Cooked Books and Corrupt Government

English: Three-quarter length portrait of Rudy...

English: Three-quarter length portrait of Rudyard Kipling, photographic postcard, by Bourne & Shepherd. Image courtesy of the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Yale University.http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/dl_crosscollex/brbldl/oneITEM.asp?pid=2022961&iid=1088883&srchtype=VCG (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so, as I imagine most of you know, the administration has decided to cook the census books to get ‘better’ numbers for Obamacare. I wasn’t particularly surprised, they’ve cooked all the other books, why not these? Apparently, Megan McCardle was surprised. She had this to say:

I’m speechless. Shocked. Stunned. Horrified. Befuddled. Aghast, appalled, thunderstruck, perplexed, baffled, bewildered and dumbfounded. It’s not that I am opposed to the changes: Everyone understands that the census reports probably overstate the true number of the uninsured, because the number they report is supposed to be “people who lacked insurance for the entire previous year,” but people tend to answer with their insurance status right now.

But why, dear God, oh, why, would you change it in the one year in the entire history of the republic that it is most important for policy makers, researchers and voters to be able to compare the number of uninsured to those in prior years? The answers would seem to range from “total incompetence on the part of every level of this administration” to something worse

But I fail to see why we would expect anything else, we passed beyond the “Rule of Law” sometime late in the Bush presidency, or early in Obama’s, it hardly matters anymore. And if you’d like to know why there is no inflation, it’s mostly because we don’t count food, and fuel, anymore. Been to the grocery store lately? As usual Kipling said it best:

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

It’s all a sham, the corrupt books passed cooked to the apathetic. Nobody knows what is going on because the reports are, quite simply, lies. Nobody knows, not even the corrupt kleptocrats who perpetrated it. Why can’t anything be saved? Because the laws don’t work, especially the corporate bankruptcy laws, anymore. The housing bubble and the GM and Chrysler bailouts ruined all confidence in the market. Why do we have illegal aliens? Because unless you can afford the disguised bribes, or you work for an employer that wants cheap labor, you cannot immigrate legally.

But that’s all water over the dam, it simply doesn’t matter anymore. Why? because a huge majority of the citizens simply don’t give a damn, haven’t in years. They don’t care if they earn a living. Eat the Rich! What they’ll do when there are no rich except their masters in Washington never enters their minds.

That’s too much like cause and effect for their simple minds, so never mind.

And so Kipling again applies:

Recessional

God of our fathers, known of old,

   Lord of our far-flung battle-line,

Beneath whose awful Hand we hold

   Dominion over palm and pine—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

The tumult and the shouting dies;

   The Captains and the Kings depart:

Still stands Thine ancient sacrifice,

   An humble and a contrite heart.

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

Far-called, our navies melt away;

   On dune and headland sinks the fire:

Lo, all our pomp of yesterday

   Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!

Judge of the Nations, spare us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

If, drunk with sight of power, we loose

   Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe,

Such boastings as the Gentiles use,

   Or lesser breeds without the Law—

Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet,

Lest we forget—lest we forget!

For heathen heart that puts her trust

   In reeking tube and iron shard,

All valiant dust that builds on dust,

   And guarding, calls not Thee to guard,

For frantic boast and foolish word—

Thy mercy on Thy People, Lord!

 

Well, you know what,it’sMaundy Thursday, and it’s my birthday, another year closer to getting worthless (by then) Social Security. In my lifetime, I’ve watched my country consistently hold the line on freedom, and win the cold war, and then gone from that triumph, on to become a lawless, rogue regime, that couldn’t find enough leadership to lead a horse to water. And so, I’ve nothing particularly important to do today, so I think I’ll go find a bottle of whisky, and get drunk as a lord.


After all, Who is John Galt?

 

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Cliven Bundy and Brendan Eich

Compass_integrityI’m referencing two articles today, on two seemingly different subjects. But are they? If you read these two outstanding articles, I’ll think you will agree they are two facets of the same subject. That subject is the integrity of a man (or woman). These are both heroes for our time.

Cliven Bundy managed to stare down the Bureau of Land Management, for now. The best summary of this I’ve seen is from John Hinderaker of Powerline, here’s bit of it:

Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy

On Saturday, I wrote about the standoff at Bundy Ranch. That post drew a remarkable amount of traffic, even though, as I wrote then, I had not quite decided what to make of the story. Since then, I have continued to study the facts and have drawn some conclusions. Here they are.

