Archive for January, 2013

Do we really want amnesty ?

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The question about illegal immigration seems to have settled on the issue of amnesty. Republicans seem to be wavering about the benefits or disadvantages of the prospect of millions of new voters trending left politically. The issue of the advantage of Republican support for amnesty is highly questionable, if not dubious.

Getting killed almost three-to-one among Latino voters understandably concentrates the mind, but it’s no reason to lose it. The post-election Republican reaction has been built on equal parts panic, wishful thinking and ethnic pandering.

It’s one thing to argue that amnesty is the right policy on the merits. It’s another to depict it as the magic key to unlocking the Latino vote. John McCain nearly immolated himself within the Republican party with his support for amnesty and did all of four points better among Latino voters in 2008 than Mitt Romney did in 2012, according to exit polls.

Mickey Kaus asks if the GOP is being led astray by Fox News.

Does Fox News now have an All-Amnesty lineup? Looks like it. Sean Hannity and Bill O’Reilly have now fallen in line behind World Citizen Rupert Murdoch’s support of ”sweeping, generous immigration reform,” including a “path to citizenship.” Karl Rove was always on board, of course.

The problem with unlimited immigration is the welfare state. Until 1965, the new immigrant was on his own and the negative consequences were chiefly those of competition for low wage jobs. With the appearance of generous welfare benefits in 1965, the new immigrant might improve his situation even without working.

I don’t know how this will turn out but I am sure that it will not produce any benefit for the Republican Party

The GOP in opposition

Saturday, January 19th, 2013

Bill Kristol has an excellent column today on where Republicans could go in the next four years. I have little confidence that the House GOP can bend Obama to their will on the deficit or spending. He is riding high with the aid of the mainstream press and TV. The public does not understand the spending issue, or at least not enough of us do. The Republicans represent the “Eat your vegetables or there will be no dessert” philosophy and that is not popular right now. What do we do ? Here is one suggestion.

He quotes UN Ambassador Pat Moynihan in 1975.

The United States goes into opposition. This is our circumstance. We are a minority. We are outvoted. This is neither an unprecedented nor an intolerable situation. The question is what do we make of it. So far we have made little—nothing—of what is in fact an opportunity. We go about dazed that the world has changed. We toy with the idea of stopping it and getting off. We rebound with the thought that if only we are more reasonable perhaps “they” will be. .??.??. But “they” do not grow reasonable. Instead, we grow unreasonable. A sterile enterprise which awaits total redefinition.

I feel much the same way. I would have much preferred the GOP to have voted “present” when the “fiscal cliff” matter was before the House. I would like to see them do the same when the debt ceiling issue is voted on. Let Obama have his way but show that we do not agree.


A Little Shooting

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

Seeing as how the gun control topic seems to be big now, I thought I’d post a few pictures of us shooting. After all, I’m an endowed life member of the NRA so I’m supposed to be a gun nut. The photos were taken at a family ranch in Arizona.

Here is the ranch with my cousin Kerry and his wife Sharon ready to go shooting.

Here are some of the guns we used. In deference to Diane Feinstein, we didn’t show the machine guns. The gun on the far left is a muzzle loader that is fun to shoot. Since it only fires one shot at a time, this would probably be permitted by Senator Feinstein.

Here is Kerry shooting an assault rifle, 1870 edition. Apologies to Diane.

Here I am firing an assault pistol, 1862 edition. It’s called an “old Army” design and uses black powder and lead balls. It can fire six shots in rapid succession so it probably should be banned.

Here I am assembling one of these scary looking shotguns. It is a semi-automatic and has a magazine that holds four rounds plus one in the chamber. I don’t know that it might be too scary for Diane.

Now, here is a photo that should go on the Brady campaign web site. Cindy is firing one of those dangerous semi-automatic hand guns that is “military style” as defined by Diane’s new bill. Kerry is shooting a safer revolver but it can still fire six shots in rapid succession.

This is a photo that would probably be a mystery to Diane or Mayor Bloomberg. It is called “shooting trap” a sport that us scary gun nuts like. Shooting sports are not hunting and they are not self defense. However, if you are going to know how to shoot a gun, you have to practice. People who have never held or fired a gun are doing a lot of talking about guns and usually don’t know what they are talking about. It is embarrassing to see some of these people pontificating on television who are obviously ignorant of the subject and make silly gaffes in terminology. And, importantly, we didn’t have any rocket launchers.

By the way, the black puff of smoke in the sky in line with Kerry’s gun shows that he hit the clay pigeon. Nice shot, Kerry.


Saturday, January 5th, 2013

Hubris is a Greek word that signifies overweening confidence that leads to a big fall. It is a common component of tragedy. The Wiki article seems to get lost in ancient Greek references although, having read a lot about Greece, I don’t think they are on target.

In its modern use, hubris denotes overconfident pride and arrogance; it is often associated with a lack of humility, though not always with the lack of knowledge. An accusation of hubris often implies that suffering or punishment will follow, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in Greek society. The proverb “pride goes before a fall” (from the biblical Book of Proverbs, 16:18) is thought to summate the modern use of hubris.

This is a bit closer to the definition I prefer.

I think we are about to see a grand spectacle of hubris on the part of the re-elected president. The Washington Post describes the outline, as if it was a done deal.

