Monday, December 22, 2008

A Request

Please consider giving your local Salvation army a large check.

If you have a local food bank that is taking food donations, try to buy some bulk something (make sure it is something they can take, which usually means something that doesn't ned refrigeration or special storage) to give to them. Bulk rice, pasta, etc. seem like good choices to me.

This is not just a season for giving, it is a year where need will be more acute than normal.

Good luck and God bless, I probably won't have another post until 2009 (i.e. for two weeks)...

That is all.

Write-in Totals in Maine

Sorry, it slipped my mind to post this earlier:

Bob Barr: 251
Chuck Baldwin: 177
Jonathan Allen: 3

More at Ballot Access News.

That is all.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, but I think I'll miss this one this year...

The story of a new Christmas classic.

That is all.

Feelings toward South Africa

Fine. The land belongs to black South Africans. Let them have it.

The farming ability apparently belongs to the white South Africans. Let them have it. And let them eat whatever they can get from it.

If the people who now own the land can't farm it profitably - well, screw them.

Let them come begging the former farmers for their expertise. No aid from us, no loans from us, nothing.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Sorry About Lack of Posting

I've been away for Thanksgiving week and I've been sick for the week after.

That is all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rare Personal Blog Post

Tuesday I will turn 30.

The day before, I will be having a colonoscopy.

My brother ( in his mid-40s) was diagnosed with colon cancer earlier this year, and subjected to surgery and chemotherapy (which seem to have worked). As a result, I am on the list of people who need to have colonoscopies earlier than is usually recommended.

Obvious, I am less than enthusiastic about Monday.

That is all.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Baldwin/Castle Vote 2008

Here is the current percentages by state for Baldwin/Castle, not yet counting write-in votes. (Note: "No Access" means candidate was not qualified even as a write-in).

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Data from The Denver Post.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Ballot Reforms that Maine Needs to Pass

Having encountered Maine's third party ballot access process, I have come to the conclusion that it needs reform. I have come up with 3 major reforms (I may add more later) that need to be undertaken. Maine legislators are just now thinking about what issues to bring to the table, so it is a good time to try to get new initiatives past.

Please read the following blogpost, and, if you agree and you live in Maine, contact your two legislators* (or, if a non-incumbent was elected, your legislators-elect), and ask them to sponsor or vote for the following:

(1) If someone is going to run as a ballot-qualified (i.e. not a write-in) independent in Maine (this includes running in a non-qualified party), they must not have ben enrolled in a qualified party since March 1 of that year. This requirement needs to be removed for those who are running as Presidential electors, as they are essentially just stand-ins for the nominee.

(2) Using stickers to identify a write-in is only allowed in primary elections. It should also be allowed in general elections. If this is a technical problem, a solution should be found.

(3) When the person circulating a petition does not witness a person siging it, only the unwitnessed signatures should be stricken, not the entire petition.

(4) Finally, there ought to be only one deadline for applying for candidacy, and that is hte later, Secretary of State deadline. There should not be an earlier deadline to get the votes approved by the town clerks. Instead, there should be a requirement that town clerks certify all signatures brought to them one week or more prior to the Secretary of State deadline, and they should be allowed to use their discretion after that time.

If you would like to add anything to the list, please tell me so in the comments and I wil consider adding it.

That is all.

* One in the Maine House and one in the Maine Senate.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Rahm ISRAEL Emanuel

The White House Chief of Staff is going to be Rahm ISRAEL Emanuel.

I wonder if anyone is going to emphasize his middle name the way they emphasized Obama's...

Hmm...

Note: I'm not actually suggesting anything about Rahm Emanuel. I'm making fun of some people's need to emphasize Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

That is all.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

McCain Probably Really Won

Update: In case you didn't get it, this post is a joke.

As we all know, the so-called election results are always more favorable to Democrats than the real results. I'm sure that any time now we'll find out that McCain really won and that the people counting the ballots just overestimated young person turnout.

That is all.

Maine "Results" a Lie

Looking at the Maine "results", one can clearly tell that non-votes and write-ins are not being counted as part of the total, which is blatantly dishonest. The percentages for the on-ballot candidates in each race add up to 100%, which would not be possible if any of the ballots are left unmarked or as write-ins. I'm not asking that the write-in vote be tabulated, just that all ballots that were not marked for a candidate be counted in the totals, whether as "other" or by being left out but with the total votes taken as a percentage of all ballots, not as a percentage of non-write-in marked ballots.

That is all.

Poking Fun at Dondero

In case Eric Dondero deletes it from his blog, here is my comment regarding his despair over Obama's victory:

Cheer up Dondero. There is a silver lining to the McCain loss.

Palin may be so depressed over this that you finally have a chance at nailing her, which is, in the end, all what you based your endorsement of McCain on.


That is all.

Proposition 202 Fails

Great news, E-Verify is still in effect in Arizona!

That is all.

F*** YOU, MCCAIN

That's the message I am going to take from this.

That is all.

Collins Trounces Allen 60% to 40%

Based on 44.5% of precincts reporting.

Serves the bastards right for what they did to Herb Hoffman.

That is all.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I Voted on Saturday

I cast a write-in vote for Chuck Baldwin and never looked back.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another Debate

Baldwin, Barr, and Nader.

Details on any coverage of this debate will be provided as they come in.

That is all.

NAACP Gets One Right, and Wins Case

Gets Pennsylvania to require paper ballots if more than half of voting machines at a precinct are broken.

While I'm not a person who believes that high voter turnout is a necessity (or indeed always a good thing) I don't see the need to make it unnecessarily difficult, which is what machine voting can be if too many machines break down.

That is all.

An Interesting Experiment

After hearing of the skinhead plot to kill Obama, I can't help but think what an interesting experiment it would have been for Obama to have gone into hiding for a day or two and had it broadcast (falsely) on the news that he had been killed.

I would like to see how the various talking heads would have reacted to that news.

Of course, that would not be a practical experiment, because it would have likely led to a lot of civil unrest. But I would love to see the reactions of the intelligentsia.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Glaivester's First Rule of Economics

Never follow the money. Follow the resources. Always when talking about money, ask yourself "what does this actually represent in terms of the distribution of resources?"

Avoid at all costs looking at a moneyed economy as having any irreducible emergent properties that do not exist in a barter economy. That is to say, any emergent properties in a moneyed economy should follow from a logical application of the principles of a barter economy.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nader/Baldwin Debate on October 23

A Presidential debate has been scheduled for Thursday, October 23. It is scheduled for 9 pm to 10:30 pm, at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

So far, Baldwin and Nader have agreed to come.

According to the article at Ballot Access News, C-SPAN may well cover this debate.

More on this as it develops and as ways of viewing the debate become known. (And I will report if it is cancelled for any reason).

That is all.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Krugman Doesn't Get It

After his recent win of a "Nobel" Prize in Economics (really the Bank of Sweden Prize), Paul Krugman has been lauded a bit by various (mostly liberal) pundits, and the supposed benefits of Keynesianism have been mentioned on several blogs, with the general import that Krugman and Keynes could solve our current woes. (Because Friedmanite economics was a large component of how we got into the mess, and Keynesian and Friedmanism are supposedly the only two schools out there).

Sigh, sigh, sigh.

To show that this is wrong, let's look at a discussion of the merits of Keynesianism vs. Austrianism. On the LewRockwell Blog, there was a discussion of an article that Krugman wrote back in 1998, attacking the Austrian School. First there was a link to the original Krugman article, and following it were links to refuting articles published by people from the Mises Institute (the links were added to the original linking post).

The refuting article are here, here, and here.

While the refutations are okay, I don't think that any of them provide a good, easy-to-understand point-by-point refutation of Krugman's statements (although some of them refute a few of his points, and they all seem to explain Austrian Theory, they do not provide a comprehensive explanation of how his entire view of the Austrian Theory of the business cycle is wrong). So here is my attempt to explain where Krugman's article went wrong.

Firstly, when discussing the "hangover theory," he acts as if this theory is separable from one's general theory of economics, and that one can critique the "hangover theory" in general without using one's overall economic theory as a context.

