Posts tagged ‘Calvin Coolidge’

Calvin Coolidge, Silent Cal

“Weaned on a pickle” was how the acid-tongued [Princess] Alice Roosevelt Longworth described Calvin Coolidge, America’s president from 1923 to 1929. Popular historians have been no kinder. Many blame his laissez-faire approach for prompting the Wall Street crash of 1929.

Implicit in this view is the presumption that only interventionist central government can help America recover from economic shock. Mr Coolidge’s hallmark was distrust of government. He saw it as an entity that uses “despotic exactions” (taxes) that sap individual initiative and prosperity across the board. American readers who believe intervention to be a good thing are likely to blanch at a controversial new biography of Coolidge by Amity Shlaes, an American columnist and historian of the Depression. However, if they are brave enough to read on they will also discover a presidency of remarkable achievement that has received too little attention. During Coolidge’s tenure American debt fell by one-third, the tax rate by half and unemployment collapsed.

When less led to more: America’s 30th president has been much misunderstood

Continue reading ‘Calvin Coolidge, Silent Cal’ »

Tags: , ,

Imperial Presidency = Bad for Civil Liberties

Gene Healy has been one of the more prominent and consistent critics of presidential power going back to the Clinton administration. (Disclosure: Healy is a friend and a former colleague.) In 2000 Healy, vice president of the libertarian Cato Institute, authored the study “Arrogance of Power Reborn: The Imperial Presidency and Foreign Policy in the Clinton Years.” In 2006, Healy and fellow Cato scholar Tim Lynch set their sights on President Bush with Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush.

Continue reading ‘Imperial Presidency = Bad for Civil Liberties’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Woodrow Wilson – Hmm, he seems familiar…. “frenzied pedagogue”

What intrigued such gentlemen [the press corps] in the compositions of Dr. Wilson was the plain fact that he was their superior in their own special field – that he accomplished with a great deal more skill than they did themselves the great task of reducing all the difficulties of the hour to a few sonorous and unintelligible phrases, often with theological overtones – that he knew better than they did how to arrest and enchant the boobery with words that were simply words, and nothing else. The vulgar like and respect that sort of balderdash. A discourse packed with valid ideas, accurately expressed, is quite incomprehensible to them. What they want is the sough of vague and comforting words – words cast into phrases made familiar to them by the whooping of their customary political and ecclesiastical rabble-rousers, and by the highfalutin style of the newspapers that they read. Woodrow knew how to conjure up such words. He knew how to make them glow, and weep. He wasted no time upon the heads of his dupes, but aimed directly at their ears, diaphragms and hearts.

But reading his speeches in cold blood offers a curious experience. It is difficult to believe that even idiots ever succumbed to such transparent contradictions, to such gaudy processions of mere counter-words, to so vast and obvious a nonsensicality. Hale produces sentence after sentence that has no apparent meaning at all – stuff quite as bad as the worst bosh of the Hon. Gamaliel Harding. When Wilson got upon his legs in those days he seems to have gone into a sort of trance, with all the peculiar illusions and delusions that belong to a frenzied pedagogue.

Quotation of the Day (H.L. Mencken)

Continue reading ‘Woodrow Wilson – Hmm, he seems familiar…. “frenzied pedagogue”’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The Leviathan – “The Government Can!” – “clown show”

Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.

Michael Munger

Like most of this company town, I’m addicted to Netflix’s Beltway “telenovela,” House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey as a conspiratorial House majority whip. But the show unwittingly flatters D.C., depicting a city of ruthless, steely competence. The real thing is a clown show consumed by trivialities.
. . .
[D]espite appearances, bipartisanship abounds: “The same Congress that barely averted the fiscal cliff swiftly passed extensions of warrantless wiretapping and indefinite detention” and favors “profligate drone use.” They mainly bicker when the bill for the welfare-warfare state comes due.

Washington, DC: Capital of The Absurd

Continue reading ‘The Leviathan – “The Government Can!” – “clown show”’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Live Like a Prince on a Pauper’s Budget – Minimalist Living

First, a PES video:

On to minimalist living!

A new movement is gaining steam in America: overseas retirement. Kiplinger, a personal finance and business forecast site, recently put out a list of eight great places to retire abroad. The attractions of these places are impressive. Bracketing off the one entry from Spain, the most expensive of the seven places was $2,700 per month per couple for comfortable, high-class living, and many were much less than that. That’s not to mention the other benefits: temperate weather, culture, history, beaches in some places and mountains in others, and even special state-backed perks for U.S. retirees.

