July 31, 2010

Hitting the Nail on the Head

Scott Johnson at Power Line:
The economic "rights" asserted by Roosevelt in his second Bill of Rights differ and conflict with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They are claims on the liberty of others. If I have a right to medical care, you must have a corresponding duty to supply it. If I have a right to a decent home, you must have a duty to provide it.
I have never accepted the notion of 'positive rights', but this is the best concise refutation I've seen.

My neighbor's claim to positive rights is actually a claim against my liberty: a claim that he wants the State to back with force.

Extend the NH Pledge Nationwide

NH gubernatorial candidates have no chance of getting elected unless they pledge to veto an income tax bill. (That may change as Democrats move into the state and its Republicans become dispirited with their national party.)

I'd like to see all candidates for Congress, especially the Republican ones, offered a similar pledge regarding a VAT[1]. In addition to voting against a VAT, Senate candidates should be asked to pledge to filibuster it.

The reaction would say a good deal about which Republicans are serious about limited government and which ones are paying lip service or lying outright. That's probably why the national GOP is not mentioning such an obvious tactic, but I'd like to see the Tea Parties take the issue up.
[1] I vehemently oppose Obama-Bush profligacy and I vehemently oppose major tax increases: I want spending cuts.

July 26, 2010

The Tea Party Caucus

Its formation in the House was announced by religious kook Michelle Bachmann.

I wonder if, the better to force its values on the country, the theocratic right has made common cause with the kleptocrat branch of the GOP instead of the small-government branch.

I might stay in the Big Tent with the religious right if they kept their agenda to the state and local levels, but I don't trust them. Have they decided to support small government or are they trying to co-opt the small-government movement?

Republican Congressional leader Mike Pence is joining the caucus. He also belongs to the so-called Anti-Piracy Caucus that supports using federal power to confiscate the public domain on behalf of the Right's implacable enemy, Big Media.

Where Was the Party of Limited Government?

After editorials in the Washington Post and USA Today, Congressman Edolphus Towns has introduced a resolution supporting citizens who videotape police performing their duties.

A Democrat acts to check the abusive State while Republicans are silent. Is it possible to be amazed but not surprised?

Via Instapundit, who belatedly notes the matter. Whereupon taxpayer-funded libertarian Reynolds calls for federal legislation. I am willing to talk about federal legislation if milder measures don't work.

July 23, 2010

Entrepreneurship in America

To Nathan Myhvold's name, add Steve Gibson's:
Borrowing a page from patent trolls, the CEO of fledgling Las Vegas-based Righthaven has begun buying out the copyrights to newspaper content for the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that re-post those articles without permission...“We perceive there to be millions, if not billions, of infringements out there,” he says.
Maybe this will finally bring the IP situation to a reductio ad absurdum.

A problem with today's USA is that when you think things have come to a reductio ad absurdum, they're just getting underway.

The intention of intellectual-property social contracts is constructive and in principle I endorse the concept, but they are metastasizing to the extent that society arguably would be better off without them altogether. Apparently it is necessary to end progress in science and the useful arts in order to save it.
Our wise and good Congress at work:
While many companies ask other publishers to take down potentially infringing material, the law doesn't require content owners to do so before filing suit. The federal copyright statute also provides for damages ranging from $750 to $150,000 per infringement.
To repeat, this issue is tailor-made of the Tea Party. Orrin Hatch is a scumbag. I would be delighted to see him dumped like Robert Bennett was.

July 20, 2010

Apollo 11 Anniversary

Despite opposition by the porkulous in Congress, commercial space seems to be sprouting: one of the few Obama initiatives I support. Hopefully it will also survive the inevitable accidents. At 62, I hope I will see nongovernmental humans visit the moon. It seems unrealistic to hope to go myself but[1]...

For the first time in many years, I have some optimism that Apollo was not a heroic fluke, but a precursor.
[1] On my birthday a friend asked about my plans for the second half of my life. IMO my future lifespan has a bimodal distribution: probably considerably less than 62 more years; possibly considerably more.

The WaPo Intelligence Investigation

The Post found that almost a million Americans have Top Secret security clearances: about 1 in 200 adults.

Amazing that, 35 years after publication, the lessons of The Mythical Man Month are so compeletely ignored.

Heckuva job, George. Again.

Leftists Worthy of Respect

Mickey Kaus, Christopher Hitchens, Camille Paglia, perhaps Susan Estrich.

This post is written because of the Palin thugs (or impostors) at Neo-neocon. In particular, this guy posted in good faith and was savaged for his efforts.

Gresham's Law applies to the blogosphere too.

Note to self: send Neo an email. It's her blog, but she seems reluctant to intervene. If she doesn't, the louts will drive away the people who are there for a civilized discussion.

Addendum 20070720. Never mind about the note to NNC. She's schmoozing with her commenters about how terrible the JournoList is and completely ignoring the Sherrod story.

PJM and Reynolds haven't spoken about Sherrod either. I'm guessing that Neo is waiting to see what the party line is.

It's not taking the new conservative media long to catch up with the old liberal media's way of doing things.

July 18, 2010

On the Blogetery Shutdown

I've created this post as a way of tracking the issue.

The domain had a lot of traffic from India, Pakistan and Indonesia (also the USA and Germany). 24% of the domain's pageviews go to ace3.blogetery.com; googling that domain brings up a number of pornish links. Next is myreview.blogetery.com with 20.4% of traffic; that site doesn't seem to have pornish associations.