First, it must be admitted that legally, Bundy doesn’t have a leg to stand on. The Bureau of Land Management has been charging him grazing fees since the early 1990s, which he has refused to pay. Further, BLM has issued orders limiting the area on which Bundy’s cows can graze and the number that can graze, and Bundy has ignored those directives. As a result, BLM has sued Bundy twice in federal court, and won both cases. In the second, more recent action, Bundy’s defense is that the federal government doesn’t own the land in question and therefore has no authority to regulate grazing. That simply isn’t right; the land, like most of Nevada, is federally owned. Bundy is representing himself, of necessity: no lawyer could make that argument.

That being the case, why does Bundy deserve our sympathy? To begin with, his family has been ranching on the acres at issue since the late 19th century. They and other settlers were induced to come to Nevada in part by the federal government’s promise that they would be able to graze their cattle on adjacent government-owned land. For many years they did so, with no limitations or fees. The Bundy family was ranching in southern Nevada long before the BLM came into existence.

via Why You Should Be Sympathetic Toward Cliven Bundy | Power Line.

As near as I can tell Mr. Hinderaker has it about right. There is no way that Bundy is going to win in court, it’s going to cost him at least money and likely his way of life, and could cost him his freedom as well. I do sympathize with him, not least because I’m rather the same sort of hard-boiled, do the right thing sort of guy myself. Good Luck to him, and I’m afraid he’ll need it.

But there is also this, long ago, the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail, said this:

There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all… One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly…I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law.

Then there is the case of Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla, who was forced to step down because he would not recant his opposition to same-sex marriage. Mollie Hemingway wrote an outstanding article the other day in The Federalist on this story. And here is a piece of that article as well.

The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

[...]

At the end of the day, they’re all wrong. Or at least not even close to understanding the problem with Eich’s firing. Political differences with CEOs, even deep political differences, are something adults handle all the time. Most of us know that what happened held much more significance than anodyne market forces having their way. And Eich shouldn’t be protected on the grounds that one has the right to be wrong. See, Eich wasn’t hounded out of corporate life because he was wrong. He was hounded out of corporate life because he was right. His message strikes at the root of a popular but deeply flawed ideology that can not tolerate dissent.

What we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident.

And what we have in Eich is the powerful story of a dissident — one that forces those of us who are still capable of it to pause and think deeply on changing marriage laws and a free society.

via The Rise Of The Same-Sex Marriage Dissidents

Are you starting to see the parallels here? These are both men of conviction, doing what they think is right. And they are willing to pay the price that goes with standing up to be counted as men of conviction and integrity. We shouldn’t be hounding these men, Like Dr. King, these men should be heroes for out time, spoken of with, if not awe, with respect.

St. Augustine also said this:

Hope has two beautiful daughters.

Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.

 

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Bundy Ranch vs. Bureau of Land Management

Yes, I have been avoiding this story, because I have no idea who originally was in the right (or wrong) here, and further I’m not sure anybody else does either. Makes it really hard to write an interesting story. But the whole thing seems to have simmered down, at least for now. But it’s been a scary and proud week in America.

The parallels to Waco and Ruby Ridge are much too clear, and they lead to one clear conclusion. The internet is critical to freedom, 20 years ago by the time the news of this dispute got out, it would have been over, and likely with dead bodies to mourn, that’s what happened then, and that’s what would have happened now, except for the alternative media with an occasional assist from Fox News.

That my friends, is why the first amendment is so important, and also a warning to the government. It is when I decided that in my mind that the rights and wrongs could be sorted out later was when the BLM decided that they could restrict freedom of speech.

And even tried to impose restrictions on that. As John Hinderaker of Powerline reminds us, there is only one allowable first amendment area in America, and this is it:

And for me that is when the facts of the case became less important. Nothing in America is more important than the government attempting to infringe Constitutional rights, and apparently I wasn’t the only one to feel that way. That was when you started to see the protests turn into a (legally) armed camp, and that is why the second amendment rights are so jealously guarded by the American people. Long ago, the first of America’s wars started when a silversmith rode through the night, shouting “The regulars are out”. And they were out to confiscate weapons. None of us have forgotten what the North ministry tried, and we pretty much all agree, Not on our watch. In the last analysis, it comes down to this:

And that is why America is different. Here The people are sovereign, and every once in a while we decide to remind the government when they get too overbearing. America is a tense place these days, we have an administration that thinks we should be like Europe, and a large part of the people are saying, rather loudly, NO!

Dan miller had the best general write-up of the whole thing that I have seen, here is his article.

Bundy Ranch: the “truth” shall make you . . . ?

The reports, such as they are, from the Bundy Ranch have been confusing. The Feds have contributed to the dearth of verifiable information, suggesting that there are things it would be inconvenient for us to know.

I don’t know what’s happening at the Bundy Ranch because, aside from conservative bloggers and occasionally Fox News, there is very little information, verifiable or otherwise. According to Mr. Bundy, on Friday he

barely recognized the land during an airplane flyover earlier in the day.

