"During my long journey through the world of evil, I had discovered three sources of power: the power of an individual's inner freedom, the power of a free society, and the power of the solidarity of the free world."-- Natan Sharansky, "The Case for Democracy"

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May 22, 2015

Obama's Coast Guard Audience

When President Obama named human caused Climate Change as the cause of "an immediate risk to our national security" in his address to the graduating class of the Coast Guard Academy this week, something tells me his intended audience was folks like CNN's Juliette Kayyem.

Skeptics of these global seismic shifts are not simply denying science, they are denying safety and security. Until we recognize -- with the immediacy we would if a nation launched missiles against our cities -- that climate change isn't something that can be debated, but must be mitigated or, failing that, adapted to, we will not expend the effort or resources to prepare ourselves to the one phenomenon that we know is coming: simply, the waters are rising and this is a war.

Got that? The risk of climate change demands the same immediacy as a missile launch against our cities.

But the Arabic speaking world* has a much different perspective on the President's priorities.

*The owner of the video admits "Folks.......this a spoof. It was never intended to be taken as a legitimate news report. Obviously two things are at play here. One, I did the job too well. Two, we have come to the stage in the Obama presidency where quite literally..........anything is possible"

h/t: KHOW's Mandy Connell


May 21, 2015

Quote of the Day

At a 2013 gun-rights rally [Glendale Mayor and Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Mike] Dunafon referred to his small (0.6 square miles, 4,200 residents) enclave inside Denver as "the Vatican of liberty." But itís looking more like the Vatican and less like liberty now. -- Peter Blake, Complete Colorado
Dunafon spoke to Liberty On The Rocks -- Flatirons (LOTR-F). I missed it but enjoyed the video. He is entertaining and has a Penn-Jillettish mixing of the libertarian with the libertine. Out-of-towners may not know Glendale; it is a small enclave surrounded by Denver (not a suburb) and it has been known for bars, nightlife, and a younger demographic resident. Dunafon owns (via marriage) a popular strip club called "Shotgun Willies." (Our band had a rehearsal space down the street before it converted from Country to [well, fill in your own joke here...]

He's likeable, but got on the wrong side of this humble blogger for a) Running as a Libertarian (delenda est!) and b) I kid you not, bowing out of an LOTR-F debate because he had the chance to "smoke weed with Snoop Dogg."

He has lost his remaining friends in the libertarian community with this crazy eminent domain deal. Everybody on FB is saying "Even Mike Dunafon?"

Yes.


Tweet of the Day

Hat-tip, Insty, who says "Heh" and has a couple more.

2016 Posted by John Kranz at 1:06 PM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But nanobrewer thinks:

Is it just this older machine of mine (a Win7 system is finally on order) or is Insty everybit as bad as PowerLine for aggressive shockwave/plug-ins?

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 22, 2015 2:37 PM

May 20, 2015

Armchair General

I found this disturbing:

The Syrian government's antiquities chief Mamoun Abdulkarim said he had no doubt that if Palmyra fell to the jihadists, it would suffer a similar fate to ancient Nimrud, which they blew up earlier this year.

'If ISIS enters Palmyra, it will spell its destruction... it will be a repetition of the barbarism and savagery which we saw in Nimrud, Hatra and Mosul.'

But I shall not just complain without suggesting a solution.

These heavily armed aircraft incorporate side-firing weapons integrated with sophisticated sensor, navigation and fire control systems to provide surgical firepower or area saturation during extended loiter periods, at night and in adverse weather. The sensor suite consists of a television sensor, infrared sensor and radar. These sensors allow the gunship to visually or electronically identify friendly ground forces and targets anytime, anywhere.

Video

But Keith Arnold thinks:

That 130 is a beautiful sight -- unless you're the target. If we only had a Commander-in-Chief who was serious about defeating ISIS...

I do have give a shout-out to another Close Air Support vehicle that I love, though, the A-10. As much as I respect the 130, I can buy seven Warthogs for the same price, and that BRRRRRT sound of her primary weapon is nothing short of iconic. Only a complete traitor would be pushing to decommission the A-10.

