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September 1, 2015

Whither Caucus?

May I reopen a topic? The non-inclusion of the straw poll at this year's GOP caucus? This is inside baseball in an inside game. I was compelled to accept my County Chair's suggestion that unbound delegates embody true, little-r republican spirit. I was disappointed, but did not dwell too much.

Some FB folks are quite peeved. And, to be fair, they are a sensitive lot. But the suggestion that power is being shifted from the grassroots to the establishment is extremely prevalent. One links to a balanced look from the Denver Post. (I'm surprised too -- hope everything's okay.)

At the end of the day, I must share my comment. I am a regular caucus attendee, but don't stand for election or seek to be a delegate. I'm a casual member of the engaged set. Taking that away -- especially this year -- sucks away the biggest purpose of my attending:

Like the Geico commercial, "I caucus, that's what I do." Yet, I have to admit, I was asking why this year. Unless there is some play in the Senate nomination, It's a long drive and a spent evening. Voting in the straw poll at least feels like something accomplished,

I may miss for the first time in many years.


In a year with an exciting presidential field, giving people less reason to attend seems a bad idea.

UPDATE: Lots of folks are friends of Rep. Shawn Mitchell (Laugh a minute - Evergreen) or should be. Here is his post with some excellent commentary.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:37 PM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But Keith Arnold thinks:

In news you'll enjoy, Carly Fiorina is likely going to get a place among the other candidates at the next "debate." CNN has just announced it really is possible to change horses in the middle of a stream after all, if by "horses" you mean "biased and juvenile debate rules" and by "stream" you mean "volatile and dynamic campaign in which various candidates rise and fall based on voter perceptions."

Also, Ace of Spades HQ has just announced that Jeb Bush and the Dow are competing in a hotly-contested Race To The Bottom; bets are being taken on which one augers into the pavement first.

Posted by: Keith Arnold at September 1, 2015 7:31 PM


Green "Pure Principle"

From "The Hood Robin Syndrome" article jk Tweeted:

And if you are someone saving the planet from imminent doooom and destruction, well, you are the man. There is no action that you shouldn't take if it is in the service of your noble cause. You know that you have right on your side, you're preventing disaster. You know you are fighting the good fight to cool the fevered brows of those sweltering in the 2050 heat by at least a tenth of a degree, and that it is a fight that has to be fought if we are to save the very planet. Your strength is as the strength of ten because your heart is pure, and you have the moral high ground. As a result of all of that, there is no transgression you won't commit in order to have other people pay to make your beautiful Elysian (and slightly-cooler) dream come to fruition...

An almost word for word equivalence with the "pure principle of the prophet" I cited when Ayaan Hirsi Ali told us: "Boko Haram sincerely believes that girls are better off enslaved than educated." Carbon haters sincerely believe that the poor are better off with less energy than with more.


Quote of the Day

Italy is far more sophisticated and clever, that is, than the hot-headed Greeks. Syriza is a party of naifs who made the mistake of attacking Germany and Brussels head-on. Italy is savvier than that: it knows how to say "yes" and look busy while doing little or nothing. Italy has a long history of using that strategy. The Goths conquered Rome and did a lot of damage--but they didn't change Italy much. German emperors strutted through the halls of Italy's palaces and issued decrees to both princes and popes--and Italy kept on being Italian all the same. -- The American Interest
Hat-tip: Insty
But johngalt thinks:

Fascinating. Apparently, part of America's problem is that our bureaucrats have a little too much German in them. They aren't so much incompetent as they are too efficient.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 3:02 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

I think it was Friedman who said something like 'thank god government is as inefficient as it is, or we'd all be slaves.'

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 1, 2015 11:44 PM

August 31, 2015

All Hail Insty

I have not read the linked piece yet, but the review is good.

ALL THINGS CONSIDERED, this New Republic piece on Randy Barnett and the libertarian constitutional movement is really pretty good. But I thought this part was revealing:
Barnett believes the Constitution exists to secure inalienable property and contract rights for individuals. This may sound like a bland and inconsequential opinion, but if widely adopted by our courts and political systems it would prohibit or call into question basic governmental protections--minimum wages, food-safety regulations, child-labor laws--that most of us take for granted. For nearly a century now, a legal counterculture has insisted that the whole New Deal project was a big, unconstitutional error, and Barnett is a big part of that movement today.

If your entire program is called into question by the notion that individuals have property and contract rights, maybe the problem is with your program.

And to the extent that, as believed by many, the Supreme Court's eventual accommodation to the New Deal was the product of duress in the form of FDR's court-packing scheme, then isn't that accommodation, in fact, illegitimate?