“I flew down along the river here, and I’d seen a little herd of cows,” he told a gathering of supporters. “Baby cows. They was grazing on their meadow and they was really quite happy.

“I then flew up the river here up to Flat Top Mason, and all of a sudden, there’s an army up there. A compound. Probably close to a hundred vehicles and gates all around and vehicles with armed soldiers in them. [Emphasis added.]

“Then I’m wondering where I am. I’m not in Afghanistan. I think I’m in Nevada. But I’m not sure right now,” he said to applause and defiant shouts.

Federal officials said that BLM enforcement agents were dispatched in response to statements Bundy made which they perceived as threats.

“When threats are made that could jeopardize the safety of the American people, the contractors and our personnel; we have the responsibility to provide law enforcement to account for their safety,” National Park Service spokeswoman Christie Vanover said to reporters Sunday.

A good collection of links is available at Nebraska Attitude.

via Bundy Ranch: the “truth” shall make you . . . ? | danmillerinpanama.

And so it has settled down, for now, anyway, latest reports say that the cattle have been released, except presumably for the calves that were reportedly run to death by the BLMs low flying helicopters, and after a week, in which that oldest of American peace officers, the Sheriff, which my historically minded readers will remember derived from the Anglo-Saxon Shire Reeve managed to negotiate a truce.

And again the people back down the government, and that’s what happened in America this week

This is my nominee for picture of the week

If you can’t tell, that the BLM force surrounded by the protesters. I’m also fond of this one which looks like America to me.

 

More here:

  1. http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/04/standoff-at-bundy-ranch-ends-with-photo-of-the-year-so-far.php
  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2603026/Senator-speaks-favor-Nevada-rancher-militias-join-battle-federal-agents-accused-acting-like-theyre-Tienanmen-Square-fight-disputed-ranch-land.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490
  3. http://therightscoop.com/breaking-video-ranchers-and-protesters-block-highway-seized-bundy-cattle-released/

 

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Cannadine on Britain, America, and Churchill

There’s no shortage of news, as I’m sure you know, and I suspect you know nearly as much about it, or soon will, as I do. So let’s do something else.

Like so many of you, I greatly admire Winston Churchill, one of the truly great men, as both a statesman and as an author, and as one who made sure history presented him in the best possible light—by writing that history himself.

Professor Sir David Cannadine is Whitney J Oates professor of History at Princeton Univ, and  Visiting Professor of History at New College of the Humanities in London. He is a specialist in 19th and 20th century British and American history. This is a very interesting lecture if you like Churchill, and maybe even if you don’t. It’s worth an hour of your time, and unfortunately, I don’t have transcript available.

A couple of things here that I don’t quite agree with, I think the professor has spent most of his time in the US on the east coast because I think the feeling for Churchill is quite different in the country at large compared to the east coast, and especially the State Department, which has never been exactly Brit friendly as near as I can tell. The uproar over the return of the Churchill bust back in 2009 would indicate that to me, anyway. It struck me as discordant when he commented on Churchill’s amazement at going across the country, I suspect it might him as well.

Following from that, I think he underestimates the feeling and respect for Britain that runs quite deep in America. The best evidence for that recently would be how the vote in Parliament to not go into Syria seemed to almost bind the US as well, at least to the point that Congress didn’t dare authorize it.

But with those caveats, this is a very valuable contribution to our understanding of the twentieth century history of the English-speaking people.

 

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Did Thatcher Leave a Legacy of Freedom?

Quote: Margaret Thatcher

Quote: Margaret Thatcher (Photo credit: aafromaa)

I read this article by Theodore Dalrymple yesterday morning and found it quite interesting, and yet something didn’t quite click with me, so I linked it over to Jess to get her (British) perspective on it. She reminded me that she had written on this. So go ahead and read this and then we’ll talk some more

It was Robert Louis Stevenson who said: “Man is a creature who lives not upon bread alone but principally by catchwords.” Refining our thoughts with qualifications can get tiring, so we recur to slogans to capture a reality that is almost always complex.

Alas, what should be the shorthand of thought often turns out to be the short-circuit of thought. When we think of Margaret Thatcher, for example, we think of free-market reforms—whether we are for such reforms or against them, whether we welcome or abominate them.

Is this right? Was Mrs. Thatcher’s legacy one of free markets, of laissez-faire? I am far from sure.

The question first came up when my late friend, the development economist, Peter Bauer (who was a formidable opponent of the orthodoxies of his time) said to me that he thought Mrs. Thatcher had talked a great deal but had actually done very little. In a way, he said, she had even set her own cause back because her strident language had convinced people that she had carried out her radical program, thus arousing the undying hatred of her intellectual opponents as if she had done so, while in fact she changed very little, at least as regards the fundamentals. She thus gave the ideas for which she stood a bad name without their ever having been put into practice.

