailouts or stimulus packages or pork and especially the Second Amendment disregarded, too.”

I’ve been accused by commenters of not being very libertarian on this one.  I’ll try to make my point perfectly clear.  Everyone has the right to hold and promote whatever kooky view he or she desires.  However, the expression of certain views is inappropriate in many situations and can be damaging to the freedom movement.  I’ll add that it’s also within the bounds of libertarianism for people to call bat-shit crazy kookery what it is: bat-shit crazy kookery.

Kooks, Part II

In defending Glenn Beck from kook charges, Robert Stacy McCain scribed a rather long but eloquent defense which also explains everything from recent failures of the GOP to Austrian economics.

“Should law schools offer courses on state constitutional law?”

That’s the question asked by Eric Posner at The Volokh Conspiracy.  Glenn Reynolds responds:

I’m prejudiced, of course, since I teach one of those. But I’d say yes. First, it has more practice relevance than most people think, especially where business clients are involved since state constitutions often focus much more on money issues. Second, state constitutions are interesting, and studying them helps remind students that constitutions are made things, the product of human action, which the reification of the federal constitution often obscures. And today’s state constitutional issue — gay marriage, sodomy, the right to arms — is often tomorrow’s federal constitutional issue, to boot.

Where do I sign up?

There’s a rumor floating around the tubes that ACORN will be passing out disguised petitions at Tea Parties around the country.  I’ll take the “John Hancock” approach on this one.  For those afraid to use your own name on petitions, feel free to use mine.  Please be careful to spell the name correctly and use large, bold letters.  A version of the e-mail I’ve been receiving appears below the fold: » Read more

If You Can’t Compete, Why Not Shackle Your Competitors?

Ahh, the left… When life deals you lemons, you advocate a Federal Lemon Rationing Board:

Personally, I would love a legal cap on the number of words a blogger is allowed to produce per day. I’m privileged to have a job that I really enjoy. But at the same time, I would prefer to write somewhat less—this pace is stressful and doesn’t leave me as much time to pursue other projects and interests. But though I would prefer to write somewhat less, I have a stronger second-order preference to produce a blog that’s competitive with other major offerings on the internet. And over the years competition between bloggers has led to escalating word-counts. The resulting situation isn’t terrible, there are lots of people you should cry for before you get to me, but basically we bloggers are engaged in a red queen’s race where we all need to keep trying harder and harder just to maintain our positions. A cap would be helpful.

I’m sure, I’m sure, that this was nothing more than a flippant aside from Yglesias. But it belies a certain technocratic believe in central planning rather than freedom, and simply cannot go without comment. A word cap? A word cap?! Are you f’ing serious? There — that is all.

Hat Tip: Kevin Drum

Meet The New Wiretapper, Same As The Old Wiretapper

The Obama Administration continues to defend the Bush Administration’s wiretapping policies:

(04-06) 15:26 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — The Obama administration is again invoking government secrecy in defending the Bush administration’s wiretapping program, this time against a lawsuit by AT&T customers who claim federal agents illegally intercepted their phone calls and gained access to their records.

Disclosure of the information sought by the customers, “which concerns how the United States seeks to detect and prevent terrorist attacks, would cause exceptionally grave harm to national security,” Justice Department lawyers said in papers filed Friday in San Francisco.

Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a lawyer for the customers, said Monday the filing was disappointing in light of the Obama presidential campaign’s “unceasing criticism of Bush-era secrecy and promise for more transparency.”

(…)

The administration’s new filing asks Walker to dismiss a second suit filed in September by AT&T customers that sought to sidestep the telecommunications immunity law by naming only the government, Bush and other top officials as defendants.

Like the earlier suit, the September case relies on a former AT&T technician’s declaration that he saw equipment installed at the company’s San Francisco office to allow NSA agents to copy all incoming e-mails. The plaintiffs’ lawyers say the declaration, and public statements by government officials, revealed a “dragnet” surveillance program that indiscriminately scooped up messages and customer records.

The Justice Department said Friday that government agents monitored only communications in which “a participant was reasonably believed to be associated with al Qaeda or an affiliated terrorist organization.” But proving that the surveillance program did not sweep in ordinary phone customers would require “disclosure of highly classified NSA intelligence sources and methods,” the department said.

Individual customers cannot show their messages were intercepted, and thus have no right to sue, because all such information is secret, government lawyers said. They also said disclosure of whether AT&T took part in the program would tell the nation’s enemies “which channels of communication may or may not be secure.”

In other words, just trust us.

Once again, it’s change we can believe in !

A Great Place To Learn About Great Ideas

The Cato Institute has announced it’s 2009 Cato University program:

Cato University, the Cato Institute’s premier educational event of the year, is right around the corner!