My apologies for my scanty participation, by the way -- the day job has really been insistent on having my undivided attention. I've barely had the time to make a nuisance of myself on Facebook, and only during non-paying hours...

Posted by: Keith Arnold at May 21, 2015 12:19 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The A-10 is a great aircraft. Her forte is obliterating armored vehicles, however. "Spooky" and "Spectre" and "Ghostrider" (planned deployment in FY2017) are well suited to anti-personnel duty, in bad weather and at night, in addition to obliterating armored vehicles.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Did you click through for the video? It's the best I've ever seen. Not only can they visually differentiate between armed men vs. women and children, they can see weapons being carried. Collateral damage = lower.

But I'd already taken up so much column inch with the still shot I linked it rather than imbed. Never let it be said that I lack humility.

Posted by: johngalt at May 21, 2015 2:57 PM

"Ridin' with Biden"

The Democrats who want to win the White House are not, it seems, Ready for Hillary. Not seven years ago, and not today.

Once a self-described "vociferous" Clinton supporter--he went door-to-door in New Hampshire with Bill in '92--he chose Obama in early '07 despite his historical ties with the Clintons. "It's more than charisma; it's more than the ability to emote; it's the ability to speak to 25,000 people and have every one of them feel you're speaking to them. Clinton had it, Bush had it, Obama had it, Reagan had it. Joe Biden has it--he can bring people to tears. She ain't got it."

Reading stories like this makes me feel a bit sorry for her - until I see her picture or hear her laugh. Then I return to my usual perspective.


Quote of the Day

Back in the day, [Sid] Blumenthal was a respected (read: well-connected and establishment) journalist attached to outlets such as The New Republic, where he got his start. Despite a twee exterior and generally prissy demeanor that made Tony Randall seem like the Brawny Paper Towel pitchman in comparison, Blumenthal's nastiness and willingness to fling shit like a howler monkey in heat earned him the sobriquet "Sid Vicious," because, well, you know there's really not much difference between a New Republic and New Yorker kind of guy and the junk-addicted, homicidal bassist for the Sex Pistols, amirite. -- Nick Gillespie
Honorable mention (same piece):
As The New York Times reports, Blumenthal remained a trusted adviser to Clinton when she was secretary of state, despite not really knowing what the hell he was talking about.

May 19, 2015

Doing for Healthcare What they did for Iraq!

I have seen an awful lot of stories of failure in state-run health exchanges.

I thought some intrepid and public spirited blogger, with exceptional typing skills and personal hygiene should take on the project of assembling them.

Whew! Thankfully, Sally Pipes nailed it.

Given all the headaches, a number of states are considering offloading responsibility for their exchanges to the federal government. But that exit path may not be as appealing if the Supreme Court rules this summer that subsidies for the purchase of insurance are only available through state-operated exchanges in King v. Burwell.

States could have to choose between absorbing millions of dollars in losses running their own exchanges -- or depriving their residents of subsidies by sending them into the federal exchange.

They can't afford the former -- and the latter may prompt open public revolt. Perhaps that will be enough to convince Congress to repeal Obamacare altogether and replace it with market-based reforms that empower patients. Those would actually make sense.


Zeitgeist

I stared at this headline, linked on Instapundit: "Backlash Against Facebook's Free Internet Service Grows."

Backlash? Free? Internet? Huh? What?

You bright kids in front have perhaps figured it out -- I had to click.

On Monday, 65 advocacy organizations in 31 countries released an open letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg protesting Internet.org--an effort to bring free internet service to the developing world--saying the project "violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation."

Reminding me of a Lowell George song:
Some people tell me that Rock'n'Roll
Is bad for the body, bad for the soul,
Bad for the heart, bad for the mind.
Bad for the deaf and bad for the blind....