In any case, he goes on to say:

The many variants of the hangover theory all go something like this: In the beginning, an investment boom gets out of hand. Maybe excessive money creation or reckless bank lending drives it, maybe it is simply a matter of irrational exuberance on the part of entrepreneurs. Whatever the reason,

Here is the first mistake he makes (David Gordon also noted this). He assumes that the reason for the investment boom getting out of hand is irrelevant. Actually, it is very relevant, because any "hangover theory" needs to explain how so many sectors of the economy go bad at once. Without a specific reason (and one with more explanatory power than "irrational exuberance" which essentially is throwing one's hands up), one can describe but not explain the phenomenon.

The reason for the boom-bust cycle, according to the Austrian Theory, is credit that is not supported by savings. This causes people to assume that there are more resources than actually exist, and to attempt to invest in projects which require more resources than are available to complete.

...all that investment leads to the creation of too much capacity—of factories that cannot find markets, of office buildings that cannot find tenants. Since construction projects take time to complete, however, the boom can proceed for a while before its unsoundness becomes apparent.

Uh - no. Not according to the Austrian Theory, at least. In fact, this sounds suspiciously like the Keynesian "acceleration principle," a subset of "underconsumption" theory. According to this theory, production of some durable good or service rises due to a sudden increase in demand, and then falls as that demand is satisfied. For example, there is a sudden demand for a 50% increase in compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs). Then, because all of the extra bulbs will not burn out for 5 years, demand suddenly drops back to where it was before the increase, resulting in a glut of CFLs, and pushing the CFL-producing company to the edge of bankrupcy. (This is a flawed theory, largely because it assumes that the CFL makers (for example) cannot adapt their production and prices to anticipate future needs).

In any case, the flaw in this statement is the concept of "too much capacity," which is a fancy way of saying that too many goods were produced to meet the demand. While this can happen in certain industries, it seems unlikely to hapen in several economic sectors at once, and moreover, if there is actual overall "overproduction," demand will almost certainly grow to meet it.

The real problem, in any case, is not the overproduction of goods in general. It actually consists of one or both of two things:

(1) More projects started than can be completed using the resources currently available.

(2) Overproduction of one good or service, financed by underproducing another good or service, particularly if the underproduced good or service is complementary to the first.

Either of these things can (and is) often be referred to as "overinvestment," but are better referred to as "malinvestment." This is because the problem is not so much that too many resources were invested as it is that too many of the resources were invested at certain stages or certain parts of the venture, to the detriment of other stages or parts. In other words, it's not that too much was invested, but that the investment was unbalanced. We will refer to the cases above as the first and second types of malinvestment.

Let us take the two cases Krugman gives us, factories that cannot find markets and offices that cannot find tenants, and explain what Krugman thinks the problem is and what it really is.

In the case of the factory, Krugman seems to be indicating that the factory is producing more goods than consumers can consume, presumably due to a lack of purchasing power (too little money).

According to the Austrian Theory, the problem is not a factory without customers, but a factory that is unable to be completed or to scrounge up the resources to produce the goods it is designed for. Under the first type of malinvestment, the problem could be that the factory was made too big, bigger than the amount of resources that would be available to create it. So halfway through the construction, the price of labor and materials to complete the factory soars. Alternately, if the price is fixed by government fiat or by a previous agreement with the supplier, the supplier may find that he cannot produce enough to meet the demand and there is a shortage. Under the second type of malinvestment, the problem might be that the building of the factory depleted resources that were needed for the factory to perform its function. Because such a big factory was made, twice as many construction workers wre hired than would have been hired with a smaller factory. Because of this, the people producing the raw materials that the factory was going to buy cannot build their mines/refineries/wells/synthesis plants, etc, or cannot build them big enough to provide the big factory with the raw materials it needs.

In the case of the ofice building, Krugman posits that it cannot find tenants (again, presumably because they do not have the money to pay for the offices).

According to the Austrian Theory, the first type of malinvestment would be that the person who would own the building decides to put up two builidings instead of one, due to the cheap credit available. The problem again could be that there are not enough resources, and when he is halfway through, the price to complete the building soars, or material shortages postpone its completion. The second type of malinvestment might be that the buildings are both completed, but because there were not enough people looking for energy resources or building refineries/wells/mines/processing facilities, there is an oil/coal/uranium shortage and it becomes cost-prohibitive to heat both buildings in the winter to the extent necessary for working in the building to become feasible (or maybe it is cost-prohibitive to light the buildings and to provide the energy for computer use).

Since construction projects take time to complete, however, the boom can proceed for a while before its unsoundness becomes apparent.

Krugman is implying that the boom is driven by the consumption inherent in completing a business project, and that the bust occurs when the project is finished and consumption ends. Actually, the boom occurs at all because there are savings in the economy, and that as long as there are savings, the boom can last by people eating their savings. There are enough resources to complete some part of all of the projects. It's just that at some point before the projects are completed, there will not be enough savings left to complete all of them.

Eventually, however, reality strikes—investors go bust and investment spending collapses. The result is a slump whose depth is in proportion to the previous excesses. Moreover, that slump is part of the necessary healing process: The excess capacity gets worked off, prices and wages fall from their excessive boom levels, and only then is the economy ready to recover.

Actually, what happens is that the market (by which I mean the collective results of various individual transactions) has to prioritize which projects will get the limited resources available so that they can be completed, and which ones have to end in order to free those resources up. The slump is necessary because the projects which are not prioritized will fail. Trying to save all of the projects will result in even fewer resources exisiting, with the result that while more projects will get closer to completion, more will eventually have to give up. Earlie liquidation is preferable, because it is better for 50% of the projects to fail 50% of the way to completion than for 75% of the projects to fail 75% of the way to completion.

And the issue is not simply failed new investments. If resources are frittered away on unsuccessful project, that also reduces the supply of resources needed to maintain existing production facilities. Perhaps an oil shortage makes it more expensive for a 50-year-old plastics company to keep producing plastics at the rate it did a year ago. Perhaps expensive electricity puts a baker out of business.

In any case, Paul Krugman writes:

But let's ask a seemingly silly question: Why should the ups and downs of investment demand lead to ups and downs in the economy as a whole? Don't say that it's obvious—although investment cycles clearly are associated with economywide recessions and recoveries in practice, a theory is supposed to explain observed correlations, not just assume them.

The question is not silly so much as nonsensical. The problem is not "investment demand." It is "investment supply," the pool of goods available to finance investment. The problem is not that "demand for investment" has dropped, it is that there are not enough resources to make the investments necessary to increase production, or even to maintain production.

As a matter of simple arithmetic, total spending in the economy is necessarily equal to total income (every sale is also a purchase, and vice versa). So if people decide to spend less on investment goods, doesn't that mean that they must be deciding to spend more on consumption goods—implying that an investment slump should always be accompanied by a corresponding consumption boom?

The fatal flaw in Krugman's story here is the assumption that total spending must remain constant. So if less is spent on investment, that surplus spending must go to consumption. The problem is that at the end of the boom there are simply fewer resources overall - if overall spending goes down, then less can be spent on both consumption and investment. If you define spending in terms of money rather than resources (e.g. actual dollars as opposed to "inflation-adjusted dollars,") then, as David Gordon points out, it is possible to have an increase in spending on consumption at the end of the boom, but that increase indicates higher prices rather than greater consumption. Alternately, there can be a decrease in dollar spending as well as in resource spending, in which case there is a "money contraction," i.e. credit-created dollars are simply destroyed.

It appears here that Krugman is not aware of the realtionship between investment and production, and therefore between investment and consumption. In the real world, investment in capital goods (e.g. factories and other productive technologies) allows for the production of consumer goods, which then allow for consumption. In Krugman's world, the consumption of goods drives their production, and investment is some totally unrelated phenomenon. Now, on a micro-scale it is certainly true that consumption drives production in the sense that when consumption of a good increases, people will tend to try to redeploy resources to produce more of that good. But this means producing less of something else; for overall production in an economy to increase, more must be invested in creating the means of production.

So Krugman finally gives us his explanation:

A recession happens when, for whatever reason, a large part of the private sector tries to increase its cash reserves at the same time.