But johngalt thinks:

Yessss! The linked article is the most encouraging and uplifting thing I've read since Christmas, 2009. Here's another sampling, to encourage everyone to read the whole [not as long as it looks] piece:

The biggest setback for Lochnerians could be an establishment Republican like Jeb Bush winning the presidency and cannibalizing the grassroots right’s enthusiasm for taking apart the Obama-era administrative state. A Hillary Clinton presidency would put off a Lochner revival for another four or eight years, but it would keep the fires of opposition to big government raging in the meantime. Bush, by contrast, is an advocate of judicial restraint, and once he started appointing traditional conservatives to the bench, it would be difficult to stop him.
Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2015 6:27 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Or to summarize, borrowing from a highly respected but much maligned presidential candidate:

"I would remind you that judicial activism in the defense of the Constitution of these United States is no vice. And let me remind you also that judicial restraint in the pursuit of social virtue is no personal virtue."

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2015 6:35 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed on the linked article's quality. Concerned that another libertarian - conservative split is not electorally pragmatic these days -- but you get what you get.

I really feel I have had a front row seat for the changes described. I reviewed Bernstein's Rehabiltating Lochner in 2011 and started the voyage from conservative to libertarian jurisprudence. Barnett is a hero of mine and I was happy to see a serious and balanced appraisal.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 7:58 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Indeed, fascinating. I knew about Volokh, but am heartened to hear that this is becoming a major force in jurisprudence. Can we hope that (to cite a Carly-ism) Lady Liberty's nadir was 2005 (Kelo)?

Can JK explain this pithily?

voyage from conservative to libertarian jurisprudence

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 1, 2015 1:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't get pithy with me, I'll block your IP address! No. Wait a minute, I think I can...

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect us from ourselves?

Judge Robert Bork, Justice Antonin Scalia, and famously Chief Justice John Roberts think not. These conservatives decry "judicial activism" as "legislating from the bench" and robbing the electorate of its power to make law through the democratic process. I subscribed to that for many years.

Justice Thomas, Justice Stephen Field, and the Volokh/Cato cabal see the court's role quite clearly as protecting us from the tyranny of the majority. I now subscribe to that.

Lochner v New York is the Rorschach. Bork's book lumped it in with Dred Scot, Buck v Bell and Korematsu v US. Chief Roberts referenced it dozens of times in his dissent on Obergefell v Hodges.

David Bernstein and the libertarian school embrace as a defense of the right of contract. I recommend:

Damon Root Overruled [Review Corner]
Clark M. Neily III's Terms of Engagement [Review Corner]
David Bernstein Rehabilitating Lochner [Insty's Review Corner]

I believe you read the Lochner book, that was a turning point.

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2015 2:31 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Allow me to pick apart your opening premise: "Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect us from ourselves?"

First I'll quip, "No, that's Congress' job." But seriously, there are too many pronouns in that statement for it to have any real meaning.

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect individuals from themselves? No.

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect the electorate from the politicians they select by plurality? No.

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect the Constitutional Republic from unconstitutional laws ratified by the other branches of government? You earned a gold star.

But when prior courts failed at this job, whether by political motive or by ill informed misinterpretation, it is proper for the sitting court to correct past mistakes.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 2:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I was answering a pithiness challenge. Here are the antecedents you seek;

Is it the Supreme Court's job to protect [those under the protection of the Constitution] from [those employing the tools of the Constitution]?

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2015 3:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair.

What do you think of the distinction I made between protecting citizens of the Republic and protecting the Republic, the very form and instance of the national government itself?

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 3:48 PM
But jk thinks:

I might push back that the Declaration defines the proper role of government as protecting individual rights, not the government's structure.

Battling anarchists of late, I have been spending much time on that. It's the mission statement for "Constitutional Minarchy™"* and the actual Constitution its reification.

So, individual rights require protection from any government authority. They've struck down plebiscitary referenda, legislation, lower court rulings, and executive overreach -- so I see them as a last line of defense for the proper role of government. Is that synonymous with our preferred type of government? Overlapping, but I'd say no.

*Accept no substitutes!

Posted by: jk at September 1, 2015 4:37 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well that's just it - defending individual rights is the first priority and, at the same time, almost impossible to define in a universal way.

The Founders' solved the problem by defining a government with strict limits and then leaving their posterity to operate the machinery they had built. But many of the foolish kids thought they were smart enough that the could redesign it and make it better. Balderdash.

So what I propose is a libertarian judicial activism that undoes the effects of the odious Amendments and a hundred-ten years of statist judicial activism, restoring the Republic as close as possible to the original, but with full and equal individual rights for all, individually.

