Apr 302010
 

My comment on an article at the WSJ titled, “The ACLU Approves Limits on Speech.”

If there are such limits [on corporate campaign contributions], then congressional earmarks need to count as corporate campaign contributions. Not only that, but if a member of Congress gets to identify himself with a DOE grant or USDA grant in his state or district, e.g. by putting his name on press releases about it, then that needs to count as a corporate campaign contribution as well.

That will help even the playing field between incumbents and uppity upstarts. But even with that, we still need congressional term limits.

Apr 292010
 

We could call it the O.J. Senate.    Just as O.J. Simpson combed the Florida golfcourses looking for the real killer of Nicole Brown Simpson, Carl Levin has hauled Goldman Sachs into a Senate hearing room so he can look for the real villains in the financial meltdown.   (His office can’t be that far away from Chris Dodd’s and Barney Frank’s, can it?)

Apr 242010
 

in-lagrange-mongoquinong-prairie-0239-wm

When I heard about Marlin Stutzman’s campaign to become a Senator from Indiana, and then learned that he is a farmer from from Howe, I thought it might be good to support his campaign — even send him a campaign contribution.

Howe is one day’s bicycle ride from my home. Sometimes I camp at one or the other of two nearby campgrounds on my way to points further south. I’ve ridden on a lot of the roads in all directions from Howe, so I snooped on the Internet to find out just where Stutzman lived, in case it was a road that was familiar to me. After doing this search I think I’ve identified a rare stretch of road on which I haven’t yet ridden — the one where the Stutzmans live. But I think you would get to his home if you followed the road pictured above. It’s a photo I took on a day ride a few Saturdays ago on Mongoquinong Prairie, east of Howe. The town is barely visible in the distance. For all I know, the Stutzmans may farm some of the land shown in the photo. It’s close enough to their home that it might be feasible.

Unfortunately, while I would certainly vote for Stutzman if I lived in Indiana, I came away from his website with a sense of weary disappointment. It’s as though he’s just following one of the standard Republican formulas — pushing some of the standard buttons. It’s one of the better formulas, I suppose — at least it’s one of the more conservative ones — but it’s not good enough considering the unprecedented threat to our country and to human rights around the world that is posed by the Obama Juggernaut.

Here are my comments on some of the statements on the web site:

- He authored and voted for legislation that cut wasteful government spending, and streamlined state bureaucracies.

The problem is that streamlining state bureaucracies isn’t always a good thing. Sometimes it means removing necessary checks and making the regulatory process more corrupt.

- In 2008 he voted to pass the largest Property Tax Cut in state history.
- In eight years at the State House, he has never cast a vote for deficit spending, and has only cast votes for truly balanced budgets, stating, “The government must be limited and learn to tighten its fiscal belt just like Hoosiers have to do every day.”

No problem with this part. The concept of limits needs to be emphasized more often.

- He sponsored bills requiring education dollars to go directly to the classroom and less to administrative costs.
Homeland Security

I wish it was stated how he did this. I don’t know how this can be done except by decentralizing the educational system — breaking up larger districts and educational units into smaller ones. If he did that, he’s got something to brag about. Otherwise, I’d be suspicious that this is something like the paperwork reduction acts of the federal government that resulted in additional paperwork to certify compliance.

- In 2006 He co-sponsored HEA 1722 offering tax credits to bio-fuel producers which helped to bring 12 new bio-fuel plants to Indiana from ’02 – ’07.

This is the most disappointing part. Being a grain farmer I’m sure he can see the bright side to bio-fuels. But if he was a principled conservative, he’d want market forces, not subsidies, to make them work.

Back in the Gingrich days, it was rural congresspersons who wouldn’t give up their subsidies who were instrumental in destroying the one chance we had to bring government spending under control and within constitutional limits. I blame these subsidies, because in order to get support for those subsidies, rural representatives have to in turn support much of the leftist agenda. Withdraw that piece, and the whole corrupt house of cards will come tumbling down.

A rural Senator who could propose a plan to wean us off those subsidies would be extremely dangerous to leftwing hegemony. A Senator who did that would need good communication skills and tact to explain this to his farmer constituents and persuade them that it’s in the whole country’s long-term interest. He’d also need the wit to parry the attacks of the celebrity/media/left. Such a Senator would be a force to be reckoned with. But I don’t see any big difference coming from the platform that Stutzman lays out, especially given this part.