On June 26-31 in Rancho Bernardo, California, Cato University will bring together outstanding faculty and participants from across the country to discuss how the state has expanded during times of crises; the threats to liberty, privacy, and independence, as the rush for government-imposed solutions (and, hence, power) increases in pace; and, what can be done to restrain – or reverse – its growth.

This year’s topic: Economic Crisis, War, and the Rise of the State.

And they’ve got quite an impressive faculty list:

# Professor Robert Higgs, Editor of The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy and the author of numerous acclaimed books, including Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government.
# Professor Robert McDonald, department of history, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He has published articles in a wide range of academic journals of history, and has a national reputation as a scholar of Thomas Jefferson and the American Founding period.
# Dan Mitchell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a top national expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy. His latest book is Global Tax Revolution: The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It.
# Professor Marcus Cole, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. His scholarly and research interests range from classical liberal political theory to natural law and the history of commercial law.
# Dr. Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. A former policy analyst at the Cato Institute, she is coauthor of Action ou Taxation, published in Switzerland, and serves on the board of directors of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.
# David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute; author of The Politics of Freedom: Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to our Liberties; Libertarianism: A Primer; and editor of The Libertarians Reader and the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.
# Dr. Tom G. Palmer, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, director of Cato University, and author of the forthcoming book Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History and Practice.
# Prof. Tibor Machan, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and professor at the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University He is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Pacific Research Foundation. He is widely published and is the author of numerous books and articles on natural rights, political philosophy, business ethics, and libertarianism.
# Randal O’Toole, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, focusing on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. His latest book is The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms the Quality of Your Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future.

Cato’s been running this program for the better part of two decades now; I attended back in 1989 when they held it on the campus of Dartmouth College. Other than the fact that we were spending a humid July in college dorms without air conditioning, it was a great experience that I’d recommend to anyone interested in the philosophy of freedom.

You can find information about the program here.

Good gun nuts. Bad gun nuts.

birferDavid Weigel (via Robert Stacy McCain) brings us some gun goodness with a fair amount of gun not-so-goodness in this photo spread at the Washington Examiner.  “I spent Saturday at the bi-annual Knob Creek Machine Gun Shoot, right outside of Louisville, Ky. Gun enthusiasts of all stripes were there — from the National Rifle Association and sportsmen to militia members to white supremacists and Obama birthers,” wrote Weigel.

I used to attend some of these fire-em-up functions, which are fairly common in the deep south.  Shooting off a lot of ordinance is decidedly fun, good practice and about as American as apple pie.

I rarely attend these sorts of events these days, mostly because I’m tired of Nazis and the far-more-numerous other sort of white supremacists, militia members, folks who say you don’t have to pay taxes because the 16th Amendment wasn’t ratified, folks who think the moon landings were faked, some folks with poor hygiene standards, and now Obama Birfers.  And let’s not even get into Area 51 or the Freemasons. These days, I either go to a public range or sometimes pop off a few rounds with no more than a few family members at a family farm.

In his title, McCain credited Weigel with “Scaring liberals to death.”  He’s got a valid point, based on these comments, for example.  However, it’s the tie between normal firearms enthusiasts and extreme right wing kookery which disturbs me.  If a man is to known by the company he keeps, I’d rather not be associated with neo-Nazis and other political kooks.

When I was a small child, the most serious trouble I could have gotten into was to even think about walking in the near vicinity of any loaded weapon.  In my household (now, as well as then), ALL firearms are considered loaded at ALL times.  I don’t care if it’s broken down into twenty pieces for cleaning.  It’s obvious that I didn’t break this rule, as I’m still alive to write about it.

With gun ownership comes a great deal of responsibility.  The same holds true to politics.  If you want people to discredit whatever valid political message you have, start talking about Obama’s birth certificate or WTC 7 or a grassy knoll in Dallas.  You can be assured of having your message about bailouts or stimulus packages or pork and especially the Second Amendment disregarded, too.

Even if you don’t care about how people perceive you, think about your political allies.  It wasn’t that long ago that the media tried to tie Ron Paul to 9/11 conspiracy theories and groups like Stormfront.  If you are at a Tea Party event, bringing up the great Birfer debate to the media isn’t going to stop any bailouts. It will, however, give the left more ammo to discredit their opposition.  One does their political friends a grave disservice when they allow their personal feelings about unrelated issues color the topic of the moment.

One has every right in the world to hold and express whatever bizarre belief he or she desires.  However, unnecessarily associating others with these sorts of views is a bit socially irresponsible and often politically damaging.

Speaking of having a great time blowing up stuff, check out this totally awesome video footage combined with some not-so-awesome messaging:

Lame Quote of the Day

“People reading news for free on the Web, that’s got to change,” sez Rupert Murdoch.  With newspapers folding all over the country, one might think that the journalism industry would actually get the hint.