There are at least two problems here. For one thing, Krugman doesn't give us any explanation as to why everyone's preferences change at the same time and in the same direction, instead using the hand-waving phrase "for whatever reason." Secondly, he sems to misunderstand what "cash reserves" are all about, as if it involves cash just sitting around idle.

Many Keynesians (and Friedmanites seem to look at savings and investment as two separate entities, when in reality they are two sides of the same coin. Savings goes into investment; when you put money in the bank, it doesn't stay there, the bank invests it by loaning it out. And personal investments, such as the stock market, are financed by money that you have not consumed somewhere else. Increasing one's cash reserves involves putting more money in the bank which then has more money to lend. Certainly if more people who have mortgages now were to start paying off more of the principle, it would give banks more cash on hand to use to fund credit in markets where it is drying up.

The point is, if people want to hold more cash, the economy will adjust to that.

In any case, misdiagnosing the problem, Krugman has a ridiculous solution:

For if the problem is that collectively people want to hold more money than there is in circulation, why not simply increase the supply of money?

But if the problem is, as we Austrians argue, that there are too-many partially finished projects and not enough resources to complete all of them, won't this just encourage people to keep on trucking, using more of the depleted resources to continue funding projects that are doomed to failure?

You may tell me that it's not that simple, that during the previous boom businessmen made bad investments and banks made bad loans. Well, fine. Junk the bad investments and write off the bad loans. Why should this require that perfectly good productive capacity be left idle?

Krugman makes several mistakes here:

(1) He assumes that we can distinguish good and bad investments and loans easily (indeed that the problem is always that individual investments are bad). This also in an incomplete picture of what goes on in a recession. "Bad loans" are often bad only in context. It is not just that there are obvious good and bad projects, but that sometimes there are too many projects for all of them to be completed. It is not always easy to tell which investments should survive and which should not, and if the problem is merely a lack of resources to complete all of the investments then sometimes the choice will be arbitrary.

(2) He assumes that we can simply "junk" the bad investments and loans at will, and that expanding the money supply will in no way hamper us from doing so. In reality, an increase in credit will allow "bad investments" to be financed for longer, eating up more resources that could have been used productively. A credit crunch is how bad investments get junked, unless he wants some government manager to announce by edict who will no longer receive loans.

(3) He assumes that we have idle productive capacity, in the sense that there are factories with all the ingredients to make product that are idle for no reason. In reality, much of the productive capacity has been squandered, and we do not have the resources to produce until the economy has re-equilibrated, bad investments have been liquidated, and resources have been diverted to more productive uses.

The hangover theory, then, turns out to be intellectually incoherent; nobody has managed to explain why bad investments in the past require the unemployment of good workers in the present.

The reason is that the distorted economy does not have a place for everyone until the distortions are corrected. If there is a construction boom, followed by a bust when it is revealed that there are not enough resources to finsih all the buildings or to make all of them livable, huge numbers of construction workers will become unemployed because there is no need for more construction at this time. Perhaps some of them, freed from (currently) unproductive construction, will go into fields that need more workers, such as mining, lumbering, or the production of synthetic materials. Unfortunately, it may take time to get these increase the productive capacity of these industries enough to absorb the unemployed construction workers. Of course, eventually, if the productive capacity of these insdustries increases enough, a large number of the construction workers can go back to construction, as the resources now exist to make such a job productive.

Why must there be unemployment at all? Why cannot everyone just change to a more productive job?

Several reasons:

(1) Certain jobs require that certain capacities be online before they can be had. Most well-paying jobs require infrastructure. That infrastructure may not exist, and the economy take time to produce it. In the meantime, displaced workers may need to either be unemployed or to take menial jobs to hold them over, with a reduction in pay.

(2) Workers have certain specialties which are not always easily translatable. If there is a huge excess of computer hardware designers, yet the current economy needs more miners to extract the rare-earth metals to build computers, it is not likely that the designers wil be able to simply transfer to mining.

(3) It takes time for the market to determine which investments are bad and to transfer resources over the good ones, or for the market to determine which of the many potentially good investments is most worth saving when not all of them can be funded.

In any case, unemployment due to malinvestment need only take a short time, if the economy is allowed to correct itself and if liquidation is allowed to proceed, because more productive uses are found for workers who are displaced by the end of the boom.

Which brings us to the fourth reason why not everyone can simply transfer to a better job:

(4) The government is manipulating the credit market to keep all of the malinvestments solvent, and thus reducing the amount of resources available for productive investment. This keeps workers working at jobs that are not productive, and that increasingly squander valuable resources. It also prevents those who are displaced from finding productive work because the squandered resources are not available to build the infrastructure that they need to do the work.

Krugman (earlier in the piece) dismisses this idea as:

The best that von Hayek or Schumpeter could come up with was the vague suggestion that unemployment was a frictional problem created as the economy transferred workers from a bloated investment goods sector back to the production of consumer goods.

Actually, it is a frictional problem created as the economy gets rid of unproductive jobs but has not yet created the more productive jobs that will replace them. The creation of productive jobs can be seen as a "booting" problem, much like computers need time to boot up after a restart. Unforunately, if the government intervenes to save the unproductive jobs, it makes it harder to use resources to create the more productive jobs, and make the period of adjustment longer.

The rest of the piece is about using Asia as a historical example. I don't know enough about the specific history, so I won't go into it right now.


So, what are we to make of Krugman's statement that recessions can and should be avoided by prolonging the boom?

What would happen if we did that?

What would happen would be fairly simple. If we discourage savings and encourage people to keep investing more in a time of great malinvestment, we will get more and more of our diminishing pool of resources going to unproductive uses. This will make the coming recession worse and worse. But what if we just keep pumping in money to keep the bubble going? Can't we simply put off the recession indefinitely?

No, because at a certain point all of our saved resources are gone. At this point, we are faced with two possibilities. Stop pumping in money and get a deflationary recession (credit contraction). Alternately, we could try to keep the boom going with more money creation, but without additional saved resources to buy with the money, all we will accomplish is for prices to skyrocket. This is known as hyperinflation, and the economy will contract whether the supply of money and credit contracts or not.

So in short, Krugman is all wet, and his Keynesian Theory ought to be taken about as seriously as the "phlogiston theory of fire," as he says of the Austrian Theory.

That is all.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thoughts on Palin

The strongest reason against voting for Palin for Vice President is her running mate.

That is all.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Thoughts on the Current Crisis, with Apologies to Kipling

In the late Bushian Epoch we were promised salvation for all,
By robbing collective Peter to bail out selected 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 save, you die."

That is all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Another Third Party Debate!

Update: Maybe this won't happen. I'll let you know as soon as I figure out what is going on.

Sunday, October 19, 2008.

McKinney, Nader, and Baldwin will be participating.

C-Span will broadcast this debate at some point (whether live or recorded has not yet been determined).

That is all.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Liberals' View of Conservatives' Rights

Note: Some recent htings have made me more hopeful (and more kindly disposed to the Alas, a Blog crowd on this front. I'll explain more later, too tired now.

This piece contains one very interesting line defending California's antidiscrimination regulations from accusations that they would result in schools usurping the moral authority of parents:

Also. This whole thing about forcing teachers to tell their students that homosexuality is okay? Please. The reasoning goes like this: since teachers sometimes talk about marriage in the classroom, teachers would theoretically be required to teach that same-sex marriage is just as good as hetero marriage. I actually wish that were the case [emphasis mine - G.], but no - the police aren’t going to break down the doors of classrooms in which teachers aren’t extolling same-sex marriage. It just isn’t going to happen.

Got it? It's not that tliberals do not want schoolsto become indoctrination centers where they are instructed in the correct moral views of homosexuality and gay marriage. We aren't supposed to worry about it because (supposedly) they lack the power to do it.

I'm reassured.

That is all.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Donating to Democrats

Note to Eric Dondero: Actually, I'm a little ticked off at Nader myself, due to his general reluctance to engage in debates that do not include the two major party candidates (I remember 2 of the 2000 debates between Hagelin, Phillips and Browne, Nader was nowhere to be seen). He is definitely a bit of a hypocrite on third party issues, particularly debates. Of course, the same holds true for Bob Barr.

If the Naderites behaved as you say, that is truly disgusting. On the other hand, based on some of the discussions at Ballot Access News, I am skeptical of your claims.