Continue reading ‘Live Like a Prince on a Pauper’s Budget – Minimalist Living’ »

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

The President is not my “boss” nor my king nor my God. Rubes

Our Current Philosopher King

Did you know the president of the United States is now in the business of “issuing goals” for his subjects to live up to?

Strange how the monarchical urge persists even in a republic two-and-a-third centuries old. Many commentators have pointed out that the modern State of the Union is in fairly obvious mimicry of the Speech from the Throne that precedes a new legislative session in British Commonwealth countries and continental monarchies, but this is to miss the key difference. When the Queen or her viceroy reads a Throne Speech in Westminster, Ottawa, or Canberra, it’s usually the work of a government with a Parliamentary majority: In other words, the stuff she’s announcing is actually going to happen. That’s why, lest any enthusiasm for this or that legislative proposal be detected, the apolitical monarch overcompensates by reading everything in as flat and unexpressive a monotone as possible. Underneath the ancient rituals — the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod getting the door of the House of Commons slammed in his face three times — it’s actually a very workmanlike affair.

The State of the Union is the opposite. The president gives a performance, extremely animatedly, head swiveling from left-side prompter to right-side prompter, continually urging action now: “Let’s start right away. We can get this done. . . . We can fix this. . . . Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to get it done.” And at the end of the speech, nothing gets done, and nothing gets fixed, and, after a few days’ shadowboxing between admirers and detractors willing to pretend it’s some sort of serious legislative agenda, every single word of it is forgotten until the next one.

In that sense, like Beyoncé lip-synching the National Anthem at the inauguration, the State of the Union embodies the decay of America’s political institutions into a simulacrum of responsible government rather than the real thing, and a simulacrum ever more divorced from the real issues facing the country.

Achieve Ye This Goal

Chris Rock, rube-tool of the month.

Bringing the usual clarity to an issue for which Hollywood celebrities are known, a gaggle of professional entertainers is lending their gravitas to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Comedian Chris Rock, for his part, tells us all we should support gun control because, well, President Obama told us to.

The President is Neither Our Boss, Nor Our Dad, Thank the Deity of Your Choice

After stonewalling for more than a year federal judges and ordinary citizens who sought the revelation of its secret legal research justifying the presidential use of drones to kill persons overseas—even Americans—claiming the research was so sensitive and so secret that it could not be revealed without serious consequences, the government sent a summary of its legal memos to an NBC newsroom earlier this week.

This revelation will come as a great surprise, and not a little annoyance, to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon, who heard many hours of oral argument during which the government predicted gloom and doom if its legal research were subjected to public scrutiny. She very reluctantly agreed with the feds, but told them she felt caught in “a veritable Catch-22,” because the feds have created “a thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”

She was writing about President Obama killing Americans and refusing to divulge the legal basis for claiming the right to do so. Now we know that basis.

The undated and unsigned 16-page document leaked to NBC refers to itself as a Department of Justice white paper. Its logic is flawed, its premises are bereft of any appreciation for the values of the Declaration of Independence and the supremacy of the Constitution, and its rationale could be used to justify any breaking of any law by any “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

Obama Gives Himself Permission To Kill

Having said all that, I still think Obama is a rotten stinker for what he’s doing. I’m not saying that it’s bad to kill al Qaeda operatives wherever and whenever we find them in a foreign country, and regardless of whether they are American or non-American. Rather, my view arises because Obama is a hypocrite who hasn’t had the decency to come before the American people and say that he was wrong to malign George Bush and our troops as rabid killers.

Nick Gillespie, who has the true libertarian’s disdain for these killings (and I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I do admire his consistency), perfectly sums up Obama’s disgusting double standards:

There is a darkly comic aspect to this, I suppose: Here’s a president who once taught classes in constitutional law and swore up and down that America doesn’t torture, that he was against “dumb wars” waged by his predecessors, that he was more transparent than a glass of triple-filtered water, and who won a goddamned Nobel Peace Prize! And he turns out to be not just a little iffy when it comes to being constrained in his willingness to break all sorts of rules but downright godawful.

And his main mouthpiece is a former MSM drone whose babyface is quickly turning into a map of wrinkles brought on by working for an administration which has manifestly failed to live up to even the mediocre standards of the previous occupant of the White House.