Posted by: johngalt at September 1, 2015 7:02 PM

Quote of the Day

We're deep into the "YOLO" stage of this presidency. -- Jim Geraghty
From his Morning Jolt newsletter [subscribe], today titled "Obama: Hey, I'm Going to Start Renaming Stuff, Just Because I Can"
But Keith Arnold thinks:

Dave Burge (Iowahawk) posts a reaction that should hit home with Colorado residents:

1. Out: Mount McKinley; in: Mount Denali 2. Out: Animas River; in: Obama River pic.twitter.com/BxWZHSke92

— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) August 31, 2015

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 31, 2015 12:29 PM
But jk thinks:

Yessssssss!

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 12:55 PM

August 30, 2015

Whither Review Corner?

Two weeks with no Review Corner -- should I short AMZN?

Your less than humble reviewer is co-writing a book, and devoting reading time to research. Review Corner may be a little sporadic through the end of the calendar year -- though every ThreeSourcer would enjoy A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature's Deep Design by Frank Wilczek. The Aristotelians 'round these parts (an overwhelming majority) will bristle at the author's fondness for Plato. But hang in there, he is not blind but rather seeks a superstructure which includes Aristotelian truth and Platonic beauty.

Plato insisted on beauty, and was ready to compromise-- or we might better say, to surrender-- accuracy. That disdain for facts, beneath its veneer of pride, betrays deep lack of confidence, and a kind of exhaustion. It gives up on the ambition to have it all, marrying beauty and accuracy, Real and Ideal.

Just started, but it comes well recommended and appears it will score some stars.

My book is a project at work that is a great fit for me. It's not a secret but my exact official role is unspecified. I'll be helping to complete a book already started. Here is a brief overview and here is a whitepaper.

But Keith Arnold thinks:

Congratulations! I read both the overview and the whitepaper -- there's a lot of specialized knowledge that goes over my head, I admit, but I think I understand where you're headed with the issue of data protection. The second half of the whitepaper especially piqued my interest. Please keep us posted, to the degree that you can -

Posted by: Keith Arnold at August 31, 2015 12:42 PM
But jk thinks:

Thanks, I have to admit I am quite excited. If, when complete, it is not accessible to someone of half your intelligence, Brother Keith, I will have failed miserably.

I think I contribute just by being a fan of the genre of pop science books. My first contribution was insisting that every chapter open with a quote -- and I produced 20 pages of quotes that I had highlighted for previous Review Corners.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 1:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Sounds like a real page turner!

Posted by: johngalt at August 31, 2015 1:30 PM
But jk thinks:

We're grading on a curve against The Amazon AWS S3 API and The CAN bus protocol tutorial; I ain't scared.

Actually, the target is to start with the Matt Ridley/Rational Optimist position of the importance of technology and knowledge and postulate ways to preserve that through catastrophic events. With a gifted author, that could work -- and my co-author isn't bad.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2015 1:47 PM
But nanobrewer thinks:

Good synopsis of attack profiles and threats. Of course, the real answer is backups that are offline (in my case, the Passport sitting on a shelf behind me - some day, in a SD box). This will be more challenging if I ever get my startup going... and another argument for workstation-based (*gasp* dare I say Outlook???) eMail

This is going to be an e-Book?

Posted by: nanobrewer at September 1, 2015 3:06 PM

August 28, 2015

Satire on POTUS-Trump


The whole thing is really hilarious.

Trump-satire.jpg

What's a "DM" ?

Posted by nanobrewer at 4:04 PM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But johngalt thinks:

"Dungeon Master"

Posted by: johngalt at August 28, 2015 5:16 PM

August 27, 2015

GOP 2016 Primary

I hope brother JG is still planning to caucus, so can clear up the Denver's confounding Post:

Colorado Republicans cancel presidential vote at 2016 caucus

I heard the CO GOP co-chair on the radio attempting to clarify the new proposal... over which I'm still not clear. All I know is CO GOP will not be hosting a "straw poll." After reading the article, it appears his radio spot was spot-on. The GOP will not be conducting a straw poll, like the Dems will, but will caucus anyway.

Posted by nanobrewer at 10:55 AM | What do you think? [1 comments]
But johngalt thinks:

I'll try to clear it up right now: The RNC rammed through a rule change in 2012 that made any non-binding preference poll in a caucus state, binding upon that state's delegates. In effect, it turned caucus states into primary states. It was a move closer to direct democracy and benefits the candidate favored by the national party power brokers - read: establishment - to the detriment of informed party members in flyover country. There may as well not be a national nominating convention if every state has a primary (or binding straw poll) the winner of which takes each and every delegate from that state. We could just mail it in.

Keeping the caucus, nationwide, is a key component of keeping The Republic.

So while it's technically true that "Colorado will not vote for a Republican candidate for president at its 2016 caucus," what went unsaid was that "Colorado Republicans will vote for Republican delegates to the Republican nominating convention at its 2016 caucus, who will vote for the Republican nominee at said convention." Just. Like. Always.