So I wish him well, but it’s hard to work up any great enthusiasm.

Oh, his web site also doesn’t say anything about repealing Obama care. Like I said, it’s hard to work up any great enthusiasm.

Apr 212010
 

The ruling class worries that peaceful demonstrations might incite broader unrest? They want protestors to work without fanaticism?

No, this isn’t the American ruling class trying to maintain its hegemony against the rise of tea party activism. These are Russian rulers who are afraid of motorists who are protesting against special road privileges for VIPs.

Just the same, the Russian government could use the services of our Bill Clinton. He knows how to deal with these types of people, if you know what I mean.

His step to the national stage brought police surveillance and a mix of pressure and courtship by officials worried that his horn-honking activism might ignite broader unrest. He recalls the swift reaction when a participant on his group’s online forum suggested setting a car on fire in Red Square. Within minutes, Mr. Kanayev was summoned to Criminal Police headquarters. “It was just a joke,” he says he told his interrogators.

A Kremlin political operative approached, he says, and promised time on state-run television if he would stop the caravans. Another official, Sergey Shishkarev, who heads parliament’s transport committee, says he has offered to shape some of Mr. Kanayev’s ideas on tax and safety issues into legislation but warned the activist “to work without fanaticism.”

WSJ link here

Apr 202010
 

Sherrilyn Ifill, quoted at Politico.com:

“Republicans should be reaching out to address the legitimate concerns of tea party advocates and publicly denouncing the incendiary language and demonstrations that may contribute to a climate that encourages one person on the fringe to commit an unspeakable act.”

I’m not a Republican, but I believe in addressing the legitimate concerns of tea party advocates. And I wish to publicly denounce the incendiary language that contributes to a climate that encourages those on the fringe to commit unspeakable acts. More particularly, I denounce Bill Clinton’s incendiary language linking tea partiers to the Oklahoma City bombing, which could encourage moonbats on the fringe to commit the unspeakable act of infringing on our First Amendment freedoms.

Apr 192010
 

L Gordon Crovitz wrote an article in the WSJ headlined: “Is Internet Civility an Oxymoron? Unmoderated, anonymous comments on Web sites create more noise than wisdom.”

My response:

A few days ago Bill Clinton waged a neo-McCarthyite smear campaign against dissidents and protesters, trying to link their activity to the Oklahoma City bombing. I don’t think you can blame the Internet or anonymity for that kind of uncivil rhetoric.

Apr 182010
 

President Obama says he will veto any financial reform bill that doesn’t bring the derivatives market under control. If he really meant that, he would have vetoed the recent health bill.

Derivatives are a problem in that they obscure what it is a purchaser owns. It’s hard to know how to value them, which makes it difficult for buyer, seller, and regulator. They create opportunities for market distortions.

The same is true of the health care bill. Supposedly there is some pie in the sky that’s going to repay the investment of higher taxes that we’ll be making. But it’s all so vague — it’s hard to connect value and payments in any accountable way. The health care plan should have been subject to the same scrutiny and controls (and perhaps prohibitions) that are needed in the securities market.

Apr 172010
 

Bill Clinton says words matter. From an AP article:

“By all means keep fighting, by all means, keep arguing,” he said. “But remember, words have consequences as much as actions do, and what we advocate, commensurate with our position and responsibility, we have to take responsibility for. We owe that to Oklahoma City.”

This, of course, is the president who exuded the aura of a B-movie gangster every time he spoke, and never more so than when he said this in 1995:

“The most important thing we can do to make your father [a member of the national police force] safer is to have everybody in this room, whatever their political party or their views, stand up and say it is wrong to condemn people who are out there doing their job and wrong to threaten them. When you hear somebody doing it, you ought to stand up and double up your fist and stick it in the sky and shout them down.”

Of course, if Clinton had read the Bill of Rights, he would have learned that it is NOT wrong to criticize federal employees who are doing their jobs. And if he was a man who was careful with his words, he would not have said that the response to people who threaten actual harm (as opposed to criticism) of national police officers is not to have a mob outshout them.

And if he was really, really careful of what he was saying, he would not try to do something so sleazy as to link dissent with the Oklahoma City bombing.

The AP article mentioned none of this, btw. I’m guessing it put out the article without bothering to get the response of other politicians to Clinton’s words.