Update 2: I have given another $50.00.

Update: I have given $25.00.

I think I will be making a donation to the Bob Conley campaign.

Anything to get prissy little John McCain Jr. defeated in his quest for re-election to the Senate.

I am also considering giving to the Pennsylvania Democrats to spite the GOP for its attempt to get Bob Barr off the ballot, although they have been just as bad with Nader in the past.

That is all.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Third Party Debate

9 pm Eastern, 8 Central, until Midnight eastern, 11pm Central on Revolution Broadcasting.

And don't forget to pledge to the the Third Party Ticket debate.

ThirdPartyTicket.com

That is all.

Baldwin 08 for Mac Users

Click here. and DO NOT click on "home."

If you want to go to Baldwin's website, use http://baldwin08.com/# rather than just http://baldwin08.com. This will get you past the video page, which for some reason links in a format that only works on Internet Explorer.

That is all.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Prediction

The market will dip below 9000 this year.

That is all.

Who Really Predicted the Mess? NOT MCCAIN.

(From the CFR transcript of the October 9 2007 Republican Presidential Nomination Debate):

(Click here to see the Youtube video).

MATTHEWS: OK.

Congressman Paul, I think you have questions and concerns about the bonanza in the hedge fund industry. Do you?

PAUL: Yes. I think this is not a consequence of free markets. What's happening is, there's transfer of wealth from the poor and the middle class to the wealthy.

PAUL: This comes about because of the monetary system that we have. When you inflate a currency or destroy a currency, the middle class gets wiped out.

So the people who get to use the money first which is created by the Federal Reserve system benefit. So the money gravitates to the banks and to Wall Street.

That's why you have more billionaires than ever before. Today, this country is in the middle of a recession for a lot of people. Michigan knows about it. Poor people know about it. The middle class knows about it. Wall Street doesn't know about it. Washington, D.C., doesn't know about it.

But it's because of the monetary system and the excessive spending. As long as we live beyond our means we are destined to live beneath our means.

And we have lived beyond our means because we are financing a foreign policy that is so extravagant and beyond what we can control, as well as the spending here at home.

And we're depending on the creation of money out of thin air, which is nothing more than debasement of the currency. It's counterfeit. And it is a natural, predictable consequence that you're going to have people benefit from it and other people suffer.


PAUL: So, if you want a healthy economy, you have to study monetary theory and figure out why it is that we're suffering. And everybody doesn't suffer equally, or this wouldn't be so bad.

It's always the poor people -- those who are on retired incomes -- that suffer the most. But the politicians and those who get to use the money first, like the military industrial complex, they make a lot of money and they benefit from it.

MATTHEWS: Thank you, Congressman.

(APPLAUSE)

BARTIROMO: Senator McCain, what about that? How are you going to win the middle class back?

Wall Street executives are making millions of dollars every year, paying tax rates of 15 percent, while the average guy out there is paying 30 percent in taxes.

Is this system fair?

MCCAIN: Everybody is paying taxes and wealth creates wealth. And the fact is that I would commend to your reading, Ron, "Wealth of Nations," because that's what this is all about.


Paul pointed out how rotten the current financial system was, and McCain basically suggested that he didn't know economics very well. He suggested that the hedge funds were doing well because of the free market, and that all of the wealth in the funds wa really being created, rather than being a monetary illusion.

And now I keep hearing - in particular from a recent Fox News special on the current economic problems - that John McCain is the voice in the wilderness because he noticed some problems with Fannie and Freddie? PLEASE.

This is as ridicuous as the claims that Bush was the hero who tried to prevent this - when he was at the forefront of the movement to eliminate down payments as an unfair barrier to home ownership.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Augustawell

Realistically, I probably will not be posting Augustawell strips anymore until after the election, at which point I will be able to find a good image hosting site. I am movong my images off of Flickr after discovering that Flickr does not want people to post anything but photos there. I moved to PicAttic, but that site is a piece of crap that supposedly allows hotlinking but who hotlinks don't actually work (they stopped working sometime in late August).

Google hosts images, but they only have 3 options for posting size, none of which are big enough for my comic.

So, I will try to get back to Augustawell when I have the time and energy to sort it out.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We Didn't Lose $1.2 Trillion

I find it comical how people are talking about the market "losing $1.2 trillion" because the bailout failed. There are even some who are suggesting that we lost more money than the $700 billion we would have spent on the bailout. (Note: There was a specific comment on Yglesias' blog that I intended to link to, but I can't find it anymore).

Newsflash: $1.2 trillion of assets was not destroyed in any meaningful sense. No houses blew up, no food suddenly went "poof!" Nothing was destroyed. What happened is that some people suddenly found that the nominal value of their houses, investments, etc. went down.

In other words, the loss was on paper - and it probably consisted of a loss of value that wasn't real anyway, that is to say that the assets were overpriced.

What is happening here is simply a realignment of the relative value of goods and of who the wealth belongs to - an overdue re-alignment, in my opinion.

That is all.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

More Good News

E-Verify has been continued until March 6 2009, ending the current crisis, although it would be nice to re-authorize it rather than just extend it with a continuing resolution.

Chuck Baldwin will be on an internet-broadcast third party debate on October 9 from 8-11 pm central time (9-12 EST). This will be broadcast on Revolution Broadcasting.

That is all.

Stephen Bainbridge is a Lying Piece of Fecal Matter

After Stephen Bainbridge wrote this, (referenced by Matt Yglesias), I wrote something along the lines of:

Baindbridge's argument is that blacks were not given subprime loans too easily, because their share of subprime loans (16.2%) is about the same as their share of the population (12.4%). But this assumes that blacks are, on average, equally creditworthy as whites (in other words, it is making the same affirmative actiony assumptions that we are attacking). If a smaller percentage of blacks are good candidates for mortgages, then that 16.2% figure starts looking a lot more disproportionate.

This comment was deleted and comments on that post closed.

Bainbridge is a lying coward who cannot stand criticism of his ideology.

And I'm not the only one that Bainbridge wants to shut up.

That is all.

Third Party Debate

If 10,000 people pledge to donate to a moneybomb for a third party debate, Trevor Lyman of Ron Paul moneybomb fame will go ahead to try to put together a debate for all of the theoretically electable candidates (i.e. those on the ballot in states with enough electoral votes to win; i.e. Baldwin, Barr, McCain, McKinney, Nader, and Obama, although McCain and Obama probably would not participate).

If you want to have a third party debate, this is the best way to do it.

Also check out Break The Matrix, who it appears would be video-hosting the debate.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Richard Winger's Ballot Access News.

That is all - for now.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

China Stops Loans to U.S. (Maybe)

Uh-oh. It looks like the Federal government may decide simply to man the printing presses pretty soon and to print whatever they need to fund their programs.

I'm beginning to think that economic collapse is a real possibility.

This report may be exagerrated. Time will tell what the truth is.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Thoreau at UO.

That is all.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Buck for Chuck

To all who like the Constitution Party -

Today is Buck for Chuck Day, the September 20 moneybomb for the Constitution Party candidate Chuck Baldwin.

Please visit his website and make a donation.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Farah: I've Bent Over. Please Give it to Me.

Joseph Farah once again finds a way to sort of endorse McCain, but without really saying so.

Joseph Farah, bending over - again.

That is all.

Ballot Access Maps September 16, 2008

Click here for the ballot access maps.

I'm sorry for not posting them on the site, but PicAttic sitll isn't hotlinking, and I do not have the time to find another image hosting service right now.

As always, my maps are based on Richard Winger's Ballot Access Chart on his Ballot Access News website.

Note: My map contains an error. Nader is on the ballot in Vermont. I will correct it later.

That is all.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We made it to 270

By my calculations, the Constitution Party is on the ballot in states with an electoral vote total of 295. It will be 304 if we get on in Alabama (the Party has submitted its signatures, and is waiting for the decision), and 325 if the ballot access lawsuit in Pennsylvania succeeds.

We definitely need to do better next time, but at least we made the magic number.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Ballot Access Maps Updated September 9, 2008

Due to PicAttic's hot-linking problems, I am posting links to the images that you can click on to see the maps. This will be easier for now. If anyone would like to host these images and let me hotlink to them until the problems are resolved, please let me know.