The worst thing about those drone strikes is Obama’s moral preening and hypocrisy


Hahahahaha

Yesterday, a memo describing the president’s legal justifications for drone attacks against U.S. citizens was obtained and published by NBC’s Michael Isikoff. The memo is a disturbing assertion of discretionary executive power that should concern and frighten all Americans.

The President’s Drone Memo


Another rube-tool.

4. Two days ago a memo describing the president’s legal justifications for drone attacks against U.S. citizens was obtained and published by NBC’s Michael Isikoff. The memo is a disturbing assertion of discretionary executive power that should concern and frighten all Americans. Unfortunately, the secretive use of drone attacks is one of the few areas of bi-partisan consensus in this highly divisive town, and the public still seems to resoundingly support current counter-terrorism policies.

The memo gives broad legal boundaries on the use of drones. There are virtually no actual restrictions.

All of the Pieces for the Next President to Command Skynet

The country’s in the very best of hands….

Nothing to see here.

Ozymandias

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Imperial Capital on the Potomac

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Crony capitalism is another reason we need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison, By Peter Schweizer (Google Books)

OpenSecrets.org

[T]he regulatory superstate depends on inflicting pain on the rest of the country, pain that only Washington itself can relieve—if you pay up and have the right connections, that is. Washington’s fortunes and America’s are increasingly at odds. The region is prospering because it’s becoming something that would have horrified the Founders: an imperial capital on the Potomac.

Hail Columbia! The federal government’s relentless expansion has made Washington, D.C., America’s real Second City.

From time to time my colleague David Boaz posts about the many ongoing ways in which the economy of Washington, D.C. continues to outpace that of the rest of the country, thanks to a well-paid and layoff-resistant workforce of federal employees and contractors, a thriving lobbying sector, and so forth. Thus David noted this week [December 9, 2010] that the Washington, D.C. metro area has now attained the highest family median income of any major city, and last month [November 2010] that, according to Census Bureau figures analyzed by Newsweek, “seven of the 10 richest counties in America, including the top three, are in the Washington area.”

Rise of an Imperial City, Cont’d

Dr. Benjamin Carson and proportionality

Tithing is a good model

America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great (Google Books)


Ah yes, the 1st Amendment.

The country is in the very best of hands.

Ozymandias

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

State of the Union 2013


Oh yeah, all those mean, nasty horrible, drastic cuts to the federal budget.

Our Moral Preener in Chief thinks (almost) all of us are rubes.


text here

But if the proprietor of the most open and transparent and clean-smelling administration of all time wants to make some real news, he might speak honestly to the segment of the American electorate that he is screwing over six ways to Sunday: Young voters between the ages of 18 and 29. Listen up, kids! Your parents are robbing your futures blind and you’re chumps enough not only to go along but to say – like the adorable title orphan in the classic baby boomer musical Oliver! – please, sir, I want some more.

From virtually every possible angle, Obama is helping to diminish the prospects for today’s younger generation. First and foremost, his response to the Great Recession – stimulus and the massive piling up of debt – is slowing the recovery. Ginormous regulatory schemes such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of huge new soul-and-bucks-sucking programs such as Obamacare weigh heavily on the economy now and in the future too. His refusal to discuss seriously old-age entitlement reform – Medicare and Social Security and the 40 percent of Medicaid that goes to old folks – is a massive storm front on the economic horizon. His preference for secrecy and overreach when it comes to executive power won’t screw young people as obviously as his economic policies, but when he leaves office in 2017, he will have created far more terrorists than he needed to.

State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time?

Actually, given Obama’s history of banal greenjobsenergy- education infrastructure- makingstuff SOTU boosterism, it’ll probably be none of the above.

Another non-surprise is what we’re virtually certain not to hear: a big new plan to reduce the $16.4 trillion federal debt — roughly $5.8 trillion of which arrived between Obama’s first big address to the joint Congress (technically not a SOTU!) and this one.

Yet while the state of the union may be sobering, the good news is that you don’t have to be.

As President Obama drones on in his State of the Union address tonight, follow along with Reason’s 2013 SOTU drinking guide. Take a drink, and click a link, if the president…

The False Choice Between A Shot Or A Beer: Follow Along With Reason’s 2013 SOTU Drinking Game

Expect a lot of moral preening from our First Comedian, our Moral Preener in Chief.