This came up again recently when a think tank sent me an email circular with the title, Margaret Thatcher—A Free Market Legacy? Of course, the answer depends somewhat on what you consider a political legacy to be. Is all that happens after a politician leaves power his legacy, or only those parts of what is done that are either in accordance with or in conscious opposition to his precepts? Some reforms or changes are irreversible, others easily reversible. Does a legacy consist only of the former?

via Did Thatcher Leave a Legacy of Freedom? | Online Library of Law and Liberty.

Now let’s read a few excerpts from Jess’ most excellent article from shortly after Lady Thatcher’s death last year. Which drew on an article from Powerline that is here, that material is italicized

.

But did she really transform British politics, as many are saying today? It seems to me that contemporary politics in Great Britain are depressingly similar to what they were in the 1970s. In my view, Thatcher, rather than having turned her country’s politics in a new direction, stands out as, unfortunately, unique in British history.

Yes she did change it forever.  Blair, recognising that the centre had shifted to the Right shifted Labour there to gain power. In 18 years in power Labour did not try to renationalise anything, nor did it try to get rid of nuclear weapons, or abandon the American alliance – all policies it has been committed to in the 1980s.  No Government would ever go there now.  The argument is over how to best run the Thatcher legacy, not how to go back to where we used to be.

And

Comparisons with Ronald Reagan are instructive. Today, it would be hard to find a Republican who doesn’t claim, at least, to be a Reaganite. Is the same true in Great Britain? I don’t think so. My sense is that contemporary Tories have sidled away from, and don’t much try to defend, Thatcher’s legacy.

No Conservative in the UK who wished to be elected would distance herself or himself from Mrs Thatcher.  No one needs to identify themselves with her because all claim to be part of her legacy – and all are, Mr Cameron, and Mr Blair, both identified themselves as such – no Democrat would identify himself as heir to Reagan. In that respect Mrs T has had a far more radical effect than Mr Reagan. Even the opposition here steal her clothes; the fact they criticise her whilst so doing is simply a cover for their intellectual plagiarism and ideological larceny.

From The Thatcher Legacy.

And as soon as she mentioned it, that was my memory of what she had written. She convinced me then and I remain convinced she is correct today. It’s instructive I think, that while very many of her policies were, in fact, stymied, her legacy continues, not so much in actual policy as in setting the bounds of the conversation. What she did was more fundamental than individual policies—she moved the acceptable bounds of the debate.

In many ways, I think we can say the same for Ronald Reagan. Similarly, many of his policies were not put into practice during his tenure. But to take an easy example, can you imagine the limits on welfare put into law during the Clinton administration without the legacy of the Gipper, setting the parameters. I can’t

Still another thing they share; a fundamental shift in their societies.

And that is very important, I think. Because we know it has taken the ‘progressives’ a full hundred years to tear us down this far, and I think if we restore the Republic, our grandchildren will come to see that the ‘progressive’ tide began to turn while Reagan was our President. And if the United Kingdom survives as a free country, they will say the same for Margaret Thatcher.

And that is what it means to “fundamentally transform” a society, for the better.

I also note that yesterday was the first anniversary of Mrs. Thatchers’s death, maybe it’s just me but it seems a lifetime ago. How we miss those giants of our time.

 

 

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Calm Down Dears: State Snooping is a Price Worth Paying for Our Security, or is It?

NSAWe haven’t talked much here about Snowden and the repercussions of his acts, partially because nearly everyone else has, and partially because I’m very conflicted. He told us things we should have been told but, he also revealed thing that he shouldn’t have done. So, there you go. What I’ve always wanted was a balanced presentation, because freedom from an intrusive government is very important, but so is a modicum of security.

It is in some sense a line drawing game, it’s for very high stakes, and it’s very important to us all. So where do we draw that line. One thing I do know, I’m very uncomfortable having a newspaper making these decisions, and only slightly less with a bureaucracy and/or a secret court making them. We simply must do better than that.

Last night I watched a debate at Intelligence Squared from London that limned the issues well. I ended up in the minority but in a sense, like usually happens when a serious debate on these type of issues happens, there was actually more agreement than you would expect. It was published last 28 September and yes, it really is an hour and a half long. It is also the best presentation of the issue I have seen, so here it is.

Calm Down Dears:

State Snooping is a Price Worth Paying for Our Security

Like so much in this type of thing, a lot of it comes down to, “Do we (or dare we) trust our government?” And that is a lot of the problem, so many things in our government that we thought we could trust have become politicized that we are no longer sure that anything the government does is trustworthy. And that is a question we each have to answer for ourselves, and then make sure our decision is heard.

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