Click here to see all maps on one page.

Libertarian Party Presidential Ballot Access 2008
Constitution Party Presidential Ballot Access 2008
Green Party Presidential Ballot Access 2008
Ralph Nader Presidential Ballot Access 2008

That is all.

Obama Steals my Line!

Obama says something similar to what I myself have said:

Obama - ""You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig."

Me - "Whatever she may call herself, Palin is less a pitbull with lipstick than she is the lipstick on a pig. And that pig's name is McCain."

Unfortunately, I did not post that on my blog before Obama made his statement, but I can still accuse him of stealing it from me, because I did post it elsewhere.

Of course, Obama was referring to McCain's "change" rhetoric, while i was referring to the meaningless (in practical terms) of McCain's choice of Palin.

That is all.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

More on Augustawell

I recently switched my image hosting from Flickr to PicAttic and am in the process of moving all of my images there. Unfortuantely, PicAttic has been acting up, so updates on the ballot access map may be a little slow, and new posts on Augustawell may be as well. I may replace my hotlinks with "cold" links to the photos on PicAttic so that I can post new stuff and people can see it, although it will be an extra step.

Also, I will be writing Augustawell a little more slowly over the next few weeks than I was during June, July, and early August, as there is a lot more on my plate now.

That is all.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Farah on McCain

Whatever one thinks of Palin, I think Joseph Farah hits the nail on the head as to why McCain must be opposed.

Although I think that whoever is elected this November, we can stop amnesty if we work together.

That is all.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I Remember Her from Way Back When

But not very well.

I just found out that the woman playing Shana "Scarlett" O'Hara in the new G.I. Joe movie (coming next year) is someone I remember from Middle School (specifically I remember her when she was in seventh grade and I was in eighth). I also went to high school with her (well, my sophomore through senior years anyway, she would have been in eighth grade when I was a freshman), but I cannot remember a single thing about her from those days.

That is all.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Housekeeping

I'm not sure what to make of McCain's VP choice, Sarah Palin. More on it as I develop an opinion.

As for Augustawell, I have been having problems with my image server, but that should be geting better soon. I have about a "week's worth" (i.e. seven) of comics written beyond what is posted, but getting them scanned in, colored, and posted takes time.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Alan Keyes Successfully Steals Baldwin's Ballot Access

The lawsuit against Keyes was dismissed on a technicality.

However, I have heard that Baldwin will still be eligible as a write-in.

I really, really hate Alan Keyes, and Ed Noonan and Mark Seidenberg, as well. I believe them to be dirty thieves. I originally wrote something a little more graphic here, but I decided to tone it down a little.

That is all.

Ballot Access Maps Updated August 26, 2008

Here ya go.

That is all.

Trouble with Image Hosting

I have some new ballot access maps. As soon as my image hosting service is up again, I will post them.

That is all.

Sorry About Light Posting

And about the elay in Augustawell updates. I have been very busy with family matters, and with getting write-in status for Chuck Baldwin in Maine for the past week or so. I'll try to get another Augustawell up tomorrow, and some more blogging sometime this week if I get a breather.

That is all.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Standardized Testing

The SAT is useless, but the results of the No Child Left Behind math tests are completely valid to base a study about gender equality on.

What exactly is the difference here, other than that one of the tests appears to give the liberals the results they want as regarding equality?

That is all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Ballot Access

I've been busy, and things are changing quickly. I'll try to update soon.

That is all.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Jack Cashill's Stupidty/Mendacity

Jack Cashill tries to convince us that everything we were told about Iraq in the build-up to war was true, and that the calims of a failure to find WMDs, etc. are lies and deliberate ignorance by the media.

First, he mentions how Richard Butler claimed that Saddam was developing WMD capacity after Butler was booted out of Iraq in 1998. Of course, not mentioned is that Clinton was using the inspections to conduct espionage with the intent of bringing Saddam's government down. Seeing as we are constantly misled about that, it is rather disingenuous to assume that his statement must be trusted.

Secondly, he talks about Spencer Abraham in 2004 claiming that 1.77 tons of uranium had been moved out of Iraq by the U.S. The problem here is that no one denies that Saddam had uranium. The point is, it had been declared to the IAEA, it had been sealed and was not in a weaponized form, and if we had wanted him to get rid of it, we should have demanded that the declared uranium be removed; rather than invading Iraq on the pre-text of developed or developing weapons that we said he was hiding.

Thirdly, he mentions how the media ignored Douglas Feith's book describing the role that WMDs played in us going to war. Of course, that Douglas Feith may not exactly be an honest, unbiased broker is nowhere considered. That eneral Tommy Franks has, er - a colorful way of describing him (warning: language) is not mentioned either. Rather, we are told by Jack Cashill simply that Feith "knew what was going on" (and of course, we presume him to be truthful).

Fourthly, he mentions Iraqi General Georges Sada's claims that the WMDs were ferried to Syria - ignoring, of course, the question of why Saddam would keep those WMDs if he was not going to use them. That this guy might just be trying to get on the good side of the U.S. government by telling it what it wants to hear is not considered.

Fifthly, he mentions that Don Bordenkircher had a lot of prisoners boast of transporting warheads to Syria.

Some of the inmates, Bordenkircher said, "wanted to trade their information for a release from prison and were amenable to showing the locations."

Gosh, what motive could these people have for lying? And of course, if we used enhanced interrogation techniques on them, obviously they would tell us the truth; I mean that is what these techniques are good for, not for getting people to tell us what we want to hear.

Sixthly, he claims that we know where the WMDs are but the U.S. government won't look there. This sounds very much like Michael Ledeen's similar claims, and ultimately relies on believing that the U.S. government is run by people who desperately want to cover up the evidence that would vindicate them.

According to Cashill, the reason why the administration has avoided revelaing that there are WMDs is to keep the bad guys uninformed, apparently so that they won't get to the MD before we have secured Iraq enough to secure it all.

"Sometimes," [George Tenet] writes, "it is even useful to have positive accomplishments misperceived as failures, to throw foreign governments and rogue organizations off the scent."

Yes, this must be it. The Bush administration is so famously competent that is obviously capable of such a misdirection.

The administration's openness about the recent removal of a 550 metric ton yellowcake cache suggests a change in strategy in a newly secure Iraq.

Except that, as references here and here, "the uranium a) was not weapons grade and b) was well known to the UN and IAEA and was being stored legally by Saddam's government. It was legally in Iraq according to international law."

Cashill pretends to deal with this:

To be sure, the major media and the liberal bloggers have done their best to downplay the potency of the material and the political significance of its removal. After all, they tell us, everyone knew the yellowcake was there all along.

Here is an article from 2003 proving that we Hussein was known to possess uranium all along.

From the article: Experts say Tuwaitha, which was sealed off by U.N. inspectors in 1991, holds 500 metric tons of uranium and other radioactive materials that could pose health risks or even a terrorist threat if it gets into the wrong hands.

But Cashill, instead of spending 5 minutes on Google, instead he says:

But the question has to be asked: If everyone knew it was there, why were the Democrats so eager to pull American troops and cede the yellowcake to whoever controlled the ground?

Uh - if it is that dangerous, we should have removed it all much much earlier. Besides, it isn't exactly weapons grade.

The fact that a Canadian uranium producer was willing to pay tens of millions of dollars for the yellowcake suggests its potential for future harm in the hands of al-Qaida or other terrorists.

Yes, all they will need is to set up large, industrial scale nuclear infrastructure. This is why we also need to worry about whether or not Iraq has aluminum or iron reserves; if Al Qaeda gets their hands on those, they might be able to build battleships and aircraft carriers to use against us.

In short, Jack Cashill is caught in at least one obvious lie, so one should be careful about trusting all of his other points, which are largely based on nothing more than Cashill's imputation of trustyworthiness on a bunch of fairly sketchy sources.

That is all.

Monday, August 11, 2008

50th Augustawell Strip is Up!

Please visit the site, and please leave comments, either there or here.

That is all.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Keeping the Ron Paul Revolution Alive

Paul Congress is a good site for those who wish to support Ron Paul-esque candidates.