On February 17, 2009, in remarks at the signing the $787 billion Stimulus bill, Pres. Obama promised it would lift two million people out of poverty.

However, according to the latest available Census Bureau data, quite the opposite occurred. In fact, there are now 2.6 million more people living below poverty.

Obama ’09: Stimulus Will Lift 2 Million Out of Poverty; Today: 2.6 Million More in Poverty


The Ds and Rs deserve each other. And because we elected these people, we deserve what we get, good and hard.

Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

H. L. Mencken

North Korea’s third nuclear test since 2006 must be seen as a major embarrassment for Obama, coming on the eve of his biggest speech of the year (after his second Inaugural Address, of course). From the earliest days of his presidency, Obama has made nuclear nonproliferation a key goal, and his advisers have said he had wanted to revive this as a major “legacy” item in his second term. But North Korea’s act of open defiance only illustrates how little progress there has been on several fronts.

The administration’s early policy of “strategic patience”–refusing to negotiate until Pyongyang unilaterally agreed to suspend its program—appeared to provoke only more defiance from North Korea. Last week, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, rebuffed a U.S. offer to negotiate directly over its covert nuclear program, despite multilateral agreement to impose the harshest sanctions yet on Tehran. And last fall, Russia abruptly announced it was dropping out of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, which since 1991 has helped Moscow destroy or safely store nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons left over after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It’s not a pretty picture to present to the world at the start of Obama’s second term.

[Moral Preener in Chief] Obama must confront an embarrassing failure of his nonproliferation policies on the eve of his big speech.

Thomas Jefferson considered it “kingly” to deliver his State of the Union report as a speech, so he sent the Senate and the House some written comments instead. Woodrow Wilson, never reluctant to play king, brought back the speechifying in 1913, and the modern custom of addressing a joint session of Congress was born.

The state of the actual union has improved in many ways in the century since then, but State of the Union addresses have kept heading downhill. Calvin Coolidge reversed many of Wilson’s kingly policies, eventually including the oral address; before then, though, he made the mistake of broadcasting it on the radio, expanding the crown’s audience even further. (*) FDR brought back the speech (and the broadcast), the show came to TV in the Truman years, and under LBJ the other party started airing a response right afterward, an innovation that may sound even-handed and democratic but in practice just amplified the kingliness.

State of the Union Addresses: Going Downhill for 100 Years

When it comes to political lies that cannot and will not be met “It won’t cost a dime” is right at the top of the list. Not unexpectedly, that was the central thesis of numerous Fantasyland projections in Obama’s State of the Union Address Tuesday Evening.

Hot Air and No Substance; Obama’s Plan to Destroy Jobs “Won’t Cost a Dime”

Go ahead, enjoy the decline!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Big Government and Statolatry


Merwt44B420

The government is huge, stupid, greedy and makes nosy, officious and dangerous intrusions into the smallest corners of life. . . .

Parliament of Whores, P.J. O’Rourke


5u03KAcEbEo

Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.

Michael Munger


R_T0WF-uCWg

Something has changed, even as our society has become wealthier. Sure businesses have to comply with regulations and millionaires need to pay taxes, but somewhere we’ve shifted from honoring success to envying it, from viewing government as a limited tool to achieve a few necessary things (infrastructure, enforcing the rule of law) to seeing it as the be-all and end-all of our society.

Why is it assumed by these moralistic Affluence Police that the rich are mainly greedy people who spend their money on luxury goods? Charities and non-profits are funded by wealthy people. Real capitalists invest millions of dollars into ideas and often create good jobs in the process. I have no idea what Mickelson does with his money, but it isn’t any of my business. Given California governmental attitudes, one can’t blame him for looking elsewhere.

For instance, during a recent Capitol press conference, the Orange County Register’s Sacramento reporter asked Gov. Jerry Brown about the spending increases in his supposedly austere budget. Brown joked about there being no hope for Orange County readers, according to a Register editorial. Then he mocked “this doctrine that government is the problem,” which he said is promoted by the “Orange County Register or whoever all these people are.”

At the Capitol, the free market is viewed as an arcane joke. Yet I look at everything government does—at all those programs and bureaucracies and entitlements that Brown and Obama prefer. I see enormous debt, corruption, abuses of power, union-enrichment schemes, shoddy services, terrible attitudes, and an endless sea of scandal and greed. Just read the newspapers.

How Big Government Undermines Freedom and Prosperity


KiXup3fWX7w

When did the government become a paragon of telling the truth?