It seems Mister Z. will not be allowed to give things away unless he gives away full-featured things.
With Internet.org, Facebook is partnering with various wireless carriers and other organizations to provide an app that offers free access to certain internet services, including Facebook, on mobile phones in developing countries. But this spring, a group of publishers in India pulled out of the program, saying it violated the principles of net neutrality--the notion that internet providers should treat all online services equally.
[...]
Access Now is calling on Facebook to offer complete internet with very low data caps. But unlike the current model, this may not provide direct benefit to Facebook, because it would not funnel people directly to Facebook over other services. The question becomes: would Facebook still be willing to fund such an operation?

And ice cream! With sprinkles goddammit!

But johngalt thinks:

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Take that, social equality do-gooders! Your free crap isn't good enough - make it better! Too late to back out now, suckers.

Or as my electrician recently quipped, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2015 5:36 PM

Tweet of the Day

But johngalt thinks:

Huh, I get "Girls = 2*SQRT(Evil)"

One of us must be wrong.

Posted by: johngalt at May 19, 2015 3:43 PM
But jk thinks:

Reminding me of my favorite Dire Straights song, Industrial Disease: "Two men say they're Jesus, one of 'em must be wrong. We got a protest singer, singin' a protest song..."

Myself, I'm throwing in my lot with Mister Sterne.

Posted by: jk at May 19, 2015 3:54 PM
But patq thinks:

I am with johngalt. The first line should be Time + Money which then yields 2 * SQRT(evil).

Posted by: patq at May 19, 2015 7:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Correct! As with most erroneous conclusions, the mistake can be found at the start.

That is a memorable lyric, jk, and it ambled through my thoughts as I typed. Bonus points to whomever can name the Aristotelian premise that it, probably unwittingly on the part of Mr. Knopfler, represents: "Two men say they're Jesus, one of 'em must be wrong."

Posted by: johngalt at May 20, 2015 6:24 PM
But jk thinks:

Aristotle, Aristotle... What label was he on?

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2015 7:56 PM
But jk thinks:

Not sure a mere sum captures the resources I have invested over the years, but the phrase "time and money" does seem to support your correction.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2015 8:04 PM

May 17, 2015

Review Corner

The proper scope of government is of course a topic that has engaged political theorists for centuries. Political science and philosophy professors commonly ask their students to write papers pitting the views of Thomas Hobbes against those of John Locke, Alexander Hamilton against Thomas Jefferson, John Rawls against Robert Nozick. For economists' views it is natural to begin with Adam Smith.
Blog Brother Bryan is a great believer in subjective value and the importance of pricing in a free market. All the same, I fear he might hurl an alabaster bust of Adam Smith at me if I mention -- one more time -- that Lawrence H. White's The Clash of Economic Ideas set me back $28.00 on Kindle. I've paid close to 40 for a couple others, but White's earns a spot in the price pantheon.

It compares pretty favorably not only to other economics books, but to an actual economics course. In that light, it represents good value.

White is a GMU Economics professor, CATO senior fellow, and a prolific free banking advocate. Clash of Economics ideas is a more wide ranging comparison of economic ideas and their consequences.

Most notable is the format which the author compares to Quentin Tarantino -- it is not chronological but rather grouped by ideas. White will stop to give a half page bio and brief introduction to economists and ideas as they become important to the topic at hand. The result is a very readable, accessible and entertaining overview of the most important economic arguments, told with anecdotes, personalities, and theory combined. FA Hayek escapes to America, but is at first disappointed with the lack of theoretical foundation in economics at Columbia.

It was the year in which The Trend of Economics, intended to provide a program for the institutionalist school, had been brought out by Rexford Guy Tugwell. And one of the first things the visiting economist was urged to do was to go to the New School for Social Research to hear Thorstein Veblen mumble sarcastically and largely inaudibly to a group of admiring old ladies -- a curiously unsatisfying experience.