Just like any other business, when the books don’t balance, you’ve got to cut costs, increase sales, raise your prices, improve the quality of your product, etc.  Uhm! Here’s a novel idea for the mainstream media: improve the quality of your freakin’ product.  Actually cover what people want to read.  Don’t spoon feed us pablum or try tell us what’s newsworthy.

Anyway, it’s unlikely that people will pay for a product/service which they can get elsewhere for free.

I feel about as sorry for Murdoch as I do for AIG, General Motors, Chrysler, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Catfish Genome Project.

Of course, the some in the industry are calling for bailouts.  This new bailout suggestion eliminates some First Amendment rights.

For years, the Internet has been my primary source of news.  Sometimes I’d pick up a paper to read on the plane, but aside from that, I generally obtain my media from free sources.  Since the advent of smart phones, I don’t even buy print newspapers any more.  Pretty much the same for television broadcasting, but their aren’t asking for bailouts — yet.

Quote Of The Day

This one is a bit topical for me. My wife and I just had our taxes prepared by her business accountant. As mentioned last year, she and her sister started a business, and due to the myriad obstacles and pitfalls inherent in our legal system, incorporated the business as an S Corp. Being a first-year business, startup costs far outweighed revenue, so with losses there was, of course, no income to tax. However, they just received a bill for $800 in estimated tax payment, due Apr 15, to remain an S Corp for the next year. Read the below, and while it’s not quite the politics of pull, is it any doubt that this is nothing more than a permission to do business from those who do no business?

From Atlas Shrugged, a portion of the Francisco D’Antonia money speech:

Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society’s virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion–when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing–when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors–when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed.

My personal issues aside, a look at the news shows this writ large. The loot required to remain operating may differ depending on whether your name is JP Morgan or Lehman Brothers. Whether you have laws rewritten to be allowed to keep large bonuses may depend on how much you’ve contributed to Chris Dodd, while executives in a customer-facing industry are harangued for use of private jets, demanded to work for $1 salary, and finally fired by the President. And we watch the executive/appointee revolving door between Goldman Sachs and Washington DC.

This isn’t capitalism and this isn’t freedom: this is corporatism. And we watch as the snake oil salesmen offer us more of the same, with a healthy dose of welfare statism thrown in for good measure. It’s a road we’ve been headed down for decades, and we’re finally nearing that destination: serfdom.

Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to live in America, rather than the country who now shares only its name.

Action item for libertarians and small-government conservatives

20080925_wallst_protest_33For years, believers in small government have been fuming at egregious Republican spending. All of a sudden, more mainstream Republicans are livid about bailouts. Even elected Republicans who supported bailouts are suddenly jumping on the anti-bailout bandwagon because they’ve been popped upside the head by their own supporters. Even Republican governors accepting bailout money are at increased political risk. If we want legislators and other political leaders to respond to the small-government message we wish to promote, it’s necessary to kick them where it counts. What better way than to hurt them with their own fundraising, activist and voting bases?

Here’s the mission for the small-government crew: Every time a Republican politician promotes or supports a plan which expands government spending, it’s up to us to call them on it with terminology which will hurt their political career.

As an obvious example, if a Republican presidential and vice presidential candidate team up to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, we need to call them out on it. It this case, it probably cost McCain and Palin the election.

Again, on the obvious side, Republicans should be aware of whether their congressman voted to bail out auto manufacturers or not.

Regular old pork counts, too. If a Republican wants to spend a couple of million dollars on fish, we need to call him out on it. “Senator Shelby bails out out Catfish Genome Project” would be a good one. Or course, such fishy-smelling pork isn’t limited to Alabama senators. Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe just love bailing out the Lobster Institute.

When a Republican governor wishes to increase taxes, let’s make sure folks know that Governor Riley wanted to bail out the Alabama Education Association or that Governor Huckabee taxes the elderly at the old folks’ home to bail out failed government programs.

Senator Hatch not only supports slavery, but he wants to bail out organizations which can’t obtain enough “volunteers.”

Of course, if it’s an omnibus spending bill, one omnibus target is lobbyists. For example, Congressman Smith and Jones vote “yes” on Obama budget bill to bail out DC lobbyists.

If it’s legislation aimed at lowering the amount of smokers in the country, it’s now a bail out for people too stupid (myself included) to quit.  The same general logic could be applied to about any nanny-state legislation. Even anti-Second Amendment legislation could be considered a bailout to the mortuary industry.

As bailouts are viewed very negatively by most Republicans I know, we need to change the rhetoric in a way that is meaningful to them.  I’ll predict that it will be tough for a Republican constantly tagged with the word “bailout” to win a primary election for the next couple of years, at least.

Pretty much every spending bill coming out of Washington contains the transfer of money from the producer of the money to someone who didn’t earn it.  The formula is simple:

(Insert politician name) (votes, supports, promotes, as appropriate) the bailout of  (beneficiary of government largesse).

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