Andrew Napolitano


KyFEnEonpG0

Feeling good about yourself is not the same as doing good.

Theodore Dalrymple

Ozymandias

Mockery and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

America is Not the Federal Government

America is not the federal government.

Take a minute to let that thought sink in. America is not the federal government.

In fact, America is not much about government at all. In America, government is one of those things you have to have, but you sure don’t want too much of it…kind of like your in-laws.

This is of course the polar opposite of the political debate in our country today.

At present we have one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can expand it, and one party that wants to be in charge of the federal government so they can get it under control.
. . .
We think if we can just unite behind a proposal to cut the deficit and debt…if we can just put together a spreadsheet and a power point and a TV ad . . . all will be well.

This obsession with zeroes has everyone in our party focused on what? Government.

By obsessing with zeroes on the budget spreadsheet, we send a not-so-subtle signal that the focus of our country is on the phony economy of Washington – instead of the real economy out here in Charlotte, and Shreveport, and Cheyenne.


PhV9aZOqmz8

We also must face one more cold hard fact – Washington is so dysfunctional that any budget proposal based on fiscal sanity will be deemed ‘not-serious’ by the media, it will fail in the Senate, and it won’t even make it to the President’s desk where it would be vetoed anyway.

In fact, any serious proposal to restrain government growth is immediately deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington. The Balanced Budget is deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington.

Term Limits are deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington. Capping federal growth by tying it to private sector economic growth is deemed ‘not-serious’ in Washington.

The truth is nothing serious is deemed serious in Washington.

When then-Senator Obama voted against raising the debt ceiling, he said he was doing so because the national debt was at an outrageous 8 trillion dollars…and he clarified for effect, saying that is “trillion with a T.”

Now President Obama has our national debt over 16 trillion dollars and climbing…larger than our entire economy. And he’s not worried about it in the least.

He calls it progress. You remember his campaign slogan, he says it is “Forward.”

I have news for the President – If Washington’s debt is going forward, America’s economy is going backward.
. . .
We have fallen into a trap of believing that the world revolves around Washington, that the economy is based there. If we keep believing that, government will grow so big that it will take us all down with it.

If our end goal is to simply better manage the disaster that is the federal government, count me out, I’m not signing up for that. It’s not a goal worth attaining.

America is not the federal government, Bobby Jindal

But for all of his confidence and assertiveness, the content of Obama’s message was ultimately empty. As Brendan O’Neill has noted there is a theatrical quality to the Culture Wars. Sure, Obama recently announced measures to control guns, but even he admits they are unlikely to be fully effective, perhaps saving just one life (has any other prior policy been justified on the grounds of saving one life?). Rather than conducting a serious debate that attempts to grapple with the complex roots of mass shootings, we get rushed-in measures that amount to a series gestures. Perhaps most worryingly for democracy, Obama – so secure in the rightness of his opinion – has announced that he will use executive orders to get around congress (an act of an ‘imperial presidency’ that the left would have crucified George W Bush for, but are happy to support Obama on).
. . .
It’s remarkable that Obama said nothing of substance about the economy or the country’s mounting debt. We’re in the midst of the weakest postwar recovery, with unemployment as high as when Obama gave his first inaugural speech, but you’d never know from his address yesterday. Nor would his two paragraphs on foreign affairs give you an idea of what America’s strategy is to deal with Syria or al-Qaeda in Mali and Algeria, or any other hotspots in the world.

In his inaugural speech, Obama emphatically made clear that he intends to push a modern liberal agenda in his second term. Perhaps we can now dispense with the longstanding fiction that Democrats are a beleaguered minority up against a powerful conservative elite. The Democrats are another wing of that elite, the one currently ascendant, and their version of liberalism constitutes the conventional wisdom of our era.

The inauguration of illiberal liberalism
See SLJ, tool, above.

Subsidiarity

An organizing principle stating that a matter ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest, or least centralized authority capable of addressing that matter effectively. The Oxford English Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have a subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be performed effectively at a more immediate or local level. The concept is applicable in the fields of government, political science, cybernetics, management, military (Mission Command) and, metaphorically, in the distribution of software module responsibilities in object-oriented programming. In political theory, subsidiarity is sometimes viewed as a principle entailed by the idea of federalism.

Wikipedia


DgBqWuZTPJA

Tags: , , , ,