In one book, one can collect a seriously comprehensive collect of important ideas and historical economic discussions. ThreeSourcers would also enjoy the presentation as "clash." Not that you're an overly argumentative lot (cough, cough) but seeing the schools and thinkers categorized with political movements and practical application is clarifying.
The grounding of Bentham's doctrine stood in stark contrast to that of Locke's.63 In his book Anarchical Fallacies (1795), written in response to rights declarations issued during the French Revolution, Bentham famously declared that "Natural Rights is simple nonsense; natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense-- nonsense on stilts."64 Bentham endeavored to put the case for classical liberalism and laissez-faire on a more scientific foundation. But in his endeavor he provided the foundation on which later utilitarians like Mill, Marshall, Pigou, and the Fabians would build wider cases for government intervention.65 Utility-maximizing policies for Bentham included universal suffrage, free markets, and economy in government. Utility-maximizing policies for the Fabians included universal suffrage, socialism, and larger government.

The New Deal gets a lengthy look as our nation's embrace of top-down centralized planning. Growing up to witness the failed end of that and the cronies who perpetuate,it is easy to forget the idealism.
John Kenneth Galbraith reminisced that, returning to Harvard after studying under Keynes in England, "There was this breath of hope and optimism, and I came back from Cambridge to find a whole group of people here who had also read The General Theory."61 Hayek's and Robbins's contrasting policy recommendation, to let output and employment recover on their own as bankruptcies and layoffs released workers and machines to find more sustainable employments, was regarded by many as a counsel of despair.

Wrong and dangerous idealism. But idealism. This book is worth your time, and actually worth $28 on Kindle (there is some mechanism to lend certain books, holler if you'd like to pursue that.

But nanobrewer thinks:


I'm stunned in a delightful way by the concept embodied in the phrase "subjective value."

It's what I learned early on while doing technical marketing for semiconductor companies: how ossified was the idea that price = (cost of goods)+(mfr time/materials)x(resonabable profit margin).

That's a catchy phrase, which sadly seems all so necessary these days...

The book sounds fascinating, but I don't know that I'm up for many, if any, new concepts at the present.

Posted by: nanobrewer at May 18, 2015 11:39 AM
But jk thinks:

I think the Subjective Theory of Value is the soul of free economics. Marx thought the value of an item to be the sum of its labor, concomitantly making your last operand replaceable by the State. Indeed the whole idea of a computable value makes markets superfluous.

Actually, the price of something is what somebody will pay. I <cartman_voice>"rack diciprine"</cartman_voice> to write a book, but I've always though all basic economic concepts could be taught using guitars. The normally docile "Friends of the Archtop Guitar" group on facebook has conflagrated into schismatic conflict that makes Iraq and the Levant look peaceful.

At issue: Gibson's introduction of a new pressed wood for its most expensive big body jazz guitars. This exacerbates a conflict between the "You're a complete moron if you pay Gibson's insane premium that its nameplate demands" and "You have a tin ear if you cannot appreciate their subtleties" camps. It's not pretty this week.

But I can find no better example than an $11,000 guitar when you can get a pretty nice Chinese one for 1/10 its price or an gorgeous artisanal luthier's for half.

The Adam Smith group (to which all ThreeSourcers are welcome -- we meet ever Friday afternoon over Coffee|Beer at The Brewing Market [on Dagny Way in Atlas Valley]) remarks how close our dear Professor gets to subjective theory of value without quite hitting it. That's okay, he "discovered" a dozen other important concepts.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2015 12:26 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Proof that "the price of something is what somebody will pay" can be found in the "call before midnight tonight" tactic used by telemarketers. They understand that the pitched product's perceived value to customers will never be higher than it is during, and immediately after, the pitch. After sleeping on it the "price" or amount most customers are willing to pay for the item, has magically and mysteriously declined.

But the big picture historical overview you allude to is what interests me.

I'm a fan of integration of ideas and am very tempted by your offer. Perhaps when our gorram new house is finished.

Posted by: johngalt at May 18, 2015 2:50 PM
But jk thinks:

You would dig this.

Posted by: jk at May 18, 2015 3:01 PM

Don't click this. Comments (2)