Here is Ron Paul's Liberty Pac if you would like to support the cause in general without bothering to find specific candidates.

That is all.

Friday, August 01, 2008

New Ballot Access Maps are Up!

UPDATE: Apparently I made an error and made the link to my Augustawell comic strip. It is now fixed. If the link in the blog doesn't work, click the "Ballot Access Maps" links on the sidebar, and it should usually take you to the right place.

Click right here!

That is all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gender and Math

There's a bunch of Larry Summers hate at Alas, a Blog based on a new study that says that girls and boys are doing just as well at math on average.

Evidence of lower scoring by females on the SAT is "explained away" according to the study as the result of more girls (and thus presumably a less selective sample of girls) taking the SAT (a traditional explanation that is not mentioned is that boys have a higher standard deviaiton than girls do, so if you test only the top half of the bell curve men will do better on average).

What is not mentioned, though, is the second half of the article, where it is stated that the tests used in the study did not include problems involving complex reasoning.

My guess on the probable translation: The NCLB tests are designed largely to test the most basic skills that almost everyone can have. That the tests may have been adjusted deliberately to acheive gender parity is not considered in the article, nor in the Alas post, which simply assumes that the issue has been settled once and for all.

So where do I stand on this? I doubt that there are as many females as males in the higher percentiles of math ability. Although it is likely that there are more females with math ability than actually wind up using it. In other words, it is not unlikely that stereotypes based on actual statistical trends may wind up exaggerrating those trends. If only 25% of of the top 1% is girls, this might intimidate girls from studying math so that only 15% or 10% of those taking the top 1% classes are girls.

But ultimately, my main concern is that we try to allow people to take what they want and feel they have the aptitude for. The main reason why I think that skepticism of these reports of equality is important is because I do not want the government to take the risk of destroying our science, technology, and math programs with quotas.

That is all.

A Plug

Lots of good stuff on the Ballot Access News website.

That is all.

Why Don't People Resent Angelina's Pregnancy but They Resent Welfare Mothers' Pregnancies?

Uh - maybe because Angelina Jolie can actually support her children?

The post I lknked to above is a classic example of how leftists do not understand how the world works. They seem to think that most people with money just have it handed to them, and that we can afford to support an endless stream of irresponsible people having babies they cannot afford. Why, they ask, can't we have a society that values all children and makes it so that women can reproduce whenever they want, with no material constraints whatsoever, with the government providing health care, daycare, etc.?

Maybe because all of the unproductive people will reporduce until there is no one to provide the goods they feel entitled to?

These leftists are like spoiled teenagers, thinking that they have a right to their parnets' money, and also a right to be free of their parents' control.

Oh, and I love the but about "what if thesse kids resent having to pay for your social security?" If I had confidence that most of these kids would grow up to be productive taxpaying citizens, then I might concede the point. But if they grow up to be criminals, or welfare-dependent, that really won't help me, will it?

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to Alas, a Blog for the link.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

They Never Learn

I heard Sean Hannity recently crowing about how Saddam did too have WMDs. Why, we just took hundreds of tons of yellowcake uranium from there.

The problem, of course, is that this uranium has been there since the 70s or early 80s, and we've always known about it. Indeed, it was declared, Saddam was not hiding it, and it had been sealed by the IAEA. The NY Times' Lede blog hcomments on this,

If we thought it was dangerous, we could have always insisted on removing it while Saddam, was in power. It's not like this stuff was being kept from us.

To use this as proof that the administration was right about WMDs, or to use it to prove how ignorant the naysayers are, smacks either or complete ignorance or total dishonesty. Of course, that is par for the course with Seanny boy.

That is all.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Bad News for the Constitution Party

The California Party is making a break.

More bad news: it looks increasingly unlikely that we will get ballot access in Maine, so we will have to settle for a write-in.

As the person who was organizing the ballot access drive in Maine, I am rather discouraged. This is part of the reason why I am having such a hard time doing political blogging, because this election is so depressing.

That is all.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sorry About Lack of Posting

I've been busy with Augustawell, an have also been somewhat discouraged about the political situation due to problems getting Baldwin on the ballot in Maine (I have wound up being the de facto ballot access guy). It's a long story, but I don't have the strength to think too much about politics for the next few days. In addition, there is a lot going on at work.

I'll try to post more soon, but I will probably be fairly quiet for a week or so.

That is all.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jesse Helms, RIP

Thinking of Jesse Helms' death makes me think of this Bloom County episode.

That is all.

Liberal Stupidity on Helms

Yggy comments on a quote from Ed Kilgore, which includes this:

When the AIDS epidemic emerged in the 1980s, Helms began an extended and violently worded campaign to "protect" Americans from the "perverts" whose "disgusting" habits were responsible for AIDS, while attacking efforts to find effective treatments.

While attacking efforts to find effective treatments would be bad (although I have a feeling that that is a rather uncharitable reading of Helms' position), I fail to see how the first part of Helms position is actually wrong in any way, despite the myriad efforts to portray AIDS as a "equal opportunity disease."

What the left is really upset about here is that Helms did not buy into the politically correct lie that HIV did not discriminate.

Good for Helms and to heck with the lying liberals.

That is all.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Write-in Rules

According to Richard Winger of Ballot Access News, the following states ban write-ins:

All write-ins:
Oklahoma
Louisiana
South Dakota
Nevada
Hawaii
Write-ins for President:
South Carolina
Effectively bans write-ins for President, but not officially:
Arkansas
New Mexico

Fortunately for the Constitution Party, we are on the ballot on all of these except for Oklahoma and Louisiana (and Louisiana should be in the "ballot access granted" column very soon as all it requires is a filing fee).

Provided we can get write-in access in the states that have requirements for write-in status, people should be able to vote for Baldwin in 49 states (and presumably the District of Columbia).

That is all.

Andrew Sullivan Does it Again

More and more, Sullivan is proving that he has no understanding of what Christianity actually means, describing the belief that Jesus is the only way to God as "sectarian bigotry."

He also gives us this beauty, in response to Obama saying "Jesus is the only way for me. I'm not in a position to judge other people":

I have a feeling that Obama's position is far closer to that of most believing Christians than Graham's. Which is why the right-wing Christianists are getting as afraid as the neocons.

I would suggest that he has never read John 14:6:

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

except that Andrew has already stated that it is un-Christian to believe in the Bible, at least when you believe passages that do not square with Andrew's behavior or social philosophy.

Of course, determining Christianity by what people who call themselves Christians believe assumes essentially that man, not God, is supreme, and is s foolish idea anyway.

More by me on "Christianism" and here.

That is all.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Constitution Party Ballot Access

This is the map of the current status of Constitution Party Ballot Access Petitioning:

PicAttic.com

Data is from the Constitution Party's own website.

For Libertarian, Green, and Nader ballot access maps, click here.

That is all.

On World War II and Unconditional Surrender

One thing that no one has yet brought up on the VFR threads (1,2) about World War II is whether or not the "necessity" of making concessions to Stalin in 1944 and 1945, after the German army had been destroyed to the point that the eventual victory of the Allies was assured) was driven more by the desire to crush Germany and Japan than it was by the need for Stalin's help to make sure that Germany and Japan lost.

(I should point out here that this point is a little more nuanced than it appears; I am not suggesting that the Allies' desire to smash Germany and Japan or the demand for unconditional surrender was due merely to malice, just that it was not, in my opinion, a good idea that these goals were given such a high priority).

As I touched on in this post, and as Paul Gottfried has suggested, the demand for unconditional surrender may have prevented us from taking advantage of indigenous resistance to the Nazis, and may have prolonged the war in a way that helped no one but Stalin, who had finally begun to turn the war to his advantage.

That is all.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Even More on Augustawell

18 posts are up now.

The blog is a little ratty-looking, because I finally found out that I could revert to a classic template rather than fooling around with the "Layouts" garbage. The blog doesn't look quite as nice, but I know how to edit the template now and the strips don't get cut off at the right edge.

The "flap" is gone, so all of the author's commentary is visible, but I will re-institute it into my template as soon as possible.

That is all.

Monday, June 30, 2008

ACLU Believes "Equality" Trumps Liberty

As WorldNetDaily points out.

That is all.