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 11:59 AM

August 26, 2015

Lovin' Me some "eevil" Koch Brothers

I found this USA Today article while researching the funding structure of the excellent Generation Opportunity outfit and their free-market alternative news articles arranged by topic group.

From 'Koch Donors Step Into Public View' - USA Today, March 31, 2015:

Chris Rufer, the CEO of a California tomato-processing company, told USA TODAY that he donates between $500,000 and $1 million each year to the Koch network but is not concerned with short-term political gains.

Rufer, a Libertarian, said he's more interested in changing the "culture" through supporting the foundations and think tanks backed by the network "than in trying to win elections today."

"Democrats and Republicans are all the same," said Rufer, who gave $490,000 in 2012 to a super PAC supporting the Libertarian Party's presidential nominee, Gary Johnson, a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico.

Last week, he wrote an op-ed column in The New York Times declaring his support for a top Koch priority: jettisoning the Export-Import Bank. The federally run bank helps U.S. companies by subsidizing loans to foreign customers to help them buy U.S. products. Big-business interests, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, support the bank and want Congress to reauthorize the bank's charter, which expires at the end of June.

Freedom Partners and other Koch-affiliated groups have denounced the bank as corporate welfare. Rufer said he opposes subsidies. "It's resources and property taken from other folks, and I consider that theft."

Rufer and another regular attendee of the Koch gatherings, Minnesota broadcasting magnate Stanley Hubbard, said they disagree sharply with Democrats' portrayal of the Kochs as power-hungry billionaires out to protect their financial interests.

"They aren't evil people trying to feather their own nests," Hubbard said of the Kochs, worth an estimated $42.9 billion each. "They've got it made."

Hubbard, who donated $450,000 to Freedom Partners' super PAC last year, described his fellow donors as largely self-made business people who are concerned about what they view as burdensome government regulations. "We believe it's very important that the little guy has a chance to get ahead, and the best way for that to happen is free enterprise," he said.

In addition to Rufer, more than two dozen other donors have signed op-eds backing the Kochs in the past seven months, including Dallas tycoon and former Texas Rangers owner Thomas Hicks and Tim Busch, the CEO of a California hotel-development and management company.

Others signing from Dallas: Thomas Hicks Jr., Holly and Doug Deason, Elaine Marshall, E. Pierce Marshall Jr., Sally and Forrest Hoglund, Tandy and Lee Roy Mitchell, and Gayla and Jim Von Ehr. Those signing The Desert Sun letter: Mike and Suzy Leprino; John and Carol Saeman; and Bob and Karen Rishwain, all of Indian Wells, Calif.; Mike and Marian Shaugnessy of Rancho Mirage, Calif. Other letter writers: Chris and Liz Wright of Denver and Minnesota executives Dean Spatz and Fritz Corrigan.

Freedom Partners spokesman James Davis said more donors are stepping into the spotlight to make it clear to critics that they are "not just attacking Charles and David Koch, they are attacking hundreds of successful business and philanthropic leaders" who support "free markets and a free society."

[emphases mine]

But nanobrewer thinks:

Seems shockingly balanced and fair... nuanced, even! Were the underlines yours, JK?

Posted by: nanobrewer at August 27, 2015 10:43 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Forgot to include: [emphasis mine]

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 12:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The Generation Opportunity articles are also refreshingly balanced and fair. I highly encourage liking their page, visiting it frequently, reading the articles and sharing them as widely as possible. 'Specially with da youts!

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 12:17 PM
But jk thinks:

The demonization of the Koch's is sad, because it denies the opportunity to show the overlap og libertarians and progressive liberals. Prison reform, drug legaization, gay rights have HUGELY benefited from their eeeevil dollars

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 12:54 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Could the negative image of Messrs. Koch be an active creation of the media? Created by activist "journalists" like Jorge Ramos, who said yesterday, " I think -- as journalists, we have to denounce and espouse the dangerous words and extreme behavior of Donald Trump."

Posted by: johngalt at August 27, 2015 2:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Somebody on the Intertubes has done a great YouTube, stiching together every mention of "Koch Brothers" that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Cool Shades, be a shame if anything bad happened to them - NV) made from the Senate Floor. It's funny, then boring as it goes on forever, and then after one considers it, deeply disturbing: the Second ranking Democrat, routinely denouncing two private citizens from the well of the Senate Floor, for a simple difference in political philosophy. I doubt The Kaiser, Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden fared worse.

But the apogee of Koch Derangement Syndrome is when they asked Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ben & Jerry's - VT) if he favored more immigration. "Open Borders? No that's a Koch Brothers thing. Absolutely not."

Okay then.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 6:33 PM
But jk thinks:

RE Señor Ramos: If anyone could drive jk into the arms of that megalomaniacal, economic troglodyte populist that currently leads my party by double digits, it would be he.

Posted by: jk at August 27, 2015 6:37 PM

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