While I haven't thought the issue through, my immediate reaction is that servers should be seized a la Blogetery only for overriding national security reasons. Theft, predacious imagery, even murder are not sufficient reasons to shut down legitimate users without giving them access to due process.

More here and here.

Addendum 20100730. Apparently the closure is terrorism-related. I don't have time to dig up a link right now.

July 17, 2010

An Intellectual Framework for the
Tea Party Movement

Angelo Codevilla has supplied it. (HT: Daily Pundit)

Especially important is that he is aware of the danger that one form of Big Government will be replaced by another. (Yes, I'm talking about the "compassionate conservatives" and the theocrats.) And he has no illusions about the Republican Party as a defender of individual sovereignty.

Conservative/libertarian candidates for major offices should invite Codevilla to their brain trusts immediately.

Codevilla's piece helps to structure and focus the anger and dissatisfaction of Tea Partiers and likeminded people. It is an important article.

Addendum 20100718. Codevilla on Palin vis a vis Quayle and Obama.

Incremental Advance, Breaththrough,
or Nothing Special?

Germany is developing a reusable rocket (HT: Slashdot).

The reentry vehicle has flat sides and is maneuverable to a landing area. Heating of the tip is reduced by pumping nitrogen into its porous material.

It took decades of painstaking patient work to bring us to the threshold of a commercial space era. Until recently none of the advances was dramatic. In fact, it seemed to me at the time that things were at a dead end.

Copyright Thuggery:
An Issue Tailor Made for the Tea Party

Since the Democratic party and key elements of the Republican leadership have been bought by Big Media, there is a big constituency without a political voice--a young constituency.

(The US has shut down a host with 73,000 blogs [HT: Instapundit and Slashdot]. It's possible, of course, that the shutdown involves something much more serious than copyright violations.)

Whatever the case may be wrt Blogetery, I agree with this:
Politicians are whores and the copyright industry is a wealthy John.
Maybe the USA can buy Web surveillance technology from Iran. Maybe the USA can hire the Chinese to build a Great Firewall.

But payment in dollars may not be acceptable for too much longer.

(Btw, note the government's priorities: enforcing copyright vs. securing the borders.)

Addendum 20100708. The US has a small Pirate Party; it should make common cause with the Tea Parties and libertarians.

July 13, 2010

On Civil Rights

From the late 1950s to the early 1970s it became acknowledged that minorities and women were second-class citizens.

The government's solution: grow government so everybody is a second-class citizen.

On American Decline

The unprecedented magnitude and speed of the decline are masked by the country's unprecedented standing as Y2K approached.

Unfortunately Americans, especially the elites, are behaving as though that unprecedented position was normal and to be taken for granted. (Remember Gore and Bush debating about how to utilize the surplus? It didn't occur to them to debate how to maintain the surplus. It's not surprising that Bush squandered it, and no doubt Gore would have done so too.)

Evil Crazies

Palin-Coulter 2012.


You betcha.

Here and here.

Death Threat to "Everybody Draw Mohammad" Wendy Norris

A New York Daily News exclusive:
Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki - the radical who has also been cited as inspiring the Fort Hood, Tex., massacre and the plot by two New Jersey men to kill U.S. soldiers - singled out artist Molly Norris as a "prime target," saying her "proper abode is hellfire."
The surprising good news: our government has put Awlaki on an assassination list. The bad news: is the CIA competent to do the job?

I'm listening for moderate Muslims, at least in the USA, to declare en masse that, although they personally would not draw Mohammad, they defend Norris' freedom of expression.

Crickets chirping.

More news on the Religion of Peace here and here.

On one side, we have the enemy emboldened to threaten American civilians. On the other, we have demagogues like Ann Coulter willing to cede strategic objectives for personal attention and transient political advantage.

The situation continues to deteriorate toward an erosion of the West or an open clash of civilizations.

Note to self: post or link to an image of Mohammad.

July 5, 2010

China Tortures and Jails US Citizen

Naturalized American Xue Feng was arrested, tortured and sentenced to eight years in prison for researching information about the oil industry that China retroactively classified as a state secret.

The Chinese, like other amoral players, smell weakness. I guess they didn't get a reset button from Hillary.

What are you going to do about it, Obama? Send Hillary over with a reset button? (And thanks a lot, George Bush.)

The Chinese are showing the world who the weak horse is. Moreover, they have created a technique to intimidate foreigners who work in the country: spy for China or be charged with espionage.

Comments: July 2010

On Belmont Club and the Codevilla Spectator piece: here and here (and here).

On a proposed Grand Bargain regarding the VAT. "It’s a lot easier to discuss sweeping proposals about how to tax than to tackle the spending issue."

On illegal immigration. "Rhetorical question (I hope): Why doesn’t Obama go all in and apologize for winning the Mexican-American War?" Second and third thoughts.

On Instapundit and Schlitz. See #17 or "Comment by gs".

On US authorities' closure of of a domain with 73,000 blogs. (HT: Slashdot) See also "Politicians are whores and the copyright industry is a wealthy John".

On Eleanor Clift's apologetics for the Obamic welfare state: here, here, here, and here.

On a conjecture regarding Obama's birth certificate (scroll down to 'gs said'). (See also the preceding comment by 'james'.)

Building successful coalitions is hard.

Palin and the Oil Spill

I am disenchanted from my initial hopes and support for Palin, but I have to concede that she'd do a better job than Obama on the oil spill.

Unlike Obama, she has actually worked with her hands.