On Buchanan's Book

I must admit that I do not know know enough about World War II history to make a real evaluation of Pat Buchanan's new book (also I have not read it yet). I do think that he is naive about Hitler's ambitions, though.

It does seem to me though, that the real fight here is less over World War II than it is over the present controversy over foreign policy.

I believe that a large part of Buchanan's contrariness about World War II is due to a conviction that it is the single best weapon that interventionists have to argue with. Therefore, if he can attack World War II as being an unnecessary intervention, then by extension all of the lesser interventions that he dislikes become invalid.

Likewise, the neocons and other pro-warriors have a need to see World War II in every conflict, and to see the lesson of World War II to be that we have to confront every petty tyrant with no mercy, before he commits any serious act of aggerssion, lest he become the next Hitler. (Look at how many of Buchanan's critics try to use the naivete of his World War II views as a parallel to his views on the Middle East, with the implication that anything less than a military attack on Iran would be Munich 1938 all over again).

Another supposed lesson from World War II (particularly in contrast to World War I) is the need for unconditional surrender and to crush our enemies completely in any war. The idea seems to be that negotiated surrenders or armistices are not acceptable. (Fortunately enough, this view has not predominated among actual policymakers, e.g. in the Korean War or in the Gulf War of 1990-1991),

I think that Paul Gottfried's column on LewRockwell.com makes some interesting and balanced points on the latter issue of the actual threat that Germany posed in 1917-1918.

That is all.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

When it Comes to Processing Subscriptions, The American Conservative is Full of Morons

I have been trying to renew my subscription to The American Conservative for more than a month. Unfortunately, even though I tell them (when renewing over the phone) that the billing address is different from my mailing address, the payment is not going through.

I tried their secure online server, and again they ask for shipping information, and then ask for credit card number, and tell you there is a problem when the billing and shipping addresses do not match. I could give myself a gift subscription, but I would lose my charter subsciption discount.

Is it too much to ask for these idiots to consider the option that people are not always using the same address for receiving the magazine that they are using for their credit cards? Are the people who run these things so stupid????

Message to TAC: FIX YOUR STUPID BILLING SYSTEM!!!!!!!!!!!

Update: (I receive most of my subscriptions at my parents' house, because I am in a situation where I may move a lot, and it's been a hassle getting my subscriptions updated in the past. Nonetheless, one of my credit cards I receive at this address, because changing my credit card address is fairly easy. I finally got the subscription renewed online, using a different credit card that still uses my parents' address, but it does not have a rewards program).

That is all.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thought on TracFone

Recently I lost my mobile phone and had to replace it.

I use Tracfone, and their customer service is very, very good. I think I was dealing with a foreigner, because the guy on the other end had an Indian accent, but he was very polite and helpful.

I just thought it would be nice to note that there are people who still care about service, as an encouragement to those who are discouraged by horror stories such as this one.

That is all.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

John McCain Angry that Black Guy isn't on Welfare

The Washington Times:

Mr. McCain told reporters Thursday he will stay within the public financing system and called the Obama decision a violation of trust that he considers "disturbing to all Americans."

"This is a big deal," the Arizona Republican complained, saying Mr. Obama "completely reversed himself."


Shut up, John.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

More on Gitmo

I am going to expand a little on Vox Day's article that I mentioned here.

There are two basic definitions of judicial activism: (1) the judicial branch not complying with the wishes of the legislature/executive, or (2) the judicial branch making rulings where the result is predetermined and the goal of the argument is to justify the decision already made. The difference in the two definitions comes from whether one is simply against the Court exercising power because they believe that the more diretly elected/chosen branches should make all of the decisions, or because one is worried htat the Constitution is being read into meaninglessness, with the ultimate law of the land being nothing more than "the law will reflect my values."

There is, I suppose, a third definition, which is simply "making a decision I disagee with."

The second definition is, in my opinion, the best one and the one that is based on the best principles.

The reason why judicial activism is worrisome is because the judges amass large amounts of power to themselves which cannot be easily removed, and reduce the Constitution to "whatever we want it to say." (The other problem is that constitutional questions, which should be at the heart of every branch of the government, are quickly delegated to the judicial branch alone. An example would be during McCain-Feingold when some Congressmen said that they were not concerned with whether or not it was constitutional, the Court would deal with that.

In any case, the problem with the bellyaching over the Court's activism (if that is what it was) on the Guantanamo decision is that there is a genreal feeling that the President had amassed a similar levl of similarly illegitimate power, and so this wqs seen as more of a reaction than an action.

When people fear that the executive branch is not playing fair, whether the other branches play fair in dealing with it becomes much less important to them.

That is all.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Changes at Glaivester?

Over the next week or two, if I can find the time, I intend to update my blogroll and to update other things in my sidebars. Later I intend to start figuring out how and whether to make some template changes to Augustawell.

By the way, in case anyone wonders what the "personal use links" at the right hand side of my sidebar are, I put them there so that I could easily access different parts of the blog from my blog. They are for my use, so readers will not find them helpful at all.

I will probably add such a thing to Augustawell before long.

I will have to try to update Rankine 911 at some point as well, and finally start to write on The Defense Force (I have saved the address for two years, but have not added any content).

That is all.

Yet More Augustawell

There are now eight Augustawell strips on the Augustawell blog (although only seven are on the front page).

I believe that I have solved a problem that some people have been having, namely, that the screen would not scroll and was often too thin to show the entire comic.

I have a hard time using the html, as it is different than the html for the Glaivester blog (although they are both based on the same template), but I just added a bunch of asterisks to my description and the screen does not automatically resize the writing anymore, so the blog is always wide enough to display the comic strips.

Please visit and leave a comment on any strip.

Note: I have enabled comment moderation on Augustawell, mainly because it appears to be the best way for me to be able to keep track of new comments (I may use Haloscan later, but it doesn't let me track to which post a comment is made). Please comment on the strip evenif the comments are not posted immediately, and I will try to post the comments as soon as possible.


That is all.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Racism

I'm not a racist. But I am an anti-anti-racist.

That is all.

On the Recent Supreme Court Ruling

With all the whining about the decision to protect Guantanamo Bay detainees' right to habeas corpus, no one seems to realize the main reason behind the ruling.

It's not that the Supreme Court members think that terrorists deserve Constitutional protections; it's that they no longer have any faith in the Bush administration to correctly determine who are and are not terrorists. More bluntly, they do not trust Bush not to incarcerate massive numbers of innocents.

That is all.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Victor Davis Hanson Doesn't Get It

Over at The corner, Victor Davis Hanson makes the argument that the real problem with the war was the way it was sold: rather than WMDs, the people pushing the war should have emphasized:

they were considerable humanitarian questions dealing with the Kurds, Shiites, UN embargo, bounties for suicide bombing, etc., and continual reference to them would have made the Congress more invested in the war they voted to authorize.

The problems with these justifications:

The humanitarian questions get a lot of sympathy, but the American people are unwilling to take on a project to reform some foreign society by military occupation. Besides, things did not turn out so hot in the war's after math after all (more on that later), so in the end the humanitarian argument would have turned just as sour once the civil war began as the WMD argument did when they were not found.

The bounties for suicide bombers was not a winning issue other than the fact that it tied Saddam to some form of Muslim terrorism. Moreover, the idea that we had to spend billions of dollars to stop him from paying $25,000 to the families of Palestianian suicide bombers would have made it difficult to argue that we weren't just fighting for Israel's sake.

As for the embargo and the UN resolutions, the problem is two-fold. First, most people don't care much about UN resolutions or making the UN a stronger, more respected institution. Secondly, those who do study the issue and are honest about it know that the U.S. did not exactly deal honestly with the inspections or with the embargo, insisting that the embargo was to stop WMDs and then refusing to end it as long as Saddam was in power regardless of how well he complied. Secondly, Clinton used the inspections to spy on Saddam with the goal of bringing regime change.

In short, none of these reasons was convincing without the udea that Saddam was actively threatening us. Notice how unconvinced people are by the "but Saddam was himself a WMD" argument, which sounds just like what it is; an attempt to reform the language to rationalize a bad decision.