The White House is weighing a far broader and more comprehensive approach to curbing the nation’s gun violence than simply reinstating an expired ban on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition, according to multiple people involved in the administration’s discussions.

A working group led by Vice President Biden is seriously considering measures backed by key law enforcement leaders that would require universal background checks for firearm buyers, track the movement and sale of weapons through a national database, strengthen mental health checks, and stiffen penalties for carrying guns near schools or giving them to minors, the sources said.

To sell such changes, the White House is developing strategies to work around the National Rifle Association that one source said could include rallying support from Wal-Mart and other gun retailers for measures that would benefit their businesses. White House aides have also been in regular contact with advisers to New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I), an outspoken gun-control advocate who could emerge as a powerful surrogate for the Obama administration’s agenda.

Nowhere in the article does it acknowledge that the enemies of gun bans include, in addition to the NRA and the “gun manufacturers,” a majority of the people. This is why second terms are so well know for trouble for incumbents.

The gun-control push is just one part of an ambitious political agenda that Obama has pledged to pursue after his decisive reelection victory in November, including comprehensive immigration reform, climate-change legislation and long-term deficit reduction. Obama also faces a reshuffling of his Cabinet, and a looming debate over the nation’s debt ceiling that will compete for his time and attention in the coming months.

In addition to potential legislative proposals, Biden’s group has expanded its focus to include measures that would not need congressional approval and could be quickly implemented by executive action, according to interest-group leaders who have discussed options with Biden and key Cabinet secretaries. Possibilities include changes to federal mental-health programs and modernization of gun-tracking efforts by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

The election victory was less “decisive” than the White House and the political left seems to believe. It is no surprise that they are looking for ways to avoid Congress. Now that we know how the EPA evaded the Freedom of Information Act with secret e-mail accounts, nothing should surprise us.

I was going to go to the gun store today but got bogged down in running errands and will have to go tomorrow. The nearest one has a good price on Colt 1911 model .45 calibre pistols. Since the proposed actions by the Obama folks are aimed at banning “military-style handguns,” I guess I had better hurry.

One potential strategy would be to win support for specific measures from interest groups that are normally aligned with the NRA, according to one person who works closely with the administration on gun-related issues and who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the issue’s sensitivity.

For instance, this person suggested, Wal-Mart and other major gun retailers may have an incentive to support closing a loophole that allows people to bypass background checks if they purchase firearms at gun shows or through other types of private sales. That could result in more people buying guns in retail stores.

I think Wal-Mart is too smart to get into bed with this administration but maybe not. Certainly, Obama is no friend of non-union Wal-Mart. The same applies to gun retailers who can’t keep enough guns and ammunition in stock. I think they know who their friends are. If not they will learn quickly.

Finally, At the White House meeting, Stanek said, “the vice president indicated that there was a very short timeline for him to get back to the president with his recommendations because the American public has a short memory.”

Yup. Get that unconstitutional law going before anybody wakes up.

Happy New Year

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

I wish I were more enthusiastic but I still wish everyone a good year. The “fiscal cliff” talks have ended about as I expected. The Republicans have pretty much rolled over. The House has yet to vote and I wonder how that will go. If they all grew a spine (or some other anatomical parts) they would vote “present” and let the Democrats pass the bill. Drudge has a link to the Breitbart story.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the last-minute fiscal cliff deal reached by congressional leaders and President Barack Obama cuts only $15 billion in spending while increasing tax revenues by $620 billion—a 41:1 ratio of tax increases to spending cuts.

When Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush increased taxes in return for spending cuts—cuts that never ultimately came—they did so at ratios of 1:3 and 1:2.

“In 1982, President Reagan was promised $3 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes,” Americans for Tax Reform says of those two incidents. “The tax hikes went through, but the spending cuts did not materialize. President Reagan later said that signing onto this deal was the biggest mistake of his presidency.

“In 1990, President George H.W. Bush agreed to $2 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes. The tax hikes went through, and we are still paying them today. Not a single penny of the promised spending cuts actually happened.”

This will be another such fake compromise. However, The Gods of the Copybook Headings are coming.

In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,
And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four —
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

It’s too long to post all of it and, for those who are unsure of the source of the title, copybooks were supplied for all school children in England, when it was still England. The copy books had traditional aphorisms on each page that children were expected to learn.

Another expression that relates to the books was someone “blotted his copybook.” This meant making an error that was difficult to correct.

The “copybook headings” to which the title refers were proverbs or maxims, extolling virtues such as honesty or fair dealing that were printed at the top of the pages of 19th-century British students’ special notebook pages, called copybooks. The school-children had to write them by hand repeatedly down the page.

The work has been described as “beautifully captur[ing] the thinking of Schumpeter and Keynes.”[2] David Gilmour says that while topics of the work are the “usual subjects”, the commentary “sound better in verse”[3] while Alice Ramos says that they are “far removed from Horace’s elegant succinctness” but do “make the same point with some force.”[4]

I don’t think I would agree that Keynes is an example of the copybook headings’ wisdom although his recommendations have been wildly distorted by politicians.

We are coming to a period when math will be far more determinant than wishful thinking in terms of our lives.

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 —
And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

Hopefully, not this year. Happy New Year.