Andrew McCarthy chimes in on the fact htat Saddam had violated several resolutions, again not mentioning how the U.S. government (specifically Clinton) had abused those resolutions.

Rich Lowry rationally points out that the WMD were the only rationale which the public would really care about - you suggest that a nuke will go off in their backyards if they don't invade, it gets their attention. He also makes the rational point that if things had gone well, people would not have cared how good or bad the rationales for war were.

Hanson still sticks with his original idea, saying that this is all the more reson why we needed to have other rationales to remind people of when things got tough (Lowry sensibly points out that once things got bad, lot of people would not have cared about the other ratinoales (indeed, I quesiton whether anybody who was not invested in the war for their own reasons really would be persuaded by the violation of UN resolutions, the suicide bombers, or Saddam's cruelty to his own people) .

In particular, this line annoys me:

Second, by default we wouldn't have invested only in the democracy argument that was tied to Bush alone and caricatured as naivete (rather than admirable idealism which it was) when the Congress proposed and owned the numerous others.

Naivete rather than admirable idealism? His "idealism" was not backed up by any understanding of Iraqi culture or of how to fit democracy to their culture. It was based on the liberal idea that all societies are exactly as capable of democracy, and that you could essentially drop any form of government on them and it would work. It's essentially like arguing that it is "idealism" to try to run Mac 10.5 on a Pentium 1 chip, or to install Windows Vista on an Apple II.

Note what Hanson is really saying: what matters is that Bushs intentions were good. That, and not whether he had a realistic plan, is what matters.

And look at the surreal situation we are in today: all those legitimate reasons to remove Saddam which were so carefully explained by the Congress are now irrelevant or forgotten; and those who proposed and authorized them all hid their flip-flopping in the WMD bogeyman../

None of which really mattered to anyone who did not already want to go into Iraq for other reasons (such as establishing an imperial base, conquering an enemy of Israel, securing control of an oil field for the future, etc.).

He also makes half of a good point:

Left unsaid is the obvious: had the insurgency been crushed at the outset, all this hindsight would be now irrelevant.

True.

Had Iraq looked in 2003 like it does today, there would have never been 'Bush lied, thousands died'.

No, the violence level today is similar to that of the summer of 2003, at least in terms of deaths of coalition Troops. And Iraq today may be peaceful, but it has the marks of a lot of civil war, ethnic cleansing, and destruction from the past five years.

What Hanson means is that if the violence level of May 2008 had predominated throughout the war, there would not have been "Bush lied, thousands died." But of ocurse that assumes that today's lower level of violence could have been achieved without the intervening years of civil war, ethnic cleansing, and violence burning itself out to some extent. In other words, it is based on the idea that sending a few dozen thousand more soldiers and changing tactics slightly suddenly turned everything around.

That is all.

More on Augustawell

I've been busy on my comic strip.

Five Augustawell comics are up now.

Please, visit the site and give me some feedback. Be aware, though, that it uses Blogger comments rather than haloscan.

That is all.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

The Problem With Clark Stooksbury

UPDATE: Clark Stooksbury responds.

I think in my original post I may have been unclear as to my point. My point was not that minority crime keeps people off of bicycles per se as much as that high crime rates in urban areas are one major reason why so many white people live far away and commute to work. Moreover, any method of public transportation has some of the same risks, as long as you are essentially exposed to other people during the transport (as opposed to, say, being in your car where you can control who goes in and out).

As for the minority part, the point was not that minority crimes are more frightening than white-on-white crimes, rather it was that the high rate of criminality among non-Asian minorities and the high concentration of non-Asian minorities in cities are a major reason why there are high crime rates in cities.

Original post:

Although he is constantly harping on our need to cut energy consumption through reducing our need for travel, the direness of the situation, and denying any alternative solution to not using our cars and living in bikeable communities (which essentially would force those who commute to big-city jobs to live in the city, as some of these jobs are unlikely to move into the suburbs), he has never once addressed one of the main reasons why white people do not like to live in the city and do not like using bikes or public transport.

I think that if fuel prices force a move back into the cities, I think we are going to see a sudden decrease in white tolerance for minority misbehavior.

That is all.

Mugabe and Food

He is trying to starve people if they are likely to vote against him in the elections unless they give uo their right to vote.

I think that the people who opposed white rule in Rhodesia have some serious apologizing to do.

That is all.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Thoughts on Same-Sex "Marriage"

Andrew Sullivan:

Buried in the rush of election news yesterday was the California court's refusal to stay the civil marriages for gay couples that will start on June 17 and continue throughout the year. This strikes me as a critical decision because it reframes the debate in California. If voters are asked to decide on the abstract question of marriage equality, they respond differently than if they are asked to decide about civil marriages already in existence. Many voters simply do not want to think about this question and resent those who bring it up. If you ask Californians: "Do you favor the right of gay couples to marry?" they will divide pretty evenly. If you ask, "Do you want to undo all these couples' marriages?" they will tend to answer no.

What Sullivan does not mention, however, is that sometimes being close to an issue and getting sentimental about it makes for bad, rather than good decisions. Those who refuse to vote against same-sex "marriage" because they don't want to hurt the feelings of a gay couple they know are not necessarily acting on rational impulses or impulses that reflect the larger picture of what is good for society. The reasons why same-sex marriage is damaging to society do not go away because we suddenly are filled with pain for those poor gay couples whose marriages are suddenly annulled, and a person does better to vote with his principles than based on his sentimental desire not to cause anyone any psychological pain.

That is all.

And Some Morons Still Say that we Live in a Homophobic Society

What they really mean is that not eveyone has yet been forced to toe the line.

That is all.

Iraq isn't Causing Recruitment Problems for the Army

Or the National Guard.

Yeah, right.

Thanx and a tip o' the hat to the LRC blog.

That is all.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Augustawell

I have started a comic strip on a new blog.

The comic strip is called Augustawell, and will be updated sporadically.

That is all.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Article on McCain and immigration

Here

That is all.

They Don't Get It

I heard Tammy Bruce on Laura Ingraham's show yesterday the question "why did Clinton win in Puerto Rico?" With the answer being that people are starting to see Obama for who he really is. This was followed by a statement that Clinton won all of the demographic groups (the young, the elite) that Obama usually wins.

This is rather like asking why the jury acquitted OJ and suggesting that they were mostly foorball fans and that they usually wouldn't support a known wife-abuser.

THE REASON, STUPID, IS THAT PUERTO RICO IS 99% HISPANIC.

The idea that Hillary won Obama's demographic groups only makes sense if you completely ignore the ethnic factor in demographics. Hillary did well with Hispanics as she usually has done.

That is all.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

More on Obama vs. Clinton from VFR

On Lawrence Auster's blog, Clark Coleman opines:

I don't think the anger of Hillary supporters is because of Florida and Michigan. I think they perceive what everyone else in the country perceives (incuding most Obama supporters). Namely, that Obama is unqualified and inexperienced, that he is shallow and vapid, that he has been given a free pass because he is black and everyone is afraid to criticize him because any criticism of a black person must be motivated by racism, and that the mainstream news media in particular have been openly on his side.

Auster approves of this idea:

This explains a lot. What Mr. Coleman is saying is that the Hillary supporters are seeing the truth of the Obama phenomenon with a clarity that even many conservatives and Republicans lack--because that phenomenon is affecting them much more directly. After all, it is widely believed that Barack is too "Obamaged" to win in November, so he doesn't threaten the people who favor McCain and who also think Obama can't beat him. But the Obama phenomenon with its black racial favoritism IS harming the Hillary supporters in the most direct and traumatic way, by stopping Hillary from being nominated and becoming president.
And this trauma sparks their fury at something that, as left-liberal Democrats, they might otherwise not have found bothersome: the liberal media's and the Democratic party's "normalization" and acceptance of Obama's 20 year membership in a black racist church.


I don't know if I would give Hillary supporters that much credit for analyzing Obama; I think that they are upset because they feel that Hillary is owed the nomination and because they see all of the work for her going up in smoke. While they may be pointing out real flaws with Obama, I do not think that they have this principled objection nor do I think that they would have behaved much differently if it had been, e.g., John Edwards who was beating her. That they have picked up on Obama's flaws is just fortuitous coincidence.

That is all.
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